Comment I made on TribeNet (which pretty much sums up how markets appear to me in dealing with natural resources)
The problem with markets is that they don't carry any information about the underlying stocks or oil (or anything else), only about the efficiency of extracting it relative to our other activities. When it's easy to pump oil, the price goes down, we find new uses and consume more. When price goes up, people invest in improving the efficiency of the extraction process to get more and make it cheap again. Price can't tell us when or whether it's better to conserve or invest in alternatives ... until the moment we actually run out and price just keeps going up.
Hence free-markets always accelerate us towards peak-consumption of any natural resource, and only steer us away from it once the resource is truly gone.
Counter : Maybe futures and other derrivitives have a better chance of telling us. A future price of oil will reflect people's opinions about how hard it will be to get in the future. So it should reflect some opinions about underlying stocks.
Counter-counter : at the same time, LiberalBias (against participation in the market) means that a lot of informed knowledge (such as that held by environmentalists) is actually excluded from the market because left-greens don't participate. Maybe environmental organizations should try to encourage them?