by Stephen Amy
[this second to be published essay was projected to come third in order in (what I call) the Cascadia Manifesto; it is to hand, and I make the questionable call to put it before the reader]
“Climate change” or “climate catastrophe” means there will be terrible disruptions: loss of seasonal flow in rivers, loss of production in food crops, unstable weather with big storms, and acidification of the oceans, which will imperil the entire food chain of the oceans.
For decades now we have been told of the vital importance of stopping the use of fossil fuels, because their emissions are the driving force causing climate catastrophe.
So one might expect that these essential steps were being taken — that a brilliant, sophisticated society such as our own would not be so stupid as to cause its own demise. One would surely hope that good reason would prevail. We have had a President who makes the impression of being a thoughtful man of good reason. Surely a modern man of goodwill would help lead the world away from fossil fuels so that we can keep our earth as a place where civilization can continue to exist!
Sadly and deeply unfortunately, considering how very serious the situation is, exactly the opposite is happening. President Obama is leading an “energy Renaissance,” as industry types like to call it. What it means is that production within the United States of all kinds of fossil fuels is dramatically increasing.
The International Energy Agency is the body which monitors energy production in all the countries of the world. In 2011 the United states produced 8.1 million barrels of crude oil per day. The IEA says that United States production in the year 2020 will be up to 11.1 million barrels per day, approximately a 40% increase. In that year, 2020, the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer.
The prospect in natural gas is even more dramatic. The U.S. produces 604 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually; by the year 2015, in the very near future, the U.S. is predicted to replace Russia as the world’s top natural gas producer, with production levels of up to 679 billion cubic meters, a 13% increase in 3 years.
Meanwhile, the carbon dioxide count in parts per million of the atmosphere is fast approaching 400, up from 280 in the pre-industrial age (a couple of hundred years ago). The elevated level of CO-2 in the atmosphere is the main factor leading to climate catastrophe, and the main factor causing this terrible trend is the usage of fossils fuels, including oil and natural gas.
President Obama is enthusiastic about this trend. He has been a cheerleader for increased production of fossil fuels. On March 22, 2012, at Cushing, Oklahoma, President Obama said, “Now, under my Administration, America is producing more oil today
than any time in the last eight years. That’s important to know. Over the last three years I’ve directed by Administration to open up millions of acres for gas production across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the earth and then some.
Before long, our society will be encircled and trapped and desperate with the terrible effects of climate catastrophe. Obama leads us there.