Michael Ruppert's Presidential Energy Policy is Way Off Base
By: Shawn Alli
Posted: November 4, 2013
Michael Ruppert's 2009 book, A Presidential Energy Policy: Twenty-Five Points Addressing the Siamese Twins of Energy and Money, is a directive to the US President to radically change the current energy policy. It's interesting that Ruppert writes this book when he says he has no interest in running for office (and never will), but yet wants the current US President to take his directives seriously? Why would a US president change policy because an author tells him to?
Ruppert starts off the book with the usual alarmism bells:
In 2009 the world has run short of energy - especially cheap, easy-to-find energy. Shortages, along with resulting price increases have threatened industrialized civilization and the global economy.
In 2013 there is no problem with the supply of energy, be it oil, natural gas, coal or any other means to generate electricity or fuel. In fact, there's too much energy being generated in regards to electricity that simply goes to waste. The fact that prices increase in all aspects (food, electricity and gas) is due to corporate greed, incompetent governments and agendas to keep the poor in a continual state of hopelessness.
Ruppert's words are just a jumble of incorrect statements:
It is safe to say that oil price spikes in June and July of 2008 broke the backs of over-extended consumers who could no longer meet their (sub-prime) mortgage payments and that this - and this alone - triggered the great economic crash which began in September and October.
So it's the price of gas that causes the recession?
Give me a break.
Ruppert goes on to claim that in 2001 he issues warnings for the US recession of 2007/08. And this is a pet peeve of mine. I'm more than open to listening to conspiracy theorists. In fact I'm even called one. But if you warn people years in advance of an impending negative event, with no documents and hard evidence, you can't expect or blame people for not taking you seriously.
Almost every sentence is like a bad line in a movie:
The current economic implosion will and can only result in the greatest - and longest lasting - economic "depression" in human history - a new Dark Age.
Yes, the US/global recession is pretty bad from 2007-2009, but the Dark Ages? Clearly, in 2013 we know that to be completely false. For Ruppert to make such grandiose apocalyptic claims are both misleading and manipulative sensationalism.
Ruppert begins Chapter 1 with energy and peak oil:
The best way to understand all energy issues is to understand Peak Oil. The concept is simple. Oil production has always followed a bell curve.
I'll stop it right there because this statement conveys the authority of scientific facts and universal laws. Of course, this isn't the case. Humans, and greedy ones at that, create the myth of peak oil for profit and control. All through out history, since the 1920s, peak oil is right around the corner, ready to run the earth dry. These claims are simply garbage and have no value.
As time passes, almost 100 years later, all of the peak oil doomsayers look like fools. If peak oil is such a fact then what about peak bricks, or peak metal, or peak crops, or peak water, or peak wood? There is no such thing. Even peak fish will eventually recover.
Continuing with peak oil, Ruppert says:
Since oil comes from this planet and this planet is, by definition, a closed system, Peak Oil means that once the top of the production bell curve is reached, no matter how much money, technology, prayer or marketing hype is applied; the planet cannot yield more oil in any following year -- only less, and even less the year after that.
EIA statistics for total world oil production:
1980: 63.9 million bbl/d
1990: 66.4 million bbl/d
2000: 77.7 million bbl/d
2005: 84.5 million bbl/d
2010: 87.1 million bbl/d
2012: 89.3 million bbl/d
There is no drop is global oil production.
No prayers are necessary.
Ruppert is perpetuating false information. And his inability to see reality is quite problematic:
We are tired of seeing our predictions come true year after year, and the disingenuous statements of Peak Oil deniers have worn so thin that we no longer see any need to debate the issue about whether this crisis is real or not.
No need for a debate? It's the other way around. Peak oil deniers, like myself, feel there's no reason to debate peak oil theorists because they hold onto their beliefs with religious zeal. These individuals: Ruppert, Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Colin Campbell, Richard Heinberg, and Chris Martenson will go to their graves believing in peak oil until their last breath.
Peak oil is more like a religious cult than a logical proposition. And I won't be surprised if these individuals attempt to prove it by any means possible in order to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
He follows with more bravado:
At this point I have an undeniable advantage. The feedback loops are now so short that we will know if this book was right or not within weeks, months or a year. I would bet heavy money that within a year (hopefully sooner) someone will be waving this book in Barack Obama's face and asking, "Why didn't you do this?" For the media and all those in suicidal denial about energy issues I am announcing right now that I will not go on the radio or TV to debate whether Peak Oil is real or not.
Should I just stop here and say Ruppert is proven false with increasing total global oil production statistics? To do so will let Ruppert off the hook too easily - I'm all in and going until the end. I believe that Ruppert won't debate anyone in regards to peak oil because the hard cold reality is against him.
Ruppert praises Marion King Hubbert as the oil prophet:
Oil geologist and physicist M. King Hubbert discovered and told us of this mathematical certainty in 1949...He was ridiculed and scorned by the scientific community. He was laughed at. But he was absolutely right. Since 1970 U.S. oil production has been in a steady and irreversible decline.
Hubbert is laughed at then and laughed at now. Of course, ridicule is an unethical and hurtful behaviour, and I don't condone such actions. The fact that he's incorrect should suffice. And Hubbert's "mathematical certainty," results in giving oil corporations what they want, profit and control. And these private corporations have a vested interest in promoting the myth of scarcity.
Ruppert goes on to describe the process of oil formation through sediments and millions of years of warming. I refute this in my 2012 book, Oil, The 4th Renewable Resource.
Ruppert continues with dire possibilities:
What happens when natural gas enters decline? What happens when coal enters decline? What happens when fresh water runs low? What happens if population growth overshoots the ability of the planet to yield these "indispensable" commodities...like food?
None of this is a reality except for freshwater depletion. When that occurs we simply use the abundance of ocean water, which isn't as difficult as environmentalists think, the Middle East has been doing it for quite a long time.
The fact that I'm on page 5 of a word document and have only completed a review for 8 pages in Chapter 1 of A Presidential Energy Policy, means only one thing: you're in for a long read.
Ruppert shows a lack of understanding in regards to starvation and poverty:
Around the world nations are failing and people are starving because of energy and resource shortages.
No one on the earth is starving because of resource shortages. They're starving because of the distribution of resources, corrupt governments and private agendas to keep people chained in poverty. Ruppert's inability to understand this shows incompetence as a researcher.
Allow me to be clear.
I'm not saying Michael Ruppert is an incompetent man (he's very intelligent and I support his fight for the real truth about 9/11, and the CIA's connection to illegal drug shipments). I'm saying that in regards to this particular claim, his research is lacking in understanding the Western social, economic and political agendas that shape poverty.
Ruppert starts off Chapter 2 with the dire circumstances that face the US President:
Barack Obama and the presidents who follow him will be faced with a greater crisis, requiring decisions that will try their minds and souls as no other challenge has tried an American president.
I'm curious as to why Bush Jr., Clinton and Bush Sr. never have to face this energy crisis? Because it doesn't exist.
Ruppert makes the usual peak oil claims in regards to the Middle East:
Sixty percent of the known oil on the planet is in the Middle East. Those supplies are depleting rapidly even as global demand is soaring. We have been pumping them flat-out for nearly 70 years. It is unreasonable to believe that they have not declined.
From this statement alone I see a lack of science and merely conjecture. Humans build large buildings and structures for thousands of years, yet oddly enough, there is no decline in the supply of building material, why not? Because it's abundant - almost like everything else on the planet.
Small statements like:
Commercial hydrogen today is made from natural gas and natural gas is also in short supply...
...are bothersome because they're completely false. In Oil, The 4th Renewable Resource I talk about the vast quantities of natural gas available now and in the future.
Ruppert applies his peak oil ideology to other resources:
The world - especially as a result of climate change - is running out of water for drinking and irrigation.
No, the world isn't running out of water for drinking or irrigation, not with 70% of the earth being water!!! And no one really believes in water shortages because golf fields are watered on a daily basis. Basic high school courses teach students that the problems with resources are not with the supply, but the unequal distribution of them. The inability for peak oil theorists and radical environmentalists to understand this is perplexing.
Ruppert says oil depletion is occurring in various countries:
Russia, the world's second-largest producer is in decline. Iran is in decline. Kuwait and Nigeria are in decline.
I can't let this statement slide. Here are the facts from the EIA statistics:
Russia total oil production:
1992: 7.8 million bbl/d
2000: 6.7 million bbl/d
2005: 9.5 million bbl/d
2010: 10.2 million bbl/d
2012: 10.4 million bbl/d
Kuwait total oil production:
1980: 1.7 million bbl/d
1990: 1.2 million bbl/d
2000: 2.2 million bbl/d
2005: 2.7 million bbl/d
2010: 2.5 million bbl/d
2012: 2.8 million bbl/d
Nigeria total oil production:
1980: 2 million bbl/d
1990: 1.8 million bbl/d
2000: 2.2 million bbl/d
2005: 2.6 million bbl/d
2010: 2.5 million bbl/d
2012: 2.5 million bbl/d
Iran total oil production:
1980: 1.7 million bbl/d
1990: 3.1 million bbl/d
2000: 3.7 million bbl/d
2005: 4.2 million bbl/d
2010: 4.2 million bbl/d
2012: 3.5 million bbl/d
From the 20 years of statistics on Russia, oil production is increasing. From Kuwait's 32 years of statistics, their oil production is increasing. From Nigeria's 32 years of statistics, their oil production is holding steady. And from Iran's 32 years of statistics, their oil production is increasing. The only reason why Iran's 2012 oil production is lower than previous years is due to US and European sanctions.
And this gets into an important factor that peak oil theorists don't take into account. The economic and political issues of a country can have a direct effect on oil production. There's nothing wrong with Iran's supply of oil - they just don't need to make more because they're unable to sell it. A hypothetical scenario may help explain my point:
Let's say the US decides to get off oil and switch completely to ethanol for vehicle fuel. While oil is necessary for industrial purposes, you'll see a massive drop in oil production in the EIA statistics. And let's say there's no information on the switch. A researcher will interpret this as peak oil because of the significant drop in oil production, but really, there's nothing wrong with the supply of oil - it's just a change in lifestyle and economics.
The fact that production is lower or higher for any country doesn't mean that oil output is peaking; there are many other factors that can change the demand for oil. If a country starts shifting entire industries away from oil to an alternative energy, the statistics will show a drop in oil production; but that's only due to a shift in policy, not supply. I don't think peak oil theorists understand this point nor do they want to. It's easier for them to stick to the numbers while ignoring the context.
In Chapter 5 Ruppert claims that asphalt is in short supply because of the high oil prices and demand. This is false. Components to make asphalt are: a crude oil by-product, sand, pulverized rocks, and pebble sized rocks. There is no shortage of any of these materials. The fact that residential house owners use it to re-pave their existing driveway is proof.
Generally speaking, municipal governments are bureaucratically lazy and too cheap to fix large potholes in major cities. But there's no problem with the supply of asphalt. In Chapter 11 Ruppert says that municipal infrastructure is failing because of the cost of energy. That's a misinterpretation of events. The problem is arbitrary price increases by municipal governments to take more money from taxpayers; but there's no problem with the supply of energy.
In Chapter 8 Ruppert takes the sound bite perspective on biofuels - food crops vs. fuel crops. While the price of corn for food and ethanol are definitely related, I don't see why we can't have both. Because we don't have enough land? Umm...In Canada there's plenty of land to use. And do we have to stick to 2 dimensional realities? Why not build crop production structures vertically and rotate them to get various degrees of sunlight? I'm sure this simple change in methodology can increase yields significantly.
Another solution is to convert wastelands and desert areas into thriving agricultural centers. To think that humans are not intelligent enough to do so is complete nonsense. Egypt does it on a small scale in 2008.
But a final solution is much easier than the previous two. Each household can grow all of their vegetables in their backyard with compost fertilizer. And this will be more than enough to accommodate those without backyards. However, this action will decimate grocery stores and the food transportation business. We don't need radical shifts to feed the world's population, just common sense and ethics to existing problems.
Ruppert says that it takes 500 years to replace topsoil. If I'm a farmer and I have a dead piece of land I can go out and buy massive amounts of top soil, spread it onto the land, mix in compost fertilizer in the following days, and within a few weeks the soil will be good for growing crops. To think that humans are incapable of adapting nature to more efficient methods of crop production is nonsense.
In Chapter 10 Ruppert talks about alternative energies, but says none of them can replace or be the foundation a new economy. In Ruppert's eyes it's pretty much hopeless.
In Chapter 12 Ruppert says that China and India won't get to live the American dream because society as whole will collapse from peak everything.
He even says that the Indian media is in denial about peak oil and implies this is the first stage of grief.
China and India are the fastest growing economies on the planet. But that's the problem. Peak oil theorists, radical environmentalists and alarmists don't like growth. And when growth subsides for a country they enjoy the "I told you so" part. But the fact is that all economies grow and decline over the decades and centuries. It's a normal function of any economy. Just because an economy's GDP declines one year doesn't mean there's going to be a complete economic collapse.
Like others, I believe Ruppert prefers a fantasy global collapse and will go to his grave believing it, just like a member of a religious cult.
Ruppert moves into his usual dire claims:
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 Die Off.
This is a battle that Mother Earth is absolutely certain to win and - unless it changes its ways - mankind is absolutely certain to lose.
The industrial revolution has been operating for more than 250 years. Why does Ruppert believe this decade is the end of it?
Ruppert makes an interesting claim in passing:
The elites who thought they were immune are going down too, like dinosaurs who cannot grasp their impending extinction.
Really? The 99% and I would love to see that happen. Sadly, I doubt that will become a reality.
In Chapter 15 Ruppert finally gives his 25 recommendations. It would have made more sense to start the book with this and elaborate on each one, instead of saying, "everyone's screwed," and "I told you so."
He mentions creating a secondary Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPRO II) that has 750 million barrels of refined oil (gasoline). Some recommendations such as the "Oil Depletion Protocol," would necessitate UN policies to enforce implementation.
He recommends ending all biofuel production - no more fuel crops (ethanol). Oddly enough, in Point Sixteen he recommends rebuilding oil and natural gas pipelines. For Ruppert to suggest rebuilding oil and natural gas pipelines, after he's emphasized the decline and horrible consequences to the reader, is beyond me. An excellent recommendation is the drafting of new residential and commercial building codes to be energy efficient, and implementing organic farming.
One recommendation is to have rational debate on population growth. Ruppert is careful with his words here because he doesn't want to be associated with other radical environmentalists that advocate eugenics and mass sterilizations. Fair enough. Ruppert, like many radical environmentalists, believe the Earth's resources can't sustain the current population (7 billion people).
While I believe the Earth is quite capable of supporting 7 billion people and much more, I can argue a different point - that the Earth's resources aren't actually sustaining 7 billion people. I'll use the World Bank to illustrate my point. I'll use $5.00/day (USD) and less to represent people living in poverty. Why the UN sets the bar at $1.25 is beyond me. $5.00/day is just as poor as $1.25/day.
People living on less than $5.00/day:
India: 1.1 billion
China: 900 million
Indonesia: 215 million
Brazil: 69 million
Pakistan: 160 million
Nigeria: 158 million
Bangladesh: 145 million
Mexico: 37 million
Philippines: 76 million
Vietnam: 76 million
Ethiopia: 82 million
Congo: 58 million
Iran: 34 million
Thailand: 32 million
South Africa: 30 million
Kenya: 33 million
Sudan: 29 million
Tanzania: 40 million
Algeria: 21 million
Madagascar: 20 million
Iraq: 24 million
Morocco: 20 million
Uganda: 30 million
It equals 3.38 billion people. And while this isn't an exhaustive list I'll round up to about 3.5 billion people living on less than $5.00/day. Individuals who make less than $5.00/day aren't able to use oil to any significant degree because their financial means won't allow them. And food imports from the UN world food programme are negligible in terms of ending poverty. The conclusion for Ruppert and environmentalists is that the Earth's resources are really supporting 3.5 billion people. And the world is quite capable of sustaining 3.5 billion people.
Michael Ruppert's 2009 book, A Presidential Energy Policy: Twenty-Five Points Addressing the Siamese Twins of Energy and Money, gets 1 out of 5 stars for repetitive and incorrect information. Despite Ruppert's good intentions, the message of hopelessness equates to a grade of F for fail.