The Collapse of Everything?
In case you missed it Daniel Tencer posted an article at RawStory on September 01 titled: German military report: Peak oil could lead to collapse of democracy
Peak oil has happened or will happen some time around this year, and its consequences could threaten the continued survival of democratic governments, says a secret Germany military report that was leaked online.
According to Der Spiegel, the report from a think-tank inside the German military warns that shrinking global oil supplies will threaten the world’s economic foundations and possibly lead to mass-scale upheaval within the next 15 to 30 years.
International trade would suffer as the cost of transporting goods across oceans would soar, resulting in “shortages in the supply of vital goods,” the report states, as translated by Der Spiegel.
The result would be the collapse of the industrial supply chain. “In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse,” the report states.
That collapse could, in turn, cause many countries to abandon free markets principles, the report states. Deals would be struck between oil-exporting and oil-importing countries that would fix prices and remove large amounts of oil from the global market place.
“The proportion of oil traded on the global, freely accessible oil market will diminish as more oil is traded through bi-national contracts,” the report states.
That would prompt some governments to abandon free market economics altogether, the report suggests. With peak oil causing “partial or complete failure of markets … [a] conceivable alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of important goods or the setting of production schedules and other short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times of crisis.”
But the report also warns that the economic crisis caused by shrinking oil supplies and skyrocketing prices could be seen by the general public as a failure of market economics as a whole — and with it, the political institutions that created those economic systems.
Public anger at the existing system would create “room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government.” Populations would fragment along political lines and “in extreme cases” this could “lead to open conflict.”
Last Sunday, the UK Observer reported that Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change is refusing to release documents related to peak oil, even though, as the Observer noted, previously released documents argue the veil of secrecy around the issue is probably “not good.”
The UK government is reportedly canvassing leading scientists and industrialists for their advice on how to build a contingency plan for peak oil.
And earlier this year, a report from the US Joint Forces Command stated that “by 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day.”
The report continued, “While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.”
And while you may find that to be grim news, it’s nothing compared to the subject of another story earlier this summer by journalist Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com:
In the past when civilizations went belly up through greed, mismanagement and the exhaustion of natural resources, human beings migrated somewhere else to pillage anew. But this time the game is over. There is nowhere else to go. The industrialized nations spent the last century seizing half the planet and dominating most of the other half. We giddily exhausted our natural capital, especially fossil fuel, to engage in an orgy of consumption and waste that poisoned the Earth and attacked the ecosystem on which human life depends. It was quite a party if you were a member of the industrialized elite. But it was pretty stupid.
Collapse this time around will be global. We will disintegrate together. And there is no way out. The 10,000-year experiment of settled life is about to come to a crashing halt. And humankind, which thought it was given dominion over the Earth and all living things, will be taught a painful lesson in the necessity of balance, restraint and humility. There is no human monument or city ruin that is more than 5,000 years old. Civilization, Ronald Wright notes in “A Short History of Progress,” “occupies a mere 0.2 percent of the two and a half million years since our first ancestor sharpened a stone.” Bye-bye, Paris. Bye-bye, New York. Bye-bye, Tokyo. Welcome to the new experience of human existence, in which rooting around for grubs on islands in northern latitudes is the prerequisite for survival.
We view ourselves as rational creatures. But is it rational to wait like sheep in a pen as oil and natural gas companies, coal companies, chemical industries, plastics manufacturers, the automotive industry, arms manufacturers and the leaders of the industrial world, as they did in Copenhagen, take us to mass extinction? It is too late to prevent profound climate change. But why add fuel to the fire? Why allow our ruling elite, driven by the lust for profits, to accelerate the death spiral? Why continue to obey the laws and dictates of our executioners?
The news is grim. The accelerating disintegration of Arctic Sea ice means that summer ice will probably disappear within the next decade. The open water will absorb more solar radiation, significantly increasing the rate of global warming. The Siberian permafrost will disappear, sending up plumes of methane gas from underground. The Greenland ice sheet and the Himalayan-Tibetan glaciers will melt. Jay Zwally, a NASA climate scientist, declared in December 2007: “The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming. Now, as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines.”
But reality is rarely an impediment to human folly. The world’s greenhouse gases have continued to grow since Zwally’s statement. Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels since 2000 have increased by 3 per cent a year. At that rate annual emissions will double every 25 years. James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the world’s foremost climate experts, has warned that if we keep warming the planet it will be “a recipe for global disaster.” The safe level of CO2 in the atmosphere, Hansen estimates, is no more than 350 parts per million (ppm). The current level of CO2 is 385 ppm and climbing. This already guarantees terrible consequences even if we act immediately to cut carbon emissions.
Read all of it here: by Chris Hedges, Calling All Future-Eaters