The upside of high petroleum prices

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

As much as I wince each time I have to fill up the gas tank (which I’m doing less and less these days, thanks to working from home more often), I do realize that higher petroleum prices are ultimately a good thing. And so does a writer for Market Watch. We’ve been able to maintain this addiction to oil for so long only because the lobbying might of the oil companies has overwhelmed the benefits of switching (and not because it wasn’t cost beneficial to switch from oil, because it already is). But as gas gets more and more expensive, alternative options like plug-in cars will look more and more attractive. Once a major shift is made, the negative externalities of petroleum production will be reduced by a good deal.

So the next time you’re wincing at how much it costs to fill up at the pump, console yourself with the knowledge that this is ultimately good for the future of mankind on this planet. Widespread petroleum use is environmentally unsustainable due to the particulate pollution and carbon dioxide emissions (and thus, global warming) it causes. The sooner we get away from it, the better. And the best way to get away from it, and indeed, perhaps the only way to get away from it in this political climate where the oil companies wield such great power, is to make it such that people simply cannot afford it.

Who’s with me on a countdown to $10/gallon gasoline?

Now this is how to oppress women

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Three cheers to Saudi Arabia, our supposed ally in the Middle East, for showing us their mastery of the art form of the oppression of women.

A 19-year-old woman was meeting a man to retrieve a photograph when the two were abducted and gang-raped by a group of seven men. The two victims were each sentenced to 200 lashes and 6 months in jail while the attackers were each sentenced with 2-9 years in jail.

Now you may be wondering why a rape victim and the victim of an abduction would be punished along with the actual rapists and abductors. Well, it turns out, they weren’t so innocent after all! They had the gall of meeting with each other without being married!

Al-Lahim said the man tried to blame his client for insisting on meeting him that day. It is illegal for a woman to meet with an unrelated male under Saudi’s Islamic law.

Saudi Arabia is the kind of company we keep simply because we are so addicted to oil that we need friends in the region, no matter how sick and twisted they are. Need I remind you, 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Yet here we are, propping up this disgusting country, when we really should be giving them the kind of scorn that we’re wasting on the likes of Iran and Venezuala.

If we redirected just 10% of the amount we spend on oil from the Middle East to R&D on solar and wind power technologies, we’d be completely independent from the Middle East for energy within a decade. Yet it’s not going to happen because the oil companies are powerful, and Republicans, the ostensible “national security” party, are firmly in their pockets.

Besides all of the advantages of not being dependent on the Middle East for energy, and all of the effects on the environment, I’d like to see us independent from foreign oil for another reason: so we could tell Saudi Arabia to go fuck themselves.