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I did not waste my time reading King Romney’s 2010 book No Apology; The Case for American Greatness, but someone who did sacrifice some eyesight to it has some interesting observations which I’ll comment on. Romney may be the only Presidential candidate to explicitly acknowledge in writing the fact of peak oil:

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. (pg 233)

Romney also acknowledges climate change, but then enunciates the contradiction the vast majority of the population cling to, which is the notion that we can limit GHG within our fossil-fuel based industrial civilization while maintaining economic growth and business as usual. This fantasy will never be, even if we were able to magically enlarge the planet and its resource base in order to accommodate more growth. So in the end, Romney is not a true Peak Oiler. His “energy policies” ultimately involve the ubiquitous growth imperative:

“It’s impossible not to take a look at our current energy policies without considering the question of climate change.  I believe that climate change is occurring – the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore.  I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor.” (pg 227)

Romney hedges this statement in the next paragraph by saying he is “uncertain how much of the warming is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control.” Three pages later, Mitt concludes his discussion of climate change saying that “Internationally, we should work to limit the increase in emissions in global green house gases, but in doing so, we shouldn’t put ourselves in a disadvantageous economic position that penalizes American jobs and economic growth.”  (pg 330)

Isn’t it amazing that a person who may be the next President (even though it is just a PR position for the corporatocracy) can talk about the reality of peak oil while still mouthing the imperatives of economic growth? How long will this cognitive dissonance hold out? I give it no more than a decade, at the most, if our financial system manages to be kept propped up for that long. For to finally come to grips with the finiteness of the earth and its resources and the illusoriness of the economic growth dictate is to admit that the “American way of life” never was “non-negotiable.”