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The only thing worse than running out of oil

Is not running out of oil.

This headline today is not good news: Does shale oil boom mean U.S. energy independence is near? [1] Neither is this one that the US has a “200-year-supply” of coal [2]. Nor these about all the fuel available in the Marcellus Shale [3], or the Canadian tar sands [4], or the Green River oil shale [5].

At this point it’s obvious to the meanest intelligence that burning fossil fuels adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, which causes climate change, which causes floods, fire, famine, pestilence, and war. It will kill billions of humans. I’ll repeat that. It will kill us. And I do mean “us.” Anybody who thinks they’ll be unaffected by the social consequences of global disasters is too dumb to last long in the hard new world. We are committing suicide.

We’re doing it right now. Not tomorrow. Not if things get worse. All we have to do is keep on doing what we’re doing [6].

Can I tell you a secret? Apparently, a lot of people don’t know this. Earth is the only planet we have.

Greenhouse gases are a gun pointed at our own heads. We have pulled the trigger.

But now comes the only good news: Planets work very slowly. The bullet has decades to travel. It’s already been traveling for about two centuries. Who knows how much more time we have? Probably minutes, but at least we’re not dead yet. If we did it very fast, we could move our heads out of the way [7].

Instead people write pleased headlines [8] that more ways have been found to keep the bullet on track.

The whole species is headed for a Darwin Award [9]. Except in this case it’ll be the planet whose survival is improved after we eliminate ourselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner.