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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Depletion Protocol: Mission Impossible?

Richard Heinberg's latest Museletter is out. He is pushing the APSO depletion protocol. The details are sound and his argument should be persuasive, but there's just something so shit-uphill-with-a-broken-stick about it all.

It's not that I don't think we should be calling on nations to do something like this - as he and the hirsh report have both made clear, the likely consequences of doing nothing are not to be taken lightly. At the very least we need to take some big strides in the level of oil reserve reporting. As I read somewhere it is only in the oil market that governments rely on trade journals for their figures!

It's just that when I mentally picture the reaction of large impoting countries to a proposal like this, all I can imagine is a cold shoulder. After all, if you were an American politician wouldn't it be absolute anathema to think of voluntarily reducing your oil consumption when you are operating an armed force that is largely devoted to securing that oil for yourself in any case.

Buying into a protocol like this, or taking moves that would threaten economic growth in any serious way (CO2 reduction or currency reform for example), is simply not going to happen. As soon as it is apparent that that is what is going to happen our leaders shut down. And with good reason.

Economics as practised is a one way process. Productive capacity and capital must grow to sustain the edifice of capitalism, and there is no retreat, no reverse gear.

We will go backwards but not voluntarily, methinks.

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