Peak Oil Pique
CHARACTER ONE: Full-scale nuclear war is horrible. And I never saw it coming! The events that finally led to the destruction of our world seemed no different from the thousand other events that could have led to Armageddon, but didn’t.
CHARACTER TWO: (gravely) Yes. The tragedy of our era is that we faced so many potential crises we became inured to the real one.
In Alas, Babylon, the final hours before the nuclear war were filled with special-alert radio bulletins like “Soviet ships are heading toward the Med” and “the Kremlin calls this an act of provocation” — pretty much the same news bulletins I heard every day of my life until the Berlin Wall went down. None of them started a nuclear war. They could have led to Armageddon, but they didn’t.
There’s plenty of ominous things on the horizon nowadays, too. Israel, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China, the economy, the environment — any of them could lead to disaster. Who knows whether or not they will? There’s not much I can do either way. Besides, my long-term worry isn’t even on that list. Get this: I think there really is something to that Peak Oil business.
Here’s a couple of Peak Oil sites. I link to them with great reluctance, because if Peak Oil were Christianity its Web designers would be Pentecostal Fundamentalists who speak in tongues and go to church three times a week. I’m more of a Peak Oil Episcopalian, who attends services on Easter and Christmas Eve and drinks a lot of bourbon beforehand to make the sermon tolerable. Being associated with fundamentalists embarrasses me. And with Peak Oil, the fundamentalists are all anybody hears about.
Those sites I linked to — yeah, they’ve got some good information, if you can find it in the fog of ninety percent of humanity dropping dead, technology disappearing, and civilization regressing to the Dark Ages. That’s the fundamentalist version. Episcopalian doctrine merely states that gasoline will get expensive enough to seriously hurt our economy, but that doesn’t make for an exciting website so we don’t have much of a Net presence.
I don’t like to talk about Peak Oil. The fundamentalists call me an airhead optimist, while the naysayers think I’m one of those paranoid apocalypse guys I myself made fun of in previous posts. So I’d hardly even mention it, except I found this bit of news coming out of Iran:
Iran warned Britain and the US yesterday that the international community could face a new oil crisis if the United Nations security council imposes sanctions on Tehran over its alleged attempt to acquire a nuclear weapons-making capability.
Speaking in Tehran, Ali Larijani, the country's chief nuclear negotiator and head of the supreme national security council, said Iran would be reluctant to cut its oil exports. "We do not want to use the oil weapon. It is them who would impose it upon us." But Mr Larijani added that if the west did decide on sanctions, "we will react in a way that would be painful for them ... Do not force us to do something that will make people shiver in the cold."
This might be the seemingly insignificant event that leads to Armageddon (at least economically), or another one of those events that could lead to it, but won’t. Considering how hot this summer’s been I’m not too worried about shivering in the cold, but I wonder: how much higher can oil prices go before they start to hurt us?
EDIT: Changed "immured" to "inured" after Mediageek pointed out the error. Don't blog when you're tired, people.