Peaked Oil, Climate Chaos and Eroding Liberties
part of the antidote to Peak Liberties is to figure out how we could use the remaining oil to have permaculture for nine billion people - the choice would require shifting the military budget away from permanent war
The best analyses of Peak Oil and of global warming each conclude that the problem would have to be addressed a decade or two before it manifests at full strength - yet both problems are here, now. Perhaps the truth is that the shadow government (corporations and the military industrial complex) did not want to deal with these problems because the solutions are inherently decentralized and would require relaxation of centralized power control systems. Since we missed the opportunity to solve these issues as gently as possible, governments are instituting a global surveillance police state to suppress dissent as the oil that runs the show becomes more scarce and expensive, and climate change reduces available food and water supplies.
"Climate change is also beginning to create major security risks."
-- Carter F. Bales and Richard D. Duke, "Containing Climate Change," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2008
from the New Zealand based oilcrash.com
In addition to this website and what it is saying I would like to say that all political parties are conning us and I wouldn’t vote for any of them. Apart from a small glimmer of hope from the Maori Party, all the other parties have treated the ramifications of peak oil with treasonable contempt, by either ignoring it altogether or understating the disaster we all face. Passing draconian laws is their way of placing the necessary controls on this society before resource depletion really kicks in. This is their way of trying to maintain their positions, when the reality is they will not even be able to answer the phone. Hang on for an interesting 2008.
-- Robert Atack
Analyst warns of looming global climate wars
Posted August 25, 2008 15:14:00
Updated August 25, 2008 15:18:00
The prospect of global wars driven by climate change is not something often discussed publicly by our political leaders.
But according to one of America's top military analysts, governments in the US and UK are already being briefed by their own military strategists about how to prepare for a world of mass famine, floods of refugees and even nuclear conflicts over resources.
Gwynne Dyer is a military analyst and author who served in three navies and has held academic posts at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and at Oxford.
Speaking about his latest book, Climate Wars, he says there is a sense of suppressed panic from the scientists and military leaders. ....
He says a fall in crops and food production means there will be refugees, people who are desperate.
"It may mean the collapse in the global trade of food because while some countries still have enough, there is still a global food shortage," he said.
"If you can't buy food internationally and you can't raise enough at home, what do you do? You move. So refugee pressures - huge ones - are one of the things that drives these security considerations."
In Climate Wars, even the most hopeful scenarios about the impact of climate change have hundreds of millions of people dying of starvation, mass displacement of people and conflict between countries competing for basic resources like water.
"India and Pakistan are both nuclear-armed countries. All of the agriculture in Pakistan and all of the agriculture in northern India depend on glacier-fed rivers that come off the Himalayas from the Tibetan plateau. Those glaciers are melting," Dr Dyer said.
"They're melting according to Chinese scientists to 7 per cent a year, which means they're half gone in 10 years.
"India has a problem with this. Pakistan faces an absolutely lethal emergency because Pakistan is basically a desert with a braid of rivers running through it.
"Those rivers all start with one exception in Indian-controlled territory and there's a complex series of deals between the two countries about who gets to take so much water out of the river. Those deals break down when there's not that much water in the rivers."
And then you have got the prospect of a nuclear confrontation, Dr Dyer says.
"It's unthinkable but yet it's entirely possible. So these are the prices you start to pay if you get this wrong," he said.
"Some of them, actually, I'm afraid we've already got them wrong in the sense that there is going to be some major climate change."
Dr Dyer explains the least alarmist scenario for the next couple of decades still involves enormous pressures on the US border.
"That border's going to be militarised. I think there's almost no question about it because the alternative is an inundation of the United States by what will be, effectively, climate refugees," he said. ....
But the real insight into the US study is that the more severe climate change scenario is the one that analysts think is the more likely one.
"And it's not just the analysts. I spent the past year doing a very high-speed self-education job on climate change but I think I probably talked to most of the senior people in the field in a dozen countries," Dr Dyer said.
"They're scared, they're really frightened. Things are moving far faster than their models predicted.
Creating wealth at grass-roots level (3 selected snippets)
Friday, October 31, 2003
By CLAUDIA KENNEDY
As an adult, my thinking about poverty in developing countries became more strategic, taking firmer shape in 1990 at the Army War College. It was absolutely clear by then that poverty is the source of enormous social turmoil and social turmoil often results in civil unrest and disturbance, with the potential for negative ramifications worldwide.
One of the things we believe in defense intelligence is that people must have an investment in an orderly society. Economic deprivation and hunger lead to lack of education and illiteracy, which lead to powerlessness and despair, which lead to victimization and social chaos.
The world is interrelated more than we know. If we believe that bad things that happen in the world are a threat to our country, why would we not believe that good things are not a benefit to us?
Claudia Kennedy is the former deputy chief of U.S. Army Intelligence and a retired three-star general.
© 1998-2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
|Climate Change and Civil Liberties|
Climate change 'may put world at war'
By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 23/04/2008
Climate change could cause global conflicts as large as the two world wars but lasting for centuries unless the problem is controlled, a leading defence think tank has warned.
The Observer (London) November 4, 2007
Climate wars threaten billions
More than 100 countries face political chaos and mass migration in global warming catastrophe
By Robin McKie, science editor
A total of 46 nations and 2.7 billion people are now at high risk of being overwhelmed by armed conflict and war because of climate change. A further 56 countries face political destabilisation, affecting another 1.2 billion individuals.
This stark warning will be outlined by the peace group International Alert in a report, A Climate of Conflict, this week. Much of Africa, Asia and South America will suffer outbreaks of war and social disruption as climate change erodes land, raises seas, melts glaciers and increases storms, it concludes. Even Europe is at risk.
'Climate change will compound the propensity for violent conflict, which in turn will leave communities poorer and less able to cope with the consequences of climate change,' the report states.
The worst threats involve nations lacking resources and stability to deal with global warming, added the agency's secretary-general, Dan Smith. 'Holland will be affected by rising sea levels, but no one expects war or strife,' he told The Observer. 'It has the resources and political structure to act effectively. But other countries that suffer loss of land and water and be buffeted by increasingly fierce storms will have no effective government to ensure corrective measures are taken. People will form defensive groups and battles will break out.'
Consider Peru, said Smith. Its fresh water comes mostly from glacier meltwater. But by 2015 nearly all Peru's glaciers will have been removed by global warming and its 27 million people will nearly all lack fresh water. If Peru took action now, it could offset the impending crisis, he added. But the country has little experience of effective democracy, suffers occasional outbreaks of insurgency, and has border disputes with Chile and Ecuador. The result is likely to be 'chaos, conflict and mass migration'.
A different situation affects Bangladesh. Here climate-linked migration is already triggering violent conflict, says International Alert. Droughts in summer combined with worsening flooding in coastal zones, triggered by increasingly severe cyclones, are destroying farmland. Millions have already migrated to India, causing increasingly serious conflicts that are destined to worsen.
In Africa, rivers such as the Niger and Monu are key freshwater resources passing through many nations. As droughts worsen and more water is extracted from them conflicts will be inevitable.
In Europe, most countries are currently considered stable enough to cope with global warming, apart from the Balkans; wars have left countries such as Serbia and Montenegro politically weakened. As temperatures rise and farmland is reduced, population pressures will trigger violence that authorities will be unable to contain.
Some nations on the risk map, such as Russia, may cause surprise. 'Moscow's control of Russia as a whole will not be undermined by global warming,' said Smith. 'But loss of farmland in some regions will lead to local rebellions like those already triggered in Chechnya.'
Conflict triggered by climate change is not a vague threat for coming years, he added. 'It is already upon us.'
Last updated October 12, 2007 9:36 p.m. PT
Peace likely to erode alongside glaciers, coasts
Shortages will bring wars, experts say
By CHARLES J. HANLEY
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
What does global warming have to do with global peace? The globe may find out sooner than we think, experts say.
"Climate change is and will be a significant threat to our national security and in a larger sense to life on Earth as we know it to be," retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, former U.S. Army chief of staff, told a congressional panel last month.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee agrees. In awarding the prize Friday to climate campaigner Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N.-sponsored network of scientists, the Norwegian committee said the stresses of a changing global environment may heighten the "danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states."
Those like Sullivan who study the issues point particularly to the effect of drought and altered climate patterns on food and water supplies, leading to shortages that could spur huge, destabilizing migrations of people internationally.
In a report in May, scientists advising the German government noted specific scenarios that could upend the lives of millions, driving them across borders to overwhelm other lands.
"The dieback of the Amazon rain forest or the loss of the Asian monsoon could have incalculable consequences for the societies concerned," said the German Advisory Council on Global Change.
In some cases, potential backlashes from warming weren't foreseen even a few years ago. One example: The stunningly swift shrinking of Arctic Ocean ice in recent summers has drawn attention to looming international disputes over rights to the newly open seas.
The unpredictability of when, where and how some of the changes will occur has frustrated Pentagon planners and others trying to prepare.
A 2003 report commissioned by the Pentagon warned that abrupt climate change "could potentially destabilize the geopolitical environment, leading to skirmishes, battles and even war due to resource constraints."
But that study's scenario for abrupt change hinged in part on fears that the Atlantic's Gulf Stream current might slow, chilling northern Europe and eastern North America and curtailing food harvests. Now, however, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it's "very unlikely" the current will slow abruptly.
Unpredictability was dispelled elsewhere in the panel's reports this year. It found, for example, that warmer and drier conditions are already shortening the growing season in Africa's Sahel, a conflict-ridden region long burdened by food and water shortages.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the German scientists cited other potential "hot spots":
Egypt's low-lying Nile Delta, where the livelihoods of millions may be at risk from rising sea levels and salinization of agricultural areas.
The Asian subcontinent, where the retreat of Himalayan glaciers will dry up downstream water supplies and where rising seas and stronger cyclones will threaten tens of millions on the Bay of Bengal coast.
The poor nations of Central America, where more intense hurricanes could severely damage economies, destabilize political systems and send streams of uprooted people toward the U.S. border.
Global efforts have faltered, however, in trying to cut back emissions of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases -- in part because the Bush administration opposes such internationally mandated reductions.
If, amid recriminations and finger-pointing, governments fail to unite on global warming, "climate change will draw ever-deeper lines of division and conflict in international relations," the German report said.
from Ross Gelbspan, "The Heat is On: the Climate Crisis, the Cover-up, the Prescription"
The Coming Permanent State of Emergency
Long before the systems of the planet buckle, democracy will disintegrate under the stress of ecological disasters and their social consequences.
Two different men independently expressed this chilling insight to me - William Ruckelshaus, the first head of the EPA and now CEO of Browning-Ferris Industries; and Dr. Henry Kendall of MIT, the recipient of the 1990 Nobel Prize for physics ...
When I first heard the remark, it seemed shocking yet somehow irrelevant to the climate crisis. Only after the thought had burrowed its way into my consciousness did the connection become apparent: If we alter the balance of the natural relationships that support our lives, those changes will ripple through the complex relationships that make up our society. ....
Diminishing food and water supplies already pose a grave threat to the survival of democracy in the developing world. As climate instability intensifies, that threat is bound to become reality. "The world's food supply," says Kendall, "must double within the next thirty years to feed the population, which will double within the next sixy years. Otherwise, before the middle of the next century - as many countries in the developing world run out of enough water to irrigate their crops - population will outrun its food supply, and you will see chaos. All we need is another hit from climate change - a series of droughts or crop-destroying rains - and we're looking down the mouth of a cannon."
But even before the ravages of climate change have become widespread, Kendall believes, it may already be too late to head off pervasive famine and social disruption ...
The outcome of this deterioration is loaded with totalitarian potential. In the mid-1980s, a thirty-year growth in global food supplies reached its peak. Food production is now declining. Today only two of the world's 183 nations -- the United States and Canada -- are major exporters of grain. Yet as the world's population expands at an almost exponential rate, the earth is losing nearly 1 percent of its agricultural lands every year.
Nor is the situation with available water much better. In many arid parts of the world, freshwater resources are becoming overtaxed. They are depleted by industrial overuse and by the demands of growing concentrations of people in the cities of the developing world. United Nations secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali was deadly serious when he noted, a few years ago, that the next war in the Middle East will be fought not over oil but over water.
-- from Ross Gelbspan, "The Heat is On: the Climate Crisis, the Cover-up, the Prescription"
note: the "water wars" prediction for the Middle East was slightly premature, as the Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) was still fought over oil, although Iraq is the most water rich Arab country (except for Egypt). A detailed analysis of the simultaneous impacts of climate change and depleting fossil fuels on world food production does not seem to be in the public domain - but the outcome is unlikely to be a happy one under any scenario. Much of the grains grown in North America are fed to farm animals, which is the most inefficient method of food production. Clearly any future scenario that attempts to provide nutrition for everyone in the world will require a world-wide vegan (or close to it) diet. The days of heavy meat consumption by the wealthiest segment of the human family while billions are malnourished cannot be sustained into the era of expensive energy, climate change and increasing desertification. This is not about ideology - but rather, about survival.
|Peak Energy and Peak Fascism|
Is Energo-fascism in Your Future?
The Global Energy Race and Its Consequences (Part 1)
By Michael T. Klare
posted January 14, 2007
It has once again become fashionable for the dwindling supporters of President Bush's futile war in Iraq to stress the danger of "Islamo-fascism" and the supposed drive by followers of Osama bin Laden to establish a monolithic, Taliban-like regime -- a "Caliphate" -- stretching from Gibraltar to Indonesia. The President himself has employed this term on occasion over the years, using it to describe efforts by Muslim extremists to create "a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom." While there may indeed be hundreds, even thousands, of disturbed and suicidal individuals who share this delusional vision, the world actually faces a far more substantial and universal threat, which might be dubbed: Energo-fascism, or the militarization of the global struggle over ever-diminishing supplies of energy.
Petro-Power and the Nuclear Renaissance
Two Faces of an Emerging Energo-fascism (Part 2)
By Michael T. Klare
posted January 16, 2007
Not "Islamo-fascism" but "Energo-fascism" -- the heavily militarized global struggle over diminishing supplies of energy -- will dominate world affairs (and darken the lives of ordinary citizens) in the decades to come. This is so because top government officials globally are increasingly unwilling to rely on market forces to satisfy national energy needs and are instead assuming direct responsibility for the procurement, delivery, and allocation of energy supplies. The leaders of the major powers are ever more prepared to use force when deemed necessary to overcome any resistance to their energy priorities. In the case of the United States, this has required the conversion of our armed forces into a global oil-protection service; two other significant expressions of emerging Energo-fascism are: the arrival of Russia as an "energy superpower" and the repressive implications of plans to rely on nuclear power.
Neo-Feudalism: Serfs in the Service Economy
"That song [Call it Democracy] came from the time of neo-conservatism,
when governments supported business at the cost of lives and nobody gave
shit. We have since moved
on to neo-liberalism, when governments support business at the cost of
lives and nobody gives a shit; and I see we're moving on to neo-feudalism,
that's the service economy coming at you. We will all serve. I'm not
quite sure who we're serving. There's a sort of mystery there; are we
serving Bill Gates? I think not, he's too visible. Somebody else? Maybe
you're sitting right here (in the audience). Are you out there? Fuck
off, if you are. (positive audience response) And if you're not, well
we missed a grand opportunity to level with each other."
-- Bruce Cockburn, from a live performance at Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada, 25 March 2000 www.cockburnproject.net/songs&music/atcid.html
A warning that some fascist fringe groups look forward to Peak Oil chaos as an opportunity to gain power. The article's mention of the neo-cons misses the fact that their program is rooted in their understanding of the implications of Peak Oil (as described masterfully in "Crossing the Rubicon").
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The Politics of Peak Oil and Fascism
articles detailing America's slide into fascism
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
PEAK OIL AND CIVIL LIBERTIES - IN THE SIGHTS OF THE GUN
posted by Bruce Gagnon
George W. Bush is on a campaign to justify his war on the American people. He and his team are now appearing everywhere to convince us that spying on us is "good for us." They are saying that intercepting domestic communications is legal. The big lie, repeated often enough, becomes the truth. And it wears the opposition down. Bush is big time into showing all of us that he "won't give up." He wants to protect us.
I believe this is the first-step in conditioning the American people to get used to martial law. We are soon to have a Supreme Court that will give the "president" maximum authority. They will make Bush the king and put the "law of the land" ribbon on top for good measure.
This must be done because of the coming economic turndown that is bound to happen when you are spending $500 billion on a war in Iraq and jobs are leaving the country the way they are. In the past 10 years over $1.3 trillion of American companies have been bought by foreign investors. The U.S. economy is hanging by a thread.
Add to that the reality of peak oil and you can see we are in the sights of the loaded gun. Peak oil means that the world is running out of fossil fuels and experts predict that prices are going to rise for oil, and oil based products, dramatically in the next few years. When that happens food production becomes overwhelmingly expensive, home heating oil becomes overwhelmingly expensive, driving cars or flying becomes overwhelmingly expensive. The economy hits the wall. The people begin to yell and scream and hit the streets. By that time Bush has set in motion the shutdown of freedom of speech in the USA.
Saudi Arabia is reported to be pumping 70% water out of its oil wells these days. When that happens you know we are in trouble.
The way out won't be biofuels - the growing of corn and turning it to fuel. We are going to need all available arable land for food production, which will suddenly be very labor intensive, as oil for tractors and fertilizers becomes cost prohibitive.
We are going to need massive installation of solar but right now Japan is the world's primary producer of solar panels and Germany is buying them all up. There are waiting lists to purchase solar panels. We need to expand solar production and windmill production in the U.S. right now!
When gas hits $7, $8, $10 per gallon we will need an alternative. Hell, we need one now. It is called public mass transit. We need local, state, and national rail systems to go under production today. Forget trying to power your car with vegetable oil. We need trains. We need to get on our bicycles.
Conservation will become a major source of energy. What we don't use won't have to be replaced. This is something that the energy wasting U.S. economy will have to learn and learn fast.
The corporate and political world will suggest we go nuclear so we can continue the mass produced, centralized power system. And when electrical power costs hit the wall, many people will want to go for that quick and "easy" solution. Already we are seeing the early stages of a campaign by the nuclear power industry to prepare the people for this "solution." But nuclear power is not a solution. The massive amount of nuclear waste will remain a huge problem. And we need to move away from "centralized" power. We need to decentralize power creation and distribution. The way to do that is with solar and wind. The problem with solar and wind is that the big corporations can't hook up the meter to it and make you pay them every month the way they now do with coal, oil and nuclear.
The next ten years are going to be very difficult times for us. That is why we all must begin to talk today about where we must go before it is too late. We must talk to each other daily about solar, wind power, and public transportation. We must turn our front and back yards, now heavy fertilized useless green lawns, into healthy organic gardens producing our food. Local food production will literally mean survival.
The sooner we begin to turn this ship the better our future will be. Discount these warnings as ravings of a mad man at your own peril.
Fight for free speech, the right to peacefully assemble, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures now before it is too late. Bush, and his right-wing Extreme Court, are coming with the clamp down.
http://urbansurvival.com/week.htm July 5, 2005
Meantime, back at the Police State
With the new National Security Service signed into law: We can expect a large number of side shows to be developed in coming months because of the long wave economic train wreck forming up. Specifically, as the economy softens, it will become more and more difficult for the Powers That Be (PTB) to hold onto the reigns of power. As a result, we read with interest this morning that the Pentagon's planners are considering beefing up domestic security. This is almost amusing to the well read student of history: Clearly the agenda has nothing to do with terrorism and is more likely to be the formation of military strength internally to attempt maintenance of order after the markets crash and lynch mobs take to the street looking for banksters and crooked politicians who are squandering the public's trust as we speak. It will also be used as the forerunner of the draft, we consider a near certainty by mid-2006. Look for news out of Afghanistan and Iraq to be main drivers, but the not-so-well hidden agenda is building up a protection unit for the PTB to keep "order."
The all-important issue missed out in the election
May 02 2005
NOW that everyone knows just about all they need to know about Blair's devious methods to procure Bush's oil war, and that he will be unlikely to pay a political price for it, those of us who understood from the outset that Iraq would be attacked can take no satisfaction to be proved right.
The latest revelations and discourse are a side-show. It is now public knowledge that Blair's decision was made at the unelected Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002 [pictured] - a year before hostilities began. The ensuing activity, futile as it turned out, was to secure legal "cover" and a political pretext. The current prattle about democracy and Blair's "contempt for due process" is unnecessarily ad hominem. It is unlikely that any US puppet-politician would have left Crawford without clear instructions; Bush was just lucky he had the messianic Blair. Michael Howard's remarkable public confession that he would have invaded even without WMD is itself revelatory of this - it is not "democracy" that is under threat (we've never had it) but constitutionality itself.
What is important to understand is why this drift to totalitarianism on both sides of the Atlantic is now likely to accelerate. We are now at "peak-oil" or very close to it. Hereafter, capitalism's life-blood is ebbing. There is a direct correlation between oil price rises, military budget increases, weapons deployment, warfare and covert operations around the world, as nation states gear up to secure, by whatever means, diminishing oil supplies. Rumsfeld has won the battle to control US intelligence operations, Negroponte is the new national intelligence director and Bolton is going to the UN.
We are approaching the end-game. Since early 1999, oil prices have risen about 400%. Recent oil-price rises have taken $90m a day out of the US consumer economy, itself a bubble sustained by foreign debt, much of it from China. China's own oil demand is expected to grow by 33% this year. Nations are expanding their economies as fast as possible to generate cash and liquidity as a means of securing more oil from a diminishing pool. A descending vicious cycle has begun.
Oil industry analyst Jan Lundberg has recently written: "The end of abundant, affordable oil is in sight, and the implications are colossal . . . This means that the next tough oil shortage, even if it is not acknowledged as a post-peak-oil extraction phenomenon of diminishing supply, will cripple the globalised economy." When this happens, the unmet world demand of more than 80 million barrels a day will result in market paralysis with prices too high for the wheels of commerce and even daily living in "advanced" societies. This will result in massive civil unrest. Societies less dependent on oil will fare better. Those dependent on it for food, work, transport and heat will disintegrate.
On the foreign front, Iraq was a (futile) attempt to delay this. On the parallel domestic fronts, the US Patriot Act and New Labour's draconian erosion of civil liberties, the evisceration of the BBC and the degradation of cabinet government are manifestations of the preparations for the end of oil.
Some straws in the wind: China is already buying and hoarding 60% of the world's commodities: oil, cement, aluminium, copper, zinc, manganese, steel, coal, gold, silver, etc. Last year it bought 90% of the world's steel output and announced a 12.6% increase in its defence budget for next year, pushing it into an overt arms race with the US. This has stimulated the China-Taiwan flashpoint as China has enacted a Taiwan secession law, countered by dangerous rhetoric from the US, Japan and Taiwan.
Recent Sino-Japanese sabre-rattling is only tangentially about school history texts. We are witnessing the opening shots in the war for control of oil-shipping routes. China and India have agreed to hold first-ever joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean as the former is beginning attempts to control the strategic Straits of Malacca through which 80% of its imported oil passes. Just wait until China calls in its US debts and starts selling dollars.
These are the real issues around which Iraq and Labour were skewered, and no-one in this absurd general election is talking about them, far less confronting them. That does not mean to say that the elite aren't thinking about them. The evidence suggests they are thinking about little else.
Dr John O'Dowd, 3 Downfield Gardens, Bothwell.
What if, just if, there really were threats that we, the sheeple, aren't aware of, that warrant a near complete subversion of democracy?
What is some kind of extra-terrestrial threat that requires setting up a global hegemon as a military dictatorship to confront, or manage, the threat? [note: maybe, maybe not - but there is certainly a big public relations effort to get a lot of people to believe this]
What if technology is developing so fast that global human security, not just national security, assessments describe it as spinning out of control, and requires a near totaltarian blanket of repression to try to brunt any damange?
What if threat assessments have determined that peak oil, climate change, environmental devastation, have the potential of throwing society into chaos, and that the only way to keep it together is, as Noam Chomsky has suggested, a dictatorship.
Because, frankly, if these things could happen, then I might be persuaded to allow them to happen.
To paraphrase glorious leader Bush Jr., I wouldn't mind living in a dictatorship if I was untouchable.
Fat chance of that though.
Will The End of Oil Mean The End of America?
by Robert Freeman
The choice we face ... is whether to wean ourselves off of oil -- to quickly evolve a new economy and a new basis for civilization -- or to continue to secure stable supplies from the rest of the world by force.
... the alternative consequences of each choice could not be more dramatic. Weaning ourselves off of cheap oil, while not easy, will help ensure the vitality of the American economy and the survival of its political system. Choosing the route of force will almost certainly destroy the economy and doom America’s short experiment in democracy.
To date, we have chosen the second alternative: to secure oil by force. The evidence of its consequences are all around us. They include the titanic US budget and trade deficits funding a gargantuan, globally-deployed military and the Patriot Act and its starkly anti-democratic rescissions of civil liberties. There is little time left to change this choice before its consequences become irreversible.
.... Bush is using the self-ratcheting “War on Terror” to effect even more sweeping, perhaps permanent rescissions of civil liberties.
Under the Patriot Act, a person can be arrested without probable cause, held indefinitely without being charged, tried without a lawyer or a jury, sentenced without the opportunity to appeal, and put to death--all without notification of…anybody. This is simply a Soviet Gulag and it has been rationalized by the hysterical over-hyping of the War on Terror. The fact that it is not yet widespread does not diminish the more important fact that it has been put in place precisely in anticipation of such procedures needing to be being carried out on a mass scale in the future.
The broader implications of the Patriot Acts go far beyond the abusive treatment of criminals or terrorists. Their portent can be glimpsed in the language used to justify them. When Attorney General John Ashcroft testified on behalf of the Act, he stated, “…those who oppose us are providing aid and comfort to the enemy.” These are carefully chosen words. “Aid and comfort to the enemy” are the words used in the Constitution to define Treason, the most fateful of crimes against the state. In other words, protest against the government -- the singular right without which America would not even exist -- is now being defined as trying to overthrow the government.
And by the internal logic of a global Oil Empire, this is entirely reasonable. The needs of the people of any one country must be subordinated to the larger agenda of Empire itself. This is what the Romans learned in 27 B.C. when Augustus proclaimed himself Emperor. It was the end of the Roman Republic and the disappearance of representative government on earth for almost 1,700 years, until the English Civil Wars in the 1600s. That is the reality we are confronting today--offering up our democracy in propitiation to an Empire for Oil. It will be a fateful, irreversible decision.
.... The alternative to Grab the Oil is to dispense with the hobbling dependency on oil itself and to quickly wean the country off of it. Call it the path of Energy Reconfiguration. It is to declare a modern day Manhattan Project aimed at minimizing the draw down in the world’s finite stocks of oil, extending their life, and mitigating the calamity inherent in their rapid exhaustion. It means building a physical infrastructure to the economy that is based on an alternative to oil. And it means doing this, not unilaterally or militarily as the US is doing now, but in peaceful partnership with other countries of the world, the other counties in our shared global lifeboat that are also threatened by the end of oil.
In more specific terms, energy reconfiguration means retrofitting all of the nation’s buildings, both commercial and residential, to double their energy efficiency. It means a crash program to shift the transportation system -- cars, trucks -- to a basis that uses perhaps half as much oil per year. This is well within reach of current technology. .... It means refitting industrial and commercial processes -- lighting, heating, appliances, automation, etc. -- so that they, too, consume far less energy than they do today. It means increasing efficiency, reducing consumption, and building sustainable, long-term alternatives in every arena in which the economy uses oil. ....
... the choice of these two alternatives -- Grab the Oil or Energy Reconfiguration -- is much bigger than oil alone. It is a choice about the fundamental ethos and, in fact, the very nature of the country. Most immediately, it is about democracy versus empire. In economic terms, it is about prosperity or poverty. In engineering terms, it is a matter of efficiency over waste. In moral terms this is the choice of sufficiency or gluttony. From the standpoint of the environment, it is a preference for stewardship over continued predation. In the ways the US deals with other countries it is the choice of co-operation versus dominance. And in spiritual terms, it is the choice of hope, freedom and purpose over fear, dependency and despair. In this sense, this is truly the decision that will define the future of America and perhaps the world.
Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism
Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
The Observer, Sunday February 22 2004
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.
The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.
Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.
Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.
A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.
One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.
Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.
Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'
Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.
'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.
'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.
Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'
Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.
'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'
So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.
The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.
Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'
Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.