By George Will
November 22, 2009
...America has exhausted its hydrocarbon supplies. Repeatedly.Huh. So we have 100 years of natural gas and a couple decades (that we know of) of petroleum and a few hundred years of coal. So why are we pouring so much government money into "alternative" or "green" energy? Why not make what already have burn cleaner?
In 1914, the Bureau of Mines said U.S. oil reserves would be exhausted by 1924. In 1939, the Interior Department said the world had 13 years worth of petroleum reserves. Then a global war was fought and the postwar boom was fueled, and in 1951 Interior reported that the world had ... 13 years of reserves. In 1970, the world's proven oil reserves were an estimated 612 billion barrels. By 2006, more than 767 billion barrels had been pumped and proven reserves were 1.2 trillion barrels. In 1977, Scold in Chief Jimmy Carter predicted that mankind "could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade." Since then the world has consumed (BEG ITAL)three times(END ITAL) more oil than was then in the world's proven reserves.
Rattie says U.S. known reserves of natural gas, which are sure to become larger, exceed 100 years of supply at the current rate of consumption. BP recently announced a "giant" oil discovery beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Yergin, writing in Foreign Policy, says "careful examination of the world's resource base ... indicates that the resource endowment of the planet is sufficient to keep up with demand for decades to come."