Q. will we have enough energy?
A. Yes - the West will have enough energy without authoritarian oil and gas. North America could make the switch quickly and almost costlessly. For Europe, the transition would be slower because more infrastructure needs to be built - but the switch is still within reach.
For other countries, the time and cost to stop importing blood oil will depend on their situation. Still, even countries that now depend a lot on authoritarian oil should take advantage of the fact that even announcing an eventual end to imports will help bring transformational change in authoritarian oil-exporters.
Q. what about climate change?
A. We have to end the tyranny of oil at the same time as we reduce the dangers of climate change - and the two causes can support each other.
One of the best ways of decarbonizing the world's energy supply is to stop buying blood oil.
Q. will it hurt the people of authoritarian and war-torn countries if we stop buying their resources?
A. Everything we know about the resource curse says that when our money goes into these countries, it makes things worse by empowering repressive governments and armed groups.
In a world where no one will buy resources from these countries until citizens get their rights, we can expect that citizens will get their rights - or else no one will make money from these countries' natural wealth.
Q. won't it raise prices here if we no longer buy cheap resources from authoritarian and failed states?
A. It all depends on who joins our efforts - prices might go up a bit, or down a bit, like they do now when the price of oil goes up or down. But even if they go up a bit, that's because we would no longer be buying stolen goods - goods stolen from some of the poorest and most oppressed people in the world. Would you buy a car from car thieves just to save a little money?
Q. do we really have to do this?
A. Look at it this way. The people of resource-rich countries in places like the Middle East are struggling for freedom. If we keep sending our money to authoritarians and armed groups, the people will likely turn to violence and extremism. That will be bad for them, and bad for us too. It's time to get on the side of the people, instead of being on the side of those oppress and attack them.