DrumBeat: September 6, 2007

Interior rapped for brushing off climate change

Earlier snowmelts, longer summer droughts and bigger Western wildfires on federal lands are being caused more by “climatic conditions than land management techniques,” government investigators conclude.

They fault the Bush administration for not providing managers of national parks, wildlife preserves and marine sanctuaries with better guidance on how to address the effects of global warming.

A report Thursday by the Government Accountability Office found the Interior Department has “not made climate change a high priority,” despite a 2001 order to include climate change in land management planning.

Smart ForTwo among cheapest cars in America

The Smart ForTwo, a wild-looking two-seat economy car produced by DaimlerChrysler, will go on sale in the United States at a starting price just under $12,000.

Russian watchdog warns of bogus oil reserves

Several foreign oil and mining companies operating in Russia have been overstating reserves by as much as 800 percent, the deputy head of Russia's environment watchdog said on Wednesday.

U.S., Western interests at risk of terror attack in Nigeria, U.S. Embassy warns

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - The U.S. Embassy said Thursday that American and other Western installations are at risk of terrorist attack in Nigeria, but an embassy official said no specific threat had prompted the announcement.

Nigeria, which has never suffered an attack by an international terrorist organization, is a top supplier of foreign oil for the United States as it seeks alternative sources of crude amid turmoil in the Middle East.

Days ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the U.S. Embassy said in an e-mail to U.S. citizens here that "the U.S. Mission in Nigeria has received information that U.S. and other Western interests in Nigeria are currently at risk for terrorist attacks."

Cultivating a Crop of Hope

Researchers across the country think that switchgrass could help supplant corn as a source for the fast-growing ethanol industry. In Virginia, some officials are trying to make the state the Iowa of the new cash crop. They're urging farmers to grow it and envision dozens of refineries that will turn the stalks into fuel.

...But such efforts have hit a snag: Scientists haven't perfected the process that turns switchgrass into ethanol. So for today, the Crop That Could Change Virginia is just hay with better publicity.

NSIDC: Overview of current sea ice conditions

Sea ice extent continues to decline, and is now at 4.42 million square kilometers (1.70 million square miles), falling yet further below the record absolute minimum of 5.32 million square kilometers (2.05 million square miles) that occurred on September 20–21, 2005.

Wine: A barometer of global warming

On a cobweb-encrusted rafter above his giant steel grape pressers, Rene Mure is charting one of the world's most-tangible barometers of global warming.

The evidence, scrawled in black ink, is the first day of the annual grape harvest for the past three decades. In 1978, it was Oct. 16. In 1998, the date was Sept. 14. This year, harvesting started Aug. 24 - the earliest ever recorded, not only in Mure's vineyards but in the entire Alsace wine district of northeastern France.

Big Oil in Iraq: "World Class Racketeering"

Those who want to hold Iraqis "accountable" with a series of benchmarks that are important to Washington fail to understand what those benchmarks are about to begin with.

Book Review: The Politics Of Caspian Oil

Its potential as a source of oil and gas for world energy markets increased international political and academic attention on the Caspian-Caucasus region. It is estimated that the Caspian oil will become the second most important source of oil for the world’s industrialised centres in the 21st century.

ConocoPhillips: Venezuela Agrees to Pay 'Market Value' for Orinoco

ConocoPhillips (COP) said Wednesday Venezuela had agreed to pay "fair market value" compensation for a crude-oil project it abandoned earlier this year.

"Both parties agreed that ConocoPhillips is entitled to fair market value of those assets," said John Lowe, ConocoPhillips' executive vice president for exploration and production. "We have not agreed on what that fair market value is at this point. If we cannot reach agreement through negotiation, then our only course is going to international arbitration."

Venezuela to Keep Up Demands on Oil Rig Companies

Venezuela has no plans to relax its demands on oil service companies seeking business in Venezuela, even if the country faces a severe oil rig shortage, a PdVSA board member said Tuesday.

Turkmenistan: "The Most Important Part" in the Energy Great Game

Just next to the western coastal city of Turkmenbashi, the Turkmenbashi State Oil Refinery is a massive, sprawling complex said to be larger than the city itself. It’s surrounded by three-meter-high walls topped with barbed wire; every 100 meters or so, stands a guard tower to detect potential intruders. It looks more like a military base than a production facility, and it goes without saying that it’s strictly forbidden to take photos.

Rising oil prices did not affect global economic growth, says UNCTAD

A new report says that oil prices on the increase have not affected negatively global economic growth, on the contrary.

Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD, Heiner Flassbeck told the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), that the interesting thing is that high oil prices led to a commodity price boom with revenues that are flowing back into the world economy, the developing and the developed economies alike. He added that this is not like the situation in the 70s, this time it is recycled directly to the goods market all over the world, and this is positive for the developing world and for the global economy instead of having a new shock, because all the negative second ground effects did not appear this time.

Scotland must plan for renewable energy

IF SCOTLAND is to become a net exporter of energy rather than importer of its future energy needs, then urgent action is required to speed up planning decisions, enlarge the power grid and create partnerships within the industry to encourage the growth of the renewables sector.

Biotech Will Help China Reclaim Land, Grow Food

Diversion of food crops to biofuels has finally caught the attention of policy makers in China.

Even as the country seeks to use 10 million tons of bio- ethanol and 2 million tons of bio-diesel annually by 2020 to cut its reliance on petroleum, planners are also aware that they have 1.3 billion mouths to feed.

Big Oil Firms Talk Up Carbon Capture, But Do Little

Major international oil companies say carbon capture and storage is a way to curb carbon dioxide emissions while continuing to burn fossil fuels, but their critics say few are actually investing.

Nature, terror and oil top US fear list

Natural disasters, international terrorist attacks and a steep rise in oil prices top the list of the biggest near-term risks that concern US business executives, according to a study by Marsh, the insurance broker, that will be released on Thursday,

...Harvey Pitt, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a council member of Marsh's newly created Center for Risk Insights, which conducted the survey, called the findings "distressing".

"You get a clear sense from people that there are real problems lurking, and yet the hope for CEOs is 'not on my watch'," he said. "The CEO may be hopeful that he or she can escape [dealing with the issue] but the board of directors, whose intent is to have a lengthy watch, will not be as fortunate."

Rig Shortage to Persist For Now, Underpinning Oil, Gas Prices

A shortage of deepwater drilling rigs is likely to persist for several years more, hampering oil companies' efforts to find new oil and gas reserves and underpinning prices.

High oil and gas prices and strong demand in recent years have pushed energy companies into exploring for and bringing into production oil and gas reserves that previously were considered too small or uneconomic, or too difficult to extract.

Many of these deposits are in deep offshore waters, and as a consequence demand for specialist rigs that can operate in waters as deep as 4,000 meters has spiraled.

What Is John Dingell Really Up To?

It’s fair to say that during Mr. Dingell’s 52 years in the House of Representatives, he has often been the congressman representing the American automobile industry. He helped win a bailout for Chrysler in 1979, and he has fought nearly every regulation you can imagine, be it on air bags, tailpipe emissions or gas mileage. Back in the 1980s, when a senator from Nevada tried to raise fuel economy standards, Mr. Dingell responded by introducing a bill to create a giant new nuclear waste dump in Nevada.

Lately, however, he has been singing a different tune. After years of skepticism, he’s started talking about the fact that the planet is getting hotter. Most remarkably, Mr. Dingell — a Democrat and the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee — is promising to introduce a bill in coming weeks that would create a carbon tax.

Alaska Governor Wants Oil Production Tax Restructured

Gov. Sarah Palin said she wants lawmakers to restructure the state's year-old oil production tax, which she has called a failure and tainted by the federal corruption charges against former lawmakers in connection with the tax.

Indonesian Clerics Say Nuclear Plant Forbidden

A group of Indonesian Muslim clerics have declared that a nuclear power plant due to be built in Central Java is religiously forbidden because its danger outweighs potential benefits, a scholar said on Monday.

Days of cheap food are over, say suppliers as ingredient costs soar

Superstore groups prepare to stomach higher prices because of far east demand and biofuel incentives.

Finding Hope In Permaculture

Permaculture is a design system for sustainable living in which the designer takes a 360-degree view of all natural systems in the desired setting and creates a self-sustaining, nourishing and productive environment. Permaculture views the problem as the solution. You can't have a solution if you don't have a problem. So what's the problem? Well Carolyn enumerates it clearly. Our warped sense of hope stems from our "perception of ourselves as consumers who are entitled to be comfortable and stress-free with access to the latest technological toys which make our lives fun, exciting and painless." That kind of hope has lulled us to sleep, a "Night of the Living Dead" sleep in which we are blinded by empire, obedient to government and "trust in economic, social, and political systems."

Iran: Foreign Vessel Confiscated in Persian Gulf Waters

A foreign vessel smuggling 300 thousand liters of fuel was stopped and confiscated by Iranian law enforcement police in the country's southern port city of Minab.

Zimbabwe: People scavenge while fatcats get fatter

Desperate citizens here have become dark-of-night scavengers of coffins, copper electrical cable and even aluminium street signs, now in such shortage that finding an address is a trial.

Zimbabwe's nights are dark indeed: here in Harare, downtown street lights are turned off for hours on end for lack of foreign currency to pay South African and Zambian power suppliers.

Block Traders Back Up The (Fuel) Truck

Crude oil prices have now dropped in the front month from a high above $78 a barrel to just under $70. We don't hear much talk now about $35 to $40 oil in the future. Most politicians and economists have had their staffs and friends get them educated to reality.

The reality is that every month in 2008 sees enough likelihood of prices at $80 and above to cause a brisk business in insurance at those levels. In short, the crude oil price picture is one of stability to strength from high levels. As with any natural resource, it's always safer to bet on shortage than oversupply.

Hawai`i: Gas report has ‘very little value’

Gasoline pricing reports prepared from data submitted by the state's oil industry were made public yesterday for the first time.

The report was assailed almost immediately by one critic, who called the information "of very little value" to consumers and lawmakers trying to find out what goes into Hawaii's fuel costs, which typically rank among the highest in the country.

Maine: Oil dealers criticize discount rates

The Maine Oil Dealers Association and the Maine State Housing Authority are battling over an increase in the discounted rates the state requires oil dealers to provide when they participate in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Dear sheep: The story about gas prices

Meanwhile, the oil companies (which are the exact same companies in the U.S. and Canada) reap maximum profits. Another example: gas in Rouses Point, NY is always 10c more per gallon than gas in Alburgh, Vt. which is exactly three minutes away. For a while, gas was 15c more per gallon. That's when EVERYONE in Rouses Point started driving that extra three minutes to Alburgh to get the cheaper gas. The price difference quickly dropped to around 10c again, and the exodus ended. The oil companies successfully herded their sheep back to their home. And that's really what we are to them, sheep that need to be herded into the right places and habits so they can continue to gouge us and rob us of our hard-earned money.

Auto sales skidding for county's dealers

Hit by high gas prices, tightening credit and stiff foreign competition, auto sales in San Diego County have dropped nearly 12 percent over the past two years, according to data released last week by the New Car Dealers Association of San Diego County.

Rep. Zack Space, D-Ohio: Congress should respond to gas costs, 'foreclosure tax'

I also don't have to tell you what gasoline prices have done to our families' budgets. Earlier this summer, prices climbed to $3.25 per gallon and higher. For most of us who live in rural areas, we have no choice but to pay those prices if we want to continue to get to work and pick up our kids from school.

That is why I announced my plan to introduce the Rural Commuters Tax Relief Act of 2007. This legislation could not be simpler: If your household makes less than the national median income, you drive more than 30 miles to work and you work at least four days per week, then you receive a $100 tax credit for each month that the average price of gas is more than $3 per gallon.

Canada: Drop speeds to 100 km/h

IF MOTORISTS were serious about conserving gas, they’d ease up on the gas pedal. If the province were equally serious about conservation, it would crack down on drivers who don’t.

Nigeria: Energy crisis reduces Dunlop’s production capacity by 20%

The lingering epileptic energy supplies in the country has had a toll on Dunlop Nigeria Plc reducing its production and sales capacity by 20 per cent in the first half of 2007.

Chairman of the tyre manufacturing company, Mr. Jabez Lawuyi, who stated this at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos on Tuesday, explained that the management of the firm had to switch to natural gas in the last five years, as an alternative, to power its facilities due to the poor electricity supply. But he regretted that even the switch to natural gas did not prove a better alternative as supplies were to be disrupted due to the crisis in the Niger Delta.

PetroChina to Buy Up to A$60 Billion of Australia LNG

PetroChina Co. agreed to buy as much as A$60 billion ($49 billion) of Australian liquefied natural gas in two accords signed this week, as China's demand for the fuel forces it to accept prices that have tripled in five years.

Kerosene subsidies and price controls ‘weigh on LPG lustre’

As economic growth, high demand, and increasing wealth fuel domestic use of liquefied petroleum gas in China and India, kerosene subsidies in the Asian region make LPG uncompetitive, an energy expert has said.

Jason Feer, vice-president and general manager (Argus Media) said though LPG demand was rising in many regions of the world, subsidies continued to distort markets.

Exxon, Sinopec, Aramco complete $4 bln financing for China JV

A refining and petrochemical joint venture between Exxon Mobil Corp., Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec, said Thursday it has raised around CNY30 billion ($4 billion) in funding.

Biodiesel Industry Takes Off in Argentina

Argentina’s oil crushing industry is the most efficient in the world. It has a crushing capacity of 160,000 metric tons per day and exports over 90 percent of its production. Thanks to that, the country’s biodiesel industry is beginning to take off.

Jeremy Leggett: Kings of the coal habit

THROUGH his long years of greenhouse denial, George Bush must have been particularly grateful to John Howard. The Australian prime minister was quick to join Bush in refusing to ratify the Kyoto protocol, and has batted for his country's coal interests as trenchantly as Bush has batted for US coal and oil interests.

Now Bush has had to deal with the impact on American public opinion of Hurricane Katrina and Al Gore's movie, and can no longer afford to ignore climate change. Howard, contending with a killer drought, is similarly finding that greenhouse denial is out of bounds. The flow of Australian rivers has fallen by a staggering 70 per cent in recent decades. All Australia's major cities are in drought. The "big dry" in the Murray-Darling basin threatens 40 per cent of food production. Global warming has become an issue in the January elections.

Peak Oil Crisis: Minimum Operating Levels Redux

Gasoline prices are temporarily lost in the angst of the credit crisis. But this too will end. Sometime in the next few months, some event is likely to set off a spike in gasoline prices. Be it a hurricane, terrorist attack, adverse geopolitical crisis or some credit crisis development, the realization will dawn that we are extremely short of gasoline and have little hope of remedying the situation over the short term. Then the troubles will begin.

Don’t overlook the possibility that someday soon there will be a run on the gas stations. A tank of gas is so important in America today that at the first reports of an impending gasoline shortage many of us will rush to fill our tanks. If we all did this at once, the national reserve would be drained by something on the order of 50 million barrels. A lot of us are sure to be disappointed because there simply is not enough gasoline in the system for this to happen.

Don't blow it APEC, habitable planets are hard to find

As APEC meets, the good ship “humanity” is steaming into the teeth of a hurricane with our leaders asleep at the wheel, as the great global issues of climate change and the peaking of oil supply converge.

We must apply the brakes on unrestrained growth

Perpetual growth is clearly unsustainable, but so far no one is prepared to float the idea of a no-growth economy. Are we one human race? Or are we greedy nations doomed to fight for the survival of our own standard of living at the expense of billions of the less fortunate in the developing world?

Villagers urged to use less fossil fuels

RESIDENTS in Wrington are being urged to become more self-sufficient rather than relying on fossil fuels.

Three events have been held in the village to educate people on the possibility of the world's oil resources depleting and the difficulties that could result.

For heat's victims, a quiet death

"A lot of these people, the elderly especially. . . they've lived here all their lives and they don't think the heat's going to bother them," Imperial County Deputy Coroner Henry Proo said.

"When your electricity costs as much as your food does, and that's the only amount of money you have coming in, a lot of people around here choose to eat rather than to stay cool," he said.

UK: Urban Green Fair 9th September

The Urban Green Fair aims to highlight the imminent arrival of peak oil and the opinion of many climatologists that we have 8-10 years to drop our CO2 emissions by 60% or go over the 2oC tipping point, which in turn will lead to runaway temperature increases of 3,4,5oC and risk the collapse of our the neo-liberal economic model.

Place Matters

Where you live says a lot about how you'll live. That's why more and more young people are settling in or near downtowns like Ann Arbor's – choosing their lifestyle first, then finding a job that will support it.

Oil price above 76 dollars in New York

The price of New York oil jumped above 76 dollars a barrel on Thursday, with some analysts warning that prices could be heading to new highs.

..."I think oil prices are going to retest recent record highs," Bank of Ireland analyst Paul Harris said Thursday.

..."You've got (US) stock figures out this afternoon which are going to show stocks fell further and reports from independent weather forecasters that they think the hurricane season will intensify," added Harris.

OPEC president says no shortage of oil

The oil market is well balanced and there is no shortage of crude, OPEC's president said on Thursday, ahead of a meeting of the producer group next week that is expected to maintain supply curbs.

Kuwaiti heavy oil sales suspended

Kuwait's heavy oil sales had been stopped for three months now due to the laxity of KOC's marketing officials. Informed sources noted that over two million barrels of heavy crude oil had been loaded into vessels and tankers, which in turn, had been docked in Kuwaiti ports waiting to be sold.

The sources added that Kuwait had no proper ports to export this kind of oil due to its hazardous nature. "The only way to export it was through Saudi Arabia by CHEVRON Co.," explained the sources noting that the latter had unexpectedly canceled its contract one year earlier than its expiry date.

Germany set to buy more coal from South Africa

Germany's plans to phase out nuclear power plants and shut coal mines will increase its dependence on coal from South Africa, the head of a coal trading firm said on Wednesday.

In France, energy control becomes patriotic

The battlefield is almost ready for the French President's first collision with Brussels, and Nicolas Sarkozy has prepared his artillery to deliver the first barrage. The weaponry is impressive: a €90-billion ($129-billion) cannon made of the merger of two massive utilities, Gaz de France and Suez. Alongside it, an older but even more impressive gun, Électricité de France, and still in the development stage is Areva, the nuclear power engineering firm.

In the name of Oil

From the myriad of evils that the Middle East has come to know, no other entity has ever been such a vice, such a tool for the disenfranchisement and vitiation of such an eclectic group of peoples as the curse that is oil.

Orangutans squeezed by biofuel boom

Naingolan shunts the excavator into high gear and tears into a patch of smoldering forest on Borneo island, clearing the way for yet another palm oil plantation that Indonesia hopes will tap into a surge in global demand for biofuels.

Despite government claims pristine jungles are escaping the effects of the “green solution” to the energy crunch, the boom is threatening the survival of animals like the endangered orangutan and turning the country into a major global warming contributor, environmentalists say.

'Miserable' without electricity

Things looked dark Tuesday for Raymond Fitzgerald. And he was powerless to do anything about it.

"I've called the Department of Water and Power and they say they're doing everything they can. But you'd think after three days they'd have the electricity fixed," said the Los Angeles resident as he checked the ice level in the picnic coolers on his backyard patio.

Carmakers switching to electric motors

Beneath your car's hood, there are belts hooked to the engine, running the power steering, air conditioning and other items that drag on the engine and cut gas mileage. But as fuel efficiency becomes paramount with high gas prices and pending government regulations, automakers across the world are trying to get rid of as many belts as they can, switching them to electric motors.

Protests as BBC scraps planned green day

Peter Barron, editor of the corporation's flagship news television programme "Newsnight", said last week it was "not the corporation's job to save the planet" and called for "Planet Relief" to be scrapped.

APEC rift opens over climate change debate

Leaders at an Asia-Pacific summit appeared deadlocked on Thursday over what their "Sydney Declaration" on climate change and cutting greenhouse gas emissions should say.

China's President Hu Jintao gave only qualified support to Australia's initiative on climate change, while some developing nations criticized Australian and U.S. moves to put climate change at the top of the agenda of the APEC gathering in Sydney.

Global warming may pose threat to heart

Global warming may be melting glaciers and forcing polar bears onto land, but doctors warn it could also affect your heart.

"If it really is a few degrees warmer in the next 50 years, we could definitely have more cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Karin Schenck-Gustafsson, of the department of cardiology at Sweden's Karolinska Institute.

The OPEC President claims that there's no shortage of oil, yet, the price keeps going up and we see reports of shortages from around the world. I think perhaps he means that there's no shortages of dollars in the OPEC nations' bank accounts.
Or, is the market figuring on Bush invading Iran sometime soon, thus adding a "risk" premium??

E. Swanson

"Of course there's no shortage. We have 80mbd! It will just get a *little* more expensive, oki? Not a big problem is it? Oh you think so, well that's subjective, no? No, you say? Well, not my problem"

Mind of OPEC president

There is no shortage of supply, only an excess of demand. It is all a matter of perspective and semantics, see?


OPEC president is absolutely right. There is no shortage of oil. As an analogy there is also no shortage of say private islands for sale. A lot of people would like to buy their own island, but price does not let us. Same with oil (but to a far lesser extend for now). Oil demand is still fairly elastic (we can choose to use way less oil if we stop taking vacations, driving alone, and so on). Higher price kills some of the demand so demand and supply is always (at least for now) is in balance.
The issue is not a shortage, but a high price. OPEC conveniently uses notion of shortage knowing full well that shortage can not exist for now in the capitalist economies. It is the price that defines the relationship between supply and demand not shortages.

OPEC president is right that there are no shortages in the developed world. He omits the third world, but this is so common that is left unnoticed - nobody cares about them anyway.

Many poor countries are being priced out of the market. They are necessary subsidizing internal consumption (to avoid unrest) so their internal prices do not reflect true supply/demand ratio and the shortages are there. When asked about this, the western hypocrite advice is "release the prices"... so that only the rich folks in the corresponding countries be able to afford fuel.

I expect that PO will look like falling off the cliff... the 3rd world countries will be falling off one by one in the order of wealth. After some time the rich guys will come up with alternatives... but what will likely happen is that there will be decades in which Americans will be driving their plug-in hybrids and at the same time Nigerians will pay half a wage for home heating fuel. PO will only increase suffering and inequality, actually it already does.

I'm interested to hear the TOD take on the ongoing Iran war fever - anyone? I mean, they peaked years ago, no?

I doubt there is a TOD take on the Iran war fever -- just individual opinions. Mine is that the fever is being whipped up right now by the neocons with little resistance from the Dems. The only thing holding them back seems to be foot dragging by some in the military who don't seem able to get their arms completely around the notion of the empire creating its own reality. We are descending into hell. We ought to be kicking and screaming.

My take on going to war with Iran is incredulousness. But then, that was my take on going to war with Iraq. I guess the difference is that I'm currently somewhat optimistic that the American people, the press, and the politicians have learned something from Iraq. So I don't think there's much of a stomach for it. It remains to be seen if Shrub will act on his own in defiance of all of the above and the world at large, but I would rather not believe that he will. And in any event, there's nothing I can do about it if he does.


I'm sure there is no general TOD position on Iran war fever. Some of the posters believe a U.S. attack on Iran is imminent, and some have believed this for more than a year. I believe it is not going to happen.

According to the current administration off-the-record speak, the current spin is that we are just going to bomb them back to the stone age, but that is NOT going to war with them, as we have no plans to send ground troops. I love the way this administration can redefine everything to demonstrate ANY position they currently hold. I'm sure when the bombs start falling, Iran will consider the US to be at war with them.

Don't know - every day it does not happen is every day I think its a bad mem- not to say it will not happen but thinking about what happens afterwards seems to be what drives the "War with Iran" is going to happen this Friday.

We need more hardcore proof that the trigger is going to be pulled. Unfortunately the internet is the perfect place to create self re enforcing "truth"

It's only indirectly about oil, it's about Iran's potential to become the regional power. Iran isn't in the West's pocket, Turkey is quietly slipping out of the West's grasp and Israel is looking rather weak which is causing blood pressure to skyrocket in Washington. So it's up to the US to de-fang Iran and stop it from becoming the regional power. Which is giving the Administration stress related ulcers as it wrings its hands about the only choice they have left, the use of military force because Iran keeps giving them the finger. Such disrespect of the US empire cannot be left unchecked or else everyone is going to be telling the US where to stuff it.

Of course, if the basement crazies decide to attack, then it isn't a matter of just taking down Iran's nuclear sites, they have to disable Iran completely. In other words they have to degrade their entire infrastructure to both disable their ambitions and turn the population against the leadership.

Such action taken against a sovereign state without any justification would be a potential tipping point to overt action against the US and its allies, not only by Iran, but also by other opposing powers. So it all boils down to whether or not the administration have managed to convince themselves that they can contain any reaction if they do something really very stupid (ie. do they feel lucky).

Now, where does Sarkozy, France and justification fit in?

We are living interesting times...


That is quite curious. Any word yet on how the meeting went?

Minimum Operating Levels - are they relevant at all?

I’m just trying to grasp why this MOL, is subject for discussion here at TOD and in MSM elsewhere, is this a complete irrelevant and hot-air subject?

I mean the operators, government, EIA know that those pipelines have to be 100% full to operate and deliver – THIS FLUID CONTENT IS SIMPLY PART OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE … until the last days of oil (!)

What IS important is :
How much of the stuff (inventories) is inside the oil-storage-tanks at both ends of all those MOL-infrastructure and underway from faraway places in Oil-tanker ships.

This last information is possible to plan for/with.

The only planning in regards to MOL , IS NOT TO REACH IT, thats it...

My understanding is that the problem occurs when MOL is not deducted from quoted inventory figures. Sort of like weighing a shipment of something and not deducting the tare weight.

WNC Observer- for some reason ... I didnt answer you before (sorry)

BUT I completely agree with you and your picture is a very good one as well ...thx. Yjere is "simply" nothing more to the issue of MOL - period - at least not before the last days of the same...

MOL is very important to track. It signals how much in the verge USA actually is...

MOL, isn't that a more or less fixed number - and for ease the volume inside the pipes between terminals ?

What is there to keep track of?

What is there to keep track of?

Days of supply in excess of MOL, or in the present situation, hours of supply in excess of MOL.

C'mon WT, this is from my entry few skips up,,,

What IS important is :
How much of the stuff (inventories) is inside the oil-storage-tanks at both ends of all those MOL-infrastructure and underway from faraway places in Oil-tanker ships.

This last information is possible to plan for/with.

The only planning in regards to MOL , IS NOT TO REACH IT, thats it...

did you read that ?

luisdias claims ... that

MOL is very important to track

And I ask him why ?

further I claim that MOL is a known, fixed and completely irrelevant number .... as in MOLfixed = ZERO level , for all practical uses

I posted a note in regard to different types of inventories down the thread.

Basically, I think that we are far more likely to see critically low product inventories than critically low crude inventories. Refiners have to have a certain level of crude oil, especially the right type of crude oil, on hand. If they can't afford to bid the price up enough to keep their inventories up, their only recourse is to reduce crude oil input, and thus product output.

WT, I read your entry below, and it’s not even close to answer my initial request.

To cut a long story short –

MOL is to gasoline-transport, as toilet-paper is to a toilet visit –it just has to be there

– beyond that there is nothing to keep track of

What is important is Days of Supply in excess of MOL.

If gasoline inventories keep dropping, we will see, in the absence of a rationing program: (1) Higher income consumers outbidding lower income consumers and/or (2) Spot shortages of gasoline, i.e., empty gasoline stations.

Matt Simmons had an interesting point. With so many self-service gasoline stations, how do you enforce a rationing program?

The credit card companies are already halfway there.

It doesn't prevent one from going into the store and paying cash for it. Even if they could get a minimum wage clerk to enforce anything there would be no way to stop someone from going to the next station and buy more.

Only way they could enforce rationing with CC's is to ban cash sales outright and then you would have a sector of the population whining discrimination.

They could issue ration cards. Maybe they'll be combined with our national ID cards...

Sure they can, just like they can issue the ID cards they have been choking their chicken over for years.

If they have to put something in place quick maybe they can control it through CC's as it would mostly be a software change that can be instituted unilaterally and overnight. Anything that includes hardware like putting the card in people's hands and the public doing something will get bottled up in bureaucracy and resistance.

The most likely scenario is just to let price do the allocation, why create a black market and end up with the same thing? The black market pays no sales tax.

The most likely scenario is just to let price do the allocation, why create a black market and end up with the same thing?

Because people will be demanding that they Do Something.

Exactly. Why do we have marginal tax rates? Because there are a lot fewer rich people and it's politically expedient to implement them.


But, using the price mechanism is not the same as a direct rationing program. The big difference is that increasing prices, for example, by adding a large tax, would cause lots of inflation. Over time, most people would pass the buck and their incomes would likely increase. Thus, the effectiveness of higher prices would be slowly eroded. Some segments of society, primarily those on fixed incomes or who could not bargin for higher wages would lose out. Worse still, to remain effective, the tax would need to increase as the inflation reduced the impact of the prices. Sort of like the dog chasing it's tail, I would say. Direct rationing would not necessarily produce inflation and everybody would have an equal shot at the available resource.

E. Swanson

No doubt, but you can see the problems with implementation.

It didn't stop them from rationing during the last energy crisis.

In any case, how well it works doesn't matter. They just want to be seen Doing Something About It.

That part I buy. Image over substance.

Actually, a standby gasoline rationing plan has been ready and waiting since 1980:


Read it sometime. It promises to be the most convoluted bureaucratic mess. I can't imagine TPTB implementing this just because a few gas stations run out for a day or two. Taking Iran's production entirely off-line might trigger it, though.

It says right from the get go that it will take several months to implement. It makes my point that they will never be able to put a system of this type into place quick enough to prevent total stand still.

I can live with a system like this personally, probably profit from it, but I can't see it working.

In favor of the arguments against mine is that it not working and creating all sorts of unforeseen problems would be par for the government.

hehehe WT, this is going in circles –

WE obviously agree on the paramount important issue, as you state “What is important is Days of Supply in excess of MOL.” That one is a no-brainer (!) ;-)

But you see my entry question up thread was:

“Minimum Operating Levels - are they relevant at all?”

I say :
NO, not relevant because they are mandatory for the transfer to occur – if the pipes are part of the transport.

WHAT DO YOU SAY WT, ARE MOL relevant in statistics or for any practical measures whatsoever, beyond what I already have said several times ?

If the MOL is a static number, it is irrelevant (except insofar as it is used to deduct from Days of Supply).

If the MOL is not a static number, then it is relevant, since changes in the MOL number effect Days of Supply.

My understanding is that MOL is not a static number (see Leanan's post below: "There's a lot of uncertainty, both in MOL and in inventories.")

So, the MOL number is important since one needs to know the current MOL number to determine Days of Supply (or, the new Hours of Supply...Minutes of Supply...Seconds of Supply).

Yes, Paal, they are relevant to track for the reason of the example you gave upthread, regarding toilet paper.

Yes, the toilet paper simply has to be there. But every time you use it, you check the level and see when you're about to run out, so you can get more.

We are in the unique situation of being able to see when we are about to run out, yet we have no idea how to go about getting more.

Days In Excess of MOL is important to track, but we are not tracking the MOL for the purpose of tracking the MOL. We are tracking it so that we can metaphorically estimate when a shit-storm might begin ... so that we can go get more toilet paper.

710, sorry disagree

Are you (and others) able to see the MOI as a continuous stream of individual barrels (parallel to individual paper-rolls, and just has to be there) ?

Put one in =>> get one out - whats inbe-fU***-tween is held up for a moment, not available today - it will come tomorrow, but than ONLY if we add one more at the other end ....

-the stuff inside the pipe (MOI) is not available before coming out in the shape of a “new available” barrel at the other end (not part of MOI anymore), BUT to get it out you have to “put another barrel in” at the feeding side (just becoming part of MOI)... MOI is static-dynamic, just to add to your confusion...

(jezz, is that so difficult to grasp?, I'm planning for an IQ test in here :-))

and again his OFF TOPIC comment …… Zzzzzzzzzzzzz...snor

Days In Excess of MOL is important to track…. Bla bla

– NOT the MOL

I'm NOT questioning whether the excess oil atop of MOL is important – how stupid do some people actually think I am ? – Generally read the full thread before commenting, or you may look ….(fill in the blanks yorself)

One more time - just for you 710 :
AFAIK MOI IS A FIXED AND IN PRINCIPAL A FIRMLY KNOWN NUMBER, and thus nothing to keep track of. When a new pipe branch is added the new MOI is instantly known …just like that. AND I’m not playing around with variations in MOI due to maintenance - b'cus that’s a complete different matter.

I'm not aware of anyone who thinks or is calling you stupid. Not to your face, anyway.

And I'm no longer even sure what we're arguing about. That MOL is useless to track? That amounts in excess of MOL are useless to track? That individual statistics do not capture the dynamics of the system as a whole? That this thread has been derailed?

Hmm, so far it seems to me that PM has a legitimate point: MOL is zero for all practical purposes. If WT is saying the sole issue is that Days of Supply is being widely reported as including MOL rather than above MOL, then that's a fair point. Beyond that, I don't get it.

If gasoline inventories keep dropping, we will see, in the absence of a rationing program: (1) Higher income consumers outbidding lower income consumers and/or (2) Spot shortages of gasoline, i.e., empty gasoline stations.

Exactly, but first, what we are already seeing, is companies like BP cutting out the independents and those at the end of the supply chain.(i.e. North Dakota). What supply there is will be sent to where it is cheapest to send it. Second, it will go to where they can get the best price for it.(i.e. gas stations in wealthier areas and business districts). If you are in the boonies where the average annual income is under $20,000, think Zimbabwe.

I disagree.

To use your toilet paper analogy there are always partial rolls on the dispensers for people to use. But more importantly there are closets with new toilet paper rolls ready to replace a completely used one.

There used to be 4-5 rolls in every closet waiting to replace empty dispensers. Then there was only 1-2 because we were replacing empty dispensers faster than we were restocking the closets. Our inventory was drawn down.

By counting the number of dispensers you can determine the minimum operating level. It is one roll (or at least partial role) for each dispenser.

Today many closets are empty with others having only 1-2 new rolls. So almost the entire inventory of toilet paper is partial rolls on dispensers. If a dispenser is empty AND the nearest closet is also empty then there will be a problem. Doing a quick reallocation between all closets to make sure every closet has at least one new roll will buy time but with out building closet inventory it is certain there will be empty dispensers soon.

To add a little reality assume that there is a pretty good estimate of the toilet paper use for each dispenser. Some are located near high traffic area and get used up faster. Others are out of the way and don't need to be replaced as often. But on one day, for some reason like a party, more people need to use the out of the way toilet and use is twice expected rate - and there is no new roll in the closet.

NC my toilet is working perfect at MOL - and analogies are not your strong side

IF we reach the MOL, then we will need a LOT of toilet paper.

... and a LOT of fans!

Actually, the toilet paper analogy is very apropos: the MOL is like the roll itself (uselss in and of itself) and days supply over MOL is like the toilet paper. If you look in a stall and see white on the roll, you think you have plenty to use; then you commit yourself and find out there are only about 3 single ply squares left on the roll. That's a problem.

PM's point and WT's seems to be the same: what we should be looking at is days supply over MOL. Including MOL in the inventory number is misleading. There are very different visceral responses to 'we have 191 million barrels of product' and 'we have 6 million barrels of usable product'. The second statement might make us want to do something different.

Vtfarmer – bulls eye !

My toilet-paper analogy was not philosophically founded in any particular direction, as some seems to believe … it was merely added to underscore that “some minor stuff” has to be around – for “the real and wanted thing” to happen …

Now, my quest for this entire MOL dispute- is exactly what you point out … NAMELY wouldn’t it be SMART (of gov, EIA,..) to state the excess MOL number as inventories …? Because that’s the real thing short-term, no?

BIG Q : how would the Wall street and governmental institutions reacted upon this information … I cant stop to wonder..

Toilet-paper is a concept that is unknown to 80% of humanity.

Even the French!

This just in:

Fed's Lockhart: No sign housing woes hitting broad economy
By Greg Robb, MarketWatch
Last Update: 12:50 PM ET Sep 6, 2007
PrintPrint EmailE-mail Subscribe to RSSSubscribe to RSS DisableDisable Live Quotes
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- There are no signs of spillover from the housing and mortgage market woes into other sectors of the economy like consumer spending, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart said Thursday.
Lockhart said his comment relied on real-time information from business contacts around the South because much of the new government indicators are "backward looking."


--further evidence that govt. stats ,reports etc are seen as another tool for massaging the economy. That is such complete and utter BS.


If they admit there is a big problem, they will have to cut the fed rate. They can't cut the fed rate, so they have to pretend the economy is doing ok.

Yes, if they cut rates "others" will not buy our debt.
Big time catch 22, screwed either way. Gold stocks moving up.

Re: Peak Oil Crisis: Minimum Operating Levels Redux

We've seen several discussions on TOD regarding MOL for the petroleum industry. I wonder whether the amount of oil or product in transit within pipelines is actually included in the inventory reports from EIA.

For example, I recall hearing that the various long distance pipelines are used to transport different products. To separate each product, a slug of water is added between each batch. It would seem to be easy to reduce the product volume in the pipelines by increasing the fraction of water in the pipes. Of course, the resulting flow of product delivered would be less as well, but this solution would likely be first seen due to some emergency and serve as a temporary limit in final supply until the storage level had risen above MOL. Then again, after Peak Oil, the limit in supply wouldn't be temporary, would it?

Is this correct, or is my memory wrong (as usual)?

E. Swanson

hello Black Dog

Your initial wondering is identical to my own …. Is the transit products included in the REAL (as in universally correct) numbers from EIA …. Or ?

There are claims out, presumably backed by the EIAs recent inventory reports – claiming that the US of A has only 24 hrs of continuous overhead of gasoline- surplus at any given time “nowadays” …

I find this so little plausible for so many reasons; I’ve quit counting (!)


I spent a few years engineering pipelines out of Ponca City.

Can't tell you if product-in-transit is included in the inventory reports.

But batching on product lines does not involve water. Pipeline operators do everything possible to avoid / eliminate water in the pipes. Internal corrosion is a Really Bad Thing (RBT). Products are batched one after another, with an interface maintained simply by the turbulence induced by the movement of the fluid through pipe. A zone of "transmix" is inevitably created as the interface smears out. Longer distances and lower turbulence levels (Reynolds number) tend to increase the amount of transmix.

A common cycle would be diesel -> kerosene -> regular gasoline -> premium gasoline -> butane -> propane and then back down the hydrocarbon spectrum. A terminal operator staffs a small lab at the terminal when a batch is scheduled to arrive and performs a variety of tests for density, flash point, color, etc. to detect when the interface arrives. Assuming diesel is arriving being followed by kerosene, the pipeline is directed into the diesel tank. When the fluid is too kerosene-y to go into the diesel tank, the pipeline is valved into the transmix tank and the diesel tank closed. When the tests indicate that the fluid is sufficiently kerosene-ish, the kerosene tank then gets valved in and the transmix tank is closed. Terminals have to deal with the transmix somehow, and there are businesses built around transporting transmix back to refineries for re-processing.

Pipeline operators do a heck of a job doing this right as they are under pressure to reduce the amount of transmix they have to deal with. A lazy (or overly safe) operator is going to switch to transmix too early and switch out too late. But on the other side, an overly aggressive operator can end up contaminating the whole diesel tank, for example, with too much kerosene. Ouch! It can be resolved, but there's hell to pay.

There are special devices, called 'pigs', that can be inserted into the pipeline as a product separator. But these naturally end up causing their own issues: you now need a pig trap, pigs get stuck, etc. For very high value products batch pigs will get used, but for the bulk commodities it's just not worth it.

My pipeliner's take on MOL is that it cannot be reduced to a specific number. A lower bound may be simply the actual volume of the pipes and manifolds. But your comment begs an out that accountants would suggest: just use water and batch pigs. The engineers and operators would howl, but the bean counters may win. And yes, there would no end of foreseen and unforeseen consequences of such a choice. As you move down in flow rate from the current rates towards the lower bound the amount of transmix will inevitably rise. Overall system efficiency will go down as more of the power to move the fluid ends up as an unusable product. Can you store the extra transmix? Control vales pinch back, dissipating additional energy. Pumps become less efficient, etc.

Although not directly an MOL issue per se, the Prudhoe Bay pipeline corrosion problem in 2006 was an interesting and probably inevitable consequence as we deal with ever-reducing flow rates of crude oil and products. Pipeline systems are designed for very specific rate ranges. Dropping much below the minimum sets up a number of RBT's as interfaces smear out and water is no longer held in suspension.


Great summary - thanks!

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

If I have a thousand mile pipeline that is empty and I put in one gallon of gasoline, then nothing comes out the other end. Not until I fill the pipeline with some very large number of gallons of gasoline will one gallon come out the other end. The gasoline in the pipeline is the Minimum Operating Level (MOL).

Why is this important? It is important because US gasoline inventory figures include the MOL! But the pipeline system fails if you fall below the MOL. This gives the illusion that we have a larger working inventory than is real.

Now please note that we can extract the MOL gasoline from the pipeline manually and deliver it via trucks or other methods but that breaks down the normal delivery system and would only be done in an emergency.

So what we are seeing is that the US is one day away from having a catastrophic emergency in its gasoline delivery system. Please note that when pipeline systems are evacuated completely that they cannot automatically be refilled without inspections and checks. Emptying the pipeline will cause changes in pressure and may create leaks that otherwise were simply holding shut. So if we do empty the pipelines even a small bit, we have to go back and check those lines before we refill them to be sure they will remain in safe operation.

You asked "What is there to keep track of?" As I explained above, the total inventory number includes the MOL and dropping below the MOL represents a true emergency, at least for that part of the country where the pipelines go empty (or really even at less than full pressure). So when the EIA says we have 195 million barrels of gasoline in inventory but the MOL is 185 million barrels, that means we only have 10 million barrels of gasoline in inventory total. And please note that the US has been consuming roughly 9.5 million barrels per day. That is the danger.

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

I would only note that by analyzing this as a nation-wide MOL, it seems you will not get a true picture of what is really happening. For example, I live in Houston, with probably 20 miles of pipeline separating me from the source. We could quite possibly be a few weeks supply above MOL (due to very low MOL). On the other hand, isolated markets with 1000 miles of pipeline between them and the source might be within a few hours as someone noted above. True, our system is vast and interconnected, but I would think isolated shortages and price spikes are most likely, with a backdrop of rising prices in general. Gasoline will more than likely be back above $3 soon ($2.45 a few days ago, $2.65 today) but absent a hurricane or loss of electricity, I don't expect shortages here in Houston regardless of how close the national numbers get to the MOL. The nationwide pipeline grid will not collapse as we approach MOL, but throughput will slow down in some areas. In these areas, prices will go up. Thus, I think the statement
"the US is one day away from having a catastrophic emergency in its gasoline delivery system. " is not accurate. Rather, some areas are at increased risk of supply reductions. Could a major US city survive if their imports were cut 10-20%? I think they could.

Yes, shortages will develop at the extremities of the system. In reality, if you read the EIA reports, you see that the US is divided into 5 "PADD" zones. Each of these has its own MOL and the zones don't interact as tightly with one another as they do with other locations inside a given PADD. You will note also that each PADD has its own inventory numbers as well as the total.

An interesting question to which I've been unable yet to find an answer is what is the MOL for each PADD?

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

One thing seems clear. When you approach the MOL for any given PADD the price shoots up for that area until the squeeze is passed. Based on that and some research I came up with some rough but potentially useful MOL est. for predicting price spikes and/or runout. The reports are linked in the comments and there are some others.

Apx. 27Mb for West, 47Mb for Midwest, 48Mb for East, 5Mb for Rockies, and 55Mb for the South

Total MOL 182Mb And that's MOL (more or less) of course :-)


Interesting. From this weeks report

Region Stocks (MOL)
West: 29.4 (27)
Midwest: 46.3 (47)
East: 49.6 (48)
Rockies: 6.2 (5)
South: 59.6 (55)

And we seem to be experiencing spot shortages in the Midwest, where stocks are just slightly lower than your estimated MOL.

Was not aware of it. Been out on fires for a month and a half.

This May the Midwest was at 46.5 or so and they had a price runup. We were in Chicago at the time and the pump prices were jumping. There was a report done on a similar runup for May of 2000. As I recall the FOB Tulsa spot price for Williams pipe delivery went real high in May. Seems they are testing that MOL again have to check Platts. Chicago skated by in May but I understand they trucked some in.

Here's that report. I inferred the MOL from there.


GreyZone, nice elaboration

All your reflections are all fine. The same sort of thinking is the very basis for my own initial entry (uptread), although not as detailed as yours.

We agree that to actually reach or go below MOL – is something we would fear as the grim reaper himself – THIS is a situation we DO NOT WANT get ouself into ... for roughly 1000 reasons (all agree to this … apart from Osama and his equals)

But we disagree on the conclusion – and as you correctly refer to the most trustworthy source for the matter – EIA-reports …. I’m getting puzzled

If all the numbers put forward regarding this dire inventory situation is “US_governmental_true” - stating there are only 24 hrs in excess gas-surplus these days (and it will seemingly not go away) … then…

Then what (?)
-well in my mind there has to be another report tucked away somewhere, which contains “the universal true stockpile….” IMO

(This is not rhyming with the news-headlines, not at all)

Sections of the pipeline(s) will be shut off to maintain pressure. Thus end of the line will be lost first, reducing MOL for the rest of the system. Tangential pipelines to remote locations will be shut in. What is necessary to maintain pressure in the main trunk lines will be done. Major markets will continue to be supplied below current MOL as MOL will decrease as pipelines are shut.

We should designate this Saturday as "National Fill Up Your Tank Day" and spread the word. That would sure provide some empirical evidence wrt how tight inventories really are!


Paal, please stop arguing about this. It's not me or Westexas or anyone else here at TOD with whom you are disagreeing. You are disagreeing with the EIA and the NPC. Go read their reports.

Here is the weekly gasoline inventory report. Please note that gasoline inventories are listed at 191.5 million barrels.


And here is the the link to the National Petroleum Council report that was done in consultation to the Department of Energy. Here they identify that the inventories include the MOL (or Minimum Operating Inventory - MOI, or Lower Operating Inventory - LOI). Start on page II-5 and read forward from there. The LOI is 185 million barrels for gasoline.

So there it is in plain text for anyone to see who can read. You can dislike the conclusions that you draw from that but you cannot dismiss these facts. This is how the US government calculates "inventory" whether you like it or not. And yes it does mean that we are hovering dangerously close to shortage situations. This is precisely why I was reading about oil companies pre-positioning gasoline tankers along the Gulf Coast when it was still thought that Dean might turn northwards. They knew there was not enough in the system so they moved some to compensate.

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

Go read it yourself, GreyZone. It explicitly states that going below the LOI most likely means nothing in particular beyond loss of flexibililty in distribution. Ie, pipelines aren't going to fail, whole cities aren't going to stop receiving gas. Spot shortages, sure, but that's not what I would consider "dangerous".

Paul is not disagreeing with the NPC - he's essentially paraphrasing their conclusion, which is that LOI is maybe a useful guideline (well, so useful that no distributors use it), but it doesn't mean anything definite, and certainly doesn't indicate some kind of failure point.

The number is a gross number in a large, very complex system. As I noted above, the system is divided into districts (PADDs) and each PADD has a MOL (or LOI) as well but it's not documented anywhere that I can find. Also as I noted above, the shortages will occur at the extremities of the system - those points farthest removed from the source. The further we go below MOL (or MOI or LOI, whatever you wish to call it because ALL THREE terms are used in that report), the worse the situation will get.

These situations don't go from all cheery and rosy to utter doom overnight. Things happen in phases and a shortage emerging would be no different, arriving in bits and expanding the further we dropped below the overall MOL for each PADD. The question then becomes what happens to those locations where shortages occur? Do we see the same thing that happened in Iran? Do people riot and burn down the gasoline stations for being empty? I don't think so but hey, I've been overly optimistic about stupid Americans before too.

The question you are avoiding, speek, is how far below MOL do we go before particular effects manifest? Just 1 million barrels? How about 10 million barrels? What happens if we go 50 million barrels below MOL? Do you think we'd still have just minor disruptions and spot shortages? Obviously no, the situation would become far more serious. Unfortunately neither you nor I know how people will react to shortages or how widespread the problems will become once we go below MOL. Your post tries to suggest that life will go on peachy keen regardless of how far we go below MOL. I disagree and strongly.

Finally the NPC has a vested interest in trying to discount the usefulness of MOL. Guess what? The military of the US knew the MOL of Germany and we bombed the hell out of pipelines and refineries during WWII for a damned reason - because denying them that infrastructure and the MOL associated with it hindered Germany's ability to wage war. So while the NPC may discount MOL, I think I'll take Ike's position and consider it a useful number no matter what the NPC thinks.

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

Hi GreyZone. My quest the past few days has been to disabuse myself of the notion that 185 is some magic number we dare not got below else we'll see disastrous shortages of gasoline and the distribution system freezing up causing a cascade of failures. It has been my point, after digging into this issue, that low supplies are dangerous, but not because they themselves cause system breakdown, but because they leave us vulnerable to random problems, like hurricanes, etc. Exactly as you point out, the problems get gradually worse as supply drops. Supply can drop quite far I'm guessing, and problems will yet remain localized.

I am by no means saying we aren't up shit's creek. But, I do like to be as hard-headed skeptical and rational as possible, and not get all a-twitter about some romantic idea like MOL that spells disaster if we dip below.

Grey Zone – fine,
I’ll sit stiff and watch that number but when it turns 185 million barrels, I actually expect little to happen as for the amount of products INSIDE these pipes - What happens to the gas price is a complete different story, though..

(this is seen from my neck of the woods, ref. my private speculations around)

These threads often go a stray and this one was no exception.. I had an initial question for you;

Minimum Operating Levels - are they relevant at all?

.. Because IMHO MOL is just part of the infrastructure itself, and “over” discussed to the unrecognizable for no avail –
Few, except for speek & davebygolly (hurrah) – actually understood my initiative here..

Speek has a lot of brilliant reflections down thread as to how to understand the situation , as I see it.

Thanks, I appreciate that. It's been a little strange to open my mouth on this issue and receive a number of unpleasant responses, since usually I'm down with the group think here about the doom and gloom of peak oil. I guess I stepped out of line on this issue ;-)


GreyZone -
You are the 2nd person that I do not think should be able to post here. Your posts are too logical and correct. We need to be flooded with posts by those who just do not get it. Without them, the lack of comedy would no longer draw a crowd.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

One must learn to think well, before learning to think; aferwards, it proves too difficult.

Patience. Comedy yet lurks..

jteehan posted a pdf yesterday that was very illuminating:


Go to section II to read about MOI and LOI. Bottom line: no one knows what effects may result from dropping below LOI, but it is unlikely to be serious by itself.

Keep in mind that that report is basically written by Big Oil, so it may not be unbiased. In fact, many peak oilers view it as a pile of BS.

There's a lot of uncertainty, both in MOL and in inventories. That, IMO, is what's making some people nervous. They're both just estimates.

IIRC, four times a year they "calibrate" the inventory numbers with reality, and there's often a big change. Traders react more strongly to those reports than to the usual weekly report, because it's viewed as being more accurate. I wonder when the next calibrated report is due?

It may have been written by Big Oil, but it meshes with reality a lot better than the opinion that TSHTF when we drop below 185. The point is that supply flexibility is lost as we drop below this number that is largely guesswork. It is not some clear measurement of pipeline volume or anything like that. 185 doesn't represent some magic tipping point. In fact, it probably represents nothing in particular at all, and what we have, as we lose inventory, is less resilience should unexpected things happen, like hurricanes and refinery fires. One of these days, a refinery will catch fire, go down for maintenance or flood, it'll get a little report, and then, seemingly for no reason, a significant section of the population is going to get stranded without gas until a platoon of tankers delivers it manually. But that might happen now, it might happen when inventories hit 185, or it might happen when inventories are at 170.

As Tom Whipple pointed out, what we should be concerned about is the "order of magnitude." It doesn't matter if it's 170 or 180, because the data is not that precise.

There may well be a "magic tipping point"...but we don't know where it is.

You used a toilet paper analogy. I think a more accurate analogy is a checking account. Say your bank has a minimum balance requirement. You have to stay above that or get charged a hefty fee. You're not sure what the minimum balance requirement is, but you think it's about $500. You have about $700 in the account, but you're not sure. The power company is going to deduct a payment from your account today, and you think it's about $200, but again, you're not sure. Should you be worried?

IMO, yes. That's cutting it close. Maybe the bank's minimum balance requirement is less than $500. Maybe your bill will be less than $200. Maybe you have more than $700.

But you don't know, and that uncertainty is cause for more concern, not less.

I didn't use a toilet paper analogy, just to set the record straight. Check usernames.

I disagree with the checking account analogy. There is no tipping point, at all, no point of mass system failure. All there is, is greater and greater chances of localized failures.

And funnily enough, I bet we start thinking of places like North Dakota and Montana the same way we think about places like Ghana and Sierra Leone. Ie, "oh well, at least we're ok here". And that will actually allow us to continue BAU even as inventories drop to 160, 150, 140, etc - because places that report failures will stop mattering to us. Hell, we do that already.

Any tipping points that exists will be created entirely by human mob behavior.

What amuses me is speek's denial of the tipping point and the subsequent reference to mob behavior.

What I think you are failing to see is that electrons travel, for all practical purposes, instantaneously. If enough electrons hit the enough TV screens and those pixels light up and tell the mob that gas is running short, they may rush out and fill up.

The tipping point thus is reached.

However, I must say I admire your conclusions about our thinking regarding far away places, i.e. North Dakota and so on. That is precisely the basic human psychology reason that the stuff WILL hit the fan. First you care about yourself, then your kids, your spouse, your extended family, maybe a clan, or a tribe, a club, or a race, then maybe your sports team, then your city, your county, state and then nation. And, with each bit of distance, the emotional ties weaken until we are perfectly happy sitting in front of our televisions yawning at the latest atrocities in Darfur or the West Bank.

The problem is TV shapes much of American culture and thus provides outsized stimulus. So, at some point, we will reach a tipping point, and we will see gasoline lines just like we saw in the first two oil crises in the seventies and eighties.

You are confusing different tipping points. I didn't deny all tipping points, just one centered around this 185 number. But thanks for being a patronizing asshole and lecturing me about electrons and tv screens!

So if the MOL is irrelevant, how much blood in your body are you willing to replace with air?

All piping systems are analogous. When going below the MOL you move from a homo to heterogeneous mix of hydrocarbons+something else. The something else must not Rust, Corrode, mix with the transport liquid, react with the transport liquid, or cause clumping through size exchangers.

Imagine a pipeline only half full, (half air half oil) now what happens if you try and pump this mixture? Well first off the pumps will not work perfectly and will continue to work less perfectly as there is less of the substance for which the pumps were optimized for. Most of the pumping energy will end up being displaced at the interface between the two materials (waves, splashing), also there will not exist a strong impetus for the oil to move forward as it is not fully constrained and does not get to experience the full pressure differential.

It is my gut feeling that if more than 1/3 of a pipe becomes air or other materials there are going to be significant problems.

You are correct that the extremities will feel it first, because the more central locations will be prioritized.

In dealing with the oil and gas pipelines, the engineers have options that our circulatory systems don't - like using water and other liquids, perhaps damning the liquids at certain locations to build up pressure. Prioritizing pipelines over tanker trucks, that sort of thing. None of it is optimal, but it does mean the system won't experience large sudden failure.

As I read it, whose opinion means
nothing, the patronizing asshole
agreed with you.

I couldn't sleep for a few hours last night and had some general thoughts I sort of formulated out today:

If we look at the energy use in a country as a system flow as in thermodynamics or say economics(like cash flow/liquidity) and take the MOL(Minimum Operating Levels) for say the USA oil network(natural gas similarly and perhaps the electric networks) we can say that if there is a liquidity seize up as recently in the credit markets then we get a breakdown in transportation(MOL for pipelines) or olduvai gorge(Brownouts/blackouts in electric systems when not enough GigaWatts in system to keep on the lights due to say coal transport/supply problems or electrical infrastructure problems). So this would be a “liquidity” crisis, so to speak.

Peak Oil as such is more an insolvency crisis. If there is no more oil/natural gas/coal, etc. left in the ground then we are technically bankrupt and living off of savings or loans from friends (Saudis, Mexicans, Canadians)

Presuming that energy is the basis of money/trade and this can be represented by currency in international trade, then if a country like the USA has the ability after national Oil Peak/ELM(Export Land Model) Transition Point to use its fiat currency(not anymore real, i.e. based on energy units produced but now based on “trust”, i.e. leveraged military and financial influence) to purchase needed energy/goods and services from countries with a surplus of energy production to consumption prior to their reaching their ELM Transition Point( define it as Usage exceeds production so exports = 0) then they can maintain or increase e (energy use per capita) despite this fact.

Global PO is a simply a summation of individual countries reaching their ELM transition points through

a) development leading to increased consumption(Chindia, et al.) and parallel to that b)depletion of resources (Middle East, Russia) or
C) both(USA) .

Now, we could expand the concept of ELM to take in the export of all energy sources(Coal, Nat Gas,etc.), including the products produced using such energy. Let us take for example China which has expanded coal production to 2.6 billion tons per annum and has a high trade surplus and currency reserves of over USD 1 trillion. The USA does the opposite having maybe an 800 billion/annum deficit. We can assume for our purposes here that surplus e, in China in terms of coal, is being leveraged, through goods manufacture and export, to obtain fiat currency to modernize/militarize, etc. Meanwhile USA is printing fiat money as debt to finance consumption (pure energy import in 13 million barrels/day plus Asian manufactured plastics). This forces USA to eventually pay back the 3 trillion abroad in USA currency(3 trillion/70 USD/barrel=43 billion barrels of oil) in kind eventually or lose power. They are trying to compensate for this debt in terms of control of oil fields in, say Iraq and elsewhere at the moment through pure military means. The Chinese use the fiat currency obtained by coal based manufactures exports to invest in Angola, Nigerian, Sudanese, Venezuelan, etc. oil companies and do development work(roads, schools, etc) to gain influence in a less blatant manner as the writing is on the wall as far as depletion for Chinese Fossil fuels.

So we can see that financial liquidity, military power and energy resources are tied together intricately. Once the oil transport system(US interstate / German Autobahn / UK motorways, etc) is built out significantly and PO/ELM transition point is reached in a sufficient number of countries so that insufficient exports reach the industrial powers (USA/ Europe/ Japan/ China) to fuel their MOLs on a daily basis we reach a transport olduvai gorge (Global oil export now 36 million barrels/day but what is MOL globally for the industrial countries` transport networks?) where the 1970s lines at the Gas station become the norm and cars become a general luxury article. This is what we all think of when we discuss when “PO” will happen. It is already happening partially in US upper Midwest states.

Coal/electric production is a different matter entirely of course as coal does not cross borders that much. However since goods exporting countries utilize coal for manufacture they are effectively exporting coal, much as the USA/Europe/Brazil export water in terms of crops. However when coal / electric use for domestic consumption exceeds available amounts (coal ELM transition point) then goods production for fiat currency to trade for oil/iron/etc. will stop for China. So China will run out of Coal and go into coal deficit just like the USA has gone into oil deficit and both will decline as powers if they cannot maintain external hegemony. This point is coming presumably for both relatively soon and will likely lead to external conflict.

If the transport MOL problem in individual countries and areas can be temporarily solved by rationing transport oil for special purposes(ambulance, tractor)and abandoning suburbia and localizing food production ,etc then perhaps PO will not be so serious immediately(die off, chaos). The use of coal to maintain current transport system by liquefaction would be stupid in light of these considerations. The maintenance of an electrical network through local coal in specific countries or areas can be expected after the decline of the national automobile networks (rail and barge transport of coal, goods). However an international electrical system in the current sense will not be able to be maintained universally as the transport of so much coal abroad(or mass produced goods made in factories fuelled by coal based electricity) in light of the knowledge of Peaking of resources gained by the general population due to PO experience will not be tenable. So electricity will be a luxury with an ever decreasing circle of people enjoying this as coal production decreases over time.

The buildup of alternative energy sources would be very useful to maintain the electrical network or local electrical capacities could be maintained during windy or sunny days accordingly for labour intensive jobs like milling of wheat or making cement for example. However global 24/7/365 energy access and internet/satellite (rockets and computers very energy intensive to build, run, maintain, repair) communications will be a thing of the past.

Learn to wash clothes by hand and to use hand tools, etc.

MOL=Minimum Operating Level
(185 million barrels in pipelines/trucks/in transit in USA)
e = energy use per capita
Olduvai Gorge = when electric grid stops functioning
Liquidity / Cash flow= money needed for functioning economy in system underway
Insolvent= bankrupt, cannot pay debts
E.L.M.=Export Land Model= Observation that when oil production for an export country dips below internal consumption levels that exports will be halted

net energy use per capita

net oil exports

net oil imports

oil production

oil consumption

coal production

coal consumption

electricity production per country

commercial energy use per capita(barrel oil equivalent)



Hope this ain't too long.

Hope this ain't too long.

This I understand. As for the rest of it, what are you trying to say?

Very interesting thoughts. A little confusing though.

This is what we all think of when we discuss when “PO” will happen. It is already happening partially in US upper Midwest states.

Yes, that's really about that. Your post simply sums up some of the glaring consequences that faces us. I'd like to make a comprehensive post like you did, but I lack the time and patience. I'm looking forward for the discussion that follows.

It's like, what I see coming is a turmoil, and like all turmoils, they behave non-linearly. Not quite unpredictable, at least not in its entirety, the big wave is quite predictable, but there are many things that will escape the most intelligent minds. Outstanding achievements and solutions will falter due to unexpected problems, simple basic (like, do'h!) solutions will be widespread and probably unpredicted, but could make a hell of a difference. Big matters could be resolved in unexpected ways: A US president wants to talk to the russian counterparty, but due to lack of electricity, the wire malfunctions...

It'll sound even more stupid and out of control, the world matters. Wars will only be fought by people with a lack of vision, for they'll become energy hogs. Genocides could eventually happen, but it depends oh so much on the places, on the people, on the information.

I think we'll all be surprised, big time.

I am just trying to put PO into perspective as a relative phenomenon, to define it. It has become a big panic word. Essentially when you fall short of MOLs for any energy, just like in a market liquidity panic, you get serious problems. This is caused in the case of oil by the ELM transition for too many countries causing a general global oil MOL, where the total oil exports do not suffice for industrial states transport systems. This is sort of the olduvai gorge for tansport systems or "PO" as we understand it form horror movies. This global industrial countries MOL is a questionable figure, sort of the amount of oil in tankers and refineries underway, freely available for export.

All that talk about "e" is related to the olduvai theory. I am trying to generalize my above connection of ELM/MOL/Collapse in oil terms to all energy sources like coal and to make conclusions regarding general exports, economics, globalization and imports-exports and the political consequences of the whole cascading sequence of envents that come out of declining resources in individual countries which then lead to a global shortage and the systemic breakdown.

I think the idea of society's MOL for energy is interesting.

I suspect that there are really thresholds, and different MOLs - say MOL1, MOL2, MOL3, . . .

To continue business more or less as usual, we need a MOL that provides enough energy to

1. Keep the major roads paved and bridges maintained.
2. Keep homes heated to above the point where pipes will freeze in the winter (otherwise, we have big problems and need to give up indoor plumbing)
3. Maintain the oil and gas pipeline structure, and keep them filled with a base amount of fuel.
4. Maintain the electrical grid.
5. Provide fuel and repair for trucks, trains, boats to transport food and necessary other goods.
6. Provide farmers with fertilizer, hybrid seed, irrigation water, tractors, and diesel fuel for food production.
7. Provide equipment and fuel for emergency vehicles.
8. Provide equipment/ buildings for health care workers.
9. Provide some minimal level of transportation for people to get food, get to jobs, and to obtain health care.
10. Maintain the water and sewer systems of towns.
11. Maintain energy production facilities (coal, oil, natural gas, wind, etc)
12. Provide training to people needed to maintain all of the above.

If food production is local, we could cut back a little from this, to a lower MOL.

If indoor plumbing is no longer expected, then one could drop some of these requirements, to a lower MOL.

If electricity is not expected, then more of these go away.

Without a lot of planning, I would expect that Liebig's Law of the Minimum will become very important. For example, we will have battery operated cars for everyone, but no trucks for transport of goods and inadequately maintained roads. Things will break down early on, because necessary pieces of the system are missing. Or we will forget that we need to keep training workers to maintain our complex systems.

So the minimum energy required to fight entropy to keep society functioning at some minimum level.

Can our civilization survive without growth? No, it cannot. Because without growth, it is no longer representative of the system we currently inhabit, which has involved population growth for the last 10 to 12 thousand years. Without growth, "civilization" would be an entirely different complex system altogether.

The only human social systems that didn't involve growth on our scale were tribal, local, and far less complex. Unfortunately, while tribal size didn't tend to grow, the number of tribes did. So the human population still grew under tribal life, just not at this rate.

As long as the population continues to grow or change at all, "some minimum level" keeps changing.

The population can't grow forever. This doesn't in and of itself mean the end of humanity, or the loss of everything we've achieved. All biological populations experience peaks and valleys, booms and busts, variation of all types that do not necessarily equate to extinction.

Unfortunately, bound in anthropocentric beliefs of our own godhood, we cannot conceive of such a thing happening to our own species. We currently have few ideas how to plan for the inevitable loss of population we will experience.

GalacticSurfer -you didn't get much sleep last night did you... :o)

I like this MOL concept.

Lets say an individual currently spends 10% on transport fuels and has a 40% 'buffer' for everything else they currently enjoy (50% is essentials: housing, food, heat/cooling). The oil price driven components within this 50% will tend to increase this share to say 60 or 70% shrinking the buffer to just 20 or 30% -a doubling or tripling in Gas prices would then be enough hit the MOL...

The housing component if in the form of debt will be particularly sensitive to any interest rate rises. Huge amount of Debt has made personal and National economies much more fragile and less able to withstand shocks... Buckle up...

Regards, Nick.

Its pretty easy to break anothers rice bowl...'and abandoning suburbia and localizing food production etc, then perhaps PO will not be so serious immediately (chaos, die off)'...

What do you think will happen to those folks that 'abandon surburbia?' Should they proceed to the nearest graveyard, dig a hole, and jump in? Should they go to the nearest city center, shoot some cave (apartment) dweller, and take their residence? I would like to hear an expansion of your proposal. Thanks.

Here near downtown Orlando there are at least 3 homes just on my block that are sitting empty. One is for sale and empty, the other 2 appear to be undergoing foreclosure. There is another for rent and empty. I think we've got plenty of housing units here near the city core that are being underutilized or not used at all.

No need to shoot anyone...

Neon9, the neighborhood that my wife and I inhabit has some empty homes but nothing to get panicky over. We live in the Daytona Ormond area in a well established neighborhood that is 1.4 miles from a Publics shopping center, less than 2 miles from a major hospital, etc. On many occasions I walk to nearby destinations. If neighborhoods like ours are abondoned, this country is in serious trouble!

I did not threaten to shoot anyone and do not appreciate your implication that I did. I suggest that you reread my post and refrain from such tactics in future.

I would say the same about my neighborhood-the Publix is 2 blocks down from my 1940's house. But still homes sit empty.

Please don't take it so personally. You did imply that was the only way for suburbanites to get a place in the city, to take it. I added the 'no need to shoot anyone' later when I thought you might have to avoid the bank, owner or code enforcement but nothing so rash as taking by force.

There are plenty of condos downtown available also, from what I hear.

I am not an 'apartment' person nor is my wife. We were both raised (partially) on farms. We have owned this home since the early 80s and have another on beachside that is rented. Both were paid for long ago. This neighborhood is a desirable one, with golf course (that could become gardens), large oaks, nice homes that are mostly empty nests (kids gone), and a few houses for sale. It is not a far flung subdevision and the homes in here are sold fairly quickly when they come on the market...if the owners dont put a rediculous price on them.

IF I wanted to live in an apartment or condo I could certainly pay cash for one. I gave you no reason to think that I had to 'avoid the bank, owner or code enforcement.' I stated in my original post 'what do you expect the suburbanites to do...' I did not say 'what do you expect me to do...' As you should know many suburbanites are not in a position to move where they want and come up with cash or financing to cover their costs. You made it personal, not me. Any time you type a statement like 'no need to shoot anyone' your post could possibly draw the attention of some that you might not want to notice you. I do not need that sort of attention, nor, do I suspect, do you. Please watch what you type and link to my posts in the future. Thanks...BTW, these are my last comments on this subject. We are wasting bandwidth on bs.

I didn't get the impression that neon9 implied that you threatened to shoot anyone. Seems to me he was simply responding to your "Should they go to the nearest city center, shoot some cave (apartment) dweller, and take their residence?" comment.

He simply replied "no - no need". You seem to be awfully quick to take offense. I admit, though, it is getting a bit touchy around here...

Apparently so. I was simply making the point that there appear to be opportunities for more people to move closer to cities without displacing anyone. Next thing I know he's telling me his life story.

In addition to empty homes, I posted a story yesterday about McMansions in the DC area being turned into boarding houses. Of course the local townships were trying to ban this, therefore the reference to 'code enforcement'.

River, the neighborhood I live in is getting pretty damn empty. I live on 12th st between K & L. Two houses, including mine, are occupied. Bob Ebersole. There are six empty houses, two in fairly immediate danger of foreclosure.
Five of the six empties are owned by real estate boom speculators, and the other by an estate where the old man died last March.

I'm homesteading in a way. The block I'm living in was virtually distroyed by crack a few years ago and is getting fixed up and reinhabited. My payment is very affordable, and I live where I want to, I'd rather not live out in the suburbs. But, it does have its disadvantages too.

What city?

I am just considering PO in terms of being a transport problem. Rationing means centralizing the population insome way, at any rate eliminating unecessary travel involuntarily by price mechanisms. Only the rich can drive is a neoliberal solution. All coal would be liquefied for their transport needs and the remainder of people would starve, be left to fend for themselves. Mercenaries would protect these rich enclaves.

Perhaps in sweden or Finnland they will consider more social concepts than in the USA. Rationing, rezoning and relocalizing of the population. In USA ideally a bankrupt infrastructure of malls and empty suburbs could be torn down by hand and used for farming , grazing land. Where the money is the people will be. Food production will be primary need and so the malls will be tron up along with the freeways to get at that black topsoil.

Actually that would be reddish-brown subsoil. The black topsoil was removed when all that junk was built. It can be turned into black topsoil again, but it is going to take a lot of manure & a lot of work.

Dairy pastureland and orchards and greenhouses and chicken farms and market gardens are what should ring every town and city - just like they used to.

The good news is that the asphalt roads and streets and driveways and parking lots are actually America's Tar Sands. Given a high enough oil price, they can be harvested.

Since we as a nation lacked the foresight and wisdom to have electrified passenger rail already in place, what will actually happen is mostly ride-sharing on a massive scale (including a revival of hitch-hiking, in spite of the dangers), plus many people having to walk a lot.

I would like to hear an expansion of your proposal

Quick Response.

Think of the the transformation of the USA Urban form from 1950 to 1970. Central cities and downtowns decline into slums in most cases. Many abandoned homes & buildings, etc.

Think of that process in reverse and a little faster. We have expanded the average single family home by 2.5x since 1950, and we have 10+x the retail space needed, so there are lots of adaptive reuse possibilities.

New Orleans housed 50% of their population in 20% of the housing post-Katrina. And our home sizes are much smaller than US average.

Some suburbs will be saved, especially those close to commuter rail stations. Example Boston.

Hello AlanfromBigEasy,

I wonder, to what extent nationally, the blatant subprime mortgage racial and ethnic discrimination was deliberately intended to gradually help postPeak 'white flight' back to the key urban Transit-Oriented Developments [TOD], and other areas in need of rehabilitative gentrification?

If this sad news is prevalent across the US, then a bunch of civil rights lawyers and/or class-action lawsuit specialists will have a field day going after these 'predatory' subprime mortgage lenders that practiced discrimination:

ACORN study: Loan disparities found in valley

Latinos and African-Americans who bought homes or refinanced mortgages in the San Jose metropolitan area last year were much more likely than white borrowers to get subprime loans, according to a study scheduled for release today.

In its annual survey based on federally collected data, this year titled "Foreclosure Exposure," community activism group ACORN said 47 percent of Latinos who got mortgages to buy homes in Santa Clara and San Benito counties in 2006 received "high cost" loans that the group considers to be synonymous with "subprime." Nearly 32 percent of African-American borrowers buying homes got high-cost loans, while only 8.5 percent of white borrowers did.

The trend is the same for those who refinanced loans - Latinos and African-Americans got subprime loans 23.5 percent and 22.8 percent of the time, respectively, compared with 9.4 percent among white borrowers.

"The racial disparity persists even among borrowers of the same income level," the report's authors wrote. Upper-income Latinos and African-Americans were more than five times as likely to get high-cost loans than upper-income whites, the study said. Upper-income borrowers were those with income of at least 120 percent of their area's median income.
If this discrimination is proved true: then it accelerated the opportunity for the more wealthy to buy TOD cheap at foreclosure auctions with the consequent effect of forcing the displaced poor to the exurban outer fringe.

I just assumed these 'home-invasion lenders' would have been 'equal opportunity thieves' across all classes and races, but I guess I assumed wrong. More evidence of the Divide and Conquer strategy?

What a damn shame! I hope these subprime CEOs get the book thrown at them: confiscate their wealth plus prison time. As we go postPeak, the last thing we don't need is to elevate racial and ethnic tension.

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

Just wanted to add a 'Valley of the Sun' perspective: A lot of Latinos and Blacks in my Asphalt Wonderland live along, or relatively nearby the railroad tracks, which is the older, original downtown areas. Additionally, the very-limited in areal coverage mass-transit system currently being built runs thru a lot of these older neighborhoods downtown. I have no idea if discriminatory lending has occurred in these neighborhoods.

IF lending discrimination was purposely intentional, it would only make sense to financially prey upon these people so that the postPeak gentrification process can be done at minimal cost. My guess is my local MSM will ignore the chance for a full investigation.


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

We are all going to suffer, perhaps at different times and in different ways. The really big problem we have is that we don't have a gov't that will permit us to all pull together and face PO in a way that we can all survive and adjust to this new reality. I have no illusions about Jersey City (right next to Manhattan) being the ultimate place to survive, even though it has several short term positives. The commune where my daughter lives in W Va grows a lot of their own food. But will they be left alone when crunch time comes? Our only salvation is start thinking in very un-American terms: we need to start thinking cooperatively and collectively and abandon the devil-take-the-hindmost philosophy. KATRINA R(backwards) US.

The divisiveness as entertainment and politics seen in the main stream media is simply going to have to die ... or a lot of people will. I mean beyond the Iraqis already slaughtered ...

The divisiveness as entertainment and politics seen in the main stream media is simply going to have to die ...

I wouldn't count on that. Tainter claims that increasing ideological strife comes with declining marginal returns. IOW, the divisiveness as entertainment and politics may be a result of peak oil, not an incidental phenomenon.

Not sure where you are going with all this, but some interesting points.

Re: Insolvency crisis

Yes, and many smaller/poorer countries are already insolvent or close to it (in oil affordability terms).

This next oil squeeze round will push Pakistan and India to their limits and probably virtually eliminate oil from central Africa and parts of Asia (Bangledesh).

Galacticsurfer, very impressive thoughts – and I feel you are very much into some of the correlations for our common future here.

And I agree - this MOL-ting can be used "all over the place"

Is MOL the new buzz-word here at TOD?
"MOL, the juice which must be there, that cannot use"

IMO - with some restructuring and rearrangements – it could aspire for a Key-post

I thought MOL= liquidity in financial terms and
PO = insolvency like bankruptcy.
ELM(Export Land Model transition point is like local PO summing up in general to global PO and causing MOL globally and effective collpase for the parasitic neoliberal/USA globalized system.


I checked out some of your links and I have suspicions. Apparently Iran exports 2.5 barrels/day

Pull the other leg!

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 31, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) fell by 3.9 million barrels compared to the previous week. However, at 329.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories dropped by 1.5 million barrels last week, and are well below the lower end of the average range. Declines were seen in inventories for both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased 0.9 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories declined by 5.4 million barrels last week, but remain in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

But hey, nothing to worry about....

Oil eases on inventory report

Crude and gasoline supplies fall more than expected, but raw material for heating fuel post big gain ahead of winter.

BTW, sorry for the simultaneous post.

I posted as soon as it came out (the auto update screen), but I edited a few times.

The slow squeeze goes on. It does not take engineering degree to figure out that next year by that time we will have serious shortages and/or price spikes.

At the same time, according to Bloomberg gasoline declined a cent a gallon today. Makes you wonder how long is the market attention span... a week?

Unless there's a recession (perhaps caused by the mortgage meltdown?)

Tom Whipple argues that prices would be much higher, except that traders fear a looming recession will cause demand to plummet.

Ya...I was just looking at the RBOB price on Bloomberg - still down...WTH?


Nymex RBOB Gasoline Future 199.36 -.29 -.15 11:38

Mind boggling.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 31, 2007

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve) fell by 3.9 million barrels compared to the previous week.
However, at 329.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain above the
upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline
inventories dropped by 1.5 million barrels last week, and are well below the
lower end of the average range
. Declines were seen in inventories for both
finished gasoline and gasoline blending components. Distillate fuel inventories
increased by 2.3 million barrels, and are in the upper half of the average range
for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased 0.9 million
barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories declined by 5.4
million barrels last week, but remain in the upper half of the average range for
this time of year.


UTILIZATION - spike up - 92.1%



***TOTAL GASOLINE INVENTORy 191.1 Million barrels - DAYS FORWARD - less than 1 over MOL of 185.

At these rates of draw down we should be seeing shortages of gasoline in about a month, even with no major disruptions. Why aren't gas prices higher? When do we start rationing?

Actually, I think that we need to plot gasoline inventories in terms of hours of supply in excess of MOL.

I get 15.25 hours (unless I goofed).

6.1 Million barrles over MOL, 9.6MMBPD consumption.

It looks like the West Coast, Gulf Coast and East Coast all dropped by 500,000 barrels or more, sounds like some Labor Day related consumption.

In any case, I would expect to see some higher prices and the possibility of spot shortages in these areas.

In Massachusetts, regular unleaded is going for $2.57/gallon, about the cheapest I've seen in the past year. It's hard to correlate the potential crisis with the current price. It just doesn't make sense.

I'm topping up the vehicle just the same. :)


Absent a critical event, e.g., hurricane damage to refineries, I don't expect to see widespread examples of empty gasoline stations (this year).

In regard to overall crude oil and product inventories, the US--both on an absolute and days of supply basis--appears to have gone to a just in time inventory system, versus the inventory levels that we used to carry in the Eighties.

In any case, I advanced a theory regarding crude oil inventories a couple of days ago, that went as follows.

Without crude oil input, a refinery is just a bunch of rusting steel. Therefore, refiners do not want to let inventories drop below a certain level. In order to keep their inventories (especially inventories of the appropriate type of crude oil) within a comfortable range, they can: (1) Pay higher prices and/or (2) Reduce crude oil input (resulting in less product output).

It’s interesting to compare the end of August US crude oil and product inventories for 2006, versus 2007. Note that the product inventories are a function of US production, consumption and imports.

End of August, 2006 (Product; Crude, mb):

733; 333

End of August, 2007 (Product; Crude, mb):

693 (-5.5%); 329 (-1.2%)

In order to evaluate what is happening in world oil markets, perhaps we should focus on crude oil production, the crude oil price and product inventories.

Crude oil inventories--especially in OECD countries--may be giving us misleading information.

Note that OPEC is using crude oil inventories as a justification for continued "voluntary" crude oil production cutbacks.

Is FTX still around? His chart would be nice today.

Looking forward the next couple weeks, unless we start to get good builds will leave us in this danger zone for a while.

Maybe have to bounce over to Robert's blog to see if it is there.


Nope, nothing yet. Maybe he will have something later.

Here is the table FTX used to publish.
Gasoline stocks were down 1.5 mb this week. Utilization rose to 92.1%, and imports rose to 1.31 mbd.

U.S. Gasoline Data 2006 vs 2007
  Capacity Prodn Imports Stocks Stock Chnge Demand
W/E 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007
4/6 85.6 88.4 7.87 8.53 1.10 0.95 207.9 199.7 -3.9 -5.5 9.30 9.47
4/13 86.2 90.4 8.10 8.66 0.91 1.04 202.5 197.0 -5.4 -2.7 9.10 9.25
4/20 88.2 87.8 8.47 8.54 1.34 1.16 200.6 194.2 -1.9 -2.8 9.01 9.16
4/27 88.8 88.3 8.60 8.78 1.02 1.15 202.7 193.1 +2.1 -1.1 9.10 9.26
5/4 90.2 89.0 8.92 8.93 1.65 1.22 205.1 193.5 +2.4 +0.4 9.35 9.34
5/11 89.8 89.5 9.18 9.05 1.45 1.53 206.4 195.2 +1.3 +1.7 9.33 9.40
5/18 89.7 91.1 9.20 9.20 1.63 1.30 208.5 196.7 +2.1 +1.5 9.19 9.43
5/25 91.4 91.1 9.21 9.26 1.55 1.61 209.3 198.0 +0.8 +1.3 9.43 9.49
6/1 91.0 89.6 9.14 9.22 1.40 1.51 210.3 201.5 +1.0 +3.5 9.37 9.50
6/8 92.7 89.2 9.21 9.33 1.41 1.16 213.1 201.5 +2.8 +0.0 9.41 9.49
6/15 93.3 87.6 9.35 9.33 1.08 1.28 213.4 203.3 +0.3 +1.8 9.43 9.59
6/22 93.8 89.4 9.33 9.34 0.96 1.11 212.4 202.6 -1.0 -0.7 9.54 9.58
6/29 93.1 90.0 9.21 9.40 1.27 1.39 213.1 204.4 +0.7 +1.8 9.65 9.56
7/6 90.5 90.2 9.18 9.23 1.10 1.42 212.7 205.6 -0.4 +1.2 9.62 9.66
7/13 92.9 91.0 9.23 9.17 1.05 0.92 214.2 203.3 +1.5 -2.3 9.57 9.71
7/20 92.5 91.7 9.09 9.27 1.01 1.65 211.0 204.1 -3.2 +0.8 9.57 9.69
7/27 90.8 93.6 9.04 9.43 1.33 1.23 210.9 204.7 -0.1 +0.6 9.64 9.66
8.3 91.6 91.3 9.17 9.12 1.22 1.40 207.7 203.0 -3.2 -1.7 9.70 9.58
8/10 91.5 91.8 9.24 9.27 1.39 1.21 205.4 201.9 -2.3 -1.1 9.53 9.57
8/17 92.8 91.6 9.27 9.29 1.32 0.93 205.8 196.2 +0.4 -5.7 9.57 9.76
8/24 92.9 90.3 9.14 9.07 1.18 0.99 206.2 192.6 +0.4 -3.6 9.61 9.63
8/31 93.6 92.1 9.23 9.20 1.03 1.31 206.9 191.1 +0.7 -1.5 9.62 9.58

[These are weekly estimates, subject to revision.
Data source - EIA
. Week ending dates are for 2007 (2006 is a day more).
Capacity is utilization% of fully operable. Imports, production and demand are
million barrels per day. Stocks are millions of barrels]

U.S. Gasoline Stocks 2007 by PADD District
East Coast Midwest Gulf Coast Rocky Mtn West Coast
W/E Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge
4/13 52.8 -1.5 47.6 -0.4 63.1 -2.4 5.7 -0.1 27.7 +1.7
4/20 52.7 -0.1 46.7 -0.9 62.4 -0.7 5.4 -0.3 27.0 -0.7
4/27 53.2 +0.5 46.4 -0.3 61.8 -0.4 5.4 0.0 26.3 -0.7
5/4 52.6 -0.6 46.7 +0.3 61.4 -0.4 5.4 0.0 27.4 +1.1
5/11 51.9 -0.7 46.4 -0.3 62.8 +1.4 5.5 +0.1 28.6 +1.2
5/18 52.5 +0.6 46.1 -0.3 63.7 +0.9 5.6 +0.1 28.8 +0.2
5/25 52.3 -0.2 46.9 +0.8 63.8 +0.1 5.5 -0.1 29.6 +0.8
6/1 51.5 -0.8 48.1 +1.2 65.4 +1.6 5.6 +0.1 30.9 +1.3
6/8 49.8 -1.7 49.0 +0.9 67.2 +1.8 5.8 +0.2 29.7 -1.2
6/15 50.6 +0.8 49.4 +0.4 66.4 -0.8 5.8 0.0 31.0 +1.3
6/22 50.7 +0.1 49.6 +0.2 65.0 -1.4 6.0 +0.2 31.2 +0.2
6/29 52.9 +2.2 49.1 -0.5 65.8 0.8 6.1 +0.1 30.6 -0.6
7/6 54.5 +1.6 49.7 +0.6 64.2 -1.6 6.2 +0.1 30.9 +0.3
7/13 56.4 +1.9 48.9 -0.8 61.8 -2.4 6.2 0 30.0 -0.9
7/20 55.3 -1.1 48.9 0 63.0 1.2 6.2 0 30.7 +0.7
7/27 55.2 -0.1 48.3 -0.6 63.7 0.7 6.0 -0.2 31.6 +0.9
8/3 54.3 -0.9 47.9 -0.4 63.4 -0.3 6.1 +0.1 31.3 -0.3
8/10 53.6 -0.7 47.8 -0.1 64.0 0.6 6.0 -0.1 30.5 -0.8
8/17 52.2 -1.4 46.4 -1.4 62.1 -1.9 6.1 +0.1 29.5 -1
8/24 50.1 -2.1 45.3 -1.1 60.6 -1.5 6.1 0 30.6 +1.1
8/31 49.6 -0.5 46.3 +1 59.6 -1 6.2 +0.1 29.4 -1.2

[Source: EIA]

The only positive that I see is that for the 4th week this year, gasoline consumption dropped over the year ago week.

Overall, we have used 11.48 million barrels of gasoline more this year than the prior year to date.

Price elasticity of demand ?

Not much hope,


In order to keep their inventories (especially inventories of the appropriate type of crude oil) within a comfortable range, they can: (1) Pay higher prices and/or (2) Reduce crude oil input (resulting in less product output).

I'm somewhat mystified here westexas.

Crude inventories still high. Utilization pretty high at 92.1%. Gasoline inventories low. Crude oil prices increasing. Gasoline prices steady.

How does this all fit? If the crude input was reduced as you suggest, wouldn't we be seeing lower utilization, higher gas prices, and steady crude prices?

It seems with plenty of crude inventory, crude prices wouldn't be going up, but with low gasoline inventory, gasoline prices would go up. In other words we should have a bigger markup between the price of crude and the price of gas. But we are seeing a smaller markup as crude increases and gasoline stays steady.

This also seems to suggest at current prices crude supply is adequate but refinery capacity is insufficient. Let me rephrase that. At current prices refinery capacity rather than crude supply seems to be the limiting factor on how much gasoline we can produce.

What in the world is going on?

As noted elsewhere, our crude oil inventories, both in terms of absolute numbers and Days of Supply, are below what we used to carry in the Eighties to early Nineties. The industry has gone to a Just In Time inventory system.

Assuming a crude oil MOL of 270 mb, we have four (4) Days of Supply in excess of MOL. The recent five year inventory numbers, IMO, are just reflecting small changes in inventories, just above the MOL.

In regard to refinery utilization, we used to operate at higher percentages, routinely above 95%. For a number of reasons--old equipment; damage; deferred maintenance and more complex environmental rules (and perhaps lack of crude oil)--we may never again reach 95%.

My point is that the refining/delivery system won't crash if gasoline stations go empty, but refineries will have big problems if their crude oil inventories drop below critical levels. This actually happened in Germany, when one refinery suffered damage, because of unannounced curtailments of Russian crude oil exports to Germany.

So, as I said, I think that we should focus on world crude oil production (down), world crude oil exports (down), US product inventories (down) and crude oil prices (up), in order to determine what is going on in world oil markets.

By Vladimir Socor
Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Germany (and specifically the Schwedt and Leuna refineries) had experienced oil supply shortfalls for three days in January of this year; and Schwedt’s desulphurization installations were damaged by that stoppage.

For first 242 days of 2007 v 2006

  • Total Products Supplied are UP 238 kbpd
  • Total Net Imports are DOWN 169 kbpd

No need to increase imports if domestic supply is increasing.

Total US crude oil production has declined at about 2% per year, from 1970 to 2006.

Since 1990, our long term rate of increase in total net imports has been about 5% per year, through 2006.

We have met product demand this year by drawing down product inventories. Since we are now measuring US gasoline inventories in terms of hours of supply in excess of MOL, this drawdown cannot continue indefinitely.

Except that our oil inventories are well above the upper end of the average amount for this time of year. Really WT, do you have this stuff copied in a notebook for future posting? Why include domestic oil production at all when comparing to gasoline?

Except that our oil inventories are well above the upper end of the average amount for this time of year.

Only in regard to the five year average.

They are below absolute and Days of Supply numbers that we used to have in the Eighties to early Nineties. What the five year average numbers reflect are small changes in the Days of Supply numbers in excess of MOL of crude oil inventories.

Using 270 mb for the crude oil MOL, we currently have about 4 Days of Supply in excess of MOL, versus 8 days plus that we used to carry in the Eighties. In any case, the whole point of my post up the thread was that OECD crude oil inventories are unlikely, at least in the short term, to fall below certain levels, even with declining crude oil production and declining world exports.

In regard to domestic crude oil production, our crude oil consumption has to decline, at the same volumetric rate (bpd) that our domestic production declines--just to keep crude oil imports flat.


Using the BP numbers I get a decline of about 1.4% per year rather than 2%. I believe that its been closer to 2% over the last ten to twelve years though.

The EIA shows a crude + condensate decline rate of 1.9%, to be exact, from 1970 to 2006 (2.2% for the Lower 48). I believe that BP is probably adding in NGL's.

Thanks for that clarification. The devil's in the decimals.

US oil production is in fact up about 3% between 2006 and 2007.

First 5 months of 2006 (All liquids) 8,228,000 BPD

First 5 months of 2007 (All liquids) 8,471,000 BPD

The change is similar on a C+C basis. It looks as though at least part of this increase is because some of the oil production that went off line after the 2005 hurricanes is gradually getting back on line. Some was still out in the first part of 2006, but is back in in 2007.

IMO, US all liquids data are misleading, because of the effect of refinery gains, and I agree that most of the C+C rebound was due to recovery from hurricane damage to production infrastructure and gathering systems.

Year to date US C+C is up about 1.1% over the 2006 average. I suspect that total 2007 data will be flat, or down slightly over 2006.

In any case, post-peak producing regions sometimes can and do show year over year increases, e.g., Texas.

I think nearly all of it is still recovery from 2005. The data here show it pretty clearly if you graph it:


I don't immediately have a place to post an image, but here are the raw numbers. First half of 2007 is still well below first half of 2005, so the current YOY increase is just rebound:

Y2004 5,570 5,556 5,607 5,527 5,548 5,398 5,458 5,333 5,062 5,156 5,396 5,413
Y2005 5,441 5,494 5,601 5,556 5,581 5,460 5,240 5,218 4,204 4,534 4,837 4,984
Y2006 5,047 5,048 5,016 5,067 5,100 5,219 5,171 5,155 5,188 5,195 5,149 5,275
Y2007 5,196 5,147 5,178 5,218 5,240 5,139

The EIA numbers do not add up. If you look at the average changes in production, imports, and demand over the time frame listed in the tabulated EIA data from the weekly oil inventory report, you get the following:

2006 2007 Y/Y Change
Prod 9.02 9.12 0.10 Million Barrels/week
Imports 1.25 1.25 0.00 Million Barrels/week
10.26 10.37

Demand 9.44 9.52 0.08 Million Barrels/week
Net 0.82 0.85 0.03 Million Barrels/week

Change -0.22 -0.64 -0.42 Million Barrels/week

From the above, it can be seen that we should be increasing oil stocks, not decreasing them. So, can anyone explain why there might be a consistent overstatement in inventory drawdowns? Is this filling of the SPR?

If we are truly increasing production faster than our demand is increasing in 2007 as compared to 2006, as indicated by these numbers, then price should drop, right?

Yep, plain as day. Here'a graph of the data mentioned above (years 2000-2007 plotted):


Mortgage woes push foreclosures to record high

The number of homeowners receiving foreclosure notices hit a record high in the spring, driven up by problems with subprime mortgages.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Thursday that mortgage-holders starting the foreclosure process in the April-June quarter reached 0.65 percent, marking the third consecutive quarter that this figure has set an all-time high.

Bonnie and Clyde get a lot of credit for their bank heists but little for their scouting prowess...during their hey-day 40% of US banks were closed...The brilliant Henry C.K. Liu explains in part 2 of his current 'Credit Bust Bypasses Banks':


'The 1933 Glass-Steagall Act became a key pillar of banking law by erecting a regulatory wall between commercial banking and investment banking. The law kept banks from participating in the equity markets, and equity market participants from being banks. The relevant measure of the Glass-Steagall Act is actually the Banking Act of 1933, containing the provision erecting a wall separating the banking and securities businesses. It also left a small loophole to allow the Federal Reserve to let banks get involved in the securities business in a limited way to relieve otherwise cumbersome operation.

Glass-Steagall (actually two acts arising from bills sponsored by Democratic senator Carter Glass and Democratic congressman Henry B Steagall) was born during the Great Depression. The US banking system was in shambles, with more than 11,000 banks having failed or had to merge, reducing the number of surviving banks by 40%, from 25,000 to 14,000. The governors of several states closed their state banks and in March 1933, president Franklin Roosevelt briefly closed all the banks in the United States. Congressional hearings conducted in early 1933 concluded that the trusted professionals of the financial markets - the bankers and brokers - were guilty of disreputable and dishonest dealings and gross misuse of the public trust.'

Not trying to feed the doom but this site is important to monitor;


"At the separate site Tanggamus Iman Sumarjo health agency head has distributed Tamiflu medicine (bird flu medicine deterrent) for free to all the residents in two villages especially those neighborhoods with dead chickens, the administration has continued to do so that every resident gets 10 tablets point Tamiflu medicine, said Faith."

It's not clear yet what sort of outbreak this is. Hundreds of people have apparently taken ill in the last 3 weeks on a south Sumatran island -- so far, 4 people have died. The authorities are talking about typhoid (translated as typhus using the machine-translator, but that usually should be typhoid).

Thousands of poultry have also died -- with symptoms that could sound like bf. It's not clear yet whether the poultry deaths and the human illness/deaths are connected -- but it's certainly very suspicious.

Strong Hurricane In Gulf Of Mexico Could Generate $65 Billion Offshore Energy Loss

EQECAT, Inc., a subsidiary of ABSG Consulting Inc. (ABS Consulting), and the leading authority on extreme-risk modeling, said today that a strong hurricane like Camille, a category 5 storm, with a track through the heart of Gulf of Mexico U.S. offshore energy platforms, could generate energy producer damage and loss of more than $65 billion.

“Property damage alone could exceed $35 billion and losses due to business interruption and reduction in production capacity could add another $30 billion to the loss,” said Richard Clinton, president of EQECAT. “Industry insured losses are more difficult to estimate due to the changes in allocated insurance capacity, policy terms and limits following the large losses from 2004-2005 hurricanes, but could certainly be in the $15 billion range,” Mr. Clinton continued.

Syrians say they opened fire on Israeli aircraft

Syrian air defenses opened fire on Israeli aircraft that violated Syrian airspace, a Syrian military spokesman said Thursday.

The Israelis broke the sound barrier and “dropped ammunition” over deserted areas of northern Syria overnight, the spokesman was quoted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency.

I heard that this morning on NPR and immediately thought "practice run to test air defenses."

One of the ways Israeli aircraft could fly to Iran would be to straddle the border between Turkey/Syria and then Turkey/Iraq. Such a flight path is fairly direct and would have the advantage of not likely being intercepted even if detected.

However, this is just entertaining speculation. Up the thread I said a U.S. attack on Iran is not likely, and I think at this stage an Israeli attack is also unlikely.

Straddling the Turko-Syrian and Turko-Iraqi borders involves violating all three parties airspace. Turkey actually has a decent airforce and might not be too happy about the incursions - they're certainly not going to give the Israelis permission to do this. The Syrians will actively try to shoot Israeli planes down and their Iranian military liaisons will be sending across an early warning of a possible attack. The US is required by its UN mandate to prevent the violation of Iraqi airspace, and it's doubtful that Olmert and Maliki are on speaking terms to smooth things over.

It's also a very indirect route if you're trying to get to Isfahan or Natanz, involves flying at some altitude due to mountainous terrain, and certainly results in the Iranians getting a 60-120 minute warning of incoming Israeli aircraft, their approach vectors ( useful for sending up interceptors to form a welcoming committee), and generally results in catastrophic losses for the IAF well before they get close to their targets.

You're probably right - it is implausible, and as I indicated, I don't think such an attack is in the offing.

Just as a mental exercise though, if you commanded the Israeli Air Force and wanted to get to Iran, how would you do it? There is no good way to get there. Their other options are to fly over (1) most of Saudi Arabia, (2) Jordan and Iraq (which would also require active U.S. cooperation), or (3) take an incredibly long route with multiple in-flight refueling actions around the Red Sea and Arabian Sea.

With such a difficult challenge, the Syria/Turkey/Iraq border route might be the best bad option. They would need to get the U.S. and Turkey to agree to look the other way (plausibly saying that the planes were in Syrian airspace), fly at night - the Syrian radar may not be that good, etc.

If I commanded the Israeli Air Force and wanted to get at Iran, I would ask the Mossad to create a false-flag terrorist attack against the US that would be blamed on Iran so that the United States Air Force would do my dirty work for me.

It is suspected that Israel made supply drops in Syria. If this is the case, preparations are being made for the initiation of hostilities. It sounds like an attack is in the offing.

That is interesting. Who is actually reporting this suspician? I presume that the supply drops would be for .... ?

My understanding is that Russia is heavily invested in Syria and that Russia is planning or building a naval base on the Syrian coast. I wonder what the tipping point might be for Russia. Would they sit idley by and watch Israel bomb the hell out of Syria?

"That is interesting. Who is actually reporting this suspician?"

Cid Yama.

Here is the Associated Press report on Syria firing on Israeli aircraft. Note that Syria itself charges that Israel dropped "munitions" inside Syria.

One comment noted that the "munitions" dropped may have been external fuel tanks, dropped when the aircraft came under fire in order to increase maneuverability and escape that hostile fire.

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

An unnamed Western Diplomatic source within Syria earlier reported this but, it is now being reported that bomb loads were dropped and external fuel tanks, It appears they may have been making a go on Iran but aborted. Sorry but that's the best I can do. More is coming out as time passes. Pehaps by tomorrow morning we will have a clearer picture. From the location and track of the aircraft, it appears they were headed towards the Heavy Water Plant at Arak, although the enrichment facility at Natanz is further along the same route.

Interesting that the US was conducting carrier exercises off the coast of Turkey. Israeli jets launched from carriers with external fuel tanks could possibly make it to Iranian targets. This could get real interesting.

Older but possibly related news:

Israel, US, Turkey Hold Joint Maritime Recovery Operations

"The objective of this exercise is to practice coordinated emergency search and rescue procedures and measures for safety of life at sea," a spokesman said in a statement.

Such proceedures would be used to recover downed pilots in the Mediterranean.


US and France conduct Joint Carrier Exercises in the Mediterranean

Joint Exercises including cross carrier landings take place in the Mediterranean between the US Carrier Enterprise and French Carrier DeGaulle.


This former US Navy aviator would be greatly surprised to see any attempt by the IAF (Israeli Air Force) to fly from US carriers. The only plane they have that is designed for carrier takeoffs is the TA-4, a two seat trainer variant of the US Navy's old A-4 attack plane.

The TA-4 is not equipped with the modern avionics necessary to handle modern precision ordnance. The versions I flew in flight training didn't even have radar and had limited ordnance capabilities, basically a 20 mm cannon and gravity bombs. It is highly vulnerable to modern anti-aircraft systems.

The IAF's attack aircraft inventory consists primarily of F-16's and F-15's. Neither is capable of carrier take-offs and landings. They lack the tail-hooks needed to land aboard the carrier and the special gear required to connect to the catapults that launch the planes off the carrier. There are other design and safety issues as well.

Plus, IAF pilots are not trained for carrier takeoffs, which can be abruptly fatal to pilots not ready to deal with the sudden acceleration and G-forces. Even the few highly experienced US Air Force pilots who serve on exchange duty with the US Navy undergo months of training before they are allowed to do carrier flight operations.

IAF flights from a US carrier would not only threaten the IAF pilots and planes but also the US carrier, its planes and its crew.

IAF flights from carriers are indeed silly given the contents of their inventory, but an IAF package mixing and/or refueling with U.S. planes wouldn't be out of the range of possibilities. The Bush administration really wants to distract us via a dust up with Iran.

Yup, CID...this one is silly.

They have better bombing packages(F-15Es with conformal long range tanks) for that range, plus if they were to involve the US it wouldn't be from a carrier...most likely in flight refueling over Iraq(who's to know it ever happened).

This was not an aborted attack...if anything it was a mistake or a recon run and the so-called munitions dropped was chaff and maybe flares.

Could have been just painting targets for intel.

Or...its all a bunch a whooey.

Sorry about the bad link on the crossdeck ops. Try this one.


"The Israeli Air Force has formidable capabilities and enjoys unchallenged supremacy vis-à-vis the other Middle East air powers, but Israel has no aircraft carriers and it cannot use airbases in other Middle East states," the report entitled "Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran," said. "Therefore its operational capabilities are reduced when the targets are located far from its territory."

In an article authored by Shlomo Brom, former head of air force strategic planning, the report said Israel's deep-strike air capability was based on the F-15I and F-16C/D aircraft. At a range of more than 600 kilometers, Brom said, Israel could not sustain an air campaign. Iran is about 1,000 kilometers from Israel.

Brom said Iranian nuclear assets are located between 1,500 and 1,700 kilometers from Israel. The report expressed doubts whether such Israeli allies as India and Turkey would allow Israel to launch a military strike from their territory.

"This means that the Israeli attack aircraft would have to take off from air bases in Israel, fly 1,500-1,700 kilometers to the targets, destroy them, and then fly back 1,500-1,700 kilometers," the report said.


The Sixth Fleet, which operates in the Mediterranean, conducts twice or three times a year carrier training with the IDF's Air Force and Navy.

Another consideration would be that we may have provided aerial refueling over the Med off the coast of Turkey, either carrier-based using S3-B's or Air Force Tankers based in Turkey.

The training between 6th Fleet carrier(s) and IDF Air units consists of things like communications procedures, air intercept control, joint strike ops, joint planning and air-to-air refueling. IDF pilots and planes do not operate from the carriers.

USAF KC-10 and KC-135 tankers are a far better choice for inflight refueling of F-15's on a long range strike. Two KC-10's can provide more fuel to the same number of F-15's as all 6 of the S-3B's a single carrier is likely to get into the air at one time. And the KC-10's can do it faster and over a wider operating area.

Hurricane Forecast: Heightened Activity For Rest Of Season

Science Daily — Above-average hurricane activity is expected for the remaining three months of the hurricane season, the Colorado State University forecast team said September 4.

The individual month of September and the two-month period of October-November are expected to experience five named storms each. In September, the forecast calls for four of the five storms to become hurricanes and two to become major hurricanes. In October-November, the team forecasts two of the five named storms to become hurricanes and one to become a major hurricane.

Taking Nature's Cue For Cheaper Solar Power

Science Daily — Solar cell technology developed by Massey University’s Nanomaterials Research Centre will enable New Zealanders to generate electricity from sunlight at a 10th of the cost of current silicon-based photo-electric solar cells.

Dr Wayne Campbell and researchers in the centre have developed a range of coloured dyes for use in dye-sensitised solar cells.


Dr Campbell says that unlike the silicon-based solar cells currently on the market, the 10x10cm green demonstration cells generate enough electricity to run a small fan in low-light conditions – making them ideal for cloudy climates. The dyes can also be incorporated into tinted windows that trap to generate electricity.

He says the green solar cells are more environmentally friendly than silicon-based cells as they are made from titanium dioxide – a plentiful, renewable and non-toxic white mineral obtained from New Zealand’s black sand. Titanium dioxide is already used in consumer products such as toothpaste, white paints and cosmetics.

dye sensitized cells are photodegrative, meaning they degrade upon exposure to light. Ergo their useful lives are quite short currently.

if the cells only last 10 years compared with the current 35 and are 10 times cheaper, you only end up with (assuming same power) something which is roughly 3 times better. (ie 3.5 times as many replacements are nessisary)

Don't forget to factor in the labor to R&R those cells every so often.

Yep. Until that service call and recharge cost and frequency is known it is hard to assess the economics of this system.

In addition if the cell degrades over time from 100% to 0% you would have to divide the total output again by 2.

I would suggest though that the dye cells would still beat solar cells even with equal lifetime output per $ invested - they would provide faster payback which would be able to recover the initial investment faster and reduce interest.

Of course without the numbers these are only speculations. If the cell degrades for a month maybe it is not worth considering at all.

I agree with you, mostly. What is needed as new types of solar cell technologies emerge, with varying panel lifetimes, is a standard, which I assert is the levelized cost of electricity from each particular source.

If the cell degrades over time from 100% to 0%, you would divide by 2 if the decay was linear.

You actually have to adjust the total output by some decay function. I would guess that decay is a function of the dye in the cell, the more dye there is, the more decay happens. As more decay happens, there is less to decay, and the rate of decay falls.

I'm guessing that the functional, usable total output is less than the stated total output divided by 2.

I'm guessing that the functional, usable total output is less than the stated total output divided by 2.

It's likely to be considerably greater. Why? It has to do with how the end of life (EOL) is determined in the case of a gradual (parametric) failure.

The funtionality reduces gradually with time, often reasonably modeled as an exponential decay. Products I have worked with which fail gradually have EOL declared at a specified performance level, usually between 50% and 80%. (I'd like to put in a comparable figure specifically for existing solar cells, but I'm having trouble finding one.)

An exponential decay from 100% to 50% has an average level of 72%.

'Only end up with .. something 3 times better.'

You make it sound like that's a problem. OK, it's not 10 times better, like the costs mentioned, but a 3-fold increase in production would make any producer fairly happy.

As far as more frequent replacement costs, (Korg's comment) it isn't too challenging to design panels that plug in and snap in, about as easily as any circuit-breaker or car battery. Sounds a lot easier than what we do to reshingle our roofs every 10-15 years.

Of course, it's still in the R&D phase, so we'll have to see if they can find more stable dyes.. but sounds like a good start so far.


Can anyone provide me with a rational explanation as to why the US got along ok economically in the '80s despite a 20% drop in world crude production from '80 to '83? I have my own ideas, but wanted to see what people thought of this statement. When arguing with people who think peak oil is a non-issue, this came up, and I've been researching...

I'd put it down to three factors.

One, the high oil prices did cause economic slowdowns, which reduced demand. You can see the "notches" caused by the energy crises of the '70s/early '80s.

Two, there was substitution. Power plants that ran on oil switched to natural gas and other fuels, for example. You can kind of see it in this graph:

Oil drops off, and nuclear, coal, and natural gas bump up in the '80s.

And last but not least, there was an increase in efficiency. More fuel-efficient cars, higher standards for insulating homes and offices, more efficient appliances, etc.

The problem with that is it can't go on forever. You reach a point of diminishing returns with efficiency. Much of the low-hanging fruit there was picked in the '70s and '80s, and we may be hard-pressed to come up with similar improvements now.

Thanks Leanan. Right, so did the swing crude producers throttle back voluntarily to keep the price from collapsing (which it did anyway)? I was trying to find some charts of Saudi production (and others) that go back that far, but wasn't too successful.

So it appears that declines in crude production coincide with recessions and GDP dips. So, why can't we assume that things will be relatively "OK" after the world bumps its head a few times on the oil production ceiling, triggering recessions, causing 10-20% decline in crude over say 5 years. After that it obvious things will get worse, but if you assume a decline rate of <5% for world production, it will take decades to get into dangerous territory.


Right, so did the swing crude producers throttle back voluntarily to keep the price from collapsing (which it did anyway)?

Yes, they did. See here.

And here is Saudi Arabia's production by itself. (Note that this chart was done in 2005, and the spike at the end is hope, not fact.)

So, why can't we assume that things will be relatively "OK" after the world bumps its head a few times on the oil production ceiling, triggering recessions, causing 10-20% decline in crude over say 5 years. After that it obvious things will get worse, but if you assume a decline rate of <5% for world production, it will take decades to get into dangerous territory.

Depends on what you mean by "dangerous."

A recession that goes on for five years is a depression. (The Great Depression lasted only four years.) The population is growing, so the economy must grow, too, or a lot of people will be out of work. How will they pay for increasingly expensive food and fuel?

There's also the danger of things going "nonlinear." Nuclear war, a dollar collapse, etc.

But if you mean can we scrape by for five years post-peak without turning into Mad Max world...yes, I think that's quite possible.

Hard to believe that the switch from hummers to prius type cars, plus car pooling, would not be significant...

That is one area where we can make improvements. We've kind of backslid when it comes to fuel efficiency.

But that's only one factor. The cutbacks 30 years ago included many others.

Can we cut back? Sure. Can we cut back as much as we did 30 years ago? Not easily, I suspect.

Maybe you were too young to remember those years, but in addition to car-pooling the place I worked everybody took a 10% wage cut so no one would be laid off and even though the lighting was flourescent, every other bulb was removed. Plus we all wore appropriate clothes for the temperatures so that heating/AC could be reduced. If you had to take a trip out of town, you carried enough gasoline in jerry cans with you to get back home.

At my office, we're already doing the "remove half the bulbs" and cutting back on the heat/aircon, and have for years. (They not only raise the thermostat in summer and lower it in winter, they have it on a timer so it runs it only 40-45 minutes out of the hour.)

They're doing it to save money, not to save energy.

I suppose when TSHTF, they could remove all the bulbs, and make us bring in our own flashlights...

Where I work it's in our lease that the landlord pays all the utilities. There are two HVAC systems that each control half of our floor. For a while last winter one system was heating while the other was running A/C. Half the people were too cold, half were too hot.

And now the landlord wants to re-negotiate our lease (which has ~2 years left) because it's not "fair." Rather than using that as leverage to break our lease without penalty so we can find space that better suits our needs (having a proper server room, e.g.), our manager said, "Tough." Peak insanity.

It would - the only question is how much time does it buy?

less time then it would take to turn over the vehicle fleet. most likely by a factor of 2.

With regard to holding the Iraqi government accountable - What about the US government?

Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction

Salon exclusive: Two former CIA officers say the president squelched top-secret intelligence, and a briefing by George Tenet, months before invading Iraq.


Bush is a crook. Some of the DOD contractors are delighted with the possibility of six more years of war. They did not complain about the battle cost overruns, they cashed in on them. What was planned to be a $40 billion dollar invasion has turned into a nightmare of lives lost, property loss, and wasted time.

Retired Four Star General Wesly Clark previous commander of Nato forces warned of Bush's kick ass intentions toward Iran:

Clark Speech

For four years it has been the administration claiming they are on the right path, but their destination is deceptive. An ancient general named Pyrrhus said, "We won the battle, but we lost the war." The Iraqis are not paying the costs of the United States defending them, nor did they seem well defended.

That graph of arctic ice extent for August, year-to-year, is one of the most ominous things I've seen yet. While a linear regression line has been plotted through it, it is sure looking more like a non-linear, exponential trend.

Talk about summertime arctic ice being entirely gone in a couple of decades is starting to look pretty credible. If that happens, bye-bye Greenland ice cap, and then bye-bye to all coast line that is less than 10-25 meters above present sea level.

From http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/ it seems that see ice has actually increased last week or so. I think it's a bit too early for new ice to appear. Mostly likely ice is coming from somewhere else. It also seems that ice extend increased only around Greenland. Could it be that Greenland ice is sliding into ocean?

The numbers seem to be measuring different things. The cryosphere link quotes a value of 3.07 million square km here:


But the article posted above in Drumbeat quotes a value of 4.42 million square km on 4 Sept here:


Not sure what the difference is. Either way, looks like it has thankfully bottomed out for now.

I'm morbidly curious to see how high the sea ice extent grows this winter. That should be a good indication of whether positive feedback from all this year's extreme summer melting starts to cause an exponentially increasing runaway melting effect. As an outsider looking at the data, even a date as soon as 2030 for ice free summers sounds optimistic to me, seems it could be even earlier than that.

The difference between the figures is that one is for sea ice area, which counts only the actual ice, the other for sea ice extent, which includes the open water (leads) amidst the ice floes. As you note, both are at alarming new record low levels.

I posted on this over a year ago, and if someone can tell me how to paste in a spreadsheet I'll include the table I created to incorporate the loss of sea ice area with the reduction in thickness from here:


which led me to see this catastrophic decline coming. The mass of ice is shrinking much more rapidly than has been visible to our satellites. Go click around on the cryosphere today and/or nsidc and you'll see pretty quickly how bad this is. Then add the thinning info from above and you'll begin to believe as I do that summer ice anything more than a decade from now is a fantasy. One simple way of looking at this is that sea ice area, since satellite measurement began in '79, bottomed out at about 5Mkm2 during the 80's, 4.5 during the 90's, 4 during the 00's, and had never gone below 4 until this year, when it went to 3. If the trend from 06-07 continues just linearly, we have 3 more years of summer ice. Indications are that it is not linear, but exponential. Of course this year could be an abberation. Either way, summer ice more than ten years out seems unexaggerateably unlikely to me.

There's room for the ice area to drop plenty more yet. When I commented about a week ago, the line seemed to be flattening out, but now it seems to have resumed its previous steep decline. I noted that in the previous record low year of 2005, the minimum was not reached until about 20 September - after the line had almost flattened out a couple fo weeks earlier. As it is, the ice extent has fallen 0.36 million km2 between 27 August and 3 Sept on the site linked by Leanan. Presumebly the decline will be less steep from here on, but could well get down to around 4 million km2 - nearly 20% below the previous minimum. It could be that the decline is becoming non-linear - the sort of trend that James Hansen fears for other ice melts like Greenland.

My partner is an environmental scientist and is greatly worried by climate change, even more so than by peak oil of which she is well aware. She grew up in rural Ireland and in her childhood use of fossil fuel - other than turf - was minimal. She actually coined a saying a few weeks ago - "peak oil threatens your livelyhood, climate change threatens your life".

People are focused on the solid ice number near 3M km^2 and this recent 4.4M km^2 is solid ice and areas with ice flows. As important as these numbers, but much harder to measure, is the overall thickness of that remaining 3M km^2 of ice.

During the 1950s when we started running nuclear subs under the arctic ice pack it averaged 10' thick. I saw a number in the 1990s indicating it was down to 6' average thickness.

That 1.4M km^2 of ice floes is the ice that was too thin to stand up to wave action. How much more of the remaining 3M km^2 is right on the border line? This will feed forward - ice breaks up, water absorbs 90% of sunlight instead of the ice reflecting 80%, and the warming spreads ...

The additional white stuff floating in the ocean is 15,000 polar bear carcasses.

It is pretty alarming. Especially since it's happening so much faster than the models predicted.

Forget streetcars, we're going to need electric submarines the way things are going.

The ice thats floating in the Arctic Ocean wont cause sea levels to rise when it melts, at least not until the newly melted water warms up quite a bit. Its the ice on land that we need to be worried about.

But it's the ice that's floating that's keeping the ice that's on land, on land.

If you look at the arctic ice maps, you'll see that the ice almost never touches land during summer months anyway...

It's not just the arctic I'm concerned about. It's just the canary in the coalmine.

like a non-linear, exponential trend

There has been mention of the diminished albedo once the ice cover is gone. Since the melting ice is absorbing energy, once the ice fully melts there should be a significant jump in polar temperatures due to a combination of loss of albedo and loss of cooling. I haven't seen any estimates for the cooling factor.

WMC: If one follows the chart posted, it appears to indicate an ice free summer by 2014 (unless current trends change).

Kunstler has a new eyesore of the month posted: http://www.kunstler.com/eyesore.html

The "Mama RV". Wow. I had no idea. It reminds me of this story from The Onion in 2001, New Toyota SUV Holds Eight Passengers And Their SUVs.

A terrestrial version of the F-85 concept:


Makes about as much sense, too. Haven't these people ever hear of rental cars?

Here is a nice shot of Mr. Goblin with mothership B-36 Peacemaker in the background.


Yesterday, we discussed a Stratfor.com report on increased incidences of home invasions, specifically targeting middle and upper income Americans.

CNBC just reported on an attempted home invasion, by a masked intruder, at Warren Buffet's house. The intruder and a guard scuffled, and the intruder fled the scene.

Anyone had trouble buying ammunition lately? Aren't some type of ammo hard to come by?

To offer an example, this site is generally quite well supplied.


Out of 25 varieties of .223/5.56mm ammo, 14 are marked "Sold Out for Now, More Coming in Soon". The stuff which is not out of stock are tracers, blanks, and match grade (and that Wolf stuff from Russia).

EDIT: The .223/5.56 ammo price thread over on AR15.com is showing EVERYONE out of stock on EVERYTHING (except one place that has Wolf).

There is a shortage of .223 Remington in the heavier bullet weights (60+ grains). Black Hills has dedicated much of their production to the military which has reduced the civilian supply and raised ammo prices. Of course, one can always get crappy Wolf ammo in this caliber ...

No shortage of ammo for mainstream handgun calibers -- .40 S&W, 9 mm, .45 etc. In fact, I've come across some good deals on .40 S&W hollow points recently.

One can quantify the public's unease/uncertainty/lack of confidence/pessimism by ammunition sales (at least in America). The cheap stuff in the common calibers (i.e., the stuff that one might store "just in case") have become hard to come by. Anyone can verify this by surfing around the 'net. The expensive stuff is still available, but not so much the cheap stuff. Wolf ammo tends to have steel jackets that are not so desirable for firearm longevity. Not only ammunition (cartridges), but also cheap bullets and brass are difficult to find.

Here is a comment I heard from someone in the business: The ammo manufacturers (Federal, maybe CCI, others?) have mentioned that they see an annual surge in ammo buying in the fall for hunting seasons. Well, this year that surge has not let up -- demand increased as usual in fall '06, but has not dropped off.

While I'm here, I'd like to share a movie quote:

Independence Day (1996)
Gen. Gray: "Are you all right?"
President Thomas Whitmore: "I saw... its thoughts. I saw what they're planning to do. They're like locusts. They're moving from planet to planet... their whole civilization. After they've consumed every natural resource they move on... and we're next...."

So...in what way are humans any different?

Buffett's house is not well defended - I drive by it all the time - its large, but its just another house in Omaha's Dundee neighborhood. I used to live about six blocks from him and I am not a wealthy man.


Virus becomes new suspect in bee die-off

Scientists have found a new prime suspect in the deaths of about a quarter of America's honeybees, a mystery that could take a multibillion-dollar toll on the nation's agricultural industry.

Months of genetic testing have fingered a virus that was first reported in Israel just three years ago and may have passed through Australia on its way to the United States. The correlation between Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus and the mysterious bee disease — known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD — was reported Thursday on the journal Science's Web site.

This virus that was identified three years ago, IAPV? I can find next to nothing on the web that mentions IAPV or "Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus", that do not mention the current bee problem.

Is anything else known about IAPV? I can't even find information on what species this virus is supposed to infect.

McMansions Turn 'McApartments,' Stirring Ire
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 4, 2007; Page B02

Some of the new homes, neighbors and town leaders say, are being used as boardinghouses for several families or unrelated people....

"Our concern with these McMansions is they are not single-family homes," LaVerne Williams of Lewisdale told a group of county planners and elected officials in Riverdale. "You are turning our communities into rooming communities."

Wow.... who was it that was predicting that McMansions would be turned into multi-family homes.... I know there were a few people on TOD that were saying this.... I just didn't think it would happen this fast....

I was one that mentioned it, but probably not the first.

Of course, this is nothing new - it has been going on in cities for years. What is new, perhaps, is for it to happen in upscale suburbs.

The next question is: How long will snob zoning hold out against the increasing numbers of desperate McMansion owners needing to take in paying tennants to help them make their mortgage payments? At what point will suburban homeowners realize that high vacancy rates will do more damage to their property values than will letting people take in tennants?

It is also a sign of the resistance that will develop to the changes in BAU.

Good catch !


Someone posted it to yesterday's DrumBeat, too.

Yes, there's resistance. As we all knew there would be.

But I expect that to change. Better a boarding house or multi-family house than all empty houses.

I also expect there will be more acceptance when it's "people like us" in those boarding houses, rather than immigrants and college students.

Water restrictions may never end - experts

AUSTRALIA may never fully recover from the current decade-long drought due to climate change, experts have warned.

The nation was facing a "new reality" of harsh water restrictions and a new climate with run-offs and river inflows the first casualty, speakers at today's Bureau of Meteorology national post-winter update said.

It was also revealed that although above-average rain fell along Australia's east coast in June-July, August rainfall in the southeast had been "terrible".

Areas affected by drought included nearly all population centres with Adelaide and Brisbane most vulnerable, although Sydney had enjoyed a bumper winter of rain.

Two months of rain was not enough to stop a 10-year drought and the outlook was grim due to "human-induced" climate change, the Bureau's National Climate Centre head Dr Mike Coughlan said

Yep it's weird. This week Australia announced $60bn in LNG export deals but is looking at a failure of the wheat crop. Maybe we could eat money.

bullshit, if it rains a lot some other year everyone will be crying about the disastrous floodings.

This is a 10 year drought which may/may not be related to ACC, but definitely affects Australia.

maybe lawns will be outlawed unless they are gardens.

as always hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

About 11,000 years ago there was a lake in the Sinai desert, ancient man grew grain in the northern Sahara of Egypt, then came global warming and the end of the ice age. Since then the Sahara desert has been moving south displacing people and drying up lakes as it goes.

Australia was described as being in a thousand year drought. In some areas these trends will not get reveresed for some time to come. It is not easy to predict a coming ice age when the current trend is towards more warming. If solar or celestial forces were behind the melting of the glaciers that covered much of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois 11,000 years ago, and if these forces continue, then this was coming anyway. Someone put a thermometer in a glass box full of CO2 and one in a glass box full of air. Both were placed in the sunlight. The CO2 box heated more than the air box. CO2 is causing warming that will benefit some and harm others.

Australian archaeologists have found lots of charcoal in Australia dating to the time when H sapiens arrived; it appears that humans burned off forest. They also found that at least some males were about 6 feet tall at that time, unlike the stunted aboriginies the europeans encountered.

Point is, humans have been deteriorating Australia's climate for a long time. Eurpeans may have more technology, but not more wisdom.

Errol in Miami

According to Mike Davis in Ecology of Fear there were two droughts in the SW US in the last millennium that easily would have cleared-out CA. One was 120 years and another was 225 if I'm not mistaken.


OK but it looks like we’ll have a 1-in-10 year drought every year from now on http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22373479-5007133,00.html
but the lawn watering ban has been great news for chiropractors

Jeremy Leggett wrote:

Global warming has become an issue in the January elections.

Huh? Climate change has been a big issue here for years, and the elections will most likely be in late October or November. The good news is Howard will almost certainly lose, he is 15-20 points behind in the polls.

Bush has lost Blair and he's about to lose Howard.

Loss of Blair, loss of Howard, gain of Sarkozy. Poor Bush ...

Of course the obvious things were NEVER mentioned.

Population is too high.
Our lifestyles waste huge amounts of water.
Our gratuitous industries use huge amounts of water.

Let's call the problem "drought" and impose "restrictions" rather than actually looking at the problems honestly.

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

Hello TODers,

Pat Unverzagt:

“I came out the first day and upchucked in the driveway I mean I couldn't even, couldn't stand it.”

Pat says it's been tough living across the street from a cornfield on Bowser Road in Shrewsbury. That is ever since the company Synagro began fertilizing it with human waste, also known as biosolids.

“We've had nothing but flies eating us alive and an odor.”

Paul Solomon of the Shrewsbury Board of Supervisors:

“We never had more of an outcry since I've been a supervisor, that's eight years, than we have now over this current situation.”
I bet that all these people whining and bitching about the problem WILL NOT give up their flush toilets for proper Humanure Recycling. The solution is obvious if these people accept full responsibility for their own crap. But denial is difficult for most to overcome. Such is life.

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

Hello TODers,

As usual: breaking news backstops further my multiyear postings on Zimbabwe decline.

Does anyone think Americans will gladly give up flush toilets easily as we go postPeak, or will we follow in the mucky, yucky footsteps of Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe: Raw Sewage Flows in Kuwadzana

Raw sewage is flowing in most parts of the suburb, exposing households to diseases. Residents interviewed expressed disappointment at Zinwa for not treating the matter as urgent. "We are surprised that Zinwa has taken almost three months to respond to our crisis. Our children are playing in raw sewerage, exposing them to waterborne diseases.

Another resident, Mr Mathew Matengarwodzi, said life had now become miserable as they had resorted to using a nearby bush for relief.

"We can no longer use our toilets and bathrooms as sewage overflows once we try to do so. The situation has become bad and no one seems to care about it," he said.

He added that most families had to prepare meals in the open as most yards were covered with sewage. When The Herald visited the most affected area along 103 and 104 streets, raw sewerage was overflowing from manholes into the road, gardens and verandas.
Slip sliding away, just slip sliding away. Recall my many earlier postings on Humanure Recycling; possibly using the sewage spiderweb for urban topsoil reform; or worstcase: using the sewage networks for forcing out-migration.

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

The headline should read "California Senate blocks slavery (temporarily)- like a poster comments, if you can legally implant a chip in someone, you own them http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-scan31aug31,0,2715647.story