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March 29, 2008



Climate activists, they just talk and who really solves the problems are the engineers, scientists and the corporations. We will find solutions, the renewable sources will be cost-effective by itself in the future.

Shaun Chamberlin

Firstly I'd like to say I agree with the general thrust of your article Dave. But I'd take issue with the statement:

"Reducing our oil consumption will have no effect on climate change (CO2 emissions) because someone else will burn it if we don't."

The reason your statement is true is because of the demand destruction that has already taken place (ie. those who have already been priced out of the oil market and would return if they could). Now demand destruction can be fairly benign ("I can't afford my road trip") or utterly fatal ("I can't afford to heat my home"), and it is because of the pain of demand destruction in the global markets that the notion of adopting the necessary solution to climate change (leaving fossil fuels in the ground) is currently so unthinkable. It would constitute voluntarily making Peak Oil resource limits even tighter, and causing even more pain. So if we can reduce our demand, we thus reduce the demand destruction (via the oil price) and make realistically addressing climate change more palatable.

Hark the Dawn

we're about to get plowed under by the oil market fundamentals.

News Flash:

Peak Oil and Peak Climate are about to be Really plowed under by Peak Finance.

The capital investments needed by PO and CC will dry up to zero shortly if the world's financial system goes broke.

Pay some attention to the global depression in the making. The banks are going under and all the plans for climate remediation and alternative energy will be pipe dreams among the ruins of civilization.


Seems like the problem with Romm is he just does not 'get it', regarding Peak Oil. 2B cars in 2050? Good god. We are clearly close to peak vehicles/traffic now, and their decline is hardly likely to be smooth. The horse and cart is about to make a comeback.

David Mathews

Dave Cohen,

Assuming that Peak Oil is a worse problem than Climate Change (an absurd assumption only comprehensible to the oil industry) ...

Exactly how would you solve the Peak Oil problem?


Joseph Romm (ClimateProgress)

What a strange response to my article. Of course I've read Hansen's piece -- and blogged on it. I understand it better than you appear to.

Did you even know that Hansen thinks we need to go back to 350 ppm? [No.]

Do you even know how we could eliminate coal use in electricity as Hansen wants? [No.]

In fact, the electricity will come from efficiency, solar (PV and thermal electric), wind, and probably some nukes and maybe some CCS.

There are two very large-scale zero-carbon electricity available -- you'll have to read my next Salon piece if you don't know what they are. Hint -- it ain't nuclear or c

"To preserve the livability of the planet, we must cut liquid fossil fuel use more than 50 percent by 2050. That is a central reason that more supply is not the solution to peak oil." If you don't know why that is true, then you simply don't understand either climate science or energy.

You may think it's gonna happen anyway. Great. As is clear from my article, I hope it does. But we can't wait for serious price-driven demand destruction to occur.

$200 a barrel does NOT double UK's current gasoline price -- that's silly. Salon cut out my $200/barrel scenario. Short version -- bad for economy, not the end of life or transport as we know it since the U.S. price for gasoline would still be less than that of Europe and Japan. People will buy hybrids and probably drive and fly a bit less.

Have you traveled to Europe recently? Seen what they pay for gasoline and how they live and drive? How is it that their economies are kicking our butts as evidenced by decline in dollar?

You just don't seem to understand the basic economics of driving a car.

Nice try.


Mr. Romm is policy hack. pure and simple.
He may have science background but that doesn't mean he will level with politician or the public. His response here is classic cover your ass by throwing uncertainty an doubt.

He is actually hoping for Solar efficiency.
What a joke. I guess he doesn't know that to get that you have to use some scarce raw material like copper, etc.

I bet you he wouldn't touch EROEI with ten foot pole. not to talk about scaling of technology. Carbon capture that is really funny. Any technology to come on line in next 20 years better have been vetted in the past 20 years. What technology has done that. Wind. Even wind cannot supplant 5% of the oil consumption.

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