Web Letters | The Nation

Peak Oil and a Changing Climate


The “Peak oil and a changing climate” series has proven to be an exemplary approach to treating issues critical not just to the nation but to industrial civilization as a whole. I have to applaud your decision to use video. Even though you are primarily a print-based medium, you recognized the need to see and hear the experts in order to take the measure of the person; to judge whether the messenger is sincere, sane and trustworthy. I felt the need to do the same thing. I first met Richard Heinberg in 2004 at the First US  Conference on Peak Oil and Community Solutions. I shook hands with James Howard Kunstler a few years later. The message provided by these experts is so alarming, there is a visceral need to look them in the eye and shake their hand as if, in so doing, one could confirm that they are real and, therefore, so is their message.

While it may be serendipitous, I also have to applaud your timing. Recent events have shown once again that coal mines, oil drilling and nuclear power are all extremely hazardous. The price of oil had been above $100 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange a mere ten days when the UN voted on its no-fly zone resolution for Libya—home to some of the sweetest, most easily extracted oil left on the planet. Any previous “energy policy” seems like just a move into checkmate.

Congratulations—good show. The question for you becomes, “What’s next?” Will you continue to work on building a consensus about reality that is consistent with the way things really are?

Brian Merchant

St. Paul, MN

Mar 30 2011 - 10:30pm

Peak Oil and a Changing Climate

Thoughts on the video series

The new series on both peak oil and climate change should have been separated between these two issues. While there are overlapping circumstances, they are in fact independent of each other.

I was thrilled to see the piece appear, as the peak oil debate has been sidelined due to the financial crisis and the drop in demand for oil, especially in the G7.

Unfortunately, the piece is already somewhat dated as the International Energy Agency has already declared peak oil since and that it occurred some four years ago. Here is an article on the IEA: http://www.energybulletin.net/primer.php

Hopefully the issue of peak oil and the attendant economic and political circumstances will be fully explored in these videos. The cast is a great one.

Michael McKinlay

Hercules, CA

Jan 5 2011 - 9:56pm