RE: [OPE] Leave the oil in the soil?

From: Paul Cockshott (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2008 - 17:19:20 EST

Patrick wrote
Hi folks,

Your pro-nuclear position is untenable from our vantagepoint in SA, 
Paul, given that in 2006 we had our main power outage (affecting all of 
Cape Town for a few days) due to a loose bolt that shut down the giant 
Koeberg nuclear station, and that we're campaigning like mad to stop the 
next-generation 'Pebble Bed' reactor technology. A chapter in a book 
(Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society) I coedited by my 
friend Muna Lakhani is available if you aren't convinced by 
proliferation risks; he covers the full gamut of arguments.

Please send me the chapter so I can assess your arguments.

There is also a certain hypocrisy in the arguments against
proliferation. If American and Britain can have nuclear weapons
why should Korea and Persia be denied them?


The idea of 'trading rations' is a dangerous concession (made by 
Contraction&Convergence and EcoEquity people) to the market, which is a 
giant mess already, and cannot be cured by attempts to inject Rawlsian 
equity, especially in the climate of neolib-neocon fusion we're now 
suffering (and indeed will continue suffering thanks to the failure of 
all the major Northern electorates, perhaps Norway excepted, to generate 
even a single genuinely pro-peace government - and all because of oil). 
Moreover, you buy into way too many neoclassical assumptions about value 
measurements and efficiencies - and distract attention from the much 
more substantive - and achievable - means of reducing emissions.

I would agree that in a socialist economy one would not need
tradeable rations, however what is likely to be introduced is 
either carbon trading of the EU variety in which the rations are
handed out free to big companies who then trade them between
each other, or alternatively as system of carbon taxation.
Both of these have severely regressive implications on income

The transitional demands - I love that phrase (but please let's think of 
them as non-reformist reforms, as Gorz had it, so that options like 
nuclear quickly fall away) - would surely include payment of the vast 
ecological debt y'all up North owe the South for using the rainforests 
as a free sink, right? Or do you want to continue that form of 
accumulation by dispossession unhindered? Nah.
I am not sure what reasoning you are using here. You talk as if
rainforests were economic agents that have to be paid for absorbing
co2, but that is what forests do naturally.

I would understand it if you accused the north of being hypocritical
for cutting down their own forests hundreds or thousands of years ago
and then criticising the south when it does the same.
However in the last decade or so, satellite data shows increased
afforestation in Europe and North America.

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