DrumBeat: August 8, 2007

Dave Cohen: Upstream Economics and the Future Oil Supply

A multitude of factors, both geological and economic, point toward a peak in the world's oil supply by 2015. Today's sermon focuses on sharply rising upstream finding and development (F&D) capital costs that jeopardize ongoing and future oil projects. It does not appear, as most economists believe, that higher oil prices and Adam Smith's invisible hand will bring forth abundant new oil supplies to meet rising demand, as happened in the North Sea and Prudhoe Bay in the 1980's. Inflation is hampering the global oil industry's ability to ease a tight market that has little spare capacity.

Bodman to push OPEC for more oil

Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said on Wednesday he wants OPEC to pump more oil as crude prices hover near record levels and he will push that message to the group's ministers ahead of their meeting next month.

...Separately, Bodman said the Energy Department may try again this fall to purchase crude oil to fill the nation's emergency petroleum stockpile.

Nigeria: When Oil Finishes

Oloibiri, in Bayelsa State, where in 1956, the first oil well was discovered, challenges Nigeria to attend to the matters of the Niger Delta quickly. All that remains of Oloibiri today is the capped, emptied well, a reminder of the worse future that awaits the Niger Delta. Oloibiri is abandoned to its fate - the world has moved to other oil wells.

This aspect of the Niger Delta is ignored. If the wealth from the Niger Delta cannot be expended in restoring the environment and giving the people another means of living, after oil exploration has banished the local economy and compromised many basic rights of the people, what happens when the oil finishes or exploration moves further offshore?

Ethiopia rebels warn oil companies to stay away

Ethiopia's Ogaden rebels warned oil companies interested in the volatile but energy-rich region on Wednesday not to be lulled into a "false sense of security" by the government, saying their forces were well armed.

Automakers highlight low-CO2 vehicles

Automakers are putting a new emphasis on cars and trucks that excel at cutting carbon-dioxide emissions to reduce global warming.

Oil forecasting off-target - It's a slippery slope for experts trying to predict the price of oil. Their record makes weather forecasting look easy.

Since 1985, federal government forecasts on oil prices have missed the mark, on average, from 6 percent to 116 percent.

"I've done 120 short-term energy outlooks and I've probably gotten two of them right," said Mark Rodekohr, a veteran Department of Energy (DOE) economist.

"We've long been embarrassed by our mistakes," he said.

Private forecasters have done little better. Even with Monday's big drop, if oil prices don't fall a lot further, 2007 will mark the ninth year in a row that the "market consensus" guessed low on how high oil prices would go.

On average, private forecasters have undershot their target by 31 percent each year, according to a recent analysis by Deutsche Bank. In the past five years, the price of a barrel of oil has tripled. The fact is, few experts saw it coming.

Escape From Suburbia: Beyond the American Dream

The message in this film has moved past the identification and understanding of a problem and toward an analysis of it and how people can take action toward solving the problem. The overall message conveyed in this film is one of hope and optimism, but only if the viewer puts into motion solutions through their own actions. This notion was succinctly articulated in the film by the quote, "'Action encourages optimism."

The great Arctic Circle oil rush

As the countries bordering the Arctic hammer out who can lay claim to what parts of the ocean, one major player is missing: the U.S. Why? Because of an unlikely spat between Big Oil and a group of Republicans over the UN treaty that governs who can claim rights to those waters.

Transport crisis drains frustrated Zimbabweans

A month ago, Samson used to queue for an hour to catch a bus to work and home. Now it's a three-hour trip because a severe fuel shortage and a price blitz targeting inflation has hit the transport industry, forcing bus drivers to quit.

Shell Evacuates North Sea Workers After Power Outage

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) has evacuated workers from its North Sea Brent Bravo platform after the facility suffered a power outage Friday.

'T&T's reserves declining'

The Trinidad and Tobago Government is expected to release details of its latest natural gas audit by mid-month following newspaper reports that the Houston-based audit consultant, Ryder Scott, found an 11 per cent decline in the country's natural gas reserves.

For Russians, rewards and risks of soaring ruble

Not long ago, Russians held their currency in such low esteem that some plumbers in Moscow preferred to be paid in bottles of vodka rather than rubles.

Now, lifted by a rising tide of high prices for oil, Russia's most lucrative export, and a wave of foreign investment, the once humble ruble has made a mighty recovery.

Nigeria: 40bbls Oil Reserve By 2010 Not Feasible, Says NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said the targeted 40 billion barrels (bbls) oil reserve by 2010 is no longer attainable.

Group Managing Director, (GMD) of the corporation, Engr. Funsho Kupolokun, argued that enormous energy requirements are needed to achieve the set target as the reserve addition and replacement ratio need to increase by 200 per cent or 800 million barrels per day within the three years.

Iraq blackouts blamed on fuel shortage

Iraq's Electricity Ministry is blaming the Oil Ministry for current electricity shortages, saying the nation's power generators don’t have enough fuel.

"Electricity generation can hardly meet half of the country's needs," said the ministry's Aziz Shammari. "Power output has never been as worse as it is today since 2003."

Much of the country goes long hours, if not days, without power in the midst of the Iraqi August, where temperatures soar above 100 degrees F.

The Electricity Ministry had been blaming power-producing provinces for eating up more than their electricity quota, as well as regular attacks on electricity infrastructure.

Analysis: Time to withdraw Iraq oil law?

Iraq's citizens suffer from the August heat, little electricity and fuel. Death is seemingly around every corner. So the time may not be right for an oil law, especially the one the Bush administration wants.

UPI has found a recurring theme over recent months during coverage of the Iraq oil law: creating a law governing the bloodline to Iraq's economy should be less of a priority than stopping the bloodletting of Iraq's citizens.

The Philippines: Power cries

But if four power plants (1,420 megawatts) were scheduled to undergo maintenance shutdown, how come two other plants (1,150 megawatts) did not have enough fuel?

In the private sector, this would readily be called “mismanagement.” In short, you’re fired!

Deregulation Blackout: How media hype California's fake energy crisis

Power shortage! Unavoidable blackouts! Too much environmental regulation! All these media themes about the electric crisis in California have one thing in common: They are utterly false.

Where's the Beef, Indeed: A Steak Shortage Hits N.Y.

The country's effort to move away from a dependence on foreign oil and embrace green initiatives appears to be behind a change in one of New York's purest traditions, the menu of the classic steakhouse.

Smallhold farmers feel under attack

The first thing people would likely notice if transportation to Vancouver Island stopped for some reason would be grocery store shelves going empty.

After that, says Lantzville farmer Dirk Becker, things would get nasty.

Beyond biofuels, scientists seek uses for byproducts

If Holser, a research chemist, and his colleague Steven Vaughn, a plant physiologist, are successful, they will not only have found ecologically friendly ways to fight weeds and grow grass. They will have found innovative uses for a byproduct of biodiesel production, glycerol. This, in turn, could help transform the biodiesel industry into something that more closely resembles the petroleum industry, in which fuel is just one of many profitable products.

Heat Waves Are Getting Longer

Researchers studying western European temperature records have found that the length of heat waves there has doubled since 1880, from 1.5 days to 3 days on average. They also say that the number of summer days that are far hotter than the average for a particular date has tripled.

A little makes a lot?

In comparison with the amount of coal burned for a given electrical generation, the nuclear proponents argue that the amount of uranium required for the same output from a nuclear power station is tiny. This leads to misleading statements intended to reassure the consumer that nuclear power is "home grown" or "indigenous". In comparison with insecure supplies of oil and gas from politically unstable regions, it is claimed that it offers security of supply, because such a small quantity of fuel can be readily procured and stocked.

A river ran through it

The Murray is the lifeblood of Australia's farming country, a legendary river that thundered 1,500 miles from the Snowy Mountains to the Indian Ocean. Now, it's choking to death in the worst drought for a thousand years, sparking water rationing and suicides on devastated farms. But is the 'big dry' a national emergency, or a warning that the earth is running out of water?

World Oil Outlook: Rising Consumption & Production Restraints Keep Prices Firm

Continued production restraint by members of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), rising consumption, and moderate increases in non-OPEC supply are keeping oil prices firm. The global oil balance for the remainder of 2007 has tightened since the last Outlook due to lower projections for world oil production and a larger projected Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stock draw in the second half of the year. This situation contrasts with conditions last year, when prices weakened in the second half due to slow consumption growth, rising global inventories, and the absence of hurricane-related oil supply losses. EIA projections for 2008 also point to a tight market, with higher consumption growth in 2008 than in 2007, moderate growth in non-OPEC supply, increased demand for OPEC oil, and limited surplus production capacity, held mostly in Saudi Arabia.

These tight conditions leave the market vulnerable to unexpected supply disruptions, especially as oil inventories are reduced over the coming months.

New Orleans: Risky business for insurance

New Orleans, which sits an average of six feet below sea level, is slowly dropping into the Mississippi Delta sediment, a fact acknowledged by the Army Corps of Engineers and others who have reviewed land surveys.

Says Robert Hartwig, chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute: "New Orleans is the most vulnerable city in America. Despite the best-laid plans, ultimately Mother Nature is going to have her way."

Indeed, some of the city's most vulnerable neighborhoods are sinking at the alarming rate of an inch per year. The wetlands around New Orleans, a network of marshes and tributaries that once served as protection from the invading Gulf of Mexico, are rapidly eroding.

Sea levels are rising too. As if that weren't enough, recent weather patterns suggest a ten-year period of more frequent and more severe hurricanes in the gulf.

...As for the levees, they won't do much to mitigate the increasing flood risk - even after they are fortified. Why? Because they're sinking too.

Peaker plants and SF's energy future

What is motivating the powerful but little-known state agency to demand that San Francisco — the only US city with a federal public power mandate — prepare for a future in which energy use continues to grow, conservation lags, the private sector controls the city's power supply, and the city's plans for cutting power use are a failure?

Ocean gas plan is smart, safe

Competition for limited natural gas supplies is not theoretical. Prices are twice what they were in 2001 with no end in sight - unless California can secure a new supply of natural gas.

Fortunately, good options do exist. One is OceanWay, a proposed offshore project that would safely import the liquefied natural gas we need to power California's booming economy and hold down heating and electricity costs in the region.

Sri Lanka: The rise in vehicle numbers

We reported yesterday that 150,000 more vehicles have flooded our roads in the in the first half of this year. According to the Department of Motor Traffic this amounts to a 14,000 increase compared to the corresponding period in 2006.

...While the Government may take pride in this distinction attached to the country it would do well to take cognisance of the downside of this whole development.

It is clear that the country is in the throes of an energy crisis compounded by the rise in world oil prices and the addition of 150,000 fuel guzzling vehicles into the existing volume - and within six months at that - is not a very pleasing prospect.

Energy Shortages Highlighted in Korean Nuclear Talks

North Korea's need for energy is desperate — and captured in pictures for all the world to see. Now-famous satellite photos show an overwhelmingly dark North Korea at night contrasting with the well-illuminated cities and towns of its rivals South Korea and Japan.

And so it was with that need in mind that negotiators from six countries—the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia—sat down Tuesday at the Korean border truce village of Panmunjom to discuss energy aid that the North will receive if it fulfills its promise to identify and dismantle its nuclear facilities and supplies.

Ghana: Load shedding takes toll on ECG

The Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Jude Osarfo Adu-Amankwah has disclosed that the current power crisis being experienced in the country was having very serious negative effects on the country’s energy infrastructure.

The current situation could reduce the life span of the machines, “Some equipment which is designed to be switched on once a year is now being switched on over 20 and more times in a year and that is putting a lot of stress on the machines,” Mr Adu-Amankwah said in an interview after the opening ceremony of a Union of Producers, Transporters and Distributors of Electric Power in Africa (UPDEA) human resource colloquium in Accra.

Chávez buys $500M in Argentine bonds, wants more

Chávez also said Venezuela would invest in a regasification plant for liquid natural gas for Argentina, which is currently weathering an energy crisis. He said the plant could be completed within two years, and local reports said it would cost at least $400 million.

A new oil crisis? Not so fast

US Congressman Jim Saxton, ranking Republican member of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released on last Thursday a study, "The Strait of Hormuz and the Threat of an Oil Shock", that analyzed Persian Gulf oil shipments, scenarios of oil-supply disruptions, potential market reactions, and their effects on the price of oil and the impact on the US economy.

Contrary to the usual dire warnings one usually sees about threats to Persian Gulf and other regional oil supplies, which have been regularly issued since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil embargo of 1973 and subsequently the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the study concluded that the increased flexibility and resiliency of the US economy have improved its ability to withstand a temporary oil-supply disruption.

Putin calls for expanded Russian refining

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an expansion of the country's oil refining industry.

"National enterprises are substantially lagging behind foreign companies in terms of advanced oil refining and producing the main oil products," he said Monday in a meeting with oil and gas companies. "When producing crude oil, Russia has to buy many petrochemical products, from plastics to chemical fibers.

"Thus, the weak development of our own refining industry results in substantial economic costs," Putin said. "We are missing the opportunity to fill more profitable niches in the world's division of labor."

Iraqi Kurds approve oil law

Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish government approved a regional oil law on Tuesday, paving the way for foreign investment in their northern oil and gas fields even as similar U.S.-backed legislation for the entire country remained stalled.

Outlawing OPEC Won’t Solve US Energy Crisis, Says Expert

America’s attempt to force down the price of crude oil through its No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act of 2007 may not solve the country’s energy crisis, an American expert has said.

6 Russians released in Nigeria

Kidnappers on Tuesday released six Russian aluminum smelter workers kidnapped more than two months ago in restive southern Nigeria.

Cyprus: We won’t be bullied over oil

Nicosia yesterday reiterated that it would not be intimidated into scrapping bids for oil drilling after Ankara stepped up its campaign to halt the process with a direct appeal to United Nations Secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon.

Meanwhile more reports have been emerging that a Turkish oil explorer has been making forays into the eastern Mediterranean. According to the Turkish media, the vessel set off from the port of Alexandretta, but neither its current location nor destination are known. It is believed the ship may be headed for areas adjacent to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

Bad tidings for ethanol

This week's USDA report could be a precursor to another runup in corn prices, spelling bad times for an ethanol industry looking to get off the ground.

Coral reefs dying faster than expected

Coral reefs in much of the Pacific Ocean are dying faster than previously thought, according to a study released Wednesday, with the decline driven by climate change, disease and coastal development.

UN: Global warming to hit poor hardest

Global warming will likely hit food production in developing nations the hardest, increasing the risks of drought and famine in the countries that already struggle to feed their populations, a senior U.N. official said Tuesday.

However, a rise in global temperatures would increase food production in most industrialized countries, which mostly have colder climates, said Jacques Diouf the director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Getting started: Time to start fighting global warming is now

The time for debate about whether climate change is happening and whether we humans are largely to blame has passed. It's time to start doing something about it.

That seems to be the message in a report from eight Utah scientists for use by Gov. Jon Huntsman's Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change. The report doesn't recommend any particular steps to reduce carbon emissions, but the implications of doing nothing come through loud and clear...

A couple of days ago, Paal and AlanFBE were debating wind turbine output. Paal said some turbines in Norway were achieving only 20%. Here in the UK, I think the number is about 25%. The highest number I have ever seen is from this GE press release, 500M kWh for a 130 MW installation. This equates to 43+% !

Congressman James Saxton of the Joint Economic Commmittee is whistling in the dark if he thinks that blocking the Strait of Hormuz would have little economic effect. 40% of the worlds crude exports move through there.

And, he seems to think the insane Iraq war has had no effect on the US ability to station troops and ships in the Persian Gulf, in spite of the Saudi's sending at least 50 recruits a day to the Sunni militias in Iraq who are killing 5/6ths of the American troops or the abhorence that most moslems have for the totrure of captives at Abu Graib.

Al Quaida sinking just one supertanker would paralise the transportation industry from huge increases of insurance. And their attack on the USS Cole proves how easily they can do that,Bob Ebersole

US Congressman Jim Saxton, ranking Republican member of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released on last Thursday a study...

There's three strikes against the credibility of the article. All too often those three words are a pointer to status quo thinking. They describe a group who don't want to consider the possibility of sudden upset.

Bob, I find it interesting that Bush/Cheney decided that now is the time to go forward with the $20 billion arms deal to SA. The body of water between SA and Iran is named 'The Persian Gulf', not the Saudi Arabian Gulf, and for good reason.

The foreign fighters who are crossing the border to attack our troops are Saudi. Fifteen out of 19 of the 9/11 attackers were Saudi. The Sunni militia's that cause 5/6ths of our casualties are Saudi financed and armed.

In the first Bush administration the Iran Contra affair had the Reagan bunch arming the Iranianians for the cash to fight an illegal war in Nicaragua by giving arms to the Israeli's.

It was proved that this was a deal which was made to keep our embassy hostages captive until after the election to embarrass Carter and manipulate the election of 1982.

This is a bunch of traitors, arming the guys that are shooting at our troops, causing people to stay in Iranian custody to manipulate the electoral process. If people say support our troops then arm their enemy they are traitors. That's what I don't understand about the talk show conservatives, are they just stupid or are they traitors too?
Bob Ebersole

We are old. We do not understand that the "troops" are not people. They are not our friends and children. They are tools. Cheap tools. Disposable tools.

The foreign fighters who are crossing the border to attack our troops are Saudi. Fifteen out of 19 of the 9/11 attackers were Saudi. The Sunni militia's that cause 5/6ths of our casualties are Saudi financed and armed.

In the first Bush administration the Iran Contra affair had the Reagan bunch arming the Iranianians for the cash to fight an illegal war in Nicaragua by giving arms to the Israeli's.

It was proved that this was a deal which was made to keep our embassy hostages captive until after the election to embarrass Carter and manipulate the election of 1982.

This is a bunch of traitors, arming the guys that are shooting at our troops, causing people to stay in Iranian custody to manipulate the electoral process. If people say support our troops then arm their enemy they are traitors. That's what I don't understand about the talk show conservatives, are they just stupid or are they traitors too?
Bob Ebersole

Bob, I don't know where to begin.

The foreign fighters who are crossing the border to attack our troops are Saudi. The foreign fighters are OUR troops, US! Illegally, criminally, period. The are getting killed because they were put there by criminals. They'll stop getting killed and maimed when they are withdrawn, although many will still die later from exposure to Depleted Uranium, not to mention a host of other ailments the hell they've gone thru will cause.

But their suffering is nothing compared to that of the Iraqis. Here we speak not in thousands, but hundreds of thousands, and even possibly a million. (A John Hpkins study had it at 660K a year or so ago.) If one goes back to the period of the first Gulf War, it reaches a few million in a country of 22 million or so. And even this does not due justice to the scope of the devastation our gov't has visited.

There have been repeated counter-statements by our own generals to the assertion that the resistance fighters are other than Iraqi, at least for the most part. If someone invades your country, you fight back. That's totally natural and totally justified and totally expected.

As for the fable of the 19 hijackers, read ANY of theologian David Ray Griffin's books on 9-11, or look at videos of his talks, or read what various US Ret. Lt. Cols. in the AF have written -- e.g. Bob Bowman, former Star Wars chief (under Nixon and Ford I believe) -- but there are many others. Oh, you haven't seen this on the MSM? Really? Wonder why. But it's true. You cannot just accept this story without investigation. This is no longer possible. There are too many people you cannot dismiss as kooks who have taken it up. Peak Oil is a matter for investigation. GW is also. So is this issue. Griffin's works are utterly lethal.

We can get hung up in the correct language all we want. I was protesting this damn war for months before the US invaded, even got fired from a crummy job for doing same, you can't talk at work.

But, at this point, Iraq is like the Tar Baby story in the politicially incorrect Uncle Remus tales. The United states is just stuck like Chuck. I'm going to assume that you love the US, even if you think the government is the worst that we've ever had. I know I do. And i've met dozens of Iraq veterans when I was working in El Paso as they were training to go back. They are mostly decent, working class kids with the finest motives-they joined the Army and reserves to get a college education without a monster student debt. They believe in working, they are patriotic and I don't mean jingoist, they are some of the finest elements of American society.

They have been betrayed by the Traitors like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Poindexter, Wolfowitz, Rice. Those monsters are arming their enemies, and the troops shouldn't be there.

But the other side is that now the neocons have totally screwed up everything with an immoral invasion,killing 800,000 Iraqis and torturing god knows how many to death-if the US leaves Iraq, we may never get another barrel of oil out of the mideast. Our currency has fallen rapidly to trash, and no other country in that region will ever allow us to have our troops there again. The export land model is going to look like the kind, easy path down. The economy will collapse and people here will starve.

If you can figure out a way out, please tell me. It is so screwed up I haven't got a clue. I'm a pacifist, I've been anti-war since I turned 15 during Viet Nam.

But the first thing is acknowlege the truth-the Bush family and all their toadies are traitors. And they have been for at least 30 years.
Bob Ebersole

Bob, I agree with you. The biggest mistake was attacking and attempting to occupy Iraq. The second biggest mistake was Bremmers dismissal of the entire Iraqi civil service and military, probably on orders from Bush/Cheney. I too was holding up signs and getting the finger prior to the start of the invasion. I could see a rerun of Nam and now we have it only this time its for that rare commidity...oil. If we lose this one we are screwed, as you pointed out, and I see no way to win it with the morons that are in charge or any of the wannabe morons waiting in the wings.

"If we lose this one..."

If? It seems clearly lost already.

It seems that perhaps we are violent agreement, to put it the way a friend of mine expresses it. Certainly I feel the same way about the soldiers your do. I'm the only male in my family who didn't serve in the military -- my son, my two brothers, my father, my grandfather (maybe not the other one). My son was lucky to have served between the two Gulf Wars. I can't imagine the pain of having had him come back in a box. Sheer luck.

I love the direction the Republicans have taken - crowding around Bush, who is at 25% before the troops who've been through the Iraq meat grinder start speaking out. One has to wonder at the files Rove must have to enforce such discipline.

Of course, Peak Oil fixes everything. Slimy, religious fanatic pandering Republican corporatists and slimy, faux populist Democratic corporatists are parasites on We, The People for the benefit of corporations. There is about to be an extensive, long term culling of that corporate herd and I am eager to see if we get outright theocracy, as the disenfranchisement of unbelievers is the only way the Republicans can remain in power, or whether a New Deal style Democrat might arise instead.

Chinese product, Chinese investment, and a Chinese curse for us all - we are definitely living in interesting times.

May you live in interesting times.

It's my all time favorite curse.


Quick Question to TOD readers here:

Have there ever been, or is there a listing somewhere, of accidents with LNG terminals or LNG transport ships?

(WestPac is wanting to build a terminal on the South Coast of BC... just looking for some more information).


To my knowledge, there has never been a major release of contents shipping accident with LNG transport ships. There have been two grounding incidents and there are probably any number of small, minor collision scenarios. But nothing major that I recall or have been able to find.

As for the LNG terminals, there have been incidents but no major failure or release of the contents from the terminals. The nightmare scenario is probably a BLEVE, but none have been associated with LNG shipping or the large scale terminal storage associated with LNG shipping.

Info on actual LNG accidents here (very safe so far):

Worst case possibilities here (could be bad if you are closer than a couple of miles at the time):

Of the three or four listed in the report here I remember the one on Staten Island in 1973 very well. I was growing up there at the time. To this day, 2 of the largest LNG tanks ever buildtstand idle and rusting away on the southwest shore. They never went into service as a result of that accident.


Just google "LNG accidents" and the first one that comes up is a good one.

[PDF] Appendix C3 C3-1 Chronological List of LNG Accidents C3-2 Marine ...File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
March 2006. C3.1-1. Cabrillo Port Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port. Revised Draft EIR. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF LNG ACCIDENTS. Major LNG Incidents ...
www.slc.ca.gov/.../BHP_Deep_Water_Port/RevisedDraftEIR/1aCabTransport/Ap... - Similar pages - Note this

Note: Clicking on the above link fails but clicking on the top line from Google works. I have no explination why.

Sorry I could not just post a working URL but Adobe version 8 does not display the URL at the top of the PDF page. (The older versions did.) Clicking on the link from google seemed to work fine but I could not copy and paste the above URL and get it to work.

The last one:

2004 Skikda I Algeria
27 killed, 56 injured (The casualties are mainly due to the blast, few casualties due to fire)

On January 2004: No wind, semi-confined area
(cold boxes, boiler, control room on 3 sides).
The fire completely destroyed the train 40, 30,
and 20, although it did not damage the loading
facilities or three large LNG storage tanks also
located at the terminal. Complete details are
pending until completion of ongoing accident

Ron Patterson

People just defeated BP building an LNG terminal on Pelican Island, across the harbor from Galveston Island, but with some of our highest population concentration within a three mile radius.

My main problem, besides safety, is that BP apparently bribed the Port Authority to have a secret meeting and also some of our city council members. They had secret meetings and rushed a lease option through at way too small a price.

The other problem was they were'nt paying enough. Negotiate for at least 1/32 of the value of the gas as a payment for your right-of-way, so if they build expansions you get your fair share.Remember, your government is going to bear all the cost of security, and all the cost of emergency services if there is an accident.

As far as environment, if it isolated enough and warms the discharge water to the bay temperature, it may be a lot less distructive than building more gas pipelines to BC. If you need the gas, which you likely do, consider what the alternatives are too.

Bob Ebersole

Congress just voted away your constitutional rights.


I noticed a great deal of discussion/debate on TOD recently about possible moves the Fed might take to counter inflation or deflation in the US economy but little was mentioned about the fate/state of the US worker. Since the US economy is closely linked to that of China now all moves by the Fed must in some measure take into account the effects on the economy of China and possible Chinese responses. Here is a link to comments made recently in Foreign Affairs about the recent division between rich and poor in America, how they got where they are, possible MAD economic measures by China, and some excerpted comments...


'The core of the issue is growing angst among wage earners in the US; their earning potential has stagnated - politicians are simply reflecting this real concern.

Over the last several years, a striking new feature of the US economy has emerged: real income growth has been extremely skewed, with relatively few high earners doing well while incomes for most workers have stagnated or, in many cases, fallen. Just what mix of forces is behind this trend is not yet clear, but regardless, the numbers are stark. Less than 4% of workers were in educational groups that enjoyed increases in mean real money earnings from 2000 to 2005; mean real money earnings rose for workers with doctorates and professional graduate degrees and fell for all others.

In contrast to earlier decades, today it is not just those at the bottom of the skill ladder who are hurting. Even college graduates and workers with non-professional master's degrees saw their mean real money earnings decline. By some measures, inequality in the United States is greater today than at any time since the 1920s. - Kenneth Scheve and Matthew Slaughter, Foreign Affairs July/August 2007
If true, this validates the view that US and Western workers not in the upper echelon income categories are bearing the brunt of enriching poor Asians. And the benefits of this are flowing disproportionately to the upper-echelon earners.

So, the threat of MAD becoming reality is real - driven by real factors and fears. Rational individuals would avoid such a path. But the tug of events and circumstances sometimes take nations where they really don't wish to be.'

I don't think China is going let us leave them holding the bag (i.e., let us inflate away our debt). They will sacrifice their new middle class if necessary. Yes, they know it will cause civil unrest. They are prepared to deal with it.

'They are prepared to deal with it.' I believe you are right, Leanan. I also believe that much of the Bush drive to garner more powers at the expense of our constitution is to position the US Government to 'deal with' domestic problems that will arrise when the FWO (formerly well off) begin to feel frisky...Once they finally realise that they are the 'lobsters in the pot.'

Look at the USA from a similar outside perspective.

Maybe for the long term prospects of our country it makes sense for the Fed and Powers That Be (PTB) to allow the lower classes to be crushed in order for real wealth to be maintained at the very top (in order to start again).

Are there alternative options available to the Fed\PTB that would leave the USA in a better position to rebuid after the seemingly likely Financial Crunch?

Imagine we had leaders truly looking out for Everyone, what would their actions look like?

Buried: I am not sure if you have heard of the concept of globalization. Simply put, your PTB are not concerned about "your" country- they have more important things to worry about.

Right. They now look at countries the same way they look at businesses and product lines -- everything they need to know they learned in Marketing 101:

Pour investment capital into Rising Stars. That used to be the USA until around 1970 or so; China is the Rising Star today.

Milk the Cows. That has described the US, and what they have been doing to it, for the past quarter century or so.

Disinvest, sell out, and kill off the Dogs. This describes the new game plan for the USA, presently coming into full swing.

Imagine we had leaders truly looking out for Everyone, what would their actions look like?

Instead of a trillion-dollar military occupation, we'd have a trillion dollars worth of PV panels on rooftops throughout the country. And we might be seeing some electric cars on the road by now.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

Actually I don't think China will sacrifice the new middle class I think they will sacrifice their poor. China has fairly strong inter-province border controls and these can be tightened. So I think they will keep the northern and coastal provinces reasonable and effectively shut off movement out of the poorer provinces allowing them to degrade. In effect they pick about 300 million to make it and let 600 million fend for themselves.

I'd not be surprised of this was not a long term plan if the world economy flattened.

China will sacrifice the middle class, but only if it must. The US is not its only, not even its biggest client, though. The pain may well be worth the prize.

There is still a widespread assumption that the US has China by the balls, but that kind of thing is spectacularly rare in this sort of creditor-debtor relationship. It's the other way around in almost all cases.

The main issue may not be what China MIGHT do to its middle class tomorrow, but what the US DOES do to its own middle class today. Beijing is watching closely what happens today to US consumers' buying powers, the housing malaise, the works.

They must have the impression that most likely, US demand for their products will decrease sharply no matter what they do with the renmimbi/yuan. As consumer credit dries up, and the dollar keeps on sinking vs yen and Euro, they may consider pulling the plug sooner rather than later. Why wait another year, what advantage would that have? Their dollar stocks would lose ever more value.

Why wait? The 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Ohh you mean the Berlin Olympics right ?
It's 1936 dude.

Hello Dragonfly41,

Good point, maybe the last Circus Maximus for the FF-age. Arguably the last exuburant industrial display of globalization's peacock plumage.

It will be interesting to see if the global economy can hold together till then. My guess is that the number of foreign sportsfans will be less than the Chinese expect, and the TV ratings won't be all that great either. Time will tell.

If SARS breaks out again, or avian-flu get loose: China won't have any foreigners visiting.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

And here's a timely article on the subject (they are going to extremes to improve things, temporarily at least):

Countdown to Beijing Games hits 1-year-mark : China celebrates, but political and environmental challenges remain


There have been few delays, and the $2.1 billion operating budget has been offset by the vast revenue expected from TV and sponsorships. That has allowed attention to focus on Beijing’s choking pollution, campaigns to “civilize” the city and the risks involved for China’s authoritarian government.

Although billions of dollars have been spent to move refineries and steel mills out of town to help stem the pollution, Beijing has been blanketed for weeks by choking industrial smog.

To guarantee clean air during the 17-day Olympics, about 1 million of the city’s 3.3 million vehicles are expected to be kept off the roads. Officials are also hoping to control the weather. Meteorologists began tests last month, firing rockets to disperse rain clouds — a move to guarantee sunshine. They’ve also fired rockets containing sticks of silver iodide to induce rain to clean the air. Countdown to Beijing

They’ve told us the factories will be closed for three months in 2008 and that they will have a directive to encourage residents to stay off the roads with their cars,” said Steven Roush, chief of sport performance for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Like other national Olympics bodies, the USOC is monitoring the quality of Beijing’s air, laden with ozone, dust and exhaust from some aging vehicles.

Old habits, such as spitting in public, jumping ahead in line and littering are under siege in various campaigns aimed at improving the behavior of China’s citizens. Everyone — from taxi drivers to Olympic volunteers — is being pressured to learn some English.

Officials are also hoping to control the weather. Meteorologists began tests last month, firing rockets to disperse rain clouds — a move to guarantee sunshine. They’ve also fired rockets containing sticks of silver iodide to induce rain to clean the air.

Ummmmmm... WTF???? LMAO.

That just gives them one more tool to hit the US with, if they so wish.

The Olympics are a profit- and nationalism machine in the US above all other countries. In the spirit of Monty Soprano and Tony Python, they may say: "Nice games you got there. You wouldn't want anything to happen to them, would you?"

There's a few problems anyway there. Yesterday, exactly one year before the opening ceremonies, the Australians said they would only arrive one day before the Games, since breathing in the air of Beijing longer than strictly necessary would hurt their athletes' chances.

I feel like placing a bet that the Games won't take place at all, or maybe with far fewer athletes than expected.

Hmm I'd not read to much into the US the US is trying to get to where the Chinese are today with a large pool of poor labor to fuel its factories and a small middle class supporting the elite.

Thus the economic miracle coming soon to a household near you and possibly yours is the same demographics as China. For the US this means dumping a lot of middle class and merging with Mexico to get the cheap labor pool. We I'm sure plan to use our coal supplies similar to china once democracy is weakened or destroyed by the large number of poor. The plan seems to make the US a coal/poverty fired economic engine once more similar to the 1900's. My only question is how much pollution will be allowed forget about C02. I suspect current pollution controls will be dropped.

China in this sense is more advanced then we are and they will first need to decide when they are going to cut off the poor. We I'm sure will watch closely on how this plays out.

Longer term your right the world economy will convert to something closer to the dark ages but I think this time around we will keep a fairly large class of professional doctors engineers etc. So although the middle class will shrink a lot I think the wealthy are addicted to technology and will foster it even though this means a little bit of power sharing. We need a more complex industry today to produce trinkets for the wealthy than we did in the past.

So I agree that the middle class in the sense that the economy is geared towards producing goods and services for a large set of consumers is doomed. In fact we have already seen our economies move over to catering to the rich this is what the fake McMansion/SUV boom was about poor people trying to afford production targeted at the wealthy. The economy shifted upscale and the foolish tried to follow it.
With the wealth of the world now concentrated the world economy will increasingly cater to who has the money and this ain't the traditional middle class. I think you will see real class distinctions soon as the pretenders go bankrupt.

It is a dangerous game the elites are playing, though. So much of the cash flow that supports their lifestyle comes from the discretionary purchases of the non-wealthy. Just think about it:

How many media barrons and millionaire "celebrities" would there still be if all of the non-wealthy just decided that with times being so tight, they just couldn't afford to buy magazines & newspapers, or books, or music, or movies?

How many sports tycoons or "millionaire athletes" would there still be if all the non-wealthy just decided that with times being so tight, they just couldn't afford to buy tickets to the games, or the cable subscription to watch them on TV, or the tab at the sports bar, or the licenced logo clothing?

How many moguls in the fashion and retail industry would there still be if all the non-wealthy just decided that with times being so tight, they just couldn't afford to buy any clothes other than the absolute basic essentials, as inexpensively as possible?

How many auto industry execs would there still be if all the non-wealthy just decided that with times being so tight, they just couldn't afford to buy new cars any more, but will just keep the ones they have going for as long as possible, then replace them with the cheapest used cars they can find?

How many airline and tourist industry execs would there still be if all the non-wealthy just decided that with times being so tight, they just couldn't afford vacations any more, and would just stay home and hike and picnic at the parks within a half-day's drive instead?

How many agribusiness and food industry execs would there still be if all the non-wealthy just decided that with times being so tight, they had better just scale back to the whole foods that they can grow in their own gardens or buy at local tailgate markets?

I could keep going, but I should be making myself obvious by now. Our election day "vote" may be a sham and totally worthless, but we all still have a "dollar vote" that has a lot more potential power to it. The non-elites do have it within their power to make sure that far fewer of their dollars get funneled into the hands of the elites than is presently the case.

Thus, if that DOESN'T happen -- if it just continues to be BAU as the clueless masses hand over their ever-shrinking numbers of dollars to the elites -- then I have a hard time feeling very sorry or responsible for the long-term fate of the non-elites. On the other hand, if massive numbers of people ever do decide to voluntarilly cut the spigot on their discretionary purchases, things could start to get really interesting. . .

(Note: I realize full well that people need necessities, and that there are plenty of elites sitting at the top of those supply chains. They won't be going away or hurting under any circumstances. But we are talking about a very small subset of the fabulously wealthy. In fact, for at least the past 25-40 years the path to wealth has far more often been in the discretionary than the non-discretionary sector. "The rich ye shall always have with you." But there need not be so many of them.)

The US is not its only, not even its biggest client, though. The pain may well be worth the prize.

I did not know this. I guess I just assumed that the US was China's biggest export customer. And I could not verify that, one way or the other, with google. So please SoFly, give me the source of that info. What nation imports more goods from China than does the US?

Ron Patterson

Table 8: China's Top Export Destinations 2006 ($ billion)
*Percent change over 2005

Source: PRC General Administration of Customs, China's Customs Statistics

Rank Country/Region Volume % Change*
1 United States 203.5 24.9
2 Hong Kong 155.4 24.8
3 Japan 91.6 9.1
4 Soutd Korea 44.5 26.8
5 Germany 40.3 23.9
6 tde Netderlands 30.9 19.3
7 United Kingdom 24.2 27.3
8 Singapore 23.2 39.4
9 Taiwan 20.7 25.3
10 Italy 16.0 36.7

From US-China Trade Statistics and China's World Trade Statistics.

GeDaMo, thanks a million for this chart. It is exactly what I would have expected, however since I did not have a source I could not really dispute SoFly's assertion. I think it is very important to give a source for one's claims.

I am a little puzzled that they give Hong Kong as an export destination. I thought that Hong Kong was now part of China. I guess this is not a chart of export nations but export destinations. But since Hong Kong is part of China, that would mean that the US is not just the largest export nation for China but over twice as large as the next largest export nation, Japan.

Does anyone find it strange that Russia, who has the longest border with China, is not even in the top ten? Does Russia import anything? If so, from whom?

Thanks again,

Ron Patterson

When I was in Lithuania (former Soviet country) most of its knock-off products (which was most of it) were from Poland.

How exports from Hong Kong to the US are classified could also make a difference. For example if exports to the US from Hong Kong are listed separately from those of China then a chunk of that Hong Kong number is also ultimately coming to the US.

Also countries like Italy and Korea buy Chinese goods and components to use in finished products that are then exported - partly to the US.

Americans are heavy consumers of almost everything.

The EU.

Not a nation, I didn't use the word. but an economic entity. If memory serves, the EU is the biggest importer since 2005.

I mentioned it to illustrate that the pain for China would be less severe than many assume. My guesstimate would be that at present the US accounts for about 25% of Chinese exports. Hurtful, but not fatal.

Yeah, it's hard to find, no time right now, later hopefully. They've got to be somewhere.

For now, 2000 numbers from the horse's mouth, China Daily::

China's Exports Increase to Top 10 Trading Partners

The U.S. remains China's biggest importer, buying 28.24 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods from China, up 29 percent. Hong Kong follows second, buying 24.64 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods from the mainland, up 31.9 percent.

Japan is the third largest importer of Chinese goods. It bought 22.06 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese goods, up 33.3 percent, and the European Union bought 21.33 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese goods, up 35.8 percent, making it the fourth largest importer of Chinese goods.

Exports to the U.S., Hong Kong, Japan and the EU add up to 96.27 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 71 percent of all China's exports.

PS Russia is in the Top Ten now.

I would guess that that the Chinese already have contingency plans for re-tooling every single factory presently making do-dads for export to the USA -- factories that our investment capital has mostly built for them. They would just shift to making more useful things for themselves and for other importers.

China threatens to trigger US dollar crash.

Why is this relevant here at TOD? Recall your history, people! During the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis, Eisenhower defanged the Brits by (a) threatening to sell pound holdings (US was largest holder of British debt at that time just as China is second largest holder of US debt now) and (b) threatening to cut off oil supplies.

What happens if China, in conjunction with several cooperative OPEC states, does a "Suez" to the US? What if global oil supplies are threatened to be embargoed unless everyone dumps the US dollar?

I have been and remain convinced that the yuan is closing in on becoming the new global currency. The Chinese do not want nuclear war. The Chinese want the power to be the world's central bank and all that this means. And they are willing to endure a depression to get it if that depression destroys the competition.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

As long as the Yuan remains tied to US$ in currency markets then it has absolutely zero chance of becoming the new global currency. If the Chinese allow the Yuan to float, it will dramatically alter their trade balance and change the entire equation. Would it then be in the position to become the global currency? As long as China's economy is primarily driven by export (and that primarily through foreign corporations) I suspect that won't be possible. Longer term? Who knows.

Yes...if they float the Yuan...then worry.

Until, they have realized (after the visits last week - "please buy more mortgage backed securities...pretty please") that they have more power than then thought.

Why is exporting bad? Review your history! The US became the world's central bank by being the biggest exporter and biggest creditor nation on the planet. Now we've more than run that into the ground and completely swapped our roles but that's now, at the end of our rope. It's not how we became the world's central bank. We became the world's central bank because of confidence in the dollar.

I agree that the yuan has to float but exporting is the driver that will let them choose when and where to float and is also the confidence builder that investors will seek when the US dollar crashes.

Where would you move your money if you knew that the US dollar was about to crash and the US economy would go with it? Especially if China's own middle class was buying their goods as well as Europe and the rest of Asia?

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

Don't forget the Japanese if anything this is a China/US/Japanese game and they are a huge player in this via the yen carry trade. Its the dollar/yen combo thats important.

China is in competition with Japan for the export market. In the big picture its the Chinese/Japanese battle more than dollar/yuan that determines how this will play out.

I think China will unpeg when Japan is finally forced to unpeg. The US market will obviously collapse so its not really a factor anymore in the sense that the rest of the world will deal with a faltering US economy.

So from my point of view the key is when Japan is forced to let it currency rise once this happens China will unpeg.
The reason we are pressuring China to unpeg first is if they don't it means Japan is probably sunk. So the game right now is the US/Japanese trying to save each other and force China to be the first one to pay for our recent excesses.

I of course think Japan is going to fall big time when the US desire for cars of all types falters. And don't forget cheap Chinese cars that may eventually arrive.

We are dammed if we do and dammed if we don't. If we don't allow the Chinese cars then its economic warfare with China but if we do Japan is toast. As long as the US auto import market is strong this is a big part of the game between China and Japan. Japan as you can see is facing a pretty dire situation over the next few years.

Yeah memmel, that sounds pretty accurate.

Two details you didn't mention:
1/ Japan's economy is in the gutter looking down
2/ China knows all of this very well, and plays it. HUD Sec. Alphonso Jackson offered them 100% US backed mortgage securities (Ginnie Mae) last month, and they said no. No news yet on whether Paulson last week did better, but those are "groveling beggar" missions.

What I think is that this game has many layers.
They could care less about a few toys dipped in bat sh*t or whatever, maybe they used that to try and force a security purchase.

Iraq isn't going so good, the UK for all practical purposes lost Basra and the Kurds are taking Kirkuk and making their own deals.

IMO the Chinese are saying "you nuke/bomb Iran, we nuke the US dollar.

I agree that Japan is a huge player in this game, as they hold more dollar assets than the Chinese. However, I'm a little confused by what you mean when you say "I think China will unpeg when Japan is finally forced to unpeg." As I understand it, the yen is not pegged to the dollar. China, on the other hand, forces the Yuan to trade in a tight range to the dollar, making it essentially a pegged currency.

Here is an article titled "China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales:

an excerpt:

Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.

My opinion is that there are problems with this "nuclear" option, and the Chinese know it. For one thing, crashing the U.S. currency means degrading their own assets, since they are holders of the dollar - they would have loaned dollars and got pennies in return. Also, the worldwide economic impact would likely have a negative effect on their economy as well.

But who knows? They might do it. On January 11 of this year they blew up a satellite in an anti-satellite test and created more orbital debris than any previous event in history. Their rockets now have to fly through that debris like everyone else's.

The "nice" thing about the nuclear options is that once both parties know about the possiblity that the enemy has it, they - at least up to now - also know it will take down both. That's the idea of balance of fear. What is true for nukes (USA - RUS) may well be true for the $ (USA - CN)

..... crashing the U.S. currency means degrading their own assets....

Problem: there is a caveat here that is too easily overlooked: the way the US economy is going, China's dollar assets are already fast degrading anyway.

To save the US economy a bit longer, there's one option only for China: buy even more dollar-denominated assets. If they don't ,it's game over.

Recognizing this, it becomes a matter of figuring out the optimum moment to pull the trigger.

It really depends on the Olympic games I guess.
I actually think they will start pulling the trigger before the games begin since it will take time for them to unload so thats in December or so.

One thing people are missing is that they get a big win/win situation esp if they start early. Once the US stock market starts to fall on its own accord which has to be this winter they can protect their own market by unloading dollars and letting the Yuan rise in value. The rising value of the Yaun will massively boost the value of the Chinese stock market leading to inflows of investment. So as the dollar/stock market collapses vs the Yuan the flight to safety will be to China not traditional US bonds.

So I think they are just waiting for the US stock market to start heading down because of a US recession then they strike.

The only way out for the US is to begin a serious round of rate hikes to defend the dollar and this will ....

The point is the only thing the US can do is to continue to increase interest rates as the big party unwinds if it wants to keep the dollar. If the US plans to default then it will lower interest rates sometime next year and I think you will see the game unwind pretty quick and everyone tries to unload the dollar faster than it tanks.

I happen to think the US has every intention of defaulting next year since we don't have a way out and either we have many years of economic hardship ahead paying debts at higher and higher interest rates needed to keep the dollar from going into a tailspin or we lower interest rates then default. So in a sense the Chinese threat to destroy the dollar does not mean much since we plan on doing that ourselves. It more a matter of who gets to shoot the dollar in the head and when.

I think we will act before the Olympics which will force the Chinese to act. So I think this game will be well underway by 2008. The shear size of the amounts of money that will slow down the game but in a sense its already started. It just a matter of when the US stocks or bond markets really crash which will signal the great dollar sell off.

One point is notice that the flow of capitol will be to china and a lot of it will be dollar denominated giving the chinese even more dollars to dump. They could end up converting trillions of dollars to yuan. So we should see the Yuan and Euro rise and the Dollar die with the Yen initially forced to rise against the dollar but longer term its probably going to go down with the dollar.

So you probably get a crashed Japanese economy no matter what. I think they will actually freak out in take interest rates right up to 8%.

Recognizing this, it becomes a matter of figuring out the optimum moment to pull the trigger.

With, presumably, all other holders of huge dollar reserves watching closely, and not wanting China to beat them to it....

The Yen is for all practical purposes pegged to the dollar its just the US does not want to mention the fact. Japan has engaged in blatant currency manipulation that makes China look good. Right now the BOJ is playing pretty much the game the rest of the the CB's want but its not clear they can continue at some point they will be forced to deal with their internal economy no matter what. Which means they need to increase interest rates to get investment into Japan itself. The Japanese government is running a huge debt and if exports falter they have no choice but the dramatically increase interest rates. They are so messed up its hard to even describe. They should have done a gradual rate tightening campaign in concert with the rest of the CB's over the last several years.

Needless to say if the world really worked correctly Japan would have been in hot water a long time ago.

By playing games they have killed themselves.

Hey Memmel

It isn't so much the yens per dollar or dollar per yen as it is the Carry trade based on interest differentials that is all you have to know about.


The old target was to keep the dollar at around 120 Yen. More or less the Japanese banking system has been able to see to this. Over the past few years the dollar has dipped, but as it gets lower the banking system steps in and buys dollars or dollar denominated securities.

So, when the dollar in the past has slid below 110 Yen it was eventually brought up higher. Thus, while the Yen is free to be traded against the dollar (and other currencies), the major financial players enter the market to manipulate it.

This is important for Japan as without its import/export economy it will eventually slip back to Edo-era lifestyle. Without key imports of energy, raw materials, and food Japan becomes a poor country (as natural resources in country are insufficient.) If Japan did not keep its products from looking too expensive to the US (and the rest of the nations which are tied to the US currency) then the other Asian countries would take over the supply function to the West. Thus the Japanese central bank has no other real option but to prop up the dollar.

The wrinkle now is that the Japan-China trade is so large it is its own force. Many Japanese companies depend upon Chinese labor and production, (and that of course gets lost in the US trade figures.) So we've got a Yuan-Dollar-Yen three-way going here. China is Japan's largest trading partner.

However, I'm a little confused by what you mean when you say "I think China will unpeg when Japan is finally forced to unpeg."

Japan is not pegged to the dollar. However, they do have a deliberate policy to keep the yen weak against all currencies. By maintaining extremely low interest rates, they have encouraged a multi-trillion dollar market in continously selling the yen to obtain other currencies and leverage the interest rate differences for fun and profits.

The yen carry trade is under pressure rate now because of the general fear factor in the world economic systems. If the carry trade collapses, it will have unknown, but severe, effects upon world currencies and economies.

FYI - the Yen is not pegged to the dollar. You can buy it on almost any foreign exchange market at the market rate. In the last decade or so it has moved from around 80 yen to the dollar to 130 or more, if memory serves.

Yes the Yen is not officially pegged to the dollar, but the Yen is manipulated to stay undervalued. As long as the Japanese interest rate is nearly zero, and the currency floated to allow for external loans I.e. carry trade, nobody cares too much. The problem is when it comes to pay the fiddler, nobody wants to pay first. Japan is tied to the world economy and the US. China is tied to the world and the US as a main supplier but not to the point that Japan is.
The oil usage issue coupled with the supply problem and current oil war has raised antennas around the world. The US and Japan want China to pay first. Japan and the US do not want to raise interest rates, but want China to raise interest rates which they have. Now China wants some reciprocity. Both Japan and the US refused. So the escalation over threats to sell US assets to force a rise in interest rates is made. The PPT laughs it off and tells the brokers go get loans in yen and buy stocks. the PPT tells the market it can control the price of oil with KSA and fool all the US saps about inflation and China will get in line.
Whether it all works out really depends on crude oil production. We are down about 370,000 b/d from 05 today. World demand is up about 1.5 m/b/d since 05. World inventories are squeezed, and OECD countries have asked for more oil from OPEC. OPEC says no today, but maybe in October. But for the Iraq war, I would say the end game could be averted. But our willingness to use our military forces to secure oil resources as a first choice makes China's ,and every other country in the world, decision to help the US at its own expense, harder to come to the aid of the US IMO.

Grey - its not that exports are bad. And indeed, you are correct that exports are critical in making you a global player. But if you look again, you'll see that I said the problem was if exports were the primary driver of your economy. The Chinese are players in the world economy because they export so much, but their domestically generated economy is relatively small. You don't become the dominant currency player without having a domestic (meaning based on your currency, not just inside your country) economy that itself is an engine of growth. That would just seem to be the rules of globalization.

I suggest you review the growth rate, not the current actual size, of the Chinese domestic economy.

Further, go back and look at where the dollar and pound were in the 1920s, then the 1930s, then by 1956 when Eisenhower finished the pound. If the world had not taken the detour into the Great Depression, the total time from US emergence as a top exporting nation to currency dominance might have been as short as 20 years.

Now I agree with Don Sailorman that the Fed is going to try to do anything to avoid a deflationary depression. I am not as confident as Don that they can actually do this but I do believe they are going to try, if they see it coming. Given this factor, I don't see a detour into deflationary depression as likely, just possible. Instead we continue the current con game - the US issues dollars to China for goods and services and then depreciates the dollar holdings. What's happening now is China is warning that it may not sit still for further rapid erosion of the dollar.

So a key question might be is just how rapidly can the existing combination of export destinations plus the local Chinese economy be expanded to consume the remaining exports that are taken by the US. If you look at GeDaMo's chart further up this thread, you see that China's export partners who are ranked 2-10 account for $436.8 billion in exports while the US accounts for $203.5 billion. Given these numbers, if China can grow its exports to the #2 through #10 partners by 7% per year for 6 years, they will have equalled the total dollar value of US exports. Thus it would seem very possible for them to hit the dollar, knock it down, induce recession or even depression in the US and yet still grow its exports (plus its domestic economy) sufficiently to ride out the bump in a few years time. Given recent Chinese growth estimates, a 7% growth rate probably seems possible to China's government too.

Now here is the rub with "weapons of mass destruction" (whether real or financial) - it does not matter if China actually fails at this maneuver or not. What matters is whether China believes it can win or not. The same is true in nuclear war. You don't know that you're going to win if you launch first but what would motivate you to do that? A belief that you can succeed! Doesn't matter that you are dead wrong because people proceed on beliefs about the future since the future is unknowable in detail. Same thing applies here. China would not make this threat if they did not think they could succeed in pulling it off. They might be dead wrong but that's not how war's (real or economic) start. Wars start because someone believes they can win.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

I think what your missing is the US will soon be a rapidly shrinking market as the American middle class implodes so its not clear that China won't lose most of this market anyway. The Democratic jousting is just for saving face the reality is we won't be able to afford the Chinese junk.

Given this it makes sense from a Machiavellian view for China to actively work to crash us if they believe the world is at a resource peak especially oil. If they are to grow they have to take out one of the current top economies. I actually think it will be a combo weakening of both Japan and the US but they have to act fairly soon before the US takes control of too much of the Middle East using its military. So if they do believe that resources are constrained and they will hit a resource wall soon then they have no choice but to eliminate the weakest large economy or as I said a Japanese/US combo. Someone is going to get tossed out of the party soon.

In my opinion the US middle class is dead and right now we are just waiting to determine the exact style of execution.

So in my opinion its a resource war with oil at the top of the list. If this is whats going on then China will try aggressive economic moves soon if the US does not implode on its own accord. And I don't think they will wait till after the 2008 games since the US is not going to allow them the luxury that Germany was given.

China is already divesting itself of US Dollars through the use of US Dollar credits to other nations for hard assets, resources, leases and diplomatic good will. Russia has already stated it is no longer interested in taking US Dollars. Many nations around the world are slowly and quietly divesting themselves of US dollars. Someone on here used the example of a bunch of people in the room watching closely for the first person to break for the door, at which point everyone will be trying to get out at the same time. I'm sure China's statement made other nations holding US debt very uncomfortable and start thinking very seriously about how quickly they could get out the door. I'll bet the US dollar begins to accelerate towards the downside whether China does anything else or not.

GZ, I agree with almost all of your statements with the exception of the time period for dollar dominance and your reasoning that all depended on the great depression. Remember that WW2 played a significant roll in the US becoming the great exporter. After WW2 the manufacturing base of most industrial economies were in ruin so the US dominated untill those economies could rebuild. By the mid 60s to early 70s the economies of Germany and Japan were rebuilt and ready to begin challenging the US as a leading exporter, and they did. Remember in the 50s-60s when the Japanese were still making and exporting toys made from beer cans and were a joke to all? Then came the Honda motorbikes with their advertising campaign 'You Meet The Nicest People On A Honda.' ...And they sold a ton of them to kids on college campuses. Then came the cars from Germany and Japan, followed by a total collapse of US manufactured TVs. I could go on but I feel sure that you get the picture.


One of my local politicians asked me a question about the energy budgets and CO2 footprints of stone / brick / concrete built houses versus timber built houses - and I could not answer.

Anyone got any links on this detailing both energy and CO2* costs for construction and running / heating costs?

* CO2 would need also to take into account that produced by making cement.

Thanks, Euan @ TOD E

I haven't seen anything which gives clear-cut answers, but there is a lot of information (or at least discussion) in this very large PDF (7MB) from the United Nations Environment Programme:


You could try:


The Association of Environmentally Conscious Builders,


Recently (though indirectly) this issue was addressed here:


See AFW-9 & 10 (pg 46). We also discussed in in the TLU (transportation and land use). But it is not directly calculated.

A couple of rules of thumb: Cement production yields about 1.05-1.25 tons CO2/ton cement. About half of that comes from calcination and the other half from fuel combustion. It depends upon the cement process (wet, dry, preheater, precalciner) because that affects fuel efficiency. I use 1.1 tons of CO2/ton cement clinker produced as a general rule of thumb. If one considers the grinding energy, that probably goes up to around 1.2 tons CO2/ton cemert.

Since concrete (cement, aggregate, water) is a blend in the final product, the typical CO2 equivalent is about 0.28-0.30 tons/ cubic yard (about 2 tons of concrete/cubic yard).

Flyash supplemented concrete runs a little lower (about 0.25 tons CO2/cubic yard) in a 10% supplemented concrete. But supplemented concrete can run as high as 30% substitution of cement, so it really depends upon the percentage supplement.

For bricks, the CO2 rate from gas-firing in about 0.2 ton CO2/ton of bricks. It can vary depending upon kiln combustion and heat transfer efficiency, but it costs money to heat the great outdoors. Of course, the brick requirement depends upon the building.

Concrete or "cinder" blocks should have a similar CO2 footprint as brick when dealing with the cement, expanded aggregate and sand. If I find a better number, I'll let you know.

Stone is really quite dependent upon the quarrying and finishing techniques and requirements.

Hope this helps.

A caveat.. One thing I feel has been a mistaken direction in 'Greenbuilding' is the supposed advantage in Embodied Energy and sometimes in Thermal Efficiency of building with a less-dense frame. In the US, such practises as spacing studs (vertical wall framing) at 24" instead of 16", and using fewer sticks at corners and around door and window casings, with the reasonable desire of moderating wood-used, and thermal conductivity between indoors and outdoors.. I just use that as an example, and don't have information on brick and other bldg materials, but I am concerned that such advantages may result in buildings that fall apart MUCH faster, necessitating rebuilding and more materials thrown in to the mess. (Particularly IF we have more interesting climate conditions ahead of us, where we will hope for very robust housing stock to get us through as much as possible)

I think many builders (At least in Maine, where the craft still has many proud artisans) are aware of this, and wouldn't make the mistake of underbuilding, but I still sense a trend in 'false-economizing'..

Just a thought.

Bob Fiske

Joules, Blue, Star and Bob,

Thanks very much for this input - I will send it to my political master together with an offer to pay more taxes for services rendered

Eh? ;-))

There has been much talk about the occupancy level of cars - but I'm not sure I've heard so much about the occupancy level of houses / apartments. There are multiple trends in the UK leading to single occupancy which fuels the housing shortage / building boom - boosting inflation, debt, CO2 and energy use - and ultimately poverty. Un unforeseen consequence of a capitalist property owning democracy?

The points made about the durability of property are well made - if we hit an optimum design of "Passive House" today that lasted for centuries, then this would greatly benefit the environment, wealth and well being of those who owned and lived in them - not much benefit for the building industry though.

For those interested in OPEC I spotted today that the OPEC 2006 bulletin is published:


Hi, long time lurker first time poster here. Apologies if this goes in the wrong place as I havnt quite worked out the posting system yet.

This is for Euan who asked for info about sustainable building. There is a design movement in Germany known as the Passivhaus that uses much less energy than standard dwellings. IIRC the body heat of three occupants in such a house can keep it comfortably warm even when outside temps are in the minus.



Lobes - thanks very much. I just read about the "Passivhaus" in Monbiot's book heat. It sounds a great idea.


I got a chuckle out of the recent hoopla about delayed flights in the US. The fix is supposed to be a new aircraft control system using GPS which will cost 30 billion over twenty years.

Something tells me that air traffic volumes will be hardly taxing the current system by then. I'd rather spend it on shoring up bridges; they can be adapted for light rail, pedestrians and bicycles. A fancy satellite nav system will probably be under the 'what were they thinking' column.

Lifting X tons of stuff a few miles in the air with no regeneration on the descent will seem pretty profligate compared to ground transport. When airplanes get regenerative descending then pigs will really be able to fly.

The delays are, I suspect, not unrelated to peak oil. Airlines are being killed by fuel prices, but they can't raise fares; customers are too tightfisted. So airlines are dealing with it by cutting back on flights and trying to avoid flying with empty seats at all costs.

The result: planes are really crowded, and really overbooked, which is why the delays are such a problem. It used to be that if you were bumped, you'd get another flight two hours later. Now, it might be days, because planes are so full. So people are reluctant to give up their seats for the coupons and such that the airlines offer, making the overbooking problem worse.

Snapshot of airline fares - a friend of mine is going fishing in Alaska next week. His ticket, purchased last Dec for Boston to Anchorage, was around $350. He checked the price yesterday, current price over $1200.

That's typical of the way airlines work. Buy ahead, and it's cheap. Buy a week or two before the trip, and it will be four times as much. They figure you're desperate, and will pay anything. Or you're a business traveler, and your company will pick up the cost.

Wait until the last few days, and it may be cheap again. They don't want to fly with seats empty, so if any are unsold, they may be available at rock-bottom prices.

Downward motion of a plane gives forward movement. A plane which is descending has throttled back its fuel consumption. All planes are gliders, its just that some have engines attached, and others glide better. The only point at which energy could be regenerated is the final braking on the runway - surely a small loss?

It appears that the EIA has updated their short term energy outlook, showing total OECD inventories, on a Days of Supply basis. I think that OECD countries only account for something like 60% of world consumption.

It would appear that the stuff will hit the fan in the fourth quarter, when the bidding for declining net export capacity will, IMO, begin to get really serious.

An article above talks about the shortened life expectancy of some electrical equipment in Ghana because the equipment is turned on and off many times a year, rather than just once a year as planned.

What kind of equipment has this problem? Are we likely to have this problem as well, if we have more frequent electrical outages?

Here is another option for 'turning the electricity on and off.' Electrical grids are very vulnerable to attack almost everywhere. Insurgent attacks are definetely going to contribute to 'above ground' problems associated with peak oil.


'JOURNAL: Infrastructure collapse in Iraq
15 of the 17 high voltage lines running into Baghdad are inoperative due to sabotage. "When we fix a line, the insurgents attack it the next day"
Iraq's electricity Minister, Aziz al-Shimari reveals that many provinces (mainly in the Shiite southeast and the Kurdish north) have disconnected their power plants from the national grid due to a fight over scarce resources -- a sign of disconnectedness that threatens to "lock-in" Iraq's collapse. The situation's details:
Four nationwide blackouts in Iraq in two days (August 3/4, 2007)
Insufficient production. The grid is only meeting only half of demand.
Local disaster. Baghdad power is less than two hours a day. Karbala has been without power for three days. Water production is being severely impacted (pumping and filtration) -- drought.
All signs are that global guerrilla infrastructure disruption is in the process completely hollowing out the Iraqi state. With this underlying situation in place, the chances of any meaningful improvement (as opposed to symptom abatement) is nearing absolute zero. Further, even the most minor destabilizing events will run non-linear with amplifying factors like this in place.'...snip...

What kind of equipment has this problem?

Gail, all electrical equipment that gets really hot has this problem. It is the heating, then cooling, then heating again that causes problems. Circuits expand then contract then expand again creating more stress than you would have if it just stayed on all the time.

Modern computers do not have much of a problem because they do not get that hot and they carry very little current. It is the big rectifiers and power supplies and other such equipment that suffers most from being turned on and off. Smaller electrical equipment suffers very little from power cycles.

Ron Patterson

Well 'lots' is a relative term, but CPUs can dissipate 100W in the space of 1 cm2. They will melt in seconds if not handled properly. That counts as lots in my book.

BTW its not just heating effects, its that jolt of back EMF on startup that can do for power circuits.

....was having very serious negative effects on the country’s energy infrastructure...

I think the word 'machines' in the article is a misleading translation as he is talking about energy infrastructure. This would mean switchgear in substations, balancing points etc. These handle ridiculous currents and are quite self-destructive. It is quite difficult to break a substantial load as the arc makes the air conductive, resisting the aim to open a circuit.

Serious circuit breakers use compressed gas to blow the spark away, or quench it somehow. IIRC the 'last resort' breakers can be explosive!

As others have said lots of things have starting currents that could shorten lifespans. Filament bulbs are the example we come across most. And, as noted, IT equipment usually is unhappy [though at least we dont 'park' hard drives anymore...]

I'm sure that most people have seen this video already, but it fits with this comment. Really cool electric arc at a substation


Why can't we embed videos on this forum?

Why can't we embed videos on this forum?

My guess:

1) It's annoying
2) It's a bandwidth killer

Machines/engines are often used interchangeably to describe several types of generators. These include ICE (internal combustion engines) and turbines. I read it as meaning that rather than being used as "emergency backup" or peaking "machines" that these units were started more frequently and being run for extended periods of time.

Although new, modern designs can see near continuous operation and loading as well as lots of startup cycles, older designs might not be scaled for this type of operation. It does not take long to turn on and synchronize the generator for these types of operations, particularly diesel engines and the smaller aero-derived turbines, but the thermal stresses of such cycles can begin to build up over time.

Larger turbines take a little longer to bring up to speed and temperature (there is a flame stability issue to contend with and the effects on the turbine blades as it comes up to speed and load, as well as diffusion flame versus pre-mixed mode for natural gas).

re shortened life of electrical equipment:
Speaking after 30+ years of hands-on...
All equipment has this problem. Yes, we are likely to have [and do have] this problem with more frequent electrical outages.
Every time a large electrical load [power] is required to connect [ON] or disconnect [turn OFF] instantly from its feeder [generating source], the equipment is designed to handle the task safely IF ALL COMPONENTS WORK AS DESIGNED, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN COORDINATION AS A SYSTEM.

Failure is certain as statistical chance [e.g. 1 in a billion] is pushed to extremes, since all safety testing is based on statistics. That is why proper maintenance [repair/replacement to meet original design specifications] is vital to safety. Proper design quickly becomes meaningless without maintenance.

Every time a large load must be instantly connected or disconnected [e.g. a nuclear powerplant goes into rapid emergency shut-down {SCRAM}], there are enormous stresses that must be tolerated [heat and shockwave of arc blasts].

Repeated ON/OFF cycles or unplanned shut-down EVENTS EVENTually degrade the system without proper maintenance/replacement.

Electrical "outages" all involve some degree of stress to equipment. Unplanned "outages" invite the fates of statistical chance that the high stresses will be successfully tolerated.

Thanks for the updated information on your web site.

A few questions:

1. You show Canadian oil sands information on you site. I would think this would be buried in one of the EIA lines. Which one? The "Other liquids" category (which includes biofuels) is actually down between 2006 and 2007.

2. Am I correct in assuming that your calculations of 2006 at 5 months use the original estimate of that amount? I get somewhat different numbers when I calculated 2006 at 5 months using the latest data. The biggest discrepancy seems to be in the "other liquids" category. I am showing

2006 at 5 months = 2.99

You show 2006 at 5 months = 3.12

We both show 2007 at 5 months = 2.96

3. "Other liquids" seems to be very seasonal, most likely because ethanol is added during the summer. I presume that the ethanol that is produced in 2006 is added to the summer 2007 fuel supply (since it is used for MTBE, which is used in the summer). Does this sound correct?

1. The Canadian tar sands production is included in the Crude Oil + Condensate category, see EIA glossary:

Crude Oil: ... It may also include: ... Drip gases, and liquid hydrocarbons produced from tar sands, oil sands, gilsonite, and oil shale.

2. Good catch, I found a small error in my script. I have the same numbers as yours.

3.Yes it's very seasonal, the other liquid category peaks during summer:

Is that summer peak a consequence of the harvest? i.e., ethanol production ramps up as the corn gets brought in and goes through a lull as the season's crop gets converted? I understand that there is also a summer oxygenate issue that may be causing the artifact.

To the extent that we are bound to migrate towards a solar energy budget (PV, photosynthetic, etc.), you would expect to see diurnal and annual patterns in energy production/use.

The normalization is very useful.


Corn is harvested in the fall, and almost certainly stored until it is made into ethanol.

Ethanol is produced through out the year. See this table from EIA.

What I think happens in the "Other Liquids" graph is that ethanol is shown in the month that it is added to the fuel supply. It turns out that this is during the period May to October. Nearly all ethanol is used to replace MTBE, as a summer oxygenate, which is used during this period. (Strangely enough, the price of gasoline is higher during this period.)

Because of the lag between growing corn and the production of ethanol, the ethanol that goes into this summer's fuel supply is made from the corn grown last summer.

That blue line sure looks like it is going down - PO in 2005 by one definition.

Other liquids = biofuel and refinery gains?

Increases in NGPL may hit buffers imposed by size of LNG trains and shipping fleet?

An absolute scale rendering (excluding farming products) would also be interesting to see.

Thanks Khebab.

Apropos of several of the featured stories in today's Drumbeat:

The UIUC sea ice page has been discussed here several times before, but the current situation is worth discussing again.

We're within a few days of setting a modern-observations record low for northern hemisphere sea ice extent; this is dramatic because we still have more than six weeks of typical melt season to go.

I'm actually a little freaked out by this. I've been watching it for a few weeks, but have hesitated to post because it's always dangerous to sound alarmist based on gut feelings and slivers of data.

Regardless of that, I feel fairly comfortable now stating that we have experienced an entirely new mode of sea ice melt in the northern hemisphere this year. For the first time that we've observed, the melt exposed large areas of open ocean while the artic sea was still exposed to summertime light. That is, in all previous years very little open water in the arctic basin itself was exposed until mid august at the earliest. This year, however, vast swaths of of artic ocean waters were open as early as mid July, when the entire ocean is exposed to 24/7, relatively-high-elevation incident light.

I'm working on a rough-and-dirty simulation of the additional energy input due to this effect this year, but in the meantime:


Note not only the obvious decrease in area and extent of the main body of ice, but the declines in peripheral ice on the northern coast of Russia and the Canadian Arctic. Hello Northwest Passage...

Please take a look, if you haven't recently, at the UIUC Cryosphere Today page, and spend sometime convincing yourself that things truly are dramatically different this year.

I've been following this recent melt for a few weeks aswell. Compare todays ice cover, open up another browser and look at the images from the archive for the same days in 1979/1080/1981. It's a pretty dramatic difference.

I'm wondering if this years exceptional melt is related to this years UK very wet (and much colder in Scotland) weather and much lower latitude jet stream.Maybe not.


Marco -- it's an excellent question. It certainly seems like having a few extra million square kilometers of open ocean available for atmospheric exchange would affect weather patterns.

Much of the water is (relatively) warm, as well, with temperatures north of the Bering Strait over 12C/55F!

The National Snow and Ice Data Center's monthly chart has been updated for July, as well; this is a good check on the UIUC graphics because it monitors total extent rather than concentration-weighted area:


The weather here in Northern Europe is not dissimilar to what happened in the early 14th century after the Medieval Warming period. The cooler, wetter summers were the onset of the Little Ice Age, supposedly caused by the slowing of the Gulf Stream. Is it happening again?

If the summer ice melt is affecting the polar sea ice to such a degree, then something similar is probably happening to the Greenland ice sheet too. Is it enough to slow or re-direct the Gulf Stream? Would that cause atmospheric changes like pushing the Polar Jet Stream further south, etc?

Any views? I might have to tweak my adaption plans a touch to factor in glaciers and polar bears in my vegetable plot :(

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Interesting point. I have read (not online) comments by climatologists to the effect that we just do not know what the result of current warming trends will be. The feedback loops of our world may end up leading to consequences such as rapid cooling. We just don't know, because our models are only based on what we do (or think we do) know. All we can say for certain is that trends are continuing along the warming pattern, and we are contributing to the heat retention through GHGs/deforestation/etc...

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

The sea-ice extent is likely to be the more important variable, as the satellite data product called "concentration" is contaminated with the effects of surface melt ponds, as well as some artifacts from storms. One can't look at just one day, although the past several days certainly do show rapidly declining extend. The weather patterns may have added to this year's decline, as record high temperatures in the western u.S. may have produced rather warm air flows toward the Arctic.

Last year, the NSIDC posted a rather long ongoing press release about the change in sea-ice.


This year, they are being very quiet, for some unknown reason. Anyway, here's the latest extent graph from University of Illinois Cryosphere Center:


Notice that the extent is already near last years minimum and still headed downward.

E. Swanson

Very good point re: extent; you can watch the effects of storms/weather on the concentration data in the UIUC 30 day animations. The measurements are fairly robust against these errors sources if viewed through a (possibly mental) 7-day average.

Note, though, that the graph you linked to above is actually a concentration-weighted "area" graph rather than an extent graph; it consistently reads 1-2.5million km^2 lower than the "extent" numbers used in the NSIDC and NERSC reports. Unfortunately, the NERSC numbers haven't been updated since March of this year and the NSIDC numbers are provided as monthly averages, so the UIUC area information is all we have for another month or so, unless we start generating our own product from the data :)

The last three points in your chart seem to indicate a significant departure from the the linear model used until now. A fourth outlier point may suggest that a quadratic model is maybe more appropriate indicating a possible acceleration of the melting.

It seems that there is an acceleration for the last couple of years:

Yes thats the positive feedback problem. Its almost impossible to model and you can see that although the models had the trend correct the timing was awful because of the feedback.

This is why I'm so concerned about positive feed back for oil production the arctic is more complex than the oil industry and we see that positive feedback loops have had a profound effect on the timing of the melting.

For the oil industry we have determined several positive feedback conditions.

1.) "Wack a Mole" type shortage conditions where a shortage in one place leads to later shortages in other areas.

2.) Infrastructure, logistic and investment pullback in the oil industry effectively internal turmoil as costs increase and production continues to decline this also include economic. political and price uncertainty that causes fear uncertainty and doubt. The overall effect it the oil industry will become less efficient at extracting current reserves and pull back from bringing new projects online.

4.) Export Land by West Texas.

5.) Other stuff. hurricanes, war, political instability, terrorism etc etc.

Given how the arctic has reacted to a force which is general warming with strong correlated feedback accelerating the response time. We can expect in the post peak world that the same accelerated conditions will take place.

So once things start changing and the world knows its post peak it will change far faster than most people predict.
The predictions of peak production in 2010 are a joke we will be lucky if we have 50% of todays production and 25% of the exports by 2010.

The predictions of peak production in 2010 are a joke we will be lucky if we have 50% of todays production and 25% of the exports by 2010.

And where are you getting those numbers? It's irresponsible to make such statements without backing evidence.

Open your eyes the evidence is right in front of you and its now trivial to figure it out. All I needed to determine was if the proposed positive feedback loops are really occurring.

They are.

Thus the oil economy will crash. In fact its now certain to crash since we are now past the point that we can avert a crash. We actually just passed the point of no return over the last few weeks if that makes you feel any better.

So trivial that he wont bother showing you the numbers! *sigh...*

I agree. I also agree with the comment above that these types of statements are completely irresponsible.

But it should come as no surprise. "memmel" is one of the people who was 100% confident that Cyclone Gonu would cause massive damage to the Gulf oil infrastructure and would significantly disrupt shipping in the Indian Ocean.

Actual result: No significant damage, so storm surge in the inner Gulf, and zero disruption to shipping.

While making this website nearly impossible to read at times, at the least, these types of posts prevent any serious discussion of oil-related issues.

The lesson I think is to bet against anything people like memmel say as they have a pristine record of being wrong.

We have had a strong increase in oil prices with basically nothing happening except Gonu and generally decent stocks. And the price increase was delayed about right for sailing times from the gulf plus a bit of supply draw down. We have seen unusual moves in the markets moving out of contango and unexplained stock draw downs that match well to the amounts delayed by Gonu so I'd say it seems to have had and effect. If you read what I actually said it was we would not be able to see the effects if we had a hurricane or other event we seem to have met most of the criteria and we seem to have indeed had a ripple effect from Gonu. And we hit record prices ????

Read more of the thread I outlined my methods later its more I did not feel it worthwhile to answer the original poster.
It was not the question asked which was valid but I did not feel it was worthwhile to answer. Like when a two year old asks why the sky is blue you have to consider who is asking before you answer. Considering I'm presenting arguments well beyond even mainstream believers in peak oil I don't think that is was worth answering the poster. Sorry but read the rest of the thread it is explained later.

I don't believe data currently exist for a future event.

I do recall one exception, though. In Back to the Future II, Old Biff brought back the Sports Almanac to Young Biff who made a fortune betting on games.

Other than that, any speculation regarding future events is just that.

What isn't speculation is the fact that the entire Bush Economic team came out today for the third time in two weeks to tell us all things are fantastic and to go buy another Hummer.

Oh, and we're winning the war too.

I am sidetracking slightly, but have a question. The recent 'rush to the artic' for hydrocarbons - has it been proven that it is rich in reserves by siesmic/exploratory drilling or other methods ie geology/basin characteristics or is it just speculated that it could be, hence the rush to explore an unchartered area?


Good question, Marco. We've got the North Slope Field and the Artic Wildlife refuge prospect on our side of the basin as proof that there's something there. The Russians have the big gas fields off Siberia too.

My understanding of sedimentology and continental drift leads me to believe yes, its possible. A lot of paleozoic shales were formed in cool seas that were anaerobic, like the Woodford shale in the West Texas-New Mexico-Oklahoma area in the Tobosa sea. That's thought to be the source rock for the Permian Basin. But how well that's been proven, I'm not educated enough to judge.
Bob Ebersole

It looks like we'll get a good glimpse at Russia's reasons for optimism this November at the AAPG & AAPG European Region Energy Conference and Exhibition (November 18-21, 2007):

"Prerequisites for Formation of Large and Unique Oil and Gas Fields at the Arctic Shelf of Russia"

There were tar sands and natural gas found at Melville Island 75° 30′ 0″ N north of Prudhoe Bay and the Mackenzie Delta resources.

Is anyone going to the AAPG & AAPG European Region Energy Conference and Exhibition (November 18-21, 2007)? Judging by the schedule of papers, it would be worthwhile. If someone does go, perhaps they could report on what is presented.

The predictions of peak production in 2010 are a joke we will be lucky if we have 50% of todays production and 25% of the exports by 2010.

Christ, and I thought I was a doomer. Actually I agree with you memmel, but I don't think it will be that severe that quick. I think oil peaked in 2005 but I don't think we will be down to 50% before 2015. I am making no predictions on exports because that depends too much on above ground factors. However I think 25% would be about right by the time we hit 50% of current production.

Ron Patterson

Its actually pretty easy to see that this is true.

Consider this.


This says Arctic ice free by 2040 according to the models which don't include the large number of positive feedback loops present in the system. Looking at the real data it seems obvious that the Arctic will actually be ice free by 2010-2015. So about 3 times or so faster then predicted.

The oil industry has the same positive feedback conditions. The less oil thats produced the less oil we can produce independent of is possible to be produced. The point is the ice melting in the Arctic is now driven by the feedback loops not the original forcing from global warming feedback has overwhelmed the initiator.

For oil this means capacity estimate and reserve estimate become irrelevant and feedback or above ground factors ensure real production is well below the original models.

Now how did I get the timing. The assumption is the Arctic is my computation or model system but it differs from my system of interest. First its breakdown year is about one year ahead of oil the Arctic was swamped by feedback this summer where for oil it won't happen till next year. But the Arctic is really only active about 6-8 months out of the year since the feedback loops literally freeze in the winter. While oil is pumped year around. So one system is breaking down later but its running about twice as fast.

Take my simple multiply by 3 for positive feedback and given most estimates based on depletion have 50% production by 2030 that gives 2010 for 50% production. The 25% exports is blatantly lifted from the Export Land model adjusted up by assuming a crackdown on internal consumption by that point.

I'd be surprised if I'm off by much given a few miracles you might make it to 2012 but thats really pushing it.

What this means to me is a middle east war is certain to occur by 2010 thats the highest probability collapse event.

This model does not say what will take us out just that the positive feedback loops which include a certain amount of war will cause production to drop dramatically after the breakdown year which is 2008. The exact combination that becomes the strong feedback loop is not determined. But with five or six obvious ones and probably hundreds or thousands that are unknown but already working the probability is effectively 100% that a combination will strengthen to cause the system to decay rapidly. Basically so many positive feedback conditions being initiated now and strengthening next year that the system will break down.

Anyway thats my model and the Arctic is my computer.

but I don't think we will be down to 50% before 2015. I am making no predictions on exports because that depends too much on above ground factors. However I think 25% would be about right by the time we hit 50% of current production

Have you actually thought about the probability of these events happening and the necessary global decline rate to acheice those levels in 8 years. The numbers are huge.

Look at what the decline rate has been for the past two years(if you believe it is geologic) and then try to get 50% of current production in 8 years with that.

Consensus/conventional peak-oil thinking doesn't even have oil anything but flat until at least 2010.

So you start out saying you are not going to make any predictions, and then make two. Do you realize that the odds against both happening are at least twice what they would be for either one to happen? You would be mistaken if you thought that there would necessarily be correlation or causation leading to a greater probability of both happening simply because you mentioned them in the same statement.

For what you say to happen, we have to start an 8% decline literally tomorrow.

Both Bakhtiari and Ace predict 55 mbd or less by 2020. That's a 30 mbpd drop based on 4% annual decline over all but the first few years of that period. If you accuse those analyses of being irresponsible then you have your head in the sand. For reference, the 1973 Arab oil embargo was a few million barrels for a short period of time, so just imagine the impact of this collapse in oil production if it happens.

Your statement about consensus is also wrong. Some peak oil theorists still believe peak is yet to occur but more and more are beginning to assert that is has occurred already.

Oil production is already declining with June 06 versus June 07 showing a 2% decline right off the bat, right during a peak consumption period - summer vacation time in Europe and the US. And this comes when most models are predicting less than 1% decline the first year after all liquids peak. If 2006 turns out to be the peak then the decline rate at the outset is already 100% higher than most models assumed. So what are we to think about most models predicting 2%-4% steady decline post-peak? Could that number be off by 100%? Could decline rates actually reach 8%?

Maybe you are ignorant that the CEO of the world's premier oil consulting firm, Schlumberger, already observed 2 years ago that actual decline rates for existing fields was really 8% globally. Further, are you aware that 65% of all oil deposits come from the 1% (507) largest fields? Are you aware that 60% of all oil production comes from these same 1% largest fields? Are you aware that 20% of the world's production comes from the top 20 fields and 19 of these are confirmed in decline and the #1 field, Ghawar, looks like it is either in decline or dangerously close to starting that long journey downward?

Do you even understand the predominance of large fields in global production and what it means? Do you have the mathematical skills to realize that while the top 507 fields produce 60% of all produced oil, that this also means the other 49,500 fields produce the other 40%? Do you understand that this means it would take 75,000 or so of these smaller fields to replace these 507 fields? And that we've never even come close to finding that many small fields let alone finding them year after year?

The situation really is that bad. Wake up and smell the coffee, man!

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone


I think your decline rate going forward is too fast. This is the graph of future production I show in Peak Oil: What's Ahead?.

The analyst average forecast is based on estimates of Ace, Rebelius, and Bakhtiari. The symmetric forecast is just the mirror image of past production, assuming a midpoint of 2006.

I expect that actual production will drop below either of the forecast lines, because of above ground factors. I can't imagine it will drop off as fast as you predict, however. Using these forecasts, production does not drop to 50% until well after 2030.


Not to take anything away from your graph, nor to speak for memmel, I still think it's good to point out that memmel includes severe production "handicaps" in his predictions, while your model does not.

See his post right above yours.

The less oil that's produced the less oil we can produce independent of [if it's] possible to be produced.

Right no one has a good way to include all the positive feedback into the system. As far as I know you can't really model it with our current computers. We just happen to have another complex system that has similar positive feedback conditions and extensive modeling to the best of our ability.
Thats the Arctic and melting. So we do have a similar system that has both key conditions we have good non-feedback models and we have good data.

So given this we can actually see how the positive feedback works we have a real life system that can be used to provide us the one answer we need which is how much faster does the system degrade vs what the computer models predict. The answer seems to be about 3 times faster.

The underlying cause could be considered like this. Your put into a room filled with mosquitoes. What's the probability that one will bite you in 30 seconds 1 minute 1 day ?
The mosquitoes represent positive feedback conditions.

So if the oil industry will suffers from a large number of positive feedback loops as production drops it makes sense that they will overwhelm the original reason for the drop.

As and example in the arctic once the ice sheet breaks up a bit the floes grind against each other this mechanical abrasion probably removes far more ice than melted through direct warming.

So yes we should see some event next year that result in a big drop in oil production according to this model their are simply to many positive feedback loops that are going to be triggered to not have a big drop in total production or better total exports. This as you can see triggers more positive feedback conditions like the ice grinding I mentioned.

So as oil production begins to decline next year if I'm right we are certain to get some sort of positive feedback initiated that causes a unexpected drop in production.

And the reason I say 50% drop by 2010 is a Middle East war is at basically 100% probability by then just like with the room full of mosquitoes after one day. This may not be the event that actually causes the drop but its a good bet.

Given the way the Arctic has behaved and the fact that our oil economy is full of positive feedback as production declines I don't see why it won't begin to drop and then drop dramatically as the feedbacks strengthen from previous drops.

All I'm saying is a complex system with positive feedback seems to decline about three times faster then the non-feedback models predict. I don't think the exact system matters with this sort of meta modeling. Note this is supported by population crash events. The assertion is that any complex system subject to multiple positive feedback conditions effectively crashes.

The Arctic was critical in getting a empirical number of how much faster but once you have one you can be fairly confident that similar systems with decent models can be modified using the 3 times faster observation to account for the complex positive feedback conditions. If someone has other example systems to offer I'd be delighted to see them.
What we need is a good model and actual data and fairly obvious un-modeled positive feedback conditions.
Forest fires for example and of course financial panics are a good one. The problem with financial is we don't have a orderly decline case :) Another example is a ship sinking. The titanic is especially well documented and comparing the death of the oil industry to the titanic has a certain charm.

Memmel: I can't comment on the accuracy of your predictions but I will give you lots of credit for very original thinking. The tar sands already seems to be exhibiting signs of your feedback loop.

Thanks its really WestTexas that got me thinking about this with his Export Land model and its effects. Started me wondering how many positive feedback loops where possible as we pass world peak the answer is a bunch :)

And as far as I can tell this means a fast crash like situation and feedbacks and correlations strengthen. I've not mentioned correlations but they are just as important. With plenty of oil you have a cushion that prevents fairly random correlations from happening but as oil becomes tight events become correlated.

As and example consider a tanker truck carrying a load of gasoline that needs diesel it pulls into a gas station but the station is out of diesel waiting for you guessed it a tanker carrying diesel to arrive. So the arrival of the gasoline tanker is now correlated with the arrival of the diesel tanker carrying fuel it needs. These correlations are important "fuel" for positive feedback loops and are in a sense the driving force that causes the positive feedback loops to initiate in the first place.

You can look at the fuel starved African countries to see how they are breaking down in a number of ways even countries like Nigeria that are exporters outside of terrorist events you actually have continuous production problems in Africa caused by logistical problems.

Your right the tar sands are a good one to watch according to this model tar sand production should actually decline rapidly in the next few years which is a surprising prediction but this model indicates that this will happen.

So you have a few things that come out of this model if you think about it.

1.) Certain regional war in the Middle East before 2010.
2.) A break down in tar sands production.
3.) Orinoco will never be heavily exploited.
4.) African production should break down.
5.) Terrorist acts against oil infrastructure will increase world wide.
6.) Normal infield drilling will begin to decline much less new developments.
7.) A Hurricane or other natural disaster will occur that damages some major oil production.

The model does not "predict" any of the above but if you believe the model then you can consider events that would cause massive drops in production the model is just saying that events like this are certain to occur. To get the kind of drops its suggesting indicates to me that "big" events have to happen that lead to further declines in production capability. The model is biased to a large number of small events happening with a few growing to have large effects. It does not predict how just that large feedback events will occur. My above list is conjecture on what these large events could be it could be a simple strike or unrest in some country that snowballs just like WWI. In fact the time preceding WW I is very similar to what we are facing now.
Maybe call it the tinderbox effect.

Hi Memmel. In case you don't know it, I'm a big fan of your posts, so take the following in that context.

Thats the Arctic and melting. So we do have a similar system that has both key conditions we have good non-feedback models and we have good data.

So given this we can actually see how the positive feedback works we have a real life system that can be used to provide us the one answer we need which is how much faster does the system degrade vs what the computer models predict. The answer seems to be about 3 times faster.

Both the rate of melting arctic ice and the rate of oil extraction & export are nonlinear systems with some identified positive feedbacks. Some of 'em we know, some of 'em we certainly don't. There is no reason to think they are congruent systems in what you might call "behavioral phase space", so no reason to assign the factor of three to oil. What you can say is that systems which embody positive feedbacks tend to happen a shitload faster than humans expect, and that's about all the rigor you can derive.

Indeed, a factor of 3 may wind up being wildly conservative for oil. So I think the rigorous description is that oil will become less available a shitloat faster than predicted by models which are not able to include the multifarious feedbacks.

Thats correct :)

But their is in some sense a limit based on how fast the underlying system can respond. For example a strike by the US will remove 4mbpd and the financial markets will respond right away but it takes time for the real amount of oil to drop 2-3 months or so. And your right that this is a wag but a factor of three is known to exist for ice melting. I'm saying because of feedback we may have at least a factor of 3 speed up.

Your right it could well fall apart faster but at this point how much faster could it fall apart ? Next I actually suspect that their is a upper limit on how fast feedback can cause a system to change since they are limited. For example Greenland is going to melt I'm sure far faster than the models predict and I suspect about three times faster :)
But the underlying system can only change so fast. It will still take years for Greenland to melt say at least a decade. I think the estimates for Greenland being ice free are around 100 years.

This link actually admits they don't do positive feedback
So assuming I'm right at about 100 years or so then your looking at Greenland ice free in say 30-50 years using the 3 times rule with a lot of leeway.

This answer seems sensible.

The three times rule is an observation its empirical based on one data point hopefully others can be found. We will know for oil soon enough. Greenlands a bit farther out but this does say we should see some major unprecedented melting in Greenland over the next ten years. So again if 3 times is really generic we can predict major non-linear melting events for Greenland withing the next 10 years.

Back to your point your 100% right but I think that it may be true that non-linear effects that don't lead to explosive behavior have and upper bound on how fast they can speed a process. What your talking about is probably "explosive" or sudden events. These are not really covered except in the sense the the probability increases for such and event over time. Its not that far off from the central limit concept.


So generally positive feedback eventually leads to and explosion if its undamped. But in general positive feed back simply results in exponential growth. And this growth has a wide range of doubling times. The observation is that in one complex system this results in a system that decays about three times faster then the non-feedback models indicate.

I've got a pretty strong suspicion that this observation is robust and holds with a lot of complex systems if we have a good estimate of the underlying base decay rate.

Smaller systems that run faster means your talking about a specific explosive event or a particular feedback loop. This is what your arguing. It may well actually happen but its outside the scope of the concept I'm presenting except as I mention the chance of a explosive event becomes almost certain. For smaller systems positive feedback leads directly to and explosive event in a short period of time but larger/slower systems seems to have this steep decay with a high potential for explosive events. It probably true
in smaller systems also but they pass through this phase so fast its not modeled.

I wish I had a complex system that responded faster but did not "explode" I think its hard to find this behavior in smaller systems since they fall into the explosive condition so fast you don't get to see the slower underlying non explosive positive feedback crash.

Our current global economy is also a good example. Estimates based on simple resource usage and growth show it reaching its limit in about 50 years or so at which point we would saturate the planets capacity. Using the rule of 3 this says we only have 16 years left before decline even without peak oil. This answer actually feels right if you consider all inputs. So don't dismiss it.

Wow. I think this deserves a thread of its own...

I agree, Leanan. Can Professor Goose get BostonGeologist to write a post on this? Or can Stuart tackle the increasing ice melt rate? If the Arctic is melting faster, it strongly suggests that Greenland's melt rate will have accelerated yet again too.

Has the positive feedback loop just oscillated out of our range of understanding or at least what we are willing to believe collectively?

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

The question is does anyone have examples of some attempt to model or observations on the behavior of complex systems with numerous positive feedback conditions.
The Arctic is obviously proving how wrong the models that can't include these conditions are but what do we actually know about these systems ?

memmel, I don't know about systems, but the hypothesis I've been using is what happened in the 14th century. When the Medieval Warming period lead into the Little Ice Age.

Strangely enough, the abrupt climate change brought to an end a benign period for humanity where agricultural produce had been rising and along with it the population. The change also coincided with a resource and energy depletion problem (wood in this case) and ecosystem overshoot.

The results of abrupt climate change, resource depletion and overshoot were catastrophic. But hey! Everyone didn't die, so no problem, nothing to worry about.

"History doesn't repeat but it rhymes" Anyone looking into the period of the 14th century cannot but see the similarity to what we face today. The initial impact of climate change were felt in farming, crop failures and poor harvests, due to the weather along with disease in farm animals (Bird Flu and Foot & Mouth come to mind here).

My own thoughts are that today's climate change is possibly being forced, unlike the 14th century, which may mean that the cooling will result as a palliative to warming. At least in Europe.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

That's why the confidence of people like realclimate.com that they can firmly exclude Lovelock etc.'s "alarmist" predictions is absurd.

Let's see what happens with the climate this fall. I'm kind of expecting something dramatic to show up but let's wait and see if it does.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

This image and the one above have got to be enough to convince people that this is a problem of a massive scale and is only going to get harder and more difficult. Shouldn't be that hard, look at the evidence they needed to go to war in Iraq, if that had to be done than this must surly have everyones attention..... please

Bank of England raising interest rates
Massive floods in Asia and Gloucester!
Yangtze river dolphin going extinct
2008 Olympics fears about air quality
Appeal for Brent Knoll wind farm plans
Arctic - trigger of WW3?

Listen to Rihanna "shut up and drive"

Anomaly data

Is there a significance to the differential anomaly for summer-to-winter months (where in winter the anomaly is near zero)?

John -- yep, there is! Sharp eyes. The graph you show above is for the central most part of the arctic ocean, shown as lime green on this map:

This part of the planet is sufficiently cold and dark during the winter that it's still very easy for the entire area represented on the graph to be fully ice-covered for most of the winter. If you take a look at a region that is further south, such as the Baffin/Newfoundland Sea area, you'll see nearly the opposite pattern for a similar reason. The anomaly is near zero during the summer because it's normal for almost all of the ice to melt, and it's tough to have less than 0 coverage :)

GB - I see. Thanks, should have clicked around some more. Also, I guess the graphs at top of the site say it all, from inverted hockey puck for the anomaly to the sea ice graph, linked below. Looks like it could be a nosedive the next couple of weeks, although in the preceeding summer the slope clearly reduced by this point in the year.

BTW, the graph below is screaming to be Fourier-transformed to get a peak at the changes in higher frequency components of the sea ice coverage from say 1979-2000 vs 2001-2007.

Sort of like watching the gasoline inventory numbers this past Spring (wherein he ties it all back to mainstream TOD topics). :)

If this were a typical melt season there would
be less than 5 weeks left to sea ice minimum.
September 8 is the median date given at
Cryosphere Today. Nothing typical so far this
Please do continue work on the rough simulation
of additional energy input. I've searched for
that number a long time, no luck, sure can't
calculate myself.

I remember that September 11 was the median date quoted when I first took an interest in this subject in 2001(!)
But recently there seems to be a trend towards later minima.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 3, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) dropped by 4.1 million barrels compared to the previous week. However, at 340.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain well above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories fell by 1.7 million barrels last week, and remain below the lower end of the average range. Declines were seen in inventories for both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components. Distillate fuel inventories rose by 1.0 million barrels, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased 0.5 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories inched lower by 0.3 million barrels last week, but remain in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

Total imports (crude + products) are UP 0.4% YTD (214 days) compared to 2006.

0.4% is 4.6 percentage points below the long term rate of increase that we have shown since 1990: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2767

We have met demand by drawing down (from admittedly high levels) total crude + product inventories by about 56 mb (from the 2006 high).

CNN: Oil prices rally on surprise decline in gasoline inventories.

I use Bloomberg for oil prices. Before the petroleum data comes out, there's usually a headline something like 'Oil falls on expectation of rise in supplies'. Afterwards it's 'Oil rises on unexpected fall in supplies'.

Why do the traders expect supplies to rise? Are they just being optimistic?

Being a conspiracy theorist at heart...I would call it "shaping market psychology".

They like to convey the illusion of explanation, which is not a conspiracy but a human fallacy of thought. All news services will couple an 'explanation' with an upward or downward movement in what is an inherently unpredictable/inexplicable complex system, even for small swings which are within the bounds of random 'noise'.

Nassim N. Taleb is a good writer if you wish to understand these silly human tendencies; I recommend "Fooled by Randomness".

It never ceases to amaze me that a reporter can stand there with a straight face and report "responding to moves on Wall St last night, the local market dropped sharply last night", then on the next day report "apparently ignoring improvement on Wall St last night, the local market continued to slump".

Now of course, there is a real and observed tendency of our local market to respond to Wall St (given the respective sizes), but to assume that every parallel move in the markets is causal, while every divergent move is some weird aberration is pretty silly.

And here's another one: why is a downward movement always a "correction"? Is there an unstated assumption that the market only ever moves down when it's overvalued due to speculation?

Utilization is slipping to 91.3.

Those lower gas prices only drove up demand to 9.7MMBPD.

Still nothing to look at here. Doubt it will take the price back up to the same levels as a week ago.

Next reaction point still looks like October, barring above ground events.


U.S. crude oil inventories remain well above the upper end of the average range for this time of year

is this average adjusted for the fact that we are using more oil this year?

(I googled but it didn't help)


Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

How can the oil drum engage in the promotions of enviromentalist lies? California's envriomentalists WERE the main, not only, but main cause of the California energy crisis.

Had the enviromentalists not succeeded in their mission to shut down the nuclear power plant at Rancho Seco the rolling black-outs would have been avoided.

The Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station is a decommissioned nuclear power plant built by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in Clay Station, California.

This 2772 MWt Babcock and Wilcox pressurized water reactor (913 MWe) achieved initial criticality on 16 September 1976 and entered commercial operation on 17 April 1977. The plant operated from April 1975 to June 1989 but had a lifetime capacity average of only 39%; it was closed by public vote on 6 June 1989 (despite the fact that its operating license expiry was not until 11 October 2008) after multiple referendums and the promise of ten years of subsidized power from the Diablo Canyon power plant. As of 2005, decommissioning activities are underway.

It was a public vote, led by the envriomentalists, which caused Rancho Seco to close 19 years before its designed off-line date.

Shame on the oil drum for propagating enviro-nazi lies.


Leanan, the Oil Drum Editor for Drumbeat, doesn't advocate or censor any point of view. What she does is put up is peak oil, environmental, energy and finance news fro all kinds of sources, the let everybody slice and dice the stories. My suggestion is that if you have any stories you want the group to consider, post them or links to them if they are very long.

Another suggestion: calling people environatzis is not a way to make friends and influence people. I happen to agree with you about the closed nuclear plant, but the California Energy Crisis had a number of causes, including the failure to build new generation capability for their grid and some greedy sociopaths at Enron, El Paso, Duke, ect who set back free market deregulation for years with their cheating. Best Wishes!
Bob Ebersole

I happen to agree with you about the closed nuclear plant, but the California Energy Crisis had a number of causes, including the failure to build new generation capability for their grid and some greedy sociopaths at Enron, El Paso, Duke, ect who set back free market deregulation for years with their cheating. Best Wishes!
Bob Ebersole


We couldn't have been blackmailed in the first place if that nuclear power-plant hadn't been chased out of California in the first place.

The power companies decided not to build any new generating station in California after Rancho Seco. That is where the begining of the end began.

Best wishes to you!

PS If their tactics are Nazi like I'll call them Nazis. People are afraid of the enviromentalists, I am not.

PS If their tactics are Nazi like I'll call them Nazis.

Would you know a Nazi, even if they came up and bit you?

Perhaps this site confuses you:

People are afraid of the enviromentalists, I am not.

And you show it, with your typing.

And the pheer of them 'l337 environmentalists scares Monsanto!

UNITED KINGDOM. From now on, staff at the British headquarters of biotech giant Monsanto will be eating only non-genetically modified products on their lunch breaks. Foods containing genetically modified soy and corn are no longer available in the company cafeteria.

Nobody is afraid of "the enviromentalists", oh courageous one. The rape of the natural world continues unabated, if you haven't noticed, and will continue to the bitter end.

You come across as someone who listens to way too much Rush Limbaugh.

As far as equating "enviromentalists" with Nazis, you come across as a blithering idiot.

Shame on the oil drum for propagating enviro-nazi lies.

Shame on the poster "brussellnm" for being an asshat.

Yeah, but he's our asshat. Lets see if we can civilise him! If we can open the eyes of just one conservative, we can open the eyes of all of them.

BM Russell knows about the ethanol farce, he knows about and accepts the peak. His manners are pretty abrasive, but I happen to agree with him that an awful lot of radical environmentalists are just plain crazy and distructive, and that nuclear is something we need . You may even convert him to your brand of doomerism on LATOC. He's a rancher, I'm sure he likes guns.

I know you think I'm Mary Poppins in drag (copyright, 2007) but we need all the thought we can stand on peak energy .
Bob Ebersole

an awful lot of radical environmentalists are just plain crazy and distructive

OK, how much actual power do they have? And how much actual radical environmentalist destruction have they wreaked?

As I see it they've wasted recycled paper printing some screed left in a local 'granola' market or something. And they've torched some SUV's in a parking lot.

Now, let's compare to radical free-market cornucopian anti-environmental ideologues?

To me it looks like the second group is ahead of the radical environmentalists by a score of a few million to five or so.

OK, how much actual power do they have? And how much actual radical environmentalist destruction have they wreaked?

As I see it they've wasted recycled paper printing some screed left in a local 'granola' market or something. And they've torched some SUV's in a parking lot.

Now, let's compare to radical free-market cornucopian anti-environmental ideologues?

To me it looks like the second group is ahead of the radical environmentalists by a score of a few million to five or so.

Ignroance is bliss, eh?

They were able to shut down a completely built nuclear reactor in 1989. This cost the company billions and laid the ground-work for the future energy crisis.

Take some time and read about it.

Referring to the Rancho Seco shutdown, BRussellNM wrote:

Take some time and read about it.

I have and I remember it quite well, but I'll refer you to some written facts about that awful piece of junk:

Rancho Seco had a poor operating history, and a lifetime capacity average of only 39%. Due to this poor operating history and increasing costs, the plant was closed by public vote on June 6, 1989. . .

That was from Bartlett Nuclear, Inc. (the first Google hit)
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, being publicly owned, had plenty of electricity for the crunch during the California energy 'crises', but since the ridiculous 'deregulation' 'free-market' law had been passed, this well-run, publicly-owned utility was forced to sell all their electricity to the grid and then had to buy it back from the grid at 'market' rates. Thus, it suffered blackouts during the energy 'crises' because it was prevented by law from using it's own power that it made for itself. In other words, it had to subsidize the inefficient privately-owned public utilities with their private millionaire board of directors and their stable of proxy little whore politicians which they owned.

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind proponents of nuclear energy that it is NOT illegal to build a nuclear power plant in the US. The reason they aren't building them is because they aren't economical without handouts from the Federal government (liability insurance). The nuclear lobby is working harder and harder on getting free money from taxpayers, so I suppose we'll be seeing some new nukes in about ten years or so, depending on the law of receeding horizons and the principles of conservative economics ("Open the discount window! I want debt, cheap debt and more cheap debt").

I'm not referring just to the guys who trashed the hummer dealership stock. Lets take a look at the people who tatally opposed the BP plan for imports in Galveston. I told you my reasons, but there were some people down here who just wanted to totally oppose it.

BP could have overcome my objection about being too close to a population center by building a high earth berm to channel any blast up and away from population. It was already near a spoil bank from the Houston Ship channel, and it was well out in Galveston Bay, so it would be as safe as anything inshore could be.

They did overcome the objection of using bay water to heat the LNG by going to a closed loop system, heated by gas.

They could have not been so underhanded with our elected officials

But, what really sunk it was economics. The price of gas really sunk, and a couple of other LNG import facilities got permits.

And, after the Texas City refinery explosion and the Alaskan pipeline spills from no maintainence, it became very clear that their corporate culture was negligent.

But meanwhile, at the local info meetings and the city council meetings it became clear that the not in my backyard folks were insatiable, which is crazy when you live on the southern edge of the world's biggest petrochemical complex, and they were here first. The BP refinery was built in the 1920's, before the NIMBY folks were a gleam in their daddy's eye. Maybe you don't consider that radical, but I do, and I'm sure BRussellNM does too. Almost any human problem can be worked out if we communicate and try to compromise to get what I really want and you really want.. But we have to decide what's really important, and be prepared to help do the necessary work. People who won't even listen are crazy.
Bob Ebersole

So the end of a nuclear plant in 1989----is what lead to a sudden crisis in 2000?

That's just plain baloney.

There was NEVER any raw actual capacity shortage of power. It was traders and manipulators---this has been proven, there are tapes which caught the traders 'in the act'.

What was the huge growth in demand due to the dot com boom?

2%. Yes two percent per year in the late 90's. No it wasn't a huge surge in demand and horrible environmentalist NIMBY problems. Without the dergulation it would have been slightly tight (but no blackouts).

So from 1989 to 1999 without rancho seco everything was fine, and just suddenly with the electricity deregulation and trading all the crap hits the fan? And it's all because of Rancho Seco and nothing else since then?

"Shame on the oil drum for propagating enviro-nazi lies."

Uhm? Please don't believe radical free market talibanist lies.

You do know that LADWP and Sacramento Municipal Utility District, that is, socialized, government owned and regulated utilities, came through the power """crisis""" without any problems at all, and even made money selling power to neighbors? They 'opted out' of the deregulatory system. And no, their rates aren't higher than their private neighbors---often are lower.

Right---SMUD, that very utility which lost Rancho Seco, was fine.

By the way, I fully support nuclear fission for electricity generation given that it supplants coal, and closing the nuclear plant was a probably an unwise idea, but few were thinking about serious climate issues then, and natural gas was very cheap. Both issues are different now.

Though fission plants are wiser in areas which aren't seismically active.

Just a sidenote.

My older brother is an electrical engineer for SMUD (love the acronym). They are working with developers to build zero-energy houses with solar panels on the roofs.

Them enviro-nazis. :)

Ya...I had better warn him how dangerous SMUD really is.

Had the enviromentalists not succeeded in their mission to shut down the nuclear power plant at Rancho Seco the rolling black-outs would have been avoided.

I see.... and the phone calls the Enron traders made to the power plant operators captured on tape would have never been made.

Huummmp...believe what you will but If anyone thinks that the standard radio talk show level of intelligence can get us out of this mess is in for a shock.

Had the enviromentalists not succeeded in their mission to shut down the nuclear power plant at Rancho Seco the rolling black-outs would have been avoided.

I see.... and the phone calls the Enron traders made to the power plant operators captured on tape would have never been made.

Huummmp...believe what you will but If anyone thinks that the standard radio talk show level of intelligence can get us out of this mess is in for a shock.

No need to call the Enron trader or anyone else out of state if the state had the resources to provide for itself.

Its just like people like yourself who feel better blaming everyone else for your own problems instead of stepping up to the plate and saying,"I screwed up."

Kind of like an alcoholic.

Its just like people like yourself who feel better blaming everyone else

Brussel Sprout

You just described yourself, and you have no idea you did.

That says a lot.

Moreover, I would vote for kicking you out of here, temporarily for now, just like anyone else who compares groups of people to nazi's, or otherwise uses hate-inciting terms. And I won't even go into the fact that you don't know the facts of the case you started all this with.

No need to call the Enron trader or anyone else out of state if the state had the resources to provide for itself....

So if the State was powered by a statewide municipal style power system like the LADWP they would have never taken the Enron phone call.

Well you got that right!

As for me being an alcoholic, I was drinking in the light provided cheaply and reliably by my City's Water and Power department during the statewide "Power Crisis". A department set up by Republicans (when they dominated city politics in the 1910 - 20's) to entice businessmen to invest in Los Angeles with its dependable water supply and power supply.

Does that make it all better?

I can't believe I'm responding to such lies and ignorance, but here goes.

Rancho Seco achieved only about 40% operational efficiency in over 15 yrs of operation. ( http://www.iaea.org/cgi-bin/db.page.pl/pris.ophis.htm?country=US&site=RA... ) It was built sloppily, had repeated accidents, some fatal, did not produce at all 2 of the years in the middle of its operation due to repairs, spilled radiaoactive waste on several occasions, was rated as a worst reactor by the NRC (think of a bridge in MN), and its poor operating record together with multiple repairs and down times led it to be extremely not cost-effective and required SMUD to increase rates several times. It was only because of these problems that the plant was shut down by a referendum vote - not by a bunch of Nazis. I suppose you believe in democracy under these circumstances?

I was a member of the Sierra Club in the 80s and know that the club was promoting construction of the majority of the proposed powerplants at the time as its official stance, because they were nat'l gas fired and less polluting. They weren't built because the energy deregulation bill was supposed to drop the price of electricity to consumers into the future and the corporations didn't trust that the investment to construct them would pay off. In a similar vein, not all the plants which have already been approved have been built in CA since the crisis, for the same reason.

I'm not even touching Enron, market manipulation, etc.

Name calling is costing you a lot of credibility.


I'm not from California. I didn't follow the Rancho Seco referendum closely, and my memory of it is foggy. But I was raised in Houston, been in the oil patch for years, and while I was there went to an Episcopal Church with a bunch of those thieves, and I was even raised in Southhampton. Skillings lived two house down from my parents while he was building his River Oaks House. In other words, I know them. Not as close friends, but as neighbors.

First thing you must remember about that bunch is they all described themselves as Conservative and Patriots. Andy Fastow had a garrison-size American flag on his house, draped over bricks while he awaited trial. They hired military academy graduates preferentially-Skillings was West Point. They were all professing Christians. They'd tell you in a heartbeat how much they loved Jesus. They all belonged to old, mainstream churches and went to adult Sunday School. They trash mouthed liberals at every opportunity.

When you'd ask them how a piece of business worked, you'd get gobbeldy gook and could not figure it out, while they called you too dumb. And as you and I know from the tapes, they were crooks.

The people in California called all the producer's crooks, but that wasn't true. As an emample, Houston Lighting and Power, now Reliant, made a deal with the State to purchas all their in-kind gas at a decent price at the time-as I recall, about $5/mmmbtu, or $5/mcf at 1,000,000 BTU per cubic ft, but they were supposed to pay market value. They then sold it to cclifornia utilities at $30/mcf and you've heard the tapes about the manipulation . And this is the gas that Reliant just admitted to fixing the price on and gave the money back. But, they never paid the State for their share of the elevated gas price, and allowed the press to call it the greedy oil operators of Texas. Who they also screwed was the Permanent School Fund.

Now this should have been handled by the State Attorney General, now Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Instead, he took big campaign contributions from his conservative supporters at the gas companies.

That's right, you should be appalled. The only paper in the state that covered any of this was the Galveston Daily News, it certainly wasn't the Chronicle. And, if you check further, you'll find that Ken Lay was one of GWB's biggest donors, that's why he had two meetings with the energy task force of Cheney's and had one of his employees become our secretary of energy.

So, that's an illustration of my rule that if anyone tells you how honest they are, how conservative they are and how much they love Jesus put your hand over your money and take a hike.
Bob Ebersole

Andy Fastow had a garrison-size American flag on his house... They were all professing Christians. They'd tell you in a heartbeat how much they loved Jesus. They all belonged to old, mainstream churches and went to adult Sunday School.

Andy Fastow is Jewish. I am friends with one of his cousins.

That's right, he's married to Leah Weingarten, who is from an old, well respected Jewish family in Houston. None of the rest of them are anything but community minded, honest and decent people. You can google Weingarten's Realty Investment Trust and see the type of stuff they do-and its great stock, by the way.

But, the rest of them were'nt at Enron. I didn't revise my little cautionary tale because I just didn't notice the juxtaposition of the sentences. Typing extemporaneously has its problems!

ob Ebersole

I once worked, briefly, for Babcock at Renfrew, introducing computer systems in the 1960s and I am not surprised at the quality problems with their nuclear plant. Babcock welders were paid by a bonus sytem that paid out only if the quality inspectors approved the work. On the Clyde, welders were the industrial elite - an important social question was whether a welder's daughter could marry a commoner. The combination of welders, foremen and factory management forced the quality controllers to lay off heavy inspections. Welds were to be approved regardless.

I can't believe I'm responding to such lies and ignorance, but here goes.

Funny, I know exactly how you feel.

Rancho Seco achieved only about 40% operational efficiency in over 15 yrs of operation. ( http://www.iaea.org/cgi-bin/db.page.pl/pris.ophis.htm?country=US&site=RA... ) It was built sloppily, had repeated accidents, some fatal, did not produce at all 2 of the years in the middle of its operation due to repairs, spilled radiaoactive waste on several occasions, was rated as a worst reactor by the NRC (think of a bridge in MN), and its poor operating record together with multiple repairs and down times led it to be extremely not cost-effective and required SMUD to increase rates several times. It was only because of these problems that the plant was shut down by a referendum vote - not by a bunch of Nazis. I suppose you believe in democracy under these circumstances?

A Democracy is where two men and a woman are in a room and the two men vote to rape the woman. That is what a Democracy is and what happened to that reactor.

I was a member of the Sierra Club in the 80s and know that the club was promoting construction of the majority of the proposed powerplants at the time as its official stance, because they were nat'l gas fired and less polluting.

Let me get this straight, you were a member of a group which supported the construction of that dangerous reactor you bloviated on and on about in the second paragraph?

I guess you weren't in California when Martin Sheen, et. al. were getting arrested climbing over the fence at RS-1. I remember it clearly as Sheen came to my college to drum up support for his illegal activities prior to his arrest.

I'm not even touching Enron, market manipulation, etc.

Of course you won't. If cali had limited the amount of residential and commercial buildings WHILE increasing its own power generation units Enron couldn't have screwed them in the first place.

But you dont' want to go there. Your beloved Sierra Club refuses to this day to denounce illegal immigration which is a drain on California.

Name calling is costing you a lot of credibility.

Hey man, I learned it from you.

Do you care to reply to any facts?
Never said Sierra Club supported Rancho Seco. Clearly they didn't. I referred to Natl gas plants that weren't built.
If your "Nazi's" were in charge, why were no other nuclear plants in the state shut down or targeted in that way?
BTW, Martin had just one vote.

I suggest TOD editors examine your posts for the quality of discourse they encourage.

Yes, the signal-to-noise ratio is suffering lately. May be time for a banning or three.

" it was closed by public vote on 6 June 1989 "

.. and now California is a national leader in installing distributed generation of Solar electricity, which offers a level of reliability to households and neighbors that would be fully in the dark if they were completely reliant on large, centralized generation sources.

Sorry that your view of Environmentalists, who HAVE lobbied hard for their belief that Nuclear Energy is dangerous in several ways, uneconomical in the long run, and a very big ring in our collective noses.. that your frustration with them is so able to eclipse the calculated actions of Energy Companies like ENRON to manipulate and extort the ratepayers in California, with only Greed in their motives.

May the Wretched Ghost of Ken Lay visit you every night to offer you his undying gratitude!

Bob Fiske;

.. and now California is a national leader in installing distributed generation of Solar electricity

...and this national leader is producing the tremendous amount of 0.3% of its electricity from solar (small scale included)... Or just about 50 times less than what it gets from nuclear. That's so impressive that it almost makes me puke.

I wonder when will we step off the feel good arguments and try to face the facts?

Never tried to deny that we've barely taken our first steps down this road, but I am saying that at least California has been committed to pushing this in the right direction. It's small, but it's annual growth-rate is consistent.. so let's see whether or not the exponential function still works.

What 'feels good' about arguing for Solar, is that it is one of several cleaner energy options (so that even hitting 10 or 15% of our current usage would be a significant contribution), it has plenty of room to grow, both geographically and industrially, without severe water/population/seismic restrictions on its speedy installation, its subsequent mobility if it has to be relocated, or the hazards it poses if it does get shaken to pieces.

I see it as an almost unavoidable fact that we will have to learn to live with far less power, as our greasy Trust Funds are drying up, as will the fantasies of unlimited, easy power that they brought with them.. Think about it.. if we could knock 50% of our electrical usage off, that .3% becomes .6%, easy!


So let's see... the most affluent state in the most affluent country in the world is undertaking a campaign for massive expansion of solar power and for about 10 years, the result is 0.3% of the electricity. In the meantime the population growth alone has swamped the additional production (even if you add wind to this) and has effectively required more NG and coal to be burnt. So far so good, but not if your goal is to reduce emissions or reliance from imports.

Of course you are right about conservation - but, realistically, who wants conservation? It is impossible to enforce, spare much, much higher energy prices. Which will hurt the poor the most. And the poor or less wealthy are the ones that are least likely to purchase solar panels or insulate their houses. Which brings us to the obvious requirement that we need a source of emission-free, cheap and reliable source of electricity (so that it can be scaled enough for everyone). Nuclear covers them all, wind covers it partially (so-so on cost and bad on reliability) and solar so far covers only the emission free part but nothing else.

Hi Levin..

"undertaking a campaign for massive expansion of solar power.." all I can say is we haven't seen a massive undertaking yet. Callie's attempt may have been massive compared to anything prior, but has hardly tested the manufacturing capacity of the country. I'd have to guess that with the speed of deployment, the PV industry stands to grow quickly regardless with our without our help. We're not going to be bottlenecked on PolySilicon for long.. we'll see. But the miserable numbers of installed watts, just like the lack of response by the driving public to react to gas prices.. these seem to me to be a level of denial enforced by continued cheap oil and the CERA-like promises of the same.

Population, too, is a function of energy availability.. sugar in the yeast dish.

and Conservation is not about who Wants it, although many do.. it becomes a necessary way of life when things are priced realistically, particularly food, energy and credit.

Anyway.. best to you and yours,

I would agree with your point if it was not for your tone.

In my view pressure from environmentalists is the primary reason why currently we have 50% coal and 19% nuclear in this country; in a saner world it could have been vice versa.

I will grant them not assuming the responsibility for this retrospectively - maybe they had fairly good intentions back then. But in the wake of global warming and power shortages insisting on failed ideas looks like madness to me.

But again, this is not the way to persuade them to change their minds, nor to win the public over the nuclear issue.

Absolutely right, LevinK, we all have to look at our own behaviour, our own language and try to listen to what other people are saying and then try to come up with ideas that work.

Unless I'm sadly mistaken, we all live on the same small, beautiful blue-green planet. If we don't get along its curtains for us all.

I'm not saying anybody's all right or all wrong. I'm just saying chill out and try to find the truth. The people on this blog are all smart and committed to change, all trying to figure out whats right. Its our strength. The more people we can get working on answers, the better.
Bob Ebersole

But again, this is not the way to persuade them to change their minds, nor to win the public over the nuclear issue.

The way was to have built, run the plants, and handle the waste in a responsble manner - and this was not done.

So you are asserting that these activities are performed irresponsibly. On what grounds?

Can you point just one single death case resulting from a nuclear incident in the US? I can dig out thousands death cases from coal, but this is not impressing anybody I guess.

Where is the environmental destruction from nuclear? Where are the destroyed ecosystems, removed mountaintops etc.etc? All we hear is scaremongering for hypothetical nuclear incidents, "millions of years of waste management", but hardly any verifiable facts. And the only responsible thing undertaken for long-term waste management in US - the geological disposal in Yucca Mountain is also blocked by the same quasi-environmentalists. With similar imaginatory arguments. Who is irresponsible in this case?

Nuclear exceptionalism; Where's the concern over the much more dangerous coal and hydropower?

Maybe the numbers aren't there.. or it could be the data has never been sought out or reported..


"Hundreds of abandoned mines have not been cleaned up and present environmental and health risks in many Navajo communities. Health conditions in those communities have never been studied despite being impacted by uranium development that dates back to the late-40s and early-50s.

Some of these same communities are now confronted with proposed new uranium solution mining that threatens the only source of drinking water for 10,000 to 15,000 people living in the Eastern Navajo Agency in northwestern New Mexico. "


Crownpoint, N.M., April 29, 2005. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., today signed what is believed to be the first Native American tribal law banning uranium mining and milling. "

"Rancho Seco Near-Disaster Covered Up by Utility

On December 26th, 1985 at 4:17 A.M., the Rancho Seco reactor located southeast of Sacramento came extremely close to a meltdown. The reactor with a hundred accidents under its belt (twice the average for reactors its age) and three of the most serious cooldowns in the industry has created a political and economic crisis for the Sacramento Municipal Utility Commission (SMUD) that may lead to the permanent shutdown of the reactor or even bankruptcy of the utility."

"...Operators were successfull at stopping the LOCA but did not have accurate preocedures for maintaining control of the reactor from outside the control room. As a result, the reactor vessel cooled down to quickly. When this occurs, the 8 inch thick walls of the reactor may shatter, crack or become embrittled reducing the usable lifetime for the unit. During the accident the following serious events ocurred:

1. At 4:52 AM, at the height of the crisis, a back-up shift operator collapsed and had tobe taken to the hospital. The shift was at a bare minimum level before his collapse.
2. Attempts to call for help were useless because the switch-board operator on duty did not have the phone numbers of the next shift.
3. No alarm was sounded within the facility, so the Rad/Chem team did not do monitoring for contamination during the most crucial stages of the accident. Contanubated areas were not cordoned off, resulting in the dosing of an unaware security guard.
4. Required updates of the accident to state emergency officials weren't done, nor were they given correct details of the accident to allow proper emergency response preparations.
5. The alarm system in the control room was so loud that operators could not hear themselves talk, increasing the tension during the crisis. The alarms were shut off but not properly reset to warn of further problems.


LevinK wrote.. "Can you point just one single death case resulting from a nuclear incident in the US?"

A few, so far .. it's still better than Coal, Cigarettes or War.. does that make it safe enough for everyone?

".. The accident was not an isolated occurrance. Rancho Seco has had a steadily increasing number of mishaps and violations that started when the reactor was first opened in 1975. Some of the highlights of Rancho Seco:

1. Three of the worst overcooling incidents in U.S. history, with the 1st, 3rd and 9th worst accidents on record.
2. Two workers were killed from a June 1984 steam pipe rupture similar to the one that killed 4 people at the Surry reactor in Virginia in 1986.

Let me clarify the meaning I put "nuclear incident": an incident in which a release of radiation has caused a injury, loss of life or significant damage. Maybe "radiation incident" was the better term to use.

Raptured pipelines happen all the times in all industries. Raptured gas pipes kill people in their homes every other day. So, what? Stop heating?

There is a bit of a difference, though. Raptured [sic] gas pipes may kill people from time to time, though I doubt it's anything remotely like every other day. And that is tragic, but that's that - there and then.

A nuclear accident can affect a huge area (see Chernobyl) for a long, long time, with results that are maybe not so immediate and spectacular, but very real.

Is this the end times with the gas pipelines being snatched out of the ground in the Rapture? Is that in the Book of Daniel or described in a vision of John the Revalator?
(sarcanol alert)

Bob Ebersole

Understood, and I agree that the difference is significant.

But the list of errors at that plant and how slim a safety margin they were operating under makes me wonder who else is operating like that, and may be much better at not getting caught, so far.. I mean, beyond the occasional refinery fire or steampipe bursting, many of the other technologies that have had these accidents are looking at those as the really bad days.. while at the Rancho Seco site, it seems like it would still qualify as a 'near miss', as tragic as any loss of life is.

The broader downsides of coal burning are clearly unacceptable, and I live under the Mercury fallout and over the inedible fish every day.. I oppose both, even if you conclude that I could mitigate the coal by supporting fission. I see neither as supportable or truly viable.. but thanks as ever for a respectful discussion over it.


I was in the Health physic/radcon biz for too many years{37 re-fuelings@17 nuke stations}.I had heard thru the grape vine to stay away from Rancho Seco,that it was a nasty place for a contract tech....I took the advice

Thanks for putting some meat on the Rancho issues I was alluding to earlier. There is more of this if anyone choses to google for it.

But is the 'big dry' a national emergency, or a warning that the earth is running out of water?

LOL LOL, thanks for the laugh this morning TOD. Get that guy a Geology 101 textbook and learn the hydrologic cycle.

Easy to laugh, but consider the risk from altered ocean currents when the thermohaline circulation shuts off in a week or two... mini black holes from Brookhaven, instead of being safely flushed across the Atlantic to accumulate in Manx storage vaults, will accumulate in Long Island Sound, lurking in the depths and implementing the DoE's plan to deprive Australia of hydropower through drought and forcing John Howard to dramtically increase Uranium exploration and mining, saving us all!

While its entirely possible that water from australia get shifted to some other part of the planet due to climate change, I was laughing at "is the earth running out of water"; it simply will fall on another part of the planet.

It was not meant literally, as would be obvious if you read the article.

Please ask yourself, before you post, if you are really adding to the discussion, or just taking up bandwidth.

Do not post just to see your own words on the screen, or to try to rile people up. Consider this a formal warning. We have banned people for those offenses.

Leanan -- I'm not sure if that was primarily directed at me, but I thought that the particular choices of phrase that I used made it clear that I was indeed commenting on a serious impediment to widespread understanding of the implications of rapid change.

Many news consumers never get farther than headlines, and very few read articles critically and in search of new knowledge or understanding. Indeed, even most highly motivated and interested consumers of energy supply or climate change news approach stories looking for confirmation of their existing biases and beliefs about both the states of things and the nature of news coverage.

This has of course been discussed at some length in these forums before.

Now consider the impact of a leading, inflammatory headline like "... or is the world running out of water?" on anyone looking for an excuse to deride or ignore the claim that climate change is contributing to water shortages. How likely is someone of that persuasion to read the article with an open mind after seeing that headline?

It may seem harmless, but every time the media runs with a headline like "New European Ice Age", "Brookhaven to Manufacture Black Holes", "Is the world running out of water?", and any of hundreds more, it pushes opposing camps further and further away from common understanding.

In any case, apologies if that commentary was insufficiently explicit. The Drumbeat, and especially the associated discussion, informs my view of the world every day.

Boston, I don't think Leanan was addressing you, she was talking to "anti-boy". I loved your scientifically sardonic post re: the mini black holes from Brookhaven, etc.

The information you provide us here at TOD is excellent, when you speak I listen. Keep up the good work!!!

If you're not sure what post is being replied to, click on "parent."

I wasn't talking to you. :)

My bad... the intertubes confuse me ;)

Thanks as always, Leanan!

Wow! I never thought of it that way! Surely we live in the best of all possible worlds! ;-)

earth is running out of water?
LOL LOL, thanks for the laugh this morning TOD.

I don't get the joke - why is not saying "potable water" and just "water" funny?

Gallows humour perhaps. It's horribly imprecise language right at the start of an excellent article. Is the earth running out of water? No, no it isn't. It's funny because it's such a terrible question. Are the farming areas and river systems of Australia running out of water? That seems a better question here.

I agree with the above commenter BG; statements like that which are ridiculous on their face only make it easier to ignore the actual dire warnings that come out. You know, like how ocean levels might rise 20 metres or the temperature might rise 5-10 degrees (or in the case of the arctic where that's already happened, 15 degrees).

The Whole news article is an interesting read, albeit a mite bit scary when faced with the news of the Amazon going through a drought, that could also affect another region of the world via the lack of fresh water running through a whole region.

It is not that we are running out of water per se' it is we are running out of clean water sources, and the rivers we used to depend on for farming and ranching and city water are getting hit with droughts that have not been around for decades.

What I find hard to take is the opinions that this time around is nothing more than another drought like they had X number of decades ago. What they fail to think about is the new numbers of people that depend on that water and the new numbers of people that will be harmed if that water does not come back with the seasonal rains.

From the talk about how the Sea Ice on the North Pole is looking this year, we should be looking at how this is a new paradigm shift for the global weather modelers. We have seen where some things affect other things in ways we had not known they would until after the fact. Positive feedback loops that just are not there until the tipping points are reached, and every new year brings us closer to new tipping points that were not evident last year or in the past decades.

Charles E. Owens Jr.

Kazakhstan PM:Could Remove Italy's Eni SpA From Kashagan

Meanwhile, because KazMunaiGaz has an 8.3% stake in the consortium, which it acquired in 2005, the Kazakhs will themselves be forced to come up with nearly one-tenth of the additional investment.

"This means fewer schools, fewer hospitals," said Masimov. "There is real discontent in society about what is happening."

New York Transit System Crippled by Flooding

Powerful thunderstorms swept through the New York metropolitan area this morning, tearing up trees and damaging cars and creating havoc during the morning commute.

Subway stations were flooded, forcing commuters out onto the streets and into taxis and buses, and bringing traffic in many areas to a standstill. The region’s three major airports — La Guardia, Kennedy and Newark — all reported flight cancellations and delays.

No subway line was unaffected by the heavy rains and winds, according to the M.T.A. For the time being, the M.T.A. was advising commuters to stay at home.

Train delays and cancellations were reported on the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, and train and bus delays and cancellations were reported on New Jersey transit.

An M.T.A. spokesman said services were expected to return to normal by about noon. For the latest service information, please see the Times’ City Room blog.

Amid the mayhem, MTA’s website, mta.info, shut down...


Yep, it was a pretty amazing "thunder monsoon" that swamped my Central Jersey location in the wee hours of this morning. My NJTransit/PATH commute to Manhattan took nearly 3 hours (double the usual). And once in the city I found my favorite cafe shop closed due to flooding. Most of my co-workers are either still struggling to get to the office, or have taken a powder and are working from home.

Gee, think what it will be like once climate change really kicks in!

This morning, CNN was reporting tornado warnings for NYC and Long Island. I couldn't believe it.

The weather was pretty weird. I am not near NYC, but there were very odd, threatening clouds this morning. Kinda creepy.

No change here. Until just the past couple of weeks, it's been the usual cool, wet summer here in Dallas. Oh, wait a minute. . .

Same here in Galveston. We had 13 inches of rain last month without a tropical storm, normal is 3.5 inches. Winter started later last year, and so did spring this year. The weather is just plain strange.
Bob Ebersole

Looks like we in South Central Illinois got your weather - temperatures near a hundred degrees with very high dew points. Not worth working in the shop or field, I'll build the cabinets and lay dwon black plastic mulch next week.

PS: Rain usually cools things off. Right? Well, after the storm moved off I read the thermometer (6:00am) and it said 83.9 which is pretty much the same level when I went to bed last night.

I met a guy on the train platform from South India. He said the weather - very humid and hot - is the same as "at home" and that he's heard about big outbreaks of dengue fever there.

As for tornados - we've had an increasing number of small twisters in the region over the past 10 years, including one in my neighborhood about 6 years ago. That one tore down giant old trees that blocked streets for days and trashed power lines. I even saw an electric utility truck with Canadian plates going past the house, part of a team that drove down to help restore power. Back then the electric was out in some areas of NJ for about a week.

When I went out to walk my dog this morning, the weather reminded me of what it was like when Hurricane Floyd hit NJ; still, moist, and with a hint of menace. Bad thunderstorms are nothing new for NJ, but the flooding in NY is beyond anything I remember in my 30 years of living in the area.

- Scott
"Try sour grapes; you might like them."

Cripes Leanan! Do you have any links to that story?

Tornado In Brooklyn? New York City Transit Problems

And here's the CNN story:

Storms disrupt travel in New York City area

At one point, a tornado warning was issued for an area that included JFK Airport. No tornado damage was reported, however. JFK reported 3½ inches of rain.

CNN showed helicopter views of damage in NYC - trees down, looks like some building damage. I didn't catch the specific location. They said it was "possibly" a small tornado.

It's Brooklyn. The National Weather Service is sending investigators to see if it really was a tornado.


High Tide in NJ: See the third photo down - trucks and flood at Frelinghuysen Ave and Route 22, near Newark, NJ at 9:00am this morning. (from NJ.COM). That was about three hours AFTER the rain had stopped. Location is right by Newark Airport.

(See also, pithy readers' comments below the article.)

You get to have a taste of our weather. But like WesTexas and OilmanBob have said, very odd for us here down south to have had 3 to 5 times our normal rainfall in July.

Like I posted a week or so ago about the Arkansas River Water Flow patterns, We are almost 6 times normal river volume. It was like a switch was hit, August hits and no rain for 9 days and temps in the high 90's and heat indexs in the 105 to 110 ranges.

The UK got several Tornados this spring I noticed. I do wonder if Tornado Alley has moved a bit north with all this Climate Chaos we have been having.

Pack your Storm bug-out bags now.

A tornado did hit Brooklyn. It's been confirmed.

I live in Brooklyn. I work from home so I don't need to rely on mass transit - but while out walking the dog this am, saw the crowds of people milling about, waiting for the trains to run again. I think many, many people weren't able to get to work at all today.

Until the climate finds new equilibriums, weather will be chaotic. Continually increasing sea levels worldwide won't help stability or predictability. So along with less energy available to grow, process, and distribute food, changing climates will cause shifts in local ecologies that reduce expected crop yields. Then add in competition from ethanol. Mix well. Light. Throw. Seek shelter and cover head.

Pemex oil production rose in June, but exports fell:


Once the water hits the horizontal wells in Cantarell, good bye Cantarell.

Must be missing something I read June 06 at 1776 and June 07 at 1737 so YOY is -39. May 07 at 1759 vs. June at 1737 so June vs May is -22. Exports to U.S. up overall yes is down -54.

"peak oil" in public by Jim Jubak on MSNmoney, not ridiculed but still providing no hints about the broad implications.



Jubak did OK. Believe me, I've heard worse.

Let others who hear it sort out what it means.

I think Jubak laid out the overall scenario very well. I find it borderline shocking to see this in the MSM. Simmons may be right when he predicts that PO will supplant GW in the media within the next year.

Maybe someday my "doomer porn" dream will come true: Kunstler on "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report".

He has mentioned "peak oil" in his articles before and told me that he would do a more detailed discussion in one of his weekly journal articles maybe this is the start.
I think he has a very wide audience and his comments are quite superior compared to other regular writers.


It sounds like you have been in touch with Jubak. I would like to send him an invitation to the ASPO-USA Conference in Houston. Do you have some way to contact him other then the usual media email address for him?


Just contact him via his usual media email address, if he is not on vacation right now he probably will answer your email soon.


Thanks, will do.


Jubak is as intelligent a commentor on the market, the economy, oil, and the oil industry as there is. He has read and fully understands Twilight in the Desert.

He has been mentioned here before, but never gets the attention he deserves most likely because of the aversion here to anything from the "MSM".

Yes, he laid out the problem accurately.

It reminds me of a little joke I play at libraries and bookstores: I ask for a single, slender book, with pictures, the has all the majors truths summarized.

Russia's oil boom is an interesting issue. The U.S. is not the only country interested in the production of oil in the Russian province. Here is a list i found of the companies and countries involved.


Well! That's worth reading. All those companies (except for BP) are Russian.

Related article on how they became Russian companies.


NDMA issues cyclone warning

A strong Monsoon Weather System (Deep Depression) has formed over the Bay of Bengal and was moving in a Westerly direction. “It is likely to cross over the Arabian Sea on August 9, where it is expected to intensify. In the subsequent two days (August 9 and 10), the weather system is expected to move towards the coastal areas of Balochistan. Fishermen must be stopped from fishing on August 9,10 and 11, as sea conditions will be rough.” The current system is identical to Cyclone Yemen that hit the coastal areas in June

Govt warns of a massive tidal wave in Arabian Sea ?????

ISLAMABAD: The director National Disaster Management Cell (NDMC) Lt.Gen. Farooq Ahmad has warned all provincial governments of a massive tidal wave in the Arabian Sea on 09th August.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Does anyone have any oil or gas related information for the region around Jakarta, Indonesia? They just had a Mag. 7.5 quake about 20 miles offshore and 180 miles deep, "in a part of the sea dotted with oil rig platforms."

Everett --

I don't have any rig/platform maps for the area, but this quake was deep enough (282km) that despite its size the peak accelerations at ground level were quite small. Modeled accelerations onshore max out at about 0.045g, which is less than 1/10th of the 2%-chance-to-exceed-in-50-years value for the area.

For a quake at this depth, the maximum shaking even directly over the epicenter is unlikely to have been significantly stronger, although shifting of sediments and small undersea slides are always possible and bring some risk of damage to field equipment.

This was by far the largest quake in this part of Indonesia since at least 1990; the closest quake of comparable magnitude in that time occurred over 200miles to the northwest.

A cross section of the area with today's quake plotted as a star gives a nice classic view of seismicity in a subduction zone (in this case the Australian plate is the subductee):

Thanks for the information. That is a really nice plot..... Is that a low friction zone there between 400 and 500 km depth? Maybe that is where the abiotic oil is hiding?! ;-)

If I were a stock trader in this day and age, I would not even pick up the phone to make a trade until 3:28pm ET.

There are some HUGE transactions happening in the last hour of the day lately.

Wow...what a turn around the DOW has had since Cramer's tirade on CNBC:

Bulls make it 3 in row :Stocks pull back in final half hour of trade before reclaiming early gains, helped by housing, tech sector.


The Dow Jones industrial average (up 79.91 to 13,584.21, Charts) finished up 153 points higher, or 1.14 percent, based on early tallies after turning flat in the final half hour of trade.

Those of you with the deck chairs and popcorn might like to start getting ready. Might be needing a good (flak) jacket, heard the weather is going to be doing some funny things!!

God is imaginary

Hello TODers,

Standard Disclaimer: I am not an expert at anything [just a Wild & Crazy guy!! =) ], thus I welcome any elaboration or refutation by other TODers to help scientifically nail down the true facts from my expose' below...

Most will recall my earlier postings of the emails I sent to Tiger Woods and the Pro Golfers Assoc. [PGA] asking them to lead the charge to relocalized permaculture by plowing up Augusta National in a masterful move to show their support for Peakoil Outreach. As of yet, no replies, sadly the same with my proposed Google 'unlucky' button on the Search Homepage.

My next Wild & Crazy Brainstorm [Brainfart?] has to do with the inevitable mining depletion of Phosphates and Potash [Please recall prior posts on this topic or search the TOD archives at your leisure]. Unfortunately, I do not see a mad dash to build bat+ bird shelters for renewable guano harvesting to supplant the ongoing FF-driven depletion mining processes, and the historic guano buildup in batcaves and bird islands has been mostly mined already. To my way of thinking, the President should declare a National Presidential Directive; a true 'Biosolar Habitat Emergency' to rapidify the North American building of naturally renewable guano harvesting. Have you priced guano lately?

I would love to see a TopTODer really do a bangup statistical and ERoEI analysis of my feeble effort.

Some recent postings linked below to help clarify my points:


IMO, NPK [Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium] are thus critical Liebig Minimum elements to determine the direction and pace of our Bottleneck Traverse Optimization:


Will we choose to use the remaining cheap NPK for building healthy topsoils in farm, forest, and glen to minimize extinctions, or will we choose to use much of the mined elements to support continued extrasomatic hyperflash explosions from bombs and bullets?



Full disclosure: I would imagine my mutual funds own some shares of the corporations mentioned in this post, and I hold a pitiful number of shares in Potash of Saskatchewan [stock symbol: POT]


[PDF warning:see slide 15 for product list] what percentages are dedicated for agriculture vs industrial products vs explosives mfg? This is probably corp-classified info, and I am not enough of a chemist to know which products would go to normal industrial uses, and what remainder of products would go to support hyperfast oxidation rates with the associated human violence ramifications.




The following links help to show how finite phosphate and potash mining is depleting, and the precipitous rates of decline. I wish I knew how to generate statistical graphs to more easily illustrate this for my fellow TODers. =(

World consumption of potash has exceeded 30 million tons annually in recent years. Canada is the world’s leading producer, followed by Russia, Belarus, Germany, and the U.S.A. Other important K-producing countries include Israel, Jordan, Brazil, and China.

Mining decision challenged
CHRISTMAS Island's largest employer is challenging a potentially "catastrophic" Federal Government decision not to grant new phosphate mining licences for the remote territory in the Indian Ocean.
Granting of the additional mine leases would not result in increased production or disruption on the Island – a positive decision from the commonwealth will simply extend the duration of export operations from five to seven years, up to 10-12 years, he said.




Little known outside Florida, phosphate mining has been a major contributor to the regional economy since the 1930s, accounting for 75 percent of phosphate used in the United States, mostly in fertilizer.


If one reads the link and eyeballs the photos: it is obvious that this is a high energy operation with high environmental costs. The race is on to extract the max before geo-depletion, rising energy costs, wrecking the local potable water supply, and seawater encroachment from aquifer depletion and rising sea-levels shut these operations for good. In short: localized entropy to try and sustain global food supplies with the elements NPK.



An earlier post by TODer AsianFarmer extracted from the landmark Tad Patzek study, " Thermodynamics of the Corn-Ethanol Biofuel Cycle":

Total energy invested/hectare:
Soil preparation: 336,000 kcal
Fertilizer: 1,370,000 kcal
Planting: 6900 kcal (50% 2300 cal/day diet)
Harvesting: 17,250 kcal (50% 2300 cal/day diet)
Decobbing: 210,000 kcal
Transport: 10,500 kcal
Total: 1,950,650 kcal/hectare


I would argue that as FFs deplete we need to go to much more planting of nitrogen [N] fixing plants such as soybeans and peanuts, then not harvesting anything, but plowing them under or mulching the crop. But even this planting direction to rejuvenate soil nitrogen requires a spectrum of minerals, but especially P & K, to optimize the process and avoid Liebig minimums:



Legume nodules that are no longer fixing nitrogen usually turn green and may actually be discarded by the plant. Pink or red nodules should predominate on a legume in the middle of the growing season. If white, grey or green nodules predominate, little nitrogen fixation is occurring as a result of an inefficient Rhizobium strain, poor plant nutrition, pod filling or other plant stress.

The nitrogen fixed is not free. The plant must contribute a significant amount of energy in the form of photosynthate (photosynthesis derived sugars) and other nutritional factors for the bacteria. A soybean plant may divert 20-30 percent of its photosynthate to the nodule instead of to other plant functions when the nodule is actively fixing nitrogen. Any stress that reduces plant activity will reduce nitrogen fixation. Factors like temperature and water may not be under the farmer control. But nutrition stress (especially phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron, molybdenum and cobalt) can be corrected with fertilizers.

The amount of nitrogen returned to the soil during or after a legume crop can be misleading. Almost all of the nitrogen fixed goes directly into the plant. Little leaks into the soil for a neighboring nonlegume plant. However, nitrogen eventually returns to the soil for a neighboring plant when vegetation (roots, leaves, fruits) of the legume dies and decomposes.

When the grain from a grain legume crop is harvested, little nitrogen is returned for the following crop. Most of the nitrogen fixed during the season is removed from the field. The stalks, leaves and roots of grain legumes, such as soybeans and beans contain about the same concentration of nitrogen as found in non-legume crop residue. In fact, the residue from a corn crop contains more nitrogen than the residue from a bean crop, simply because the corn crop has more residue. A perennial or forage legume crop only adds significant nitrogen for the following crop if the entire biomass (stems, leaves, roots) is incorporated into the soil. If a forage is cut and removed from the field, most of the nitrogen fixed by the forage is removed. Roots and crowns add little soil nitrogen compared with the aboveground biomass.


Thus, it can be readily seen that this biosolar process to provide sufficient soil nitrogen [eliminate N as a Liebig Minimum] will immediately reduce harvest yields by 50% or more once industrial/mined nitrogen sources become too expensive, and if P & K, or other spectrum minerals are insufficient, then the nitrogen fixation process will be even slower and lower. Based on the high suicide rate of farmers in India and elsewhere, I think many of these poor souls intuitively understand this rapidly receding biosolar horizon when they can no longer afford cheap and depleting FF-derived NPK. From an Overshoot perspective: it is awfully hard to fully grow, then plow under a legume crop in order to have a better crop next growing season when your family is hungry today.

Therefore, I conclude that any NPK postPeak diverted to powering violent weapons is counter productive to optimal biosolar habitat rejuvenation and preventing species extinctions. Additionally, in the homo sapiens aggregate [keyword: aggregate]: a seventy year old man shooting a fifteen year old kid over a scrap of bread is not evolution-optimal in making sure the future is inherited by the young as we traverse the Bottleneck Squeeze. Instead, hand-to-hand combat with human-powered weapons in localized machete' moshpits should statistically greatly favor a demographic skewing towards the young, strong, and energetic, which is what the world mostly needs in our human-powered biosolar future to optimize the NPK roots of the Circle of Life:


Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Amen. Do you have a day job, Bob, or is this it? Actually, the fact that humanity is totally dependent upon four inches of topsoil should be on a banner in every school classroom. That's using the old nodule.

I'd love to see the faces of the flunkies who read your missives to Tiger, the PGA, Google etc.

I'm thinking that putting a bat box up directly over a compost pile would be a good way to gather the bat poop + enrich the compost. Heard of anyone doing such, or any reasons why it wouldn't work?

Cover crops + rotation using legumes are SOP for organic farmers (and it was for just about everyone pre-FF). That plus returning manure to the fields should provide all the the N that anyone needs for REASONABLE yields (maybe not the current yields that factory farmers are able to get on plants druged up with chemical fertilizers).

Bones and be dried and crushed to yield bone meal. There's your P. By itself, probably not enough to avoid becoming a Liebig minimum. Combined with a good mixed crop & animal waste composting program, you should do better. Of course, it only makes sense to continue applying rock phosphate to soils for as long as it continues to be available.

Potassium is least likely to become a Liebig minimum in most soils, especially if a consistent composting program is in place. Wood ashes have been the traditional source for those, and with increasing use of wood stoves likely, it should not be much problem to get those. A little will go a long way, because not much is needed. Kelp meal works pretty well too, and that's a renewable resource if harvested sustainably.

All SOP for organic gardeners & farmers. And you are right, yields may be somewhat lower than the present factory farmers can achieve, though I'm not sure about your 50% figure. Fertilizers are just one of three required inputs for plant growth, the others being light and water. For most farmers, light usually isn't a big issue, but water can certainly become a Liebig minimum for many. With global climate change, inadequate water for irrigation will become an increasing problem for many, and I am betting that this is what will cut down crop yields long before any fertilizer Liebig minimums kick in.

This is where organic gardening and farming really shine, though. While they might not be able to pump in enough chemical fertilizers to boost the NPK Liebig minimums and thus increase yields, organic methods of soil improvement and mulching do assure that organic crops do retain water far better than do non-organic fields.

An interesting experiment:

1) Take two very large pots (big enough for a corn plant), one filled with the type of soil one might find in a typical heavily fertilized midwest factory farm, and one filled with soil from an organic farm. Put all of the chemical fertilizer that you think the first pot can take without risking root burn. The other pot just gets a little compost, plus a good thick layer of organic mulch.

2) Plant a corn seed in each pot.

3) Place both pots together in a site that gets plenty of sunlight.

4) Water both pots, but be real stingy with the water to simulate drought conditions.

5) Monitor the results.

I'm pretty confident that the organic plant will end up doing a lot better. Plants don't really need all that much in the way of trace elements (important though they may be) compared to the amount of water that they need.


WRT your last paragraph: Or the two of them could just live and let live, or the old man could even give bread to the kid. I'm not interested in your machette moshpit. If it comes to that I'll sneak away into the woods to pass away alone in peace, maybe starving, but enjoying a last view of my mountains. "Man does not live by bread alone."

As Army Chief, he plots a coup, because as President his re-election chances look bad?!

Pakistani TVs say Musharraf to declare emergency

Private Pakistani television channels reported on Wednesday that President Pervez Musharraf was preparing to declare a state of emergency imminently, but government spokesmen denied there were any such plans.

State-run Pakistan Television quoted official sources as saying the reports were baseless and Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani denied to Reuters that a meeting had been held to discuss the imposition of an emergency, as rumors swept the country.

A member of the inner circle of the Pakistani leadership told Reuters, however, that U.S. ally Musharraf was considering the option, which could allow him to extend the tenure of the national and provincial assemblies by 12 months and delay elections due by the turn of the year.

Hmmm...we may see this same headline over here in Nov. 2008.

Our friend Musharraf is just testing the waters for us perhaps.

It's easy to be critical of Musharraf - but that tends to ignore the alternatives...
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

There’s a hidden connection between the consecutive Drumbeat articles ‘a little makes a lot’ and ‘a river runs through it’. The planned expansion of Australia’s Olympic Dam uranium mine will require a large coastal desalination plant which as a side benefit will free several outback towns from a pipeline that draws water from the dwindling Murray River. The mine will also need a lot of diesel for machinery to convert the mine from the current underground operation to become the world’s largest open cut.

To some people, myself included, it makes sense to do the desal and power the machinery using a nuke plant, since it ‘closes the loop’. Surprise surprise the NIMBYs don’t want it.

Well, the aborigines lived without all that stuff, so I'm sure the NIMBYs can too. Might take some getting used to the lifestyle, though.