[Britain’s decision to join the EU and convert from pounds to Euros will be spurred by natural gas shortages. Find out how geographic alliances have become key factors in Europe’s energy allocation, and who the UK must turn to for help staying warm. --LAG]
Another Peak Oil Prediction Comes True
Britain Surrenders Energy Sovereignty
Michael C. Ruppert
© Copyright 2006, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.
March 15, 2006 0900 PST (FTW) - ASHLAND -The first time I was asked whether I thought that Britain would join the European Union and surrender the pound was after a lecture in Amsterdam in 2002. I was as certain then as I am now that Britain’s fate was sealed and that it would be sealed by energy issues. I have consistently maintained that position in lectures and videos ever since. A point of no return has been crossed as, last week, the United Kingdom let it be known that it would no longer negotiate for natural gas (and oil) as a sovereign state but as a member of the European Union.
Last May, short-sighted European nationalists cheered as France and Holland rejected the EU constitution, believing they had killed it. Yet Britain’s Telegraph told us on July 17, 2005, “You may have got the impression that the European constitution was dead - that the French had felled it, and the Dutch had pounded a stake through its heart. If so, think again. The constitution is being implemented, clause by clause, as if the No votes had not happened.”
We may be seeing the same scenario play out with the Dubai Ports deal as well. (We’ll address that in a separate article.)
Energy is the primary reason why the EU is looking a little like Dracula. As the below Times of London article notes:
At present Europe has to import about half of its energy but that is due to rise to 70 per cent in the next few decades. On current trends, by 2030 more than 80 per cent of Europe's gas will come from three countries - Russia, Algeria and Norway.
Norway, well on the way to implementing plans for post-Peak sustainability, cannot meet Britain’s needs. Algeria (with much smaller reserves than Russia) is too far away and there are no pipelines. LNG terminals, tankers and ports are not in existence. Any help from Algeria is a long way off with many capital pitfalls. The UK must buy gas from Russia to stay alive.
FTW has not forgotten how Russia rattled Europe with a one-day interruption of gas supplies through the Ukraine a few months ago. Britain obviously hasn’t either. This is no longer about “he who has the gold makes the rules”. This is about “he who possesses the energy.” Money represents the ability to do work and energy is the ability to do work. One is a symbol. The other is reality.
Energy, especially electricity and heating, is the ability to run government offices, parliament, police stations, banking institutions, and traffic lights. It is primary requirement for any society to function. To surrender, even partially, control over energy to another sovereign, is to gut the power of the state. Now that this has happened, Britain’s ultimate entry into the EU is a fait accompli. While Peak Oil and Gas will inevitably dictate the end of globalization, in this clash of new versus old paradigms, it is actually being accelerated over the short-term in Europe.
Because Britain’s North Sea fields are in dramatic decline and Britain has (as I and many others have predicted) become a net natural gas importer, it has no other choices. Britain is at the end of an energy supply train that starts in Russia. That gas must pass through the Ukraine or Baltic States, Poland, Germany, and the Low Countries (or France) to get to England. So the choice for Britain is either to negotiate on its own in competition with Europe or to derive the benefit of the purchasing power and allocation system of a huge trans-national economy. Rising natural gas prices are hobbling many economies even as the real shocks are yet to come. Britain has no other cards to play.
Britain cannot negotiate or compete with both Europe and Russia at the same time.
Geography is proving to be one of the ultimate trump cards in the deck. Geographic regional alliances are clearly an irreversible trend as we start the down slope of oil and gas production. What this augurs for China and Japan, or India and China, or South America, or Micronesia remains to be seen. Not all surrenders of sovereignty will be as polite, peaceful or as unheralded as this one. You can be sure of that.
Fearful EU aims to take energy policy from governments
by Anthony Browne, Brussels Correspondent
Thursday, March 09, 2006
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
ALARMED by a surge in energy costs and the threat of an acute gas shortage, the European Commission has made an attempt to seize control of energy policy from national governments.
The move follows a decision by Britain to yield control over energy policy to Brussels when output of North Sea oil and gas has gone into sharp decline, contributing to a big increase in domestic heating bills.
The common energy policy, announced yesterday, marks a dramatic step in the integration of Europe on a key strategic issue, akin to the creation of the Common Agriculture Policy and the single trade policy, transferring considerable powers from national capitals to Brussels.
José Manuel Barroso, the President of the Commission, said: "We are proposing a common strategy for energy. We are in a new energy century. Demand is rising. Europe's reserves are declining. There is underinvestment and our climate is changing.
"We must have an approach to match this new reality - the EU can no longer afford 25 different and uncoordinated energy policies."
Brussels proposes the creation of a single European electricity grid, new gas and oil pipelines into the heart of the EU from North Africa, the Middle East and the Caspian region and the setting up of emergency gas stocks to be shared by members in the event of a disruption in supplies.
There would be a European energy regulator and an EU energy observatory to advise of any problems ahead. However, it would be left to governments to decide whether or not to build nuclear power stations or invest in renewable energy such as wind farms.
Brussels would also take over energy negotiations with third parties such as Russia, Europe's main energy supplier, arguing that EU members will get a better deal if they combine forces rather than negotiate on their own. Senhor Barroso will hold talks with President Putin of Russia about energy issues next week. Mr Putin has been invited to address EU leaders about energy at a summit in a fortnight.
Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner, said: "Europe's leaders have sometimes been tempted to compete with each other in vying for a close personal relationship with President Putin, but Europe will only be able to negotiate successfully with Russia on energy, or on other issues, if we determine first, as a group, how we want our relationship with Russia to develop."
Until recently many member states have jealously guarded their sovereignty over energy policy, declaring it a sensitive national issue. Britain has traditionally had the greatest reservations because of fears that Brussels would take control of its North Sea oil.
However, many governments felt compelled to join forces because of their inability to prevent a doubling of gas and oil prices in the past two years and amid fears over energy security after Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine until it agreed to pay far higher prices. There is also longer-term concern about unstable Middle Eastern countries having control of Europe's oil supplies and that China may try to exert control over global energy supplies as it grows into an economic superpower.
At present Europe has to import about half of its energy but that is due to rise to 70 per cent in the next few decades. On current trends, by 2030 more than 80 per cent of Europe's gas will come from three countries - Russia, Algeria and Norway. Tony Blair announced a U-turn at the Hampton Court summit last year when he and other EU leaders asked the Commission to draw up the common energy policy.
Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, welcomed the Commission's proposals yesterday. He said: "We are entering into a new energy era where the world's regions are dependent on each other for ensuring energy security. No longer can energy policy be created by each EU member state in complete isolation. By speaking with the same voice, towards the same goals, the Union can achieve its energy goals for the benefit of all EU citizens."
Alan Duncan, the Shadow Energy Secretary, welcomed the liberalisation of the energy market but opposed a new bureaucracy to run "a transEuropean energy regime".
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