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May 04, 2009 03:07PM
http://carolynbaker.net/site/content/view/1081/1/

EXCLUSIVE: CAROLYN BAKER REVIEWS MIKE RUPPERT'S "A PRESIDENTIAL ENERGY POLICY"

American culture and consumption has become Public Enemy Number One in the global growth paradigm. People are realizing that the American Dream is murder....Unless a fundamental change is made-and quickly-the only available option is collapse and implosion; the bursting of the human population bubble; or, as people in the Peak Oil movement call it-the Dieoff. The sole purpose of this book (and my life) is to prevent that, or as much of that death and misery, as is humanly possible.

~Michael C. Ruppert~

This is probably the most important book review I've ever written because A Presidential Energy Policy is unquestionably the most crucial book for anyone aware of the collapse of civilization, which is well underway, to read and understand. It is second only to Mike's first masterpiece, Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of The American Empire at The End of The Age of Oil (2004)........

........POPULATION

Concluding Chapter One is the familiar hockey stick diagram depicting population growth which of course correlates exactly with the dawn of the age of oil. While the reader may be tempted to overlook this important diagram, Mike returns to the population issue later in the book, and no reader should take the correlation lightly. The fact remains that human population has grown to its present level precisely because of cheap and abundant petroleum, and when that form of energy is no longer available to our species, the consequences in terms of how many of our numbers endure is obvious-a reality reiterated many times in A Presidential Energy Policy. It is therefore crucial that human beings begin to openly and honestly discuss the issue of population and commit to reducing it through means that are as humane as possible lest through our resistance to doing so, nature takes the matter into its hands and reduces population in ways that are horrific and unimaginable.

In this book Mike is thinking like a president and asks the reader to do the same. He also asks us to abandon all of the hype about alternative energies, green technology, and magic bullet solutions to the realities of Peak Oil and boldly confront the fact that "It is not possible to use enormous amounts of resources to address a resource shortage." While Obama and subsequent presidents will be faced with unprecedented energy crises, Mike reminds us that this is not just an American crisis and that the ramifications of burgeoning population growth alongside a decline in cheap fossil fuel energy spells nothing but doom for the human race unless it begins immediately to intelligently and humanely navigate what Mike calls two sides of a giant claw tightening its grip around all of us.

Therefore, the energy policy of the United States cannot be created in a vacuum. All countries, not just our own, depend on petroleum from other countries, and any president must thoughtfully ponder this fact and detach from wishful thinking about so-called energy breakthroughs, especially since the United States represents 5% of the world's population but uses 25% of its energy. He or she must also understand that oil depletion is happening far too rapidly to naively believe that switching to some attractive alternative is even possible.........

..........In the "End of Suburbia", Richard Heinberg states unambiguously that Peak Oil will bring about a recession that never ends. In A Presidential Energy Policy, Mike Ruppert points out that:

All the new money being printed out of thin air is going to service a $700 trillion derivatives bubble to keep banks and lending institutions afloat. All that money is doing is enabling the financials to try and make their minimum monthly payments on a credit bubble they created.

In numerous places, including "The End of Suburbia", Mike has reminded us that the books on oil have been as cooked as the books on Enron, but it is now time for every country to know with certainty how much oil it has left. A key player in the ongoing mystery of how much oil remains on earth has been Saudi Arabia, and there is abundant evidence that that nation's oil supply has peaked, thanks to the brilliant research of Matt Simons, chairman of the world's largest energy investment bank and author of Twilight In The Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and The World Economy.

But not only must a president know how much oil his/her country has, that chief executive must carefully assess the limitations and disrepair of America's energy grid. While much of the nation's infrastructure has been and is being privatized, this does not mean that grid efficiency can be achieved within the next few decades, especially when skyrocketing energy prices will exclude many citizens from being able to afford the delivery of that energy at all. For as Mike notes, "A spike, even back to $3 a gallon will cause more hardship in 2009 than $4 gasoline did in 2008." Additionally, when assessing infrastructure, a president must include the costs of asphalt (highly petroleum intensive) and the loss of land which is very likely going to be needed for growing food. When infrastructure isn't rebuilt because of "lack of money or materiel, civilization starts to break down."

GEOPOLITICS, FOOD, CLIMATE CHANGE

Lest the reader infer that A Presidential Energy Policy deals only with domestic energy issues, Mike has included a chapter on Iraq and on Saudi Arabia, a separate chapter on foreign policy, and numerous articles by Mike regarding energy and geopolitics written in recent years are archived at the From The Wilderness website. In fact, he may know more about pipelines throughout the world and the geopolitical implications of them than anyone.

I must also mention that for me, no discussion of the collapse of industrial civilization, energy depletion, or economic meltdown can be complete without a discussion of climate change. In this book, Mike integrates the relevance of climate change in both his consideration of Peak Oil and the current economic depression. In this way, he offers a holistic assessment of what I have been calling for years the Toxic Triangle of collapse and what others have been labeling the "Triple Crisis": energy, economics, and the environment.

And on the topic of environment, Mike says that "if there is anything that must be understood with regard to energy it is its relationship to food." Additionally, "If there is any issue which will reveal whether an American president is serving corporations or the people, it is food." Included in his chapter on food, are articles on the use of ethanol as an energy source, as well as one of the most important articles ever published by From The Wilderness, "Eating Fossil Fuels", by Dale Allen Pfeiffer. Connecting the disastrous use of ethanol with population dieoff, Pfeiffer presents us with three choices regarding population, that is: Facing and acting on our dilemma and consciously, voluntarily limiting population growth; allowing the government to regulate population growth; or allowing nature to perform unspeakable acts of suffering and death.

Having adamantly warned us for years not to be seduced by promises of alternative energies which they are incapable of delivering, Mike reiterates his cautionary assessment of them. As he has stated many times,"...there is no alternative energy or combination of alternative energies, that will permit current consumption and lifestyle to continue-let alone provide for the compound growth we are wedded to in the current economic paradigm." The supreme reality of Peak Oil is that we will be downsized, whether we intend to be or not. To deny this fact is tantamount to assuming that Disneyworld can be run on a handful of flashlight batteries.

But Mike doesn't present these facts without also clarifying specific criteria for choosing energy options. Carefully contemplating them is beyond sobering; in fact, it is chilling, especially when one considers the touting of so-called solutions like shale and the electric car-both large consumers of water, which like every other resource on earth has also dramatically peaked. Should anyone doubt this, I suggest the films "Thirst" and "Flow" which unequivocally document the decline of water worldwide. The last thing our species and the earth community needs is another form of energy usage that further depletes any of myriad disappearing resources on this planet.........

........In the Localization chapter, Mike advises the president to understand that:

" your first awareness is that the federal government cannot and will not take on the role of solving problems in cities and townships. That would be inefficient and inappropriate on every conceivable level. Only the people in each locality know and can decide what they need most. Each location has different needs. Your second awareness is that if localities fail at the bottom, the nation will fail at the top. "

Moreover, says Mike, all local responses to a tightening of oil supply will be dictated by the degree of self-sufficiency to which each community has liberated itself from dependence on anything from outside. Dear reader, please take the time to read that sentence again. The implications of this are jaw-dropping-and-absolutely necessary for us to wrap our minds around and implement, now. One implication is that globalization is dead. How well I remember Mike's statement in "End of Suburbia" that Peak Oil would absolutely reverse globalization. So hello human race, here we are with those giant parking lot gluts of cars all over the Los Angeles area, not to mention the Port of Long Beach, that no one will buy. For the same reason, when I enter a J.C. Penny's store, the walls and doors are covered with "70% Off" signs. Globalization, R.I.P.

As Mike points out, many individuals and families have relocated to areas where they can make themselves less dependent on fossil fuels and the goods and services of civilization. What is also true is that while we have organizations like Community Solutions and the Transition Town movement with which I am deeply involved in my community, those endeavors are still largely educational and have not been fully implemented. One stellar exception to this is Willits, California which has had a head start on localization for some time.

However, Mike adds a caveat with which I could not agree more, namely, that "There is no hope for any of us outside of a community." Here, it is important to broaden our definition of community because it does not necessarily mean a living community but rather, a group of folks in our local venues who are collapse-aware, who are working to gain self-sufficiency, and to do what is necessary to support each other in the face of collapse.........

........I have come to believe that preparation for the radical alteration of geography as a result of the Triple Crisis is essential for everyone who wishes to be self-sufficient. In this state, as in I would imagine all others, there are pockets which might be completely cut off from other areas as a result of natural disasters or collapsed bridges or other infrastructure which cannot be repaired-eventualities to which Mike referred in his wonderful book. I believe that not only is such fragmentation likely, but that those disconnections might become so severe that a federal government would become completely irrelevant to and out of reach for the citizens in those areas who might be cut off from the rest of the state and nation by circumstances which we cannot now fully imagine. In other words, "secession" may not be the only means by which a community becomes radically self-sufficient. In my opinion, therefore, it behooves us, if we are truly committed to localization, to focus our energies accordingly, rather than on the remapping of the Executive Branch of the federal government. It is also entirely possible that no either/or will occur and that both scenarios will deserve our attention.

What Mike has emphasized repeatedly throughout the book is an urgent transformation of our thinking-a mentality that has left miles of unsold new cars sitting in lots all over Los Angeles-cars with seven gallons of oil in each tire. Only a profound soul sickness could create and maintain a civilization that is destroying everything in its path with little thought to the suicidal trajectory into which it has become locked.

I ask you to read A Presidential Energy Policy as soon as possible and share it with your friends and family. Share it with your elected officials and your neighbors and begin now to educate your community in preparation for the inevitable consequences of the Triple Crisis. Unquestionably, we are entering a new Dark Age, but the information Mike has offered, if heeded, could punctuate the darkness with a thousand points of light.



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