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A Catch-22 proposition on oil dependence

By maxwell edison ·
On one hand, the United States has been criticized for its dependence on middle east oil, and has been encouraged by many, including yours truly, to become more energy independent, especially from the middle east supply. On the other hand, however, the implementation of any plans, or the setting of any goals to achieve that end could have some significant, and very negative repercussions.

I wonder how the political left in the United States will reconcile the obvious conflict in their various positions? On one hand, the political left is advocating the eventual elimination of fossil burning fuels, especially oil, not only in their quest for energy independence, but for environmental reasons as well. (Can anyone spell global warming?) On the other hand, however, they are adamantly opposed to anything that could cause conflict, especially armed conflict, in the middle east.

Is the west in general, and the United States in particular, being held hostage in the name of middle east oil?

Here's my take on it, although I could be convinced to adopt a different approach, since this is an off-the-cuff comment.

The western nations, particularly the United States, Great Britain and France, actually discovered and facilitated the creation and financing of the original oil fields in the middle east, not too unlike the planning and building of the Panama Canal. By some rights, it could be argued, that the western nations mentioned (and others, I'm sure), have more of a claim on those oil fields than they would otherwise have, had they not built and financed the middle east oil industry in the first place. The United States had a 100 year lease (I think) with Panama for control of their canal, for example, and perhaps the oil fields of the middle east would fall into the same category -- although no "lease agreements" were entered into. (Or maybe there were, I don't know for sure. I'd have to study the issue a bit.) Nonetheless, without the discovery and development of those oil fields, what would the middle east be like today? The enormous wealth created for them would not have been possible without the west's effort AND money.

Another off-the-cuff thought. I'd like to call their bluff. I'd like to make a proclamation that beginning immediately, we will no longer purchase ANY oil from the middle-east, especially the middle east member nations (redundant, I know, but I left it after the edit), and just let the chips fall where they may. Our economy and way of life would take a huge hit initially, but I believe we could adapt better and faster than one might initially be inclined to think. Necessity is the mother of all invention, and this would certainly put the effort in overdrive.

Are there any circumstances under which the west would be justified in actually seizing the oil fields of the middle east in the name of maintaining a viable world economy?

Or are we stuck with being blackmailed by despots (and terrorists)?

P.S. Let's try to leave political rhetoric out of the discussion.

NOTE: This original message has been edited to change "OPEC" to "the middle-east". In every other message that follows, I have been specifically saying "middle-east", but in this one message only, I said "OPEC". Whip me with a wet noodle, but the intention was to say "middle-east". And there is one loser among us who is looking for an excuse to prove he's an idiot; and now that he's done just that (again), I'll edit the post to reflect my intention. But only a loser idiot would have missed my intention, or made a big deal out of it, or both, either by choice or otherwise.

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a viable alternative needs to be found

by mjwx In reply to A Catch-22 proposition on ...

Or are we stuck with being blackmailed by despots (and terrorists)?

Yes let?s try to leave political rhetoric out of it, Max.

As for oil, the world (not just the US) needs to be weaned off it as soon as a viable alternative is found. For once I agree with GWB (I feel sick) we are addicted to oil, it's like a drug.

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already found

by Dr Dij In reply to a viable alternative need ...

wind power is already competitive,
solar power needs price reductions
which are likely to come with mass production

brazil produces 25% of its transportation fuel from ethanol
biodiesel from waste is only a miniscule portion of need
biodiesel from agriculture (oil palms) is being done in malaysia. it has the air pollution problems of diesel. in addition, forest fires are caused by clearing land and yearly burn off of cane, causing vast air pollution in same areas.
the plantations are wiping out vast areas of wildlife habitat

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appriciate your response, but

by mjwx In reply to already found

By viable I meant a solution that can be implemented now. Implementation would initially require both systems to be in place but then have the fossil fuel system phased out.

Wind power relies on wind being present. A 10 Km2 (square) patch of solar panels in the desert of Australia could power the entire country but we don?t know what the effect of a 10 Km2 heat sink would have on the environment. Good idea?s yes, but unfortunately not viable.

Nuclear is viable, but then you have the waste, fallout and weapons issues so while it is viable for nations like Australia, the US and Brittan, it isn?t viable for all.

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10 km

by Cactus Pete In reply to appriciate your response, ...

So, how many 10m by 10m rooftops dor you need to achieve the same coverage?

How much of downtown Sydney is covered by rooftops? Add in all your other major buildings... Getting my point yet?

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by mjwx In reply to 10 km

where there is an uninteruped source of sunlight year round. (the sun in the aussie desert can fry an egg on a paint tin). the problem with this is as I mentioned, that the enviromental effect of a 10 by 10 KM heat sink in is not known.

The rooftops of homes (which is what occupies most of sydney's footprint) in australia are placed at angles (not flat like in the US) making the only half the rooftop useful for half the day.

also theres the logistical nightmare of linking them together.

<edit> re-reading posts dpetrak, its a good idea in theory, but i take it you dont live in australia. you really have to live here to fully understand the climate and geography.</edit>

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I fully understood your original post

by Cactus Pete In reply to I said IN THE AUSTRALIAN ...

And I responded, knowing that altering the landscape of the desert is a bad idea, that perhaps a better solution is then to change the tops of buildings in your DOWNTOWN locations. I did not refer to your residential houses.

I fact, I have proposed the same thing be done ANYWHERE. If you have a roof, have solar panels. Particularly on large government and business structures.

Add to that, particularly in DOWNTOWN areas, wind turbines on the sides of buildings. Winds become concentrated between these buildings and effectively speed up there, making it more profitable in these types of locations.

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You need to understand the australian climate

by mjwx In reply to I fully understood your o ...

Our urban centers are in temperate, tropical or cyclonic zones. each making them unsuitable for large scale solar colection.

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ouch, even I don't advocate for that much

by Jaqui In reply to A Catch-22 proposition on ...

destruction of the us economy.

"Another off-the-cuff thought. I'd like to call their bluff. I'd like to make a proclamation that beginning immediately, we will no longer purchase ANY oil from OPEC, especially the middle east member nations, and just let the chips fall where they may. Our economy and way of life would take a huge hit initially, but I believe we could adapt better and faster than one might initially be inclined to think. Necessity is the mother of all invention, and this would certainly put the effort in overdrive."

all automakers, shut down. [ they require oil industry products to have their products used ]

almost all oil jobs gone [ 20% or so left ]
no gas under $30 a gallon [ supply and demand increase, no supply so high demand ]

textiles industry almost completely shut down, due to lack of raw materials. [ nylon, rayon, polyester, plastic etcetera are based on the sludge from cleaning oil to make gasoline. ]

None middle east oil production would give the USA a maximum of 1 year before the above points happened, as non middle east production has not reached high enough levels to meet the US usage for longer than 3 months.

instead of just stopping the purchase, tell every automaker they have 2 years to have vehicles on the road that do not require petrolium based products at all. at the two year mark, then you outlaw pertolium fuels. and stop purchasing oil from anyone. the us produces enough oil to support the textiles industry.

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Like I said, jaqui

by maxwell edison In reply to ouch, even I don't advoca ...

An off-the-cuff remark, certainly more emotional than rational (not really like me). However, it might show the extreme position, and if we consider the status quo as being the other extreme, perhaps a practical balance can be found. But it appears that the middle-east oil thugs wouldn't be happy with even that. And I suppose that's what was behind the discussion to begin with.

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Oil and Energy

by X-MarCap In reply to ouch, even I don't advoca ...

The problem is that we have oceans of oil. It is locked in shale. The real issue is what do you make out of shale. Then the oil is a waste by-product. At that time, the Mid-East is SOL. The current problem is that we don't have cheap oil...

Our real problem is supply. We could get enough out of waste acres of Anwar to put a huge dent in our imports (20%) within 5 years. We could allow Texas gulf pumping (still closed by environmentalists) Florida offcoast drilling (still closed by environmentalists), and eliminate with three proven basins currently inactive brought on line to replace the Mid-East supplies. We could drive the cost of oil down to $35.00 a barrel if we broke the environmental lobby's hold on about 10 key members of Congress.

Unfortuantely, people from Maine have very little non-fishing industry. People from Massachusettes are too stupid to cooperate, they re-elect two killers to the US Senate. (If you believe John Kerry), and there are quite a few people against anything any President tries to do. Dems vs Republicans

The thing is our Government is not really interested in is actually making the country better. Both political parties are seeking to extend their influence. The Dems had both houses of Congress for 40 years. They want to complain about problems not fix them. They could have forced Powerplants down California's throats. They could have fixed the education system in our country. It wouldn't take much money, it takes finding out if teachers are functional, not popular...

The Jerks in power now want to complain about no cooperation. A pox on both their houses...

We need to stop burning oil to make electricity, period. The answer is very clear it is Nuclear.
Clean coal is also in the works. 20% of our nation's oil use is for electricity. California needs to allow new power plants period.

Conservation can help about 5%. The real answer is to be allowed to pump our own oil. Enviro-weenies, what you need to understand is that we need to make scrubbers for all power production situations. That will eliminate all greenhouse gas issues. The technology exists (please see

The issue is political. Both sides want to demagogue the energy issue...


Prudhoe Bay could become a boom community again...

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