Global Warming - More Food For Thought

Vernon Coleman

Climate change or global warming (twee names for a coming catastrophe - James Lovelock prefers the phrase global heating which suggests something more significant) could, according to Lovelock, result in the world's population falling from 6.5 billion to 500 million because vast areas of the planet will become uninhabitable. As equatorial regions heat up it will become impossible to grow crops there. People will flock to the UK making it look positively underpopulated at the moment. Wales and Scotland will become as densely populated as Hong Kong is now. Ice will melt, seas will rise (just how much is anyone's guess - but London and New York could well become underwater cities) and flooding will drive millions from their homes

By burning fossil fuels (such as oil and coal) we have liberated billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the Earth's atmosphere. The carbon dioxide acts like a large thermal blanket. And so the earth has warmed up.

The result, so the scientists who are `on message' tell us, is that the seas are getting warmer, ice is melting and deserts are spreading. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the official United Nations global warming watchdog) has forecast mass starvation and the spread of malaria into the United Kingdom.

As evidence for this, the scientists and the politicians point out that the Greenland ice cap is melting rapidly. The result, they say, will be that in our lifetimes the British Isles will become a scattered archipelago of half-submerged mountain tops. We'll all be crammed into the bad weather hut on the top of Snowdon.

Or, alternatively, Britain will become a permanently deep freeze. Milton Keynes meets Siberia. (It depends what day you read the predictions - and who makes them.)

Now that the politicians and their spin-doctors have become involved, and have taken over global warming, the possibilities are endless - and very varied.

The story of the boy who cried wolf means nothing to people who took enormous pleasure in warning us that AIDS was going to kill us all.

There is little we can do to stop what is happening. And the very little we are doing is irrelevant.

The argument that it might not be happening because of us is irrelevant.

It's happening.

Every little we can do to help ourselves would be useful.

The EU, the UN and Governments around the world all know that they have set woefully inadequate emissions targets. We don't need to stop the concentration of greenhouse gases going up. We need to reduce them. Governments have quietly abandoned their aim of preventing climate change. By doing so they have deliberately and callously condemned millions to death.

Climate changes gives politicians a chance to get us all to pay extra taxes and to warn us to use less oil. And therein lies the truth. The politicians know that the oil is running out but they dare not tell us. So this is the easy way to prepare us for a different world.

The chief rival hypothesis to the build up of carbon dioxide is that the sun is driving climate change and that throughout the twentieth century the sun became constantly more active.

Solar activity, say those who oppose the official theory of global warming, is the cause of climate change and there is nothing we can do about it.

Plus, there is (they say) the fact that cloudiness (which affects the way the sun affects the earth) varies according to the number of atomic particles coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays mean more clouds. The sun's magnetic field stops many of the cosmic rays getting through and as it got stronger during the 20th century so this cut back the number of cosmic rays (and the number of clouds).

Is this really a new theory of climate change - as it is claimed to be by Nigel Calder and Henrik Svensmark in their (to me) almost unreadable book The Chilling Stars?

Who gives a toss?

It really doesn't matter.

The oil is running out anyway.

That's the big issue.

Global warming is a very convenient theory. The argument is that the increased usage of oil raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thereby trapping heat and leading to a rise in the temperature of the planet. With this as an excuse, Governments claim to be determined to save the planet. For once, they would have us believe, their motives are honourable. (Cue for hysterical laughter.)

In order to achieve their aim they raise taxes and introduce a whole range of new laws designed to discourage the use of oil.

Governments do not, however, do anything about their own contribution to global warming or their consumption of oil. Generals and politicians and do-gooders still fly around the world. Wars are still waged. And lights are still left on in government buildings.

Governments worldwide are even contemplating introducing a global oil tax. (From which it is, of course, a very small step towards setting up a global government. How can you possibly have a global tax without a global government to administer it and to spend the money raised?)

Denying the existence (or questioning the significance) of global warming has become a social crime almost as bad as denying the holocaust. How long before it is a real crime? Carbon dioxide is the new Bin Laden.

Scares are nothing new, of course. AIDS, bird flu, terrorism, etc etc. The Government motto is `Scares R Us'. It's how they keep us under control.

Back in 1974, Time magazine predicted the coming of a new ice age. I bet most people had forgotten that one.

Now that climate change/global warming has been taken over by the politicians there are, of course, a great many lies being told about it. It is the way of modern politicians. The first thing modern politicians learn is that: `If you can choose between telling a lie or telling the truth, always tell a lie.'

There is a snag with this approach.

It encourages distrust.

Modern politicians have told so many lies that none of us really believe anything they tell us.

There are times when this is quite useful.

So, for example, it is because politicians say that all children (except their own) should be given heaps of vaccinations that sensible, caring parents now steadfastly refuse to have their children vaccinated at all. Politicians lie, the theory goes, so if they say that vaccines are safe and useful then they are almost certainly neither safe nor useful.

The truth about global warming (something you're not likely to hear from a politician, of course) is that it is probably being made worse by things that we have done and are doing.

But it's difficult to be precise about this because there are too many vested interests with axes to grind and agendas to hide.

And, of course, there are those lying politicians. And their spin-doctors.

Every time the weather is a bit on the warm side, or a wind blows down a tree or a few snow flakes close our railways, the politicians blame us for not sorting our rubbish and eschewing plastic bags.

Politicians and pop stars fly around the world, stay in five-star hotels for a week, eat pate de foie gras until it's coming out of their ears and conclude that the only solution is more taxes to stop us taking holidays and to force us to eat our rubbish.

Not everything they say is quite true, however.

Once the politicians took over, truth and honesty went out of the window and the spin-doctors started to look for more and more evidence showing that we are all in mortal danger. Politicians love a good scare story. They know that by frightening us they can keep us under control, pass more laws, introduce more taxes and give themselves more (and more enduring) power. Politicians love crises even more than they love seeing themselves on television.

One of the big and most convincing arguments about global warming (and our influence on it) is that the glaciers are disappearing.

But, in the spring of 2007, a team of Austrian glaciologists (the sort of people who really ought to know a healthy looking glacier when they see one) concluded that the Kilimanjaro glacier is secure for decades to come. Moreover, they came to the conclusion that some glaciers around the world are growing not melting.

To top it all they concluded that the snow on our mountains has been melting since the 1800s (some time before the invention of the internal combustion engine) and is a result not of carbon dioxide but of changing rainfall patterns.

Just thought I'd mention this.

So that you, too, can be confused.

The leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations met in Germany in June 2007. (The cost of providing security for these eight popular leaders was said to be 120 million. Just shows how popular they are.)

One of their major aims was to discuss climate change and global warming.

Just prior to the meeting, George W. Bush, American President, had shocked the world by announcing that he now considered global warming to be a serious problem. Bush has, in the past, always refused to take action on climate change because it would, he has said, have a damaging effect on the American economy.

There was much hope among the innocents that the politicians would hammer out an effective protocol for saving the world.

At the end of the meeting the eight leaders announced that they had done great things. Newspapers published laudatory articles praising the politicians for the serious and sensible way they had dealt with the problem.

But what precisely did the eight so-called leaders achieve?

Absolutely nothing.

There was no progress.

They claimed that they had had a successful meeting and had hammered out a successful deal on climate change.

The Germans wanted a commitment to halving greenhouse gases by 2050.

But nothing happened because George Bush refused to agree to such a cut.

Since 1990, greenhouse gas emissions from the USA have risen by 15%.

Africa, which produces just 3% of the world's greenhouse gases, will be hardest hit by climate change, so what does America care? Clearly nothing.

Instead of agreeing that they would do something, the G8 leaders promised that they would think about doing something.

They said that instead of agreeing the target they would, at sometime in the future, `seriously consider' it.

And they announced that they would put aside 20 million of public money to help Africa cope with being turned into one large desert.

If the meeting hadn't gone ahead at all the eight leaders could have donated the money spent on their security, and Africa would have been 100 million better off.

According to James Lovelock, father of the Gaia hypothesis and a founding father of the environmentalist movement (who believes, incidentally, that only nuclear power offers a serious solution to our future energy problems) the world currently burns enough fossil fuels every year to generate 27,000 million tons of carbon dioxide.

And every year, thanks to the hard work of the world's politicians and businessmen, we create more - not less - carbon dioxide.

Nothing the politicians have done has made a jot of difference.

China has a fifth of the world's population and is going through the industrial revolution at an unprecedented rate. It is moving 300 million of its citizens into new cities by 2020. (That's the equivalent of moving the entire EU population). They will all want cars. At the moment there is one car for every eligible driver in the USA. In china there are 9 cars for every 1000 citizens with driving licences. There could be 200 million cars in China by 2020. To cope with all these cars the Chinese Government is planning to build 50,000 miles of motorway (that is equivalent to the entire interstate network in the USA). They are going to build all those roads in the next five years.

That's just China. Similar things are happening in India.

Despite the best efforts of politicians global energy consumption will increase by 50% by 2030. Or at least it would if the oil lasted. Energy related greenhouse gas emissions would go up by 55% resulting in a 5 degrees Centigrade rise in global temperature.

(The UK Treasury's official Stern Review, published in 2006, concluded that a warming of 3 to 4 degrees could result in millions of people being caught in floods and 200 million people being permanently displaced by rising sea levels, heavier floods and drought. A rise of 4 degrees would have a devastating effect on global food production by turning land which is currently fertile into desert.)

If you believe that global warming really is man-made then perhaps you should be praying for the oil to run out even sooner than it will.

Those who oppose the idea that global warming is man-made claim that it is radiation from the sun causing the earth to warm up or cool down and that climate change data shows that global temperatures rose before 1940 but then fell in the post war economic boom years despite the fact that carbon dioxide emissions rose dramatically. These experts claim that rise in carbon dioxide levels lag behind the temperature rise by 800 years. Yet more experts point out that carbon dioxide is produced in far greater quantities by volcanic emissions, decaying vegetation and animals doing what comes naturally.

The Americans won't do anything about climate change because the Chinese won't do anything about climate change because the Americans won't do anything about climate change.

Finding alternative forms of energy is a boom business (partly because of so much illogical opposition to nuclear power). Much of the search for alternatives is driven by legislation which is, as always, far from logical or helpful.

Sales of biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) are said to reach 50 billion a year by 2016.

There are a lot of really stupid people around.

(Read the article on biofuels on this website.)

The global market for windpower is predicted to be around 35 billion by 2016. The UK has one of the longest and windiest coastlines in Europe. If we cover the coastline with windmills we should produce enough electricity to power our toasters. Snag one is that we would need to destroy the environment and make coastal areas unliveable. Snag two is that making windmills uses up so much energy that they are probably useless. Snag three is that these windmills work only when it's windy. Which it isn't always. You can't store the power they produce and so they're pretty unreliable. As long as people don't mind watching half of alternate episodes of Coronation Street windmills will be fine.

Giant tidal barrages, miles long, built across estuaries might provide some electricity. And tidal power is pretty reliable. But just how efficient is a big question. How much energy they will cost to build is another. Managing tidal barges will be pretty difficult. And stormy days should prove something of a challenge.

Canada and America have vastly increased their production of greenhouse gases in recent years. Clearly, neither country cares one jot about the future of the planet. Both insist on putting commercial interests above human lives. (You can, of course, argue that global warming may well be outside human control. From a moral point of view this is irrelevant because the world's politicians have agreed that global warming and climate change are the responsibility of humans.)

In 2005, the USA recruited Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea to a group called the Asia-Pacific Partnership On Clean Development and Climate. If the group was honest it would call itself `Bugger The Planet We're Going To Carry On The Way We Want If It Means Making More Money'.

World leaders are falling over themselves to commit their nations to massive cuts in global emissions. None of them mean it, of course.

Global emissions are increasing faster than economic growth - showing that the world is not just consuming more energy but that it is also making it in ever dirtier ways.

If Governments cared about cutting down emissions they would improve the railways. This would do far more good than silly rules saying that household rubbish will only be collected once a fortnight.

Cutting down road traffic jams would cut down emissions.

In June 2007, NASA scientists, flying over Greenland, discovered thinning glaciers in large areas. When glaciers melt they don't just send water into the oceans (thereby rising the water levels) but they also change the circulation of ocean currents that could drastically alter temperatures, causing heatwaves and floods and droughts. Seven years ago tests in Greenland showed that glaciers were sliding into the ocean at a rate of around six feet a year. The latest measurements show that the glaciers are disappearing at a rate of 75 feet a year.

(Read this in conjunction with my previous news on glaciers.)

Rising sea levels are a real threat. Half of Africa's ten largest cities are coastal.

Bush's plans for reducing carbon emissions are pitiful. He is talking about reducing levels by 10% to 20% in ten to twenty years time. This will make no appreciable difference to anything.

France is carbon neutral because since the 1970s, 80% of its energy has been obtained from nuclear power plants. And French trains are so good that road traffic is relatively light.

Any suspicions you might have about the reality of global warming should be given a tweak by the knowledge that the EU is introducing a new tax on carbon based fuels.

Who will collect and keep all this money?

Correct in one.

And do you think the EU (or any of its constituent mini governments) will spend any of the money on protecting the environment? Of course you don't.

The taxes will be collected and spent by governments who are by far the largest users of fossil fuels and by far the greatest contributors to the problem.

Governments are positioning themselves to be the greatest beneficiaries of global warming. Now, there's a surprise.

Despite the alleged public concern over global warming, greenhouse gases and carbon footprints the hard evidence proves that most people really don't give a damn. There were 111,827 more flights scheduled for May 2007 than for the same time in 2006. The number of flights scheduled to take off in the UK in May 2007 was 7% up on the previous year. Mind you, that's nothing. The number of flights in Romania was 14% higher (all flying to Britain no doubt); the number in Russia went up 16%, the number in China went up 17%, the number in Spain went up 16%, the number in Morocco went up 171%.

The number in America only went up by 3% but that's because most of the American population already spend most of their lives in aeroplanes anyway.

Global warming is a red herring. The end of the oil is the real problem. It's already too late to do anything to prevent global warming. And governments prove by their actions that their only reason for making a fuss about global warming is because it provides them with an excuse to introduce new taxes. Governments aren't serious about global warming. If they were they would cut their own emissions and do something serious about changing things.

Governments are too frightened to tell us the truth about `peak oil' and are cleverly using the threat of global warming as an excuse to persuade us to cut our consumption of fossil fuels.

The oil and coal fields in the earth are, in effect, vast stores of carbon that have been hidden under the planet's crust for millions of years. As we learned to mine these resources, and as the industrial revolution developed, carbon was released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The more carbon fuels we burnt the more carbon dioxide was released.

Scientists now believe (or, rather, many scientists now believe) that the carbon dioxide traps heat in the earth's atmosphere, creating a `greenhouse effect' that gradually warms the planet and changes the climate.

Records taken from Greenland ice cores show a close correlation between the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperatures.

From the beginning of the 20th century (when the industrial revolution really got going), carbon dioxide concentrates and global temperatures both began to rise perceptibly.

Just how much temperatures will rise is, inevitably, a matter of conjecture.

But as the earth's temperature goes up so the oceans become hotter.

That changes the seasons.

The earth's glaciers are (say some scientists) retreating at ever faster rates. Coastal cities will drown and whole islands will disappear as a result of storms and rising sea levels. There will be droughts resulting in the loss of forests, crops and wildlife. We will have an unstable climate, and the planet's whole ecosystem will collapse. If cold water from the melting Arctic ice pack halts the Gulf Stream, Europe and North America could be taken into a new Ice Age.

Despite the awfulness of this prospect, President George W. Bush and the American people, the major polluters and causes of global warming, have refused to change their way of life. Bush's excuse was that to cut oil usage would harm American industry.

Just how he envisages American industry coping with a new ice age he hasn't said.

So far our leaders have done none of the things they need to do. They haven't even taken rudimentary steps towards solving the relatively simple and unthreatening problem of global warming.

On the contrary, the Government has allowed builders to erect houses on flood plains and has allowed water companies to make dangerous changes to long standing rivers and waterways.

Most ludicrously of all, and quite indefensibly, they have made no effort to provide the country with adequate flood defences.

This, despite the fact that they have been raising vast amounts of money from taxes specifically raised because of climate change.

(This makes it impossible for the Government to refute the suggestion that they have cynically used global warming as an excuse to extort yet more money from taxpayers.)

Despite their pathetic witterings about household rubbish (inspired by an opportunity to introduce new charges rather than save the planet) they have done nothing whatsoever to discourage waste and have done a great deal to encourage it. The forced introduction of digital television will add several million useless but perfectly serviceable sets to the growing pile of fridges, dishwashers and other worthless (but often mendable) household impedimenta. The cost, in terms of wasted energy resources as well as in cash terms, will be phenomenal.

Energy conservation is important and our current efforts will doubtless make a small difference to the situation. But so far the attempts that have been made have been paltry and utterly insignificant. Persuading householders to instal double glazing and to put solar panels on their roofs will not have any noticeable effect on our situation. We have done far too little, far too late, to make any difference.

The only practical contribution from the European Union has been to introduce utterly absurd new laws about the type of lightbulbs we can use. The lights they insist we use, compact fluorescent lamps, won't work in enclosed fittings (which means that millions of people will have to throw away perfectly decent light fittings) and they won't work with dimmers and they don't give out a decent light so millions of people will either be made ill struggling to read by them or will use more lights than they used before.

Just to add to the absurdity, the CFL bulbs are dangerous to get rid of and will produce a huge pollution problem. Fluorescent bulbs use fluorine, phosphorus and mercury - some of the nastiest elements around. What happens when the new bulbs are dumped and their constituents end up in our water supplies? Once again, an official EU policy is making the environment worse - not better.

Recycling schemes forced upon us by the EU are garbage.

The world would be better off if local councils stopped producing and distributing expensively printed leaflets (invariably on the best paper available) telling citizens about their recycling schemes.

Instead of putting so much effort into recycling, politicians would do infinitely more good if they put the same amount of effort into forcing companies to waste less money on packaging. (They could easily do this by introducing a packaging tax.)

The EU has an emissions-trading scheme which will make some power stations economically non-viable.

Our Government Ministers have, in short, provided more than adequate evidence that the sum of their combined IQ is a number somewhat smaller than a four-year-old child's shoe size.

Frightening people about global warming is just another excuse for raising more money. Most people agree with this thought. In March 2007, 60% of the British population thought that the British Government was using climate change as an excuse to put up taxes.

Global warming has (like the constant fake war on terrorism) given `them' another reason to bully us, threaten us, tax us and force us to adopt their brand of new puritanism.

Politicians aren't going to stop global warming. So you should start making plans now to make sure that you and your family survive. With remarkable speed there will be big changes in our world. We will have to learn to cope with more frequent storms and with big heatwaves. Bugs will increase in numbers and will become more powerful.

If you are contemplating a complete move and think you'd like to consider leaving Britain, I would suggest looking at France and Switzerland. Both have infrastructures (including excellent railway systems) which are well suited to the coming conditions. France is particularly attractive; it obtains most of its electricity from nuclear power, has one of the best railroads in the world (these two factors explain why France has the best carbon emission record in the world) and has the farming system most likely to survive in the Post-Oil age. The Swiss will never starve.

At somewhere between 400 and 600 parts per million of carbon dioxide, the Earth passes a threshold beyond which global warming becomes irreversible. We are now at 380 ppm and could reach 400 ppm by 2012. `We must stop gaining energy from fossil fuels in a way that emits greenhouse gases to the air,' says Lovelock. `And we must do it in the next decade.'

Our politicians have created a political and economic environment which can only survive if there is growth. Without growth there will be no increase in the government's tax revenue. And without a steady and considerable increase in tax revenue, governments will be unable to meet their financial commitments or pay their considerable debts.

Governments in Europe and elsewhere are now arguing that we need to use less energy in order to minimise the effects of global warming. (Politicians have never yet talked about peak oil as a serious problem.)

Energy conservation is important and our current efforts will doubtless make a small difference to the situation. But so far the attempts that have been made have been paltry and utterly insignificant. Persuading householders to instal double glazing and to put solar panels on their roofs will not have any noticeable effect on our situation. We have done far too little, far too late, to make any difference.

The Americans have steadfastly refused to make even small changes that might help cut down their use of fossil fuels and reduce global warming (on the grounds that to do so would damage American industry) and despite being an oil importer the Americans still subsidise the cost of petrol (a gallon of petrol would cost five times as much in America if Americans paid the real price of the oil).

The Clinton Administration, with Al Gore as vice president, was as guilty as any of subsidising oil so that Americans could buy cheap petrol.

Al Gore, the self-appointed champion of environmentalism, is, it seems, as guilty of wasting energy and contributing to global warming as anyone. His wonderful 20 room mansion in the USA is reported to consume more electricity in a month than the average American household uses in a year.

Gore isn't quite the white knight, saviour of the environment and all things natural that he sometimes appears to be. Two examples. First, when Clinton and Gore took office in 1993 environmentalists hoped that their administration would continue the work of energy conservation and renewable energy programmes begun under President Jimmy Carter. But very little happened and few significant energy policy changes were made between 1993 and 2001. Coincidentally, Enron had, of course, made donations to Democrats as well as Republicans. Second, one of the last things Vice President Al Gore did, before sending away his lawyers, handing America to Bush and joining the political unemployment line, was to set up, with America's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) something called the Child Health Testing Program. The people who run the EPA decided not to bother actually testing air, water or food to find out which chemicals were around in the greatest abundance - and which, therefore, might be causing the most problems. They decided not to bother warning parents against which foods contained dangerous chemicals. They decided not to slap any controls on the way chemicals are used. They decided not to do proper laboratory tests which would identify the most dangerous chemicals. Instead, as I had predicted a year earlier, they chose to set up a huge animal testing programme - apparently believing that this would help them find out exactly what chemicals are toxic and what dosages are safe for children. It is difficult to define precisely how stupid this programme is. By comparison, Napoleon's decision to lay seige to Moscow was a military masterstroke. The Japanese decision to bomb Pearl Harbour was an exhibition of strategic genius. And the decision to send American troops to South Vietnam was politically brilliant. The American plan (as endorsed by Gore) is a simple one. If chemical A doesn't kill rats (or make them obviously ill) then it will be deemed safe to put into baby food. If chemical B only kills rats in large doses then small doses will be considered safe for babies and children. This is the biggest craziest, most obscene, most utterly pointless testing programme in history. It is pointless because rats, mice, rabbits, cats, dogs and so on are all different to one another. And they are certainly, unquestionably different to human beings. As I have shown in several of my books, the evidence clearly shows that tests done on animals are misleading and cannot be applied to human beings.

The bizarre American attitude towards oil, energy and global warming isn't confined to Presidents and Vice Presidents. Not long ago, Spencer Abraham, an American Secretary of Energy suggested that the energy crisis could be solved by removing regulations and building more pipelines and refineries so that Americans could consume more oil and gas. Lists of potential global crises, devised by politicians or journalists, rarely even include energy or peak oil. Governments don't want to talk about the coming oil crisis. That will be unpopular. They don't want to introduce taxes on oil use. That will be very unpopular. Worrying about the oil running out doesn't seem the right thing to do when you're a politician finding wonderful new ways to make money out of warning your citizens about the dangers of global warming.

Is there a hope in hell that Americans will stop using oil hungry cars and learn to survive without air conditioning? Is there a chance that China will decide to halt progress and stay where it is? Is there a chance that airlines will voluntarily ground their aircraft - or that governments will force them to?

Of course there isn't.

On the contrary, everything our leaders have done so far seems to have been designed to make things worse.

Recent governments (particularly the Labour Government which took office in 1997) have weakened the economy, encouraged immigration, introduced taxes and benefits systems which have helped to destroy families, done their best to destroy the railways, done long-term damage to our farming industry, encouraged our increased reliance on imports and alienated all the countries which do have oil supplies and who will, in the medium term, have the luxury of choosing the countries to whom they sell their oil. They've closed local railway lines. They've allowed contractors and local councils to leave motorway lanes closed for long periods, forcing motorists to waste vast amounts of fuel while sitting in interminable queues. They have encouraged the police to put arbitrary and pointless speed limits on motorways in order to make speed cameras more profitable. This too encourages traffic jams and results in the wasting of vast amounts of fuel.

All of these things (and many more) have and will make things infinitely worse when the crisis arrives. It is, indeed, difficult to think of anything governments could have done that would have made things worse.

As a result of the continued incompetence of Blair, Brown and their friends, Britain will be one of the hardest hit nations on earth.

Preparing our country (and, indeed, the world) for the coming crisis would require intelligence, honesty, creativity and initiative. We need thoughtful, creative politicians to ask the right questions and find some good answers. It would also take courage.

But we don't have thoughtful, courageous, responsible politicians. And our politicians certainly do not care for our welfare. No politicians have publicly acknowledged the problems of peak oil. No politicians have raised the questions that I've listed above (let alone tried to provide any answers).

Around the world I cannot see any major political leaders who understand the size of the problem and might be prepared to try to force through the oil usage cuts which would be required to give us a sensible chance to `kick' our oil habit at a respectable rate.

Attempts have been made to make it easy for politicians to take the steps that are needed. Richard Heinberg's book The Oil Depletion Protocol describes a simple way to ease the pain. `The protocol itself is so simple,' he writes, `that its essence can be stated in a single sentence: signatory nations would agree to reduce their oil consumption gradually and uniformly according to a simple formula that works out to being a little less than three per cent per year.'

It is a good and noble proposal and one that deserves to be taken seriously. It could help us avoid much pain. It could help prevent the wars, the terrorism and the economic disasters that lay ahead.

But do you believe that America would willingly promise to cut its oil consumption by three per cent per year? Do you believe that China would abandon growth and accept a cut in its oil usage?

Sadly, nor do I.

Britain certainly doesn't have any political leaders with any of those qualities. Our Government has made no effort at all to prepare us (either as a nation or individually) for the coming energy crisis; the greatest crisis our civilisation has ever faced.

On the contrary, Britain's Government has made the country more vulnerable to the coming crisis than any other nation on the planet. (America is as vulnerable but its military might and belligerence will, for a short while, allow it to steal some of the world's remaining oil. It will not, of course, share any of the spoils with Britain.)

Britain's national debt is now so great (thanks to Brown's incompetent management of the economy) that Britain cannot survive comfortably without economic growth.

And for real economic growth the country needs to continue to use, and rely on, vast amounts of oil.

What is left of industry relies on oil. No country can export without oil.

Our society is so dependent upon the oil we import that without oil (and without a plan) our society will crumble.

Gordon Brown has put Britain into a position where Britons must deliberately choose to go into a recession, and then into a deep depression, or wait and allow themselves to be pushed into recession and depression when the oil starts to run out.

A recession they choose will, of course, be much easier to manage than a recession that is forced upon them.

The former would be painful.

The latter would lead to mass unemployment, widespread rioting and political revolution.

That's the future Gordon Brown has guaranteed.

If you and I are to survive the coming disaster then we need to prepare ourselves, our families and our friends for the future. We cannot and should not rely on politicians taking the right decisions.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2007

Vernon Coleman deals with the coming oil crisis at length in his new book Oil Apocalypse and he explores the damage done to Britain by Gordon Brown in his new book Gordon Is A Moron. Both books are available from the shop on this website and from all good bookshops everywhere. In Oil Apocalypse Vernon Coleman explains what he has done to protect himself and his family through the coming crises.