DrumBeat: November 10, 2007

European politicians wrestle with high gasoline prices

Since the start of the year, diesel prices in France, where protests have started, have risen by nearly 17 percent as fuel retailers like Total and Shell charge more, following the cost of crude oil upward. Consumers in Europe already face costs far higher than in many parts of the world because of hefty taxes.

"It's a very difficult situation for governments," said Colette Lewiner, an energy expert at Capgemini, a consultancy. "What governments should be doing is lowering the tax on the oil products, but that would mean lowering their own expenses and breaking spending promises, so governments are trapped."

The Oil King’s Diplomat

This week Saudi Arabia hosts a summit of the Organization For The Petroleum Exporting Countries at a time when the cost of oil is soaring toward $100 a barrel, with tensions in Iraq and the Persian Gulf making matters worse. Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister for 32 years, is working to calm disputes that plague the region and threaten the global economy. He spoke last week with NEWSWEEK's Christopher Dickey. Excerpts:

DICKEY: A couple of years ago you said Saudi Arabia wanted to see oil in the $40 range. Well, we are way beyond that now.

SAUD: DON'T hold me to that.

Lula Says Brazil Oil Discovery May Lead Country to Join OPEC

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva said the discovery of reserves totaling as much as 8 billion barrels of oil may lead the country to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Brazil won't be ready to join the oil cartel for five or six years, when Petroleo Brasileiro SA's Tupi offshore oilfield is ready to start production, Lula told reporters today in Chile, before he left an Ibero-American summit in Santiago.

Gas prices could set records by Thanksgiving as oil costs rise

You might want to stay put for Thanksgiving.

By the time the holiday rolls around, gasoline could cost more than ever before. Driven higher by the rampaging bull market for crude oil, Bay Area gas prices could soon top records set just this spring.

This, at a time of year when gas prices rarely rise at all.

Gas costs expected to follow oil price

The full impact of the recent jump in crude prices still hasn't found its way to the pump, meaning gasoline prices are likely to keep climbing.

"There's no question there are more increases to come," said Michael Wittner, senior oil analyst with investment bank Societe Generale in London.

Supercycle Buster

Perhaps the end of the commodity supercycle will represent the shortest cycle of them all. Perhaps peak oil will bring on its collapse.

‘It’s All About Energy, Stupid!’

If you run a business that's into renewable power, expect a presidential candidate to stop by. We profile four such companies on the cutting edge.

'People realise it is time to take action'

Bill McKibben may be a beanpole fortysomething academic, with greying hair, spectacles always on the end of his nose, and a thoughtful, unemphatic delivery, but his life has become quite rock'n'roll these days. "If you've been working at this for a long time like I have, especially during the 90s," he says, "there was a time when it was really quite lonely."

Shortages force up fuel prices

Tight supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel are pushing up prices at the pump and causing temporary outages at some retail stations in Iowa.

Transport truckers must drive longer distances and spend time waiting at major terminals, such as Des Moines, to get fuel loads for retailers because some outlying terminals are out of fuel, said Dawn Carlson, president of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa.

NPG Asserts America Is on Path to Population Disaster

Negative Population Growth President Donald Mann has announced the start of a Campaign for a National Population Policy, a grassroots effort to get the American people and elected leaders focused on the country's escalating population crisis.

Declaring that America's population growth of 30 to 40 million people per decade will see U.S. population explode to 450 million by mid-century, Mann stressed the vital need for Congress to take immediate steps to create a U.S. Commission on Population Growth with a goal to fundamentally rethink our nation's "growth at any cost" mentality.

France's Lagarde And Total's De Margerie Discuss Oil Price

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, accompanied by Total SA (TOT) Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie, said Saturday the French market for oil-based fuels is "extremely competitive," with tight refining margins.

Lagarde and de Margerie spoke immediately after a meeting between oil companies and members of the French government to discuss rising fuel prices.

"Unique combination" of varied factors driving up oil price

International oil price has soared in about 10 months since it dived to 49.9 US dollars per barrel on January 18 this year without any return or interruption. The price of New York crude oil (or light, sweet crude) went up to 98.61 dollars, hitting an all-time ever since 1980. So people worldwide are deadly sure that oil price will reach 100 dollars per barrel within the year.

Here comes $100 a barrel

Ready for $100-a-barrel oil? Despite a stall in oil's steep price climb, that symbolic milestone could be here by Thanksgiving. So what can we do to reverse the surge in prices, or at least soften its impact? Not much.

Fossil Fuel Train Heads Into Overdrive

Today's skyrocketing fossil fuel use will accelerate far faster in the coming decades, driving oil prices higher and virtually guaranteeing catastrophic climate change in the decades to come, energy experts say.

As oil prices rise, regrets for not locking in

As home heating oil prices continue to hover above $3 a gallon, homeowners who decided to pay upon delivery for their oil might wish they had locked in a lower price by signing up for a pre-buy program earlier this year.

Lester Brown: "We all have a stake in future civilisation"

We are at a turning point. This derives from two or three things: one is the possibility that the peak of world oil production might have been touched last year, according to recent analysis. If that is the case, we are living in a very different world from the one we have known up to now with the oil production continuously going up. It creates an interesting situation because now, for any country to get more oil, another must get less. This combines with the indirect effects caused by biofuels on food prices: the U.S. effort to reduce its fuel insecurity is leading to global food insecurity on a scale that’s going to get much worse next year.

Malawi: Diesel shortage hits Southern Region

Most filling stations in Southern Malawi have run out of diesel, a development that has spurred smuggling of the fuel by illicit traders.

Guyana: Fuel shortage hits Berbice agriculture

Due to a shortage of fuel at the Guyoil Company at Heathburn, East Bank Berbice since last Wednesday a number of agricultural operations on the Corentyne have been affected.

Gas station owner, David Subnauth told Stabroek News yesterday that he checked at the company and was told that they were out of gasoline, diesel and kerosene. He said the boat that normally distributes fuel to Guyoil is not expected until next Wednesday. "

Fare trade? Gas prices gouge cabbies, too

Taxi services, which typically run a thin profit margin, feel a sharper-than-usual pinch this fall -- one that passengers will soon share.

"It puts us in the poor house," said Paul Robar, the owner of Benways Transportation, on Friday. "Every day we operate taxis we're losing money. The small guy can't afford this anymore."

Explaining the barrel boost: there’s a logic and rationale

The jump in oil prices to near-record levels may seem strange, even suspicious, especially given no major geopolitical blowups or other big news to explain it. But in a tight market, it doesn’t take much to cause a barrel boost - and a lot of little things have added up to do just that.

Where from here on Arctic energy?

Whether it’s offshore oil and gas development, skyrocketing fuel costs in rural communities or the development of renewable energy sources, it seems that there’s no shortage of issues that relate to the production or use of energy in the Arctic.

Storm damage won’t halt Dominican refinery’s output, official says

The Dominican Petroleum Refinery guarantees the fuel supply despite damages caused by Tropical Storm Noel to processing terminal at the mouth of the Nizao river, 15 miles west of the capital.

UK: Green tax puts extra £1,000 on family cars

Families who choose to drive larger cars face an increase of up to £1,000 in the cost of motoring under a government plan to force people to switch to greener vehicles.

At the same time, manufacturers will be given incentives to accelerate the introduction of hybrid cars — which have a petrol engine and an electric motor — and those that run entirely on electricity.

Energy Tribune Speaks with Amory Lovins

ET: You’ve spent three decades fighting nuclear power. And yet, today, nuclear power is having a renaissance. The U.S. now gets 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants. Wouldn’t America’s carbon dioxide emissions be much higher without those plants?

ABL: Nuclear power continues to die of an incurable attack of market forces. A huge and capable propaganda campaign by the industry and its political allies is spinning an illusion of a renaissance that deceives credulous journalists but not hard-nosed investors.

Global warming's true remedies

Politicians, who must always prove that they aren't passive bystanders (here, that they are actively fighting global warming) will scream, "Let us fight global warming". Scientists, environmentalists, writers and journalists will join campaigns to "reduce emissions to near-zero". Who could possibly disagree with that?

Nevertheless, when it comes to the painful-but-true solutions, we would rather not talk about them: Taxation on fossil fuels and adopting technology that bridges our persistent dependency on fossil fuels and the "moral duty" (as some campaigners put it) to curb emissions.

Climate wake-up call for Hampton Roads

Virginia is at last beginning to wake up to the threat of climate change –– and not a moment too soon for Hampton Roads. As Gov. Tim Kaine testified on Capitol Hill recently, Hampton Roads "is the largest population center that is at the greatest risk from sea level rise outside of New Orleans." He also described the damage climate change is already causing to the Chesapeake Bay and the threat of far greater damage, and he has called for state and federal action to address these threats.

U.S., Florida can earn green by going green

Unfortunately, U.S. transport fuel consumption is so great that it is unlikely we'll ever be able to achieve complete energy independence. Fortunately, our neighbors in Latin America have plenty of arable land, which is ideal for growing energy crops.

Monbiot: Biofuels Could Kill More People Than the Iraq War

If the governments promoting biofuels do not reverse their policies, the humanitarian impact will be greater than that of the Iraq war.

A balanced contribution

I committed a "crime against humanity" earlier this week, according to George Monbiot. I drove into my local Brazilian petrol station and filled up with ethanol, the environmentally-friendly alternative to petrol, of which Brazil is the world's leading producer.

Cellulosic holds promises

Thune’s legislation would kick-start a cellulosic ethanol industry that is admittedly in its infancy. Cellulosic ethanol is produced from native perennial grasses, such as switchgrass, and other biomass materials, such as wood chips and corn cobs. Here in western South Dakota, where dryland corn isn’t a good crop risk in even the wettest of years, other kinds of ethanol-producing materials make more sense. Forest waste from logging operations and tree-thinning projects come to mind.

$100 Oil Will Mean Greater Instability in Fuel-Subsidizing Countries

Many countries, including major oil exporters, spend huge sums subsidizing fuel prices; the higher the price of oil, the higher the cost of these subsidies. At some point, the subsidies become too much and the government has to cut back, potentially sparking unrest. That was the experience of Venezuela in the late 1980s, when thousands of people died in riots that followed a cut in subsidies. In Venezuela today, where the world's cheapest gasoline sells at about 8 cents a gallon, President Hugo Chavez is already laying the groundwork for a possible cut in a subsidy that costs his deficit-riddled treasury about $9 billion a year. Chavez is talking about the evils of gas-guzzling Hummers and the need to keep the revolution from financing the spending habits of the rich. But cheap fuel also keeps transportation for the poor affordable and a price jump at the pump could spell trouble.

Free energy? It doesn't measure up

When it comes to creating energy you can't make something out of nothing, says the BBC newsreader, from behind the very important desk. "Until now, because British scientists seem to have turned this fundamental law of physics upside down." The Mail on Sunday loved it too. "Amazing British invention creates MORE energy than you put into it - and could soon be warming your home," it said. Taste the excitement. "It violates almost every known law of physics."

Well, that'll teach those so-called scientists a lesson. The device is a heating element made by a company called Ecowatts, and it is claimed to make more heat energy than you put into it. Has anybody validated this claim?

Wall Street Journal Says Oil Prices Will Not Hit $100 Mark

Because oil prices have been soaring daily, the prevailing idea is that it is only a matter of time before the price hits the $100 mark.

However, the Wall Street Journal yesterday offered 10 reasons that oil prices will not reach $100 in its `breaking views.com` column. The reasons include sufficient supply capacity, declining demand for oil due to oil price hikes, and the bubble contained in the current oil price.

Oil's long tail

Let the consumer beware: Costs are going up on almost everything the average American family consumes.

Blame it on crude oil. The rocketing price of crude oil is not only sharply hiking the costs of fueling the car and heating the home, but is bidding up prices on the raw materials that go into goods from produce to perfume.

America, the new ‘Great Game’ in Central Asia and the politics of oil

The United States is the world’s biggest consumer and importer of oil. But the Chinese economic juggernaut is fast catching up with the US as an oil importer and is projected to have more cars than the US by the year 2020. The competition between the two countries for new sources of oil is going to be intense. With crude oil prices closing in on an all-time high of $ 100 a barrel this week and expected to breach that barrier within the next few days, the US’s interest in getting a hammerlock on Central Asia’s vast oil and gas reserves is likely to become greater than ever before.

Iraq's troubles push oil costs up

The spike in oil prices shaking the U.S. economy right now is something of a self-inflicted wound stemming from a war gone awry.

Energy gluttony

The United States has about 4.6 percent of the world's population, and it uses 21 percent of the energy consumed each year. This gluttony costs Americans almost $1 million a minute, or around $500 billion a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

It will take strong leadership to promote energy independence

The rising price of oil is driving families in New Hampshire and Maine to the wall. The lucky ones are locked into a fixed price for the remainder of the current heating season. A family at the mercy of the marketplace will see its discretionary income taking a hit this winter as it's faced with a jump in price every time an oil truck unlinks from its fuel tank.

Wasting the Earth: The UN doomsday report

For energy-importing countries, securing the supply of affordable energy is directly linked with human well-being. There could be a “vulnerability paradox” regarding energy: the less vulnerable a country’s energy sector becomes, the greater the impacts could be from energy problems.

Blame Both Sides in Russia-EU Energy Spat

At a basic level, rising petroleum costs hammer home the reality that Europe faces an imminent energy security challenge. The European Union, however, has yet to devise a coherent long-term energy strategy, and East-West tensions hinder its ability to speak on the issue with a unified voice.

Experts Say Argentina's Energy Crisis Needs Urgent Solution

Argentina's energy shortage is worsening, and it urgently needs to be tackled through heavy investment in exploration and production projects, as well as by raising energy rates to levels seen internationally, experts said at an annual think tank conference Friday.

Palm Tran ridership higher than expected

After a fare hike Oct. 1, Palm Tran was expecting a 5 percent to 10 percent drop in ridership.

But a preliminary analysis on the number of passengers using the county bus system last month shows the decrease was less than 5 percent.

One of the reasons why the hit was not so hard was the sharp spike in gas prices during the past month.

Need for cheap palm oil drives deforestation

Big international companies are fuelling the wholesale destruction of critically important rainforests and peatlands in Indonesia in their search for cheap palm oil, a hard-hitting report claims.

Thorium, the Answer to the Question 'How do You Hedge Uranium?'

I am going to report to you some news, which I think is very significant, about the verification of a large increase in the economical and accessible supply base of the principal ore of the metal thorium, which is located in the United States.

If You Love Renewable Energy, It's Time to Freak Out

Pelosi and Reid are just about to do the stupidest thing imaginable: pull the rug out from underneath the blossoming renewable energy economy at the time when we need it most.

Alaska's Congressional Delegation Vows to Defeat Drilling Ban

Alaska's congressional delegation came out swinging against the latest version of a proposal to ban drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, although the bill has little chance of passage.

Property in Totnes: Wizards of the wacky West

Totnes, the 'capital of New Age chic', is hoping to make itself self-sufficient.

Risk of Full Blown Financial Crisis - Technicals at a Critical Juncture

This is no longer an intellectual game. It's real. This is not business as usual. If the markets collapse, the entire infrastructure of society will likely come under threat because, for example, we have passed ‘peak oil'. If investment confidence goes, how will we adapt to that particular problem? Guys, it's not about making money this time around. It's about survival.

After peak oil

"Don't Panic" is excellent advice in most times of crisis (an though not if you're an investor, in which case the trick is to panic 48 hours before everybody else does). If the peak oil crisis is upon us, then not panicking is definitely the right response. It can be a quite gentle crisis if it is properly handled, but it will be a nightmare if governments and markets panic.

Dem and GOP experts tell oilmen to work both sides

Political experts told independent oilmen on Friday that they need to start making friends among Democrats because that party could be setting U.S. energy policy after the 2008 election.

Doug Sosnick, a Democratic consultant, and Tony Blankley, a Republican pundit, told the Independent Petroleum Association of America annual meeting that oilmen are aligned too strongly with the Republican Party for their own good.

"You guys put your bet down, and you didn't hedge," Sosnick said, referring to a commodity and stock trading strategy of betting on both sides of a transaction to control losses.

Plunge from the pump

Rising oil prices have triggered a ripple effect that is changing our lifestyle - from grocery shopping to the traditional Aussie holiday.

Indian Government Tightens Rules for Oil & Gas Exploration

In a tightening of provisions for the seventh round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-VII), the government has decided to make several changes in the model production sharing contract.

...In short, the contractor has a domestic sales obligation. The government sees natural gas as the fuel of the future and would prefer to see that the commitments to core sectors like power and fertilizer are fulfilled first.

StatoilHydro: Brazil Change to Oil Block Auction 'Grave'

Brazil's decision to cut 41 blocks from an upcoming auction of oil and gas exploration and production blocks, is "grave and worrying," the president of StatoilHydro ASA (STO) in Brazil is quoted as saying in the Valor newspaper Friday.

As Oil Soars, Natural Gas Is a Bargain

As oil prices surged over the last few months, natural gas prices in the United States did something that could help to cushion the economic shock. They fell.

Japan, China to Hold Gas Field Dispute Talks Next Week

Japan and China have agreed to hold the next senior working-level talks aimed at resolving a dispute over gas exploration rights in the East China Sea next Wednesday in Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Friday.

South African cities need to change lanes as oil runs dry

Urban sprawl as an urban form only works with this high level of mobility as it enables people to work, school their children, access medical care, recreational facilities and social services in different parts of the city. In South Africa, we rely for our mobility on the private car as well as busses, trains and taxis, particularly in black residential areas.

The underlying assumption which holds this structure together is that cheap fuel is infinite and is able to fuel our need for mobility. However, oil is finite, and is depleting with every journey. As oil continues to deplete, we need to consider seriously how appropriate our city models and structures are in an oil-constrained and hence mobility-constrained world.

How green is my valley?

When it comes to putting good eco principles into practice, Wales is ahead of the game.

France urges oil producers to raise capacity

Oil producing countries should increase both their production and exploration capacities to tackle a surge in oil prices, French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Saturday.

Speaking after a meeting with oil producing and distributing firms, Lagarde said she wanted the issue discussed at a meeting of EU finance ministers on Monday in Brussels and at a G20 meeting in South Africa at the end of next week.

Canada's oil: black gold with a black heart

As the Middle East has become more unstable and as Iraq has boiled into chaos, other, unexpected places have flourished, and none more so than Fort McMurray. Five hours' drive north of Edmonton, in Alberta, it has always been a frontier town, and even before the first white explorers came fur-trapping, the Indians knew that this place sat on oil - they used it to waterproof their canoes.

The trouble has always been that it's not conventional crude, easily liberated from the earth, but tar sands (also known as oil sands) - a mixture of sand, water and heavy crude that is much more difficult and expensive to extract. It can cost about $C26 ($30) a barrel to extract - so when that was comparable to the price of oil, there was no point in trying; but now that oil is close to breaking the $US100-a-barrel barrier ($108), there definitely is.

Nigeria assumes $100 oil won't last - minister

There is no fundamental justification for oil at $100 a barrel and OPEC member Nigeria is assuming that prices will not last at these levels, oil minister Odein Ajumogobia said on Saturday.

Ecuador's Correa eyes high oil for 6 yrs

Ecuador President Rafael Correa, whose country is expected to rejoin the OPEC oil cartel later this month, said on Saturday he saw oil prices remaining high for some five or six years amid high demand from China.

Iran, Pakistan finalise gas exports contract

Iran and Pakistan have finalised a contract for a multi-billion-dollar gas export deal scheduled to be signed within a month, the Iranian oil ministry’s news service Shana reported on Saturday.

Oil price rise causes global shift in wealth

High oil prices are fueling one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history. Oil consumers are paying $4 billion to $5 billion more for crude oil every day than they did just five years ago, pumping more than $2 trillion into the coffers of oil companies and oil-producing nations this year alone.

The consequences are evident in minds and mortar: anger at Chinese motor-fuel pumps and inflated confidence in the Kremlin; new weapons in Chad and new petrochemical plants in Saudi Arabia; no-driving campaigns in South Korea and bigger sales for Toyota hybrid cars; a fiscal burden in Senegal and a bonanza in Brazil. In Burma, recent demonstrations were triggered by a government decision to raise fuel prices.

OPEC's oil exports seen at record $658 bln

OPEC member nations are expected to rake in a record $658 billion this year from their oil exports and then see their business grow by $104 billion next year, the U.S. government's top energy forecasting agency said on Friday.

North Sea Brent Oil Daily Shipments Will Fall 21% in December

Daily shipments of North Sea Brent crude, part of the price benchmark for almost two-thirds of the world's oil, will drop by about 21 percent in December.

Tankers are set to load 161,677 barrels a day of Brent crude in December, down from 204,500 barrels a day scheduled for November, according to the loading program of field operator Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's largest oil company. A total of 5.01 million barrels will be shipped next month, compared with 6.14 million barrels in November.

North Sea oil production back to normal

Oil production on the Norwegian Shelf is back to normal, after seven platforms were closed down before a storm hit the North Sea Thursday, according to reports reaching here Saturday.

Buffett sells entire PetroChina stake

Warren Buffett has sold the last of his shares in PetroChina, the Chinese state-owned oil company, but brushed aside suggestions that the sale was in response to a disinvestment campaign over its parent company's ties to Sudan.

In an interview with Fox Business Network, Mr Buffett said the sale was "based on price", while admitting that he may have sold a little too early because of recent strong gains in PetroChina's share price.

Stampede at Carrefour cooking oil sale in China kills 3 shoppers, state media say

The accident is the second-known supermarket stampede in recent weeks. Fifteen shoppers were injured in a Shanghai market last month. Both were apparently caused in part by sales of cooking oil, prices of which have soared by more than a third due to inflation in the past year.

LIOC losing $6 mn per month on spiralling crude prices

The Sri Lankan subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation is incurring a loss of nearly USD 6 million a month due to the steep rise in global crude oil prices and has sought an increase in petroleum prices.

The losses of the Lanka IOC (LIOC), as a result of the crude oil prices hovering around the 100-dollars-a-barrel mark, are likely to rise further due to the Sri Lankan government's reluctance to raise petroleum prices before the end of this year.

UK - Fuel Costs: It's Going To Get Worse

Soaring prices for petrol and diesel have hit Plymouth motorists as more and more city forecourts cross the £1-a-litre barrier.A series of sharp daily rises have pushed the average cost of unleaded petrol in the UK beyond £1 a litre for the first time. In Plymouth, the average cost for a litre of unleaded was 99.1p yesterday, but some garages were charging as much as 107.9p for diesel.

Oil companies' allies in Congress blocking energy legislation

Oil prices are soaring again. A barrel of crude oil is nearing $100 with gasoline prices set to rise in the coming months. As Middle Eastern nations continue to profit from our reliance on foreign energy sources, a bipartisan energy bill that will decrease oil imports, lower gasoline prices and grow South Dakota's renewable energy economy remains blocked by partisan politics. We need to break the log jam and pass an energy bill this year.

Gas prices up, customer anger down

The public has grown accustomed to high costs, and oil industry profits are declining.

Oil companies try public forums

Following a wave of record-setting profits and withering criticism from the American public over soaring prices at the pump, some major oil companies have taken their show on the road.

Fire ball seen at refinery after four explosions heard

Reports have this evening emerged of a fire at the Campo de Gibraltar refinery. According to eye witness reports flames were seen at the base of one of the chimneys with several explosions also heard by residents in the area.

Experts to prepare global warming report

If there's one document on global warming policymakers might put in their briefcase, this would be it. On Monday, scientists and government officials gather in Valencia, Spain to put together the fourth and last U.N. report on the state of global warming and what it will mean to hundreds of millions of people whose lives are being dramatically altered.

Good article today at Calculated Risk:



UPDATE: Petroleum imports are strong in dollar terms, but they appear to be declining in BBLs, see exhibit 17. Imports are noisy month to month, but BBLs imported has declined year over year for the last several months. Also note the price per barrel. This will increase sharply over the next few months (but not to the spot level). Hat tip dryfly.

Normally oil prices would now be falling as the U.S. economy weakens - instead we are seeing margins shrinks for U.S. refiners and record high oil prices. This would imply that global demand for oil is strong, while domestic consumption is weak. This evidence supports the "decoupling" argument: that the U.S. economy could slow, but economic growth in the rest of the World would stay strong. I'm not convinced by the decoupling argument, and my view is that there is simply a lag between a slowing U.S. economy and a slowdown for the rest of the world.

And a certain dryfly, without number, was the one that noted the difference between oil imports in dollar terms and in BBLs. Calculated Risk is a fairly good read, in part because of a certain mature steadiness in prespective - refreshing in its way.

Future Tech: Urban Transport


(dark roasted blend is work-safe)

The pictures are worth looking at. Especially the new buses in the middle part of the site. Here the futuristic and real development seems to merge...


OK, it is the weekend, Thanksgiving - the peak travel period of the year - is less than 2 weeks away, and Christmas/etc. - the peak gift giving season of the year - is about six weeks away. Good time to discuss energy saving strategies.


We have to make our annual trip to visit my wife's mother, over 400 miles away. Amtrak won't work out for us given out-of-the-way routes and the limited time we've got. Thus, I plan to rent the most fuel-efficient car available for the trip. I've also posted a ride offer on erideshare.com, seeking riders to cover part of the cost and increase our fuel efficiency per passenger mile. I'll be surprised if I get any takers this year, the time just doesn't seem quite right yet. But I might as well get in the habit of doing this, this is the wave of the future.

Fortunately, for Christmas we stay home.


The shopping mall and big box stores are about 20 miles away. I've decided to skip them this year. Whatever I can't procure locally I'll buy over the internet and have shipped via ground. I've already gotten an early start to assure that the items I'm looking for are in stock, and to allow plenty of time for ground shipment. I figure that especially this time of year, the delivery vans are going to be driving through my neighborhood anyway, so the marginal impact of delivering my stuff as well is going to be pretty minimal compared to the one or two gallons of gas I'd burn shopping.

We're setting some reasonable spending limits this year (we've never been very extravagant in any case), and most of our focus will be on necessities. Warm clothing is a good choice, as I've bumped down our programable thermostat another couple of degrees.

We always do a little holiday baking for smaller gifts for neighbors, co-workers, etc. Producing these in big batches is actually more energy efficient than is producing small batches.

We always try to save & reuse our wrapping paper. Most sheets will end up getting used at least two or three times, most gift boxes will get used dozen of times.

Holiday decor:

I was watching the NBC Today show a short while ago, and they had a segment on "green" holiday decor. There are now LED light strands available that are much more energy efficient than the old ones. Looks like something worth considering if you are in the market for lights. I'm not so sure about the idea of just throwing away lights that are still working to buy these new ones, though - that seems pretty wasteful.

There is always the big debate about real vs. artificial trees. The guy on NBC said that a locally-procured live tree (i.e., rootball in tub), planted outside afterwards is best. Well, maybe. Unfortunately, I need every square inch of space I've got left in my lawn dedicated to food production, conifers won't help. Thus, we've got a very sturdy artificial tree. We've had it for years, take good care of it, and it will last us for many more years. We do live fairly close to Christmas tree farms, so a case could be made for getting a real tree each year, and then running most of it through our chipper/shredder to make mulch. If I didn't have the artificial tree, that's probably what I'd do.

Interested to hear about other thoughts and ideas.

Check out the colleges in your area kid might need a ride they might not normally get and you can spread the word on peak oil on the ride.

LED Christmas bulbs


Towards the bottom of the page are C7 & C9 bulbs, often used in Christmas Tree strings. Already made up LED strings are also available (and quite possibly cheaper).

Also useful during a blackout if you have a computer UPS.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficient Holidays,


PS: They also have a good line of replacement LED "marker" bulbs for cars.

Why would you want to save gas now?

The only thing that happens is that the guy in the Hummer can keep driving his car longer.

Why now? Habbits are not all that easy to establish, especially as one gets older. We are going to have to change a lot of habbits in the future. Might as well get a head start on some of them.

Maybe superficial for TOD;

Still I can’t resist as the mound of presents at Xmas (up to 4 cubic meters in one US family I know) literally make me feel ill, because the waste and mindless consumerism is so blatant and heart wrenching. So I’m perpetually vociferatin' on this topic..

Put a price limit on presents, making them ‘favors’ or kindly jokes. Make a rule they have be home-made / recycled only / not bought but given from what one has already / found. Do a ‘treasure hunt’ scenario where small presents can be picked up. Limit presents to -for children only. Each person gives one present and receives one, decided by drawing names out of hat. Make the presents immaterial - a note, a letter, a short story, a photo with comments, a song (or other live music), a sketch, a souvenir...this can become quite emotional but I have seen it work. For a stable family, pick one or x recipients each year, giving something thought out and of value to them. Make up a Xmas project (eg. garden, refurbishing whatever, etc.) and have each person contribute to that, including doing some of the work. Make each person write a wish, vote on it, picking one or more, and devote the next year to doing whatever possible.

I have left out the ‘give to charity instead’ schemes because while pious they don’t maintain today’s Xmas spirit (what would Jesus think if he saw what we have done with his birthday?) which is about gift giving and family reunion etc.

on edit: spelling


Spot on! We sort of started to see some movement along these lines in the 1970s, but it pretty much became invisible (though did not entirely go away) during the Reagan years. We're due for a comeback to this way of thinking and doing.

For our household, we focus on gifts of NEEDED clothing and other useful stuff that we would have otherwise had to buy anyway. Thus, we're not spending any more than we would have anyway, just wrapping it up and making a little bit of a celebration out of it. We also set a spending limit which isn't very extravagant by US standards.

Speaking for myself, I would be just as happy to dispense with the gifts entirely. I think it has distorted the entire holiday into something grotesque. Christmas has morphed into "Gift-showering day" and Thanksgiving has morphed into "Turkey day". In the one case, the focus is on the promotion of sales of massive amounts of stuff that people don't need and can't afford, and in the other case the focus is on the promotion of sales of massive amounts of food that people don't need and can't afford. Hypercapitalism run rampant and transformed into something truly grotesque.

Noizzette...on top of the unnecessary items given (mostly to kids), there is indeed a health-factor risk this year (i.e., Aquadots, lead paint in toys). There have been many articles in newspapers here in the States recently reminiscing about the days when you made Xmas present or buying books, music, etc. in lieu of Chinese made junk.

I have a 5-year old that received Aquadots for his last birthday from his grandparents. He had been playing with them for about 2 months now when the bad news broke. My wife and I said perhaps we just need to make corn-husk and wood toys for the boys this year (half-joking).

Some amazing things done without oil


Hope for the future or just "monks are F&^&&ng crazy"?

RE: Gas Prices UP Customer Anger Down

Is 'customer anger' a good characterization of what Americans are feeling and thinking?

Take this house flipper cum real estate magnate, age 32, that was riding high one day and the next was broke...and he states 'I dont go anywhere now because I dont know where my next tank of gas is coming from.' Check out this mans former 5,000 sq ft $1.2M home...nice photo.

From the International Herald Tribune 'A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom To Bust'


ST. CHARLES, Missouri: The home foreclosure business was very good to Todd Haupt. He started buying and flipping foreclosed houses in 1994, when he was 20, and by 2000 he graduated to building homes.

At 32, with just one semester of community college, he owned a BMW, a Corvette and a 5,000-square-foot house worth $1.2 million. He was a creation of the boom. "I was on top of the world," Haupt said recently.

Then, last May, the real estate market stopped booming.

Now Haupt's house is in the hands of his creditors, as are the cars, three small office buildings and 89 lots he bought in a subdivision in neighboring Lincoln County.

He owes about $6 million in personal and business debt, and as Haupt's fortunes soured, so have those of plumbers, electricians, framers, landscapers, supply stores and others that relied on his business, which he estimated at $300,000 per month.

"And thats just little bitty me, he said."...snip...

There used to be some justification in the notion that everyone can get rich. In the days of cheap energy, the pie was growing, 'fueling' this idea. Now it is becoming not a zero-sum game but even less than a zero sum game as the pie shrinks.

here's what killed his business:
"As the price of foreclosed houses rose, reducing his profits, Haupt shifted to building houses in subdivisions in Lincoln County, a less affluent area slightly farther from St. Louis. That required heavier borrowing but brought higher profits.

For the price of a longer commute to work, buyers got new homes that promised to go up in value as development continued around them. By last May Haupt owned 65 lots and had a contract to buy 20 more, for about $650,000.

Then gasoline prices spiked, and the longer commute became a deal-breaker."

Lincoln County is at least an hour and a half commute from St Louis downtown, an hour commute from St Louis County (40-61). St Charles County has lots of car-dependent bedroom communities which have been built up in the last 20 years or so. 20 years ago, St Charles County was largely rural, with small pockets of development around St Charles and Weldon Spring. With peak oil, unless there's an extension of a rail link across the Missouri River (maybe at the Daniel Boone Bridge, maybe at St Charles (I-70), all of these bedroom communities will empty out, and the land will revert (slowly) to farmland. St Louis County is sustainable due to being a patchwork quilt of small communities where there's enough green space and small farms interspersed to grow food, and the whole thing is very amenable to commuter/light rail.

- I've been contemplating some form of lead in or response... but, alas, I have nothing to add.

Except !!!!!!!????? Economists are clueless.


There's always "There goes the neighborhood," as a lead in. :)

Haupt was on VERY thin ice if the commute was killing him.

Heavy-duty commuters are one of the few types of drivers for whom a Prius makes sense.

And he can write off the miles at 49 cents a mile!

It's entirely possible, and legal, to get write-offs for high mileage that amount each year, to more than your car's worth! I know someone who runs a couple of old POS vans and puts huge miles on them, and comes out far ahead each year. Once in a while he picks up a new Plymouth Voyager for a thou or so.

If Haupt seriously thought it was the gas price that was killing him, then he's really an idiot.

I have already signed the petition and I encourage others to do so.

You can find it here:


NPR and American Public Radio is doing a nine-day special called Consumed: Is our consumer society sustainable?

All the pieces I've heard (so far) were well done with topics such as 'what we do with all the trash'?

The Jared Diamond interview about overshoot was pretty bold radio listening during evening drive time:

How much longer can we 'overshoot'?

Our population is consuming about 30% more trees, fish and fossil fuels than the planet can regenerate. How big a hole can we dig before we can't get out of it? Kai Ryssdal talks with Jared Diamond, a geography professor at UCLA. (11/09/2007)

Good! I think you have to be bold if you want people to listen.

Bold, and able to think of up colorful phrases and examples.

For instance, in the tech field, electricity is difficult for a lot of people to understand. For one thing, it's invisible! But, explaining it in terms of water makes it very clear - voltage = pressure and current = the volume flowing.

I find the CO2 = india ink example given yesterday quite powerful. I wonder if in the future we'll see 3rd graders taking their tiny amount of india ink, putting it in one jar of water, the other one left clear, then putting them on a windowsill in the sun, and then a while later, the kids feeling with their own hands how the darker one gets warmer.

How about this cartoon character.

Can somebody buy him a ticket to Europe, Japan or any other part of the world outside the US?

(Probably have to get him a passport too, and explain that there are a whole bunch of people not living in Gods Own Country)

Can you clarify the point you're attempting to make?

It must be a mis-post, there's no cartoon character.....

Although the guy in the photo looks a bit cartoony....

They would probably be best off offering these in variable range format with the ability to add more as necessary/desired. i.e. 5 miles plug-in range, 10, 20 mile plug-in range...the added cost of the batteries would reflect the range you've chosen. Say you've bought the 5 mile range version because the 10 mile range version was $5,000 more. But now you moved and want the 10 mile range...simply buy the batteries and upgrade the range.

So I clicked the link, and right next to the story about the Prius was a big ad for a Hummer. Methinks Yahoo needs to do a little work on thier ad placement algorithm.

Oh yeah, great news..

Toyota is working now to develop the third-generation of the Prius hybrid, expected to go on sale in the United States in the 2010 or 2011 model years.

Toyota said on Friday it would deliver one modified Prius each to the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Irvine for a three-year study meant to speed up development of plug-in versions of the hybrid.

The 3rd gen prius is not plug in. So we'll have to wait yet another product cycle beyond 2011 for a plugin prius.

Some people sure have a funny sense of what's "good news".

This real person on-the-street let their Prius get repo'd and today got "handshake credit" from a friend and bought a 250cc motorcycle.

There were probably chiefs on Easter Island "studying" alternatives to firewood while the last tree was being cut down, too.

More likely they were thinking about what their next hedge fund bubble would be. "Maybe the gray rocks" instead of the "blue rocks."

Re: Oil Price Rise Causes Global Shift in Wealth

Should be titled "Rising Resource Nationalism as Age of Declining Oil Production Sets In". Reproduced on msnbc here, this is a front-page story in today's WaPo.

Well worth reading as it is a MSM article that, while not focusing on peak, documents the early consequences of peak oil now underway. Reading this it's hard to see how this extrapolates into the near future as anything but badly.

ELM is all over this article. Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review, is quoted near the end (and the one explicit mention of a peak):

"But Britain's North Sea oil production is dwindling, having peaked in 1999 at 2.6 million barrels per day. Today, production is 1.4 million to 1.6 million barrels per day, Skrebowski said, while domestic oil consumption is about 1.7 million barrels a day. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who took office in June, has made energy independence a priority."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who took office in June, has made energy independence a priority."

How does that work then?

Presumably we'll all have to walk and freeze? ... peak oil UK in 1999 and dropping fast, peak gas UK in 2003 and dropping fast, peak coal UK in 1913 and profitable production almost gone, nuclear power UK more or less gone by 2020 and no UK sourced uranium ... and insignificant renewables!

This is the man that allowed UK oil to be exported for ~$20 a barrel in 2002 now we have to buy it back for ~$100 a barrel five years later ... clever? ... sensible? ... supposedly one of the best chancellors the UK ever had!


He also sold the UK gold reserve off at the bottom of the market.

Yep ... a master stroke! Sheer genius!

So, as he's the top man, maybe it's no surprise the UK Government (for just one example) doesn't have any real understanding of the implications of peaking energy or AGW?

The politicians are just normal human beings like you and me, we all expect too much of them. They are just trying to successfully get through the next election. We, however, are trying to get through the rest of our lives. Two contradictory goals?

Maybe our best personal strategies for the future should assume the people in power can't actually come up with anything approaching workable solutions for us as individuals. Nothing of any use here, move along?

Nobody knows what the future will be in detail - we can, however, use our 'wits and intelligence' to work out what the future won't be - that eliminates a lot of possibilites so we don't waste the diminsihing resources we do still have. Basically, arrange our lives to sucessfully 'run on empty' - not an easy task? ... I'm not so sure ... half the world (3,000,000,000 people?) already manage on less than $3 a day.

Because of the eventual (soon?) peaking of energy and inadequate alternatives we do know the future is unlikely to be anything like BAU - almost certainly politically as well as economically, environmentally and climatically.


1/2 the world lives in a place where you could sleep comfortably without doors and windows. In the UK you need a higher energy consumption than average - end of story. We are going to need a lot more pylons in the UK soon. I agree about Gordon - funny how the MSM never mentioned how he [and Maggie and Tony] had the oil revenue to cream off.

Very stark assessment of middle east;

Syrian Ambassador to the United States Imad Moustapha discusses The U.S., Syria and the New Old Middle East: Confrontation or Cooperation?


talks about the air bombing

Basically US foreign policy in the middle east is all about demand distruction.

Speaking of U.S foreign policy and demand destruction. Communism was the biggest practical joke the west ever played on the developing world. They got poverty, famine, starvation and we got all the oil and natural resources for 80 years. The American consumptive way of life might even be saved for a few years if the rest of the world went Zimbabwe/Cambodia on us.

I realized that this was the reality when I went to Vietnam and Hong Kong in 1998. In Hong Kong I saw what happened when people did it the way the west "wanted" them to. Then I went to Vietnam and saw what they got for their many years of war: 25 years of poverty.

In Guatemala there is a libertarian university that teaches non-orthodox capitalist economics. They are ignored generally but are even called subversives by the U.S ambassadors who call for wealth redistribution and increased government regulation and bureaucracy.

Hernando De Soto's Mystery of Capital goes into a bit of this. In many poor countries the amount of time it takes to setup a one person textile operation is many times higher and is many times more expensive in terms of government fees than what it costs to do so in a developed country.

Well, I'm sure that comes as a great consolation to the corpses of 200,000 Guatemalan Indians murdered by the representatives of private property.

Shhhhh they don't count!

These people involved in the capitalist university are largely ignored in the national dialog. They have no control of the government and little political influence. The Indians have far more political power. Capitalist ideology is not monolithic just like socialism is not monolithic.

If the U.S really wanted to screw we with Guatemala the CIA would install a communist government and do land reform giving all the land back to the Indigenous people, like in Zimbabwe. That would wreck their economy and ensure that a lot of people starved to death and they would think they were being liberated. Their per person oil consumption and natural resource consumption would fall though, which would be useful to the west.

Speaking of U.S foreign policy and demand destruction.

Demand destruction is nowhere more evident than Iraq. Not through rising prices but through the killing or incapacitation of consumers, a topic not broached by Economy 1.01.

The total of those who fled to Jordan and Syria, in lesser numbers, to Egypt and Lebanon -few managed to go elsewhere-, those internally displaced, thus living in dire poverty / tents / abandoned buildings / in one room hanging on relatives / no car, etc. added to the dead is about ... 4 million people.

My estimate is on the low end. The UN recently estimated 3.7 million displaced (in and out) and the 2006 Lancet article with its 600 000 + (usually reported as 650K) dead was probably conservative (?) but is in any case a data point in the past.

One can quarrel about these numbers. The scope is still staggering.

It's been over a week now since the flooding in Mexico and the closing of their port city that exports much of their oil. But I haven't heard any news lately. Are they back to normal production and shipping yet? Anyone know? The news I can find talks mostly about crops and the people.

Apparently, the on shore oil and gas wells are mostly on high ground and not affected by flooding. The problems they are having are with their employees. They're flooded out, and often can't get to their job sites.

I imagine the oil is moving again; they had a bunch stored up while the ports were closed. I'm expecting to see the effect of the port shutdown in next Thursday's inventory report. (I'm assuming it's Thursday, since Monday is Veteran's Day.)

Truly a drumbeat today. Peak oil is here. I'd bet a graph of the number of articles in Drumbeat would show a sharply rising curve! That Iowa story - I was wondering when and where shortages would show up.

The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced

American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

I've seen a few comments on TOD disparaging China's navy. Hmmm ...

Looks like this happened last year. That's what I get for posting before checking.

U.S. submarine security to be reviewed

Still it's the first time i have heard about it.
Though it does hurt the image of the us navy being unstoppable then anything.

D/electric boat are QUIET.What they did was ensure that a 688 will be on the tail of everything that comes out of any chinese port...and that a few naval officers will be looking for a new career

TrueKaiser, the US Navy is NOT "unstoppable".

A US submarine commander: "There are two kinds of ships in the US Navy: subs and targets".

"If they [carriers] ever approach the Chinese coast in wartime, they'll just vanish. If a carrier-based group steams anywhere near the North Korean coast...well, there won't even be enough left to make a good dive-site."


The time for this Evil Empire honoring itself may soon be at an end...

Errol in Miami

Hello TODers,

For your consideration:

"As the rains are upon us, we urge chiefs and others in local government and provincial leadership to expedite the distribution process," Dr Gono said. So far at least 18,000 animal-drawn ploughs have been distributed throughout the country under the second phase of the mechanisation programme.

Who is better getting prepared for the coming postPeak bottleneck squeeze: Zimbabwe, with most people in the labor force already as rural farmers, or the USA? What is the total number of US citizens that even own draft animals and animal-pulled ploughs, plus know how to efficiently direct these beasts?

From the CIA Factbook:
ZIMBABWE GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 16.7%, industry: 21.6%, services: 61.6% (2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 66%, industry: 10%, services: 24% (1996)
USA GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 0.9%, industry: 20.9%, services: 78.2% (2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

farming, forestry, and fishing 0.7%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.9%, managerial, professional, and technical 34.9%, sales and office 25%, other services 16.5%
note: figures exclude the unemployed (2006)

As we go postPeak with ELM & ELP being a strong effect: if we can't even get people to currently abandon their high horsepower personal vehicles and rebuild the RRs & TOD--> What is the chance of convincing people to smoothly adapt our labor force to 60-75% of us doing manual fieldwork on farms and relocalized permaculture plots?

Do we need massive subsidies to encourage the growth of a draft animal breeding program before we have to pull the ploughs ourselves? Do we have enough harness-makers and blacksmiths to make the rigging and ploughboards?

Before FF-machinery and electrification: the available USA horsepower per capita was probably < 1 hp/person. Modern living today might offer 500 hp/person if you consider our vehicles and electricity. Please read about this real 'Horsepower Powerdown' that occurred in 1872:

How equine flu brought the US to a standstill

"What will be the effect of even a temporary withdrawal of the horsepower from the nation, is a serious question to contemplate," its correspondent wrote. "Coal cannot be hauled from the mines to run locomotives, farmers cannot market their produce, boats cannot reach their destination on the canals ..."

"Imagine," he said, "a transportation disaster that within 90 days affected every aspect of American transportation, everything Americans took granted, everything that ensured their safety, every city, town and village where they lived and left everything in its path under siege."

Official estimates put the number of affected horses at between 80% and 99%. Ports and transportation came to a standstill. Firemen were reduced to pulling their own fire tenders.

Locomotives also came to a halt as coal could not be delivered to power them.

Even the US Cavalry was reduced to fighting the Apaches on foot, who likewise found their mounts too sick to do battle.

The outbreak forced men to pull wagons by hand, while trains and ships full of cargo sat unloaded, tram cars stood idle and deliveries of basic community essentials were no longer being made.
Please reread the first paragraph again, then mentally extrapolate to our situation as we go postPeak. How much horsepower can we lose postPeak and still have society function smoothly at a brisk trot?

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

Re: If You Love Renewable Energy, It's Time to Freak Out

MAYDAY. Unbelieveable. Eliminates tax credits for solar and wind.

Vote is before Nov 16, Senate HR6 and House HR3221.

"Speaker Pelosi has stated that before Congress adjourns on November 16th, it must pass an energy bill.

On Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi decided to drop the renewable energy standard AND THE TAX TITLE out of the energy bill. Without the tax title there can be no extension of the investment tax credit for solar and no extension of the production tax credit for wind energy.

In short, this means that our Congressional Leadership is going to vote on an energy bill with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for renewable energy. Eliminating the pro-solar provision from the Energy Act of 2005 JUST AS THE SOLAR INDUSTRY IS STARTING TO RAMP UP. Likewise the elimination of the Production Tax Credit will halt new wind development.

Pelosi's offices number is 202-225-4965
Reid's office's number is 202-224-3542

Then you should call your Congressman or woman and get all fired up on this too. You can find your congressional leader here: http://yahoo.capwiz.com/y/dbq/officials/ ."

Ranks right up there with chopping down the last trees on Easter Island.

Never underestimate the power and the ruthlessness of those who have a strong personal interest in maintaining the status quo. For they will try to strangle any new alternative energy effort in it's crib, before it can even begin to grow.

Lip service will, of course, be paid, but progress will be impeded in myriad ways, and it will be called 'democracy in actcion.'

It would be tough enough even if people were dealing in good faith, but good faith is in very short supply these days, and the self-serving inertia of the vested interests will likely prevail.

Our current fossil fuel crisis is resulting in a massive transfer of wealth from the have-nots and so-so haves to the mega-haves. If you happen to be on the right side of that line, then why ruin a good thing? Solar energy and wind power can only spoil the fun and must be discredited and smeared. Such is currently going on in Delaware, where a proposed off-shore wind farm is coming up against a full-court press of well-financed multi-media resistance being driven by the local power company and their political cronies in Legislative Hall in Dover.

The fix is in, and nothing but drastic measure will fix the fix.

The US political system was deliberately designed to be resistant to change and inefficient. That made sense when the world changed very little from year to year and the worst thing you had to worry about is a government in control of greedy, power-hungry men overstepping its bounds.

Unfortunately, we are now confronted by a world that is changing in rapid, unprecedented, and largely (to the uninformed and inattentive, at least) unexpected ways. An inefficient political system that is biased against change is not well adapted to survive for long in that type of environment.

Something WILL have to change in the US. Either we will end up much worse off than we would really have to be, or our government will change (probably in a more authoritarian direction), or -- worst of all possible worlds -- we'll get both.

Where are all those optimists that kept telling us how the world will pull together and make an orderly transition off of fossil fuels?

To answer Bob's questions, no, it seems we aren't smarter than yeast afterall.

They are running around saying big oil is purposefully hampering development. for a example see the post above yours.

You mean the optimists at negative population growth (See Above Article)? I think there are a lot of people who have decided that the only way to deal with looming environmental and sustainability issues is with a big die off and cutting down the last tree on easter island is the way to go about it.

General Electric should be involved in getting the tax credits for wind extended since they are heavily involved in wind turbines. If GE doesnt have any pull with TPTB then wind energy is going to have a tough time going forward. My wife and I are long term owners of GE stock and were hoping that their wind projects would be helpful to their overall biz but I suppose that they will go forward, along with General Electric, and ramp up nuclear production...since vader seems to be behind more 'nuklear'. I see no reason that the US cannot go forward on wind, solar and nuclear. Why would TPTB want to limit their options?

I sometimes go searching for graphs depicting US oil use by type and came across an interesting one from an odd source (note that it's "Petroleum" because it includes propane, and it's hard to say what "Other products" are..but overall the numbers jive with just plain "Oil").

(PDF warning: Small but PDF-y)

And here's one by sector:

One of the interesting things about the first one is that it breaks out gasoline and jet-A from the all-encompassing character usually known as "transportation." Diesel fuel and Heating Oil are, unfortunately joined at the hip but can roughly broken apart using the other numbers and the number for oil by transportation sector of 68% thusly: Trans 68% -Gas 44%+Jet 8% = Diesel 16%. Now, that's mixing years and I've seen transportation at "65%" so Diesel could be 13%-16% making heating oil 3%-6%. Meaning those should damn-well be broken out - shame!

So...doubling CAFE (halving passenger car fuel consumption) would take around a 22% bite out of consumption. Halving diesel fuel consumption (a toughie, but probably possible with road-to-rails shift in shipping) would take around a 7% bite out of consumption. By halving those two you can reduce consumption by nearly 30%. Everything else seems pretty slim pickins. This seems both good and bad as there is still some juicy places to trim down on, but bad in that they're really politically difficult areas to attack (diesel maybe less so politically, but more so physics-ly).

It should be noted that only 3% goes to Asphalt...so maybe we'll still have roads available for bicycles, NEV's, VW 1-litres, etc, and local delivery.

Meanwhile, the "Iron Triangle" and energy analysts like Michael Lynch tell us that $45 oil is, once again, right around the corner. In effect, Party On Dude!

Recession? What Recession?
Published: November 10, 2007
If it looks like a recession and feels like a recession ...

. . . In an interview after the hearing, Representative Hinchey discussed the disconnect between official government reports and the reality facing working families. He noted that the unemployment rate does not include workers who have become so discouraged that they’ve given up looking for a job.

And the most popular measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index, does not include the cost of energy or food, “the two most significant aspects of the increased cost of living for the American people.” . . .

. . . We hear over and over that consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the gross domestic product, but we seldom hear about the frightening number of Americans who are trying desperately to maintain a working-class or middle-class style of life while descending into a sinkhole of debt.

“We have an economy that is based on increased debt,” said Mr. Hinchey. “The national debt is now slightly above $9 trillion, and ordinary working people are finding that they have to borrow more and more to maintain their standard of living."

“The average now is that people are spending close to 10 percent more than they earn every month. Obviously, that can’t be sustained.”

The chickens of our denial are coming home to roost with a vengeance. Meanwhile, the elites are scouring the landscape for signs of a recession.

For almost 5 years I have been doing the weekly family shop at the same place.

I enjoy playing a little game. Guessing the amount before its rung up on the till.(sad but true). It serves 2 purposes: My desire to see if I can guess well. It embarrases the kids who are +/- a tenner out.

For the last 5 years 100 quid gets you 10 carrier bags worth of stuff.

It never ceased to be out by even 1 carrier bags worth. Didnt matter what did / didnt buy that week. It averaged out brilliantly.

Today 100 quid got you 8.

We are one member of the family down - she is away at Uni. Hence the reduction in bags. But the money is now the same...

Now I dont know what or how many maths PhD's are used to calculate 'core inflation'.

But I do know one thing without so much more as some basic mental arithmatic.

Food inflation is running at 20%

Anybody in MSM telling you differently is a liar.

It is pretty bloody obvious when you can do the math in your head, based on carrier bags.

Anybody in MSM telling you differently is a liar.

I am reminded of the old joke about a woman who walks in and finds her husband in bed with another woman. She expresses shock at seeing him in bed with another woman. He denies it. She says I can see it with my own eyes. He replies, "Who are going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"

A good retort is:

'dont piss on my boots and tell me it is raining.'

Unfortunately, most people won't believe their lying eyes.

Perhaps they don't like to hear ANYTHING negative (or count that as relevant). Even if the numbers don't subtract up.

When discussing Inflation and money supply, and you would like ask an intelligent question and watch Ben Bernake squirm. And how it relates directly on the average person like you are seeing. (This applies to the US, not UK)


Go Ron Paul

Re: Food Inflation.

Dave Smith (not my favourite economist) has an article food inflation.


He still has not managed to join the dots though

According to the NY Times:

With all due respect to the chairman, he would see the recession that so many others are feeling if he would only open his eyes. While Mr. Bernanke and others are waiting for the official diagnosis (a decline in the gross domestic product for two successive quarters), the disease is spreading and has been spreading for some time.

The MSM telling us to look out for recession? Aren't they supposed to be suppressing this sort of news?

So much for your stupid conspiracy theory.

I believe that I was talking about Peak Oil, and as I repeatedly said, I never considered it to be a conspiracy. Note that there was no discussion of declining oil production as a reason for increasing oil prices.

In any case, my reason for posting the column was to point out the real consequences from believing the happy face talk about energy supplies.

I have been advocating a drastic and voluntary drop in consumption since early last year--the ELP plan--while ExxonMobil, CERA and OPEC have, in effect, been conveying the "Party On Dude" message, which the MSM have been only too willing to pass on to consumers, so that they can sell more advertising to the auto/housing/finance sector, which wants to continue selling and financing ever larger homes and autos.

And the poor suckers who believed the "Iron Triangle" message--that Peak Oil, worst case, is decades away--are paying the price.

Wasn't it $35 a year ago and about $20 before that?

Just as it is possible to drown in a lake with an average depth of 6 inches, so it is also possible for the US economy to be doing well in the aggregate, but for a majority of households to become progressively worse off.

This, I believe, is the explanation for the disconnect between the official statistics and the increasing number of anecdotal hard times stories.

Am I the only one that finds this story strange?

A container ship with a routine route hitting the Bay bridge in good weather?
Immediate inspection of the bridge, and clearing of it's condition?
Report of an aprox 150 gallon spill, the Coast Guard which is normally very efficient falling asleep and now one day later a huge spill?

Sounds more like the seizure of the vessel is a escalation of economic warfare, even if a small incident was just let go to make the issue big enough.

Maybe lead imports tainted with traces of toys and pet food were no longer enough?

Immediate inspection of the bridge, and clearing of it's condition?

That's because the bridge supports are protected by a "cage" around them. The ship trashed the cage but didn't touch the actual bridge support. That's why the bridge was cleared for traffic so soon.

IIRC, the early reports said it was foggy when the accident happened.

There's somewhat a sense of hush about it locally, even though its ecological impact seems to be marginized. Geologist friend of mine went into all the stuff no sitting in the water and figures it might really all be gone in 25 years. Another friend put it into this perspective last evening: 30 years of convincing people to take their toxics to recycling centers rather than dump them down the drain, goes down the drain in the time it took the spill to happen.

We have fog a lot. Maybe too many tankers have to keep up a schedule of bringing in stuff/taking out stuff to keep us going, or maybe it was just the ultimate luck of the draw. I keep hearing "it shouldn't have happened." That's always reassuring.

Wouldn't it require a physical inspection to determine that the damage is limited to the cage?
And if someone physically inspected it, how come they didn't see the spill?
When the vessel continued into port? and the spill appears a day later?
It most certainly isn't my area of expertise, but for some reason the sequence of events somehow doesn't sound ordinary.

Maybe it's just the way it goes when a specific party loses all credibility.

They did see the spill, but either didn't realize it was as bad as it was, or it was intentionally downplayed. The oil spill was the first I heard of the incident (the morning it happened).

The vessel anchored where it was, according to the reports I read. Dunno how long it stayed there, but it didn't continue to port immediately. Judging from the photos, it got the worst of the deal in the collision.

The initial reports of it being 150 gallons or so that they reported in the news would probably not have been a news story, would it? I suppose a 40 foot long gash 6 feet wide in a tanker is, regardless.

I too am wondering how good the inspection of the bridge was. This is one instance when I really hope they're not covering their rears and relying on wishful thinking.

I'm told bunker oil is about the most toxic thing we could have gotten, the birds trying to clean themselves may not stand a very good chance even with human intervention once any of its ingested. (And birds/mammals are of course only a part of the story, but the thing that tugs at peoples' hearts.)

Yeah, I thought I read 58,000 gallons somewhere. Will try to find it.

Here we go.

Here's the first article I saw on this story:

Cargo Ship Damaged After Collision With Bay Bridge

The oil spill was reported, but the severity was either underestimated or downplayed.

The article also has a link to a slideshow, and you can see the oil isn't that obvious. Just a kind of shininess on the water. So I guess it could be an honest mistake.

Maybe so. Thanks.

There is reason to believe that there is ongoing economic warfare with China.
Usually very well informed people are of the opinion that the Chinese bought a lot of Yen last week, causing the unwind of the carry trade as a response to the lowering of rates and U$S devaluation.
We have been buying plastic toys from China for a long time, and while they quite likely were dipped in shit all along, the news basically hit the MSM after the Chinese told Paulson to eat his own CDO sandwiches.
Maybe it isn't a escalation, it looks innocent enough when viewed in isolation.

China's been pretty open about it.

But I don't think there's any need to attack container ships, if that's what you suspect. The weak dollar will wreak its own revenge. It will make US products relatively cheaper, and Chinese products more expensive.

Actually not. The remimbi is tied to the dollar with a very slowly sliding peg. Our trade balance with China/Asia is unlikely to change much. The trade balance between the US/Asia (linked by pegged currency) and Europe is in the process of behaving as you describe, meaning Europe is losing trade to both the US and Asia. Europe will not miss out on our recession.

Happy Lexus, sad Mercedes.

Jk: It is not all upside- a weaker currency is a hindrance in the looming bidding war for declining oil exports.

Looks like it was under control of a pilot. That changes things as far as liability. Apparently the pilot was warned by the Coast Guard that they were on the wrong course.

I didn't think they "attacked" a container ship. More like they might have let a minor mishap develop into a big ecological problem. You know how the PR drums like to beat on ecology, children, that sort of thing, when they want to be a thorn in someones side.

"A huge and capable propaganda campaign by the industry and its political allies is spinning an illusion of a [nuclear] renaissance that deceives credulous journalists BUT NOT HARD-NOSED INVESTORS."

Couldn't be further from the truth:

And no, there won't be a "peak uranium" assuming breeder reactor technology:

Yay! we're saved! - hey, wake me up when the US actually BUILDS a breeder reactor and is reprocessing fuel will ya?

this is just like that lecture I attended on fusion "assume we have a working fusion plant and we're mining He3 from the moon...."

I actually would love to see more nukes - I would rather that we went the French route and picked a very safe design and built them all the same - but I'd like to see more nukes (I like my lights to go on when I flick the switch - and cold beer is better than warm - sorry Brits)

BUT - the cost of U is soaring, I don't see a lot of building of new plants in the US - NIMBY'ism is rampant - so where are these plants gonna get built? and finally, according to the USGS 48% of all water used in the US is in thermoelectric plants - and freshwater aquifers are drying up, our rivers are running drier every year as the snowmelt becomes less - so where are we going to get the water to cool all these nifty (non-being-built) breeder reactors? Salt water you say? sure. Show me some cheap coastline property where the locals would enjoy having another San Onofre in their (expensive) beachside community.

A lot of exclamation marks in the Dinesletter site. (I only included one of them..)

"Learn about James Dines’ portfolio of “must-own” uranium mining stocks that promise early investors staggering profit potential in coming months.

You could turn a $10,000 investment into as much as $100,000 within
the next 24 months!

Could you comment at all (w/ links?) on the Lovin's point about private investment in New Nuclear Generation? The price of the metal is certainly attractive.. IF-- it continues its upslope.. AND unless it does turn out to be a bubble or a supply problem.. but the question of private money and 'the markets' actually working to create new Reactors is what was challenged, and what Amory says is the unmarketability of Nuclear without massive state supports.

Appreciate it,
Bob Fiske

Since you asked nicely, I'll share one of the recommendations:

New plants are in the works. New-Jersey based NRG energy inc. applied to build and operate two new nuclear reactors Sept. 24, and 32 more applications are expected by 2009:
Rising fossil prices and expectations that carbon emmissions could be taxed is making nuclear increasingly attractive.

There is also growing state support, and plans in the works to persue reprocessing:

Oh, and in regards to water concerns, Breeders are cooled by molten sodium metal (of the Super-Phoenix generation), and newer models by helium gas or liquid floride:

Keep in mind that breeders are a long-term strategy, and the cost of fuel is only just beginning to make them attractive:

I am trying to ask nicely. It's one of my "Peak Oil Resolutions"..

However, you didn't address my question.

Link one.. about Uranium Prices..

Link two.. new construction/applications in the US, which is 'made economical' by Price-Anderson and the following..

" Under U.S. legislation aimed at increasing nuclear power capacity, the first six new plants will get risk insurance against costly regulatory delays or legal challenges, as much as $125 million in annual tax credits and loan guarantees for as much as 80 percent of construction costs.

"The government policies will make the cost of financing the plant ``much lower,'' though insurance costs associated with the loan guarantees may offset some savings, Crane said.

followed by

3- State Supported Solutions

4&5 - Breeder Plants - to which I say, keep researching, but do we have any Hatched Chickens to count there, yet?

So while I appreciate the links, none of them address my question. --> Do you know of any examples of New Construction that is being made with Private Money, or are they all made possible by 'central planning', state subsidies, etc? (Which I think is how Lovins puts it) <---
The point being, wind, co-gen and other forms of small generation have been showing a distinct economic advantage for investors, because they come online fast and start to pay for themselves, In Addition to whatever other challenges Nuclear is facing..


Well isn't that special. First North Dakota and now fuel shortages come to Iowa.

Here is a bit of news from a real estate company in the state with over 2,000 agents:

MortgageWorld is still grim. Kind of a cross between WaterWorld, Ishtar, and Mad Max - Beyond Thunderdome.

"Look around you mister, all this I've built, up to my armpits in blood and shit..." --Auntie Entity, Beyond Thunderdome

Now imagine all of those desperate 20-something dinks working the re-fi market and how eager they are to sell something ...anything! It's going to get even worse, I hear.

I brought home four new five gallon gas cans which I was going to fill later. After reading this I'm going off to the gas station right now.

Oh, and with this Blow Out Pricing now is a very good time to buy a condo in West Lake Okoboji. This is the most expensive real estate in Iowa.

Condo blowout

But wait! What is this that I see? Two nine unit buildings, one twelve unit building, and about half of the thirty units have the same outdoor table and the very same stack of three plastic law chairs in exactly the same locations.


Someone is going to great lengths to make sure this one looks fully occupied except for the five units with for sale signs tacked to the balcony railings. There is another development nearly this size on the north tip of East Lake Okoboji and to look at that one its nearly 100% vacant ...

LOL. It may sound paranoid, but they really do that kind of thing. The NY Times had an article earlier this year, about Shaker Heights, Ohio. Suburb of Cleveland where the housing boom went bust pretty early. Hundreds of homes on the market, many abandoned. They were spending millions of dollars fixing up the abandoned homes so they looked lived in. Mowing the lawns, picking up mail and newspapers, fixing broken windows, installing alarms, etc.

I don't drive much; I fill up maybe once a month, even though I fill up when the gauge is at the halfway point...just in case. But I made a point of checking the price signs when I was out this morning. Christ on a cracker. Last time I looked, it was $2.83. Now it's $3.19.

It isn't paranoid at all - in a small town when a house goes empty if the family isn't mowing it the neighbors will do that just to keep things looking decent. One of my mother's friends had a house next door that stood vacant for a number of years so they just took over mowing.

From a sales perspective it is easy to see why they would do this - "Only five remaining!" - gets those who are buying into the chase mentality.

Who ever would have expected hard times would come to the Saudi Arabia of corn so soon in the equation?

--former Saudi Arabia of corn denizen by birthright, don't shoot the messanger

Ah, but this is Okoboji - a little slice of Aspen, Colorado, in terms of its temperament but unluckily placed in the wilds of Iowa. Many of the homes there are summer homes for the wealthy. I expect this area to change dramatically post peak, with housing prices falling in line with local expectations and the area again becoming a tourist mecca for locals, with the long distance big money vanishing over the peak oil event horizon.

It was one of the places I never made it to (native to a far corner south), got my ferris wheel fix occasionally in August in Des Moines instead.

I can confirm the shortage in Iowa. The filling station at 41 14' 15'' -94 45' 29' is completely out of the cheaper 89.5 octane fuel. I was filling my five gallon cans with 87 octane and I heard there were only five hundred gallons remaining. They won't let the tanks go lower than two hundred gallons due to concerns over the pumps. I got forty two of the remaining three hundred gallons at $3.149/gallon.

More tellingly there was one other fellow who heard the news on the remaining fuel stock and he returned with his wife's truck at the same time I was there filling our second vehicle.

This could get ... interesting.

What about other stations you can go to? Most people have dozens of gas stations they could go get gas from...

That's not necessarily true in rural areas. There have been a couple of stories in the news, about gas stations in rural areas going out of business, meaning the residents have to drive 40 miles to the next nearest gas station.

I have a feeling it's not going to be good to be at the end of the supply line when TSHTF.

I'm sure that's true, but I ask SCT because I'm hoping he can fill in the story with some more info. He's right there and can find out, if he wants.

You know, if you wanted your private oil tank, you could always lease one of the just abandoned gas stations and fill it up, and then remove some of the pump parts?

Too expensive and too public. People are already stealing gas from gas stations' underground tanks.

The community where I live is about 900 people. There are larger cities with multiple stations twelve miles away both to the north and the south. There is a single gas station/convenience store now and the former gas station/repair shop stands empty, having been wiped out in divorce proceedings.

Six miles to the north there is a village of 200 which has a credit card only automated pump at the grain elevator. About ten miles west is another village of 400 and I believe they have a grain elevator provided automated pump.

Inter town distance in Iowa was at first governed by the distance horses could pull a grain wagon, so there are many towns with six mile spacing between them. This jumped to twelve miles when gasoline tractors became available, with some towns thriving while others fade away. The forty mile distance Leanan mentions is something one would see in Kansas, outstate Nebraska, and the Dakotas - wheat country. Corn growing areas tend to be more densely populated.

"outstate Nebraska"

If you mean outstate as in west of Grand Island, forty miles would be plausible.

I'm in eastern Nebraska and many small towns are about 10 miles apart due to train routes and the need for water towers at one time, as it was explained to me.

Flaws in EM Theory

Well, I live in coastal northern California. My little town used to have almost a dozen gas stations. We're now down to one big Chevron. If the francished owner ever gets cut off, the nearest stations are 30 miles south or 40 miles north.


Thanks SCT. I would consider 12 miles to be an extremely long way to go to get gas. But then, I loathe driving.

11.7 miles from my driveway to the nearest stop light. A 24 hour grocery? 28 miles. Connecting flight that ends up somewhere outside the breakaway Republic of Redneckistan? 189 miles.

Its rural :-)

As always, remember that gasoline is very dangerous. Never store where people live, and try not to store anywhere that is worth not burning down, or where a spark can be generated - meaning electrical switches or using power tools.

Really, storing gasoline is pretty much not a good idea.

We have gasoline stored in small quantities in two buildings here on the farm. The one where the bulk of it is stored is a safe distance from the house and there isn't anything in there that might generate a spark. We might lose an old table saw and a new chain saw, but that is about it. Oh, and kayaks, which would make me very sad :-(

Now that I've reached the fifty gallon mark the next step is a locking outdoor storage barrel on a stand. These are very common in rural Iowa - most every farm has one, and this one formerly did but it leaked and was carted away thirty five years ago.

Now that I've reached the fifty gallon mark the next step is a locking outdoor storage barrel on a stand. These are very common in rural Iowa - most every farm has one, and this one formerly did but it leaked and was carted away thirty five years ago.

My parents had one of those tanks on their place, it sure was worth having. You've reminded me why I don't remember the long queues, even/odd days, and closed gas stations, etc. in 73/74 -- it was because we had that tank, and I was able to fill up from that on my commutes to college. I'm really thankful we had that tank then, it really spared me a lot of trouble.

Hello TODers,

News bites from Antarctica:

...And there is evidence that melting is occurring in Antarctica. In 2002 the big Larsen B ice shelf collapsed within the space of a month, an event which Antarctic researchers have attributed to climate change. Researchers are now looking at the Wilkins and the King George VI ice shelves which, they believe, will be the next ones to go.

"This year we managed to measure all sides of the ice shelf we think is closest to collapse – the Wilkins. We know what water is flowing in and out of the cavity beneath the floating ice, and because we know the salinity, we can use conservation equations to infer how much of the bottom of the ice sheet is melting." Their results will be published next year.
Recall my purely speculative posting predicting that parts of the huge Ross Ice Shelf will start breaking up in five years or less.

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this next newslink, but it does make you wonder:

Politicians to tackle global warming

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has called for urgent political action to tackle global warming. He was speaking during a visit to the Antarctic, to witness first hand the melting ice sheets. He toured three scientific research bases, where temperatures are their highest in almost 2,000 years.

Melting ice fields, and vast chunks of ice that have broken away from ice shelves are clearly visible from the air. Ban says scientists say the entire western Antarctica, which is a fifth of the total continent, is now afloat.

If the ice breaks up further, the sea level could rise as much as 6 metres. Antarctica has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth in the last 50 years.
I assume Ban and the scientists are talking about the ice being afloat in the Bentley Subglacial Trench and other WAIS subsea areas filled with huge thicknesses of ice:

The highest point on the continent is Vinson Massif 4897 m (about 16,066 feet) and the lowest point yet found is the Bentley Subglacial Trench (2499 m/8200 ft below sea level) in West Antarctica. This trench is covered with more than 3000 m (more than 9840 ft) of ice and snow. Lower points may exist under the ice, but they have not yet been discovered.

2500 div. by 3000 = 83% It would seem that the iceberg rule of 90% underwater, 10% above has not been reached yet to float this ice, but maybe some other processes are going on [Recall that a huge volcanic caldera system is in the bottom of this rift valley structure, but AFAIK, it is currently inactive].

More Wiki-info if you are interested:


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

I think there is a misstatement in this substantially correct posting:

Antarctica has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth in the last 50 years.

I believe that the Arctic holds the prize for most rapid warming, not the Antarctic. Sorry, no links, I am about to go engage in my happy motoring lifestyle ... but it bears examination.

I posted this story before, but this is a sort of update. A power outage damaged a refinery in Hawaii.

No Timeline For Fix To Tesoro Refinery

Tesoro Hawaii announced on Thursday its gasoline refinery, which produces half of the state's gas, is shut down. On Friday, it was not clear how long it will be out of commission.

They add:

The state is concerned that people will see oil-related prices jumping and hear about the refinery shutdown, assume there is a shortage and start hoarding.

Oh, brother. I don't know why they say things like that. Might as well tell people, "Ready, set, go!"

It's stories like this that sometimes make me wish that The Oil Drum had a way to create a separate node for continuing stories.

In other words, if I'm interested in how this is playing out, I can either search the Drumbeat every day for the word "Tesoro" (possibly hitting other, unrelated items) or I can do a Google search (in which case I may not find Oil Drum comments, such as on-the-ground observations from readers in Hawaii, etc.).

Or, in my ideal world, I could go to www.theoildrum.com/node/tesoro-hawaii, say, and see an expanding list of comments and news updates directly related to the initial story.

So often you see news stories like this and think, "Holy cow, this is gonna be big." Then, assuming you're not diligently searching every day, you don't hear any more about it! For example, I seem to remember an article about Lebanon being "days away" from running out of fuel for powerplants, and then I never saw another mention of it (although I just did a search and found an article from three weeks ago stating that "the Treasury will issue all letters of credit needed for the state-run power plant to purchase fuel.")

Ideally, any follow-up articles would appear in both the day's Drumbeat and the fixed node, of course.

Ah well, just some thoughts.

I think that would be far too difficult. Even professional news aggregators, like Yahoo, don't do this very well.

You could use Google to search just TOD. IME, that's the best way to search this site.

Jerome a Paris made the recommend list on DailyKos with some writings regarding peak oil. 500,000 Progressive Democratic activists visit each day and a significant number of them just got "put into the picture", so to speak.


Re: As oil soars, natural gas is a bargain

This may be true but it appears natural gas for many Minnesota residents is not affordable. The last report from Centerpoint Energy is 153,000 customers in MN are past due on their natural gas bills, to the tune of 49 million. Centerpoint serves 790,000 customers in 259 communities in Minnesota. Those with past due accounts will be disconnected unless they pay in full or set up a payment plan with the utility.

As others have pointed out, it's cumulative. Some people are still in debt from last winter's heating bill.

In many areas, it's illegal to disconnect the gas for nonpayment in winter. So the gas company waits until spring or summer, and disconnects them then. They are under no obligation to re-connect them for the next winter. Indeed, they often charge huge connection fees, so even if people can pay their bills, they can't pay the connection fee.

Yes, you are correct, MN does have a cold weather rule where customers can't be shut off in winter, I do not know the effective dates. As I understand, reconnection fees can run about $800, kind of like credit cards, once you get behind it's hard to catch up.

I am from Minnesota. Not quite so dire, but it is difficult. If you contact Center Point Energy and make arrangements of any kind, they work with you. There is also an extensive financial assistance program, and persons who can pay their bills can pay extra and the extra amount goes to those who cannot pay. The date at which you cannot cut off heat is October 15, and the reconnection fee is under $100 but can be as high as $800 if they have to dig in order to connect you which does not occur in the City.

The financial assistance is very good, and there are not many stories of persons going without heat. Also if you are disconnected for nonpayment in spring, they must restart heat by October 15 the following fall.

It is hard on people because of the costs, but not like you make it sound. There are probably states with utterly heartless policies, but not true of Minnesota.

Actually it is quite dire when 1 in 5 customers is still behind going into the heating season. What happens is rates will be raised for paying customers to help cover the shortfall. The discussion in MN needs to focus on weatherization and energy retrofits for these fuel guzzling homes so the owners can afford the natural gas. Heating assistance is a bandaid and a subsidy for energy providers like CenterPoint, the Conservation Improvement Program needs to redirect the money towards energy efficiency for the long term and not piecemeal, feel good rebate programs.

153,000/709,000 sounds impressive, but how much of that is people less than thirty days behind?

I'd be more interested in those in deep trouble, which I think bears watching. Many people get a bill that is due right before pay day and they don't sweat it ...

Sorry to keep venturing on this issue, but we can't be alarmist about EVERYTHING. I have to say, I agree with the comment above. I live in a fairly sized house and so far this year haven't had a heating bill over $35 per month. It has been warmer than normal to the tune of 10 degrees per day. It was 60 degrees today outside and is to be in the 50's all week.

Fail to see how someone goes into a downward spiral for something that is running on the arder of $35 per month.

If your heating bill for January or February of 2007 did not exceed $35 you have one very efficient house, possibly one of the most efficient in MN.

"Nearly the entire early November decline was among lower-income households due to surging complaints about high gas prices," said a statement accompanying the survey results."


Imagine those heating with oil. We've been at $3.85 for diesel for about a week, I never saw it that high all last spring.


"[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country, and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion, by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.
The apex of the system was the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks, which were themselves, private corporations. The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control, and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury of all other economic groups."
~Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan, 1966) p.324

T. Boone Pickens and Brent Musberger just discussed peak oil on ABC Saturday Night Football.

Doesn't get any more mainstream than that folks.

Yes, I could hardly believe it!

During the prime-time (seen be a large audience across the USA) college football game between Oklahoma State University and Kansas University, ABC kept showing the new Oklahoma State football stadium that Pickens is funding. So after halftime when Brent Musberger said that he would be interviewing Pickens, I assumed it would be a discussion only about the stadium.

Then, early on in the conversation, Musberger mentions that he's read Pickens' books, and that Pickens had correctly foreseen $60, $80, $100 per barrel oil. Then out of the blue Musberger says, "I have to ask you, Boone, are we at peak oil?" Pickens says, "You mean globally? Yes, I think we are." Pickens goes on to talk about world production topping out at around 85 mbpd. With demand at 87 or 88 mbpd, he explained,we will have to see some demand destruction. Mind you, this discussion happened with the football game still continuing. It was very surreal to hear a peak oil discussion intermixed with football play-by-play.

Then Musberger when on to ask Pickens about water in Texas, and Pickens went on to talk about his project to pipe water from the Texas panhandle to Texas' metro areas.

This whole discussion went on for quite a while, and at one point Musberger paused and jokingly said, "I just want to remind our viewers that I do realize there's a football game still taking place".

Wish I had recorded the game so I could watch the whole discussion again. Wild!

Yeah, that was sweet. Earlier in the game Musberger mentioned that Pickens was going to be on, so I quietly moved into the room where my wife was reading and turned the game on in there, hoping that Peak Oil would come up. Any chance to get it in front of her via MSM is a bonus.

Still, I could barely believe it when Musberger asked Pickens if we've passed peak oil. Joe sixpacks all over the US heard it first hand. It's the college football Saturday prime-time game of the week, FFS.

It was also interesting to hear Pickens talk briefly about his Texas water project.

Cedar: IMHO, almost nothing could influence Joe Sixpack like hearing this in the middle of a prime time college football game. The % of the USA public that now believes the world has hit peak global oil production has gone up big time. My prediction (guess) is that within weeks the Presidential candidates are going to jump on the issue.

Of course a lot of those Joe sixpacks were surely four beers in at that point, and may have taken the opportunity for a nature break when Pickens came on. And unfortunately, right in the middle of Pickens' remarks on oil production there was a massive hit on the KU punt returner that practically knocked him out, which diverted the conversation back to the game.

Still, pretty cool to see this come up on ABC in the middle of a widely viewed football game.

I might have misspoke- four beers is probably an understatement.

Some of us J6P's are pretty refined, 2# T Bone and a couple of bottles of '68 Clos du Val cabernet.
Out here they had USC and Cal though.

Holy crap!

Holy remediation, Doomer Girl! And we get to hoist the disgusting Bush administration - off to The Hague with them! There is now way they can dodge being associated with big oil ...

Wanna bet how many Joe Sixpacks even knew what the f they were talking about?

Didn't see the game, but my bet is that for 99% of them, "their eyes glazed over"

(A You-Tube of Pickens & Erin Burnett way back in the days of $65/bbl oil can be found here. {Click on Menu for other videos re PO})

Jesus, Pickens and Musberger just talked about Peak Water on Saturday Night Football!

Very interesting. As someone that is involved directly in the broadcasting of sports events, and have been involved in those types of interview situations, Brett either went of script or it was specifically done by either the Producer of the game or the Producer of the game was instructed from above. At that level going off script for such a long time, it would have been a first in my experience.

Is it possible Boone Pickens asked to have this discussion. hard to say, unlikely is my guess from past knowledge of the purpose for these interviews.

Brett could have gone off script on his own, but with the conversation turning to water also (Boone has been buying up water rights according to his responses in interviews) if I had been shooting this or listening on headset, I would have thought it unbelievable. Doubt it was Brett going off script.

My other thought is it could have been a Peak Oil aware producer and he asked Brett to ask the questions. Then I wonder if its one that I have worked with and heard me harp on this during work. Though I doubt it, but a remote possibility. If so, then this producer might have had his phone ring in the truck, and thats not uncommon (phone calls from the suits watching and "commenting")

If this came down from the networks, then it could be big news. Why devote such time to a topic with such a wide diverse audience. In my experience, the "topic", and because they devoted most of he conversation to the PO and to water, "it" was from above.

Why do I have the funny feeling that some big price spikes might be coming down the line.

Why do I have the funny feeling that some big price spikes might be coming down the line.

If so, I imagine they'll need an expert a week or so from now on Oprah. Folks here, get to your barbers if you're behind on the haircut.

I am hoping some enterprising soul will youtube the whole discussion between 'em (even if it would last up there for only possibly a really short stint), or maybe produce even an audio file of it. I'd really like to hear it at the very least.

Definitely a great educational tool, even if it was a pretty superficial discussion about the topic. Nothing new about that when it's television, after all.

I am enjoying imagining certain of my relatives and/or non peak oil friends watching the game, going to themselves, "Oh no, not (peak oil) again."

Generally they're not adverse to my peak oil message (if anything it sort of scares them temporarily, until they go back "to sleep"). They humor me enough. "That's nice," with, what was it on here yesterday, "now eat your vegetables!"

I'll have to suggest they all start watching more football if this keeps up.

ABC Sports to the best of my knowledge is part of the NEWS division. Part of the old Roone Arledge legacy from memory.

Networks are divided up into divisions. Though the man at the top makes the calls for all. People can go off "reservation" so to speak, and do things the boss does not want.

If TBP was surprised at the question then I would say the news division had input into this conversation. If they are starting to open up a wee bit, then look for the news cycle to start to sneak in a few stories here or there. Saturday night is NOT a good night to hit the weekly news cycle. Why corporations and the govt always put out news releases on Friday afternoon.

Hopefully the segment will end up on youtube soon. Like to see it, and see if there is any chatter to be picked up from the PL into the microphone.

The question is, will ABC news start to do it. George Stephanopolous this morning does not seem to have any story/quesion that touches on PO. Mortage story with Senator Dodd saying the problem is we need to lower the price of gasoline. HE is your's Sacred Cow Tipper, got your letter ready ;)

Most people seemed to think Pickens appeared surprised at the question, which suggests it wasn't at his request.

Very curious, I must say.

Pup55 over at PO.com made an interesting observation: ABC is the parent company of The History Channel, which is running that peak oil show, Megadisasters: Oil Apocalypse, next week. Could it be plain old cross-promotion?

I can't say that I'm happy the history channel and ABC are involved.

When it comes to current events, or anything that has happened for the last 50 years, the history channel quickly turns into tabloid television. They also tend to have a very strident political bias. I came to realize this when they started covering things that I lived through (like the Nixon years).

Just look at the name of the show. One way to discredit something is to over sensationalize it.

ABC should be seized and liquidated for their other recent cross promotion sleaze - namely the 9/11 crockumentary they did and they tie to the revisionist history books from Scholastic Press.

Just a quick warning: Don't waste time on reading Ben Goldacre's 'Bad Science' columns in the British Guardian. When it comes to anything that's at all challenging to strict mechanistic scientific orthodoxy he's about as reliable as James Randi. You know, the one-time stage illusionist who has devoted the later part of his life to the utterly futile, doomed-to-fail task -- driven by a deep emotional perurbation by his bete-noire rather than any genuine passion for truth -- of proving that there's no such thing as the paranormal.

Ben Goldacre too, it seems, has his pre-decided ideas of what's permissible in scientific thought, and thereafter everying has to fit, or be rubbished. But despite such futile silliness, there does seem to be something odd going on amongst the more credible proponents of 'free energy'. Check in detail before you scoff. Tom Bearden is interesting, for the electrically and quantum-mechanically literate, for example.

No idea whether he's right. But permanent open-mindedness about possibilities as a matter of basic principle is a fundamental of the genuine scientific attitude. As well as an apparently sound theoretical base which doesn't actually contradict any of the most solidly-grounded foundations of current physical theory, Tom and friends have machines which seem to work. Though of course the odd proof-of-concept working model which can stand sceptical inspection doesn't equate to a whole new working global infrastructure within five years, natch. But still, something's going on......

Incidentally, just to tweak your inquisitiveness, I should say that I witnessed personally spectacular displays of paranormal actvity, with PK and ESP seamlessy blended, as initiates to the field would expect, on numerous occasions, virtually generatable to order, in K J Batcheldor's last sitter group sessions, before he died. So I know that James is full of emotionally-driven irrationality. And I suspect that Ben could be similar.

I like James Randi. I think it's possible that some paranormal phenomena will turn out to be real, but Randi is probably right 99% of the time, and given how credulous most people are, he performs a very valuable service, presenting the other side.

As for Goldacre...I don't know much about his body of work, but I think he's 100% right in this case. We've discussed this story before, and I immediately noticed several red flags (in addition to the violation of the laws of thermodynamics, I mean). One of the "experts" got his degree in business, not science or engineering. I was wondering what the deal was with the other one, who did have an engineering degree. Now we know, since Goldacre was able to interview him.

Siwmae Leanan. But still, has anyone had a look at Tom B's theoretical discussions of his work? Are there professionally-competent physicists reading this who can point out all the faults? And discredit his MEG schematics? Has anyone actually been to watch whilst it cranks our over-unity electical current? Until we have, we're just doing the 'Galileo's detractors' thing all over again.

As a matter of fact, I take Ran Prieur's position on 'free energy': He places himself right at the opposite end of the hunch spectrum from most who think about it. He says most people wish it were true, but suspect that it's not. He -- and I -- wish it weren't true, but fear that it is. Our fundamental human problem being not technical but psychological, you see; this intractable hom. sap. mismatch between technical capability and prudent self-restraint. A whole new massive, easy-get energy source is absolutely the last thing we need now, as the world plunges into what could be a terminal anthopogenic crisis. Not till we've remade our own psychology, anyway.

And as for Jim Randi -- well, when you've been up in a plane many times you just know, in that commonplace way that anyone knows well-experienced stuff, that people who say that Man will never fly are just wrong. It's an experiential thing. 'Tis for me anyway. I've witnessed the spectacular 'impossible, fundamental-law-breaking' psi-events, repeatedly, so I know they happen. And I guess it's fair to say that I'm an elderly eccentric, but pretty certainly neither delusional nor senile.

Tom's MEG prototype may well turn out to be in the same category as psi, I imagine. None of the denialist stuff ever has any lasting effect on the impersonal realities of the world -- about which we still don't know everything, by many miles. Cofion, RhG

I'm really interested in the paranormal, and perhaps there are rare phenomena that we just don't understand yet.

But so far, I haven't seen anything convincing. To me, "the paranormal" illustrates mostly people's ability to fool themselves. That's why it happens in their living rooms or bedrooms, but not in the lab.

Even Batcheldor admitted that table-tipping starts out with people unconsciously moving it themselves. He thought that that led to people believing in it, and hence eventually to real PK. But isn't it just as possible - more possible, even - that it's all people unconsciously moving it themselves?

I dunno, I've just seen so many "paranormal" stories that turn out to be normal. The UFOs that turn out to be an ultralight club that likes playing jokes, the chupacabra that DNA analysis shows is a coyote, the ghost caught on security camera that turns out to be an employee in costume, cattle mutilations that turn out to be the normal decay process, etc. Parapsychologists often claim that skepticism blocks telepathy, psychokinesis, etc. I think it's the reverse that's true: lack of skepticism lets people fool themselves into seeing things that aren't there.

I'm really interested in the

In that case, you have read material by Ed
Teller, Hal Puthoff or even Ingo Swann who has a substantial (although relatively static) website ?? Yes ?

Flaws in EM Theory


I see and have been part of this common event. It happened before me the other day in a store. A song was playing on the store PA system. There was a lady by the door to exit sweeping. A lady behind the counter checking out. It was a gas/convenience store. The song had been playing for awhile. I was between them and lo and behold they both started to sing softly along with the song at what seemed like the exact same time. They hadn't heard each other either. Then they both stopped and then started a few seconds later again at the same time.

This happens quite often, sometimes there is not a song playing, but people in the same room will start to sing a song at the same time with the lyrics matching.

I bet you have witnessed it too. What is the cause, don't know, but it does happen.

Read a year or two of the Skeptical Inquirer, and you'll *really* get bored of the subject.


I think we should leave open the possibility that - even at this late date - there might still be a few natural phenomena out there that have occasionally been observed by laymen but not yet properly "discovered" by science. For example, it is quite possible that there might be transient astronomical or atmospheric phenomena that could explain a few "UFO sightings", if only science knew about it. Ditto with some "ghost sightings". The very transience of such phenomena would explain why they have not yet been "discovered"; eventually they no doubt will be.

Remember that when airplane pilots initially reported sightings of "sprites" in the upper atmosphere above thunderstorms, people thought they were every bit as crazy as the people reporting UFO and ghost sightings. Turns out they were observing a real phenomenon that science had not yet discovered. That sort of thing might happen again sooner or later.


"But still, has anyone had a look at Tom B's theoretical discussions of his work?"

From my online searches his work seems to be generally marginalized - still.

If you wish to get a feel for how that type of
work is viewed on this site, I'd suggest you
search my comments. If one can diregard the problem as the messenger, the message is not received with open minds at this site.

Flaws in EM Theory

the message is not received with open minds at this site.


Look at it this way. People already think peak oil is kind of kooky. It's hard enough trying to make it credible without adding in other kooky stuff. Who knows, maybe that other kooky stuff will turn out to be true, but it's not our fight. We have to choose our battles.

Thus my subtle attempt to clue-in a commenter with 5 weeks membership to the environment here.

Flaws in EM Theory

But permanent open-mindedness about possibilities as a matter of basic principle is a fundamental of the genuine scientific attitude.

Until somebody can definitively say that gravitational forces play no role in the activation of genes during gestation - I will have to consider Astrology as a viable theory.

I would suggest you view the movie
Zeitgeist, then.

Flaws in EM Theory

Free energy is BS.

If we start considering the paranormal and "free energy" as perfectly feasible, then suddenly abiotic oil looks like a very sensible theory. While we are about it, let's throw in Intelligent Design, that's pretty convincing.

It's all very well having an open mind - just don't let it turn into a garbage bin for unscientific crap promoted by lunatics and scammers.

Discernment isn't your strong suit
is it BobCousins ????

Flaws in EM Theory