I've always wondered how much George W. Bush knows about peak oil. Matthew Simmons, author of Twilight In the Desert
, says he's warned the president about it. But did he understand? Back in November, Jim Kunstler reported
that he cornered Simmons at a conference and asked him how Bush reacted to being told about peak oil. Simmons replied that Bush's reaction was "curious incomprehension."
Today, there's a report in the Dallas Morning News that suggests that Bush now understands.
Actually, it's from the blog of William McKenzie, a Dallas Morning News
Here's one potential big deal in the president's State of the Union speech: A Nixon-goes-to-China on energy issues.
A senior White House aide I spoke to over the weekend says the president will focus on new energy technologies, which means alternatives to oil production. The aide cited a Fortune article touting energy alternatives. He also noted how Richard Rainwater, once Bush's Texas Rangers' partner, now champions the peak-oil theory. That's the line of thought that says the world's hit its top production capacity for oil. From here on out, oil's downhill.
I haven't had time to run down Rainwater's beliefs, but, if this is true, that's a huge shift. Rainwater had bet heavily on oil when it was selling at low prices. He looked crazy, but he was considering how demand was growing in China and the Far East. It turns out he was right, which makes his voice on peak oil particularly significant.
It will be even more big-time if Bush starts getting religion on energy alternatives. A Texas oilman who gets behind them could outdo a red-baiter like Nixon going to Peking.
Yowzah. Richard Rainwater, "Bush's Texas Rangers' partner," is the "billionaire for peak oil" Stirling Newberry wrote a diary about last month. The Fortune article mentioned is the very one that inspired Stirling's diary. (The article has been removed from the Fortune Web site, but you can read it here.)
Will Bush say the words "peak oil" tonight? Probably not. He is supposed to say that "America is addicted to oil," and make a case for ethanol. Nothing earth-shattering...except from this president, it is earth-shattering.