Thursday, March 03, 2022


I'm not entirely sure why Obama was very proud of massively increasing US oil production. I suspect it was part "I'll give them what they claim to want then they'll have to like me" and part the wrongheaded belief that if we produce "enough" oil for ourselves then we aren't dependent on other nations. 

That could be true in some alternative economic arrangement, but in our glorious current capitalism, commodities are sold on world markets and unless you're nationalizing it all, producing a bunch of oil 'yourself' doesn't do anything to protect your economy from price increases.

The only way to not be dependent on fossil fuels and the asshole rulers that have them is to not be dependent on fossil fuels.

This is a coherent platform for left-of-center parties across the globe: a law-and-order crackdown on international kleptocracy, and mass electrification and renewable energy to weaken the repressive and despotic petrostates. It is not a quick fix (though confiscatory wealth taxes ought to work quickly enough), and it is perhaps not as viscerally satisfying to our bloodthirsty pundit class as more fighters and missiles. But in the medium term the “solution” to the “problem” of Russian aggression is not trying to surgically crash their economy while protecting ours (an impossible tightrope to walk so long as high-income nations fail to quit fossil fuels). It may be impossible now to use Apple Pay to ride the Moscow Metro—it may even be impossible, temporarily, for particular Russian-born billionaires to anonymously purchase London pieds-à-terre—but it is still very easy to take the money you made selling natural gas to Berlin and ask a lawyer in New York to explain how to hide it it in South Dakota. The only sensible Russia policy is to make it unprofitable to be the sort of state it is. This approach would also have the side benefit of improving the sorts of states all of us reside in, and perhaps even of saving human civilization. Defeating Russia, by necessity, requires defeating fossil capital.
tl;dr the hippies are almost always right.