Thursday, May 29, 2008


If voting doesn't work to lower taxes--and it never will: "The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else". Bastiat/1850--there's always this:

Fuel protests herald grim times for European green policy
After hundreds of angry drivers shut down highways in England yesterday in protest against green automobile taxes, and drivers and fishermen in France and Spain paralyzed their ports and roads in a fuel-tax protest, politicians began to signal Europe's ambitious emission-control policies may soon have to be abandoned.

While Europe has led the way in using tax incentives to encourage people to buy low-emission cars and to build carbon-neutral houses in order to meet Kyoto targets, it has become increasingly apparent that inflation-battered voters are no longer willing to go along.

Political leaders in Britain and France are seeking the reversal of tax policies designed to make polluting vehicles more expensive, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and some British ministers calling on their own governments and the European Union to relax ecologically friendly taxes in order to give relief to citizens suffering from fast-rising food and fuel prices.

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper launches a European tour today to persuade leaders that Canada's greenhouse-gas policies are acceptable, he may find the gaps between their views have narrowed, as formerly ecologically assertive leaders react to rising voter backlash against green policies.
The guy who wrote the headline doesn't get it.

These aren't fuel protests; these are tax protests.

The protesters quite sensibly aren't targeting the private companies. They're targeting the government. One can only hope this really means more folks are finally catching on.

--By the way, when you think of "Big Oil" you might have the wrong folks in mind anyways.

As The Economist points out:

...the national oil companies (NOCs) [are] owned or controlled by the governments of oil-rich countries, which manage over 90% of the world's oil, depending on how you count. Of the 20 biggest oil firms, in terms of reserves of oil and gas, 16 are NOCs. Saudi Aramco, the biggest, has more than ten times the reserves that Exxon does.

Check this Federation of American Scientists publication, the 2007 report to Congress titled: The Role of National Oil Companies in the International Oil Market (PDF--and, by the way, Foxit Reader, which is free and scum/malware free, works better and faster than Adobe Reader IMNSHO).

From the report:

Every firm in the top ten reserve holders, with the exception of Lukoil, in both 2006 and 2000 was state owned. Among the major international oil companies, Exxon Mobil is ranked fourteenth, BP seventeenth, Chevron nineteenth, Conoco Phillips, twenty-third, and Shell is ranked twenty-fifth in 2006. These five firms hold only 3.8% of world liquid reserves, and their major holdings are in the United States and Canada.

In contrast, the top ten firms listed in Table2 hold 80.6%of the total world liquid reserves. The top ten companies in 2006 in Table 2 have an average reserve to production ratio of 78 years, with INOC, the Iraqi National OilCompany, the highest at 173 years and Lukoil, a privately held Russian company,the lowest at 24 years.

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