Wed, 2015-01-21 15:00Guest
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Oil Prices Drop As Global Warming Rises

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

With oil prices plunging from more than $100 a barrel last summer to below $50 now, the consequences of a petro-fuelled economy are hitting home — especially in Alberta, where experts forecast a recession.

The province’s projected budget surplus has turned into a $500-million deficit on top of a $12-billion debt, with predicted revenue losses of $11 billion or more over the next three or four years if prices stay low or continue to drop as expected. Alberta’s government is talking about service reductions, public-sector wage and job cuts and even increased or new taxes on individuals. TD Bank says Canada as a whole can expect deficits over the next few years unless Ottawa takes money from its contingency fund.

Wed, 2015-01-21 13:04Carol Linnitt
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Koch Brothers Exposed: Watch Free Documentary on the Fifth Anniversary of Citizens United

Today marks five years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the wrong way on the Citizens United case, allowing unlimited spending by corporations in elections. Protesters in Washington spent the morning disrupting the Supreme Court to register their frustration with the ruling, yelling “overturn Citizens United!” from the back of the courtroom.

In case you haven't seen the documentary film “Koch Brothers Exposed,” Brave New Films is offering the film free online for anyone to view.

I asked Mike Damanskis, a comedian, filmmaker and social media manager at Brave New Films, about the decision and what they hope to achieve by doing it. Read on for our Q&A.

Wed, 2015-01-21 09:20Mike Gaworecki
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Obama Vows To Fight For Climate Policies In State Of The Union But What He Didn’t Mention Was Just As Telling

President Barack Obama could not have signaled more clearly in his 2015 State of the Union address that he intends to fight for his legacy on climate change in the face of a hostile, anti-science GOP-led House and Senate.

But it was what the President didn’t mention that could negate his climate legacy: free trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership that undermine local efforts to lower emissions, projects like Keystone XL that lock us into decades of continued dirty energy use, and the exporting of American-made coal, crude oil and natural gas to overseas markets.

Which is not to say that every policy position Obama laid out regarding energy and the environment entirely matched his lofty rhetoric about climate change.

Wed, 2015-01-21 00:01Brendan Montague
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Britain's First Climate Denier Was Bag Carrier for Oil Baron Charles Koch

DeSmog UK’s epic history series continues with a peek into the intimate friendship between free-market libertarian John Blundell and the Koch brothers.

Without… Charles and David Koch… without their far-sighted commitment, we would not be here today and we would not be witnessing a world-wide move toward freedom and free markets,” John Blundell once wrote.

The free-market libertarian had just been recruited as the new director of the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Handing in his notice at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) – a hardline neoliberal think tank funded by oil billionaire Charles Koch – Blundell booked a flight to England.

Tue, 2015-01-20 11:11Justin Mikulka
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Low Prices Driving Record U.S. Crude Oil Exports Despite Crude Oil Export Ban

Are you more desperate to get a better deal when you’re poor? I guess you are.”

That was John Auers, executive vice president of oil industry consulting firm Turner Mason & Company, describing the oil industry as being “poor” and “desperate” to Bloomberg.

As the oil industry cries poverty due to low oil prices in an effort to justify its attempts to lift all restrictions on exporting crude oil produced in the U.S., it is helpful to remember that this is an industry that was demanding tax breaks for oil production even when, in 2013, the top 5 companies made a combined $93 billion in profits. In just the second quarter of 2014 alone, a year of poverty and desperation, as the industry tells it, ExxonMobil made $8.8 billion in profit.

The “better deals” that John Auers was talking about are to be found on the global market, which technically isn’t open to those “poor” U.S. crude oil producers due to the crude oil export ban. Crude oil that is produced in the U.S. is worth more if it is sold on the world market than if it is sold in the United States.

So, it should come as no surprise that in November, as oil prices began falling, U.S. producers went about finding ways to export oil using some existing exemptions from the Reagan era as well as some new approaches. Their efforts resulted in the U.S. breaking the all-time monthly export record in November 2014. The previous record was set in 1957, a time when there was no export ban.

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