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Monday, July 15, 2019

The Art of the Green Nude Deal: It's Got no Close.


In 2018, the United States consumed an average of  20.5 million barrels of petroleum per day.

That's one fifth, a full 20%, of the globe's production in order to run an economy that has such an enormous amount of imports from outside its economy that it has started to impose tariffs to manage the deluge. That ocean of oil laps against the shores of a country with a collapsing infrastructure, a growing homeless population, an inability to absorb new immigrants without paroxysms of internal strife, and a deteriorating balance sheet, all resulting in an enormous and mounting deficits in not only its National Debt and yearly deficits, but in its trade deficit as well, despite an unprecedented growth in the amount of energy it is  pouring first into the production of energy and secondly, into the exportation of that energy at a price barely high enough to pay for operations, never mind to service the debt that grows at an ever more disproportionate rate than its petroleum output.

Thus has the US created its own Scylla and Charybdis: Sandwiched between the dire need of higher oil prices to make its money-losing enterprise profitable on the one hand, and the equally disproportionate impact higher energy prices would have on an economy that burns the lion's share of the world's output, on the other.

Liquids produced from natural gas processing are also consumed as petroleum products. Renewable biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, are used as substitutes for, or as additives to, refined petroleum products.

 In other words, even the combustion of 20% of the entire world's daily production of oil simply isn't enough.

Yet as we go through the EIA's charts of where energy is burned, from Industrial sector to Transportation sector to Agricultural sector, Paper manufacturing, to Electricity Production, nowhere in the data is there the smallest hint of how much, and what's of special interest to me, how much growth there is, in the energy sector's use of energy. Which is a perfectly reasonable request for anyone wishing to invest in the sector, but which the sector refuses to divulge, knowing full well, as it does, that investors have little choice but to be "fully invested", so will take the leap, even without the data.




This is akin to an oil-exporting country not keeping track of growth in its own domestic petroleum use. If they are growing in tandem, Goldilocks; if however, domestic use is growing faster than growth in production, the amount available for export declines along with the revenue derived therefrom.

What the above data suggests (although, as I've pointed out, it must be deduced, since the Oil and Gas industry apparently keeps its energy usage secret from the very agency responsible for reporting on it (the EIA is the source of most of my data points)), is that a growing proportion of the energy produced by the fossil fuel industries is consumed by that same industry in order to keeps its production figures growing.  What isn't happening however, is that the production is being made available to industry and other end-users of energy, because less of what it produces gets out of the industry itself, resulting in the same phenomenon as the oil-exporting nation: it can't pay its bills/investors, as its using an ever-increasing amount of its output just to produce even more output, which then needs to be plowed back into the self-same industry to keep its production figures high, even as its profitability continues to deteriorate and the environmental destruction it causes, reaches cyclonic proportions.  Destruction the industry can do a Pontius Pilate on.

The most probable answer lies in the fracturing industry's parallels to the energy dynamics of the ethanol food-for-fuel program: You might get as much energy out as you've put in, but once the investment dollars top a certain amount, the projects go on whether the energy in exceeds the energy out or not. And just as the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is getting larger every year, caused by the runoff from that same ethanol program, the businesses along the shores of the Gulf get nary a nickel in recompense either from the industry nor the government that is so generous in subsidizing the Ethanol program on the one hand via mandates, but gives the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate to small businesses that have no lobbying cartel in DC to lard the palms of politicians.

Government Mandates stress the ALL in Ethanol.


With the ascension of the Reagan/Bush duopoly to the White House, the marriage of the energy sector to the public sector became lopsided, and has now evolved to the point where the rest of the nation's industries are running on a treadmill that's generating profits, which profits are taxed by State and Federal government and then those taxes, along with credits and exemptions, are recycled via various government handouts, to the energy industry. This was kicked into high gear during both Bush administrations' use of the Gulf War as a  distraction from their manipulation of the energy sector for fun and personal profit (President Plump did not create the idea of roiling domestic politics while creating international turmoil to misdirect the public's attention from his actual intention). Extending "Farm" subsidies and Crop Insurance to what is industrialized-fuel robofacturing is Fraud, the subsidies having been  put into place to insure the country's, if not the globe's, food supply. Using that largess to fund the raising of agricultural products that use coal-fired power plants to process food into fuel is Fraud. The only reason it  isn't referred to as such is that the entire justification for the Ethanol program, to Make America "Energy Independent", was itself fraudulent.

QE took this to a whole other level, upping the game to pour not only tax dollars and government guaranteed loans into the sector, but trillions of dollars from the Fed purchase of Treasuries, effectively burdening the entire economy with trillions of dollars of debt (amounting to a full 25% of the GDP) to assume the onus of exploration, drilling, flaring, etc: the entire infrastructure of fracturing the earth's mantle to deliver the trickle of oil each crack provides, funded by the public which receives nary a nickel in dividends that are instead siphoned off to CEO's and shareholders, who can sell their risk at the drop of a hat, leaving the public to assume the burden of unpaid debt, dry wells, and environmental cleanup of landscapes so blighted they look as though they're right out of a Mad Max movie.

Kim chi Un and Kim chi Deux

The deux iterates the anti-Obama meme for President Plump's Contra-Iran posing that he abrogated an international treaty from spite ... a belief he fosters, as it hides his actual motives (It isn't. It's all about the Oil. The Permian basin oil which, even with the shut-in of Iranian and Venezuelan oil and OPEC's output reductions and Russia's cuts because of contaminated oil, can't goose  prices enough to fetch the price it needs to be profitable. A replay of the Bush/Reagan oil supply-side wreconomix).

Sir Kim Darroch’s cables claim the President was against Iran deal, for ‘personality reasons’, but it was for a far more practical reason: to shut-in Iranian oil exports and replace them with  American exports from the Persian Gulf, following the template of GW in shutting in Iraq's oil. The only viable reason, all the other's having been exposed GWMD lies. Yet this glaringly obvious reason, given the Bush Texas cadre's heavy investment in Halliburton and its associated fracking technology, was never broached, even as the price of oil was manipulated by speculators to global economy-crashing levels.

The Burning Bedrock: Fracturing The Flintstones to enable the Jetsons,

Since GW's earth-shattering administration, the fracturing of the economy, the polity and the very bedrock has continued apace until our current plump president pushed it into high gear, resulting in such egregious and simultaneous results: earthquake swarms in California where the fracturing of an already unstable crust is surpassed only by the fracturing taking place in Texas that has its concomitant gas flaring resulting in CO2 concentrations higher than anywhere in the world.

And what do we get as a counterpoint to all this placing of all our chips on one bet?

The Green New Deal that promises: 

  (1) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States;

    (2) to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security
for all people of the United States;

via:

net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

by

meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the
                United States through clean, renewable, and zero-
                emission energy sources,

No problem. We can do it by just

(N) ensuring a commercial environment where every
                businessperson is free from unfair competition and
                domination by domestic or international monopolies.

So easy. Makes one wonder why we haven't already done it. So, which investment banks or Wall St, firms are signed on? None? So they'll just default on their investment in, say, petrochemical plants and plastics, computer, & fossil fuels (without which the roads the Green Nude Deal insists we will ride to the magical zero-emission vehicle infrastructure on won't be built, as they are made of tar).

 All of which is not to say the goals don't sound laudable, the results desirable, but having heard the same rhetoric when the ethanol program was being sold to the public, but which resulted in:

the construction of so many more coal-fired power plants in less than a single decade, that it doubled the concomitant expansion of US coal combustion;

it dynamited every mountaintop in the State of West Virginia;

it tore up the prairie at a pace not seen since the twenties, which had then resulted in the dust bowl;

it aided mightily the aforementioned steady expansion of the Gulf's dead-zone;

and the largest increase in CO2 emissions in the US even as its industrial base contracted;

and finally reduced the mpg's of the US vehicular fleet as a direct result of adulterating gasoline with far less energy-intensive bio-fuel.

This Green solution (that 's all it had to do was call itself green to get the support of "Progressives"), even though, if there were any one single cause that rivals fracturing as the reason why we are now facing a Climate Emergency instead of Climate Change, Ethanol-from-corn, would be it. Yet you see not a whisper of protests from all the Green New Deal signatories to have this economically, environmentally, and  Energy-use-wise disastrous program even curtailed, never mind eliminated. It could be addressed right now, with no Green Nude Deal, but it isn't politically prudent. That alone tells you the likelihood of any of the proposed ideas being implemented in the future.

That all of this harm was done in the name  of the Green solution of ethanol-from-corn, "growing fuel", all leave me skeptical that the Green Nude Deal has chance of doing anything but making matters worse via its "mobilizations" (whenever politicians use military terms to describe their intentions to fund civilian projects, your antennae should go up as they are pandering to your built-in preference for any and everything military, which branch of the government they make nary a reference to, as though it were the Congress, and not the Pentagon, that runs the country. As in the military operations their terminology adopts, once the mobilization begins, the fact that any of them, like Ethanol-from-corn, should prove to have results in complete opposition to their stated ones, and are causing more harm than good, will have no effect on their continued rollout) in the exact same way: Showboating about how "Green" it is, while all the front-loading of CO2 any project to do a fraction of what they sort-of propose can't be undone.

There is no fiscal/industrial/corporate/citizen or any other roadmap published as an adjunct: Like drawing up a Constitution that promises life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to its polity, yet that extends to every one of them of a certain skin color the right to own and flog other humans (who are included in that promise) as though they were draft animals ... there's gonna be problems.

 Drawing up grandiose-sounding plans without any notion of how to address the very real economic, social and political tensions that will ensue directly because of that plan is highly irresponsible, and given today's celebrity-addled, entertainment-addicted milieu, is an act of intractable cynicism that cares not a jot for the economic suicide it will result in. Clean water never comes from playing dirty pool.