Column: European cargo cults? Standing on the shore, waiting for ‘energy cargo’…a full circle of colonial irony

I’m not sure it is politically incorrect, what isn’t these days, but screw it – some aspects of history are just too absurd to not be amused by. It becomes even funnier when, subjected to certain lenses of political correctness, the mirth is multiplied into top-notch black humour. In today’s sermon, colonialism provides just such a wonderful tipping-of-the-table.

Consider a cultural oddity of last century – ‘cargo cults’ that appeared in some undeveloped countries like Papua New Guinea. Locals were ‘blessed’ with visits from Europeans, who came ashore from huge boats. A primary influence the Europeans left behind was Pidgin English, a shorthand version of English that is endearingly direct (Prince Philip became known on some shores as “Fella belong Missus Queen”).

A sadder aspect was the development of cargo cults – simple-living people with little exposure to the outer world who were mesmerized by the bountiful, strange, wonderful objects brought ashore by foreigners. They associated this stuff with the arrival of ships, and many watched and waited years for ships to return, and with them, more miraculous cargo. Mock those people at your peril, for now the tables have turned in a poetic-justice manner.

Those same colonialists that landed ashore Papua New Guinea, bringing the stench of royalty and bedazzling primitive tribes with Euro-goods, are now standing on the shores of the UK, staring out to sea, desperately hoping to see an LNG cargo ship arrive, and Papua New Guinea might very well be the home of that LNG. Karma has a sense of humour.  Nothing against your energy crisis, UK; it truly is a tragedy in the making.

The dart of accountability is aimed more at the foreheads of the climate lunatics you’ve let take the wheel. Their boneheadedness is truly breathtaking; it’s like they are standing on the deck of the Titanic staring down at the gaping hole in the side, and declaring that what the ship needs first and foremost is a salad bar. Hey, our governments have been infiltrated by those termites also, so I’m not laughing; I guess the only difference is that, since our oil/gas sector is rather critical to the economy over here, our government is having a much harder time killing it.

Here in Canada, some of us would love to help out. We would love to send you some natural gas. We have a lot.

We just can’t get it to you, because we have federal leaders that care far more about what the UN thinks than about how to manage and run a country. A whole country, that is. Putin builds Europe a gas line, then plays games to maximize the haul of rubles.

Canada chooses to not even get in the game. We are working on LNG export capability, despite some bizarre internal obstacles. A few terminals may be ready a few years after you freeze to death.

If you want to know why we can’t get you any natural gas, a good local place to start for the British is with the whack jobs at Extinction Rebellion, the piteous group of flailing and ignorant anarchists that originated there and spread over here like wildfire, a sort of COVID-18. You can have them back, by the way; they block roads, annoy everyone, convince no one, and wander in circles evading reality until the next siren song beckons them to assemble again in a formation of human mosquitoes. For full disclosure, we would love to get you some natural gas not just to keep you from freezing to death, but because extracting and selling natural gas pays a lot of the bills.

It would pay a hell of a lot more of them if we could get you some of our gas. Erudite industry veteran Dave Yeager posted an excellent synopsis of the issue on Twitter last week: In late September, AECO gas traded at C£2.72/GJ, US Henry Hub gas traded at US£5.03/mmbtu (approx C£6/GJ), and Asian LNG traded at US£29/mmbtu (approximately infinity compared to Canada’s pathetic number). Canadian producers are forced to sell at this bargain basement price because we can’t get the product to global market, where it would be most welcome.

Canadians are generally oblivious to the amount of money being left on the table, not to mention oblivious to your thundering need for the stuff. Because your situation there in Europe is so dire, I don’t really have the heart to point out that the piano really is being moved over your head, and XR is cutting the rope. “China’s central government officials ordered the country’s top state-owned energy companies — from coal to electricity and oil — to secure supplies for this winter at all costs, according to people familiar with the matter,” noted Bloomberg in a (sorry) firewall-protected article. Good luck competing with them.

Over here in Canada, we would liken that to a grizzly bear and a French poodle squaring off over a pork chop. Not being disrespectful of Britain’s might, mind you; just pointing out that China has 1.3 billion people to keep from revolting, and they are running for the buffet and will shoulder check anyone out of the way without blinking.  I really am loathe to inform you though that it gets worse.

Much worse. In nearby India, where coal accounts for almost half of the country’s energy production, more than half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants have only enough coal to last only three days. Government guidelines suggest a two-week supply.

India also has over a billion people, and is also on a life-and-death scramble for hydrocarbons in any form. The UK’s 70 million well-looked-after citizens are going head to head with 2.5 billion that need those same fuels for survival. And on that note, please don’t take the above bits of levity as a failure to grasp the seriousness of this global situation.

A cold winter will be devastating for much of the world’s population, and I’m not talking about a government directive to set the thermostat to 65. As one clown on Twitter put it, we are past gas-to-oil switching and approaching gas-to-furniture switching. The headlines get ever more ominous.

Ten days ago, it was European zinc processors that were cutting output, now, as of early October, massive Dutch greenhouses are going dark and cutting output. I had no idea how huge Dutch greenhouses are, exporting over ten billion in food, but I’m sure you knew that, being neighbours. To make the point crystal clear to any apoplectic activists listening in, that’s the food supply shutting down, folks.

Make no mistake: this catastrophe has been purposefully engineered by energy charlatans and organizations that convinced the world it no longer needs hydrocarbons and can begin dismantling the hydrocarbon system. Every ENGO celebration of a blocked pipeline is a direct and irrefutable piece of evidence should the unthinkable happen. The games are over.

It would be really great to be just writing about positive energy developments, like a burgeoning hydrogen economy, or whatnot, and if the ‘transition’ had occurred in a rational way, that would be the story. But it’s not, and wishing you all the best that those cargo ships appear on the horizon. And soon.

Buy it while it’s still legal! Before the book burnin’ starts…pick up “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at Amazon.caIndigo.ca, or Amazon.com. Thanks for the support.

insightful analysis from Terry Etam here, or email Terry here.


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