That's fine company to be in: the oil producers' cartel and the closest thing to the coal producers' cartel.
Barkindo told an energy conference in Moscow that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -- which holds around two thirds of the world's oil reserves -- opposed such research efforts.
"We find some of the so-called initiatives of the rich industrialized countries who are supposed to take the lead in combating climate change rather alarming," he said.
Barkindo said it was misguided but he did not elaborate on possible solutions to the problem.
"The mitigation and adaptation to climate change can only be accomplished on the principles of common responsibility and respected capabilities and not by scenarios that have no foundations in either science or economics as we had yesterday from London," he said.
In other words: don't stop buying our oil, and please don't start planning for a future when you would not be buying our oil.
Which, coming from a lobbying group, is a bit crude (pun intended), but par for the course.
Same thing for the conservative government in Australia:
"We are going to be absolutely determined to ratify the Kyoto targets; to set real emissions targets; to establish an emissions trading system; to invest in renewables, not in reactors; and to fast-track clean coal technology," [conservative Prime Minister Howard] told parliament.
"We are going to do all those things and be good international citizens and good supporters of Australian industry as a result of that."
In other words: let us continue to produce and burn coal, and let us decide ourselves if what we do is good for theenvironment or not.
Which, again, makes sense if your main industries are resource exploitation, mining, and in particular coal mining, that most of your electricity comes cola-fired plants, and that your industry, thanks to abundant oil and coal, is very energy-intensive and greenhous gas emitting. And that you are a conservative government giving priority to industry over the environment. Profits over people.
In an e-mailed statement, the White House Council on Environmental Quality said, ``The U.S. government has produced an abundance of economic analysis on the issue of climate change. The Stern Report is another contribution to that effort.''
The statement from spokeswoman Kristen Hellmer said the United States is ``well on track to meet the president's goal to reduce greenhouse gas intensity of our economy 18 percent by 2012.''
The problem, said Annie Petsonk of Environmental Defense, is that this goal essentially requires only the status quo.
``This is just business as usual for this economy,'' Petsonk said by telephone. ``The result is no reduction in America's total greenhouse gas emissions.''
The United States is the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, producing 25 percent of greenhouse gases from 5 percent of the global population.
Note, as usual with this White House, the smart parsing of words: the commitment is to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the economy, not the greenhouse gas emissions themselves: this means that you only commit to use less energy per unit of GDP, but the absolute amount can increase as GDP grows faster than the intensity decreases.
(Just like with a car: if you buy a higher MPG car but start driving it a lot more, you improve your mileage (intensity), but increase your total consumption in gallons, becuase you've gone more miles, thus worsening emissions).
Energy intensity has been decreasing naturally over the years, as we switch to service activities rather than heavy industry, and as technology improvement and productivity increases allow us to do more with the same quantity of energy. The problem is that this is not enough, and overall energy consumption is increasing pretty rapidly.
Fundamentally, we are in a world where those using energy are not paying for its full cost, and letting is be borne by others in indirect ways (pollution of the atmosphere and of the lands where the resources come from, global warming, the military budget funding the aircraft carriers protecting the trade routes and the expeditionary corps in various oil producing countries, the police and emergency services on the roads, the lost lives and limbs of traffic accident casualties, etc...).
The whole point of carbon taxes, gas taxes and other environmental regulation is to make this price apparent for the consumers directly.
Of course, it increases the price they're used to. But that's not because it's an unfair cost, it's because the existing price is extravagantly, unfairly subsidized by those hurt by pollution, accidents, wars and climate events around the world, who pay with their shattered lived and limbs for our privileged lifestyle.
The governments of Australia and the USA obviously think that they can go on living as they do, letting various countries around the world pay the price of our inaction; after all, it's only invisible thirdworlders (or the occasional Louisiana black) who are dying or being uprooted from their lives.
But the fact remains: our lifestyle is in many ways unsustainable, and it will thus STOP, xwhether we want it or not. That can be done in an orderly fashion, because we acknowledge the issue and organize our societies to cope, and to help those in the least favorable situation, or it will be imposed in a chaotic way by reality.
So, to those that tell me that it is not possible to live in rural Nebraska without a big car and, if you're poor, cheap gas is vital, I say this: I agree. It is not possible, and it will not last. The only question is whether the people that now live there will be helped to move to a more sustainable lifestyle, or if they will be forced brutally to change their lives.
Understand me: I have nothing against rural Nebraska, and I am not saying that you should not live there; but I am saying that living there is steadily going to become more and more expensive, and it will be quite simply unaffordable for those that are not rich. I am not blaming those that live there now: I am sure it is a wonderful place, and cheap energy has made it possible. But the bill is coming due. A serious energy policy will organise the transition. A lack of policy will condemn those of you that do live in such places to be subject to unpredictable lifechanging circumstances dictated by the realities of the international energy markets.
Calling the messenger arrogant or ignorant of your reality will not change this.