One of the more interesting articles making the email rounds this week is by Jad Mouawad in the New York Times about a new natural gas development in Norway. More accurately: 90 miles off the coast of northern Norway--340 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the Arctic Ocean. As the article highlighted, gas is harder to get these days. Despite the well-publicized loss of ice in the Arctic in the summertime and the plight of the poor polar bears and walruses, there is still plenty of ice in wintertime, making gas development tricky. The hardy Norwegians and Statoil had tried for years to design production platforms that could withstand winter conditions but failed. They decided instead to put all the necessary facilities on the ocean floor 1,000 feet beneath the ice. Gas is then piped to an island near the coast, turned into liquefied natural gas, and loaded onto tankers to be shipped internationally. All this is neither easy nor cheap, of course. Cost ballooned from an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion during development. (In fairness to the estimators, nobody had ever built such a project before.) Much of the gas will be sent to the U.S. East Coast, where the LNG terminal at Cove Point, Maryland, has been expanded to accommodate it. This winter New Yorkers will stay warm thanks to gas from beneath the Arctic Ocean. Imagine that! What does it tell us that now it is profitable to supply New York with gas from under the Arctic Ocean? For one thing, it tells us that we are burning up our other sources of gas. For example, Britain obtained a large supply of natural gas from its share of the North Sea a decade or so ago that was quickly burned up and is now in decline as the chart shows. Britain will become as dependent on imported gas as the rest of Europe. Countries around the Arctic Ocean are beginning to squabble over territory beneath the sea. Russian politicians pulled off a publicity stunt recently by planting a (metal) Russian flag on the ocean floor at the North Pole. From their submarine, they declared that Russia had exclusive rights to everything north of Russia. We should all appreciate the irony of burning fossil fuels to warm the planet and melt the arctic ice so we can squabble over access to what little fuel remains. Unlike the Norwegian gas field, much of the world\u2019s gas is associated with deposits of oil. Historically, much of this was simply burned in flares. Today, it is more often reinjected into oil fields to maintain pressure if there is no access to consumers, but much is still flared. In a classic NASA photo of Earth at night these flares are clearly visible. I have no doubt that we will burn up all of the world\u2019s natural gas in this century. It astounds me that we are nevertheless willing to waste this resource by simply burning it in flares. I\u2019m willing to bet that 50 years from now people will look back on our era and ask, \u201cWhat were they thinking?\u201d Someone should leave a note for posterity explaining why flaring gas is supposedly cost effective these days. The British experience in the North Sea should be a wake-up call for all of us. Yes, there is still a lot of gas left to be extracted, but the amount left is getting smaller every day. Does anybody care? Not much, apparently. Not one cent of credit is given to solar power for slowing the rate at which we are depleting the world\u2019s gas supply, for example. We leave the decision of how fast to burn through our gas supplies to market forces. My guess is that by the time the market sends us the right message it will be, \u201cYou fools, why didn\u2019t you do something 20 years ago?\u201d One would think that having to go to the ends of the Earth (almost literally) to get our next gulp of gas would teach us something--natural gas is not just playing hard to get.