It is pitiful that despite all humanity has accomplished, burning dead plants is still the dominant energy source for developed economic activity. Advancing technology it seems has been lowering the costs of discovering and mining new sources of fossil fuel more than it has been developing alternative sources absent of negative externalities.
The latest oil discovery in the Gulf exemplifies this phenomenon. I was able this weekend to purchase petroleum at about 0.50 USD per litre. While on paper, the financial markets and economy are given a boost by this phenomenon, this masks the real destruction that finds like this have on a properly quantified economy which incorporates environmental and welfare statistics. The true cost of that petrol to society was something more like 1.50 USD per litre. In reality, new oil discoveries are like a methamphetamine addict getting their hands on a new bag of meth. While they may consider themselves much better off at the time, the long run consequences are dire and their behaviour in consuming it is irrational.
Nearly every sensible economist agrees that heavy carbon taxation is desperately needed worldwide to counter the negative externalities created from burning hydrocarbons. For a while, even good economists where questioning the true existence of a global warming phenomenon. Those days are past. The scientific evidence is irrefutable. The necessity is clear, but the political action has yet to be taken.