Enviro News Wrap: Koch Bros., Climate Change, and the Cost of Oil
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- Momentum is building in Washington D.C. to end oil subsidies. Write your federal representative and tell them to stop subsidizing companies that don't need the help.
- The Koch brothers are among the largest contributors to the Anti-Obama campaign.
These two have endless pockets to influence politics with the goal of making America as friendly as possible for big business and as unfriendly as possible for consumers. The problem with this is that in the long run our consumer economy will dwindle down (as it is currently doing) to what China's is like today and American businesses will no longer be able to survive off of focusing on American consumers.
If Americans can not consume then products will be designed, made, and sold elsewhere with all the profits circulating through other countries. American consumers need support too, the consumer as an input into the economy is quite delicate despite how rough we treat them. The environmental connection is that an amply funded consumer has the funds to spend wisely, whereas poor consumers just need to survive and often are forced to buy products that contribute to their poverty (like heating your home with coal fired power plants for cheap, but your kids get asthma and you spend all your money on healthcare).
- So, what does it cost to prevent climate change? Apparently it doesn't cost much money. The real cost is the effort to change the power structure behind dirty energy. See the Koch brothers article above for an example of the true barriers to change.
- Sapphire Energy is going big with algae pools that they hope can produce barrels of oil for $85. With the cost of oil expected to stay above $100 it is profitable to do crazy things like try to develop an industry on oil-pooping-algae. Algae would lessen the impact of extracting the fuel, but do we still want to burn fossil fuels?
- The economics of the cost of oil is crazy. One of the big influences is that some oil-producing states subsidize the price of oil for domestic consumers almost 100%, causing inefficiency and overuse which raises the global price. Once again, why should we be dependent on an energy source that has an unstable and ever-increasing price?
- Romney is attacking Obama over the high cost of oil. It is not working too well because, as usual, you can only take Romney seriously if you ignore everything he has said in the past.
As of 2010 Romney was for persistently high oil prices as a way to stabilize the price for oil companies (they like predictability) and to pave the way for a renewable energy industry. Well, now that Romney needs to beat Obama he is throwing out good policy and honest debate and will slander Obama any way he can.
- One of Romney's main lines of attack is that we need more domestic production, well Obama has increased domestic production and decreased exportation. I guess for Republicans any idea is only a good idea if a Republican can take credit. It is the same way with the Individual Mandate for National Health Care, Republicans said that the Individual Mandate was a good economic fix to the problem (During and after the Clinton Presidency), but when Obama did it then the Individual Mandate turned into an attack on Liberty.
- The outspoken NASA scientist, Jim Hansen, spoke recently about climate change as a great moral issue because if we continue as we are with carbon emission we will be handing our children a climate that they cannot control and cannot thrive in.
- Learn more about the changes that global warming will bring to our ecosystems.