Why Governments like Fossil Fuels
There has been much discussion
over the past fifty years about reducing the world dependence on fossil
fuels, primarily oil and gas. Lots of reasons have been advanced as to
why this is desirable, ranging from US balance of payments problems to
global warming. In spite of this almost nothing has been done. In fact
the rise of the Asian economies is driving the demand for oil to record
Common sense would indicate that a serious effort to create new sources
of energy would have worldwide positive effects. For example, the
harnessing of Hydrogen or Helium fusion would provide limitless clean
energy. So a large scale research program would pay dividends many
times over. The funding for this, however, remains at an insignificant
Why is this?
Many of the oil producing countries in the world have little else to
offer. They are poor in other natural resources and oil provides the
only significant source of revenue. The obvious candidates are in the
middle east and Africa. However, even the US government gets revenue
from oil leases and fuel taxes.
The oil service companies are based in the developed countries and
provide support to the third world oil producers thus creating a
revenue stream for their parent countries. Clean, cheap energy would be
locally produced and would alter the balance. Third world countries,
having little to sell would become of little interest to the developed
world and, being poor, would provide little in the way of markets for
products and services. Just look at how much attention is paid to those
poor areas now.
So developed countries lose markets and oil producing countries lose
revenue. Thus they all have a vested interest in the status quo. The
environment and the consumers of energy have no pressure groups and
thus don't influence policy.
Can we continue like this? Just remember the Aberfan Effect when the climate
Moral: follow the money.
to see all my essays in context.
If you have any comments you would like to add email me
Copyright © 2004 Robert D Feinman
Feel free to use the ideas, but the words are mine.