DrumBeat: August 21, 2007

Gasoline demand is finally slowing: Is $3 gas the reason?

American motorists may have finally eased up on the gasoline habit.

After years of strong demand despite record high prices, there's evidence that the rate of growth in gas consumption is easing. Whether last spring's spike above $3 made a difference, the recent credit worries have crimped demand, or if the decline is merely a statistical blip remains to be seen.

But one fact is clear. Demand for gasoline in the United States grew just 0.4 percent in the latest four weeks from a year earlier, according to the Energy information Administration, which polls refineries and wholesalers to gauge the amount of fuel sent to filling stations, down from 1.4 percent growth just five weeks earlier.

The average rate of growth over the last decade or so is about 1.5 percent, according to the federal agency.

The Brother-in-Law on Your Couch Vision of the Apocalypse

Ok, it isn't the apocalypse, but whenever I point out to people that to a large degree hard times means consolidating housing, living with family and friends and taking in refugees you happen to be related to (by biology or friendship), I get a great deal of resistance. I suspect some of us are better prepared to deal with purple-haired mutants invading our neighborhoods than we are prepared to deal with the basic reality that hard times often look like your brother in law, his kids and spouse sleeping on your living room couch for three years. And I get the frequent impression many of us would rather face the mutants, given the choice.

Mexico halts Coatzacoalcos oil shipments due to Dean

Mexico suspended crude shipments from its Coatzacoalcos port in the state of Veracruz as powerful Hurricane Dean approached the area, a port official said Tuesday.

"There were two shipments scheduled (for Tuesday) but they have been suspended," said port official Juan Jimenez, referring to state oil monopoly Pemex.

The other two of Mexico's three major oil ports -- Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas -- were closed on Monday as the hurricane hit Mexico's Caribbean coast.

The three ports ship the bulk of Mexico's crude exports, which are mostly to the United States.

Gulf to Japan VLCC freight hits four-year low partly due to Opec cuts

The world's main crude export route sank to a four-year low last Tuesday, hit by strong fleet supply, long-standing Opec cuts and refinery maintenance in Asia, according to brokers and analysts.

The Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) route from the Gulf to Japan struck W50 - its lowest level since October 2003, according to Reuters data.

Warming Will Exacerbate Global Water Conflicts

"People are really starting to panic for water," said Arthur, whose father started drilling wells in 1959. They must drill ever deeper to tap the sinking water table. "Eventually, the water will be so deep the farmers won't be able to afford to pump it," he said. "There's only so much water to go around."

As global warming heats the planet, there will be more desperate measures. The climate will be wetter in some places, drier in others. Changing weather patterns will leave millions of people without dependable supplies of water for drinking, irrigation and power, a growing stack of studies conclude.

US castoffs resuming dirty career

Some townspeople in this 19th-century mill village on the Connecticut River celebrated when workers began tearing down a shuttered coal-fired power plant this year. First, they dismantled the towering boiler. In June, the smokestack that belched hundreds of thousands of tons of heat-trapping gases into the air came down. Last month, workers hauled away the five-story steel skeleton, leaving just a concrete silo as a reminder of this local icon of global warming.

But the demolition is hardly a victory in the battle against manmade climate change.

Virtually every piece of the 2,600-ton plant is being shipped to Guatemala to be rebuilt, girder by girder, to power a textile mill that sells pants, shirts, and sportswear to the United States. It could last, and continue to pollute, for another 50 years.

The new dirty energy

FOR THOSE WHO dream that high oil prices will help drive America toward a brave new world of clean energy, the MacKay River project in Alberta, Canada, offers a glimpse of the future.

Drunk on ethanol

'Gasoline is going -- alcohol is coming. And it's coming to stay, too, for it's in unlimited supply. And we might as well get ready for it now."

Those words might have come from President George W. Bush, or just about any member of the U.S. Congress, or every major presidential candidate from both parties. All are euphorically drunk on ethanol (a fancy name for grain alcohol), seen as the miracle fuel that will simultaneously solve our global warming problem and end our reliance on foreign oil. Actually, though, they were uttered by automotive pioneer Henry Ford nearly a century ago.

Simple and cheap: Nepal's application of science

Almost unnoticed, Nepal is developing simple and cheap technologies that make the best of local resources and don't damage the environment.

The complexity of modern life

The point of this discussion is this: no isolated model of the economy, climate, or resource production can hope to completely capture the workings of any of these complex systems. Not only are these systems profoundly non-linear (and unstable) but they all interact with one another forming a much larger (and much more unstable) mega-system. That is not to say that we shouldn’t try to model complex systems, just that we must be prepared for rapid, uncontrollable collapse of the system in ways that a model cannot possibly predict.

...We cannot know the exact path of failure, but we can make one solid prediction for the future: the system will fail.

Do EIA Natural Gas Forecasts Contain Systematic Errors?

In the July, 2007 issue Public Utilities Fortnightly, we published the article “Gas Market Forecasts: Betting on Bad Numbers.” This research addressed the question: are systematic errors built into the EIA natural gas (NG) forecasts, causing them to err repeatedly the same direction? It is widely recognized that over the past decade EIA forecasts for NG differ substantially from actual outcomes.

A Pipe Dream for Chavez?

Venezuela's multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline project is on hold—the news affects Chavez's power, his neighbors, and Petróleos de Venezuela,

Iran seeks foreign oil investment

Iran appointed a new deputy oil minister for international affairs on Monday as part of a government reshuffle. Hossein Noghrehkar-Shirazi, who will take over responsibility for liaison with foreign companies, was appointed by the acting oil minister, Gholam-Hossein Nozari.

Iraq needs $100-150 bln for reconstruction: Finance minister

Iraq needs at least $100 billion to rebuild its shattered infrastructure after four years of violence and lawlessness following the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, Finance Minister Bayan Jabor said on Monday.

"Injection Risks Tremors, Pollution'; 'Green' sounds toxic alarm; 'Tests negative'

Chairman of Green Line Environmental Group Khaled Al-Hajri accuses Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC), a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Company (KPC), and Saudi SAK Oil Company of planning to inject approximately 9 million cubic meters of chemical toxic wastes into the ground in close proximity of Wafraa farms.

Philippines Researching Nuclear Power To Avert Energy Crisis

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has approved a proposal to study the utilization of nuclear power to cut the cost of electricity in the country.

Sun and mirrors

Eskom will decide by year-end whether it will proceed with a new 100MW facility powered entirely by the sun.

Concentrated solar power (CSP) is a relatively new technology worldwide, but it has the backing of the World Bank because it is the only zero-greenhouse-gas-emission technology that has the potential to rival coal-fired power as a low-cost solution to the energy crisis.

No electricity on this Nebraska farm means many hot days

It's a lifestyle that most people left behind decades ago as air conditioning evolved from an expensive luxury to a household requirement on the humid Plains. A recent survey by the Lincoln Electric System found that 98 percent of the homes it serves are air-conditioned.

Even many senior citizens who grew up without air conditioning recoil at the thought of living without it.

Pemex abandons oil rigs as Dean nears

Mexico's state-run Pemex oil company abandoned its offshore oil rigs just ahead of Hurricane Dean, evacuating more than 18,000 workers and shutting down production in its main oil-producing region.

Pemex officials said they expected the Category 5 storm to weaken somewhat as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula, but still pack winds of up to 100 mph Tuesday when it reaches the Campeche Sound, where 80 percent of Mexico's oil is extracted.

Shell Suspending GoM Personnel Evacuations

Due to high confidence in the Hurricane Dean storm track over the next several days, we are suspending any further personnel evacuations at this time.

Shell operated production shut-in as a result of Hurricane Dean was approximately 39,000 barrels of oil per day and 97.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. No further production shut-ins are expected in regard to Dean and we will begin to bring production that was shut in due to long lead times back on line.

How bad is peak oil, really?

As it so happens, I've recently been investigating the question of what kind of civilization we would need to have if we wanted to live without fossil fuels, and I wanted to know how we are currently using oil in order to understand how to live without it.

Using government data detailing the use of oil, in dollars, the conclusion I came to was this: over 90 percent of petroleum in the U.S. is burned by internal combustion engines. So the question needs to be reframed: would it really matter if we couldn't use internal combustion engines?

BNP: No real commitment to energy issues by Labour!

Ending the UK’s dependence on finite reserves of oil and gas should be the priority of any government serious about keeping the social and economic fabric of the country in tact. Much of the country’s energy imports are sourced from unstable regimes in the Middle East and central Asia and Russia is worryingly flexing its new found muscle as the world’s leading distributor of gas. Add to that the impact of Peak Oil which the BNP first brought to readers’ attention about five years ago; the UK’s continued dependence on imported fossil fuels is the Achilles Heel of our society.

Kunstler: Hot Shots

The Federal Reserve seems to be manufacturing an impressive supply of "greater fools" to go along with the dribs'n'drabs of credit that it is dropping into the sucking chest wound that the economy has become for the body politic. The Fed's idea, I suppose, is that if they lend a little money to the geniuses who engineered the latest (and probably last) bubble of the cheap oil age to cover their present losses, then the US economy will "right itself." What I think they don't get is that finance has virtually become the US economy — if you subtract it, there is nothing left besides hair-styling, fried chicken, and colonoscopies. By "righting the economy" do people mean the ability to keep running a transparently fraudulent set of rackets that have nothing whatever to do with financing real productive activity?

SEC Official: Mulling New Oil Reserve Booking Guidelines

The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering changing the rules for how oil and gas companies book their reserves, a top SEC official said in a speech last week.

Reserves are oil companies' most important assets, and a modernization of the rules could mean billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas may be able to make it onto balance sheets, potentially triggering a revaluation of the sector.

Saudi Ministry of Petroleum clarifies report on Jizan refinery

Saudi Arabia said it would invite bids for the building and operation of the planned Jizan oil refinery in the fourth quarter and denied reports that Aramco had been asked to help do the job.

...The plant will have the capacity to process 250,000 to 400,000 barrels per day and the kingdom wants the plant to be privately owned.

Shell, Dow eye China's refining sector

Lured by huge opportunities in the Chinese oil product market, Shell has come back to the country's refining sector through its participation in the Nansha greenfield refinery, a refining branch of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp's (Sinopec) Guangzhou Petrochemical.

Hurricanes Favor Some Energy Companies Over Others

During a five-week stretch two years ago that produced hurricanes Katrina and Rita, energy equities were among the biggest winners in a flattish market otherwise spooked with concern about the effects of higher energy prices.

While virtually all boats in the ocean of petroleum stocks rose amid 2005's unprecedented battering to Gulf Coast petroleum infrastructure, there were some standouts within the vast network of companies that explore for oil, service wells and refine and distribute petroleum products.

Young Chinese worried about global warming, but want cars

Most of China's urban youth are concerned about global warming, but not enough to forsake the luxury of owning a car or other perks of being rich, state media said Monday, citing a survey.

According to the survey of 2,500 people aged on average 30 years in cities across the country, 76 percent said they did what they could to save energy, the China Youth Daily reported.

However, with monthly income averaged at 2,977 yuan (392 dollars), 76 percent would like to buy a car once they have enough money.

Heathrow climate change protest draws to a close

Climate change activists demonstrating against proposed expansion at Heathrow, the world's busiest airport, began leaving their camp near the aviation hub Monday after a week of protests, officials said.

Scientist unveils plan on climate change

A New Mexico Tech scientist believes he has found a way to head off dangerous climate change. Oliver Wingenter said the idea is simple — fertilize the ocean so that more plankton can grow.

Islands emerge as Arctic ice shrinks to record low

Previously unknown islands are appearing as Arctic summer sea ice shrinks to record lows, raising questions about whether global warming is outpacing U.N. projections, experts said.

..."Reductions of snow and ice are happening at an alarming rate," Norwegian Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoy said at a seminar of 40 scientists and politicians that began late on Monday in Ny Alesund, 1,200 km (750 miles) from the North Pole.

"This acceleration may be faster than predicted" by the U.N. climate panel this year, she told reporters at the August 20-22 seminar. Ny Alesund calls itself the world's most northerly permanent settlement, and is a base for Arctic research.

A new Round-Up has been posted at TOD:Canada.

Nope, That's Not Money

Prudent Bear's Doug Noland has for years been pointing out that one of the drivers of the credit bubble has been the ever-broadening definition of money. As the global economy expanded without a hic-up, more and more instruments came to be used as a store of value or medium of exchange or even a standard against which to value other things—in other words, as money.

Thus mortgage-backed bonds and even more exotic things came to be seen as nearly risk-free and infinitely liquid. In Noland's terms, credit gained "moneyness," which sent the effective global money supply through the roof. This in turn allowed the U.S. and its trading partners to keep adding jobs and appearing to grow, despite debt levels that were rising into the stratosphere. For a while there, borrowing actually made the world richer, because both the cash received and the debt created functioned as money.

With a few months of hindsight, it's now clear that debt-as-money was not one of humanity's better ideas. When the U.S. housing market—the source of all that mortgage-backed pseudo money—began to tank, hedge funds found out that an asset-backed bond wasn't exactly the same thing as a stack of hundred dollar bills. The global economy then started taking inventory of what it was using as money. And it began crossing things off the list. Subprime ABS? Nope, that's not money. BBB corporate bonds? Nope. High-grade corporates? Alas, no. Credit default swaps? Are you kidding me?

No longer able to function as money, these instruments are being "repriced" (a slick little euphemism for "dumped for whatever anyone will pay"), which is causing a cascade failure of the many business models that depend on infinite liquidity. The effective global money supply is contracting at a double-digit rate, reversing out much of the past decade's growth.

The WSJ has another story on Russia's floating nuclear power plants. You can read it if you go in through Google News.

Russia Floats Plan For Nuclear Plant Aboard a Boat

...Last year, Russia began a broad drive to reinvigorate its nuclear industry. Among the initiatives: At a top-secret shipyard in the country's far north, Russia's state-run atomic energy company is overseeing construction on the first of what it says will be a fleet of reactor-equipped ships. The vessels are meant to provide electricity to remote areas, mooring just offshore and supplying enough power to run a small city. Russian officials say the floating plants have generated strong interest among foreign customers.

Haha... From the first paragraph:

"If you have the information, you can't be against this."

How convenient... You know, I'm going to start using this defense in support of my own presuppositions. It's unbeatable.

If a former vodka salesman who spent 6 years in jail says so it must be true.

The debate at the national level right now among Democrats is between a Carbon Cap and Trade System and a Carbon Tax. I've read both sides of the issue and I'm still not sure which would be more effective in the short and long term.

Sen. Boxer seems to support a Cap & Trade system, while Rep. Dingell supports a straight up Carbon tax.

What do you guys think? Which is better to stave off global warming? Which is better from a Peak Oil perspective?

The politicians still haven't got it.

After the first shock, the OPEC Embargo in 1973, the U.S. should have increased the gasoline tax by $0.25. After the Iranian Crisis, another $0.25 should have been added. After the 1980's tanker war and Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, another $0.50 should have been added. That total of $1.00 should have been doubled to $2.00 per gallon by now. I place blame directly on people like Ronnie RayGun, who had the great opportunity to keep prices high in 1986, after KSA flooded the market and drove the price of crude down to $10/bbl, but chose to sit back and enjoy the ride for another election cycle.

Once we know for sure that we are past Peak Oil, it will be too late to use the tax mechanism to limit consumption as the price of oil is likely to skyrocket. The only hope then will be gasoline rationing and a massive campaign of conservation and building of alternatives. All of Samuelson's "wedges" will be options. The Democrats still don't get it. They can't just say "NO" to the kids that are throwing tantrums about the "high" price of gasoline.

E. Swanson

"I place blame directly on people like Ronnie RayGun, who had the great opportunity to keep prices high in 1986, after KSA flooded the market and drove the price of crude down to $10/bbl, but chose to sit back and enjoy the ride for another election cycle."

Ahhh, Black_Dog, but maybe the flood of cheap oil during the 1980s was part of a Reagan administration plan to bankrupt the Soviet Union?

I've heard that claim before. However, I suggest that the Soviet system failed in large part because of their excessive expenditures on their military, instead of attempting to satisfy their consumer demands and basic needs. Also, the proliferation of the fax machine made it nearly impossible for their secret police to monitor the activities of their dissidents. The basis of their ability to control their population was lost. Ever wondered where their news organization Interfax began? Unfortunately, information technology appears to have caught up with the Revolutionaries again (except in Iraq). Smile!! That lady with the cell phone stuck in her ear is really taking your picture...

E. Swanson

Perhaps they amount to the same thing, since FSU got so much of its money from energy and then spent so much on military. When energy prices tanked and the military kept its share, poof. It seems as well that the degree of environmental devastation from military (and oil) within the FSU was larger than anyone thought - just as is so in our southwest. [Mike Davis "Dead Cities"]

cfm in Gray, ME


"The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space," he recalls, adding that U.S. satellites picked up the explosion. Reed said in an interview that the blast occurred in the summer of 1982.

"While there were no physical casualties from the pipeline explosion, there was significant damage to the Soviet economy," he writes. "Its ultimate bankruptcy, not a bloody battle or nuclear exchange, is what brought the Cold War to an end. In time the Soviets came to understand that they had been stealing bogus technology, but now what were they to do? By implication, every cell of the Soviet leviathan might be infected. They had no way of knowing which equipment was sound, which was bogus. All was suspect, which was the intended endgame for the entire operation."


Kinda like CDO's in Money Center Banks today.

Now that the US has offshored most of its manufacturing capabilities, has the thought not occured to anyone that a similar trick could be played on us?

I am sure that the thought has occured to the Chinese, if nobody else. I wonder if the lead paint and pet food scares were just trial runs? Testing us to see how good & fast we are at detection?

Everyone under 40 has been raised on TV programed to produce 'pure' consumers. It's everyone under 40 that's throwing tantrums, from the ones that ripped off the younger one's with ARMs because they are not being bailed out after commiting fraud, to the younger ones being told to blame, not the '80s college crowd that ripped them off, but the liberal generation that came before. None of them were ever taught how to reason, how to critcally think. Therefore they are just thrashing around demanding to be bailed out, demanding SOMEONE to make everything better, looking for someone to blame and burn at the stake. A very sad state of affairs. I have some things to say to them. Yes, you have been lied to. Yes, you have been ripped off. No, there is not enough for everyone to have everything. No, there is not enough for everyone period. The world is used up. There are VERY HARD times ahead. Ther is no one who can save you. There will be no salvation. Your world is over. Bite the bullet, pull it together and live. Throw your tantrums and break things and die.

"Therefore they are just thrashing around demanding to be bailed out, demanding SOMEONE to make everything better, looking for someone to blame and burn at the stake."

Oh, my God! I just described pre-WWII Germany. Oh, sh*t.

Wow, how much more proof do you need to know that we're going to become a Nazi state?

Seriously, weren't you just pontificating about the lack of critical reasoning abilities?

"'Therefore they are just thrashing around demanding to be bailed out, demanding SOMEONE to make everything better, looking for someone to blame and burn at the stake.'

Oh, my God! I just described pre-WWII Germany. Oh, sh*t."

On which note, isn't it reassuring to know that Britain's most repellant political party (featured in: "BNP: No real commitment to energy issues by Labour!") is at the forefront of warning of the consequences of peak oil. They will certainly find someone to blame - probably anyone they don't classify as British.

doctorbob, you beat me to it.

For US readers, the BNP is the British Nationalist Party, a very right wing and very Peak Oil aware political party.

If things get bad maybe many more people won't find it so repellent ... they didn't in pre-war Germany. :-(


Heck - even VERY right wing doesn't state it...

...BNP leaders have sympathized with the Nazis on many occasions and their candidates often run on the idea that people with brown skin should be "sent back where they came from"

This is why it is worrying that mainstream politicians ignore Peak Oil, to me. Cos when people like the BNP start being right people will start asking, well what else are they right about.
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Does this mean that praying to dog isnt going to save them? If they lose faith, get no more cheap gas, cant afford the latest consumer electronic gadgets, are not able to purchase Chinese junk at swell-mart, then what is left for them? Their lives are ruined! What will they do when frozen pizza and pop tarts are gone from the shelves? I see an outstanding opportunity for a new deity...The F 150 In The Sky.

Does this mean that praying to dog isnt going to save them?

No, but if you want dogs attention, offerers of meat work well.

Everyone under 40? I'm under 40, and I'm not asking for anybody to bail me out. Actually, none of my friends, most of whom are under 40, are asking or even need anybody to bail them out. As far as I've been able to tell, the people being foreclosed on aren't screaming out to be saved. No, instead, the banks, mutual and hedge funds, pensions, and other large financial institutions are. Guess what? Those guys are run by the 80's college crowd and the liberal generation that came before.

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

Don't worry artaxt - the boomers get cranky every now and again on here and start ragging on those of us younger, and then when we point out any culpability they may have in anything they tell us we're whining and blaming them.

They're the most pampered and pandered to generation in history. You gotta take it with a pinch of salt.

But in Cid Yama's defense... I am having to hire 20-somethings... and I am shocked by the lack of critical thinking skills and general get-up-and-go... and their frightening levels of consumerism - in broad brushstrokes. Of course the boomers were running the education system for these kids - so it's hard to see that they get a free ride on that one either...

Personally... I really enjoy the input of the older folks on here cos they tend to know more than I do about so many things that will be important in the coming years. I have a lot to learn from them, and try to. But it will have to be those younger than 40 that pick up the pieces... and there is plenty of blame to go around - just attacking the younger generation while overlooking any responsibility for why the situation is as it is, well it's just daft.

We cannot ALL be completely useless, surely?
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

It was really the WW II generation that planted the seeds of our destruction.

At least some of the baby boomers tried to stop the wars.

The 20-somethings today are just sitting there staring at Cheney and Iraq, without a clue what to do about them. Here's a clue: start breaking some stuff. That scares them.

Blaming generations is completely stereotypical. Each generation contains both good and bad.

Actually the seeds of our destruction were planted at least as far back as the 18th century. Think about it: our great-great-great grandparents, the ones who slaved away in the mills of the Industrial Revolution, were really very evil people.

"Everyone" was a poor choice of words, and because of my using it you missed the point of what I was saying. Television allowed for broad indoctrination across the board. Not just political, but corporate.(Are my teeth white enough?, can others 'smell' me?, What will other people think of me?, etc.) They created a painful self-consciousness among the population that can only be temporarily relieved though consumerism. Another thing television did was substitute for reading. Critical thinking is first encountered through the written word. What television did was create a default to 'talking head' experts who tell them what to believe. Lacking a foundation to determine the veracity of what the 'talking heads' are saying, debate has devolved into quoting 'talking heads' at each other, the 'talking heads' 'rightness' being directly tied to their popularity.(and usually their popularity directly tied to 'air-time') I said 'those under 40' as those were the ones exposed from birth to this process after the corporations understood and refined it. These are the people that will find it hardest once consumerism is no longer possible. No blame or criticism being applied. Just raising the red flag that the world is used up. Anger, scapegoating and seeking out the 'best' 'talking head' to save them are counterproductive to ultimate survival, and those under 40 have this history that will make it twice as hard for them to survive.

and who exactly controlled the levers of power and education during this period - that gave you first the generation X slackers (my lot) and now the generation Y i-don't-know-what-to-call-them (in their 20's and lower now)

at the end of the day boomer votes gave us Reagan and Bush I - i think it is easy to overstate the liberal part of the 60's and claim credit for a whole generation of liberal minded people when the votes show otherwise - a significant group who did much no doubt - but not everyone in that generation was liberal by a long chalk... and the decisions they have made are still ones that haunt us today with Peak Oil and Climate Change

but the sad truth is that certainly at the younger end of that spectrum you mention (i have to say i find it less and less as you get up to the thirties and closer to forty, but it's still there) the average young American is not going to do much about this - I see a frightening lack of agency in their behaviour and increasing amounts of programmed automatic consumer behaviour...

i just don't see enough of them changing quickly enough
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

"at the end of the day boomer votes gave us Reagan and Bush"

The Liberals born before 1958 are still Liberals. There were not and still are not many Conservatives among our generation. Our generation focused on self actualization and attainment of inner validation. Our generation became comfortable with themselves and not swayed by advertising emphasizing external validation. (Worrying about what other people think about us or "Keeping up with the Jones".)
It was the votes of those born before around 1938 and those born after 1958 that voted Republican. When I was in college in the early '70's, the Young Republicans' office was a closet. There just weren't many of them and they were seen as something deviant and disgusting. The Boomer generation had nothing to do with Reagan or Bush coming to office.

What if we don’t get our act together in time to avoid serious consequences? What would that be like? Would the Already Experiencing It Countries go the way of Katrina? Who would be next? A 1st, 2nd, or 3rd world country? Would those who could, leave? Where would they go? Where would you go if you were one of them? Would the other countries let them die and then harvest any remaining resources? Might there be a new kind of ‘resource war?’ Interesting times… indeed.

The trouble with cap & trade is that it is too easy for the govt to set the cap too high, rendering the whole program worthless.

It is also easier to reset the carbon tax rates quickly if new scientific data indicates that more drastic reductions in volume are needed.

Last year the EU nations issued 15% too many and the price of the permits collapsed.

I remember an article recently proposing to set the carbon task at a varying level dependent on the amount of global warming, the equatorial tropospheric temperature measured by satellite IIRC.

A straight carbon tax means increasingly pricing poorer people out of the market. If you have to have a carbon tax, make it revenue neutral, ie reduce payroll taxes accordingly. IIRC, AlanFBE and WT support this.

Personally, I support Cap and Trade. But only if it has a similar redistribution measure, eg "Contraction and Convergence, or "Cap and Share" .

I have an even better idea to make it revenue neutral. Figure out how much gas each licensed driver uses each year and mail them a check for the amount of gas tax they pay.

For example, 1000 gallons/year and $1/gallon, mail every driver a check for $1000. That way, everybody that drives gets involved. If you do a payroll tax rebate, you cut out the non-working, unemployed, retired and low wage people completely out of the picture.

Why did you cut off non-drivers? I see your idea, but this way people will buy junk cars and not drive them just to get their $1000 check. Better yet split the tax revenue per capita - everyone over 18 would be getting the same amount. This way non-drivers will be fairly awarded for not driving and not polluting altogether. In addition the carbon tax will also increase bus and rail tickets as well as electricity rates. Not only gasoline.

Cap and Trade, along with 'Carbon Offsets' are the 21st Century equivalents of Papal Indulgences.

the 21st Century equivalents of Papal Indulgences.

Carbon offsets, maybe, but cap and trade? If carbon is capped (and the cap is reduced each year) then FF prices will increase until non-carbon alternatives are cheaper. How is this an indulgence?

How is this an indulgence?

Have you heard about accounting tricks? Enron anyone? The Cap & Trade system gives the participants the inherent incentative to overallocate allowances or invent offsets. This is its major flaw, because if there is will, corporations (and lawyers) find a way... A tax you can not escape because it is way too straightforward.

The Carbon gets capped at too high a limit, allowing for the 'trade' in carbon. This creates a) a spurious market and b) enormous possibilities for fraud and c) a pretence that a nation or corporation is 'doing its bit'.

Offsetting enables people to pretend they are doing something, allows people to buy there way out of guilt.

Get this:

Passed in traffic last week by a top of the line Range Rover (something like a 3.6 litre Diesel) Brand spanking new about £40k's worth of mummy-wagon.

Bumper Sticker? yess... guess what it said:

This Vehicle has been Carbon Offset...


I think there are very good reasons the politicians love 'Cap and Trade' regardless how inefficient it has proven to deal with the problem:
1) They are controlling the allowances. More power, more pork.
2) They can overallocate them in their mandate and leave reducing them to... whoever has the political will to do it. Any volunteers?
3) They are creating a 'carbon market' from which their connected corporations may benefit... for example by planting trees in Malaysia (to be quietly cut down the next year for biofuels).

The overall societal cost is enormous while the benefit is minuscule.

The only effective measure that could do something about our FF consumption - a revenue-neutral carbon tax is known very well, but is hated by politicians. It would penalize excessive consumption and this will reduce corporations profits... how bad could this be???

Wikipedia has a bit about the C&T system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cap_and_trade

C&T and a carbon tax purport to achieve the same goal. However, the C&T system is laced with government intervention at every turn. Which industries or companies should get how much? Do you allow past gross polluters an easier path toward reduction? If so, why should an industry get favoritism for their past bad practices? How does the government decide that one industry deserves more carbon use than another?

Anyway, a carbon tax system seems like the most transparent and efficient one. With the money taken in you can reduce income tax reductions and/or refund money evenly to all citizens.

Cap & trade is BS; a whopping carbon tax would be great.

Glad I could clear that up.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way and still have a blank box to put text in, I'll also suggest a way to make it possible. Tongue in cheek but just stupid enough it could work.

American citizens hate taxes. Thus, politicians don't propose them. What Americans like is "free stuff now".

In fact, Americans will agree to ANY damn thing to get "free stuff now". That's the whole rationale behind the right to bear ARM's (adjustable-rate mortgages that is), the credit card industry, cashback bonuses when you buy a car, etc etc. Yet this powerful core truth has never been harnessed for conservation!

Thus I give you.... (drum roll)... the Patriot Rebate. This is about keeping America's wealth in america, sticking it to those foreign oil-sellers, about mom and apple pie. It's a tax that starts as a bonus. Yes, every citizen will get five thousand dollars FREE the first year! And lesser amounts each year thereafter, until it becomes a heavy and rising carbon tax on the 5th year and beyond.

The ostensible reason will be to allow the poor to buy energy-efficient vehicles. Will they? Hell no! But they will have been PAID to, so won't be able to bitch about it credibly. In fact, they'll all spend it on stupid stuff.

This is money that the Fed is going to have to inject ANYhow to keep the economy from collapsing in the coming few years, so why not tie the give-away to a deep carbon tax?

In other words, to any presidential candidates who are listening: Americans want free money and they want it now! They'll be for the tax because the world 5 years from now isn't real to them! They'll DEMAND it.

You will awaken a sleeping giant and fill it with a wonderful resolve. History will love you for it, and you will be remember fondly as long as the nation endures. Which is to say 20-30 years, give or take.

Thanks for your kind attention.

Re Scientist unveils plan to stop global warming

This Yahoo News article has a "scientist" from New Mexico Tech advocating seeding the oceans to stimulate plankton growth to stop global warming. Its an idea thats about as dumb as they come-we already have the Mississippi river fertilizing the Gulf of Mexico with all the phosphate and nitrate from the whole Mid West and Delta plus the sewage of half of America. The result-a monster dead zone.

No wonder New Mexico Tech is so highly reguarded as a maritime research institute

The only techno-fixes that will do any good on Gloal Warming work by decreasing our reliance on CO2 producing fossil fuels IMHO. But I bet his position gets him a job at a think tank and as a talking head on Fox and Rush Limbaugh Bob Ebersole

I had the same feeling, Bob.

Plankton growing in the ocean emits a gas known as dimethyl sulfide, or DMS, that once in the atmosphere, helps spur cloud formation.

From a Wikipedia page on Acid rain:

The principal natural phenomena that contribute acid-producing gases to the atmosphere are emissions from volcanoes and those from biological processes that occur on the land, in wetlands, and in the oceans. The major biological source of sulfur containing compounds is dimethyl sulfide.

IMO, when we start attempting to "geo-engineer" the planet, the game will effectively be over.

when we start attempting to "geo-engineer" the planet, the game will effectively be over.

I believe you said it there POT. (Note:(intentional understatement follows.) We've been trying to "manage" eco-systems for a couple generations now and have not had any roaring success. So why not take those failures and apply them at the global level where we can really muck things up?

Wow "manage"--you weren't kidding when you said understatement... ;]


The difference is that the Gulf is overloaded but regions well away from land are low on nutrients. They are a dead zone too but for a different reason. There are a number of sequestration or solar shading ideas out there that probably need to be given a little consideration as part of plan Z but none of those really make any sense if we won't do the inexpensive, or even profitable things that reduce emissions. The reason such desperate interventions might ultimately need to be considered is because we have been unintentionally intervening on a comparable scale with out fossil fuel use and destruction of the ecosystem.

The unintended consequences of intentionally attempting to prevent a mass extinction event could be worse than even the event itself but if we find that we have entered a natural feedback that raises the CO2 concentration even as we eliminate our own emissions, we might be tempted to try something like ocean seeding or aerosol pollution to halt the feedback.


Main stream media might be avoiding PO as much as they can but some of the best blogs on the internet are not so shy. A tip of the hat and huge thanks to Leanan and staff of TOD for making this site available.

Tomgram: Dilip Hiro, America on the Downward Slope...8-20-07


...snip...'In Iraq, Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to two U.S. presidents, concedes in a recent op-ed, "We are being wrestled to a draw by opponents who are not even an organized state adversary."

...snip...'During the 1991 Gulf War, only CNN and the BBC had correspondents in Baghdad. So the international TV audience, irrespective of its location, saw the conflict through their lenses. Twelve years later, when the Bush administration, backed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, invaded Iraq, Al Jazeera Arabic broke this duopoly. It relayed images -- and facts -- that contradicted the Pentagon's presentation. For the first time in history, the world witnessed two versions of an ongoing war in real time. So credible was the Al Jazeera Arabic version that many television companies outside the Arabic-speaking world -- in Europe, Asia and Latin America -- showed its clips.'...snip...

'As with Qatar, so with Russia and Venezuela, the funding for these TV news ventures has come from SOARING NATIONAL HYDROCARBON INCOMES -- a factor draining American hegemony not just in imagery but in reality.'(my caps)...snip...

'Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has more than recovered from the economic chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. After effectively renationalizing the energy industry through state-controlled corporations, he began deploying its economic clout to further Russia's foreign policy interests.'...snip...

'The changing relationship between Moscow and Washington was noted, among others, by analysts and policy-makers in the hydrocarbon-rich Persian Gulf region. Commenting on the visit that Putin paid to long-time U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar after the Munich conference, Abdel Aziz Sagar, chairman of the Gulf Research Center, wrote in the Doha-based newspaper The Peninsula that Russia and Gulf Arab countries, once rivals from opposite ideological camps, had found a common agenda of oil, anti-terrorism, and arms sales. "The altered focus takes place in a milieu where the Gulf countries are signaling their keenness to keep all geopolitical options open, reviewing the utility of the United States as the sole security guarantor, and contemplating a collective security mechanism that involves a host of international players."

In April 2007, the Kremlin issued a major foreign policy document. "The myth about the unipolar world fell apart once and for all in Iraq," it stated. "A strong, more self-confident Russia has become an integral part of positive changes in the world."...snip...

'In return for Africa's oil, iron ore, copper, and cotton, China sold low-priced goods to Africans, and assisted African counties in building or improving roads, railways, ports, hydro-electric dams, telecommunications systems, and schools. "The western approach of imposing its values and political system on other countries is not acceptable to China," said Africa specialist Wang Hongyi of the China Institute of International Studies. "We focus on mutual development."

To reduce the cost of transporting petroleum from Africa and the Middle East, China began constructing a trans-Burma oil pipeline from the Bay of Bengal to its southern province of Yunan, thereby shortening the delivery distance now traveled by tankers. This undermined Washington's campaign to isolate Myanmar. (Earlier, Sudan, boycotted by Washington, had emerged as a leading supplier of African oil to China.) In addition, Chinese oil companies were competing fiercely with their Western counterparts in getting access to hydrocarbon reserves in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

"China's oil diplomacy is putting the country on a collision course with the U.S. and Western Europe, which have imposed sanctions on some of the countries where China is doing business," comments William Mellor of Bloomberg News. The sentiment is echoed by the other side. "I see China and the U.S. coming into conflict over energy in the years ahead," says Jin Riguang, an oil-and-gas advisor to the Chinese government and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Council.'...snip...

'When viewed globally and in the great stretch of history, the notion of American exceptionalism that drove the neoconservatives to proclaim the Project for the New American Century in the late 20th century -- adopted so wholeheartedly by the Bush administration in this one -- is nothing new. Other superpowers have been there before and they, too, have witnessed the loss of their prime position to rising powers.

No superpower in modern times has maintained its supremacy for more than several generations. And, however exceptional its leaders may have thought themselves, the United States, already clearly past its zenith, has no chance of becoming an exception to this age-old pattern of history.'

Dilip Hiro is the author of Secrets and Lies: Operation "Iraqi Freedom" and, most recently, Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Oil Resources, both published by Nation Books.

Having NO chance of becoming an exception is perhaps an exaggeration. In as much as the American style of commerce has been copied and adopted by the putative competitors, in a sense it has already been a victory. For example, Canada didn't have to be amalgamated but just rendered indistinguishable and commercially integrated.

Rather than look at the traditional definition of empire, one only has to look at Bollywood and Punjabi dance videos to an oh so American backbeat to get the drift. And then there's China's rush to Californiacate itself. When a significantly different cultural, political or social model starts usurping the territory now intensely aping America, then can we consider the supremacy of the US to be in trouble.

That said, the whole model is in trouble, with no potential sucessor in sight. Rather than succumbing to a rival, the probable outcome will be the demise of both parasite and host. Can the system adapt to a realistic long term relationship with the planet? Probably not.

While Americans love to point out their exceptionalism, they aren't exceptional. Sorry. International corporatism is really the exception here and that's Toyota and Siemens and Hitachi as well. I don't find America an exception but an extension of European economic and social conventions. It's just another European country with an ocean in the way, and a few more illusions.

How international corporatism deals with the energy paradigm shift will be exciting to watch. The Exceptional American Empire is on display at your local Toyota dealer.

Talking Heads
Listening Wind

Mojique sees his village from a nearby hill
Mojique thinks of days before Americans came
He sees the foreigners in growing numbers
He sees the foreigners in fancy houses
He thinks of days that he can still remember...now.

Mojique holds a package in his quivering hands
Mojique sends the package to the American man
Softly he glides along the streets and alleys
Up comes the wind that makes them run for cover
He feels the time is surely now or never...more.

The wind in my heart
The wind in my heart
The dust in my head
The dust in my head
The wind in my heart
The wind in my heart
(Come to) Drive them away
Drive them away.

Mojique buys equipment in the market place
Mojique plants devices in the free trade zone
He feels the wind is lifting up his people
He calls the wind to guide him on his mission
He knows his friend the wind is always standing...by.

Mojique smells the wind that comes from far away
Mojique waits for news in a quiet place
He feels the presence of the wind around him
He feels the power of the past behind him
He has the knowledge of the wind to guide him...on.

repeat chorus

“…many senior citizens who grew up without air conditioning recoil at the thought of living without it.”

This quote exemplifies a point doomers and back to the land proponents should keep in mind when they wonder why people are so hesitant to give up ‘modern lifestyle’ accoutrements: The only people who want to live that way are people who never had to live that way. The rest of the world isn’t aspiring to an American standard of living because they are greedy or stupid or really do want to destroy the world. They are doing it because all that stuff that Americans have is, to put it simply: Awesome. All those accoutrements make life much simpler and much more comfortable. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. If the AC was powered by solar panels on the roof environmentalists wouldn’t have problem with it. Just keep this in mind. The only people who want to live without AC are people who have never had to live without AC. Those senior citizens are not stupid or greedy or short sighted. They just remember how much a summer in the Midwest sucks without AC.

(I'm all for living on an organic farm and all that. I'm just trying to make a point. And I want my solar powered AC.)

The fact that most Americans and most of the world believe that we can have an infinite rate of increase in the consumption of a finite energy resource base does not make it possible.

I didn't say anything about that. All I'm saying is people like this stuff and they are not going to give it up without a fight. That is not a bad thing. Personally I hope the battle is fought with solar powered AC and lots of local energy generation and conservation.

My point is that the conventional wisdom is that expensive energy is a temporary phenomenon--nothing but a speedbump along the virtually infinite energy road that Daniel Yergin, et al, are promising us.

In the short term, downsizing can be financially and emotionally costly. So, if high energy prices are temporary, why not continue going into debt in order to hold on to the auto centered suburban lifestyle?

'All I'm saying is people like this stuff and they are not going to give it up without a fight.' And right there you have put your finger squarly on the attitude of the American People. They dont mind giving up habeus corpus, their constitution and bill of rights, any right to be free from spying, right to illegal searches and seizures or the withdrawal of their country from the Geneva Conventions and various treaty obligations...But they dont want to give up their ACs and SUVs. Does anyone believe that the detention camps will be air conditioned?

This was the great test of the American experiment in freedom: how would we define freedom when we had to make tough choices? We're failing, and the experiment draws to a close with no good follow-up in sight.


Personally I hope the battle is fought with solar powered AC...

So do I.

Personally, I wonder why there isn't far more research into the absorption systems.

I used to work with one of those during my earlier days at a major oil refinery - we kept our LNG tanks cool using waste heat from the refinery.

If the generator were reconfigured to accept insolation, the condenser reconfigured for evaporative cooling, that should put the evaporator part at about 40 deg F - allowing us to get the excess water out of the air.

How about a variant of the old "ISAAC" system, which charges during the day and makes ice? Sounds like a great "charger" for an ice-bank type AC if you ask me.

If I had more funds, I would pursue this far more aggressively, as I have worked with the physics of this technology and feel it to be viable ( unlike all of the "free-energy" stuff that seems so rampant today ). I have never liked anything that requires me to violate the second law of thermodynamics, and probably never will - given the ignonimity of having to admit defeat every time I try.

I do not get free cooling. The majority of the energy input to the system is thermal ( given to me by the sun ) rather than mechanical ( for which I pay the power company ).

For you old farts out there (like me), remember the Kerosene refrigerator? If not, ask your grandma and grandpappy. This technology, albeit quite old, could be quite useful.


How about a variant of the old "ISAAC" system, which charges during the day and makes ice? Sounds like a great "charger" for an ice-bank type AC if you ask me.

Or one can use solar power, water and ammonia and make ice.

(Boil water+ammonia in the day, combine the water and ammonia at night to make ice)

Agreed. Agreed that solar AC needn't be a greed. While you're at it, make the system heat your place in the off season and we're really getting somewhere. Or just move underground like the gophers and keep it really simple.

For old farts like me, the below grade solution has the least complexity as long as the water table is low. Quiet, too.

That'd be a geothermal or ground source heat pump? Depending on location (like not in Halifax, I've been told), why go underground when your heating/AC can do it for you. Embrace life at the surface :)

I understand your point. Certainly, humans like having their cake and eating it too. But what of the hangover that eating the cake produces? Where do we draw the line between "need" and "want"? Living in the Midwest without AC may "suck" but it was -- at least before we paved everything and removed all the shade trees -- survivable. Now, most don't think of AC as a luxury any more. And as long as the worst effects of industrialization and the consumer society are a few decades off -- Hey, what me worry?

Your post insinuates that we could all install solar powered AC on the roof and everything would be okay. Would that it were that easy. Solar powered AC for the masses -- all 6.5-soon-to-be-9 billion of us.

So, we plod on, "sleepwalking," as Kunstler says "into the future," dreaming of electric cars in every garage and solar-powered AC units on every roof. Meanwhile, the Arctic turns to mush and the Amazon burns.

why people are so hesitant to give up ‘modern lifestyle’ accoutrements: The only people who want to live that way are people who never had to live that way. The rest of the world isn’t aspiring to an American standard of living because they are greedy or stupid or really do want to destroy the world. They are doing it because all that stuff that Americans have is, to put it simply: Awesome.

I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Thanks ex, that was just rich.

Oh come on, you have to admit it's awesome.

Awful, but awesome ...

Indeed, Don, indeed. And "awesome" is just the over abused, trendy, youth culture word needed to to express how awful.


Thank you Mr. F! You have even surpassed Ex's original post in hilarity. I literally laughed out load, cube neighbor asked what was so funny.

Anytime, anytime...

I think that last hot-linked image is from Calvin and Hobbes. So I apologize to Mr. Patterson (who hates having his work used in this illegitimate copyright infringing manner) but, alas, I don't think any harm is done. And the beauty in this collage I've made today is that it takes everything and sums it up into a nice whole.

Entering Metropolitan Museum tour guide mode...

First you've got your country, flag and patriotism. Awesome? Check.

Secondly, the Bible? The most awesomest book by far!

Air conditioning (residential, or commercial) and there is even a sun, and some clouds (yuck) for the solar dudes. Awesome? Most certainly my dear Socrates, how could it be otherwise?

Finally, last but not least, dinosaurs flying around in jet planes. What is awesomer than that? Nothing, except apes flying 'em.

We rock. Hoo yah!

Happy to spread a little laughter across the cubicle sea...

Your post implies that somehow AC would be fine and "free", if it were just solar powered. This assumes you will not be energy constrained, and you will not have to make a choice between using that solar power for something more useful (and perhaps life sustaining) than AC. Sure, if we have access to unlimited energy, we can continue to waste it on frivolous luxuries like AC.

You do not seem to have grasped the nature of the changes that are coming.

If it's 100F outside and you're 60, AC is not frivolous.

I would rather live w/o heat in the winter (and came close to that first winter after Katrina w/o gas service) than a/c in the summer in New Orleans. But I could do without both if I had a ceiling or floor fan.

Best Hopes for Hyper-Insulation and Humidity Control,


On the other hand, in the pre-A/C days, people from cities all over the SE, even as far away as NOLA, would take the train up to the mountains of WNC in the summer to escape the summer heat & humidity. A/C is nice to have in the hottest days of the summer, but we could live without it, and many around here do. For someone coming up from 100+, low 80s day and low 60s night certainly must feel pretty good.

What we really need is our passenger train service back.

Why? Are you assuming they are without shade or shelter? And 60 is hardly old and decrepit. Fans are effective and use very little energy. If you live someplace like Phoenix, then no, you cannot survive without AC. Of course, you cannot survive without water either.

France which has a normally temporate climate, suffered a large wave of deaths in one of the recent summers due to a high level of heat exhaustion mainly impacting the older population.

I would say there is strong evidence to support the idea that AC has a direct and beneficial effect on the lifespan of a populace in regions where heat can be a real killer.

Like Alan, I'd rather do without heat in the winter in Houston, than without AC in the summer. Gulf Coast heat and humidity combined are known killers in this region, and AC has been largely responsible for population growth in this region.

Granted you can make an argument about the merits of population growth in/near inhospitable regions, but given the current reality, we either find a way to control the climate in buildings located in these regions or the more temporate regions are going to be staring at a mass exodus from the inhospitable regions as Global Warming makes conditions even more unbarable, and Peak Oil makes AC impracticle.

Its not just that our technology and toys are "Awesome", they are the very tools the human animal has used to overcome the challenges we faced in settling these regions. In otherwords its not that we *don't* want to give up AC(though that's certainly part of it) its that we
*can't* give up AC and expect to be able to continue to survive in these environments and maintain the productivity level that these regions currently have. And a decline in productivity will lead to economic hardship which will just feed right back into the whole problem.

AC is part of a system here in the south, and like removing a cog in a watch its going to have impacts on so many other facets of life down here.

And by the way, we can just as easily reverse the situation and make the same comparisons to the north with their dependence on Natural Gas heating. Close up business for the winter at every major office, and industrial plant whenever a snow storm or vicious cold weather comes in? Not if you expect to maintain the current economic levels in that region.

Yeah people in the "olden" days got by without AC and Heating like we have today. They also did a lot less and were more prone to negative impacts of those temperatures such as sickness, and death. Environmental controls plays a huge role in our health as a nation.

In otherwords its not that we *don't* want to give up AC(though that's certainly part of it) its that we
*can't* give up AC and expect to be able to continue to survive in these environments and maintain the productivity level that these regions currently have. And a decline in productivity will lead to economic hardship which will just feed right back into the whole problem.

Herein is the fallacy in your argument. AC or not, we can not maintain the productivity level in these regions. What about peak oil haven't you understood? What we have now is not sustainable. "Productivity" in the modern economic sense in which you are using it must decline with the decline in oil production (and the other incipient resource limitations). "Economic hardship"? You haven't seen nothing yet.

But, you know, there are positives, too. Maybe life quality isn't best measured by "productivity."

Oh, and for all of you who think that AC has become a necessity - you might want to think about heat induced stress response. Amazing thing about the human body, it can adjust to all sorts of environments. I grew up in Miami and we did not use A/C. Indeed, only the "better" off families in our neighborhood did. (and don't anyone dare suggest that in the days when I was young people were less active - I'm not that old!)

Herein is the fallacy in your argument. AC or not, we can not maintain the productivity level in these regions. What about peak oil haven't you understood? What we have now is not sustainable. "Productivity" in the modern economic sense in which you are using it must decline with the decline in oil production (and the other incipient resource limitations). "Economic hardship"? You haven't seen nothing yet.

And herein lies the fallacy that so many on this board who favor a powerdown scenario fail to account for. Who is going to powerdown and reduce productivity first?

Because the country that does that will become the country that gets preyed upon by the remaining countries who do not powerdown.

Its not like China, Russia, Japan, the EU or any other country is just going to look on upon the benevolent US that is powering-down as a model country to be emulated. They will instead rush to fill the power vacuum that the US leaves both economically and militarily. And anyone who says otherwise is delusional about the capacity for human greed.

Sorry but powering down is and will remain a Mexican Stand Off amongst nations. Either these countries continue to prolong their economic activities and therefore their place in the pecking order, or they become the next "loser" nations in this scenario. That is why despite population pressures, China has certain goals to maintain, Russia is encouraging sex for the Motherland, and the EU and Japan is desperately trying to figure out a solution to their aging workforce. No country/powerbloc wants to be the one to go first, because they all know the one to go first is the one who isn't going to make it on the other side of the Power shift.

Sorry Shaman I understand all to well what Peak Oil represents and I also understand that the idealistic bull about powerdown and giving up on FFs and industry in general is precisely that.. Bull.

We as a species are heading for this concrete wall full speed ahead and short of a technological miracle its going to be a messy affair once we start our concrete kiss. Back to the land, and "downgrading" our technological society isn't going to solve a damn thing, because the group that holds onto the technological advantages the longest will be able to dictate the terms that the simple lifers will have to live or even die by.

Hi Telemuhter,

Thanks for the post.

re: "...the group that holds onto the technological advantages the longest will be able to dictate the terms.."

Could you comment on this:

It seems logical to say, "the future is electric" (to quote WT, I believe).

Ok, so whatever will be working, in terms of industry, transportation, etc., will be electrical and fueled by "true renewables", wind and solar, some people count hydro and nuclear. But let's leave those latter aside for a moment.

So, one view: it looks like the thing to do is to take as much of the FF energy as we can and change the energy technologies to "true renewable" input and electricity as output, along with any conversions we can do.

This is all we'll have, once oil is not there.

Yes? No? Maybe?

So, then it seems "what to do" is somewhat obvious, in a sense. (Not necessarily "doable" but that's another question).

So, how does this relate, if it does, to your thesis?

The "technological advantages" - of the FF sort - will also hit the wall, right? (Or, is this what you expect - total crash and burn, basically?)

Just wondering...

You do realize that we had large factories, office buildings, department stores, and huge cities before air conditioning, don't you? We didn't have them in Phoenix or Las Vegas, and we did not have so many people, but AC is simply not a fundamental requirement. To think, it won't be much longer before I'm 60, and then I'll have to make sure I'm not exposed to 100F temperatures, or else I will die!

It is unfortunate that we've built so many buildings that have no windows, or windows that do not open, but then again they are mostly built out of thin metal with at most a fake masonry skin - I could buzz a hole in one of those in a short time. Set up a fan, and you're back at work doing the essential job upon which our future resides - like, uh, umm...oh yeah, playing with other people's money, arranging the import of goods that used to be made here, selling over-priced houses, etc.

It is not the lack of AC that will drive us to give up on industry, that has already happened - WITH AC. The lack of any willingness to make what are mostly minor personal sacrifices in the interest of using less energy (and therefore preserving it for more important things) is what prevents us doing anything about the "concrete kiss" you describe.

Telumehtar - first, let me say I appreciate your post and pretty much agree with all you say. Second, I'd like to encourage you not to argue against general positions, but to discuss what is actually said. You have responded quite vehemently to something I didn't say.

Let me ask you this - suppose you are right and we will all fight to the end to protect whatever little bit we can hold on to (a possibility I am willing to grant) - does that make the reality of what you call "powerdown" go away?

I suppose it does if you all you are talking about is an organized effort to reduce consumption. But who was making that argument? Certainly not me. What I was pointing out was whether you think all our modern wonders are "awesome" or not does not make them sustainable - there are limits to growth and we will come up against them real soon whether we want to or not.

Let me ask you another question - suppose you are right and the last holders of "techonological advantage" (I suspect you really meant "energy resources," but that's a different matter) are able to dictate terms - suppose also that as a "simple lifer" I tell them "be my guest?" What are they going to take from me if I am living at subsistence level? My life? I'll tell them go ahead. What do they gain? My labor? I doubt they'd find me very cooperative and it will cost them more to keep me alive then products I create.

Your scenario assumes that everyone maintains the same current value structure in the face of radical system disjuncture. While I'm sure that some will do so, I would expect you will see rapid and continual changes in values as we go through this mess.

And 60 is hardly old and decrepit.

You haven't spent much time with people under 30 lately, have you, or you would "know" otherwise...

More seriously, though, if we go back 50 or 70 years, before A/C was widespread, those were very different times. People were fewer in number and much younger on average. Phoenix and Atlanta were small places, because almost no one in their right mind wanted to move there. Today's drugs, "proven" by half-standard-deviation dice rolls and force-fed to nearly everyone over 40 or 45 whether needed or not, did not yet exist, so they were not yet rendering tens of millions heat-intolerant. And "safety" was not the value above all other values that it is now - not only did fewer people live long enough to get serious osteoporosis, but the sheer dread of falling on ice and snow was not yet overriding every conceivable alternative consideration and inducing people to migrate.

As it happens, heating is an easier and much earlier technology than A/C, so cold niches like Siberia, Alberta, and Minnesota got filled much earlier. But I see that earlier date as mere history, not as some kind of mysterious talisman that magically makes heating morally superior to A/C.


Oh, and on planet Earth, some people are already decrepit as early as 45, never mind 60. A one-block walk to a bus stop is described as "killing me". A trip up one floor via the stairs is an arduous journey requiring a pause or three to gasp for breath. Two floors are beyond the pale. Indeed, building managers tend to lock the stairs even if there are only a few floors (a ban on that practice would be a small but cost-free gesture.) This sort of thing is not entirely limited to the USA or even to the 'developed world'.

And BTW, since you can't survive without water, water is piped into places like Phoenix, just as cool air is in effect piped in via the electricity system. So someday, perhaps, the Great Lakes region will face a stark choice - either cut out the nonsense about not parting with even the most trivial amounts of water, or else deal with a migratory doubling or quadrupling of the regional population. And primitivists who seem to want to shut everything down may face the same choice about electricity and energy much sooner. (IIRC, one of Rudy Giuliani's claims to fame was bluntly asking the State of Virginia, which wanted to shut off out-of-state garbage, whether they wanted eight million people to move there instead, as even if the city were rendered unlivable, those people were going to live somewhere.)

With water, a squirell cage fan, a tiny pump and couple of dollars worth of evaporation pads ... and in Phoenix you have a swamp cooler. Properly sized these are good for 20 to 25 degrees of cooling in dry climates.

It may not be perfect climate control, but these devices are all that is needed most of the time to be reasonably comfortable in most hot dry climates in the typical suburban house.

Evaporative coolers have fallen out of favor. I wonder what the price point on electricity would need to be to bring them back in a big way.

If it's 100F outside and you're 60, it's possible you're in the wrong place.

If it's 100F outside and you're 60, AC is not frivolous.

If it's 100F outside and you're 60, you need to get indoors. Or move. There are myriad ways to keep cool without AC, regardless of age. I've lived in Atlanta for almost three decades, both with and without AC. When without: wet a washcloth and a find a fan.. and ice water. Stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Every year that goes by we set a new record for summer electricity usage here, blow out a few transformers, and knock out power to Grandma and little Suzie. It's perfectly healthy adults who can't stand to be a little warm who do this.

As with all the other problems PO will throw at us regarding the living of daily life... the key is having options.

Contrast this story with other on top about Nepal. The latter being one of the more uplifting here for a while.

I think small green tech advances can make such a difference in Nepal because for most, the change increases their standard of living and is enviromentally friendly. If not for the first part, it probably would not have been adopted.

Contrast this with US and green reductions in living standards, and you have problems.


I disagree with the premise of this argument as stated. Nobody wants to live without modern lifestyle accoutrements or AC. The reason senior citizens might recoil at the thought of living without it is because they no longer live where they grew up. They live in places like Florida and Arizona where life without AC is unsupportable. Or they live in houses and apartments and high rises that haven't been built to operate without AC - as in no windows to open, no trees to shade, no fans to cool, improper clothing for withstanding heat, etc...
So, again, doomers and back to land proponents don't want to live without AC, it's just that they recognize that high power AC is not part of a sustainable way of living going forward. There's a big difference.


Bingo. There are an awful lot of people living in areas and/or facilities where they cannot survive without large energy inputs.

There are an awful lot of people, period.

Well yes, but I thought that might be going too far in a thread where people are just beginning to contemplate life without AC.

I grew up with AC and live without.
At age 43 survived the '95 Chicago
heatwave topping at 106 degrees.
And humid.
Lose weight. Gonna happen anyway
after TSHTF.
Eliminate alcohol in heatwaves.
Doubt I will again attempt 100 mile
bike race over 100 degrees.


A 2006 World Bank report estimates CSP costs per kilowatt hour at between 16 and 20 US cents, about R1,10 and R1,40. This is significantly above the cost of new coal-fired power to Eskom at present of about 25c, but it is understood in the longer term CSP plants are expected to produce electricity in South Africa at about 50c a kilowatt hour.

Still pretty expensive. Have any of our CSP supporters read the World Bank report?

Jon Freise
Analyze Not Fantasize -D. Meadows

I bet people with the air con mentioned above will be willing to pay 16-20 cents per kWh to run their air con. High temperatures cause strain on power lines as well though, so the grid is very vulnerable at peak and hottest time. There are plently of other cooling systems such as evaporative cooling, or absorbtion chillers (taking a bite out the nasty peak load) and of course plenty of insulation and thermal mass in the first place. I reckon we should learn from the hippos and have mud baths :) PV and CSP need to be expanded in a war like way if we have any chance. Predicting the output of renewable energy devices should be seen as negative load, and traditional plant can be scheduled around them in the normal way. As the economy tanks the large industrial energy users will probably start to close down cutting demand on a struggling grid, hopefully freeing plenty of room for electric transport.

Renewable energy and birth control, the first ones my job the second is more of a hobby.

You know, I will never understand oil traders. Because Dean will not hit the U.S. oil producing areas of the Gulf of Mexico oil is down, as I write this, $1.75 a barrel. Yet, Dean is scheduled to make a direct hit on Cantarell which produces more oil than the entire U.S. Gulf of Mexico area. Though it will be only a Catagory 1 or 2 when it hits, production from the entire area will be off line for several days, perhaps longer if much damage is done, This should be of concern to traders. Yet they are brushing it off as if it matters not one whit.

What should be, to my mind anyway, of concern th traders will be imports from Mexico. They will be down considerably in the next couple of weeks. (I don't know what tha lag time is between production at Cantarell and imports into Houston.) But this will definitely have an impact on inventories. This should impact prices.

Bottom line, this is not good news and should be bullish for prices, yet is is bearish instead??? Go figure?

Ron Patterson

Ron, seems to me that if the folks that employ oil traders are busy marking down billions of $$$ in mortgage paper, perhaps trading cash is a little tight.


Could the traders know something we don't? (I doubt it but...)

Jeff Masters at Wunderground states

"The only hurricanes on record that survived crossing this portion of the Yucatan and maintaining hurricane intensity were Hurricane Roxanne of 1995, which hit just south of Cozumel as a Category 3, and emerged near Campeche as a Category 1; and Hurricane Janet of 1955, which hit near Chetumal as a Category 5 storm, then weakened to a Category 2 storm when it popped out into the Gulf of Mexico south of Campeche."

Was Cantarell functional in 95, did it sustain damage then?

Doug, I don't know what happened in 95, I don't have monthly data going back that far. However Pemex evacuated Cantarell for several days in July of 2005 because of Hurricane Emily. As a result July was the lowest production Month for Pemex in 2005, about 350,000 barrels per day lower than the previous month. And Emily did not even hit Cantarell as it passed well to the north. The down time was caused by the safety evacuation.

Now we have a direct hit. If there is no damage, we may only have the complex shut down for a few days as in 2005. But if we do have any damage then many wells will be shut down far longer.

Ron Patterson


I asked the question on the hurricane thread also. Several posters have replied. Thanks to them. Go there for more.

"suffered extensive damage when Hurricane Roxanne hit around 11 October. Onshore fields and NGL plants along the coast are also thought to have had to reduce operations during the storm. About 11 mb was lost during about four days of complete offshore shutdown. Damage to the Cantarell platform, on Mexico's largest producing field prolonged the outage with an estimated loss of 23 mb by the end of the month and an additional 3 mb expected to be foregone in the first half of November. If repairs go smoothly, November crude oil production should average about 2.64 mb/d for the month, including some production from planned new fields by the end of the month. A full recovery of the existing Campeche fields and additional new fields could raise the December average down to 2.74 mb/d."

This is interesting. From the November 1995 IEA report:
Other Non-OPEC
Latin America
Damage from the two hurricanes that struck Mexico in October is estimated to have reduced output by nearly 770 kb/d versus September levels. It is assessed that crude oil production averaged between 1.9-2.0 mb/d in October. Offshore production from the Marine Region that includes the large Gulf of Campeche fields is thought to have averaged about 2.08 mb/d until the end of September, accounting for more than 75% of Mexican crude oil output. Six of the seven largest fields in Mexico are in the Campeche Gulf. These fields were shut down briefly during Hurricane Opal at the beginning of October but suffered extensive damage when Hurricane Roxanne hit around 11 October. Onshore fields and NGL plants along the coast are also thought to have had to reduce operations during the storm. About 11 mb was lost during about four days of complete offshore shutdown. Damage to the Cantarell platform, on Mexico's largest producing field prolonged the outage with an estimated loss of 23 mb by the end of the month and an additional 3 mb expected to be foregone in the first half of November. If repairs go smoothly, November crude oil production should average about 2.64 mb/d for the month, including some production from planned new fields by the end of the month. A full recovery of the existing Campeche fields and additional new fields could raise the December average down to 2.74 mb/d.

Exports suffered somewhat less than production as domestic inventories were drawn down in the first part of the month to meet export commitments. About 8 mb of stockdraw is thought to have occurred. Exports averaged 1.1 mb/d in October according to PEMEX, versus 1.5 mb/d over the last few months and will probably also be constrained during November as inventories are rebuilt. About two-thirds of the lost production and possibly a larger share of the export losses was heavy Maya crude, with the remainder being lighter Isthmus.


Maybe that means that the most vulnerable infrastructure was likely rebuilt to higher specs in '95, and will withstand Dean?

I've been watching for too long. They're all idiots. Many of them too worried about their egos. They should be picked 'cause they're ripe. I can't do it myself.(I have my karma to think of.)(Does telling someone else to do it affect my karma?)

I think I asked the same question a couple days ago, but of course no one was buying the Dean drive into Canatrell yet.

Let's hope there is no significant damage!

IF they wake up tomorrow and realize that up to 2MMBPD is gone because of damage, they will likely drive the price up in a hurry.

However, it doesn't look like any significant damage is guaranteed at this point.

Shipping from Venezuela to Houston and New Orleans has also been delayed for several days. I doubt that they went the long way around Cuba. Several ships into New Orleans from the Panama Canal have been delayed.


Futures contracts expire today I think. If a futures contract holder for September doesn't want to take delivery of a 1000 barrels of WTI oil in three days they must sell to any buyer today. But Oct. contracts are also priced at around today's price indicating a lack of interest today.
Weekly inventory numbers and events will control in the near term, but OPEC, IMO, really doesn't want US oil traders to control OPEC's destiny any longer. So they and Russia will set the price with production controls (voluntary or involuntary). They can also read about Mexico's export situation.

If a futures contract holder for September doesn't want to take delivery of a 1000 barrels of WTI oil in three days they must sell to any buyer today.

This old myth keeps getting repeated over and over and over and over and...... No one is ever forced to take delivery of any oil if they hold a long contract at experation or forced to deliver any oil if they are short at experation. What you are forced to do is settle in cash after experation if you desire to receive no oil if you are long or sell no oil if you are short.

Also, say you are long and do desire to take delivery but there are not enough short contract holders who desire to make delivery to satisfy those who desire to take delivery, you may still be forced to settle in cash. The only time any oil is ever delivered is when a long contract holder who desires to take delivery is matched with a short contract holder who desires to make delivery. Otherwise all contracts are settled at the settling price as determined by the NYMEX. The settling price is the average price of all contract closed at the close.

Ron Patterson

Who knows what's going on, but they do have footage from Yucatan on the news showing no casualties and virtually no damage other then a few trees. Even the straw huts on the beach were standing.

Are we sure this thing was a Cat5?

One of the two pieces of information surely has to be wrong?

Who knows what's going on, but they do have footage from Yucatan on the news showing no casualties and virtually no damage other then a few trees. Even the straw huts on the beach were standing.

Are we sure this thing was a Cat5?

One of the two pieces of information surely has to be wrong?

It was a Cat 5. The areas in the Yucatan with reporters, like Cancun and Cozumel, got minor tropical storm force winds only. The area farther south had heavy winds, but fortunately was sparsely populated.

There tends to be a pendulum effect in the way hurricanes are reported - as hurricanes approaches, the hype is huge. Hurricanes hit, the world does not end, and everyone thinks it wasn't so bad (in the late afternoon after Katrina had hit New Orleans, I remember a news reporter on Bourbon Street, not knowing the levees had broken, say New Orleans had "dodged a bullet"). Then the news cameras leave, and the cleanup takes months.

I understand that, but they also had Mexican Red Cross people on and even they were saying that it wasn't anywhere as bad as expected.

They seem to be more worried about the rain when it hits land again.

90-100 mph wind is pretty much what one experiences riding a motorcycle.

90-100 mph wind is pretty much what one experiences riding a motorcycle.

...except for the waves, high tides, pieces of trees and houses flying through the air in your direction, the flooded streets filled with hidden debris, and the incredible driving rain that comes in the broken windows with downed power lines snapping in the wind....

Yep, just like riding a motorcycle. It's close to nearly, almost, exactly the same.

Fox News wants to get the government out of the weather forecasting business:

Does Government Weather Forecasting Endanger Lives?

If Fox wants it, then Weather Forcasting must be cutting in on somebody's profits.

Well, that and they see it as a drain on taxpayers.

Drain on taxpayer is the cover, Cid's comment probably the reason for story.

Guy's just an academic free market whore. A dime a dozen. Who knows how their neurons are connected? In any event, I'm sure there aren't any glials binding together "altruism" in Mr. Lott's brain (maybe corporate altruism, which I don't think counts in ethology--corporations aren't animals, they are Gods.)

His book is "Freedomnomics", I guess a response to that other book with a retarded title.. Oh well, crappy books on "economics" are also a dime a dozen.

Hence, it is so easy to buy these people--and their ridiculous books, which everyone loves.

What they (and Accuweather, et al.) want is for the taxpayers to continue paying for the data gathering, but forbid the government from offering public "product". In other words, the public sector pays, the private sector profits. The American Way.

They couldn't care less about draining the taxpayers or big government or anything else. They care about corporate profits, period.

I think there was actually some legislation proposed not so long ago to this effect, but it was shot down early.

What they (and Accuweather, et al.) want is for the taxpayers to continue paying for the data gathering, but forbid the government from offering public "product".

Really? I didn't see that mentioned in the article somewhere and unless you are a psychic, I really can't find any evidence that this would be the case.

Have you consider perhaps that this is a newspiece that is doing some muckraking on a costly publicly funded project of the government that is performing below par, and therefore DESERVEDLY needs criticizing and lambasted for poor performance?

Did you note the figures that the article pointed out in the accuracy of the Government's forcasting history?

AccuWeather issued a forecast that the hurricane would hit New Orleans 12 hours earlier than the government service.

A new study by Forecast Watch, a company that keeps track of past forecasts, found that from Oct. 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007, the government’s National Weather Service did very poorly in predicting the probability of rain or snow. Comparing the National Weather Service to The Weather Channel, CustomWeather, and DTN Meteorlogix, Forecast Watch found that the government’s next-day forecast had a 21 percent greater error rate between predicted probability of precipitation and the rate that precipitation actually occurred.

In looking at predicting snow fall from December 2006 through February 2007, the National Weather Service’s average error was 24 percent greater.

So upon reading this article I see no motives about profit making schemes of corporate conspiracies, I see a simple consumer report. We have several products in the marketplace. One of these products has a compulsory cost to all taxpayers, and yet performs more poorly than its private counter-parts.

This to me sounds like a whistleblower on the government program that it needs to get its act together justify its cost or perhaps its a program that quite simply has no business being a government funded activity.

And yet that night before Katrina hit, it was a government forecaster who warned that flooding could cause suffering unknown in modern times. I wonder if a corporate cog forecaster would have dared put out such a negative message - unless he was working for the news media, which profits from panic. It's like military privatization and school privatization - you can't prove until it's too late what evil purposes corrupt businessmen intend for their new powers.

Inmate #587
Halliburton Detention Center Freedom
November 15, 2008

I am not a psychic. This was in the news a year or so ago.

Personally, I feel that a national weather service is indeed an appropriate government activity. It is something that should not be beholden to the profit motive.

Personally, I feel that a national weather service is indeed an appropriate government activity.

Well its nice you "feel" this way, but perhaps you could go a little deeper than that nice warm fuzzy feeling and actually provide some REASONS as to why we should have this service.

And btw, I'm not completely certain I disagree with your feeling, but I will say, I'm tired of the passes that some organizations get on these boards simply because they are falling prey to corporate organizations. The Anti-corporate attitude on these boards is knee-jerk to the point where I seriously question the objectivity and motives of many on these boards who engage in such knee-jerk reactions.

At this point in time, this article outlines PROBLEMS with our government's weather program. Now I personally think having a government weather service in theory is a good idea, but not if its going to provide an inferior product at an increased cost in comparison to its privately run counter-parts.

It is something that should not be beholden to the profit motive.

And apparently according to you, it should also not be beholden to good standards of quality either.

I love the fact that almost everyone else who has commented on this article is so fixated on corporate greed that they turn a blind eye towards the negligence and poor performance of the governement agency. Is it perhaps remotely possible that Goverment greed and corruption are leading to these inferior statistics for the government run organization?

Is it so much to ask as a TAXPAYER that a service my taxes are paying for be kept to standards similar or even surpassing those of the privately funded counter-parts. As it stands now however, this service is inferior according to the article.

But then hey, if it means shoving one to the corporations, I guess its ok to have inferior service? Right sgage?

What I am not seeing here is where the parties who don't want the government in 'the weather business' have stepped up and put up their own satellite(s), paid taxes on the land where their network of sensors are - hell even paid for an actual network like they'd like to see to government not have.

But go ahead, point my to where they have.

You lived in corporate Hell so
long you like it there?

You proved his point with that remark.

WX forecasting is a public good, perhaps one of the classic examples of a public good. You've got the free rider problem unless you keep all data proprietary. The thing is, though, you get much better forecasting with freely shared data.

Just as state socialists think that the government should provide everything, not just public goods, American crony capitalists think that the private corporations should provide everything, not just private goods. Both are absolutely screwball, stupid ideas that end up in nothing but grief.

Just how big is the National Weather Service budget? What is its annual budget in minutes of Iraq War spending?

The National Weather Service (NWS) requests $881.8. million in FY 2007, reflecting a net increase of. $43.5M over the FY 2007 base level

Iraq war spending


at the time I took the screen shot - about 3pm PST

Now go to the web site


and do the simple math

Really? I didn't see that mentioned in the article somewhere and unless you are a psychic, I really can't find any evidence that this would be the case.

Google "privatizing weather service":

Santorum. Go figure.

Yeah, really, there for the looking.

All that froth you spew about the poor service the gubmint provides, note that the bill still has the gubmint collecting the data - it's the selling and presentation to the public that would become "for profit". Of course, there is also the small problem that many of the weather satellites are going to pass expected lifetime soon and there is no budget to replace them. Whether that means they fall out of the sky, lose their power or pass some statistical measure of unreliability I do not know. But I trust the free market will replace them with for profit versions.

cfm in Gray, ME

Who owns the radar and the sats?

During the 1980s, private meteorology services saw a chance to make money by providing television stations with specialized forecasts that the National Weather Service hadn’t been offering. But soon after the private companies began providing this service, the National Weather Service started giving stations the same specialized forecasts for free, driving the private forecasting companies out of the business of providing these forecasts. That is a sure way to discourage future innovation.

Wasn't Microsoft sued for antitrust violations for using similar tactics?

Kashagan Work May Be Halted On Environment Violations

Kazakhstan's Environment Minister Nurlan Iskakov said Tuesday that Eni SpA-led (E) Agip KCO development of the giant offshore oil field Kashagan might be suspended because of environment violations, Interfax news agency reported.

"I would like to inform you that work at Kashagan might be totally suspended," Iskakov told a government meeting, according to Interfax. "We are now conducting a planned audit and we have all the grounds to believe that the operator is not complying with ecology legislation of Kazakhstan."

I wonder if the new operator might not be PetroChina.

I see little honor in contesting for control of the last 1 million b/day undeveloped field (Manifa should be 900,000 b/day and Angola probably has 1 million b/day in a several new fields).


A little something for the tek-no-fix crowd. An example how attacks of the infrastructure can screw 'us' over.

Using glass fiber is a fine fix for a lack of copper and more speed.


Internet service providers in the US experienced a service slowdown Monday after fiber-optic cables near Cleveland were apparently sabotaged by gunfire. TeliaSonera AB, which lost the northern leg of its US network to the cut, said that the outage began around 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday night. When technicians pulled up the affected cable, it appeared to have been shot up over a length of a kilometer. 'Somebody had been shooting with a gun or a shotgun into the cable,' said a TeliaSonera spokesman.

I don't see how copper would fare much better if exposed to gunfire. This story just points out the vulnerability of our infrastructure. In the southwest where I live, transmission lines for power and gas pipelines cross hundreds of miles of uninhabited desert. It would not take more than a rifle to destroy the insulator on a high-voltage transmission line.

Attacking transmission lines in multiple locations during peak summertime power usage could depreive millions (if not tens of millions) of power. Lest anyone from the NSA, CIA, FBI etc. think that I am advocating or suggesting in some way that I or someone I know might do this, I'm not! I like my computer and AC too much to mess with the grid. I'm just trying to point out a gaping hole in the security of our infrastructure.

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. -- Thomas Jefferson

From Global Guerrillas:

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"

It's going to happen here too, when the power from that coal plant spewing toxics all over you and your community is sold to the highest bidder somewhere else and you freeze in the cold and the dark.

The grid will be disconnected. The highest "quality" energy will be the first we lose. If electric power supply is not four 9s US society won't function reasonably, let alone well.

cfm in Gray, ME

Cicadas in western japan have started laying eggs inside the plastic casing of fibre optic cables. There have been 'net outages caused by a 'plague' of things in the Osaka area.

FORGET PEAK OIL, PEAK NET WORTH IS THE REAL DANGER - Is the proverbial 'peak' in consumer borrowing upon us?

The reason the ‘net worth’ data is an important consideration today is self evident: unable to explain why the outlook for consumer spending is positive given that debt service costs are hitting record highs, savings are near record lows, and wages are failing to keep pace with inflation, optimistic economists point to the consumer’s balance sheet and calmly conclude that everything will be all right. And although these analysts have indeed been right for a long time (16-years and counting), there is ample evidence brewing to suggest that the US consumer is about to fall down. For example, declining housing prices have closed the housing ATMs for many, last month’s larger than expected increase in consumer credit was the result of credit card borrowing, and retailers are already starting to warn of tougher times.

How about Peak Debt? Or Peak Structured Financial Denial?

For example, according to the Bank for International Settlements, the outstanding notional amount of exchange-traded
and over-the-counter derivatives contracts increased from US$1.6 trillion in
1987 to US$5.7 trillion in 1990 and then surged to US$71.9 trillion by the end
of the decade. That may look like an astonishing growth, but it is nothing
compared to what has happened in the years of abundant liquidity. The latest
survey shows that the global derivatives market grew at an annual rate of
68.5% to US$297.7 trillion in 2005 and US$415.2 trillion at the end of last
year. In other words, the global pool of structured financial products ballooned
from 8.7% of global GDP in 1987 to 246.1% in 2000 and then to 789.2% last
year,” writes Serhan Cevik, of Morgan Stanley.

Peak Leverage.

I've tried to point out at TOD:Canada and in Stuart's thread yesterday what the significance is of a $470 trillion (FT's Gillain Tett's estimate) derivatives market, but it seems that so far it's a topic that's hard for people to grasp.

Countrywide is on the brink of bankruptcy with just 1.04% of its mortgages in delinquency. That is a perfect example of what this level of leverage does. We are going to see a whole slew of hedge funds, money market funds, banks and other investors fall victim to this phenomenon.

Everything we have has been borrowed and/or lent out. Your mortgage has been used to issue securities, not at its own value, but at 10-20 or even 100 times that value. The derivatives market has increased on average per year by an amount that is equal to the entire worls GDP, some $40 trillion.

The danger should be obvious: if an asset is used as collateral for loans that hold ten times the "value" of the asset, a 10% loss in that value can be enough to wipe out the equity. In Countrywide's case, the leverage isn't 10, it's 100. So a 1% loss in value creates enough problems to drown them.

It becomes Peak Net Worth quite smoothly because everything has been borrowed, and interest has to be paid on all of that. As soon as either interest rates go up, or profit growth stalls, the game is up.

I've tried to point out at TOD:Canada and in Stuart's thread yesterday what the significance is of a $470 trillion (FT's Gillain Tett's estimate) derivatives market, but it seems that so far it's a topic that's hard for people to grasp.

I think the numbers are too large for comprehension. We need to use the war in Iraq as unit of measure: the total annual derivatives market = 1 WOT (War On Terror).

My interpretation of this is that the absolute amount is not the true problem. The real problem set is:
1) Credit masquerading as an asset.
2) A layer cake of second and third and fourth order derivatives. Structured Credit is like Intelligent Design; it only sounds reasonable if you are completely ignorant of the underlying reality.
3) A lot of bafflegab about a sub-prime problem. If this were restricted to sub-prime it would not be a problem. In 2006 34% of the mortgages issued in California were interest only. These were not sub-prime borrowers. These were Mr and Mrs Average who could only afford home ownership through the use of "innovative" lending practices. These "innovations" are much like the creative accounting practiced by Enron but in this instance they were blessed by Saint Greenspan himself. This issue goes beyond mortage lending; commercial lending followed the same pattern of derivate use. A great many of the recent corporate takeovers were financed in this way and will be threatened by negative leverage.
4) More bafflegab about it all being "contained." If we don't think about this problem then it will just go away and resolve itself. Somebody should patent this intellectual brilliance and get it to market fast. The world is crying out for such a product. Call it "Economic Clarity" and watch it fly off the shelves!!!
5) US GDP growth since 2001 has averaged around what 3%? Back out the stimulus of war and homeland security spending, back out the prod to consumption from removing taxes on the wealthy, back out the impact on disposable income of the declining cost of consumer goods imports, back out the subsidy obtained through the use of cheap and illegal migrant labour, back out the consumption stimulus from existing refi of illusory asset appreciation, back out the corporate savings through the export of jobs and production to China, back out whatever percentage of the 416 Trillion that further greased the US economy, back all of this stimulus out and my bet is you end up with a negative growth figure plus a 470 trillion debt.

So if it took all of this stimulus to generate growth of 3% what happens when you remove all those stimuli? Is the patient dead or alive? A lot of people are going to be asking this question. Few of them will be Americans. They will be asking "What is the purchasing power of a dollar today? What will it be in a year?"

I'm glad to see you and Stoneleigh are following up on this issue on TOD Canada. It is a very complex set of issues and will likely have greater near term impact than PO but will have an impact both on Peak and on any response to Peak as Stuart is beginning to make clear.


We're clearly approaching the peak of things peaking.

Peak peaks.

Open the dictionary, stab a finger at random, and if what you're pointing at isn't already depeted or extinct, it has recently peaked or will peak within the next several decades.

This goes for most nouns and some gerunds.

If it isn't near or past peak, humans probably don't have a word for it.

The peak of things peaking doesn't mean however that things won't peak in the future anymore, only at a slowly rate..

I wonder how much of the structured finance is several layers away from the securing asset and how much is just one layer away. I learned about a deal recently, because the same group is helping out the company I sell for, where the leases that CVS obtained were used to finance an expansion through structured finance. Now this is really not much different from a business loan you might get once you have those basic three elements location, location and location. The structuring of the finance was simply to reduce interest on the business loan by securitizing the leases as an aggregate so that risk would be reduced compared to risk on an individual lease.

When you are that close to the actual security, then it does not seem like such a bad idea to do this kind of thing. It is the extra layers of derivatives that seem to be the problem.

In any case, I bloged in this a little today here.


Since the lion's share of the income pie is going a tiny wealthy elite, why do they still need our spending? A rising tide raises all yachts, so it is up to them to go out and buy more yachts to keep raising their tide.

and retailers are already starting to warn of tougher times.

As Noam Chomsky argues: in a democracy, "You can no longer control people by violence. You can't just throw them into a torture chamber. You have to find other means. One means is propaganda. Another means is rabid consumerism, to try to drive people into massive consumption. In the United States the economy has suffered under the neoliberal policies, as has been the case worldwide, and is maintained to a high extent by consumer spending from infancy children are deluged by propaganda telling them: buy, buy, buy, and so on these are devices to try to control the populations and ensure that the private tyrannies endure."

U.S. government ready to dip into oil reserves over Hurricane Dean

The U.S. government said yesterday it was ready to make emergency loans of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to refineries, if needed to offset losses of Mexican oil supplies due to Hurricane Dean.

"The SPR is capable of responding to shortages by granting loans to refineries in the case of a severe supply disruption caused by Hurricane Dean," an Energy Department spokesman said. "The President can direct that petroleum be made available to provide an added layer of protection for American consumers and our economy," the spokesman added.

There have been no requests so far from U.S. refiners for reserve oil.

Danny Chavez is also willing to help out --->

Nfld. strikes Hebron project deal

Globe and Mail Update

August 21, 2007 at 10:28 PM EDT

With a provincial election less than two months away, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams has clinched a deal with a consortium of oil companies to proceed with the $6-billion Hebron offshore oil project.

Mr. Williams and representatives of Chevron Corp. — the lead company in the consortium — are set to hold a press conference Wednesday in St. John's at which they will announce the go-ahead of the first standalone offshore project in several years.

The deal will allow the province to earn a 4.9-per-cent equity stake in the project, and has a royalty regime that will ensure the province earns a greater share of the proceeds from oil production than it has from existing offshore projects, sources said last night.

Mr. Williams has been widely criticized for his insistence that the province gain an ownership stake in the project, with some critics dubbing him "Danny Chavez" after the socialist president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

You guys are going to realize that carbon trading is the new real estate bubble. Too late of course.

If anything direct tax it.

Good to know that you are here and posting Mr. Ure.


I wish, he is smarter then me, I just lift heavy things.

Lets see if this makes it into the headline on a drumbeat:

On March 6, 2006 an accident occurred at Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tennessee. According to reports, almost 9 gallons of highly enriched uranium in solution spilled and nearly went into a chain reaction.

No need, since you've posted it. :-)

Come now, 9 lbs of fuel almost going critical and a cover up?

Its got 'failure mode' written ALL over it.

It's a great story. But I usually don't post stories up top if they've been posted in the comments. No need. The stories posted in the comments are read just as much as the ones posted up top. If not more.

And its not like the pro-fission people would ever admit to a problem with their pro-fission position.

If their arguments about safety functioning were correct, there would be no cover-ups.

If you're implying that I am pro-fission...I am not.

No. You should know by now I am rather straight forward in what I say.

My hope is to have a few readers go 'hey, never thought of that - and yea that is 'correct' and by that change minds. Sometimes it takes 2+ years and not my writings for the egotistical blowhards to change their position, but change they do, Their unwillingness to admit they were wrong just shows how screwed we are - and shows how when they say things like 'it will be a failing of the will, not of technology that will doom us' is correct.

Derkin the pro-fission poster admitted that, yea Fission does have some very dangerous failure modes and therefore refuses to discuss the topic. Same with LevinK.

(and again, a shout-out to MontyQuest over on po.com for being the poster who sold me on 'powerdown' as a species given the volume of energy/resources consumed.)

one of most likely several dozen accidents not reported to prevent panic.

If fission power had a track record of success instead of failure and cover-up, the pro-fission people would have a basis to argue for more of it,

Tokyo Electric begins electricity rationing for first time in 17 years.


Tokyo Electric Power Co. (JP:9501:tokyo elec power npv
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12:00am 12/30/1899

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JP:95010.00, 0.00, 0.0%) will reduce electricity supplies to large customers temporarily as part of an emergency measure to shore up supplies amid surging demand due to the summer heat wave, according to a Kyodo report Wednesday. The utility has been struggling to maintain sufficient electricity supplies after operations were disrupted at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station by a powerful earthquake in July. Temperatures reached 94 F at midday in Tokyo Wednesday. Kyodo reported the rationing measures were the first by the utility in 17 years

Dean Bears Down on Mexico's Oil and NUCLEAR Industry ???

The sprawling, westward storm was projected to slam into the mainland Wednesday afternoon with renewed force near Laguna Verde, Mexico's only nuclear power plant. Plant officials said late Tuesday that they were suspending electricity production and sending many workers home.