Sunday open thread...

Here's a place to exchange ideas and discuss the news of the day...

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In this item,, we can get a sense of how the two media outlets discussed will likely approach the issue of PO/fossil fuel depletion.

World running low on oil

Kuwait City - Scarce spare output capacity and a lack of investment in refining coupled with unprecedented growth in global demand will combine to keep oil prices highly volatile for years to come, analysts said on Saturday.

"Volatility in the oil market is not the result of terror attacks, climatic conditions and security uncertainty only. It is more because of low spare capacity that has dropped sharply," Gulf oil analyst Hajjaj Bukhdour said.

Before 2004, worldwide spare capacity exceeded six million barrels per day (bpd) or 8% to 10% of global consumption. Currently, it is around 1.5 million bpd or just 2% of daily world demand, he said.

"In the coming years, spare capacity could drop to as low as 600 000 bpd. This is what is keeping the oil price under continuous pressure."

This analyst has been quoted a few times this weekend.


My wife and I stopped at a gas station off of Rte 81 in Pennsylvania on the way home from a weekend trip. Gas was at a low price of $2.19 there. ($2.43 in my hometown) There was an unbelievable line of cars waiting to get to the pumps and a chaotic scene once we got to pump area. There was no order to the line, b/c of a tight turning radius, and several large SUV's and V8 trucks positioning themselves. People we're getting frustrated quickly, and we could feel a sense of unease quickly come over us. We got our gas and got out unscathed, but the line had grown considerably by the time we left.

I was a twinkle in my father's eye during the oil shortage in the early 70's, so I have no history with the long lines that formed during the shortage. I have to believe though, with the "road rage" that is rampant now, there would quickly become a phrase "gas station rage" that would enter the country's vocabulary.

It was easy to see how tempers were rising today - even with ample gasoline available at a "cheap price". I can't imagine a scene with even more stressed out people paying $5+/gallon, with limited supply.

I think that I have been a peak oil optimist, preferring to live in a sort of denial, thinking utopian thoughts about a future without oil - surviving on our "skills", and our preparation, adapting to a new way of life. The glimpse of the future that I got today was ugly, with nothing utopian about it.

Here are the key points from the Communist Dreams piece:

"It's time for the British and other Europeans to seriously ponder why the United States does the exact opposite of what needs to be done on virtually every global-policy front"

"One must dig a bit deeper into the intellectual and moral decrepitude that so easily tolerates the worst this country has to offer at the worst possible time."

America is evil, the New York Times is untrustworthy. It's too dangerous to think or try to interpret the world by yourself. can digest information for you so that you don't have to think, but can impress your communist friends by spewing the exact same shit they spew.

“Peak Oil” – An Urgent Issue for New Zealand!

Dear radicalwatch - thanks for finding the piece. It is a stimulating question, unlike the pap I see every day in the NYT, the Boston Globe, even on what others have called "NPR-lite". I have two books to recommend: (1) Gangs of America (2) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. I would take them both with a grain of salt, as I take your comments and you should take mine. We are all individually responsible for digging underneath the daily input and finding out what is really going on. I like to look at so-called "contrary" opinion for ideas. Sometimes I also like to just look at my cat - it's amazing how your brain can be stimulated by looking at your cat, or just staring out at the clouds.

I think the point the web site is trying to get at is the apparent fact that the US is acting in its own interest with quite a lot of disregard for the world at large; I personally feel uncomfortable with this selfish style, as I think a lot of current problems are global (e.g. environment, energy, fisheries) and call for global cooperation at some level. So soon after the fall of the Iron Curtain, we are experimenting with how to deal with world problems. It is much too soon to say we've learned how. I think Clinton was too concerned with domestic politics, and the GWB / Cheney administration is I think far too concerned with narrow national self-interest. It seems far too early to contemptuously dismiss international cooperative effort in favor of throwing our weight around. It's quite mysterious as to why the current crop of pols thinks this way.

Several years ago a European (an Italian working for HP) recommended a book titled The Imperative of Responsibility by Hans Jonas. He said a lot of Europeans were reading it. I found it a bit difficult - it's professor-level philosophy, which I am too lazy to work at. Its point is that we have no right to dismiss the interests of FUTURE GENERATIONS.* As our parents took care of us, we must take care of future people, by leaving them a world that is as good as (or better than) what we received. The problem being, of course, that man quite suddenly has enormous power over nature, i.e. is able to make a huge difference, negatively so, to the planet. So, for the first time, we need to act AS MANKIND to solve this excessive power - i.e. recognize any bad aspects, and make sure we don't harm the environment our descendants will have to live in. (I suppose we can include exhaustion of oil and other resources as a worsening of the "environment".) This means we need international cooperation, mutual consultation, and so on.

I am amazed at the actions of this administration, and I have been amazed at, for example, fellow high school teachers who know nothing about world and national affairs and don't plan to change that. All this suggests "intellectual and moral decrepitude" - notice the word wasn't "turpitude" but simply a word meaning sloppiness, lack of maintenance, falling apart. I don't see how anyone can disagree with the statement.

(As an example of decrepitude, here's our Energy Secretary supporting the "safety" of SUVs versus small cars [which is apparently false i.e. more people die per mile travelled in SUVs than in, say, Camrys], and protection for our clearly competent automobile industry [a Financial Times editor said the US couldn't sell its cars overseas "at any price"], over improved gas mileage: )

* btw Another great book to read is "Overshoot" by William R. Catton, Jr.

Sorry, I (a) wrongly named radicalwatch as the finder of the piece, and (b) deceptively misled readers on my real themes - which are, simply, that you get good ideas where you find them, and that "decrepitude" seems as good a word as any. At least it's not negative, but just a neutral assessment. For example, at age 66, I am decrepit. So I try to get exercise. I certainly don't think of myself as evil or untrustworthy - just decrepit...

From the CS Monitor article that Retro brought up:

About greenhouse gas emissions, energy secretary says "I am married to an environmental lawyer so the matter gets frequent attention at home," Bodman quipped. He said that link between greenhouse gases and global warming, "is by no means in my mind absolutely certain..."

Well, isn't that nice. She may be an environmental lawyer, but he conveniently doesn't say who her clients are. I'm guessing she's not a lawyer for Earthwatch.

I found this piece more chilling than the rest:

Bodman disagrees with critics of the Bush administration's energy policies who call for imposing new, tougher fuel economy standards for automobiles.

"There really are issues related to safety and issues related to the position of US manufacturers and jobs for the people who are making these cars," Bodman said. "Do we put our citizens at risk by having lighter vehicles, less safe vehicles made in order to comply with what could be viewed as an arbitrary set of standards?"

Confirms the view that the administration is perfectly willing to engage in a game of "chicken" with foes in the form of other states or mother nature !

It would appear that "think" has renamed itself in order to continue its redbaiting. It would be of interest to read its explanation of christian communality and commity. It's clear this blog is now on the hitlist of those who have created and continue to perpetuate our current predicament and conspicuously offer no constructive ideas while pursuing the Rove tactic of smear, smear and smear some more.

Sorry Karlof – But I am a Bush hating, democrat voting, peak oil believing moderate. If any other radical positions – right or left - were pushed on this site, I would feel I have a right to address them as well. You can’t smear me by comparing my comments to Rove or implying that anyone who disagrees with you is redbaiting or has the whole site on a hit list. I don’t know much about the Christian groups you note but if they are fundamentalist and post on the site, I might even think they were worse than pathetic old Marxists. I think all extremists are about the same. Maybe next time I should be extremist watch.

In recent posts you have celebrated the brutal and repressive dictators of central Europe, Chavez of Venezuela, Castro, China and others just because they do something that you think hurts America. The US has done a lot of bad and a lot of good. There is nothing wrong with being critical, but when the enemy of the US is automatically your friend, it reveals your inner motivations.

I think this site has the potential to attract a broad audience and change people’s minds, but of they see the same 50 year old Marxist crap reincarnated as peak oil, they will stop listening.

Your fellow travelers have been saying the same thing since the 1920s and have been wrong every time. First Russia was your hope, then China, North Korea, and Cambodia. Now you are trying to hitch a free ride on peak oil. The phenomenon is real, but you will be left behind once again crying “I told you so”.

Just a note of clarification based on the direction this thread is taking.

For the record, this website is open to all commenters. Karlof has one point of view, radicalwatch has another, and there are many other commenters who have yet different point of views. We (the posters) are trying to be open-minded, fair, and inclusive on this website. If our readers aren't willing to tolerate various opinions, then it's unlikely that any of us are going to reach them. You should feel free to disagree with anyone who leaves a comment here, but when responding to them, please try to refute their arguments in a well-reasoned way, without resorting to ad hominem attacks. It seems to me like the best way to attract a broad audience is to show that we are willing to entertain many opinions in an effort to understand the ones that will eventually work.

Ianqui - A very good point and one of the reasons that have such a good website. I am sorry if I was insulting or overly confrontational. I will head your admonition and refute through logic, not personal attacks. - RW