DOD’s Warning About our Energy Future and Peak Oil

Andrew’s Note: Today we continue running a section discussing Oil from the Energy Section (Part II, Trends Influencing World Security) of the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) 2010. The JOE is the Department of Defense’s keystone document used to project the world in which it will operate up to 25 years into the future.  As I mentioned yesterday, it’s a sobering read for the prepper and likely to turn the non-prepper into one.  Read on to learn what the Department of Defense thinks about Peak Oil and our energy future:

Energy

To meet even the conservative growth rates posited in the economics section [of the JOE], global energy production would need to rise by 1.3% per year. By the 2030s, demand is estimated to be nearly 50% greater than today. To meet that demand, even assuming more effective conservation measures, the world would need to add roughly the equivalent of Saudi Arabia’s current energy production every seven years.

Absent a major increase in the relative reliance on alternative energy sources (which would require vast insertions of capital, dramatic changes in technology, and altered political attitudes toward nuclear energy), oil and coal will continue to drive the energy train. By the 2030s, oil requirements could go from 86 to 118 million barrels a day (MBD). Although the use of coal may decline in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, it will more than double in developing nations. Fossil fuels will still make up 80% of the energy mix in the 2030s, with oil and gas comprising upwards of 60%. The central problem for the coming decade will not be a lack of petroleum reserves, but rather a shortage of drilling platforms, engineers and refining capacity. Even were a concerted effort begun today to repair that shortage, it would be ten years before production could catch up with expected demand. The key determinant here would be the degree of commitment the United States and others display in addressing the dangerous vulnerabilities the growing energy crisis presents.

That production bottleneck apart, the potential sources of future energy supplies nearly all present their own difficulties and vulnerabilities. None of these provide much reason for optimism. At present, the United States possesses approximately 250 million cars, while China with its immensely larger population possesses only 40 million.

Peak Oil:Future World Oil Production from JOE 2010

As the figure at right shows, petroleum must continue to satisfy most of the demand for energy out to 2030. Assuming the most optimistic scenario for improved petroleum production through enhanced recovery means, the development of non-conventional oils (such as oil shales or tar sands) and new discoveries, petroleum production will be hard pressed to meet the expected future demand of 118 million barrels per day.  [Interesting to note that the document actually uses the term “Peak Oil”] (more…)

DOD’s Warning About Oil and the ‘Arc of Chaos’

Andrew’s Note:  The following is from the Energy Section (Part II, Trends Influencing World Security) of the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) 2010.  I’ve mentioned the JOE in passing before as it’s a keystone document that the Department of Defense uses to project the world in which it will operate up to 25 years into the future.  It’s a sobering read for the prepper and likely to turn the non-prepper into one… read on about Oil and the Arc of Chaos:

Remember as you read the JOE that this is the official Department of Defense projection of the world we will live in over the next 2+ decades.

OPEC nations will remain a focal point of great-power interest. These nations may have a vested interest in inhibiting production increases, both to conserve finite supplies and to keep prices high.  Should one of the consumer nations choose to intervene forcefully, the “arc of instability” running from North Africa through to Southeast Asia easily could become an “arc of chaos,” involving the military forces of several nations.  (more…)

Sean Penn Campaigns for Socialist President…of Venezuela

Not really self reliance related but I couldn’t help posting this as a celebrities behaving (politically) irresponsible moment and there are certainly liberty for our friends south of the border with a guy like Hugo Chavez in charge:

Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez is one of America’s sworn enemies.

Despite this, actor Sean Penn visited Venezuela Sunday to campaign for one of the world’s most despised dictators.

via Sean Penn Campaigns for Hugo Chavez’s Reelection in Venezuela | NewsBusters.org.

Chavez’s nationalizations have touched the oil, steel, agricultural, finance, manufacturing, mining,  and telecom industries.  He’s even planning to seize private homes to rent out to tourists as a government industry…hmm…no entertainment industry nationalizations.

Granted we aren’t in a war with Venezuela but first we had Hanoi Jane…now Caracas Sean…wonder who he’ll campaign for next?

 

Bureaucracy Generates World’s Biggest Power Failure

A population nearly twice the size of the U.S. suffering from a bureaucratically ‘generated’ power outage…and they expect it to happen again in the coming days…

The world’s largest outage brought 500 trains to a halt, trapped 200 miners for hours, shut down shops and left hospitals in the dark.

…Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde blamed the outage on states taking more than their allotted share of electricity. “Everyone overdraws from the grid,” he said. Experts disagreed.”Underinvestment at both the state level and national level has been building as power demand increases,” said Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution. “This is just a colossal case where everything has come home to roost after years of neglect.”

India’s power situation is made worse by government actions, such as giving of subsidized or free electricity to favored constituencies that has left power operators in debt and unable to improve the grid.

Also, some plants run below capacity because politicians have acceded to pressure from environmentalists not to use coal for fuel.

via Second day of India’s electricity outage hits 620 million – USATODAY.com.

The biggest power failure in the history of the world…no storm, no mechanical breakdown, just the tragedy of central government planing and half of India’s population is in the dark.

Maybe some good will come of it though, Prime Minister Manmahan Singh has pledged to fast track energy projects and introduce free market reforms.  A chief executive who intends to reduce centralized planning and encourage the free market…let’s hope it’s contagious.

 

 

Why Prep, Part 2 Historical & Current Examples

Note from Andrew: The complete Why Prep Series has now been consolidated HERE.

Last week in Why Prep, the Introduction we briefly discussed the fragility of the status quo and clarified that preparedness is not about getting ready for the ‘end of the world’… it’s about building the skills, resources and resilience to endure the transition periods following dramatic financial, environmental, societal or individual life changes.  If you haven’t read the introduction yet, I recommend that you read it before continuing by clicking on the hyperlink near the start of this paragraph..

Today we’re going to take a look at some current and historical situations and events that are/were much more survivable (financial and otherwise) for those that took the time to prepare.  For brevity’s sake I have chosen a small sampling of the historical examples available and have chosen not to include many areas of perpetual warfare (Cyprus, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Palestine/Israel, Northern Ireland, etc.).

Note:  The links included go to articles or preselected internet searches (to make results more timely) in case you’re interested in doing additional reading on that subject.  For convenience, these examples are listed by continent although many of the events/situations spanned multiple continents. (more…)

Ebola Breaks Out Again in Uganda

8/2/12 Update:  Total of  30 Ebola cases in Uganda now including five from Kibaale prison.

The Ebola virus was first detected in 1976 in the central African nation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The virus is named after a river in that country. There are five strains of Ebola viruses, all named after the areas where they were found: Zaire, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Bundibugyo and Reston, according to the WHO.

via Ebola outbreak suspected among Uganda prisoners – CNN.com.

I’d forgotten that there was an Ebola strain named after Reston (yes that Reston… in Virginia).  Ebola has broken out in the U.S. three times according to the Centers for Disease Control in 1989, 1990 and 1996.  Each outbreak took place at a monkey quarantine facility and luckily there no fatalities.  As scary as Ebola is… the real fear is that it could mutate into a more contagious pathogen.

(more…)

The Biggest U.S. Political Scandals of the Last 40 Years

The mainstream media thrives on stories about politicians who have trouble keeping their pants on, staying out of the wrong beds, or fathering the occasional ‘love child.’  If the political scandal being reported doesn’t revolve around sex than it likely involves some type of influence peddling for profit.  Politicians are people too (all evidence to the contrary)… so they reflect all of our foibles and because they operate in an environment with incredible temptations (big money, big power, and big libidos apparently) and incredible visibility…we get lots of front page news.

I propose to you that for all the ink and digits that go into reporting on the types of political scandals above the biggest U.S. political scandals involve issues that are much less base and much more heinous.  The real ‘political’ scandals involve clandestine operations to further the ideological goals or illicit retention of power.  Based on this definition, the three biggest political scandals of the last 40 years are:

  1. Watergate Scandal:  Republican President Richard Nixon was implicated in a break-in that took place 40 years ago last month at the offices of the Democratic National Committee.  This property crime was perpetrated with the goal of influencing the President’s reelection chances.  Instead, it resulted in his resignation in disgrace.  This scandal resulted from an attempt to retain power through illicit means.
  2. Iran/Contra Scandal:  This complex scheme involved the sale of arms to Iran (which was under an arms embargo at the time) through Israeli intermediaries to fund anti-Sandinista (read that as anti-communist) rebels in Nicaragua.  The Sandinista Regime under the former bank-robber turned President, Daniel Ortega was opposed by several groups that were loosely referred to as ‘Contras.’  The Contras received U.S. government support until Congress outlawed the practice.  At that point several members of President Ronald Reagan’s Republican administration came up with the Iran/Contra scheme to further the administration’s ideological goals of financially supporting anti-communist rebels.  It’s interesting to note that although the Sandinistas lost power in 1990, their President, Daniel Ortega was reelected to that post in 2007.
  3. The Fast & Furious Scandal:  Details of this scandal were still being discovered up until the point where President Barack Obama invoked the seal of executive privilege.  Here is the rough outline.  A U.S. Government Accountability Report to Congress incorrectly stated that 87% of the guns seized from criminals by Mexican authorities came from the U.S.  The statistic was incorrect in that it didn’t refer to the percent of weapons seized by Mexican authorities that originated in the U.S., it actually referred to the percent of seized weapons that the Mexican authorities asked the U.S. to trace, that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) were able to trace. that were of U.S. origin.  For more details read Mexico’s Gun Supply and the 90 Percent Myth | Stratfor.  This incorrect 87% statistic quickly made the rounds in government circles and was soon spouted as gospel on the talk show circuit.  It fueled calls for increased regulation of firearms and a push for increased gun legislation at a time when the people and States were beginning to more freely embrace firearms freedoms.  There is some speculation that the desire to point to legitimate ‘smoking guns’ of U.S. origin, at Mexican crime scenes prompted the U.S. Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder to encourage over 2,000 U.S. guns to illegally cross the border into Mexico.  These guns have been tied to over 300 murders to date including the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry in 2010.  With President Obama’s comments on pushing gun control “under the radar” and Attorney General Holder’s comments encouraging us to “brainwash people into thinking of guns in a vastly different way” there certainly is a defined ideological goal.  Operation Fast and Furious was the clandestine Department of Justice operation that appears to have been designed to further that ideological goal by providing illegal firearms to criminals in a friendly, neighboring country.  Bill Whittle of PJTV refers in his video on the subject, to this scandal as “”Watergate with 300 dead people lying on the ground.”

The biggest U.S. political scandals of the last forty years certainly don’t bode well for our future unless we insist that our public servants to take the moral, ethical and legal requirements of their duties more seriously.  We started this run of scandals with a property crime but have now progressed to providing weapons to supporters of terrorism and criminals.

(more…)

My Favorite Obama, George

I know from reading President Barack Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father that he was born into a large and complex family.  Aside…the President’s father was a bigamist and Mitt Romney’s Grandfather was a polygamist…what are the odds that the two presidential candidates both came from multi-spouse families…I’ve only met one person in my entire life that came from a multi-spouse family.  Back to the post…one of the President’s many siblings is a young man in his late 20’s named George who lives in a hut in Nairobi, Kenya.

Like his more famous brother, George is also an author.  George has written on race relations and colonialism.  I recently watched a film clip of George where the interviewer tried to get George to lament his life in poverty when his brother has the ability to lift George above it.  George’s answers were eloquent and reflected a philosophy of self-reliance that have earned him a place on the Prepography Wall of Honor.  He essentially said:

  • I am a grown man
  • I can take care of myself
  • My brother has his own family to take care of and a pretty demanding job
  • My brother doesn’t owe me anything

While I haven’t read George’s book, Homeland (see description under More below), I was impressed by what I saw of this young man.  His eloquent and confident message of self-reliance, along with his rational views on post-colonial race relations were a refreshing change from our election year politics of division and culture of envy.  See the clip here.

George Obama

George Obama (more…)

‘Carbon Tax Fee’ for a Funeral?

Her father-in-law died on June 30, the day before the carbon tax was introduced, and was buried early last week.

“I thought to myself, ‘What carbon could possibly be used by putting a man in a grave?'” Ms Maliki said.

“All they did was put the dirt back in. How can they charge us a carbon tax for burying someone?”

Ms Maliki’s son Zaid said the cemetery’s receptionist told his sister-in-law “even the dead don’t escape the carbon tax”.

“We are pretty upset… that comment was a kick in the guts,” he said.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said it would be “reprehensible” if any cemetery was taking advantage of grieving families by overcharging them for funerals.

via Family slugged with ‘carbon tax fee’ for funeral.

I’ve seen fuel surcharge fees added to a number of my bills recently, but I’d think a carbon tax would only be appropriate from a funeral home or cemetery if it was following a cremation…yes, I’m kidding.  This happened in Melborne, Australia.

France Orders Every Driver to Carry Breathalyzer

If the requirement proves successful in France, some law enforcement officials in the United States said mandatory breathalyzers in cars could be taken for a spin here.

“If they were mandatory in every vehicle, the roads would be safer, there’s no doubt about that,” Capt. Ted Richardson, of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina

via France orders every driver to carry breathalyzer kits in their cars  – NY Daily News.

If the goal is to make roads safer why don’t we just make driving on them illegal…that’s the only way to make them truly safe (sarcasm intended).  Seriously folks, turns out that there are only two companies in France that make these breathalyzers and they were involved in lobbying for the new law.

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