Here’s the thing about pontificating; one needs occasionally to be right! Our President and his administration have been trying to convince Americans that we are “running out of oil.” One must wonder how it is possible that the “pontificators” haven’t learned anything from history and instead keep regurgitating these myths about “running out.”
[Source: The Scientific Consensus Has Been Dead-Wrong on Oil, by Stephen Moore]
A couple years ago I posted on this very issue and highlighted the work of Professor Julian Simon. Simon took on the then Guru of the “we’re-running-out-of-everything-and-will-all-soon-die” crowd, Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich, a Stanford University professor, wrote the runaway best seller The Population Bomb, published in 1968. Then, in 1974, Ehrlich published a new book, The End of Affluence, in which he warned of a “nutritional disaster that seems likely to overtake humanity in the 1970s” (or, at the latest, the 1980s). This late-breaking Malthusian out-burst, strangely enough, did set the world on fire. The book sold 3 million copies and became the best-selling environmental book of all time. Simon not only proved Ehrlich to be wrong on virtually every prediction that Ehrlich had made, but thoroughly embarrassed him by winning a nationally televised bet.
Ehrlich was so miffed by Simon’s expose on the errors in his book that he challenged Simon to a bet in 1980, betting on a mutually agreed-upon measure of resource scarcity over the decade leading up to 1990. Simon had Ehrlich choose five commodity metals. Ehrlich choose tin, copper, nickel, chromium, and tungsten. Simon bet that their prices would decrease, while Ehrlich bet they would increase. So everyone waited to see if Simon or Ehrlich was correct.
Between 1980 and 1990, the world’s population grew by more than 800 million, the largest increase in one decade in all of history. But by September 1990, without a single exception, the price of each of Ehrlich’s selected metals had fallen, and in some cases had dropped through the floor. Which is how it came to pass that in October 1990, Paul Ehrlich mailed Julian Simon a check for $576.07.
[From the Moore article] In 1980, hundreds of the top scientists in the United States issued a report called The Global 2000 Report to the President, which was a primal scream that in every way life on earth would be worse by 2000 because the world would run out of oil, gas, food, farmland and so on.
Moving on to our latest Guru of the Doomsayer crowd – none other than our current President – in a 2008 speech in Lansing, Michigan, presidential candidate Obama advised Americans that, “We cannot sustain a future powered by a fuel that is rapidly disappearing.” He was, of course, referring to oil. Then in 2010 from the Oval Office he solemnly declared: “We’re running out of places to drill,” and he jeered that the oil and gas industry might want to start pumping for oil near the Washington Monument. During a 2011 weekly address he referred to oil and gas as “yesterday’s” energy sources. Then during a speech at Georgetown University, he pontificated: “The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource (oil) that is running out.”
Of course, the Obama administration and certain Obama lackies also took up the chant. The United States Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory stated in a report that “the world is fast approaching the inevitable peaking” of global oil production. Paul Krugman wrote in 2010 that “world commodity prices … are telling us that we’re living in a finite world.”
As Bugs Bunny would have said, “What a bunch of Ultra-Maroons.”
So, how are those Presidential “Doom-sayer” pontifications doing, ask you? Well, answer I, not very well. Today we have twice as many reserves as we had in 1950. And we have already produced almost 10 times more oil than the government told us we had back then.
And let is not forget, that our President also wants us to believe that the “end-is-near” due to global warming. And don’t argue because the science is settled – pretty much the same “science” as the “we’re-running-out-of-everything-and-will-all-soon-die” crowd has been pushing for decades. Americans should never blindly trust any “scientific consensus” on any of these natural resource or environmental issues.
Oil prices have fallen from $105 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to hovering at $35 a barrel today. Of course, lately our President wants to take credit for the our super-abundance of oil. Politicians! However, now he he is trying to convince us that we should keep our super-abundance of oil “in the ground,” even as he tries take credit for the low prices.