Is Broon crap?

Originally this was going to be about politics, and the answer was going to be “not as much as his poll ratings suggest”. But then I found a speech on Opec/Oil and the answer has to be, “yes he’s crap”. On so many levels.

He sez: Gordon Brown yesterday signalled a new determination to defend Britain’s hard-pressed consumers and motorists when he denounced the oil cartel Opec as a scandal and called for the EU and the G8 to break down its control, saying it was holding back the development of the world economy. This is just stupid playing to the gallery. No-one believes that Broon is going to do anything about Opec, because he can’t. It is, as people will recognise, a scandal that 40% of the oil is controlled by Opec. So what are we going to do? Wrest control of it from them – by invading them? No, that doesn’t sound like a good idea. By installing our own pet dictators? Hmm, maybe not. By making speeches? Umm.

But, returning to climate, Broon seems to have forgotten that we are supposed to be cutting our carbon emissions. He is, in theory, all signed up to that. Of course, as soon as that starts to cost money all that gets blown to the winds, which is one reason why he is crap. The reason that the oil price is high is that the world is using a lot of it. Increasing the supply would mean that we would use more. We’re supposed to be using less. Increasing the price sends a strong signal to use less, and from that point of view is good.

The other reason this is all stupid is that oil is at $127 a barrel. Anyone who can pump more out probably is.

Comments

  1. #1 guthrie
    2008/05/20

    POssibly I am too cynical, but after I began to notice Brown, I came to the conclusion he was a moron.

    I mean, what the fuck is he saying? Cartels and production agreements are perfectly normal ways of doing business. Brown should know, he’s spent years putting public assets into private monopolies, in situations where market based competition is impossible.

    Besides, we’re at Peak oil plateau right now, I think. And the Caspian sea oil output is apparently another year or two late.

  2. #2 Brian Schmidt
    2008/05/20

    “The other reason this is all stupid is that oil is at $127 a barrel. Anyone who can pump more out probably is.”

    Depends – if you’ve got additional oil you could pump out now, but think the future price of oil will go up more than the interest you’d earn by pumping now and investing the proceeds, then you might sit on the oil for a bit.

    OTOH, a semi-corrupt government in charge of resources would probably pump and take the money instead of investing it by letting the oil sit there and appreciate. This scenario means we can’t increase production over what’s currently happening.

    The tension between these two ways of responding to peak oil would determine whether we’re about to enter a long plateau period of stable oil production with gradually increasing prices, or declining production and rocketing price increases.

  3. #3 Alexander Ač
    2008/05/21

    hmmm,
    yes, oil price is high – and the main reason it that we are running out of *cheap* oil (i.e. decreasing energy return (EROEI)). Those people who says we have enough of unconventional sources (oil and tar sands) are crap, too – unconv. sources are carbon, water and energry intensive and cannot supply oil nor at current quality nor at current rate. We have not enough atmosphere for that. More at http://www.TheOilDrum.com

  4. #4 Dunc
    2008/05/21

    Depends – if you’ve got additional oil you could pump out now, but think the future price of oil will go up more than the interest you’d earn by pumping now and investing the proceeds, then you might sit on the oil for a bit.

    It also rather depends on the reservoir characteristics. Generally speaking, the faster you extract it, the lower your ultimate recovery is. Then, of course, there’s the minor point that pumping more oil often means drilling more wells, which is neither cheap nor instantaneous. There are only so many drilling rigs in the world, after all.

    Still, given that we appear to be into a phase of demand destruction, any increase in supply is perhaps unlikely to result in a commensurate reduction in price.

  5. #5 Gene Thorsteinson
    2008/05/22

    Oil and gas are supposed to be a commodity that is controlled by world prices, but why is it a gallon of gas in Venezuela sells for $0.14/gal, in Saudi Arabia @ $0.46/gal and here in Canada we are paying nearly $6.00/gal and Canada is a major producer of oil and gas.

    [Because Venezuala and Saudi buy popularity by giving away free gas rather than by governing well. Your govt isn't quite that stupid -W]

  6. #6 George Peabody
    2008/05/24

    I dunno, William. As a Canadian, one thing I’ve noticed about governments over the years is that every time I think “surely they can’t be that stupid” it turns out they are even dumber.

  7. #7 guthrie
    2008/05/24

    A friend of mine has suggested that Brown and Blair are quite cunning, in one way. They have persuaded people to get themselves into debt to keep the economy running nicely, rather than the government getting itself into debt.

  8. #8 mugwump
    2008/05/25

    Broon seems to have forgotten that we are supposed to be cutting our carbon emissions. He is, in theory, all signed up to that. Of course, as soon as that starts to cost money all that gets blown to the winds, which is one reason why he is crap.

    No, it’s precisely why he is good. He’s reflecting the views of the public, who don’t believe cutting carbon emissions is worth much.

    Now, I can understand that this is galling to the sneering academics with their superiority complexes; but luckily for the rest of us, they still only get one vote, despite all the noise they make.

  9. #9 guthrie
    2008/05/25

    Well done Mugwump, you managed to get a major misconception in there. Would you like to try and insult some more people next time around?

  10. #10 mugwump
    2008/05/25

    Which misconception guthrie?

    That academics have superiority complexes? I used to be one, so I think I am well-qualified to judge…

    That academics sneer? I admit, that one was a bit unfair. The sneering seems to be the preserve of a few, eg the folks over at realclimate.

    That the public are not willing to pay much for cutting carbon emissions? If they were willing to pay, you’d see more action from our political leaders.

  11. #11 James Annan
    2008/05/26

    I’ve been watching the Broon implosion from afar, and I suspect I will never have direct experience of him as PM. It is sad to think that instead of being remembered as one of the most successful chancellors ever, he will be remembered as a feeble prime minister – maybe the John Major of Labour, but without even a single election victory to his credit. Such is politics (and perhaps more importantly, such are politicians).

  12. #12 guthrie
    2008/05/26

    [deleted - please lets not get personal, anyone -W]

  13. #13 guthrie
    2008/05/30

    Hey, I managed to get a post deleted! I think thats the 2nd in about 10 years!

    Mugwump, to explain more simply, your misconception is that we are all academics, and further, that only sneering academics support global warming. Basically, polemical ranting on the topic makes you look amusing.
    Meanwhile, the politicians and planners are paying more attention to the real world than to you.

    [I'm afraid you did. Its not just you, everyone needs an occaisional reminder re civility. I think we all need to realise that having the last word isn't necessary;the flaws in Mw's position are fairly obvious and don't need to be pointed out -W]

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