People are so stupid.
There exists a world market for oil. There exist prices for different kinds of oil, but all of them are effected by world events, because, given enough trouble, a tanker could take a load all the way around the world if it wanted to.
So, let’s say we built 5 Keystone XXXXXXXL super pipelines, fracked the entire Midwest including Alberta, kicked every damn caribou out of Alaska, and drilled thousands of holes on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
What on earth would this do to the world price? Surely, it would lower it for a while because there would be more supply. But as long as we aren’t producing 100% of our own oil, we still need it to come from somewhere, and as long as that somewhere is affected by the global market, we’re still subject to that world price.
So, let’s say we did all of those things and banned any export of oil, and took other steps to ban imports. Eventually getting to 100% domestic consumption only. That would be great. Except prices would skyrocket at first, the oil companies would freak out, etc.
So, this is a two step process that the Republicans never want to tell you Step 2 of. Yeah, everyone gets it that if we drill more, it could be cheaper. But it might not. The price has varied wildly on all kinds of bizarre market manipulations and then we are just depleting our own supply. It probably would just encourage more reckless usage instead of efficiency.
But drilling doesn’t put the oil in the ground. If it’s there, it’s there. If there’s a world crisis, then we have it and we are “secure.” Using it up actually makes us less so.
But unless we’re going to ban all exports and imports of oil, there is little point in opening up more of our own reserves. If we deplete the rest of the world and we’ve got all that’s left, that’s a great spot to be in.
All of this, of course, assumes that the environmental impact is neutral, which it is not, and that the oil industry would ever permit an export and import ban, which it would not. Hell, I don’t even know if that would fly under the WTO.
So, yes, folks. We didn’t intervene in Iraq because of oil. We might be paying attention to Iraq because of the price of oil, but we get barely any oil from there in the first place. The whole thing was stupid.
As for me, I say, park the microbus, take a fucking shower, look at the climate reports and build 50 nuclear power plants yesterday. Yes, a 9.0 earthquake might damage one of them. Might. Continuing to burn fossil fuels already has put us in deep shit.
It’s a miracle we’re still alive.