I would very much like to hear what you think about the points of this post.
This is just an assumption. Just because we have gotten ourselves out of quite a few jams in the past does not mean that our ingenuity is infallible.
Actually, suggesting resource finiteness is more of an assumption than not suggesting resource finiteness.
Logically, without a limit there is no finiteness. I am saying, since we know no limit it's not finite. You are saying, unless we know it to be in
finite we must assume there is a limit, and therefore it is finite.
We can't prove a negative, so it would be impossible to show that we will not
run into trouble in the future. Thus assuming that there is a limit would imply that every resource is finite. Just to show how ridiculous that is: we don't know that human ingenuity doesn't have some limit. Therefore we would have to assume that ingenuity is finite, and therefore the same model as to oil applies to it. I.e. we need to "save" our ingenuity in order to not run out of it.
You've made plenty of arguments for the potentially sustainable model of energy-use as it is currently, but you haven't been arguing against sustainability. You've just been arguing that the current model IS sustainable.
So if we are all in agreement that sustainability is the right thing, then we're really just arguing at this point what constitutes sustainable.
That is a smarter statement than you might realize.
But it is exactly the case. The conventional wisdom argues that resource economics is a zero-sum game, and therefore sustainability means saving the fixed pie we have.
I argue that resource economics follows the rules of economics (non-zero-sum), and therefore sustainability means continuously creating more pie.
In this case, oil is not sustainable. It is not practically renewable.
That's the odd thing; oil is
renewable! :shocked: And I don't mean that we can just wait for more. It all comes down to what we mean by "oil". It is of course accurate that the amount of oil on earth can't increase. (Unless we find a way to cheaply synthesize it.) But the overall amount is not how we define oil. There are vast reserves of oil that for different reasons aren't worth exploiting. If we included all that, we had reserves for 1000 years. But it would be pointless to know how much oil we have, that we can't exploit. That's why we only count as "oil" what we currently have the ability to exploit. So with changing technology, there is more oil.
But the market has developed new forms of energy, like solar and wind. So why should we wish to be dependent on oil for the next 100 years? Oil comes with too many concerns. Pollution, the potentially destructive effects on our environment, poor relations and dependence on the Middle East. Honestly, everything about oil screams STOP USING ME.
Of course I'm not a supporter of the air being brown. Finding a clean alternative seems like a good idea. What I argue against is the idea that we need to save oil through government regulation, because we will run out shortly. That would artificially relieve the scarcity, bring down the price, thereby reducing
incentives to find alternatives. The way to sustainability is getting the government out of resource distribution.
In the mid-19th century whale oil was very expensive because we ran out of whales. Imagine that governments had mandated a sustainable use of whale oil at the time. It is unlikely that there would have been interest in oil at all. Profits weren't worth the gamble.
I hope hydrogen could be a good alternative to oil. Or nuclear fusion or fission.
Wind and solar are a drop in the bucket. And that's assuming that the environmentalists let us build them.