Monday, May 20, 2013

What If...We Never Run Out of Oil?

Ocean-bottom methane hydrates offer that possibility.  Researchers are working hard on practical ways to “mine” the stuff.

So think about it.  What would change if we knew that we had an essentially infinite supply of naturally renewed hydrocarbon fuel?
  • Environmentalists who are convinced that carbon dioxide is causing global warming will be horrified.
  • The economic incentives for switching away from hydrocarbon fuels (still by far the most efficient way, by volume or by weight, that we know how to store energy) will be greatly reduced.  Unless, that is, government decides to distort the market with “carbon taxes” or some such thing.
  • The oil-supported country economies (Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, etc.) will be sorely tested.
  • Prices for most goods and many services (especially transportation) will fall.
Most of that sounds pretty good to me!

Update and bump: reader and friend Doug W. points out this marvelous quote from the above-linked article:
To ask utilities to take in large amounts of solar power—electricity generated by hundreds or thousands of small installations, many on neighborhood roofs and lawns, whose output is affected by clouds—is like asking a shipping firm to replace its huge, professionally staffed container ships with squadrons of canoes paddled by random adolescents.
Hah! Squadrons of canoes paddled by random adolescents :)

Sounds pretty good compared with the Obama administration and Congress, though, doesn't it? 

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