Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Fevered Dreams Of Blue-Eyed Sheiks

Not seeing the forest for the trees. It's the classic characterization of tunnel vision. An updated version of the old saw might be not seeing the shale for the pipeline. That, writes Jeffrey Simpson, is the disease which afflicts our present political masters:

Recently, the U.S. Energy Information Agency produced an estimate that the U.S. has almost 60 billion barrels of “technically recoverable” shale oil. Now, “technically recoverable” does not mean that all this supply will be used. Nor does it mean, however, that supplies the agency knows about today will not increase, perhaps substantially, as new deposits are discovered or innovative technologies for discovery and extraction are found. All that can be said is that 60 billion barrels of “technically recoverable” oil is a godsend for the United States.

Whether you pollute the air or the ground water, you wind up in the same place. But consider that information from the American perspective:

Every barrel of oil that the U.S. can supply for itself reduces the country’s current account deficit, strengthens its economy and, most important, makes the country less vulnerable to international events in faraway places, some of which are notoriously volatile and shot through with anti-American attitudes. U.S. policy-makers – and ordinary citizens – therefore assign a very high priority to reducing and, if possible, eliminating their country’s dependence on oil imports, especially from the Middle East and Venezuela.

That oil will continue to warm the planet. Until we use clean, renewable energy, we will further the planet's collapse. But that shale oil also spells the collapse of our blue-eyed sheiks. Their fevered dreams are coming to an end.


the salamander said...

.. thanks for the update .. ! Its critical (in my opinion) that effective numbers of concerned Canadians recognize and communicate to others, family, friends, work associates.. in the simplest terms, some of these critical issues of our lifetime.

Thus the simple reality of issues such as:

LNG exports via supertanker to China via Kitimaat. In simple terms, who actually profits, what is involved.

Shale oil export. Again, in simple detail. Who profits, who regulates, environmental damage, risks to water, economic minus/plus etc.

Tar Sands diluted bitumen exports, again via supertankers to China/Asia etc. clear snapshots of logistics, risks, who profits, government involvement, environmental reality. no gloss, no spin. The facts please.

Farmed salmon vs wild salmon and coastal ecosystems. Who profits, who loses. Accurate science & biology. Government involvement.

Raw log exports to Asia
Partisan Corporatist Government departments
Temporary foreign workers
Attacks on First Nations & Charter of Rights
Agricultural pesticides vs bees
Electoral Fraud vs Democratic Society
Opaque Government vs Transparency Accountability

The list of 'issues' goes on and on ..
but each one deserves factual simple undeniable description and communication of what is going on, who is doing it, why, to who's benefit or profit, what the risk or payoff is, the potential or reality of permanent damage or danger to citizens etc.

We also need clarity on the legal aspects. What penalty may be involved. How we determine accountability.. or how we may attempt to rehabilitate those who put our country, our environment, our ecosystems and our citizens at risk

The reality regarding hydraulic fracking is actually quite understandable in the context of what I proposed above. Anyone though can read and understand how in the USA this extracting process has certain limited local benefits in affected communities but the science, regulation, activities of the industry and processes is like an out of control organized crime wave of obstruction, payoffs, intimidation, deception .. as well as masking the whole enterprise in a distorted fantasy about patriotism, the economy and the 'american way'

That's the blueprint of ignorance, entitlement, deception, pollution & profiteering that Stephen Harper and his 'senior advisors', the PMO and his MP's and Ministers are following to create disastrous consequences in Canada.. now and in the immediate future.

I think Damien Gillis has pretty blunt, accurate observations on how much of this works..

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, salamander. Gillis has it right. It's all about trying to turn Western Canada into the next Saudi Arabia.

Their dream is to be blue-eyed sheiks.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yeah, Sal, thanks for the link. Everything he said was measured and true.

The Conservatives are a lost cause on our fossil fuel problem. They're obsessed with expanding our production and exports while the window remains open. What we can't simply dig out of the ground we'll frack. At the same time we'll get at the Arctic seabed fossil fuel reserves.

Wouldn't it be great to hear an alternate vision from the New Democrats or the Liberals? We don't hear them say this stuff, especially the highest-carbon resources, must be left in the ground - but that's what it is, an imperative, not a nice idea, not a suggestion.

We know that inevitable methane leaks in the extraction, transportation and end-use consumption renders supposedly clean natural gas into a bigger greenhouse gas source than coal itself. Our government in Victoria flatly ignores that.

Owen Gray said...

In convenient truths, Mound. But they won't pay the price. Their children will.