DrumBeat: January 28, 2008

Total sees more pressure on oil price

PARIS (Reuters) - French oil major Total sees continued pressure on oil prices and will increasingly look for oil in less accessible areas to boost production, its head of exploration told the Le Figaro newspaper.

"The upward pressure will be maintained because there is too limited production capacity worldwide to deal with the increase in consumption, notably in emerging countries," Yves-Louis Darricarrere said in an interview to be published on Tuesday.

Ukraine demands Gazprom cut out middleman

MOSCOW: The prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, demanded Monday that Gazprom, the Russian natural gas monopoly, deal directly with the Ukrainian state oil and gas company rather than through an intermediary as it does now.

The demand sets Tymoshenko, a politician with a reputation for fierceness and tenacity, against the interests of Gazprom regarding natural gas trans-shipments through Ukraine to Western Europe. That is an issue that is important for Gazprom's bottom line.

No reason for OPEC output change - Nigeria oil min

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria sees no reason for OPEC to change its agreed oil output at its next meeting in Vienna on Feb. 1, Minister of State for Petroleum Odein Ajumogobia said on Monday.

Ajumogobia said Nigeria was concerned about the risk that high oil prices would depress global oil demand, he told a news conference in the capital Abuja.

Reasons to buy a hybrid - or not

(AOL Autos) -- OK, it's official: Hybrid vehicles are definitely the wave of the future or at least one of them. With gas prices remaining over $3 a gallon and oil prices up around $100 a barrel, the need to save on fuel -- and fuel costs -- is clearly not just a passing trend. And, of course, concerns about air quality and global warming seem to mount every day.

So, it would seem that this is the right time to take the plunge and buy a hybrid. But first there are some questions you need to ask yourself. One key question is this: Why are you buying a hybrid? Is it to save on gas costs -- or is it to do your part when it comes to cutting back on fossil-fuel emissions, which foul the air and contribute to rapid climate change?

Hershey ups candy price

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- Chocolate maker Hershey Co., faced with rising costs for commodities and energy, said Monday it will boost its wholesale prices by about 3 percent on one-third of its domestic candy line.

The Chemicals Within

Clearly, there are chemicals in our bodies that don't belong there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts a large, ongoing survey that has found 148 chemicals in Americans of all ages, including lead, mercury, dioxins and PCBs. Other scientists have detected antibacterial agents from liquid soaps in breast milk, infants' cord blood and the urine of young girls. And in 2005, the Environmental Working Group found an average of 200 chemicals in the cord blood of 10 newborns, including known carcinogens and neurotoxins. "Our babies are being born pre-polluted," says Sharyle Patton of Commonweal, which cosponsored "Is It in Us?" "This is going to be the next big environmental issue after climate change."

Iraq halts Korea oil exports over Kurd deal

Iraq has halted crude exports to South Korea's SK Energy in protest of an oil deal between Korean companies and the Kurdistan regional government, an Iraqi oil ministry source said on Monday.

Baghdad suspended a contract to export 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) to SK Energy on Jan.1 and has given SK Energy until Jan.31 to back out of the deal if it wants exports to resume, the source said.

Valero sees no restart date yet for Aruba refinery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Valero Energy Corp said Monday that some of the units at its fire-stricken refinery in Aruba are on circulation, but there was still no timeline for restarting the refinery, a company spokesman said.

"We are not producing anything," said Bill Day, adding that by keeping some units running it makes it easy to implement the restart process.

Ethanol fuel is not so green

ETHANOL is not the answer for Australia's future fuel needs. It is not green, it is not economically viable, and any move to mandate its inclusion in fuel would have enormous repercussions for other sectors of Australian industry.

It is something of a relief, therefore, to read a just-released parliamentary research paper on the economic effects of an ethanol mandate.

The paper concludes that "no prima facie economic case for a mandate has been established".

Value of U.S. House's carbon offsets is murky

The House of Representatives has presumably learned that money cannot buy love or happiness. Now, it turns out it's not a sure solution to climate guilt, either.

China's growth could spark political tensions

China’s booming economy is expected to consume more than half of the world’s key resources within a decade, according to Rio Tinto.

The rapid industrialisation of China’s economy means that it is likely to consume a majority of the world’s supply of all the major metals and minerals, potentially leading to clashes with other countries over access to resources. Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest miner, said last week that China already accounted for 47 per cent of all iron ore consumption, 32 per cent of aluminium and 25 per cent of copper.

Tom Albanese, Rio’s chief executive, has predicted that within the next couple of years this will move to 58 per cent of all iron ore, 45 per cent of aluminium and a third of all copper. He said: “Even with the assumption that the current growth intensity will slow, we are looking at China consuming a higher percentage of global supply.”

Kurt Cobb: Cornucopians and their magical thinking

And, so it is with the cornucopian thinker. He (or she) explains that most accepted measures of human well-being have been rising since 1800. But so has population. Ergo, population increases simply cannot result in human misery in the future. The correlation - a rise in living standards while population increased - means that rising populations cause beneficial things to happen to most human beings. (Never mind that fossil fuel usage was increasing exponentially during most of this period. And, never mind that the cornucopian only considers human well-being, especially the ability of humans to extract their needs from nature in the short run. Never is the long-term health of the ecosphere on which all humans depend seriously considered.)

China's Snowstorms Halt Fuel Shipment, Flights, Power

China's heaviest snowstorms in five decades crushed homes, grounded flights, disrupted electricity and left hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded, a week before millions take to the roads for Lunar New Year holidays.

As many as 5 percent of China's coal-fired power plants, which generate 78 percent of electricity, were shut because snow hampered coal shipments, the National Development and Reform Commission said today. Zhuzhou Smelter Group Co., China's largest zinc refiner, said shortages forced it to cut production.

Weather steams coal prices

COAL prices rose to a record in Asia as flooding in Australia, power cuts in South Africa and snow storms in China restricted output, contributing to electricity shortages in the world's fastest-growing major economy.

China cuts Australia coal imports 34% on congestion

Beijing, Jan 27 China cut its 2007 coal imports from Australia by 34% as insufficient rail and port handling facilities restrict shipments from the world’s biggest exporter of the fuel.

China increased coal purchases from countries including Indonesia, North Korea and Vietnam to offset the decline from Australia, figures released in Beijing on Sunday by the Customs General Administration of China show. Shipments from Vietnam accounted for half of China’s total imports.

Yemen: Students protest increase in bus fares

A demonstration that started with a few university students and grew to include over a hundred protestors took place at the New Sana’a University roundabout on Sunday, Jan. 27.

The students, who gathered at around 12:30 pm, protested against the sudden bus fare increase from 20 Yemeni Riyals to 50. Although the increase has been attributed to a rumoured increase in fuel prices, the actual price of fuel has not yet increased.

Malawi: Paraffin shortage hits local traders

THE current paraffin shortage hitting the country has spread its tentacles across households in rural and urban areas that use the product for lighting lamps.

Government on January 18 increased the price of fuel, and paraffin that is mostly used in rural areas went up to K132 per litre from K125.

Despite the increase, paraffin is not readily available on the market, a development that has negatively affected traders who sale the product for a living.

Fuel delivery delay triggers islandwide outages

Delays in fuel delivery at two power plants on Saipan triggered sudden rotating outages throughout the island yesterday.

Anglo says all SAfrica coal mines back in production

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Global diversified miner Anglo American said all its South African coal mining operations had resumed full production on Monday, except the Kleinkopje mine, which was operating at a reduced level.

... Ramchander said the mines re-started following a series of weekend meetings with officials from state-owned utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL], which relies on coal-fired power generation for more than 90 percent of its electricity supplies.

The coal mines stopped operations on Friday owing to a power crisis that has halted most mining in South Africa.

Reopening Kozloduy blocks 3 and 4 only way to head off energy crisis - BCE

Bulgarian Branch Chamber of Energetics (BCE) issued a media statement on January 28, saying that restarting blocks 3 and 4 of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant (NPP) was "the only way to head off the energy crisis in the region."

According to BCE, an NGO of employers in the energy branch, there was no technical reason to shut down the two blocks of the Kozloduy NPP.

Mexican Parties on Strike for Oil

Mexico (Prensa Latina) - Mexican political parties in the Broad Progressive Front (FAP) threatened to go on a "legislative strike" to avoid the privatization of the country´s oil industry.

According to Javier Gonzalez Garza, coordinator of the PRD parliamentary group, the Front will try to prevent the passing of a bill that would open state-owned Mexican Oil Co. (PEMEX) to national and foreign private investment.

Pakistan: A country on the edge

Pakistan, even before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, was gripped by a severe political and social crisis. There are country-wide protests against the price hikes and power shortages. There seems to be no end to the suicide bombings and terror unleashed by the reactionary armed Islamic groups. The state apparatus is dysfunctional in many parts of the country. The January elections have been delayed until February 18.

Carmakers hit by soaring price of platinum

The soaring price of platinum is set to have serious consequences for the automotive business and other industries using the precious metal in environmental technologies.

Central Indiana Ethanol consensus: Success

Six months after grinding its first bushel of corn, the board and management at Central Indiana Ethanol is thrilled with how smoothly the plant is running. But as talk of ethanol fuel heats up across the country and around the planet, the increasingly volatile price of corn has put some in the industry on edge.

Oil reserves fuel fight

WASHINGTON – Underground salt caverns holding millions of barrels of oil in Louisiana and Texas are the subject of a clash between the Bush administration and lawmakers who say it’s too expensive to fill them.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and other lawmakers want the administration to stop filling the caverns – two in Louisiana and two in Texas -–that make up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the nation’s defense against a disruption of oil imports.

“Filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is having a counterinfluence on supply. Instead of easing the price pressure, it’s adding to it,” Bingaman has said.

The reserves are more than 90 percent full, but President Bush made it a priority to fill them.

South Africa mines still starved of power; heavy daily losses

Johannesburg - South Africa's leading gold, platinum and diamond mines were at a production standstill Monday for the fourth day running after state electricity supplier Eskom last week ordered them to halt mining to save power. After meeting with Eskom to discuss the energy crisis that has plunged homes and businesses across the country into darkness repeatedly over the past two weeks the mining companies said they were still uncertain of when they would be able to resume production.

Botswana: Power Cuts Plunge Business Into Turmoil

The business community in Gaborone has expressed grave concern that they will lose millions of Pula during the expected power shortage that has already manifested itself in frequent outages.

Since January 16 some parts of the country has experienced unexpected power blackouts. This is because Botswana's major power supplier, Eskom, of South Africa, has decided to cut the outside supply to meet local demand.

India - A Hobbson Choice: Oil for Food or Oil for Fuel?

Oil is central to the economy. Be it the oil for food or oil for fuel. In both the cases the country is dependant on imports.

Gas: Highly prized reserves in a tightening market

In the past decade Africa may well have been the most exciting region in the world for oil exploration but, for many multinational companies, the continent has also emerged as an important gas play.

With Europe concerned over Russia’s political motives in exploiting its energy wealth and big international companies shut out or deterred from investing in the Middle East, many eyes have turned to Africa in the hope of securing future supply.

The oil majors: Trickier times ahead for big fish

“In the past the risks that affected companies in Africa were technical, but the above-ground risks are counterbalancing this scenario,” says Bob Frylund, vice president of industry relations at IHS, the energy consultants. Over the past two years, the continent’s main producing countries have signalled or even demonstrated their willingness to use high prices to push for tighter fiscal terms and conditions and actively court state-owned companies from Asia and elsewhere.

Bankers at Davos See Slump, Firms Yet to Feel Effect

Financiers tramped through the snow, glued to their Blackberries, as news broke of an emergency interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve and Societe Generale SA's record loss at the hands of a rogue trader. Industrialists took comfort from the prospect of further rate cuts, demand from oil producers and the likelihood of continued -- albeit slower -- growth in China.

``There's a split between those who are in finance and those who are in more general industries,'' Daniel Yergin, chairman of Massachusetts-based Cambridge Energy Research Associates Inc., said in an interview. ``The buildup of these very large financial surpluses in the energy exporters and the Asian manufacturing exporters has coincided with this crisis.''

Addicted to oil

In President Bush's recent request to the Saudis for more oil, he has once again turned his back on the nation's need to reduce consumption.

Instead, he chose to embrace a policy not unlike that of a junkie who would rather fill the pockets of his filthy-rich dealer than to kick the habit.

Maldives Builds Barriers to Global Warming

The Republic of Maldives was one of the first countries to recognize the danger of rising sea levels. It's also one of the first to come up with a plan to adapt to a warmer world.

Australia: Oil companies told to explain

THE nation's price watchdog is demanding answers from petrol companies after motorists were denied the benefits of a recent fall in the world price of oil.

The chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Graeme Samuel, said he would begin talks with each of the companies after the divergence between the Singapore oil price and bowser prices blew "off the graph" before the Australia Day long weekend.

Iraq's oil exports via Turkey suspended since Friday, shipping agent says

AMMAN (MarketWatch) -- Iraqi crude oil exports from northern Kirkuk oil fields to Turkey's Ceyhan port have been suspended since Friday, a shipping agent at the terminal said Monday.

The agent said Kirkuk crude oil pumping to Ceyhan was suspended at 2000 local time Friday. Iraq only resumed the flow last Wednesday after a two-week suspension on a fault that occurred at one point of the export pipeline.

Gazprom aims for 14 pct of UK gas market in 3 yrs - co's trading head

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - OAO Gazprom is targeting 14 pct of the UK's commercial and industrial gas market within three years, up from 1.5 pct today, said Vitaly Vasiliev, the Russian energy giant's head of Marketing and Trading.

'Gazprom wants to be an energy company, not just a supplier of gas. We want to participate in the whole value chain,' the Wall Street Journal quoted Vasiliev as saying.

Iran resumes gas supplies to Turkey: report

ANKARA (AFP) - Iran began pumping natural gas to Turkey on Sunday after cutting supplies for three weeks, but the flow was far less than normal, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The gas began flowing at around 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) at a rate of between 1.5 and 2.0 million cubic metres a day, far bellow the usual 29 million cubic metres a day, the agency said.

Gasoline black market thrives in Iran

BANDAR ABBAS, Iran - Each day, the boulevard in this port city derisively dubbed "OPEC Street" is lined with dozens of vendors selling plastic jugs of black-market gasoline to desperate drivers who haggle over the price of a tankful.

Iran is the world's fourth-largest producer of oil. But its government imposed gasoline rationing last year in hopes of trimming extensive government subsidies. That has created a booming black market across the country — feeding Iranians' discontent with the economic policies of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Drivers to see major toll hikes

"People view highways as free, but they're not," says Patrick Jones, chief executive of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, which represents toll authorities. He says Congress' decision to keep the federal gas tax at 18.4 cents per gallon, unchanged since 1993, has led to a greater reliance on tolls.

Gazprom strikes deal on European gas hub in Austria

Russia’s state-run gas giant Gazprom and OMV, an Austrian oil and gas company, signed a cooperation agreement in Vienna to set up a gas trading platform and storage facility in Europe.

24 disabled North Sea oil divers sue Norwegian government, claiming human rights violations

OSLO, Norway: A group of 24 deep sea divers who claim their health was ruined when they worked at extreme depths in the early years of Norway's offshore oil boom sued the government on Monday for violating their human rights.

The so-called pioneer divers were sent to extreme and sometimes experimental depths while working on offshore oil installations in the 1970s and 1980s, according to a government commission that studied the case.

Oil group expected to post UK's highest-ever record profits

Anglo-Dutch oil group, Shell is expected to break the UK's highest-ever record profits when it announces its annual accounts for 2007 on Thursday, according to City analysts.

China promises to ensure supplies of oil and coal

BEIJING — China's government promised Monday to increase output of gasoline, coal and power to ease shortages amid severe winter weather that has forced rationing in some areas.

The announcement came as coal prices hit a record high Monday and heavy snows blocked deliveries to power plants.

The kinder, gentler energy superpower

Canada is the kind of oil supplier the U.S. can rely on, and no one knows it better than the Texans.

Ethnic tension rises in oil-rich Kirkuk

Baghdad - An Arab political bloc threatened Monday to pull out of the local council of the oil-rich, ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq unless anti-Arab measures taken by the Kurdish majority are stopped.

Syrian president calls for rapid construction of joint refinery

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a state order to the country's oil ministry called for rapid construction of a joint venture refinery to be built by Syria, Iran, Venezuela and Malaysia.

The project was proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his visit to Syria in August 2007 and its agreement document was later signed by these four countries.

China looking for energy supplies at home

BEIJING: After a scramble by China's big oil companies to secure energy reserves overseas, they seem to have found their best prospects in the most unexpected place: under their own feet.

China is turning inward for energy resources to feed its economy as it faces increasingly nationalist governments from Venezuela to Russia that want bigger oil profits and competition for remote deep-water fields or unconventional resources, like Canada's oil sands.

Beijing wary of investing in oil sands

Yet despite China's insatiable demand for energy to power its booming economy, the Alberta oil sands are largely off the Chinese map. Beijing is obsessed with diversifying its oil sources and avoiding any dependence on a single supplier. It sees Canada as a country in the U.S. sphere of influence, a country where oil could be held hostage to political concerns. And it has little enthusiasm for multibillion-dollar oil deals in a country whose relations with China have been soured by human-rights disputes.

Ecuador wants to end oil negotiations in 45 days

QUITO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said he wants oil firms to strike an agreement with the government to overhaul their contracts in 45 days as the state seeks to increase its control over the key sector.

Ecuador started negotiations with five oil firms to switch from contracts that allow companies keep part of the oil they extract to deals in which the state will keep all the crude in exchange for a service fee.

Oil peak: a crude ruse?

Were Hubbert right, the productivity of oil wells should be plummeting about now. In fact, my next trip in my Toyota could be my last car ride ever.

So are we running short of oil? Far from it. As of 2007, exploitable reserves of oil were well over one trillion barrels. Current world demand, according to the United States-based Energy Information Administration, is 31,4-billion barrels a year.

Sheryl Crow's peak oil song

"Gasoline" - on Detours CD to be released Feb 5th

Way back in the year of 2017
The sun was growing hotter
And oil was way beyond its peak
When crazy Hector Johnson broke into a refinery
And the black gold started flowing
Just like Boston tea

It was the summer of the riots
And London sat in sweltering heat
And the gangs of Mini Coopers
Took the battle to the streets
But when the creed was handed down
For no more trucks and no more cars
They threw cans of petrol through the windows at
Scotland Yard...

Tony Blair to advise Zurich Financial on climate change

ZURICH (AFP) - Former British prime minister Tony Blair will advise Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) on a range of issues including climate change, the Swiss company said on Monday.

Blair, who stepped down as Prime Minister last June after 10 years in office, will advise CEO James Schiro and provide "general guidance on developments and trends in the international political environment," the company said in a statement.

He will also work with ZFS's recently-launched climate change advisory council, which will focus on the business risks posed by global warming.

Auto companies press states on California emissions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Automakers and their allies have stepped up lobbying to convince states that a proposal by California to cut tailpipe emissions sharply to fight global warming could further depress the struggling U.S. industry.

There is concern among General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co, Chrysler LLC -- and supporters in Congress and at state level -- that the California initiative may survive court challenges and possibly be adopted by New York, Pennsylvania, and more than a dozen other states.

Researchers say sea levels rising faster than predicted

Rises in sea levels during the coming decades could be much higher than previously believed, say experts. A new report by a consortium of scientists from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK, and research centres in Germany and the US says that sea levels rose by an average of 1.6 m every hundred years when the Earth was last as warm as it is predicted to be by the end of the present century.

Cost of Diabetes

Nuke plants security

And at Cryptogon:
Calling bull on the rouge trading story
Governments tweaking other Governments (in the, my you treat your friends well department)

And the lite fair:

You know the worst thing about the Soc Gen story: every time I read about it somewhere on the internet I keep imagining a shady character lurking in the shadows selling women's cosmetics and wreaking havoc on the world :-) . (I know I'm being pointlessly petty, but I really do wish they'd picked a different adjective that didn't typo into a completely different word.)

Yeah I love how everyone's spelling it "rouge" lol. Reminds me of a site called Dan's Small Parts, good ol' boy selling electronic components, he's long given up on the spelling of "values" and spells is "vaules" and if you don't know what he's talking about, tough.

Hi folks!

Our local transition towns group is looking at building awareness of Peak Oil.

Someone had a great idea to get the local cinema to run short Peak Oil films or videos before the main feature.

Can anyone recommend some good clips on YouTube, or the like, that could be used for this? We would want to try and contact the original producers to see if they would be interested in supplying high-quality versions.

And no, the one with the stripping girl is not appropriate, sorry. :)

And no, the one with the stripping girl is not appropriate, sorry. :)

But that is the best one.

She got everything right on the money.

She got everything right on the money.

She got everything right except the small detail of what peak oil is.

She looks good though.

relocalize.net is giving away bundles of videos for groups just like yours to do exactly what you want to do. Visit their website for details.


Check out www.peakaware.com for lots of peak oil videos._Will

It's not Peak Oil specific and probably not what you're looking for in this particular instance, but for me it's still the most poignant 3:30 articulation of the crossroads we stand at today.

Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot

I wonder what he'd make of things now?

Ask Oily Cassandra. And visit her site. Lots of stuff there. Else, a simple YouTube search on "oil" or "peak oil" will bring up loads of stuff. Or, you can look at kkob's favorites there.


Amish making electric fireplaces

Here's what you can spend your hard-earned helicopter-drop rebate checks on, as advertised in a 2-page spread in the Parade Sunday paper insert yesterday.

The HEAT SURGE miracle heater is a work of engineering genius from the China coast, so advanced you simply plug it into any standard wall certification of Underwriters Laboratories coveted UL listing outlet. It uses less energy than it takes to run a coffee maker. Yet, it produces an amazing 5,119 BTU’s. An on-board Powerful hi-tech heat turbine silently forces hot air out into the room so you feel the bone soothing heat instantly. It even has certification of Underwriters Laboratories coveted UL listing and comes with a full year Money Back Guarantee.

This sounds like a good spoof from The Onion. Sadly, though, it's real. The irony of using the Amish to market a wood mantle with a "coffee maker" in it to heat your house is beyond words.


I'm soaking in Irony these days.

My Mom has a 'fireplace' just like this in the upstairs of her house, and the Faux flamebox area is a favorite dollhouse for my daughter's dolls to sleep in. Looks a little like 'Dante's Bedroom', with those little wooden girls snoozing on a bed of glowing coals.. but the heater is still just a decorated Space Heater, after all. It all comes down to where that current is coming from.

Mom and her Fella also consolidated their crumbling Ford Van and a Honda Civic into a single, small Ford Escape SUV. They need to haul firewood, tools, my daughter sometimes and lumber in it, and they went from two vehicles to one, so I think it was a careful choice, but it's hard not to recoil a bit, even realizing that the despising of 'SUV' is pretty scapegoatish.


I consider the best option is to have a small car to drive when you don't need to haul stuff, and then an OLD pickup to drive when you actually need to haul stuff. You can have the best of both worlds. The added benefit is if your daily driver is in for maintenance, you've got a second vehicle.

I have a small car, and borrow my friends truck when I need to move/haul something. Fill up his tank and leave a 6 or 12 pack of his favored beer on the seat for it's use.

Or I rent a truck from a rental company.

All those registration/title fees, insurance, county title taxes (if you are in the south), and maintenance of a truck sitting 95% of the time is a PIA. I gave up on it a while ago.

You can borrow my truck any time :-)

Damn, that's a TRUCK, a 6 or 12 packa' beer an' if the dayum raydo werks yer stylin!! Yew can borra' our truck too! Oh, I gots'a tell ya how to start 'er though!

"Oh, I gots'a tell ya how to start 'er though!"

Heck, I done forgit to menshun that! See, you gotta take a screwdriver and... oh nevermind. It's easier jest t'show ya.

Here (popping open a brew) drink'a beer while I demmonstrate......

OK, ready, turn 'er over. Now, ya wanna be real careful when ya do this, 'cause if you're not real careful, you might ***ZZZZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPP*** YOW!

You'll get the hang of it, though...

(Yes, we're veering off topic just a bit... I'm done :-)

I have a small car and a trailer for when I want haul stuff. I was hauling fire wood from the forest today with it, about 0.5ton load.

In a year or so, I might pick up a diesel Landrover, for off road work. But only if the second hand market for Landrovers crashes and I can get one real cheap.

For real hillbilly happiness, take just about any ol' car and rip the rear seats out. You suddenly have gobs of room. Put some old carpet in if you want to be fancy and all that, but it's the simple truth that just about any sedan or better yet, a hatchback, can be turned into a small hauler by doing this.

Heh heh! I went through much of the 70's with VW bugs. First item of business is to remove the rear seat, and bingo! Lots of room for cargo. I made several cross-country camping trips this way.

[edited to add: Does anyone need a pristine back seat to a 1969 Beetle? I think it's still in the attic of my brother's house!]

I learned that about VWs from reading about Ted Bundy - he'd take out the rear seats and the passenger seat so he could carry a trussed-up body with ease.

Guy's done a great good for society, a great good. They even named a street after him in Los Angeles.

True story. I got in accident with him the summer before he went on his first killing spree. I had just got a temporary summer gig delivering mail in Seattle's U-district. I was driving my mom's car home one afternoon, it was my second summer out of high school. Anyway, Ted roared through a yield sign at a 4-way intersection and crumpled the left front quarter-panel of my mom's Plymouth Duster but the VW bug (I s*** you not) he was driving was un-drivable. So then we started to exchange insurance info, but for some reason his info was at his girl-friends (whose car it was) so I went with him the 3 blocks or so to get it, he wrote it down, I walked back to my car went home, dealt with it, forgot about it... Years later my mom was going through some old papers ...."remember that time you got in an accident on the way home from the post office?...." Oh. My. God.

There was a story in the news a few years back about a fellow who was rustling calves by somehow coaxing them into the back seat of a Chevette. The Sheriff had some pithy comment about how there was unmistakable evidence that they had the right guy.

Drove a 68 VW from LA to Costa Rica, and back in the 70's.
But that is another story-------

Haha. I took out the passenger seat on my CRX to make for additional cargo room. I can fit 10' pvc pipe in the thing without having to have anything going out windows or the back hatch. It really is amazing what will fit in a 2-seater hatchback when you take out the passenger seat. hehe.

Well, I just replaced my '87 Mazada 4x4 which needed the bottom end done* with a '90 Dodge Ram 1 ton 4x4. Man! Does that thing suck gas!!! I filled it up once and it was about$70 - ugh. But, it's used mostly as a ranch/farm truck and I need something that will go through deep snow to get to the county road, haul firewood and a little hay now and then.

My daily driver is an '84 Subaru hatchback (which will fit a bale of hay in the back BTW). I like it because it not only still has reasonable gas mileage but it has "real" four wheel drive with a high and low range not that AWD crap. A couple of weeks ago we got a foot and a half and the old Suby wouldn't hack so we were snowed in for almost a week. My wife has a '04 Corolla which is nice but dead meat if it snows in our mountainous area.

Ah, the joys of the boondocks.

*It's out back and one of these days I'll fix it and have a spare ranch truck - right now I'm thinking of replacing the piece of carp Mitsubishi (sp) orphan engine it has with a small block Chevy. It would be a stump puller if the drive train holds up.


Todd, you own 4 cars. Congratulations.

We have at least 8. It kind of depends on how you count 'em.


Think of it this way - they are SIVs, Special Interest Vehicles :-). I only drive two days a week to go to the post office for our mail and get milk at the store. Although I have to admit that "town" is a 30 mile round trip. The truck(s) sit unless they are working; they don't get to go to town for fun. And, right now fixing the old truck isn't a financial priority. The "new" truck cost $2,800 and fixing the old one will be over $2,000. It has over 225,000 miles so it doesn't have much inherent value to anyone else. I wonder if I can put those big, luggy tires on Suby? Huh.



Yesterday it cost me here in the UK just over $100 to fill my Audi A4, a medium size family car ... probably a small car in US terms.

Small car + old pickup.

Yep! That's what we've done. But when the pickup breaks down for good, I don't think we'll replace it. We've rearranged our lives so we don't drive much, and we try to bike or walk whenever we can.

Even if one doesn't drive much, there are costs associated with having a vehicle. And I'd rather spend my energy on activities other than maintaining cars.

Energy Bulletin

Small, 4cyl, 5speed, 2wd pickups are cheep, surprisingly capable for many uses, and get decent mileage. My '90 Ford Ranger cost $1000 and gets an honest 29mpg if driven conservatively. At this point, if I had to give up all my vehicles but one I think the truck would be the one I would keep. And I find it amusing that such an otherwise simple vehicle has such an extremely sophisticated engine management system.

Had the '90 Ranger for 6 months. Wish I'd kept it. They did something right with that vehicle.

That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. It's nothing more than an electric space heater you can get at walmart for $40, but they're selling it for ~ $600. And the coffee maker thing is misleading. Coffee makers use a lot of watts, but only for a short amount of time.

I really did think it was going to be an onion article. It looks so much like a spoof. I googled it briefly, but didn't see anything to suggest they weren't serious.

Some people at work pointed this thing out. This is a sad sale. The maximum allowable "space heater" is 1500 watts. The "amazing" math is 1 Kw = 3413 BTU's... so 1.5 Kw = 5,119 BTU's... Basically your paying 15 times the cost of a space heater for a pretty box to put it in.

Think of it as an education/ignorance tax. I remember friends trying to explain to me how their 1500W heater was more efficient than my 1500W heater. The sad thing is that you really don't need to have a very detailed knowledge of physics and math to be able to understand the concepts that would allow you to identify such nonsense - and yet so many are still so hopelessly ill equipped. And it's getting worse, as if it is not a question on the standardized tests, they are not learning it, nor are they learning the concepts behind it.

Unless your heater is a heat pump, or even better, a ground loop heat pump.

We were discussing resistance heaters at the time - should have made that more clear.

It is a sad state of affairs. I work with a bunch of engineers that raised an eyebrow to the 5119 btus because they are thinking of their 60,000 and 100,000 btu home furnaces. I explained all of this because I recently installed a Geothermal Heat pump in my house. So I've learned this stuff inside and out. In fact, if anyone wants to compare heat sources, and associated costs... check out this useful calculator... http://www.northeastgeo.com/slides/OperatingCosts.htm

Think of it as an education/ignorance tax.

I was actually nodding off when I read it and was 'jump started' back with a snort of laughter - involuntary, of course.

Thanks. You saved my day.

Great writing style and witty insight, too.

probably as close to a helicopter drop as we will see.

i think rebate could be a misnomer............the rebate might exceed the amount paid in. maybe we could just call it a consumer welfare program.

If they really want to "juice" the economy, they need to increase WIC, Food Stamps, unemployment benefits, etc. These checks are a joke, you don't get 'em if you're really actually poor, a veteran, or old. I'll bet anyone a silver dollar they never materialize.

I bet they will materialize. It's not like they haven't done this before. And it's an election year, after all.

The Senate is trying to add in something for the unemployed, the poor, and those living on social security, but Bush has warned them to back off.

Even if they do back off, I think they'll try again later. Especially if the economy gets worse, which I fully expect it will.

Don't say that! I've already got mine spent ;-)

Amen to that.

I've contacted my accountant to see what very low income people would need to do to qualify for the rebate, once things are more finalized.

I'm going to try and make sure that all of the clients at the local food bank I volunteer at get their rebates if at all possible. I'll probably try and contact other food banks and shelters as well (and the media, it's a good story).

It's sad that those at the very bottom continue to suffer while SUV owners might get a free car payment (or a month's worth of gas...).

what are you saying will not materialize, rebate checks or checks to the poor,veterans and oldsters ?

If you want real entertainment go to this site
and scroll through the 93(!) comments. Everyone's represented there, from the "I bought one of these, works great", to the "My electrical bill went up from $190 to $400!!!!".

Some particular gems like

As was pointed out, 1500 watts produces a fixed number of BTU’s no matter how much you pay for the heater. If they are getting more BTU’s out than other electric heaters using the same amount of power, as the ad suggests, they don’t need to sell portable heaters. They’ve invented perpetual motion and are looking at wealth beyond imagining.

made me laugh out loud.

ps. apparently the `real wood´ is oak veener and particle board.

That's been the definition of "real wood" in the US for something like 20 years now.

Makes me want to get some old furniture, make nice cabinets, and put space heaters inside....... Modern space heaters are a lot safer (tip over protection etc.) than the old burn-the-house-down specials, and put out about 1500W, enough to heat a room quite nicely.

Hello JoulesBurn,

Thxs for this link. I would suggest they make the burning fireplace scene more accurate by replacing the wood with lots of $100 greenbacks being hand-tossed into the flames--it would then be a terrific Peak Outreach conversation starter for any visitors.

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

I notice that the link for "A Crude Awakening" is essentially a link to the entire film. Has this been uploaded with the permission of the copyright owner, or is this just a pirate copy that someone uploaded? I don't see any identification of who it was that uploaded the thing.

I had assumed it was legal, because it came with a link to the film maker's site. If it's not, I'll remove it. Anyone know?

I dunno, but still glad to have it on legal DVD. Like "the end of suburbia", "Crude impact", and "oil smoke & mirrors"

Please let me know if there are any releases to complement to my collection.

I would recommend `What a way to go - Life at the end of empire´

I saw this movie a couple of days ago and it was really refreshing. The movie is sort of divided into two parts, the first part dealing with a man discovering Peak Oil and global warming/climate change. Now, if you're into these subjects the movie has little to offer on that part (since most of it will be stuff you already know).
But the second part was the real gem - it deals with human psychology both individual and in groups, when faced with potential catastrophes of such magnitude as the peak oil and global warming presents. These issues, I feel, are often overlooked when dealing with the subjects, and the debate often focuses on technicalities.

Then there's `Escape from suburbia - beyond the American dream´, the sequel to The end of suburbia.

I have seen this too and was a bit disappointed, since The end of.. was so well though out and produced. This movie offers a bunch of solutions for dealing in a world with less available energy/more expensive energy. My instant feeling for most of these solutions was that they are not viable for most of us. They can support a few people, but not every one of us Wasteful Westerners. I was left with a feeling that for these solutions to work, a mass die-off is required. But the movie never dealt with it, or anything related to our planets population problem.

Then there's always `A Crude Awakening´
This is a straight-forward movie about Peak Oil, nothing more, nothing less. If you already have Crude Impact it probably will add little value, since unlike Crude Impact, this movie only deals with peak oil, leaving out the subjects of economy and environment. Anyhow an interesting addition to any Peak Oil-collection.

I have yet to see `How cuba survived peak oil´, so I can't comment on it for now.

On a related theme, if you really have time to kill, also consider watching `An inconvenient truth´, `We feed the world´ (documentary about world food production from 2005), `Harlan County, USA´ (documentary from 1975 about a coal miners strike in the US) and `Freedom Fuels´ (haven't seen this, I think it's about biodiesel, featuring Daryl Hannah).

It's not uncommon for documentary film makers to put their films on YouTube and such to drum up interest in their film. (No pun intended on the "drum" part.) The thought is you'll become educated by the lower quality version, then want to procure the high-quality DVD in order to do a group showing and such. I don't know if that tactic works for others, but it certainly has for me on a few documentaries.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com)

A comment posted by the uploader of this video to YouTube "Oilyboyd"

The movie is entirely my effort, free to anyone who wants to show it, link to it, or embed it on a website. I'm not affiliated with any particular organization, but I want to direct people to places where they can get additional information, including other YouTube videos that I've put in my Favorites.

Very early in this film we hear Colin Campbell say:

"The great bulk of the world's oil was formed at just two very brief moments of extreme global warming ninety and one hundred fifty million years ago."

I have read this in several other places. Yet when I mentioned this fact a few weeks ago I was pummeled with protest. Apparently a lot of people on this list do not believe this to be the case. At any rate I was just repeating what I had heard and read several times.

Oil was of course formed at many times during the earth's history. But the great bulk of all oil was formed at these two brief periods of extreme global warming. Well, at least that is what I have heard Campbell and several others claim.

Ron Patterson

From the UKOOA Booklet: 'Britain's Offshore Oil and Gas'':

page 5 Origins of oil and gas

...'oil and most gas under the central and northern north sea and the west of the shetland islands formed from the remains of planktonic algae and bacteria that flourished in tropical seas of the Jurassic and Cretacious periods about 140 to 130 million years ago (a significant amount of the Kimmeridge clay formation is cretacious in age). They accumulated in muds, which are now the prolific Kimmeridge clay source rock.'

In fact, this very useful book can be found here:


What in the world could possibly be held to be offensive or inappropriate in 'antidoomers' post?
He just said that he felt this was a useful technology and that others were using it, in his view to be unnecessarily alarmist.
I don't agree with him, but fail to see what the point is of suppressing debate to this extent - surely that is the behaviour of a fairly strict church hunting down doctrinal deviation, rather than a forum seeking to debate energy use and futures?

He deleted it himself. That's his right.

He probably checked the price of the unit, $547.00, and did a quick comparison of other units on the market and discovered the unit is not better than anything else you can get from Home Depot for much less cost.

Perhaps if asked, he'll tell us all.

IF this is real, why would it be sad? It could help millions of kids in poor families stay warm at night by providing affordable heat. Of course for doomers if these kinds of invention come to fruition it puts off their so wanted doomsday, so i guess in that way, yeah its kind of sad.

Rather troll-ish with the 'appeal to millions of poor' and 'puts off dooms-day' claim. But hey, somehow *HE* The Antidoomer, will save us all from our miserable existence here on TOD wanting dooms-day with his rational appeals.

Or perhaps he figured out that using electricity for heat is expensive.

Thanks Leanan! - that is a real relief, as the discussions here are valuable.
Probably deletion was a good option, as that fireplace thingy certainly looks like a worthless piece of kitch to me! :-0

Does anyone have information as to when the DVDs from the Houston conference will be available? I purchased the set shortly after the conference. When I called to check in November I was told they would be shipped in December. Hopefully its not $85 wasted.

Mine arrived last Friday.

Worry no more about oil prices. GM refuses to accept high prices!

Lutz Says Customer Not Currently Part of the Car Planning Equation - No Small Cars

“We refuse to let the price of fuel rise gradually in the United States and therefore we fail to induce change in consumer behavior,” Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman of global product development, said at the Automotive News World Congress on Wednesday evening.

Maybe he should do us all a favor and hold his breath until prices come down.

How about this:
"General Motors sees E-85 and biofuels as the best near-term solution to lowering U.S. usage of petroleum."

The sad thing is how much of our fertilizer is imported. It's now over 50% if I remember correctly.

Were they building ivory towers at GM headquarters or furnishing their offices with balck walnut desks?

Biofuels cut into the food supply and poorer workers will build cars for little more than few bowls of noodles and some chicken broth if they have to. Better to find some other source of fuel than corn, because there is not enough corn in the world to replace gasoline.

In other words not all will be able to drive their cars on ethanol and eat your cornflakes too.

*chuckles* The sad(amazing) thing is, that I'm writing this from one of those towers.. (Well, the hotel in the middle of them.)

I think GM is just pushing the ethanol thing as a method of distracting people for a few years until they've got plug-in hybrids worked out to a decent level. It's all green-washing, but plenty of people are buying it!

For entertainment tonight I watched the DVD of David Fridley's presentation "The Myths of Biofuels" which was mentioned on Drum Beat a few days ago. Fridley goes thru the numbers and concludes that there's no chance in Heck that corn based alcohol could make a serious dent in our gasoline needs. He goes further and claims that even Brazil's sugarcane to ethanol system is only meeting around 20% of their total transport demand. Biodiesel doesn't look much better in his analysis either.

With ethanol from corn giving an EROEI of about 1.3, the energy needed to produce the fuel would be the need to be almost double the amount of energy actually consumed by the end user of transport. I suspect that the folks at GM and the other car companies know this, but can't admit it without killing their own companies. If they really do make $5000 on each big truck and lose $1000 on each econobox, then the more econoboxes they build, the faster they go broke, (assuming they aren't already there).

E. Swanson

Obviously Mr. Lutz has fallen into the rabbit hole with Alice.

I think you may have misinterpreted this. He is saying that we, as a nation, refuse to let prices rise and, therefore, the consumer has no incentive to buy small cars. He is correct.

Yeah...I agree...It is at face value a statement that other forces are drving consumer behavior beyond just car commercials.

Now, that doesn't justify the car line they have chosen, but it is a recognition that oil prices are 'artificially' low at the moment.

BTW, now it is speculators! Hehe.

Maybe you're right. But I don't know.. what does he mean by `we´?
If he really means `the consumers of US´, how are `we´ not letting the oil price rise? By casting a financial depression upon us selves? By electing a CEO of the state that forcibly sells democracy in the Middle East so we can have their oil?
I have a hard time imaging Lutz meant this..
And I am not seeing riots and burning of gas stations Pakistani-style either. No, I have yet to see any real consumer action.

The article repeats the message put out repeatedly by the automakers in the past year; efficient cars will cost $2-3000 more, but you the tree-hugging customer demand them so don't come complaining to us in 2010 when you see the sticker on that new fuel efficient car.

That would be fine if they actually cost more to build, but the best way to improve fuel performance is to reduce mass, which also reduces materials cost, so the cars should cost less. And they do, from Asian brands. GM makes $5,000 on a big truck, and loses $1,000 on a subcompact, so they are naturally going to try to improve fuel performance by bolting on more gadgets.

Unfortunately, GM still has a lot of downsizing to do, both in their cars and their company, before they deal with epensive oil.

LOL! Just goes to show how conditioned people are to rag on GM. What is so hard to understand?

“We [in the United States] refuse to let the price of fuel rise gradually and therefore we fail to induce change in consumer behavior,” Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman of global product development, said at the Automotive News World Congress on Wednesday evening.

Both Ford and GM have stated they prefer a gas tax to CAFE regulations.

Wild imaginations at work here, there some very aware and intelligent people within these organizations, but that doesn't stop them from wanting to build trucks where the profit is $5000 to fund future development instead of the < $1000 or even negative profits that come with building small cars for them due to their legacy costs.

"JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Global diversified miner Anglo American said all its South African coal mining operations had resumed full production on Monday, except the Kleinkopje mine, which was operating at a reduced level.

... Ramchander said the mines re-started following a series of weekend meetings with officials from state-owned utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL], which relies on coal-fired power generation for more than 90 percent of its electricity supplies.

The coal mines stopped operations on Friday owing to a power crisis that has halted most mining in South Africa."

So coal is more valuable than gold, platinum.

Who woulda thought?

Yeah, interesting, huh? A glimpse of the future.

They've open the mine to get the coal to generate the power to power the coal mine that produces the coal to make the power to run the mine that produces the coal that makes the power to run the mine that produces.........

row row row your boat.....

And some say EROEI doesn't matter.

From German language magazine FOCUS print edition, article "Totalverweigerer" (Total Denier).

I paraphrse the general message:

They say that the NIMBY phenomenon has spread from nukes to coal plants, high voltage lines to make enrgy available from wind power and any other project available (Biogas example named) which you can think of. Even the planned renewables they say are not base energy as sun and wind are not always available. Germany cannot close both nukes and coal and still maintain economy. How can they wash their hands while importing nuclear energy from France?

By 2021 all 17 nukes should be turned off. After 2009 elections the CDU hopes to prevent that, reverse it. 6 of 27 planned coal power plants have been stopped by protests by BUND (nature protecion organization). They want to make a stop on all new coal power plant construction by law, not just through protests. 20 GW is now coming form nuclear power, 26% of the total electricity Germany's. 57% come from coal and natural gas power plants. Current renewable is 14% and is supposed to climb to 25-30% by 2020 but not as base load of course. Needed are high voltage lines of addtinally 850 Km to connect wind to the net.



Coal prices are gaining after Anglo American Plc, South Africa's second-biggest producer, stopped five of nine mines because power supplies couldn't be guaranteed by state utility Eskom Holdings Ltd. In Australia, the world's biggest coal exporter, Macarthur Coal Ltd. and Wesfarmers Ltd. said they wouldn't be able to meet contract supplies from some mines in Queensland state after heavy rain.

China, which burns coal to generate 78 percent of its electricity, ordered domestic coal shippers to halt exports after heavy snow and rail congestion shut supplies to 5 percent of the country's coal-fired generators. Power lines from the Three Gorges hydro-electric dam in central Hubei province were also damaged in the storms, the official Xinhua News Agency said yesterday.


And the beat goes on.

I don't know where Leanan gets this stuff -- must stay up all night trolling. But in some minds, apparently, there is nothing to worry about. The Oakland Institute -- with impeccable "liberal" and environmentalist credentials has produced this:

High petrol and electricity prices have nothing to do with the alleged scarcity of crude. Rather, the “peak oil’’ thesis has caused many citizens and consumers to accept high energy prices without protesting. Don’t blame Hugo Chávez or the Arabs. When oil prices go up, the ultimate winners are oil company stockholders.....

....Even if the tar sands run out, we have enough coal to burn for centuries. The race is on to develop an economically feasible way to turn it into liquid fuel. South Africa’s Sasol is carrying out studies to that end.

In other words, we have plenty of fossil fuels. They will not run out in our lifetime, as many environmentalists hope. The planet will have been cooked several times over before there is a real scarcity of coal or oil.


Interestingly, the author, supposedly a fellow at the Institute, is not listed among the fellows on their web site.

Confusion abounds. Personally, I have accepted the Church of the Drum, and rejected the Church of Magical Thought. In the end, though, does it matter what we think? We are likely to be pushed off the cliff by the stampeding lemmings anyway. [yeah, I know. Lemmings don't march to the sea, and they certainly don't stampede.]

Ummm...Spelling matters. Leanan trawls, she never trolls.

(Do as I say, not as I do.)

Precision matters, indeed. One "trolls" for fish more or less one fish at a time. A "trawler" is a large boat with a huge net rig that scoops up tons of bottom fish at a time. A "troll" is that creature we hate to see on the internet. I haven't looked into the etymology of all this. But I certainly was not accusing Leanan of trollishness

I suppose in the sense that when trolling for fish one is looking for the good ones Leanan could be said to troll. In the sense of getting everything in a big net she trawls.
I really thought what you did was unintentional and funny. And the continued possibility for multiple meanings is amusing.

OED still wants a hefty subscription for online. And I don't own one. Off to the library

Interestingly, the author, supposedly a fellow at the Institute, is not listed among the fellows on their web site.

Yes, Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero is the author. He supposedly is an "investigative reporter" too.

Too bad he never bothered to spend 2 minutes investigating what peak oil is. The second paragraph of his story shows what a dolt he is:

The idea goes back to 1956, when Shell geologist M King Hubbert declared that the world had enough oil for only about 50 more years. This thesis, popularly known as "peak oil'' or "Hubbert's peak", was based on his estimates of petroleum reserves and ever-increasing energy demand.

15 years after the peak, when we all look back and wonder how everyone could have missed what was so obvious, guys like Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero will go to the front of the line when we hand out the awards for biggest dopes.

I would love to transition to an energy future without either coal or nuclear, but I just cannot see the way forward from here. Until we can figure out how to maintain an adequate base load, we have to make a choice. Coal, without sequestration that works, is by far the worst option. I think we need to move forward with nuclear until we can find a way to solve the storage problem.

The biggest problem with nuclear seems to be our inability to either find or agree on long term storage. But I still come back to the question, "so what is your plan" and "would you prefer to continue to build a new coal plant a week?" and "should we go ahead and build 150 more coal plants within the United States?"

Further, regardless of whether we expand nuclear, we still need to deal with the existing nuclear waste and that which will be generated by those plants that will continue to be in operation. If waste is truly the disaster depicted, aren't we screwed regardless?

In short, march on rapidly with solar, wind, wave, geothermal, solar thermal, limited biofuel, and nuclear. Otherwise, just shut 'er down --- society, that is.

Btw, geographically wide spread proliferation of wind stratgegically placed could go along way in mitigating the storage problem.

History -- for what it's worth -- suggests that culture proceeds by abrupt discontinuities interrupting fairly long periods of stability. The notion that "we" can "transition" gently somehow to a low hydrocarbon regime strikes me as magical thinking. Not because it isn't rationally possible, but because history has provided no examples of such a thing happening in the past, and so I can't really imagine it.

I don't know that we will transition at all, at least within a reasonable time frame. I would love to see us do the discontinuity bit, but expect that we will continue to stumble and bumble into a very dark, very polluted, very ugly, and ultimately massive death creating future.

Otherwise, I am highly confident that everything will turn out just swimmingly.

As Obama says, "it's about the future". But he and no one else has the courage, intelligence, and wisdom, to state what that future will be and how we will get there. 80% reduction in co2 by 2050. Yeh, right. And this will be painless. But trust me. I am the man for the future.

Shock and awe, anyone? Oh, yeh, we tried that.

People will debate how successful Cuba has been in dealing with a sudden drop in oil from Russia. At least at first, it seems the transition was not gentle, what with the massive loss in weight from lack of food for its citizens. But, after a fashion, they made a transition to a low energy, reasonably successful agriculture. They also learned a lot in the process and have a lot they could teach our society.

I don't know that we will transition at all, at least within a reasonable time frame. I would love to see us do the discontinuity bit, but expect that we will continue to stumble and bumble into a very dark, very polluted, very ugly, and ultimately massive death creating future.

A transition to death and mayhem is still a transition, albeit not a very successful one.


We're building coal plants instead of nuclear because nuclear costs at least twice as much as coal. Fix that if you want more nuclear.

Coal is only 'cheap' because it doesn't get charged for it's emissions and waste.
You don't even need to charge for CO2 to show it's true economics - for a start it releases loads of lovely uranium straight into the atmosphere through the chimneys!
I think the costs you are talking about are the build costs anyway - it is difficult to tell with all the subsidies for this and that, but it seems that France has some of the lowest rates for electricity in Europe, together with some of the lowest CO2 emissions. Rates are a fraction of those in Germany, with loads of coal and renewables.
Coal is also cheaper in the US than Europe.

You can make coal more expensive or nuclear cheaper. But presently, nuke is double or triple the investment/KW of coal. More nuke is just not going to happen with things that way.

Maybe in the States it is not going to happen. It already is in Asia and Europe.
The proposed increased costs in carbon emissions in Europe through their trading scheme is also going to speed things up.
Without getting fancy (and expensive) in storage or supergirds, some renewables are also more difficult in Europe.
Now costs of those DO look high!
Germany currently pays around $0.40kwh for PV output back to the grid.
At that rate you would get a lot of nuclear power plants built!

you could just reprocess the waste like France does. The total amount of waste left fits onto the area of 3 basketball courts.
Anyway, most of the waste problem has already been created, through weapons programs and early inefficient reactors.
Reactors we would build now like the Westinghouse would produce only a fraction of that waste.
Future reactors would produce far less, or could even be designed with the ability to burn up present stocks of waste.

Until we can figure out how to maintain an adequate base load...

harvest wind energy in where the real wind is, store and transport it in the form of ammonia. burn ammonia in thermal power plants to produce electricity and potable water.

Or stop at the hydrogen stage, and harvest far more energy than you would after half-burning it to NH3.

This is energetically correct, but operationally not such a good plan. Ammonia is a nice, big molecule that pretty much behaves itself as long as your metallurgy and gaskets are done right. Diatomic hydrogen, on the other hand, is nasty stuff. Its small enough to sneak around seals and pressurizing it in a metal container, like a pipeline, will cause embrittlement. There are some dramatic price differences in materials needed for ammonia and hydrogen transport.

Who's transporting H2? I thought the idea was to cure intermittency: Burn the H2 on site, when the wind isn't blowing.

Sounds reasonable. Get going.

NH3, who has the most commercially ready technology to convert wind to ammonia?

if the question is about commercial turnkey wind to ammonia systems, i am not aware of any. U. of Minn. has one running put together by themselves.

all the components for small scale production are commercially available: wind turbine (numerous providers), electrolyzer (Norsk Hydro), air separation unit (Air Products), H-B synloop (Bechtel Power Systems).

once the constrain of grid connection is removed, the wind resource is practically limitless -- 200TW in one concentrated area alone with average wind speed 15m/s or higher right at the surface (http://manati.orbit.nesdis.noaa.gov/quikscat/). for that kind of wind, the turbine design criteria will be very different and likely to be considerably cheaper.

And a quick update on the SocGen Fiasco:

"Kerviel’s lawyer said the accusations of wrongdoing against his client were being used to hide bad investments by the bank related to subprime mortgages in the United States.

“He didn’t steal anything, take anything, he didn’t take any profit for himself,” the lawyer, Christian Charriere-Bournazel, told The Associated Press by telephone. “The suspicion on Kerviel allows the considerable losses that the bank made on subprimes to be hidden.”

A complicating factor was that the bank was finishing work that Sunday on details of a separate announcement about the size of the multi-billion-dollar charge it would take for bad bets on mortgage-related investments in the U.S. News of that misstep was delayed until Thursday, when along with the fraud losses, the bank said it would take a 2.05 billion euro ($2.99 billion) write-down."

In other words, when they’re saying that Kerviel, “misappropriated other people’s computer access codes,” did he go around and ask to borrow their one-time-pass cryptographic token generators, as well as their usernames and passwords?

I really don’t know what this situation at Societe Generale represents, but I can tell that it’s not the work of one man.

No way.

Via: Business Week"


Nice find.

This is such a distraction ploy. This probably never made a trade over a million at his pay scale.

73 Billion...yeah, no one noticed. Then...Hey let's dump it all in one day. Sure. That makes sense.

that link is in the 1st comment for this drumbeat, so it was not hard to find.

If it really matters, I guess it all depends when you jump into the drumbeat, or also, whether it caught my eye up there.

Doesn't affect the comment. Changes the kudos on who found it.

...and SocGen was warned last year about this guy specifically!


It's purty strange that they couldn't cotton to his shenanigans, even after being pointed right to him.

They apparently caught him several times. But he always said that it was "just a mistake," undid the trade, and re-did it in different form after they went away.

Either they're awfully gullible, or he's one of those con men who can charm even people who should know better.

Or maybe they were willing to put up with apparent sloppiness, in exchange for the billion euro profits he was turning for them.

Or maybe they were willing to put up with apparent sloppiness, in exchange for the billion euro profits he was turning for them.


They ought to have read their own fine print: "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."

The plot thickens:


SocGen director offloaded €100m worth of shares

Jerome Kerviel is charged as it emerged that Robert Day sold nearly €100m in shares eight days before the scandal erupted

Jerome Kerviel, who is being held by French police over the alleged fraud
Dearbail Jordan
Société Générale is facing legal action from shareholders claiming the bank is involved in insider dealing as today it emerged that a non-executive director at the French bank sold off nearly €100 million worth of SocGen shares eight days before the discovery of "irregular trades" made by "rogue trader" Jérôme Kerviel.
Documents released by the AMF, the French market regulator, show that Robert A. Day, an non-executive director at Société Générale, sold off €85.7 million in shares on January 10. Also, two trusts connected to Mr Day, offloaded large chucks of shares on the same day - the Robert A. Day Foundation sold €8.6 million in stock and the Kelly Day Foundation sold €959,066.

Mexico data are coming in.
"Crude export volume ran at about 1.69 million barrels per day [12 months of 2007], the lowest since 2000. December exports slipped to 1.5 million barrels a day, down from 1.9 million barrels daily in November."

"Coming in"? That's old news. The date is Jan. 22 - last week.

It's interesting to go back and look at some older articles. Following is the WSJ on Cantarell from early 2006:


At the time, Cantarell was producing about 2 mbpd. The most recent (December) number is 1.26 mbpd, which is not the worst case outlined in the WSJ article, but still about -22%/year (on track to drop by 50% in three years).

Update on Cantarell. Good production chart:


Climate Neros fiddle while Rome burns

Professor David Keith, a chemical engineer and director of the University of Calgary's energy and environmental systems group, warned at an oil sands conference last week that there's tremendous uncertainty around the viability of these large projects. This reality, he pointed out, is overshadowed by all the hype.

"We're not actually doing very much," he said. "We're in a world where there's an enormous amount of talk but very little actual action."

As Keith pointed out, there's been no shortage of press releases. According to Emerging Energy Research of Cambridge, Mass., more than 20 major carbon-capture power generation projects were announced around the world last year – most of them proposed in Canada, the United States and Australia.

Not one, said Keith, is certain to move forward.

The coal industry has a history of announcing plans to solve the problems of coal-- in the future. Nothing new here; it is just another way of diverting people's attention from what needs to be done; quit building coal plants.

RE: Bankers At Davos See Slump, Firms Yet To Feel Effect:

I have ridden out a number of hurricanes and can tell you that prior to the storm the glass (barometer) begins to fall. The storm is definitely on the way...Of course, there is always that chance that a hurricane will veer at the last moment and we will be spared a direct hit...Like Katrina spared New Orleans a direct hit.


January 28, 2008

The Crash of the Bank of United States
by Antal E. Fekete

Benjamin M. Anderson*

By the fourth quarter of 1930 the trouble with the Bank of United States gave occasion to grave concern.

The Bank of United States was a bank which ought never to have existed, and which certainly ought never to have had the name it had. One leading banker of New York went personally to Albany to protest against the giving of such a name to that bank or to any other bank, and was told that there was a political debt to pay.

In the period 1924 to 1929, with excess reserves and rapid bank expansion, it was easy for plungers and speculators to grow rapidly. There was a heavy discount on sound banking, and a high premium on reckless plunging. One watched it with apprehension, afraid not merely that bankers would lose their judgment but also that in many cases moral standards would crack. In many cases judgment went bad, and in more cases traditional practices, sound and tested, turned out to be bad practices in such an abnormal money markets as then existed. But the great majority of American bankers kept their integrity and tried to adhere to established and approved banking practices. However, it was an era in which the bold speculator and promoter could gain ground rapidly at the expense of the conservative banker, and it was a period in which departures from convention and approved banking practices would seem to be brilliant strokes of genius -- while the new era lasted'...snip...

'Unsuccessful efforts to save the Bank of United States'...snip...(see text at link)

'And so it came to pass that, on Thursday morning, December 11, 1930, the Bank of United States was closed for good'...snip...(see text at link)

'Cheap money could not help in a situation like this. To ease the shock and to relieve the plight of the depositors of the bank, the other banks of the city agreed to make loans against deposit accounts in the Bank of United States up to fifty percent of their face value.

'With the announcement of the closing of the Bank of United States the stock market plunged still lower. Money remained extraordinarily cheap in this stock market crisis. Call- loan renewal rates ranged from 2 to 2.3 percent between December 13 and December 27. But cheap money could not help in a situation where it was not liquidity but confidence that was vanishing. The stock market reached a wide-open selling climax on Wednesday, December 17. Then, as is usual, it rallied, and the rally carried over through the early months of 1931. But, in the light of developments of the next two years, the American banking system was mortally wounded. By March, 1933, it lay prostrate. One rotten apple can make the entire pile of apples go bad'...snip...

'Eighty years ago the fancy name of the bank was the lure to entice ignorant people to their doom. Today it is the fancy name of the product: "mortgage-backed securities", "collaterized debt obligations", "securitization of loans" and, most recently, "insuring bonds" that is supposed to do the same trick.

What makes the above reading so frightening is the fact that eighty years ago the credit of the United States was rock-solid. Today it is moth-eaten; the promises of the federal government are hardly worth the paper on which they are printed, in view of its repeated defaults and its embracing of the unconstitutional regime of the irredeemable dollar. Worse still, the credit of other countries is no better, given the fact that it is not backed by anything more solid than the credit of the United States.

Eighty years ago American institutes of higher learning offered the very best available by way of economic and banking knowledge. Today they are a sorry shadow of their former self. They are subject to bribe and blackmail. They are stooges of the banks. There is a gigantic cover-up and distortion of truth, as a consequence of our way of financing advanced studies through grants from the banks, including the twelve Federal Reserve banks, with a hidden agenda to perpetuate the regime of the irredeemable dollar.

If academia is the tamed lion of the banks, then financial journalism is their lapdog'...snip...

Never fear! George Bush is riding to the rescue: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a_vHRz42ZbvU&refer=home.

He has decided to focus on keeping the US out of recession during his remaining time in office, just as he focused on Osama bin Laden, Iraq, helping the people of New Orleans, etc, etc, etc.

I figure a full-blown depression is now assured.

Regardless of whether Bush or anyone else finds a way to avoid a recession, the lower and middle classes will continue to get screwed relative to the upper middle and upper classes. As long as we define recession just in the very gross number, GDP, we will continue to focus on solutions that have nothing to do with real needs.

The Middle Class are just people who know they don't belong to the Ruling Elite but refuse to admit they are part of the Working Class.

Middle Class is a myth. There are only 2 classes.

The Slave Foreman was still a slave.

Of course, there is always that chance that a hurricane will veer at the last moment and we will be spared a direct hit...Like Katrina spared New Orleans a direct hit.

Ahhh, but SOMEONE/SOMEPLACE is always in the path of the direct hit, no?

Do you suppose that banks in Iran or Turkey or maybe Bulgaria will be found to be free of the rot at the core of the entire global banking system?

Will the future be a Sofia-Tehran-Constantinople axis?

Or are we going to watch the collapse of a supergiant red star into a neutron star centered on London?

The New World Order is up for grabs!

The Bank of the United States is a perfect analogy to Countrywide. As soon as Bank of America gets a good look at their supposed assets they will see a takeover is impossible. When Countrywide reports tomorrow we will see a sharp downturn in the markets.

New home sales: Biggest drop ever

Weak December sales caps 2007's record slide, with prices for the month off sharply from a year earlier.

Everyone was expecting an ugly Monday, but so far, the Dow is up. Go figure.

Foreclosures spike - and will get much worse

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The risk of foreclosure is on a rapid rise nationally and, with a possible recession at hand, this spike in mortgage-defaults could last for years.

A report released Monday by First American Core Logic rates foreclosure risk for 381 metropolitan areas, and found that the risk of foreclosure has jumped 22 percent from January, 2007, and 9 percent from three months ago.

Mortgage Traps & Fish Traps

60 Minutes had a program last night on the Mortgage Meltdown. They interviewed a couple who could make their payments, but they were about to mail the keys to the lender ("Jingle Mail"). They asked why they should continue to make payments on a depreciating property. Basically, the emerging reasoning is that if property values go up, highly indebted borrowers will keep the property, but if property values go down, the borrowers walk. So, regarding property values current lenders have all of the downside, but none of the upside. In many cases, borrowers will be able to boost their take home income by walking--as long as they still have their jobs of course.

So, if we start in 2005 and look at the spectrum of debt as a percentage of 2005 values for a given region, it goes from zero to 100% (sometimes over 100% in fact). It seems to me that each successive foreclosure makes additional foreclosures more likely and accelerates the decline in property values (I know, brilliant observation on my part). But the point is, where does it end? As the cycle continues, it destroys more and more equity, with more and more owners electing to walk as property values fall, and if the Net Oil Export decline really kicks in, suburban home values have only begun to fall.

A rough analogy for this might be a fish trap. As I understand them, it's a baited mesh box with a progressively smaller opening that will let large fish swim in, but not out. If the fish trap is lost, it acts as a perpetual killing machine. Fish swim in, can't get out, and then die, acting as bait for more fish, and the cycle continues.

One could argue that Peak Debt + Peak Oil Exports + the Suburban Mortgage Meltdown is basically a perpetual capital killing machine that is going to continue to consume vast amounts of capital, in other words, Jim Kunstler may have been an optimist. Note that in some cases, banks are refusing to foreclose. They don't want the property.

The recurring question that I have asked on and off for months: Does it make sense to own non-agricultural real estate anywhere in the US?

You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

-Paul Simon

"A rough analogy for this might be a fish trap. As I understand them, it's a baited mesh box with a progressively smaller opening that will let large fish swim in, but not out. If the fish trap is lost, it acts as a perpetual killing machine. Fish swim in, can't get out, and then die, acting as bait for more fish, and the cycle continues."

This is the EXACT reason why the device that holds the trap closed is designed to disintigrate and allow the trapped creatures to go free.

At some point, those few places that are less-expensive to walk away to will be filled and lowering vacancy rates will cause rents to rise, thus there will soon be nowhere to "walk" to. Eventually, the mortgagee's choice will be to stay in a house whose value's declining or become homeless. Perhaps we will see the rise of McMansions quickly remodeled into boarding houses. But given the socilazation pressure to live individually, not communally, we are likely to first see a crisis as zoning laws and CCRs that promote individual residency and legally sanction multifamily living get attacked as inhumane.

WT, Not too long ago the bankruptcy laws for individuals were changed to make that relief route more expensive and difficult for citizens. The changes to bankruptcy laws were contested by some moderately powerful consumer groups but, of course, the big banks and card companies prevailed in the courts.

I have been expecting for some time a move by our Federal Government, pushed by all manner of financial interests, to pass laws to make 'leaving the key under the doormat' more difficult for the family that signed on the bottom line for a mortgage that they are now upside-down on. I dont know how the law would be worded, enacted or enforced, maybe by confiscating a percentage of wages through IRS withholding to be paid to the mortgageholder? At this point I believe the Feds are desperate enough to grasp at any straw in sight. If the Feds undertook this sort of action it would probably create an underground economy to rival any in world history.

Hi WT and River.

I don't understand why it's rational to walk away from a mortgage you CAN pay for. My understanding is that the current bankruptcy laws allow the lender to sue you for the difference between the mortage balance and what they recover from the sale. Or if they "forgive" the difference, then the IRS taxes the forgiven debt as regular income. And of course your credit rating is toast immediately.

Is this behavior truly rational?

I believe the tax on the income has been waved/removed just recently here in the States.

The story I heard, the folks bought another house while their credit was good, Closed, then mailed the keys back.

Net/Net The couple shed about $100,000 of Debt.

I think you will see MUCH MUCH more of this and other things not even thought of yet.

WG, John,

What you have to realize first of all here is that bankruptcy doesn't come into play at all.

First: People are becoming aware of the fact that they pay off a loan of $300.000 while their home is worth just $200.000. (Despite overall numbers, which nevertheless already show a 10% decline, there are pockets in the country that have far steeper declines)

So why keep on paying the fees that are much higher than your property is valued at? Overall, people do so because of social standing, what will the neighbors think, that sort of thing, but mostly, obviously, because they have the fear of bankruptcy. However, that fear is not realistic in many cases. And that is the second thing people are starting to find out. No matter how hard the lenders try to hide that info.

So what goes on here? The vast majority of mortgages in the US are non-recourse loans, a type of loan in which all the lender can do if a borrower defaults, is to foreclose on the collateral; the borrower is not personally liable for repayment.

In other words: you only have to pay as long as you live in a place, you can walk away, and nobody can touch you. The lender will have to sell the property in foreclosure to get his money back. You can walk from your home (Jingle Mail, or Intentional Foreclosure) and buy the place next door for half the money, and half the payments. People do it as we speak. People simply swap houses with friends and neighbors. They're not going to make it easy on you, the lenders, but legally, they have nothing.

CalculatedRisk first wrote on this a few months ago, and has been quoted in all kinds of papers, not least of all because he said that once it becomes socially acceptable for people to walk away from their homes, the fall-out from the subprime crisis will top $1 trillion, whereas it is a mere 10% of that so far. And oh yes, lenders fear this knowledge being spread.

Caveat: while most mortgages, as they have been closed in the US, are non-recourse, most refinancings (REFI's) are not. Which means that many people who have taken out equity and/or taken second or third mortgages, and that's a large group, are on the hook, since they have recourse loans. Not all of them, it's not a simple subject, but still, many.

I suggest you come over to The Automatic Earth, where we discuss this very phenomenon today, with examples from other writers. Just to show you it's not all THAT simple:

So how is a second mortgage a non-recourse loan? Simple, it was “purchase money” for your home. A purchase money loan is one where the money went from the lender, to escrow, and then to the seller or to pay purchase closing costs. In California purchase money loans made on your home (note: not second home or investment properties) are non-recourse. It’s simple as that.

The mistake comes when you refinance your second purchase money mortgage. Because it is no longer a “purchase money” loan a refinance transforms it into a “recourse” loan. That means the lender will chase you into bankruptcy collecting it. Or worse, they will sell it to a debt scrounger, the worst form of debt collector. Your life will be hell if it falls into their hands.

Come find it at The Automatic Earth. We'll do an article on the topic soon, it promises to be the talk of the town.

Thanks for the invite to your new site.

Here is a quote that 'black swan' made on comments to Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

“There really is no honor among thieves. The first person to walk away was the loan originator. Then the bank walked away. Then the Wall Street securities specialists walked away. Then the ratings companies walked away. Then the monolines walked away. Then the future buyers walked away. Can anybody really be surprised that the mortgage payer walked away? The two big questions are: will there be any lenders left, who are stupid enough to lend on real estate, and when will the GSEs walk away?”

I'll close this by saying the smartest advice I heard was The Best Time to Panic, Is Before Everyone Else Does

Financially and other times too;

Sometimes, the only ones that get out of the coluseum alive are the ones who smelled smoke and left immediately BeFore someone yelled "Fire".

If it was the Firesign Theater skit "Beat the Reaper" we would be at the stage when people are running out of the building yelling "The Plague".

i think it depends on the fine print. doesn't non recourse loan means that the mortgaged property is the only collateral? but as i understand it, nearly all mortgages are yes-recourse.

When you look at the ethics of the people in the video it's more like the "roach motel"

Next they go to Vegas and lose at the table and will want a bail out.

As this seems to be your last known address ( as of Jan 30) I will leave this message here:

Stoneleigh and ilargi's new home is at:


If I see you later wandering lonely as a cloud I will swoop down on my buzzard wings (can't afford the upscale model) and drag you off to feed that aerie brood.

The segment is called "House Of Cards" and runs about 15 minutes. Someone needs to put it on YouTube because YouTube's the only site on the net that can actually provide useable, watchable, video. None of the major networks can, google video can't, no one else is capable of simply putting watchable, non-freezing, non-crashing, non-resetting your browser, video online.

There's some discussion of it on tickerforums too.

One thing I haven't seen discussed much on the mortgage meltdown (as well as myriad other financial problems) is the impact on the civil court systems of millions of lawsuits that will inevitably be filed. The civil court system is slow enough in this country as it is, but I expect in the coming year it will effectively grind to a halt.

I luvs me sum chaotic systems, I do! I luvs me sum bifurcations! I luvs me sum unintended conseuences!

I luvs that peeple think ther be any simple answer to dis here discontinuity, I do!

Chaos, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...



PS. Some count the whole meltdown at about 3 trillion... so far.

Yep. Those unintended consequences are a real kick in the pants.

"Surprise", "unforeseen", "unprecedented crises" are what happen when complex systems are treated as if they are simple and disconnected.

For some time now the U.S. stock market has seemed reluctant to follow the lead of the other global markets on a day to day basis. The Asian or European markets can be way down or way up when things open in New York, but that hasn't been a great predictor for U.S. stocks recently.

Everyone was expecting an ugly Monday, but so far, the Dow is up. Go figure.

Tonight is the State of the Union Address by Bush.

It is his LAST one. That is a cheerful thought!

The constitution says:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Bush could give as many state of the union messages as he choses in the rest of his term, and note that the form of the message is not defined, it could be given as a speech in person, or as written communications.

Best wishes on the next 357 days, 20 Hours, 52 minutes. (Yes, a libertarian friend gave me a countdown timer.)

The president is giving his state of the union tonight. Couldn't have the stock market down.

Loan Reviewer Aiding Inquiry Into Big Banks as New York state begins criminal investigation into the banking disaster that is unfolding. I can hope that they nail the financial types responsible for this mess but that's probably being too hopeful.

Personally, I'd like to see a bunch of Mortgage brokers nailed to the wall for falsifying income levels of applicants in order to sell more mortgages. When the stated income on a mortgage application is 2-3x greater than the applicant's actual income, I call it fraud.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com)

Just something to keep an eye on:

Bangladesh bird flu situation alarming, says science adviser


The officials said the situation in the impoverished country of 144 million was so wide in scope that even wild crows had been apparently infected.

"It is an alarming situation. Hundreds of crows are dying every day across the country due to the bird flu. The government should make it an emergency health issue," the adviser said.

"Farmers in some villages are throwing away dead chickens in canals and ponds, spreading the disease without knowing it," he added.


The Bangladesh poultry industry produces about 220 million chickens and 37 million ducks annually, one of the world's largest populations.

Bangladesh is the world's most densely populated country, with nearly 1,000 people per square kilometre (2,600 per square mile).

Also, India (Bengal region) is seriously affected as well, and H5N1 is getting very close to Calcutta (city of 14 million).


The US has sent more protection kits to help with culls.


And, a new UN warning.

Avian flu remains a global threat: UN agency


Over the past two months, Bangladesh, Benin, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Myanmar, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Vietnam have confirmed outbreak of the H5N1 virus in domestic poultry, news agency WAM reported.

"Globally, much progress has been achieved in keeping the H5N1 avian influenza virus under control. We are better prepared today to deal with the disease than we were three years ago," said FAO's chief veterinary officer Joseph Domenech.

He urged close monitoring of the situation and cautioned that despite vigorous efforts, widespread infection has persisted in parts of Asia, Africa and Europe.

"It could still trigger a human influenza pandemic," the FAO official warned.

Let's hope they stop this in its tracks...soon.

Speculation: A pandemic of bird flu would postpone peak oil by 10 years or more, due to the resulting oil demand destruction.

Last week it was reported biz.yahoo.com/bizj/080122/1579660.html?.v=1 that Schlumberger had purchased micorwave technology from Raytheon. (Originally from the Houston Business Journal) A sidebar in the business section of the Arizona Republic (print edition - no links) reported that Schlumberger would use the technology to heat kerogen in shales. This would be a momentous thing if they are able to develop it so that they can get an EROI significantly greater than 1. I'm not going to hold my breath, though.
I don't recall seeing this in the Oil Drum so I'm posting it even though it's almost a week old. Please delete this post if it's redundant.

There was a big discussion the other day here on the Dulles Rail extension for DC, here is a article for ya' Alan if you're out there about private funding for the extension:


I just noticed that the WSJ energy blog has been renamed Environmental Capital. Does anyone know when and why this change was made?

Maybe the "why" is about monetization of and eventually profiting from the environment. The blog is, after all, about the "business of the environment".

In the business of the environment, what happens to the externalities? Maybe that's a forbidden question.

I believe that capitalism would be revealed for the fraud that it is, if "externalities" were required to be made manifest.

Won't happen.

"I believe that capitalism would be revealed for the fraud that it is, if "externalities" were required to be made manifest."


"Won't happen."

And yes.

Capitalism has proven very resilient, continually breaking through new barriers, and improving it's ability to achieve greater differences between user and exchange values (always labor). However, this was dependent on a vibrant resource base, combined with the short interest values that evolution has rewarded humans with. Both our evolutionary survival skill set and depleted resources are a liability to this superstition based economic model, and the run it has had since the 15th Italian City States is about over. The transition will be messy for the survivors, if there are any.

I believe that what you just said is more or less equivalent to what I just said -- the "externalities" are the problem. You called it a "vibrant resource base", I might say "virgin forest" or "easily accessible petroleum."

Capitalism is a marvelous, extraordinarily efficient way to destroy the "commons" and convert it to profit-- which at certain points in the process looks like "progress" or "development". It works really well as long as there is a large commons.

Garret Hardin was not the first, but he has certainly become the most famous for discussing this "tragedy of the commons." His solution, of course, was to restrict population and create a strong central government. The real tragedy, in my opinion, is that the solutions often turn out to be even worse than the problem.

Leanan, I watched the documentary 'Crude' last night. Thanks for the heads up. It was a bit of a surprise to me that the MSM (if the History Ch can be considered as such) came so far out of the closet. I hope they continue in a like manner.

It was made in Australia. The History Channel bought it from ABC Australia. As someone at PeakOil.com noted, you could tell it wasn't made in the US. Even though they re-did the narration to get rid of the Aussie accent.

Even though they re-did the narration to get rid of the Aussie accent.

I've noticed that seems to be SOP for most British and Aussie documentaries brought over here.

We've outsourced our truth-telling.

EU plans to see our economy blown away

The targets Britain will be legally committed to reach within 12 years fall under three main headings. Firstly, that 15 per cent of our energy should come from renewable sources such as wind (currently 1 per cent). Secondly, that 10 per cent of our transport fuel should be biofuels. Thirdly, that we accept a more draconian version of the "emissions trading scheme" that is already adding up to 12 per cent to our electricity bills.

The most prominent proposal is that which will require Britain to build up to 20,000 more wind turbines, including the 7,000 offshore giants announced by the Government before Christmas. To build two turbines a day, nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower, is inconceivable. What is also never explained is their astronomic cost.

At £2 million per megawatt of "capacity" (according to the Carbon Trust), the bill for the Government's 33 gigawatts (Gw) would be £66 billion (and even that, as was admitted in a recent parliamentary answer, doesn't include an extra £10 billion needed to connect the turbines to the grid). But the actual output of these turbines, because of the wind's unreliability, would be barely a third of their capacity. The resulting 11Gw could be produced by just seven new "carbon-free" nuclear power stations, at a quarter of the cost.

The EU's plans for "renewables" do not include nuclear energy. Worse, they take no account of the back-up needed for when the wind is not blowing - which would require Britain to have 33Gw of capacity constantly available from conventional power stations.

Sounds cheap. I wish I could generate electricity indefinitely for £2 per watt

See attached pdf from 2004 from the Royal Academy of Engineering:


Re: Pakistan, A Country on the Edge

The energy crisis has made life even more miserable. Power shortages have forced the closure of industries across the country… There are demonstrations of daily wage and industrial workers against these power failures in many cities. Power shortages have not only afflicted industry and commercial activities but have completely disrupted the daily lives of people.

I got to thinking about totoneila’s recent posts about how “Peak Outreach” could help avoid destructive and violent riotous reactions to fuel shortages and dramatic price increases.

Maybe a good TOD educational tool would be a “recent & current events news page” that lists the countries that have already experienced fuel rioting. Each country could be accompanied by links to the top 1 or 2 news articles (including commentary, video clips, and photo essays) documenting the event.

It would give the public an idea of what the natural human response to fuel shortages and price hikes will be. And it could show how rioting, violence & misdirected demonstrations (give us more fuel!) are futile and counterproductive in the face of genuine fuel shortage and/or scarcity.

Also, links to alternative responses could be provided. A few of the free videos off of this page might be good. (On the right hand side, scroll down to the categories “Sustainability” and “Food & Water”)

It would be great to have such a page on hand for when shortages (or dramatic upticks in price) look like they’re just around the corner. Letting people see how shortages affected other countries, and that alternative responses exist, could go a long way towards staving off some of the nastier instinctual reactions (like machete moshpits).

This website, updated daily, does a good job of chronicling energy shortages around the world:
Energy Shortage

Here are a couple of the articles about rioting I have saved as favorites. Anyone saved any other good ones?

Don't for get to add about what's going on in the Gaza. Good example of what desparate people are willing to do.

We need to get the 'clever' marketing people to sell 'less is more'

Possibly a number of peak oil themed quiz shows titled 'doomers v boomers' where commonly asked questions are answered.

Maybe an international game show where each contries oil use is recorded and shown turning powerdown into a global competition

Over christmas I was puzzling at the gifts people give, they are always looking for something that will help the other person but will be remembered and used. Renewable energy and efficiency would fall really well into this catergory. Can you give someone a voucher for solar water installation as a present? What better gift for an older family member than insulation and solar water heating, it is also an investment in the people who will live their in the future and will add massive value to a home

I am excited by the ideas of BHEEP (Best health environment economic policy) bringing all the benefits together. The idea of stimulating the economy by spending money into existance on large infrastructure projects that add value to the area and pay for themselves that way.

That map looks scary already wonder what it will be like in 10 weeks/months/years

Behind a paywall, but you can get in through Google News:

Despite Calls to Increase Oil Output, OPEC May Cut Production in Spring

A sharp economic downturn in the U.S. could seriously damp global demand growth. But the thirst for oil is still intense in China and the Middle East, and could pick up at any time in the developed world.

On the supply side, a bevy of previously delayed oil projects are now expected to start delivering the goods. But it's unclear whether output from non-OPEC suppliers in Africa and Latin America will be large enough to make a real market impact.

Then there was this bit, at the end:

Three years ago, when oil was still under $50 a barrel, OPEC ministers worried how the world would react if prices went above $60. But now many OPEC members -- Iran and Venezuela above all -- have come to depend heavily on prices being well over $80 a barrel.

"The longer these prices stay high," says Mr. Goldstein, "the more these governments will feel entitled to that price."

This article is apparently one reason oil rebounded today.

One of the authors of that article is Neil King Jr,, the reporter who wrote Saturday's article about Aaron Wissner.

BTW, it may already have been noted here, but the WSJ changed their mind about making its site entirely free. They are going to continue to charge for most of their content.


Open forum, where is the worst place for this to crash?

The worst?
In the middle of the Pentagon.

This would launch another ten-year avalanche of dingbat conspiracy theorists, braindead youtube comments, 1 hour college kid documentary movies posted on Google Video about "the truth" and it might just give Ron Paul a motif for running in 2012.

No, please, I can't take it. Crash somewhere else, will ya, satellite?

Houston Chronicle:

"...3 trillion barrels of heavy oil [in place] in North America."


Snow in China strands half a million people at train stations.


"The Chemicals Within" article is the first MSM article I have seen that adequately addresses the buildup of persistent chemicals in humans. I had hoped the word 'bioaccumulation' or 'biomagnification' would be included, to aid those who wish to learn more. A few billionths here, and a few billionths there, and pretty soon we're talking parts per million. Excreting or breaking down some of these chemicals is very very slow.
The worst omission, imho, was where these chemicals come from (how they enter the body, not who put them in the environment, tho that would be interesting too). Most of these chemicals work their way up the food chain or are found in water supplies. Humans are long-lived animals, so it matters to us!

Easily as big an issue as peak oil. My fave five - all interrelated:

  • resource depletion
  • toxic planet
  • cancerous growth
  • climate change
  • economic inequality

cfm in Gray, ME

Yep - I have noted before that this is a problem with epidemiology.

It starts like this:

Chemical A is added to our water supply, and in small concentrations is shown to have no statistically significant affect on our health (so says the manufacturer).
The next year chemical B is added to our food supply and also shows no significant effect.
The next year chemical C is added to our crops...
And so on...

Then 100 years later you have a raft of chemicals in our lives. Not one is shown to have a significant affect on our health (according to manufacturers studies - although some of these are contested), but the fact that combined low dose toxicity has a greater impact than the addition of separate low dose toxicities is generally ignored as well as the total accumulation. No-one to blame. Nothing to statistically point the finger at. So few people take alternatives seriously... it is a shame.

Yet another thing to think about. I am sure that, somewhere in my body, I still have some of the fire retardant added to my pajamas when I was a kid. This chemical, and others that I ate and drank and breathed, are all available for unintended consequences. And, that's not all. Some of these chemicals exhibit synergistic effects-kind of like drinking booze on top of a dose of valium. (Don't do it!) One and one sometimes make seventeen, if you will pardon the metaphor.


Jan 28, 2008 12:17 PM GMT

Who are they kidding? 95 % of Israel's electricity is generated by imported coal and other fossil fuels. A conversion to electric cars does not make Israel any more independent of foreign energy sources. In reality, if Israelis go through with this centralized, power grid dependent electric car system, their national security might be compromised by the inflexibility of electric "fuel" distribution system. Suppose the electric grid is damaged due to sabotages or attacks. Even a temporary disruption will litter the streets of Israel with thousands of disabled cars, which then must be towed back to battery swapping stations once they are back online. This will never happen with gasoline powered cars since gasoline is easily transported in a container by anyone; 500 lbs batteries are not. The reason the gasoline powered cars have lasted this long is their versatility. If electric cars were to replace them, they must be as versatile. Best Place cars will not be.

Oy veh.


For viz reasons, of course.

We all have our agendas.

Us seniors, 45 days younger than saddam, have to remember target="blank"


And as they move their grid increasingly towards energy supplies such as solar, miraculously, all of their cars will become all that much cleaner, and less dependent on foreign energy supplies. You don't have to clean up the grid before you change the cars... You can clean up the grid during or after.


Do you mean Israelis?

My speculation is that public key crptography is an Israeli hoax.

Listen-up Persians.

Public key was broken in about 1991/2 with out factoring is my belief.

At that time NSA was involved in a panic effort to remove public key from weapon systems.

>One reason.

Public key does not pass the black and white test of cryptographic algorithms.



us seniors must remember.


Hey Persians

This would not have been written without my Persian education in algebra.

EDIT: I want to thank everyone for not pointing out what a dullard I am. Every *two* years, which changes the numbers significantly...

86,000,000 x .02 = 1,720,000
87,720,000 x. 02 = 1,754,400

total new demand = 3,474,400

9,000,000 - 3,474,400 = 5,525,600

3,474,400/2 = 1,373,200
5,525,600/2 = 2,762,800

4,136,000/87,000,000 = 0.0475%


Did Total just say depletion is running at 8 - 9 percent? Let us take the comments literally: With 2% demand growth and depletion we need the equivalent of a Saudi Arabia every two years. [sic]

Let's take the standard 86,000,000 as '07 production. Let us take the 2% of that: 1,720,000 b/d. Let us subtract that from Saudi Arabia's production of 9,000,000 to 9,500,000 b/d. 9M - 1.72M = 7.28M. Now let us divide that by our original 86,000,000: 7.28/86 = 8.4%.


9.5 - 1.72 = 7.78
7.78/86 = 9.04%

If accurate, depletion is between 8.4% and 9.04%.

Scary $#1+, that.


The depletion must reflect behaviour of the fields that make up the global oil supply. Around 8% is more realistic than the 2-4% that I have seen bandied about. The small figure would be characteristic of the near post-peak production decline from existing fields but the mean age of the world's oil fields is increasing thanks to the lack of replacement field discoveries. So one would expect that the global depletion behaviour to be more and more like that of oil fields in late stage decline.

The ASPO-USA Houston DVD sets are shipping! (I found mine in my mailbox this evening)

The price of uranium is rapidly falling as traders tried to unload positions:



Tyson Foods Inc. reported Monday its quarterly profit fell 40% from a year ago, dragged down by wider losses in its beef business and surging grain and fuel costs.

Near record-level costs for corn and soybean meal is taking its toll, and Tyson said it plans to raise costs for its chicken and beef products that account for 78% of its total sales.

"We have no other choice but to raise prices substantially," CEO Richard Bond said in a conference call. "We are raising prices because we can't absorb these costs. Despite concerns about the economy, people have to eat, and they will continue to eat protein."