Oil and overproduction 3

David Walters dwalters at igc.org
Sun Jan 12 16:53:44 MST 2003

Long rant to follow...I've been following this discussion closely for some
time. There are two problems with the opponents of David Schanoes.

One, no alternative but the "Helen Caldecott" 'socialism-of-poverty'
solution. You might not like the term, but Mark has yet to point away from
his apocalyptic view of the future, he poises nothing as an alternative. If
he has, I'll stand corrected, I just haven't seen it.

Two, a myopic view that fossil fuel production is about to die...'about'
being somewhat an elastic term.

Assuming we all agree that only a socialist solution can frame the
parameters of a solution to the problem of 'finite' fossil fuels, the
our-right dismissal of all...I mean ALL, research into alternative fuels and
energy solutions by Mark Jones is hardly 'scholarly'.

He (my friend Mark) dismisses wind power altogether. Keep in mind I played
the MAJOR role of nay-sayer to the utopian Greens in San Francisco's public
power debate. I did it on the radio, as a spokesperson for public power. I
know well the full argument why wind is not THE solution to either a city or
a world energy shortage...but it will help, as both the Dutch and Danish
examples show. Mark, in the older debate over Value with me, makes the
completely apocalyptic jump that by saying that energy policy should be
guided as a 'social' policy, the next step is Stalinism! Ugh! And this was
supposed to be serious? Please....

IF  a VERY small amount of societies resources were put into things such as
solar and wind power, it would solve many problems and move us away from
residential (In California, residential electrical consumption is only 17%
of the entire state load) dependence on fossil fuels. For the most part it
is a question of financing, nothing else, the technology is there. Is it
more expensive? Yes, absolutely. Will it "impoverish" us as Mark was so
adamant about, hardly. More expensive, yes, but it won't make us into the
Killings Fields, either. As a socialist society, and under the current
market/serve-the-law-of-Value system we live today, it can be done with out
major sacrifices.

Natural gas. It's one of the short falls of Petrol Pete's site, and, as I
stated before, NG extraction technologies are STILL developing, being able
to extract DIFFERENT kinds of reserves. More expensive? Yes, fully
developed? No. On Petrol Peters web site, NG reserves are ONLY those
reserves, for example, that are accessible COMMERICALLY. I had a discussion
with a guy recently in the NG industry in Canada (where California gets
about 70% of it's NG - 30% from Texas if anyone cares). I also work for the
largest NG distributor in the US, Mirant Corporation, albeit in the
electricity side of the house, out of Atlanta. No one counts
"non-recoverable" reserves, it's not profitable...yet, from a capitalist
point of view. But every year newer and new engineering techniques are able
to discover more and more reserves.

Mark, in his exuberance, mocks the notion of the Russian oil reserves. The
Kazak side of the Caspian sea, indeed, and who really wants to build a
pipeline across Afghanistan? But the biggest energy resource in terms of
reserves in Russia has never been oil, it's been gas. They don't have clue
now, with the destruction of the old Soviet institute on energy research
connected to the Ministry  of Forestry and Mining (now a 'state owned'
private enterprise) about what's in Siberia and the Far East. Should the
reserves there of NG (and oil for that matter) be a 'zero'? Hardly. It's a
question of exploration. Is it finite? Yes. Which is why, at the end of day,
alternatives to energy production, the more efficient use of energy, is on
the order of the day...but I'm with David S., it doesn't mean necessarily,
as Mark implies, that socialism will mean poverty and using 'less'.

So much of what Mark says in the negative, and what I and, I think David S
says in the positive, is dependent on new technologies. Not alchemy, but at
worst theoretical engineering capabilities for efficiencies, extractions,
conversions, batteries, etc...Mark acts as if it's all useless. I don't
think we've even scratched the service.

I guess we don't want to discuss the use of coal? OK, another time...

David Walters

> ------------------------------
> Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 15:54:29 -0500 (EST)
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: Re: Oil and overproduction 3
> On Sun, 12 Jan 2003, David Schanoes wrote:
>> Are resources finite?  Of course.  But so is your bank account, and its your
>> cash flow that determines when you eat, not the availability of the food.
>> And I hope that I never indicated that those who disagree with my analysis
>> or don't understand it completely are simple-minded.
> David, as I've told you privately, we have higher standards of scholarship
> than most email lists. I would urge you number one to concentrate on the
> facts and let others draw their own conclusions. For example, when Mark
> pointed out to you that the Kazakh oil fields were overhyped, I checked
> this out on Lexis-Nexis and discovered numerous articles indicating
> that Western oil companies were retreating from this venture. We need less
> rhetoric and more information upon which an intelligent conclusion can be
> based.
> Secondly, I am under the distinct impression that you are not familiar
> with the Marxist ecology analysis put forward by a number of thinkers,
> from John Bellamy Foster to James O'Connor. This list is engaged with this
> literature and it doesn't help to characterize discussion of natural
> limits as Mad Max, etc. Try and stay focused otherwise I might have to
> request that you write about other topics that you have more of a
> scholarly grounding in.

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