Thanks for your temperate, sweet-natured post. So, you and Rush are convinced that all calls for conservation and change are nothing but an attempt by your insidious political opponents to impose their foreign ways on you, huh? I hope you and your fellow he-men don't drag us all down with your need for endless lubrication. Now that your "tolerance" has been exceeded, what are you planning to do? Form rogue drilling parties and ravage the back yards of all effete environmentalists, after you render them for oil? And oh, thanks so much for "tolerating" me and my kind for as long as you did. I'm sure it must have been a trial for you.
We have to have armed guards with seismic and drilling crews all around the world, because of the environmental damage from clearing rain forests, dozing all sorts of environments to gain access and because of the continual and devastating damage to fisheries from offshore drilling. Governments sell off the native people of the rain forests, the nomadic tribes of North Africa and the fishermen of the sea of China and the surrounding waters of Indonesa, because corrupt leaders shipon off millions while the rest go to big oil and the CEO.
I have written dozens of economic analysis for exploring and developing potential oil and gas reserves in sensitive areas of the US. The problem is complex, these oil reserves would have been developed in the early part of the 20th century if they would had been easy to find, as 80% of all developed reserves in the US were. Generally large anticlinal structures that were easily detectable using geologic mapping and gravity surveys. Seismic signals are very poor over almost all of our potential reserves, because of thousands of feet of salt offshore and in the basins of the Rocky Mountains, a thousand foot thick boulder field at 5,000 ft depth that allows no detection by seismic over the South Florida Basin and frozen tundra and a 3 month exploration and drilling season in ANWR (ANWR does not have detectable, proven reserves, just a theory that reserves could be present based on the geology of the North Slope). All of these areas require helioportable equipment to access and the costs of exploration and drilling make even $140 barrel oil margainlly profitable. As much as people are trying to make this a political issue, the reality it is a pure economic issue and few companies are willing to take the risk.
If we can drill these areas with no or negliable environmental impact or if we can even find the oil at all will take new technologies that rival the development of alternative technologies that reduce our dependence on oil. One requires major development that has no future value once reserves are exploited. The other will carry us into the future to a sustainable society.
Personally, I am going to conserve by making a choice. What needs to happen is a fundamental change in our way of thinking. The most effective change happens when the people changing want to change, not forced by government. All it takes is thinking about others and future generations. Calling me a socialist because I have a programmable thermostat and drive 65mph instead of 80mph is just name calling ignorance. Oil will continue to play a part in our lives for a very long time either as fuel or in plastics etc. I don't see how if we "drill for everything we can, until we grease the skids with the carcass of the last available carribou, whale, polar bear, and environmentalist." is a solution. What happens when that last whale is killed, oil is gone and there is no alternative infrastructure? Will you be the first in line to sort through landfills to reclaim now precious plastics? I am not opposed to technology, I am opposed to using technology with no thought to the consequences of its use. If you want technology, in the same time it takes to get meaningful production from ANWR etc. (by most accounts, 10-15 years) we could be building nuclear power plants and replacing cars with battery powered/diesel hybrids. Use pure electricity for your daily driving (which for most is much less than the 200 mile range possible with CURRENT battery tech) and if you feel the need for a vacation get away, you run on electricity until that runs out and then the small efficient diesel takes over. We won't get rid of gas completely, but usage will drop dramatically. To think that we can continue on our current path, without changing our lifestyle choices with no consequences is just delusional.