As part of the Guardian newspaper's recently launched "keep it in the ground" campaign, Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein appears in a new video on Wednesday in which she argues the current moment is ripe for the world to take advantage of the dramatic drop in global oil prices by kicking the fossil fuel industry "while it's down."
I am a big fan of Klein but I’m not sure that I can follow her logic here. She states that low oil prices give us the opportunity to impose new taxes on fossil fuels that - for some reason - we could not when oil prices are higher.
If tax issues in the US were influenced by market prices then Klein may have a point. However, that view is a gross oversimplification of the political environment in the US.
Klein claims that the fall in oil prices is due to an inherent flaw in capitalism. While there is some obvious truth to that position, the force behind the recent lowering of oil prices has been more political than anything else.
Still, I would support tax increases on all fossil fuels. We’re going to need the money to clean up the mess.
Oh piffle Spotless! Just look at that sweet and sincere gal on the video! Can’t you see that this time this changes everything!!! (okay,sarcasm button is in off position.)
Yes. Yes. Yes… Noami has got it right… Likely there will not be another better time to shift than NOW. If not a Carbon Tax, then what? If not now, then when? This year is the moment all of us worldwide have known for a long time would someday come. It’s the moment of truth. Time to put our money where our mouth is. Lower oil prices provides the opportunity. Ms. Klein and others have provided the courageous vision. For billions of us Worldwide this will be our first major reach into group consciousness. Remember to stay centered in the Heart. Our time is here. Prey for us. Much is at stake. Don’t miss out. This is it.
Now is as good of a time as any. This industry, as well as big pharma, Ag and others we’d like to overhaul, need to be dismantled the way the music business and soon the TV business are being reworked. It’s going to take innovation from the private sector, private money behind that and a bigger business opportunity to shift attention from the oil business to non-polluting fuels. Politically, only the democratic individuals who vote for people like Bobby Jindal can change what happens in Washington.
It is also a big shock to green energy movers and shakers whose arguments based upon comparative costs have been greatly undermined.
Buy some coal stocks too while you’re at it. They’re really low now - bargain basement prices.
Namoi has it right.
No connection with solar and wind power - electricity typically generated by coal and natural gas.
How far can we kick it? Never far enough. Sometimes the word “Pemex” sounds magical. Actually, it should be somewhat amusing to watch the oil bucks loose a little ground, but it won’t be much. They got what they wanted after the 1970’s. I still like to think that if Carter had been reelected we really would have taken a different path. Big oil was on the run in the popular imagination in the 1970s. It was a small window and we lost it. Now we have “exurbia” and we must have the gasoline to fuel it. The greater Los Angeles area has increased by about a third in area since 1980, as a prototype for the direction we took. Now people want rail and in town living, but even that is becoming the preserve of the young Gilded Age people who were being born when this started. And their “soccer moms” drove them everywhere.
The idea of “sacrifice” is alien to much of the population. Good luck. The younger people did not have what many of us had: despite sixties affluence we were never allowed to take it for granted, stories of the depression and WWII kept us on our toes. This is no longer the collective memory, so we are going to have to start all over again and somehow get the message through that gluttony is a vice, and SUVs are something to be ashamed of.
In European Union countries subsidies for wind energy are calculated on the differential with fossil fuels. If that differential increases, there are two likely outcomes. Annual subsidies will be revised resulting in less MW of wind power being built. Second, the purchase price for power may be lowered reducing capitalization for future investment.
To add insult to injury one of the last actions taken by the US Congress and Obama in 2014 was to kick out the few teeth that Dodd Frank ever had by extending the timeframe for Wall Street Banksters to continue to subject US taxpayers to the bailing them out when their risky investments go south. The banksters cited the drop in oil prices as the reason they needed Congress and Obama to do this.
What must we do to save the planet? In the final analysis, we are the ones who support the energy industry and it is our standard of living that will need to change. So picture how this will effect you. Reorganize cities, building taller residences with a smaller footprint (the end of suburbia); institute a carbon tax; end our love affair with the automobile— promote car pooling subsidize and expand mass transit, walk and bike more; expand bike paths;, and have shareable (zip) cars, ban gasahol; turn off the air conditioner and dial the thermostat down in winter; rein in the militaries for defense only and outlaw war; ban night baseball; ban electric outdoor signs; shift from long distance truck to rail transport; ride more trains and buses, fewer planes; promote conference calls and web cams; promote zero population growth with free condoms and family planning world-wide; many more people would become vegetarians or vegans; phase out the cattle industry; discontinue bottled water; discontinue aluminum cans with and without carbonation; maximize reusable bags and products; minimize or ban disposables (Pampers, Ikea furniture); limit endless gadgets; end yearly auto model changes; limit all the advertising, junk mail, most retail, etc.; eliminate “fast junk food”; go to “slow food”; replace “fast fashion” with “slow fashion”; bring back mending, alterations and local tailors; completely redesign production of appliances, electronics, house wares, furniture, etc to be as durable and long-lived as possible; bring back appliance repairmen and such; design and build smaller housing to last for centuries and to be as energy efficient as possible, to be reconfigurable, and shareable; recycle maximally, especially aluminum cans; maximize solar and wind power; drive and accelerate more slowly; practice regenerative agriculture; reverse deforestation, plant more trees; climb more stairs; restrict spray cans;; eat and farm organic; use manual tools instead of power tools, use rakes rather than leaf blowers; push rather than power small mowers; replace lawns with vegetable gardens; compost as much as possible; more stairs, fewer elevators; promote subsidies for renewal energy
Low oil prices are nothing more than realism setting in. Even two years ago, investors had wild dreams about “only so much oil in the ground”. They were hoarding the last drops of oil. Now they realize that solar and wind will take over and they’re trying to unload and burn up every last drop of cheap oil before it gets taxed even more and becomes worthless to them. The same is true of coal, fracked gas and tar sands.
And maybe roll it on the Masspike, with only you in it. It’s called the “Punk” model.
So true! I don’t doubt that OPEC has dropped the price of oil to kill competition from fraking. I believe they raised the prices of oil to encourage potential competition such as frakers and tarsands to invest their money. Then, after the frakers and tarsands got in too deep (that is spent their money building), OPEC pulled the rug out from under them by lowering the prices. I just gotta laugh. Hate 'em Love 'em. Let’s see if the Kochs still push for kxl. Who’s the bitch now? OPEC of course!
Absolutely! While gas prices are low is the time to raise the Federal gas tax which hasn’t been raised since 1993, index it to inflation and use the money to reinstate the Federal operating subsidies for Green public transit which existed for decades until Reagan.
With 70% of US oil consumption going for Auto Addiction the US can NOT kick oil addiction if we do not kick Auto Addiction, its biggest root cause.
Once again it was interesting that Obama stated that his Federal energy saving measures would be the equivalent of taking 5 million cars off the road. So why don’t we just take the cars off the road DIRECTLY! Raise gas taxes seriously, run Green Transit and we could take 20 million cars off the road! In a matter of a few years as the US did in WW II
when public transit ridership increased by 4x from 1942-45 due to public policy.
If we cut our cars by half we save even more and cut 35% of current oil consumption of about 18 Million barrels a day versus US oil production of only 9 million barrels per day.
Awesome! These are precisely the steps we need to take so a majority of people survive to live in a civilized lifestyle!
Here in Europe there has been a huge upsurge in alternative technogies since 2000. One example, Solar panels, continue to get cheaper and cheaper… China is now a major producer. Many governments were offering generous discounts for roof installations, but, of course, all the b*******t about austerity in the last few years has slowed the switch to alternative forms of energy. Which goes to show that alternative forms of energy could really benefit ordinary people and boost the real economy in terms of jobs and industry, but… the lack of political will is always cancelling out the swift progress we need to make, and putting the future on hold, if not cancelling it outright. The system is broken, there is no use denying it, and only people can fix it. God gave us free will and brains, not excuses for doing nothing.
Mostly, What Ms Klein is saying is idiotic. Does Ms. Klein understand how supply and demand works? Low prices, the result of abundant supply, increase demand. Sales of SUV are already way up.
To make progress on reducing GHG’s we need high oil prices - way high. It would be nice if this could be done with taxes that get poured into publicly-owned alternatives, but at this point, I’s be happy with market-driven high prices.
And I still don’t see this connection between oil company stock prices and the burning of oil - it is the burning of the oil that is the problem, not the stocks.
I hate oil, I hate fossil fuels… I want us off them… but, “To make progress on reducing GHG’s we need high oil prices - way high.”… is a good way to put those who are living pay check to pay check… loose everything… food would increase, gas would increase… I have a house and I grow some of my food, I do not want to loose my house… I have to have a car for my job, it is required… my job is also far away… if you raise gas prices, especially as high as you say, I may as well pack it up… and my 15 year old will be on welfare… I live rurally. People who live in rural areas, are never considered in these discussion of fossil fuels… and please listen carefully… I would rather, stay home, do cottage industry, growing my food and making an actual, homestead, not completely self sufficient, because COMMUNITY, is really the way to go… I would have time, to create a somewhat more sustainable home AND time to help my neighbors understand what is going on… and WORK WITH THEM… to grow food for all of us… etc…
Your idea of extremely high gas prices… would really only hurt the lower end of the economic scale… anyone making, oh, I don’t know, over 80, 000 dollars ayear of so… wouldn’t even feel the pinch…
get real, please…