Fuel to the fire.
With regard to Jeffrey Leonard's article about the country's energy policy ("How We Could Blow the Energy Boom," November/December 2012), it's worth pointing out that humanity has so far never failed to screw up an energy boom. It has also never avoided screwing up the environment at the same time. This is true whether we are talking about firewood, charcoal, whale oil, coal, nuclear, or petroleum.
The chance of getting this one right is infinitesimally small. What will happen is that we will collectively rush to produce, therefore ensuring overproduction combined with deleterious environmental effects, a temporary glut with cheap prices that leads to a crunch with high prices later, rapid depletion of an invaluable but finite resource, and abandonment of research into sustainable alternatives.
The Republicans controlling my state (Ohio) are pushing to produce as much as possible as soon as possible lest we miss out on the boom, and with minimal regulation of and payments from energy companies (lest they pursue their part of the boom somewhere else), all without thinking that whatever we don't produce in the next decade is no less usable and valuable in subsequent years. Quite clearly, our view toward far-distant generations is "Screw 'em."
There used to be a story about a prayer in Texas: Dear God, just give us one more boom, and we promise not to piss it away like all the others.