To the editor:
The problem with oil is not how much is in the ground but how much can be produced each year to supply demand. Production follows a simple path. It starts at zero and rises to a peak which can never be surpassed. Once the peak is passed, production declines until the resource is depleted. On a graph it appears as a bell curve. The predicted peak of world oil production has always been debated, but most reputable geologists agree that it is occurring now. Geologists know there are no 'surprises' out there. Most oil on the planet is accounted for. Well after well, field after field, and nation after nation have all followed the same bell curve of production. Most former oil-exporting nations have become oil-importing nations as they follow their own national production curve. The USA was a major exporter of oil until 1970 when we reached our own production peak. We have been importing ever since (currently 70 percent).
The end of cheap oil is here. As the world slides down the terminal slope of our bell curve, ANWR, offshore drilling, and tar sands will not delay the inevitable. It takes more energy to produce these resources than you will ever get out. No combo of alternatives can replace the energy provided by petroleum. Wind power projects and erecting an Oregon Trail of steel and wire are dead-ends wastes of valuable time and money. These projects are desperate attempts to keep alive growth in places like Boise and Beaverton that can no longer sustain a growing population.
Does anyone read the news any more? The dollar is valueless, our largest banks and lenders are collapsing, GM and Ford are bankrupt, we wage a war that costs $720 million a day. The list goes on. We are witnessing the last burps and sputters of a system dependent on consumption and growth. The only option we have going forward is to realize that our era of growth is over we physically, economically, and geologically just can't do it. Local communities need their own energy plan not more high wire acts.