Informal Survey of the Political Blogosphere
Here at The Oil Drum, we strive to be politically non-partisan. We are primarily concerned with raising awareness of peak oil and advocating those policy steps which we think will bring about a smooth transition to the post-peak world. In these efforts, we have praised and criticized politicians from the left and right.
Almost all of the most highly-trafficked blogs are politically oriented, so its worth paying attention to what the top political blogs have to say about energy issues in general and peak oil in particular. Here, I have surveyed four of the most widely-read blogs that have discussed the concept of peak oil in some level of detail.
- Daily Kos (TTLB ranking: 1, political orientation: left)
- Daily Kos is by far the most widely-read political blog out there. One of the site's diarists, a Parisian "energy banker" named Jerome a Paris writes about energy issues regularly. Many of his diaries are highly recommended, which means they end up on the front page. To get started, you may want to look at his 13-part series "Countdown to 100$ oil" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13). Recently, he has looked at formulating a Democratic energy policy that takes into account peak oil (see here and here).
- Political Animal (TTLB ranking: 17, political orientation: left)
- Kevin Drum is a political writer for Washington Monthly, which hosts his blog. In May and June of this year, he wrote a 6-part series introducing his readers to peak oil (1, 2,
coda). He has also wrote an article about peak oil for the June, 2005 issue of Washington Monthly. Drum does a solid job of presenting the key peak oil concepts, and the only material that may be new to this audience is the discussion of policy in Part 5. Overall, he's relatively optimistic:
The coming peak in oil production, which is likely to lead to permanently expensive oil and increasingly frequent oil shocks, isn't the end of civilization as we know it. Honest. But it is likely to be fairly painful.
Peak oil is a serious problem, but the free market really will work the way economists say it does, by reducing demand and spurring innovation as prices rise. If we combine that with some common sense planning for the future, we can go a long way toward making this problem manageable. Both our economy and our national security depend on it.
- Redstate.org (TTLB ranking: 20, political orientation: right)
- Redstate.org didn't have much substantive material, but they've recently launched an Energy section, although I have to say that the inaugural post was pretty disappointing ("This country's energy policy has been held hostage for years by a small band of extreme environmentalists"). A diarist named kowalski recently chimed in with a post called Oil, Oil Everywhere where he characterizes peak oilers as "professional doomsayers and anti-capitalists".
- Outside the Beltway (TTLB ranking: 67+90=26, political orientation: right)
- Outside the Beltway's business editor, Steve Verdon, works in the energy industry and has written about peak oil. He has put together a part-by-part reply to the Kevin Drum series (1, 2, 3,
4). Verdon thinks the market will save us:
There has not been a single case of any commodity going through a complete Hubbert cycle in the sense that we don't switch to something else. There have been peaks in the production of a great many commodities many of which are finite in the same sense that crude oil is finite. Yet the end of the world has not occured. One reason is that as the price goes up for whatever good is being used up, the price of previously uneconomical substitutes becomes relatively cheaper. Also, looking for subsitutes becomes relatively cheaper as well.He goes on to say:
I just want to point out quite clearly I think that the Hubbert curve/peak oil is a valid concept. My complaints are that the hubbert curve is problematic for use in policy making, and that the model is lacking to be a truly predictive model. As for peak oil my view is that "running out" of oil does not have to be a catastrophe.
So, now you know that there are some peak oil-aware political bloggers out there. What other widely-read political bloggers are taking on peak oil? What are they saying?