DrumBeat: September 1, 2007

Tropical Storm Felix Forms in Caribbean, Heads West

Tropical Storm Felix formed near the Caribbean island of Grenada, becoming the sixth named storm of the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane season.

Nuclear doubts spread in wake of Niigata

Global competition for energy resources and tougher controls on greenhouse gas emissions have made Japan reliant on nuclear power. While the government and regional power utilities are quick to associate the word "safety" with atomic energy, several fatalities, accidents, coverups and earthquake threats have damaged the industry's image.

This is the first in a series asking whether, in the wake of July's massive quake just 9 km from the world's largest nuclear plant, it still makes sense for such a seismically active country to rely so much on the power of the atom.

Barrasso visits UW

University of Wyoming students in the College of Engineering covered the concepts of peak oil and renewable energy with Wyoming’s junior senator in a classroom discussion Friday.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., sat in on a classroom discussion with engineering and multidisciplinary design students. The discussion was based on topics from the book “Beyond Oil,” by Kenneth Deffeyes.

The Tao of Transit

Confession: After sixteen years and many efforts, I’ve yet to really connect with mass transit in this town. That’s odd, considering that I grew up on mass transit in New York City’s melting pot and generally like the communal experience — a daily, egalitarian reminder that we are indeed all in this together. But taking mass transit around Baltimore? It reminds me why I hate to exercise: Feels good, but I can’t stick with it. Every once in a while, something — guilt, perhaps, or moths in my wallet — drives me toward the fare box. Then the reality sets in. Half-mile walk to the Metro? Too far. Light Rail to Camden Yards? A dog sled would be quicker down Howard Street.

Electoral Politics Cancel Out Brave Calls to Raise Gas Tax

Here's hoping that members of Congress got some rest on their summer vacation, that they will return to Washington refreshed and wiser and ready to come up with a national energy policy that makes sense.

But here's betting that those hopes are in vain.

Gas Guzzler

The project will be the first ever LNG receiving and regasification terminal on the West Coast of North America. That it is in Mexico, not the U.S., comes by dint of California's rejection of all LNG proposals on environmental and security grounds. But northern Mexico, desperate for reliable gas supplies to fuel its thriving manufacturing sector, couldn't afford to be so absolutist.

Pakistan: Pumps to close CNG dispensers from today

Owners of private petrol filling stations will continue their strike on Saturday against a cut of 39 paisas in their commission on the sale of a litre gasoline (petrol).

Fuel shortage will get more severe in the country as the petroleum dealers, who are also running Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) filling-stations, have decided to discontinue the sale of CNG from Saturday.

Fortune at stake as Indian government weighs gas prices

Global oil majors such as Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron Corp are ready to pour billions of dollars into India's energy sector - but only if the government stops meddling and allows private firms to sell gas at market prices.

Russia: EU's protection of energy sector 'nearly hysterical'

Russia has reacted with anger at EU plans to prevent foreign companies from uncontrolled access to the European energy sector, warning that any discriminative measure will be legally challenged.

China takes "urgent" energy challenge to masses

China's leaders have called on ordinary people to help tackle the "urgent" problem of booming energy demand and massive pollution, which they warn threatens growth, launching a huge propaganda campaign on Saturday.

Regulated gas still cheaper in New Brunswick

Gas regulation has come under fire again from the provincial Liberals, who want to know why Nova Scotians had to pay 11 cents more per litre yesterday than New Brunswickers.

City Dwellers Live Longer, Save More by Driving Less

New York City, long seen as a mecca of hedonism and self-destructive indulgence, has witnessed a startling transformation over the past few years: life expectancy has increased dramatically to 78.6 years, nine months longer than the life expectancy in the rest of the US. Even more surprisingly, New York City's life expectancy is increasing at a faster rate than in other parts of the country; in 2004 alone, New Yorkers gained five months of life on average, far outpacing the national average increase of a month or two a year.

Citrus Waste To Ethanol Gains Momentum

An FPL Group subsidiary announced plans to develop a first-of-its-kind commercial plant to convert orange and grapefruit waste into ethanol that will be sold to Florida motorists at gasoline pumps.

UK oil production continues decline

The year-on-year decline in oil and gas production in the UK sector of the North Sea continued in June, dropping by a further combined 12.9 per cent, according to the latest monthly report by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Oil production was down 6.1 percent on the month to 1,263,382 barrels per day and down 11.4 percent compared with June 2006. UK natural gas production fell more sharply by 20.3 percent compared to May and by 14.7 percent on the year.

OPEC Cuts Have Buoyed Price, But At A Cost

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries crude oil output cuts have succeeded in stabilizing prices, but likely haven't cut deeply enough into global stockpiles to sanction a production increase at the group's Sept. 11 meeting.

Caspian storm growing

Kazakhstan wants hefty compensation for cost overruns and delays at the giant Kashagan oil field and favours replacing Italy's Eni with a local company as operator, its deputy finance minister was quoted as saying.

First Things First: Let’s Mine the Coal

We can talk about windmills, solar panels and biomass, and they undoubtedly are in our future. But those energy sources cannot meet the nation's growing energy demands now or in the foreseeable future. Nuclear energy may take on an expanded role, but not everyone will welcome it.

Our leaders must step up and tell the nation the truth: We need coal. It must remain a major source for electricity, and it certainly could and should be a source for motor fuels.

Oil-producing nations will have to control gas flaring

"According to satellite data, in 2006, oil producing countries and companies burned about 170 billion cubic metres (BCM) of natural gas worldwide or nearly five trillion cubic feet," said a latest World Bank report released yesterday, a copy of which was obtained by Gulf News.

"That is equivalent to 27 per cent of total US natural gas consumption and 5.5 per cent of total global production of natural gas for the year. If the gas had been sold in the US instead of being flared, the total US market value would have been about $40 billion. Gas flaring also emits some 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions."

Talks on climate change impact in Africa

Climate change could worsen Africa's struggle to feed itself, but simple steps — a cistern to catch rainwater, a solar panel, or hardier seeds for crops — could help the continent's subsistence farms, specialists and activists said Friday.

Global warming – who pays and when?

Maybe scientists can afford to debate the pace and extent of climate change, but the evidence of potential harm is clear enough that economic decisions must be made soon. Those economic choices mean weighing several questions:

Should countries emphasize cutting their greenhouse-gas emissions or adapting to a warmer world? Should they spend on developing new technologies or capping emissions? What's the trade-off between the economic costs and benefits of aggressive action?

Yet another important consideration: How to accommodate the needs of developing countries, many of which may face the worst effects of warming but have the fewest resources to battle it.

Industrial nations agree step to new climate pact

Industrial nations agreed on Friday to consider stiff 2020 goals for cutting greenhouse gases in a small step towards a new long-term pact to fight climate change.

More people, more concrete, and lots more heat in Phoenix

An 'urban heat island' effect, fed by the city's growth, is trapping heat and making temperatures soar.

Spinning atoms

Like it or not, our future is nuclear. You don't remember the debate? That's the power of good PR.

Power Blowing In The Wind

For advocates of environmentally friendly energy, it seems like it has taken forever for ordinary consumers to buy into the idea of renewable power sources. As a society, many people believe we're basically giving the planet a black lung. But it seems that while we know what to do to fix it, we don't. Why?

Demand Outstrips Supply for Clean Energy Deals

Despite keen interest and deep pockets, demand for clean energy-related investments is so high that cleantech investors around the world are having a hard time spending all the cash they have at their fingertips, according to a report by research group New Energy Finance.

Oilsands project hit by delays, higher costs

CALGARY - Construction of the Long Lake oilsands project is about 90% complete, but labour struggles, including a failure this summer to find enough pipe fitters, has led to a delay of between six months and a year and to a fourth cost bump in two years.

Nexen Inc. and OPTI Canada Inc. now say Long Lake's first phase will cost as much as $6-billion to build, a 10%-to-15% hike from April when the 50-50 partners revealed an increase to $5.3-billion from $4.6-billion.

The development was expected to cost $3.4-billion and be producing synthetic crude early next year when it was sanctioned in 2004.

PetroChina, Sinopec cut gasoline exports

PetroChina and Sinopec, China's two biggest oil companies, may continue to cut gasoline exports in September following a huge reduction in August, the China Securities Journal reported on Friday.

The two oil giants may even halt gasoline exports next month, the newspaper cited an anonymous market source as saying.

Gas prices may rise into September

Gasoline prices rose again at the pump Friday, extending a trend that analysts believe will continue until mid-September because of an end-of-season shortage of summer blend gasoline.

New cars seen raising gas mileage levels

New vehicles are expected to set records for average gas mileage in 2007, driven by improved technology and demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, the government reported.

Greece, Bulgaria turn down Russia’s demands about Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline

Greece and Bulgaria refused to sell their shares in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project to Russia.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Where Do We Go From Here?

As we normally take a look at factors hustling the oil market, like storms, war, debt and fiscal madness, it is time we stopped. Let us have a quick look at where the oil market actually stands at the moment.

In general the market is in backwardation; that is crude oil at around $74 per barrel for WTI is higher than the market expects it to be in the coming months. But the curve, the line of the graph, is in fact very flat. In other words this says two things about where traders and institutions think the oil price is going to go.

Life During Wartime

The sudden fall of the Berlin Wall showed that power structures collapse when the multitude swarms against them. Unfortunately, without advanced planning, such opportunities do not lead to positive outcomes. If we are approaching a similar breakthrough in the West, we require an alternative vision and practical systems that support a shift to a healthier way of life. Some stirrings in this direction include movements like Transition Town in the UK, where local communities are preparing themselves for the effects of peak oil and climate change.

In Colorado, Real Estate Occupies Two Different Universes

...Others are less optimistic. Courtney White, an opinion writer for Headwaters News, joins the chorus of skeptics who believe rising energy costs will spell doom for the mountain resort boom. It’s an idea gaining currency among peak oil adherents who worry the days of cheap oil are dwindling and with them, the boom economy fueled by cheap travel and cheaper imports.

“Think about the two-hour one-way daily commute into Los Angeles for work, or the costs associated in reaching that second home in the woods, or just driving to the grocery store,” he writes. “And it’s not just about driving – fossil fuel permeates nearly every aspect of suburban development and maintenance. When costs rise, we may reconsider our behavior. We may have to.”

OPEC exports 'to jump to 580,000 bpd'

OPEC oil exports, excluding Angola, will jump 580,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to September 15, mostly on Western oil demand, an analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.

Roy Mason of consultancy Oil Movements estimated OPEC 11 seaborne exports would rise to 24.21 million bpd, compared with 23.63 million bpd in the four weeks to August 18.

"US stocks are still high, but they are going down fast. They (refiners) need long-haul oil for the peak fourth quarter demand period," Mason said of the rise.

Russia To Deploy New Intercontinental Missiles

The 22-metre Topol-M is an intercontinental ballistic missile carrying a single warhead. It was first developed during the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union and was later upgraded. It can be launched either from silos or from mobile launchers which can be camouflaged and hidden in forests.
Along with the multiple-warhead RS-24, to be deployed in the next few years, it will form the backbone of Russia’s nuclear armoury and help bolster armed forces eroded over years of post-Soviet decline.


Honestly, can you blame them?
take it from their point of view. bush is planning on extending his hyped missile shield tech to Europe(putting aside all the evidence that showed the tests of the shield were fabricated), this shield would give them the ability to strike without the fear of retaliation.
Of course Russia is going to try to build up it's arsenal again. in the hopes that they can swarm the shield some of their counter attack gets through.


When Cheney bombs Teheran, Moscow becomes the World Capitol of the Planet's Energy.

I understodd the missile defence system would have a very tough job shooting down a missile, but apparantly they are pretty good against satelites. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

As long as people are going to buy things they don't really need with money they don't actually have, America wil remain in a credit crisis.


China just showed how easy it is to take out satellites.

One detonation in the right place will render nearly all orbits null and void.


The first acknowledged maneuver to avoid a piece of debris from the Chinese ASAT test occurred on 2007 June 22 when flight controllers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center briefly fired the thrusters on their TERRA satellite to avoid a 7 percent chance of being struck the following day:

* Space.com, "NASA's Terra Satellite Moved to Avoid Chinese ASAT Debris"

Several analysts have suggested that the debris from this event would be relatively short-lived and only remain in orbit for ten years or less. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. A detailed analysis of the lifetime of the debris cataloged so far—using the Lifetime model implemented in STK—shows that just under 7 percent of the debris (135 pieces) will have decayed within ten years and 79 percent will still remain in orbit 100 years from now. The majority of the debris from this one event will remain a hazard for centuries to come. (Note: This analysis was only done for 2,030 of the 2,087 pieces catalogued to date since it appears that 57 pieces are currently missing from the catalog.)

In Russia's continuing policy of seizing private assets, they are trying to locate and arrest another Russian oil capitalist:


oh stop. if you actually look at what these guys did post fall of soviet union it's actually better then him getting lynched by the millions of Russians he screwed.

Do you really think that what happened post Soviet-collapse is capitalism, I really don't know what to say. It is a bit like saying that Gaddafi's sons are capitalists or that Suharto's family is capitalist.

Is it a total coincidence that 80% of the oligarchs happened to belong to a faith that encompasses one half of one percent of Russia's population? I'll let you guess which religion that happens to be.

Alfred: You mean it is like saying Goldman Sachs is a capitalist enterprise?

i find anti-semetism offensive. You really need to go find a neo-nazi website Bob Ebersole

The ethnicity or religion of the oligarchs is one thing, the economic system they have in Russia is another. There is no doubt that it is capitalism, whether the capital is in the hands of the oligarchs or in the hands of the bureaucrat capitalists around Putin.

I laugh at people who think the Jews control everything. My wife is Jewish, as is my son's wife and her family. Her mother works as a sales clerk and her father as a security guard. He was UPS driver before he retired.

There are certainly rich Jews, but at the very top of the heap here you mostly find my people -- WASPs. Unless Cheney converted? But this is all quite beside the point. Capitalism isn't about religion or ethnicity -- it's about money. The billionaires of whatever background love to stir animosities between people. Cheney has no affinity whatsoever for his Appalachian kinfolk, nor does the elite of any backrgound.

A lot of anti-semitism is aroused by Israel's criminal actions just as a lot of anti-American sentiment is aroused by the US gov't bombing the crap out of anything or - one that moves. But the Israelis are pawns in the hands of their elite just as we are of ours. Norman Finkestein points out that a lot of the Russian "Jews" in Israel are not even Jewish!

Think interests, think economics -- don't think ethnicity or religion. End of rant.

Really well put. Thanks. Good ending.


Thank Dave - and Matt,

Second the sentiment.

And possibly add, sometimes the "interests", as well as the "economics", are conducted via connections people have. And what people believe (or imagine) themselves to have in common with others may be part of that. Though the beliefs about commonality may be artifacts, too - as opposed to motives.

I think any statement calculated to build up hatred of others is against my principles and values, and I'd prefer not to see it here. We all need to work together.

Unfortunately, I find neo-cons distinctly unlovable.

Best Hopes for uniting 99.4% of us in a common struggle,


In the 80s, someone (probably Arthur C Clarke) pointed out that the Russians could destroy the Star Wars satellites by throwing a bucket of nails out of the Mir space station.

thats because satellites are easy to hit. take the orbit and determine when is the best time to launch to send something to hit it. The orbit is either geostationary or on a set path making the knowledge of where it will be easy.
warheads on the other hand are more chaotic. shooting down a missile is more like you trying to knock a bullet out of the air with another bullet, mathematically possible but due to the time scale involved it's not practically possible.

You need one of these babies,
Coming to an all electric SUV near you soon!

i have heard of those, they are still NOT fast enough in everything but the speed of the laser. they heavily rely on radar to target. as fast as the servos on the emitter point are they still can't move that fast. not to mention the charge up time for the laser, and the fact that the laser MUST hit stay on the target for a little while to heat the projectile enough to make it blow.

Also, consider that chemical lasers like these do not run on electricity at all. A chemical laser is like a rocket engine. Explosive fuels go in, laser light comes out.

The laser you mentioned burns $3,000 of chemicals per shot, including deuterium which costs abut $20 a gallon.

Any energy weapon, by definition according to thermodynamics, consumes more energy than it produces. No matter what kind of laser weapon, each shot requires burning more fuel energy than the energy in the laser.

Accurate enough. The question then becomes - why did the Chinese undertake this relatively low tech. test and create so much space debris? Just to screw the world for the fun of it?

Also to demonstrate that your precious navigation satellites and spy satellites won't live much longer than aircraft carriers in a real shooting war.

The original poster (TrueKaiser) implied that, that is already obvious, i.e., it is easy to kinetically destroy satellites and create space debris. The folks in the armed forces know it - was the intent to also make it obvious to Joe Blow on main street?? - and how about the 2200 pieces of space debris that was created and will be around for 100s of years?

Was the intent to make space unusable for others?

As far as a shooting war goes - ICBMs have inertial guidance systems and are independent of Satellites and GPS. The Chinese have many of these, as do many others in the rest of the world. So destroying satellites will not prevent retaliation.

Below is a link on inertial guidance of ICBMs.


The Chinese aren't trying to project force over the entire world, only the US is. They would be quite content for now just to sweep the US away from their periphery. Thus, they really don't need to know the exact location of something in Germany or Peru or Cameroon -- just in China proper or a few hundred miles beyond their border. Thus, they could get along just fine with every GPS satellite knocked out; it is the US that would be in trouble. Ditto with the spy satellites. They would probably like to spy on the US via satellite, but they undoubtedly have more and better human intelligence over here than we have over there, so they could get by without their spy satellites if need be.

The only satellites that the Chinese really need are their geostationary ones. It is a little harder to knock those out, for they are a lot farther away. The funny thing is, though, that you could do so without putting most other satellites in geostationary orbit at risk - partially because there is considerable distance separating each, but mostly because the debris would be blown into a non-geostationary orbit.

Knock out our cable TV -- now there's the ultimate weapon for you; hit the US where it REALLY hurts!



And of course, none of this will matter after say 5 Multi Megaton explosions over say 5 Financial Centers, Civilization will revert to something near the Stone Age.

after say 5 Multi Megaton explosions over say 5 Financial Centers, Civilization will revert to something near the Stone Age.

A subprime implosion over say 70% of the US population would achieve the same effect.

Atom bombs won the last world war, survival knives will win the next.

LANGUAGE WARNING, do not click on the link if you are going to whine about it.


that is one of the funniest analyses ever, references to excrement notwithstanding...

Yah, they calls 'em as they smells 'em...

Actually, an insightful analysis written in about the most insulting way possible, which is just what the war-mongers deserve.

Errol in Miami

Good stuff. Hyperpower = all hype and no power. LOL.

The War Nerd is even funnier.
I was just reading an older article re Chavez.


You can click on "browse author" to read the old articles.

Thank you Musashi,
For my new favorite site, eXile.
Freakin hilarious, and dead on accuracy.
good stuff. (always liked those pesky ruskies)
Off now to read archives...

Hi Musashi,

Thanks for the warning :), (I may be the only one to take full advantage and pass...)

re: "Atom bombs won the last war..."

A couple of reviews of the book "Racing the Enemy" by Tsyuyoshi Hesegawa, taken off Amazon's website:

"Los Angeles Times : As Tsuyoshi Hasegawa has shown definitively in his new book, Racing the Enemy--and many other historians have long argued--it was the Soviet Union's entry into the Pacific war on Aug. 8, two days after the Hiroshima bombing, that provided the final 'shock' that led to Japan's capitulation."
--Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

"In summer 1945 Truman and his advisers set a foreign policy course that demanded American use of doomsday weapons not only against Japan but, indirectly, against humanity itself. In this groundbreaking book, Hasegawa argues that the atomic bombs were not as decisive in bringing about Japan's unconditional surrender as Soviet entry into the Pacific War. His challenging study reveals the full significance of Truman's decision not to associate Stalin with the Potsdam Declaration and offers fresh evidence of how Japan's leaders viewed Stalin's entrance into the war as the decisive factor.

Others have shown that Truman missed opportunities to secure Japan's unconditional surrender without an invasion or the nuclear destruction of Japanese cities. But few have so thoroughly documented the complex evasions and Machiavellism of Japanese, Russian, and, especially, American leaders in the process of war termination."
--Herbert P. Bix, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan


Of course, this doesn't mean that survival knives won't win the next one.

Just to say, the way things work may (emphasis) be more complex then we imagine and hence, allow us the tiniest sliver of possibility for a different outcome.

True, one never knows how it will play out. The best laid plans almost never survive first contact. All one can do is watch the trends, conserve options and stay agile from any possible point of view, ie physical, economical, logistical, etc.

Oh, come on guys! All this talk about the USA shooting down Russian missiles. Dick Cheney is the President of the United States - the greatest nation on Earth. If you can't trust Dick Cheney, who can you trust?

And if worse comes to worse and we have to invade Russia to spread democracy, you can be sure that when our troops march into Moscow, the Russian people (if any are left) will shower us with flowers, just like the Iraqis did in Baghdad.

So have some faith in our leaders.
I fully trust President Cheney to do the right thing.


Ukrainan,Russians and Georgians comprise a HUGE percent of the new immigrants here in portland ore,except,One must remember they have a whole different way of looking at the world,and tend to settle their own "bidness"without getting the law involved.

Its too late to bring democracy to russia....they fooled everyone,and moved here at the time the wall came down

That isn't unique to them. Quite a few other cultures work that way and generally not being able to game the system regardless of resources makes for good neighbors and peace.

Not unique at all--
As Charles Bukowski pointed out:
"It's not that I hate cops, it's just I feel a whole lot better when they aren't around"--
Getting the State involved with disputes inside your culture (assuming that their is enough social control within that culture to enforce decisions and societal morals) is asking for disastrous results from a group who's primary purpose is to enforce the interests of a ruling elite.

Hello TODers,

The tragic fires in Greece could arguably be compared to hurricanes Katrina & Rita hitting the US, only the impact will probably be worse to the Greek habitats and economy:


What will be interesting to see is if the Greeks can respond to their ancient democratic traditions and cultures to quickly restore, rebuild, and replant the ravaged areas. Or will it be ignored by the Greek majority like most of the US leadership ignores Nawlins? Will the Greek leaders and people respond like Fidel Castro and Cubans [make lemonade from lemons], or will they go down like Mugabe and Zimbabweans [powerful really screwing over the poor in the last man standing scenario]?

Will the devastation to forest and farmland cause flash-flooding to wreck some Greek cities? Will the silt, ashes, mulch, and chemical residues washed offshore proceed to wreck the Greek fisheries? Can Greek cooperation sufficiently arise to prevent an ecologic and economic disaster, or will Greek Overshoot and 'infinite growth' capitalism make it impossible for them to avoid becoming a European Haiti?

If I read Greek demographics correctly: most of the young Greeks have migrated from the rural villages to the metropolitan areas. If they truly understand how modern civilization relies upon a healthy eco-system: will millions of young Greeks forego the modern day comforts to help replant millions of forest trees and farming orchards? Or is watching DVD replays of 'The 300' on plasma TVs more important?


Is it now the time for another classic Greek lesson called 'Battle of Thermo/Gene'?


Who will arise to become the Socratic Philosopher King; the Greek Leonidas to lead Greece into final battle against the forces of Peakoil, Overshoot, and Entropy? Will Greece go to maximum Peakoil Outreach and relocalized permaculture for facilitating their Paradigm Shift?

Will this modern Greek army realize that they must fight their own inner nature besides Mother Nature? Will the rest of the world learn from the Greeks' response, or is Zimbabwe and Haiti the already acknowledged global models for ecosystem and civilizational decline? Time will tell.

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


The Greek Tragedy. I bet Greece had Redwood/Seqouia type trees before they had Athens.

It took all of them to make all of those ships and create all
of that bronze.

Olives/grapes are remnant food. For remnant soil.

The Desert crosses the Med. It will advance relentlessly.

See the Ice Free Arctic for details.

Actually, the dominant large tree was the Mediterranean cypress tree. Same goes for Lebanon and Cyprus.

If you were to look at the history of Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon, you will see a cycle of growth and collapse repeated every 500 years or so.

The time of collapse was when the trees had a chance to regrow and for the soil to recreate itself. Attacks on neighbouring countries, emigration and collapse ensued as the trees were cut down (to make ships) and the soil ended up the Mediterranean.

Of course, olives and vines are only suitable for crap soil.

For those interested in exploring this topic further, read John Perlin's "A Forest Journey." A very in-depth analysis of wood's role in the operation of civilization.



Yes, "A Forest Journey" is an excellent book. For detailed coverage of the Mediterranean region, try J.V. Thirgood's "Man and the Mediterranean Forest." You need a good university library or interlibrary loan service, though.

The Mediterranean Forest.

How sad that it once existed and won't exist again until
Human Collosus recedes.

How come a forest would be better to have on earth then humanity?

It smells nicer.

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

The article Life During Wartime bases its views on the work of the Marians Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. If there is one presupposition present in their work, is that there is no room for environmental degradation or resource depletion.

Realizing that conditions have changed since Marx’s vision of class struggle and a revolutionary proletariat, Hardt and Negri postulate a global multitude of individuals that communicate through the shared space of the commons and could organize themselves through distributed networks.

Our increasingly networked society points toward a new global orchestration that would eliminate the need for a centralized state apparatus. For this to happen, the multitude would have to realize a shared political project — not just demonstrating against the powers-that-be, as in the massive international protests against the Iraq war, but self-organizing into a truly constitutive body.

They are as cornucopian as the Cornucopians.

Michael Hardt, Antonio Negrii are essentially Post Modern Relativists who have discarded observable reality, and marginalized science and observation over the ideology of relativism.
"They are as cornucopian as the Cornucopians" describes their delusions perfectly. I remember when Empire was the rage among the Left, and nearly gaged at the shallowness of the argument.

Refinery Problems and Staving Off the Oil Crisis this Past Summer

When I was 18, I was hired on as an assistant Electrician where we were converting an Estate into a county offices complex. Because I was so diligent in my work, they fired the Electrician and gave me all the work. No pay increase as I was not a licenced Journeyman, but they were the govt., this could be overlooked. Being the good worker that I was, soon everything was up and running smoothly, and my job became more relaxed. That was when they decided that in between me doing my electrician duties, they could put a sledgehammer in my hand. I'm nobody's fool. The second they tried to implement it, I went to the power house and pulled a main fuse. Knocked out power to half the complex. Then spent the rest of the day 'tracking down the problem'. At the end of the day, the power comes back on, everyone cheers.
I think this is what happened this summer. Refineries facing oil supply shortages, 'had problems' which caused gasoline prices to increase and allowed oil stockpiles to increase, averting the shortage while not losing any money.(also allowing them time to convert to handling heavier crude) This also forced motorists to reduce consumption and extended the time before shortages would be faced. Nice work if you can get it. When the problem begins to loom again, I would expect more 'Refinery problems' since it worked so nicely the first time.

Sincerely no.

The fuse pulling ploy, yes. Oil refining manipulation by TPTB, no.

This is where Subprime debt meets Energy.

Debt cannot be created w/o free energy inputs aka oil supply.

"Refineries facing oil supply shortages, 'had problems' which caused gasoline prices to increase and allowed oil stockpiles to increase, averting the shortage while not losing any money.(also allowing them time to convert to handling heavier crude) This also forced motorists to reduce consumption and extended the time before shortages would be faced."

But gas prices fell and motorists never reduced demand.

Shortages are here now:

In terms of days of supply, US Total Gasoline Inventories are the Lowest Ever Recorded-source EIA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:40 am Post subject: Re: Weekly US Petroleum and NG Supply Reports (New Thread)

We are barreling down that consumption highway, and fast approaching a sign that says “turn around, you have past minimum operating levels” – for gasoline that is. Gasoline inventories continued their end-of-summer plunge, predicted here many weeks ago in some detail by pup55. Particularly alarming is that East Coast gasoline supplies in the Mid-Atlantic region (down 2.1 million barrels this week) are now dangling near the edge of minimum operating levels. The Upper Midwest region appears to have already fallen below MOLs, based upon reports of isolated gasoline shortages reappearing in the most remote upper Rocky/Midwest states.


Gasoline was down around $2.20 a gallon went up to around $2.80 a gallon.

Not Gasoline shortages - Oil shortages - temporarily postponed.

Refinery Utilization is now on the rise.

Recent surveys are now showing a change in motoring habits.


Since May, the price of gasoline has dropped, even
as supplies have tightened.

Since May there have been shortages in the Dakotas/Minnesota.

Getting worse now.

Refinery Utilization never made it to the norm 0f 95% this Summer and dropped to 90.3 % in last week's Oil Inventory report.

Surveys mean nothing. There hasn't been one documented report since Katrina of Americans using less gasoline.

Demand destruction occurs only when there is actual destruction, such as New Orleans, Iraq, and soon to be Iran.

I've got to agree with mcgowanmc Cid
The hedge funds have been really pulling in their horns on both oil and gas and gasoline futures. We've been importing about 5 million barrels of gasoline a day this year, and the lowered volume in the futures markets may be making the gasoline traders think twice about a barge load of gasoline to the US if there's a closer place to sell it.

I live in Galveston, a resort town. Car traffic seems light so far this weekend, but it rained last night and the sky is threatening. But were only 50 miles from downtown Houston, 80 from most of the population in a metro area of 5 million, its an inexpensive day trip. Bob Ebersole

Good Story..

I pulled the plug once, too, but in a quite different situation. I was the Gaffer (Head Electrician) on a small film project shooting in the Maine Lakes District, and when the house that cast/crew were staying in went dark after a thunderstorm, all the VCR's, BoomBoxes and PC's were of course also quieted, and the folks who had been facing out at the walls with plugs, ended up gathering on the porch with beers in a cozy circle.. and started connecting, playing some songs on guitar, telling stories. When I noticed a repair crew up the street, I snuck down to the breaker box and tripped the Mains, so the party could continue properly. Around the time people were finally heading off to bed, I turned us back on, safe from the threat that anyone would return to their corners, gaping at their lit screens. Upstairs, I heard everyone go 'aaah!' as the magic was returned to our lives

Pro-Social Sabotage!


The nuclear future article from the Toronto Globe and Mail seems well written and make of it what you will.

Yes, we will in all probability take that route and build a zillion nuke plants.

This is a singularly bad idea because we will still be mining a finite resource with limits and will have only postponed a realistically sustainable solution one more time, making the inevitable switch - if we're still around - that much harder. Petroleum was a somewhat dangerous solution, but nuclear is inevitably catastrophic. Feel free to disagree, but my powers of self deception aren't that good anymore.

Nuclear will happen because the industry and political infrastructure is there already. It is what politicians will end up doing because it is what their limited minds can concieve of. Instead of changing society we will change the power supply.

Now that's what I call plug and pray. And the nearest upwind location is on Mars.


Again, where the Subprime Crisis meets PO.

Capitol Formation is needed to build Mega Projects.

Even as Infrastructure of current Nukes is devalued, they must be replaced.

Only after Replacement of nukes can benies of EROI be collected.

See "Vermont Yankee's Collapsed Cooling Tower while Entergy ramped up its output" for Details.

Rising interest rates and financial instability will threaten all capital intensive projects, and nukes and renewable energy devices are that by definintion so building the things will be even harder. £70bn for decommisioning our fleet of nuclear power stations http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4859980.stm
that must be far more than it cost to build them in the first place?

I would love to see a peak oil related headline on the Daily Mail (UK)

"conservation is glorious, waste is shameful".

Are you willing to assert that the copper that goes into wind mills or the aluminium that goes into solar cell structures are of infinite supply?

They are recycleable, and that is good enough for sustainability

So is uranium

Utter and complete BS to compare the "recycling" of the uranium in spent fuel with the recycling of copper & aluminum !

If non-electrical grade recycled Cu & Al is needed (say for beer cans and plumbing or coins) all that is needed is a little heat. Electrical grade required electrolytic refining, slightly more energy intensive. *VERY* profitable !! Essentially no waste produced, no hazardous waste ! Simple and cheap to do.

Recycling spent fuel is not profitable, quite dangerous with massive billion+ dollar plants, creates intensely radioactive waste of several types (fission byproducts & transuranics), required VERY high levels of security and plant safety issues.

Apples to ant farm comparison !


LevinK likes posting pure BS when it comes to anything tied to Fission power.

Alan you are lacking imagination with this comment. Worse than that, you were lacking politeness too.

It is surprising that you can imagine the whole US covered with windmills, pumped storage and HVDC but you can not imagine uranium reprocessing becoming common with technology development and economies of scale kicking in.

BTW most what you said is simply not true. Reprocessing spent fuel produsses less waste than dumping it somewhere somehow. The problems with fuel reprocessing are largely political, technically it is a proven concept.

Sorry about any impoliteness, truly.

My jaw dropped when you compared recycling copper & aluminum with recycling spent fuel.

Recycle a pile of scrap (waste) copper and what will be left is 99.x% usable copper, a bit of silicates & aluminum compounds (from dirt) and lead, tin, antimony, silver and other solder compounds.

Yes, the volume declines with recycling spent fuel, but the radioactivity is much the same (some few % end back as MOX fuel). I suspect that concentrated fission byproducts would generate so much heat that they could not kept in solid form.

Military programs had large scale, long term "recycling" programs. Tens to hundreds of billions to clean up !

Not much "economy of scale" there ! Civilian recycling has had some problems, but no billion $ errors yet. But not economic yet AFAIK. (That UK recycling plant at the northern tip of Scotland created some "Do Not Fish" areas I believe).

Recycling has been tried multiple times do far, zero economic success so far. So your assumption that they will suddenly change after a half century plus of failures seems unwarranted to me.

We may one day be forced to recycle, and hopefully we can learn to do it properly & economically.


The military plutonium extraction programs were not long term. They were short term emergency arming during the cold war.

The lack of economical success in adapting the processes for civilian use is due to mined uranium being cheap. It does not make sense to build a very capital intensive recycling plant with a large staff untill uranium is expensive. And it is probably possible to develop simpler processes since civilian nuclear power has no need for pure plutonium.

The military plutonium extraction programs were not long term

1943 to 1990 at Hanford, the principal US plutonium source.

The early years could be characterized as "emergency", but certainly no later than 1960 reprocessing nuclear fuel could be considered long term industrial scale production.

They made an absolute mess of reprocessing.

I also severely question if reprocessing is economic. The US made the decision to NOT reprocess fuel (see mess @ Hanford) and to store the spent fuel "as is".

That is NOT a Catch 22, since reprocessing should not be a prerequisite for long term disposal of nuclear waste. The understanding with the handful of new nukes is that their waste fuel will NOT be reprocessed.

*IF* reprocessing IS required, then that is another major reason to oppose expansion of nuclear power. We have a MASSIVE stockpile of spent fuel, 100s of times more than reprocessed at Hanford, already on hand and more coming !

100 Hanfords is enough to make me shudder !

We screwed up reprocessing badly for 42 years, but NOW we *KNOW* that we can do it economically !?!


What I wanted to point out is that reprocessing dont have to be a handford mess, not that it should be economical today. But I would like to advocate research into processing and reactors with mechanically simpler fuels.

Alan I was not "comparing" recycling U and Al, I was simply pointing out that there are ways to recover it which are economical even now. This was discussion about sustainability and on these grounds I find U resources more than enough to qualify it as sustainable - after all we potentially have thousands of years of U during which we can build renewable energy economy or whatever comes to replace FFs.

As for fuel reprocessing: Russia, French and UK are all doing it and AFAIK it is economical. But all of them lack enough capacity and building new plants in the era of cheap uranium and anti-nuclear sentiments was largely impossible. The plants are not that expensive - the Rokkasho plant in Japan costs around $2bln.

In US it was banned by the Carter administration which was concerned by the use of the plutonium by terrorists.


Of course fuel reprocessing does not diminish the radioactivity but is making the waste much more managable. If we start doing it the problem with the troublesome Yucca Mountain starge site will automatically disappear.

In US it is obviously a Catch 22 situation. The goverment is forbidding fuel reprocessing, then is protracting the storage site and in the end both goverment and enviromentalists are bashing utilities for "not finding solution for nuclear waste". What a pile of crap.

Russia, French and UK are all doing it and AFAIK it is economical

Not the UK !!

The leak of 20 tonnes of plutonium and uranium liquid mixed with nitric acid discovered last month at Sellafield’s controversial Thorp reprocessing facility had apparently been going on undetected for nine months, constituting Britain’s worst nuclear mishap in 13 years, Britain’s The Independent and UK nuclear officials said Monday

Sellafield ($4+ billion) has been shut down since mid-2005 and is likely to be permanently shutdown. Hardly "economic".

Thus my great skepticism.


UK has the habbit of screwing up big time when it comes to nuclear.

But you have to admit that civilian fuel reprocessing is realtively young technology and mishups are to be expected... especially if you approach the task arogantly. But this does not prove it a bad idea and the successful sites are still more than the failed ones. My initial point was about the long term, when U is supposed to "run out". 50-100 years time should be enough for us to learn how to do fuel reprocessing right.


but are not infinitely recyclable.

unlike the spuriousness of such comments, which you seem to recycle endlessly!

True, perhaps, but neither are the ores absolutely depleted. Ten million years from now the losses from thousands of times of recycling may create a real copper and aluminum crisis. Guess what? I'm not going to worry about that, I'll let those people worry about it -- IF there are any people left around to worry about it. Boosting the chances that there will still be people around a hundred years from now seems to me to be a higher priority right now.

After taking a look at the ultimate resource base of uranium you have to admit that the problems with it will lie thousands of years away. Even now we are dumping more U in the environment from the coal we burn in CPPs than it is used in NPPs. This should ring a bell I think.

Aluminum is what, the third most abundant element on the planet after oxygen and silicon. I will unequivalently state we are not going to run out of aluminum. There is no infinite supply in a finite universe.


I haven`t escaped from reality. i have a daypass.


Sources: Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust (8.1%), although it is not found free in nature. In 1886, Hall in the United States and Heroult in France discovered how to obtain aluminum metal from electrolysis of alumina dissolved in cryolite. Cryolite is an aluminum ore, although it is has been replaced for commercial aluminum purification by an artificial mixture of sodium, aluminum, and calcium fluorides. The Bayer process is commonly used to refine the impure hydrated oxide ore, bauxite, for use in the Hall-Heroult refining process. Aluminum also can be produced from clay, although this is not the most economically feasible method at present. In addition to cryolite and bauxite, aluminum is found in feldspars, granite, and many other common minerals. The oxide, alumina, occurs naturally as ruby, sapphire, emery, and corundum.

The key phrase is:

"...although it is not found free in nature."

It takes massive (think Grand Coolie, Bonneville, Alcoa, Boeing, Salmon extermination) amts of power to male aluminum.

UK general attacks US Iraq policy

The head of the British army during the Iraq invasion has said US post-war policy was "intellectually bankrupt".

Sir Malcolm told the BBC: "I think one of the most fundamental criticisms is not just that Rumsfeld was incompetent - which he was - but it was actually his boss, George Bush, who actually made the extraordinary decision to put the Pentagon and Rumsfeld in control of political nation-building after the actual war ended."


No, "Intellectually bankrupt" implies that there were some intellectual assets to start with.

Question: Why does Venezuela continually claim to be producing more oil than it is actually producing? They are not low-balling their estimates to get under any quota but they are producing way under their quota already and actually claim to be producing more oil than they are actually producing. And they have been doing this for several years, that is claiming to be producing more oil than they actually are.

The agency estimates that Venezuela was producing roughly 2.34 million barrels a day in July. But (Venezuela's Oil Minister) Ramirez said the South American country, an OPEC member, was producing 3.1 million barrels a day.

Ron Patterson

Politics surely? It would not look good either internally or externally if the govt had to admit its effective nationalisation large parts of the oil industy was leading to a fall in production, or that its policies were leading to underinvestment (perhaps its worth comparisons with Mexico - same problem with underinvestment in oil production but there the fall isn't being made to go away by govt dictat). Chavez likes to throw his weight around in the region (witness his involvement with the FARC situation in Colombia - which is generally not appreciated by Colombians). Much easier to do if your seen to be the guy who makes the oil flow efficiently at home.........

Well, if one were Chavez and it is broadcast all over (rubbing it in) that one is producing a lot less then one could, one would develop eyes in the back of the head looking for Mr Barrett. Actually Mr Dragunov for plausible deniability.

Business as usual....

This to me is so stupid it is almost criminal, and demonstrates once more that the problem is not that we have so much advanced technology, but that our energy technology is so primitive it is almost beyond belief.


I noticed an ominous comment in this article about Vermont Yankee..


"...Dreyfuss said the two cooling towers were the most "low-tech" equipment at the Vernon reactor, and he downplayed the collapse, saying it didn't affect the safety of the plant. Giant cranes were in place next to the west cooling tower, which also contains that one cooling cell that is needed for safety backup of the reactor."

"...The towers had been under regulatory scrutiny for the past two years or more, since the New England Coalition had raised questions about their safety in light of the 20 percent power boost. Larger and heavier fans were placed on top of the cooling towers to help dissipate the additional decay heat generated by the reactor."

"...The company has state approval to use the cooling towers less and discharge hotter water back into the river, but that discharge permit has been successfully fought by environmental groups, forcing the company to use the cooling towers and adhere to earlier, lower temperatures. Under the new permit, Entergy was given permission to increase the temperature of the Connecticut River by 1 degree; the water it discharges routinely can hit 100 degrees.

"That 1 degree would be helpful to us right now," Dreyfuss said. ..."

Fish gotta bathe, birds gotta fry, I guess. Let's go, Fission!


It reminds me that I read recently that all power lines go uphill. Follow the lines to the water....

Makes one wonder what else might unexpectedly collapse.....

I agree that it is stupid and almost criminal to waste all that natural gas. But one has to realize that up until fairly recently this gas was, quite literally, a waste material with neither a ready market nor a means to bring it to market even if there was a market. That situation, of course, is rapidly changing but not fast enough. As long as the oil is the most profitable stuff, one can expect the accompanying natural gas to be of secondary interest. More short-term thinking.

I've always gotten the same feeling when driving along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast at night and seeing all the flares lighting up the night sky. All those gazillions of BTUs going to waste. Many of these weren't even oil production flares but rather the flares from the relief valve systems of refineries and petrochemical plants.

It's human nature to waste resources when they're plentiful and then later cry about it when they become scarce. For example, in the 1890s lobsters were so plentiful along parts of the New England coast that fishermen often used them for bait.

That waste of gas is nothing compared to the deliberate wastefulness with the first large gas field:

By 1898, 5,400 gas wells had been drilled and Indiana had bragging rights to the largest known gas field in the country, but gas pressures had already begun to drop in 1891. The practice of using flambeaux in the fields proved foolish and some even burned in the fields as a standing advertisement of the pressure of the local wells. The state legislature passed a law (McHugh Law) in March of 1891 to prohibit the use of artificial methods of adding pressure in order to transport natural gas long distances. Experts theorized that the commercial transportation of the gas dropped local pressures. The legislature also eliminated the use of flambeaux for illumination but the law was difficult to enforce since the gas belonged to the finders and they had funded the construction and the towns continued to use them.

The wastefulness was widespread and was very little concern. It couldnt be imagined that supplies could be depleted. Customers were charged only for the number of jets, outlets, or burners that they had instead of the amounts of gas that was being consumed. Conservation was not a concern and much of the waste was unquestionably avoidable. By the end of the century gas supplies were becoming slim and by 1906 the boom was completely over.


Maybe this http://www.seapower-generation.co.uk/eis.htm is a good plan, make good offshore wind and gas which is too expensive to transport from the field.

Wind, nuclear and natgas chps would make a groovy combination. Along with the tidal, hydro and solar of course, and the digestion of human and biological waste for biogas.

You are operating under a misaprehension about refineries, most of the gas thats flared is H2S in too low a volume to be recycled so its flared, and some is benzene, a known carcinogen and other toxic stuff too. They actually bought that gas they're burning. Oil companies are guilty of a lot of crimes, but throwing away money isn't one of them.
Bob Ebersole


I really wasn't trying to equate the massive flaring of natural gas in the Persian Gulf with the flare systems used in refineries and petrochemical plants, but rather just to point out that an awful lot of BTUs are still going up in smoke (so to speak).

I happen to have a chemical engineering background, once worked for a major chemical company, and had been involved in the design of a flare system. So, I think I have a pretty good idea of what they're all about. A flare system in a refinery or petrochemical plant is essentially a crude incinerator for various gaseous waste streams that for technical and/or economic reasons are not recovered. They are not always effective, and more than one refinery has gotten itself into trouble by flaring stuff it shouldn't have. As to these waste H2S streams, they may be relatively dilute, but from an SO2 emissions standpoint, they are hardly trivial. A refinery near not far from us handles high-sulfur crude and generates several hundred tons per year of SO2 emissions.

American industy has tradionally had pretty tough criteria for justifying capital expenditures. If an energy-conservation or energy-recovery scheme can't pay for itself within a few years, it generally doesn't get built. While oil companies aren't known for throwing away money, neither are they loath to 'waste' energy if saving that energy can't be justified to their financial boys.

Information on a small luxury, but extremely energy efficient, small subdivision near Dallas/Fort Worth:

(click on methods to the left)

A more affordable demonstration home in the Fort Worth Area:


I would expect to see more and more "enclaves" of super energy efficient homes, ultimately with some effort made for back-up electrical generation of some sort, i.e., similar to what we are presently seeing in Africa, where wealthier people have their own generators for the recurring blackouts.

Watch out for Felix to cause a bigger bump in oil prices than is expected. Look at the NAM. It may be a poor model of the tropics, but what it is telling me is that the east coast trough will be strong enough to pull the storm into the gulf next week. You can see the weakness in the ridge and the storm responding to it. Of course the NAM is pulling it too far east, I like the NOGAPS now. I would not be surprised to see a cat3 in the central gulf in the beginning of the week.

Oh god, here we go again! One model shows it entering the Gulf, the other 6 show it following in the footsteps of Dean. Please guys, I beg of you, put a stop to these ridiculous predictions right here and right now. If it starts veering towards the gulf, then we can talk about it...

Excuse me PartyGuy, but I was giving my opinion on the models. The NAM does a really good job of predicting mid latitude weather in general. Do you have a problem with that or can you tell me why I should ignore it. No, you just say don't talk about it. BTW: One model ha!, there are at least 3 models calling for a gulf storm, but I doubt you looked at anything before you posted.

BTW PartyGuy if you want to focus on "ridiculous predictions" why not spend some time on Daniel Yergin and $38 a barrel oil. Sheesh

BTW PartyGuy, from the NHC 5pm. discussion


It is actually 2 for the left route and three to the right. These are the 18z models I was talking about. Although I do understand why the NHC puts more weight to the GFS and the Euro. They probably will be right, but maybe not.

Its over a week out. The range of possible locations is something like 1200 km on that time scale. Do we really have to deal with this rubbish all over again like with Dean?

A week? I guess on top of it all you aren't good with numbers, do you have any idea how long it takes to evacuate platforms? Dean, what are you talking about? I never said anything about Dean, you are one confused individual.

I'm talking about your 'forecasts'. They posted a nifty graphic showing deviations from predicted areas based on how many days out the projection was. At 5 days, it was 800 km. And it would be far larger when talking about something that wont even be in the Gulf (if it ever will be) for 7-10 days! And lets have some perspective: they evac'd the platforms for Dean 3 days ahead of time.

FALSE STATEMENT. They started evacuations for Dean up to 6 days in advance. I know. I live in Houston and am quite aware of the evacuations that get announced. Plus there are those that are not announced publicly but happen anyway.

Your ignorant blathering aside, the oil companies operating in the GOM have a large number of personnel out there and a small number of helicopters capable of performing the evacuations so of course they start as soon as possible. Often a platform is not completely evacuated but a skeleton crew is left til the storm gets closer to allow continued operation or to shut operations down if deemed necessary, depending on how the path settles down as it approaches.

Since the oil companies themselves choose to respond to these VERY REAL THREATS as much as a week out, it would seem that your uninformed rants should be what should stop around here, not discussion of the storm.

TOD began coverage of Rita and Katrina more than a week in advance and it was very beneficial for those living on the coast who read TOD and responded to the warnings. And it was educational to others as well.

Finally, who made you a moderator for TOD? Who gave you power to tell people what to post or not to post? Nobody? Then STFU. If you don't like a thread then simply do not reply to it. If a post or thread loses participation it will die of its own accord. And if it survives onward in spite of your little Nazi-esque attempts at censorship, then maybe, just maybe, there was a topic there that needed to be discussed whether you thought so or not.

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

OK, well-said GZ, but if you've been on TOD awhile, we get these types every once in awhile that try to counter everything and just generally annoy everyone. I think the most effective form of management of these members is simply to ignore them. They are looking for anger and responses and as long as they get it, they keep it up.

Shell pre-emptively evacuated ONE platform 6 days in advance. PEMEX started about the day before it made landfall on the Yucatan. I don't know whats up with you guys, but your sweeping generalizations without mentioning specifics is a real drag in any kind of debate!

Its not rubbish. I suggest you skip downthread if you don't enjoy speculations about hurricanes. I'm sure its early to engage in much, but I really enjoyed watching people accumulate wonderful data and charts here.

As a Gulf Coast resident, I'm concerned, and I think one of these days TOD will hit a truly threatening hurricane that the rest of the world would really like to see, and get a lot of publicity for the peak. Bob Ebersole

For that matter, why is it presumed that Dean turned out to be irrelevant? Inventories were reported down last week, and near month contract prices on crude were up. Direct result of Dean shut-ins? I think so.

Even if Felix follows the exact same track as Dean, and inflicts no more damage to the Bay of Campeche, that's still another significant shut-in we're talking about. Any offshore structures weakened by Dean could be done in by Felix.

Hello Xironman,

Thxs for the NHC update. Does the NHC think the huge mass of clouds due south of Jamaica [West to Northwest of Felix] can develop into a depression, or will this get sucked into Felix? Thxs for any reply.


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

Hi Bob,

I don't know what they think about that, but those guys are really good at what they do. They always seem to turn out right. The one think to look for here is a late period right hook. It will keep WNW for a few days before that could happen.

Yeah, they turned out right on Dean too. It only landed about 1500 km off course from where it was 'expected' to go ~_~

Since you don't seem to like bad news on just about any topic, people around here are gonna end up calling you 'Sunshine'.

PartyGuy captures the sentiment pretty well. Keep on partying PartyGuy, no storms to be discussed here.

Ridiculous! I'm tired of us hyping up storms like they are the end of the world. Remember on Dean? Someone said that Cantarel would be out of commission for 2 months! It's that kind of crab that gives us a bad name for not being objective.


I took a look at the spot you were talking about. Look at the water vapor loop http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/watl/loop-wv.html. You can see that some of that was shear being caused by an upper level trough off the Yucatan. Look further north and east and you can seen an upper level low (the white color spinning between Florida and the Bahamas). This may make it gain a bit more latitude. Look north west into Texas and you can see another trough starting to come into view, that is the right hook coming down the pike. This did not happen with Dean.

Commentary: Don't fear light rail; fear addiction to oil

America is between a rock and a hard place. America's crack-cocaine dependency on oil is unlikely to end soon, but what is worse, there seems to be no will at the national level to launch a Manhattan Project to develop solar energy, alternative fuels we haven't even thought of yet and alternative methods of mass transit.

We don^t need a Manhatten Project to develop solar energy. It exists and anyone with cash can buy some.


I haven`t escaped from reality. i have a daypass.

"Roy Mason of consultancy Oil Movements estimated OPEC 11 seaborne exports would rise to 24.21 million bpd, compared with 23.63 million bpd in the four weeks to August 18."

This gain is less than it appears at first glance, and may only be temporary.

This improvement follows a fall in shipments during June and July from about 24 million bpd at the start of June.

The much dicussed Typhoon Gonu did end up restricting OPEC shipments through the Persian Gulf area more than most predicted (except at TOD and a few others).

Congradulations to those here who were right about the impact of Gonu.

There is a report out on Saudi Arabia estimating that 500,000 bpd of liquids production in the next two years will be diverted to power plants and desalination plants, because of a shortfall in Saudi natural gas production--which is why the Saudis are talking about importing coal.

If we add in the projected 500,000 bpd increase in Saudi liquids consumption to the underlying rate of increase in consumption, Saudi Arabia alone may have increased their consumption by 750,000 bpd in two years.

If their production continues declining at the current annual rate, their two year rate of decline in net exports (based on above consumption assumptions) would be about 12% per year, from 8.7 mbpd to 6.9 mbpd (total liquids).

It looks like Saudis are heading where you say.

The new 400,000 bpd refinery (see below) is for internal Saudi purposes only. However they wouldn't have to wait until that's complete to shift prodcution from other refineries they have to internal purposes.

In any event, while the Saudis may still mange an uptick in production when a new project is completed, it doesn't appear that the Saudis are going to increase net exports - just the mix towards more high end products (like gasoline) and away from low quality (possibly contaminated) crude that no one wants.

"Platts Oilgram News
June 19, 2007

Saudi Aramco eyes new 400,000 b/d Ras Tanura refinery
Geoff King, Kate Dourian

Saudi Aramco is planning to build a new wholly owned 400,000 b/d refinery at the Persian Gulf terminal of Ras Tanura to serve domestic demand, in another sign of the company's ambitious plans to boost refining capacity.

There has been no previous talk of a new refinery at Ras Tanura and confirmation was the first firm word Saudi Arabia's refinery expansion plans are more extensive than earlier believed.

"A 400,000 b/d refinery is planned for Ras Tanura and expected to be on stream in 2012," a Saudi Aramco spokesman said June 17 when asked to confirm reports the kingdom planned to build a second refinery at Ras Tanura, the world's biggest oil export terminal. "The refinery will provide fuel for domestic consumption, similar to existing in-kingdom wholly owned Saudi Aramco refineries," the spokesman said.

The new refinery will join an existing 550,000 b/d refinery at Ras Tanura which is the largest in the Middle East and one of the biggest in the world. Both plants will process Arabian Heavy crude, industry sources said June 18."

Hello TODers,

I don't think I need to add any explanation to this link:


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

I'm sure it has top-notch insulation, triple-pane low-E windows, and Energy Star appliances. Plus, I'm sure it has a smaller carbon footprint than Paul Allen's yacht.

Feds to restrict volunteers at disasters

Ground zero volunteer Rhonda Shearer and her daughter launched a fast-moving supply system that bypassed regular channels, often infuriating city officials.

Even as she delivered box trucks packed with supplies over months of recovery work, she increasingly ended up in a cat-and-mouse game with New York City's police and emergency management agency.

Shearer, 53, said the experience convinced [her] that agencies are ill-equipped to handle major disasters — but don't want outsiders pointing out their failings.

Prelude to a massacre.

cfm in Gray, ME

Great. Lets put more bureaucracy on the critical path to providing aid to our fellow citizens. I thought republicans ideals represented small government and people helping themselves.

The Crusader Builds a Castle

Welcome to the New US Embassy

This is the largest US Embassy built – roughly the size of Vatican City – and at $600 million (£300 million) the most expensive.

“Encircled by blast walls and cut off from the rest of Baghdad, it stands out like the crusader castles that once dominated the Middle East.”

Embassies were traditionally designed to promote interaction with their host communities, she says, but not this one. “Although US diplomats will technically be ‘in Iraq’ they may as well be in Washington.

“Although the US Government regularly proclaims confidence in Iraq’s democratic future, the US has designed an embassy that conveys no confidence in Iraqis and little hope for their future. Instead, the US has built a fortress capable of sustaining a massive, long-term presence in the face of continued violence.”

Tropical storm Henriette kills 6 in Mexico resort

Tropical Storm Henriette swept by Mexico's Pacific coast on Saturday, killing six people in the resort of Acapulco before moving out to sea, where it could become a hurricane.

A man and his two children were killed in a poor area of Acapulco overnight when heavy rain dislodged a boulder from a hill and sent it crashing down on their house.

Three more children died after a mudslide collapsed part of their home.

After lashing Mexico's Pacific coast with rain, Henriette was expected to move farther out to sea and could become a hurricane overnight, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

"There is a hint of an eye feature," the center said, referring to the storm's cloud formation.

On Saturday, the center of the storm was about 90 miles (145 km) southwest of Manzanillo, moving northwest with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) with higher gusts, the hurricane center said. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph (119 kph).

New York City's life expectancy is increasing at a faster rate than in other parts of the country; in 2004 alone, New Yorkers gained five months of life on average, far outpacing the national average increase of a month or two a year.

That's good news, but I wouldn't live in NYC on a bet. "Black swan" events aren't taken into account when figuring life expectancy. When one considers the near-inevitability of a weapon of mass destruction finding its way into 'terrorist' hands eventually, the fact that only something like 3% of cargo containers into the country are inspected, and that NYC is the target of choice for most of the "death to america" crowd, the average life expectancy may be significantly less.

Sorry that's a bummer, but there it is.

I was last in the North Tower of the WTC in 1997, on about the hundredth floor doing some business as I blew through town on the way from Hawaii to Scotland. It was a windy day and the tower was lurching about like a ship at sea after having been weakened by a bomb in the basement in '93. I was quite uncomfortable, and took quite a bit of ribbing from those in the office, who noted it really got going some days. After the meeting I had a couple hours before my next appointment across town and lay down in the windy plaza between the towers looking up at them for an hour. I felt it near inevitable that those who planted the first bomb would bring one or both down in the future, and said my goodbyes to them. They lasted about 4 more years and the nice guys who had been kidding me were mostly killed.

I won't be moving to NYC for my health. Walking is good, though.

How big of a bomb are you talking about? It would take an awful lot to really lower the avg. life expectancy of the city as the buidlings would block most of the blast. Pretty hard to bring in a 1MT bomb.


I don't think the 'bomb in the basement' was under one of the twin towers but under an attached building. In any case, the 93 bomb certainly did not 'weaken' either of the towers.

Hello TODers,

I can understand older, inadequately maintained bridges coming down like I35 in St. Paul, but it boggles my mind reading about the new bridges coming down:

KARACHI, Pakistan - A new overpass bridge collapsed in the southern city of Karachi on Saturday, killing at least four people and crushing vehicles under mounds of debris, officials said.
Recall the recent new bridge collapse in China too. Considering the cost of these structures: Engineering review and construction oversight is mere pennies in relation to the cost of building these bridges twice [once wrong, second time correctly].

Is corruption to skimp on cement and/or steel-rebar so profitable that almost anything new will be severely compromised? This seems to vastly increase cascading blowbacks needlessly. I am not an engineer, but wouldn't the workers and foremen realize they are building deathtraps? Thxs for any replies.

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

Navy invest'd that latest monster wave as 98L.


This one is forming just about where Dean did but with more potential based on my read.

Track models: http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at200798_model.html

I still call it as Gabrielle just a matter of time. We shall see.

As can be seen from this animation the predicted track of Felix has started to drift gradually northwards over the past 48 hours:


Its a long way out but should this trend continue it could pass through the northern half of the Yucatan (losing a fair bit of its strength) before emerging out into the Gulf (but with a far more northerly spin than Dean. That would put US assets in target (if it then picks up strength again).

But then again maybe it will pass between Yucatan and Cuba if this northwards drift becomes a more substantial movement.

Hello Andyh,

Thxs for the looping animation: it clearly does show the gradual swing to the right [more northerly]. NHC update at 3:30 AM AST says the 'cane is now Cat 2:


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

No worries Bob. It has clearly grown MUCH faster than the models predicted. At 11pm they gave it a low probability of reaching a 2 within 12-24 hours (approx 20%)(http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/023537.shtml?table#co...) and yet its already jumped up from 1 to 2. Could mean its a 4 by the time it reaches the Yucatan.

If it does hit the south Yucatan it means the Mexicans will have to evacuate Cantarell again (though the outcome is again likely to be a curtailment of supply rather than destruction a la Deano). However if it moves north and just clips the Yucatan before heading into the Gulf proper its an entirely different kettle of fish.

Its track has ONLY continued to shift southward, just like Dean...

29 august I attended a most inspiring demonstration in Stockholm. Volvo showcased 7 biofuel powered trucks.

The presentation started with the reasons for the effort: Climate change, oil production approaching peak and political uncertainty.

All 7 used the same chassis and 9 litre engine and a part of the development effort were to see if it would be possible to produce them on the same assembly line. Volvo stated that they could have them in series production withing 24 months. Their CEO said that the idea were that they could deliver trucks within the lead time for a major biofuel plant or biofuel program if anyone would start such a program.

The 7 fuel combinations were:
FAME Biodiesel RME type.
Fischer-tropche diesel made from gasified biomass.
DME from gasified biomass.
Methanol from gasified biomass with 5% ignition supplement or Ethanol with 5% ignition supplement.
Compressed biogas with spark ignition
Compressed or liquid Biogas + 10% biodiesel for ignition.
Biogas + 10% hydrogen with spark ignition.

All of them can be combined with a parallell hybrid system to save 20-30% fuel in bus or delivery truck traffic. This were not demonstrated during the event.

A presentation of the fuels can be found on:

Volvos analysis of the 7 alternatives in relevance for the EU market were:

Cliate impact, fossil fuel diesel at 100%

Biodiesel: 54-63%
FT-diesel from gasified biomass: 3-5%
DME from gasified biomass: 3-5%
Methanol from gasified biomass: 8-11%
Ethanol: 25-110% (At worst 10% more then diesel! German brown coal ethanol? )
Compressed biogas: 7-23%
Biogas + 10% biodiesel: 11-23%
Biogas + 10% hydrogen: 8-22%

Energy efficiency well-to-wheel:

Biodiesel: 18-19%
FT-diesel from biomass: 19-21%
DME from gasified biomass: 20-26%
Methanol: 19-25%
Ethanol: 13-18%
Compressed biogas: 18%
Biogas + 10% biodiesel: 21%
Biogas + 10% hydrogen: 19%

Land use efficiency, km / hectar / year

Biodiesel: 2000
FT-diesel from biomass: 5350-6400
DME from gasified biomass: 39200-11000
Methanol: 8700-10500
Ethanol: 700-4350
Compressed biogas: 7900
Biogas + 10% biodiesel: 8800
Biogas + 10% hydrogen: 8400

I would have prefered an energy measurement but it is
anyway usefull for relative comparision. I have read the same kind of analysis for different climate regions within Sweden and the most efficient crop to grow varies but gasification is allways the most efficient process. But I still advocate biogas for its ability to use all kinds of odd byproducts and wastes.

Fuel potential EU 2012 in TWh

Biodiesel: 84
FT-diesel from biomass: 229
DME from gasified biomass: 374
Methanol: 374
Ethanol: 256
Compressed biogas: 414
Biogas + 10% biodiesel: 381
Biogas + 10% hydrogen: 415

350 - 420 TWh is 10-12% of the predicted demand for petrol and diesel in the EU in 2015.

Fuel cost relative to fossil diesel withouth taxation:

Biodiesel: 46-51%
FT-diesel from biomass: 35-128%
DME from gasified biomass: -24% - 68% (Gasified black liquor is cheaper then crude oil. )
Methanol: -27% - 68% (Gasified black liquor is cheaper then crude oil. )
Ethanol: 34-124%
Compressed biogas: 25-58%
Biogas + 10% biodiesel: 55-110%
Biogas + 10% hydrogen: 25-68%

A litre of fuel at $70 per crude barrel is about SEK 4 and with taxes is sold for about SEK 11 or $5.9 per gallon if I got the funny unit right. This means that all of the proposed fuels would me cheaper in Sweden if they did not have to pay fuel tax. The problem is not to find the incentive but to do it withouth hurting the government budget and the financing of road maintainance.

I talked with some of the engineers who vere available for technical questions. The effort had been in Swedish management style. They had taken most of their available engine engineers and new recruits, divided them into teams, given the engineers responsibility for reaching the goal within one year and make the best of it and then let them loose. It had been very fun to get a whole engine to work with instead of shaving a fraction of a percent of the preassure loss in a pipe.

I asked one engineer about the utility of mixing 10% hydrogen into bio-methane and got the answer that it made for a few percent more efficient combustion of the methane and a ruefull admitting that they had not had time to optimize the compression and shape of the combustion volume.
There are obviously things left to do. If I interpreted it right they presented performance figures based on what they already can deliver and not what is possible to do after further refinements.

This effort seems to have been done with Volvo:s own money and that is something I realy like since I work with the political side of environmental efforts. The government budget cant support everything and going thru the bueracracy takes time and I would rather see investments being done now then later.

I am trying to figure out ways to match this private effort and hasten the creation of a diverse biofuel market in Sweden. There are private efforts raising money for biomass gasification for methanol production and suggested efforts that combines biomass gasification with excisting refineries, paper mills and CHP natural gas powerplants. The ethanol initiatives are beeing squezed by the grain price but they still got cheap distilation heat from biomass. Biogas investments seems to be going strong but there are only about 83 biogas stations while E85 have slightly above 1000 pumps, close to 1/3 of all petrol stations in Sweden.

Volvo had one key thing they asked us politicians and political employees. Dont lower the environmental standards for soot and NOx emissions, other fuels can perform as well as diesel with sufficient engine development. Nice to hear since I dont want to hurt the improvements in city air quality.

2MW wind turbine in an area about 300m x 300m.
Generates about 4.5GWh in a year 0.26 CF.
Electric car drives 100km per 50kWh.
Thats 90,000km with no water use, no refining and a massive cost saving.

The ICE is dead electric can aoutperform it in all areas excpet distance, but we shouldnt have to be driving that far!

For when the overwhelming scientific evidence convineces you of global warming but you still believe in creation


I have not checked your figures but even if the bulk of car travel is short distance we need cars and especially trucks and work machines that can be driven for hours and whole workdays.

We need electrified rail and all kinds of electrified transportation including plug-in hybrids and EV:s to allow fossil fuels and biofuels to power essential truck, workmachine and hopefully a reasonable ammount of air travel.

Magnus, thanks for your feedback on Volvo. Please continue to keep us informed of the situation in Sweden!

But the Swedish media only reported that Volvo did this due to global warming. Not a word about oil depletion in the media, no matter what reasons Volvo gave in their presentation. Presentation is available at http://www.volvo.com//vce/vebiz2webauthor/sharepoint/docfetch.aspx?docID...

"Oil production reaching peak" is the second bullet on the first page... I guess all the journalists eyes just glazed over as they heard or read the p-word.

The Swedish media is totally 100% silent about peak oil. The oil commission headed by the last prime minister is only refered to as "the oil commission about global warming", although it was totally dominated by peak oil.

And the new regime only talks about global warming, nothing about peak oil. At least in public and/or according to the media.

Peak oil is a big no-no over here.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Railroad Authority has a plan for how many thousand miles of railroad their going to scrap, and the Swedish Road Authority has a plan for how many thousands of miles of freeways their going to build. Go figure.

Anyway, I don't bother anymore. Having spread the word for 10 years now, I'm fed up with it and being ignored or ridiculed. Now I tend to my farm, sell my firewood and damn any bastards who doesn't want to hear or tell about peak oil. We all go down together, but at least I can gloat. Sorry.

There are references to oil scarcity in Swedish media but the overwhelmig majority of reporting is about global warming and climate change. Personally I dont care much about this since the practical investments are the same exept for CO2 capture. I am happy as long as we keep investing in post peak oil relevant city planning, technology and infrastructure even if it is done for another reason then peak oil.

Most of the road projects proposed are for roads that will be long term usefull and maintainance seems to become prioritzed. I know for sure in about a month. What happens with incrasing rail investments do to a large degree depend on if proposed PPP projects work out. It might be irrelevant to increase the public investments right now since the building sector is overheating and our unions slow down the use of foreign workers. Its possible that more public money wont result in much additional work being accmplished.

You're politically active, so you have better insights into behind the scenes. Yes, on the whole Sweden will fare somewhat well, although how we expect to keep it goes beyond my understanding. We are putting the final nail in the coffin called "defense". As you are well aware, Sweden has given up on almost all national and territorial defense, and could be taken over by a privately funded coup. A russian billionaire could hire enough people and equipment to seize Sweden as his own, our defense is that thin...

We can in theory put up two 800-man battlegroups within 48 hours. That's our entire battlefield capability, and the only units capable of denying an invader lost ground. The "hemvärnet" ("homeguard" - think motorized infantry without heavy equipment and no support) could temporarily hold some ground vs small-scale units, but cannot hold their ground vs armoured forces or units with indirect or aerial support.

Please invade us! And you could get the population on your side by lowering taxes from something around 60% to 50% or so. Or perhaps russian taxes, please...

Sweden has given up on almost all national and territorial defense,

I believe that the Iraqi people have demonstrated that even without a formal armed forces it is possible to make life so miserable for any invader that they will come to regret the decision to occupy. The Taliban appear to be engaged in teaching NATO the same lesson, and Hizbolla gave the IDF a short course on the topic in south Lebanon.

You do, of course, need to have a population willing to die for what they believe in,

Unfortunately I have to agree that the Swedish armed forces are close to pitiful, the quality is exellent but the numbers are not.

The main problem is that a firm majority of Swedes are stuck in neutrality thinking that in reality broke down in the 60:s but stayed politically untouchable. This hurt the change over from defence against a Sovjet invasion to a smaller modern flexible force.

We got an extremely well equiped miniature force that is following nato standard on every level exept membership. And we got a leftover miniature military-industrial-complex that have learnt to deliver cost effective systems.

Hopefulle they will continue to sell Bofors guns, AT4:s, Gripen fighters, precision munitions and CV90:s while we reality adjust our military and our foreign policy.

I would welcome some more spending on our military and especially civil defence to make our society more resilant against extreme weather, terrorism, etc. But the bulk of the investments should be for sustainability, efficiency, lesser CO2 emissions, less oil use and more energy product exports.

USA attacking is not on the radar or the same world map. Why would they attack a friendly trading partner that provide them with speciality goods including military equipment? It would not make any kind of sense.

Rent a old American movie called "Red Dawn".

What happens with increasing rail investments do to a large degree depend on if proposed PPP projects work out

What is PPP ?

And Sweden is still *FAR* behind France in rail transport (although far ahead of the USA). What of the goal of having every Swedish town with 100,000 (or 120,000) with a tram line or three ?

Delaying rail because the construction work is elsewhere ATM does not seem wise.

Best Hopes for Sweden,


Yes, France is way ahead in rail transports.

But most of Europe has very good rail services. And next summer we will take the kids on the InterRail-system as a very environmental friendly (and cheap) vacation across Europe.


Public private partnership. If I have understood it right it started with workarounds to Margaret Thatcher in GB hindering municipialities from lending for investments or having a red figure budget. Either way it lead to numerous creative work arounds where some gave synergy effects when building and running infrastructure were combined or building infrastructure togeather with creating opportunities for bonus business.

At best it is a way to encourage planning for maintainance while building or furthuring growth by attracting customers or bonus business. At worst it is a way to work around a self imposed government credit limit.

One possible example is the planned train station in my home town Linköping wich is planned to have plenty of room for businesses.

The only realy large scale PPP in Sweden are the trains to Arlanda airport. It worked out fairly ok but could have taken a larger bit of the market.

The main idea might be if the partners can find additional infrastructure building capacity. There are lots of people who hope there will be international interest for this since we have the awkward situation of a very large government budget surplus close to 3% of GDP while lots of people are sceptical about lowering(!) taxes and we cant spend on things that overheat the economy.

At least the state debt is going down at a record rate. It is 37% of GDP now and if this extreme economical situation continues it will be 25% in 2010. I suppose that is good but the most important thing might be that our government works with streamlining our governmnet to save costs and make our economy less sensaitive to economical fluctuations since there might be big ones coming.

There are only five Swedish towns with more then 100 000 people.

The number of possible tramlines are larger then 5 or 15 and depend on local geography. But the first priority in rail traffic is to complement the current rail network and do more with it.

My estimation is that it overall is more important to plan for trams and run a generation or two of biofuel busses while building railways and run more freight and commuter rail. Availability of investors will change when to do the changeover

The priority is not to save our large towns or suburbia but to get more distant small towns to connect to growing regional centers before the population moves out to large towns. The preasure on tram investments is due to overloaded bus lines and subways being expensive.

It would have been nice to have more construction workers and less people with only cultural degrees but reeducation takes time. ;-)