Dismantling the Petro World

The last post implied, if the reader did not take the content as factual, that the future for the western coalition of nations faced a collapse of its economies and would be fortunate to be called second tier nations. The reason that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations will overwhelm the western economy is because they have the oil, gas, and the population growth to take over the world economy – somewhat like Walmart, Target and CVC moving into a neighborhood. Any local retail outlets that survive will be less than robust for sure.

Aside from nations, the petrochemical industry is the largest set of global organizations in the world. Asking them to go out of business or scale down to ten percent of what they were is not a winning strategy for global warming. Yet this is the fear that those who deny scientific information hear – that the petro economy is a common source of wealth and making the changes in corporate behavior, the way neighborhoods are built, the way every person consumes food, energy, space and nonrenewable minerals must undergo a transformation that challenges capitalism and suggests something more akin to socialism. So, global warming doesn’t exist.

While searching the Internet, the mariner came across an article in the Nation Magazine for November 2011. The article was written by Naomi Klein, a Canadian author who writes books on the climate and its confrontations with capitalism, human nature, and disappearing resources, including the disappearance of national economic policies. Klein’s current book, “This Changes Everything, Capitalism versus the Climate,” is on the best seller list at the moment.

The entire article is available at

http://www.thenation.com/article/164497/capitalism-vs-climate?page=0,2

 

In the Nation article, Klein makes a six point case that makes a reader think it is easier to climb a cliff covered in ice than to change the petro paradigm:

  1. Reviving and Reinventing the Public Sphere

…Traditionally, battles to protect the public sphere are cast as conflicts between irresponsible leftists who want to spend without limit and practical realists who understand that we are living beyond our economic means. But the gravity of the climate crisis cries out for a radically new conception of realism, as well as a very different understanding of limits. Government budget deficits are not nearly as dangerous as the deficits we have created in vital and complex natural systems. Changing our culture to respect those limits will require all of our collective muscle—to get ourselves off fossil fuels and to shore up communal infrastructure for the coming storms.

  1. Remembering How to Plan

…Every community in the world needs a plan for how it is going to transition away from fossil fuels, what the Transition Town movement calls an “energy descent action plan.” In the cities and towns that have taken this responsibility seriously, the process has opened rare spaces for participatory democracy, with neighbors packing consultation meetings at city halls to share ideas about how to reorganize their communities to lower emissions and build in resilience for tough times ahead.

  1. Reining in Corporations

…But we are also going to have to get back into the habit of barring outright dangerous and destructive behavior. That means getting in the way of corporations on multiple fronts, from imposing strict caps on the amount of carbon corporations can emit, to banning new coal-fired power plants, to cracking down on industrial feedlots, to shutting down dirty-energy extraction projects like the Alberta tar sands (starting with pipelines like Keystone XL that lock in expansion plans).

  1. Relocalizing Production

…Climate change does not demand an end to trade. But it does demand an end to the reckless form of “free trade” that governs every bilateral trade agreement as well as the World Trade Organization. This is more good news —for unemployed workers, for farmers unable to compete with cheap imports, for communities that have seen their manufacturers move offshore and their local businesses replaced with big boxes. But the challenge this poses to the capitalist project should not be underestimated: it represents the reversal of the thirty-year trend of removing every possible limit on corporate power.

  1. Ending the Cult of Shopping

…This growth imperative is why conventional economists reliably approach the climate crisis by asking the question, How can we reduce emissions while maintaining robust GDP growth? The usual answer is “decoupling”—the idea that renewable energy and greater efficiencies will allow us to sever economic growth from its environmental impact. And “green growth” advocates like Thomas Friedman tell us that the process of developing new green technologies and installing green infrastructure can provide a huge economic boost, sending GDP soaring and generating the wealth needed to “make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure…”

The bottom line is that an ecological crisis that has its roots in the overconsumption of natural resources must be addressed not just by improving the efficiency of our economies but by reducing the amount of material stuff we produce and consume.

  1. Taxing the Rich and Filthy

…That means taxing carbon, as well as financial speculation. It means increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, cutting bloated military budgets and eliminating absurd subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. And governments will have to coordinate their responses so that corporations will have nowhere to hide (this kind of robust international regulatory architecture is what Heartlanders mean when they warn that climate change will usher in a sinister “world government”).

Most of all, however, we need to go after the profits of the corporations most responsible for getting us into this mess. The top five oil companies made $900 billion in profits in the past decade; ExxonMobil alone can clear $10 billion in profits in a single quarter…

Naomi Klein pulls no punches in this article in the Nation. The quotes provided here by the mariner provide an insight into her perspective but a great deal of reasoning remains in the article. He recommends that his readers go to the link provided above and discover the whole painting and all the colors in it.

Ancient Mariner

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