Category Archives: Survival Manual

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High Inflation – Hyperinflation

(Survival manual/1. Disaster/High inflation-Hyperinflation)

A.  How to survive runaway inflation
February 9th, 2010, Capital Flow Watch.net, By John Schroy.
“At this writing (February 2010), it seems possible that there will be runaway inflation in the United States by the end of the decade. Americans are accustomed to low-level inflation of 2% to 5% a year — a rate common in developed nations over the last half century.

Many have tried to understand inflation, with varied results. I define ‘runaway’ inflation as endemic, “controlled” inflation at a rate inexcess of 20% a year.
Beyond ‘runaway’ inflation, we have ‘hyperinflation’ which I take to mean “uncontrolled” inflation at a rate of 100% to 10,000%, or more, a year. (Note: there are no precise boundaries between this concepts.)
By “controlled” inflation I mean inflation that is permitted by the monetary  authorities to vary between some target range. For example, mild inflation of 2% to 5% is the target range generally regarded as acceptable by monetary authorities in the United States, while inflation in the range of 20% to 40% was considered acceptable to monetary authorities in Brazil during the years of the “Economic Miracle”.

When inflation is caused by government spending not being financed by taxes or bond sales, it becomes a surrogate for taxation.

Deficit spending not covered by borrowing or bond sales results in the government ‘printing money’. This occurs automatically as the government issues checks to pay its bills.

The practice debases the currency, making money worth less.

When the shortfall results in inflation of 20% to 40% a year, it  is a tax that transfers wealth from creditors to debtors — a form of wealth distribution that Barack Obama seems to admire.

Living with inflation
In the early years of long-term, runaway inflation, when there are more debtors than creditors, inflation can be beneficial, even popular, with that part of the public that has been profligate with credit cards and that owns homes with sub-prime mortgages.

However, once the debt-wipe-out phase is over, inflation of 20% to 40% works to the disadvantage of the working classes, benefitting the self-employed and entrepreneurs — a type of hidden taxation that does not favor public employees and wage earners.

Eventually, the population becomes accustomed to living with inflation of 20% to 40% a year.

During these years (1965-1979), I was able to successfully set up and run two businesses, earn a good living, marry a wonderful lady, raise two children, afford two maids and a chauffeur, and
accumulate sufficient assets to retire at 40, starting from scratch.

I never considered inflation a problem, having learned to live with it.  Inflation was a fact of life, like the air or warm breezes in summer. Of course, this was not hyperinflation, which is entirely different

Controlled inflation: what to expect
People who have lived anywhere on earth since 1971, when the world went off the gold standard for good, know about controlled inflation and how to survive when money is constantly losing value.
As long as inflation is controlled — that is, varying between expected guidelines — people can use commonsense and figure out the best course of action.

Controlled inflation, whether on the order of 2% or 20%, has certain constants:

  1. Business cycles persist. There are still economic ups and downs. Employment levels fluctuate.  Salary and wage levels still follow the laws of supply and demand.
  2. The rate of inflation is not fixed, but varies. The importance given to this variance depends upon the expected range of inflation in a particular country.
  3. Interest rates usually reflect the rate of inflation and taxation.  Generally, the higher the inflation, the higher the rate of interest. Nevertheless, interest rates still fluctuate with supply and demand.
  4. The higher the rate of inflation, the shorter the tenure of bonds that are marketable, unless some form of monetary correction is applied. Contracts may be drafted in terms of currencies with lower rates of inflation, when permitted by law.
  5. The higher the rate of inflation, the shorter the terms of insurance policies that are available.
  6. Budgets must take inflation into consideration.
  7. Generally, people who are self-employed and run their own businesses can adjust income to inflation more readily that those  who work for others or who live on pensions. Business cycles persist, even in inflation.
  8. Contracts that provide fixed income (rentals, annuities, bonds, pensions) become progressively less valuable at higher rates of inflation.
  9. Real estate and other tangible assets provide better protection against inflation than monetary assets. However, this protection is not absolute. For example, the value of real estate will still vary with rentals, location, supply and demand, and age.

The important thing to note here is that once an economy settles into a certain, more or less, predictable range of controlled inflation, ordinary investment logic can be used to set up portfolios and select securities.

However, it is the periods of transitions to higher or lower rates of controlled inflation, or in and out of periods of hyperinflation, that pose the most danger.

Surviving transition points
At the time of this writing (2010), there is a general expectation that higher inflation lies in the future. However, how much higher and whether this inflation will be controlled or slide into hyperinflation is unknown. Although Obama’s policies of higher taxation and bashing business is expected to keep unemployment high, deflation seems unlikely — excesses in government spending are simply too great.

Therefore, a strategy for transiting into higher inflation would be:

  1. Avoid long- and medium-term debt and equities.
  2. Avoid fixed annuities.
  3. Borrow against real estate long-term, with fixed interest rates — as long as you can be assured of the ability to make the payments.
  4. Hold gold, silver, and other precious metals.
  5. Hold cash in money market funds. (When inflation hits, short term interest rates should rise quickly, protecting this investment.)

•  If it appears that hyperinflation may be developing, get out of cash held in money market funds, except for modest amounts for day-to-day needs.
•  Once it seems likely that the economy will settle into controlled inflation and that prices of the
various asset classes will adjust to levels appropriate to current rates of interest, you should consider quickly getting out of gold, silver, and other precious metals. This type of asset pays no income and has a carrying cost.
•  Holding gold once there is hope that inflation will be contained can be extremely risky. As fear of inflation subsides, gold often falls in value, sometimes precipitously — well before inflation is under control.
•  During a hyperinflation, everything is greatly diminished: your savings account, your safety and your lifestyle. You feel that there’s no safe place. It not only destroys the wealth you’ve amassed, but robs you of any sense of security and order. It takes you for all you’ve got.

 The acceleration of hyperinflation
Below is a table of  the acceleration of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe – this was a multi-year breakdown and we can expect something similar here:

year         rate of increase in prices
1999         56.9%
2000         55.22%
2001         112.1%
2002         198.93%
2003         598.75%
2004         132.75%
2005         585.84%
2006         1,281%
2007         66,212.3%
2008         231,150,888.87% (July)

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B.  The Worst Episode of Hyperinflation in History:  Yugoslavia 1993-94
Thayer Watkins, Ph.D.
Between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent.  That’s a 5 with 15 zeroes after it!

Under Tito, Yugoslavia ran a budget deficit that was financed by printing money.  This led to a rate of inflation of 15% to 25% per year.  After Tito, the Communist Party pursued progressively more irrational economic policies. These policies and the breakup of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia now consists of only Serbia and Montenegro) led to heavier reliance upon printing or otherwise creating money to finance the operation of the government and the socialist economy.  This created the hyperinflation.

By the early 1990s the government used up all of its own hard currency reserves and proceeded to loot the hard currency savings of private citizens.  It did this by imposing more and more difficult restrictions on private citizens’ access to their hard currency savings in government banks.

The government operated a network of stores at which goods were supposed to be available at artificially low prices. In practice these store seldom had anything to sell and goods were only available at free markets where the prices were far above the official prices that goods were supposed to sell at in government stores.  All of the government gasoline stations eventually were closed and gasoline was available only from roadside dealers whose operation consisted of a car parked with a plastic can of gasoline sitting on the hood.  The market price was the equivalent of $8 per gallon. Most car owners gave up driving and relied upon public transportation.  But the Belgrade transit authority (GSP) did not have the funds necessary for keeping its fleet of 1,200 buses operating.
Instead it ran fewer than 500 buses.  These buses were overcrowded and the ticket collectors could not get aboard to collect fares.  Thus GSP could not collect fares even though it was desperately short of funds.

Delivery trucks, ambulances, fire trucks and garbage trucks were also short of fuel.  The government announced that gasoline would not be sold to farmers for fall harvests and planting.

Despite the government’s desperate printing of money it still did not have the funds to keep the infrastructure in operation.  Pot holes developed in the streets, elevators stopped functioning, and construction projects were closed down.  The unemployment rate exceeded 30 percent.

The government tried to counter the inflation by imposing price controls.  But when inflation continued, the government price controls made the price producers were getting so ridiculous low that they simply stopped producing.

In October of 1993 the bakers stopped making bread and Belgrade was without bread for a week.  The slaughter houses refused to sell meat to the state stores and this meant meat became unvailable for many sectors of the population.  Other stores closed down for inventory rather than sell their goods at the government mandated prices.  When farmers refused to sell to the government at the artificially low prices the government dictated, government irrationally used hard currency to buy food from foreign sources rather than remove the price controls.  The Ministry of Agriculture also risked creating a famine by selling farmers only 30 percent of the fuel they needed for planting and harvesting.

Later the government tried to curb inflation by requiring stores to file paperwork every time they raised aprice.  This meant that many store employees had to devote their time to filling out these government forms.  Instead of curbing inflation this policy actually increased inflation because the stores tended to increase prices by larger increments so they would not have file forms for another price increase so soon.

In October of 1993 they created a new currency unit. One new dinar was worth one million of the “old” dinars.  In effect, the government simply removed six zeroes from the paper money. This, of course, did not stop the inflation.

In November of 1993 the government  postponed turning on the heat in the state apartment buildings in which most of the population lived.  The residents reacted to this by using electrical space heaters which were inefficient and overloaded the electrical system.
The government power company then had to order blackouts to conserve electricity.

In a large psychiatric hospital 87 patients died in November of 1994.  The hospital had no heat, there was no food or medicine and the patients were wandering around naked.

Between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent.  This number is a 5 with 15 zeroes after it.  The social structure began to collapse. Thieves robbed hospitals and clinics of scarce pharmaceuticals and then sold them in front of the same places they robbed.  The railway workers went on strike and closed down Yugoslavia’s rail system.

The government set the level of pensions.  The pensions were to be paid at the post office but the government did not give the post offices enough funds to pay these pensions.  The pensioners lined up in long lines outside the post office.
When the post office ran out of state funds to pay the pensions the employees would pay the next pensioner in line whatever money they received when someone came in to mail a letter or package.  With inflation being what it was, the value of the pension would decrease drastically if the pensioners went home and came back the next day.  So they waited in line knowing that the value  of their pension payment was decreasing with each minute they had to wait.

Many Yugoslavian businesses refused to take the Yugoslavian currency, and the German Deutsche Mark effectively became the currency of Yugoslavia.  But government organizations, government employees and pensioners still got paid in Yugoslavian dinars so there was still an active exchange in dinars.  On November 12, 1993 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 1 million new dinars.  Thirteen days later the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6.5 million new dinars and by the end of November it was 1 DM = 37 million new dinars.

At the beginning of December the bus workers went on strike because their pay for two weeks was equivalent to only 4 DM when it cost a family of four 230 DM per month to live.  By December 11th the exchange rate was 1 DM = 800 million and on December 15th it was 1 DM = 3.7 billion new dinars.  The average daily rate of inflation was nearly 100 percent. When farmers selling in the free markets refused to sell food for Yugoslavian dinars the government closed down the free markets.  On December 29 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 950 billion new dinars.

About this time there occurred a tragic incident.  As usual, pensioners were waiting in line. Someone passed by the line carrying bags of groceries from the free market.  Two pensioners got so upset at their situation and the sight of someone else with groceries that they had heart attacks and died right
there.

At the end of December the exchange rate was 1 DM = 3 trillion dinars and on January 4, 1994 it was 1 DM = 6 trillion dinars.  On January 6th the government declared that the German Deutsche was an official currency of Yugoslavia.
About this time the government announced a NEW “new” Dinar which was equal to 1 billion of the old “new” dinars.  This meant that the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6,000 new Dinars. By January 11, the exchange rate had reached a level of 1 DM = 80,000 new Dinars.  On January 13th, the rate was 1 DM = 700,000 new Dinars and six days later it was 1 DM = 10 million new Dinars.

The telephone bills for the government operated phone system were collected by the postmen.  People postponed paying these bills as much as possible and inflation reduced their real value to next to nothing.  One postman found that after trying to collect on 780 phone bills he got nothing so the next day he stayed home and paid all of the phone bills himself for the equivalent of a few American pennies.

Here is another illustration of the irrationality of the government’s policies:  James Lyon, a journalist,
made twenty hours of international telephone calls from Belgrade in December of 1993.  The bill for these calls was 1000 new dinars and it arrived on January 11th.  At the exchange rate for January 11th of 1 DM = 150,000 dinars it would have cost less than one German pfennig to pay the bill.
But the bill was not due until January 17th and by that time the exchange rate reached 1 DM = 30 million dinars.  Yet the free market value of those twenty hours of international telephone calls was about $5,000.  So despite being strapped for hard currency, the government gave James Lyon $5,000
worth of phone calls essentially for nothing.

It was against the law to refuse to accept personal checks.  Some people wrote personal checks knowing that in the few days it took for the checks to clear, inflation would wipe out as much as 90 percent of the cost of covering those checks.

On January 24, 1994 the government introduced the “super” Dinar equal to 10 million of the new Dinars.  The Yugoslav government’s official position was that the hyperinflation occurred “because of the unjustly implemented sanctions against the Serbian people and state.”

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C.  The Nightmare of the German Inflation:   How Investments Fared
In the short period of about a year, from 1922-1923, the German people suffered under the torture of hyperinflation. The snippets below help the reader to begin to understand the hell the average German citizen experienced:

  • In September 1922, a loaf of bread cost 163 marks. One year later in September of 1923, this figure had reached 1,500,000 marks. A few months later at the peak of hyperinflation, November 1923, a loaf of bread eventually cost an inconceivable 200,000,000,000 marks!
  • People were paid by the hour and rushed to pass money to loved ones so that it could be spent before its value meant it was worthless.
  • People had to shop with wheel barrows full of money.
  • Bartering became common – exchanging something for something else but not accepting money for it. Bartering had been common in Medieval times!
  • Pensioners on fixed incomes suffered as pensions became worthless.
  • Restaurants did not print menus as by the time food arrived…the price had gone up!
  • The poor became even poorer and the winter of 1923 meant that many lived in freezing conditions burning furniture to get some heat.
  • The very rich suffered least because they had sufficient contacts to get food etc. Most of the very rich were land owners and could produce food on their own estates.

 At the start, it is important to understand how hard it was to obtain real income during the inflation. Professionals, skilled workers and others used to enjoying good income found their real salaries disastrously cut. Those who depended on savings, pensions or investment income for a living faced a terrible situation.

Interest from bonds or savings deposits soon depreciated to where they had no real value. Stocks paid meager dividends or none at all; corporate managements needed the money for working capital, or used it for capital building and speculation. Owners of rental property fared no better; the government froze rents, which soon meant that tenants were occupying premises virtually rent-free. Dipping into capital led to big losses, since cash, bonds and even stocks quickly shrunk drastically in value. The urgent need for income had important effects on the true prices of various types of property and investments.

Cash: Money held in cash lost value rapidly and soon became completely worthless. Of all investment forms, this was the most disastrous.

Bank Deposits: In theory, bank deposits became as worthless as cash. However, after the stabilization the government decreed partial reimbursement, and sums in the range of 15-30% of the original deposit value were repaid. Naturally, however, the great majority of depositors withdrew their funds at some time during the inflation, after much of the value had been lost, and exchanged them for goods. Few Germans held money in deposits through the entire period.

Bonds, Mortgages: As usual in an inflation, bonds and mortgages fell in value even faster than cash. After the stabilization, some restitution was provided by law. Holders of government bonds were reimbursed to the extent of 2.5% of the original bond values.
Mortgage holders also received some repayment, while a 1925 law provided for 15-25% reimbursement of corporate bondholders, though the payment was delayed for some years. Here again, few investors held bonds or mortgages throughout the entire period; most holders got rid of them for whatever pittance they would bring during the inflation.

Real Estate: Farmers and holders of urban property seemed to benefit if their property was mortgaged; the inflation soon wiped out the mortgage debt. However, they received no income, as noted above, since rents were frozen. After the stabilization, heavy new taxes and the urgent need for cash forced most holders to remortgage their property, often more heavily than originally, so that their gains were illusory. Still, those who held real estate throughout managed to save the capital thus invested. However, those who sold during the inflation (often through desperate need for cash) fared poorly. Because it brought no income, real estate sold at extremely low real price levels during inflation.

Foreign Exchange: Those who held funds in dollars, pounds or other stable currencies, or in gold, saved their capital. The government set up rigid exchange controls as the inflation proceeded. As usual under such conditions, a black market flourished. The ones who fared best were the small minority who had the foresight to exchange marks into foreign money or gold very early, before new laws made this difficult and before the mark lost too much value.

Personal Property: Capital was preserved by those who early changed it into objects of lasting value–rare coins, stamps, jewelry, works of art, antiques–or into merchandise such as clothing, fabrics, etc. Of course, most people did not understand the advantage of accumulating such property until the inflation was well along. By that time the prices of all goods had risen so much that they seemed outrageously bad bargains. In the event, however, cash proved an even worse bargain.

Common Stocks: In an inflation, common stocks are generally considered a desirable hedge to protect against or even to profit from the rise in prices. In practice, it is not so simple. In this country stock prices have been known to fall violently just when inflation was most evident (1946, 1957, 1966, 1969). Market fluctuations–the rise of exciting new speculative stocks, waves of fear or greed–all make it much too easy to buy or to sell at the wrong time or to go into the wrong stocks.

Getting down to specifics, we can say that those who bought a well-diversified list of stocks in solid, well-established companies quite early in the inflation and who held on throughout the period and also through the stabilization crisis saved much or all of their capital. However, there were many pitfalls along the wayside for the greedy, the fearful and the over-clever. Those who did best were investors with a certain unemotional, stolid character, a basic confidence that strong, well-managed companies would come through, and an immunity to excitement, anxiety and speculative temptations.

Many very sharp but brief advances and declines in the market led to widespread speculation, and well-intentioned investors often wound up as traders. Naturally most of them did as badly as amateur speculators generally do. Many decided that speculation was the only sensible approach; when the entire economy and financial structure was visibly crumbling, who could wait patiently with confidence in the long-range value of anything?

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D.  The Steps Toward Hyperinflation
Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #1: The Creation of Fiat Money
Citizens generally know that the paper currencies they are forced by law to use aren’t quite as good as gold. There is an oily, slippery quality to the paper. It’s been that way since the very first paper currency was used in China during the Song Dynasty, but at least then there was metal backing the paper. In the following Yuan Dynasty the government forced citizens to turn in their gold and silver and use the world’s first fiat currency: the Chao. The same thing would happen again in the U.S. under FDR some six centuries later.

That unbacked paper money’s value will go down gradually over time is a given, but most folks delude themselves into believing it’s for the best and that the government has it all in hand. They come to expect this gradual inflation of the money supply and decline of their currency’s purchasing power. But
eventually a nation has to face the inevitable outcome of government trying to manage an economy and print wealth into existence; centralized planning leads to misinvestments on a colossal—even global—scale, and this sort of planning can only be sustained by a fiat currency since the unfettered market would never allow for it. Eventually the whole thing collapses.

You see, when money supply is fairly fixed, it ties government’s hands. When you ant a strictly limited constitutional government, that’s a good thing. Of course, if you want centralized planning, market interventions and wars, gold standards are horribly restricting. That’s why governments get rid of them as quickly as they can. Then there is absolutely no need to be fiscally responsible. Then governments can use all the usual means to grow in scope and reach: the wars, welfare the market intervention previously mentioned…And the creation of credit

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #2: The Easy Availability of Credit
Credit distorts prices. It’s how the banks—under direction from the central bank—get the disaster rolling. Fractional reserve lending laws allow banks to make loans far beyond what they actually have on reserve (a fraction of those reserves, hence the name). Assets get bid up with credit and bad business ideas get funded. People get all sorts of false signals because of the availability of credit and bad decisions get made. Debts grow on all sorts of unproductive purchases and ventures. The Fed is ultimately responsible for inflating explosively unstable financial bubbles.

The artificially low rates — set by a board of Fed governors, not the free market – allowed people borrowed beyond their means. To the average American, it all seemed to make sense. All their assets were going up – stocks, real estate, overall net worth. But what goes up, must always come down.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #3: Bursting of the Credit Bubble
This can’t go on forever—borrowing on reserves that aren’t really there. When it stops working, those debts have to be worked out somehow. This “somehow” manifests itself as losses and write-downs. Borrowers can only service these debts for so long when the debt-fueled activities and questionable investments inevitably fail to produce enough income and returns to pay the debt and interest. When the debts can no longer be serviced, then violent reallocations occur. Businesses, livelihoods and homes are lost.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #4: Sharp Contraction of Available Credit
Seeing billions disappear from your balance sheet is a hard pill to swallow. And when the banks were forced to wash it down, an funny thing happened: they stopped lendingThey stopped lending to each other. They stopped lending to consumers. And they stopped lending to businesses. The entire system goes into shock. As mentioned above, credit becomes scarce as banks worry about every getting their money back. Without credit, both prices and economic activity start to decline.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #5: The Deflation of Asset Price
Strictly speaking, deflation is a contraction in the money supply. Of course “money” can different meanings and include different measures. If available credit is counted, then deflation does indeed take place when that credit ceases to be available.
Credit can and does deflate and the effect on the economy is indeed very deflationary as prices bid up by credit collapse (housing is a very obvious example, but luxury items and even needed commodities are affected by availability of credit) and activity dependent on credit ceases, and the jobs attached to those activities disappear.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #6: The Rapid Printing of Money Out of Thin Air
Asset values and economic activity have to fall to painfully low levels in order for all the excesses of easy credit to be cleared away. After a while a sound economy can then be rebuilt on the basis of honest money and market-determined interest rates. But that’s not the sort of thing governments subscribe to in the Keynesian era. Governments and the rabble who elect them, believe that it’s possible to get something for nothing and that it’s possible to print wealth into existence. The average person really believes that all the government has to do is print money and take over production in order to keep the party going.
An easy way to devalue the debts is to make them easier to pay. A little inflationary easing thus seems like a really good idea. That’s how governments make inflation palatable to their subjects. It makes the weight of bad financial decisions easier to bear.
The government borrows money into existence (from the central bank) and then spends it into the economy.
The government labels this sort of thing as “economic stimulus” or “quantitative easing”, though a more honest description would be “defrauding the minority of savers” and “prolonging the inevitable painful outcome of propping up misinvestments.”
The new administration has decided to “monetize the debt.” They are going to create new money in order to bail out various banks and businesses and even mortgage debtors. But again, governments may be able to create money, but they cannot create wealth or purchasing power; they can only steal it outright with taxes or subtly with monetary inflation. It’s a swindle. The money they create dilutes the value of that already in existence. It is a way to siphon purchasing power from those trusting souls who have saved in the currency. It’s an indirect and subtle tax. This is wrong in principle and disastrous in
practice.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #7: The Acceleration of Money Into the Market
It may not come tomorrow. Or the day after. But be sure that our current monetary trajectory puts us on pace for the acceleration of money into the market. And that’s when things get really scary. Hyperinflation takes off when the entire population gets wise.
The money supply might have been growing in fits and spurts for decades, but the hyperinflationary storm happens when that money really starts to move around as people try to get rid of it. The prices of useful goods get bid up to embarrassing levels. The process accelerates when governments try to stabilize markets…often by adding more paper…because honestly, what else can a government do? Mismanagement and fraud are the only things governments really get right consistently. So for the government a problem that’s caused by the theft of inflation can only be solved by…more mismanagement and fraud. The entire process is self-reinforcing and results in the hyperinflationary death spiral to which all currency is heir.
The effect is that savings in the currency rapidly lose value. In an effort to sustain pretend wealth, the government wipes out real wealth. The only way to avoid this destruction is not to put one’s trust in the paper the government and the central bank issue. At some point in the future literally everyone everywhere will be rushing to exchange paper for things of real value. The trick to survival is to start before they do.

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E.  How To Protect Your Money
If you’re thinking that this whole fiat currency deal and the hyperinflationary death or money is an abomination, you’re right. If you’re thinking that there’s something you can do to prevent it, then you’re absolutely wrong.
This sort of thing just keeps happening over and over. Human beings seem to love making themselves slaves to the state and believing in the false promises of that false god. The rulers want more power and the ruled want something for nothing. Fiat currency has proven the most efficient way for advanced
civilizations to ruin themselves. Fiat seems like instant wealth, but it’s just sure death.
Like anything else, liberty and the sound money upon which it is built, seem destined to atrophy and die. All the individual can do is be aware of the lessons of history and to take the appropriate steps to protect themselves. You obviously need to deal in currency on a day-to-day basis, but a portion of the your savings should be in things of lasting value.

U.S. Hyperinflation Hedge: Long Precious Metals / Short the Dollar
Gold and productive farmland have been much more reliable stores of wealth than paper for several thousand years. Gold is just a bit easier to hide, however, should the need arise. And right now it’s the better buy.
When speaking of the collapse of a currency, people often  trot out the adage “you can’t eat gold.” By this they mean that in a true currency crisis and attendant collapse, only fuel and food and the arms to protect them will have any value. Gold, despite being branded a barbarous relic by Keynes, is actually a symbol of civilization and trade. Therefore it won’t perform its monetary function when civilization and trade break down.

In a true collapse, there may be no trade at all or what little trade there is could be limited to barter. As long as there is any exchange being done, people will find something to use as money; the guy with the cows that produce the milk you want is not always going to want the furs you have to trade. If trade
goes on at all, even if barter is a large part of it, precious metals will have a place. They’ve been used as money for thousands of years because they perform the function of money so well.

On the other hand, a common assumption is that gold is absolutely the best thing to hold during hyperinflation. Not necessarily true. It will do a lot better than the failing currency…but a hyperinflationary scenario means that just about everything is doing better than the failing currency…the currency is the one thing that no one wants to hold. Depending on where things are at the start, however, it may not do the best. Right now, real estate is still in the process of falling from a extremely high levels fueled by the credit that is still vanishing. The simplest way to diversify out of the dollar is to trade it for precious metals which have proven to be a much more enduring form of savings, especially in times of crisis.

The first step you should take is to trade some of the fiat currency in your possession for something of lasting value. Buy some gold. Non-perishable food items are also a good idea, but gold (and silver) do much better as money.

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F.  What becomes money when the system collapses?
Economist Mike Shedlock defines money through the eyes of Austrian economist Murray N. Rothbard as “a commodity used as a medium of exchange.”
“Like all commodities, it has an existing stock, it faces demands by people to buy and hold it. Like all commodities, its “price” in terms of other goods is determined by the interaction of its total supply, or stock, and the total demand by people to buy and hold it. People “buy” money by selling their goods and services for it, just as they “sell” money when they buy goods and services.”

 What is money when the system collapses and the SHTF?
In disaster situations, the value of money as we know it now changes, especially if we are dealing with a hyperinflationary collapse of the system’s core currency. This article discusses money as a commodity in an event where the traditional currency (US Dollar) is no longer valuable.

In a collapse of the system, there will be multiple phases, with the first phase being the “crunch”, as discussed in James Rawles‘ book, Patriots. The crunch is the period of time directly preceding a collapse and the collapse itself.

Traditional Currency
Initially, the traditional currency system will maintain some value, though it may be rapidly depreciating in buying power. For those with physical, non-precious metal denominated currency on hand (paper dollars, non-silver coins), spending it as rapidly as possible is the best approach.

It is during the crunch that ATM machines around the country will run out of currency as people aware of the rapidly devaluing dollar will be attempting to withdraw as much money as possible. This immediate increase in money supply, coupled with the population’s general knowledge of the currency depreciation in progress, will lead to instant price increases for goods, especially essential goods.

If your physical cash has not been converted into tangible assets, this would be the time to do so. Acquiring as much food, fuel, clothing and toiletry items as possible would be the ideal way to spend remaining cash before it completely collapses to zero, as it did in the Weimar inflation in 1930’s Germany, or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation in recent years.

Precious Metals
During the initial phase of the ‘crunch’ precious metals will be a primary bartering tool, but this may not last long. The old survivalist adage “you can’t eat your gold” will become apparent very quickly. In a total breakdown of the system, food, water and fuel will be the most important tangible goods to acquire.

Consider someone who has a two week or one month supply of food on hand. Do you believe they would be willing to part with that food for some precious metals? The likely answer is no. There will be almost no bartering item that one would be willing to trade their food for once it is realized that food supply lines have been cut.

That being said, since most will not barter their food, not even for fuel, the next recognized medium of exchange by merchants, especially those selling fuel, will be precious metals.
For the initial crunch, silver coins, especially recognizable coins like pre-1965 90% silver quarters, dimes and half dollars, along with one ounce government mint issued silver coins like the US Silver Eagles, will be accepted by some, probably most, merchants. For those trying to flee cities to bug-out locations, silver coins of the aforementioned denominations may be a life saver, as they can be used to acquire fuel.
While we recommend having gold, as well, the issue with gold is that its value is so much higher than that of silver, that breaking a one ounce gold coin into 10 pieces just to buy a tank of gas will not be practical. It is for this reason that having silver on hand is highly recommended. Packing at least $25 – $50 face value of silver coins in each bug-out bag would be a prudent prepping idea.
In a total SHTF scenario, silver and gold may eventually break down as a bartering unit, as contact with the “outside” world breaks down. One reason for this, is that the fair value price of precious metals will be hard to determine, as it will be difficult to locate buyers for this commodity.

This, however, does not mean that you should spend all of your precious metals right at the onset of a collapse. Precious metals will have value after bartering and trade is reestablished once the system begins to stabilize. Once stabilization begins, the likely scenario is that precious metals will be one of the most valuable monetary units available, so having plenty may be quite a benefit. At this point, they could be used to purchase property, livestock, services and labor.

Water
Water is often overlooked as a medium of exchange, though it is one of the most essential commodities for survival on the planet. Had individuals in New Orleans stockpiled some water supplies during Hurricane Katrina, much of the loss of life there could have been avoided.

For those bugging out of cities, it will be impractical to carry with them more than 5 – 10 gallons of water because of space limitations in their vehicles. Thus, having a method to procure water may not only save your life, but also provide you with additional goods for which you can barter.

An easy solution for providing yourself and others with clean water is to acquire a portable water filtration unit for your bug-out bag(s). While they are a bit costly, with a good unit such as the Katadyn Combi water filter running around $150, the water produced will be worth its weight in gold, almost literally. This particular filter produces 13,000 gallons of clean water! A Must have for any survival kit.

Because we like reserves for our reserves, we’d also recommend acquiring water treatment tablets like the EPA approved Katadyn Micropur tabs. If your filter is lost or breaks for whatever reason, each tablet can purify 1 liter of water. In our opinion, the best chemical water treatment available.

Clean water is money. In a bartering environment, especially before individuals have had time to establish water sources, this will be an extremely valuable medium of exchange and will have more buying power than even silver or gold on the individual bartering level.

Food
In a system collapse, food will be another of the core essential items that individuals will want to acquire. Survival Blog founder James Rawles suggests storing food for, 1) personal use, 2) charity and, 3) bartering.

Dry goods, canned goods, freeze dried foods can be used for bartering, but only if you have enough to feed yourself, family and friends. They should be bartered by expiration date, with those foods with the expiration dates  farthest out being the last to be traded. You don’t know how long the crunch and recovery periods will last, so hold the foods with the longest expiration dates in your possession if you get to a point where you must trade.

Baby formula will also be a highly valued item in a SHTF scenario, so whether you have young children or not, it may not be a bad idea to stockpile a one or two week supply. (For parents of young children, this should be the absolute first thing you should be stockpiling!). In addition to water, baby formula may be one of the most precious of all monetary commodities.

Another tradeable food good would be seeds, but the need for these may not be apparent to most at the initial onset of a collapse, though having extra seeds in your bug-out location may come in handy later.

Fuel
Fuel, including gas, diesel, propane and kerosene will all become barterable goods in a collapse, with gas being the primary of these energy monetary units during the crunch as individuals flee cities. For most, stockpiling large quantities will be impractical, so for those individuals who prepared, they may only have 20 – 50 gallons in their possession as they are leaving their homes. If you are near your final bug-out destination, and you must acquire food, water or firearms, fuel may be a good medium of exchange, especially for those that have extra food stuffs they are willing to trade.
Though we do not recommend expending your fuel, if you are left with no choice, then food, water and clothing may take precedence. For those with the ability to do so, store fuel in underground tanks on your property for later use and trading.

Firearms and Ammunition
Though firearms and ammunition may not be something you want to give up, those without them will be willing to trade some of their food, precious metals, fuel and water for personal security. If the system collapses, there will likely be pandemonium, and those without a way to protect themselves will be sitting ducks to thieves, predators and gangs.

Even in if you choose not to trade your firearms and ammo during the onset of a collapse, these items will be valuable later. As food supplies diminish, those without firearms will want to acquire them so they can hunt for food. Those with firearms may very well be running low on ammunition and will be willing to trade for any of the aforementioned items.

In James Rawles’ Patriots and William Forstchen’s One Second After, ammunition was the primary trading good during the recovery and stabilization periods, where it was traded for food, clothing, shoes, livestock, precious metals and fuel.

Clothing and Footwear
We may take it for granted now because of the seemingly endless supply, but clothing and footwear items will be critical in both, the crunch and the phases after it. Having an extra pair of boots, a jacket, socks, underwear and sweaters can be an excellent way to acquire other essential items in a trade.

As children grow out of their clothes, rather than throwing them away, they will become barterable goods. It is recommended that those with children stock up on essential clothing items like socks, underwear and winter-wear that is sized a year or two ahead of your child’s age.

Additional Monetary Commodities
The above monetary units are essential goods that will be helpful for bartering in the initial phases of a collapse in the system. As the crunch wanes and recovery and stabilization begin to take over, other commodities will become tradeable goods.

In A Free Falling Economy Makes Bartering Go Boom, Tess Pennington provides some other examples
of items that will be bartering goods during and after a crunch including, vitamins, tools, livestock, fishing supplies, coffee and medical supplies.

Another important monetary commodity after the crunch will be trade skills. If you know how to fish, machine tools, hunt, sew, fix and operate radios, fix cars, manufacture shoes, or grow food, you’ll have some very important skills during the recovery period.

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Developing a survival food list

(Survival manual/3. Food & Water/Developing a survival food list)

FOOD

The Rules of 3:
In any survival situation, prioritize your activities to protect yourself from the closest, most pressing element in the Rules of Three. If you are in an area with extreme temps seek to protect your core temp then look for water, if you have adequate temps/shelter and water, look for food…

Rules of Three table

3 minutes You can only live about 3 minutes without air/breathing.
3 hours You can live only about 3 hours exposed and unprotected to extreme temperatures. Hyperthermia (body core rises to about 103F-106F, and usually is slower to kill). Hypothemia  (body core declines to 87F-90F, can occur quickly if the body/clothing is wet freezing rain or submersion, then exposed to freezing or near freezing air temperatures).
3 days You can only live about 3 days without safe water.
3 weeks You can live only about 3 weeks without food.
3 months Death may follow without socialization after about 3 months.
3 years Apathy/Disinterested: May only live 3 years without an interest or goal in life

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DEVELOPING A SURVIVAL FOODS LIST

How Much Food do you Need?
1.  A good rule of thumb for calorie intake is the same rule used by athletes when losing or maintaining weight; check your weight then multiply it by ten. (example, my weight 162 lbs. x 10 = 1,600 cal per day). If you weigh 200 pounds, this means you will need at least 2,000 calories just for your body to remain healthy in an inactive state. If constantly active (which is likely) you will need more than 2,000 calories to remain in good health. Never scoff at calorie counting, it may save your life. For home storage, I recommend at minimum, a one year supply of food. Stocking more, especially for trade, is preferable.
2.  The second  answer: You can never have too much food stored away for hard times.
How much is the minimum for you is an answer you’ll have to come up with after reviewing your thoughts about the future. Will three days of food be enough, as many suggest? Or do you need a year’s worth? It is suggested that two weeks or more is the minimum for anyone in any potential survival situation. One to three months? Now you’re talking. A year? Let’s hope you never need it. A year may be excessive for most, but then, better safe than sorry.
Why should you stock up on so much food if the worst you’re planning to prepare for is a heavy winter storm? Several reasons:
•   It may take a while for store shelves to be replenished. Think back to the heavy storms that hit the East Coast in the winter of 1995.
• 96. 30 inches in cities such as Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia shut the city down for more than a week. And the trucks carrying supplies were stranded on the side of an interstate highway somewhere in the Midwest.
•  You may be asked to feed friends or neighbors. Think how you’d feel if on the sixth day of the storm you and your family were enjoying a delicious, rich, beef stew while poor old Mrs. Frugal next door was down to a used tea bag and the bread crusts she usually gives the birds? Or what if friends were visiting for the weekend and unable to return home because of the inclement weather, earthquake or other emergency?
•  Food rarely goes down in price. What you buy now will be an investment in the future. If you shop carefully over time, you can lay in stores of goods on sale or at warehouse club prices.
•  You will be protected from price gouging. Do you really think the last load of milk and bread into the store before the storm hits will be discounted? Shelves are often cleared out right before a blizzard or hurricane is set to hit. And food isn’t the only item likely to be in short supply; one grocery chain reported that when storm warnings went out, they sold more rolls of toilet paper than there were people in the city. Batteries, bottled water, candles and other staples are also going to be in short supply.
• You will be prepared for a crippling blow to our food supply system. As I write this, many are predicting our food supply is tottering on its last legs. Whether it’s a drought (like we saw in 1996 in Texas and Oklahoma), a wheat blight, the destruction of traditional honey bees necessary for crop fertilization or simply the world’s exploding population, they will tell you our food system is falling apart.

The dry matter of food
The Utah State University Cooperative Extension recommends storing one pound of dry matter per person per day as part of a long term food storage plan. “Dry matter” consists of most food products you would store, including rice, legumes, dried milk, flour, pasta and sugar, among other items. One pound of dry matter will provide approximately 1,600 calories. The way your food supply is packaged will greatly affect the length of time it will remain a safe and viable energy source. For example, dried milk and freeze-dried fruits and vegetables should be stored in nitrogen packed cans for maximum preservation. Your entire food supply should be stored in a cool, dark and dry environment in secure packaging to prevent spoilage and pest infestation.
Remember, 1 pound dry food contain about 1600 calories= 1 lb/person/day.

Spices/Oils/Flavorings
Food not only nourishes our bodies, but can also nourish our mood and spirits. Therefore, it’s important to include flavors and foods that are familiar so they can provide a source of morale and comfort during stressful or emergency situations. Most cooking oils, spices and seasonings will last several years if stored properly. Dried coffee, tea and cocoa will also have extensive shelf lives when kept well.

Other Items to Consider
In addition to food and water, you’ll also need supplies and tools to be able to prepare and serve meals. Don’t forget to include pots, pans, utensils, a can opener, a grain mill, plates, bowls, glasses and a some sort of cooking implement such as a grill or camp stove. Fuel for your cooking implement will also need to be readily available or stored. Vitamin and mineral supplements will ensure that each person will receive proper nutrition, particularly if part of your food supply becomes contaminated and unusable.
Lastly, be sure to store food and additional water for family pets.

General Shelf Life of Foods for Storage
Use within six months:
Powdered milk (boxed)
Dried fruit (in metal container)
Dry, crisp crackers (in metal container)
Potatoes

Items that may be stored (almost)  indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions):
Wheat
Vegetable oils
Corn
Baking powder
Soybeans
Instant coffee, tea
Vitamin C and cocoa
Salt
Noncarbonated soft drinks
White rice
Bouillon products
Dry pasta
Powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans)

Use within one year:
Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups
Canned fruits, fruit juices and vegetables
Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals (in metal containers)
Peanut butter
Jelly
Hard candy, chocolate bars and canned nuts

An easy approach to long-term food storage:
1.  Build up your everyday stock of canned goods until you have a two-week to one-month surplus. Rotate it periodically to maintain a supply of common foods that will not require special preparation, water or cooking.
2.  Buy a supply of the bulk staples listed above.
3.  From a camping equipment store or on-line business, buy commercially packaged, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Although costly, this will be your best form of stored meat– buy accordingly. Remember the ditty:  ‘A case if you can, a can if you can’t.’  Buy long term nitrogen packed foods by the ‘case’ if you can afford them, or  stock up with canned goods if you can’t.

Survival foods discussion
Analysis of historical data from selected US cities during the 1918 pandemic suggests that duration of implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions are associated with mortality rates. Pandemic waves may average about 6-8 weeks; however, an extended wave may occur; communities should be prepared to sustain themselves for up to 12 weeks in a Category 4 or 5 pandemic.
Previously, Federal guidance called for three days of food and water for emergency situations. In response to pandemic flu, two weeks of food is probably the minimum for anyone in any potential survival situation. A stockpile of one to three months is probably a more realistic inventory for prolonged social distancing in response to pandemic flu. A year? Let’s hope you never need it. A year may be excessive for almost any purposes. This food reserve should not include food in your refrigerator or freezer, because you cannot count on those items remaining edible for more than a day (fridge) or three (freezer), at most.

You can survive over a week without food, but only 3 days without water. Roughly 70% of the adult human body is made up of water. FEMA suggests storing at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking. A two-week supply of water would be sufficient to deal with a worst case scenario in which there was a temporary interruption of the municipal water supply. Otherwise, tap water is safe to drink and poses no risk of transmission of flu virus.

General food storage: concepts & guidelines
a)  According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food can be safe forever from a food borne-illness standpoint – but if shelf-stable food has been on the shelf for an extended period of time, you might not want to eat it because the quality may not be good. In this case, the “best if used by” date on the label of the product is an indication whether or not the quality of the food is good.
b)  Food quality deals with the taste, texture, and nutritional value of food.
“Shelf-life” is the length of time food will retain most of its nutrition and flavor. Food that may still be safe to eat may have lost much of its nutrition, if stored past its shelf life. Things that cause food to go bad are moisture, oxygen, insects, and animals getting into the food.
c)  Cans of food from the super market make good storage foods, but you should use the oldest ones first and replace them. This is called “rotating” your food. The easiest way to do this is to put the date that you bought the food on the top of the can with a magic marker. This makes it easy to use the oldest first. Canned foods will keep for at least one year, if kept in a cool, dry place and not allowed to freeze.
d)  Some foods, such as canned foods, have a product code stamped on the bottom or top of each container providing information such as “best quality date” or “use by date,” the name of the plant where the food was manufactured, and the lot number. The code number may not be consistent from one manufacturer to another. For instance, food manufacturers may indicate the “use by date” as month and year (APR00) stamped on top of the can. APR00 means the food should be consumed by April of 2000. The first letter and number (corresponding to month and year) of the stamped code also may indicate “use by dates.
e)  When in doubt throw it out! Never taste food to determine its safety! Check canned goods to see whether any are sticky on the outside. This may indicate a leak. You will have to evaluate each item separately. Food may be spoiled without a detectable off-odor.
f)  Food that is temperature abused will spoil rapidly as evidenced by off-odors, off-flavors, off-color, and/or soft texture.
g)  Dried fruits have a long shelf-life because moisture has been removed from the product. Unopened dried fruits may be stored for 6 months at room temperature.
h)  Canned vegetables can be stored in a cool, dry area below 85°F (optimum 50°F to 70°F) for up to one year. After one year, canned vegetables may still be consumed. However, overall quality and nutritional value may have diminished. Discard badly dented, swollen, and/or rusty cans.
i)  Dry milk may be stored at cool temperatures (50°F to 60°F) in airtight containers for one year. Opened containers of dry milk, especially whole milk products, should be stored at cold temperatures to reduce off-flavors. Reconstituted milk should be handled like fluid milk and stored at refrigeration temperatures if not immediately used.
j)  Canned evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk may be stored at room temperature for 12 to 23 months. Opened canned milk should be refrigerated and consumed within 8 to 20 days.
k)  Rice Dream is rice milk in boxes, similar to juice box packaging. They come in 8 ounce, 32 ounce and 64 ounce sizes. It tastes great with cereal, and for use in cream based soups. You can even fix yourself of chocolate milk using Rice Dream. Rice Dream has a long shelf life, generally the date stamped is one year ahead from the day you purchase it. However once you open it, it needs to be refrigerated and it tastes freshest if used within 4 or 5 days. The manufacturer says it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 7 – 10 days, however the 5 day mark is the longest period time it retains its full freshness.
l)  Commercial bottled water has an extended shelf-life of one to two years due to extensive water treatment (filtration, demineralization, and ozonation) and strict environmental controls during manufacturing and packaging. Bottled water should be stored in a cool, dry place in the absence of sunlight. Household tap water has a limited shelf-life of only a few days due to the growth of microorganisms during storage.
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BULK STAPLES

Bulk Staples:
Grains, beans and rice, cornmeal, baking soda, legumes, salt, honey,  sugar,  flour, yeast, pasta, dehydrated dairy products and eggs.

Ways to Supplement Your Long-Term Stockpile
Bulk staples offer a limited menu, but you can supplement them with commercially packed air-dried or freeze-dried foods and supermarket goods. Rice, popcorn and varieties of beans are nutritious and long-lasting. The more supplements you include, the more expensive your stockpile will be.

Bulk food storage
A half a cup of dried rice, a little less than half a pound, is equal to roughly 1½ cups of cooked rice. That is a lot of rice per person, so no one should be very hungry. Rice and beans twice a day for a month will provide almost all the nutrients a body needs.
The question is, “How much beans are needed?” Figure one half of a 15-16 oz can of beans/ person per day. (1 can/2 people/day) It’ll keep you alive, but you won’t thrive.
If you get dried beans, figure ¾ cup dried volume per meal, or 22 cups/month (1 gallon=16 cups), hence, a 5 gallon container would hold a volume of dry beans to feed one person 3-1/2 months.
The drawback to dried beans is that they have to be soaked for 24 hours, so you will have to start soaking beans 24 hours in advance of each meal which is a pain.

How much rice & beans to store:
(Equivalents: ½ cup dry rice = 1/2 lb. dry rice= 1-1/2 cups cooked rice)
•  1 person x 0.5 lb rice (1/2 cup) /meal x 2 meals/day = 1 lb (1 cup) dry rice/person/day
•  1 lb (1 cup) rice/person/day = 30 lbs (30 cups) rice/month
•  30 lbs (30 cups) rice/person/month divided by 16 cups/gallon = 2 gallon volume dry rice consumed per month
•  A 5 gallon plastic bucket holds  80 lbs (80 cups) rice which is 2-1/2 months (80 days) for one person; or almost 1-1/3 months (40 days) food for two people. (if that’s all you had to eat)

A year’s supply of rice:
•  1 person on a 100% rice diet would need 350 lbs rice per year, 5 each 5 gallon buckets filled with dry rice).
•  On a 1/2 rice and 1/2 bean diet one would require an annual supply of  175 lbs rice (2-1/2 each 5 gal buckets) per person. Same volumes for combinations of rice, dry beans, legumes and peas.
•  2 persons 700 lbs rice or 10  each 5 gallon buckets, at half fare 350 lbs or 5  each 5 gallon buckets. Same volumes for combinations of rice, dry beans, legumes and peas.

For each volume of dry rice you should have a similar volume of a combination of beans, legumes or peas; a 1 gallon volume of dry rice goes with a 1 gallon volume of dried beans.

Dry bean storage
•  Equivalents:  For most beans: 1 pound dried beans = 2  cups dried, which yields  4 to 5 cups cooked beans.
•  1 lb dry beans/peas=5 cups cooked=5 days food as a rice accompaniment.
•  6 lbs dry beans/peas=1 month supply/ person as rice accompaniment.

Canned beans storage (15-16 oz can)
•  1 person ½ can/day or 15 cans/person/mo
•  2 persons need one can/day, 30 cans month

Beans & Rice priced during ‘good times’ at TheReadyStore.com, Saratoga Farms brand:
•  Long grain white rice value bucket, 47 lbs,  packaged in a 6 gallon sealed plastic storage bucket, containing 384 each ¼ cup servings, with a 20 to 30 year shelf life, $92.49.
•  Bean Sampler case of 6 each #10 (gallon size) cans with: 2 cans pinto beans, and one each kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, refried beans,  $88.25.
http://www.thereadystore.com/food-storage/saratoga-farms-long-grain-white-rice-valuebucket
The 6 gallons each of dry rice and beans provide 1 person with 3 months of bland, basic food. As Crocodile Dundee said, Yeah, you can live on it

Traditional & inherently long-lasting food items for storage
Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.
The best way to store food for the long-term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.
Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last the long term.  Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!
•  Honey: Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.
Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)
•  Salt: Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long-term disaster and will be an essential bartering item.
Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides
•  Sugar: Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.
Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).
•  Wheat: Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita¬mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.
Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent
•  Dried corn: Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.
Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).
•  Baking soda: This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long-term storage.
Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover.
•  Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa: Adding these to your long-term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze-dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.
Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods
•  Non-carbonated soft drinks: Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.
Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods.
•  White rice: White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.
Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour
•  Bouillon products: Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.
Uses: flavoring dishes
•  Powdered milk – in nitrogen packed cans: Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk develops an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.
Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

Comparing the various food storage processes
The main difference between commercially prepared foods sold in grocery stores and specially prepared “survival” foods is the shelf storage. You can’t store grocery store items for five to ten years, as you can with specially freeze-dried or sealed foods packed in nitrogen or vacuum sealed. As a result, if you go with a larder full of grocery items, you can’t develop your food stash and walk away. You need to rotate your stock, either on an ongoing basis or every two to three months. This will ensure you have fresh food (if you can consider canned and dry food “fresh”) and do not waste your food and money.
Advantages of canned vs dehydrated foods:  Canned goods are less expensive – Canned goods bought in bulk are roughly, pound-per-pound of finished product, about 25% of the cost of the same product offered in freeze-dried or dehydrated form. Canned foods seem to take up a little more storage area. That’s a small sacrifice when you think about the amount of money you’ll be saving.
Canned goods generally have more calories – It’s difficult to make a direct caloric comparison between freeze-dried/dehydrated foods and canned foods, but it is generally true that canned goods contain more calories in the form of fats than freeze-dried foods. Published food values support this contention.
Canned goods already have water for preparation in the can. Freeze-dried/dehydrated foods have no water content. This means that on top of the drinking water you’ll need to store, you will have to store extra water for your food preparation if you have freeze-dried or dehydrated foods.
Other advantages – Canned foods have a good shelf life, they’re available at virtually every market, and you are already familiar with the preparation since these are foods you frequently eat.
Meals Ready to Eat:  Certain items such as MRE’s are excellent for emergency situations, because they come out of the package ready to eat, with no cooking needed. MREs do not provide as much roughage as you need, which can lead to digestive problems after a week or two of eating nothing else. MRE entrees are excellent supplements, because prepared sets of #10 cans are primarily vegetables, pasta and grains, while MRE entrees are usually meat-based. You may also want to add a few special items, such as hard candy or deserts, to reward yourself or for quick energy. And don’t forget to add vitamins and mineral supplements.
Freeze dried vs. dehydrated: Many people are unsure about the differences between Mountain House freeze-dried foods and dehydrated foods. Both foods are perfect for long term storage, offering about the same (30 year) shelf life when packed in #10 cans. The real differences are detailed below:
Taste: Dehydrated foods are without any seasoning or additional ingredients. Dehydrated foods require cooking and seasoning. Most dehydrated foods will benefit from added seasons. You can add any ingredients or topping to dehydrated foods. Seasoning is recommended simply for taste.
Most freeze-dried foods are contain a multitude of ingredients and seasonings. Nothing more is needed, just a little time in hot water to rehydrated them and have them ready to eat. They are pre-seasoned, pre-cooked and pre-mixed with other ingredients, making them the fastest, easiest and tastiest foods available.
Cooking:  Cooking is very simple. Measure out the amount of ingredients you wish to make (depending on the number of servings you want) and dump into hot water. Cooking time is usually around 10 – 15 minutes for most foods. This applies to all the Mountain House freeze-dried foods.
Ingredients:  Freeze dried food is usually an “entree”, containing multiple items for a complete meal. Most dishes have several items included within them and you don’t need to do any other cooking or adding ingredients to make a complete meal. Because it’s freeze-dried, you simply add hot water, or add the product to hot water and cook for about 10 minutes. This rehydrates the food completely and it’s ready to eat!
Dehydrated foods are usually single ingredients. You can mix any dehydrated food with any other food product for a combination of tastes, textures and varieties.
Freeze dried food are the easiest and tastiest food made for long-term storage. If you don’t like to cook and want great food with a great taste, freeze-dried foods are the hands down winner.
Shelf Life:  Freeze dried foods advertise a 25 year shelf life. Store your food storage in a cold (or cool) dark place out of direct sunlight, preferably at a constant temperature. Dehydrated foods in #10 cans will store about the same length of time.
Space Requirements:  Storable foods, whether freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, are very compact, way more compact then canned foods. There is no excess water or fancy packaging, no empty air spaces. An entire years supply can be fit into a 2 ft x 3 ft area, stacked 5 ft high. Or under the bed, in a closet, in the pantry, in the basement. These foods are concentrated, because the water has been removed before packaging. A single can contains 8 to 16 servings.

With Mountain House freeze dried products and a one-burner stove, or candle to heat water (cold water can be used in a pinch), you can still enjoy a hot, satisfying meal in less than 10 minutes.

Just-In-Case: The complete 7-Day food supply for one person, in one box  Mountain House Brand quality freeze-dried foods.
•  28 Mountain House freeze-dried food pouches.
•  17 kinds of Mountain House freeze-dried foods in the kit.
•  Three full meals per day, in easy-to-serve pouches.
•  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner items in the same box.
•  Freeze-dried flavor & nutrition in foil pouches with a 5-year storage!
•  No cooking required. Just add water, and presto! These one-week supply kits are Freeze Dried, and that means that an entire week’s food supply weighs only 9 pounds!

The 7 day Just-in-case boxed supply kit contents:

Breakfast
–  4    Granola with Milk and Blueberries
–  3    Scrambled Eggs with Bacon
Vegetables
–  3    Garden Green Peas
–  4    Whole Kernel Corn
Lunch (16 oz Pro-Pack)
–  1    Rice and Chicken
–  2    Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
–  1    Hearty Stew with Beef
–  1    Chili Mac with Beef
–  1    Pasta Primavera
–  1    Beef Stroganoff with Sauce & Noodles
Dinner (20 oz Entrees)
–  1    Noodles and Chicken
–  1    Chicken Stew
–  1    Mexican-style Chicken and Rice
–  1    Lasagna with Meat Sauce
–  1    Macaroni and Cheese
–  1    Turkey Tetrazzini
–  1    Sweet and Sour Pork
Mountain House JUST-IN-CASE (one week food supply). Price: $109.95 (Retail price $125 – A $145.65 value;  May 2011)

The #10 Cans (gallon size) of freeze-dried foods have the longest shelf life available up to 25 years! Each can is coated with a protective enamel inside and out for double protection, including the lid. The can’s contents are protected until you are ready to open and use them. After opening, use the contents with a week for best results and taste; using the convenient resealable plastic lid between uses. Treat any leftover food as you would fresh food. Mountain House freeze-dried foods are packed in airtight NITROGEN PACKED #10 cans or pouches. Up to 98% of the residual oxygen has been removed. The unique Mountain House canning process uses both vacuum oxygen removal and nitrogen flushing.
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LONG TERM BULK FOOD STOCKS

1.  Stocking up made simple: Buy what you can afford. Buy the kinds of foods or entrees that  you’re familiar with.
•  Buy foods on special, from warehouse stores, feed and grain supply stores, name brand packages from on-line distributors.
•  Organize your buying for 3-month increments.
2.  Rough guide to developing a deep storage plan (one year supply per person):
•  300 pounds hard red winter wheat (you’ll need a grain mill)
•  100 pounds of legumes
•  75 pounds of other grains (rice, corn, millet,  buckwheat, etc.)
•  35 lbs. cereal: whole rolled oats, grits, quinoa and similar dry grains processed for making gruel or hot cereal will last much longer
•  35 pounds pastas (lasagna, egg noodles, spaghetti, wheat, veggie)
•  100 pounds of dried and canned fruits and vegetables
•  50 pounds of dried/ canned milk, and freeze dry/dehydrated cheese and butter
•  50+ pounds of canned fish and freeze-dried beef, turkey & chicken
•  Eggs, 25 dozen powdered and/or freeze-dried
•  25 pounds of honey
•  25 pounds of salt for cooking / preserving
•  25 pounds of cooking oils
•  5 pounds each of baking powder / soda and yeast
•  Multiple vitamin and mineral supplements and extra vitamin C
• Treats; chocolate, coffee, nuts, dried fruit
3.  Developing a workable food supply list
The following survival food list will help determine what  to have on hand in the event of a widespread disaster or upheaval. The easiest way to get these foods is to order pre-measured long-term storage food. This food will be packaged based on the amount of people that need to eat.
(# = pounds per person per year)

Grains:
Beans (pinto, red, navy, black, white, lentils, split peas): 200#
Rice (brown, white): 50#
Barley: 50#
Quinoa: 50#
Oatmeal: 25#
Corn (whole kernel): 25#
Cornmeal: 25#

Baking:
Cooking oil: 2 gal
Shortening: 6#
Flour: 25#
Baking soda: 10#
Baking powder: 5#
Vanilla extract: 3 oz/person/year
Canned Yeast: 5#
Powdered Milk: 50#

Sweets:
Sugar (white, brown): 75#
Honey: 35#
Dried fruit (raisins, dates, prunes, figs, etc): 25#
Fruit preserves/jams/jellies: 6#

Seasonings:
Iodized salt: 5#
Black pepper: 5#
Minced onion: 10#
Minced garlic: 5#
Garlic powder: 2#
Plain salt: 100# (useful for preserving, toothpaste, saline solution, throat gargle)
Bouillon cubes: 50/person/year

Miscellaneous
Peanut butter: 5#
White Vinegar: 2 gal (preserving, cleaning and health)
Apple Cider Vinegar: 2 gal (multiple uses)
Household bleach 2 gal.
Packaged Foods
Pasta boxed dinners (Mac’n’cheese/Hamburger Helper): 25 boxes
Ramen noodles: 48 packages

Drink Mixes
Tea (black, green, herb): 1000 bags/person/year
Coffee: 25#
Kool-Aid: 50 pkgs
Hot cocoa mix: 100 single-serving packs
Apple Cider mix: 100 single-serving packs

Canned Foods
Vegetables: 100 cans
Fruit: 100 cans
Meat (tuna, spam, chicken, meat spread): 75 cans
Soup: 50 cans
Milk: 25 cans

Joseph in Egypt (ca 1900 BC)
Relating the decline in global grain storage volumes with the Biblical story of Joseph in Egypt (more likely Im-Ho-Temp):
Joseph found himself standing in front of the most powerful man in that region, who knew about him and his reputation; when it came to dream interpretations. The Egyptian ruler asked Joseph a question: “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it?”  — Joseph remembers to stay humble stating: “I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
After Pharaoh had heard Joseph’s reply, he began to tell him about his dreams: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up — scrawny and very ugly and lean.
“I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The lean ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. But even after they had ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; so they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.
“In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted, withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me.”
After Joseph had heard about the dreams, he gives his interpretation: “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream.
“The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine. It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about do. Seven years  of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them.
“Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe.
“The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him charge of the land of Egypt.  “Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food.  “This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” (Genesis 41:25-36)

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The coming chaos

(Survival Manual/2. Social issues/The coming chaos)

THE COMING CHAOS: PART I

Planning and puzzle solving
Trends, expectations, and the  daily events of life can be thought of like scattered colored pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. From your experience and the short historical perspective of your life, you form an idea of the current and probable security provided by your environment. You look at the assembled parts of the picture and develop a general idea of the completed future image and your place in it.

 In good times, there are fewer puzzle pieces and each seems big, so putting a few parts together allows you to easily imagine the larger-view of the future.
In harder times, when nations and huge international (food, banking, energy) industries have financial, political and military reasons for hiding their ‘game hand’, the important pieces of information become numerous and small.
As global and national economic times deteriorate and you continue about your daily life, you have an ever decreasing  intuitive  understanding of conditions and less accurate view of the big picture, resulting in a diminished capacity to carry about your long term life business effectively.  The ebb and flow of your stored money, your potential energy is generally: Where to store these hard-earned savings? How much to save over any given period of time?  What is the best long-term manner in which to spend or store large blocks of value when a given need is seen  arising?

During increasingly difficult economic times, you still put those pieces of the puzzle together in your mind, the same as you always have, but the scale and quality of the information you receive, has changed.
Think of this as somewhat related to inflation. When inflations first begins, no one sees it for what it is, but as prices creep up, inflation slowly becomes visible and irritating to everyone, only then do people individually begin to change their behavior in self-interest.
Meanwhile, the entities causing the inflation want to cover their tracks, so information given to the public is doctored, altered and diminished, official news bites are false, designed to keep the populace calm, to keep them from acting in their own best interest.

Because the normal indicators are not functioning in the accustomed way, you have to rely on other lagging indicators to replace the ones previously used. This requires work, so most people, being busy, go with the flow and in doing so no longer have that ‘more accurate’ larger-view of the future which they once held.

It’s all about money, and if not money, power. What can you lose by not adjusting your view of the future to fit the current cycle of economic reality? You can lose: the value of your 401K, value in your Treasury notes and bonds, long-term stock valuations, your home equity, interest from saving in bank instruments, while paying higher local-state-Federal tax rates, food, energy, maybe even a Value Added Tax.

In todays context, if you knew how these broad investments were falling out of favor, you’d have begun putting your savings into other assets, ie., certain foreign currencies, gold, silver, precious metals stocks, energy production and infrastructure, a little more food in the back of your cupboard before prices rose, maybe cash in the cookie jar.
Believing there would always be plentiful oil and gasoline, maybe you bought a large auto– without  the  knowledge that within a few years gasoline would be  much more expensive in real terms and there might even be rationing. By then, with the economy, still in a recession, with everyone seeing higher gas prices and few having cash to spend, you would have to take a major loss on trading in the ‘gas hog’ vehicle for a smaller more gas efficient model.
Perhaps, with  better information you might have bought a townhouse close to your local shopping district, instead of a stand alone house in the suburbs, ‘gas-miles’ from the shopping district.
Rather than buying a recreational vehicle, you might have bought a small parcel of rural property for camping or a cabin, and used a car top carrier or utility trailer to carry gear to your private bit of nature. The rural property could also be used if for a while, things grew unsafe in the city.

Money is also supposed to be a store of wealth and accountability.
It’s not that ‘prices are going up, the value of your money is going down.
Note: 50 years ago, in 1961, the price of one gallon of regular gasoline cost 31¢, that would be a quarter, a nickel and a penny, 31¢ . The quarter you would have paid for the gas with, was what we now call a ‘silver quarter’ containing 0.18084 ounces of silver. Real money-silver coinage was discontinued by 1965, where upon, nearly valueless copper clan coins were issued and which we still use today.
The current value of that common old 25¢ coin is now $7.05 (silver spot price= $39.01). Today, 10 August 2011, a gallon of local regular gasoline costs $3.59, so that silver quarter would buy practically 2 gallons of gas,  2 gallons x $3.59/gallon=$7.18, while the value of the silver quarter is $7.05.
And this is why during the last 70 years we’ve gone from a condition where one worker could support his family, to a time when it took both Mom and Dad to support the family, and now takes Mom and Dad, credit cards, and  maybe a 2nd home mortgage to provide the same.

At some levels of societal organization, it’s all about money or power; on lower levels it’s about not being robbed and left to face the economic winter (depression, unemployment or old age) with out the safety net provided by your savings–the product of your labor.
In the deep past, when men depended directly on the land for their livelihood, when a robber Prince took part of that property the peasant family had less resilience to survive. Today we don’t have ‘land’, per sae, we have money and investments, when the modern version of the robber Prince takes your property, they take your money or your future claim to the things money can buy, leaving you less resilient to survive.

If you prepare for a man-made crisis, you will be on the same path as some one preparing for natural disasters: hurricanes, power outages, etc. Man-made vs. Natural disasters differ mostly by scale and duration. [Mr Larry]

The Coming Chaos, will turn over a few pieces of the puzzle, ones that you may not have seen, ones that give you a somewhat larger view.  Be aware, that sometimes its better not seeing to your life’s horizon.

The world is in a state of constant flux and continuous change and there is nothing so certain in life as uncertainty. None of us know what the coming years will bring. One must be wary both of the innocent and rose-tinted view that the US and hence the global economy are just fine and the good times are about to roll again and of fear mongers and prognosticators of doom whose only message seems to be ‘resistance is futile’.
Meanwhile, with the evolution of electronics into computer, satellite, Internet, and digital information technologies, the recent decades have created a web of global interdependence, of ‘just-in-time’ supply, transportation, international banking, a layering of complex financial interactions and the immediate spread of information. Globally, human society has accumulated such complex interdependencies that it has affectively become like a spider’s web – where a disturbance of one strand shakes the entire web. Further, this intertwined body of global humanity has reached critical points in its equilibrium. It is at a point of dynamic, critical vulnerability; and at such moments the slightest of impacts in one sphere of global concern can set into motion an unpredictable chain of events across the interconnections.
It is only common sense, with the fragility of our system, to prepare for any disturbance with supplies. How long could you survive with what is on hand? Think about storing extra food, water, fuel, and whatever you think you need to get through. If one very large, or several moderate to large (Volcanic Explosivity Index) volcanoes go off, we may experience very muted daylight for several seasons to a year and unable to grow enough food for even the prosperous nations. Are you even prepared for the possibility that your communities electric power could go out for a week or more, during the summer, during the winter?

Why We Need Insurance
Many of us have never had to make a claim on our insurance. Therefore when we continue to write an insurance payment check month after month, we feel as if we are pouring money down the drain. Even though you’ve never had to make a claim on your insurance, there is a good reason that it’s there. Naturally, insurance is there to protect your you, your family and your investments, but let’s face it; many of us wouldn’t bother with insurance if it wasn’t required by law, or the bank.

How we buy insurance
First, we decide which threats to protect ourselves from, then we find a way of doing so at the lowest possible cost.
Survivalism is basically the same. I’ve created a list of survival threats at the side of the page. Some events are so destructive that they are not worth worrying about and have not been included, i.e., multiple impacts from a fragmented comet, or a ‘nearby’ star emitting a planetary sterilizing gamma ray burst.. There is no way of protecting yourself against Hollywood style events so there is no point in spending money on them. The best value for your money is to identify threats that you think are moderately likely and that may be dealt with easily. Most threats require the same core defensive measures with varying specifics.
Everyone should take some simple steps to protect themselves and their families from potential real risks that are on the horizon, but don’t take my word for it. Answer the following questions:
1. Is your job & income 100% secure?
2. Would you be able to have the basic necessities (shelter, food, water) if you lost your income for a prolonged period of time?
3. Would you be ok if your local grocery stores didn’t have an inventory resupply for a few weeks?
4. How would your finances hold up in a currency crisis where the dollar rapidly lost much of its value?
5. Would you be able to protect your family in the event of increased crime and decreased police presence?

Ready America
From the FEMA ‘Ready America’ website:
“…Each person’s needs and abilities are unique, but every individual can take important steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and put plans in place. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan, you can be better prepared for any situation. A commitment to planning today will help you prepare for any emergency situation. Preparing makes sense. Get ready now.
• Consider how a disaster might affect your individual needs.
• Plan to make it on your own, at least for a period of time. It’s possible that you will not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore.
• Have a week or longer supply of medications and medical supplies
• Identify what kind of resources you use on a daily basis and what you might do if they are limited or not available.
• Buy or make an emergency supply kit.
• Have copies of emergency documents
• Create a support network…”

Headline: “15 Million Americans Infected with Xyz- Flu”
“You just heard it on the evening news. It’s now a reality. Your city has been locked down. There are roadblocks on all arteries in and out of the city. No one can come in or go out of the area.
The grocery stores, the gas stations, and all other public facilities are closed. Everyone has been told to stay in their homes.
Your family has five days of food left. Seven days, if you and your wife eat much less, and give it to the kids. Water is only sporadically available when you turn on the faucet.
You realize you should have thought about the news, what it might mean, but you remained a spectator of the events unfolding around yourself and in the world. You wonder how you missed the signs. You feel guilty and powerless because you don’t know how you will feed your family.”

Things you should know
• Don’t rely on the government to help you. As big as they are, when disaster hits they’re both: 1) too big a bureaucracy, 2) with too few people on the ground, to help a large number of people in a reasonable amount of time.
• Don’t rely on utility companies to help you. They will have priorities and will be working almost around the clock, to get things restored, but, a) it won’t be fast enough no matter who you are, and b) you’re probably not a priority. Don’t complain about it – be prepared for it.
• Don’t rely on your Insurance company for anything more than a check. Insurance is about money, it’s not their job to repair your home or put your life back in order. While some might refer you to local contractors, many do not, and in times of overwhelming need, both adjusters and contractors are going to be hard to come by.
• Know what your area is at risk for (i.e. Seattle has a major earthquakes every 100 years or so, and moderately damaging windstorms every 10 years) and be prepared to take care of yourself for awhile.
• The government’s, ‘Three Days of Self Sufficiency’ campaign, is woefully inadequate.
• Mankind endures ‘an episode of great wealth destruction’ at least once every century. People should prepare to ride out a disaster, be it a tsunami, a market meltdown, an EMP grid down scenario, volcanic winter, deadly pandemic or Islamic terrorists with a dirty (radioactive materials) bomb.
• The rich (all of us in the Western world) get complacent, assuming we’ll have time “to extricate ourselves and our wealth” when trouble comes. The rich are mistaken, as ‘the Holocaust’ proved.
• People generally do not feel the unthinkable will happen to them. However, many times there are situations out of our control that affect us in a big way. Major events that affect the food supply are especially troubling.
• Events move much faster than anyone expects’ and the barbarians are on top of you before you can escape.

The times that we endure today will be the history that others will read tomorrow. History has shown us events that have destroyed some societies and created new ones to take their place. Those who rise to power often decide the fate of millions. And there have been times when a people rise up as a nation, united to achieve mutual goals of prosperity and hope for a better future.
Today as a nation, Americans must uphold their moral convictions and beliefs that a nation of people who stand united will not perish. There are events occurring in this country that could change the very existence of our nation as we know it. And no one person or political party can decide the best course of action to ensure our prosperity and hopes will not be taken away from us. The answer to our problems is right in front of us, and we must cling to it as if it is our only hope, because it is the only thing ‘We The People’ have left: The Constitution of the United States of America .

Our policy makers are in a Catch 22. It’s checkmate, and the only thing that we can do is delay… to a point.
We need austerity measures, much more severe than those of France, Greece and the rest of Europe, but mass cuts in entitlement programs that tens of millions of Americans have come to depend on will lead to serious problems, not just for our economy, but on a social level as well. What happens if 40 million people were to lose their food stamps, or 20 million people lose their unemployment benefits? Many are already at the breaking point, if the government were to stop the gravy train, as Chapman puts it, the system would get very chaotic, very quickly. Thus, we just don’t see something like that happening anytime soon. But make no mistake, the current entitlement system, driven mainly by US government borrowing, is unsustainable. So, whether we like it or not, the cut to entitlement programs is coming one way or the other.
Politicians are just not going to do it. For many, it would be political suicide.
The end result we foresee is, as Chapman points out, ‘a high inflationary environment that will make it impossible for the average food stamp, unemployment or welfare recipient to purchase essential goods like food, energy and shelter’.
We’re seeing it in Social Security already, albeit in limited form. The government has not re-adjusted social security payments higher because the CPI inflation index has not shown an increase over the last couple years. However, the CPI does not include calculations for food and energy because our government says those are highly volatile and should not be counted. Thus, Social Security recipients are now paying more for food than they were two years ago, but there has been no adjustment made in their benefits. They’ve essentially taken a mandated pay cut as the US dollar has lost value.
This is exactly what we will see in other entitlement programs. Now imagine for a minute what it will look like if/when inflation is running rampant at 10% – 15% per year, and entitlement adjustments only account for 1% to 3% increases.
A lot of people will go broke a whole lot faster.
We’re not talking about people not being able to buy iPads, new home decor, or Christmas presents for the kids. No, we’re talking about being able to put food on the table, paying the rent for shelter and putting gas in the car.
This can get very ugly. As Peter Schiff previously pointed out, ‘a great number of Americans will be impoverished’ and, according to Gerald Celente, ‘many may take to the streets in riots and protests circa 2011 and beyond’.

 40 ways to lose your future
June 2009, TheAutomaticEarth.com
People have been asking how we see the future unfold. Here is a brief summary (in no particular order and not meant to be exhaustive) of the ground we have consistently covered here at TAE over the last year and a half, and before that elsewhere.
1.  Deflation is inevitable due to US financial Ponzi dynamics
2.  The collapse of credit will crash the money supply as credit is the vast majority of the effective money supply
3.  Cash will be king for a long time
4.  Printing one’s way out of deflation is impossible as printing cannot keep pace with credit destruction (the net effect is contraction)
5.  Debt will become a millstone around people’s necks and bankruptcy will no longer be possible at some point
6.  In the future the consequences of unpayable debt could include indentured servitude, debtor’s prison or being drummed into the military
7.  Early withdrawals from pension plans will be prevented and almost all pension plans will eventually default
8.  We will see a systemic banking crisis that will result in bank runs and the loss of savings
9.  Prices will fall across the board as purchasing power collapses
10.  Real estate prices are likely to fall by at least 90% on average (with local variation)
11.  The essentials will see relative price support as a much larger percentage of a much smaller money supply chases them
12.  We are headed eventually for a bond market dislocation where nominal interest rates will shoot up into the double digits
13.  Real interest rates will be even higher (the nominal rate minus negative inflation)
14.  This will cause a tsunami of debt default which is highly deflationary
15.  Government spending (all levels) will be slashed, with loss of entitlements and inability to maintain infrastructure
16.  Finance rules will be changed at will and changes applied retroactively (eg short selling will be banned, loans will be called in at some point)
17.  Centralized services (water, electricity, gas, education, garbage pick-up, snow-removal etc) will become unreliable and of much lower quality, or may be eliminated entirely
18.  Suburbia is a trap due to its dependence on these services and cheap energy for transport
19.  People with essentially no purchasing power will be living in a pay-as-you-go world
20.  Modern healthcare will be largely unavailable and informal care will generally be very basic
21.  Universities will go out of business as no one will be able to afford to attend
22.  Cash hoarding will continue to reduce the velocity of money, amplifying the effect of deflation
23.  The US dollar will continue to rise for quite a while on a flight to safety and as dollar-denominated debt deflates
24.  Eventually the dollar will collapse, but that time is not now (and a falling dollar does not mean an expanding money supply, i.e. inflation)
25.  Deflation and depression are mutually reinforcing in a positive feedback spiral, so both are likely to be protracted
26.  There should be no lasting market bottom until at least the middle of the next decade, and even then the depression won’t be over
27.  Much capital will be revealed as having been converted to waste during the cheap energy/cheap credit years
28.  Export markets will collapse with global trade and exporting countries will be hit very hard
29.  Herding behavior is the foundation of markets
30.  The flip side of the manic optimism we saw in the bubble years will be persistent pessimism, risk aversion, anger, scapegoating, recrimination, violence and the election of dangerous populist extremists
31.  A sense of common humanity will be lost as foreigners and those who are different are demonized
32.  There will be war in the labor markets as unemployment skyrockets and wages and benefits are slashed
33.  We are headed for resource wars, which will result in much resource and infrastructure destruction
34.  Energy prices are first affected by demand collapse, then supply collapse, so that prices first fall and then rise enormously
35.  Ordinary people are unlikely to be able to afford oil products AT ALL within 5 years
36.  Hard limits to capital and energy will greatly reduce socioeconomic complexity (see Tainter)
37.  Political structures exist to concentrate wealth at the centre at the expense of the periphery, and this happens at all scales simultaneously
38.  Taxation will rise substantially as the domestic population is squeezed in order for the elite to partially make up for the loss of the ability to pick the pockets of the whole world through globalization
39.  Depressive political structures will arise, with much greater use of police state methods and a drastic reduction of freedom
40. The rule of law will replaced by the politics of the personal and an economy of favors (i.e., endemic corruption)

We Have Some Hard Decisions Ahead
The economy has taken a dramatic turn for the worse for many Americans. While many individuals and households have had the financial resources and good fortune which will allow them to weather economic uncertainty, many will simply not be able to maintain their standard of living. Many two income households are now one income households and that income may have decreased due to companies cutting back on work hours. This situation has been occurring for many Americans for many, many months, forcing people to assess what is important and downgrade their lifestyle. The time to make hard decisions has arrived, and will dramatically alter the lives of many for years.
People who relied on spouses to pay the bills are now paying the bills. Those who have relied on savings and unemployment benefits to maintain their standard of living are now faced with the reality that those resources are exhausted. Bills are not being paid. Healthcare premiums are not being paid. Automobile and household maintenance is being neglected, which will create costlier repairs down the road. Simply put:
•  You might have to stop making your car payment and save those payments up to buy a used car. The car you currently have financed will be repossessed.
•  You might have to stop paying your mortgage and save those payments up to move into an apartment.
•  You might have to give up your healthcare, your magazine subscription, your club membership, your vacation plans, your charitable donations, your cell phone, your internet access or home phone service, your lawn care service, your financial support that you provide to friends and family who are having financial problems themselves, and many more expenditures not listed here.
•  You might have to contact an attorney to discuss bankruptcy.
•  You might have to sell off your possessions and assets.
•  You might have to move in with other families, friends, relatives, or shelters provided by the government or charitable organizations.
•  You may come to realize that what you thought was valuable and important to you has no value or significance at all.

Basic human needs will become the biggest priority in your life after you shed (lose the use of) the things that have merely brought comfort and convenience to you. You may be forced to downscale your lifestyle so dramatically that it will cause you to question your own intelligence and hindsight for not planning for such a life changing event.
The things that you have always taken for granted could become difficult to obtain now that there is no longer enough money to buy those things. Basic needs become vital issues that need to be addressed:
•  Food and ‘non-electric’–with the means both to prepare it and store it.
•  Portable water filtering devices and containers to store water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
•  Over the counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, first aid supplies, and some basic health and first aid literature in book form. Individuals using prescription medications, or require medical attention, will need to determine their best course of action during a period of financial distress.
•  The need for shelter may require the purchase of a tent, camper trailer, and other camping equipment if you can no longer provide an actual roof over your head and have no one to turn to.
•  The need for personal protection will become more obvious as desperate people begin to take desperate actions to provide basic needs for themselves and their families. The level of security you choose will be determined by your location, your finances, and your personal views and beliefs. If chaotic conditions occur, lawless activity will surely follow. Past incidents of disaster and mayhem give much testimony to this.

A look at the civil unrest that can arise when a government just ‘proposes’ austerity measures
“French gov’t undercuts Senate on retirement bill
Oct 21, 11:40 AM (ET), By ANGELA CHARLTON
PARIS (AP) – The French government is short-circuiting a protracted debate in the Senate on a bill raising the retirement age to 62, brushing aside some 250 amendments.
Faced with widespread protests against the bill, the government is ordering Senators to vote on a package of its own design, using Article 44-3 of the Constitution that allows it to step into the parliamentary debate.
PARIS (AP) – Protesters blockaded Marseille’s airport, Lady Gaga canceled concerts in Paris and rioting youths attacked police in Lyon on Thursday ahead of a tense Senate vote on raising the retirement age to 62.
A quarter of the nation’s gas stations were out of fuel, despite President Nicolas Sarkozy’s orders to force open depots barricaded by striking workers. Gasoline shortages and violence on the margins of student protests have heightened the standoff between the government and labor unions that see retirement at 60 as a hard-earned right.
Shopping streets stood nearly empty Thursday in central Lyon. The Bistrot de Lyon didn’t put tables outside as usual out of fear of clashes. “We’ve seen a reduction of 30-35 percent of business overall, for the last few days with the rioting in town. Lunchtime, nothing is going on, we’ve no one. It’s more than calm,” said restaurant manager Philippe Husser.
In Nanterre, the scene of running street battles between masked and hooded youth and riot police in recent days, the scene Thursday morning was calm, said Mehdi Najar, one of a few dozen red-jacketed mediators organized by the city hall to try to keep the peace.
In Marseille, hundreds of workers blocked all access to the main airport for about three hours early Thursday. Passengers tugged suitcases along blocked roads as they hiked to the terminal, before police came in and the protesters dispersed.
Wildcat protests blocked train lines around Paris on Thursday. Protesters in cars and trucks blocked several highways around the country, from near Calais in the north to the Pyrenees in the south, according to the national road traffic center.”

Coming Chaos: No Banks, No Public Facilities, No Food and Rampaging Gangs of Desperate People
Bob Chapman, of The International Forecaster, says it’s time to prepare for the worst, comparing our impending economic crisis to that which was experienced at the onset of 1348 and the following century and a half.

Flashback to 1348:
The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population, reducing the world’s population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as creating a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe’s population to recover. The plague returned at various times, resulting in a larger number of deaths, until it left Europe in the 19th century.
While Chapman does not suggest we will experience our own black plague pandemic, he predicts that the consequences of our economic collapse may lead to total destabilization and wars, much like post-plague Europe.
As you are now well aware Fannie and Freddie are going to punish people who have stopped paying their mortgages, who can pay them, and who are paying other bills instead. This leaves lenders with foreclosures and much more inventory than they ever imagined. This additional problem will bring on the double dip that Wall Street and Washington so fear.
As a result of this and other failures we are about to experience the worst economic collapse since 1348. The stock market is topping out readying itself for its most disastrous fall in history. The fall will be followed by years of depression, all of which has been deliberately created to bring the world economically and financially to its knees in an attempt to bring about world government by Illuminists.
Some market analysts understand where the market is headed, but most who do understand, write and talk about the mundane observable trappings and not what the situation is really all about. We have several analysts talking about a market collapse. They do not talk about the real forces behind our misfortune.
There are always these lone voices in the wilderness, which at best – some 15% of the populace – listens too. You had better listen this time because it could well cost you not only your assets, but your life, especially when another war is being prepared for you to engage in. Nothing is really as it seems to be and there are no coincidences. You are about to enter a world of chaos from which few will survive unscathed. A world of no banks, no public facilities, no food and rampaging gangs of desperate people. Unemployment of 50% and little law and order. Violence will be rife. This is not a pretty picture, but we have spared you the details. The world had better wake up fast so they’ll be prepared to deal with what is to come. If you were not aware of it the dark side really exists.
We are now entering the next to last phase of our journey. The wanton creation of wealth, inflation and perhaps hyperinflation, which will rob you of your assets. A stealth attack on what you have left by the people who control your government. Such monetary creation is the only way these people can keep the game going. They know it won’t last, but they proceed anyway. For awhile they’ll keep the multitudes at bay with extended unemployment and food stamps, but that will fade in time for lack of financial control, as the system begins to break down.
You already see all fiat currencies under fire, as is sovereign debt. Can it get any worse? Of course it can, and it will. Implosion is the word everyone is going to discover and understand.
The picture Bob Chapman paints is one that may lead to an initial reaction of, “What? No way that can happen.” Perhaps it can’t happen. Perhaps, it really is different this time and our benevolent leaders and the powers that be are capable of managing this crisis. Perhaps they will restore jobs to pre-crash levels. Perhaps home prices will go back up to record 2006 levels because tens of thousands of buyers will appear in the market. Perhaps the Federal reserve will be able to sell of their toxic assets, not have to print more money to bail anyone out, and the world will demand that the dollar remain the reserve currency of choice. Perhaps all of these people in delinquency on their mortgages will be able to catch up on those late payments. Perhaps governments will stop spending more than they take in and all of their debts will be paid off. Perhaps the globe’s top financiers will figure out a way to deleverage the trillions of bad debt currently working its way through the system.

Or, perhaps they will not be able to reverse course. Let’s assume that they can’t reverse course. How bad can it really get? This is something that our elected officials and those at the Fed, Treasury and large institutions will not overtly discuss. But clues have been dropped throughout the last several years. And, you need to look no further than those very same officials.

President Obama, during the green shoots recovery of 2009 and 2010, told the American people
that a depression was avoided. Thus, we can assume that a depression is a strong possibility if we are in fact about to see another economic collapse. In 2008 and 2009, former Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson said that we were “on the brink,” in fact, after he left his position with Treasury, he wrote a book with this very title. The brink, from what we can surmise, meant a complete collapse of our financial, economic and political systems. The result would have been martial law. Hard to believe? Yes. Impossible? No:

THE COMING CHAOS: PART II

Are some popular movie and television images from the end of the first decade of the 21st century, a harbinger of less severe, but rhyming themes to come? Movie entertainment themes are a fulfillment of consumer curiosity and expression of the sediment of the times.

Movie image, I Am Legend (left). Disease has almost eradicated mankind, only a few random survivors exits in decaying cities.
Movie, 2012. Earth crustal shifts with continents sinking into the ocean. Several thousand people escape drowning aboard huge ships.
Movie, The Road. A catastrophe has almost wiped out mankind. Survival is harsh in a barren land of armed scavengers.
Movie, The Book of Eli.  Most of Man destroyed by calamity, there are few survivors, much chaotic lawlessness is pervasive.
TV series, The Walking Dead. Brain disease reduces most of mankind to zombies, a few healthy survivors gather and try to eke out an existence without becoming infected.
TV series, Falling Skies. Aliens attack Earth; humans are slaughtered and small remnants driven from cities. Survivalist lifestyles develop as ragged groups try to feed themselves and resist the aliens.
Movie, Contagion. Earth population depleted by fast acting virulent disease. Chaotic conditions develop.

Real life images
Garbage lined streets (right) : During the (2011) snowstorms that hit the NYC, the Sanitation Department suspended garbage collection for days at a time in order to use trucks for snow removal, which meant about 11,000 tons of trash per day didn’t get collected. Granted, the mess has been caused by more than just missed collections. People have been tossing loose trash onto the bags, and it’s winding up on the sidewalks and streets. Plastic McDonald’s cups. Broken bottles of Budweiser and empty cans of Four Loko, cigarette butts, smashed umbrellas, sheet music, soggy gloves, old newspapers, and damp, dirty sofas — all left out in the open, as if they, too, will just melt away. And thanks to pet owners, who got a little lazy in the bad weather, many city streets are now shellacked with dog feces.  Crumbling Detroit, 2010.
In the late nineteenth century Detroit (left)emerged as a major transportation hub along the Great Lakes.  Gilded Age mansions and other grand buildings spawned the city’s nickname “Paris of the West.” The gasoline crises of the 1970s impacted heavily on the car industry, while racial tensions and increasing drug-fuelled crime spurred the beginning of the end for Detroit’s industrial supremacy.  As the city descended into high unemployment, many of its finest buildings, including theatres, hotels, offices and apartments, fell into ruin.

Our Jig Saw Puzzle:
The parts that go bump in the night, the parts that can trigger the coming chaos, are:

1.  Peak Oil
(Think broadly: ANY energy crisis.)
The world is rapidly approaching Peak Oil production and will be at an inflection point soon, if not already, after which, real prices will (or already have) begin a long rise. Price inflection is possible before the next economic recovery, but will certainly come with a recovery, which will then be short-lived, because rising energy prices will channel money away from other discretionary expenditures.
During the years, 2009-2010, the USA and Europe were in recession with lower oil requirements, which have skewered the associated 2007 chart by extending the plateau top and pushing the ‘decline in production slope’ (with subsequent increase in prices) into the future another couple of years past the original 2007 projection. Whether we are out of the recession or not by 2015, production declines and the resultant rise in petroleum prices will probably have become an unpleasant factor in our national and personal, financial lives.

Official Peak Oil reports
Saturday, 4 Sep 2010, FinancialSense.com weekly, ‘News Hour’ podcast, gave leads to the Peak Oil reports listed below. These articles (only the lead paragraphs have been re printed here) seem to be telling a story, a story which has not yet been shared to any degree with the American people by either the Government or the news media. Furthermore, there is not just one news item, but increasingly frequent, almost monthly reports issued by responsible, main stream institutions in Europe, the USA and the Middle East.
Europe is currently advancing on a continent wide program toward fossil fuel independence; its estimated that in 10 years, by 2020, 20% all of Europe’s energy, not just its electricity, will be derived from renewables. What is happening in the United States? Nothing that I’ve heard of or seen. Maybe the government is waiting for a ‘Peak Oil-Pearl Harbor’ type crisis to create a popular mandate for action—as opposed to making plans and choosing an intelligent path while there is more time and opportunity to implement and mass test renewable systems.
The energy transition from one type energy to an alternative, historically, only happens about once per century and does so with momentous consequences.  We will begin to move away from fossil fuels quite rapidly from here on forward. Business, families and individuals who can adapt to the charge and manage risk will gain an advantage with the shrinking energy pie. (See also ‘Survival Manual/1. Disasters/Peak oil and energy crisis’)

The reports:
a)  London, 10 February 2010: UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) study on peak oil was released: “Business calls for urgent action on ‘oil crunch’ threat to UK economy”. A group of leading business people today call for urgent action to prepare the UK for Peak Oil. The second report of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) finds that oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilize economic, political and social activity potentially by 2015.
b)  March 2010: Telegraph.Co.UK, “Oil reserves ‘exaggerated by one third’. The world’s oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years. Published: 9:51PM GMT 22 Mar 2010, by Rowena Mason, City Reporter (Energy)
c) March 2010:  heatingoil.com, Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company’ Peak Oil report: “Kuwaiti Researchers Predict Peak Oil Production in 2014, Posted by Josh Garrett on March 10, 2010
d)  “A new study published in the Journal Energy & Fuels predicts that world conventional oil production will hit its peak in the year 2014.
e) April 2010: guardian.co.uk, “US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015” by Terry Macalister. The Shortfall could reach 10 million barrels a day, report says, while the cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel.
“The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact. The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
f) June 2010: Guardian.co.uk, news article posted 11 July 2010, “Lloyd’s adds its voice to dire ‘peak oil’ warnings”, by Terry Macalister. “Business underestimating catastrophic consequences of declining oil, says Lloyd’s of London/Chatham House report. One of the City’s most respected institutions has warned of “catastrophic consequences” for businesses that fail to prepare for a world of increasing oil scarcity and a lower carbon economy. The Lloyd’s insurance market and the highly regarded Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, says Britain needs to be ready for “peak oil” and disrupted energy supplies at a time of soaring fuel demand in China and India, constraints on production caused by the BP oil spill and political moves to cut CO2 to halt global warming. “Companies which are able to take advantage of this new energy reality will increase both their resilience and competitiveness. Failure to do so could lead to expensive and potentially catastrophic consequences,” says the Lloyd’s and Chatham House report “Sustainable energy security: strategic risks and opportunities for business”.
g) August 2010: Spiegal Online International, posted 4 September 2010, “German Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis“, by Stefan Schultz “A study by a German military think tank has analyzed how “peak oil” might change the global economy. The internal draft document — leaked on the Internet — shows for the first time how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis.
The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military. The team of authors, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the “total collapse of the markets” and of serious political and economic crises.

The news report from Spiegal Online was specific about their study’s socio-economic findings, pointing out that:
•  “Shortages in the supply of vital goods could arise as a result, for example in food supplies.
•  Oil is used directly or indirectly in the production of 95 percent of all industrial goods.
•  Price shocks could therefore be seen in almost any industry and throughout all stages of the industrial supply chain.
•  In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.…
•  (Relapse into planned economy) Since virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on oil, peak oil could lead to a partial or complete failure of markets. A conceivable alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of important goods or the setting of production schedules and other short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times of crisis….
•  (Global chain reaction)  A restructuring of oil supplies will not be equally possible in all regions before the onset of peak oil. It is likely that a large number of states will not be in a position to make the necessary investments in time, or with sufficient magnitude.
•  If there were economic crashes in some regions of the world, Germany could be affected. Germany would not escape the crises of other countries, because it’s so tightly integrated into the global economy….”
•  The Bundeswehr study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil “as a general systemic crisis.” This would create “room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government….”

2.  Real Food Price Increases
Another sign of the times and portent for the near future burden of costs falling on household budgets is shown in the New York Times news article dated, 5 August 2010:
•  “MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday banned all exports of grain after millions of acres of Russian wheat withered in a severe drought, driving up prices around the world and pushing them to their highest level in two years in the United States…Russia is suffering from the worst heat wave since record-keeping began here more than 130 years ago…Wheat prices have soared by about 90 percent since June because of the drought in Russia and parts of the European Union, as well as floods in Canada, and the ban pushed prices even higher. Exports from Ukraine, another major exporter, are down sharply this year…Before this year’s drought, yields had risen steadily, and Russian grain exports totaled 21.4 million metric tons last year, about 17 percent of the global grain trade.
But on Thursday, rail cars heaped with fresh grain came to a halt around Russia, stopped in mid-journey from the country’s fields to the main exporting ports on the Black Sea. The order covered a variety of grains, including barley and corn, but will have its greatest impact on wheat exports…”
Global food supplies will be tighter and more costly in the last half of 2010 and into 2011. Beyond fall 2011 prices may not return to lower levels, because energy input costs from gasoline, petroleum, fertilizer costs, harvest, packaging and shipping will be tightening with the approach of peak oil.
See at right, the 2007 U.S.A. ‘Grain Stock to Use Ratios’ chart, projected to 2016. Note, that during the decades when the country was at its wealthiest, we had twice the ‘Stock to Use Ratio’ as when the current recession began. Rather than build and maintain reserves during good times, we have depleted reserves.
•  Globally, 2008 saw record lows in global grain stocks. When commodity prices reached their peak, average global grain stocks reached 18.7% of annual global utilization, equivalent to 68 days worth of supply, well below the long-term average.

Where are food prices going?
When combining: 1) globally reduced food stock supply plus, 2) increasing demand from a growing world population; 3) increasingly demand from affluent Asian markets wanting higher quality foods; 4) higher priced agricultural fuel & fertilizer, 5) higher priced packaging, and 6) more expensive transportation costs,m 7) devaluation of the US dollar, it points toward an escalating Real Cost of food across the coming years.

3.  National energy grid at threat from EMP disruption
“Civilization is like a great web upon which all things are connected. Bop one strand of the web and the whole thing jiggles. Perhaps no other country on earth is more enslaved to conventional, fuel burning transportation than the United States. Transportation is the lifeblood of the economy, which would quickly collapse if the means for transporting needed supplies were disrupted in any way. With our just-in-time inventory management system, grocery stores commonly carry only a three-day supply of food. This statistical three-day supply would disappear within a few hours during an emergency situation; a panicked populace would make sure of that.”

EMPact America, Inc. Conference, 8-10 September 2009, Niagara, NY, conference speakers pointed out:
•  “An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is a super energetic radio wave that’s immediately harmless to people, but it’ll burn out all the critical electronic systems that sustain human economic activity and human life across vast areas, including the entire continental United States.” Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, President, EMPact America
•  “It’s not a secret. You can’t do anything about something that’s this broad in impact and still keep it a secret. So in order to get anything done you actually have to acknowledge we have a weakness. And, we worried about the fact that if we acknowledged that we had a weakness, how damaging will that be since we will inform our adversaries. We came to the conclusion that our adversaries are really quite well-informed already.”-Robert Hermann, Commissioner, Congressional EMP Commission
•  “I have believed for a long time that EMP or electromagnetic pulse may be the greatest strategic threat we face, because without adequate preparation its impact would be so horrifying that we would, in fact, basically lose our civilization in a matter of seconds.”-Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives

A)  Solar Flare produced EMP
The magnetic pulses from solar flares can fry microchips and disrupt any electronic devices. A solar flare disrupted primitive electronics such as telegraphs in 1859 and another one occurred in 1989 as well. One of the most serious solar flares took place in 1921 and disrupted communications in the U.S. An EMP from the sun in the 21st century could be devastating and wipe out any system using electricity or microchips.”
In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences produced a report for NASA that confirmed the EMP Commission’s warning that a “great” geomagnetic storm could have catastrophic consequences for modern civilization.  According to the NAS report, if the 1859 Carrington event happened today, it could destroy nationwide the electric grid, collapse the critical infrastructures and take 4-10 years to recover – if recovery is possible at all. In June 2010, the Department of Energy and North American Electric Reliability Corporation released a joint report that, again, confirmed the EMP Commission’s warning about the catastrophic threat from a “great” geomagnetic storm.
So it is incomprehensible why the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Aug. 5 – just days after NOAA warned about the possibility of a severe geomagnetic storm actually striking our planet – would gut H.R. 5026, The Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act, that is designed to protect the United States from the effects of a geomagnetic storm.  H.R. 5026 would protect the national electric grid from “all hazards” – including EMP from geomagnetic storms, nuclear EMP from terrorists or rogue states, cyber threats, sabotage and natural disasters.  H.R. 5026 embodied the recommendations of the EMP Commission, the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy.
The revised H.R. 5026 does nothing to protect the United States from EMP from geomagnetic storms, or nuclear EMP from rogue states and terrorists, from sabotage or from natural disasters.  The Senate gutted H.R. 5026 despite the EMP Commission’s recommendation that protecting the grid against “all hazards” is technologically the best and most cost-effective strategy.  For example, an “all hazards” strategy could mitigate the worst threats to the grid from natural and nuclear EMP and cyber threats for $100 million – and possibly save the lives of millions of Americans.
But the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chose to ignore the EMP Commission, the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy.  Every member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee received a personal appeal from the EMP Commission and other prominent experts to pass H.R. 5026 with its provisions for protecting against EMP and “all hazards” intact – but those appeals were ignored.
Fortunately, Earth dodged the bullet from the August 6, 2010 solar flare.  Fortunately, NOAA’s estimated 10 percent chance of a severe geomagnetic storm did not materialize – this time.  We may not be so lucky next time.

B)  Nuclear EMP attack against the US electrical grid
“Wednesday, 18 August 2010, TVC Special Report: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons pose a serious and growing threat to our national security. Rogue nations and terrorists are working to develop EMP devices to attack the United States and other developed nations. These include North Korea, Iran and China. Once North Korea and Iran have missiles capable of reaching the U.S., they can use an EMP burst over our nation to destroy us.
1) A high altitude nuclear blast above middle America
A nuclear blast 200 miles above the U.S. could wipe out every electric grid in the country, plunging our nation into darkness. It would literally send our nation back to the 18th century. (A powerful X15+ class solar flare would have the same impact.) An EMP blast from a nuclear bomb would shut down devices, and our vehicles using microchips. Planes would stop flying; banks and hospitals would cease operation; trains would stop running; tractors, trucks and cars would cease working. Elevators would malfunction; subways would stop. All commerce would cease. A blast like this could not only wipe out the electric grid in the U.S., but in Canada and Mexico. The more technologically advanced a nation is, the more vulnerable it is to an EMP attack.
2)  What Can Be Done?
The United States must take seriously the threat posed by EMP attacks. The military has already taken measures to shield its systems from EMP attacks, but little has been done yet to shield our electric grid system from such an attack. This includes banks, water treatment plants, planes, hospitals, schools and any other facility that relies on computers. All of these must be shielded from the potential of an EMP attack or a solar flare.”
3)  If the power ever goes off for an extended period
• 
50% of the people will just sit down and wait for someone to come and help them, and if no one does, they’ll just die. 10% of the people know what to do and do what is needed in a logical way. 5% of the people become extremely dangerous almost immediately.  About 33% of the people  feel that they’re entitled to electric power and when they don’t get it they go nuts and will bring down the social system.
•   James Rawles interview by The Watchmen Radio Station, 3 Sep 2010:
“…If we were to have the onset of an EMP collapse in summertime we’d see a public health crisis very quickly. If it were to happen mid-winter we’d actually see more people dying of exposure, dying of the cold, than we would of dying of disease, especially in the Eastern United States and the North East. It doesn’t take too long a period before blankets are insufficient – people don’t have any alternate source of heat they’ll be freezing to death in large numbers. In a ‘grid down collapse’ that goes on for more than a year, we literally could see a 90% population loss in the big cities, and a 50% population loss in the suburbs and as much as a 40% loss in non-viable rural areas – I’m talking desert regions or other areas where there’s not a lot of agriculture that goes on.”

4.   US Debt:
As of this morning, ~ 4:05AM, Thursday, 9 September 2010, the Outstanding US National Debt is $14,278,946,101,012 dollars—that’s $14.2 trillion dollars and constitutes 93% of the national Gross Domestic Product. With the current US population of 310,383,941 the National Debt comes to $46,004 per person.
The Outstanding US National Debt is the sum of all outstanding debt owed by the Federal Government and includes: Social Security and Federal retirement programs, other trust funds, US Treasury Securities, and Savings Bonds.
Organizations loaning money to the US Government through US Treasuries include: state and local governments; individual investors, including brokers, public and private; pension funds; mutual funds; holders of US savings bonds; insurance companies; banks and credit unions; and foreign investors.

Add the GSE (Freddie/Fannie) debt to that and we are over 18 trillion.
Pile on the unfunded liabilities hidden on the government’s ‘off balance sheet ledgers’ and you will find these figures:  Social Security (14.6 trillion), Prescription Drugs (19.2 trillion), Medicare (76 trillion). You owe, your kids owe, all of us owe about $400,000 each.
Considering the median home price on the east-coast is $205,000.00, you now owe for two homes, in addition to anything that you may owe on your existing home, and it’s at a variable rate loan. In fact, principle and interest are subject to change. This debt is just like some toxic negative amortization pay-what-you-can-add-more-to-principle mortgage.”
http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/d-sherman-okst/mutant-rat-epidemic-spreading-economic-black-plague

Considering our economy (and the World’s too)
The annual US Budget Deficit is about $1.4 trillion. The annual budget deficit is the difference between actual cash collections and budgeted spending (a partial measure of total spending) during a given fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30. In order to get an idea how much $1 trillion is, if you counted one dollar every second, you’d need to count for 31,000 years to go through the $1 trillion pile of dollars. About 31,000 years ago the Neanderthal died off across Europe. Our stone age ancestors were just beginning to make engravings on cave walls.
“The downside to increasing deficits and a rising national debt is that public sector spending “crowds out” more and more private sector investment spending. If you like the idea of Congress and the president playing a growing role in the nation’s allocation of resources, then I suppose that should be of little concern. On the other hand, if you think government leaders are far more likely to make bad investment decisions than are private decision-makers, then crowding out is of considerable concern.
The fallout will not be in the form of an unfair tax increase on our grandchildren when the associated debt is paid off because, it will never be paid off. The fallout will come in an increased drift toward an economy increasingly controlled by the federal government.”
“The debt merry-go-round cannot go on forever. When the average consumer runs out of credit, when the US Treasury itself is no longer considered creditworthy, and when the US dollar is recognized for what it really is, then things will get ugly. If you stop making payments on your car, the banks send a repo man to tow your car away. And when entire nations go in to default, it usually signals cataclysmic events. Be prepared.” James Wesley Rawles in How To Survive the End of the World As We Know It

China Syndrome
Today the United States has become so reliant on the largesse of foreigners that its needs are now larger than all the savings in the Western world. Someday soon, those foreigners will grow cautious about lending to a country with no self-discipline and demand instead higher interest rates to protect them from a depreciating dollar. Or they could, as hinted recently, insist on lending in Euros or Renminbi, currencies that the American government cannot print.
The unprecedented expansion of central bank liabilities, has made China nervous about holding more dollars and China has begun to dump dollars, driving up prices of dollar based hard assets. China is so concerned about America’s dollar inflation that it has reduced its treasury holdings to $776 billion from $801 billion in May. China has also bought more gold as a hedge against the debasement of the dollar.

5.  Then comes hyperinflation – spend it now!
“Hyperinflation is not just an increase in the money supply, after all the central bank increases the money supply all the time, a phenomenon we know as simple inflation and which we come to expect as a constant. Hyperinflation, however, happens when uncertainty in the future worth of the currency causes people to start trading it for things of actual utility and more reliable stores of value as soon as they can, as soon as they’re paid. The velocity of paper money moving through the system increases as people seek to get rid of it.
So hyperinflation isn’t just the expansion of the monetary base, though the expansion is at the root. The expansion is fuel, but the conflagration doesn’t start till the herd panics.
Hyperinflation takes off when the entire population gets wise. The money supply might have been growing in fits and spurts for decades, but the hyperinflationary storm happens when that money really starts to move around as people try to get rid of it. The prices of useful goods get bid up to mind boggling levels. The process accelerates when governments try to stabilize markets…often by adding more paper…because honestly, what else can a government do? Mismanagement and fraud are the only things governments really get right consistently. So, for the government, a problem that’s caused by the theft of inflation can only be solved by…more mismanagement and fraud. The entire process is self-reinforcing and results in the hyperinflationary death spiral to which all currency is heir.

Common threads during a Hyperinflation:
•   Early on, leaders see their popularity wilt when public anger over spending increased.
•   The banking system soon becomes an instrument of the government.
•   The printing of money becomes a priority, the hyperinflation may come in two waves   separated by a short, slower inflationary period.
•    The government may increase minimum wages by 75 percent.
•   Up to 80 percent of the population may become unemployed.
•   Living standards may fall 35-40 percent.
•   Some stores may sell goods in a reputable foreign currency.

When it’s all said and done, realize this:
Industrial society is built on, 1) a foundation of an organized social structure with feedback loops, 2) an  interdependent infrastructure of transportation, homes and utilities,  3) and a massive, energy driven commodity flow that processes materials from the mine, timber and field to operate; diminish any link and the size of the system must shrink, break any link and the system collapses.


Things to keep in mind:
•   Where ever you live– the greater the population density of your community and surrounding communities, the greater the resource requirements are, and the faster the breakdown will occur when the supply infrastructure (money, food, water, electricity, auto gas, etc.) is stopped.
•   Once the Welfare and Medicare checks stop ‘the poor will take care of their own family’ by taking from the people with an apparent wealth of material goods, people who are perceived to be their oppressors anyway.
•   Once you lose that sense of community, it’s basically every man for himself.

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Filed under __2. Social Issues

Nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse)

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Nuclear EMP)

What would happen after a Nuclear EMP attack?
The scenario begins with a nuclear explosion in low earth orbit, at the distance of the International Space Station, above middle America.
A nuclear blast about 200 miles above the mid-U.S. could wipe out every electric grid in the country-plunging our nation into darkness. It would literally send our nation back to the 18th century. (A very powerful X-class solar flare could have the same impact.) An EMP blast from a nuclear bomb would shut down devices or vehicles using microchips. Planes would stop flying; banks and hospitals would cease operation; trains would stop running; tractors, trucks and cars would cease working. Elevators would malfunction; subways would stop. All commerce would cease. A blast like this could not only wipe out the electric grid in the U.S. but in Canada and Mexico. The more technologically advanced a nation is, the more vulnerable it is to an EMP attack.

From the book, One Second After,  by William R. Forstchen, a plausible social-economic scenario following an EMP attack on the USA is as follows:
<http://draginol.joeuser.com/article/357651/What_would_happen_after_an_EMP_attack>

Day 1: July Year 201x
Five container ships in the gulf of Mexico fire medium range SCUD missiles high into the atmosphere until they reach far above Kansas and other states.  On board are 45KT nuclear warhead.  It explodes creating EMP that takes out all of the integrated circuits in the United States.
That means anything electronic that hasn’t been hardened is going to be ruined.  That means your computers, TVs, cars, home electronics, breaker box, phones, radios, cell phones. It also means the power companies, their generators, the backup generators at hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
All of the farms and their harvesting equipment is dead. The trucks that move food to the cities are ruined. The trains that move freight around the country are inoperable.
Every airplane flying crashes. All planes on the down are ruined.
The only thing working are US conventional forces that happened to be hardened against EMP (which means quite a few of them).  Some cars stored in underground parking garages would probably work depending on the proximity.
There’s no fall out. Nobody dies from the attack directly.

Day 2:
With power out people’s fridges are DOA.  With no working cars, people don’t go to work. In the country and in the suburbs, people take the food out of their refrigerators and freezers before it “goes bad” and have BBQs. It’s a fun time.
People who were driving somewhere are mostly able to make it to town. A few people die of heat stroke on their journeys. In the deep south, particularly Florida, there are a number of deaths due to the heat since air conditioning is out.
In the cities, looting begins quite quickly. The police can’t do much since they’re on foot or on horse.
We know this sort of thing because we have seen what happens during extended power outages. Of course, in those cases cars, cell phones, and other crucial devices still worked but there was still massive looting in the large cities.

Day 3:
Local agencies really don’t know what’s going on since there is no communication. No cell phones. No radio. No land lines. The grid is gone.  There are spare parts but nowhere near enough to fix it all and because of the nature of the electrical grid, all the holes have to be plugged for the juice to flow again.  And even if they had enough parts, how do they transport them? No trucks. No cars.
International relief from Japan, China, Canada (though most of Canada is taken out too), Mexico, Europe begins but it’ll be slow going. Food shipments can reach the coast in a couple of days but getting it inland will be a major problem as the vehicles will have to be transported in along with parts to try to get the railroads working again (along with teams to get dead trains off the rails).
In the subs, the party is over. It ain’t funny now.  People are finishing off what was in their refrigerator. Most people still have some food in the cupboard.
Stores start rationing their supplies. People are still using money (at least, those who keep cash). A bottle of water is $20.  How much cash do you keep in your house?
In the cities, riots have broken out with widespread destruction. Being July, it’s hot and dry. Fires from the riots start to spread.

End of Week 1:
By now, most people in the subs have run out of food they would normally remotely consider eating. Looting at the local Wal-Mart and grocery stores begins as people simply take what they need.
Remember, people aren’t hearing anything from the authorities. There are no working TVs. No working radios. The handful of police are walking in the subs.
If you live in the suburbs, take a close look around. How would the police reasonably patrol your city without cars? Meanwhile, people in nursing homes have started dying en-masse.
Without refrigeration drugs quickly go bad. Anyone requiring help breathing or anything else has already died.
People with type 1 diabetes are starting to see the writing on the wall.
Meanwhile, the first container ships of relief have reached San Francisco, Seattle, LA, San Diego, Houston, Miami, Boston, NY, Washington, Raleigh. Lots of food, medicine, some parts, lots of vehicles.
Unfortunately most of those cities are in utter pandemonium. In the south, tens of thousands have already died from heat.  In 2003, when there was a heat wave in France, 14800 people died. They didn’t lose power, they just didn’t have air conditioning.  In Florida, the death toll is skyrocketing quickly. Same in most of the other southern states.

End of Week 2:
People are starting to die of dysentery from eating bad food, drinking bad water. Many have left the suburbs to head to rural areas where they think there is food (they’re wrong, harvest won’t happen for months, industrialized food processing involves a lot of transportation between the farms and the slaughter houses).
The typical American family, now out of food and with no access to clean water is starting to get pretty desperate.
What? Only 2 weeks? How much food do you have in your house right now? Go check. I’ll wait….
Okay back? So how much is in your pantry? How long would it last you? If you knew at the start, you might have rationed it better. But you didn’t.
Millions of Americans are wishing they had put those steaks and hamburgers and hotdogs in their basements in the cooler temperatures. Others are wishing they had salted them heavily and cooked them well done to store for the long haul.
In the cities on the coast, power is restored via backup generators relatively close to shore. However, within 10 miles from the harbor, death is everywhere.  Don’t agree?
Ever been to San Francisco? LA? New York City? 14 days have passed. Where would you have gone? The smart ones, who are able to, would have found their way to the harbors and waited for air lifts of food and such. But most would probably not think about that.
Meanwhile, armed thugs are starting to systematically go through every building and house looking and taking what they need.

End of Week 3
Starvation is starting to become a real problem. If your local law enforcement had a clue, they had already gotten themselves and helpful citizens around to the stores to gather up supplies to start rationing it.
At this point, martial law has been declared by any competent city government.  Some cities decide that, for the public good of course, that all community food will be collected and distributed equally to everyone. In other places, large armed mobs are violently taking what is needed to survive.
Are you a survivalist? Got all your supplies right? Got MREs in the basement. You have an AK47 that you managed to get quietly at a gun show. Your kids know how to use the two shot guns. You’ve been prepared for this day right?  Great. You’re about to die.
You see, you might be able to keep a few people away. But word got around that you have supplies because you’re that guy who everyone knew was expecting to “bug out” one day when the government and black helicopters came.  You might be able to take out a few people but 200+ Nope. You’re going to take a lot of them out but they’re going to come in, kill you, your family, and your supplies.
What? Don’t agree? People won’t do that? Again: Other than on the coast (in some major cities near harbors anyway) you’ve heard and seen nothing from the government other than the occasional Black Hawk flying around. No TV. No phones. No radios.
A few people have managed to dig up old HAM radios and they are getting distant broadcasts of reassurance but it’s clear that nothing’s coming any time soon if you live significantly inland, especially if you don’t live in a densely populated area.
It’s triage at this point and the rural and suburbs areas are simply too spread out. Unfortunately, in the cities, fires have consumed much of them. Anyone strong enough to get out of there has which further distributes the population.
A few older cars start showing up again on the roads as collectables and just old junkers are fixed up and are able to drive because they didn’t have electronics in them.

End of the first month:
A network of outposts are re-established in most large and medium sized cities. Medium sized cities are faring a bit better. Kalamazoo Michigan, Santa Cruz California, and other cities of this kind are doing okay now as convoys are starting to show up.
Really large cities away from the coast are dead at this point.  Sorry Omaha, there’s nobody home anymore.

The Second Month:
Now is when the death toll really starts to go up.  First, you have about 5% of the population that was on medication to control their mental states. This is now gone.  They will mostly die off this month or take out a few others in the process.
Nearly everyone with Type 1 diabetes has died.
Virtually who requires assisted care at this point has died.
Millions of children under 2 have died. Why? Do you have any children? If you’re not nursing them, how are you feeding them at this point?
There are not many domesticated dogs left that haven’t been freed by owners.
The number of deer left that are near people has diminished to the point of being difficult to find. Same with geese, ground hogs, rabbits, etc.
Most cities of any decent size now have an outpost re-established with convoys of food now arriving. However, it’s starting to become a real problem because, well it turns out that the US and Canada supply a significant chunk of the world’s food. 47% of the world’s Soy beans are produced in the United States. 86% of the world’s corn. The bulk of the world’s wheat.
It’s during this second month that the food shipments to the United States are going to start to dry up as hunger starts to become a significant problem in China, Japan, and other countries that have to import food. The US and Canada make up 20% of the world’s food exports and if you count only basic foods the percentage nearly doubles.
The world has its first universal consensus: Oh shit.
It’s at about this time that those who were celebrating in the streets about the downfall of the great Satan are starting to get the first thought that yes, they’re going to die too. North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, and many other countries are about to see starvation on a level that has never been seen before.
By contrast, Europe is doing okay. Not great. But okay. Their economies are in ruins but they’re not going to die en-masse.
In Japan, where starvation is a serious concern, they and Korea have enough money to pay top dollar for the dwindling import food supply. Russia, unfortunately, is about to have a very rough year.
Needless to say, the food aid shipments to the United States are starting to dwindle. Western Europe, particularly Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands are still sending food shipments.
If you’re on the East coast in a secure area, you’re in good shape.  If you’re on the west coast, most of you are going to die.

Third Month:
The population of the United States is starting to take on the same appearance it did in 1909.
Here is what it looked like in the year 2000.
8% of the population was over 70.  Nearly all of them have died.
3% of the population is under 4.  Nearly all of them have died.
Urban populations of the United States have had staggering death tolls, particularly those not near the coasts.
Anyone requiring medication that needed to be refrigerated in order to live (anti-rejection drugs, insulin, various heart medications, for instance) has died. Easily 10% of the population on top of the above.
Around 20% of the population has starved.
Another 10% in the south who are living in places that were uninhabitable without modern technology have died.  Think LA is nice? Imagine it without water.  Any water.
In fact, if you live in California, take a look around. Where does your water come from?  Most of the population of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Utah have died.
Power is starting to get restored due to generators and the government now had a decent supply of cars. Fixing the grid has become a priority.
While heat has killed millions in the south, we’re now getting near November. It’s starting to get cold.

The fourth month
I tell people who come and interview that Michigan’s southern part is about the same latitude as Northern California.  Winters in the upper part of the United States and lower Canada aren’t that bad – if you have heat.
But we don’t have heat.  Natural gas has to be pumped and pumped through a huge network across the country.  When power goes out, even for a few days, a lot of infrastructure falls apart.  New York’s subways, for example are gone.  Much of Chicago has flooded too.  Those who have enough propane will be okay, for awhile (at least until armed thugs come and take it).
By this point, restoring natural gas is not going to be a simple matter of restoring power.  Ever wondered how natural gas gets to your house?  It’s all repairable but it will take time and unfortunately, a lot of that expertise in people has died or is otherwise unavailable. That means bringing people in which will take more time.
If you live in northern states at this point, and you haven’t starved to death, you’re probably going to start dying of exposure.
But that’s a gift compared to what people still struggling to make it in warmer areas as we get reintroduced to cholera, TB, and diarrhea become major problems.
In fact, in 1900 the #1 cause of death in the United States was pneumonia. The #3 was diarrhea. That’s right. The runs killed more Americans than Heart disease, cancer, strokes, etc.  And this November, it returns from retirement as people, without proper sanitation, start to die off from all kinds of things that were previously unheard of.
In fact, as November closes, the United States has reverted to a third world country. No, that’s not fair. Third world countries usually have electricity and their inhabitants usually know how to start a fire.  Do you know how to start a fire without matches and such? Remember watching Survivor and laughing at them? They were in pretty good conditions to get a fire going.  You, by contrast, are wet, cold, weakened, and not sure if it’s even a good idea to start a fire because, well, what are you going to do with it? There’s little food.
On the west coast, food shipments have dropped to a trickle.  LA, Seattle, San Fran, it’s not a fun time there now.

One Year later
The grid is re-established in the mid-west, the east coast, and much of the south.  It’s partially re-established on the west coast thanks to help from South Korea, China, and Japan. Thanks guys. We appreciate it even if most of us are dead.
So what’s the death toll?  Conservatively, you’re looking at 40% of the population of the US and Canada has died. That’s probably a best case scenario if food and equipment shipments from the rest of the world come in quickly.
A smart (well not really smart because the states that sponsor terrorists have died off due to the unintended consequences) terrorist would have also zinged Japan, South Korea, the Chinese east coast, and western Europe. If that happened, you would be looking far higher deaths everywhere as there would be no relief coming in.
The population of the United States today is over 300 million people.  In 1900 it was 76 million. The biggest reason for the increase isn’t due to birth rate but rather the massive decline of the death rate.  And remember, they had infrastructure back in 1900.  We’d be worse off than they were because they knew how to live back then.
How many people know how to can food? How many modern Americans know how much wood to cut to burn? How many Americans live in places where they need an elevator, as a practical matter, to get to where they live?
Heck, how many Americans are simply living today because they have access to all kinds of medical technology?  How many Americans are living in places that can only be inhabited thanks to modern technology? Most of the south west was a barren desert until electrical pumps became possible. Much of the south wasn’t, as a practical matter, livable until air condition.
Also, consider our immune systems of today versus what it was 100 years ago. Our sterilized world has made us very vulnerable to the bacteria and viruses that lurk just outside our electrified civilization. And they would be back to visit within weeks.

Conclusions
Is what I describe realistic? Nobody really knows. There are studies out there.  The book, One Second After is a bit more dire than I think it would be.  And it may turn out that our infrastructure is tougher than it seems or that the types of nuclear warheads that an Iran or North Korea could produce aren’t powerful enough to cause the necessary EMP.
But what is so frightening is how vulnerable we are.  It wouldn’t take much of a shove to bring down the electrical grid.  You could still end up with a situation where 10% of the American population (30 million) die simply by screwing up the electrical grid for a couple months.
Do I think this will happen? Probably not. I have a lot of faith in humanity.  But when one considers the things that we worry about – global warming comes to mind, it amazes me how unconcerned people are at how easily disrupted our modern lives could be given how dependent we are on our technology today.

Emergency Services and Preparations
A few days after an EMP attack, a lot of people will become really terrified as their food and water supplies run out, and they discover that there is no way to obtain fresh supplies.  Within two or three weeks, the military services will likely come to the rescue for many people.  If the size of the attack has been very large, though, that period of relief will probably not last very long.  An even larger problem for food distribution is that any kind of centrally-directed distribution, no matter how well-intentioned, is highly inefficient.  If you drive into any very large city with enough food for everyone, no centralized organization has ever figured out how to devise a mechanism that is anything close to being as efficient as the marketplace to get the food to everyone.  In any case, most people will soon simply begin to starve to death.
For many people, their first concern regarding an EMP attack or a solar super storm is the protection of their personal electronics, or even their automobiles.  For nearly everyone, though, the first real problem they will face will come from the loss of power to the pumps that supply their water and with the computers that maintain the only local food supplies.  Although most individuals cannot do anything to protect critical computers or to protect the power to critical water pumps, some advanced planning can increase the chances that you will have an adequate supply of food and water.

For any emergency food supplies that you do get, it is important to get food that you personally like and are actually likely to use, even if a personal emergency never happens.  Then, if an emergency does happen, it will be you, not distant relief workers, who will determine what the content of your food supply is.  Some people keep only grains as an emergency food supply.  Although some raw grains have a very long shelf life and a high calorie density, they do not have an adequate spectrum of nutrients for long-term use.  In any emergency situation where scarcity of food is a long-term problem, we are likely to see the return of long-forgotten nutritional diseases such as scurvy and various kinds of other vitamin deficiencies, especially of the B vitamins and vitamin D.

Don’t forget about water.   Few people keep an emergency supply of water, in spite of the fact that it is inexpensive and easy to do.  Almost every country of the world has a period of days every year where many people in some large area are without drinkable water.  In most countries, much of the water is pumped by electric motors.  After a major EMP attack or a solar superstorm, electricity for most of those pumps is going to be unavailable for a very long period of time.  It would be easy for most cities to have a protected emergency electrical supply in place for critical pumps; but, like most EMP protection activity, although it is easy and could possibly save millions of lives, it is not being done.

It is also a good idea to have plenty of fire extinguishers.  The immediate aftermath of either a nuclear EMP attack or a large solar superstorm is likely result in a number of fires, along with the elimination of the water necessary to extinguish the fires.  Both the E3 component of a nuclear electromagnetic pulse, as well as the DC-like currents induced by a large solar superstorm, are likely to overheat thousands of transformers that are connected to long wires.  Although it is the destruction of the very large transformers in the power grid that could keep the power grid from being restored for many years, many smaller transformers, such as those on utility poles, and spread throughout suburban neighborhoods, are at risk of overheating to the point that they cause fires.

If you plan to use solar cells or battery power, you will probably want to keep a small inverter under shielding.  Inverters that can step up ordinary 12 volt DC power to a few hundred watts of household AC are not terribly expensive.  For people who own protected photovoltaic solar cells, a number of DC-powered appliances have recently become available.

If you do have access to post-EMP electricity sufficient to run a microwave oven occasionally, that can be a very efficient way of cooking food in many situations.  The problem is that most microwave ovens couldn’t be turned on after an EMP event due to the sensitivity of the solid-state control circuitry.  The magnetron that generates the heat in a microwave oven would probably survive an EMP just fine.  Microwave ovens are heavily shielded, but the sensitive control circuits are outside of the shielding.  A few microwave ovens are controlled by a mechanical timer, and these would probably be fully functional after an EMP (assuming that you can occasionally get enough electricity to operate them).  You can still find mechanical-timer-controlled microwave ovens occasionally, although they are getting harder to find every year.  I bought one about three years ago at K-Mart for $40 for post-EMP use.  I have recently seen small microwave ovens with electro-mechanical controls come back onto the market.

If you want to store larger items in a faraday cage, you can use copper screen or aluminum screen.  Most commercial faraday cages use copper screen, but copper screen is expensive and is difficult for most individuals to obtain.  Bright aluminum screen works almost as well, and aluminum screen can be obtained in rolls at many building supply stores such as Home Depot.  Don’t worry about the fact that this screen is not a solid material.  The size of the tiny ventilation holes in the mesh of ordinary window screen is irrelevant to EMP protection.  Aluminum screen can make a very effective electromagnetic shield.  Ordinary ferrous (iron-containing) window screen is not a good material for a faraday cage because it is a poor electrical conductor.

It is important to have all of the computer data that is important to you backed up onto optical media, like CD or DVD.  Paper printouts are fine, but after an EMP attack, most of the data on paper printouts will simply never get typed back into computers, so those paper printouts will just become your personal mementos.
CD and DVD data (in other words, optical media) is not affected by EMP.  Even if your computers are destroyed, if the country’s economy can get re-built after an EMP attack, then new computers can be purchased from other continents.  If all the computer data is gone, then recovery is going to be many years later than it would be if the data could just be reloaded from optical media.  Computer data runs our modern world.  It is a major part of the invisible magic that I mentioned at the top of this page.  If you own a small business, that computer data can be especially important.  (It is probably not a good idea to use double-sided DVDs, though, since there is the possibility of arcing between layers during electronic attacks.  It is best to just use single-sided single-layer media.)  For long-term storage of data, archival grade CD-R and DVD-R media are available at a reasonable price from manufacturers such as Verbatim and Memorex.  The archival grade media are much more likely to last for many years or decades, and they don’t cost that much more than standard media.  Most stores don’t carry archival grade media, but they aren’t that difficult to find.
Protecting most of the electronic appliances in your house against EMP, if they are plugged in and in use, is probably hopeless.  There is always the possibility, though, that you will be near the edge of an area that is affected by an EMP attack.  For this possibility, the combination of ordinary surge suppressors and ferrite suppression cores could be very valuable.  There is at least one company that makes surge suppressors that look much like ordinary retail store surge suppressors, that are designed to be fast enough for nuclear EMP.

The most difficult part of operating a car after an EMP event (or even a solar superstorm) is likely to be obtaining gasoline.  It is very foolish to ever let the level of gasoline in your tank get below half full.  In a wide range of emergencies, one of the most valuable things to have is a full tank of gasoline.  A solar superstorm will not damage your automobile, but by knocking out the power grid, it can make fuel almost impossible to find.
It is important to remember that the last time an automobile was actually tested against nuclear EMP was in 1962.  Everything since then has been in simulators that we hope are close to the real thing.
One common question people ask is about grounding the frames of cars.  If you have a car parked in a location where there is a very short and direct connection straight down into a high-quality ground, then grounding the frame of a car might help.  In most situations, though, attempts to ground the frame of a car are more likely to just make matters worse by providing an accidental antenna for EMP.  The safest way to provide a modest amount of EMP protection for a car is to keep it parked inside a metal shed.

James Rawles on ‘Grid Down’ Scenarios
Author of How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times

Grid Scenarios:
We’re looking at two different situations. In one situation where the power grid stays up, you might do well in a city of five or ten thousand people.
If the power grid goes down, I would not recommend being in a town of more than 500 population. Once you get past about 500 people, the group becomes unmanageable, especially with no radio communications and no phones to think that you can pull together as a community. Once you lose that sense of community, it’s basically every man for himself. I think people will go kind of Mad Max in an absolute worst case with the power grid down.
There’s definitely going to be a public health crisis at the very least, if not a situation where the cities become absolutely unlivable very quickly – I’m talking within two weeks.
Mr. Rawles points out the potential for “every man for himself” Mad Max scenarios as being likely outcomes in the event of a down grid. Whether you’re in the city or in rural parts of America you will either be the one looking for food and resources because you didn’t prepare, or you will be the one defending against Mad Max with a full belly and a self defense strategy.

Winter vs. Summer:
If we were to have the onset of a collapse in summertime we’d see a public health crisis very quickly. If it were to happen mid-winter we’d actually see more people dying of exposure, dying of the cold, than we would of dying of disease, especially in the Eastern United States and the North East.
It doesn’t take too long a period before blankets are insufficient – people don’t have any alternate source of heat they’ll be freezing to death in large numbers.
Then what happens in the next spring when everything thaws out? Then you have a really big public health crisis because not only are you worried about human waste – you’re also worried about thousands upon thousands of unburied bodies.
We could be in a situation where we literally could see a 90% die-off in the major metropolitan regions. Ninety percent population loss and that’s just based on loss of the power grid alone, not counting the violence of people as food supplies dwindle, going from house to house taking what little is left – fighting over the scraps in effect.
A recent report from the Center for Security Policy suggests that Mr. Rawles’ estimation of a 90% die-off is right on target, as previously discussed in, Within One Year 9 Out of 10 Americans Would Be Dead.

What to do:
I  highly recommend that if any of your listeners have the opportunity, if they’re self employed or if they can find employment, or if they’re retired, that they move to a lightly populated rural region that’s in a food producing area. In the event of a true worst-case scenario, I refer to it as When the Schumer Hits the Fan, that’s going to be your safest place to be. There, the population loss will be minimal.
But otherwise, in a grid down collapse that goes on for more than a year, we literally could see a 90% population loss in the big cities, and a 50% population loss in the suburbs and as much as a 40% loss in non-viable rural areas – I’m talking desert regions or other areas where there’s not a lot of agriculture that goes on.

Protecting Yourself from EMP
Tactically, a space-based nuclear attack has a lot going for it; the magnetic field of the earth tends to spread out EMP so much that just one 20-MT bomb exploded at an altitude of 200 miles could–in theory–blanket the continental US with the effects of EMP. It’s believed that the electrical surge of the EMP from such an explosion would be strong enough to knock out much of the civilian electrical equipment over the whole country. Certainly this is a lot of “bang for the buck” and it would be foolish to think that a nuclear attack would be launched without taking advantage of the confusion a high-altitude explosion could create. Ditto with its use by terrorists should the technology to get such payloads into space become readily available to smaller countries and groups.
But there’s no need for you to go back to the stone age if a nuclear war occurs. It is possible to avoid much of the EMP damage that could be done to electrical equipment–including the computer that brought this article to you–with just a few simple precautions.
First of all, it’s necessary to get rid of a few erroneous facts, however.
1.  One mistaken idea is that EMP is like a powerful bolt of lightning. While the two are alike in their end results–burning out electrical equipment with intense electronic surges–EMP is actually more akin to a super-powerful radio wave. Thus, strategies based on using lightning arrestors or lightning-rod grounding techniques are destined to failure in protecting equipment from EMP.
2.  Another false concept is that EMP “out of the blue” will fry your brain and/or body the way lightning strikes do. In the levels created by a nuclear weapon, it would not pose a health hazard to plants, animals, or man PROVIDED it isn’t concentrated.
EMP can be concentrated.  That could happen if it were “pulled in” by a stretch of metal. If this
happened, EMP would be dangerous to living things. It could become concentrated by metal girders, large stretches of wiring (including telephone lines), long antennas, or similar set ups. So–if a nuclear war were in the offing–you’d do well to avoid being very close to such concentrations. (A safe distance for nuclear-generated EMP would be at least 8 feet from such stretches of metal.)
3.  Another “myth” that seems to have grown up with information on EMP is that nearly all cars and trucks would be “knocked out” by EMP. This seems logical, but is one of those cases where “real world” experiments contradict theoretical answers and I’m afraid this is the case with cars and EMP. According to sources working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, cars have proven to be resistant to EMP in actual tests using nuclear weapons as well as during more recent tests (with newer cars) with the US Military’s EMP simulators.
One reason for the ability of a car to resist EMP lies in the fact that its metal body is “insulated” by its rubber tires from the ground. This creates a Faraday cage of sorts. (Drawing on the analogy of EMP being similar to lightning, it is interesting to note that cases of lightning striking and damaging cars is almost non-existent; this apparently carries over to EMP effects on vehicles as well.)

Some electrical equipment is innately EMP-resistant. This includes large electric motors, vacuum tube equipment, electrical generators, transformers, relays, and the like. These might even survive a massive surge of EMP and would likely to survive if a few of the above precautions were taking in their design and deployment.
At the other end of the scale of EMP resistance are some really sensitive electrical parts. These include IC circuits, microwave transistors, and Field Effect Transistors (FET’s). If you have electrical equipment with such components, it must be very well protected if it is to survive EMP.

Faraday box
One “survival system” for such sensitive equipment is the Faraday box.
A Faraday box is simply a metal box designed to divert and soak up the EMP. If the object placed in the box is insulated from the inside surface of the box, it will not be effected by the EMP travelling around the outside metal surface of the box. The Faraday box simple and cheap and often provides more protection to electrical components than “hardening” through circuit designs  which can’t be (or haven’t been) adequately tested.
Many containers are suitable for make-shift Faraday boxes: cake boxes, ammunition containers, metal filing cabinets, etc., etc., can all be used.  Despite what you may have read or heard, these boxes do NOT have to be airtight due to the long wave length of EMP; boxes can be made of wire screen or other porous metal.

[Image left: metal trash can Faraday cage. Lined with cardboard liner-sides top and bottom.]

The only two requirements for protection with a Faraday box are: (1) the equipment inside the box does NOT touch the metal container (plastic, wadded paper, or cardboard can all be used to insulate it from the metal) and (2) the metal shield is continuous without any gaps between pieces or extra-large holes in it.
Grounding a Faraday box is NOT necessary and in some cases actually may be less than ideal. While EMP and lightning aren’t the “same animal”, a good example of how lack of grounding is a plus can be seen with some types of lightning strikes. Take, for example, a lightning strike on a flying airplane. The strike doesn’t fry the plane’s occupants because the metal shell of the plane is a Faraday box of sorts. Even though the plane, high over the earth, isn’t grounded it will sustain little damage.

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Long term power outage

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Long term power outage)

(The power’s out! At minimum, the regional grid is down.
Now what? What chain of events could happen?

 Engineers used to talk about guarding against the “single point of failure” when designing critical systems like aircraft control systems or nuclear power plants. But rarely does a single mistake or event result in a catastrophe. As we’ve seen from the March 2011 Japanese earthquake-tsunami-nuclear power plant events, disaster is usually a function of multiple mistakes and a string of bad luck, often called an ‘event cascade [1]’.
Many of the scenarios discussed in the DISASTER section of Survival Manual could result in a power outage of indeterminate length. In a disaster situation, watch for an event cascade to rapidly envelope regions–the effects would be initially seen in food and/or water shortages, there will be broad public
fear, regions of inhospitable climatic exposure, hardship and disease might follow in the mid-term.

The following paragraphs describe the impact of a major long-term electrical power outage:

A.  Main Street Infrastructure
1.  Homes
_
Water: Individuals can only survive for three or four days without access to clean drinking water.

  • Without electricity to power the city water pumps and water purification plants, many individuals may lose access to clean drinking water. Lack of clean drinking water may become a critical issue during an  extended power blackout lasting weeks and months.
  • Some large cities use lakes and reservoirs to hold drinking water supplies at elevated heights.  These systems will be fairly resistant to extended power outages. (In New York City, approximately 95% of the total water supply is delivered to the consumer by gravity. Only about  5% of the water is regularly pumped to maintain the desired pressure.)
  • Cities that use large water pumps, water treatment plants, elevated water tanks or reservoirs located below the city’s elevation may be vulnerable to extended power outages. During an electrical blackout, the pump stations that pull, move and elevate water and the water treatment plants that filter and purify the water may become inoperative due to loss of electricity. But some water plants have standby engine-generators installed to provide emergency power.
  • Many rural homes use well water or spring water. They may be severely affected unless they have portable electrical generators to power their well pumps.
  • The Northeast Blackout of 14 August 2003 (not triggered by a solar storm) affected 50 million people in Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Ontario, Canada. Many areas lost water pressure causing potential contamination of city water supplies. Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan issued boil water orders affecting approximately 8 million people during this crisis.

_ Sewage: City waste treatment facilities depend upon electricity for operations.

  • If waste treatment facilities become inoperative due to a loss of electricity, then the untreated waste stream can either flow into rivers, streams or lakes or back up into homes and businesses. If raw sewage is allowed to overflow, it can contaminate important potential drinking water supplies.
  • Newer communities have mandated installation of check valves in sewer lines to prevent sewage from backing up into homes. But in older communities before these standards were adopted, the waste can back up into homes turning basements into cesspool.
  • Some waste treatment plants may overcome the loss of electricity and stay in operation during an extended power outage. For example, the waste treatment plant serving Akron, Ohio in the 1960’s was designed to capture and store the methane released as a byproduct of the treatment process. This methane was then used to fuel electrical power generators that powered the treatment plant and large furnaces that were used to burn the solid waste during the final phase of waste processing.
    The methane capture process provided approximately 60% of the plants fuel needs. These systems are more robust and may provide continuous operations during this type of crisis. Other waste treatment plants may have standby engine-generators installed to provide emergency power.
  • Without water, human waste cannot be flushed down the toilet. The stench from unflushed toilets may become overpowering and force people from their homes.
  • In rural communities, many individuals have septic tank systems. These are natural self-contained waste treatment systems that require no electricity for operation. These units should operate normally during a power blackout provided individuals haul water and manually flush toilets using buckets of water.
  • During the Northeast Blackout of 14 August 2003, Cleveland, Ohio; Kingston, Ontario and New York experienced major sewage spills into waterways.

_ Refrigeration: Without electricity most freezers and refrigerators will no longer operate. Food in freezers will begin to thaw out after a day or two and this food will quickly spoil. For an average family, this can be a fairly significant monetary loss.

_ Lighting: Rooms without natural lighting (windows and skylights) will be dark during the day. At night the entire house will be as dark as a cave. This will limit functionality of several rooms within the home.

_ Heating: Most furnaces (electric, gas and fuel oil) will be inoperative during an electrical power outage. Gas and fuel oil furnaces will not work because electronic ignition systems, thermostats and blower motors all require electricity for operations. In the winter, the lack of heat can make it difficult to stay warm and to keep sufficient heat within the house to prevent water pipes from freezing.

_ Cooling: Most air conditioners require electrical power to operate. In the hot humid summer, the lack of air conditioning and fans can make it difficult to stay cool and to exhaust the humidity from the house.

_ Cooking: Most ranges and ovens will be inoperative during an electrical power outage. This includes many gas ranges. Most new gas ranges currently available employ one of 3 basic gas ignition systems; pilot ignition, hot surface ignition system, or a spark ignition system. All three systems require electricity for operations. Without ranges and ovens, cooking meals and boiling water due to boil water orders and advisories will be difficult.

2.  Transportation

  • Automobiles, buses and trucking will be significantly affected by an extended electrical power outage. Stop lights will stop functioning. At major intersections the loss of stop lights will lead to major gridlock. Lack of street lights will produce darkened roadways and intersections.
    Gasoline pumps in service stations are driven by electricity.
  • Without electrical power, gasoline and diesel fuel will not be available to motorist and truckers. Generally the majority of service stations do not have emergency generators.
  • Airlines can be significantly affected by an extended major electrical power outage compounded by other solar storm effects. Without their navigational radars, no flights could land or takeoff until electrical power is restored. A blackout will disrupt the airline ticketing system. It can
    affect crash alarm/sirens and rescue and firefighting emergency response. Lack of electrical power can also affect Navaid, visual aids, runway lighting, ARFF station door operation, TSA screening equipment, lighting, baggage loading, loading bridge operation, airport air-conditioning, and refueling operations. A powerful solar storm can also jam air control radio frequencies between the aircraft and ground control. Most airports are equipped with large emergency generator systems that can provide functionality to some of their most critical systems.
  • Railway train and subway systems can be affected by inducted current from the solar storm. The tracks are long metal conductors that can pick up large inducted currents. The inducted currents can bleed over into control systems and signaling systems damaging equipment. In the past, induced currents were sufficient to turn the railroad signals red and to ignite fires in railroad control stations. Metro and subway systems are driven directly from electrical power. They will become inoperative during an electrical blackout stranding passengers.
  • Traffic signals and public transit are only part of the transportation facilities that depend on electricity. Other systems include tunnel lights and ventilation; intelligent transportation systems (ITS) equipment such as cameras, loop detectors, variable message signs, and electronic toll collection equipment; and pumps to control flooding in depressed roadways.

3.  Banking
A major electrical blackout will produce a loss of access to funds. Credit card processing, bank transactions, ATM withdrawals, check validation, payroll disbursement and even cash registers are dependent on the availability of electrical power. This problem can be compounded by the loss of key
satellites that form part of the conduit for transmitting financial data.

4.  Commerce and Industry
Commerce and industry will be plagued by the same problems impacting homes during a major electrical power blackout including potential interruption of water, sewage, lighting, heating and air conditioning. Add to this list other problems associated with electrical outages such as banking, computers and networks, transportation, shipping and receiving, payroll, and employee absenteeism.

  • I (article author) experienced the great San Fernando Valley earthquake of 9 February 1971 first hand. The earthquake knocked out power in several areas. At one major intersection, it took over an hour to travel through it because the stoplight was dead. At the time, thousand of stop lights were dead and the police were spread very thin. The only way the logjam was cleared from that intersection was when private individuals went out into the street and began directing traffic. Many emergency vehicles were tied up in these traffic jams unable to respond to true emergencies.
  • Beginning in the 1960s, engineers and architects began sealing off building from the outdoors, constructing mechanical environments solely controlled by electric power. An electrical blackout will affect many modern buildings due to poor natural ventilation and lighting. Our commerce today is also very reliance on computers and telecommunications. Loss of this infrastructure will take a heavy toll.

5. Other Impacts

  • At the onset of an electrical blackout, people will be trapped in elevators, in underground mines, on roller coasters (some dangling  from rides in midair), and inside commuter trains. (Some of these commuters  will need to be evacuated from trains stopped in tunnels and between stations.
    It can take more than 2 hours for transit workers and emergency personnel to
    reach some of these trains. Those stranded in tunnels may be in pitch blackness
    and very frightened.)
  • At the onset of an electrical blackout, most individuals  will want to return home before nightfall. In general, commuter trains and subways will be down. Automobile traffic in cities will be gridlocked due to inoperative traffic lights. Ferries, buses and taxis will continue to run but expect erratic service, very long lines, crowds and chaos. In large cities, many commuters will simply walk home with some traveling over 160 city blocks.
  • In some large cities at the onset of the blackout, tunnel managers will make several key  decisions. One decision is to close down some traffic lanes within tunnels. Generally, facilities’ ventilation systems require an excessive amount of electrical power and as a result many are not
    connected to electrical backup system. Therefore, tunnel operators will have to reduce the number of cars allowed through at any given time in order to minimize the carbon monoxide threat. Some bridge and tunnel operators will reverse one lane of traffic. This will create three lanes for traffic leaving the downtown area and one lane for vehicles returning downtown.
  • Most individuals will be keenly interested in the extent of the outage, the cause of the outage (natural or terrorist) and a prognosis of when power will be restored. At the onset of the blackout, almost all of the FM radio stations will be initially knocked off the air. Many of these stations will return over the next hour as emergency backup generators kick in. Portable radios and car radios are key in communicating an early assessment of the blackout.
  • Laptop computers with dial-up connections will generally continue to operate in an electrical blackout at least until their computer batteries drain down. Amateur radio will play a critical role in transmitting emergency communications.
  • At the onset of the blackout, many home improvement stores (e.g. Home-Depot and Lowe’s) will continue to remain open because they have some flexibility in powering limited store operations using portable emergency generators. These stores can provide much-needed supplies such as flashlights, batteries, portable power generators, etc. Some restaurants will
    remain open because gas-powered brick ovens, gas ranges and fryers will not be affected by the outage.
  • At clogged intersections, private individuals will step forward and direct traffic in order to relieve traffic congestion. In some cases, passing police officers will distribute fluorescent jackets to these noble individuals. Drivers and pedestrians will generally follow the instructions from them even though they are not traffic police officers.
  • Even if cell phone service is not physically disrupted, the heavy increase in traffic can quickly overload circuits. Text messaging appears to continue to work on overloaded cell phone networks during the onset of a power outage. In many cases, mobile cell phone towers only have emergency backup power for a few hours. Cell phones will also die as their batteries
    drain down.
  • Landline telephones run off of the small DC current that the phone company sends through the lines. But modern phones have so many gadgets that most need a separate AC adapter to run them. Unfortunately many modern phones are so poorly designed that they cannot operate at all when there is no AC current. For example, most household portable phones are useless without power to their base set.
  • Tall buildings will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of an electrical blackout. Elevators will not work. The lack of natural lighting in hallways and stairwells will make them pitch black. Even stairwells equipped with emergency lighting will go dark after about an hour as the batteries drain down. Climbing stairs in the dark can be very risky and dangerous. The water tank on the roof will quickly empty and not be refilled because the buildings water pumps will shut down. As a result, individuals will be unable to flush toilets. The air conditioner will be inoperative. Climbing long flights of stairs will be strenuous and hauling supplies of food and water back to rooms or apartments will be hard work. The buildings will be more susceptible to fire hazards because automatic fire suppression sprinklers will no longer have available water.
  • An electrical blackout will produce many displaced individuals. Individuals will be stranded in airports, train and subway systems (relatives may drive into clogged cities in an attempt to pick up their loved ones). Many stranded travelers will be forced to sleep in hotel lobbies, airport terminals or out in the streets in parks or at the steps of public buildings turning them into bivouac areas.
  • Elderly community members and those requiring electrical medical equipment (life support systems) are more severely impacted by a power blackout than the younger population. Hospitals will have limited emergency power, often not providing air conditioning.
  • Electronic security may lock up due to loss of electricity. This can affect electronic gates in parking garages, card keyed doors, turnpike and toll bridge gates and for most individuals their garage door openers. These devices will need to be manually operated.
  • As the days pass, many workers will find it difficult to go to work because power will be out in their homes, gasoline stations will be closed, and schools and child care centers will be shut.

B. Oil and Gas Pipelines
Geomagnetic induced currents affect oil and gas pipelines. In pipelines, GIC and the associated pipe-to-soil voltages can increase the rate of corrosion in pipelines especially in high latitude regions. Damage resulting from corrosion is cumulative in nature and can eventually lead to pipeline integrity failures and major fuel leaks. As an example, GICs reaching 57 amps were measured in a Finnish natural gas pipeline in November 1998. Solar storms may have had a hand in the gas pipeline rupture and explosion on 4 June 1989 that demolished part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, engulfing two passenger trains in flames and killing 500 people, many of these were school children heading off on a vacation in the Urals.
The induce currents can also affect the flowmeters that transmit the flow rate of oil/gas in the pipeline producing false readings.
Pipelines that incorporate insulating flanges can be more vulnerable to damaging GIC currents. The flanges are meant to interrupt current flow; however, it was discovered that the flanges create an additional site where the electric potential can build up and force the current flow to ground. As a result these flanges lead to increased risk for corrosion. The length of the pipeline also adds to its vulnerability due to the increased potential for corrosion.

C. Long Distant Communication Line
Geomagnetic storms can induce current on long conductive wires used as communication cables. These cables include telegraph lines, telephone land lines and undersea cables. The induced current can damage transmission lines and produce large electrical arcs and thermal heating in equipment tied to those lines. In the past, this induced current has resulted in damaged equipment, equipment fires and individuals receiving severe electrical shock.
In the geomagnetic storm of March 25, 1940, telephone landlines designed for 48 volts were subjected to 600 volt surges and many transmission lines were destroyed. The undersea Atlantic cable between Newfoundland and Scotland saw voltages up to 2,600 volts.[The New York Times & The Washington Post]
New forms of cables (e.g. coaxial cables, fiber optic cables) have replaced many earlier forms of communication cables. This has allowed the bandwidth of communication systems to increase but many long cables now require repeater  amplifiers along their length. These amplifiers compensate for the loss of signal strength over distance and are connected in series with the center conductor of the cable. Amplifiers are powered by a direct current supplied from terminal stations at either ends of the cable. The varying magnetic field that occurs during a geomagnetic storm induces a voltage into the center of the coaxial cable increasing or decreasing the voltage coming from the cable power supply. The induced voltage experienced during a geomagnetic storm can produce an overload of electricity on the cable system, and in turn, cause power supply failure knocking the repeaters off-line. For example, the solar storm that occurred on 2 August 1972 produced a voltage surge of 60 volts on AT&T’s coaxial telephone cables between Chicago and Nebraska.
Submarine cables now use fiber optic cables to carry communication signals; however, there is still a long metallic conductor along the length of the cable that carries power to the repeaters and as a result is susceptible to induced currents.
Geomagnetic storm induced electrical currents in long wires have caused damage to transmission lines, caused electrical arcing on telegraph equipment, caused thermal heating that resulted in electrical equipment fires, caused several  telegraph operators to receive a very severe electrical shock, caused
switchboards in telegraph offices to be set on fire and sending keys to melt, caused telegraph bells to automatically go off, caused very strange sounds on telephones like several sirens slowly increasing in pitch until it produced a loud  screech, and caused incandescent resistance lamps” in telegraph circuits to light.

See also the 4dtraveler posts:
Survival manual/1. Disasters/War, EMP
Survival manual/1. Disasters/EMP–Solar Flare
Survival manual/3. Food and Water/Develop A Survival Food List
Mr. Larry


[1]  Beginning on 11 March 2011 with a massive 9.0 earthquake as the triggering event and spreading outward in the weeks that followed: There occurred the strongest earthquake NE Japan experienced in 1200 years, followed by a massive tsunami that washed  inland along the coast destroying cities and completely washing away villages; a nuclear power plant was knocked off line and partially destroyed, cutting electric power to the region; radioactive outgassing forced evacuation; many thousands of dead corpses were intermingled amongst the tsunami debris piles; survivors in northern parts of island cleaned out supermarket shelves, while road damage limited shelf restocking; water service for many areas was damaged by the earthquake while the widespread power outages cut service to others; rolling ‘brown outs’ spread across the nation as power companies tried to ration electric use; multiple international corporations in the affected region closed for weeks threatening future supply bottlenecks; many thousands of foreign workers and students returned to their countries; snow fell on the region- while a million people were without electric power; a volcano in the southern part of the country became active; Japanese investors began selling equities, bonds and other investments in order to raise cash, thus depressing prices and reducing demand; the Japanese reduced purchases of US Treasury bonds, causing US treasury to incestuously sell more bonds to our own Federal Reserve.

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El Nino – La Nina and Megadrought

(Survival manual/ 1. Disaster/El Nino – La Nina and Megadrought)

The El Nino – La Nina Southern Oscillations (ENSO) alternate quasi-periodically across the tropical Pacific Ocean on average every five years, but over a period which varies from three to seven years. ENSO causes extreme weather such as floods, droughts and other weather disturbances in many regions of the world.

Periodicity
Between 1950 and 1997, El Ninos were present 31%, La Ninas 23% of the time, and about 46% of the period was in a neutral state. El Nino and La Nina occur on average every 3 to 5 years. Based on the historical record, the interval between events has varied from 2 to 7 years. Since 1975, La Ninas have been only half as frequent as El Ninos, therefore, a La Nina episode may, but does not always
follow an El Nino. La Nina conditions typically last approximately 9-12 months, but some episodes may persist for as long as two years.

 1.  EL Nino
El Niño’s Are Growing Stronger, NASA/NOAA Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2010) — A relatively new type of El Niño, which has its warmest waters in the central-equatorial Pacific Ocean, rather than in the eastern-equatorial Pacific, is becoming more common and progressively stronger, according to a new study by NASA and NOAA.

El Niño, Spanish for “the little boy,” is the oceanic component of a climate pattern called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, which appears in the tropical Pacific Ocean on average every three to five years. The most dominant year-to-year fluctuating pattern in Earth’s climate system, El Niños have a powerful impact on the ocean and atmosphere, as well as important socioeconomic consequences.
They can influence global weather patterns and the occurrence and frequency of hurricanes, droughts and floods; and can even raise or lower global temperatures by as much as 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

During a “classic” El Niño episode, the normally strong easterly trade winds in the tropical eastern Pacific weaken. That weakening suppresses the normal upward movement of cold subsurface waters and allows warm surface water from the central Pacific to shift toward the Americas. In these situations, unusually warm surface water occupies much of the tropical Pacific, with the maximum ocean warming remaining in the eastern-equatorial Pacific.

Since the early 1990s, however, scientists have noted a new type of El Niño that has been occurring with greater frequency. Known variously as “central-Pacific El Niño,” “warm-pool El Niño,” “dateline El Niño” or “El Niño Modoki” (Japanese for “similar but different”), the maximum ocean warming from such El Niño’s is found in the central-equatorial, rather than eastern, Pacific. Such central Pacific El Niño events were observed in 1991-92, 1994-95, 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2009-10. A recent study found many climate models predict such events will become much more frequent under projected global warming scenarios.

Graphic above pasted from <http://www.eoearth.org/article/El_Ni%C3%B1o,_La_Ni%C3% B1a_and_the_southern_oscillation>

Our understanding of the processes responsible for the development of El Niño is still incomplete. Scientists are able to predict the future development of an event by noting the occurrence of particular weather precursors. Researchers also now have a pretty complete understanding of the global weather effects caused by the formation of an El Niño (see Figure 5).

2.   La Nina
La Niña is essentially the opposite of an El Niño. During a La Niña, trade winds in the western equatorial Pacific are stronger than normal, and the cold water that normally exists along the coast of South America extends to the central equatorial Pacific. La Niñas change global weather patterns and are associated with less moisture in the air, resulting in less rain along the coasts of North and South America. They also tend to increase the formation of tropical storms in the Atlantic.

“For the American Southwest, La Niñas usually bring a dry winter, not good news for a region that has experienced normal rain and snowpack only once in the past five winters,” said Patzert.

 La Niña causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño. La Niña causes above average precipitation across the North Midwest, the Northern Rockies, Northern California, and in the Pacific Northwest’s southern and eastern regions. Meanwhile there is below average precipitation in the southwestern and outheastern states.

La Niñas occurred in 1904, 1908, 1910, 1916, 1924, 1928, 1938, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988, 1995, 1998-99, 2008, 2010-11.

Recent occurrences
The strength of the La Niña made the 2008 hurricane season one of the most active since 1944; there were 16 named storms of at least 39 mph (63 kph), eight of which became 74 mph or greater hurricanes. The Gulf of Mexico holds about 27 percent of the U.S.’s oil and 15 percent of its natural gas, the U.S. Department of Energy reports. This makes La Niña and hurricanes serious business.

According to NOAA, El Niño conditions have been in place in the equatorial Pacific Ocean since June 2009, peaking in January-February. Positive SST anomalies are expected to last at least through the North American Spring as this El Niño slowly weakens.

3.  Megadrought Ancient megadroughts preview warmer climate -study
By Deborah  Zabarenko, 2/24/2011, WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters Life!) –
“Ancient mega droughts that lasted thousands of years in what is now the American Southwest could offer a preview of a climate changed by modern greenhouse gas emissions, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The scientists found these persistent dry periods were different from even the most severe decades-long modern droughts, including the 1930s “Dust Bowl.” And they determined that these millennial droughts occurred at times when Earth’s mean annual temperature was similar to or slightly higher than what it is now. These findings tally with projections by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others, according to study author Peter Fawcett of the University of New
Mexico. The results were published in the current edition of Nature.

“The IPCC model suggests that when you warm the climate, you’ll see extended droughts in this part of the world and this is what the paleo record seems to be telling us,” Fawcett said in a telephone interview. “When you’ve got past temperatures that were at or above today’s conditions, conditions got drier.”

The U.S. Southwest has seen steep population growth over the last century, with population increasing by 1,500 percent from 1900 to 1990, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The total U.S. population grew 225 percent over the same period.

The settlement of this area depended, as all human settlements do, on access to water. There would clearly be less water available in a megadrought.

Earth’s orbit and greenhouse emissions
Megadroughts in the past were caused by subtle changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, which were also responsible for periodic ice ages. If these orbital changes were the only influence on the
planet’s climate, Earth should be heading into a cool period, Fawcett said in a telephone interview.

However, recent temperature statistics indicate that is not the case. The decade that ended last year was the hottest since modern record-keeping began in 1880. The previous decade, 1991-2000, was next-warmest and 1981-1990 was third-warmest.

Emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide help trap heat near Earth’s surface and could be influencing the natural orbital cycle that would dictate a cooling period.

To figure out just how long these megadroughts lasted, and what happened during them, scientists took samples from a dried lake bed in northern New Mexico called the Valles Caldera. They analyzed these sediments for biochemical signs of drought, ranging from which trees and shrubs grew and how much calcium was in the cracked mud in the dried lake bottom.

Looking at records going back more than a half-million years, they also developed a technique to determine temperature in the ancient past by looking at signs left by soil bacteria, Fawcett said.

The fats in the walls of these bacteria change their structure in response to temperature changes, he said, and act like a “tape recorder” for antique temperatures. (Editing by Eric Walsh)
Pasted from <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41739225/ns/business->

4.  Mega-drought threat to US Southwest
Quirin Schiermeier
The Dust Bowl — the seven-year drought that devastated large swathes of US prairie land in the 1930s — was the worst prolonged environmental disaster recorded for the country. But a study of the American Southwest’s more distant climatic past reveals that the catastrophic drought was a mere dry spell compared to the ‘mega-droughts’ that were recurring long before humans began to settle the continent.

The findings, reported in a paper in Nature this week, add to concerns that the already arid region might face quasi-permanent drought conditions as climate continues to warm.

The team, led by Peter Fawcett, a climate scientist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, reconstructed the region’s climate history using geochemical indicators from an 82-metre-long lake sediment core from the Valles Caldera in northern New Mexico. Analysis of climate and vegetation proxies, such as pollen and carbon-isotope ratios, suggests that the Southwest experienced abrupt and surprisingly pronounced climate shifts during warm periods of the Pleistocee, including transitions to extended dry periods that lasted for hundreds or even thousands of years.

 5.  Reliving the past
If today’s climate repeated past patterns, the southwestern United States might move into a wetter and cooler phase. Such a transition happened at one point during the so-called Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11, an interglacial period around 400,000 years ago that shows some striking parallels with the Holocene, our current warm period. This seems to have roughly advanced to the point at which the climate in MIS 11 began to switch to a less arid one.

Earth’s orbit and axial tilt during the unusually long MIS 11 stage was similar to orbital conditions during the Holocene, which scientists think will last longer than most Pleistocene warm periods.

But for all the similarities, the climate during MIS 11 was unperturbed by human activity. This time around, rising greenhouse-gas concentrations driven by human activity will very likely override any natural cooling trend. Scientists fear that the Southwestern climate may in fact switch to an extended dry mode such as the ones that occurred during particularly warm Pleistocene periods.

“We won’t know for sure if it happens again until we get there,” says Fawcett. “But we are certainly increasing the possibility of crossing a critical threshold to severe and lasting drought conditions.”

Sudden shifts in carbon isotopes and lowered total organic carbon in the sediment record suggest that grasses and shrubs that depend mostly on summer rain died out during extended Pleistocene droughts. This is surprising, says Fawcett, because summer monsoon rainfall was thought to become more intense in a warmer climate. That summer rain was in fact strongly reduced, or had almost stopped, suggests that regional climate patterns must have shifted radically when Pleistocene temperatures crossed a threshold.

“The scary thing is that we seem to be very close to this point again,” he says.

 6.  A dry future
The Southwest has experienced significant reductions in rainfall during the last decade, causing freshwater reservoirs and groundwater to fall to unusually low levels. Colorado River flows recorded at Lees Ferry, Arizona, from 2000 to 2009 are the lowest on record.

Climate models suggest that the region will in future become even drier as atmospheric circulation patterns change and subtropical dry zones expand towards the poles2.
“The drying we expect for the twenty-first century is entirely the result of increased greenhouse forcing,” says Richard Seager, a climate researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. “Any natural variations in orbital forcing and incoming sunlight will hardly have a noticeable role in the near future.”

A 10–15% reduction in rainfall is enough to cause severe drought in the region, he says. Meanwhile, debate continues among scientists whether a transition to quasi-permanent dry conditions is imminent or already underway, and to what extent global warming has increased the risk of drought.

“A signal of anthropogenic drying is emerging, but it is still small,” says Seager. “I’d expect that by mid-century the human signal will exceed the amplitude of natural climate variability. Then we can safely say that the Southwest has entered a new climate stage.”
[Chart: Drought in American west]

“The climate system clearly has the capacity to get ‘stuck’ in drought-inducing modes over North America that can last several decades to a century or more,” Seager and colleagues wrote in an article published in 2009.

The researchers also point out that the megadroughts occurred without any intervention from human beings. So they could well happen again. It’s also very possible that human-caused warming could bring a return to megadroughts by inducing the same climatic conditions that appear to have been associated with them in the past.

Given projected increases in demand for water on the river, and a 20 percent reduction in its annual flow by 2057 due to climate change, there would be a nearly 10-fold increase in the chances that lakes Mead and Powell would become depleted.
Pasted from <http://www.cejournal.net/?p=4924&gt;

7.  Higher Water Shortage Risks in One Third of US Counties Due to Climate Change: NRDC Report
21 July 2010, Tree Hugger.com, by Matthew McDermott,  http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/07/higher-water-shortage-risks-one-third-u-s-counties-climate-change.php#ch02

A new report from the National Resources Defense Council paints a really dry and thirsty picture in a world warmed by climate change: More than 1100 counties in the United States face higher risks of water shortages by 2050, with more than 400 of these placed at extremely high risk.

14 States At Extreme Risk
Tetra Tech, which did the report for NRDC, used publicly available water use data and climate change models to examine water withdrawals versus renewable water supply. The result was that 14 states face extreme to high risk to water sustainability, or are likely to experience limitations in the water
supply. This is a 14-fold increase from previous estimates.

Parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas all are in this latter category–with the Great Plains and Southwest states singled out as places where “water sustainability is at extreme risk.”

Arid Western States’ Water Use Already Unsustainable
Stats on water use as a percentage of available precipitation clearly illustrate the problem: In the eastern US generally less than 5% of precipitation is withdrawn; in the majority of the western US water withdrawals are under 30% of precipitation. But in the arid areas of the states mentioned in the report (particularly in California, Texas and the desert Southwest), withdrawals top 100% of available precipitation.

In the Ogallala Aquifer, stretching from Nebraska to Texas and supplying about 30% of all the water used for farmland irrigation in the country, unsustainable water withdrawals have led to the aquifer dropping by more than 100 feet in many places. In fact The Nature Conservancy, whose scientists contributed research for the report, points out that some studies show the aquifer drying up in as little as 25 years.

As previous studies have indicated, the effect of these water shortages and patently unsustainable water use trend on agricultural production is pronounced. NRDC cites 2007 data to show that the value of crops raised in the 1100 counties at risk exceeded $105 billion.

Strong Climate Action by Congress Can Help
Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s Climate Center:This analysis shows climate change will take a serious toll on water supplies throughout the country in the coming decades, with over one out of three U.S. counties facing greater risks of water shortages. Water shortages can strangle economic development and agricultural production and affected communities.

As a result, cities and states will bear real and significant costs if Congress fails to take the steps necessary to slow down and reverse the warming trend. Water management and climate change adaptation plans will be essential to lessen the impacts, but they cannot be expected to counter the effects of a warming climate. The only way to truly manage the risks exposed by this report is for Congress to pass meaningful legislation that cuts global warming pollution and allows the U.S. to exercise global leadership on the issue.

[The jury has delivered its verdict: Look for increasing drought during the next few decades. The drought is not a temporary climatic anomaly, but a global change in climatic conditions that will persist  for several centuries. -Mr Larry]

8.  Understanding Your Risk and Impacts: Economic Impacts
2006-2011, The National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
http://www.drought.unl.edu/risk/economic.htm
http://www.drought.unl.edu/index.htm
Costs and losses to agricultural producers:

  • Costs and losses to agricultural producers Annual and perennial crop losses [wheat and other grains]
  • Damage to crop quality [reduced yield]
  • Income loss for farmers due to reduced crop yields
  • Reduced productivity of cropland (wind erosion, long-term loss of organic matter, etc.) {late in oil decline making fertilizer very expensive]
  • Insect infestation [late in the oil decline]
  • Plant disease
  • Wildlife damage to crops
  • Increased irrigation costs [during a spreading and  increasingly severe  megadrought]
  • Cost of new or supplemental water resource development (wells, dams, pipelines)
  • Costs and losses to livestock producers
  • Reduced productivity of rangeland
  • Reduced milk production
  • Forced reduction of foundation stock
  • Closure/limitation of public lands to grazing
  • High cost/unavailability of water for livestock
  • Cost of new or supplemental water resource development (wells, dams, pipelines)
  • High cost/unavailability of feed for livestock
  • Increased feed transportation costs
  • High livestock mortality rates
  • Disruption of reproduction cycles (delayed breeding, more miscarriages)
  • Decreased stock weights
  • Increased predation
  • Range fires
  • Loss from timber production
  • Wildland fires
  • Tree disease
  • Insect infestation
  • Impaired productivity of forest land
  • Direct loss of trees, especially young ones
  • Loss from fishery production
  • Damage to fish habitat
  • Loss of fish and other aquatic organisms due to decreased flows
  • General economic effects
  • Decreased land prices
  • Loss to industries directly dependent on agricultural production (e.g., machinery and fertilizer manufacturers, food processors, dairies, etc.)
  • Unemployment from drought-related declines in production
  • Strain on financial institutions (foreclosures, more credit risk, capital shortfalls)
  • Revenue losses to federal, state, and local governments (from reduced tax base)
  • Reduction of economic development
  • Fewer agricultural producers (due to bankruptcies, new occupations)
  • Rural population loss
  • Loss to recreation and tourism industry
  • Loss to manufacturers and sellers of recreational equipment
  • Losses related to curtailed activities: hunting and fishing, bird watching, boating, etc.
  • Energy-related effects
  • Increased energy demand and reduced supply because of drought-related power curtailments
  • Costs to energy industry and consumers associated with substituting more expensive fuels (oil) for hydroelectric power
  • Water Suppliers
  • Revenue shortfalls and/or windfall profits
  • Cost of water transport or transfer
  • Cost of new or supplemental
    water resource development
  • Transportation Industry
  • Loss from impaired navigability of streams, rivers, and canals
  • Declinein food production/disrupted food supply
  • Increase in food prices
  • Increased importation of food (higher costs)

[The lists above speak of reduced agricultural production, rapidly accelerating input costs due to the decline in world petroleum production, stress on agricultural producers--fewer farmers, less land, less product—and much higher U.S. food prices, as a percentage of net income, hence much less discretionary income, less ability to develop a finacial cushion, and a lower quality of life. Add to this the hunger/ socially driven measures some foreign countries may be willing to undertake in these circumstances and we will likely see regional wars; one theater of broad damage might be on American soil. The lists also  speaks quietly about a global and US overpopulation on a diminishing resource base. As every ecologist knows, when  a population has exceeded its resources, its numbers must adjust to a level that is sustainable. Mr Larry]

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Filed under Survival Manual, __1. Disaster

Hubbert’s Peak Oil and the Hirsch Report

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/ Hubbert’s Peak Oil and The Hirsch report)

(The Hubbert peak theory posits that for any given geographical area, from an individual oil-producing region to the planet as a whole, the rate of petroleum production tends to follow a bell-shaped curve. It is one of the primary theories on peak oil.)

I.  BACK IN THE 1950s
they saw it coming, we knew what it meant, it was ignored.

A.   M. King Hubbert – the first to predict an oil peak
In the 1950s the well known U.S. geologist M. King Hubbert was working for Shell Oil. He noted that oil discoveries, graphed over time, tended to follow a bell shape curve. He supposed that the rate of oil production would follow a similar curve, now known as the Hubbert Curve. In 1956 Hubbert predicted that production from the US lower 48 states would peak between 1965 and 1970.
Despite efforts from his employer to pressure him into not making his projections public, the notoriously stubborn Hubbert did so anyway. In any case, most people inside and outside the industry quickly dismissed the predictions. As it happens, the US lower 48 oil production did peak in 1970/1.
In that year, by definition, US oil producers had never produced as much oil, and Hubbert’s predictions were a fading memory. The peak was only acknowledged with the benefit of several years of hindsight.
No oil producing region fits the bell shaped curve exactly because production is dependent on various geological, economic and political factors, but the Hubbert Curve remains a powerful predictive tool.

In retrospect, the U.S. oil peak might be seen as the most significant geopolitical event of the mid to late 20th Century, creating the conditions for the energy crises of the 1970s, leading to far greater U.S. strategic emphasis on controlling foreign sources of oil, and spelling the beginning of the end of the status of the U.S. as the world’s major creditor nation. The U.S. of course, was able to import oil from elsewhere. Mounting debt has allowed life to continue in the U.S. with only minimal interruption so far. When global oil production peaks, the implications will be felt far more widely, and with much more force.

What does peak oil mean for our societies?
Our industrial societies and our financial systems were built on the assumption of continual growth growth based on ever more readily available cheap fossil fuels. Oil in particular is the most convenient and multi-purposed of these fossil fuels. Oil currently accounts for about 41% of the world’s total fossil fuel consumption, 33% of all global fuel consumption, and 95% of global energy used for transportation.
Oil and gas are feed stocks for plastics, paints, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, electronic components, tires and much more.
Oil is so important that the peak will have vast implications across the realms of war and geopolitics, medicine, culture, transport and trade, economic stability and food production. Significantly, for every one joule of food consumed in the United States, around 10 joules of fossil fuel energy have been used to produce it.

B.  The ‘Hirsch Report’
A U.S. Dept. of Energy commissioned study “Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management” [PDF] was released in early 2005. Prepared by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), it is known commonly as the Hirsch Report after its primary author Robert L. Hirsch. For many months the report, although available on the website of a Californian High School, remained unacknowledged by the DOE.
The executive summary of the report warns that: as peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking.
A later paper by Hirsch recommends the world urgently begin spending $1 trillion per year in crash programs for at least a decade, preferably two, before peaking. Obviously, nothing like the kind of efforts envisaged have yet begun. Hirsch was not asked to speculate on when the peak was likely to occur.
[In retrospect, the peak ocurred between 2000-2005; by 2011 we have quietly entered the decline phase. Although the West is in a double dip recession, gas prices have only slightly declined. Asian markets are absorbing production. Western commercial petroleum bulk storage is the lowest in years, while production cannot rebuild stocks to capacity. Its slow, its quiet. Who’s upset, yet? -Mr Larry]

C.  The Olduvai Theory
The theory is a proposed way of measuring industrial civilization by a single ratio – world annual energy use to population. The important idea is that, unlike previous civilizations which have risen and fallen to be replaced by others, industrial civilization would be the last because we would have used up all the easily obtainable resources (oil, coal, minerals) which are necessary for a civilization to form.
The theory is defined by the ratio of world energy production (use) and world population. The details are worked out. The theory is easy. It states that the life expectancy of Industrial Civilization is less than or equal to 100 years: 1930–2030.
World energy production per capita from 1945 to 1973 grew at a breakneck speed of 3.45%/year. Next from 1973 to the all-time peak in 1979, it slowed to a sluggish 0.64%/year. Then suddenly – and for the first time in history – energy production per capita took a long-term decline of 0.33%/year from 1979 to 1999. The Olduvai theory explains the 1979 peak and the subsequent decline. More to the point, it says that energy production per capita will fall to its 1930 value by 2030, thus giving Industrial Civilization a lifetime of less than or equal to 100 years.

The chart above is a graphic showing energy usage/population as a curve with various key points defined. These are:
Note 1: (1930) the beginning of Industrial Civilization
Note 2: (1979) all time peak of world energy production per capita
Note 3: (1999) the end of cheap oil
Note 4: (2000) eruption of violence in the Middle East
Note 5: (2006) all-time peak in world oil production
Note 6: (2008) OPEC crossover when more than 50% of oil comes from the OPEC nations
Note 7: (2012) permanent blackouts spread worldwide
Note 8: (2030) world energy production falls to 1930 level
The future dates may vary but it is easy to see how, with the knowledge we have of peak oil, the world could slip into a Medieval or even Stone Age scenario. Even a Dark Ages world would be difficult to sustain with no coal and little wood to burn. We are so dependent on energy that, unless we find some alternatives to hydrocarbon energy generation pretty quickly, we will find ourselves without the time or energy to switch.
.

II.  Predictions

Four Stages of Oil Depletion Through 2020
http://peakoilquestionoftheday.blogspot.com/p/life-after-crash.html
A.  World Oil and Natural Gas Liquids Production & Changes in each stage
Stage 1 (Now to end of 2011): World conventional crude oil and NGL production (CO&NGL) which is currently at 82 mbpd will remain stable with slight decline to 81 mbpd.
Continued economic stagnation with possible weak recovery, continued high unemployment will put little pressure on oil prices; gas prices will be generally stable. Non-OPEC production will begin to all off. Oil at $75 to $90 bbl; Gas at the pump in Dobbs Ferry $2.90 to $3.20.
Stage 2 (2012): Decline will accelerate in 2012 to 80 mbpd. Prices rises will become more pronounced, but still not seen as an emergency.
Global production fall off by end of year gets attention, markets respond with higher prices. Oil at $100 to $120 bbl; Gas at the pump in Dobbs Ferry $3.30 to $3.70. Economy continues to bump along in recession mode.
Stage 3 (2013 to 2015): Decline will be rapid in 2013 – 2015 with world production at 75 mbpd for CO&NGL by end of 2015.
Increasing fall off in production gets serious, news reports start talking about various causes — bad government policy, global conspiracy, return of “Drill, Baby, Drill”. Airlines cut back drastically as air travel becomes expensive. Demand for fuel-efficient cars soars. Government establishes crash programs to conserve, develop alternatives. Economy in terrible shape. By 2015 oil at $150 bbl; Gas at the pump at $6.00 to $10.00.
Stage 4 (2016 to 2020): by 2020 production will be 62 mbpd. Impossible to really estimate what prices will be. Life as we know it will be a memory.
Economy in shambles, oil prices continue higher.
By 2020 oil at $250+ bbl; Gas at the pump, when available, $15+.

B.  What will life be like once oil goes into decline. Here are a few things to expect.
1. Near Term Impact
__a) Continued economic decline with high unemployment. Without oil to fuel manufacturing, transportation, and food production, the only possible result is economic decline. Unemployment will continue to be high until people realize that they have no choice but to work for far less than they ever expected. Many of the unemployed will find work in agriculture as reliance on oil fueled machinery declines.
__b) Stagnant or declining stock market. Economic decline will inevitably impact the stock market and, as a result, the retirement savings of millions of Americans.
__c) Population move to urban areas/decline of suburbs. Who will want to (or be able to) live in a 4,000 square foot home 40 miles or more from work? The value of suburban housing (especially big houses) will decline as people try to get closer to urban centers and mass transit. Expect housing abandonment of the type already seen in California.
__d) Decline in construction, more people living together. As real income declines and construction costs increase, people will not be able to afford the square footage of living space they have become accustomed to. The migration from suburb to urban area, without additional construction, will mean more roommates, boarders, and houses cut up for rental.
__e) Air travel only for the rich. This is a no brainer. The airline industry is already in contraction. It won’t take much higher oil prices to push it over the edge.
__f) International trade declines.
__g) Deterioration of infrastructure as government revenues dry up.
__h) Increases in all prices — especially food and fuel.
__i) International conflict over remaining oil resources.
__j) Attempts by government to retain current lifestyle will fail and cause huge deficits, decline of currency.
__k) Solid waste disposal
2. Longer Term Impact
__a) more long distance transportation.
__b) Life becomes entirely local.
__c) Government breakdown.
__d) Social unrest.
__e) Population decline.
__f) Land becomes the main source of wealth.


 III. 
Preparing for Life in a Peak Oil World

23 January 2011, Oil Price.com, by Gail Tverberg
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Preparing-for-Life-in-a-Peak-Oil-World.html
“We know that peak oil will be here soon, and we feel like we should be doing something. But what? It is frustrating to know where to start. In this chapter, we will discuss a few ideas about what we as individuals can do.
1.  What will the first few years after peak oil be like? It is hard to know for certain, but a reasonable guess is that the impact will be like a major recession or depression. Many people will be laid off from work.
•  Gasoline is likely to be very expensive ($10 a gallon or more) and may not be available, except in limited quantities after waiting in line for a long time. Fewer goods of all types will be available in stores. Imports from third-world countries are likely to be especially unavailable, because of the impact of the oil shortage on their economies.
[Internet image right: Sanyo Enloop AA rechargeable batteries]
•  Gasoline prices may not rise as high as $10 gallon; the problem may be that at lower prices than $10 gallon, oil prices send the economy into recession. There may actually be a glut of oil supply because of recession or depression, because many cannot afford the high priced oil. For example, state highway departments cannot afford high priced asphalt. This is related to low “energy return on energy invested”. If the goods and services made with oil aren’t great enough to justify its high price, high oil price can be expected to send the economy into recession. Countries that use a lot of oil for purposes other than creating new goods and services are likely to be especially vulnerable to recession.
•  Money may not have the same value as previously–opinion is divided as to whether deflation or rampant inflation will be a problem. Investments, even those previously considered safe, are likely to lose value. Things we take for granted–like bottled water, fast food restaurants, and dry cleaners–may disappear fairly quickly. Electricity may become less reliable, with more frequent outages. Airplane tickets are likely to be extremely expensive, or only available with a special permit based on need.

2.  If a scenario like this is coming, what can a person do now? Here are a few ideas:
• Visit family and friends now, especially those at a distance. This may be more difficult to do in the future.
•  Learn to know your neighbors. It is likely that you will need each other’s help more in the future.
•  If you live by yourself, consider moving in with friends or relatives. In tough times, it is better to have others to rely on. It is also likely to be a lot cheaper.
•  Buy a bicycle that you can use as alternate transportation, if the need arises.
•  Start walking or jogging for exercise. Get yourself in good enough physical condition that you could walk a few miles if you needed to.
•  Take care of your physical health. If you need dental work or new glasses, get them. Don’t put off immunizations and other preventive medicine. These may be more difficult to get, or more expensive, later.
•  Move to a walkable neighborhood. If it seems likely that you will be able to keep your job, move closer to your job.
•  Trade in your car for one with better mileage. If you have a SUV, you can probably sell it at a better price now than in the future. [Internet image right: Mitsubishi or another make of small electric car.]
•  If you have two cars powered by gasoline, consider trading one for a diesel-powered vehicle. That way, if gasoline (or diesel) is not available, you will still have one car you can drive.
•  Make sure that you have at least a two-week supply of food and water, if there is some sort of supply disruption. It is always good to have some extra for an emergency–the likelihood of one arising is greater now.
•  Keep reasonable supplies of things you may need in an emergency–good walking shoes, boots, coats, rain wear, blankets, flashlights and batteries (or wind-up flashlights).
•  Take up hobbies that you will be able to continue in a low energy world, such as gardening, knitting, playing a musical instrument, bird watching, or playing cards with neighbors.
•  Join a local sustainability group or “permaculture” group and start learning about sustainable gardening methods.

3.  Do I need to do more than these things? It really depends on how much worse things get, and how quickly. If major services like electricity and water remain in place for many years, and if gasoline and diesel remain reasonably available, then relatively simple steps will go a long way.
Some steps that might be helpful to add once the crunch comes include:
•  Join a carpool for work, or make arrangements to work at home. If public transportation is available, use it.
•  Cut out unnecessary trips. Eat meals at home. Take your lunch to work. Walk or jog in your neighborhood rather than driving to the gym. Order from the internet or buy from stores you can walk to, rather than driving alone to stores.
•  If you live a distance from shopping, consider forming a neighborhood carpool for grocery and other shopping. Do this for other trips as well, such as attending church. If closer alternatives are available, consider them instead.
•  Plant a garden in your yard. Put in fruit or nut trees. Make a compost pile, and use it in your garden. Put to use what you learned in sustainability or permaculture groups.
•  Meat, particularly beef, is likely to be very expensive. Learn to prepare meals using less meat. Make casseroles like your grandmother’s, making a small amount of meat go a long way. Or make soup using a little meat plus vegetables or beans.
•  Use hand-me-down clothing for younger children. Or have a neighborhood garage sale, and trade clothing with others near you.

4.  Should families continue to have two, three, or four children, as they often do today? With the uncertainties ahead, it would be much better if families were very small–one child, or none at all. The world’s population has grown rapidly in the last 100 years. Part of the reason for growth is the fact that with oil and natural gas, it was possible to grow much more food than in the past. As we lose the use of these fossil fuels, it is likely that we will not be able to produce as much food as in the past, because of reduced ability to irrigate crops, and reduced availability of fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. In addition, manufactured goods of all types, including clothing and toys, are likely to be less available, with declining fossil fuel supply. Having smaller families will help fit the population to the available resources.
If couples have completed their families, it would probably be worthwhile for them to consider a permanent method of contraception, since birth control may be less available or more expensive.

5.  Are there any reasons why steps such as those outlined in Question 3 might be too little to handle the problem? Besides the decline in oil production, there are a number of other areas of concern. Hopefully, most of these will never happen, or if they do happen, will not occur for several years. If they do happen, greater measures than those outlined in Question 3 are likely to be needed.
•  Collapse of the financial system. Our financial system needs growth to sustain it, so that loans can be paid back with interest. Once peak oil hits, growth will be gone. Economic growth may even be replaced with economic decline. It is not clear our financial system can handle this.
•  Collapse of foreign trade. Many factors may come into play: The cost of transportation will be higher. Airline transport may not be available at all. Fewer goods are likely to be produced by the poorer countries of the world, because of power outages related to high oil prices. Rapid inflation/deflation may make monetary transactions more difficult.
•  Rapid climate change. Recently, scientists have discovered that climate change can take place over a very short period of time–as little as a decade or two. Temperature and precipitation changes may cause crop failures, and may make some areas no longer arable. Sea levels may also rise.
[Image right: Hot water and photovoltiac collectors on the roof of a private residence.]
•  Failure of the electrical grid. The grid tends to be vulnerable to many kinds of problems–including deterioration due to poor maintenance, damage during storms, and attacks in times of civil unrest. Maintenance is currently very poor (grade of D) according to the “Report Card on America’s Infrastructure” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. If we cannot maintain the grid, and upgrade it for the new wind and solar capacity being added, we will all be in the dark.
•  Water shortages. There are several issues–We are drawing down some aquifers at unsustainable rates, and these may be depleted. Climate change may reduce the amount of water available, by melting ice caps and changing storm patterns. City water and sewer systems require considerable energy inputs to continue functioning. If these are not provided, the systems will stop. Finally, systems must also be adequately maintained–something that is neglected currently.
•  Road deterioration. If we don’t have roads, it doesn’t matter whether we have cars. In the future, asphalt (a petroleum product) is expected to become more and more expensive and less available. It is not clear whether recycling asphalt from lesser-used roads will overcome this difficulty.
•  Decline in North American natural gas production. Natural gas is especially used for home heating, making plastics and making fertilizer. It is also used in electrical generation, particularly for extra load capacity when demand is high. Conventional natural gas is declining, and it is not clear that supply from other sources can make up the gap.
We now have shale gas and other unconventional making up the gap, but there are uncertainties how long it will stay with us.
•  Inadequate mineral supplies. A number of minerals are becoming less available, including copper (used in electric wiring), platinum (used in catalytic converters), phosphorous (used in fertilizer).
•  Fighting over available supplies. This could happen at any level. Individuals with inadequate food or gasoline may begin using violence. Or there may be fighting among groups within a nation, or between nations.

6. Are there any reasons for optimism? Yes. We know that people throughout the ages have gotten along successfully with far fewer resources than we have now, and with much less foreign trade. Financial systems have gotten into trouble in the past, and eventually new systems have replaced them. If nothing else, barter works.
We know that among the countries of the world, the United States, Canada, and Russia have reasonably good resource endowments in relation to their populations. They have fairly large amounts of land for crops, moderate rainfall, reasonable amounts of fossil fuels remaining, and populations that are not excessively large.
We also know that Cuba successfully made a transition from high oil usage to much lower oil usage, through the development of local gardens, increased public transit, and bicycles. A movie has been made about the Cuban experience.

7. What should we do, if we want to do more than described in Question 3? Some web sites (such as Life After the Oil Crash and wtdwtshtf.com) advocate moving to a farming area, buying land and hand tools, and learning to farm without fossil fuels. Typically, an individual purchases an existing farmhouse and adds solar panels or a windmill. The web sites generally recommend storing up large supplies of food, clothing, medicine, tools, guns, and ammunition, and learning a wide range of skills. These sites also suggest storing some things (liquor, razor blades, aspirin, etc.) for purposes of barter.
This approach may work for a few people, but it has its drawbacks. Making such a big move is likely to be expensive, and will most likely involve leaving one’s job. The individual will be alone, so security may be a problem. The individual may be dependent on his or her own resources for most things, especially if the farm is in a remote location. If the weather is bad, crops may fail. Living on the edge of a small town may prevent some problems, but such a move would still be a major undertaking.

8. How about Ecovillages? What are they? These are communities dedicated to the idea of sustainable living. These communities were set up in response to many issues facing the world, including global warming, resource depletion, and lifestyles that are not fulfilling. They were generally not formed with peak oil in mind.
Each ecovillage is different. Organizers often buy a large plot of land and lay out a plan for it. Individuals buy into the organization. Homes may be made from sustainable materials, such as bales of straw. Gardening is generally done using “permaculture”- a sustainable organic approach. Individuals may have assigned roles in the community.
The few ecovillages I investigated did not seem to truly be sustainable–they bought much of their food and clothing from outside, and made money by selling tours of their facilities. The ecovilliage approach could theoretically be expanded to provide self-sustaining post-peak oil communities, but would require some work. Some adventuresome readers may want to try this approach.

9. Is there a middle ground? What should people be doing now, if they want to do more than outlined in Questions 2 and 3, but aren’t ready to immerse themselves in a new lifestyle?
As a middle ground, people need to start thinking seriously about how to maintain their own food and water security, and start taking steps in that direction.

a) Food security. We certainly hope our current system of agriculture will continue without interruption, but there is no guarantee of this. Our current method is very productive, but uses huge amounts of energy. If we can keep our current system going, its productivity would likely be higher than that of a large number of individual gardens. The concern is that eventually the current system may break down due to reduced oil supply and need to be supplemented. Vulnerabilities include:
•  Making hybrid seed, and transporting it to farmers
•  Getting diesel fuel to the farmers who need it
•  Transporting food to processing centers by truck
•  Creating processed food in energy-intensive factories
•  Making boxes and other containers for food
•  Transporting processed food to market
[Internet image: Example of a way to grocery shop: Topeak trolley tote folding basket with groceries…also indicating that your home is located nearby a shopping district.]

If diesel fuel is allocated by high price alone, farmers may not be able to afford fuel, and may drop out. Or truck drivers may not be able to get what they need.
It is in our best interest to have a back-up plan. The one most often suggested is growing gardens in our yards–even front yards. Another choice is encouraging local farms, so that transportation is less of an issue. It takes several years to get everything working well (new skills learned, fruit trees to reach maturity), so we need to start early.
One type of crop that is particularly important is grain, since grain provides a lot of calories and stores well. In some parts of the country, potatoes might be a good substitute. It would be good if people started planting grain in gardens in their yards. There is a lot to learn in order to do this, including learning which grains grow well, how much moisture and nutrients the grains need, and how to process them. If the grain that grows well is unfamiliar, like amaranth, there is also a need to learn how to use it in cooking.
Individuals (or local farms) should also begin growing other foods that grow well in their areas, including fruits and nuts, greens of various types, and other more traditional garden crops, including beans. For all types of gardening, non-hybrids seeds (sometimes called heirloom seeds) are probably best for several reasons:
•  It makes storing seeds after harvest possible, and reduces dependence on hybrid seeds.
•  There is less uniformity, so the harvest is spread over a longer period.
•  The reduced uniformity also helps prevent crop failure in years with drought or excessive rain. Some seeds will not grow, but others will. (Hybrids are all or nothing.)
Imported foods are likely to shrink in supply more quickly than other foods. If you live in a country that is dependent on imported foods, you may want to consider moving elsewhere. [Farmers Market sales as seen in the picture above will not feed a community much less a city. Such sales seems to provide some sort of fuzzy safety net. The veggies look  so clean and healthy, but they are not an arithmatic solution (in lbs/person/year), but things could change, as they did in Cuba and North Korea, when the people got hungry. The problem is, following a crisis you have to ‘make do’ throught the next planting season to it harvest before the hopeful crop increase is realized.]

b) Water Security. Here, the largest issue is whether there is likely to be sufficient supply in your area. Another issue is whether there will be sufficient water for your garden, at appropriate times. A third issue is whether there will be disruptions in general, because of poor maintenance or because the process of treating fresh water (and sewage) is energy-intensive.
With respect to sufficient water in your area, if it looks like there is a problem (desert Southwest, for example), relocating now rather than later is probably a good idea. Transporting water is energy intensive, and new efforts at developing energy (like shale oil or more ethanol) are likely to make the water supply situation even worse.
With respect to water for gardening, consider a rainwater catchment system for your roof. Runoff water is saved in barrels, and can be used for irrigation in dry periods.
General disruptions of water supply are more difficult. Keep some bottled water on hand. You may also want to consider a tank for greater storage supply. Rainwater catchment can be used for drinking water, with the correct type of roofing (not asphalt shingles!) and proper treatment, but this is not generally legal in the United States.

10. What kind of investments should I be making? A person’s first priority should be buying at least a little protection for a rainy day – some extra food and water, comfortable clothing, blankets and flashlights. I suggested two weeks’ worth in Question 2. If you have money and space, you may want to buy more.
Paying down debt is probably a good idea, if only for the peace of mind it brings. There are some possible scenarios where debt is not a problem (hyper-inflation but you keep your existing job and get a raise). In many other scenarios (deflation; job lay-offs; rising food and energy prices) debt is likely to be even harder to pay off than it is now.
Land for a garden is probably a good investment, as well as garden tools. You will want to invest in gardening equipment, some books on permaculture, and perhaps some heirloom seeds. You may also want to consider a rainwater catchment system, to collect water from your roof.
You may also want to invest in solar panels for your home. If you want round-the-clock solar energy, you will also need back-up batteries. Buying these is questionable–they tend to be very expensive, require lots of maintenance, and need to be replaced often.
There is a possibility that the financial system will run into difficulty in the not-too-distant future. Some ideas for investments that may protect against this are
• Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). [At 69 years of age I recieve Social Security, its suppose to ‘inflation protected’. With the price of every thng going up at the store, doctor’s office and gas station, we haven’t received a COLA raise in two years. I’m afraid TIPS investors will  conveniently
encounter the same non inflationary ‘protection.-Mr. Larry]
• Bank accounts protected by the FDIC  [Where FDIC means– some of the same folks that brought us here today.]
Gold coins
• Silver coins

If you want to invest in the stock market, we know that there will be more and more drilling done for oil and gas done in the next few years, so companies making drilling equipment are likely to do well. Small independent oil and gas companies may also do well, doing “work-over” business. We know that there are likely to be shortages in some metals in the years ahead (copper, platinum, uranium), so shares in companies mining these types of metals may do well.
Investments in biofuels should be considered with caution. Most ethanol from corn appears to be heavily dependent on subsidies. If it should ever have to compete with other fuels on a level playing ground, it is likely to do poorly.
I would be cautious about buying insurance policies, except for short-term needs such as automobile coverage, homeowners coverage, and term life insurance. If we encounter a period of significant deflation, insurance companies are likely to fail, because bondholders cannot pay their debt. If we run into a period of rapid inflation, the life insurance or long term care coverage you buy may have very little real value when you come to use it.

11.  Should I move to a different location? There are many reasons you might want to consider moving to a different location:
• To find something less expensive. If times are going to be difficult, you do not want to be paying most of your income on a mortgage or rent.
• To be closer to friends or family, in the difficult times ahead.
• To share a house or apartment with friends or family.
• To be closer to work or public transportation.
• To be closer to a type of employment that you believe will have a better chance of continuing in the future.
• To have better fresh water supplies.
• To join a community with similar interests in sustainability.
• To leave a community that you feel may be prone to violence, in time of shortage.

There are disadvantages as well as advantages to moving to a new location. If many others are trying to move at the same time, you may not be welcome in the new community. You will likely not have friends and the support group you would have had in your prior location. Because of these issues, it is probably better to move sooner, rather than later, if you are going to move. If you balance the pluses and the minuses, it may be better to stay where you are.

12.  We hear a lot about various things we can do to be “green”, like buying fluorescent light bulbs. Do these save oil? Most of the “green” ideas you read about save energy of some kind, but not necessarily oil. Even so, they are still a good idea. If there is a shortage of one type of energy, it tends to affect other types of energy as well. Doing “green” things is also helpful from a global warming perspective. Here are some green ideas besides using fluorescent light bulbs:
•  Move to a smaller house or apartment.
•  Insulate your house, and have it professionally sealed to keep out drafts.
•  If any rooms are unused, do not heat and cool them.
•  Keep your house warmer in summer, and cooler in winter.
•  If you no longer need a big refrigerator, buy a smaller one. Be sure it is an “Energy Star” refrigerator.
•  If you have more than one refrigerator, get rid of the extra(s). Refrigerators are a big source of energy use. For parties, use ice in a tub.
•  Separate freezers are also big energy users. Consider doing without.
•  Eat less meat. Also avoid highly processed foods and bottled water. All of these require large amounts of energy for production.
•  Get power strips and turn off appliances that drain energy when not in use.
•  Turn off lights that are not needed.
•  Rewire lights into smaller “banks”, so you do not need to light up the whole basement when all you want is light in a small corner.
•  Get a clothes line, so you do not need to use your clothes dryer.
•  When cooking, use the microwave whenever possible.
•  Reduce air travel to a minimum. Air travel results in a huge number of miles of travel with corresponding fuel use.
•  Recycle whenever you can.
•  Eliminate disposables as much as possible (coffee cups, napkins, plastic bags, etc.)

13. Should we be talking to our local government officials about these problems? Yes! At the local level, there are many changes that would be helpful:
•  Laws permitting people to put up clothes lines in their yards.
•  Laws encouraging gardens to be grown, even in the front yards of homes.
•  Laws permitting multiple occupancy of houses by unrelated individuals.
•  New local public transportation plans, particularly ones that do not require large outlay of funds. For example, a plan that is more like a glorified car pool might work.
•  Allocation of funds to study the best crops to be grown in the area, and the best cultivation methods, if energy supplies are much lower in the future.
•  It would also be helpful to make changes at higher levels of government, but these are beyond the scope of the discussion in this chapter.”
“The phrase, ‘consent of the governed’ has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left.” —Chris Hedges
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IV. Where we’ve been, where we are

Peak Oil
The world is rapidly approaching Peak Oil production and will be at an inflection point soon, if not already, after which, real prices will begin a long rise. Price inflection is possible before the next economic recovery, but will certainly come with a recovery, which will then be short lived, because rising energy prices will channel money away from other discretionary expenditures. For the last two years (2009-2010), the USA and Europe have been in recession with lower oil requirements, which have skewered the following 2007 chart by extending the plateau top and pushing the ‘decline in production slope’ (with subsequent increase in prices) into the future another couple years past the original 2007 projection.
Whether we are out of the recession or not by 2015 (within 4 years from now), production declines and the resultant rise in petroleum prices will probably have become an unpleasant factor in our national and personal, financial lives. On Saturday, 4 Sep 2010, FinancialSense.com weekly, ‘News Hour’ podcast, gave leads to the Peak Oil reports listed below. These articles seem to be telling a story, a story which has not yet been shared to any degree with the American people by either the US Government or the news media. Furthermore, there are almost monthly reports being issued by responsible, main stream institutions in Europe, the USA and the Middle East.
As I write, northern Europe is advancing on a program to greatly reduce their fossil fuel dependence; its estimated that in 10 years, by 2020, 20% of Europe’s energy, not just its electricity, will be derived from renewables.
What is happening in the United States? Nothing significant that I’ve heard, seen or read about. Maybe the government is waiting for a Peak Oil–Pearl Harbor type crisis to create a popular mandate for action, as opposed to making plans and choosing an intelligent path while there is time and opportunity to implement and mass test renewable systems.
The energy transition from one type energy to an alternative, historically, only happens about once per century and does so with momentous consequences. We will begin to move away from fossil fuels quite rapidly from here on forward. Business, families and individuals who can adapt to the charge and manage risk will gain an advantage with the shrinking energy pie. [Mr. Larry]

1)  February 2010: UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) study on peak oil was released: “Business calls for urgent action on ‘oil crunch’ threat to UK economy
London, 10 February, 2010: A group of leading business people today call for urgent action to prepare the UK for Peak Oil. The second report of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) finds that oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilize economic, political and social activity, potentially by 2015. This means an end to the era of cheap oil.
•  Taskforce warns Britain is unprepared for significant risk to companies and consumers
•  Poorest to be hit hardest by price rises for travel, food, heating and consumer goods
•  New policies must be priority for whoever wins the General Election
•  Recommended packages include legislation, new technologies and behavior-change incentives
•  Fundamental change in demand patterns triggered by emerging economy countries

2)  March 2010: Telegraph.Co.UK, “Oil reserves ‘exaggerated by one third’
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7500669/Oil-reserves-exaggerated-by-one-third.html>
The world’s oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years.
Published: 9:51PM GMT 22 Mar 2010, by Rowena Mason, City Reporter (Energy)
“The scientists and researchers from Oxford University argue that official figures are inflated because member countries of the oil cartel, OPEC, over-reported reserves in the 1980s when competing for global market share.
Their new research argues that estimates of conventional reserves should be downgraded from 1,150bn to 1,350bn barrels to between 850bn and 900bn barrels and claims that demand may outstrip supply as early as 2014. The researchers claim it is an open secret that OPEC is likely to have inflated its reserves, but that the International Energy Agency (IEA), BP, the Energy Information Administration and World Oil do not take this into account in their statistics.
It’s critically important that reserves have been overstated, and if you take this into account, we’re talking supply not meeting demand in 2014-2015.”
Dr Oliver Inderwildi, who co-wrote the paper with Sir David and Nick Owen for Oxford University’s Smith School, believes radical measures such as switching freight transport to airships could become common in future.
“The belief that alternative fuels such as biofuels could mitigate oil supply shortages and eventually replace fossil fuels is a pie in the sky. Instead of relying on those silver bullet solutions, we have to make better use of the remaining resources by improving efficiency.”

3)  March 2010: A heatingoil.com, Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company– Peak Oil report
Kuwaiti Researchers Predict Peak Oil Production in 2014
March 10, 2010,  by Josh Garrett
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7500669/Oil-reserves-exaggerated-by-one-third.html>
“A new study published in the journal, Energy & Fuels, predicts that world conventional oil production will hit its peak in the year 2014. The study, undertaken by researchers at Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company (their chart shown above), looked at oil production in the top 47 oil-producing nations and found that humanity has extracted about 54 percent of total world oil reserves and that conventional oil production will reach its peak of 79 million stock tank barrels per day (an industry term, abbreviated as STB, that refers to the number of barrels of crude oil successfully extracted and “treated”) in about four years.
The study began with the Hubbert forecast model, named for peak oil pioneer M. King Hubbert, who successfully predicted that crude oil production in the US would peak in 1970. Though proven to be a useful tool in predicting peak oil, the Hubbert model has limitations when applied to more complex and diverse oil production methods and measures of the 21st century. The Kuwaiti researchers accounted for those limitations in the study, and also allowed for updates of their findings as new oil production data becomes available.
It should be noted that the study, no matter how sound its methods, reports exclusively on conventional oil (liquid crude that can be extracted from the ground relatively cheaply), and in doing so paints an incomplete picture of world oil supplies and the expected arrival of peak oil production.
(Note: If the study were to include data on unconventional sources such as Canada’s tar sands and oil shale deposits of the American West, the supply figures would grow substantially and the date of peak production would likely be pushed forward by at least a decade or two. However, because the technology and costs associated with extraction of unconventional oil vary widely and face an extremely uncertain future, it is logical that the study excludes unconventional oil figures.)
The more prepared governments and citizens are for any supply declines that could lead to rapid price increases in consumer fuels like heating oil, diesel, and gasoline, the less disruptive those increases will be to our daily lives.”
“Very few metro regions, cities or businesses are prepared for the impact of the global peak oil issue on their economies, or finances, operating budgets and mobility.
Cities, households and the economy will be impacted, as will industries. Some industries will be hurt (agriculture, retail, petrochemicals) and some sectors could be positively impacted (smart growth planners, alternative transportation providers, “smart city” technology providers, alternative fuel producers, mixed-use and infill developers)
Whether it’s bonafide peaking of global oil supplies, or a short- to medium-term “oil crunch,” the initial result will be the same. Rapidly rising gas prices and price instability should become evident by 2013, or even earlier if there are any supply shocks because of natural disasters (hurricanes in Gulf), political events, war and terrorists acts.
The most obvious area of impact of rising oil prices is transportation and mobility. During the gas price rises of 2006-2008, U.S. citizens turned to public transportation in record numbers. Light rail ridership was the biggest winner, as was an old and reliable form of gas-free transportation, the bicycle.
The biggest losers: SUVs (RIP Hummer) and personal automotive use. Across the nation, people substantially reduced their driving for the first time in decades, particularly in metro areas that had other mobility options.”

4)  April 2010: guardian.co.uk, “US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015″ by Terry Macalister
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply>
“The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact.
The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
“By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day,” says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N. Mattis. It adds: “While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.”
•  Shortfall could reach 10 million barrels a day, report says
•  Cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel

The US military says ‘its views cannot be taken as US government policy’, but admits they are meant to provide the Joint Forces with “an intellectual foundation upon which we will construct the concept to guide out future force developments.”
The warning is the latest in a series from around the world that has turned peak oil – the moment when demand exceeds supply – from a distant threat to a more immediate risk.

Future fuel supplies are of acute importance to the US Army because it is believed to be the biggest single user of petrol in the world. BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, said recently that there was little chance of crude from the carbon-heavy Canadian tar sands being banned in America because the US military like to have local supplies rather than rely on the politically unstable Middle East.
But there are signs that the US Department of Energy might also be changing its stance on peak oil. In a recent interview with French newspaper, Le Monde, Glen Sweetnam, main oil adviser to the Obama administration, admitted that “a chance exists that we may experience a decline” of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 if the investment was not forthcoming.

“It’s surprising to see that the US Army, unlike the US Department of Energy, publicly warns of major oil shortages in the near-term. “The Energy Information Administration (of the Department Of Energy) has been saying for years that Peak Oil was “decades away”. In light of the report from the US Joint Forces Command, is the EIA still confident of its previous highly optimistic conclusions?”
The Joint Operating Environment report paints a bleak picture of what can happen on occasions when there is serious economic upheaval. “One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest,” it points out. From

5)  June 2010: Guardian.co.uk, news article posted 11 July 2010, “Lloyd’s adds its voice to dire ‘peak oil’ warnings”, by Terry Macalister
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jul/11/peak-oil-energy-disruption>
“Business underestimating catastrophic consequences of declining oil, says Lloyd’s of London/Chatham House report. One of the City’s most respected institutions has warned of “catastrophic consequences” for businesses that fail to prepare for a world of increasing oil scarcity and a lower carbon economy.
The Lloyd’s insurance market and the highly regarded Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, says Britain needs to be ready for “peak oil” and disrupted energy supplies at a time of soaring fuel demand in China and India, constraints on production caused by the BP oil spill and political moves to cut CO2 to halt global warming.
“Companies which are able to take advantage of this new energy reality will increase both their resilience and competitiveness. Failure to do so could lead to expensive and potentially catastrophic consequences,” says the Lloyd’s and Chatham House report “Sustainable energy security: strategic risks and opportunities for business”.
The insurance market has a major interest in preparedness to counter climate change because of the fear of rising insurance claims related to property damage and business disruption. The review is groundbreaking because it comes from the heart of the City and contains the kind of dire warnings that are more associated with environmental groups or others accused by critics of resorting to hype. It takes a pot shot at the International Energy Agency which has been under fire for apparently under-estimating the threats, noting: “IEA expectations [on crude output] over the last decade have generally gone unmet.”
The report the world is heading for a global oil supply crunch and high prices owing to insufficient investment in oil production plus a rebound in global demand following recession. It repeats warning from Professor Paul Stevens, a former economist from Dundee University, at an earlier Chatham House conference that lack of oil by 2013 could force the price of crude above $200 (£130) a barrel.
It also quotes from a US department of energy report highlighting the economic chaos that would result from declining oil production as global demand continued to rise, recommending a crash programme to overhaul the transport system. “Even before we reach peak oil,” says the Lloyd’s report, “we could witness an oil supply crunch because of increased Asian demand. Major new investment in energy takes 10-15 years from the initial investment to first production, and to date we have not seen the amount of new projects that would supply the projected increase in demand.”
And while the world is gradually moving to new kinds of clean energy technologies the insurance market warns that there could be shortages of earth metals and other raw materials needed to help them thrive. From

6)  August 2010: Spiegal Online International, posted 4 September 2010, “German Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis“, by Stefan Schultz
“A study by a German military think tank has analyzed how “peak oil” might change the global economy. The internal draft document — leaked on the Internet — shows for the first time how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis.
The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military. The team of authors, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the “total collapse of the markets” and of serious political and economic crises.

The news report from Spiegal Online was specific about their study’s socio-economic findings, pointing out that:
1.  “Shortages in the supply of vital goods could arise as a result, for example in food supplies.
2.  Oil is used directly or indirectly in the production of 95% of all industrial goods.
3.  Price shocks could therefore be seen in almost any industry and throughout all stages of the industrial supply chain.
4.  In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.…
5.  (Relapse into planned economy) Since virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on oil, peak oil could lead to a partial or complete failure of markets. A conceivable alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of important goods or the setting of production schedules and other short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times of crisis….
6.  (Global chain reaction) A restructuring of oil supplies will not be equally possible in all regions before the onset of peak oil. It is likely that a large number of states will not be in a position to make the necessary investments in time, or with sufficient magnitude.
7.  If there were economic crashes in some regions of the world, Germany could be affected. Germany would not escape the crises of other countries, because it’s so tightly integrated into the global economy….”
8.  The Bundeswehr study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil “as a general systemic crisis.” This would create “room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government….”
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V.   The economy of extracting the last half of the oil

6th June 2010, MI2G, “Beyond Oil: Beginning of A New Era?”, London, UK
As the marginal cost of extracting oil has risen ever higher, it has been a red rag to the investment bulls seeking a return. Given that the risk profile of extracting that extra barrel of oil has now grown exponentially, this is likely to act as a new deterrent. The risks are rising much faster than previously anticipated as we approach peak oil.
The inertia which has set in amongst governments, businesses and the investment community in regard to preserving the status quo is going to be knocked sideways by the Gulf oil spill and as the costs of the cleanup mount, it will become imperative to invest in cleaner and safer forms of energy. The change in direction will ultimately be driven by a forced change in our collective value system. The end of oil-dependency is likely to mark the end of an era for the globalised western civilization’s model of oil-centric capitalism. If we survive, the age of oil will be followed by an age of recovery, restoration and a return to local generation of power through alternative means. What does the future look like without oil-dependency? Cleaner forms of energy are likely to proliferate. The possibility of a world in balance with natural resources, clean air, clean water, and with the natural environment, is like a shining light at the end of a dark tunnel.
If the problems were only the current recession, we’d muddle through and eventually it would end; if it were a matter of too much personal and national debt, we’d still muddle through, after increasing taxes and fees on everything and decade or so of unusually high inflation; if the problem were only Peak Oil, we’d muddle through, but with a sense of nervous urgency. However, combining, the recession, massive multi levels of debt and Peak oil is going to be taxing (pun intended), economically and socially exhausting.
It appears that global socio-economic systems are working their way deeper into a period of increasing stress. If there were no other major exogenous events to hit humanity over the next 5-10 years, we could probably pull off a global Manhattan type project of converting to renewable resources. An expansion of the ‘renewable energy’ paradigm would fuel manufacturing employment and consumer spending, banks would loan money, and for a short while there would be an economic boom, until the fallout from Peak Oil caught up. Our conversion from Oil to ‘renewables’ will not be fast enough to make up for the coming price hike in petroleum products. Look for the race from oil to renewables to be a ‘diminishing returns’ scenario, the more renewables we adopt, the higher energy prices go. Why? Because the problem is time related, we are starting too late to mitigate the coming Peak Oil price hikes.
So, even with the recession, massive debt and a late start at converting to renewable, we could with higher taxes and prices, come through with the current system intact, but jarred. Under these conditions the global economic system will be tight, there is little if any economic slack as we move forward through the recession toward Peak Oil. If an unexpected calamity arises, that could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, resulting in serious, wide ranging population ‘hardships’.
[The term ‘hardships’ can cover a lot of unpleasant ground! Think about it. Name 10 inconveniences that could arise in your life from a national calamity, then throw in 10 unknowns you didn’t expect. Mr. Larry]
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VI. Energy: Shell’s future scenarios – Staring into energy’s black hole


6 Jul 2008, Author: Tobias Webb
http://www.climatechangecorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=5937
Shell’s “energy scenarios” see fossil fuels remaining a huge part of the energy mix to 2050. And if Shell is right, what does it mean for the planet’s future?

1.   Scramble scenerio
Under the Scramble scenario, the current and future “flight to coal” as a relatively cheap energy source cannot last forever. According to Bentham, in this scenario, around the mid part of the decade (ca 2014-2016) comes “a triple squeeze” in energy. This is made up of the logistical difficulties of having to move growing volumes of coal around the world. At the same time, conventional oil and gas supplies are likely to plateau because of a lack of investment and for “political issues” (shorthand for oil nationalism or a lack of big oil company interests in major projects).
These two factors could lead to the “demand levers being pulled rapidly”, Bentham said, and knee-jerk reactions by governments, such as reducing car speed limits to save on fuel use, decommissioning inefficient power plants quickly, and changing building regulations. All this, needless to say, is set to make the world a volatile place.
In Shell’s Scramble scenario, second generation (non-food sourced) biofuels will grow rapidly from 2020 onwards. Meanwhile, renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, will see local growth but will not yet be able to compete with conventional energy in size and scale. The economic conditions of the 2020s will encourage further renewables growth, Shell says, and renewable energy will “rebound” by the end of that decade. The flip side will be that only by then will serious action be likely on global carbon prices as climate change related weather events begin to be blamed on a lack of action during the world’s previous dash to coal sources for energy. This rather paints a bleak picture for the future for environmentalists and, indeed, anyone else.

2.  Blueprints scenerio
Shell believes that its Blueprints scenario presents a much more positive picture. While the company does not believe that achieving a global balance of 450ppm of CO2 by 2050 or earlier is remotely feasible, Shell says that global energy demand can be met by less-polluting sources than fossil fuels, and can be reduced significantly by technology, driven by both regulation and collaboration between governments.
Bentham spoke of the “political reality” of climate change as a key driver for this scenario of collaboration on energy use. He cited two key examples: the law passed in California in 2006 which mandated a cap-and-trade carbon emissions trading system by 2012; and the recent attempts by politicians in Australia to distance themselves from their nation’s past recalcitrant attitude to the Kyoto Protocol and carbon dioxide emissions regulation.
The Californian approach has influenced other US states, Bentham said, noting that in the US, climate change is now “a Federal issue”, with both US presidential candidates saying that they take the threat seriously. Bentham said that the C40 group of cities around the world, which is sharing best practices on transport management and infrastructure development across borders, in both developed and developing economies, is another example of an emerging consensus around the need for collaboration to tackle energy and climate concerns.
Developing countries such as China, and their citizens, are also increasingly concerned about environmental issues and this may drive change towards cleaner economies much faster than in the past, Bentham claimed. China has far more UN-approved clean development mechanism greenhouse gas reduction projects than any other nation.

By 2012 to 2015, under the Blueprints scenario, Bentham thinks that we might see “a critical mass of carbon pricing being applied to a critical mass of sectors in a critical mass of countries”. While this rollout is not global, it begins to influence the choices that people are making in investments. This encourages technological progress such as carbon capture and storage by 2020, and vehicle electrification – by 2050 around 40 per cent of all ‘vehicle miles’ are electric under this scenario. National approaches begin to be harmonized, such as around carbon pricing. This encourages energy efficiency and wind power, while helping electric vehicles come to mass market in the 2020s.
CO2 emissions rise, plateau and then fall by around 2050, under Blueprints. Shell believes that there is no one solution to the global energy and climate conundrum, and that, according to Bentham: “Any technology that is going to be deployed at global scale in the next 50 years is already out of the laboratory.” It’s all about policy and incentive choices, he concluded, “the next five years are crucial”.

3. A third scenario: no fossil fuels
So what do others make of Shell’s predictions and dire warnings about the future of climate change and energy? Opinions are mixed.
“Shell is living in la la land,” says Mark Lynas, author of climate disaster bestseller Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. “They are constructing scenarios where they continue to be relevant as a fossil fuel company.” Lynas points out that the climate crisis is so serious that what he calls the “real world” will not tolerate such a high carbon vision of energy for 2050. “The whole scenario process should be about figuring out realistic outcomes and planning for them, whereas what Shell seems to be doing is deciding what they would most like to happen, and writing it down,” he says, calling Shell’s scenarios a “political exercise”.
Shell’s view that stabilizing global carbon emissions at 450 ppm is unrealistic is “totally irresponsible”, says Lynas. “If we don’t stabilize at way below 450 ppm we’ll see irreversible climate change with several tipping points being crossed as a result,” he argues. “They are obviously saying that the world can go fry and that their profits must come first.” Lynas believes that despite oil company claims that they can innovate around the frameworks set by politicians and prosper in a low-carbon world, the current large energy majors will eventually die off, as newer, hungrier firms replace them with what he calls “disruptive” energy technology.
David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock, says Shell’s best case analysis – Blueprints – is a “fairly disastrous scenario, because (by their estimation) coal is getting bigger as we go up to 2050”. Strahan notes that NASA’s Jim Hanson believes that if the planet managed to eliminate the emissions from coal-fired power stations by either closing them or capturing all the carbon, then “we squeak in at around 440 parts per million” of CO2. “What’s interesting about [what] Shell [is] saying [is] that it’s the end of the planet” if they are right, Strahan claims.

The carbon capture dream
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is still largely wishful thinking, Lynas agrees. Right now only a tiny number of pilot projects exist around the world, with none being commercially viable. He is in favor of an upstream cap-and-trade system for carbon, which he says is “much easier to manage than regulating emissions” and should be discussed further. Under upstream trading systems, carbon is measured before consumers can become responsible for emitting it and effectively taxed heavily, creating energy efficiency and renewable energy investment incentives across the board.
While Lynas believes there is sufficient technology to decarbonizes power generation by 2050, he thinks it will have to come from renewable sources, with even nuclear a possibility, rather than from fossil fuels. He estimates that future scenarios should factor in a carbon price of €200-€300 a ton to make renewable energy power generation and transportation a reality by 2050. “We need to eliminate coal from the energy mix,” he says, noting that “nuclear may be a good option for China and India”.
“I think the scenarios are a good way of focusing policy makers’ attention on the progress we need to make,” says King. But she notes soberly that even with the considerable co-operation and technology implementation envisaged in Shell’s more positive Blueprints scenario: “We would not deliver the reductions that the climate science indicates we need. It is a useful reminder of the size of the challenge and the urgency.”

Scary future
A bleak message in many ways, but one that Shell appears increasingly comfortable offering – both as a wake-up call to others and to reassure shareholders of the company’s place in the future, after the firm was rocked in 2004 by a massive reserves accounting scandal and struggles to replace oil reserves.
Perhaps the most alarming two facts to emerge from Shell’s scenario planning are the uncertainty around predictions of future energy supply and the potential, or lack of it, of carbon capture and storage technology. No-one knows exactly when “peak oil” – the moment when more of the planet’s oil is out of the ground than left in it – will be reached and what the ramifications for global economics, unrest and politics will be.
Secondly, while many banks and energy firms say 2020 is the earliest when carbon capture and storage will be rolled out, the technology is still at its earliest stages. Unless massive investment in renewable energy is made over the next five to ten years, and if CCS is unable to decarbonize power generation from fossil fuels relatively quickly and on a commercially viable basis, the world will be short of low-carbon power options.
The fight between industry, with their hopeful ideas of carbon capture and storage technology, and those that want to see the whole planet shifting to renewable energy in the next two decades shows no signs of abating.

The peak oil problem
Shell predicts that global oil production will peak around 2020. But the company neatly side-steps the debate in its scenarios by predicting in both the Scramble and Blueprints scenarios that the decline rate of global production will be virtually negligible up to 2040.
David Strahan is surprised that Shell’s oil peak estimation is now 2020. “I haven’t heard them say that before,” he says. The world has already reached the beginnings of a global oil peak, he argues. “The facts are stark. The amount discovered has been falling for 40 years. For every barrel we find each year, we now guzzle three. Output is already falling in more than 60 of the world’s 98 oil-producing countries. And global oil production has been essentially flat, at just less than 86 million barrels per day, since early 2005. Serious analysts now forecast $200 per barrel.”

Blueprints or Scramble
Strahan believes peak oil is coming even earlier than Shell believes and will have a much faster decline rate in production than the company predicts. “Peak oil is this side of 2020”, he says. “Even if you take the most optimistic future discovery numbers that have any credibility and apply a little bit of common-sense you get a peak in 2017”. His fear is that global production will quickly descend to a 4 per cent annual decline rate sometime after that date. “That is the average decline rate of existing oil production capacity.
All major oil companies are struggling to replace their reserves and increase production, Strahan observes. Many are giving more money back to shareholders than they are spending on exploration and production combined, he claims. “They are basically liquidating themselves. Although the high oil price is giving them high profits for the time being, they are in trouble.”

[Did you understand that last statement (bold, brown text above)? After peak oil production, the rate of decline in oil coming to the market will quickly reach the standard average oil production DECLINE  rate of 4% a year. Every year there will be 4% less available oil in the market to sell, and for you, 4% less to buy.
Question: How can there be “growth” if every year there is 4% less work being done? How can we feed 2% more children born into the world with declining food production, when we already have a great deal of dislocation, warfare and starvation on the African continuent?
Since it takes 10 calories of energy input to produce and place 1 calorie of food on your table, if the energy input is declining so are the numbers of available food calories.
Of course there will be a couple years of belt tightening, which will briefly mitigate the food shortage in richer countries, but then with the energy continually declining 4% a year, the deficiencies add up fast: -4%, -8%, -12%, -16%, -20%….in less than 5 years we’ll be unable to hold back to flood tide of misery sweeping across the world, the country, into our homes. In 10 years there would be 40% less petroleum, in 25 years…..in less than 25 years, its all changed. Before 2034.
However, for now, (sadly said) if we can remain in a global recession for the next couple years that will push forward the ‘peak production’ inflection point a few months, while lower recessionary demand may or may not curtail price increases.
Your vote at the polls will not change this. Writing to elected officials or demonstrating on the street will not change this. The global population has voted, they are becoming increasingly concerned and now that they are becoming poorer, they are arming; some are hungry and many are angry, more are in the streets, but none will change the outcome. We are faced with classic ‘overshoot and collapse’.

In closing, a look back at a chart from the book, The Limits to Growth, © 1972, by the Club of Rome. The ‘limits to growth model’ data run is seen below, where there is a  cascading effect from the decline in (resources) oil production that spreads like falling dominos  across the variables, except death rate. The ‘establishment’ -governement, industry and finance, have found it economically convenient to ignore the concepts discussed by the Club of Rome, they did not heed the warning in Hubbert’s Peak oil or the Hirsch report; time passed and these ‘limiting factors’ have  quietly approached. Today, the leadership are ignoring the ‘peak oil’ reports made by various military, business and academic institutions…. Wake up, Neo!
Mr Larry]


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