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China offered oil for sanctions deal over Iran

David Usborne, The Independent
China is being privately reassured that its supplies of oil would be guaranteed in the event that it supports tough new UN sanctions on Iran, its third largest supplier of crude.

Western sources at the nuclear security summit Washington confirmed “talks have been going in that direction” with China. Such an agreement, designed to clear a major obstacle to consensus on new measures against Iran, may also have been discussed by President Barack Obama with Hu Jintao, the President of China, at bilateral talks this week at the White House.

Iran supplies an estimated 11 per cent of China’s energy needs.
(14 April 2010)
Sent in by EB reader “orionwest” who says:

The standoff with Iran and the US is certainly relevant to the Peak Oil issue. China with its growing dependence on oil is like a black hole pulling ever increasing amounts of the precious resource into its center. As this article shows Peak Oil is already having an impact on global relations regardless of whether one believes it or not.


Why the US Fears a Nuclear Armed Iran

Michael Gass, t r u t h o u t
… The United States reached its peak oil production in the 1970’s. There are simply no large oil field reserves left in the US that are able to meet a fraction of our country’s need. The Guardian newspaper[5] reported on April 11, 2010, “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.” What is even more troubling about this report is where it states: “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 our future force developments.” This report only further bolsters the fact that US military force deployment and action are being specifically driven by US oil concerns.

There is no doubt that in order for the United States to withstand the inevitable loss of oil as its primary source for energy it must look to alternate energy models. … This will take decades. In the meantime, securing access to as much oil as possible will be the primary objective of the US government.

If indeed, as the US military states, the supply of oil could start to dwindle as rapidly as it claims, actions taken by the Bush administration come clearly into focus: the stocking of the administration with ties to oil companies, Dick Cheney’s secret energy meetings in 2000, the attempted coup of Hugo Chavez in 2002, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the torture of detainees both prior to the invasion of Iraq and afterwards that sought to provide statements justifying the claim that Iraq had ties to al-Qaeda, and the constant search for a casus belli to strike Iran. The question has to become at this point just how much time do we really have? The answer to that question couldn’t have come from a more unlikely source: Dick Cheney. In his interview with the Washington Times[6], Cheney claimed that George W. Bush’s popularity and place in history would increase in the next 20 to 30 years. While this seemed like an arbitrary number at first, there is data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) to support the 20 to 30 years claim made by Cheney. The graph cited in this article[7] by the IEA shows a 43 percent decline in oil production worldwide by 2028.

It is this decline in oil production that could bring Russia and China into any attack on Iran by the US military. China increased its demand for oil by 28 percent in the past year alone. China is the third-largest importer of oil and Iran is a major supplier[8] of China’s oil needs. While Russia only uses 19 percent of its oil production domestically, it is a major exporter of oil to Europe and Asia. Any attack on Iran that threatens its oil export capability will directly affect China. It is China that has consistently blocked action against Iran in the United Nations and called for talks between the US and Iran regarding its nuclear program. Were China to enter a conflict between Iran and the US, there is little doubt that Russia would ally itself with China.

Simply changing regimes in Iran will not change the situation as it did in 1953, as the ruling Mullahs of Iran are the real power in the country and they seem to agree with Iran gaining nuclear technology. This means that any attack on Iran, if an operation is to be conducted, must be done before it acquires a nuclear weapon.

… The primary fear of the US government in Iran gaining nuclear weapons is not that Iran would use them against Israel, but that the Iranian regime would use them to defend itself against a US invasion just as Saddam Hussein would have done if he had been in possession of such weapons.

Michael Gass is a former Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist and veteran of the Gulf War during operations in Iraq in 1991. He performed numerous VIP protections missions for the US State Department to include presidential protection missions for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy with honors in 1996 and spent six years in law enforcement. He returned to Iraq in 2006 as a US contractor doing ordnance disposal.
(21 April 2010)

Want peace? Solve the energy crisis!

Walter Simpson, Buffalo News
In 1979, the Russians invaded Afghanistan and fears were running high that they were going after the Saudi Arabian oil fields. President Jimmy Carter responded with the “Carter Doctrine,” which designated those oil fields as vital U.S. interests and stated that we would use “any means necessary” to defend them — apparently including nuclear weapons.

Risking nuclear war for oil, when we were wasting it like crazy, seemed absurd and dangerous to me. So I created the Energy Conservation Peace Pledge, a petition that said let’s conserve energy instead of risking nuclear war. Pretty obvious stuff, but it was in direct opposition to conventional wisdom and U.S. foreign policy at the time.

My conservation pledge did not change history but it was an epiphany for me. I realized that if I wanted to be an effective peacemaker, I had better address the energy issue. So I left my position as director of the Western New York Peace Center and went back to school to study energy policy. That decision led to a 26-year career as energy officer at the University at Buffalo, where I planned and implemented energy conservation measures while teaching about the need for sustainable energy policies.

Walter Simpson has worked in the energy field since he was director of the Western New York Peace Center from 1977 to 1980 and is co-founder of Western New York Climate Action. He discusses this topic at noon today in the Burchfield Penney Art Center, as part of Peace on Earth Week 2010.
(17 April 2010)

US Navy to launch Great Green Fleet

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
The US navy is set to be both green and mean with the dawning of an new eco-friendly assault force that will mind its carbon footprint as it destroys its enemy. It is to launch “the Great Green Fleet”, a fighting force of ships, submarines and planes powered entirely by biofuels. The first group will be tested in 2012, and the navy plans for it to be operational by 2016.

The push for greener fighting forces runs across the Pentagon. The military accounts for nearly 80% of the US government’s energy consumption and the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have made strategists acutely conscious of both the massive cost and serious security risks of the gas-guzzling ways of the past.

By the time it arrives in the war zone, a gallon of gas can cost up to $400, according to a study by the Pew project on national security, energy and climate, which accompanied the announcements.
(20 April 2010)

U.S. military shrinking its carbon ‘boot print

AFP (via Grist)
WASHINGTON — From solar-powered water-purification systems in Afghanistan to a Navy jet-fueled in part by biofuel, the U.S. military is taking a lead role in shrinking the U.S. carbon “boot print,” an independent report said Tuesday.

The Department of Defense accounts for 80 percent of the U.S. government’s total energy consumption, and most of the energy it uses currently comes from fossil fuels, according to a new report [PDF] by the Pew Research think tank’s Project on National Security, Energy and Climate.

But moves are afoot in all branches of the military to change that. The Army and Air Force have several bases that are partially powered by solar energy, one of which — Fort Irwin in California — is expected to be able to stop taking energy from the public electricity grid within a decade.
(20 April 2010)