Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Fossil Fuel Myth

This may be a startling new revelation for some of you. What I'm about to tell you isn't a new theory, I've heard bits and pieces of it for years and I've never really dug in to it too deeply.

The oil we've been sucking out of the ground for the past 100 years* is not the result of millions of millions of years of compressing dinosaurs and plants. I've always been suspicious of that theory anyway, even as a kid. How could there possibly have been enough biological (organic) material gathered in one place to produce the vast oil fields we have today? It's simple, there isn't.

While it's certainly possible that some fraction of the oil we pull out of the earth was generated this way, almost all of our oil is produced abiotically; meaning without a biological component.

The implications of this are quite staggering. First of all, it means that oil truly is a renewable resource if the earth is producing it of its own accord without regard to massive input of organic compounds.

Secondly, it means the doom-sayers should (but won't) shut up about running out of oil. It's been predicted for many years that we'd run out of oil in 10 years. That's ludicrous. There are vast reserves of oil right here in the US that remain untapped because of the ecofreaks.

We are NOT running out of oil, not even close. Granted some of it may be more expensive to access than previous reserves have been but it's not impossible or even impractical to do so. If it would truly end our dependence on foreign oil, I'd actually tolerate higher gas prices than we have now if we were in control of our own production, refining and distribution of oil and gas products.

If you'd like to do more research on this subject, start with this Google search.

Next time someone refers to petroleum as a fossil fuel, please take that opportunity to disabuse them of that fallacy.

*I understand that the use of oil has been around FAR longer but it wasn't until the rise of the industrial revolution that we began our efforts in earnest.

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