我们正(又一次)陷入石油危机吗?

石油价格正快速攀升,远超过每桶50美元。其部分原因是由于伊拉克冲突、尼日利亚劳资纠纷、俄罗斯政府和尤科斯石油公司之间的冲突以及最近飓风袭击佛罗里达所带来的短期石油供应震荡。一旦这些震荡因素消失以后,石油价格可能回落,但投机因素可能会使其保持在相对的高位,从而给世界经济和股票市场带来不利影响。

由于会引发社会反应,所以即使是暂时的油价飙升也可能会造成长期的后果。高昂的石油价格促使公众就未来的油价进行讨论。任何一场公众讨论都不会产生一个明确的结论,但却有可能夸大那些暗示更高的石油价格所带来的风险的传闻。专家们或许会说最近的价格上涨是由于供给因素引起的,但价格的上涨无疑会给更骇人的长期传闻增加可信度。

现时正被夸大的一个耸人传闻事关发展中国家,特别是经济飞速发展的中国和印度。由于没有加入《京都议定书》对废气排放进行限制,两国都被看作是正在引起对石油的不可满足的需求。这一传闻的假定是:随着上述两国亿万人追逐大房子和跑车的梦想,我们会比预想更快地耗尽我们的石油资源。这样的假设有根据吗?

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