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1-16-04, 2000 hrs (FTW) – For almost two years FTW has been following an imminent natural gas crisis connected to Peak Oil. Last summer at a conference in Mexico, I predicted the August 14th blackout more than a month before it happened. In previous stories and in one which we will publish for our subscribers in a few days, we have reported that going into this winter, the US had just barely met the absolute minimum storage requirements of three trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas which might have been enough if the weather stayed mild. We warned repeatedly that seriously cold weather might trigger gas shortages and events such as those reported by CNN today.

Here are some quotes from the CNN story which is reposted in its entirety below:

“Temperatures remained below zero Friday morning across New England after plunging to near-record lows, straining power grids and bringing life to a near standstill in some places.  Officials asked residents to conserve energy voluntarily or face rolling blackouts.”

“…A spokeswoman for ISO New England Inc., the company responsible for maintaining the region's power grid, said it would launch rolling blackouts only ‘under extreme circumstances’…”

“The weather has created high demand for electricity, and as a result some power generating plants ran out of natural gas Thursday and increased the burden on other plants, according to ISO New England.”

What our readers must understand is that this crisis is not one that can be solved by more drilling. A reading of FTW’s previous extensive reporting on Peak Oil and Gas reveals that there are no more significant gas fields left and that no amount of drilling for oil and gas is going to prevent a darker and colder future. Any appreciable supplies of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from overseas are decades of construction and billions of dollars of investment away and even that is at best only a short-term supply which will be taken away from others who will have to do without.

What is happening today is just the beginning.

For all of the Pollyanna advocates of alternative energy who assure us that there is nothing to worry about, that the world, and especially the United States can go on consuming at current levels and that the fatally flawed fallacy of a hydrogen economy will somehow solve our problems with regard to oil and gas, I suggest that they go and live in the northeast today and see how warm their windmills, solar panels, biomass and hydrogen myths keep them. Where is the infrastructure to employ even the pitiful solutions that solar, wind and biomass might provide? Mother Earth is laughing at Dick Cheney’s arrogant position that “the American way of life is not negotiable”.

Now is the time when the presidential candidates and every leader in the world must come to acknowledge Peak Oil and tell the world the truth. It is here. It is now. And sadly, as we have consistently said since 9/11, people are dying. Whether from hypothermia and frostbite, or from bombs and “terror” attacks, the cause is the same: the world is running out of hydrocarbon energy.

FTW would like to express its deepest gratitude to our Energy Editor Dale Allen Pfeiffer for his dedicated and breathtakingly accurate work on this subject. Dale, the good news is that you were right. And the bad news is that you were right.

Mike Ruppert

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

'Extremely dangerous' cold grips Northeast

Friday, January 16, 2004 Posted: 1:23 AM EST (0623 GMT)

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- The northeastern United States faced more bitter cold and high winds Thursday, with forecasters warning of "extremely dangerous" wind chills as low as 45 degrees below zero in eastern Massachusetts.

In Vermont , Gov. James Douglas appeared live on the state's largest television network to urge New England residents to conserve energy and help prevent rolling blackouts, which may be needed in an extreme circumstance.

Douglas said ISO New England, the company responsible for maintaining the region's power grid, is preparing to shut off power to some customers on Friday, if necessary, in order to keep the grid working.

The weather has created high demand for electricity and as a result some power generating plants ran out of natural gas Thursday and increased the burden on other plants, according to ISO New England.

Steve Costello, a spokesman for the Central Vermont Public Service Corp., said if the rolling blackouts are needed it would be a first for the region.

"We've never had to resort to that to maintain the stability of the system," Costello said. "But there has been very, very high demand in New England today."

Galen Crader, CNN weather forecaster, predicts the sub-freezing temperatures will remain through the middle of next week. Sub-zero temperatures, however, could begin to fade away as early as Friday afternoon.

"These values can produce frostbite in just 10 or 15 minutes," a National Weather Service advisory said. "If you don't have to travel or be outside late tonight or early tomorrow, then stay indoors."

In Maine , where wind chills could dip to 50 below zero Friday morning, Gov. John Baldacci declared a state of emergency in hopes of convincing federal highway regulators to allow longer driving hours for truckers carrying fuel oil.

"These conditions threaten public health and safety and endanger public property if fuel oil cannot be delivered to Maine homes and businesses," Baldacci's declaration said.

About 20 coffee-drinkers were crammed into a coffee shop in Portland , Maine , on Thursday morning, according to server Jamie Deering. "It's really cold, I mean, it's going down to 15 below at night," Deering said. "I didn't even take my trash out last night and my car is frozen."

In Boston the temperature reached a high of negative 2 degrees Thursday. The city's largest homeless shelter, which provides 700 beds, has been packed.

But one woman on a Boston street said area residents know how to deal with that type of weather:

"Dress in layers, keep moving and just try to have that old, good New England character," she said.

Business was off Thursday at a Waffle House restaurant in Tewkesbury , Massachusetts , said cook Sandra Starke. "It's awful, very cold," she said. "We just got a dusting [of snow] but it's so cold nobody wants to come out."

New Hampshire's Mount Washington Observatory, which boasts of having "The world's worst weather," recorded temperatures of 28 degrees below zero Fahrenheit on Thursday morning with a wind chill of 71 degrees below zero.

"It's actually very wonderful to be up here, to just be able to experience the weather extremes here that Mother Nature throws at you," said meteorologist Tim Markle from a weather station on the mountain. "A lot of people don't like the cold, but we're loving it up here."

-- CNN's Adaora Udoji, Laura Bernardini and writer Thom Patterson contributed to this report.

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Truth And Lies About 9-11