Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Two esseys by Jude Wanniski

1/ It's a Big World -December 1, 1998

"...The idea that mankind is cooking the earth by burning hydrocarbons makes sense when you hear an advocate explain it. When I heard opponents oppose it, I found they made sense too. If there is a political draw, the tendency is to split the difference. But I was not happy with this outcome and again went to Easterbrook, who covered the environment for Newsweek. I found in his book, A Moment on the Earth, that he comes down about 90% for the skeptics. I then decided to make some inquiries of my own. I began with ...

...That seemed like a lot of hydrocarbons. Holy smokes, billions of barrels!!! But I wanted to imagine it in one place. How much area would it cover if it were a giant pool of petroleum? After some simple arithmetic, I realized the pool was not as big as I thought it might be, and would not put a dent in any of the Great Lakes, I wondered how many Lake Tahoes it would fill. We called Tahoe and were quickly told they had a precise estimate of the number of barrels of water in that alpine lake on the Nevada/California border. Eleanor, can you believe 946 billion barrels? In other words, if you drained all the water out of Tahoe and filled it with all the oil ever consumer by mankind, it would not quite fill ONE FIFTH of the cavity!..." 


2/ One Energy Crisis After Another - December 8, 2004

"...The reason there were no shortages prior to the “floating dollar” that we are still living with is that the energy industry knew that if the dollar/price of gold was $35 oz today and would be $35 oz ten years from now, the price of oil at $2.50 bbl today would be in the ballpark of $2.50 ten years from now. The oil market, without having meetings to regulate supply in an attempt to fix the oil price, would automatically operate in a way that always kept a 10% surplus of an oil delivery system ready to go if there was an unexpected disruption… a worker’s strike, a hurricane, a war, tensions in the Middle East that looked like war, etc. There was never, ever any discussion about the United States having a “strategic petroleum reserve” on hand to meet such contingencies. If there was a disruption over here, our private oil companies could easily switch to the buffer supplies over there. The price of delivery might increase by a few cents a barrel, but once the crisis passed everything would go back to normal...."


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