Power is money, money power. Global power is measured in barrels of crude oil or BTU’s of natural gas; money, as we are carefully trained to believe, in US dollars. The direct correlation is the pricing of the World’s energy markets in US dollars. US media, financial, and most importantly, its military sectors of the economy do everything in their power to consolidate this illusive and lucrative reality. For as long as it can last the Federal Reserve Bank can continue to print paper, manipulate currency markets and reign supreme. That’s the theory, right?
While the world becomes increasingly preoccupied about dwindling petroleum reserves, maybe we might be better focused on the risks of burning what we are currently extracting. Pentagon generals can play their strategic war games, taking ever-greater military and economic risks to wrest control of Iraq and to protect Israel, but even with hundreds of military bases worldwide who can provide protection from world climate change? As the military power helps to secure the pipelines and tankers that enable the flow of supply, who monitors the other end of the supply chain; the chimney stacks and the vehicle tail-pipes? What are the contingency plans for global warming?
Who shall forgive the world’s energy-consumer states, not so much for their gluttony but for their callous self-deception? While western universities continue to attract the world’s great scientific minds the oil man in the White House declines their urgent briefs even sending them back for re-writing? While China, the world’s largest consumer of oil is re-evaluating some USD 7.5Bn. of its own energy plans in environmental impact terms, Mr. Bush scorns even his own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The President of the United States is continually undermining his own national environmental laws and continues to bury his head in the sand as regards Kyoto. His proposed 2005 budget aims to cut EPA funding by nearly a half billion dollars.
In stalwart nineteenth century fashion, Mr. Bush chooses to focus on growth and security; seemingly unaware that these are the very engines of world environmental destruction. Possibly his greatest self-deception is to believe that either growth or security can be possible in world wrought with environmental disaster. Maybe instead of embarking on incredibly wasteful warfare to control dwindling energy supplies, the world’s governments might want to encourage consumption reduction? Or would that require too much basic common sense?
At this late stage the more cynical of us might want to ask ourselves who will be the new winners and losers in our 21st century of changing weather patterns, shifting ocean currents, and a curiously unreflective atmosphere? Instead of lending support to weakened global institutions like the UN, or the Kyoto protocol might we not be better served to head for the hills, leaving instructions to our brokers to purchase shares in ExxonMobil?
For the rest of us there is still time to consider our terrible mistake, accepting blame for our part in the disaster, we can still focus on minimizing the side-effects.
A Darwinian view may suggest a final solution to the burgeoning population growth. This might not be too far from the truth. Humans are becoming increasingly efficient at extinction even as we ourselves self-destruct at the other end of the food chain. The sad fact is that planet Earth will mourn the thousands of extinct species that we take with us much more it would a reduction in human populations.
It is curious to consider that part of the problem may lie in an influential group whose world-view is clouded in fairy tales. Expelled from Europe to the US in centuries past for the dangers their fundamentalism presented, this goodly group continues to believe in the creation of the Universe in just one week. To them it is sacrilege to consider the millions of years of plant and animal life required to create the world’s petroleum reserves. Let’s face it if you still believe that the dinosaurs died out because they didn’t fit on Noah’s Ark, then how are you supposed to react to the scientist who warns of the imminent dangers of increased atmospheric carbon?
Little green men anybody?