Sunday, June 13, 2010

More on Oil Leak

Today's Badi' Blog Essay
Message from

Bleeding into the Gulf

By John Taylor; 2010 June 13, Nur 08, 167 BE

I continue to be bothered by the leak in the Gulf. We talked about it at the Philosopher's Cafe meeting on Thursday night. My brother came on a visit from Michigan on Saturday and we discussed the issue long into the night.

My question always is: how can we solve the oil problem? How can one tiny platform, one of thousands, destroy the ecological capital of, perhaps, an entire ocean? Governments hesitated for months just to stop oil companies from drilling _new_ offshore wells. How are we ever going to get rid of the ones we already have? It is like having a thousand pistols pointed at your temple, each held by a different gunman, each of whom has the power to end your life in an instant, be it through malice, incompetence, whim, or whatever. Somehow, we have to decommission these wells immediately and build in their place offshore wind farms. In a recent column, George Monbiot pointed out that,

"The best wind resources are mostly way out of the sight of land: the further out to sea you go, the stronger the wind becomes. A recent study shows that offshore wind farms can greatly increase the abundance of fish and crabs. (My hope is that the foundations could be connected by a web of steel cables, so the wind farms could function as marine reserves which never needed to be policed, as trawling through them would be impossible.)" <>

Once you have wind farms furnishing massive energy, you connect them by means of HVDC lines to the mainland and the energy problem is solved. End of problem. The wind is always blowing somewhere in the world, so with these power lines encircling the earth we would always have access to clean, cheap wind power. But, of course, a solution is not what oil companies are after. They are after profit, and with massive profits they can hit up on their real addiction, power. And by power I do not mean electric power but the kind of power that lets a few put their boot on the necks of most other human beings.

The technical problem of changing offshore oil to offshore wind is elementary. By now it is neither visionary nor speculative. The technology has been available for decades. There would be no problem doing it; it would, literally, be a breeze. However, the political problem is horrendous. Our entire political process is designed to hold out the hat to rich people. And the rich people who have all the money -- oil is far and away the largest and most profitable business on earth -- get those pipelines of cash from the profit that these facilities pump to them.

The solution to the human power problem is obvious, as soon as you admit that a world government is the only way ahead. All a democratic world government would have to do is declare that not only oil but all natural resources are the common property of the human race. Any company that crosses a border has to live up to standards and licenses stipulated by the human government. Once the resources are our property, not of private interests but ours, we decide what to do with it. Otherwise, if we let anybody who is not everybody own any part of our planet, there will be trouble, conflict and war.

Consider the cross-border crimes that these oil companies are guilty of. I do not want to stain these pages by listing them here, but George Monbiot lays some out in his 2006 column,

"Behind the spin, the oil giants are more dangerous than ever; The green re-branding of Shell and BP is a fraud. Far from switching to biofuels, it's drilling and devastation as usual."

You can read it, along with extensive commentary, at:

In the present world disorder, these corporations get away with murder and mass murder because they have no single authority to regulate them. As Monbiot details, they defy and bully little countries and the big nations they bribe, evade and deceive. The Deepwater Horizon, for example, which caused this leak, proudly flies the flag of the Marshall Islands. The disaster is global, beyond even the borders of America, but a tiny country that most people have never heard of is charged with the responsibility of regulating three of the largest companies in the world -- at least one of them is wealthier than all but ten of the richest nations on earth.

The last thing these super-rich entities will tolerate is talk about a world government, since the first thing such a government do is toss their whole executive talent pool in jail and expropriate their assets.

Anyway, I wanted to include some commentary to Monbiot's articles, so here goes. Someone with the handle "grumpymonkey" wrote,

"I seem to remember a week or so ago the Guardian mentioned a report which stated that with CURRENT technology, a solar power station situated in the Sahara desert measuring just around 300 square miles (I forget the precise figure) would provide enough energy for the WHOLE WORLD. Imagine a few of these dotted around the world's desert regions, along with wind farms and an expansion of micro-generation (solar panels on roofs, small scale wind turbines etc., a by-product of which would be jobs and manufacturing for the future), and expanded energy efficiency measures to boot. What's the point in this fake debate about energy generation when the answer has us by the throat and is punching us in the face? We can do away with nuclear power, and stop burning oil and use it for something useful!" (13 Jun 2006)

One of Buckminster Fuller's books was called "Utopia or Oblivion." That still describes our situation. We have a choice between a utopia of limitless energy, or taking a slippery slope to destruction by submitting to organized criminals. Anything less than government for the good of all peoples is just a choice of to which Mafia you want the most money to go.


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