Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Completely Unsubstantiated Conspiracy Theory

I believe in The Law of Unintended Consequences (TLUC)

You don't have to consider it as a real thing but I do ... as much as I believe in Murphy's Law. Perhaps TLUC is even a subset of the Murphies?

My interpretation: "The more you meddle in matters that have evolved into a balanced or relatively stable system the more likely it is that you will create unintended consequences."

In any case, from time to time it seems that doing all the right things and asking all the right questions gets us no where near where it is we hope to be. Today it was all started by reading about the trials a tribulations of T. Boone Pickens and his wind energy investment schemes..... which got me thinking about the role of "Big Oil" in the whole enviro-energy racket.

And led to the unlikely question needed to get past the obvious assumptions and the unoriginal answers:

Why do the zealots who have jumped on the Anthropogenic Global Warming Bandwagon always see "Big Oil" as the culprit behind the efforts to discredit them?


I tend to believe that the types who are representative of the AGM boosters are almost always as wrong about just any issue they concern themselves with as they are about the one at hand and in question. No need to get into the motivations. Surely, some are honestly exploring the possibilities, some are venal and self serving and most are just sheep going with the flock. The bottom line is that the more they bleat the further they are from the facts and realities of the matter. The more sure they are of their accepted tennents the further from the truth.

So, bingo - bango - bongo ...... these guys are wrong or at least highly likely to be wrong about the role of "Big Oil" in the AGM argument.

The point then is if they are wrong or likely to be wrong on this matter then what is the role of "Big Oil" in the whole affair?

For one thing I can see that no matter what "Big Oil" really does or wants, it will be the target of hyperbole and moonbat venom. For another it certainly seems to me that the majority of debunkers, cynics and just plain skeptics are happy to put the effort into extracting the facts from the hype and letting the result be known for the personal gratification of getting to the heart of the matter and somewhat for the satisfaction of "Fisking" the con men and hucksters or especially the self professed "Experts".

This leaves the mysterious forces of the so called "Big Oil" cabal out of the anti-AGM argument.

But, certainly they do have a stake in any issue that may impact their ability to make money.
And just as certainly, for the same reasons they are "BIG" they are going to be on top of trends and political movements that come along. In no way do I see nor have I ever experienced high foreheads in the board rooms or the back rooms conniving over ways to incite financial turmoil simply because they are TOO BUSY doing the basic stuff that makes them money.

I do however envision such folks responding to business threats like competitive energy sources.

Which brings me to the theory of how Big Oil actually promoted the AGM issue and why they did it.

First of all well before the AGM gang got any momentum or public attention there was the issue of alternative fuels. Things like bio-fuels and Solar and Wind generation were around and being developed without much or any fanfare for at least 30 years. Environmental activists types naturally offering emotional and often nonsensical views of idealized results for widespread adoption seemed to be the source of most publicity for these developments. But, for the most part the average person really didn't care that much as long as the home was heated and the car fueled without upsetting the domestic energy budget.

However, and here is where the law of unintended consequences comes into play, the environmental activist gang was having a hayday going after polluting industries. A laudable pursuit. In the course of their battles they discovered one of the obvious facts (the kind that activists seem to be shocked when the discover) that a lot of electrical power in the US is generated by Coal. Of course "Coal Is Dirty" and therefore any use of coal must be so too and so on. And so coal became the pahria of the energy group.... leaving a lot of extra opportunity for the oil boys.

But here's the thing. In the process of demanding all sorts of limits be put on the exploitation of coal the power industry was put in the position of finding less dirty ways to use coal. Oil is NOT the fuel of choice for power generators. Coal is abundant and cheap which oddly enough seems to go hand in hand. Being abundant and cheap is what makes coal a good fuel for power generation. The ways to use the coal without the downside of massive polution and drawing the ire of the activists is the challenge.

What many people do not know is that over the last 30 years there have been a number of technology developments that make energy from coal not only an environmentally benign process but retain the economic advantages.

So here is where the "Big Oil" as AGM promoter conspiracy starts to incubate.
The environmentalists pushed on coal. The coal /power industry fought back with technology. The technology began to look like it was going to take coal out of the backwoods and into the mainstream and then "Big Oil" started to take notice of coal.

In the USA oil and natural gas are the largest sources of electrical power and heating.They are used more for this purpose than any others combined. They enjoyed the market advantage because of the perceptions of coal as a less suitable fuel. If coal became a fuel of choice it would mean a severe loss of market for petroleum fuels and this market. Not to mention that the loss of demand for petro-produced power and heat will put a severe crimp in the demand/ price power equations.

Fortunately for the petro-boys the AGM crowd started to get some momentum.

Being the students of trends that they are the petro club figured that if the AGM crowd got up some steam there would be the usual thrust of going after the obvious (coal) thus allowing them to continue to enjoy the run of the coop as it were in the power generation and home fuel markets. Not to mention the bonus of oil price panic as Washington helps out by impeding the development of coal and neglecting to fund clean coal initiatives while threatening expansion of oil resources and the unintended consequences keep piling up.

Who stands to lose from successful coal development? Oil. From the Arabian Gulf to Kazakstan, from Alberta to Venezuela from Houston to Anchorage to St.Johns ...... Who has gained from the AGM hysteria?

Yep "Big Oil".

So my theory is that the "Big Oil" guys have been quietly supporting and financing the AGM activists. Knowing full well what the reaction of the Dummies in Washington would be Exactly the opposite of the accepted wisdom from the activists.



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Blogger marginalizedactiondinosaur said...

I'm still waiting for big oil to send me a cheque, who do I call in payables?

11/17/2008 1:24 p.m.  
Blogger OMMAG said...

Big handouts dept. ..... har.

Still waiting for my refund on over $1million in taxes I've paid over my life ..... since virtually none of it was spent on me or my family I want a refund.

11/17/2008 6:17 p.m.  

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