apenwarr: The lack of informed discussion on Global Warming is frustrating. Even granting the fact that temperature has been increasing over the last few decades, I haven't yet heard a convincing explanation on why this is necessarily due to carbon emissions as opposed to any number of other things. It seems like a probable explanation (CO2 is a greenhouse gas, after all, and the amount of it in the atmosphere has increased very substantially), but you need more than correlation to prove causality. Perhaps there's a convincing scientific explanation out there, but I read all the way through The Weather Makers (allegedly one of the best books available on the subject for the layman) without getting any answers on this.
Regarding gasoline prices, as I understand it the recent surge in the price has more to do with lack of refinery capacity in the United States than anything else. The high prices you mention in the late 70s were due to OPEC's oil embargo. However, this isn't to say that we might not be creeping up to a peak in supply of crude oil. Most of the major exporting nations have already hit their production peak and global supply has been flat at about 85 million barrels per day since 2005. Hand-waving about economics will not make this issue go away.