The Stone Age came to an end not for a lack of stones and the oil age will end, but not for a lack of oil.
Once, many years ago, in a distant land, Yamani the Enigmatic launched the great energy experiment. Without warning, he sent a proclamation to every corner of the earth declaring the need to conserve. At first, little energy was conserved. Gradually the pace quickened—but then slackened.
After six years, and only modest progress, he issued a second and stronger proclamation. The world’s reaction was dramatic. For the next six years, while the earth's population grew more numerous and richer, its use of oil declined—something never seen before. After 12 years, Yamani and his confederates, duly impressed with the power of their methods and the world’s response, withdrew their proclamations. There matters rested for another 18 years. Surprisingly, much of the effect lingered, and by the end of
the thirty-year experiment, the world had saved, by a most conservative estimate, eight times as much oil as it now uses in a year.
The story is true. Yamani has retired, but his confederates have begun a second and more sophisticated experiment. Fortunately, the lessons of the first experiment, if properly applied, provide a path to escape the enormous costs that now await us if we fail to choose a secure and sustainable energy future. more