Rachel Maddow poses the question in an editorial in the Washington Post this morning, how does ‘big oil’ stand on US Russian foreign policy, are they with us or against us? Take away the Russian circumstances and ask the same question. One answer that you might get is that “big oil” is for “big oil.” It isn’t necessarily for what is best for humanity. Carbon pollution is threatening the planet, and big oil would have us believe that fossil fuels are the best way ahead. Yet, there are some obvious reasons why that is untrue. The supply is running on empty, and consumption is not sustainable. Fossil fuel consumption has spoiled the planet’s air and water, putting humanity at risk and the environment and ecology at a tipping point. Solar power and combinations of other renewable sources are the best way forward. Investment in things such as clean coal technology may buy time, but they also divert scarce investment capital from renewable development. Capitalists, akin to “big oil” are for profit making and not social and environmental well-being. Capitalists are not patriotic either.
“Rachel Maddow: Will U.S. energy companies disrupt Obama’s Russia policy?
By Rachel Maddow, Published: April 24
Rachel Maddow hosts MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and writes a monthly column for The Post.”
Here below is a list.
1. The supply is running on empty, and consumption is not sustainable.
“Running on Empty
Why unbridled oil consumption in the Middle East could pose a threat to the region and beyond.
BY KEITH JOHNSON
JANUARY 23, 2014
From the American point of view, the biggest energy revolution in recent years has been the explosion in domestic supplies of oil and gas that has catapulted the United States into the top ranks of global energy producers.
But globally, one of the most important, if less visible, energy revolutions has been the ongoing explosion in demand for oil in the Middle East, still the epicenter of oil production and exports. The region's surge in demand over the past decade, and the likelihood of further increases in its consumption over the next 20 years, raise serious concerns about Middle Eastern countries' ability to keep exporting large volumes of oil. That could upend global oil-market balances, seriously erode the finances and domestic stability of important countries in the region, and spark even more regional instability.
That's one reason that U.S. and international policymakers have been increasingly reaching out to counterparts across the Middle East, urging leaders there to shift gears before it's too late, by, for example, reducing the generous energy subsidies that encourage the rampant use of oil and oil-generated electricity.
"The more they consume, the less they're going to be able to export, and that's the main source of revenue for most of the governments," Dennis Ross, a diplomat who's worked in several presidential administrations, told Foreign Policy. "Something's got to give."
If Middle Eastern countries don't rein in their popular energy subsidies, their future economic lifelines will be threatened. If they do, they risk roiling domestic populations already energized by the Arab Spring.
Over the past decade, oil consumption in the Middle East has skyrocketed because of the region's growing populations, relatively strong economic growth and increasing need to generate more power for its own use. While China's seemingly insatiable appetite for oil grabbed all the headlines in recent years, Middle Eastern oil consumption was just behind the Middle Kingdom's.
China, with the world's second-largest economy, consumed an extra 5 million barrels of oil a day between 2002 and 2012; the entire Middle East, whose non-petroleum economy is on par with Spain, increased oil consumption by 3 million barrels a day. Europe, in contrast, shrank its oil consumption by 1 million barrels a day over the same period.
2. Fossil fuel consumption has spoiled the planet’s air and water, putting humanity at risk and the environment and ecology at a tipping point.
“Earth: Have we reached an environmental tipping point?
If there’s one thing I hope this column achieves, it’s illustrating just how pivotal a point this is in human history. We are now living in theAnthropocene: humans are the main driver of planetary change. We're pushing global temperatures, land and water use beyond anything our species has experienced before. We’re polluting the biosphere, acidifying the oceans, and reducing biodiversity. At the same time, our global population will grow from seven billion to nine billion by 2050, and all will need food, water and clean air.”
3. Solar power and combinations of other renewable sources are the best way forward.
“Solar Power Plant in the Mojave Could Power 140,000 Homes
There’s a new type of solar plant coming online. It's huge, cool looking, and might be able to provide power at night. Does it have a future?
The massive solar plant nearing completion in the California’s Mojave desert doesn’t look like the solar plants you might be used to seeing. It has no solar panels, for one thing. Instead, it has mirrors—300,000 of them—all arrayed in rings around three giant towers. The mirrors reflect sunlight onto vats of water sitting on top of the towers, heating them to 500 degrees and powering a steam turbine, providing enough energy for 140,000 homes. When it goes online at the end of the year, it will be one of the biggest solar plants in the world. But the technology at its heart is relatively simple: mirrors, water boilers, and steam turbines.”
4. Investment in things such as clean coal technology may buy time, but they also divert scarce investment capital from renewable development.
“Bright outlook for renewable energy
Nuclear accidents, environmental disasters and shifting regulations around the world have stunned both investors and consumers. Catastrophes such as Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power accident and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have reignited demand for renewable energy worldwide.
As it stands, renewable energy — primarily from solar, wind or biofuels — is more expensive than traditional sources like nuclear or fossil fuels. Still, this could change as the cost of environmental cleanup from disasters adds up, implementation of carbon taxes takes hold, as countries make concerted efforts to switch to renewable and as demand for energy grows.”
5. Capitalists, akin to “big oil” are for profit making and not social and environmental well-being.
“Government of Russia ( Rosneft ) and Exxon Mobil to expand cooperation with joint projects in the Gulf of Mexico and the US
Putin urges Rosneft and Exxon Mobil to start joint projects in Gulf of Mexico
Collage: Voice of Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin urges Rosneft and Exxon Mobil to expand cooperation with joint projects in the Gulf of Mexico and the US.
During a video conference from the Orlan drilling rig Putin said that the Black Sea and the shelf procure a vast field of work and he is pleased that Exxon Mobil is becoming a strategic partner of Russia’s largest company Rosneft. Putin expects Rosneft and Exxon Mobil also to cooperate in other regions of the world, in particular the Gulf of Mexico and the US.
President of Exxon Mobil Development Neil Duffin pointed out that their mutual plans with Rosneft involve the construction of oil rigs similar to Orlan for carrying out joint projects.