In this program we are talking about OIL. Our opening theme was from the Beverly Hillbillies, where the Clampett family strikes oil: Black Gold, Texas Tea. Or what we call euphemistically in our time: Palin Perfume, Iraqi Squeezings,

Our guest is Antonia Juhasz, author of a new book called The Tyranny of Oil, a detailed investigation of the world’s major oil companies and their influence.

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Global News

·         Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Neil King, Jr. reports that President Obama’s pledge to end the tyranny of oil is no easy task. He interviewed Jimmy Carter, who says of his own energy reform efforts: .”It was like gnawing on a rock.” Mr. Carter [suggests that Mr. Obama must help Americans]  see the virtue in making energy sacrifices, a notoriously tough sell, especially in the face of falling prices. Obama needs to get energy legislation to Congress quickly, during the presidential honeymoon.

·         The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “Oil [is now] cheaper than water” Jonathan Dart writes: “World oil was trading at $US43 … a barrel during last week, ….With 158 litres to a barrel of oil, the raw product has dropped below the price of the cheapest bottled water,…-41cents [per liter] compared to 42 cents a litre at the pumps.

·         Alexis Madrigal of Wired News reports that: “The world’s population will use less oil this year than it did last year, according to a new forecast from highly-regarded International Energy Agency …In a separate report, the World Bank said the global economy [is in]…recession. One sign of the times: here in California … [is that] the state’s tax revenues came in nearly 20 percent below expectations this month. And biofuel companies trying to capitalize on last year’s high oil prices may suffer from a crippling one-two punch: The financial crisis froze money that might have flowed into their coffers, while the precipitous decline of energy prices makes them look relatively less attractive.”

·         Sara Smith in reports that in a meeting in Algeria taking place  December 17:   “OPEC is planning to announce cuts in oil output production by 2 million barrels per day in an effort to stabilize gas prices.…The world oil cartels are hit with a steady drop in oil prices due to the global economic recession. The proposal is aimed at creating a balance in oil supply and demand in the market”

·         Hybrid Cars News reports that hybrid sales are falling and Americans are returning to the pump: “The only certainty during these times is uncertainty. With the fate of the American auto industry up in the air, the length of the economic recession unknown, and the direction of oil markets in disarray, American consumers can only respond to the real price of gasoline at the corner gas station at this exact moment. The response apparently is to fill ‘er up while the price is low.

Interview with Antonia Juhasz

Antonia Juhasz is a policy-analyst, author and activist living in San Francisco.  She is a Fellow at Oil Change International and Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. She is author of The Bu$h Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time and her new book is The Tyranny of Oil: the World’s Most Powerful Industry and What we Must do to Stop It.

Our questions for Antonia:

  • Your book is called The Tyranny of Oil.  Who are the tyrants and who the victims of tyranny?
    • in the western world”?
    • in “third world” countries? (e.g., Chevron in Nigeria, Ecuador).
    • elsewhere, e.g., the field of agriculture, the fishing industry of Alaska?
  • How has Big Oil gained such power?
  • What has been the role of the Bush administration in the current oil tyranny? Did Bush/Cheney really have a say in the matter?
  • In your book, you note that the U.S. has been trying to rein in the oil industry since the late 19th century, the era of Standard Oil and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Please review this history and how it lead to what you call the “Seven Sisters” of big oil today?
  • You also discuss the need to explore energy alternatives. Given our “addiction” to oil, is there really much hope that the alternatives will explored in useful ways?
    • the myth of “clean” coal (Al Gore)
    • “lotsa” nuclear plants (McCain) or nuclear power as part of a “balanced energy picture” (Obama)
    • serious implementation of solar and wind power? (We previously interviewed proponents and opponents of the [defeated] California Prop 7 which would have mandated 50% renewables by 2025.)
  • Where did the recent drop in gas prices come from? What will be the effects on oil and gas consumption? Does this decrease or increase the tyranny?
  • What action should congress be taking in terms of:
    • Offshore drilling?
    • Other untapped domestic reserves?
    • Windfall profits?
    • Automobile manufacturer bailouts?

Will Congress act, given their indebtedness to the oil industry?

  • A question we always raise on Ecotopia: What can one person do?  We know we should drive less, use fewer plastics, etc., but are there other actions we could/should be taking to end the tyranny of oil?
  • Where is your research taking you now? What’s your next project?
  • We know that your book has been the subject of controversy, and some critics have spoken of you and your work in less than kindly ways. What (or who) inspires you to wade in and keep up the fight? Who are your role models?


Recommended by Daily Fuel Economy Tips. com:

·         Drive less; walk and bike more.

·         Don’t sit with the engine on idle.

·         Slowdown.

·         Accelerate and decelerate slowly.

·         Inflate the tires to their recommended limits.

·         Turn off the air conditioner.

·         Clean the air filter.

Earth Policy Institute has a new report on alternative energy sources not only to reduce the tyranny of oil, but to create new investments and new jobs as a way to “create jobs and help prevent climate change from spiraling out of control.”  The discussion includes:

·         Wind farms

·         Geothermal

·         Solar voltaic

·         Solar thermal power

·         Hybrid cars

·         Urban transit

·         Retrofitting buildings

TriplePundit, has an interesting series of well-researched short essays on the topic, “Can Oil Companies Go Green?”

  • Challenging Chevron’s well-financed “willyoujoinus” campaign.
  • Recommending Jared Diamong’s book Collapse, with its thesis that environmental degradation has been an active choice of societies.
  • Reporting some positive efforts by oil companies, particularly British Petroleum to go beyond mere advertising campaigns.
  • Discussing Boone Pickens’ promotion of alternative energy.

Oil Change International, where Antonia Juhasz is a staff member.  They include updates on climate control issues and some recommended actions that individuals can take, plus an activist toolkit.


#1 Beverly Hillbillies Theme Song (Ballad of Jed Clampett)            2:30    Roger Bass Man Kurt          So – Low!                              

#2, Giant (from the Warner Bros. film, Giant)     3:15    Warner Bros. Orchestra       

Movie Music: The Definitive Performances                               

#3,Only So Much Oil In The Ground        3:50    Tower of Power           

Urban Renewal                               

#4, North Sea Oil                             3:12    Jethro Tull    


#5, Weave Me the Sunshine         4:28    Peter, Paul And Mary           

The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary   

#6, Traffic Jam                                  2:13    James Taylor           

James Taylor Live   

#7. Drive My Car                              2:30    The Beatles  

Rubber Soul