Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Why I like $140 oil

A surprisingly not ill-informed and annoying article by George Monbiot (isn't it nice when someone who is usually foolish says something sensible?) considers the good things about $140 oil. One of them is that it is stopping a lot of unsustainable fishing:
No east Asian government was prepared to conserve the stocks of tuna; now one-third of the tuna boats in Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea will stay in dock for the next few months because they can't afford to sail. The unsustainable quotas set on the US Pacific seaboard won't be met this year, because the price of oil is rising faster than the price of fish. The indefinite strike called by Spanish fishermen is the best news European fisheries have had for years. Beam trawlermen - who trash the seafloor and scoop up a massive bycatch of unwanted species - warn that their industry could collapse within a year. Hurray to that too.
Let me add to that. Hurray if the oil price ruins the road transport industry. We should be sending much more cargo by rail and river anyway. Hurray if it causes people to drive less and to buy smaller and less polluting cars. Not only should Gordon go ahead with higher vehicle duty on the most polluting cars, he should extend that idea to lorries, planes, and indeed every other source of pollution. The only way to realign the economy to the post carbon age is to get the incentives right. $140 oil helps, but $200 or $250 oil would be even better.

Update. The high oil price appears to be working in Washington. According to a Washington Metro press release:
Twenty of Metrorail’s top 25 highest weekday ridership days have occurred since April of this year.

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