Mark Mills

I’m posting this week’s episode a couple days ahead of our usual weekend schedule to keep up with the fast-moving news cycle of the most important story of the week—no, not necessarily the coronavirus, but rather the oil price war that broke out last weekend between Saudi Arabia and Russia. The timing may not be purely coincidental, as I discuss with my guest this week, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Mark Mills. Mark is my go-to person for all things pertaining to energy and our ongoing digital revolution.

Bottom line: Oil isn’t going away any time soon, and the independent oil sector in the U.S. holds the high cards in this battle over the long run—but the next year or so could be very rough. Toward the end of our conversation also offers his typically unique thoughts about what we’re going to learn from the COVID 19 experience.

Mark’s latest book is Digital Cathedrals: The Information Infrastructure Era, about which you can read a nice excerpt from Mark here. And you should also take in his latest observations on the energy scene in his recent City Journal article “Old Energy, New Boom.”

Now back to your regularly-scheduled toilet paper hoarding.

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There are 6 comments.

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  1. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Good talk.

    I tend to agree, that in the longer term, the effects of the oil war will have a greater impact than the virus out break.

    Look back at history to confirm this. The great Spanish flu epidemic, which killed almost as many people as WWi, is a rarely studied historical footnote.

    • #1
  2. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Really enjoyed the interview with Mr. Mills. Another smart friend of Mr. Hayward. 

    • #2
  3. harrisventures Coolidge
    harrisventures
    @harrisventures

    Great episode. Chock full of actually useful information.

    • #3
  4. Pugshot Member
    Pugshot
    @Pugshot

    Very interesting conversation. Time to invest in some oil company stock!!

    • #4
  5. DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ
    @DJEJ

    That was excellent. Thank you.

    • #5
  6. DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ
    @DJEJ

    Another issue that comes into play when the optimists advocate/hope for a hundredfold increase in the number of electric cars on the road is the accompanying human cost that would result from the massive expansion of metal mining operations. One should not assume that miners in other parts of the world are unionized, work in OSHA regulated conditions, have employer-provided healthcare plans, and pensions for their retirement. Then there’s the environmental impact, but as Max Miller said in the podcast, “out of sight out of mind”.

    Cobalt is mined primarily in the Congo (over 50%, as high as 63% of world production), where the use of child labor has been exposed in mining operations. Most of it is open pit mining, so more electric cars means more and bigger pits in the ground.

    “A naturally occurring material, nickel is mined in 23 countries around the world. Of these, some of the most important nickel mining places are located in Russia, Canada, Australia – such as Mincor, near Kambalda, Indonesia, China, South Africa and Columbia. Refineries are located in Finland, Norway, Japan, France and the United Kingdom. More than 1.4 million tons of primary or new nickel is produced worldwide. This compares to 800 million tons of steel and 10 million tons of copper.” Here’s a recent story about a Chinese-owned nickel plant in Papua New Guinea. This line from the story was unintentionally amusing: “Nickel sulphate is increasingly used in batteries for electric vehicles as the world transitions to a greener and less polluting economy.”

    The top ten lithium mines are in Australia, USA, Canada, and Zimbabwe.

    So when someone demands that government mandates the banning of internal combustion engine vehicles, they’re really demanding more pit mining, a higher human cost (hazardous working conditions, increases in child labor), and the burning of more coal in the extraction and processing of the metals needed for electric car batteries. But hey, that won’t stop people from virtue signaling – out of sight, out of mind.

    • #6