It has become fashionable for people to say that they are going SKI ing (acronym for Spending the Kids’ Inheritance), often by taking equity from their house and spending it on holidays etc.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, they earned it or more likely gained it through house price inflation. Now though, governments are taking on unimaginable amounts of debt that is in effect stealing from our children’s future and bequeathing them a less prosperous life.
Yes, our children could probably cope with less prosperity, but they will struggle to deal with inheriting an Earth with a changed climate and food production system dependent on the use of resources that have been depleted by previous generations.
The twentieth century started with 1.5 billion people. We are now close to 7 billion and will pass 8 billion around 2028. This has been possible only because we found ways to convert cheap, plentiful fossil energy in to food energy. On average it now takes about 10 fossil calories, in the form of oil and gas to deliver 1 calorie of food energy. As these resources are finite, they must become scarce and expensive at some time and then the fossil energy based food system will fail, resulting in famine.
The present food system also consumes vast amounts of mined phosphate and potash fertilizers instead of recycling nutrients back to the soil. Ancient aquifers are being depleted to irrigate crops in dry areas. Many of these aquifers, from America to India are close to empty.
How will future generations judge us baby-boomers, the babies born in the post- second world war years when soldiers returned home and birth rates in the West shot up? We lived through a period of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity. We enjoyed the swinging sixties, travelled the world and ate and drank in a way that kings would have envied. In so doing, we plundered and damaged the Earth and built up massive debt.
The thing that they will be unable to understand is that when we realised what was happening we were unwilling to change. We want to live as we do a little longer and to hell with the kids. Some people would call it Gordon Brown mentality.
We at www.peakfood.co.uk have long been showing the relationship between oil supplies and food supplies. It is the use of cheap plentiful fossil energy that has enabled the world population to grow to its present level. Scarce, expensive oil will cause scarce, expensive food. For that reason we show this article from the “Guardian” by Terry Macalister.
The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.
The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation’s latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.
There’s suspicion the IEA has been influenced by the US. In particular they question the prediction in the last World Economic Outlook, believed to be repeated again this year, that oil production can be raised from its current level of 83m barrels a day to 105m barrels. External critics have frequently argued that this cannot be substantiated by firm evidence and say the world has already passed its peak in oil production.
Now the “peak oil” theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment. “The IEA in 2005 was predicting oil supplies could rise as high as 120m barrels a day by 2030 although it was forced to reduce this gradually to 116m and then 105m last year,” said the IEA source who was unwilling to be identified for fear of reprisals inside the industry. “The 120m figure always was nonsense but even today’s number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this.
”Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources,” he added.
A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was “imperative not to anger the Americans” but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. “We have [already] entered the ‘peak oil’ zone. I think that the situation is really bad,” he added.
The IEA acknowledges the importance of its own figures, boasting on its website: “The IEA governments and industry from all across the globe have come to rely on the World Energy Outlook to provide a consistent basis on which they can formulate policies and design business plans.”
The British government, among others, always uses the IEA statistics rather than any of its own to argue that there is little threat to long-term oil supplies.
The IEA said tonight that peak oil critics had often wrongly questioned the accuracy of its figures. A spokesman said it was unable to comment ahead of the 2009 report being released tomorrow.
John Hemming, the MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on peak oil and gas, said the revelations confirmed his suspicions that the IEA underplayed how quickly the world was running out and this had profound implications for British government energy policy.
He said he had also been contacted by some IEA officials unhappy with its lack of independent scepticism over predictions. “Reliance on IEA reports has been used to justify claims that oil and gas supplies will not peak before 2030. It is clear now that this will not be the case and the IEA figures cannot be relied on,” said Hemming.
”This all gives an importance to the Copenhagen [climate change] talks and an urgent need for the UK to move faster towards a more sustainable [lower carbon] economy if it is to avoid severe economic dislocation,” he added.
The IEA was established in 1974 after the oil crisis in an attempt to try to safeguard energy supplies to the west. The World Energy Outlook is produced annually under the control of the IEA’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, who has defended the projections from earlier outside attack. Peak oil critics have often questioned the IEA figures.
But now IEA sources who have contacted the Guardian say that Birol has increasingly been facing questions about the figures inside the organisation.
Matt Simmons, a respected oil industry expert, has long questioned the decline rates and oil statistics provided by Saudi Arabia on its own fields. He has raised questions about whether peak oil is much closer than many have accepted.
A report by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) last month said worldwide production of conventionally extracted oil could “peak” and go into terminal decline before 2020 – but that the government was not facing up to the risk. Steve Sorrell, chief author of the report, said forecasts suggesting oil production will not peak before 2030 were “at best optimistic and at worst implausible”.
But as far back as 2004 there have been people making similar warnings. Colin Campbell, a former executive with Total of France told a conference: “If the real [oil reserve] figures were to come out there would be panic on the stock markets … in the end that would suit no one.”
Future generations will surely look back in astonishment and horror when they consider what our generation did for them.
They will see how we burned the once and for all endowment of fossil fuels with no thought for efficiency and conservation, leaving them short of oil for essential needs.
That excessive use, along with rain forest destruction will have changed the climate so much that extreme weather and rising sea levels will have caused food production to be far below that needed to feed the 8 billion or more after 2025.
Our massive consumption of goods and energy will mean that many resources, even uranium, will be scarce and expensive. Water for irrigation and human needs will be short as we have depleted the ancient aquifers as if there were no tomorrow.
Previous generations who started the destruction, could claim that they did not understand the consequences of their action. We know all too well, but prefer to continue, because we do not want to give up our any of fossil fuel enabled prosperity.
But now, especially in countries like the U.S., the U.K., and Ireland, we are leaving them massive debt, running in to many thousands of pounds for every man, woman and child, making life even more difficult.
What a legacy.
Day of Reckoning is a romantic thriller that describes the real-life panic and world famine that will occur when food supplies are reduced. At present it is a novel, but the worrying truth is that it could easily become a reality.
Based on the findings of years of careful research, the novel shows how after a series of disasters America’s economy collapses and law and order breaks down. Farmers are unable to harvest their crops or plant for the following year; trucks can’t make food deliveries; ordinary citizens have no heating and are reduced to shopping with guns; and the old and weak begin to die of hypothermia.
At last, governments around the world accept something must be done about food security. But it is too late. Catastrophe seems inevitable. Thousands, if not millions will die around the globe…
Then the head of the CIA requests an urgent meeting. There is one man who just may be able to help.
The plan is to make all or parts of Day of Reckoning available as both a free podcast and download. Watch this space…
Imagine it’s the year 2025
People in New York and London are starving to death. There is anarchy on the streets of Paris and Rome. Millions in the Pacific and Asia are dying from flood and hurricane. Everywhere people FINALLY agree that something must be done about food security. But it is too late. 6 billion people will starve.
Famine in the West explains what needs to be done and why. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to safeguard the future of their children and grandchildren.
Written by a Yorkshire Farmer, this controversial new book describes how the West will soon depend on the Middle East and Russia for its food in the sense that the oil and gas so essential for food production will come from there.
- Jonathon Porritt and David Richardson quotes
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