New at Mother Jones: The Coming Energy Crunch
The Energy Crunch To Come: Soaring Oil Profits, Declining Discoveries, and Danger Signs, by Michael T. Klare.
Unlike the average driver of the average automobile, the oil industry has just come off a bumper year. Profits have reached all-time highs, with, for example, Exxon-Mobil reporting quarterly income of $8.42 billion, the highest quarterly income ever reported by an American firm.
But, as Michael Klare, author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency, notes, this can't last.
[C]heering as the recent announcements may have been for many on Wall Street, they also contained a less auspicious sign. Despite having spent billions of dollars on exploration, the major energy firms are reporting few new discoveries and so have been digging ever deeper into existing reserves. If this trend continues -- and there is every reason to assume it will -- the world is headed for a severe and prolonged energy crunch in the not-too-distant future.
We can soften the landing by conserving energy today funding R&D for alternative technologies tomorrow, but "at current rates of development, none of these alternatives will be available on a large enough scale when petroleum products become scarce," a point also made by Paul Roberts in a recent Mother Jones article.
Check out Michael Klare's "The Energy Crunch To Come" online at Mother Jones.