Global oil and gas exploration and production costs are expected to rise again to $644 billion in 2013, according to an annual survey by Barclays. These fuels are getting increasingly expensive and difficult to produce, requiring massive computational power to find a way to squeeze more dinosaur juice out of the Earth’s crust. The climate clock is ticking, and it is worth asking if such investments in oil & gas extraction are worth it. Pierrehumbert again puts the scenario plainly:
Whales were driven to the brink of extinction before petroleum replaced whale oil, and we may well fry our planet—and bankrupt ourselves while doing so — before we’re finally forced to kick the fossil fuel habit. It will be hard to muster the resources to develop replacements for fossil fuel energy if we wait until both the economy and climate are in ruins. We are in for a hard landing if we don’t use our current prosperity to pave the way for a secure energy and climate future.That includes using recent powerful technological advances to get ourselves off fossil fuels and onto renewables.