Smart thoughts on “peak oil”, from the editors at the Seattle-based online environmental magazine Grist. A brief excerpt:

The last few months have seen a surge of stories on so-called ”peak oil.” That’s the moment when we’re pulling as much oil out of the ground as we’ll ever be able to pump. Supply hits its peak and begins an inexorable decline, regardless of demand. Hurricane Katrina has shown what kind of damage short-term supply disruptions can do; peak oil represents long-term and permanent supply disruption…

Nobody knows for sure when the peak will occur. Estimates range from a few years ago to 50 years hence. But expert consensus is closing in on the next five to 15 years…The difficulty it poses is incredibly complex but simply stated: Our entire economy hinges on the availability of cheap oil.

Read more for a sobering-but-optimistic take on the subject.