Mon 20 Oct 2008
It’s no stretch to say that a controversy might erupt were the consensus theories about peak oil production or climate change shown to be misstated or, worse, wrong. Green would be the new red, as in red-faced, and yet another potential crisis ( Y2K) will have been proven to be a marketing construct. As much as there are deniers and refusniks of climate change and peak oil, these folks are generally construed to be shills, or worse.
But, s’up with gas prices dropping? What’s that all about? OPEC is not going to stand around and do nothing as prices fall. But it gets complicated in a stagnant economy, and their options are limited. Will low(er) gas prices kill the electric car again? All of these are related and work together: the limited supply of oil, the oversupply of housing and the widespread accumulation of bad, bad debt. The “deterioration” of prices is all that concerns the oil producers. With all the upturns and the downturns, we need to worry about how it all works together. For instance, will the nascent and baby-teeny-weeny progress on alternative energy initiatives be snuffed out by world economic turmoil?
It is important to unpack and disconnect some of these issues, otherwise we will never escape the way we have been driven by them and them alone onto hyper-consumptive paths of lease resistance and their ecological consequences. Can we continue to use less oil/gas even if the price drops back into the neighborhoods we grew up in? What about the infrastructure and economic development plans based on reduced carbon footprints and homegrown renewable energy? There were are many more reasons than running out of gas to change the way we’ve been doing things.
The question is whether we will have enough discipline toward the self-preservation instinct, even if it’s not immediately cheaper. Green is all about keeping your eye on the ball – the big blue one we’re living on.