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Russian Oil and the Energy Crisis

Updated: Apr 19



One of my favorite sources of news and commentary is the New York Times podcast The Daily, which launched in January 2017 and now gets 1.1 million downloads every weekday.  The Daily is hosted by Michael Barbaro @mikiebarb and you can subscribe for free to these twenty minute podcast published five days a week. Barbaro makes the news feel like narrative storytelling, but in a short form.


The The Daily's March 9, 2022 story was Will Banning Russian Oil Hurt Russia, or the U.S.? Although there is bilateral Congressional support for Bidden's recent plan to ban Russian oil and it makes good optics for the President to say that current increases in the price of gasoline is "Putin's Price Hike," unfortunately it will probably have little immediate impact on the war. Clifford Krauss said "It would be an enormous deal if Europe were to stop importing more than three million barrels a day of Russian oil. But they just can’t do that because they depend on that oil. It would be impossible for them to drive their cars, run their transportation systems without oil for many countries in Europe. And so that would be just too much for them to do that."


The Guardian reports that "Boycott of Russian gas and oil ‘could cause mass poverty in Germany."

"The Green party politician predicted “mass unemployment, poverty, people who can’t heat their homes, people who run out of petrol” if his country stopped using Russian oil and gas." "Few other western economies are as dependent on Russian energy as Germany: 55% of the natural gas, 52% of the coal and 34% of mineral oil used in the country comes from Russia, for which it pays hundreds of millions of euros daily, financially supporting the war machine currently devastating Ukraine."


Christiana Figueres asks on the wonderful podcast Outrage + Optimism of March 14, 2022:

"Will we gather ourselves around the moral clarity that we need to end the violence by breaking our addiction once and for all?" and argues "Because our addiction is fueling the conflict we are watching our neighbors and our neighbor’s children suffer. It’s time to quit."

Figueres offers a brilliant analogy to understand where we are:


"Let's entertain the scenario that I am a patient that has been diagnosed with lung cancer caused by smoking, decades of smoking. The cancer is not yet terminal, but getting very close and I have all kinds of medical warnings about that.


In addition, on top of that, I learned that the provider of the cigarettes I am smoking is a terrible bully who is using the money I pay him (and it this case it is a him) to do horrible things to other people, literally kill other people, So here is the question, How do I react? How do I respond? What are my choices?


So one option of course is to decide is that the problem that I'm actually facing is the bully himself and that I need or want to continue smoking so the solution to that problem is to start planting tobacco in your own back yard and to start my own little home-rolling industry so I can produce my own cigarettes. and that way I no longer have to buy from the bully, I'm not giving him the money, but I continue to smoke despite the immediate treats to my health. That is one option and that is being put forward as an option to the Russia/Ukaraine crisis by some people .


The other option that we have is that I can actually use this moment to choose to break my addiction to smoking, despite the fact that it has had me in chains for decades. I can choose to break the addiction altogether and move to healthier habits. That means I will no longer pass the money to the bully; I starve the bully of his income; and I save my own life because I stop smoking and put myself into the recovery treatment that gets me to much healthier status.."

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