This is my latest effort to the Ann Arbor News. It probably wont get printed. I wish other people would write letters in this vein.
The Public is being lied to about the extent of oil and natural gas resources. A group of distinguished oil geologists is saying that there is only about 1 trillion barrels of conventional oil left and that production will peak within about 5 years. USA production peaked in 1970 and we have been going down hill ever since. BY 2020 we will want far more imported oil but there will be a lot less to import. Natural gas wells deplete rapidly and so we are drilling many new wells just to keep even. Presently we are importing over 10% of our gas from Canada and they are running out. It is more costly to transport gas by ship or pipeline than oil because the energy density is much lower. Therefore even though there might be gas available for a short time in Alaska or other countries it will be difficult to satisfy our needs when our own gas is used up.
Without gas and oil, people can't commute to work or heat their houses and so their end will create chaos in this society. The problem will last forever because there is no possible replacement for gas and oil in the quantities we are using now. Liquid fuel can be made from coal and biomass but that would be very expensive. Furthermore if we substitute coal or natural gas for gasoline then our supplies of these items would deplete rapidly. Because of the fixation on less pollution, natural gas consumption is rapidly increasing. Nuclear energy is not a solution.
All governmental responses to this situation have been completely short range. We should not drill in natural parks or in Alaska now because we would waste these resources. By 2030 this country will be desperate and we should save this oil for the children. If we don't, they will starve. Make no mistake, all oil will eventually be drilled for. Martial law will be an absolute necessity to keep all of the trees from being cut in a selfish effort to keep houses warm.
The only remedy for this situation is to cut energy consumption by 50% and then later cut it again. This can be accomplished if we stop building large cars, single-family houses, and airplanes. Then we must invest large amounts of money in trains, apartments, and alternate energy. Planned communities can greatly cut heating and transportation costs. If you live on top of a factory and have a cogeneration heating system then there is no commuting and no winter heat bill. If we plant billions of trees, build many solar mirrors, and build many windmills, we can probably get at least 30% of present consumption from solar, wind, and biomass combined. Most of our population will have to farm in summer and manufacture in winter.
Every bit of energy we use selfishly is taken from the children. Some of them will live for 80 more years and will want children themselves, yet our shortsighted energy policy is condemning them to lives of desperation. It is by far the most important moral question of all. It takes a lot of energy to build windmills and apartments. If we don't do it before fossil fuels are used up, it will forever be too late.
Kermit Schlansker PE 971 5283