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Energy policy - Jan 3

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Crude Oil and Natural Gas reserves divided between two superpower blocks - third world war over underwater reserves?

Editorial, India Daily
It is interesting to note that US reliance on Opec highest in the last twenty years. America imports close to 40% of OPEC production. The startegic interests of America lies in protecting these energu reserves.

At the same time India, China and Bazil have quadruples energy consumption. These economies are growing very fast. Interestingly, only 10% of OPEC output is consumed by these rapidly growing developing countries.

Russia is playing an energy card in becoming the next super power. It controls the East European supplies and at the same time supplies bulk of China’s needs. Brazil is depending more on sugar based ethanol. India is a mixed basket. India does not have much choice but to gather energy any way it can.

Within OPEC there are pro-American group and anti-American group. As oil and gas needs rise in coming years, Russia and anti-American OPEC groups will jopin hands. That may include Venezuela, Iran and so on. There will be two distinct groups under two superpower blocks. First the pro-American Western and Middle Eastern group of nation. Then there will Russia led block of countries.

During the enxt several years, a massive rush towards uunderocean reserves will take place. Japan, South Korea and China are already at odds over the underwater reserves. India is planning very rapid expansion of its Navy to tap deep water oil and gas reserves. China will compete with the Americans in deep water oil and gas resources.
(2 Jan 2007)


Bush tipped to talk tough on energy but snub Kyoto

Caroline Daniel, Financial Times
Bush tipped to talk tough on energy but snub Kyoto
Energy will be a central theme of President George W.?Bush’s state of the union speech this month, as it was in last year’s address when he briefly caught national attention with the claim that the country was “addicted to oil”.

But his critics doubt that he will do much more than call for more spending on alternative fuels, and again fail to embrace international efforts to agree a post-Kyoto regime to tackle greenhouse emissions.

“We’ve had the hydrogen economy, then alternative fuels, and ‘addicted to oil’,” said a senior industry lobbyist. “Yet on close Senate votes, such as drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he has not put his prestige on the line by making personal calls. Energy policy has been the creation of Congress. Almost anything Bush says in the speech is irrelevant the day after he says it.”

The administration rejects that, with one senior official noting: “It’s a lot more than rhetorical: what was done with the 2005 act was substantial.” Mr Bush has identified energy as a key area for bipartisan co-operation in the next two years.

Al Hubbard, chairman of the National Economic Council, who is co-ordinating White House energy policy, has also raised expectations. In a speech at De Pauw University he predicted “headlines above the fold that will knock your socks off in terms of our commitment to energy independence”.
(2 Jan 2007)
Liberal Think Progress is skeptical.


The New Energy Debates
Will the new Congress act to change our disastrous energy policy?

Brian Tokar, Zmag
One of the most pressing issues facing us all, including the new Democratic-controlled Congress, is what to do about energy policy and climate change. With sweeping changes in the leadership of key congressional committees and heightened public concerns about the consequences of disruptive climate shifts, the time appears ripe for significant changes in U.S. policy.

Environmental lobbyists in Washington, however, are bracing themselves for only minimal steps. California Senator Barbara Boxer, the new chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, is planning comprehensive hearings on climate and energy policy-a departure from the approach of her predecessor, the notorious right-wing climate-denier James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who called global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind,” and included popular fiction writer Michael Crichton among his “expert” witnesses.

But with many congressional Democrats beholden to automobile, agribusiness, and other corporate interests, Capitol Hill is ready for only incremental changes.

...“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy,” the inventor Thomas Edison told a colleague shortly before his death in 1931. “I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Seventy-five years later, solar energy is still considered too speculative by conventional capitalist standards. Despite his large investments in subsidized ethanol production, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla told the New York Times that he would not back solar power because it did not show a profit without subsidies. Genuinely forward-looking energy technologies are still at a significant disadvantage compared to “quick fixes” like ethanol.

Similarly, no one has yet figured out how to make a fortune on conservation and efficiency. While Amory Lovins and others have demonstrated for 30 years that it is possible to reap huge savings at minimal cost from investments in energy efficiency, corporations prefer to seek even greater short-term gains from worker layoffs, outsourcing production, and other socially disruptive measures. As predictions for climate changes become ever more severe, we need to confront the reality that the needs of the planet, and of a genuinely sustainable society, remain in fundamental conflict with the demands of wealth and profit.

Brian Tokar directs the Biotechnology Project at Vermont’s Institute for Social Ecology (social-ecology.org). His books include Earth for Sale (South End, 1997) and Gene Traders (Toward Freedom, 2004).
(Jan 2007)

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