But first . . . read Maureen Dowd if you doubt the President’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.  (It’s also worth noting that we will still provide intelligence and other “over the horizon” aid to help keep the Taliban from, among other things, re-enslaving Afghan women.)



And now . . . I’ll be more than a little interested to see how RECAF, which more than doubled last week, does this week.

My guru on this gamble thinks that if the second of ReconAfrica’s three planned test wells comes in like the first later this year, the stock will double again.  And that “when they cut a deal with some giant entity to develop it all, it could jump fivefold from there.  Who knows?”

Who indeed.  As always: only with money we can truly afford to lose.


The extra wrinkle here are the ethical ramifications of buying this stock.  Fossil fuel consumption is, after all, the engine of climate catastrophe.

I’d offer two lines of thought:

> The first is simply that our buying RECAF shares has absolutely zero impact on whether the wells are drilled.

I make efforts to limit my energy consumption because that does impact greenhouse gas emissions.  Likewise, my meat consumption.  But had I bought not a single share of RECAF last month, it would have impacted nothing at all . . . except my ability to support things like The Climate Reality Project, the Amazon Conservation Team, and the party that believes the climate crisis must be urgently addressed (with the happy by-product of good jobs and greater prosperity).

To me, there’s zero ethical reason to shun the stock.

> The second question, less clear cut, is whether RECAF should be drilling those wells; and whether, if an ocean of fossil fuel is confirmed, it should be exploited.

Leonardo DiCaprio says no.  Read his view.  And others’.

My guru responds:

“I agree that oil is not the future.  I spent my whole career in the oil biz and feel slightly awkward about it.  Most of my young geological colleagues are liberal-thinking, climate-aware people.   Still, Africa has nearly 600 million people who live off the grid because they’ve never had a grid.  I think it’s unfair to suggest that living without electricity is their problem to solve and that they have to skip over the hydrocarbons that powered our own development.  The world will develop its carbon solutions, but they will come from technologically advanced countries.  While we get to that good place, we have to allow ourselves to burn a few more hydrocarbons.”

It’s also worth noting that RECAF is not fracking — that’s part of their license agreement (and why would they need to?) — so those fears, at least, are unfounded.

ReconAfrica’s website features Voices of Kavango — Namibians who appreciate what RECAF is doing.

“This is a different kind of oil company,” says my guru, Andy T. (not me; another Andy T.).

“They had a UNESCO World Heritage Site within their initial lease boundaries.

“Botswana said, ‘Hey, we need to exclude this area that we already leased to you.  We need to take it back.

“RECAF said, ‘OK.’

“Botswana said, ‘Wait, you don’t understand.  We are taking back a quarter million acres.’

“RECAF said, ‘We know that.  It’s the right thing to do.  Draw up the papers.‘”

So:

Buying their shares is an ethical no-brainer.

Drilling in Africa?  Reasonable people can disagree.

Should Namibia and Botswana be expected to forego the wealth that lies below their land while the Saudis keep pumping — and Texans keep fracking — theirs?

One solution would be for the Saudis, et al, to build the Namibians and Botswanans the modern, all-solar electric grid that would allow them to skip over hydrocarbons . . . in return for keeping theirs untapped in perpetuity.

If they did that, and I lost all my money in RECAF, I’d say hurray for the world . . . and thank heavens I had bought my shares only with money I could truly afford to lose.



In a similar vein:

Barry B.:  “Have you seen this Open Letter to John Kerry from People Living in Energy Poverty?  I wonder if we Dems will self-destruct in next year’s midterms.”

→ Urging India to move more quickly to a sustainable future, as Kerry has done, is asking them to weigh the interests of the next 1,000 generations of Indians as they weigh their own.  I’m guessing many thoughtful Indians were already wrestling with this trade-off.  After all, most of those next 1,000 generations will never even be born if humanity gets this wrong.

As for our elections, voters left right and center may applaud.  The left, because we are long-time and whole-hearted believers in combatting climate change; the right, because they bridle at our being forced to use more efficient light bulbs (for example) when the Chinese and Indians, they wrongly believe, are not making changes of their own.

As for the open letter’s criticism of Kerry’s travel . . . had he flown “commercial” to accept his award — or not flown at all and accepted by Zoom — he might have sent a useful message, but would have had an infinitesimally small physical impact on carbon emissions.  Likewise, Leonardo DiCaprio and others who have faced similar criticism.



Finally, speaking of the climate crisis, watch 37 years of Google Earth time-lapse photography.



Have a great week!

 


[HOUSEKEEPING: The little “trademark” superscripts in Friday’s post showed up as gargantuan graphics for those who received it by email.  Only Microsoft knows why.]

 

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