Mitt Romney: peak oiler?  

Posted by Big Gav in

Ugo Bardi has an interesting post on some of Mitt Romney's past statements on peak oil - Mitt Romney: peak oiler?. Of course, Mitt has flip-flopped on pretty much every issue going so its unlikely he will stay the course on this one...

I was surprised to read what Cory Suter in "Polycimic" reports about Mitt Romney's 2010 book "No Apology; The Case for American Greatness. " In the book Romney speaks about Peak Oil, cites Matt Simmons's book "Twilight in the desert" and says that, "whether the peak is already past or will be reached within a few years, world oil supply will decline at some point." And then he doesn't say that the solution is just drilling more. He says that using less oil and in finding alternatives for it are just as important as solutions.

Did any other presidential candidate with serious chances to win ever say something like that? I haven't checked the whole history of the US elections, but I can tell you that once I asked personally to Al Gore (after his unsuccessful run for president) what he knew about Peak Oil and he seemed to me less knowledgeable than Mitt Romney appears to be in his book.

On the other hand, regarding Mitt Romney there is always the joke that says (h/t "Jules Burn"):

A conservative, a moderate, and a liberal walk into a bar. The bartender says "Hi Mitt!"

At least, you can say that the guy is flexible. Anyway, here are the paragraphs about peak oil reported by Cory Suter from Romney's book (note that I can't check the original book, but this information seems to be reliable).

“Our own policies interfere with free-market mechanisms. We subsidize domestic oil and gas production with generous tax breaks, penalize sugar-based ethanol from Brazil, and block investment in nuclear energy. Our navy assumes the prime responsibility for securing the oil routes from the Middle East, effectively subsidizing its cost. Thus, we don’t pay the full cost of Middle East oil, either at the oil-company level or at the pump.” (232)

“Market economists also identify a number of externalities – real costs that aren’t captured in the price of fuel – the most frequently cited of which are the health-care costs of pollution and the climate costs of greenhouse gases. There is a further externality: potentially leaving the next generation in the lurch by using so much oil and energy ourselves – domestic and imported – that our children face severe oil shortages, prohibitively expensive fuel, a crippled economy, and dominion of energy by Russia and other oil-rich states. No matter how you price it, oil is expensive to use; we should be encouraging our citizens to use less of it, our scientists to find alternatives for it, and our producers to find more of it here at home.”

“Many analysts predict that the world’s production of oil will peak in the next ten to twenty years, but oil expert Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, presents a compelling case that Middle Eastern oil production may have already reached its peak. Simmons bases his contention on his investigation into the highly secretive matter of the level of reserves in the Saudi oil fields. But whether the peak is already past or will be reached within a few years, world oil supply will decline at some point, and no one predicts a corresponding decline in demand. If we want America to remain strong and wish to ensure that future generations have secure and prosperous lives, we must consider our current energy policies in the light of how these policies will affect our grandchildren.” (233)


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