DrumBeat: October 23, 2007

Chris Skrebowski on alarming new peak oil report (podcast)

Chris Skrebowski, editor of the UK Petroleum Review, speaks with GPM's Julian Darley about the remarkable new oil report from the German-based Energy Watch Group, which states that world oil production peaked in 2006 and will decline by half as soon as 2030.

T. Boone Pickens: we peaked last year, globally (video)

Legendary Texas oilman and chair of BP Capital, T. Boone Pickens, holds an impromptu video question and answer session at ASPO Houston with Global Public Media's Julian Darley and other journalists. Pickens talks about the peaking of world oil production, which he says occurred in 2006.

Opec is Anxious about the Repercussions of Oil Price Jumps

The markets' fear of the Turkish threat goes beyond the invasion of Iraq and an interruption of Kirkuk's oil supplies. The fear lies in the opening of a new front in the Middle East, especially with the expansion of Turkey's regional role in transporting oil and gas via the new pipeline system from the Caspian Sea, Iraq and Iran, and, in the future, from Egypt, via the Arab gas line via Turkey to Europe.

OPEC Takes Ecuador Back As Active Member - Energy Min

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has accepted Ecuador back as an active member, Energy Minister Galo Chiriboga told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

ConocoPhillips Says J-Block Gas Production Restricted

Natural gas flows into the U.K.'s Teesside terminal from ConocoPhillips's J-Block fields in the North Sea are being constrained by difficulties processing gas.

BP profits slump amid company woes

BP PLC reported a 29 percent slump in third-quarter profits Tuesday due to higher maintenance costs and outages at key refineries, but some analysts said the worst might be over after a run of operational problems at Europe's second-largest oil company.

SENEGAL: As fuel prices soar, oil lamps becoming a luxury product

Surging petrol prices in Africa usually weigh most heavily on the emerging urban middle class, making it a struggle to put fuel in cars or motorbikes every day and to pay home electricity bills.

In Senegal, the energy shock is starting to filter down to the most isolated rural areas, where, far from electricity grids and roads, illiterate parents hoping their children will have a better life through education are worrying about how to put fuel in oil lamps so their children can do their homework.

More on Hawaii and the Superferry

Issues of environmental limits and sustainability will become even more critical as the islands begin to be affected by global climate change, and rising costs of food, energy and transportation, due to peak oil driving the costs of fuel skyhigh.

Fortunately, the state Legislature has begun to seriously recognize the magnitude of these issues. It passed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2007, which sets an enforceable limit on Hawaii's greenhouse gas emissions, and established the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Task Force.

Meet the Pivo 2: The car won't reverse

The electric concept car is just one of many wild designs that Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is staking the company's future on.

HP offers technology to cut the Internet’s energy bill

The Internet is hot. Not just hot as in popularity. Hot as in heat.

It’s so hot, in fact, that data centers – those expensive warehouses full of computers that serve up information – are racking up huge power bills. According to HP’s calculations, a large data center with 70,000 square feet of space might guzzle $10.4 million worth of power in a year. Data centers require so much energy that over a three-year period, the computers inside could easily cost a company as much to plug in and cool as they did to purchase in the first place.

NIMBY muscle grows

Community groups opposing development are gaining strength - and finding some unlikely allies.

Heroes of the Environment

Though home to us all, the earth is mute. It doesn't get a vote in any congress or parliament. It doesn't own blocks of shares in the market. It doesn't rise up at a protest rally. It can't even buy a hybrid car. The earth has no voice — so someone must speak for it.

We call the men and women on the following pages heroes, but they could just as easily be called speakers for the planet, a planet that is hanging, as one of them put it years ago, in the balance.

'Bioplastics' seek market niche

So-called "bioplastics" offer the world a way to wean itself off oil, and most biodegrade to varying degrees. But their makers' green argument is complex, and environmentalists are cautious in their support.

Electricity prices see biggest jump in 25 years

The average retail price of electricity increased by more than 9 percent last year, the largest jump in 25 years, the government said Monday.

Electricity prices rose in 2006 by 10 percent or more in 14 states and the District of Columbia, according to an annual report released by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. The average price increase was the largest since 1981.

Roll out the $100 barrel

SOME call it a curse, but those awash in oil must feel blessed at the moment. As the price of a barrel of crude touched a record $90 last week, before settling just below $89, speculators began considering an even bigger benchmark: the $100 barrel. The number rattles consumers, but their worry is probably misplaced.

Oil peak: Fact or alarmist claptrap?

We know the world is going through something of an energy crisis at the moment. Alternatives are being sought urgently but is it happening urgently enough? Certainly a report today from the German based Energy Watch Group implies that we are in serious trouble.

More evidence of tightening oil fundamentals

As global inventories decline at a sustained pace and approach critically low levels, it is not surprising that price volatility increases and that the upside price swings tend to be much stronger.

Petrol rises in price in Ukraine

The last working week (from 15 to 19 of October) characterized by continuing of price growth on all kinds of oil products in Ukraine.

Asia-Pacific airlines cut back on fuel hedging

Many Asian airlines have cut their fuel hedging in a bet that record-high oil prices cannot be sustained, but the cost-saving effort could expose them to sharp losses if a harsh winter drives prices to $100 a barrel.

Australia: BP rejects benchmark fuel prices

Petrol giant BP has given the thumbs down to benchmarking Queensland's fuel prices, saying administration costs would be passed on at the pump.

India: Pay For Your Petrol

The government has decided against raising oil prices till March, even as global petroleum prices touched $88 a barrel last week. It should be bolder. The decision points to the absence of a long-term view on energy management. With oil prices likely to stay up firm in the years to come, India should learn to contain production costs through better energy use and the use of alternative fuels. By subsidising key oil users, such as industry and transport, the government is not doing the economy or the environment any good. Sooner rather than later, energy inefficiency will undercut our competitive abilities. Why not face up to these realities when the going is good - the economy is growing at close to 9 per cent and inflation is ruling at 3 per cent - rather than put off hard decisions for future governments?

Indonesia president: crude oil to hurt budget

Soaring crude oil prices may hurt Indonesia's state budget because of the country's hefty oil subsidies, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Tuesday.

Fuel savings plan could include traffic restrictions, Dominican government says

In the next few days president Leonel Fernandez will announce the plan to save and use energy more efficiently, which includes certain restrictions to transport, vehicle traffic in rush hours and the public and private office schedules, among other measures.

Oil tanker companies' stocks poised to fall

The record increase in oil prices and the unprecedented number of new tankers transporting crude oil is a stock market crash waiting to happen.

Doing the right thing - a bottom-line issue

The last thing executives at Scotiabank need is an environmental group complaining about the amount of paper the bank consumes or a shareholder backlash over loans to a client who manufactures defective products.

City focus: The nuclear fall-out

The less than glowing reputation of Britain's accident-prone nuclear giant has plunged to a new low. Only months after boss Bill Coley promised shareholders and customers were in for a 'far better year', British Energy shocked investors with a new round of reactor shutdowns.

High and Dry

In the space of twenty-four hours, Webdiary received two reviews of Guy Pearse's new book, High and Dry: John Howard, climate change and the selling of Australia’s future (Penguin, 2007).

NASA scientist urges action on climate change

NASA's top climate scientist painted a dire picture Monday - from flooded coastlines to apocalyptic wildfires - unless the world finds a cleaner way to power its light bulbs, motor vehicles and factories.

“We're setting the planet on a trajectory of very dramatic consequences within this century,” James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told an overflow crowd at the University of Montana.

The Energy Solution: Do Something

Carl Pope, the executive director of the Sierra Club, likes to say that the environmental challenge can be boiled down to a pretty simple question. How are we going to fit a billion new rising consumers — mostly from India and China — into a biosphere that is increasingly full? If the world can make room for the newcomers, then we should be able to make it through the 21st century. If not, it won't matter what we do in the U.S. — the sheer scale of the rising demand for energy and raw materials in the developing will render our actions moot.

Panel Urges Global Shift on Sources of Energy

Energy experts convened by the world’s scientific academies yesterday urged nations to shift swiftly away from coal and other fuels that are the main source of climate-warming greenhouse gases and to provide new energy options for the two billion people who still mostly cook in the dark on wood or dung fires.
The full report can be downloaded here.

UK: Half of nuclear power stations closed for repairs

Energy expert Professor Ian Fells, of Newcastle University, said problems with ageing power plants could mean the lights going out if the winter was cold.

"We are relying on ageing coal-fired power stations and ageing nuclear stations, and we are not in a position to rebuild them at the moment," Prof Fells told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Five U.S. nuclear plants shut units for refueling and repairs

A number of nuclear generators began fall refueling outages over the weekend, while Exelon and Edison International shut down three reactors for repairs.

Australia: Diesel fuel shortage worsening

More than a hundred Victorian BP and Mobil service stations switched their diesel pumps off today.

Some regional suppliers are expected to begin running out of fuel over the next two days.

Mobil will not say what was causing the problem but says its Altona Refinery is now back up to full production.

Sub-Sahara needs $563 billion for power

The sub-Saharan African electricity supply market requires a total investment of US$563 billion over the next 20 years, growth consulting company Frost & Sullivan has said.

China, the US, and space solar power

China is already experiencing shortages. The Yangtze Delta region, which includes Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhijiang and contributes almost 20% of China’s GDP, faced capacity shortages of four to five gigawatts during peak summer demand in 2003. In spite of a furious effort to develop new power sources, including dam building and new coal-fired power plants, China’s economic growth is outstripping its capacity to generate the terawatts needed to keep it going.

Far East: The newest global Oil hub

Forget the Middle East. Forget West Africa. The newest oil hub with be in the Far East, with companies plopping down claims and interests in places like the Timor Sea or Bengal Bay.

Vietnam: Oil, gold, food, construction material prices escalate

Dang Vinh Sang, CEO of Ho Chi Minh City-based Saigon Petro said his firm imported petrol from Singapore at $90 a barrel on Thursday. Due to the government cap on fuel prices plus import tax, Vietnamese enterprises are losing up to VND900 for one liter sold, he added.

After Peak Oil, Peak Food

...Forget about how you’ll afford gas to put in your car to get to work as declining production, increasing demand, and the devaluation of the dollar push us towards $100/barrel oil. What needs to be understood is that peak oil likely means peak food. About 17% of US energy use goes into agriculture. The food in the grocery store that you buy traveled a long way to get to you, and it was probably grown with fossil-fuel intensive fertilizers and pesticides. As of 1994, it took 400 gallons of oil and equivalents to feed each US citizen, and that number has probably gone up.

Yes, We're in Peak Oil Today

On August 22, 2005, I wrote an article asking whether the world was in peak oil. In my first paragraph I answered, "It's too early to tell, although the market does show signs of being close to an absolute production limit."

A little over two years later, I think it's prudent, today, to change the answer to a provisional yes.

Labour's plan to abandon renewable energy targets

Ministers are planning a U-turn on Britain's pledges to combat climate change that "effectively abolishes" its targets to rapidly expand the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Gordon Brown will be advised today that the target Tony Blair signed up to this year for 20% of all European energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 is expensive and faces "severe practical difficulties".

Jakarta plans to cut gas exports to Japan

INDONESIA wants to cut its liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Japan from 12 to three million tonnes per year after current contracts between the two nations expire, an official said yesterday.

Indonesia, which is Japan's largest supplier of LNG, has said that it needs more gas to meet the soaring local demand for power, amid record oil prices. It plans to lower the volume of its exports to Japan from 2011 to 2016.

'Japan wants us to keep volume at 12 million tonnes per annum but we disagree. We are still negotiating,' said Mr Iin Arifin, vice-president of state oil and gas firm Pertamina.

China is No Place for Electric Cars - Toyota

"In France, 80 percent of electricity is produced by nuclear stations so if electric cars replace fossil fuel cars then you have a clear reduction in the emission of CO2," said Tatehito Ueda, a managing officer at Toyota Motor Corp.

"But in China they make electricity by burning coal, so China is not the place for electric cars," he told the Nikkei International Automotive Conference in Tokyo.

World's carbon dioxide emissions rising at alarming rate

Carbon dioxide — the greenhouse gas considered most responsible for global warming — has been emitted into the Earth's atmosphere at a dramatically accelerating pace since 2000, researchers reported Monday.

"Carbon dioxide is rising at a much faster rate than before," says study co-author Christopher Field, director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology in California. "In the 1990s, CO2 emissions increased by about 1.3% per year. Since 2000, the growth rate has been 3.3% per year." The researchers calculate that global carbon-dioxide emissions were 35% higher in 2006 than in 1990.

What's especially troubling, notes lead author Josep Canadell of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is most climate scenarios used by scientists and policymakers to predict temperature increases are based on the 1.3% rise. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide warm the planet by trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Energy poses major 21st century crisis: scientists

Energy poses one of the greatest threats facing humanity this century, the world's leading academies of science warned Monday, highlighting the peril of oil wars and climate change driven by addiction to fossil fuels.

Nations must provide power for the 1.6 billion people who live without electricity and wean themselves off energy sources that stoke global warming and geopolitical conflict, the scientists demanded.

"Making the transition to a sustainable energy future is one of the central challenges humankind faces in this century," they said.

No, we're not running out of oil

“Peak oil,” the headline read over Sunday's Prairie Voices interview.

“Just how long will it last?”

The correct answer is “Forever.” As MIT professor Morris Adelman put it, “The great oil shortage is like the horizon, always receding as one moves toward it.” But Adelman's is a fundamental insight of economics, a science that considers human behavior and so is a better tool for analyzing scarcity than is geology.

Chile to Lay Claim to Piece of Antarctica

Chile's foreign minister said Monday that his country will ask the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to recognize Santiago's claim of sovereignty over a chunk of Antarctica.

Dick Cheney’s Halliburton to Profit as Peak Oil Approaches

Offshore is the last great frontier in the oil business, the only undiscovered country out there, unless you think there’s oil on the moon. The trouble with going offshore is that it’s incredibly expensive and ridiculously hard to do. There are a handful of firms in the world with the engineering know-how to find and produce oil from the depths of the sea. You reckon business will be good for them in the coming years?

Lukoil, Hydro Freeze Development of Iranian Oil Field

Lukoil OAO vice president Leonid Fedun said the joint development of the Anaran oil block in western Iran with Norsk Hydro ASA has been suspended because of US sanctions against foreign investment in the Iranian energy sector, Interfax reported.

Eni-Led Consortium Signs Memorandum on Kashagan

The Eni SpA (E)-led consortium developing the giant Kashagan oil field Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kazakh authorities committing to continuing talks beyond today's deadline.

Desire and the green cure

I USED TO feel bad about mindless consumerism but not any more. The green movement has come to my rescue. With every purchase, I can now enjoy the warm glow of helping develop environmentally sound practices.

Peak Oil to discuss water privatization

The Peak Oil Action Group will hold a discussion tonight on the negative effects of the global effort to privatize water, according to a news release.

Wine on the water as Tesco turns to barges to cut emissions

"This move will be like taking a step back to the pre-car days of the late Victorian era, when a lot of cargo was still transported by canal," said Laurie McIlwee, the supermarket chain's distribution director. "We are continually reviewing alternative green methods of transporting cargo and this is our first waterborne project within the UK. We are already looking at other areas where we can move freight on waterways.

"Reducing carbon emissions and looking at how we can make the business more environmentally friendly is a priority, and by 2012 we aim to halve the amount of carbon emitted per case of goods delivered."

DeDomenico was a transportation visionary

The Napa Valley owes great thanks to Vince, who had a great deal of foresight and vision that will be increasingly relevant in this age of global warming and pending “peak oil.” Unlike many communities in the U.S., we won’t have to rebuild our public transportation system from scratch, since Vince was kind enough to preserve a strong foundation on which we can build. For the most part, the railroad that has been here since the 1870s is still here thanks to Vince DeDomenico. He saw the value of the railroad when many in this valley saw only their own convenience and resentment against tourism.

Scientists see coal as key challenge

The proliferation of coal-burning power plants around the world may pose "the single greatest challenge" to averting dangerous climate change, an international panel of scientists reported Monday.

Caribbean urged to face warming risks

The Caribbean tourism industry, the lifeblood for many island economies, needs to brace itself for stronger hurricanes, more frequent droughts and rising sea levels resulting from global warming, scientists said Monday.

Global warming may be leading to higher rice yields in China: IRRI

Global warming appears to have led to higher rice yields in northern China while free trade, changing diets, and rapid urbanisation is leading to a decline in rice production elsewhere, officials from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said.

    THIS JUST IN: Give it up for the Long Johns

This 8 min. movie both explains subprime better than we ever could, and has us rolling off our chairs.

    Don't miss it, it’s too funny!!!


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

Big US banks continue to try to put together a rescue fund in order to avoid a firesale of the assets backing off-balance-sheet structured investment vehicles, but the voices of the critics who would like to see an 'orderly repricing' of these assets grow louder. Alan Greenspan , who now says the credit crunch was "an accident waiting to happen", is notable among them.

It remains to be seen how orderly such a repricing of assets would be, as well as how broadly and how quickly financial contagion could spread the fallout.

US loan default problems deepen

The Financial Times is reporting that poor quarterly results from banks across the US over the past two weeks suggest credit problems once confined to high-risk mortgage borrowers are spreading across the consumer landscape, posing new risks to the economy and weighing heavily on the markets.

US banks have raised reserves for loan losses by at least $6 Billion over the second quarter and by even larger amounts from last year, indicating financial executives believe consumers will be increasingly unable to make payments on various consumer loans. Banks are adding to reserves not just for defaults on mortgages, but also on home equity loans, car notes and credit cards debts.

"What started out merely as a subprime problem has expanded more broadly in the mortgage space and problems are getting worse at a faster pace than many had expected," said Michael Mayo, Deutsche Bank analyst, reported the Financial Times.

Video: agreed - very funny 8 minutes worth!

RE: Chile's antarctic claim.

This comes on the heals of the UK announcement last week that they were renewing their antarctic claim. The Argentines are sure to follow, then all of the other countries. Thus does the Antarctic Treaty start to unwind.

Meanwhile, the US or the USSR are in the process of pulling out of one arms control treaty after the other. Not to mention the US all but trashing its compliance with both the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter.

It looks like the first part of the 21st century is going to see the progressive un-doing of the entire system of treaties so painstakingly crafted over the last part of the 20th century.

Peak Treaties.

This is what the BBC said about the British claim:

The claim, which the spokeswoman stressed is still being prepared in advance of a May 2009 United Nations deadline, could extend Britain's stake for Antarctic waters by more than 1 million sq km (386,000 sq miles) and is permitted under the Law of the Sea Convention.
"This has been under consideration for many years," the spokeswoman said of the move, which she said will not affect the more recent environmental protections put into the Antarctic Treaty in 1991.
"It would be a claim in name only, we wouldn't act because doing any mineral exploitation contravenes the treaty."

So it seems that rather than going against the current treaty, this round of claims is just preparing for the next treaty within the UN.

Another viewpoint is that polar/deepwater oil exploitation will be much more expensive than current fields. Capital investments, including government incentives, will not be made unless there is clear title (i.e. ownership). The polar regions and the vast deepwater ocean floor cannot be exploited while held in common.

I think that it is a mistake to conflate the territorial claims with arms control treaty pullouts.

Slippery Slope,
Anything can be done by treaty, including exploiting resources that are held i common. What would be the best possible outcome would be for the nations of the earth to unite and dedicate the proceeds from development to a common world goal, such as providing renewable electricity and access to the internet to the 1.6 billion people who currently lack electric energy. This would enrich the whole earth

Bob Ebersole

Bob, are you suggesting a communal action by and for the people of the earth? Personally I think that is a great idea but I doubt it will fly on Pennsylvania Ave or Wall St. The 'new' America, like gilded age America, cannot stand the thought of any idea the least bit socialistic (cooperative). As we sit here typing our dear political and economic leaders are doing all in their power to dismantle the remnants of FDRs legacy. Since their attempts to privatize social security and medicare/caid did not fly they will simply inflate the dollar to the point that these programs will be meaningless...Then they will be able to claim that since the programs are meaningless they should be scrapped in favor of _____ ...fill in the blank.

That pendelum swing is over, we are on the return.

But kids these days haven't been educated in acting communally. So we need to make suggestions and remind them that its a possibility.

Bob Ebersole

I think you're certainly tapping the nail on the head here... most people in the 15-35 range (and many in the 35-45 range) just seem to have no schooling, or life experience, in working together or helping each other. It is quite shocking.

Now this is relevant to growing up in the UK, but the US cannot have been THAT different...

I guess I grew up with parents who were born and grew up just after the war, and grandparents who were part of that "greatest generation". As a result I grew up with stories of rationing (which was only phased out as my parents were younger), and pulling together. There was a communal spirit that sort of faded...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

The United States is a failing empire. When the state provides no value to the nation the state's currency collapses. I'm not talking about the dollar, I'm talking about goodwill on the part of the citizens. Bush has burned 80% of the electorate to the point where they'd be happy to see him cuffed, stuffed, and set adrift in hopes the North Atlantic Drift will carry him to the Hague. While he is a lightning rod it is the bankrupt ideology he represents that so irritates the people.

Assuming they don't completely crash the economy and put us into martial law so we can continue to thrive under Great Leader's marvelous decision making the citizens of this country are going to clean house in 2008, perhaps handing the presidency as well as a two thirds majority in both houses to the Democratic party. They're only a different flavor of the same problem, mind you, but with constant heat and voter involvement they'll move. A good bit of that heat will come from the triumvirate of PO, AGW, and ARM scam, and perhaps we get another New Deal.


the political establishment, corporate media et al will take the PO, AGW and ARM scam resultant problems and blame them on the Democrats causing a quick shift back...

the interests against a new New Deal are much more powerful and entrenched than before IMHO

All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

After Stephen Colbert goes on to landslide the state of South Carolina in the primaries (both Republican and Democratic tickets, of course), perhaps he'll register for the other states primaries and sweep the nation.

IMO people are going to be surprised. The socially responsible form of business in western Europe worked for a long time, but it will soon collapse in many countries due to the mass of unemployable third world immigration.

This is why the left is so rabid for immediate implementation of their agenda, the leaders are smart and know exactly that soon their model will be shown to be a utter failure.

It is very simple, one can not have half the people producing and half the people using. Once a critical mass of users is achieved, the producers in ever larger numbers will take the easy way out and join the users.

This is the real tragedy in our country, we have not reached Peak users.

The Grand Forks Herald piece, yet another case of false premise. "Take copper for example..." Copper is not energy and the energy cost of extracting is is finite. Therefore, according to conventional analysis, the economic cost is also finite and therefore there will be a price at which difficult to extract copper becomes renditable. Not so energy, where energy return on energy investment can be negative, rendering the resource useless.

Of course, these papers also routinely print editorials in denial of other basic scientific limits or facts, so what's the surprise. It's just the minor matter of the consequences of such fallacy being so sad.


I don't want to bash economists, but this line stands out:

But Adelman's is a fundamental insight of economics, a science that considers human behavior and so is a better tool for analyzing scarcity than is geology.

Perhaps if one edited it to read "the price of that scarcity". However, economics doesn't really get that right, either--at least not right away.

Yeah, that line brought to mind the Desert Island where the Economist chimes in with; 'First, Imagine we have a can-opener..'

Notice the subtle switch from talking about peak oil to talking about running out? Much easier to take out the "running out of oil" strawman than deal with the peak oil elephant about to sit on you.

My favorite was this part:

Think of it. Has humanity run out of any natural resource, including rare metals such as gold or silver? No? Then why should oil be any different?

What a maroon. The answer, of course, is YES. Running out of natural resources has happened quite a bit in the past, and is often accompanied by all manner of unpleasantness.

Or does he think the inhabitants of Easter Island don't count as human?

Yeah, but those Easter Islanders, and all past "civilizations" that collapsed, were primitive idiots who didn't know wtf they were doing. We have a real civilization now, we're much smarter than they were, so the rules of nature no longer apply.

We have TECHNOLOGY!! They didn't. So there!

and pointing out that the earth is round, therefore finite, is just a minor scientific detail. Crazy scientists...

But the EARTH is sooo big, and Easter Island sooo tiny! How can you compare the two? Or, maybe Easter Island didn't have any economists...

The Pale Blue Dot...Earth from 4 billion miles out...

I've been carrying that picture in my wallet for about 5 years now. Keeps me humble...

You do realize that from a galactic perspective that is still an extreme close-up?

And from the perspective of the whole universe, our entire galaxy is a mere fly speck.

Actually, this is what has always attracted me to astronomy. The universe is so huge that the human race has, and never will have, the capacity to "bleep" it up! I've heard people say things like "The universe cares about us". Bull-puckey. The universe is still mostly hydrogen, and hydrogen doesn't give a damn!!

Over the centruries we've gradually moved from the egocentric idea that the universe revolved around us, that we were the centre of the universe, to a much more accurate picture, that our tiny planet is part of an almost 'infinite' whole.

It's truly amazing just how big our galaxy is and even travelling at light speed how long it would take us to move around. I often wonder that science-fiction, though fiction, has given us a very distorted idea of how big the universe is and how small we are in comparison. What's virtually impossible in the real world, real space travel, is possible in our vivid imaginations, and this is probably what makes us such a charming species.

What would perhaps be even more amazing would be if we really were the only planet in this almost incomprehensible vastness of space that contained intelligent life. If we were really IT, all there is! That we were truly unique in the seemingly endless universe. That something so vast only contained a single life-supporting planet is hard to comprehend, at least for me. It seems odd, almost a bizarre paradox, close to a divine riddle, why us and why here?

So everytime a species dies out, everytime someone dies unecessarily through famine or war or neglect, something truly fantastic and unique disappears for ever. Seen in such a perspective, that life may be unique to our planet, then surely taking any form of life by choice is a crime of cosmic proportions. And now I'm starting to sound like a space cadet on the brigde of the Enterprise, sorry.

I often wonder that science-fiction, though fiction, has given us a very distorted idea of how big the universe is and how small we are in comparison.

Not all of it, though. Douglas Adams did try...

Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

(The Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy)

and also...

The Total Perspective Vortex is the most horrible torture device to which a sentient being can be subjected. Located on Frogstar World B, it shows its victim the entire unimaginable infinity of the universe with a very tiny marker that says "You Are Here" which points to a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot.
The machine was originally invented by one Trin Tragula in order to annoy his wife. Because she was forever nagging him for having no sense of proportion, he decided to invent something that would show her what having a sense of proportion really meant. Unfortunately the shock of being placed in the Vortex destroyed her brain, but Trin Tragula's grief was tempered by the knowledge that he had been right and she had been wrong. The Total Perspective Vortex had proved that in an infinite universe the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.


Life might be found here and there on a very small fraction of planetary systems (which are appearing to be very common). The right combination of star size and type, orbit, planetary mass, etc. establishes a relatively narrow window in which a planet with liquid H2O can exist. One can speculate about other life chemistries, but H20 + organic chemistry has so much in its favor that it seems unlikely that the level of complexity that has evolved in terrestrial life could be matched with any other chemical basis.

I suspect that intelligent life must be exceedingly rare, if it exists elsewhere at all. I don't know if we're IT for the whole universe, but for the galaxy, that is certainly a real possibility.

Buuut if intelligent life exists one has to assume that you have a good chance that it will expand into its solar system and then on towards the starts. Even with slow star ships you only new a few million years to populate the galaxy. And you would think that some will manage to move between galaxies.
Its been 15 billion years.

Where are the aliens ?

I suspect we are under quarantine till we grow up. If I was a smart Alien I'd not let humans as they exist now spread through the galaxy.

There's also the peak oil answer. Maybe highly technical civilizations exhaust their resources and collapse before getting very far into space.

The ones that are smart enough not to do that can't support technology complex enough to get them off the planet.

Maybe highly technical civilizations exhaust their resources and collapse before getting very far into space.

That's what Carl Sagan thought ..

Triff ..

Buuut if intelligent life exists one has to assume that you have a good chance that it will expand into its solar system and then on towards the starts. Even with slow star ships you only new a few million years to populate the galaxy. And you would think that some will manage to move between galaxies.
Its been 15 billion years.

With fast starships, it would take only a few hundred years to reach the nearest star that just might have a planet similar to ours. If, after getting there, you would find out you were mistaken, then a few more hundred years to get to the next one. Not very likely.

But with slow starships, it would take a few thousand years. Generations would have to live and die on the ship. And the next galzxy. Well that would take a few million years to make the trip. It takes light about over a million years to make the trip.

The distance between the stars is unimaginably great. And we can only detect planetary presence by the wobble of the star. Small planets, like the earth, do not induce any detectable wobble whatsoever so you would not know until you got there if an earth size planet existed or not. And if it was just the right distance from the star, or if the atmosphere had any oxygen or water or what the atmospheric pressure happen to be or a thousand other possible things that would prevent the planet from supporting earth life if we could ever possibly get there.

If intelligent life exist in our galaxy it is extremely unlikely that it would ever make its way to another planet in another solar system. And making its way across millions of light years to another galaxy? Not a chance!

Ron Patterson

Mr Patterson- you seem to have put some thought into this issue and have a more rigorous scientific background than I, so could you please indulge my line of inquiry for a minute? Would you agree that we have made some signficant discoveries recently of life-potential planets? So that it would be possible to reduce the error rate of barren planets that you refer to? That is, in theory, we could refine our search for biota-friendly planets in time and hone in on a few with a relatively high potential...ok,now assuming that cosmic radiation and the time/distances involved make interplanetary travel effectively impossible for living tissue, what about the possibility of shielded launches of either very simple life forms or life-potential complex molecules that could be recombined after their 200 year journey? I assume this is the direction that Fred Hoyle was going, and I should acquaint myself with his work, but I haven't. I can't get this issue ever satisfyingly addressed, but given the complete failure of scientists over the past 50 years to create a self-replicating molecule while stacking the deck a thousand ways does give one pause to consider the possibility of a seeded Earth. They haven't even been able to create the precursor to the precursor to the precursor of self-replication, according to an article in SciAm from last June, I believe. Anyway, it does seem as though if you're just shooting viruses or prions or chemicals into space, the engineering challenges seem surmountable, no?

Would you agree that we have made some signficant discoveries recently of life-potential planets?

No, we have made no such discoveries. We have only information on giant planets very close to their star. We have no information whatsoever on any smaller planets. That is impossible because such a planet would not exert any detectable wobble in its star.

So that it would be possible to reduce the error rate of barren planets that you refer to? That is, in theory, we could refine our search for biota-friendly planets in time and hone in on a few with a relatively high potential...ok,now assuming that cosmic radiation and the time/distances involved make interplanetary travel effectively impossible for living tissue, what about the possibility of shielded launches of either very simple life forms or life-potential complex molecules that could be recombined after their 200 year journey?

No, that is not possible. We cannot even tell anything about the super giant planets except their size, distance from their star and orbital time. Nothing whatsoever can be known about their atmosphere or anything else except their gravitational pull. That would be, for these supergiants, many times earth's gravity. You would weith over 1,000 pounds on any of these planets. Your heart would stop in seconds on any of them.

Ron Patterson

Actually, we can find out information about the atmospheres of at least some of the planets discovered in distant solar systems. However, to do so currently we need to wait for those planets to pass in front of their stars so we can capture and analyze the changes in light absorption due to the planet's atmoshpere. The technique has been used since 2001, as shown in this news report. A report from this year tells how the technique was used to find water in the atmosphere of another distant planet.

Robots have preceeded us everywhere we have gone in space so far, and are lengthening their lead. We still haven't made it past the moon, they are already passing beyond the confines of our solar system.

Given that robots have so many advantages over living beings for space exploration, it is reasonable to assume that robots are THE primary means by which ANY intelligent life form would explore space. They certainly wouldn't try to colonize other planets without first discovering them and intensively exploring them by robots.

If we are to look for alien intelligent life forms, what we should be looking for is their robots, as it is almost certain that those are what we would encounter first, if we ever encounter anything.

You gave the answer. It takes millions of years to populate the galaxy, or at least neighboring stars. OK. At the same time, the only possible form of life must be based on liquid H2O. OK. But the life form based on H2O might not be that long living. Perhaps it's not possible to have an intelligent, moving creature based on H2O with a lifespan over 200-300 years. And that's not enough for such colossal task like expansion through the universe. Simply because the short living creatures are not able to keep their focus on long-term non-profit projects.

this is one of the reasons i am so sad about what we've done with resources... i think we had a real chance to make it off this planet, and start to explore outwards... but it would have taken us building a different type of more co-operative society than we have done, and prioritizing our resources better, managing growth and considering all people's right to and need for resources instead of a small elite

and it is so sad that we've almost certainly blown it... i get annoyed with people like Robert Rapier putting in posts that doomers somehow long for all the death and destruction that we see coming or are somehow callously not caring of it... it's nonsense... i am very realistic about it and there is no cold detachment in my thinking about it - i am very personally bothered by it all... but i think i've moved through more of the K-R stages than most... HOWEVER, i suppose there is some part of me that prefers the hard fast crash because it will leave SOME resources in place - more than a slow catabolic collapse is likely to... and i feel any civilization emerging from the islands of knowledge that survive the bottleneck is likely to be much more aware of the restraints, and i hold some naive hope that one day they'll use those resources better, and maybe, just maybe even make it off this planet...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

We're not meant to go into space, RA. We get much outside our magnetosphere and radiation is a huge problem. If I recall correctly our astronauts who've been to the moon dramatically raised their chances of cataracts with just a few days outside our protective magnetic bubble.

Being an engineer in this day and age I long held that desire that we, as a species, might boldly go where no one has gone before, but even if we weren't short sighted and murderous I'm not so sure we could do it. Those sturdy little rovers on Mars might be as good as it ever gets ... our space program is an unsustainable luxury once the minimum of communication and earth observation are met, and even those will be a challenge in the face of pkea oil.

Yeah, more and more people today come to the same thought - that we have reached our peak as human race.

We are the first intelligent species on Earth. Maybe it takes more than one cycle to produce one that is truly clever and self-sustainable. The evolution works in circles, repeating itself regularly. We might fail, and then it will take a few million years for cleaning our rubbish and poisons, and a new intelligent species might emerge. New shot, new chance.

Well, as a person with a head in the clouds, I hesitate to fully embrace such idea. Like Carl Sagan, an optimist, I believe we'll find our way to the stars, one day.

'Just' to survive these few current problems (PO, GW..)

We might fail, and then it will take a few million years for cleaning our rubbish and poisons, and a new intelligent species might emerge. New shot, new chance.

Frederick Hoyle argued that we would have only one shot. Because we've picked all the low-hanging fruit this time. Next time, there won't be the readily accessible metals, coal, oil, etc. that fuel a high-tech society.

And it's more than just traveling to other planets. Why don't we detect electromagnetic signals from other civilizations? We've searched for years, to no avail.

John Michael Greer wrote about this recently:

Solving Fermi's Paradox

On another level, though, Fermi's Paradox can be restated in another and far more threatening way. The logic of the paradox depends on the assumption that unlimited technological progress is possible, and it can be turned without too much difficulty into a logical refutation of the assumption. If unlimited technological progress is possible, then there should be clear evidence of technologically advanced species in the cosmos; there is no such evidence; therefore unlimited technological progress is impossible. Crashingly unpopular though this latter idea may be, I suggest that it is correct - and a close examination of the issues involved casts a useful light on the present crisis of industrial civilization.

Ouch, that hurts, there's no intelligent life because WE can't see it?

It only works if we consider ourselves truly intelligent, and that is quite an assumption, given our present predicaments.

Calvin, him of Hobbes fame, once put it best of all:

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."

The presumption that life elsewhere would express itself in light, or magnetic signals, or even in 3 dimensions, speaks more to the limit of human intelligence than it does to a limit to life in other parts of the universe.

Not coincidentally, William H. Calvin wrote a lot about intelligence and life.

And, though I don't want to be too harsh on well-intentioned penned efforts, Greer makes me also think of another classic Calvin:

"I used to hate writing assignments, but now I enjoy them. I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!

We crave the big words, but all we need is a comic book.

"History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order and direction. That's why events are always reinterpreted when values change. We need new versions of history to allow for our current prejudices."

Anyone ever seen wiser words than these? I dare thee.

"The strength to change what I can, the inability to accept what I can't, and the incapacity to tell the difference."

"If people could put rainbows in zoos, they'd do it."

They wouldn't have to try to contact us. A lot of the emag we're emitting isn't trying to contact extraterrestrials, it's just us going about our business.

The presumption that life elsewhere would express itself in light, or magnetic signals, or even in 3 dimensions, speaks more to the limit of human intelligence than it does to a limit to life in other parts of the universe.

But surely, if life is as widespread as it seems to be (based on our own history), there would be plenty of intelligent life that is similar enough to us that we would recognize their signals?

Very interesting issue, but why does it always have to come with all these presumptions? Are we intelligent? Compared to what? Yeast maybe? At this forum we discuss things that lead me to believe we might not be.

Perhaps truly intelligent life doesn't kill its own habitat?!

On a higher plane, no, there is no reason to believe that a truly smart species elsewhere sends signals in 3 dimensions. If you read Flatland, you'll understand that the 2 dimension folk could live their lives without ever knowing there is a 3rd dimension. In a plane (2D), there's a potentially infinite number of lines (1D). Likewise, in our 3D world, there's an unlimited numbers of planes, and hence no need for interference or interception. Take that to 4D, and that's your puzzle.

There are by now large collections of string and M theory variants that rely on the same principle, applied to multiple dimensions. A lot of these speak of an infinite number of universes. Same thing, led by straight up math.

So anyway, we could do this for hours, but there is no reason to believe, that I see, that other life would be confined to our specific limits, in pitch, range or dimensions. Or to believe that we are smart. Seems a delusion, at best.

And the by far greatest way to express that in our humble terms, I think, is Calvin. We're about to kill 6 billion of our peers. And we'll find a way to justify that too, and label it 'smart".

Life “similar enough to us” would be the ones with a max 1 milllion years life span, right? In a 7-8 billion year old universe. And that’s just what we see, there may be 100 billion years more outside our receding event horizon speed of light limits.

I often hope there’s something smarter than us. If not, it all seems so futile. Then again, that’s just in 3D.

Meanwhile, Bill Watterson is the main philosopher of our days, and we have not a clue. Smart species.

"I don't need to compromise my principles, because they don't have the slightest bearing on what happens to me anyway."

"Reading goes faster if you don't sweat comprehension."

"Do you hate being a girl? What's it like? Is it like being a bug?
I imagine bugs and girls have a dim perception that nature played a cruel trick on them, but they lack the intelligence to comprehend the magnitude of it."

"Leave it to a girl to take all the fun out of sex discrimination."

"You know how people are. They only recognize greatness when some authority confirms it."

Perhaps truly intelligent life doesn't kill its own habitat?!

Perhaps so. And "not killing its own habitat" may mean not inventing advanced technology and not going into space, too. Jared Diamond makes the point that it's conflict that drives technology.

Leanan, I given some thought to SETI and its aims. I've decided that the whole idea is absurd.

First is the problem of recognition of a meaningful signal amidst all the noise.

Second is the recognition of a signal as meaningful - the senders may believe that it's meaningful but the recipients won't have a clue.

Third is the signal strength problem. Over the vast distances of interstellar space, the signal becomes weaker - this can be expressed as the strength varies inversely with the cube of the distance; thus at some ditance from the source the signal becomes undetectable.

Fourth is the problem of coincidence. Since light requires a definite amount of time to travel from source to target, the target group [WE] could be easily be listening at the wrong time. Perhaps, there was a change on the source planet just before we started listening, or maybe the source hasn't started broadcasting yet.

In other words, SETI is essentially a boondoggle.

James Gervais

All four of these have been subject to much scientific consideration by the SETI community, and have led to developments and proposals around methods.

Indeed, as my limited understanding percieves it, the first, third and fourth directly drive the move towards laser/optical SETI.

On the second - this has been thought through and long since resolved. One example - a signal comprising a series of prime numbers must either indicate an intelligent lifeform, or an alternative which would be even MORE amazing.

With respect, these kinds of arguments have equivalence withh those made by people who say peak-oil or global-warming is boondoggle - a certainty based in no more than a gut feel of what on the face of it is 'common-sense'; rather than at least consideration that people who invest their life-energies into the issues might have better informed, if less common, sense.

Jaymax (cornucomer-doomopian)

With respect, these kinds of arguments have equivalence with those made by people who say peak-oil or global-warming is boondoggle - a certainty based in no more than a gut feel of what on the face of it is 'common-sense'; rather than at least consideration that people who invest their life-energies into the issues might have better informed, if less common, sense.

I think it's the reverse of this - the hubris associated with SETI (and long-distance space travel) are also symptoms of a self-serving elite, with narrow goals, low accountability, almost no oversight, no assessment of useful outcomes for the resources expended, and most of all, very well-developed self-preservation and self-enhancement instincts.

Therefore SETI programs, and their "justification", are parallel to Peak Oil and GW rejection - not the corollary you are claiming. As someone wise once said, in the race of life, always back self interest.

Jaymax, using optical wavelengths does nothing to help solve any of the problems. In fact, it will require more power for the same amount of output [quanta] since optical wavelengths are more energetic than radio [they are the same phenomena, just different wavelengths and energies]. And a new problem is introduced since there are [as far as I know] no devices for broadcasting in optical wavelengths. While I appreciate the basic idea of prime numbers, there is still a problem of recognition - the spaces resemble part of the numbers since every number must be sent in binary.

Note that I'm using the term broadcasting in its scientific sense of sending radiation out in all directions in space. This brings up another problem. Any transmitter on the surface of the earth is limited to its horizon.

James Gervais

>Frederick Hoyle argued that we would have only one shot.
>Because we've picked all the low-hanging fruit this time.
>Next time, there won't be the readily accessible metals,
>coal, oil, etc. that fuel a high-tech society.

I think that's actually good. We've developed our techno-civilization too soon. Too quick. We've burnt everything out before we've realized what's going on. The abundance of cheap and accessible resources might have been fatal.

On the other hand, a slower, calmer, better planned civilization could be more successful. Besides, if that 'next' civilization gets enough evidence what have happened to the previous one, due to our foolishness and greed, it would have much better guidelines how to avoid the same fate.

I am amused by the light headed dreams of would-be space cadets, ready to advance the cause of mankind by spreading to habitable planets and ready to greet more advanced civilizations on their noble treks. Seems that we’re wrecking our own planet at the moment and I’m not sure our locust-like mentality would be welcome by “intelligent” beings. They would surely view our hermetically sealed space capsules as potentially infectious spore and incinerate us with their high powered ray guns at a light years distance. What a disappointment because we really are a “good” species and want to make “friends”, just as Cortes made friends with the Aztecs.

I’m sure that as times become increasingly difficult we will give up on space and turn our attention towards heaven, that sacrosanct concept that existed prior to scientific investigation where spirits and God(s) prevail. Perhaps a giant mega super church is in order with an intelligently designed giant megaphone spire for communicating with “the other side.” We can pave over a few hundred acres of farmland so that the humble and believing can burn the last of their petrol and add their voices to the beseeching chorus.

Actually you may just want to find a place to hide, perhaps with President Bush and friends on their ranch in Paraguay. I guess they’ve got things figured out. After they’ve fleeced the world with super expensive oil the new Sheik of Paraguay will pump the giant aquifer beneath their 100,000 acre ranch and in no time expensive food and biofuel will be greedily distributed to starving North American Union.

Anyway, the Christmas merchandise has already been rushed to your local Wal-Mart. I would suggest warm socks, thermal blanket, an extra tank of propane, an inexpensive shotgun with shells if you don’t already have one and maybe one of those new HDTVs so you can be distracted from the shameful reality of it all.

They universe is still mostly hydrogen

See, the cornucopians are right, without even meaning to you've made it clear... the hydrogen economy will save us...

They call economics the dismal science, but I am beginning to disagree. I did Physics at university. Still love it today. But they should call Physics the dismal science - because you look around, as a physicist, and see the world is run by economists, and you realise just how stupid and wrong they are about so much and it makes one sad...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Has humanity run out of any natural resource, including rare metals such as gold or silver?

Could gold or silver be burnt in cars, sure we would run out of them.

That gold or silver-question is idiocy. If he had at least repeated that stone-age ("didn't end due to lack of stones")-phrase, which is still stupid but not as stupid as his conclusion.

I think Adelman is like a whole lot of city people. They've been living inside a "city bubble" for so long that they think that's natural. It's so easy to fill your gas tank, as you never actually see, feel or touch the gasoline (unless you are really inept). Going to the super mega market, you don't see the cows, the wheat, the corn, etc which is used to make all the food, let alone the fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and the oil directly used. The same is true for every other item of consumer demand.

When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I knew people that never left the Bay. When they traveled, they flew from one "city bubble" to another, traversing the "fly over" states between. Living that sort of life puts blinders on the brain, thus the thinking that it's OK to live an energy guzzler lifestyle, because "everybody's doing it". Economists caught in this "city bubble" tend to misunderstand the fact that energy is the foundation of their economic system and oil is the main supply, as it facilitates all the transport necessary for the whole mess to keep working, all the way from the farm-city link to the global trade links, which make it possible for the U.S. to "export" our polluting industries to foreign shores. Not to mention exporting jobs to low wage nations.

The minerals industry is a prime example, as the resources represent unusually concentrations as minerals. The actual quantity given as a resource is a function of concentration and the lower concentration, the greater amount of energy required to produce the product. All the paper dollars in the world won't change the facts of the chemical energy required to separate the metal from the other elements. It's been said that there's enough uranium in sea water to run civilization for a very long time, but extracting it would require a very large input of energy. As our stored fossil fuel energy capital is being steadily depleted, we may find that it is no longer possible to produce the basic metals (and make concrete) with an acceptable energy expenditure, thus, the mass consumer market based on these low cost materials we now enjoy will slowly shrink and die. This will be especially painful for the wealthier nations, as we may already be experiencing. But, most Peak Oil folks already understand this (I hope).

E. Swanson

The thing they (economists) keep forgetting is we will not run out of minerals or metals until we lose our source of energy, then its back to the pan as in panning for gold. A good source of energy keeps the horizon receding.

Of course we'll never run out of oil. It is just that it will eventually become far too expensive to merely burn.

If we don't come up with a rational plan to cope with that reality though, our civilization just might collapse to the point where we do indeed run out of economists.

I didn't realize that copper was a consumable. Or perhaps he meant that oil once burned can be recycled. Learn something new every day ...

Someone should ask that guy how he thinks the extraction rate of copper would be affected if we didn't have oil.

Copper gets made into fine wires and then woven into buildings. People will steal ground planes and plumbing but no one goes and and pulls that stuff out unless its overall demolition work and they get lucky grabbing the plastic coated wire. Most copper use is pretty much a one way sort of thing ...

Its all recyclable with cheap enough labor. Surely you've seen videos of children living in dumps in less developed countries.
Bob Ebersole

And this is exactly why I believe the greatest resource opportunity that exists in the US are our dumps. I'm trying to develop effective means of mining it which I know people have already been working on but it never hurts to have another set of eyes. Some materials are valuable enough (i.e. copper, gold) that even with the cost/energy required it definitely has profit potential. The other miscellaneous loot you sort out (i.e. steel, petrochems) in the process would just add to the profit margins.

Aerospace Engineer
Everett, Washington - Cascadia

And this is exactly why I believe the greatest resource opportunity that exists in the US are our dumps.

Yeah, I used to live in Everett. Its kind of a dump.

swarms of 10 year olds will mine them just fine.

The media have had a couple of interesting stories on water in the past few days:

The Future is Drying Up

Atlanta Shudders at Prospect of Empty Faucets

There are lots of obvious parallels and tie-ins with the energy situation. From Atlanta, we have denial and blame:

A realistic statewide plan, experts say, would tell developers that they cannot build if no water is available, and might have restricted some of the enormous growth in the Atlanta area over the last decade. Already, officials have little notion how to provide for a projected doubling of demand over the next 30 years. The ideas that have been floated, including piping water from Tennessee or desalinating ocean water, will require hundreds of billions of dollars and painful decisions the state has been loathe to undertake.

“It’s been develop first and ask questions later,” said Gil Rogers, a lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Instead, the state has engaged in interminable squabbles with its neighbors over dam releases and flow rates. The latest attempt at mediation with Alabama fell apart just last month. And Georgia officials insist that Atlanta would have plenty of water were it not for the Army Corps of Engineers, which they say has released more water from Lake Lanier than is necessary to protect three endangered species downstream. Last week, Governor Perdue filed for an injunction against the Corps.

“We are not here because we consumed our way into this drought, as some would suggest,” said his director of environmental protection, Carol Couch.

That blurb could be rewritten for oil by changing a few names. Another parallel is the good idea of wringing more out of what you have:

California Has Enough Water

Of course, water can be cleaned up and reused (barring evaporation)--oil can only be burned once. And the proposed solutions? They all involve lots of energy (desalination, pumping water from X).

I propose burning hydrogen to make water.

Those stories have been discussed quite a bit over the past few DrumBeats. The shortsightedness in Atlanta has been amazing. They only started banning watering lawns last month.

This year for us marked a major change in water. This year the township added a "summer premium" of 40% increase on both the water in and water out. This "summer premium" started in April and our last bill still had it from Sept.

The issue isn't water. We have lots. Our area is one of the largest underground river systems in the world.
So shortage is not the issue. What is the issue is the piping system. With all the new homes going up around the area the system can't handle the volume.

Supply here isn't the problem, it's the growing demand.

Richard Wakefield
London, ont.

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

In Galveston, the mayor and city council like to brag that they haven't raised taxes. So, instead of adding ad valorem or sales taxes they put additional user fees on the water bills. One practical effect from this is the tax burden is shifted, penalising people who bathe regularly (sarconal alert). Bob Ebersole

A realistic statewide plan, experts say, would tell developers that they cannot build if no water is available, and might have restricted some of the enormous growth in the Atlanta area over the last decade.

The trouble with this, of course, is that 'we' insist on continual rapid population growth. And yet 'experts' in every region want to stop the world (or even go backwards) and freeze development.

So are 'we' really prepared to end immigration and possibly even impose mandatory controls on biological population growth in the manner of China? No? I didn't think so. Political correctness forbids even the thought. But then the additional people will be coming and they will be put somewhere.

This is why I'm in favor of immigration reform. IMO, it's the most politically acceptable way to end our population growth. Neither political party is favor of it, but the majority of the people are.

In ecological circles, we call this "overshoot".

It is followed, as night follows day, by something we call "dieoff".

Talk about politically incorrect! ;-)

We are apparently NOT smarter than yeast. This is becoming more clear to me every day. Everything else is pissing up a rope if "we" don't do something about population.

But I'm thinking we won't, so Mom Nature will take care of it. Not in a happy way, however.

One more relevant ecological term: carrying capacity.

A human may be smarter than yeast -- this varies from case to case.

On the other hand, Humanity does not seem to be smarter than yeast. Much to my disappointment.

Yeast has no energy overhead dedicated to nervous systems and brains with which to perceive and model the world.

We do, and decide to ignore it and consume exponentially anyhow.

Arguably, this makes us dumber than yeast.

If yeast could figure out how to borrow the car and go for a drive, would they become as stupid as us?

just to keep taking the bait, I'm guessing that in terms of basic survival mechanisms, we are exactly as intelligent as yeast, following instincts, eating when there is food, getting fat and maybe sick when there is extra food, and starving when the food runs out.

I wonder, if we looked, how many collapsed Yeast civilizations we could discover..

There's one in my fridge right now.

I have 3 live ones in my bathroom, a total of around 75 liters of wine. Precollapse that is. It's amazing how easy it is to pick enough wild berries for a batch. Only a couple of afternoons, then another for preparing the fermentation and adding sugar. Then the yet to come bottling, wich I suspect will be the most tedious task.

'continual rapid population growth'

Um, the major problem in Atlanta was simply refusing to build up their water storage infrastructure in any significant way, while happily wallowing in all the money generated by growth. Closely followed by incredibly wasteful practices, especially in suburbia, which not so coincidentally reduced the watershed, I'm certain. (It certainly happened in Northern Virginia.)

Population is an issue - people moving into 4000 sq houses on former farmland driving multiple vehicles multiple hours are a real population problem. And since generally these people do not believe in any regulation preventing them from reaching for their dream, they may well turn to anyone promising a solution.

they may well turn to anyone promising a solution

Yes, I have to agree with you there. This is one of my worries too... Anyone. Any solution.
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Not to name names but this website is a small scale example of such a behavior with a certain poster and rational people who follow him. rational people who by all other means seem to be very inteligent yet fail to use it when looking at this one poster's ideas simply because it looks good on the cover.


I don't usually manage to get in toward the top of a drumbeat, so I'll take the opportunity to throw out a question that has been puzzling me.

In the postings wrt peak oil, I see lots of reference to "crude + condensates" or "other liquids". Where does propane fit into this, or does it?

I understand that propane can come both from crude oil refining (one of the highest fractions, IIRC) and from NG condensates. Thus, it would seem to me that if you created a Venn diagram, wouldn't propane occupy at least part of the intersection between the crude oil and NG sets? Would it occupy all of that intersection, or only part? How much?

Why this is important: If some people are looking at "C+C" to provide additional supplies of gasoline, others might be looking at the same resource to supply more propane. Obviously, the same resource can't supply both. This is an issue I haven't seen discussed here much, if any, and could stand some clarification.


WNC observer,
Crude oil and condensate are feedstocks for refineries and petrochemical plants while propane is one of the products of a refinery.

Thanks for asking the question! One of the great things about theoildrum is that we answer each others questions. I learn things here constantly.
Bob Ebersole

Right, I understand that propane would be a product, not a feedstock. I am a little less clear as to how much flex there is in the refining process as far as turning propane production up or down relative to other fractions?

To clarify slightly, propane primarily comes from natural gas plants, which strip the natural gas liquids (NGL's), principally propane and butane, out of natural gas--from both natural gas reservoirs and from natural gas from oil reservoirs (associated gas).

NGL's can easily replace gasoline and diesel fuel in many applications, but the principal feedstock for refineries is crude + condensate.

Matt Simmons is of the opinion that a lot of the recent increase in NGL production is coming from operators blowing down gas caps (after it is no longer economically justified to produce the depleting oil column).

Thanks wt, this helps. But I am still confused as to whether or not these NGLs are counted as "other liquids" when looking at "big picture" peak oil vs. just conventional crude peak?

There are three principal measurements of liquids production:

Crude + condensate (C+C)

C+C + NGL's

C+C + NGL's + Everything Else (refinery gains, ethanol, etc.)

Thanks wt, that helps. So am I correct that we essentially have two ongoing discussions going on here: 1) C+C peak & future outlook vs. 2) C+C+NGL+everything else peak & future outlook? Am I thus also correct in understanding that the future outlook for propane is subsumed within that second discussion?

Yes, and Matt's point is that part of the recent increase in NGL production is a just a side effect of many oil reservoirs being in terminal depletion mode.

So "blowing down [a] gas cap" would mean extracting the gas remaining in a primarily oil field, leaving it depressurized?

Does this mark the end of the secondary recovery of that field? Can you still do tertiary recovery?

Three principal drive mechanisms: solution gas drive, water drive and gas cap expansion. Gravity drainage is also a factor, especially in gas cap expansion drive reservoirs. And in many reservoirs, all of these drive mechanisms are at work to some degree.

Let's assume an oil column that is 1,000 feet thick (maximum vertical thickness), with a water leg on bottom and a gas cap on top.

The operator completes the wells low in the oil column, produces the oil, takes the associated gas, strips the liquids out of the gas, and reinjects the dry gas into the oil column. Any produced water, and perhaps supplemental water is injected into the water leg (there are lots of variations of this). In any case, the plan is to let the gas cap expand, forcing the oil downward, aided by gravity drainage.

As the oil column thins, the volume of water increases and the gas production increases. This has the effect of increasing the cost of trying to produce the thinning oil column. This can be addressed for a while by drilling horizontal wells into the thinning oil column, but in time even those water out.

So at some point, it doesn't make economic sense to try to produce the thin oil column and the operator will choose to blow down the gas cap. Depending on the size of the field, there may still be some degree of residual oil production for a long time, but when the gas cap is blown down, oil production is basically over.

Note that the Saudis have described Ghawar as a field that is now "Very expensive to operate."

Edit: regarding tertiary recovery techniques, I'm not sure how common that is in gas cap expansion drive reservoirs. I suppose that Pemex's nitrogen injection program at Cantarell would technically be considered tertiary. However, a thin oil column is a thin oil column, and there are two primary problems at Cantarell: rising water production rates and rising gas production rates.

Runaway Global Warming - Scarier than you think

The possibility of runaway global warming is not as distant a threat as we may wish. It is a threat which worries some of the greatest minds living among us today. Stephen Hawking, physicist, best selling author of A Brief History of Time, and claimant of the Cambridge University post once occupied by Sir Isaac Newton (the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics), has been quoted as saying, "I am afraid the atmosphere might get hotter and hotter until it will be like Venus with boiling sulfuric acid."

The fear is that, once the atmosphere has warmed past some critical level, various feedback mechanisms will kick in and push the temperature beyond the point where the planet will become inhospitable for human life. Once these feedback mechanisms have kicked in, it is unlikely that we can do anything to intervene. And considering the current signs from the environment, accelerating industrial emissions, and the long life of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, some worry that it may already be too late to prevent this scenario.


Expert: Warming Climate Fuels Mega-Fires
Scott Pelley Reports From The American West's Fire Lines On The Rising Number Of Mega-Fires

I watched that Sun, a sadly timely piece of reporting. What I found to be particularly disturbing was the news that those huge trees that normally survive fires are burning up too. The fires are just that much hotter and species like bristlecone pine, which have survived many previous fires, are being consumed.

We have a ways to go before we hit a Venusian-style runaway greenhouse effect. It would require more CO2 than all the oil and coal in the earth combined. It will happen eventually, however, since the sun is slowly warming as it gradually switches from burning H to burning He. However that should be some hundreds of millions of years away (and maybe billions).

There are some nasty-enough tipping points that will happen before we get to that point (e.g. melting methane hydrates), such that it is unlikely that we'll be around when the runaway greenhouse starts to run away.

I'm preparing to ask something all TOD-ers, this is just a preview. The question is, how many sqr kms of mirrors would we need to reflect enough of Sun's radiation back to space and reverse the trend of global warming?

100 km2..?

1,000 km2..?

We gain about 4.0 watts/M^2 due to GHG and we lose about half of that due to sulfate aerosols. The solar constant is around 1400 watts/M^2 with seasonal variations due to the Earth's orbit.

A meter of perfectly efficient reflection or capture puts an end to 700 M^2 of GHG driven warming. The Earth's total area is about 510 Mkm^2 and the oceans are 70% of that total. We'd need to convert around 750,000 km^2 into mirrors to accomplish this. Thats 1,100 M^2 per person. No method of reflection or capture is perfect, so this is a best case scenario.

It would be silly to build mirrors to reflect the power back into space - if such a move were undertaken it would have to be all capture to drive Stirling engines.

It wouldn't take nearly as much as you think. You would only need to refract the light away, not deflect it completely. There WAS some wild scheme that involved continuously shooting up rockets loaded with reflective wafer thin squares into one of the Lagrange points. They said it would take something like 1000 launches a year to accomplish the task. If we had unlimited resources it wouldn't be a problem. But we don't :P

The Crazy Scheme.

3. Global Sunshade

Astronomer Roger Angel argues that if we could put 16 trillion glass discs in space, we could block enough sunshade into space to protect ourselves from the dangers of global warming. The discs would be 100,000 kilometers wide and would be positioned 1.5 million km from the planet at a location where the gravitational balance between the earth and the sun are equal.

The problem would be the logistics, which would rule out the space shuttle. Angel suggests using electromagnetic power on a mountain to propel the rockets into space that would deliver the discs. The rockets would start deep below the mountain's surface and be propelled into space by the fields.

The discs themselves, one trillion in number, would be computer-powered so that they would cause maximum shadowing and would stay in orbit and not hit other flyers.

The main problem with such a plan would be the cost, estimated at around $4 trillion.

That first bit is English but it makes no sense at all. Light can be refracted or reflected and I'll assume you meant to say reflect rather than deflect.

If the light is refracted it means its path changes by passing through some material. Still at issue is whether its absorbed or passed back through the atmosphere into space. Reflection would involve simple, cheap, easily controlled things like mirrors, while refraction ... leaves me scratching my head.

Global Sunshade is an interesting engineering discussion, but it depends on dilithium crystals for power and negative latency inducers on phone lines so we can call people in the past and advise them to get to work on it. If we could do it we'd be so advanced we'd have already solved our PO/AGW concerns.

Railgun delivery of acceleration insensitive packages to low earth orbit is possibly workable, but without a similarly easy method to get fragile humans up and down there is no point.

PartyGuy :

The discs themselves, one trillion in number, would be computer-powered so that they would cause maximum shadowing and would stay in orbit and not hit other flyers.

The main problem with such a plan would be the cost, estimated at around $4 trillion.

More than 5 Iraqi wars..?!? We can't afford it..


Thank you for your numbers. I don't know - but 750,000 km^2 is a bit too much to me. Do not forget - we only need to reflect a fraction of Sun's radiation - perhaps a part of 1%. Mirrors are much better reflectors than, say, polar ice. With those mirrors, strategically deployed, we would be able to change climate's pattern and avoid hurricanes, floods, etc.

More importantly, with this mirrors scheme we would be able to make things cooler at least on a local level. I.e. populated areas. For example, there would be a law that all new buildings (residential, business, shopping centers) need to have reflective roofs. Next step, we would be building much brighter roads - not black like now, but more light-gray, or coated with something that's reflective.

This all would decrease local temperatures for 2-3 degrees and save us lot of money that goes for air conditioning.

Perhaps I was too terse.

Average sunlight falling = 1366W/M^2

AGW components are 4.0W/M^2 GHG input and 2.0W/M^2 reflected due to sulfate aerosols.

Net gain is 2.0W/M^2, so we need to fully reflect one square meter worth of sun's energy to balance gain on approximately 700 M^2.

Take total Earth area of 510Mkm^2, divide by 700, and you get 728,571 km^2 of mirrors required, assuming perfect efficiency in reflection. That isn't going to be the case, but this quick calculation shows just how much land we'd have to cover to accomplish the balancing.

I'll paraphrase the second part of your post: Collectively we are butt stupid.

We have all of this build up in the desert southwest. What do we do with our water? Golf courses, car washes, lawns, and agriculture that has no business being there in the first place.

People drew "equity" out of their homes and bought large TVs which they hauled in large SUVs so they could stay inside protected from the natural climate by their big air conditioners. Now if I had a wad of cash and was stuck in a dry, hot place, I think I'd be building one of these ... free air conditioning for the low, low price of having an interesting architecture to one's home.


Urban heat islands are an issue, but I could swear you said new buildings (residential, business, shopping centers) and there won't be any more of those being built starting about 1/2008, right?

Oh, and this one also made me smile: we would be building much brighter roads. I think we're going to have very bright, shiny roads ... but they'll come in pairs about five inches wide and roughly three feet apart. Road building here consumes cement (high energy) or asphalt (heavy oil).

There is this nice little quadrant thing I draw when I'm confused about what to do next: it has a vertical axis and on one side are things important and the other has things not important. The horizontal axis has things that are urgent above it and not urgent below it. My personal view is that PO/AGW prep is both important and urgent, so I am trying to do something every day towards my personal solution to these problems. Most of the rest of the world is ignorant and will remain as such until someone either forces a solution on them or, given the Bush administration's conduct, simply tosses them into the nearest wood chipper.

OK, Its late, and I begin to ramble ... but you get the picture. We hear about various solutions here, some fanciful, others not scalable, and while they may make for interesting gedanken, they do not save us from our collective misbehavior. We have to treat AGW+PO like the deadly enemies they are, but as this requires sacrifice in perpetuity I suspect it will be politically expedient to make an even bigger mess of things rather than doing what is needed.

It would be silly to build mirrors to reflect the power back into space - if such a move were undertaken it would have to be all capture to drive Stirling engines.

Nope. If you 'capture' the energy, you also 'capture' the heat.

And ... drum roll ... we don't exhume more fossil carbon because we're using solar energy.

OK, ya got me, we would have to reflect enough to beat AGW, but it would be silly to build all that stuff and continue burning coal and oil, now wouldn't it?

The thread was talking about 'reflecting solar energy back into space' (Thus removing heat from the atmospheric envelope) Your solution was not about reflecting the energy back into space.

Only Solo in Germany has sold 10kW Stirling dishes "to the public" - Stirlings are at this time research toys.

Just want to ask a question. Since a lot of oil people visit here seems like a good place to get info....

OK, we've got a lot of wells where there is still oil, but it's too expensive to extract (using oil to power the extraction).

Let's say we continue to improve wind/thin-film solar/whatever until the cost per watt falls to around $1 per watt. Would it work to use this 'less expensive' electricity to pull more oil out of the ground? If steam extraction is used then how about solar towers to create the steam?

(Not thinking that this in any way might solve the decreasing oil supply problem. But it might provide additional oil for places where we need a very dense source of energy.)

I think the way to think about this is to focus on the marginal utility of the oil, vs the marginal utility of the electric energy in hand.

It does not help to focus just on the energy returned vs invested (EROI) because (e.g.) you may need the oil to run you tractors to produce food, (very high marginal utility) and you can't use the electricity for that (no electric tractors).

The market may signal you (.e.g it sets a price for electricity and a price for oil, and you may decide it is cheaper to sell the electricity and buy the food as opposed to using it to pump oil to produce the food). But this just comes back to the marginal utility of oil and electricity for your specific siuation.

So the answer is - it depends. The $$ value of the oil and electricity is not the only factor, and the EROI is not the only factor either.


The dollar is a notoriously slippery unit of measure. Put it this way, I'm 5'6" in 1997 inches, with inch inflation, I'd be near 7' tall today! (That's 7'2" Canadian!)

To seriously address the issue, Rep. Rosco Bartlett {R-Maryland} mentioned in a special orders speech that there were already wells in the USA where the energy contained in the oil extracted was less than the energy required to keep the pump running. The portable utility of oil made it an economic gain to use more electrical energy to get less hydrocarbon energy. And the electrical energy was probably created from coal, which is 'free' in that Gaia does not have a numbered Swiss account that is credited when she sells coal to the mining companies.

This is just an issue of EROEI. It is only confusing because you are considering the cost of the oil in $ - if you consider it in terms of energy, it makes more sense. The oil that is still there yields less net energy than the oil already taken. At some point the energy value of the oil that can be recovered equals the energy value of the energy expended to get it out, so it becomes worthless (it might still be of some value if its form makes it more usable).

No matter what from of energy you use to help get this oil out of the ground, you could instead use that energy directly.

And it only postpones the inevitable, which is that at some point the rate of production will drop so far that it cannot be used to sustain our present society.

Would it work to use this 'less expensive' electricity to pull more oil out of the ground?

Such lines of thinking have been done - Canada using wind mills or nukes for the tar sands.

If your model was thus:

PV/Wind exists in excess - so rather than create waste heat via dump resistors - one has loads that can be added that act as stored energy. Be that water pumping or in your case oil well pumping.

A lot of oil is produced today using electricity, straight out of the power lines (sarconal), some of it produced using renewables. Most stripper wells today use electric and many are operated on timeclocks. This has been the case for at least 20 years, and as I recall, stripper well production comprises about 18% of total domestic CONSUMPTION, which is a bunch of the total domestic production. Of course, not all of that stripper production uses electric, but stripper gas wells, frequently requiring compression, use electric for power due to the ability to use electric controls. A lot of our daily operations are done using lease-produced gas, but for low volume wells, the timeclock improves both the production and the efficiency - typically about 15% increase in production going from wellhead gas to electric.

A lot of producers are going back to wellhead gas due to the rising cost of electric if they are able to use stranded gas. If they have enough stranded gas, some are also going through the rigorous process of permitting generating facilities and still staying with the more efficient electric operations.

The question you didn't ask is about the price extending the life of low-volume wells, and the price has done a lot over the past few years toward making some very low volume wells, and many with extreme water cuts, economical to operate. A lease I sold for $7,500 two years ago was recently sold for $150,000 with the same production as when I sold it.

I'll have to defer to the real oilpatch experts here, but I would think that if we're looking for an economic way to recover some more of that stranded crude, an obvious opportunity would be to link it up with CCS schemes for coal-fired generators. They will be producing lots of CO2 that needs to be pumped underground anyway; why not pump it into the oil reservoir to push more of the oil out of the wells?. Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.

The problem of course, is that the coal-fired plants are seldom anywhere close to where the oil wells are, and the oil wells are seldom anywhere close to where the electric customers are.

This in turn raises the question as to whether perhaps a coal gassification (or possibly a coal-powered hydrogen production facility) with CCS might be a better choice to co-locate in the oil fields. Gas pipelines are more expensive to build than electrical transmission lines, I suppose, but the energy transmission losses are virtually zero. In some cases, there are already gas pipelines nearby. Of course, a big downside is that you are talking about building entirely new plants instead of just retrofitting existing electrical generation stations, plus extending rail infrastructure to haul the coal to the oilfields.

Would such an approach hold out much hope for staying in positive EROI territory? Or would the amount of resources that need to be invested in the build out push it into negative territory?

At some point, the oil in question would become an energy carrier rather than an energy source.

As pointed out above, an example would be using nuclear power to extract oil from tar sands.

In the absence of really good batteries or a hydrogen (also an energy carrier) infrastructure plus fuel cells, oil with a minor negative EROEI (say 0.8 or something) might still be useful for transportation (for a while). It would certainly be useful as feedstock for the chemical industry.

Bob Wallace,
very few wells use oil to power the production. They mostly use electric moors, and sometimes gas-powered generators.

There are already a number of solar panels being used as a remote power source, they are cheaper than running electric lines very far. I've heard of, but never seen, windmills producing directly like a water well on some very shallow wells. And my father told me about a guy at Humble field who had a shallow well in his back yard and would lower a bucket and bail enough oil to pay his beer tab. That's the ultimate in cheap operations, and he could probably stay drunk on 1/2 a barrel a day back in the 1950's.

In fact, with $90 oil prices a six barrel a day well will make over $100,000 per year net after royalties, taxes and expenses. And, that's not very much oil.

I guess I need to write a key post about oil well economics and overhead and see if Professor G will publish it for me, but a small oil company can net a lot of money from operating a few stripper wells and its just not that complicated. The secret to any oil operation is to keep your overhead less than your outgoing expenses, and the rewards can be great for a reasonable amount of work. There are a lot of old wells that can be acquired for very little cash, and it would make an excellent job for people who have been laid off by the crazy economy. And if Matt Simmons is right and we are looking at $250-$300/bbl, then a half a dozen stripper wells will make you wealthy and give you time off to fish and grow a vegetable garden.

Normally, on figuring whether a workover or a new piece of equipment is justified, look at the time to pay-out. If the increase in production will pay for itself in less than 2 years, its worth doing That will give you about $80-$100 K for the workover, plus pay royalties and electricity ect.
Bob Ebersole

The article about peak food got me thinking a bit. Many areas around the world are suffering from drought right now. Whether the drought we are experiencing now is related to climate change or not, nobody can say for sure, but if it is, then the possibility exists that drought will be a much more common condition in the future.

Doug Fir has said something along those lines. He said rising sea levels gets all the attention, but that's really the least of our worries.

Speaking of which...CNN this morning had a bit from their "Planet In Peril" special. They said rising sea levels has actually caused people to starve on some Pacific islands, because they can no longer farm.

Perhaps the current conditions in the south-from water shortages to wildfires-will get us thinking more on these lines.

The extensive effects from climate change induced drought will come from greatly decreased ag yields in both North America and Europe. This will impact all of us. Grains are at all time highs as it is-and I'm sure production will shift next year to try to take advantage of these shifts. So, peak cotton now as farmers shift back to wheat? Get your tee shirt today. Sarcasm, to a degree.

Just to look at minor effects of drought or ppt shifts. Dry falls will put off the plant dates of winter wheat until soil moisture conditions improve. Or the ground is planted but germination is delayed. The late germination that fall results in weak, shallow rooted plants, much less able to survive the winter or frost heave.

You should write us an article about it.

Plus the old last frost/first frost days are now suspect. We may now have longer growing seasons - except in those years when we don't. Unfortunately, who can know when this will be a "don't" year? Who can know for sure when the last frost or first frost days will be? Do you take a chance with an earlier planting or a longer DTM crop? If you do, maybe you'll catch the rains just right - or maybe you'll plant right before a brutal late frost.

Not easy to be a farmer these days, I suspect- Unlike the old days when everything was always so simple and easy. ;-)

WNC, you said it!

It is October 23, and still no frost here in central NH. Usually we get a few frosty days in September. My jalapenos just started flowering again, fer cryin out loud! I've got a nice late crop of lettuce coming along, and the carrots are still growing apace. It's like early September in the garden.

If only I knew I'd have this much time... But you just can't count on the growing season rolling into late October here.

Very strange.

Weather madness in Iowa, today, too. I love my little boat but I should be raking leaves or shoveling snow this time of year, not paddling the West Fork of the Des Moines in shorts and sandals.

Crazy Weather

Here's the transcript from that "Planet in Peril" thing:

GUPTA: The amazing thing as well is how much of this is sort of non-intuitive. First of all, those islands you just saw there are expected to be gone, completely submerged by 2015. That's relatively quick but also just the sort of non-intuitive thing.

So, the water sort of flushes over the island. It ruins the farmland. They can't grow their own crops. Therefore, they are actually, people starved to death on these islands.

But also, what used to be sort of tropical diseases, malaria has now become the number one killer on this island where it wasn't that rampant before because there were not that many mosquitoes out there. You get the swamp lands now on these islands.

ROBERTS: Rising sea levels the only thing to blame for the islands sinking?

GUPTA: Again, as we investigate, it's so interesting because rising seas for sure but exactly why. We found out they used to dynamite fish in this area that need so many mouths to feed. That probably destroyed the coral reef, which is the protective barrier to the island. That could be part of it.

Also, as we looked at the geography of this area, this is a natural old volcanic chain. If you study volcanic chains over history, they tend to rise and then subside back into the sea. These things are all a factor here. I think it's happening faster than ever before, but there's lots of different factors at play here.

Maybe they should be trying to farm fish? Just kidding, chances are the changing marine ecosystem won't support that either. So maybe they have to farm jellyfish, I mean it is protein and there are people who do eat it.


I sure can say without any fear, No ericy there is no global warming, I would even go to California and yell that to those poor benighted people. I also have no fear of their pet junk yard dogs.

You don't need a climate model to see which way the wind blows.....BD said something along this line.

There are certainly lots of unscientific idiots out there yelling stuff like "There ain't no Gawd Darned Globl Warmn". I'd say you would fit right in. Maybe that's because the energy companies have done an excellent job of spreading their anti-science propaganda. Trouble is, it's getting to be rather obvious even to Joe and Mary-Sue Sixpack that "things just ain't right".

E. Swanson

Crystal Radio also acts as a cheer leader for posters who think Hydrinos exist and work. I'm not shocked at the 'ain't no global warming' bent.

(and, while global warming is interesting - the knock off effects on food, land, and the economy are far more problematic)

Hey Eric, here is some old thread for the tired old whole cloth embroidery you do.

look on my quirks you muddy and despair


Looks like a distinct lack of a sense of humour above, as once again what was below has sunk without trace. Anyway, to reiterate but in a very humdrum and insipid manner, the comment in my previous posting which contained the following, No ericy there is no global warming, was part of a double entendre . The meaning of that comment is meant to indicate the opposite of the apparent meaning.

I think the human race has a lot of growing up to do, too bad time has run out. Now that was an explicit statement and not an equivocal one:)

How can you say there is not global warming? Of all of the things AGW related, of this, there is not argument. It is an incontrovertible fact: The Planet is getting warmer. You need to get with the current skeptic viewpoint: Yes, the planet is getting warmer, BUT:

1. We are not the cause - its a cycle.
2. We are the cause but we cannot stop it.
3. We are the cause but it will cost too much to stop it.

You need to update your talking points because only the following individuals still cleave to that view:

Tin Foil Hatters

I see these denier positions as trenches prepared in advance. In the old days the best generals would reinforce his forward-most trench, but also order several trenches dug behind the lines so that he could carry out an orderly retreat. The troops could stabilize a new line more quickly this way. Ask any GI who fought in Italy about the German talent for this kind of fighting retreat.

It's also exactly what the tobacco companies did - before Liggett blew the scam by giving up documents that showed that tobacco execs had understood evidence for the last trench - "yes, it does cause cancer and we are liable" - decades ago and lied to Congress about it.

Oh, but what is the last trench for Global Warming and Peak Oil deniers? It's not anything as benign and public-spirited as "we are liable."

If our masters knew about these things all along, their greatest fear had to be premature American public exposure and acceptance. Too much danger that we might concede fair compensation, taxation into a remediation fund, etc, etc.

Now if the American public could be fooled until the mess was so big that they refused to pay compensation to the rest of the world, then the corporations could suddenly reverse themselves. "Yes, we screwed everyone, but the blood's on your hands too, and you will all be punished if America surrenders to the UN. So now you must obey us as we tax you and steal your children to fight the resource wars until we've killed off enough foreigners to force the rest to live at starvation levels while we continue to enjoy our sacred Way of Life."

And if you don't think that could work, remember that the German people became more loyal to Hitler, and worked harder for less gain, the more they began to realize that the whole world was out to punish them. There was no chance after '42 that they could even salvage what they'd had if they hadn't started the war in the first place - yet the fear of punishment by aliens drove them to attempt the impossible. We shall see what Americans are made of when we reach the last trench.

Er, what?

Yeah, they did the same thing with the Plunge Protection Team. They started publishing the old Fed meetings so they could slowly leak that they were using your social security taxes to prop up the stock market, without just letting it all hang out at once and causing political problems. They timed the disclosures to after the 2004 elections, but far enough away from the 2008 elections that they wouldn't have to worry about people remembering.
Now they are slowly leaking that they sold off the gold reserves keeping gold prices down and the dollar up (to the extent that it was possible). They released the news that they 'swapped' some gold reserves at the Fed in New York. That's where they 'loan' some gold to people that went short, so he could keep from going bankrupt and roll over his short position. Since the price of gold is still going up, and the price of dollars is still going down, they will have to 'loan' twice as much gold this year as last. Assuming that we actually have any gold left.
If you give people bad news about someone they like, slowly, over time, they can rationalise it and still keep liking that person. If you give them too much information at once, they can't. It's a psychological phenomena.
Which is why Bush and company still has that solid core of 24% support.
If people were surprised by the information that we didn't have the gold left, say, after there was a supply interruption in the Gulf and they expected us to be able to sell gold and buy the steel needed to build synfuel plants to replace the oil we couldn't import, then they would conclude that Bush and company weren't their friends.
So the information has to be leaked out slowly enough for people to reason it away. This tactic will work if the dollar doesn't collapse for another few months.

The last trench?

I'm sure you've heard of it, it's called "Peak oil". After oil prices shoot to the sky and shortages cripple the economy, nobody will care about no sntinkin' Global Warming. The most plentiful and dirtiest of the fossil fuels - coal, tar sands and oil shale will come to aid and rescue our way of life, the atmosphere be damned.

IMO, this has been the plan all along... FYI now we seem to be stuck at the trench CCS - which is the code name of "we should keep polluting, because some day we'll find a way to reduce pollution" argument.


Definitely past peak.

Richard Wakefield
London, Ont.

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

Discussed yesterday. There's links to the actual report posted in yesterday's DrumBeat.

I would normally not link alien/abiotic oil/NWO/chemtrail site rense.com, but this, former weapon inspector Scot Ritter piece on US/Iran stance is a must read: http://www.rense.com/general78/eved.htm

Found this link on whatreallyhappened.com which linked to the Guardian piece also, to my surprise

Very well written - agreed.

Well written, for me as an european i see USA as a facist state and the most dangerouse state in the world today.

PaulusP, I read that article earlier this morning but reached it via 'TruthDig.' I especially thought Ritters take on how shrub is being influenced and by whom was interesting. Below is a small snippet about how shrub might have come to mention WW3. I continue to be stunned by the way all the presidential hopefulls plus the current dear leaders discuss nuclear war in such a cavalier manner. What really stuns me is that there was so little uproar by the Merkin people about our president mentioning WW3. I believe that we are headed for a real war and that will further mask the problems of GW, PO and economic meltdown. One size fits all...

...snip...'What is clear from the president's remarks is that, far from an innocent rhetorical fumble, his words, and the context in which he employed them, are a clear indication of the imprinting which is taking place behind the scenes at the White House. If the president mentions World War III in the context of Iran's nuclear program, one can be certain that this is the very sort of discussion that is taking place in the Oval Office.

A critical question, therefore, is who was the last person to "imprint" the president prior to his public allusion to World War III? During his press conference, Bush noted that he awaited the opportunity to confer with his defense secretary, Robert Gates, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice following their recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. So clearly the president hadn't been imprinted recently by either of the principle players in the formulation of defense and foreign policy. The suspects, then, are quickly whittled down to three: National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Vice President Dick Cheney, and God.'...snip...

Except that the message from Putin implied in this article is that if a nuke accidentally falls on Teheran, the same thing will accidentally happen in TelAviv.


Given what we have learned about science, it may be a surprise to find that there are many people who still cling to the old, Fundamentalist view. It's been reported that most of the people in the U.S. have strong religious beliefs, with perhaps 25% thinking the Bible is literally true. I think the notion of a Rapture has been around for about 275 years, going back to the First Great Awakening revival in the early 1700's. A later Second Great Awakening in the early 1800's impacted the thinking on both sides of the debates which led to the War Between the States, aka, the Civil War. Ritter's reference to Lincoln follows from that period and reflects the deeply religious world view of the population.

The U.S. has been going thru another period of Evangelical Revival. The difference this time is that science has taken away many of miraculous occurrences, having found reasons for these experiences which no longer require a supernatural explanation. The discovery of germs and virus diseases and genetics have removed evil spirits and demons as causes. The discoveries of chemistry, physics and astronomy also have killed the old Earth centric world view that pervaded the popular mind.

In spite of the available scientific understanding, the Fundamentalist's continue to spread their world view, especially in the rural heartland of the U.S. The really scary situation we are in is the result of the difference between the Fundamentalist Christians and the equally Fundamentalist Muslims, in which each side appears to be ready to kill the other on the presumption that their world view is the correct one when, in fact, there are other, newer world views that are much different. In my worst moments, I wonder how long it will be before the Fundamentalist Christian NeoCons decide to force people into their religious cocoon, otherwise killing them, as was common in Europe during the Middle Ages. If Ritter is correct, an invasion of Iran could easily produce such a result, on the pretext that "You're either with us or against us" in another Crusade.

Remember this hymn (1865?):
"Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to WAR"...

How can this madness be stopped?

E. Swanson

You ask how this madness can be stopped?

Specifically, in the sciences. How many Baptists do you know who hold a PhD in astrophysics?
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

I agree that proper education would help. However, now only some 25% make it to an undergrad degree and those who continue to a grad degree make up a much smaller fraction. Many who get Liberal Arts degrees know little about science. And, don't forget that some of those colleges are religious institutions. What about the other 75% of the public, many of whom didn't even make it past High School?



E. Swanson

Thanks for those links, I never really thought about it much before and it explains a lot. I grew up in a similar situation but fortunately worked my way through college and escaped. I have studied Philosophy and Physics, and still it is difficult to shake off the conditioning entirely, even knowing it for what it is.


I'm not sure how to get a count of astrophysics PhDs. I do attend a Baptist church which has six astronauts as members.

I think it's interesting how this time fundamentalism resurfaced at the top of the Capitalist pyramid (US/Israel/a little bit the UK)and the bottom. The Islamic world has of all regions most comprehensively rejected the essential idea that businessmen must rule all things, so outside the oil states its people are viewed by our elites as less human than even Latin Americans, whom we have gotten to rape several times in the past. Africa is polarizing around fast-mutating Pentacostal and Islamic extremists.

Meanwhile the peoples in-between on the economic hierarchy, Europe, China, Japan, and Latin America, show few signs of mass conversion to a theocratic ideology.

I've got to figure out why the people at the "top" of the empire feel as resentful, paranoid, and victimized as the people of, say, Egypt. Because those feelings seem to be the common denominator in violent fundamentalism.

It would appear that elites at the 'top' have always felt rather threatened and somewhat isolated, specifically because they are and elite, a minority, compared to the great mass of humanity, the mob, the great unwashed majority. They developed a culture of 'fear' because compared to the rest, they clearly had so much to loose, if the modb ever got moving.

There also appear to be specific cultural traits more or less unique to the US elite which may explain their more 'extreme' attitudes. One can look at where they came from. Many came from Scotland and Ireland, from 'border' areas where they were rather like colonists surrounded by a hostile 'native' population. Then these people go to the New World and find themselves in pretty much the same situation only it's worse, so their specific cultural traits are amplified and become even more deep-rooted.

At the same time they construct an idelogy of 'exceptionalism' and 'manifest destiny' which serves two purposes at least. One can morally justify almost any act of agression and expansionism, and at the same time one reinforces the primal culture of paranoia, victimization and resentment. In short one could describe it as a form of militarisitic protestantism fused with the uncertainties and perils of being colonists in new and strange world.

Here in Sweden we are not religious any more. Hardly anyone goes to church on sundays.
We are not atheistic either. We simply don´t care about those things. But we still have our church as a nice tradition at funerals and weddings, but that´s it for most of us.

We have a lot of muslim immigrants, and they are religious.

I heard a joke, that we now in Sweden have 20% muslims, 5% christians and 75% hednoes.

I believe fundamental religious people are dangerous nuts.

The same in norway. Out of the 1000 people in my community around 10-15 goes to church regularly. I know because when yoou have your confirmation you need to go to a certain number of regular services, and I took interest in counting the heads infront of me. Service is every 3rd sunday. The only times the church is crowded is at 24th of december and 17th of may, plus confirmations and some funerals. Some people still have church weddings, and if they invite a bunch of people they can ofcourse also manage to fill a church :)

Scott Ritter is a brave man. He spoke bravely and intelligently during the run up to the Iraq invasion too but no one listened to him. The sleep walking continues.


This is very speculative, but I've often wondered if Scott Ritter is still working for the US military, only he's working 'undercover' so to speak.

He is expressing the thoughts, attitudes and feelings of 'radical' group in the officer corps, who for obvious reasons cannot publically express their views. They are very concerned with the direction the current civilian political leadership is taking the United States militarily, because, after all it's them that are going to have to deal with the 'mess' for possibly decades to come. This 'group' in the military is also highly critical of the High Command as well; their strategy and dispositions and their willingness to follow their civilian 'commanders' into the 'Valley of Death' so meekly.

Their primary fear/concern is the aliance with Israel, which they apparently believe is not in the best interests of the United States. They question the whole strategy of a confrontattion or 'crusade' directed at the entire Muslim world, a war that could last a century. Clearly serving officers cannot openly question the wisdom of going to war with Islam. Scott Ritter, however, can do this, he is their 'mouthpiece'.

I don't know where to put this one (topically), but you have to admit it is sign of future issues.

AlanFBE - close your eyes :P

Chinese Rail Wagons Becoming Scrap Iron in North Korea


The World Food Programme (WFP) said on the 18th that 10,000 tons of emergency food aid has been put on hold in China, due to the lack of rail wagons for a few weeks.

Britain¡¯s Financial Times also reported on the 19th, depending on the extent North Korea turned 1,800 Chinese rail wagons that originally carried food aid and goods into pieces of steel and sold them, the Chinese government has ceased operations of key freight trains headed towards North Korea.¡±

Um..."Thanks for the food, mind if we sell your trains too. Cheers!" "What do you mean you weren't giving us the train as well, how cheap!" :P

The report that North Korea has made Chinese rail wagons into scrap iron and have sold them, resulting in a shortage of modes of transportation, is partially exaggerated. However, the continuing discord with China due to this issue is a fact which cannot be denied.

Ok..so who knows what is really happening, but what an odd way to do business(or recieve aid).

You have to be very careful rescuing a drowning person. They aren't going to be entirely responsible for their actions.

so, a picture is starting to take shape in my mind... are we literally laying siege, medieval style, on North Korea, literally starving them out?
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

Aljazeera/English are showing a program tonight in their 'Inside Story' series asking if oil production is declining. It airs at 6.30pm UK time.
France 24 yesterday in their 'Face-off' debate featured a Peak Oil discussion. I only caught a bit of it so details are sketchy, but it featured someone called Benoit (first name)who argued the peak oil case versus Philibert (surname) who I think was an IEA spokesperson and who struggled gamely to try to avoid using the word peak at all times. He mentioned the current high price of oil and admitted that it was causing problems for the developing world, but emphasised that the 'Global Economy' was doing very well. This reminded me of a discussion here on the Oil Drum previously where someone thought that the global economy would continue to do well for some time as those failing aspects of it would be annexed out and no longer counted.
Alas, when we look at UK national TV news it is less informative. The BBC One o'clock news today previewed their upcoming broadcast where the focus seemed to revolve around domestic, personal tragedy/human interest type stories. I didn't bother to watch it.

Not particularly impressive. Two non-english speakers, slowly speaking English and trying to subtly claim they 'their' research was world changing. Sorry but the german 3% decline rate is quite a benign prediction.

It took the whole programme before they wondered if declining oil supply might possibly mean a global recession...

However it did point up the usual reaction which is "oh, if oil supply is declining, what are the alternatives". Much time spent talking about that. To be fair, the answers were good, but the key realisation (there are no alternatives that scale fast enough) was missed. I feel that's a good part of the reason why people don't understand the threat of peak oil; they don't understand the alternatives aren't there.

Has another bubble popped?


I was going to quote something...but didn't know where to start!

I can only ask one question, where is the price going then? How many Yergins down? 1, 2?

Maybe I will start screaming every morning at market opening...it was therapeutic.

"Irwin Kellner is chief economist for MarketWatch and for North Fork Bank."

Hopefully you don't have an account on that Bank!:-)

How many other factors and how much PO information can be ignored in one article? I am speechless. If you read the article, also read the comments, which will aid in getting your head to spin more slowly. If supply is cut, and demand doesn't follow immediately, the price goes up. As I have mostly lurked over the last year, I have learned a lot about PO, economics, and how to ignore (the few) idiots. I think that only one part of what I have learned will help me on this one.

Old market trick.

When things start to undulate for no good reason, it is the big boys cleaning the little suckers on margin out.

Dear Dr. Kellner,

Supply = 85mbd (maxed out!)
Demand = 87mbd (and growing!)

In Econ 101 that means higher prices. By this time next year, prices will be around $100 and supply will still be 85mbd.


'Boatner says. "You can imagine the challenge for young men and women with hand tools like this to come up here and put out a fire like this, but there's thousands of people down there with multimillion dollar homes that are counting on them to do that." '


Somehow, that line from a report about how bad forest fires are becoming in North America really struck me. And if you wonder how America is preparing to deal with peak oil and climate change, it says just about all you need to know. The quote is from 'Tom Boatner, who after 30 years on the fire line, is now the chief of fire operations for the federal government.'

Nice to see that protecting multi-million dollars homes is at the forefront of his mind - a more thoughtful fire fighter just might ask, why are people building in areas that become engulfed in 300 foot flame walls? Note - this item pre-dates what is going in San Diego.

Uhh, just a thought, but if one has original thought in a Federal Agency he/she are not put in the position of Chief of Fire Operations for the Federal Government.

Welcome to George Bush's America.

Events like these fires, Katrina, and Iraq fit into a trend I see where we are waking up to the Mortal-ness of this Superpower (remember Hyper-power?).

So much of our power around the world comes from being a big, strong, macho, dominant figure.

We are still strutting and blustering, but The Emperor has No Clothes.

The bullying of Iran and Venezuala fits into this as well. We can't let those we dominate see these puny entities defy us without retribution.

Somewhat Poetic Justice to see Mother Nature doing the defying...

From the WSJ:

Asia Keeps Pressuring Oil Prices

As usual, go in through Google News to read it free.

Asia's fast-growing economies have made some progress in addressing their seemingly insatiable demand for oil, but they continue to fall far short of the cuts needed to significantly reduce pressure on global supplies.

I wondered how that worked, since going through the main Google News page just led to a preview.

An interesting perspective on Germany -

Things we have picked up - the most valuable being a washing machine which lasted for another 4 years. The man who placed it outside for Sperrmüll, which is a regular collection period for bulky items, several times a year, had tried to sell it used, but had no luck, and he was happy to see us put it to use. As he sadly noted, people just don't spend money on second hand things. A clothes drying rack from roughly the same time (different place, though) is still in use, as is several different smallish wood cabinets. The thing the kids liked the best was a plastic air, filled surfboard floating platform, with a clear plastic window - we still have it, but the kids are a bit too old for it.

The article doesn't do a bad job covering many of the aspects of this aspect of living here, but at least in the town I now live in, Sperrmüll no longer occurs - bulky items are only picked up for a fee, by appointment. It makes living here a bit more boring, actually, but there are towns on the way to work that still have a regular Sperrmüll schedule - adds a bit of interest seeing what is available, either driving or walking from the train station.

That particular german tradition was very fascinating to me when I learned about it in german class. Reuse is the best kind of recycling.

Here in Norway we actually import alot of secondhand expensive german cars, even as we export old beat up toyotas to Africa. As a car ages the import duty gets lowered by I think 10% per year untill it reaches zero after 10 years. The used-import cars are easy to spot, they're the ones driving around without their headlights on in daytime. When I were in Oslo it seemed every other car was one of those, I even gave up the custom, common in the rural parts, of signaling to them that their lights were out of order.

I only ever get a preview when I click on those links to the WSJ, I assume that's because I'm in Australia.

The trick seems to be go into Google News, and then use the search page to find the article - the results from the search page lead to a full article.

If you merely search at the main page, you get led to a preview.

Of course, the other variable may be time - I had tried to find the article when it appeared on Monday - noticed it at the train station - and the link is from yesterday. It still works for me, and I'm in Germany.

Indeed, temperatures in the Northeast part of the United States - which uses the most oil for heating - have been as much as 20 degrees above normal all this month.


And that is good news for the oil traders, apparently. *sigh*

I am going to click Post comment and then go away for a while ...

Apologies if this has been posted already, but this is yet another ecological disaster I hadn't heard of:


"Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean

...the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch - a heap of debris floating in the Pacific that's twice the size of Texas, according to marine biologists.

The enormous stew of trash - which consists of 80 percent plastics and weighs some 3.5 million tons, say oceanographers - floats where few people ever travel, in a no-man's land between San Francisco and Hawaii."

another ecological disaster I hadn't heard of

If it matters to you , I remember hearing about it some 5 years ago. Noted how the PCBs and other chemicals are absorbed into the plastic - then enter the food chain.

Moved to farm raised catfish when opting for meat - till I read about Prions. And only because of one of the Bob's here I found out that Fish have prions - but it seems fish prions and mammal prions are different, so feeding downed critters to farm raised fish may not be a transmission vectors.

Here's another good article on this, complete with disturbing pictures.

This is astounding and depressing.

Hopefully only somewhat glib: I wonder if, some day, someone would find it profitable to reprocess this tumor into useful shorter hydrocarbons for fuel or plastics?

Just FYI - I've gotten my 1st spam for 'own it/do it yourself' hydrogen generation. I've extracted some of the pricing/stats and the bit about distilled water....

From the spam:

Now you can get your hydrogen gas from water generators,
distiller/deionizer, compressor, canisters, fuel cell, solar & wind
turbine DC plus gas grill fast and direct to save you time and money!....then the maximum hydrogen
production is: 0.08987*5*60*24=647.064g/day=0.647064kg/day.
Power Consumption Per Hour 2000(W) (Whoops, exceeds standard 15 amp breakers/14 gauge wiring)
Affordable U.S. Delivered Price: $20,995
Ovonic Solid Hydrogen Storage canisters
Nominal Capacity: 60 std. liters
Nominal Discharge Rate: 100 W or 1.4 slpm of hydrogen
US $395
500W PEM fuel cell
with control unit for hydrogen gas only $10999 plus freight

What? Distilled water? Lets see, take water, make steam, condense the steam - THEN make H2 gas?

The oil price chart on the sidebar is stuck again. Anyone remember what was being used last time it stopped updating?

edit: I see the problem, its still showing CLX07.NYM which has expired. It needs to be changed to CLZ07.NYM

that's a contract issue--it expired Monday. Will get SuperG on it.

Here is a tinyurl that leads to a very nice Google map of the San Diego fires. Didn't want to dork up the thread with the real mile long URL.


What's wrong with a link like this?

Google map of the San Diego fires

Looks like even an ill Fidel Castro has been keeping up on biofuel issues.

Fidel Castro wrote Tuesday U.S. President George W. Bush is threatening the world with nuclear war and famine—an attack on Washington a day before the White House plans to announce new plans to draw Cuba away from communism.
"The danger of a massive world famine is aggravated by Mr. Bush's recent initiative to transform foods into fuel," Castro wrote in Cuban news media, referring to U.S. support for using corn and other food crops to produce gasoline substitutes.

Not sure why he conflated the nuclear war threat with the biofuel/famine threat but maybe he sees them both as equally destructive.


from drudge
"San Diego Gas & Electric spokesman Art Larson and California ISO's Fishman said one of the region's two main energy transmission corridors has been severed. The Southwest Power Link, a 500,000-volt line that conveys power from Arizona to San Diego, has not been in operation since Sunday due to damage caused by the Harris fire, one of the county's two major fires currently burning near Otay Mesa and Eastern Chula Vista"

Hello TODers,

My [comments in brackets]

US states war over water from Georgia

But Bob Riley, Alabama governor, has written to Mr Bush urging him to reject Georgia's request.

"The action that Georgia seeks will have dire consequences on people and their livelihoods downstream in Alabama," he wrote. "[Alabama] cannot stand by and allow Georgia to take control of the water".

[Dat sure sounds like fightin' words to me. Waddya think, Clem? If the drought get worse, will Alabaman Rednecks attack the Georgian Peaches?]

The regional drought, now well into its second year, has raised interstate tensions to a new high.

While some reports have claimed that Atlanta is within 90 days of running out of water, the Corps of Engineers has dismissed the possibility that Atlanta's taps could run dry soon.

[Didn't the Corps also dismiss the possibility of Nawlin's levees not holding back a hurricane? Somehow, I don't think the people in the SE give them much credibility.]

Major Daren Payne, deputy commander of the Corps' regional offices said, "It's not time to go stock up on bottled water."

[I suspect he is about as accurate as Daniel Yergin--now is precisely the time to stock up on bottled water!]

The Corps, Alabama and Georgia are also in dispute over releases from north Georgia's Lake Allatoona to feed another river system in Alabama. The Corps an­nounced this month it would restrict releases to ensure sufficient water for the reservoir "in the face of a potential multi-year drought".

[multi-year drought--Yikes! Somebody needs to be buying bottled water, or else checking out potential rehabitable propert in Detroit. Also, isn't multi-year longer than 90 days--was last time I checked.]

John Echeverria, director of Georgetown University's Environmental Law & Policy Institute, said: "Georgia has NOT done a good job in anticipating and responding to a long-festering water supply problem in the state."

[They might get meaningful water reform Masterfully kickstarted by having Tiger Woods start plowing Augusta National. My feeble two cents].

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

Did King Abdullah really say this?

"The oil boom is over and will not return. All of us must get used to a different lifestyle.", said King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the largest global oil producer.

Peak Oil could trigger meltdown of society


Ron Patterson

No, it was Prince Abdullah who said it. The CS Monitor perpetuated the myth that it was said recently, that is, since Abdullah has been King, (a corrected version of CSM article here).

Cid Yama and Leanan tracked down the quote to an article in Time from 2002, from a statement made in 1998 (see Aug 15 Drumbeat for thread):

Abdullah began shaking the Kingdom out of its petroleum hangover by declaring in 1998 that the "boom is over and will not return — all of us must get used to a different lifestyle."