Peak Oil vs. global warming

As the presidential candidates spew nonsense about energy policy, and T. Boone Pickens's stab at a constructive solution starts to look ever-more shaky, we are faced with this grim reality: Peak Oil is still a "fringe" concept.

More than a year ago, the folks at Energy Bulletin ran a revealing test on Google Trends to see how many people were searching for "global warming" as opposed to "peak oil."  The results were disappointing.  (Four days later came my way-too-premature prediction that Peak Oil was about to become a household word, but we won't go there now…)

I ran the same test this morning and came up with similarly depressing results.  And it's not just people searching on the web.  Confirmation comes from that ultimate arbiter of what America's clueless nomenklatura are thinking — New York Times columnist Tom Friedman:

We’ve added so many greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, for our generation’s growth, that our kids are likely going to spend a good part of their adulthood, maybe all of it, just dealing with the climate implications of our profligacy. And now our leaders are telling them the way out is “offshore drilling” for more climate-changing fossil fuels.

Madness. Sheer madness.

Friedman has achieved such mythic status that the Times evidently feels he's beyond any need for an editor.  But if he had one, that editor would no doubt ask Friedman what he means by "the way out."  The way out of what?  Presumably a shortage of fossil fuels.  But Friedman makes no mention of a fossil fuel shortage in the sentence preceding.  He's talking about "the climate implications of our profligacy." 

Sloppy syntax, fuzzy thinking.

Friedman must believe, like Congressional Democrats, that a magical government program can bring about solar-powered cars and jets faster than it'll take to bring new offshore oil fields online.  Of course, if the Democrats are clueless, the Republicans are liars, with the repeated assertions that opening up offshore drilling will bring back cheap gasoline within weeks.  It won't.  But it'll buy us a little more time until something other than oil emerges in another 10-15 years as the transportation fuel of the future.  And we're gonna need all the time we can get to forestall catastrophic changes in the way we live.