Thursday, December 13, 2007

Peak Oil and this year's heating bills

Al Gore recently gave a moving speech when he accepted the Nobel prize that was very worthy of the occasion (click here to read a transcript). While I believe that climate change is ultimately the chief moral challange for our generation, I have commented in previous posts that the peak oil phenomena will likely superseed it in the public's mind in a few years.

Well, that may actually happen this winter. I just paid for my first fuel oil tank fill-up for the winter here in the north-east part of the country - almost $900, ouch! These fuel oil costs are going to hit many people like a 2x4 across the forehead. For some unfortunate families, it will be hitting them about the same time that a substantial increases in their mortgage payments happen. Energy conservation will be pushed to the forefront of public concern. The bright side of this is that whatever the motivation, this will drive energy conservation measures that will reduce our overall carbon footprint.

Many people who criticise any attempt at responding to climate change often claim that the cost are unaffordable. In reality, most of the important first steps actually result in a net economic benefit. This will become painfully clear this winter as people are forced to deal with the escaliting heating bills. And hopefully people will realize that this is not a one year phenomena. It is the only one step near the beginning of the long term trend.

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