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Energy and the Balance of Power (Mark A. Ancona, August 4, 2008)
The United States is losing global hegemony. This is an uncomfortable, yet immutable truth, now repeated by an increasing number of powerful industry leaders and government officials. Having bankrupted our Nation with an un-winnable war, public bail-out of private investment bankers and Alan Greenspan’s nuclear housing bubble, we can no longer afford to engage in the frivolous waste of oil and natural resources. Many countries are coming of age with the re-discovery of their valuable natural resources. Previously third world nations are building first world infrastructures and economies with their new-found bounty.
Our increasingly expensive oil needs are largely imported, yet we still have not learned the conservation lessons taught in the ‘70’s. Have we reached peak oil? Maybe - maybe not. I will however hazard to guess that if we continue to consume the world’s oil like starving raccoons in a trash barrel, we soon will be.
Brazil, Russia, India and China are known collectively as the BRIC nations, have rapidly evolving economies, resulting in expanding infrastructures and an increase in personal wealth for their citizens. As these newly empowered consumers emulate our excesses and begin purchasing better housing, automobiles and consumer products, The BRIC must start the exponential increase in resource consumption required to supply those demands.
The Brazilian national oil company, Petrobras, recently discovered several oil fields off of the Atlantic Shelf. The Tupi and Carioca fields should yield around 41 billion barrels of oil, with neighboring fields holding an additional 1.1 to 2 trillion cubic feet of gas. Russia has proven reserves of oil exceeding 59 billion barrels, and currently supplies a huge portion of Europe and the Balkans with natural gas using i’s 1,680 trillion cubic feet of proven reserves. While China and India have a net total of only 24 billion barrels of domestic oil, China has known reserves of 114,500 billion tons of coal. Coal has an energy equivalence of 2.2 barrels of oil per ton, therefore China has domestic energy equivalent of 251,900 billion barrels of oil.
The balance of power is shifting. BRIC nations are coming of age and getting richer, and the good old United States forgot to plan for retirement.
These countries have realized that energy equals power, and their populations are collectively awakening from their third world slumber. These revelations will serve to strengthen the nationalist fervor within the BRIC nations, and wrest any remaining control of resources from foreign concerns. We have already witnessed this in Venezuela and Evo Morales, President of Bolivia is threatening the same. These emerging nations will soon consume most of the energy they create, meaning fewer exports to the United States. As world resources diminish, nationalization will occur in all nations with proven significant reserves.
The recent trend of war-for-oil has proven disastrous and Presidential groveling before OPEC Ministers humiliating. Our own Congress refuses to stand up to a President, who is bankrupting us with his policies in Iraq, and the relentless expansion of the Military Industrial Complex. It is time to bring our soldiers home, close down most, if not all of our 8,000 foreign bases and re-build our infrastructure around renewable resources. There simply is no other intelligent choice. We can no longer presume that bombs and planes will provide limitless oil.
It is clear that our Congress is gridlocked over the war, budget, energy and entitlement programs, having been crippled by the thousands of special interest groups and lobbyists, each one demanding their “fair share”. Our government has gotten so huge that it is choking on itself and the monsters it created. There is no congressional leadership; just infighting, investigations, quibbling about political correctness and subpoenas. It has been 232 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, yet we still cannot understand the rules for selection of a presidential candidate [see also: Florida and Michigan].
We need to stand up together, and collectively demand an immediate resolution to require development and installation of solar, wind and geo-thermal power in this country. These technologies are already developed and viable; there is no need to perform any more Government studies to prove it. How about houses, schools and businesses with sky-lights instead of electric lights? How about mandatory solar water heaters? What about 100% mandatory recycling using consumer separation? Why not require mandatory vegetable gardens in every yard currently wasted growing grass? How about asking European carmakers to sell their 45 mpg cars over here, since our domestic manufacturer’s claim it will take 20 years and cost tens of billions of dollars before they can develop efficient cars? The math is simple and it doesn’t include calculus.
This is not a riddle. The pump is running dry, and if we do not do something about it soon, we will witness a very ugly and painful devolution, from an advanced society to hunter-gatherers when the lights go out. That means the poor and hungry hunting for the rich and privileged, gathering up their food and possessions in the ultimate, involuntary re-distribution.
I’m not making this up; these events are unfolding as I write this article…….
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