Surprise! It’s all about oil

For those of you who have been wondering, the military action in Iraq is really about oil, not Weapons of Mass Destruction. It must be true because Alan Greenspan wrote it in his recently released book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World. Ordinarily I try to refrain from posting statements related to politics in this blog, but this one was just too much for someone interested in long term sustainability. In this case, the issue definitely emphasizes the need for decreased worldwide dependence on oil.

Not only that, but the world could do with a lot less of the hypocrisy prevalent in political (and other) circles. As an example of American hypocrisy, George Lakoff editorializes in Truthout:

The contracts the Bush administration has been pushing the Iraqi government to accept are not just about the distribution of oil among the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. The contracts call for 30-year exclusive rights for British and American oil companies, rights that cannot be revoked by future Iraqi governments. They are called “production sharing agreements” (or “PSA’s”) – a legalistic code word. The Iraqi government would technically own the oil, but could not control it; only the companies could do that. ExxonMobil and others would invest in developing the infrastructure for the oil (drilling, oil rigs, refining) and would get 75 percent of the “cost oil” profits, until they got their investment back. After that, they would own the infrastructure (paid for by oil profits), and then get 20 percent of oil profits after that (twice the usual rate). The profits are estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. And the Iraqi people would have no democratic control over their own major resource. No other Middle East country has such an arrangement.

I know, I know, Truthout has been branded as a left wing publication. But the facts appear to be the facts, derived from detailed analysis of the PSA’s  by the Global Policy Forum. So it seems that the only winners in the Iraq war are the large energy companies; everyone else loses. Are you surprised yet?

Clearly, this calls for some investigation by those of our politicians who still maintain some integrity and independence of thought. They should be encouraged to remedy this class of hypocrisy.

The only physical thing most of us can do about this situation is to reduce our energy uses. That means: use less electricity; less gas (natural and petrol) and diesel oil; improve the energy efficiency of our homes; and otherwise depress the demand for energy–to the point where oil is no longer the driver of the global economy.

The point is that we’re going to have to do this anyway, as global oil reserves shrink to nothing in the next few decades. So why not get ahead of the game? I’m doing my part: bought a hybrid car last month and reduced the number of physical (but not virtual) computers at JALA.

What’s your plan?

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