Gordon talks Oil
Britain's unelected leader (at least, unelected by the people in a democratic general election), Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is apparently the only head of government at an oil summit in Jeddha at the moment, discussing with the Saudi King Abdullah the future of oil.
His primary topic of discussion, according to the BBC, is the price of oil. For a government that imposes the highest fuel taxes in Europe and possibly the world, you'd think Brown wouldn't be so concerned about the price of oil. Afterall, back in February this year accountants Grant Thornton reported that the current high oil prices could net the treasury an additional Â£300 million every month, enough to cut the price of fuel by 7p a litre.
So why, when the government could be trousering such great rewards from high oil prices, would they want the cost of oil to come down? Apparently Brown is discussing methods to stabilise oil prices. Again we're wondering why. OK, British motorists get screwed enough as it is and the prices going up at the pump are causing outrage in some quarters. It's OK if you live just 3 miles from work and you can take the bike, but for many that's not always an option; what about the truck drivers who transport our food?
Fluctuations and increases in oil prices are certainly a cause for concern but in the grand scheme of things it's not as bad, proportionately, as it is in the US where we noted they are more susceptible to oil price rises. In America gas prices have doubled in 2 years whereas they have doubled in the UK over 10 years.
But anyway, Gordon Brown supposedly has 4 points to discuss with King Abdullah;
- 1. Stabilise the market to avoid volatility in oil prices
- 2. Exploit the world's current oil reserves to their full extent
- 3. Accelerate the switch to alternative energy
- 4. Get oil states to invest in alternative energy
So point 1: How on earth can this be done when there are traders speculating on the price of oil and it's a finite resource? Oil will run out some time soon so the price will go up. Upping oil production adds supply and helps prices come down, but when Saudi Arabia promises to increase oil flow by 200,000 barrels a day in July you have to remember that when the US consumes over 20 million barrels a day, that's just 1% of their great thirst. Plus increased oil extraction simply accelerates us toward the day when the oil runs out...
Point 2: I'm sure oil companies are trying to milk their wells as much as they can but the cost of tapping the most inaccessible reserves comes at a cost that eats into the oil companies' profits. Like spoiled spouses the oil companies wish to maintain the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed, so nothing less than being filthy rich will do.
Point 3: Yes. Please. Switch to green energy a bit quicker please. Not nuclear though, thank you, nuclear energy is nasty scary stuff and nuclear waste is nastier and scarier. Why not go further with the wind power we could exploit in this country or solar in the sunny countries?
Point 4: Now that's a big concern. Yes, further investment in green energy would be great but ultimately we'd be relying on foreign investment. Why can't we invest in renewables ourselves? Where did all the profit from taxing British petrol go? Is it subsidising some other project like useless politicians or pointless wars in other countries?
It's not just us here at Everything's Gone Green who wonder what on earth Gordon Brown is doing having a cosy chat about oil. Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrat party accused the man with the personality bypass of "living in cloud cuckoo land"!
Our comedy Chancellor, Alistair Darling, did actually support the fact that we do need to reduce our dependency on oil in the long term but endorsed the extremely short-sighted idea of producing more oil to reduce prices.
Britain needs to clamp down on energy waste and invest all the savings in making us a self-sufficient nation without nuclear fission. We also need to drive less, drive better, drive more fuel-efficiently, save energy... damn, why aren't us greens in power and not the idiots who are there now?