Wednesday, February 01, 2006

smoke and mirrors

My plan for today was to post on nutrient supply and composting as a piece of the puzzle concerning how to grow your own food and reduce your dependency on global agricultural companies like Archer Daniels Midland and the petroleum they use to grow and process and transport our food. I could not however pass up the opportunity to point out the following. George W. Bush said last night in the State of the Union address that he wants the U.S. “to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.” I thought you’d find this interesting.

Top 5 countries by volume importing oil into the United States in June 2005. (I used June ’05 because it was less than a year ago and before Hurricane Katrina. These 5 are always at the top of our import list.)

1. Canada 64,652,000 barrels
2. Mexico 52,379,000 barrels
3. Saudi Arabia 48,689,000 barrels
4. Venezuela 47,794,000 barrels
5. Nigeria 32,659,000 barrels

The only nation in the Middle East on that list is Saudi Arabia.

Now take a look at all the oil the United States imported from the Middle East during that same month- 96,905,000 barrels. This equals only 23% of the oil imported in that month. President Bush wants to replace (which is an amorphous word to use) 75% of Middle East oil in the next 20 years. That is equivalent to reducing our overall import of oil by only 0.87% per year if you use June ’05 as a guide. Wow what a goal. I thought he said we have an oil addiction that needs attention.

I know I only analyzed one specific month but hurricanes aside, our import numbers don't change radically from month to month. Imports do tend to increase gradually as Americans continue to use more oil and produce less and less. My point is that the average American doesn't know where his or her energy comes from. The average American doesn't understand that in the short run an ever-increasing amount of oil will be flowing from the Middle East to the America because we have already peaked in production. The average American is giving little thought to what will happen when the world peaks, because in the long run George Bush may well be right about a reduction in Middle East oil. It won't be because of conservation or technological advances or drilling in the Arctic though. It will happen because of Global Peak Oil. And it won't happen at a measly 0.87% per year. We should be that lucky.

Until then (and probably for some time after) all our government-provided information will come courtesy of smoke and mirrors.


Please read down for the previously mention composting information. I hope it proves useful.

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