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The Emerging New World Order – Part 2. The End of Sovereignty » Golem XIV – Thoughts

The Emerging New World Order – Part 2. The End of Sovereignty » Golem XIV – Thoughts.

The Emerging New World Order – Part 2. The End of Sovereignty

by  on DECEMBER 12, 2013 in LATEST

In part one I wrote, ” …in every country the people who run the State have largely decided they no longer wish to serve the people but prefer instead to serve the interests of a Global Over-Class”. I believe we are in the midst of an historical shift in the alignment of loyalty and political power, away from democracy. I want to make it clear I do not believe the new arrangement of political and economic power was the clear goal of some hidden cabal. I think each change had an ideological drive behind it but, to begin with at least, each change was largely opportunistic and piecemeal. These pieces have, however, added up. And as time has gone by and the different pieces have accumulated, I think some wealthy and powerful people as well as some who were ideologically driven, have seen the chance to make something they desired out of the pieces. I think those who never liked democracy-for-the-masses, but preferred something that was more like the Roman senate – a place for the sons and daughters of the already wealthy and powerful families to ensure they remained wealthy and powerful – I think those people have seen an historical chance to further their vision of the future they desire and, particularly in the last twenty or so years, have actively schemed and pushed for it. Some of them have lobbied for it from Wall Street and the City, others of the same elite have written laws for it when they were in Congress and Parliament. And always they have found affordable lackeys among our political class.

Of course no one is going to admit to this. No one wants it to be clear that this is what is happening. So what our leaders have needed for some time, is a way of  serving their new masters, while claiming to be still serving us; a way of saying,”The best, if not the only, way for the State to help you, the nation/people, is for us to first help these other people.”

The  Trickle Down ‘theory’ was an early attempt . But Trickle Down was always too clearly a political sound-bite  rather than a grand theory.  What was really needed was a new vision of what the ‘Greater Good’ should look like and a theory of how to get there. And critically it had to be something that, it could be claimed, Nations could not deliver. Not only not deliver but were actively standing in the way of. There had to be a shining future which the old order of Nation States was preventing us from reaching. And this idea has, I think, surfaced again and again in different guises, certainly since WW1, but more and more prominently  in the last three decades. The idea that Nations and nationalism are standing in the way of the progress and prosperity that only a free and unfettered global market can offer, and that the State must remedy this, by limiting the power and sovereignty of their Nations is, I suggest, one of the most powerful ideas of our age and is now maturing into  the ideology and politics the Global Over-class has been seeking.

A brief history of how the State sold out the Nation

In the aftermath of WW1 the League of Nations was created because, it was said, nations left to their own nationalistic devices could not keep the peace. The League’s stated goals were nearly all political and very little mention was made of finance or trade. Perhaps if the League had prospered it might have been adopted by the then rising power of global finance and history might have been very different. Instead the Great Depression happened and the power of global finance was set back. The regulations brought in to prevent another systemic Banking Crisis held back the unfettered growth of finance for two generations. Only finally undone at the end of the century.

After WW2, however, the idea of supra-national governance, and the inadaquacy of nationalistic governments,  rose again this time with the creation of, among other things, the IMF, World Bank, and the United Nations. This time the agenda of the supra-national powers was much more focussed on finance and trade. As US Secretary of State from 1933-44, Cordel Hull put it,

[U]nhampered trade dovetailed with peace; high tariffs, trade barriers, and unfair economic competition, with war….

Trade barriers and ‘unfair economic competition’ were the creations of national governments, free trade was, therefore, the remedy and was to be championed by the supra-national, impartial IMF and World Bank. Of course in reality the IMF and WB were not impartial. Whatever their stated purpose, the IMF and WB were tools of one ideology only , the freemarket , and were the post-war means by which the powerful nations crow-barred open the economy of any poorer nation that fell into their grasp. The attack on sovereignty had begun.

But it was little noticed in the West. In part because people were too busy being comfortable and in part because the UN was the part of Bretton Woods we saw most of in the West. The UN didn’t have an ideology – so the publicity went – other than universal declarations of human rights. It was all about aid for the starving and the rule of law. Sheltered behind this public face, however, the IMF, in particular was in every way different. It was completey ideological. And its ideology was narrowly free-market. It had the mandate and the power to force governments to alter their policies in favour of open markets and international western companies.

While the UN rushed aid to the starving, the IMF forced poor nations to get rid of tariffs that tried to nurture local farmers paving the way for global agribusiness. Local economies were laid bare on every hillside where global capital picked their carcasses clean. But because it was happening over there, few of us over here gave a damn. And if anyone was tempted to see any of it as an attack on sovereignty, it was given other names, such as ‘liberalization’. We weren’t attacking the sovereignty of poor peoples, we were helping them.

Their governments, we told ourselves, were corrupt and had no vision beyond a tribal nationalism. We, on the other hand, being wealthy white people, could save them. Let our companies in and we’ll lend you the money to save yourselves from nationalism and poverty. Above the entrance to the freemarket future we may as well have put a sign which read, “Shuld Macht Frei”. But we still did not think this was ever going to be our future.

We might have been less sanguine had we been more aware of what the poor relation of the Bretton Woods era, the GATT, would one day bring us.The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) was created in 1947 with the purpose of regulating international trade mainly by reducing “tariffs and other trade barriers”. Those other trade barriers were anything from subsidies for local industries, to environmental requirements and labour laws. In 1995 the GATT hatched the World Trade Organization (WTO). What made the GATT and WTO quite different from the IMF and WB is that it was no longer just a matter of policy as it had been with the IMF, it was now about rolling back specific laws and tariffs. AND you didn’t have to fall into debt to find yourself subject to their rule. Your government simply had to sign away some sovereignties and “voila”, your government had made you subject to rules and a world governing body you had not elected and had no power over at all. The power in the WTO very obvioulsy and clearly lay with the corporations, their lobbyists and their experts.

Thus while the IMF and WB trampled mainly on poor nations the WTO had power over any nation including the wealthy. And it was no longer purely at the level of trade policy and politics, it now opened to corporations an avenue for them to object to and challenge specific sovereign laws and tariffs. The rules of the GATT and the WTO were specifically created in order to supercede any nation’s and region’s laws where they concerned trade.

While the Conservative (Tory) party here in Britain, would rail about Europe ‘stealing away our sovereignty’, the truth was that  those same Tory politicians had been delighted, in 1995,  to sign away far more sovereignty to GATT. The difference for them was that Europe was seen as still harbouring some vaguely Socialist ideas about environment and employment rights, while the WTO very specifically did not recognize such things and in fact regarded them as exactly the sort of barriers to trade it was there to get rid of.  Such was and is the hypocrisy of the Tories, and now UKIP (UK Independence Party), about sovereignty and Europe. Labour was at least consistent in happily handing over soverignty to anyone and everyone. And the faithful western main-stream media never bothered to say a word nor to offer even an analysis let alone a critique.

Throughout the 90′s and noughties the GATT and the WTO were the primary means whereby corporate interests in one country were able to stop or roll back any rules and regulations they didn’t like, in any other country. Suddenly westerners who had never before felt threatened by international capitslism, woke up. There were suddenly ‘anti capitalist’ protests in rich nations. People who had never bothered about what capitalism did in poor nations were suddenly outraged. Now things were being done to them in their country and that was wrong! Of course there had always been those who had fought against what was done in the developing world. I don’t meant to suggest there weren’t. I am just noting how suddenly their numbers were swelled when they realized it could happen here, to them.

BUT it was still the case under the WTO rules that corporate interests could only roll back sovereign national rules and laws via their own national governments. The companies of a country could complain to their government about a foreign law or tariff but it had to be their own government, their State, which went to the WTO and filed a complaint. Thus although more corporate than the earlier IMF and WB, the WTO is still tied to the power of the State.

Which bring us nearly  up to date. The last and by far the most dangerous part of the State’s dismantling of national sovereignty, although it has its roots back in the 1970′s, has really only taken off in the last 5 years and has only in the last few months received much attention in the main stream media.

Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)

If the WTO is the State acting on behalf of corporations, then Bilateral Investment Treaties and their rules for “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” give corporations the power to challenge and over-rule nations directly. They are entirely non-democratic and stand completely outside of national based law and even outside of most of international law. They are therefore a major crystalization of the shift in power from the Nation to the Corporation and of course it has been the State which has facilitated this transfer of power.

I apologize that the preceeding history took so long and that I have therefore still not written about BITs. I just felt the context of what came before and what still today makes up a large part of the over-ruling of the Nation was important enough to do properly. I promise I will write about BITs in part 3.  I hope you’ll bear with me .

 

Why the Energy-Industrial Elite Has It in for the Planet – Our World

Why the Energy-Industrial Elite Has It in for the Planet – Our World.

This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with the kind permission of Tom Engelhardt, who is also the author of the brief introduction.

• ♦ •

Two Saturdays ago, I was walking with a friend in a park here in New York City. It was late January, but I was dressed in a light sweater and a thin fall jacket, which I had just taken off and tied around my waist. We were passing a strip of bare ground when suddenly we both did a double-take. He looked at me and said, “Crocuses!”  Dumbfounded, I replied, “Yes, I see them.”

And there they were, a few clumps of tell-tale green shoots poking up from the all-brown ground as if it were spring. Such a common, comforting sight, but it sent a chill through me that noticeably wasn’t in the air. Even the flowers, I thought, are confused by our new version of weather.

Later that same week, as temperatures in the Big Apple crested 60 degrees, I was chatting on the phone with a friend in Northampton, Massachusetts. I was telling him about the crocuses, when he suddenly said, “I’m looking out my window right now and for the first time in my memory of January, there’s not a trace of snow!”

Of course, our tales couldn’t be more minor or anecdotal, even if the temperatures that week did feel like we were on another planet. Here’s the thing, though: after a while, even anecdotes add up — maybe we should start calling them “extreme anecdotes” — and right now there are so many of them being recounted across the planet. How could there not be in a winter, now sometimes referred to as “Junuary,” in which, in the United States, 2,890 daily high temperature records have either been broken or tied at last count, with the numbers still rising?

Meanwhile, just to the south of us, in Mexico, extreme anecdotes abound, since parts of the country are experiencing “the worst drought on record”.  Even cacti are reportedly wilting and some towns are running out of water (as they are across the border in drought-stricken Texas). And worst of all, the Mexican drought is expected to intensify in the months to come.

And who can doubt that in Europe, experiencing an extreme cold spell the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades — even Rome had a rare snowfall and Venice’s canals were reported to be freezing over — there are another set of all-too-extreme anecdotes. After all, in places like Ukraine, scores of the homeless are freezing to death, pipes are bursting, power cuts are growing, and maybe even an instant energy crisis is underway (at a moment when the European Union is getting ready to cut itself off from Iranian oil).

That’s just to begin a list. And yet here’s the strange thing. At least in this country, you can read the “freaky” weather reports or listen to the breathless TV accounts of unexpected tornadoes striking the South in January and rarely catch a mention of the phrase “climate change”.  Given the circumstances, the relative silence on the subject is little short of eerie, even if worries about climate change lurk just below the surface. Which is why it’s good to have TomDispatch regular Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, take a clear-eyed look at American denialism and just what it is we prefer not to take in.

– Tom Engelhardt

• • 

The Great Carbon Bubble
Why the fossil fuel industry fights so hard

By Bill McKibben

If we could see the world with a particularly illuminating set of spectacles, one of its most prominent features at the moment would be a giant carbon bubble, whose bursting someday will make the housing bubble of 2007 look like a lark. As yet — as we shall see — it’s unfortunately largely invisible to us.

In compensation, though, we have some truly beautiful images made possible by new technology. Last month, for instance, NASA updated the most iconic photograph in our civilization’s gallery: “Blue Marble,” originally taken from Apollo 17 in 1972. The spectacular new high-def image shows a picture of the Americas on January 4th, a good day for snapping photos because there weren’t many clouds.

It was also a good day because of the striking way it could demonstrate to us just how much the planet has changed in 40 years. As Jeff Masters, the web’s most widely read meteorologist, explains, “The US and Canada are virtually snow-free and cloud-free, which is extremely rare for a January day. The lack of snow in the mountains of the Western US is particularly unusual. I doubt one could find a January day this cloud-free with so little snow on the ground throughout the entire satellite record, going back to the early 1960s.”

In fact, it’s likely that the week that photo was taken will prove “the driest first week in recorded US history”. Indeed, it followed in 2011, which showed the greatest weather extremes in our history — 56% of the country was either in drought or flood, which was no surprise since “climate change science predicts wet areas will tend to get wetter and dry areas will tend to get drier.” The nation suffered 14 weather disasters each causing $1 billion or more in damage last year. (The old record was nine.) Masters again: “Watching the weather over the past two years has been like watching a famous baseball hitter on steroids.”

In the face of such data — statistics that you can duplicate for almost every region of the planet — you’d think we’d already be in an all-out effort to do something about climate change. Instead, we’re witnessing an all-out effort to… deny there’s a problem.

Our GOP presidential candidates are working hard to make sure no one thinks they’d appease chemistry and physics. At the last Republican debate in Florida, Rick Santorum insisted that he should be the nominee because he’d caught on earlier than Newt or Mitt to the global warming “hoax.”

Most of the media pays remarkably little attention to what’s happening. Coverage of global warming has dipped 40% over the last two years. When, say, there’s a rare outbreak of January tornadoes, TV anchors politely discuss “extreme weather,” but climate change is the disaster that dare not speak its name.

And when they do break their silence, some of our elite organs are happy to indulge in outright denial. Last month, for instance, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by “16 scientists and engineers” headlined “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” The article was easily debunked. It was nothing but a mash-up of long-since-disproved arguments by people who turned out mostly not to be climate scientists at all, quoting other scientists who immediately said their actual work showed just the opposite.

It’s no secret where this denialism comes from: the fossil fuel industry pays for it. (Of the 16 authors of the Journal article, for instance, five had had ties to Exxon.) Writers from Ross Gelbspan to Naomi Oreskes have made this case with such overwhelming power that no one even really tries denying it any more. The open question is why the industry persists in denial in the face of an endless body of fact showing climate change is the greatest danger we’ve ever faced.

Why doesn’t it fold the way the tobacco industry eventually did? Why doesn’t it invest its riches in things like solar panels and so profit handsomely from the next generation of energy? As it happens, the answer is more interesting than you might think.

In ecological terms it would be extremely prudent to write off $20 trillion worth of fossil fuel reserves. In economic terms, of course, it would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil.

Part of it’s simple enough: the giant energy companies are making so much money right now that they can’t stop gorging themselves. ExxonMobil, year after year, pulls in more money than any company in history. Chevron’s not far behind. Everyone in the business is swimming in money.

Still, they could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they’ve got a deeper problem, one that’s become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won’t be burned if we ever take global warming seriously.

When I talked about a carbon bubble at the beginning of this essay, this is what I meant. Here are some of the relevant numbers, courtesy of the Capital Institute: we’re already seeing widespread climate disruption, but if we want to avoid utter, civilization-shaking disaster, many scientists have pointed to a two-degree rise in global temperatures as the most we could possibly deal with.

If we spew 565 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere, we’ll quite possibly go right past that reddest of red lines. But the oil companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons — five times more than we can ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground.

Put another way, in ecological terms it would be extremely prudent to write off $20 trillion worth of those reserves. In economic terms, of course, it would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela).

If you run an oil company, this sort of write-off is the disastrous future staring you in the face as soon as climate change is taken as seriously as it should be, and that’s far scarier than drought and flood. It’s why you’ll do anything — including fund an endless campaigns of lies — to avoid coming to terms with its reality. So instead, we simply charge ahead. To take just one example, last month the boss of the US Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donohue, called for burning all the country’s newly discovered coal, gas, and oil — believed to be 1,800 gigatons worth of carbon from our nation alone.

The fossil-fuel companies, with their heavily funded denialism and their record campaign contributions, have been able to keep at bay even the tamest efforts at reining in carbon emissions.

What he and the rest of the energy-industrial elite are denying, in other words, is that the business models at the center of our economy are in the deepest possible conflict with physics and chemistry. The carbon bubble that looms over our world needs to be deflated soon. As with our fiscal crisis, failure to do so will cause enormous pain — pain, in fact, almost beyond imagining. After all, if you think banks are too big to fail, consider the climate as a whole and imagine the nature of the bailout that would face us when that bubble finally bursts.

Unfortunately, it won’t burst by itself — not in time, anyway. The fossil-fuel companies, with their heavily funded denialism and their record campaign contributions, have been able to keep at bay even the tamest efforts at reining in carbon emissions. With each passing day, they’re leveraging us deeper into an unpayable carbon debt — and with each passing day, they’re raking in unimaginable returns. ExxonMobil last week reported its 2011 profits at $41 billion, the second highest of all time. Do you wonder who owns the record? That would be ExxonMobil in 2008 at $45 billion.

Telling the truth about climate change would require pulling away the biggest punchbowl in history, right when the party is in full swing. That’s why the fight is so pitched. That’s why those of us battling for the future need to raise our game. And it’s why that view from the satellites, however beautiful from a distance, is likely to become ever harder to recognize as our home planet.

Bangladesh executes opposition leader – South Asia – Al Jazeera English

Bangladesh executes opposition leader – South Asia – Al Jazeera English.

 

The Supreme Court rejected an earlier life sentence imposed by the country’s war crimes tribunal [File/Reuters]
Bangladesh has hanged opposition leader Abdul Quader Mollah over war crimes, making him the first person to be put to death for massacres committed during the country’s bloody 1971 war of independence.

Abdul Quader Mollah, 65, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party, was hanged on Thursday at 10.01 pm (1601 GMT) in a jail in the capital Dhaka, government officials said.

The legal case against Mollah has heightened political tension in Bangladesh less than a month before elections are due. Jamaat-e-Islami is barred from contesting elections but plays a key role in the opposition movement led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Security was tight around the jail where Mollah was hanged. Extra police and paramilitary guards were deployed on the streets of Dhaka, while hundreds of people gathered at a major intersection in the city to celebrate the execution.

Moqbul Ahmed, JI’s acting leader, said in a statement on the party’s website that people would revenge Mollah’s execution by deepening the role of Islam in Bangladesh. The party called a nationwide general strike for Sunday.

Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury, reporting from Dhaka, said that judges ancestral homes had been attacked in the wake of the decision.

Micro-level civil war

“It has been a very tense atmosphere in which this review is going on,” our correspondent said.

“People are worried, it’s almost like a micro-level civil war.”

While a strong reaction to the decision from JI was expected on the streets of Dhaka, the city remained relatively calm.

But at least five people were killed earlier on Thursday near the port city of Chittagong as clashes broke out between opposition activists and police.

Party activists also clashed with police, torched or smashed vehicles, and exploded homemade bombs in the cities of Sylhet and Rajshahi, TV stations reported.

Scores of people were injured in the latest violence to hit the South Asian country, which has seen weeks of escalating tension as it struggles to overcome extreme poverty and rancorous politics.

In eastern Bangladesh, security officials opened fire to disperse opposition activists, leaving at least three people dead and 15 others wounded, Dhaka’s leading Bengali-language newspaper, Prothom Alo, reported.

The violence broke out in Laxmipur district, 95km east of Dhaka, during a nationwide opposition blockade after elite security forces raided and searched the home of an opposition leader, the report said.

Life sentence overturned

The Supreme Court passed the order of a review petition filed by Mollah against its verdict, awarding him the death penalty for his wartime offences. He had originally been due to be hanged at 18:00GMT on Tuesday, his lawyer said, but the court delayed the execution to consider his petition.

His original life sentence had been overturned by the Supreme Court in September, after mass protests called for him to be hanged.

A panel of five judges led by Chief Justice Mohammad Mojammel Hossain rejected the petition after hearing arguments on the appeal against the death penalty, a state prosecutor said.

Mollah is one of five opposition leaders condemned to death by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), set up in 2010 to investigate atrocities perpetrated during the 1971 conflict, in which three million people died.

Critics of the tribunal say it has been used as a political tool by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is locked in a political feud with BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia, as a way of weakening the opposition ahead of January 5 elections.

“The execution of… Mollah should never have happened,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher. “The country is on a razor’s edge… with pre-election tensions running high and almost non-stop street protests.”

But many Bangladeshis support the court, believing that those convicted of war crimes should be punished, underlining how the events of 42 years ago still resonate in the impoverished, divided nation of 160 million people.

 

Italy’s “Pitchfork Movement” Mapped | Zero Hedge

Italy’s “Pitchfork Movement” Mapped | Zero Hedge.

From Stratfor

Since Dec. 9, the Pitchforks Movement has been staging rallies across Italy, blocking highways and rail and subway stations and protesting in front of public buildings. The protests are relatively small, comprising a few thousand people in each city, but they are widespread, stretching from Italy’s poor south to its wealthy north. The Pitchforks Movement first gained notoriety in Sicily in January 2012 when a group of agricultural producers and trucking companies blocked highways on the island for nine days to protest rising fuel and fertilizer prices, a result of austerity measures instituted by the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Originally, the Pitchforks Movement had a heavy Sicilian element; it criticized the central government in Rome and sought greater autonomy for the island. Over the past year and a half and for various reasons, the movement has expanded beyond Sicily. The Pitchforks Movement is part of a growing trend in Europe. As the unemployment crisis lingers, the traditional representative institutions — political parties and trade unions — are proving incapable of channeling social unrest. In turn, groups that originally represented specific sectors are increasingly receiving support from other parts of the population. In several European countries, such as France and Spain, these groups are gaining popular support and participation from already disgruntled youths, workers, retirees and the unemployed. The emergence of groups like the Pitchforks Movement will likely become more common, since the economic crisis in Italy is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Their biggest challenge is becoming coherent enough to produce a lasting impact.

 

US Energy Independence: Another Pipe Dream, Says Analyst

US Energy Independence: Another Pipe Dream, Says Analyst.

by Andrew Nikiforuk, originally published by The Tyee  | TODAY

Tank cars offload crude, likely from the North Dakota Bakken formation. Photo by Roy Luck. Creative Commons licensed.

One of Canada’s top energy analysts has warned investors and geologists that “the shale revolution” will not meet conventional expectations as a so-called game-changer in energy production.

Speaking at the Denver meeting of the Geological Society of America and later at Queen’s University and an energy conference in Toronto, David Hughes challenged the assumptions of industry cheerleaders by spelling out startling depletion rates for high-cost unconventional shale and tight oil wells.

“The shale revolution has been a game-changer in that it has temporarily reversed a terminal decline in supplies from conventional sources,” said Hughes in both talks given in late October and early November. “Long-term sustainability is questionable and environmental impacts are a major concern.”

The geoscientist, who now lives on Cortes Island, has studied energy resources in Canada for four decades, including 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada as a coal and natural gas specialist.

After reviewing data from unconventional oil wells, Hughes found that these difficult and high-cost operations deplete so rapidly that between 47 to 61 per cent of oil from plays like the Bakken, the first major tight oil play developed, is recovered within the first four years.

Hughes noted that the Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford plays, which currently produce two-thirds of U.S. tight oil and are supposed to take the country into energy independence territory, will actually peak in production by 2016 or 2017.

Incredibly, most tight oil wells, such as in North Dakota’s booming oilfields, will become “stripper wells” (producing less than 10 barrels a day) and be ready for abandonment within 11 to 24 years.

Shale no panacea

Shale gas wells follow a similar decline profile. In Louisiana’s Haynesville play and Pennsylvania’s contentious Marcellus fields, producing wells decline by as much as 66 per cent after the first year.

More than 3,500 wells have been drilled in the Haynesville play, which in 2012 was the top-producing shale gas play in the U.S., yet production is falling owing to the 47 per cent yearly field decline rate. The current price of gas is not high enough to justify the 600-plus wells needed annually to offset the steep field decline (each well costs between $8 to $10 million).

HaynesvilleGraph2_600px.jpg

Data from Drilling Info/HPDI.

“The shale revolution has provided a temporary respite from declining oil and gas production, but should not be viewed as a panacea for increasing energy consumption… rather it should be used as an opportunity to create the infrastructure needed for a lower energy throughput to maximize long-term energy security,” warned Hughes.

Hughes also told investors that they can no longer ignore the real and high-cost environmental issues associated with hydraulic fracturing, including high water consumption; groundwater contamination; methane leakage; land fragmentation; air pollution and property devaluation.

“There has been a great deal of pushback by many in the general public, and in state and national governments, to environmental issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing,” he said.

Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland have declared moratoriums on the technology of high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing. In addition, Canada’s largest private sector union representing a high percentage of energy works hascalled for a national moratorium.

Although the number of gas-producing wells in Western Canada has reached an all-time high of 230,000 wells, actual gas production has been in decline since 2006.

Hughes also noted that the quality of shale oil and gas plays varies greatly. A few are prolific because they have sweet spots, he said. These special zones are targeted first and lead to an early rise in production followed by a decline, often within five years or less.

As a result, 88 per cent of shale gas production comes from just six of 30 plays, while 70 per cent of all tight oil production comes from two of 21 plays: North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford.

Bad omens for BC

Rapid depletion rates, high capital costs and low market prices do not bode well for British Columbia’s much-hyped plans to export shale gas to Asian markets via a liquefied natural gas (LNG) system that currently does not exist.

“In terms of B.C., the well depletion will be similar. All of the fields outside of the Horn River and Montney plays are in decline,” Hughes told The Tyee in an interview.

“The province would have to nearly quadruple gas production just to satisfy the demands of five LNG terminals.” As many as 12 terminals have been proposed for B.C. “It’s a huge scaling problem.”

The government of Premier Christy Clark has championed LNG development as the province’s new economic miracle by subsidizing geoscience, roads and water for shale gas companies.

It has also lowered royalties. Income from shale gas peaked in the province in 2006 at more than $2 billion and has since fallen to less than $400 million, excluding government subsidies.

BCGasRoyaltyGraph1_600px.jpg

Data: BC Ministry of Finance, Economic and Financial Review and Budget 2013.

The Business Council of British Columbia whose executive council includes representatives from Encana and Kinder Morgan, supports accelerated LNG development on the grounds that global markets will likely not need the gas in the future: “Overall, there is sufficient evidence in the marketplace to suggest that, if the current LNG contract window closes before B.C. is able to secure final investment decisions, there would be potentially lengthy delays before B.C. and Western Canadian natural gas would have another LNG export opportunity.”

Hughes told investors that the shale gas revolution follows a predictable life cycle.

A land-leasing frenzy follows discovery. Then comes a drilling boom, necessitated by lease requirements, which locates, targets and depletes the sweet spots. Gas production grows rapidly and is maintained “despite potentially uneconomic full cycle costs.” (Production provides cash flow even though the well may not have been economic in its own right).

After five years, fields such as the Haynesville reach middle age. At that point geology takes over from technology, and it takes progressively more wells to offset field declines as drilling moves out of sweet spots to lower quality areas.

‘It’s all in the red’

Due to depressed natural gas prices, the shale gas industry has written down billions of dollars worth of assets and refocused drilling on more lucrative liquid rich formations. Other companies have lobbied strongly for government subsidies for LNG exports.

Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, a multi-billion dollar shale gas investor,exclaimed last year that the industry was making no money: “It’s all in the red,” he said.

Royal Dutch Shell has written down $2 billion in shale assets and even put its Texas Eagle Ford properties up for sale. Meanwhile, one of its senior executives has complained that the industry has “over fracked and over drilled.”

Encana, one of the largest holders of shale gas real estate in B.C., has sold off many assets and laid off 20 per cent of its workforce due to poor investments in uneconomic shale gas plays.

The company pioneered the transformation of landscapes across the West, with industrial clusters of wells combining horizontal drilling with multistage hydraulic fracturing. The 10-year-old mining technique blasts large volumes of water, sand and toxic chemicals into dense rock formations up to two miles underground.

Hughes, head of Global Sustainability Research Inc., will be one of the experts addressing the Transatlantic Energy Forum in Washington, D.C. on Monday. The forum brings together energy and climate change experts from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Unease among Brazil’s farmers as Congress votes on GM terminator seeds | Global development | theguardian.com

Unease among Brazil’s farmers as Congress votes on GM terminator seeds | Global development | theguardian.com.

Unease among Brazil’s farmers as Congress votes on GM terminator seeds

Environmentalists warn approval could shatter global agreement not to use technology, with devastating repercussions
Brazil national congress

Brazil’s national Congress is under pressure from landowning groups to green light GM ‘terminator’ seeds. Photograph: Ruy Barbosa Pinto/Getty Images/Flickr RF

Brazil is set to break a global moratorium on genetically-modified “terminator” seeds, which are said to threaten the livelihoods of millions of small farmers around the world.

The sterile or “suicide” seeds are produced by means of genetic use restriction technology, which makes crops die off after one harvest without producing offspring. As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds for each planting, which reduces their self-sufficiency and makes them dependent on major seed and chemical companies.

Environmentalists fear that any such move by Brazil – one of the biggest agricultural producers on the planet – could produce a domino effect that would result in the worldwide adoption of the controversial technology.

Major seed and chemical companies, which together own more than 60% of the global seed market, all have patents on terminator seed technologies. However, in the 1990s they agreed not to employ the technique after a global outcry by small farmers, indigenous groups and civil society groups.

In 2000, 193 countries signed up to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which recommended a de facto moratorium on this technology.

The moratorium is under growing pressure in Brazil, where powerful landowning groups have been pushing Congress to allow the technology to be used for the controlled propogation of certain plants used for medicines and eucalyptus trees, which provide pulp for paper mills.

The landowning groups want to plant large areas with fast growing GMtrees and other non-food GM crops that could theoretically spread seeds over wide areas. The technology, they argue, would be a safeguard, ensuring that no second generation pollution of GM traits takes place. They insist that terminator seeds would only be used for non-food crops.

Their efforts to force a bill to this effect through Congress, ongoing since 2007, have been slowed due to resistance from environmentalists.

The proposed measure has been approved by the legislature’s agricultural commission, rejected by the environmental commission, and now sits in the justice and citizenship commission. It is likely to go to a full Congressional vote, where it could be passed as early as next Tuesday, or soon after the Christmas recess.

Environment groups say there would be global consequences. “Brazil is the frontline. If the agro-industry breaks the moratorium here, they’ll break it everywhere,” said Maria José Guazzelli, of Centro Ecológico, which represents a coalition of Brazilian NGOs.

This week they presented a protest letter signed by 34,000 people to thwart the latest effort to move the proposed legislation forward. “If this bill goes through, it would be a disaster. Farmers would no longer be able to produce their own seeds. That’s the ultimate aim of the agro-industry,” she said.

The international technology watchdog ETC, which was among the earliest proponents of a ban on terminator technology in the 1990s, fears this is part of a strategy to crack the international consensus.

“If the bill is passed, [we expect] the Brazilian government to take a series of steps that will orchestrate the collapse of the 193-country consensus moratorium when the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meets for its biennial conference in Korea in October 2014,” said executive director Pat Mooney.

But Eduardo Sciarra, Social Democratic party leader in the Brazilian Congress, said the proposed measure did not threaten farmers because it was intended only to set controlled guidelines for the research and development of “bioreactor” plants for medicine.

“Gene use restriction technology has its benefits. This bill allows the use of this technology only where it is good for humanity,” he said.

The technology was developed by the US Department of Agriculture and the world’s largest seed and agrochemical firms. Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Monsanto and DuPont together control more than 60% of the global commercial seed market and 76% of the agrochemical market. All are believed to hold patents on the technology, but none are thought to have developed the seeds for commercial use.

Massive protests in the 1990s by Indian, Latin American and south-east Asian peasant farmers, indigenous groups and their supporters put the companies on the back foot, and they were reluctantly forced to shelve the technology after the UN called for a de-facto moratorium in 2000.

Now, while denying that they intend to use terminator seeds, the companies argue that the urgent need to combat climate change makes it imperative to use the technology. In addition, they say that the technology could protect conventional and organic farmers by stopping GM plants spreading their genes to wild relatives – an increasing problem in the US, Argentina and other countries where GM crops are grown on a large scale.

A Monsanto spokesman in Brazil said the company was unaware of the developments and stood by a commitment made in 1999 not to pursue terminator technology. “I’m not aware of so-called terminator seeds having been developed by any organisation, and Monsanto stands firmly by our commitment and has no plans or research relating to this,” said Tom Helscher.

On its website, however, the company’s commitment only appears to relate to “food crops”, which does not encompass the tree and medicinal products under consideration in Brazil.

• Additional research by Anna Kaiser

Background to a controversy

Ever since GM companies were found to be patenting “gene-use restriction” or “terminator” technologies in the 1990s, they have been accused of threatening biodiversity and seeking to make farmers dependent on big industry for their livelihoods.

In many developing countries, where up to 80% of farmers each year choose their best plants and save their own seed, terminator technology is a byword for all genetic modification, raising fears that sterile GM strains could contaminate wild plants and regular crops – with devastating consequences.

The GM companies, which claimed in the 1990s that they wanted to introduce the seeds only to stop farmers stealing their products, were forced to shelve the technology in the face of massive protests in India, Latin Amercia and south-east Asia.

In the face of growing international alarm, the 193 countries signed up to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity unanimously agreed in 2000 that there should be a de facto international moratorium. This was strengthened at the Conference of the Parties in 2006, under the presidency of Brazil.

Since then, the moratorium has held firm. But the GM companies have shifted their arguments, saying that gene-use restriction technologies now allow seeds to reproduce, but could “switch off” the GM traits. This, they argue, would reduce the possibility of the seeds spreading sterility. In addition, they say the technology could protect organic and conventional farmers from the spread of transgenes to wild relatives and weeds, which plagues GM farmers in the US and elsewhere.

The fear now is that the global moratorium could quickly unravel if Brazil, one of the most important agricultural countries in the world, overturns its national law to ban terminator technology. Other countries, pressed strongly by the powerful GM lobby, would probably follow, leading inevitably to more protests.

 

US-Backed Syrian “Rebel” Commander Chased Out Of Country By Al Qaeda | Zero Hedge

US-Backed Syrian “Rebel” Commander Chased Out Of Country By Al Qaeda | Zero Hedge.

US-Backed Syrian “Rebel” Commander Chased Out Of Country By Al Qaeda

Syria may be old news as any escalation has been put on hold at least until next summer, but the hilarity resulting from the bungled US foreign policy intervention in the country lingers. The latest chapter in John Kerry’s book of “Diplomacy for Idiots” is the case of General Salim Adris, a so-called moderate the top Western-backed commander of the Free Syrian Army, who was literally run out of the country by the more extremist, Al Qaeda based factions among the Syrian CIA armed and Qatar funded “rebel” forces.

As the WSJ eloquently puts it, “Islamist fighters ran the top Western-backed rebel commander in Syria out of his headquarters, and he fled the country, U.S. officials said Wednesday.” Any references to brave Sir Robin are purely accidental. It got better when the same Al Qaeda fighters “took over key warehouses holding U.S. military gear for moderate fighters in northern Syria over the weekend.” In other words, as we repeatedly forecast over the summer, the US is now once again arming Al Qaeda fighters with weapons that sooner or later will be used against the US, at a time of the CIA’s choosing.

As for the details of “patriotic” Gen. Idris’ humiliating departure from Syria, and the even more humiliating raid of US military gear, we read on from the WSJ:

Gen. Idris flew to the Qatari capital of Doha on Sunday after fleeing to Turkey, U.S. officials said Wednesday. “He fled as a result of the Islamic Front taking over his headquarters,” a senior U.S. official said.

An Islamic Front spokesman also said Gen. Idris had fled to Turkey.

The Front took over the warehouses and offices controlled by the Supreme Military Council, the moderate opposition umbrella group that includes the FSA and coordinates U.S. aid distribution, officials said. They also seized the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, near the warehouses in the town of Atmeh.

Another bang up job by the State Department:

The growing strength of the Islamic Front prompted the U.S. and its allies to recently hold direct talks with Islamic Front representatives. The goal, according to Western officials, was to persuade some Islamists to support a Syria peace conference set for Geneva on Jan. 22 for fear that a lasting accord won’t be possible without their backing. The SMC already agreed to participate in the peace talks.

A quick primer on how brave the US “loyalists” in Syria are to both the cause, and to US equipment:

U.S. officials say there was no battle for control of the facilities between the SMC and the Islamic Front. One senior U.S. official said the takeover amounted to “an internal coup.” But other U.S. officials disputed that characterization.

U.S. officials said the Islamic Front offered to help protect the headquarters and two warehouse facilities from harder line groups. Then, when the Islamic Front came in and helped secure the sites, “they asserted themselves and said: ‘All right, we’re taking over,’ ” a senior U.S. official said.

In other words, one rebel faction essentially handed over US weapons to another rebel faction. Just add spin. Not surprisingly, the CIA had no comment:

The Central Intelligence Agency has been providing small amounts of arms to handpicked moderate rebels. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment on whether American weapons were in the warehouses that were seized by the Islamic Front. Gen. Idris also receives weapons from other countries, including Saudi Arabia.

The warehouses also housed nonlethal military gear, including American-supplied trucks and communications equipment.

Bottom line: the US, which nearly launched World War III over a few fabricated Youtube clips in order to help Qatar build a natgas pipeline to Europe support the much lauded freedom fighters, has just cut off aid to the very same group:

The U.S. decision to suspend the delivery of nonlethal aid to rebels in northern Syria is another blow to American efforts to strengthen and unify insurgents fighting Bashar al-Assad, analysts say.

The State Department said Wednesday it made the decision after Islamist groups within the opposition captured a warehouse and headquarters of the mainstream opposition alliance backed United States.

The decision reflects the challenge the United States has in supporting a fractured opposition where extremist groups are gaining an edge over moderates.

“There is simply no way to separate the two,” said Michael Rubin, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute.

Somewhere Putin is laughing his ass off.

 

Financial Crises Don’t Happen by Accident | CANADIAN MARKET REVIEW

Financial Crises Don’t Happen by Accident | CANADIAN MARKET REVIEW.

Financial Crises Don’t Happen by Accident

As a distant but interested observer of history and investment markets I am fascinated how major events that arose from longer-term trends are often explained by short-term causes. The First World War is explained as a consequence of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne; the Depression in the 1930s as a result of the tight monetary policies of the Fed; the Second World War as having been caused by Hitler; and the Vietnam War as a result of the communist threat.

Similarly, the disinflation that followed after 1980 is attributed to Paul Volcker’s tight monetary policies. The 1987 stock market crash is blamed on portfolio insurance. And the Asian Crisis and the stock market crash of 1997 are attributed to foreigners attacking the Thai Baht (Thailand’s currency). A closer analysis of all these events, however, shows that their causes were far more complex and that there was always some “inevitability” at play.

Simply put, a financial crisis doesn’t happen accidentally, but follows after a prolonged period of excesses…

Take the 1987 stock market crash. By the summer of 1987, the stock market had become extremely overbought and a correction was due regardless of how bright the future looked. Between the August 1987 high and the October 1987 low, the Dow Jones declined by 41%. As we all know, the Dow rose for another 20 years, to reach a high of 14,198 in October of 2007.

These swings remind us that we can have huge corrections within longer term trends. The Asian Crisis of 1997-98 is also interesting because it occurred long after Asian macroeconomic fundamentals had begun to deteriorate. Not surprisingly, the eternally optimistic Asian analysts, fund managers , and strategists remained positive about the Asian markets right up until disaster struck in 1997.

But even to the most casual observer it should have been obvious that something wasn’t quite right. The Nikkei Index and the Taiwan stock market had peaked out in 1990 and thereafter trended down or sidewards, while most other stock markets in Asia topped out in 1994. In fact, the Thailand SET Index was already down by 60% from its 1994 high when the Asian financial crisis sent the Thai Baht tumbling by 50% within a few months. That waked the perpetually over-confident bullish analyst and media crowd from their slumber of complacency.

I agree with the late Charles Kindleberger, who commented that “financial crises are associated with the peaks of business cycles”, and that financial crisis “is the culmination of a period of expansion and leads to downturn”. However, I also side with J.R. Hicks, who maintained that “really catastrophic depression” is likely to occur “when there is profound monetary instability — when the rot in the monetary system goes very deep”.

Simply put, a financial crisis doesn’t happen accidentally, but follows after a prolonged period of excesses (expansionary monetary policies and/or fiscal policies leading to excessive credit growth and excessive speculation). The problem lies in timing the onset of the crisis. Usually, as was the case in Asia in the 1990s, macroeconomic conditions deteriorate long before the onset of the crisis. However, expansionary monetary policies and excessive debt growth can extend the life of the business expansion for a very long time.

In the case of Asia, macroeconomic conditions began to deteriorate in 1988 when Asian countries’ trade and current account surpluses turned down. They then went negative in 1990. The economic expansion, however, continued — financed largely by excessive foreign borrowings. As a result, by the late 1990s, dead ahead of the 1997-98 crisis, the Asian bears were being totally discredited by the bullish crowd and their views were largely ignored.

While Asians were not quite so gullible as to believe that “the overall level of debt makes no difference … one person’s liability is another person’s asset” (as Paul Krugman has said), they advanced numerous other arguments in favour of Asia’s continuous economic expansion and to explain why Asia would never experience the kind of “tequila crisis” Mexico had encountered at the end of 1994, when the Mexican Peso collapsed by more than 50% within a few months.

In 1994, the Fed increased the Fed Fund Rate from 3% to nearly 6%. This led to a rout in the bond market. Ten-Year Treasury Note yields rose from less than 5.5% at the end of 1993 to over 8% in November 1994. In turn, the emerging market bond and stock markets collapsed. In 1994, it became obvious that the emerging economies were cooling down and that the world was headed towards a major economic slowdown, or even a recession.

But when President Clinton decided to bail out Mexico, over Congress’s opposition but with the support of Republican leaders Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole, and tapped an obscure Treasury fund to lend Mexico more than$20 billion, the markets stabilized. Loans made by the US Treasury, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements totalled almost $50 billion.

However, the bailout attracted criticism. Former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin used funds to bail out Mexican bonds of which Goldman Sachs was an underwriter and in which it owned positions valued at about $5 billion.

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At this point I am not interested in discussing the merits or failures of the Mexican bailout of 1994. (Regular readers will know my critical stance on any form of bailout.) However, the consequences of the bailout were that bonds and equities soared. In particular, after 1994, emerging market bonds and loans performed superbly — that is, until the Asian Crisis in 1997. Clearly, the cost to the global economy was in the form of moral hazard because investors were emboldened by the bailout and piled into emerging market credits of even lower quality.

…because of the bailout of Mexico, Asia’s expansion was prolonged through the availability of foreign credits.

Above, I mentioned that, by 1994, it had become obvious that the emerging economies were cooling down and that the world was headed towards a meaningful economic slowdown or even a recession. But the bailout of Mexico prolonged the economic expansion in emerging economies by making available foreign capital with which to finance their trade and current account deficits. At the same time, it led to a far more serious crisis in Asia in 1997 and in Russia and the U.S. (LTCM) in 1998.

So, the lesson I learned from the Asian Crisis was that it was devastating because, given the natural business cycle, Asia should already have turned down in 1994. But because of the bailout of Mexico, Asia’s expansion was prolonged through the availability of foreign credits.

This debt financing in foreign currencies created a colossal mismatch of assets and liabilities. Assets that served as collateral for loans were in local currencies, whereas liabilities were denominated in foreign currencies. This mismatch exacerbated the Asian Crisis when the currencies began to weaken, because it induced local businesses to convert local currencies into dollars as fast as they could for the purpose of hedging their foreign exchange risks.

In turn, the weakening of the Asian currencies reduced the value of the collateral, because local assets fall in value not only in local currency terms but even more so in US dollar terms. This led locals and foreigners to liquidate their foreign loans, bonds and local equities. So, whereas the Indonesian stock market declined by “only” 65% between its 1997 high and 1998 low, it fell by 92% in US dollar terms because of the collapse of their currency, the Rupiah.

As an aside, the US enjoys a huge advantage by having the ability to borrow in US dollars against US dollar assets, which doesn’t lead to a mismatch of assets and liabilities. So, maybe Krugman’s economic painkillers, which provided only temporary relief of the symptoms of economic illness, worked for a while in the case of Mexico, but they created a huge problem for Asia in 1997.

Similarly, the housing bubble that Krugman advocated in 2001 relieved temporarily some of the symptoms of the economic malaise but then led to the vicious 2008 crisis. Therefore, it would appear that, more often than not, bailouts create larger problems down the road, and that the authorities should use them only very rarely and with great caution.

 

Collapse of Industrial Civilization | Finding the Truth behind the American Hologram

Collapse of Industrial Civilization | Finding the Truth behind the American Hologram.

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Even with all the environmental reports I read about the numerous species man is pushing off the face off the Earth, the biospheric havoc he is wreaking, and the violence he inflicts upon his fellow man, I still find the idea of human extinction surreal when I flip on the TV and see commercials for Viagra, breast augmentation, and ‘Hoveround’ power wheelchairs. I mean, we’ve managed to walk on the moon and send out exploratory space crafts and robots to other planets, yet we cannot even manage ourselves adequately enough here at home to keep from irrevocably fouling things up?!? How can that be? That we can achieve such feats of genius, but end up shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot with greenhouse gases just seems like one enormous and macabre cosmic joke to me. Doesn’t it strike you as tragically humorous? Oh, but the word is that we humans would be crazy if we didn’t reach deep down into our bag of technological tricks, if only for one last desperate time, to try to fix this doozy of a problem we’ve gotten ourselves into. Why not? We’ve already FUBARED the planet as it is, what with the chain of climate feedback loops irretrievably out of the genie’s bottle, making any mitigation and adaptation plans a day late and a dollar short. Faith in technological progress is certainly a myth that will not go down easily. We’ll keep trying to right this plane even as it does barrel rolls into the side of a mountain. What a horrible accounting error humans made by ignoring depletion and pollution in their calculations. Governments pretended that peak oil and global warming were simply figments of our imagination. If only their jobs didn’t depend on maintaining such an epic falsehood. Who knew 9 billion humans would become the next deposit of fossil fuels.

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We had other things on our mind though, didn’t we. Money and the ability to generate it became the raison d’être for humans. Saving the environment simply was not profitable, unless you could convert it into some sort of tourist attraction. Wealthy people could hop on a CO2-belching airline and traipse around in those “protected areas” with their safari hat on and an assortment of modern electronic paraphernalia to record the momentous occasion, not too dissimilar to those annual climate change conferences the industrial world would put on. Humans always were great at maintaining appearances, even if it did cost them an entire civilization that spanned the planet. They were so good at detaching themselves from their surroundings that they could literally monitor a species into extinctionwhile calling the whole process conservation. How’s that for self-delusion! As long as someone was getting paid, no one really cared about the end results.Biostitutes indeed!

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So one could say that the human path to extinction was paved in greenbacks, if not gold. Nobody dared whisper that all the wealth humans had built up and accumulated over the last several hundred years since the industrial revolution was simply a grand illusion, a phantasmagoria of the fossil fuel age. It is said that there are two things certain in this world, but actually there are three: death, taxes, and ecological balance. Man may exploit, pollute, exterminate, and plunder all he wants, but in the end Mother Nature will always claw back what was taken without forethought or reflection. The first mistake made by man was to proclaim dominion over nature. From that point onward many other bonehead maneuvers were orchestrated by humans, but perhaps the biggest one was when they gave personhood to an economic entity devoid of feelings, morals, or conscience. How could anyone seriously think corporations were people??? Homo sapiens must suffer from an inferiority complex to have labeled its kind “wise”.

2230-dystopiaSo this is my second eulogy to man, my first being ’The Short Story of Carbon Man and Industrial Civilization‘. There are no Hollywood happy endings or cliff-hanger climaxes. Mother Earth will slowly take back what was stolen while billions of tiny humans scurry around to higher ground and find ways to temporarily hold off the gathering forces, but no mercy will be given to those who brushed off decades of warnings and prescient predictions. There will be no miracles here for a species that believes itself separate from and above the natural world.

In Memory of Man

2,000,000 B.C. – 2060 A.D.
He who once dominated the Earth with his technology and ingenuity,
but whose overwhelming numbers and psychopathic leaders
pissed it all away in a sea of radiation,
toxic chemicals, and plastics

“The planet is fine. The people are fucked.”

― George Carlin

ego-vs-nature

 

SPECIAL BRIEFING: Attacking Fracking’s Achilles Heel — Economics

SPECIAL BRIEFING: Attacking Fracking’s Achilles Heel — Economics.

We’re being told that – thanks to technological advances like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – the US is undergoing an energy revolution, leading the US to become energy independent and huge economic benefits in communities where fracking is taking place.

The industry has used this hype over the so-called “shale revolution” to justify the massive spread of drilling, despite strong environmental concerns and community opposition.
But what if the industry’s promise of plenty is really their Achilles’ Heel? What if the “shale revolution” is really just a short-term bubble, leaving communities with little gain and a whole lot of pain.
Join us for a special online briefing and conversation with Richard Heinberg and Deborah Rogers to explore how the anti-fracking community can turn the fracking industry’s biggest weapon into their greatest vulnerability.
WHEN: Monday, December 16 from 8-9:30 pm EST (5-6:30 pm PST)
WHERE: Online, please use the following link to view the live presentation:  http://www.twitch.tv/postcarbon
Note: You will need to sign in using Facebook or create a new justin.tv account in order to view.  To create a new account go to:justin.tv/user/signup.
Participants will receive a special code to purchase Snake Oil: How Fracking False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future at 50% off.
Image credit: Fracking Texas (section) – amymyou/flickr. Creative Commons 2.0 license

 

 

 

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