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[The barrage of stories breaking over the past two weeks confirming FTW's map have been dizzying to the point where it is difficult to keep up with all of them. Here FTW's Carolyn Baker takes us through a review of the most recent reports that confirm everything FTW has been saying for the past five years.
We take no solace in saying "we told you so." Instead we only hope that our subscribers are planning for the inevitable right now with eyes wide open and delaying not one more second. If you have any lingering doubts about what is coming down the pipeline, your denial will not remain intact after reading this one. - MK]
COOKING ON THE ROAD TO COLLAPSE: THE TERMINAL TRIANGLE RULES,
By Carolyn Baker, Ph.D.
© Copyright 2006, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.
August 1st 2006, 1:23pm [PST] - This past week, amid the Middle East crisis which dominates mainstream media, From The Wilderness has posted an abundance of news stories on the unremitting, grinding heat that has killed stunning numbers of human beings around the world during the month of July, as well as stories related to resource depletion and dollar devaluation. Meanwhile, as FTW reported on July 27, it is now becoming clearer that both oil and water are enormous factors in the Middle East crisis as they are in the lethal repercussions of climate change worldwide.
Concurrently, I’m still receiving personal emails from die-hard opponents of Peak Oil who accuse me of being a handmaiden of the petroleum industry. FTW has long ago ceased arguing with those entrenched in obdurate denial of the Terminal Triangle--climate change, worldwide resource depletion, particularly Peak Oil, and global economic meltdown. We have chosen instead to provide our readers with the most current and well-researched evidence on the daunting realities that are reversing the achievements of the past five hundred years of human history.
It is now painfully evident that we are experiencing a phenomenon unique in the history of the human race: the juxtaposition of climate distortion, resource depletion, and global economic catastrophe. As I continue to receive inquiries requesting indications of hope, I reply, as I did in an FTW article some months ago, that “hope” is merely an appendage of denial--a boulder around the neck of drowning, sentient beings, whereas enlivening options creates a variety of potential lifeboats for survival and sustainability. A recent, must-read article by Jan Lundberg succinctly summarizes such options for both individuals and communities.
As I write these words, we are seeing the convergence of all three sides of the Terminal Triangle playing out with devastating consequences globally. All of this in the midst of resource wars, ancient religious and ethnic hostilities, and a twenty-first century arms race which threatens to vaporize the planet and its inhabitants.
From Paris, where 64 people have died this month from heat and 3,000 last summer, Hervé Le Treut, meteorologist at the French Centre for Scientific Research stated that “The emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are leading to higher temperatures all over the world, but these are observed in an irregular manner across the continents….The global weather is clearly disturbed.” The Inter Press Service News Agency, which interviewed Le Treut, reported this week that even hotter summers lie ahead and that although we might not see palm trees in Germany, summers will become increasingly hotter unless humankind does something to reverse the trend created by global warming. The BBC reported that sensors in space have recorded dramatic increases in land temperatures and air pollution as the UK swelters in record-breaking July heat. At the same time, an Associated Press story, “Scientists Expect Scorching Heat In Future Summers”, admonishes the reader to “get used to it.”
In St. Louis, Missouri, a monster storm left 80,000 households without power across 13 states. A spokesperson for Ameren Energy Company said that, “The company had not estimated its costs from the storm damage, which was the worst in the company’s 100-year history.”
Simultaneously, California cooks. A chilling headline from the AP, “California Coroners Overwhelmed By Heat Deaths” gives perspective to the 100-plus fatalities that have occurred statewide as temperatures and megawatt usage soar, resulting in levels of electrical consumption that have caused blackouts throughout the state. Never before has such a strain been placed on the California power grid as we are currently witnessing—except for perhaps the artificial strain created by Enron in 2001. Moreover, the USA Today underscored a fact that FTW has been reporting for many months, namely, “recent heat-wave related blackouts in California and New York are at least partly being blamed on creaky transformers, circuit breakers, and cables…Low investment in interstate lines could lead to more blackouts, such as the one that hit the Northeast in August, 2003.”
Not only have energy shortages become lethal, they are pummeling the poor worldwide. A British Guardian report this week reveals that “UK households with the lowest incomes could be spending as much as a tenth of their incomes on gas and electricity.” The report emphasizes that the poorest families are being hit the hardest as London’s EDF Energy raises the cost of natural gas and electricity for the second time in less than a year. A 2004 report by the U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development (HUD) notes that families receiving public assistance “paid an average of 26 percent of their income toward energy, while median income families spent an average of less than 4 percent of their income on energy.” Rising energy costs lead to death, disease, and homelessness for countless working poor people in most developed countries.
But having shelter and heat in the winter and cooling in the summer, may become second on the list of priorities in the light of increasing global food shortages. Climate change is taking its toll on food production, and in Germany, the president of the farmers’ association told the press that this year’s harvest of cereals could be 10 to 15 percent lower than in 2004. Heat and drought, he said, have destroyed the higher expectations of German agriculture in earlier years. Last week, Energy Bulletin, posted several articles related to global food supply on its website. In “Grain Drain”, Wayne Roberts, Coordinator of the Toronto Food Policy Council stated that “two months of global food reserves is all that’s separating us from mass starvation.” Roberts attributes “Peak Grain” to skyrocketing energy costs and climate change, and emphasizes that:
If massive disaster strikes, there’s enough in the global cupboard to keep people alive on basic grain for 57 days. Two months of survival on food is all that separates us from mass starvation due to drought, plagues of locusts, and other pests, or the wars and violence that disrupt farming, all of which are more plentiful than food.
Clearly, the last thing we would need at this point is massive conversion to ethanol as an alternative fuel for cars!
In Zimbabwe All Africa reports that current power cuts might reduce the expected winter wheat yield as irrigation operations are disturbed, thereby affecting crop growth. Since Zimbabwe consumes about 400,000 tons of wheat annually, the deficit of 168,954 tons that they are likely to experience this year will be highly significant.
In terms of the Terminal Triangle, one of the most dramatic stories of the week “California Wildfire Threatens High-Voltage Wires”, spotlighted the Lakin Fire of McCloud, California, where three transmission lines which collectively transport 4,200 megawatts of electricity have been threatened. Clearly, the raging fires, linked to global warming, are directly jeopardizing the availability of energy. In another synchronization of climate chaos and energy, the European heat wave, mentioned above, has forced nuclear power plants to reduce or halt production, according to an Observer story on July 30. The story’s writers ask: How are they going to expand nuclear power when they are so vulnerable to such things as global temperature?
In other words, two sides of the Terminal Triangle have met and are shaking hands because all sides of the Triangle are related and ultimately intersect.
In a recent address to the Australian Senate Committee, Dr. Samsam Bakhtiari, Senior Advisor for the National Iranian Oil Company in Tehran, presented an update on world oil supply, announcing these daunting statistics:
The decline of global oil production seems now irreversible. It is bound to occur over a number of transitions, the first of which I have called transition 1, which has just begun in 2006. Transition 1 has a very benign gradient of decline, and it will take months before one notices it at all. But transition 2 will be far steeper, and each successive transition will show more pronounced declining gradients. My WOCAP model has predicted that over the next 14 years present global production of 81 million barrels per day will decrease by roughly 32 per cent, down to around 55 million barrels per day by the year 2020.
Thus in the face of peak oil and its multiple consequences, which are bound to impact upon almost all aspects of our human standards of life, it seems imperative to get prepared to face all the inevitable shockwaves resulting from that.
In his 2004 article “As The World Burns”, Mike Ruppert refers to petroleum geologist, Richard Duncan’s, Olduvai Theory which states that the life-expectancy of industrial civilization, defined in terms of world energy use per capita is less than or equal to 100 years. Duncan described a “cliff event” in which energy consumption puts industrial civilization over the edge, and originally, he theorized that it would happen around 2012. It now appears that the cliff event has begun, as one of Duncan’s indicators of its arrival was rolling blackouts which would spread nationwide, then eventually worldwide, ultimately becoming permanent.
Mike Ruppert’s assessment of this in the above-mentioned article warrants repeating:
Once major blackouts start hitting; once the US economy tanks and millions become unemployed; once banks and pension funds fail and the housing market collapses, a cycle will have begun which can only compound itself - thus preventing what would be the "ordinary" development of remaining fields. Human civilization may self-destruct before declining oil would have made it necessary. If the world is engulfed in war then neither the LNG tankers necessary to bring natural gas to the US nor the LNG terminals needed to receive it will be built. There won't be enough capital. There won't be enough remaining expertise. There won't be enough social order to complete even these stopgap measures. If Peak Oil does not destroy civilization, then our chosen course of waging war to get oil most certainly will both accelerate and worsen its impact.
On so many levels, it appears that the world has begun to burn, yet my comments so far have only addressed two sides of the Triangle.
Recently, Jim Rogers, co-founder of George Soros’ Quantum hedge fund, insists that oil prices will reach $100 a barrel, possibly this year. While a Merrill Lynch spokesman says, “no way,” a growing number of traders are agreeing with Rogers’ forecast. Simultaneously, a Business Week Online story asks the question, “Would $100 Oil Slam The Global Economy?”. In addition, a July 29 BBC story informs us that the “Mid-East Crisis Could Push Oil To $125, emphasizing that “such a development does not bode well for the global economy.” $100 oil translates into $5 per gallon and could deal a severe blow not only to the global economy but to a U.S. economy in shambles with an unprecedented number of homes for sale and not moving on the market, consumers drowning in debt, a horrific U.S. deficit and an equally-ghastly U.S. trade balance, and a plummeting dollar from which nations around the world are increasingly disconnecting.
Adding to last week’s numerous validations of the FTW map, Gabriel Kolko’s “Bankers Fear World Economic Meltdown” emphasized the doubling of world prices for all commodities since 2003, especially oil and precious metals, alongside the dollar’s decline. Kolko refers to yet another economic warning by Morgan Stanley’s Stephen Roach, that a major financial crisis is in the offing and that global efforts to forestall it are “utterly inadequate.” Thus, Kolko summarizes:
The entire global financial structure is becoming uncontrollable in crucial ways its nominal leaders never expected, and instability is increasingly its hallmark.
In Oil, Jihad, and Destiny, Ronald E. Cook analyzes the economic impact of oil depletion and concludes:
Any oil crisis will have a global reach, sparing no nation from its pain and hardship. The industrial nations of North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim will be hit the hardest because they have the most energy intensive economies.
Three weeks ago, the U.S. stock market was headed in the most southerly direction imaginable, but John Crudele of the New York Post, who has illuminated Wall Street’s plunge protection team in numerous articles in recent years, reminds us of the ever-present Working Group on Financial Markets, as the team is called, whose job it is to prevent the market from slamming into Antarctica as it appears it has once again succeeded in doing. In addition, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission may stop issuing their Commitment of Traders Reports by August 21, 2006 which, not unlike the Federal Reserve’s discontinuance of the M3 monetary aggregate earlier this year, signals that what little financial transparency remains in the federal government is rapidly becoming stunningly opaque and inaccessible.
“Cooking” on the way to collapse is not only about sweltering, lethal heat waves resulting from global warming, but government-sanctioned, now-institutionalized book-cooking which essentially blesses the operations of the federal government and corporations as they devolve daily into criminal enterprises, as opposed to viable public or private entities.
A study of Catherine Austin Fitts’ latest documentation on money missing from the federal government, which now comprises an entire page at her site, reveals nothing less than the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world, a financial coup d’ etat the proportions of which spell catastrophe for global, national, and individual economies. As the delineation of the Terminal Triangle reveals itself with increasing clarity--as sweltering, hungry, thirsty, debt-battered, unemployed, eventually homeless and bankrupt Americans with empty pension plans, frozen bank and 401K accounts, looted Social Security savings--who can no longer afford their suburban Mc Mansions, astronomical utility bills, credit cards, and gas-guzzling automobiles discover that the Rape Of Russia by U.S. financial systems was merely a warm-up exercise for the economic evisceration of the United States, the social fabric of America will unravel, and chaos will ensue.
A story by this week by Mathew Maavak in the Korea Herald, entitled, “Along With Peak Oil, Peak Grain, and Peak Water, The World Enters Crisis Overload,” succinctly summarizes all of the above and concludes: “Imagine a world when Peak Oil meets Peak Grain and Peak Water at a confluence called Peak Mayhem? And we have not even skimmed the surface of troubled waters ahead, spawned by the troubles we caused before.”
And so it is that we arrive again at the question: Will collapse look like Armageddon or slow burn? Will the Terminal Triangle’s fires linger unrelentingly, like the blistering heat of California’s San Joaquin Valley, scorching, wearing away, and hollowing out the livelihoods of earth’s inhabitants, or will the confluence of scenarios we have witnessed in the past month congeal in an indisputable, palpable “cliff event” that signals the end of the world as we have known it? The latter would perhaps be preferable if for no other reason that the longer the country on earth which consumes the largest quantity of hydrocarbon energy implacably refuses to acknowledge what is so and drastically alter its patterns of consumption, the more cataclysmic will be the collapse, and humankind will wistfully yearn for “the good ole days” of scorching heat, three-dollar gas, and just barely getting by financially—dire symptoms of a convergence of consequences that are about to dismantle Western civilization.