Energy Crisis – Among Others – Is In The Air
There seems to be a general consensus, left and right, that we are in the midst of a new energy crisis. Either, “Peak Oil” is to blame, based on the argument that oil resources are about to peak bringing about serious constraints on uture use of energy. Or, climate change is highlighted, warning that the sustained use of fossil fuel is heating up the planet and bringing about catastrophic changes in climate patterns.
With this issue of The Commoner we have sought to create a space to discuss the current energy crisis from a perspective that considers technology and energy within the social relations that they are part of, both being shaped by these relations and also shaping them. The editors of this issue do not believe this crisis is simply one of finite resources (“peak oil”), or that there is a technological path out of these crises, despite the indisputable fact that both resource scarcity and technology are nonetheless important factors. Instead, we understand the use, production, and distribution of energy as moments of capitalist social relations of production. As such, energy and technology are both important sites of struggle, and are shaped by these struggles. Like all phenomena, the basis of the current energy crisis does not have one but many converging “causes”. A politically essential one is the many resistances against capital’s appropriation of natural resources, beginning with oil and gas but not limited to these.
This can be seen in numerous examples: the US failure to get its hands on Iraqi oil, in spite of the trillion-dollar war waged on its people; the resistance to global capital’s control of oil and gas revenue coming out of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador; new rural and urban peasants’ movements that, using direct action tactics, re-appropriate the lands, the timber, the oil, and resources from which they have been excluded; or the many struggles around climate change that seek to set a limit to capital’s boundlessness thirst for energy and correspondent dumping of its carbon-detritus into the atmosphere. We believe that these refusals to comply with global capital’s plan for energy is an essential part of the “peak energy” faced by capital today. In this context, the realignment of economic and social planning following the recent global financial crisis and the consequent world recession will have energy as a undamental element. To re-launch a new cycle of accumulation capital must tackle this energy crisis. In turn, the broad financial and economic crisis that started in the USA in August 2007 and is reaching global meltdown proportions as we are writing this introduction (November 2008) does create a context in which to promote new attacks on the current composition of the waged and unwaged working class of the planet, on its forms of organization and resistance. A new wave of structural adjustments, expropriations, enclosures, market and state discipline will most likely be attempted together with new forms of capital governance of social conflicts. The forms and the extent to which these attacks will take place depends on many things, and cannot be anticipated here. We can only say that when framing this crisis in order to provide a solution, economic liberal ideologues are quite open-minded in terms for example of the technologies to promote in order to deal with the energy crisis and the socio-economic crisis of capital. All options are left open in order to meet capitalism’s need for an ever increasing
energy base, a need which will never go away so long as capitalist social relations continue to exist. These options consist of a combination of oil, so called “clean coal”, natural gas, nuclear, and a whole host of “renewable” technologies. Whether a new post-petrol regime does in fact crystallize in the face of different struggles is of course open, as are the questions of what kind of new regime will emerge and at what pace it takes shape. The outcome will depend on how and to what extent capital is able to successfully restructure planetary relations and weaken and divide the world-wide circulation of struggles. The combination of financial, energy and climate crises give capital great possibilities to justify its actions under the twin slogans “save the planet” and “save the economy”. Hence, the planners’ coming pragmatism might help capital to create a common ground with some sections of the environmental movement. This of course would be a ruin for the environmental and social justice causes. On the other hand, it might helps commoners in struggle to further de-legitimize capital’s priorities in the management of these crises,
especially if their movements are able to recompose themselves across the planetary wage hierarchy and establish increasing links furthering models of social cooperation and production based on pursuits of values which are alternative to those of capital.
In general however, one thing is without doubt: energy has always performed a number of key functions within the historical process of capitalist expansion (see Tom Keefer article), and it will continue to perform these functions. Conversely, it has also been crucial for the construction of non-capitalist alternatives, and will continue being so.
Five areas stand out:
1. Mechanization has enabled increased productivity of labour—which in the context of capitalist relations
means providing the base for what Marx calls relative surplus value strategies and wage hierarchy (see The
Commoner N. 12).
2. Artificial lighting has lengthened the working day (just as the more recent spread of information technologies)
which in context of capitalist relations means providing a material base for what Marx calls absolute surplus value
3. Transport has enabled an expanded geographical reach for markets in raw materials, labour and commodities, as
well as reducing the circulation time of goods, money, and people, etc.
4. Communication technologies have made the working day pervasive.
5. Cheap food, shelter, clothing and consumer goods have lowered the cost of reproducing a planetary workforce,
thus buffering reduction in wages, and intensified differences within the planetary wage hierarchies. For example, cheap food has largely been obtained through the agro-business model imposed on world farmers, increased food insecurity for many sections of world population expropriated in many ways of their the land to allow land concentration necessary to the energy intensive agro-business model, escalated the ecological crisis due to the fertiliser and pesticides used, and exposed increasingly large section of world population to the swing of world market prices in food.
The history of energy use is thus the history of the enhancement of the productive powers of cooperatively organized human labour. However, the form in which social cooperation is organised by capital is a form which reproduces and amplifies social injustice and environmental catastrophe. And, while it is true that energy has undeniably contributed to making certain tasks easier, paradoxically, in the midst of all the “labour saving” technology which energy inputs have enabled, no one really does any less work than they did before. The wage relation that shaped the factory has not been done away with, nor have the unequal gender roles that shape so many households and kitchens been replaced. Rather than doing away with unequal and exploitative patterns of work, energy-intensive appliances, vehicles, machines, food and materials have simply rearranged people’s working patterns and structures. It has simply intensified capitalist accumulation and a tendentially eco-catastrophic growth of the economy (See Abramsky, “Energy and Labor in the World-Economy” in this issue).
A wide range of social struggles are emerging around the many aspects of the question of energy and climate change. The challenge is to develop ways of collectively organizing in such a way as to be able to come through the multiple aspects of the current crisis that puts an end to the collective system of organizing social life and production
that is at the basis of both ecological disaster and social injustice. This raises the political question as to how struggles can find ways of collectively organizing and struggling that do not pit one struggle against another, but instead gives rise to a social force that is simultaneously able to set limits on capital and also create alternatives. It is vital that movements are able to develop a world-wide dialogue, common analyses, political perspectives and long term collaboration processes between a range of different struggles which are frequently working in isolation from one another, and sometimes actually in antagonism to one another or at least perceived to be so. Furthermore, this process of political recomposition is becoming increasingly urgent as the challenges posed by the socio-economic-
environmental apocalypse are becoming ever more pressing.
One of the bases for this political recomposition involves problematising a range of tendencies within the environmental/climate change movement. Whether for pragmatic or ideological reasons it is common to downplay the centrality of capitalist social relations and their role in climate change and energy consumption, and to believe that capital itself does not need to be expansive or a least that it doesn’t have to be based on an ever expanding energy consumption. The liberal capitalists’ discourse is based on a value judgment (continuous capitalist growth = good) the naturalisation of which takes the form of a pragmatic solution to the material requirement of energy production and consumption in given context of class relations. The closely related “environmental” approach is based on a strong ethical desire for “change”, but which does not imagine challenging the fundamental value premises of capitalism or the material relations behind it. We do not believe that either these premises or the material requirements of their satisfaction can be wished away for the sake of a pragmatic engagement with states and corporations that will do
anything in their power to maintain capitalist social relations as the fundamental form of reproducing our livelihoods. On the other hand, we are heartened by the fact that there are even some politicians like the indigenous Bolivian president Evo Morales who draw very clear connections between capitalist social relations and ecological
catastrophe (see his open letter published here). Also, the experience of capitalist renewable energy regimes of the past (such as the windmills on sugar plantations worked by slaves, or the sailing boats of imperial conquest) stand as a reminder that social relations of production based on enclosures and exploitation are not exclusively associated with oil, coal and nuclear energy.
Another basis for the political recomposition is the creation of a common ground among commoners in struggles across the potentially dividing and contradictory lines of the issues of energy and climate change. Interestingly, some of the most visible struggles today are about the ownership and control of hydrocarbon resources, not renewable energies themselves. The last decade has been characterised by intensive struggles within the existing petrol-based energy regime. Such struggles are occurring in Bolivia (gas), Venezuela and Iraq as in other regions such as Nigeria, Ecuador and Colombia. Consequently, the sector has become increasingly difficult to maintain under neoliberal capital’s control. This has major implications for wider global class relations and hierarchies within the existing world-wide division of labor in terms of the relation between oil producing and oil consuming workers (waged and unwaged) worldwide, as well as for the continued possibilities for capitalist reproduction. This is discussed by
George Caffentzis (see “A Discourse on Prophetic Method: Oil Crises and Political Economy, Past and Future” in this issue).
It goes without saying that hydrocarbon production when inserted in capital’s circuits, must follow the profit logic of capital and has very few other options. However to shift away from boundless extraction of those fossil fuels requires a collective global process. Consequently, it does not make sense to blame people who happen to live in an area
that has an abundance of hydrocarbons which is tantamount to a head on attack on those whose livelihoods currently depend on them. Rather, it is likely that collective ownership of these resources at a local or national level offers a strong basis from which to contribute to the collective global process of shifting away from them. For one thing,
it is also at the local level that the downsides of fossil fuel extraction are the most evident. For another, local collective owners would have a very clear incentive to avoid rapid exhaustion of a good whose value can only increase massively over time. And local communities could derive hugely greater revenues out of a fraction of the present production if they controlled it (as the Bolivian example recently highlighted).
However, the struggle over the ownership, control and use of a major revenue source for social programs, land distribution and grassroots community empowerment is largely absent in current debates on the link between energy and climate change. When the issues are discussed, concerns are raised that they can be part of the
problem rather than of the solution. Yet, these struggles are fundamental means to generate and distribute wealth in those countries despite the fact that the use of these fuels undeniably contributes to carbon emission and climate change. The articulation between these struggles, the aspirations they posit and the general issue of climate change and renewable energy is a relevant problem that urgently needs to be tackled. For this reason we include discussion of the struggle for worker-ownership of Iraqi oil in the context of foreign occupation and corporate plunder within the longer term process of moving away from oil and the crucial role of oil workers in this process (see Ewa Jasiewicz, “Iraqi Oil Workers Movements: Spaces Of Transformation And Transition” in this issue). We feel that these debates are particularly important at the current moment, since there is a lot of international activity surrounding energy and climate change. As this issue of The Commoner is being finalized two important global processes are underway: the grassroots mobilizations around the UN Climate Summit which will take place in Copenhagen next year, and the creation of the International Renewable Energy Agency. We hope that this issue of The Commoner contributes to critical debate around these two global processes, especially the grassroots mobilizations around Copenhagen.
December 2009 will see the UN COP 15 Climate summit take place in Copenhagen. The aim of this conference is to produce the protocol that will replace the Kyoto protocol. A broad global consensus already exists amongst policy makers that recognizes, at least in rhetoric, that climate change is a major global reality that cannot be denied or ignored any longer. However, increasingly large and organized numbers of people are becoming less and less willing to believe that governments and corporations hold the answers to the problems generated by climate change. The summit will be met by strong grassroots mobilizations in Copenhagen and throughout the world. A first international preparation meeting was held in Copenhagen in September of this year, and several calls to action were issued. One of these has already been translated into over fifteen languages, including Mandarin. And, as if by fate…the date for the start of the summit is November 30th 2009, 10 years on, to the day, from the Seattle anti-World Trade Organization protests (see http://peoplesclimateprotocol.aprnet.org/content/view/13/26/ as well as http://risingtide.org.uk/copenhagen).
One thing which is certain is that we are witnessing the buzz word of climate change shouted to all corners of the wind as a justification for coercive policies that limit freedom of movement and association. Throughout the world “Peak Oil” and “rising energy costs” are already becoming an excuse for imposing austerity on both waged and
unwaged workers and their communities. In this context, Patrick Bond asks the questions of who will pay, and who will benefit with regard to different proposed “solutions”, while Ariel Salleh examines the specific gender implications of these proposals. Yet, despite these strategies of capital, people are not passively sitting back and allowing this to happen. The first half of 2008 saw fuel (and closely associated food) protests and riots spreading rapidly throughout the world, to approximately 30 countries, bringing both urban and rural populations, and waged and unwaged workers into a process of common struggles. People everywhere, relying on energy to meet their basic subsistence needs, are beginning to question the “inevitability” of rising prices, insisting loudly and clearly that they should not be the ones to pay these rising costs. People are struggling for cheap (or even free) and easy access to energy, claiming it as a human right and not a privilege, rejecting a world in which access to energy is defined by immense hierarchies and inequalities, especially along north-sound and gender lines. A world in which small numbers of
people drive loud SUVs, while more than 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity, and over 2 billion rely on wood and dung for fuel consumption that has mainly been collected through the unwaged labour of women and children, is very far from a sustainable world. And, in the energy sector itself, extraction efforts are being intensified on the backs of the several million workers in the existing, mainly fossil fuel based, energy sector, as well as populations which live in the vicinity of the fuel sources. Meanwhile oil companies go on to reap record profits from the rising prices. A video clip and an article by Shannon Walsh show the rush towards opening the tar sands of
Alberta for oil extraction, within the context of the North American regional integration which is taking place under the Security and
And, then, last but not least, there is the issue of the globally expanding renewable energy sector. The form in which sector is expanding is, seemingly, paradoxical. On the one hand it has until now developed very slowly and in comparatively few places in the world. On the other hand, resources scarcity, climate change, surplus finance
capital and militarized conflicts in oil-rich areas of the world all constitute a material push towards a massive global expansion of the sector. The emergency provoked by “peak oil, and especially climate change, are ushering in a new scenario. The end of the “fossil fuel era” can be postponed, but it cannot be avoided. In all probability it cannot
even be postponed much longer. This means that a transition away from oil is no longer an ideological choice, but is a necessity which is increasingly being imposed by material constraints. However, the sector’s expansion is rapidly taking a form that had not been predicted. Already demand for renewable energy infrastructure far outstrips supply. The renewable energy sector seems set to become a new global growth sector. However, the sector’s expansion is taking a different form that the one envisaged by its original self identified “green” promoters: instead of decentralised energy sources empowering communities, we have more centralised mega projects; instead of renewable energy and social justice being synergetic objectives, the capitalist form of renewable energy is increasingly depending on different forms of enclosures.
This is because, instead of seeking to understand the global capitalist relations that shape (and are shaped by) the energy sectors commodity chains of production and exchange for the world-market, the dominant tendency within the renewable energy sector is to focus on a combination of technical solutions and national/international policy mechanisms. A common approach is to promote a “take off” of renewable energy, based on the world-wide dissemination of “national best-practices”, especially the German and Danish. This approach to
“best practice” technology transfer occurs within the context of an unquestioned world-market. Some of these “best practice” approaches have indeed been “very good” as they show a path of community empowerment, autonomy and energy sovereignty. In particular, the grassroots, farmers led wind energy cooperatives that have been at
the root of the Danish renewable energy sector stand out, as described in the article by Jane Kruse and Preben Maegaard. Yet, this “take off” approach, which has been key in shaping policies, both at the national
and international level, is eerily reminiscent of earlier (flawed) debates surrounding “industrialization take off.”
While some kind of transition to post-petrol energy sources is virtually inevitable, the form it will take is far from a technical inevitability. Rather, any transition will be the result of an uncertain and lengthy process of collective struggle, as will its qualitative aspects. This is discussed by the TRAPESE Collective. As “climate change” becomes the next global buzz word, and as the expansion of the renewable energy sector accelerates and spreads to different
areas of the world, so a complex process of world-wide struggle is also intensifying. It is no longer a question of whether a transition will occur, but rather what form it will take. Which technologies will a transition include and on whose terms and priorities? Who will pay the costs and who will reap the benefits? Who can harness the necessary
global flows of capital, raw materials, knowledge and labor? And, above all, will the process be chaotic, reinforcing already existing hierarchies, or will it or will it be part of wider process of world-wide emancipatory social change based in the construction of new social relations?
In particular, the dependency of urban areas on rural ones for the supply of energy is an increasing point of conflict with renewable energy resources. Whereas fossil fuels and nuclear energy resources are located in a small number of locations throughout the world, renewable energy resources are broadly spread throughout much of the world, giving these areas increased strategic importance. Therefore renewable energies represent a new threat for rural
communities (especially Indigenous and Afro-descendent), making them increasingly vulnerable to loss of control over their territories, including displacement. Such territorial conflicts (frequently violent) are already occurring on a large scale with agro-fuels as discussed by Mónica Vargas Collazos who offers a global overviews of these issues.
Tatiana Roa Avendaño and Jessica Toloza describe how palm oil production for the world-market in the Colombian Black Communities is intertwined with enclosure and displacement from collective ancestral lands by paramilitary violence, and the resistance that this is giving rise to. To a lesser extent, similar conflicts are emerging in relation to
wind energy. Sergio Oceransky documents how in Oaxaca, peasant and indigenous communities are having their land and cultural heritage jeopardized by industrial windpark development which is taking place within the framework of another regional free trade agreement, the Plan Puebla Panama. These are the unavoidable consequences of satisfying the energy requirements of urban based industrialization and a political and economic system which prioritizes profit in the world-market over the satisfaction of the social needs of the world’s population. Such conflicts are likely to get much worse in the near future unless appropriate steps are taken.
However, a transition to renewable energy resources also offers rural communities an opportunity to assume greater control over their territories, resources and lives. The collective and democratic harnessing of renewable energies can contribute substantially to communities’ ability to create new and autonomous relations of production, exchange and livelihood that are substantially more egalitarian, decentralized, diverse and ecologically sensitive than
currently existing social relations. For this reason, it is very important that the communities living in rural regions rich in renewable energy resources have access to the necessary tools in order to be able to collectively decide on the use of the resources in their territories. As Jane Kruse describes, it is also vital that community owned renewable
energies are able to defend themselves against predatory investors in the long run. It is also crucial that urban communities are able to understand the relation between their high levels of energy consumption and rural dispossession in order to be able to collectively develop solutions to these problems on the basis of collaboration and
cooperation between rural communities in order to satisfy peoples’ basic needs rather than through a conflictive process which pits rural and urban inhabitants against one another.
We believe that these contributions point to the fact that, in order to get to the roots of the problems, struggles in the North and South have to develop a collective global process to take decisions concerning energy. In addition to the crucial question as to which energy sources are the most suitable, there is also the question of the way in which it
is used, in what quantities, and for which purposes. If we make these decisions through capitalist markets, we end up stressed out overworked and murdered, divided and pitted one against another, while the planet goes to hell. If we make these decisions through the capitalist state, we end up repressed, silenced and manipulated into believing the sacrifices that are required from us to deal with this “emergency” and “crisis” are worth the suffering, since it will be the final crisis, and there will never be another “crisis” again, while in fact it will merely open up a new cycle of more of the same. Within the wider struggle for common control over means of reproduction and production (something which we see as central in emancipatory struggles for long term social, political and economic change) we believe that struggles for some form or other of decommodified common control of energy resources, infrastructures and technologies are becoming increasingly central. The same can be said about their actual production. This is hardly surprising, given that, in addition to being a highly profitable commodity, energy is also one of the key means to sustain human life. Struggles over ownership of energy resources, infrastructures and technologies have been intense in the past, and it is very likely that they will become intense once again in the coming years. In many parts of the world, this is already happening, especially within the oil sector. An important question is whether a rapid and smooth transition away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy even be possible if this process is left to the market or whether this is an unreachable illusion that will provoke untold human suffering. All over the world there are struggles against privatisation and for common/public ownership of energy resources and technologies, especially in the oil, gas and electrical sectors. What role do these struggles have in building a global collective subject that is strong enough to bring about a rapid and lasting transition towards renewable energy, despite the fact that these fuels and technologies are themselves undoubtedly carbon emitting?
There are three major reasons why common ownership of fossil fuels might in fact make an important contribution to a longer term process of shifting away from them:
1. to use the world’s remaining fossil fuel resources in a rational, coordinated and collectively planned way,
rather than in the wasteful way in which the competitive market logic allocates resources.
2. in order to put the economic revenues from the rent of these resources under common control for common
benefit during the period of phase out, either using these revenues for broadly defined collective social needs as
described above, or more specifically to finance a rapid transition towards renewable energy (and away from
fossil fuels themselves).
3. in order to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, by asserting collective
control over the sector in order to intentionally suppress it.
The millions of energy sector workers world-wide is an important social force and have the potential to enormously strengthen the struggles for a more democratic and ecologically sustainable energy system. We believe that as the renewable energy sector expands globally, it is becoming increasingly clear that the only possible basis for an emancipatory transition towards renewable energy is ensuring that a significant proportion of the sector is held under common or public ownership for non-commercial use. This includes the relevant infrastructures, technologies and knowledge. It is likely that as the sector expands, so too will struggles over its ownership. Of particular importance here is the struggle for non-commercial technology transfer against the iron straitjacket of the international patent
regimes. The fact that the renewable energy sector is still very small relative to other energy sectors means that the bulk of the renewable energy infrastructure remains to be built still. As such, the next years offer a window of opportunity to ensure that a significant share of the sector can come under common ownership and benefit emancipatory social processes. However, time is short, and unless appropriate globally reaching interventions are made now the window will be closed.
Common or public ownership of energy sources (be they fossil or renewable) and their associated infrastructures and technologies cannot be understood as blue prints to be implemented from above by policy makers. They are not theoretical models or predictions, but rather, if we are ever to see such ownership structures emerge, they
will be the outcome of lengthy and complex struggles, led by grass roots social movements against capitalist relations within the energy sector (and more generally). Furthermore, common or public ownership of either fossil or renewable energy sources will almost certainly not guarantee a wider process of emancipatory social change.
Yet, an understanding of the importance of these struggles is vital to assessing both short term priorities for collective action, as well as long term strategic orientation. It can also point to possible commonalities of struggle and help avoid pitting people against one another unnecessarily in order to build the alliances and coalitions which are
needed for the difficult tasks ahead, a process that will almost certainly take several years to bear fruit.
Finally, we must realize that we will never “own” those fundamental decisions and choices that give shape to the production of our lives in common and allow to reproduce our livelihoods, through the market-voting as consumers or the poll-voting as citizens. Ownership of our lives and livelihoods passes through a freedom that the pro-market economists a lá Hayek would not dare to talk about: the freedom of the commons. This is a rich freedom in which the
subjects, in spite of and through the many lines of flights they undertake, in spite of and through the creative forces they give rise to in their efforts to overcome their conditions, nevertheless end up landing in the fundamental recognition of the necessity of nature and the necessity of the other. The freedom of the commons is a creative
force that neither asks for banning flights nor for creating a new airport terminal, it neither preaches veganism nor advertises hamburgers with children toys. It is not ideologically committed to either, since from the
perspective of the whole of social cooperation, these are silly ideological commitments because they set a priori limits to, rather than enhance, the freedom that emerge from the commons. Because, when we reduce the rat race of competition and artificial scarcity on our lives; when we stop the enclosures and start to reclaim commons
at every scale; when we implement food sovereignty and localized food production; when we get rid of most superstores and their disgracefully wasteful use of energy just to manipulate us into buying highly processes food; when we build community workshops in any neighborhoods to extend the life of solid appliances, rather than
producing and buying new junk; when we have reclaimed our security in health and old age, because we do not allow either capitalist markets nor capitalist state to pit one generation against the other; when we give access to the Internet to all in the world, and provide free digital access to books and journals, to accelerate the creativity in
common of six billion people in a multitude of virtual communities; when we dispose of patenting, and give all the possibility to share our common human knowledge to raise to the challenges of the times wherever is their location; when the infrastructure of global “finance” has been turned into a communication web among planetary commons
and a conduit for the allocation of social powers, while hedge fund managers, stock brokers, insurance clerks, and financial operators have retrained to learn skills and engage in activities promoting common sense, rather than praying on the commons; when shipping junk back and forth across the globe is no longer regarded as
“economic growth” but “stupidity growth”; when the need to use our planes, cars, trains, busses and bikes are not defined by accelerating commuting rhythms of work and leisure, but purely by desires of mobility, travel, and encounter with the other balanced by a healthy life in our communities; when we are no longer afraid of the other,
because we recognize in the same other a brother or sister from commons afar to whom our livelihoods are or could be articulated with common benefit; when we dispose of the millions of CCTV cameras and retrain most of security personal into doing something different for our security, like tilling the land, cleaning environmental dumps, or helping out in the process of elderly or children care; when the junk-mail industry is turned into junk-recycling industry; when commodity advertisers are turned into community organizers; when students of all ages are turned into human beings of all ages, and education is something different than a means to a job in a competitive market;
when we all de-stress enormously through big drop of competitive pressures breathing down our necks; when we recognize how stupid we are not to see that even shit (in the form of manure) is on our side when used in moderation to help us out to save the planet as well as lead bountiful lives . . . then what has changed is the context of our
individual choices. And it is this change in context that will ultimately save the planet, as well as us, and not this or that energy source.