Tuesday, June 16, 2009

OPEC turns oil thumbscrew again.

And why not? The last time they got Obama. Who knows what joys they'll get this time - maybe America throwing Israel under the bus!

YNet News
Libyan official: Oil price to reach $90 by year's end
Representative of Libya's oil industry in OPEC says price of black gold will continue to rise, rejects Merrill Lynch's claims that oil appreciation will harm world's economies
Doron Peskin
Published: 06.16.09, 08:22 / Israel Money

Shukri Ghanem, a senior official at Libya's oil industry and its representative to the OPEC organization estimated in an interview to the al-Arabiya network that the rise in oil prices would continue till the end of 2009.

Ghanem estimated that the price of an oil barrel will reach about $90 by the end of 2009, and the average barrel price throughout the year will stand at $80...

...The Libyan rejected warnings made by experts of the Merrill Lynch investment bank, who claimed that a barrel price of more than $80 will cause damage to the world's strongest economies.

According to Ghanem, the rise in the oil price will lead to an improvement in the global market and to an increase in investments on the part of companies searching for oil. He added that the rise in oil process would lead to a rise in the demand for materials and services related to the oil industry, speeding up rather than slowing down the activity in the global market.

What will "speed up," of course, is the flow of money to Islamic nations. It is true that Europe has a vibrant and extensive mass transit network, and that China and Russia are also working to improve their mass transit - while at the same time entering long-term contracts with producing countries to shut the US out of the market.

The only real target of this price increase, therefore, is America. We are the only Western nation too stupid and short-sighted to spend the last 30 years since the last oil shock investing in adequate mass transit infrastructure for our population. Europe and Japan have had no such difficulty seeing the handwriting on the wall.

No, we relied on our military might to keep the oil flowing instead of planning for the day when we would have to subsist on our own meager reserves. And it is becoming clear to the world that our military arm has grown flabby and weak and will only get flabbier and weaker as our economy crumbles under OPEC's thumbscrews.

In other words, we've already lost this war - we're just too arrogant to admit it.

What can our communities do?

We've touched on this topic many times. Small areas can no longer count on government to meet their needs - they will have to purchase their own electric buses and partner with other small communities to have electric trolleys, trams, or light rail installed so that people can get where they need to go without automobiles. Start-up costs may not be cheap. Your neighborhood should have already been planning and fundraising for this for the last few years. If not, start now.

In the meantime, reducing the need to travel is the only real option. Carpooling, homeschooling, home and garage businesses, telecommuting, backyard gardening and neighborhood farmer's markets/craft fairs - these are a good start. A seriously concerted effort to arrange walkable neighborhood childcare and eldercare, establishment of walkable neighborhood groceries and hardware stores in areas that are far removed from present retail districts - these are more difficult and will probably take some willingness of the neighborhood to fight city hall.

At home, replace gas-powered lawnmowers with old fashioned reel mowers, or at least an electric one. Discard gas powered leaf blowers and get a real rake. Invest in some compost bins to help your garden and reduce the need for hauling yard and garden waste (because there may come a day soon that your city might have to drastically cut urban services, as we are starting to see happen in various municipalities all over the US).

If you can relocate to be near an existing mass transit line, please do so. If not, acknowledge this reality and plan ahead now, class. Neither money nor solutions are going to fall out of the sky. It's time we stopped expecting them to.

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