As Washington continues to deliberate over the fiscal cliff and the much-hyped notion that the US government is sufficiently functional to avert fiscal disaster, America's attention is being diverted from a much more profound cliff-hanger looming on the horizon.
The USA, Saudi Arabia and Russia are competing to see which country can "produce" the most oil. That translates into racing to see which country will reach the bottom of the barrel first. In their frantic race to the bottom, these countries are creating havoc on the ground -- destroying aquifers, watersheds, productive land, forests -- and on the high seas -- even to the point of attempting to drill in the Arctic Ocean where extreme conditions will thwart human arrogance.
Reports of production increases can be seen as just more warnings that the race to the finish is accelerating. Sadly those fossil fuelish players have little to show for a Plan B.
Reports of profits can be seen as thieves bragging about who got away with the biggest heist. Oil only costs what it takes to steal it from our children's children's children. The notion that "they will come up with something to replace oil" is thoughtless and irresponsible. Tell those guys to be careful: they might stub their toes trying to kick the can down the road that far. The physical cliff may be closer than they think.
In the decades to come, the fiscal cliff of December 31, 2012 will be remembered as a picnic when it is contrasted to the fall from glory which these great nations will experience as they slide down the physical cliff of rapidly depleting oil / gas / coal.