[Marxism] Re Peak Oil
dwalters at marxists.org
Sat Oct 15 10:52:29 MDT 2005
Well, even though Mark Jones is not around, this is shaping up to be
an excellent discussion. By and large I agree with Rod on most of
what he states.
There are three issues:
1. How much oil/Fossil fuel is there actually left?
2. How does society proceed from here given that fossil fuel
*currently* is limited in cost and access and has tremendous
environmental consequences if it continues to develop as is.
3. The 800lbs gorilla in the room: nuclear power.
Interesting observation: I'm glad Rod believes that global warming
exists...20 years ago he was polemicizing against the concept due to
inadequate and faulty computer modeling.
On point one...clearly China has no intention of slowing down it's
burning of fossil fuel. It's trying to secure petroleum from various
sources for this from Alberta to Venezuela to Africa. Just like scrap
and finished steel two years ago, this will create shortages of
supply for a long time, regardless of the price.(at one point China
was buy ALL the scrap steel in the entire planet).
Clearly the Canadian tar sands (and Venezueluan heavy crude AND tar
sands) (environmental and political consequences notwithstanding)
represent *huundreds of billions* (not millions Jon) of recoverable
barrels of oil. Clearly coal, which is used now to produced about 1/2
of all US megawatts, is essentially unlimited. The industry (energy
industry) is now arguing that coal will become *cleaner than natural*
gas in the near future (unexplained, I read the industry magazines,
and while it's asserted, it remains unproven). Methal Hydrates. Rod
had referred to these a few years ago and they are real, and massive,
but will take new forms of engineering to extract them. They are
cleaner than coal or oil. There are about 10 times the amount of this
form of methane than regular forms of natural gas.
The problem is not how to get to all these things, it's what happens
if we do: global warming, wars for resources urged on by the
corporations, etc. That's point No. 2.
Point 3 are Nukes. Louis P. pointed out that the Militant has changed
it's position on Nukes. I asked my local SWP contact and he confirms
this: they are now pro-nuke. Quite the reversal. Truth be told, I've
also been considering a change of my own position on this based on
the increase in relative safety the industry has been forced to
develop since 3 Mile Island and Chernobyll. Everything from waster
management to the fission process and, a truly genuine good safety
record since then. The German, Swedish and French nuke industries are
amazingly safe and they produce no greenhouse gases. The French have
developed a form of "glassification" of nuclear wastes. It looks
interesting and we, as Marxists, are duty bound to at least look at
this seriously for reconsideration.
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