Life After Peak Oil

Following an initial period of painful adaptation, we can live happily and healthily in a world with high energy costs, writesGregory Clark in this special to the Sacramento Bee

Published: 25-Dec-2007

il prices have receded from their recent flirtation with $100 a barrel, but demand soars from China and India, rapidly industrializing countries with a massive energy thirst. The combination of increased demand, high prices and the prospect of an eventual peak in oil production, has caught Americans paralyzed between twin terrors: the fear that rampant consumption of oil and coal is irreversibly warming the Earth and the dread that without cheap oil our affluent lifestyles will evaporate.

Can't live with oil, can't live without it.

Study of the long economic history of the world suggests two things, however. Cheap fossil fuels actually explain little of how we got rich since the Industrial Revolution. And after an initial period of painful adaptation, we can live happily, opulently and indeed more healthily, in a world of permanent $100-a-barrel oil or even $500-a-barrel oil.



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