Why Peak Oil Is a Dangerous Lie
The dominant idea that the world's oil supplies are a finite and known quantity is a dangerous lie that creates subsidies to protect consumers while climate change rages on.
What's the Latest Development?
The idea that oil is a finite and known quantity, and therefore given to ever-rising prices, is a dangerous lie, says Oxford economics professor Dieter Helm. The fear of rising energy prices encourages a political fix: oil and coal subsidies to protect consumers. The result is that exploration of other energy possibilities is discouraged since consumers, thanks to subsidies, no longer stand to benefit from a fall in energy prices. But new technology is essential, such as the shale gas extraction tools which have recently transformed the American energy sector.
What's the Big Idea?
The true danger, says Helm, is not that there is too little oil beneath the Earth but that there is too much. As climate change rages on, neither the renewable or nuclear energy sectors are capable of supplying the planet's energy needs but as long as fears about peak oil persist, government petroleum and coal subsidies will retard the search for short to mid term energy alternatives. Helm's prescription is to substitute gas for coal, roughly halving green house gas emissions, until more efficient alternatives open up.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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