The above-linked reference is one of the best "Peak Oil" summations on the Web right now.
Call me dense, but I can't for the life of me understand why the general attitude toward this situation seems to be so defeatist and why there has to be so much contention over approaches to what is surely going to be an inevitable transition to non-fossil fuel energy production.
Many of us saw this crisis coming back in the 70's and were more than willing to do whatever we could do on an individual basis to get the ball rolling on serious reduction of fossil fuel consumption. It doesn't seem like this should be such an angst-ridden problem - particularly since it's pretty obvious by now that we're going to be forced in the not-too-distant future to cut back anyway.
PARIS -- U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman called for more international efforts to develop coal as an alternative energy source as ministers met Tuesday to address concerns over the future of the world's energy supplies.
Bodman, attending his first major international meeting since he took office in February, also sought to deflect criticism that the United States is not doing enough to improve its own energy efficiency and reduce both consumption and greenhouse emissions.
Speaking on the second day of an International Energy Agency meeting of energy ministers in Paris, Bodman said the energy watchdog should be "more proactive" in promoting the development of so-called clean coal. The technology, which is still at the research stage, promises to reduce greenhouse emissions that contribute to global warming.
The 26-member IEA could "put some milestones on this as to just when we expect investments to be made, when we expect certain tests to be done," Bodman said.
Industrialized countries are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on imported oil, and U.S. President George W. Bush pledged $2 billion for clean coal technology during last year's election campaign.
The European Union also plans to invest in clean coal research -- but that's in addition to plans to increase the share of renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and hydroelectric dams to 22 percent of all electricity generated by 2010. The United States has no such targets.
By combining clean coal technology with new techniques for trapping and storing greenhouse gases -- also many years away from commercial feasibility -- the United States hopes to achieve "significant reductions" in emissions from coal plants, Department of Energy Spokesman Mike Waldron said.
Among other IEA members, there was little sign of open enthusiasm for a return to coal at the Paris meeting, which called for efforts to combat the environmental effects of "growing dependence on fossil fuels," such as coal, petroleum or natural gas, which are nonrenewable.
"The Americans are keen but not all the other members of the IEA," said Rupert Krietemeyer, the EU's energy spokesman. Nevertheless, Brussels believes investment in clean coal would set a "good example for countries like China, which still have lots of coal," he said.
Members of the IEA voiced concern about persistently high oil prices, which they said "are a drag on economic activity and growth and penalize the poor."
Oil prices have remained around $50 a barrel despite signs of mounting supplies and slower economic growth.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
In his recent news conference, George Bush Jr. suggested that our nation's "problem" with high gasoline prices was caused by the lack of a national energy policy, and tried to blame it all on Bill Clinton. First, Junior said, "This is a problem that's been a long time in coming. We haven't had an energy policy in this country."
This was followed by, "That's exactly what I've been saying to the American people -- 10 years ago if we'd had an energy strategy, we would be able to diversify away from foreign dependence. And -- but we haven't done that. And now we find ourselves in the fix we're in." As is so often the case, Bush was lying.
Consider President Jimmy Carter's April 18, 1977 speech. Since it was given nearly three decades ago, when many of the reporters in Bush's White House were children, it's understandable that they don't remember it. But it's inexcusable that Bush and the mainstream media (which, after all, has the ability to do research) would completely ignore it. It was the speech that established the strategic petroleum reserve, birthed the modern solar power industry, led to the insulation of millions of American homes, and established America's first national energy policy. "With the exception of preventing war," said Jimmy Carter, a man of peace, "this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes."
He added: "It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century. "We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.
"We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us." Carter bluntly pointed out that: "The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation." He called the new energy policy he was proposing, "[T]he 'moral equivalent of war' -- except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy."
When Carter had become president three months earlier, the nation was still recovering from the "oil shock" of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, and scientists were realizing our nation was just then hitting the point of domestic peak oil production predicted more than a decade earlier by scientist M. King Hubbert. (The rest of the world is hitting the Hubbert Peak right now.) As Carter noted in his speech, "The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about six percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last five years. Our nation's independence of economic and political action is becoming increasingly constrained." Hubbert had predicted that the peak of oil production for the USA would come in the 1970s, and it did, hitting us with a shock.
"The world has not prepared for the future," said Jimmy Carter. "During the 1950s, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940s. During the 1960s, we used twice as much as during the 1950s. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of mankind's previous history." Hubbert said we must begin to conserve. Carter agreed.
"Ours is the most wasteful nation on earth," he said, a point that is still true. "We waste more energy than we import. With about the same standard of living, we use twice as much energy per person as do other countries like Germany, Japan and Sweden." Carter directly challenged the fossil fuel and automobile industries. "One choice," he said, "is to continue doing what we have been doing before. We can drift along for a few more years. "Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient. Three-quarters of them would continue to carry only one person -- the driver -- while our public transportation system continues to decline. We can delay insulating our houses, and they will continue to lose about 50 percent of their heat in waste. "We can continue using scarce oil and natural gas to generate electricity, and continue wasting two-thirds of their fuel value in the process."
But that would be unpatriotic, anti-American, and essentially wrong. Who but a traitor sold out to special interests, or an idiot, would countenance such insanity?
The year 1977 was a turning point for America. If we didn't make clear and rapid progress, we would face painful times ahead. The Saudis would have their fingers around our necks. We'd face war in the Middle East to secure future oil supplies. "Now we have a choice," Carter said. "But if we wait, we will live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs."
Failure to act in the 1970s and 1980s would inevitably lead to a time when the only way to maintain our lifestyle would be to rape our planet and seize control of oil-rich nations in the Middle East. If we didn't begin to develop alternatives like solar power, and dramatically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, then, Carter said, even our cherished personal freedoms would be at risk. If we continued to simply follow past policies that enriched the oil industry and the Saudis, instead of becoming energy independent, Carter said, "We will feel mounting pressure to plunder the environment."
If we failed to develop alternative sources of renewable energy and conserve what we have, the alternative could be nasty. As Carter pointed out: "We will have a crash program to build more nuclear plants, strip-mine and burn more coal, and drill more offshore wells than we will need if we begin to conserve now. Inflation will soar, production will go down, people will lose their jobs. Intense competition will build up among nations and among the different regions within our own country. "If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions."
Carter's speech drew a strong reaction from the Saudis and the oil industry. Think tanks soon emerged - many whose names are today familiar - to suggest there was really no energy problem, and they led the charge to establish a permanent right-wing media in the US. Within two years, Saudi citizen and oil baron Salem bin Laden's sole US representative, James Bath, would funnel cash into the failing business of the son of the CIA's former director, political up-and-comer George H. W. Bush. With that money from the representative of Osama Bin Laden's half-brother, George Bush Jr. was able to keep afloat his Arbusto ("shrub" in Spanish) Oil Company. And he would be in the pocket of the bin Laden and Saudi interests for the rest of his life. But Carter was incorruptible.
"We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly," he said. "They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing." But that would be wrong. It would be un-American. It would lead to future oil shocks, and the probable death of American soldiers in Middle Eastern oil wars. Instead of caving in to the Saudis and the oil industry, Carter said: "There should be only one test for this program: whether it will help our country."
Two years later, as the bin Laden family's sole US representative was bailing out George Bush Junior's failing oil business, Jimmy Carter gave another speech on energy, further refining his national energy policy. He had already started the national strategic petroleum reserve, birthed the gasohol and solar power industries, and helped insulate millions of homes and offices. But he wanted to go a step further. "I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States," Carter said on July 15, 1979. "Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980s..." In addition, we needed to immediately begin to develop a long-range strategy to move beyond fossil fuel.
Therefore, Carter said, "I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000." But then came the Iran/Contra October Surprise, when the Reagan/Bush campaign allegedly promised the oil-rich mullahs of Iran that they'd sell them missiles and other weapons if only they'd keep our hostages until after the 1980 Carter/Reagan presidential election campaign was over. The result was that Carter, who had been leading in the polls over Reagan/Bush, steadily dropped in popularity as the hostage crisis dragged out, and lost the election. The hostages were released the very minute that Reagan put his hand on the Bible to take his oath of office. The hostages freed, the Reagan/Bush administration quickly began illegally delivering missiles to Iran.
And Ronald Reagan's first official acts of office included removing Jimmy Carter's solar panels from the roof of the White House, and reversing most of Carter's conservation and alternative energy policies.
Today, despite the best efforts of the Bushies, the bin Ladens, and the rest of the oil industry, Carter's few surviving initiatives have borne fruit.
It is now more economical to build power generating stations using wind than using coal, oil, gas, or nuclear. When amortized over the life of a typical mortgage, installing solar power in a house in most parts of the US is cheaper than drawing power from the grid. (Shell and British Petroleum are among the world's largest manufacturers of solar photovoltaic panels, which can now even be used as roofing shingles.) And hybrid cars that get 50-70 miles to the gallon are increasingly commonplace on our nation's highways. Instead of taking a strong stand to make America energy independent, Bush kisses a Saudi crown prince, then holds hands with him as they walk into Bush's hobby ranch in Texas. Our young men and women are daily dying in Iraq - a country with the world's second largest store of underground oil. And we live in fear that another 15 Saudis may hijack more planes to fly into our nation's capitol or into nuclear power plants.
Meanwhile, Bush brings us an energy bill that includes eight billion dollars in welfare payments to the oil business, just as the nation's oil companies report the highest profits in the entire history of the industry. Americans struggle to pay for gasoline, while the Bush administration refuses to increase fleet efficiency standards, stop the $100,000 tax break for buying Hummers, or maintain and build Amtrak. George Bush Jr. is arguably right that gas prices are spiking because we don't have an energy policy. But instead of blaming Clinton, he should be pointing to the Reagan/Bush administration, and to his own abysmal failures over the past four years.
[Of course the deputy Prime Minister is not the deputyHead of State. WH]
[Last month Australia's Treasurer Peter Costello explained to his country's citizens that new domestic projects due to come online will only go so far in offsetting depletion. With abundant coal, some geothermal potential and natural gas reserves, Australians have resisted the idea that there's big trouble coming. There are tax incentives for oil exploration there, but none for renewables - while in 2003, AU$ 8 billion worth of exploration discovered AU$ 4 billion worth of crude. Having peaked in 2000, the country now imports oil at an average of about $25 billion per year, extending a substantial trade deficit. Now the Deputy PM is adding his voice to the growing chorus of petro-realists, heralding a possible change of course. -JAH]
BACKGROUND BOOKS: PEAK OIL AND OUR [AUSTRALIAN] GOVERNMENT: WHAT ENERGY CRISIS? BY IAN MCPHERSON A.S.P.O. NEWSLETTER "COUNTRY ASSESSMENT" FOR AUSTRALIA Anderson fears for oil reserves ABC NEWS ONLINE www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200505/s1373262.htm
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson believes high fuel prices reflect the inevitable decline in the world's oil and gas reserves.
He expressed deep concern about the long-term future of oil and says fuel prices will have to be high enough to encourage more exploration.
Mr Anderson says the world could reach peak production of oil and gas far sooner than predicted because of the rapid increase in energy demands in China.
"We are using stored energy left over from ages gone by at an alarming rate and it isn't re-making," he said.
"While people talk about new technologies and they say as soon as oil reaches a certain price everybody will switch over to hydrogen and what have you.
"The reality is that it may not be as simple as that and you have to wonder whether over the next decade we won't start to get towards peak production and that could be a very interesting time and a very challenging time."
[Here is the flip side to the destructiveness of modern agriculture. On the land, modern agriculture depletes the soil and water resources, leaving us with a landscape polluted by pesticides and herbicides, and genetically weak monocrops just waiting to be wiped out by the evolution of a super-pest. Then the excess fertilizers and pesticides run off into streams and lakes which are choked by an accelerated process of eutrophication. Finally, the effluvia of industrial agriculture makes its way to the oceans, where it results in the spreading dead zones mentioned in this report.
As mentioned in this article, the Mississippi River alone dumps 1.6 million tons of nitrogen into the Gulf of Mexico annually. World fertilizer use has increased ten-fold over the past fifty years. And nearly a third of the world's dead zones are found off the coast of the United States.
This nitrogen run-off is the product of natural gas based fertilizers. The tale of the oceans' dead zones is one more sign that we have evolved a system of exploitation which simply cannot go on much longer. We have destroyed much of this country's natural ability to recycle organic wastes while overwhelming it with a tsunami of toxic wastes. Meanwhile, our population and economy have grown to unsustainable excesses.
This cannot go on much longer. The only question is: will we back off gently before there is a major catastrophe, or will we push this situation to the breaking point? -DAP]
Post by Wayne Hall on May 26, 2005 10:10:49 GMT -5
An edited version of a note from Joost van Steenis
My friend, the Dutch geologist Tom de Booy (http://www.egoproject.nl), writes about oil. Just click on his site on the blue sentence: Update 10th of May 2005 under the header “What is New”.
I give you some interesting quotations. A striking sentence is: The political elites, especially in the US, are incapable of dealing with the situation.
Many geologists expect that 2005 will be the last year of the cheap-oil bonanza, while estimates coming out the oil industry indicate “a seemingly unbridgeable supply-demand gap opening up after 2007”, which will lead to major fuel shortages and increasingly severe blackouts beginning around 2008-2012.
The long-term ramifications of Peak Oil on our way of life are nothing short of mind blowing. As we slide down the down slope of the global oil production curve, we may find ourselves slipping into what some scientists are calling a "post-industrial Stone Age".
Even the ultra-conservative Swiss financiers are worrying about the coming world oil crisis. They asked the retired English Petroleum geologist Colin Campbell about the shortage of world energy resources. "Don't worry about oil running out; it won't for many years," the Oxford PhD told the bankers. "The issue is the long downward slope that opens on the other side of peak production. Oil and gas dominate our lives, and their decline will change the world in radical and unpredictable ways".
If he is correct, global oil production can be expected to decline steadily at about 2-3% a year, the cost of everything from travel, heating, agriculture, trade, and anything made of plastic rises. And the scramble to control oil resources intensifies. As one US analyst said this week: ”Just kiss your lifestyle goodbye”.
Mike Heinberg wrote a book The Party's over. Oil, War and the Fate of industrial Societies: "If the US continues with its current policies, the next decades will be marked by war, economic collapse, and environmental catastrophe. Resource depletion and population pressures are about to catch up with us, and no one is prepared. The political elites, especially in the US, are incapable of dealing with the situation”.
The fact that oil discoveries peaked in the nineteen sixties is today an accepted knowledge, but that natural gas discoveries peaked in the seventies is for the majority a well hidden secret. We are consuming more than we are finding. This is devastating for the USA and it will also effect Europe. The declining rate in discovery of conversional natural gas will within the next ten years dramatically lower the production within the region.
What about alternative sources of energy? The market won't signal energy companies to begin aggressively pursuing alternative sources of energy until oil reaches $100-$250 a barrel. Once they begin pursuing these alternatives, there will be a 25-to-50 year time lag between the initial research and their wide-scale industrial implementation. Alternatives to oil are dependent on oil. They are more accurately described as "derivatives of oil". It takes massive amounts of oil to locate and mine raw materials (silver, copper, platinum, uranium, etc.) necessary to build solar panels, windmills and nuclear power plants. It takes even more oil to distribute these alternatives and to adapt and maintain the current infrastructure.
To make electricity required to electrolyse water to get hydrogen vast amounts of fossil fuel are needed. To make enough hydrogen to replace one gallon of gasoline the equivalent of six gallons of gasoline is needed. This solution therefore turns out to be a non-solution.
In recent years, the debate over nuclear power has revived and to judge from the tremendous rally in the price of uranium the market has concluded that nuclear power is firmly back on the political agenda. Nuclear power would facilitate compliance with the Kyoto Treaty but its replacement potential for oil is limited. To produce enough nuclear power to equal the power derived from fossil fuels, would entail production of 10,000 of the largest possible nuclear power plants, according to Goodstein. "That's a huge, probably nonviable initiative, and at that burn rate our known reserves of uranium would last only for 10 or 20 years."
After my (De Booy’s) trip around the world in 1999 I published a letter on my website www.egoproject.nl with the following sentence of which I do not want to change a syllable: "My feeling is that we are - in our so-called western civilized world - all sitting in a train that is driving with an exponentially accelerating speed towards a brick wall. Unfortunately there is no driver on the train who can stop the train before smacking into the wall. Jumping out this train means suicide. I do not see a way to lead the train to another track and avoid disaster. All this is very frustrating. The only thing left over is to describe the process of the geological extinction of this planet earth".
Note from WH. Joost van Steenis still sees some possibilities of winning elites over to his prescriptions.
.....A striking sentence is: The political elites, especially in the US, are incapable of dealing with the situation.....
The "political elites" have to keep their corporate sponsors, in this case the fossil fuel industry and its lobbyists, happy. I just read yesterday that the U.S. oil industry raked in record profits last year. If I can find the pertinent article I'll come back in and add it to the bottom of this post.
Meanwhile, from the Tell Us Something New Department:
ALMOST a decade ago, Tampa Electric opened an innovative power plant that turned coal, the most abundant but the dirtiest fossil fuel, into a relatively clean gas, which it burns to generate electricity. Not only did the plant emit significantly less pollution than a conventional coal-fired power plant, but it was also 10 percent more efficient.
Hazel R. O'Leary, the secretary of energy at the time, went to the plant, situated between Tampa and Orlando, and praised it for ushering in a "new era for clean energy from coal." Federal officials still refer to the plant's "integrated gasification combined cycle" process as a "core technology" for the future, especially because of its ability - eventually - to all but eliminate the greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
Since that plant opened, however, not a single similar plant has been built in the United States. Abundant supplies of natural gas - a bit cleaner and, until recently, a lot cheaper - stood in the way.
But even now, with gas prices following oil prices into the stratosphere and power companies turning back to coal, most new plants - about nine out of 10 on the drawing board - will not use integrated gasification combined-cycle technology.
The reason is fairly simple. A plant with the low-pollution, high-efficiency technology demonstrated at the Tampa Electric plant is about 20 percent more expensive to build than a conventional plant that burns pulverized coal. This complicates financing, especially in deregulated markets, while elsewhere utilities must persuade regulators to set aside their customary standard of requiring utilities to use their lowest-cost alternatives. (A federal grant of $143 million covered about a fourth of the construction cost of the Tampa Electric plant, which was originally a demonstration project.)
The technology's main long-term advantage - the ability to control greenhouse gas emissions - is not winning over many utilities because the country does not yet regulate those gases.
That could be a problem for future national policy, critics say, because the plants being planned today will have a lifetime of a half-century or more. "It's a very frightening specter that we are going to essentially lock down our carbon emissions for the next 50 years before we have another chance to think about it again," said Jason S. Grumet, the executive director of the National Commission on Energy Policy.
The commission, an independent, bipartisan advisory body, has recommended that the federal government spend an additional $4 billion over 10 years to speed the power industry's acceptance of the technology. In a recent report, the commission concluded that "the future of coal and the success of greenhouse gas mitigation policies may well hinge to a large extent on whether this technology can be successfully commercialized and deployed over the next 20 years."
Mr. Grumet was more succinct. Integrated gasification combined cycle technology, combined with the sequestration of carbon stripped out in the process, "is as close to a silver bullet as you're ever going to see, " he said.
Until Congress regulates carbon emissions - a move that many in the industry consider inevitable, but unlikely soon - gasification technology will catch on only as its costs gradually come down. Edward Lowe, general manager of gasification for GE Energy, a division of General Electric that works with Bechtel to build integrated gasification combined-cycle plants, said that would happen as more plants were built. The premium should disappear entirely after the first dozen or so are completed, he added.
Even now, Mr. Lowe said, the technology offers operational cost savings that offset some of the higher construction costs. And if Congress eventually does limit carbon emissions, as many utility executives say they expect it to do, the technology's operational advantages could make it a bargain.
James E. Rogers, the chief executive of Cinergy, a heavily coal-dependent Midwestern utility, is one of the technology's biggest industry supporters. "I'm making a bet on gasification," he said, because he assumes a carbon-constrained world is inevitable. "I don't see any other way forward," he said.
The operating savings of such plants start with more efficient combustion: they make use of at least 15 percent more of the energy released by burning coal than conventional plants do, so less fuel is needed. The plants also need about 40 percent less water than conventional coal plants, a significant consideration in arid Western states.
But for some people, including Mr. Rogers and other utility leaders who anticipate stricter pollution limits, the primary virtue of integrated gasification combined-cycle plants is their ability to chemically strip pollutants from gasified coal more efficiently and cost-effectively, before it is burned, rather than trying to filter it out of exhaust.
Proponents say that half of coal's pollutants - including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to acid rain and smog - can be chemically stripped out before combustion. So can about 95 percent of the mercury in coal, at about a tenth the cost of trying to scrub it from exhaust gases racing up a smokestack.
The biggest long-term draw for gasification technology is its ability to capture carbon before combustion. If greenhouse-gas limits are enacted, that job will be much harder and more expensive to do with conventional coal-fired plants. Mr. Lowe, the G.E. executive, estimated that capturing carbon would add about 25 percent to the cost of electricity from a combined-cycle plant burning gasified coal, but that it would add 70 percent to the price of power from conventional plants.
Gasification technology, although new to the power sector, has been widely used in the chemical industry for decades, and the general manager of the gasification plant run by Tampa Electric, Mark Hornick, said it was not difficult to train his employees to run the plant. Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy of Tampa.
Disposing of the carbon dioxide gas stripped out in the process, however, is another matter. Government laboratories have experimented with dissolving the gas in saline aquifers or pumping it into geologic formations under the sea. The petroleum industry has long injected carbon dioxide into oil fields to help push more crude to the surface.
Refining and commercializing these techniques is a significant part of a $35 billion package of clean energy incentives that the National Commission on Energy Policy is recommending. The Senate considered some of those ideas in a big energy policy bill last week, but it is doubtful whether Congress will approve the funds to enact them because they are tied to regulating carbon emissions for the first time, something that many industry leaders and sympathetic lawmakers oppose.
Still, the energy bill may have some incentives for industry to adopt gasification technology, and the Department of Energy will continue related efforts. These include FutureGen, a $950 million project to demonstrate gasification's full potential - not just for power plants but as a source of low-carbon liquid fuels for cars and trucks as well, and, further out, as a source of hydrogen fuel.
REGARDLESS of the politics of carbon caps, the Energy Department has made it clear that it intends to push the development of integrated gasification combined-cycle technology. Last month, for example, Mark Maddox, a deputy assistant secretary, said at an industry gathering that the technology "is needed in the mix - needed now."
Some industry leaders are skeptical, to say the least. "We would not want to put all of our eggs in one basket as far as a single technology is concerned," said William Fang, deputy counsel for the Edison Electric Institute, a trade association whose members, shareholder-owned utilities, account for three-quarters of the country's generating capacity.
Besides, he added, many of his members think that mandatory carbon controls, in place in much of the world since the Kyoto Protocol came into force in February, can be kept at bay in the United States - possibly indefinitely.
It's a risky strategy - for industry and for the climate. "Coal-fired plants are big targets," said Judi Greenwald of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, "and if we do get serious about climate change, they are going to be on the list of things to do quite early."
Currently reading James Howard Kunstler's newly-published 'The Long Emergency'.
I'm afraid I will have to remove Kunstler from my list of preferred writers on the subject of Peak Oil. Yes, the book is well written in parts and contains much useful information. But its orientation is insincere. Kunstler wants his readers to be fools.
He regurgitates the 'official version' of 9/11. He buys into 'the West' vs 'Islamic fundamentalism' scenario generally. He is a practitioner of 'blame the victim' politics.
This is Kunstler: 'As regions are stressed by food and water scarcity, by drought floods, and other weather-related calamities that destroy homes, those that retain military capability will be tempted to compete for survival by means of aggression. Other poor and desperate regions will see their populations migrating. Some may see both anarchy and out-migration. The world-wide proliferation of small arms, submachine guns, shoulder-launched rockets and portable missiles has given even the most wretchedly impoverished people the ability to challenge the best equipped armies in the world, to engage, encumber and even defeat them.'
Thus Kunstler at one fell swoop flatters the Leftist 'solidarity with the wretched of the earth' delusions (with the wretched of the earth doing the dying) and aids and abets official 'Western' scenarios of 'the terrorist threat'.
Kunstler is slicker and less of a plodder than, say, Mike Ruppert, but the difference between them comes out in the way Ruppert handled the stories about Israeli prior tipoffs on 9/11 to some Israeli and Jewish-American people with jobs in the Twin Towers.
Ruppert mentions one such incident, but his gloss on it is not 'look what those rotten Jews did'. His comment was: 'if they can help their people, why couldn't we help our people'?? Kunstler would undoubtledly see any mention of matters such as this as a priori evidence of anti-Semitism.
Last Edit: May 28, 2005 22:52:33 GMT -5 by Wayne Hall
.....Thus Kunstler at one fell swoop flatters the Leftist 'solidarity with the wretched of the earth' delusions (with the wretched of the earth doing the dying) and aids and abets official 'Western' scenarios of 'the terrorist threat'.....
Yes, and Michael T. Klare, author of "Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict" and, more recently, "Blood and Oil" can, I suppose, also be accused of "abetting official Western scenarios..."
I am so d**ned tired of its not being noticed that millions of "ordinary Americans" don't buy the Official Western Scenario despite mainstream media implications to the contrary. I am here to say that every single person I know hates what the current administration is doing in our names.
As for Kunstler's and Klare's analyses on the matter of the coming fossil fuel crisis and how this will eventually impact the daily lives of ordinary people, I think they are, for the most part, absolutely on target.
Personally, I think the most serious of the many impacts is going to be in the agricultural sphere. I completely agree with Kunstler that food is going to have to be grown/produced on much more of a local basis and that a great deal more attention needs to be paid to whatever it takes to prepare for this reality.
I've intuited this for at least 20 years now - it doesn't take a Ph.D. to see what's going on right in front of your face. I'm definitely not alone with this observation.
*** Long Day's Journey into Night By Amanda Griscom Little Grist.org
Ironic, don't you think? At the same time that we are reaching saturation point in the environment with the emmisions and pollutants of oil and its products we are also reaching the end of the Oil Age, when cheap source of oil is readily available for consumption.
Ironic or spooky - I'm uncertain if this concidence is coincidental at all.
There is a documentery set for TV viewing "Oil Storm" on the FX channel Sunday 5 June evening. From the Adverts I assume that it deals cheifly with the sudden loss of oil (through various disasters affecting the oil companies in America) and that impact on the USA.