Fine Words, Precious Little Action
By EV World
According to Doug Low, because of the extensive coverage of the global warming problem in Europe, the IPCC's announcement that it is 90 percent certain -- unequivocal is how they termed it -- that mankind is largely to blame for the warming of the last 150 years came as no big surprise.
"But I still think there is a disconnect between people believing all this and their actions," he replied, pointing out that neither the government nor most Europeans individually have done much to seriously address the problem by changing their lifestyles. "They're only too happy to accept what's in the report."
To illustrate this "disconnect", Low noted that his Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair gave one of the most inspiring speeches of his political career recently on global climate change only to have the British government follow up the next week with announcements about major expansions of many of the country's airports, as well as major road construction projects.
Mexico's Largest Oil Field "Crashing"
It now appears certain that the world's second highest producing oil field, the Cantarell field in Mexico, is going into irrecoverable decline. Low estimates that a year ago, the field was producing 2 million barrels of crude oil a day. It is now down to about 1.5 million and declining. According to reports last week, the field has declined by 400,000 barrels a day, and is expected to decline by 600,000 in 2007.
"The reason it is important is because Mexico exports about 1.8 million barrels of oil a day to the United States. The only other country that exports more oil to the United States is Canada." He said that this means the U.S. will have to start looking for oil to import from somewhere else. The problem is, of course, that this puts it on a collision course with China, who is also actively trying to line up long term oil contracts.
As an aside, the recent creation by the Pentagon of an "African Command" -- ostensibly to better coordinate military action against terrorists -- may also be driven to some degree by the need to assure the supply of oil from unstable producing countries in Africa like Nigeria, which currently supplies the U.S. market with more than 900,000 barrels a day. See also Nigeria: The Next Quagmire.
The crash of Cantarell presents a supply challenge for the United States, but for Mexico it's a serious economic and political issue. Low noted that 37% of the government's revenue comes from PEMEX oil profits, the national oil company and Cantarell is PEMEX's largest oil field. Unless the price of oil compensates, the Mexican government will find it increasingly difficult to fund its activities and services as oil production declines, which is likely to ratchet up the press on the poor to illegally migrate north across the border into the United States.
Rattling Sabers at Iran
On the subject of the resumption of 'saber rattling' on the part of the U.S. against Iran -- which stopped briefly just before the American mid-term elections -- Low finds it curious that unlike last year, it is having little effect on the price of oil. He is concerned that the American media doesn't fully appreciate the consequences of an attack on Iran, and that it is likely to send oil prices -- and thus gasoline prices -- skyrocketing overnight. The concern in Europe is that the Bush Administration has already decided to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities and that the attack is set to happen in the next few months.
John Howard: Crazy Like a Fox
Australian prime minister John Howard sees the solution to his countries economic prosperity and global warming as "clean coal" technology and nuclear power. Like his U.S. counterpart, George W. Bush who finally used the politically tepid phrase "climate change" in his recent State of the Union address, Howard also acknowledged the reality of global warming. Despite the fact that there isn't currently -- and may never be -- such a thing as "clean coal", he, like Bush, sees it and "renewable" nuclear power -- which isn't renewable, just eons-lasting -- as the way forward.
Of course, what isn't stated is the fact that coal is one of Australia's biggest exports and that it is one of the world's leading sources of uranium from which to make nuclear fuel rods.
Low and I also talk about Russia's PR problems with respect to supplying gas to Europe. To listen to our entire discussion, use either of the two MP3 Players above, or download the file to your computer hard drive for playback on your favorite MP3 player. You can also receive a free ODAC email newsletter that daily features the top energy news stories from around the world.