TED Conversations

Lindsay Newland Bowker

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

While we work towards a future of clean renewable affordable non polluting energy can we control oil prices?

While we are waiting and working towards a future of renewable non polluting universally afforable energy, can we use global demand side parnerships to bring oil prices down? No one country can have any meaningful effect by itself on oil prices..not on the supply side or the demand side. The U.S. with 5% of the wolrld's population consumes 25% of the world’s daily oil supply and yet it is able to supply only 35% of its own demand through domestic oil. OPEC controls 78% of the world’s oil reserves, Saudi Arabia alone 56% of the world’s reserves. By simple math, collectively the world’s biggest users of oil, China, the U.S. the EU, own considerably less than 22% of the world’s oil reserves even though Canada owns the second largest supply of oil after Saudi Arabia. It seems obvious that no one country has enough power on its own through supply or demand to have any effect at all on OPEC supply and pricing decisions. But can global partnerships among key non-OPEC consumer nations change that from the demand side? One U.S. economist writing a few years ago believed there was more demandside clout than was being explored or utlized. Are global "buyer's cartels" the answer and if so why isn't the U.S. taking the lead in that? Isn't it time to look to international policy not just on oil but on utlization of resources world wide and wouldn't that bring us more quickly toward our goal of clean renewable and universally available energy?

Share:
  • thumb
    Apr 18 2011: Lots of interesting heads up talk in the media the last few days about oil prices including CNBC's Erin Burnett who followed up her Friday talk with confirmation this morning that supply has nothing to do with skyrocketing oil prices and prices at the pump. .Lou Crandall, Chief Economist of Wrightson Icap , LLC said recently that no one country can have any effect onoil " Higher oil prices today are a global phenomenon, and the additional supply from increased drilling by the U.S. would not alter the global balance of supply and demand greatly. Gasoline prices at the pump would be higher either way. The only difference is that a somewhat larger share of the revenue would accrue to domestic interests (governmental and private) rather than to foreign suppliers. http://gratewire.com/topic/experts-say-its-not-credible-to-blame-obama-for-spike-in-gas-pricesn oil. Burnetts comments on Friday were even more interesting. What she said more or less is that our support and others cinsumer natiions support for dictators in oil porducing countries has been our mechansims for controlling oil prices and that thge success of democratic movements in the middle east could send the pruce of oil skyrocketing.. Burnett said Friday that oil prices would skyrocket if countries in the Middle East broke out from under the rule of brutal dictators.." Burnett said that the ongoing revolution in Egypt could threaten US interests in the region due to Egypt's history as an ally on matters pertaining to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/28/cnbc-anchor-implies-support-dictators-cheap-oil/Globally, doesn't an International Demand Side Cartel make a lot more sense?
  • Apr 15 2011: well you see oil companies dont want green energy or else they will lose profit
    thats why a while back they patentented electric cars (its an old technology)
    thus going green isnt too easy because of another reason. oil companies also fund political partys
    during elections and when they win they expect some money back. so they preshure them for tax cuts or else they will move their bussiness to another country (as if they would) and the politicians give in thats why its also hard to go green
    • thumb
      Apr 16 2011: Yes, of course, oil is the crown jewel of the plutonomy and America's gordion knot of ties to oil, our legislaive framework harnessed to oil has held us back, from moving to other more sustainable, renewable and universally available technologies. But right now we are all caught in the grip of artificial oil pricing that hurts the poorest and the hardest working the most. Here on my island it is costing people their homes and the boats which are their livelihood. Oil drives the price not just of our cars and heating our homes but of almost all of our goods and services..even food. My idea for a global buyer's cartel for oil, right now, might provide lower and more stable pricing for oil and also be a way of grabbing one thread on that gordion knot and beginning to untie it. It might also restore some chance of making ends meet right now for the poor and the working poor across america.

      You are quite right that oil interests have kept us from moving forward as a nation towards green energy but I believe there are many ways we as global citizens can begin to undo that. Legislative transparency is important , each of us taking the time to understand to serarch for the truth behind news headlines is important, being activists about that is important. But oil and its grip on our day to day lives is an immedate reality that we must try to do something about. I am convinced after researching the oil plutonomy that it is beyond the power of any one country. It requires the co-operation and commitment of many nations working together. When we turn our hearts collectively toward change..change can and will happen. It will take many mnay voices and committed hearts around the wolrd to break the grip of oil on our daily lives.