The poison in the veins of the global economy
We should see crude oil for what it truly is
Crude oil is very crude indeed. A science fiction writer would be hard pressed to come up with a more disgusting substance.
It is sticky, dirty, smelly, toxic and carcinogenic. It variously vaporises, seeps, oozes, floats, adheres, solidifies and sinks — anything to insinuate itself into the environment and spread its poison.
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It is literally death in liquid form. Millions of years of corpses pressed and cooked into the terminal phase of decay.
If you had just a jar of it in your possession, you wouldn’t want it in the house. But a single barrel of crude is 42 US gallons or just under 159 litres. If you had one of those it would be a local disaster waiting to happen — requiring specialised storage facilities.
In the oil futures market, traders deal in contracts for thousands or millions of barrels. Of course, it’s just pieces of paper to them, numbers on a glowing screen. They never expect to take delivery of what they’re notionally buying — it’s always sold on to someone else.
Except that yesterday, there was no one else. The refineries weren’t buying, the storage facilities were full, the oil tankers fully laden but with nowhere to go.
The terrible truth dawned in trading rooms across the world. Metaphorically, the glowing screens cracked, oil gushing through the fragments. Panicking, the traders paid others whatever it took to move a previously valuable asset off their hands. And so, for the first time in history, the price of oil went negative.
We may see in all of this a satisfying morality tale — the greedy traders in their clean white shirts suddenly splattered with the consequences of their actions. But, of course, we’re all complicit. Every time we fill up at the petrol station or take a flight or buy cheap Chinese imports, we too are dealing in crude oil and it’s not-so-refined products. Out of sight, out of mind, we’re doing our part to spread its pollutants around the planet — from the oil-slicked seabird to our children’s lungs.
Of course, that’s because we’re addicted to oil’s energy content — the life blood of the global economy.
It’s only now that the pandemic has forced us to stay still that we can see crude for what it really is: a liability, a curse, a poison worth less than nothing.
I’m having my morning coffee wondering if you have realized one thing. As of yesterday, there’s not another energy source cheaper than oil. I’m also trying to figure out if you heard about these news from one of those street yellers of the past, hand wrote this article using a quill on hand pressed paper, in a room lit with a candle, then dressed with hand sewn clothes, went out and walked, rode a bike, or a horse, to hand deliver this piece to your publisher. Don’t forget to keep the wood burning fireplace going. That is, unless you happen to own your own place where you have plenty (and expensive) of solar panels, and wind turbines to power your electronics, so you can have the pleasure of enjoying all the modern amenities you obviously don’t want to have at the moment.
modern amenities are for wimps
Obviously you are a globalist with a very green agenda. So I challenge all you green cult zealots stop using every petrochemical created or component in your life.
I know you won’t because you are all hysteria, talk and no action. Without this substance there is no modern heated housing. There is no transportation. There is no mobile phone where you endlessly take selfies to send to your vain and navel gazing cult members.
When I see you in a wooden hut, chopping wood, bucketing water from the local stream and plowing fields with wooden impliments then I will start to take you seriously. As long as I see you on your computer spewing out this sort of rubbish I will continue to know you are a foolish hypocrite.
Nothing about the extraordinary benefits we’ve received from oil and fossil fuels generally?
Have you any idea Peter?
“a liability, a curse, a poison worth less than nothing” – Obviously not.
Peter you are really behind the times.
Single use plastic (derived from oil) is all the rage in the NHS.
Indeed the press were all agog recently about a shipment of supplies from Turkey, and a RAF plane ready to fly back with the shipment. Perhaps I should call it “planement” to help you understand that the shipment is not relying on sail power, but oil!
Is that it? Plenty passion but hardly new, balanced or to be frank, interesting.
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