Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More on Big Oil...

Check out:
  • Articles by Barbara Lewis, Mary Pemberton, and Steven Mufson on BP's Alaska pipeline closure, which is expected to drive gas prices to $4/gallon here in the Pacific Northwest.

  • A PDF report by ExxposeExxon on ExxonMobil's largely successful efforts to profit from oil dependence, to downplay the feasibility of diversification into alternative energy sources, and to encourage further oil dependence by promoting junk science.

  • Derrick Z. Jackson on Big Oil's big profits, akin to a "looting" of America (raising a good question: why hasn't there been more pressure on Bush to freeze gas prices, especially in the South after Katrina?).

  • A NY Times report on the P.R. difficulties that come along with record profits, which almost makes you want to shed a little tear for ExxonMobil (yeah right).

  • An archived NOW episode, and an article by Edmund L. Andrews, detailing how Big Oil goes about dodging royalty fees for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which may end up costing taxpayers as much as $80 billion over the next 25 years.

See also some perspectives on Big Oil's impact on foreign policy, including:
  • Greg Palast, who argues that the real reason for the Iraq invasion was to keep Iraq's vast oil reserves in the ground, to avoid "drowning the market" and keep demand (and prices) high.

  • Joshua Holland, who goes further to uncover how the U.S. has crafted a law for Iraq that makes the undiscovered Iraqi oil fields, estimated to be as much as 84% of Iraq's total reserves, open to PSA's (privatization by American oil companies).

  • A characteristically excellent post by Juan Cole, who explores "Peak Oil Theory" as the thread connecting the Bush administration's policies towards Iran, Iraq, and Hezbollah, all directed towards "politically reorienting" the entire Gulf. He says it also explains the mysterious Bush policy towards Pakistan:
    In a worst case scenario, Washington would like to retain the option of military action against Iran, so as to gain access to its resources and deny them to rivals. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, however, that option will be foreclosed. Iran may not be trying for a weapon, and if it is, it could not get one before about 2016. But if it had a nuclear weapon, it would be off limits to US attack, and its anti-American regime could not only lock up Iranian gas and oil for the rest of the century by making sweetheart deals with China. It also might begin to exercise a sway over the small energy-producing countries of the Middle East. (The oil interest would explain the mystery of why Washington just does not care that Pakistan has the Bomb; Pakistan has nothing Washington wants and so there was no need to preserve the military option in its regard.)

    Even an Iranian nuke, of course, would not be an immediate threat to the US, in the absence of ICBMs. But the major US ally in the Middle East, Israel, would be vulnerable to a retaliatory Iranian strike...

    It may be that that hawks are thinking this way: Destroy Lebanon, and destroy Hizbullah, and you reduce Iran's strategic depth. Destroy the Iranian nuclear program and you leave it helpless and vulnerable to having done to it what the Israelis did to Lebanon. You leave it vulnerable to regime change, and a dragooning of Iran back into the US sphere of influence, denying it to China and assuring its 500 tcf of natural gas to US corporations...

    The second American Century ensues. The "New Middle East" means the "American Middle East."

    And it all starts with the destruction of Lebanon.

    ...and making this outstanding point:
    If the theory is even remotely correct, then global warming is not the only danger in continuing to rely so heavily on hydrocarbons for energy. Green energy--wind, sun, geothermal-- is all around us and does not require any wars to obtain it. Indeed, if we had spent as much on alternative energy research as we have already spent on the Iraq War, we'd be much closer to affordable solar. A choice lies ahead: hydrocarbons, a 20 foot rise in sea level, and a praetorian state. Or we could go green and maybe keep our republic and tame militarism.

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