One of the things that baffles me the most about people is this constant fear of "peak oil" or running out of oil completely.
There are masses of oil reserves out there. The USA is apparently possessed of oil reserves that dwarf those of the Middle East. The reason they don't drill for them is that they're in a different kind of rock structure that existing drilling technology doesn't make cost-justifiable. But when the price of oil increases enough to make the investment in improving drilling technology viable, you just know they're going to be all over it. And who knows, it may even lead to cheaper oil.
But I'm fairly sure that at some point, we will actually "run out" of oil. There will be oil out there, but it simply will not be cost-effective to get it out. And then the price of oil will go so high that alternatives will demand to be investigated and found. People are working on alternatives, but with the massive amounts of oil available at cost-effective levels, there's no great incentive to make them happen.
It's not a conspiracy by "Big Oil", it's just rational behaviour. Oil is cheap enough and provides us with highly effective energy. Even if someone did find a way to make cold fusion a reality, we'd have to dick around with our infrastructure so much that it would cost us more than just carrying on with oil, at least in the medium term.
Another thing that I keep getting told is that we need to conserve oil to delay that dark and frightening day from arriving.
This is an irrational point of view. Wealth creation and human progress depends on cheap and readily available energy. The availability of cheap energy has led to a massive improvement in the quality of life all round the planet over the last 100 years.
Trying to curtail energy use simply means that progress will slow or stop and we will never get wealthier which means that we will stagnate where we are now, rather that further improving our quality of life.
That's fine for us if we take a short-term view, but it's a huge blow to those people who are behind us on the development curve. It also predicates a poor future for our children.
Increased wealth and prosperity for the generations to come will also allow them to absorb the costs of any changes to the environment or whatever much more easily than we can, in the same way that we can cope with these much more easily than the Romans or the Victorians did.
You cannot predict what the future will bring. There is no point in throttling our progress for something that may never happen. And throttling our progress might also mean that we never find the way around whatever crisis or cataclysm that may genuinely exist in our future.
While I am happy to endorse careful husbandry of resources and efficiency, the idea of crippling our progress in the name of some vague and unspecified fear of what might happen is stupid.