On the list of things to read-n-blog since before the summer hols has been John Flecks oil-to-liquids post.
John says, quite perceptively, At some price (the usual number I hear is somewhere at or above $60 or $70 a barrel) it becomes economical to make liquid fuels out of coal… The question has been why they aren’t pushing it now, with oil north of $120 a barrel? One possible answer is that the people who have skin in the game are not confident that oil will stay there.
Oil is now well south of $120, indeed its about $90 as I speak, though of course the exchange rate has also shifted in that time. But it wouldn’t be odd if it fell further. If you know the answer, vote in theoildrum‘s poll. Well if you *really* know the answer, don’t waste your time on the poll, buy/sell oil futures as appropriate :-).
I’ll link Debate on coal heats up as climate protests reach climax from Nature here, since it doesn’t look like getting its own post. Nor does Get your terawatts here, even though its pretty much agrees with my take.