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PART II: Obama Versus McCain on Natural Resources & Fossil Fuels. Dems, Reps And We All Are Misguided

Posted by REALITYTV on Sep 16th, 2008 and filed under Lead Article, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry | Viewed 3684 times.

This is a continuing series on the Primary Issues of the Presidential Election 2008. | Read Round One: McCain Versus Obama on the issue of Health care. | Round Two: Their take on the Iraq War. | Round Three: Obama Versus McCain on Free Trade. | Part One of Round Four on Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels, here. | In Part Two, we think the Democrats, Republicans And We All Are Misguided. | Part Three: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!! | Part Four: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process | Round five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration | Round Six: On the Issue of Abortion | Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action | Part one of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, Obama’s Position | Part two of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, McCain’s Position

We have an incredible dichotomy. We want clean air, to reduce green-house gases, to preserve our natural wildlife, and yet we use 24 percent of the world’s oil!! How can we, as a nation that believes in such ideals, still use 24 percent of the world’s oil? Fact is, we prove in practice, we don’t truly have these ideals, but we do have a NIMBY attitude.

We pass off the responsibility of tapping the resources to others and import it when we ourselves possess massive energy resources. And we don’t just hand off our responsibilities to Arab nations. In our first article of this series, we asked our readers which nation we import most of our oil from. Here is the answer, are you ready?

The nation exporting the most oil to the United States is Canada. We have vast reserves of natural resources in the United States while the nation immediately to our North is exporting oil to us as fast as they can tap it. We are honestly standing up and saying we will not drill on our land and use our resources, while our next door neighbor to our North provides most of our needs? Could we be any more hypocritical?

And take a look at number 3 folks. Do you honestly think that the two nations closest to us geographically are so vast in natural resources relative to us that we should import their resources at incredible expense while our trade deficit explodes?

We borrow the following chart from the US Energy Information Administration.

Crude Oil Imports (Top 15 Countries)
(Thousand Barrels per Day)

Country

Jun-08

May-08

YTD 2008

Jun-07

YTD 2007


CANADA

1,883

1,840

1,888

1,905

1,881

SAUDI ARABIA

1,479

1,579

1,523

1,501

1,407

MEXICO

1,124

1,116

1,193

1,392

1,454

VENEZUELA

1,085

1,030

1,012

1,135

1,109

NIGERIA

946

851

1,036

893

1,022

IRAQ

693

583

674

573

476

ANGOLA

636

464

496

502

568

BRAZIL

280

318

221

121

158

ALGERIA

269

440

319

504

494

RUSSIA

228

119

109

29

135

KUWAIT

179

263

219

263

193

ECUADOR

178

162

192

166

195

COLOMBIA

177

245

182

143

108

CHAD

107

57

101

80

69

LIBYA

89

96

76

144

66

Total Imports of Petroleum (Top 15 Countries)
(Thousand Barrels per Day)

Country

Jun-08

May-08

YTD 2008

Jun-07

YTD 2007


CANADA

2,359

2,346

2,472

2,410

2,470

SAUDI ARABIA

1,493

1,604

1,538

1,534

1,434

MEXICO

1,254

1,218

1,304

1,529

1,590

VENEZUELA

1,215

1,171

1,172

1,364

1,356

NIGERIA

1,020

918

1,092

968

1,080

RUSSIA

764

441

474

285

400

IRAQ

693

583

674

573

476

ANGOLA

649

476

506

514

580

ALGERIA

492

620

535

709

718

VIRGIN ISLANDS

314

340

336

218

319

BRAZIL

314

335

246

161

205

UNITED KINGDOM

286

237

223

345

310

NETHERLANDS

264

192

167

171

126

ECUADOR

184

162

200

168

199

KUWAIT

183

263

222

263

200

This map of the world which clearly demonstrates the highest use of oil per capita is educational. However, we believe it is a bit misleading. Warmer climates use less oil and more developed nations also use more. Still, it is very clear who the largest consumers are. We constantly hear about the increase in demand among developing nations, but we still dwarf their usage and we still import most of it. Interestingly, some of the major exporters, like Saudi Arabia, have very little use for the oil they export. Think about that for a minute. What else do they have to offer, and yet we are at war in Iraq, in part to protect our interests in the Persian Gulf?

Recently, our demand for fuel dropped off. When it did, our dollar strengthened, demonstrating a strong correlation between our trade deficit and the value of our currency. (see our article on Trade). It seems that most articles we have read on the matter have the cause and effect totally backwards. They are claiming oil prices dropped in response to a stronger dollar. Wrong!!! The weakened economy collapsed our demand for oil. That, in turn, reduced our trade deficit, which strengthens the dollar.

When you were in Junior High School, you likely read this book. It started with the famous quote “Call me Ishmael”. Does it ring a bell? The name of the book was “Moby Dick”. It was written about the hunt for an evil white whale by Captain Ahab and originated out the biggest whaling port in the world, New Bedford, Massachusetts. New Bedford, at the time,  was known throughout the world.

New Bedford still has a lone whaler on the hunt, holding a harpoon in his whaling boat, as a landmark in front of their public library, but worldwide the city is now an unknown spec. They do have the largest whaling museum in the country, and we think you should visit this museum to gain a better understanding of our history with respect to energy use. Why? Because the hunt for whales was based on our dependency on energy, specifically whale oil for lighting. We knew nothing about fossil fuels. We depended on whales for our energy. “Uncle Jed” would be rich had he owned a whaling ship. We murdered whales at will, a beautiful and intelligent animal, to provide for our nation’s energy needs.

We nearly caused the extinction of whales in the process, but thankfully, we discovered an alternative… fossil fuels. Our basic energy needs now are met almost entirely, directly or indirectly, by fossil fuels.

Initially, the US was able to meet its own demands for fossil fuels. Eventually, we could no longer satiate our own appetite, and in the mid 1900s, we started to import our resources in excess of what we consumed. A famous personality, M. King Hubbert, defined the concept of “peak oil” saying we would eventually run out of oil, and by a specific date, the cost would start to escalate. This theory has been brought to the forefront again and again, and is used at every spike in oil trading prices, because those on the long side want to make money. It has little to do with reality. There are enough fossil fuels in one form or another to last us hundreds more years and many are cost effective, but domestically, we are a NAMBY PAMBY NIMBY population.

The Environment and Us

We (US citizens) seem to care about our environment. We care about the warming climate, pollution, the decline of the rain forests and the transition away from the use of fossil fuels. Other nations think about money or survival. They are willing to sacrifice the world’s rain forests for their own benefit. They are willing to provide us oil and other fossil fuels at any cost to make a profit or eat. They do not care about their natural resources or the world’s. These other nations have major problems that lead to disaster with respect to natural resources world wide, and, in the same way we nearly killed off all whales in pursuit of our energy needs, they will kill off and destroy all their natural resources and even each other to provide our market, regardless of what it does to the world’s environment.

Every gallon of oil, every farm product, and in fact, every natural resource, we choose to import, when we already have access to those resources in large quantities within our own borders, is a cop out. It is not saying we are protecting our environment or our desire to preserve our jobs. It says we are not willing to accept responsibility for our own actions. We want to blame others while we drive our cars to work, heat our homes and consume natural resources at a higher rate per capita than any other nation in the world. We are not willing to accept the damage it causes within the US, but we are willing to encourage it outside our borders, no matter what the consequences, so we can blame others.  This becomes even more evident when you realize we import such a vast amount of petroleum from Canada, but we want to protect Alaska.  Does the US population have any concept of geography?

People throughout the US try to understand why we are hated throughout the world in the way we are. We have a theory. It is because we value ourselves above them. It is because we think our lives, our way of living and our children are worth more than theirs. We think that if we purchase oil from another nation, we preserve our environment within US borders. By tapping others resources, we pollute their environment, but we keep ours clean. Somehow, we believe, in an isolationist fashion, that if we do not tap our resources within our borders, it is OK, because someone else will suffer the consequences.  We will not have to experience the results, “out of sight, out of mind”.

The deluded idea is we are acceptable in our minds, because those nations will make the hard decisions, and without any percentage of the consideration we have for our environment, tap and export their resources. Is it worth it to us to preserve a blind fish in a cave, while other nations destroy thousands or millions of species to feed us the same amount of oil? They don’t care, we do. And because we care too much, we are misguided.

Read Part III: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!!


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