Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The future rapidly approaches: Britain warned blackouts may be 'regular occurrence' by winter of 2015

In general, as we speed towards our corporatized future of turmoil and energy shortages, I've noticed a pattern in the progress of western nations, particularly Britain, the U.S. and Canada. Generally it seems that when it comes to all things surveillance, police state, or other forms of preparation for the inevitable outcome Britain tends to be roughly 5-10 years ahead of the U.S. while Canada is roughly 5-10 years behind the U.S. The latest coming trend for the U.S. and Canada will be internet censorship which the U.K. has already spearheaded, and implemented, under the guise of child pornography even though it's now being revealed that many other websites - much of them political - are caught in the middle.

Britain's censorship model is actually based on a whitelist, not a blacklist. This means that instead of singling out sites to block, they block everything and single out sites to allow. A clear indication this model extends far beyond "child pornography".

I'm not sure if the lag time between countries and implementation is intentional, or just sort of a natural flow these government's have gotten into in their own preparation but in any case it appears the big event is coming for Britain pretty soon which means the U.S. and Canada should follow within the next 20 years.
Britain is in "no danger" of suffering blackouts due to energy shortages, David Cameron has insisted, dismissing fears that the energy crisis could see power cuts become "the norm" by winter 2015.

Appearing before the Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister said that keeping the lights on was "the most important energy policy objective" - implying it takes precedence over both going green and keeping prices affordable, generally accepted as the other two main energy policy aims.

But Mr Cameron insisted it was also "realistic" for the Coalition to claim it had delivered on its pledge to be the "greenest government ever", citing £33bn of investment in renewable energy since 2010.

The Prime Minister was challenged by Tim Yeo, head of the energy select committee, who cited
warnings from regulator Ofgem that Britain's spare power-generation capacity could fall to very low levels within two winters, increasing the risk of blackouts.

"Are you worried the Coalition's legacy might be that the first winter of the next parliament might be when power cuts become the norm?," Mr Yeo asked.

But the Prime Minister said he had personally received assurances from energy regulator Ofgem and power companies that this would not happen.

“I held a meeting around the Cabinet table with Ofgem, National Grid and the leading players and sought assurances: is there anything we need to make sure there is no realistic prospect of this happening?

"The information I have is: now we have put in place the Energy Act, now we have the capacity mechanism, and now crucially we have the ability to use short-term mechanisms - taking plants out of mothball if necessary, bringing them back online - there's no danger of that happening," he said. "I looked them in the eye asked questions."
My god, where to even begin? I guess we'll started with the first highlighted paragraph.

"the Prime Minister said that keeping the lights on was "the most important energy policy objective" - implying it takes precedence over both going green and keeping prices affordable, generally accepted as the other two main energy policy aims. "

Keeping the lights on takes precedence over going green, and more importantly keeping prices affordable. Affordability of energy, and subsequent economic effects (IE: housing), has become a central theme of this blog. As we descend further and further down the slope of peak oil affordability is going to become more and more of an issue. Yet, for some reason, so-called "experts" and economists don't seem to be including this unaffordable future in their forecasts of "recovery" and "spending" and "rising interest rates".

"The Prime Minister was challenged by Tim Yeo, head of the energy select committee, who cited warnings from regulator Ofgem that Britain's spare power-generation capacity could fall to very low levels within two winters, increasing the risk of blackouts."

Two winters left to go, maybe 3 if Britain is lucky and things play out really well and their newly revived fracking plans go off without a hitch. Ultimately, though, this is when the real unrest starts. This is the moment governments have been covertly preparing for while promising a future of economic prosperity in full knowledge no such future is coming. David Cameron sounds like he's denying the possibility exists but in reality with admittance of the need for these short term measures he's fully admitting it is a very real possibility, he just doesn't want the Brit's to treat it as such. Keep your confidence up folks, borrow more, and for god's sake don't prepare!

"The information I have is: now we have put in place the Energy Act, now we have the capacity mechanism, and now crucially we have the ability to use short-term mechanisms - taking plants out of mothball if necessary, bringing them back online - there's no danger of that happening," he said. "I looked them in the eye asked questions."

 This is perhaps the most important indicator of the type of future we have and how little resources remain to properly repair and expand infrastructure. Whether it's the U.S. extending the lifespan of nuclear plants, or old "mothballed" plants being reactivated, disaster certainly looms. When I talk about the new normal and the pending man made disasters it is actions like these along with "cost cutting" and other bullshit economic shell games which will be primarily responsible.

Western countries still are not willing to admit how dire their economic circumstance is and by extension how bad their resource circumstance is. Throw geopolitics and the energy wars into the mix and the decline will be much faster than it would be were conditions favorable as Cameron and other western leaders assure you they are.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

3 comments:

  1. I used to find curious Jared Diamond's contention that civilizations collapse very rapidly and it occurs at their peak. It's now becoming clear that this sort of collapse is triggered by a period in which societies resort to parlour tricks and conjuring acts to maintain the illusion of ongoing growth and prosperity until one trigger is pulled that prevents the illusion from being sustained.

    Having been a rapt follower of the work of the Global Footprint Network for several years as World Overshoot Day slid from late October into late August, 2013, I kept wondering how far we could go eating our seed corn ever faster, year by year.

    Fortunately I come from a place where the government encourages us to be 'preppers' in anticipation of the "Big One" hitting sometime between midnight tonight and a century from now. I think it might still be a good idea to lay in an extra eighty or a hundred rounds of .308.

    Do you think there's a general sense of the enormity of what is happening that's causing people to simply zone out? Is this indicative of a 'pre-collapse' syndrome? The Easter Islanders knew that deforestation was rendering their island uninhabitable but that didn't stop it. Maybe we're just in that same mode. I wish I understood it.

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  2. That is a hard question to answer. I think it's all of that and yet so much more. The Easter Islanders had a small area and clear indications. It was a simpler analysis to make, they just simply ignored it.

    But today, on a global scale there are so many interactive effects and feedback loops. I don't think the scale of the situation we face is easily comprehensible enough to warrant zoning out, I think it takes such dedication and research that it's incredibly difficult to get zoned in.

    It's taken me a long time to get from the point in my life where I began detecting problems in the system to the point where I am now where I feel I can somewhat confidently analyse it. I still struggle to turn my analysis into words, I really wish I could just copy/paste my thoughts and the massive web of connections inside my head onto paper it would be a lot easier. Some posts I've written I feel address the situation far better than others, it's really hit or miss if the right information available at the right time is blended together with the right combination of words. I still don't feel even after 3 years of blogging that I've properly conveyed the information I'm trying to, every post has deficiencies or leaves information out that just didn't fit into the structure of words or that I simply forgot at the time.

    The sheer number of topics one must be versed on before the events of the day start making any sense are incredible. From peak oil (and peak everything), to climate change and environmental destruction, to then infinite growth and the fiat currency that drives it which then inevitably brings you into the "conspiracy realm" where to follow the trail you must eventually realize there are owners. It's a lot to handle, each topic on there own is incredibly big, being able to understand them all and see the connections between them I believe is a gift few people are blessed with.

    From this perspective I think that its much more than just zoning out. For instance Lorne, who I'm sure has the best intentions, commented on your blog about the carbon pricing. It's nearly impossible to understand why it won't work without intimate knowledge of the currency that will be used to pay it. The very fact that when growth slows we print more money shows that if carbon pricing has it's intended effect to maintain the illusion of growth currency will just be printed to attempt to account for the carbon pricing. It's lies, wrapped within lies, wrapped within lies, and facing some of those deeper lies, if you can get past the noise and comprehend them, can end up completely changing your world view and possibly challenging constructs you thought were safe and secure but turn out being more illusionary than is comfortable.

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  3. I also believe our sense of entitlement to this small blip of industrial activity on the grand scale of human existence is largely to blame. The most common reason not to prepare for the worst cited is that inevitably someone somewhere will invent something which makes everything better. The concept of technology being an application of energy, and not a creator of energy has largely been lost as our technological level has advanced.

    An example of this would be Neil Young's comments that because he drove his electric car he doesn't need oil. Of course the car itself was built with 3times it's body weight in oil, each tire takes 7 gallons of oil, the battery he charges requires lithium which must be mined and transported, using oil. etc, etc. Again, this is not a slight against him, it's just a simple fact that many people do not consider the more basic constructs of our technological base as externalities anymore but rather just givens. Sure as the grass will grow we'll have steel. Sort of thing.

    So I don't know if it's really a case of not wanting to address the problem and ignore it (though I'm sure in many people's cases, particularly advocates of further extreme energy production for the sake of growth) so much as it is simply overwhelming to attempt to comprehend the whole picture, it's challenging, and can leave you seriously jaded. Nobody wants to feel that way, I certainly don't, but what drove me to find the answers was I guess what you could describe as severe confusion. The apparent workings of society and the events that were occurring just didn't add up - and being the logical person I am I had to resolve the logical problem. If something doesn't make sense to me, it really really bugs me. That was my old driving force, but now that I do understand the system we're subject too my goal is to try and help as many other people understand as possible as without that understanding they are flying blind into a shit storm of epic proportions.

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