high-risk, low-yield hydrocarbon fuels not fit to compete over long term
Opportunity cost is a serious, long-term stress on economies hampered by rampant governmental corruption, or by severe productive resource deficits—in consumer capital, infrastructure, or long-term reliable energy flows. With the ongoing boom in development of shale gas drilling and tar sands oil recovery, there is now massive investment, into the tens of billions of dollars of public and private money, in high-risk, low-yield ways of extracting carbon-based fuels, with the explicit purpose of extending old-fashioned combustible fuel technologies beyond what would otherwise be economically viable.
Massive new investment is flowing to these resources, because existing incentives and the influence of entrenched interests make it more efficient for major investors to pour money into these resources. They are not attracting investment by being inherently more economical than other options. In fact, as a direct result of dedicating such massive investment to new, untested and riskier schemes for carbon fuel extraction—including ultra deepwater drilling—the most efficient means of investment in future energy technologies are being choked off.