It's not always clear what we mean by it:
That fossil fuels are finite is a red herring. The Atlantic Ocean is finite, but that does not mean that you risk bumping into France if you row out of a harbor in Maine. The buffalo of the American West were infinite, in the sense that they could breed, yet they came close to extinction. It is an ironic truth that no nonrenewable resource has ever run dry, while renewable resources—whales, cod, forests, passenger pigeons—have frequently done so.


MikeD said...

One thing I really love from this article, is this one quote:

The argument that fossil fuels will soon run out is dead, at least for a while. The collapse of the price of oil over the past six months is the result of abundance: an inevitable consequence of the high oil prices of recent years, which stimulated innovation in hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, seismology and information technology. The U.S.—the country with the oldest and most developed hydrocarbon fields—has found itself once again, surprisingly, at the top of the energy-producing league, rivaling Saudi Arabia in oil and Russia in gas.

Not just because it's a wonderful point about the sustainability of fossil-fuels (the predictions of it's imminent demise have been around since before I was born, and so far they continue to prove premature), but because of a thought it sparked. Back when we were discussing price gouging, the major moral objection to allowing the market to increase the price of items in demand because of the emergency was that it was profiting on the misfortune of fellow citizens during a time of shortage. But why do we not also, therefore, support price minimums surely oil producers have taken some drastic hits in profits due to the recent fall of the price of oil, are we not taking advantage of their misfortune? If it is more moral to fix prices when times are bad for buyers, would it also not be more moral to fix prices in favor of sellers when times are bad for them?

Or, is it perhaps that we discount the hardships of the sellers because "they make enough profits anyway"? But who is the arbiter of "enough"? Why is it acceptable to take advantage of a glut in supply when it's not for them to take advantage of a glut in demand? Is buying inherently more moral than selling? That strikes me as extremely odd.

Texan99 said...

All price fixes, even maximum prices, are just minimum price fixes on the other side of the transaction. And all price fixing stinks.

Grim said...

Pity about nuclear energy. That's the one I always liked as a solution.