In the first of two programs this month about oil, Peter Maass spoke last Thursday about his latest book, Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil. The book took him around the world as he searched for the stories most never hear: the heavily polluted waterways from the Amazon to the Niger Delta; the impoverished villages mere feet from high-tech refineries; and the dictators, such as Equatorial Guinea’s president Teodoro Obiang, who have remained solidly in power because of foreign dependence on their oil. The talk was attended by a number of high school students, many of whom had met with Maass beforehand as part of the Council’s Schools Program, and a number of them inquired of Maass about the best gas to buy, asking if there are any “blood-free” companies. There are, Maass noted, but he added that all oil has problems, mostly environmental, even if it comes from politically-stable countries like Canada or Norway. Maass ended on an optimistic note, citing transparency as the key to changing the way the world treats oil. The more open governments are about their policies and practices, the better choices consumers can make.
Tomorrow evening the Council will host Rayola Dougher, Senior Economic Advisor at the American Petroleum Institute. Dougher will speak to the benefits of further developing the United States’ petroleum resources.