Over to renewables – now!

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Who benefits from a continuation of the oil age? Who is willing to risk our children’s and grandchildren’s future for short-term profit? Who opposes a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy? Is anthropogenic global warming and war in the Middle East parts of the same problem? Who profits from an escalation of war  and terror in the Middle East, high oil prices and a warmer climate? Who has the power to force their desires on the world community?

The Stone Age did not end because of lack of stones, but because better alternatives were found. The fossil fuel era will end when better alternatives are available. It’s happening now.

A trainee technician uses a multimeter to measure the output of a solar panel he has made. Photo: B. Cameron

A trainee technician uses a multimeter to measure the output of a solar panel he has made.  Nango solar, Kisumu, Kenya. Poor countries can leap-frog into renewable energy and skip the oil-age. Photo: B. Cameron

Fossil fuels are probably no longer profitable when  the real and hidden costs are included.

According to the IMF, fossil fuels are subsidised by USD 2 trillion per year. This global regime of perverse subsidies to  multibillionaires should come to an end. Fossil fuel companies should pay for their negative externalities like others have to. When that happens, the cost of producing fossil fuels will increase, while profits drop. Renewable energy sources can now compete in price with fossil fuels. Effective. large-scale storage of energy from renewables is a matter of foreseeable time. Fossil fuel exporters, especially in the Middle East, now produce at top capacity to sell their oil before it becomes a stranded asset.
IMF Experts and Others Envision a World without Energy Subsidies. ||  It’s time to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry  || Oil, coal and gas disasters that are costing us all (February 2014)   || Tutu, D. (2014)  We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet  ||   Dietz, S. & Stern, M. (2014) Endogenous growth, convexity of damages and climate risk (Grantham work paper) || The Climate for 2015: Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart ||  World Bank 2015  | |  Make fossil fuel industry pay for the real costs  ||  Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF   |  ||  IMF chief calls for end to fossil fuel subsidies  (March 2016)|| Renewable energy   ||   Insurers worth $1.2tn tell G20 to stop funding fossil fuels by 2020 (Aug 2016)  ||

Climate research and international efforts to mitigate climate change systematically attacked by the fossil fuel interests

Serious climate research is aggressively, dishonestly and manipulatively attacked by Arabic American coal and oil billionaires. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to produce propaganda and to harass climate scientists. Most people realize, however, that it is not possible to burn over 90 million barrels of oil every day, and an equivalent amount of coal and gas without ecological consequences. Tomorrow’s weather forecast is long droughts punctuated by heavy rains and floodings. Increasingly erratic weather may not necessarily mean more, but stronger storms, more precipitation and heat waves. Shorter but icier winters with periods of very heavy snowfall. Extreme weather is becoming the normal. This is the climate legacy we give our children.

In the United States there is a whole industry of “think tanks” and PR firms spreading disinformation to the public, schools and media. Manipulative, trivializing and confusing climate propaganda takes attention away from the reality and the brutal power game that is now taking place in the global network of the oil giants. “Internet trolls” and “skeptics” and other errand boys for the fossil fuel profiteers are organised to attack and confuse any serious  discussion..

Oil-and coal-billionaires, Putin and his regime in Russia, Middle East petrotyrants and extreme Islamists such as Isil live high on fossil energy. These men are willing to do anything; start wars, wage terror , produce millions of refugees and risking the future of their own grandchildren, in order to postpone the transition from the carbon society to the renewable community.

wars escalating? (Photo: Å. Bjorke)

More war in the Middle East? (Photo: Å. Bjorke)

Wars in the Middle East 

Many countries in the Middle East are now at war. The main conflict is between two blocks; one led by the Shiite ayatollah regime in Iran, the other by extreme Islamists in Saudi Arabia, mainly wahabbi-Sunnis. Iran receives some political support from Asia and Russia. Saudi Arabia controls Aramco, the world’s richest oil company, and thus has the support of partners in the American big oil industry. The war is increasingly portrayed as a religious war between Sunnis and Shia. Powerful interests want to stoke up the religious aspect, and their most ardent followers often resort to various forms of terrorism. The underlying cause of the conflict, however, is the battle over who will control the oil and with it the hegemonic power and money in the area. In addition, the battle for water. The war in Syria began in conflict over water access. The entire Middle East is characterized by increasing water scarcity. The worst drought in several hundred years still continues in Syria and other areas in the vicinity. The most populous country in the Arab world; Egypt, is in a state of water crisis. Oil revenues enable direct and indirect water imports. The struggle for water and oil resources is such an explosive mixture that armed conflicts can quickly escalate. In the event of a military confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, oil transport in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea might stop. More than a quarter of the world’s daily oil passes those waters.

Fertile grounds for jihadi recruitment

Egypt’s ability to produce its own oil approaches its end, with severely shrinking oil and gas resources. Much of the country’s infrastructure is based on cheap, subsidized oil. Egypt is also the world’s largest importer of wheat. Millions of Egyptians rely on subsidized wheat to survive. With an ever-hotter and drier climate and possible declining water levels in the Nile, Egypt’s economy is in jeopardy. With rising sea levels, parts of the fertile Nile delta will be inundated, enhancing the problems. Extremist groups may have good recruitment opportunities in the region’s most populous country. Other countries in similar crises are Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh  and Yemen just to mention a few. Saudi Arabia is all too happy to send their young and angry men brainwashed with wahhabist propaganda out of their country and equip them with petro-dollars and weapons. According to the US minister of foreign affairs, Saudi Arabia is the biggest funder of terrorists in the world. There is little doubt Al Qaeda as well as ISIL have received massive financial support from Saudi sources. NATO countries should be aware that if they want to fight ISIL, they inevitably strengthen the Iran position while weakening the Saudi Arabia position and vice versa. However, if they want to go to the root causes, they need to stop pouring petro dollars into the Middle East. The current international fossil fuel network guarantees financing of terrorism and war.

Drier and warmer in the Middle East. Sinai. (Photo: Mohammed T. Ahmed)

Drier and warmer in the Middle East. Sinai. (Photo: Mohammed T. Ahmed)

Doubling oil prices after a temporary low?

Oil speculators rejoice in the possibilities of future higher oil prices. With temporary low prices, stock prices fall for the time being while oil stocks build up.  The price per barrel will probably remain below USD 60 per barrel for a longer period – or even  below USD 40 per barrel – since OPEC as well as the USA are reluctant to reduce production. When that happens, marginal oil production like shale, tar sand and deep sea drilling will no longer be profitable and close down. The big oil stocks ensure low prices for a long period. The fracking adventure in the USA therefore just might be short-lived. These kinds of activities can be terminated quickly, but will need long time to start up again. However,  wars in the Middle East might escalate dramatically in the coming months or years, and prevent oil extraction and transport in many parts of the region. With a possible slight economic recovery (??) in the United States, the demand for oil might rise while supply decreases. Some hope for a quick doubling of oil prices. Another possible scenario is that the irresponsible production-maximizing strategy big oil came up with a decade ago, has destroyed the market, and the oil prices will remain low.

Unlike speculators, big oil companies plan for a decade or more into the future. They know that rapidly increasing oil prices entail a corresponding reduction in the production of petrol engines, eventually bringing the oil age to an end in a few years’ time. Oil companies want stable prices. This wish might not survive against the speculators ‘ wishes and the dramatic and blood-dripping realities getting out of hand in the Middle East. In addition, renewable energy starts to make an indentation on the global energy market, and more banks seem to prefer placing their investments in ever-cheaper renewable energy rather than in the increasingly more expensive and insecure fossil energy.

Polluting power plant in Balltimore (photo: Å. Bjørke)

Why foul the blue skies when  better alterantives are available?  Polluting power plant in Balltimore (photo: Å. Bjørke)

The petrodollar

An additional problem is the “petrodollar”. Since the 1970s, oil is traded all over the world in US dollars. The dollar is the international currency. Most countries, and especially China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and some other countries have huge reserves in USD. This has so far been an advantage to the USA. The Americans could print extra dollars and avoid inflation since the international community would take care of the surplus. According to some politicians and economists,  the USA has tended to exploit the system by working up debts and deficits to a larger extent than would otherwise deemed wise for other economies. The question is what happens if world trade in oil goes substantially down or no longer is paid in petrodollars. What happens in a situation of conflict and confrontation between Russia and China on one side, the USA on the other? If Saudi Arabia in such a situation should find that their interests are no longer served by their ties to the USA, could that have any impact on world economy? A possible scenario could be that Russia, China and Saudi Arabia decide to sell off their stacks of dollars, and declare that from now on, they want payment for their goods in other currencies than dollars. The petrodollar system has been working fine for the USA for four decades. But will this continue? With the wars going on in the Middle East and the Russia / Ukraine conflict as a background, Western countries should maybe consider reducing their financial vulnerability to economic warfare against the petrodollar.

In reality there is only one way to save our world’s climate, make our eco-systems and economies more robust, reduce the level of conflict in the Middle East and win the war on terror:  we need to get out of our dependency on oil as soon as possible.

Speculating in the possible doubling of oil prices can certainly be tempting for the oil saved. Solar energy, however,  is already competitive in price. Renewable energy is growing rapidly in efficiency and decreasing in price

Transition is cheap – for now

Maybe you should rather invest your money in the future forms of energy instead of the increasingly blood-dripping oil sector? The oil age is ending. Petro-tyrants and oil speculators are fighting desperately for hegemony a few decades more. This struggle renewables must and will win.

We have the means, the technology and know what to do

The technology is here, and fast developing. According to the UN, it is surprisingly cheap to transition to renewable energy and phase out the fossil fuel society. Renewable energy is still only marginal. We now must prepare for a rapid, exponential growth. Renewables should at least take 50% of the global energy mix by 2030. If we fail, we are heading for irreversible impacts.

California energy supply

California energy supply

Source: California energy supply

The climate swerve (NYT, Aug 2014)  ||

Tipping points ahead

There are good reasons for optimism. But there are also signs that we are in a hurry. We risk passing one or more tipping points and getting a runaway climate change: Giant Holes in Siberia Are Evidence of Runaway Climate Change, Scientists Say. | |  The Really Scary Thing About Those Jaw-Dropping Siberian Craters || Study of huge Siberian craters shows Giant Pool of Methane below them (Nov 2015)  ||  SWERUS-C3: First observations of methane release from Arctic Ocean hydrates  ||  Horrific Methane Eruptions in East Siberian Sea || Scientists Demand Investigation After More Mysterious Holes Appear In Siberia  || Record decline of ice sheets: For the first time scientists map elevation changes of Greenlandic and Antarctic glaciers (Aug 2014)  ||  Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved? New report published in Nature shows that small variations in the climate system can result in dramatic temperature changes (Aug 2014)  ||  Greenland Ice Sheet more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought (Sept 2014) || Changing Antarctic waters could trigger steep rise in sea levels, conditions 14,000 years ago suggest (Oct 2014) || Earth’s Oceans Heating Up Much Faster Than Scientists Expected (Oct 2014) || They Took A Camera To A Remote Area In Greenland, And What They Recorded Is Simply Terrifying  || Amazon rainforest losing ability to regulate climate, scientist warns (Guardian Oct 2014)  || Global Warming Is Slowing Ocean Currents Causing Dire Consequences, Warns Climate Expert Michael Mann  || Dahr Jamail – The Methane Monster Roars  ||  Climate apocalypse is here now: science fiction has become our new reality  (Oct 2015) ||  Buckle Up: Scientists Warn of Dozens of Global Warming Tipping Points That Could Trigger Natural Disasters (Oct 2015)  || Failing phytoplankton, failing oxygen: Global warming disaster could suffocate life on planet Earth (Science Daily, Dec 2015)  ||  New Theory Behind Dozens of Craters Found in Siberia ||

The deep, crater-like holes may be giant methane blowholes caused by the melting of permafrost. August 4, 2014 | Originally published by EcoWatch.

The deep, crater-like holes may be giant methane blowholes caused by the melting of permafrost.
August 4, 2014 |
Originally published by EcoWatch.

The Fossil-profiteers and their global networks

President Putin

The Russian President Putin was a former colonel in the KGB and a director of the FSB. He says that the worst disaster the last hundred years was the fall of the Soviet Union He now wants compensation by building a new Russian empire. With a slightly warmer planet, Russia will be able to double its agricultural land to the north, as the permafrost melts. Putin has nothing against a little global warming. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of fossil fuels. Giant companies Rosneft and Gazprom are both controlled by Putin. Every day Russia earns over a billion petrodollars. Remove the revenues from fossil fuels, and Putin’s empire ambitions will most probably fall.
Trump, Putin, and ExxonMobil team up to destroy the planet (Dec 2016)

The Ibn Saud family

The world’s richest family owns the “Arab-American Oil Company” (ARAMCO), the world’s richest company. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter. The Ibn Saud family is the spiritual head of the extreme-Islamist branch called  wahabbi, with the ambition of religious hegemony, or caliphate, based on fundamental Sharia laws. Extreme Islamist terrorist groups worldwide are funded from Saudi Arabia. The terror group Isil or IS declare themselves wahabbists.

The Ibn Saud family owns Ghawar, the world’s largest oil fields. Unlike new oil fields in the North Sea and the tar sands in Canada, the extraction of oil in the desert states is cheap, less than ten dollars per barrel. The retail price of a barrel of oil is around $50-  130. Saudi Arabia sells approximately ten million barrels of oil every day. Daily revenue from crude oil is over a billion dollars. In addition,  the Saudis receive financial income from investments in the United States. Saudi Arabia would be a poor desert country without oil revenues. The Saudi royal family will do anything to keep the fossil society running for a few more years. In addition, they have a secret hope that some more global warming will increase precipitation over the Arab states, as happened during the Holocene optimum for 5000-10000 years ago.

Other extreme Islamist regimes (Petro tyrants)

Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq all sell oil and gas to survive. Along with Saudi Arabia, extreme Islamist regimes and Russia sell over half of the world’s conventional oil sources, and daily make over 5 billion dollars just on crude oil. As long as petro-money flows in, democracy is of little relevance. (See Thomas Friedman’s «first law of petropolitics and The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations)

“We can choose to not reform capitalism, leave human beings to die from deprivation – where we are now – and understand that that puts people in self-defense mode. When in self-defense mode, kill or be killed, there is no civilization at all. It is the law of the jungle, where we started eons ago. In that context, ‘terrorism’ will likely flourish because it is ‘terrorism’ only for the haves, not for the have-nots. The have-nots already live in terror, as their existence is threatened by deprivation, and they have the right to fight back any way they can”   Capitalism vs Climate: This Changes Everything  (Aug 2014)
.

Is more war what is needed? (Photo: Å. Bjørke)

Is more war what is needed? or should we stop all this senseless killing? (Photo: Å. Bjørke)

The Communist Party of China

PetroChina is owned by the Communist Party and is China’s largest oil company with more than one trillion U.S. dollars in capitalisation. CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec are also controlled by the Communist Party of China and are among the largest companies in the world. Investments and vested interests in these huge companies slow down the transition to sustainable energy sources, desperately needed in polluted China.

The Seven Sisters (Big Oil)

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and about a hundred other oil companies have their vested interests in fossil fuels to protect. According to the Aramco’s website, many of the largest Western oil companies are Aramco partners. Aramco and its partners are probably the largest economic entity in the world.

The Koch brothers

Charles and David Koch are American multi-billionaires, heavily involved in fossil fuels. They finance “think tanks” like Heartland  and Cato Institutes, in reality propaganda companies for unethical, big corporations. The Koch brothers have their roots in the extreme organization of John Birch Society. The Koch-wealth is largely based on questionable business ethics and cooperation with the old Soviet Union’s Stalin. The Koch brothers are investing heavily in disinformation and pay “scientists” to produce confusing research results. They are deeply involved in shady transactions in the Middle East. The Koch bros are doing their best to fight renewable technologies. Clean, cheap and decentralised technologies threaten their profits. The Koch bros systematically work to destroy democracy and install a ruthless corpocracy, with themselves running the USA as a corporation. America has a Koch problem.

Rupert Murdoch

Media mogul and multi-billionaire. He controls much of the world’s mass media. He is closely associated with the Saudi royal family and the fossil fuel industry.

The fossil fuel era can be dismantled within less than two decades. Four easy measures:

  1. All subsidies and special tax deals for the fossil fuel industry are removed globally.  The International Monetary Fund(IMF) should get full support on this point. The IMF envisions substantial economic and environmental advantages .
    .
  2. Put a 10% carbon fee on fossil fuels. 100% revenue distribution of the money to the public in equal shares as direct payments. The fee would start at $10/ton of CO2 and increase $10/ton each year; 100% of the revenue is returned to households, equal amounts to all legal residents. This approach spurs the economy, increasing the number of jobs by 2.1 million in 10 years. Emissions decrease 33% in 10 years, 52% in 20 years.  Hansen, J. (2014) Too little, too late? Oops? Carbon tax!
    .
  3. The current fossil fuel industry subsidies transferred to renewables to speed up the ongoing process.
    ,
  4. Divest! Invest your savings in the sunrise industry of renewable energy. Remove your money from the sunset fossil fuels industry.  All responsible governments must ensure that the current fossil fuel industry subsidies are transferred to renewables to speed up the ongoing process.  |  Go fossil fuel free. Divest! |  Stanford professors urge withdrawal from fossil fuel investments Jan 2015 | The Social Cost of Carbon  | 2015 – the fossil fuel endgame begins |  The Great Deflation – the carbon bubble slowly popping (Jan 2015) |  Global divestment day  | IEA 2015: Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014 |  The Big Reason Why America Is Turning to Renewable Energy  | Bill McKibben: The Turning Point Towards a Low-Carbon Future (Aug 2015)   |  Leonardo DiCaprio Joins $2.6 Trillion Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement | Don’t Let Wall Street Leave You Behind: It’s Time to Divest From Fossil Fuels  (Oct 2015)   |  Renewables to lead world power market growth to 2020 (IEA Nov 2015) |  Leonardo DiCaprio: ‘Do Not Wait Another Day’ to Move to 100% Renewable Energy – “Climate change is the most fundamental and existential threat to our species.”  (Dec 2015) |
Stop the rivers of money to the petro tyrants and carbon barons! Decentralise energy!.Over to solar -now.

Stop the rivers of money to the global network of petro tyrants and carbon barons! Decentralise energy!.Over to solar -now. (Photo: Å. Bjørke)

Read more:

Renewable energy

Solar

Wave

Geothermal

Nuclear

Hydrates

Wind

Hydrogen

    Energy storage

President Putin

Saudi Arabia Royal family

Wars in the Middle East, East Africa and Asia

The Bush – islamist connection

 Big oil and King coal

Air pollution

Fracking

Tar sand

The Koch bros

 The unstable and vulnerable economy of the fossil fuel age

Fossil fuel subsidies

Action

Climate change

Tipping points in a warmer climate

Methane

Acidification

Sea level rise

China and fossil fuels

The Murdoch media empire

Climate year 2014

About svenaake

University Teacher.
This entry was posted in Denialism, Environment, Fossil fuels, Sustainable development and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Over to renewables – now!

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  3. Reblogged this on Comunicação Ambiente Sustentabilidade and commented:
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