DrumBeat: August 31, 2008

Supply-side troubles

Living Bread is one of a number of Massachusetts food pantries that are striving to meet rising demand. A plummeting economy, coupled with soaring food and fuel prices, has caused an unprecedented increase in need across the state, say pantry workers, even as donations in many cases have lagged, leaving agencies like Simon's struggling.

"Is it worse than I've ever seen?" said Eileen O'Shea, director of member services for the Greater Boston Food Bank, which provides 30 million pounds of food and grocery products a year to 600 hunger-relief agencies in Eastern Massachusetts that feed about 83,000 people a week. Based in Roxbury, the organization has an annual budget of nearly $50 million. "Yes, definitely. And we haven't even hit the winter yet."

Russia’s Collective Farms: Hot Capitalist Property

PODLESNY, Russia — The fields around this little farming enclave are among the most fertile on earth. But like tens of million of acres of land in this country, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they literally went to seed.

Now that may be changing. A decade after capitalism transformed Russian industry, an agricultural revolution is stirring the countryside, shaking up village life and sweeping aside the collective farms that resisted earlier reform efforts and remain the dominant form of agriculture.

Was the organic food revolution just a fad? Fear for farmers as shoppers tighten belts

From new mums worried about their children's health to foodies seeking the very finest products, consumers have embraced organic food with more enthusiasm than most environmental trends.

But now the British love affair with organics has stalled in the face of rising prices and tightening budgets as mortgage and fuel bills bite and fears rise over job losses.

Indians’ Water Rights Give Hope for Better Health

GILA RIVER INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. — More than a hundred years ago, the Gila River, siphoned off by farmers upstream, all but dried up here in the parched flats south of Phoenix, plunging an Indian community that had depended on it for centuries of farming into starvation and poverty.

If that was not bad enough, food rations sent by the federal government — white flour, lard, canned meats and other sugary, processed foods — conspired with the genetic anomalies of the Indians to sow an obesity epidemic that has left the reservation with among the highest rates of diabetes in the world.

Now, after decades of litigation that produced the largest water-rights settlement ever in Indian country, the Indians here are getting some of their water back. And with it has come the question: Can a healthier lifestyle lost generations ago be restored?

Too good to waste?

Reports that sludge from sewage plants is routinely used to fertilise edible crops have caused outrage. Is this simply a prudent use of so-called 'biosolids' or a grave threat to our health?

OPEC to keep output same, Venezuela, Ecuador say

AYACUCHO OIL BLOCK 5, Venezuela, Aug 29 (Reuters) - South American OPEC members Venezuela and Ecuador expect the oil exporters group to maintain current production levels at a meeting next month, the nations' oil ministers said on Friday.

Venezuela, the OPEC member with the largest reserves outside the Middle East, is a price hawk typically backed by Ecuador, which rejoined the group last year.

"Sounding out other OPEC ministers, I think the decision is to leave levels unchanged," Ecuador's oil minister Galo Chiriboga told reporters on the sidelines of a summit at a Venezuelan oil field.

Militant claims denied in Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria: The Nigerian military on Sunday denied claims by militants that they killed 29 military personnel in three separate clashes in the southern oil region.

Italy Media Say Libya Deal Means More Oil, Less Immigrants

ROME (AFP)--Italian media Sunday said an investment package signed by Rome to compensate Libya for damage caused during the colonial era would mean "more oil and less immigrants" for Italy.

"Thanks to this accord we will see the number of clandestine migrants arriving on our shores reduced and have greater quantities of gas and oil of the best quality," wrote the Turin daily La Stampa, citing comments Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made to media.

After Fanfare, Hurricane Grants Leave Little Mark

NEW ORLEANS — It was the largest housing aid program in American history, billed as the essential government tool that would make New Orleans whole after Hurricane Katrina.

Yet even though about $3.3 billion of federal taxpayer money has been spent here on the cash grant program known as the Road Home, New Orleans on the third anniversary of the hurricane remains almost as much of a patchwork as it did last year, before most of the money was spent.

Boats for post-cheap oil survival

I share the view that peak oil is going to have a big effect on our lifestyles, and the simultaneous arrival of economic troubles and climate change is setting up a "perfect storm". If things collapse as Dmitry, I, and many others are expecting, you may find yourself in the same situation as a third world hunter (fisherman), gatherer, and farmer. That was the normal situation for many in the South Pacific Islands when I lived there. I'm not saying that we will return to the stone age, or even to the dark ages, but cheap oil -- the basis on which the edifice of our current society is built -- is gone, and the debt bomb is about to explode at the same time. This combination could create a tipping point that could cast you into an economic and social situation which will rival the Great Depression. If you agree with this (and if you are visiting this site it suggests you might) then you should make some preparations, at least in your mind, about what you would do, and how you might survive in this scenario.

The wind of change is slow to blow through Britain's energy policy

In two years' time, the UK seems certain to miss one of the core environmental targets of the Blair-Brown years. The Government pledged that 10 per cent of the country's electricity would be generated from renewable sources, principally from wind farms, but also including tidal and solar power.

Press releases from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Berr) still boast of the target, which was first promised in 2000 and enshrined three years later in the energy White Paper. And in a statement to The Independent on Sunday, a spokesman for Berr insists that all is well and that: "Estimates show there's more than enough renewables developments either up and running or in the pipeline to potentially meet the 10 per cent goal."

But the energy industry does not agree. Senior figures point out that less than 5 per cent of electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2007, up from just over 4 per cent the previous year. This is not, they argue, a sign of rapid progress from a country that that has a far less buoyant renewables industry than Germany and Denmark, although it is far windier.

Invasion of Iran would Trigger World War III

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior military commander warned on Saturday that any attack on Iran would start a new world war.

"Any aggression against Iran would be the start of the world war, " deputy chief of staff for defense publicity, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri said.

Strapped for cash, some in New Orleans stay and hope

"The thing is," he continued, "most people don't have cars to leave, don't have money for gas. Pay for a hotel for that long? I mean, you have to do whatever you have to do, and I guess I'm gonna stay and work."

Drought, Israeli restrictions hit Palestinian herders hard

ISFEY FOQA, West Bank: Hard-hit by a severe three-year drought and tough restrictions on movement imposed by Israel, Palestinian shepherds are facing what some elders call their worst crisis in living memory.

“All we have left is hope,” says Musa Abdullah Awad, a wizened 49-year-old herder as he looks down at the remaining water in his cistern, which he says is barely enough to keep his goats alive a little longer.

As far as the eye can see there is nothing but dust, rocks and grinding poverty.

GCC in $217bn power capacity expansion drive

GCC countries are in a serious drive to expand their power capacity and have already earmarked $217 billion (Dh797bn) on power projects to date.

Majority of the new projects are in Saudi Arabia, where power-starved mega projects are expected to go on stream from this year up to 2012, according to data from projects information specialist ProLeads.

Mr Cheney goes to Georgia

The US-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline passes through Georgian territory and letting Russia dictate events in Georgia has a definite implication in terms of energy security, given the fierce pipeline geopolitics in the Eurasian landmass, Europe's heavy energy dependency on Russia and Moscow's willingness to rely on the energy card for security bargaining with Europe.

This alone may explain why the European Union, which has been divided over a response to the Georgian crisis, has largely consented to the US's muscular reaction. The issue has now turned into a defining moment of the post-Cold War era because of its broader implications.

From Russia's point of view, carving out Georgia into separate territories is the proper antidote to NATO's planned expansion, to offset the US's growing encroachment, and a clear warning to neighboring states, such as Azerbaijan and Ukraine, to refrain from cozying up to US or NATO.

Energy crisis: a time bomb about to go nuclear

One of the main reasons for wars right now in this world is energy related, natural resources, oil, natural gas and pipelines. There are two critical reasons why we have to solve the energy crisis, and both reasons lead to the absolute annihilation of the human race. There will be more pollution as we consume ever more energy, hurrying global warming and our extinction, and as resources become more scarce, wars will continue to erupt everywhere in the last battle to secure the so-called remaining liter of “juice” on Earth. How can we avoid total destruction by solving our energy crisis?

Mich. residents may pay more of green power costs

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Saying it's only fair, Michigan lawmakers plan to raise residential electricity bills and drop business rates so all customers are charged the true cost of their power.

But when it comes to figuring out who should pay what for new renewable energy requirements, the playing field wouldn't be even.

Though residents account for one-third of Detroit Edison's electric sales, they would contribute nearly two-thirds of what Michigan's largest utility could collect from customers for wind and other sources of alternative power under bills that have passed the House and Senate.

Pakistan: Two weekly holidays approved to save energy

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has approved, in principle, to grant two weekly holidays but decided to withhold formal notification in this regard to consult the Punjab government before making it public, it is learnt reliably.

Pakistan: Matching LPG prices with S Arabian rapped

LAHORE: Efforts to revive the policy of equating local LPG producer prices with Saudi Arabian export prices have been strongly condemned by the LPG Association of Pakistan (LPGAP), a grouping of licensed LPG marketing companies.

In the meeting of the Federal Cabinet held Monday, a summary was moved calling for the "import parity formula to be introduced in LPG on the Saudi Aramco upper cap for ensuring availability." This proposal to revive the failed policy of the previous government was rejected in the meeting.

Australia coal emissions are worst, says global study

The study of emissions from 50,000 coal-fired power stations put China, the US, India, Russia, Germany, Japan and Britain ahead of Australia in total carbon dioxide output.

But each Australian produced almost the same amount of emissions as Americans -- 9.5 tonnes per person -- and Indians -- 0.6 tonnes -- combined.

Rep. Bartlett pursues lonely energy crusade

WASHINGTON - Charts at the ready, notes spread out before him, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett begins another address in the House of Representatives on the dangers of America's dependence on oil.

The Western Maryland Republican has given nearly 50 such speeches at the Capitol in the past three years, most of them variations on a theme: that a coming decline in petroleum production, coupled with growing demand for energy, will have a calamitous impact on the global economy.

"The world as a whole, and our country included, has appeared to behave as if these fossil fuels were inexhaustible," the former university professor lectures. "What we'll see shortly is that - as everyone will know, if you stop and think about it - that oil is finite."

What Happened to Peak Oil?

Up until Tuesday, oil was crashing down toward $110 a barrel as demand growth estimates have been clipped. So what happened to peak oil? Nothing happened; peak oil should still be a concern.

SchNews Drills For the Truth In Peak Oil Theory

All of this has some anarcho-primitivists jumping with glee at the prospect of the imminent collapse of earth-raping industrial capitalist society. But, before you stock up on tinned goods, shotgun cartridges and bottled water, here’s a few things to consider:

Firstly, there’s no oil shortage. This may come as a bit of a surprise to all those who’ve been watching the prices rise and rise. As the Saudis recently pointed out to outgoing President Bush - pumping more oil won’t lower the price. Actually, there’s a glut of oil in the supply markets. The Iranians (one of the oil nations pumping under their maximum capacity) have tankers full of the stuff that they just can’t shift because no one wants it. What’s lacking is refining capacity.

Cold season will push up oil price says Iran

Iran's oil minister suggested on Sunday crude at $100 a barrel was the lowest appropriate level but said factors like the approaching cold season would push up demand and prices, an Oil Ministry website reported.

Oil sands: The storm over Canada’s hottest commodity

In this two-part series, the Independent Record examines Canadian oil sands production, its impact on the economy and the environment, and the potential connection to Montana’s own energy development.

It may be too soon to exit oil-dollar bet

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The long oil/short dollar bet may be off the table for now as energy prices ease and the U.S. currency rises, but inflation and inherent risks in commodities supply could bring this popular trade back.

Understanding Putin and the conflict in the Caucasus

And that brings us to the Caucasus/Georgia region, and why Putin pressed the Chechen war after he took office. He did so for good reasons – access to the oil and the Caspian Sea. Georgia itself holds the keys to a quantum leap in Russian income and power. There is a pipeline through Georgia from Baku that is the only exit for oil from Central Asia that does not pay toll to Russia. Seizing control of that pipeline will both give Russia income from that oil, and it will provide Russia with the means to strangle the Central Asian former provinces into submission. The significance of these nations for Americans is primarily the economic impact on our pocketbook when the price of oil rises again because Russia gets control of another 46 billion barrels of oil to increase its own 74 billion barrels of reserves. In the larger picture, those Central Asian nations can serve as a tool to bring the USA lower by more and more rapid wealth transfer as prices rise.

Nigeria militants: 29 military personnel killed

LAGOS, Nigeria - Nigeria's main militant group claimed Saturday that it killed at least 29 military personnel in three separate attacks across the restive southern oil region.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said in an e-mail statement that the near-simultaneous battles came in the three main oil producing states of southern Nigeria, leaving 29 dead and others unaccounted for after they jumped from their military boats.

The group reported that six of its own fighters were also killed in the clashes, which they say they launched as reprisals for attacks they allege the military carried out on civilians.

South Korea: 'No Pole Sign' System Troubles Refiners

Local oil companies are in trouble over a new policy starting today, which will demolish exclusive ties between them and gas stations.

Gas pumps will be allowed to sell oil products from all companies with the abrogation of what was called the ''pole sign policy.'' A mixture of products from various companies will be also available as long as sellers inform consumers.

Under the previous policy, gas stations could only deal with the brand they displayed, with violation subject to legal punishment.

Will Brazil Really Nationalize Oil?

Brazilian oil workers with the FUP oil union have threatened a nationwide strike, in what seems like another step toward nationalized oil in Brazil

The saber rattling is aimed at Brazil’s biggest oil company, Petrobras. While contentious union relations at Petrobras are part and parcel of the company’s operations, what’s different here is that the conversation focuses on the pre-salt layer off Brazil, triggered by last year’s massive Tupi find.

Kuwait inflation spurred by external factors: banker

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz al-Sabah has said inflation in the oil-rich emirate, which has hit record levels, is mainly caused by external factors.

"Inflation in Kuwait is imported ... since the country imports most of its commodities from abroad," Sheikh Salem said in statements cited by the official KUNA news agency late Saturday.

External factors such as prices in exporting nations, insurance fees and transport costs influence Kuwaiti imports, said the governor, adding that 30 percent of Kuwaiti imports come from Europe and 14 percent from the United States.

Saudi Arabia positioned to become solar power

In the wake of the first Gulf War, the U.S. Army assessed Saudi Arabia's solar energy resource potential in a classified effort to determine how oil fires had affected the region.

The results were clear and surprising. In addition to being a vast petroleum repository, the desert nation was also the heart of the most potentially productive region on the planet for harvesting power from the sun. In other words, Saudi Arabia was the Saudi Arabia of solar energy.

Indiana's Amish embracing wind, solar power

GRABILL, Ind. - Northeastern Indiana's large Amish community is starting to embrace wind and solar energy to power their homes' lights, refrigerators and other equipment.

Although many Amish rejected high-voltage electricity in the early 1920s because of the power lines that would have connected their people to the outside world, limited use of site-generated, low-voltage electricity is acceptable to many Amish.

Solar panels are hot for the stealing

They turn the sun's rays into usable electricity, with proponents calling it an environmentally friendly alternative that saves money on utilities.

But the growing number of solar panels being installed on roofs of government buildings, private businesses and homes are becoming a hot commodity in a way many say they didn't expect.

The Heat is on: America's next president must play a key role averting crisis over global warming

Reflecting a consensus of hundreds of scientists around the world, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has affirmed that greenhouse gas emissions are raising the Earth's temperature. The Earth is on a trajectory to warm more than 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit by around mid-century. Exceeding that threshold could trigger a series of phenomena: Arable land will turn into desert, higher sea levels will flood coastal areas, and changes in the convection of the oceans will alter currents, such as the Gulf Stream, that determine regional weather patterns.

Manhattan and Florida would be under water, while Nevada would have no water at all. Some Russians quip that they would welcome a more temperate climate, but they would probably be sorry to lose St. Petersburg. Countries such as Bangladesh and Mali do not have the resources to mitigate or even to adapt to the impact of climate change; millions would flee coastal flooding and the desertification of farmlands, creating instant "climate refugees."

Ireland: Fears for landmark bridge

The National Conservation and Heritage Group believe higher tides caused by climate change are eroding the bridge's structure and may have dangerously weakened its foundations.

The catastrophe behind climate change

As the estimated cost of measures proposed by politicians to "combat global warming" soars ever higher - such as the International Energy Council's $45 trillion - "fighting climate change" has become the single most expensive item on the world's political agenda.

As Senators Obama and McCain vie with the leaders of the European Union to promise 50, 60, even 80 per cent cuts in "carbon emissions", it is clear that to realise even half their imaginary targets would necessitate a dramatic change in how we all live, and a drastic reduction in living standards.

Sierra climate change puts range's species on the run

One century ago, alpine chipmunks owned the upper half of Yosemite. They skittered under logs and darted across rocks from the rugged Sierra crest down to the conifer forests at 7,800 feet. Today, they are missing in action below 9,800 feet.

''It's lost half its geographic range,'' Patton said. ''Climate is the culprit. I don't think there is any iota of reason not to think that.''

For the first time in human history, the North Pole can be circumnavigated

Open water now stretches all the way round the Arctic, making it possible for the first time in human history to circumnavigate the North Pole, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. New satellite images, taken only two days ago, show that melting ice last week opened up both the fabled North-west and North-east passages, in the most important geographical landmark to date to signal the unexpectedly rapid progress of global warming.

Last night Professor Mark Serreze, a sea ice specialist at the official US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), hailed the publication of the images – on an obscure website by scientists at the University of Bremen, Germany – as "a historic event", and said that it provided further evidence that the Arctic icecap may now have entered a "death spiral". Some scientists predict that it could vanish altogether in summer within five years, a process that would, in itself, greatly accelerate.

But Sarah Palin, John McCain's new running mate, holds that the scientific consensus that global warming is melting Arctic ice is unreliable.

the Arctic icecap may now have entered a "death spiral".

And the Canadian PM wants to spend 100 million to fund a government search for more oil and gas in the region.

Harper is one of those folks who believes "a reality based environment" is beyond contempt. Real men make their own reality.

If the ice cap is, for all practical purposes, gone, the meme that the ice caps are melting will no longer have any power to convince people and nations that their actions make any difference.

Maybe when her husband can no longer engage in those snow machine races, Sarah Palin will get the message. But most likely not.

We are frogs in warming water and the younger frogs have no frame of reference and no visceral understanding of the change.

You underestimate the power of denial.

While melting ice caps and thawing tundra have no doubt been noticed in Alaska, deniers such as Gov Palin just state 'its all natural.' And a quick tour of some denier sites yesterday indicate that the 'its cooling' meme is still going strong.

They have already discovered billions of barrels of oil equivalent in the Sverdrup Basin of teh Canadian Arctic the last time they went to explore the Arctic in the 1970's. Seems that ice breaker LNG tankers have not yet made their way to the Arctic Islands and gas-to-liquids plants might not be easily served by ice breaker tankers in the middle of winter. So far they have not yet completed natural gas pipelines to Alaska or the Mackenzie Delta. There may be about 20 billion barrels of heavy oil on the Alaskan North Slope and more tar sands in the Canadian Arctic Islands. Plans to use SAGD to recover heavy oil near Prudhoe have been discussed.

I read that Greenland is finding the warming to its advantage.

Every time I read about stuff like this, I hear the music from "The Day After Tomorrow".

RE: PV panel theft. I've had concerns for some time about my roof installation and was wondering when news of thefts would arrive. I'm no longer wondering.

But I am curious, what have you done or what have you seen done to stem theft? I'm actually more concerned about the inverter which is accessable from the front yard. I mounted it in such a way to make it more difficult to lift, but I'm wondering if extra precautions would be prudent.

When the catalytic converters started disappearing off cars here in Beaverton, the local PD told people to get the bolts welded up. Only takes a couple minutes, and it's done for free (!) at many muffler shops.

Can't the same trick be used to freeze up the bolts on your PV panels? Touch 'em with a stick, and instantly their removal is neither quick nor silent.

Hmm, can't imagine that electrical welding would do the panels or electrical system much good.

I don't think catalytic converter thieves bother with wrenches or bolts. They typically just saw or use a pipe cutter to cut through exhaust pipes. Here was one theft caught on video in Sacramento.

Welding the bolts on anything seems like a bad solution for the time when you might need to legitimately work on it.

I used Unirac mounts, all aluminum. Anything to weld or permanently fix them in place also prevents me from roof repairs, etc., and would more or less destroy the racks for re-installation. The rails/mounts were roughly 10% of the total cost of my installation, not trivial.

They are located right above the garage and face the street...it really would be a bold move on a thief's part to hijack them, but who knows.

My father-in-law's Toyota truck was hit here in Sacramento about 8 months ago...welding bolts on the converter wouldn't do it as they use ratcheting pipe cutters...three minutes, tops, to sever both sides.

speaking of bold

i keep & ear out[out of sight in the summer] for a neighbor's place for sale- a year + now. i recently heard a big truck working over there & listened carefully & could tell was a big wench type truck picking up a propane tank, so i thought was legit; they stole it 1/2 full of propane.

Solution to catalytic converter theft:

Get a piece of hardened or wear plate steel (manganese alloy) from a metal fabrication shop, maybe 1/4" (0.75cm) by 1" (2.5cm) about 36 - 42" (90 - 110cm) long (long enough to follow the pipe where it passes above the cross frame. Have the muffler shop MIG weld this bar to the exhaust pipe in front of and behind the cat. converter.
Manganese alloyed steel cannot be cut with any pipe cutter or saw, it can only be cut with a cutting torch or abrassive cutoff wheel. Using the later to cut throught the wear plate steel would take 5 - 10 minutes and create a lot of sparks and noise. Most thieves need to be in & out in less than 3 minutes without creating any sound.

"Solution to catalytic converter theft:"

but would it protect against rsb's ?

Well, being in the boondocks like I am helps. Most people's PV systems aren't visible from the county road so it's unlikely that outsiders would even know where to look...and a strange truck would call attention to itself since we recognize local vehicles.

In addition, it would be almost impossible to fence a locally stolen PV system since the word would be out about the theft.

Finally, at least in my case, you are talking about 48 panels on four tall racks (12 each). This means it would take a lot of time to even unbolt them. And, in the case of the inverters, they weigh ~140# each so it would take a few people to get them unbolted from the wall and moved. Personally, I'm not worried.


Naw just put the beehives next to the solar panels. Next best thing to dogs that shoot bees from their mouths.

(The bee solution does require more often panel washing due to bee poo)

Hello TODers,

Westexas stated some time ago that energy exporters will be seeking out deals to enhance their national food security:

The oil-rich Persian Gulf states are making a headlong rush for farmland.

...As part of this trend, Pakinstan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani’s visit to Saudi Arabia in sought $6 billion in financial and oil aid in return for hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land, which could be used by the Saudis.

Recall Leanan's link yesterday on Russia's possible nationalization of their grain industry, plus my earlier weblink of Russia's possible tripling of their I-NPK export duties. Thus, China responds:

SHANGHAI, Aug 30 (Reuters) - China will raise export duties on nitrogenous fertilisers to 150 percent by the end of the year to curb outflows, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday, as the country seeks to control agricultural costs.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, trucks are lined up waiting for I-NPK:

Rush on supplies ahead of fertiliser price hike

FARMERS will be hit by another fertiliser hike next week. Ravensdown, the country's largest fertiliser company will announce the increase on Monday morning and trucks from as far as Ashburton to Oamaru have been lining Dominion Road at Ravensdown's Seadown store down to State Highway One.

Fertiliser prices have risen nearly threefold since 2007, with the last hike occurring in June.
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

I am going to hug a few bags of I-NPK today, Bob.
....I have to clean outthe storage shed. ;-)

From The Heat Is On:

The Earth is on a trajectory to warm more than 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit by around mid-century.

I really hope they mean since 1850...

From North Pole can be Circumnavigated:

They have long regarded the disappearance of the icecap as inevitable as global warming takes hold, though until recently it was not expected until around 2070.

Ah, yes, it's the speed of things. The fact things are happening a half a century, or even a century, sooner than predicted.

From Sierra Climate Change...:

''Historic records for Yosemite indicate there's been about a five-degree Fahrenheit (increase) in the maximum summer temperature, for any given elevation,'' Chow said.

Over nine decades, the chipmunk has given up 2,000 feet of ground in Yosemite

Climate change doesn't involve just warming temperatures,'' said Chow, the park service data manager. ''It involves changing rainfall patterns, changes in the timing and deposition in the amount of snow.

''We know chipmunks feed a lot on seeds. If we have a change in the pattern of snow deposition, there's a good likelihood we'll see changes in the distribution of plants,'' he added. ''If that happens the plants they rely on may go away.''

''The big concern is that these changes are happening so fast that we don't have a chance to understand both why they are happening and what the potential effects might be until it's too late.''

And the deniers focus on temp numbers. They don't understand the lack of precision in the numbers. They like to ignore real-world data: observations.

The poles melting, methane and CO2 flowing out of the Arctic, Greenland melting, glaciers everywhere melting, habitats changing, weather patterns changing...

Personally, I think the tipping point has been hit. Much like Peak Oil, it wouldn't be clear until after, so any prediction about it is almost certain to be wrong...

Hold on to yer arses, friends...


Personally, I think the tipping point has been hit.

I agree. That's one of the reasons I'm a doomer. If there's one thing I've taken away from watching the predictions of the AGW researchers over the past 5-10 years, it is that it is worse than they thought, worse than the IPCC "worst case".

Arctic Ice May Reach Lowest Level on Record in September


"We could very well be in that quick slide downward in terms of passing a tipping point," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the NSIDC.

"It's tipping now. We're seeing it happen now."

We aren't the only two. Maybe that guy, Serreze, can put an end to Leanan's fence sitting.



Nope. Still on the fence.

However, I am on the record as saying climate change could be a lot worse than peak oil.

I think Peak Oil will put profound stress on the economy.
I think Global Warming will put profound stress on the economy.
I think a 'retreating' America will put profound stress on the economy.
I think a growing population will continue to put profound stress on the economy.

No one thing on this list will cause catastrophic collapse.
Its the way these things play off each other which worries me ... deeply.

I think climate change will put a lot of stress on people's survival.

Unpredictable weather is the farmer's nightmare. From agribusiness to a peak oil homestead in the country to the poorest of third world subsistence farmers...climate change can mean massive crop failure.

Climate change is sometimes characterized as all negative.
For Canada and NE US, it might be a net gain agriculturally.

But for the US SW and Mexico, it means a warmer drier climate.
That has profound agricultural and electrical production/consumption impacts. Did I mention people drink, bath, and flush with water too.

I bet you've seen the predictions for Lake Mead:

Lake Mead, Key Water Source For Southwestern US, Could Be Dry By 2021

There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, will be dry by 2021 if climate changes as expected and future water usage is not curtailed, according to a pair of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.


“When expected changes due to global warming are included as well, currently scheduled depletions are simply not sustainable,” wrote Barnett and Pierce in the paper.

Barnett and Pierce note that a number of other studies in recent years have estimated that climate change will lead to reductions in runoff to the Colorado River system. Those analyses consistently forecast reductions of between 10 and 30 percent over the next 30 to 50 years, which could affect the water supply of between 12 and 36 million people.

The researchers estimated that there is a 10 percent chance that Lake Mead could be dry by 2014. They further predict that there is a 50 percent chance that reservoir levels will drop too low to allow hydroelectric power generation by 2017.


The paper, “When will Lake Mead go dry?,” has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Water Resources Research, published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and is accessible via the AGU’s website.
http://www.agu.org/journals/pip/wr/2007WR006704-pip.pdf (members only)

And did I mention Oglala Aquifer?

But the worst hit will be the high population, low latitude, tropic/subtropic populations. The populations which have a high probability of supplying the germs of the next epidemic.

The complexity of the global economy provides a high degree of robustness and flexibility. But if it becomes overwhelmed and the global credit system breaks - well, pop goes the weasel. Civilization can try again in the next millenium.

Of course, I'm preaching to the choir here. But I'm not a total doomer. I don't deny the shoals of catastrophe, I just hope that we are looking hard enough to navigate them. I have no desire to run those shoals blindly. And it is why a 'comprehensive energy policy' is my #1 pres policy concern.

I have no doubt of Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory. I trust the science, the scientists, and the institutions which have gone back and forth over this issue for 30 years. But frankly, I have no faith in human beings altering the near-time behaviour to avoid long-term consequences. As such, I pound the 'energy security' drum as hard as I can, building the case in my small corners of the world for nuclear and renewable energies for the dual purpose of shifting away from fossil fuels and foreign dependence. Because, when push comes to shove, and people are panicking for energy production - coal will always be there. Coal will be the panic solution of choice. And it will just exasperate the global warming side of things. But no one will care except for some biological diversity hippies and bleeding-heart liberals.

Like I said, preaching to the choir. Thanks for letting me unload.

For Canada and NE US, it might be a net gain agriculturally.

I've heard that. I don't buy it.

Our crops are tweaked to grow where they are growing, under the conditions that exist there. Soil, moisture, when the rains come (and don't), type of soil, length of daylight, etc. A lot of people seem to think, "Oh well, we'll just grow bananas in Kansas and corn in Alaska!" Not gonna happen like that.

And it's conceivable that peak oil will leave some people relatively untouched. Tribes on isolated islands that still pursue their traditional way of life, or close to it, say. Or maybe the stereotypical peak oil survivalist, with a farm in the boondocks and a stock of guns and ammo. Climate change could starve them as readily as the suburbanites who get their food from Wal-Mart.

One of the main focuses of mine on Craigs list,for a LONG time was sheets of glass...the bigger the better.I now have 75+
Sheets of door size glass,at less than 350$ total,with a whole bunch of 2x2ectI am going for low-profile earth bermed green-houses,as the last batch of structures I am constructing[think straw-bale insulated w/glass south wall.

Lots and lots of greenhouses.Glass greenhouses.

My grandfather gave me what turned out to be a very savvy "survival"gardening tip once.I ask him why he had so many different types of fruit trees,and always planted several varieties of most of the common veggies we ate[he fed our extended family,and a whole lot of the church on about a acre]

He replied"The weather changes so much in any year that there will always be some crops that will do poorly.To make sure you always have something to eat,always have a big selection of crops.Some years,apples will not appear at all,but you will have cases and cases of strawberries".

I followed his advice,as he had forgotten more about gardening than most will ever know.I have 9 varieties of pears,and 10 or 12 of apples.This year,while many don't have any fruit at all,due to a horrible spring,I have 5 Bosc trees full of pears,finished off 2 trees of Umbileen pears,I have 1/2 a tree of prunes,[out of 6 trees]and 6 apples that are loaded...and a bunch of asian pears that bore nicely...[as well as 10 or 15 with no trace of fruit.]

One thing people had better learn is the old thing about eggs and baskets....

Yes. That is the precise opposite of what agribusiness does. They like uniform crops, because it's more "efficient."

Though if the climate is really unstable, even your grandfather's techniques wouldn't help. During the Year Without a Summer, there was frost in July, temps changed from 95F to near freezing in hours, and there was snow in June and August.

some more bonuses stemming (ha!) from diverse crops...

a better source of nutrition as you are eating lots of different foods.

an extended harvest period because different varieties will ripen at different times.

less chance of appetite fatigue with the kiddies.

gaining an understanding of what plants thrive and which plants are not happy in your microclimate.

I could go on....
keep up the good work snuffy.

Father, Farmer, Doomer, Engineer, Drummer.

I am on the record as saying climate change could be a lot worse than peak oil.

And I am on record as saying the effects of a declining fossil energy supply will happen much sooner and have a fare more devastating effect than global warming. The global warming doomers are betting on a sudden flip in the climate. That could happen but the odds are very high against such a flip in the next couple of decades. But for peak oil and declining energy to wreck the world economy and throw billions into poverty with no job and no prospects of ever getting one, nothing must happen except what is already starting to happen right now.

Peak Oil, not climate change is what will kill most of us.

Ron Patterson

The global warming doomers are betting on a sudden flip in the climate. That could happen but the odds are very high against such a flip in the next couple of decades.

You've read enough of the posts on here to know this is a blatant falsehood.

Agendas are ugly and foolish. Screw agendas. Try objectivity.

The reason ACC (Anthropological Climate Change) is at least as important as Peak Oil are:

1. Peak Oil will not kill us all; climate change can, and under current projections, will.

2. Fast flips are entirely possible. Your guess that they might not happen for decades are total BS. You have no idea. Nobody does. That's the problem. Note the last 4 years in the arctic. When it was only 2005, well, OK. Add in 2007 and it's, "Um... what's goin on here?" Then you get 2008? It's now, "Holy Hannah. This sure is starting to look like a tipping point has been crossed." Add in the fact that the ice extent in the Antarctic Winter is ALSO currently below trends and the past year, and one must start to see there might be a global transition occurring. It's nothing more than blind faith, i.e., equivalent to religious fervor to simply hope that isn't the case.

3. Regardless of #2, the window to address ACC and avoid massive climate change on a vast and fast scale (within the next 100 years) is thought by many to be AS SHORT as the window on Peak Oil mitigation. Some say 5 years. Some 7. Considering what needs to be done, both are absurdly short time periods. While Peak oil will present itself sooner in terms of peaking effects, the window is the same. Thus, they are actually equally urgent.

Ron, I am severely disappointed you would post such tripe.


You've read enough of the posts on here to know this is a blatant falsehood.

This is funny. Enough posts here saying the climate is about to flip proves it true? I have seem a lot of really dumb logic in my day but this tops them all.

Not at all what I said, Bob, and you know it.

I've said nothing that is not supported by the historical record and current conditions. I have never said a flip is here, I have said we may well be experiencing one. Many far more knowledgeable on the topic also think so, as posted this DB.

I understand you are wedded to the PO issue. So be it. But you gain nothing by misrepresenting what others say. I am not wedded to PO, but am to The Perfect Storm scenario. I am of the opinion that all of the major issues we face now are converging and feeding off of one another. This is far more dangerous than PO alone.

I repeat, disappointed. More so now.


It was a "copy and paste" so I could not possibly have misquoted you.

I stated: "The global warming doomers are betting on a sudden flip in the climate. That could happen but the odds are very high against such a flip in the next couple of decades."

You replied: "You've read enough of the posts on here to know this is a blatant falsehood."

Reading posts here could not possibly prove anything a blatant falsehood or especially prove that the climate is about to flip! That is just plain dumb logic ccpo.

I believe we are experiencing the perfect storm also but I do not believe the climate is about to flip in the next few decades. That was my point. The perfect storm are population overshoot and all the other environmental problems that go with it. And I believe peak oil will simply be the trigger that causes the collapse. Global warming is a problem but it will not be the trigger or even a major component of it other than the severe weather it is causing.

I am not Bob and I haven't a clue as to what you are talking about concerning Gail.

Ron Patterson

hi bob.

maybe he/she is currently watching bob newhart reruns.

Let me clarify for you, Ron (My apologies for the Bob... brain fart), You said, "The global warming doomers are betting on a sudden flip in the climate. That could happen but the odds are very high against such a flip in the next couple of decades."

I said you were essentially lying. Three points: 1. The first sentence is the lie. The second logically cannot be lie as it is stating an opinion. You later conflated the two. Was that intentional, or do you just not understand what your own words mean? 2. It is absolutely a lie via a gross and silly generalization. I personally know of nobody that is certain we are flipping or going to flip. Do you not understand that a sudden change and a tipping point are not the same thing? As already explained, I think it is possible we are at a flip. I have **not** stated what the result of a flip might be because I really don't know. Again, nobody does. 3. You weren't talking to "doomers," you were responding to me. You thereby insulted me by distorting what I am "betting on."

In case yous till don't get it: the falsehood was in claiming climate doomers, and me in particular, are "betting on" a sudden climate flip. It's a lie.

Reading posts here could not possibly prove anything a blatant falsehood or especially prove that the climate is about to flip! That is just plain dumb logic ccpo.

Here, again, you misrepresent or fail to understand what you are reading. Who said anythign about posts here? the lie is based on the internal logic of your own statements, not whether or not posts here can prove any scientific point.

Finally, your opinion of a low probability for a flip is rubbish. It's just you stating an opinion for which you have zero backup. How would you calculate how likely a sudden flip is when we know very little about what causes them? Even those we think we know the most immediate cause for, we don't know the secondary or tertiary causes that set THOSE in motion.

Now, perhaps you've had a scientist say we can't expect this or that any time soon. If you were thinking of posting such, don't. Current trends and conditions in sea ice, permafrost and CO2/methane from permafrost and the sea bed show the danger of making such pronouncements.

At least I have Hansen on my side saying tipping points are likely being crossed or soon will be. And if you know anything at all about tipping points, you should know they can lead to massive sudden changes.

In the future, I suggest you save your misrepresentations for people less inclined to smack you upside the head, unless you like this sort of thing. I am "betting on" nothing. I am simply observing and making best guesses like everyone else. I am wedded to no particular outcome or order of events, unlike yourself. I am merely warning people against getting so focused on one issue that others are ignored.


You have no idea. Nobody does.

Fastflips are entirely possible

You got rated down. I'm looking at your post as a classic example of why the rating system as currently implemented sucks. Though I will say, there is no way to "view posts at such-and-such-a-level" so why do I care.

"You have no idea. Nobody does." I'll restate that for the record. Exactly right.

cfm in Gray, ME

I think Bob's got a personal thing going. We clashed recently on a different topic where I questioned Gail's logic on something or other. Since then, he's been a bit persnickity with me. So be it. On to the issue:

A fast flip can occur at any time. Like PO, we may not recognize it as it happens, but only once we are well into the change. This seems likely to me, that we would not see it until it was well underway. Given they can happen in two or three years, ten years... can we afford to not be vigilant? IF we were at the beginning of or in the middle of a flip, it sure seems to me current conditions are a perfect description of a flip in process:

-Arctic and Antarctic ice below norms; Arctic drastically so. (BTW, once we see how much multi-year ice is left, if any, we will have a clue as to what next summer might bring. People should remember this summer was cool with normal weather patters.)

- Methane erupting a hundred years ahead of time.

- Glaciers melting everywhere, even in the Canadian Arctic.

- Ice breaking up well ahead of typical times.

- Permafrost melting a hundred years ahead of time.

But even without that, the long-term consequences of ACC tell us we cannot sit and wait, either in terms of mitigation or preparation. For either of those to be successful, we must consider the effects of all the major problems and their positive and negative feedbacks and make the best educated guess we can as to what steps to take as soon as is humanly possible. Separating out the issues on the assumption one is more dominant than the other simply sets us up for failure.

Food Crisis
Energy Descent
Political instability

We must see these as a web of interconnected issues, not as separate ones.


With all due respect, I think his name is Ron... At least he reinforces this thought at the end of his posts. :-)

As I keep saying every so often, there's a difference between being convinced that something is definitely happening and thinking one ought to take actions about something which has a sufficiently negligible probability. For instance, a belief of 25% (in a Bayesian probability sense) that anthropogenic global warming is happening doesn't sound much, but if you believed there was a 25% chance the institution that holds your savings was going to fail catastrophically soon? After all, there's a huge 75% chance that it won't, but I'd take that as enough of a reason to move my funds elsewhere ASAP.

The big problem is that I don't see a huge downside in carbon reduction, but because it'll cause many current business models to fail replaced with new business models, there's a big group with vested interests who'll find anyone with any kind of scientific credentials to publish something which muddies the waters between scientific doubt (which is definitely still there) and doubt whether something should be done "in case it is happening".

For instance, a belief of 25% (in a Bayesian probability sense) that anthropogenic global warming is happening doesn't sound much, but if you believed there was a 25% chance the institution that holds your savings was going to fail catastrophically soon?
I don't see a huge downside in carbon reduction

Well put.

In many ways, it's a classic risk-management argument. Best estimates are that stopping climate change (assuming it's anthropogenic) will cost 1% of world GDP, whereas letting it go unchecked (or if it's non-anthropogenic) will cost 20% of world GDP, plus a lot of misery.

This isn't a court case; the standard isn't "reasonable doubt", it's expected cost, and a 10% chance of paying $20 is still worse than a 100% chance of paying $1. Unless the odds are very, very low of climate change being largely anthropogenic, tackling it seriously is the rational course of action, simply based on the expected costs involved. Even if you're 95% sure climate change isn't happening or isn't anthropogenic, risk management still indicates that working to mitigate it in case is the correct choice.

This guy is a science teacher. He's got a long set of videos going over all the debunking of Climate Change and addresses the risk issue head on. This video is actually a sort of round-up of all his other vids.



Mostly only humans have to worry about GW. They evolved while the global air conditioner was running. The earth apparently runs much hotter than it has been during their existance.


This thread isn't about CO2, it's about CH4.

[edit] well OK, it's about GW but CH4 is about to eclipse CO2 as an atmosperic forcing factor.

Thank you for smoking!

Sourcewatch.com article on junkscience.com

Prior to launching the JunkScience.com, Milloy worked for Jim Tozzi's Multinational Business Services, the Philip Morris tobacco company's primary lobbyist in Washington with respect to the issue of secondhand cigarette smoke. He subsequently went to work for The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), a Philip Morris front group created by the PR firm of APCO Worldwide. [3]

Although Milloy frequently represent himself as an expert on scientific matters, he is not a scientist himself. He holds a bachelor's degree in Natural Sciences, a law degree and a master's degree in biostatistics. He has never published original research in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Moreover, he has made scientific claims himself that have no basis in actual research. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, for example, he claimed that greater use of asbestos insulation in the World Trade Towers would have delayed their collapse "by up to four hours." In reality, there is no scientific basis for claiming that asbestos would have delayed their collapse by even a second, let alone four hours.[4].

Milloy should spend some time to have someone work on his wikipedia entry. It's not very flattering.

EDIT: Actually if you're a pro-business, anti-environmentalist shill, you might find the statements below very flattering.

On "junk science".

Scientists and science writers have argued the term is used, by Milloy and others, almost exclusively to "denigrate scientists and studies whose findings do not serve the corporate cause," in the words of David Michaels.[10] In an editorial in Chemical and Engineering News, Editor-in-Chief Rudy Baum called Milloy's junkscience.com website "the best known" example of "a right wing effort in the U.S. to discredit widely accepted science, technology and medicine." He went on to label Milloy "a tireless antiscience polemicist" who applies the term "junk science" to "anything that doesn't match his right-wing concept of reality."[11] Along similar lines, an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health noted that "... attacking the science underlying difficult public policy decisions with the label of 'junk' has become a common ploy for those opposed to regulation. One need only peruse JunkScience.com to get a sense of the long list of public health issues for which research has been so labeled."[12]

On the environment:

Milloy has been critical of the Clean Air Act, acknowledging that it has improved air quality but arguing that it has forced Americans to "surrender many freedoms." Milloy argued that "air pollution in the U.S. was more of an aesthetic than a public health problem [in 1970]. That is even more the case today."[26]

Milloy maintains the position that "The ozone hole is another area where knowledge is insufficient to draw conclusions. There is no "hole," but only a thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer over the South Pole. The size and depth of the "hole" varies from year to year. No one knows why ... it is unclear what effect CFC releases have had on the Earth's ozone layer."[27]


In April 1998 Milloy was part of the Global Climate Science Team (GCST), which was founded in part by ExxonMobil to work out a strategy to influence the media to "understand (recognize) uncertainties in climate science."[5] The Union of Concerned Scientists reported that Milloy helped develop the GCST action plan, which involved "invest[ing] millions of dollars to manufacture uncertainty on the issue of global warming."[5] In 2005, it was reported that non-profit organizations operating out of Milloy's home, and in some cases employing no staff, have received large payments from ExxonMobil during his tenure with Fox News.[6][3][5]

On evolution:

Explanations of human evolution are not likely to move beyond the stage of hypothesis or conjecture. There is no scientific way — i.e., no experiment or other means of reliable study — for explaining how humans developed. Without a valid scientific method for proving a hypothesis, no indisputable explanation can exist.

On the WTC/asbestos thingy:

Laurie Kazan-Allen of the Secretariat wrote:

It takes a certain kind of person to capitalize on a human catastrophe such as the attacks on the World Trade Centre. While the rest of us remained desperate for news, some were plotting how these events could be used to maximum advantage. ... The fact that Milloy chose to make this and other such statements as ground zero was still smouldering shows an insensitivity that is hard to fathom. What decent human being could do anything during those early days but watch and wait as the emergency services worked 24/7 to locate survivors?[44]

Are you people saying that the graph of CO2 and temperature is wrong? This (junkscience.com) isn't the only source for that data. I just picked that source because it was convenient. I don't espouse their causes. If the graph is wrong don't argue with the source, give me the right data! Jeez!


Just because that graph was posted on a Site you disagree with philosophically, doesn't necessarily mean that the data is wrong. Notice that I didn't argue against global warming, just that it is only of concern to humans. "Tipping point" in a global sense doesn't have any real meaning.

While I agree with you that people should not criticize you for bringing a disliked site as a datasource, I think you are wrong to say:

"Tipping point" in a global sense doesn't have any real meaning.

Tipping point in a global sense means that the warming (human made or not [with respect to THIS it is secondary]) has reached a level where/when it cannot be effectively stopped by HUMAN interaction, and now we have entered a transition period after which the climate will sooner or later arrive at a new stable point that is seemingly different from the one we know from experience.

This having an unpleasant effect on the human race has actually nothing to do with the expresion 'tipping point'.

I think.

"You people" are saying that 1) the website junkscience.com is appropriately named; and 2) see that little hickey at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic on your chart? It's gonna be like that.

Evidence is accumulating that these events in the fossil record are swift and sudden. You go along for millions of years with a stable climate and, boom! something happens. A meteor, or a super-caldera eruption. Had you been alive at the exact time of the event you would have noticed. One year you just don't get a summer/winter, or any rain, where you always did before -- something like that.

I can also show you a graph from the last few weeks that has the financial industry recovering. But in a larger chart we can see the "tipping point" was last October or November, we are still in a bear market, and the clearest view of it is in hindsight.

In the case of AGW, we have had 110 years of notice. And "tipping point" means that if all of humanity were exterminated today, the real changes wrought by us would continue without any further input. The belching methane from ground that has been frozen for millenia is ominous evidence of such a tipping point.

I only posted the information about junkscience.com and Steven Milloy to inform those that might not know of his background. You'll notice that I made no comment on the quality of your statement or on the quality of the data you cited. I did not mean to imply that you espoused their cause and I apologize if anyone interpreted it that way.

Not sure about tipping points. In the last interglacial temperatures rose to the extent that the West Antartic Ice Shelf melted and the Arctic Ocean was ice free in summer. However soon afterwards we went in to another Ice Age.

Your comment about the Antarctic being ice fee during the last interglacial (the Eemian) appears to be incorrect.

"There is no paleoclimatic evidence for a seasonally ice free Arctic during the last 800 millennia."

Overpeck, et al., "Arctic System on Trajectory to New, Seasonally Ice-Free State", EOS, 86, 309 (23 August 2005).

This paper has 21 authors and reference this paper:

Andersen, K. K., et al. (2004), High-resolution record of Northern Hemisphere climate extending into the last interglacial period, Nature, 431, 147–151.

E. Swanson

It's not clear that the Arctic has been ice-free any time recently. There is some evidence for substantial collapse of the West Antarctic and/or Greenland ice sheets, which if it occurred would have been quite short-term - most likely between about 129 and 127 thousand years ago. Hard to pinpoint when the last interglacial ended, but most recent attempts to date it sit at about 118 thousand years ago. With a few (fairly substantial) ups and downs since then, temperature trended gradually down, reaching glacial maximum conditions at about 30 thousand years ago.

What we know about the last few hundred thousand years of paleoclimate gives us no reason to suppose that a sudden spike in global temperature will trigger the next ice age, but does give us comfort of sorts in that high temperature spikes are usually short-lived, not normally more than a few thousand years (in the Quaternary, at least). Eventually orbital variations will drag us into the next ice age regardless, unless of course we warm things so much that the methane clathrates get away on us, in which case we haven't really got a clue what happens.

I had been an optimist about humanity getting a clue and acting on greenhouse emissions before things got really bad. But as I have become more acquainted with the implications of peak oil I've become doomish and depressed about it's impact on CO2 emissions - if we're struggling to feed ourselves we'll just burn more and more coal regardless. But now I see the peak oil is likely to exacerbate peak coal and if industrial civilisation really does collapse then global climate maybe still has time to recover.

As a paleoclimate scientist who personally benefits from increased funding flowing to AGW-related research I will say that I consider peak oil the bigger individual threat to human civilisation. But that's not to say that AGW is gonna be particularly pretty..

You don't call those tipping points? Frick's sake... no wonder you call yourself weatherman: you don't understand climate.


I agree, but the "tipping point" arrived in 1922 -

We know from official US Weather Bureau records that it was possible to sail as far as 81N latitude in ice-free water, during a similar warm period in 1922. That is about as close to the pole as you can sail now. Temperatures around Spitzbergen, Norway warmed a remarkable 12C during a few years prior to 1922. From the November, 1922 Weather Bureau report - “He says that he first noted wanner conditions in 1915, that since that time it has steadily gotten warmer, and that to-day the Arctic of that region is not recognizable as the same region of 1865 to 1917.“

That's the AMO cycle - interesting results, if included in climate change models - see link.


"The Earth's temperature may stay roughly the same for a decade, as natural climate cycles enter a cooling phase, scientists have predicted." "The projection does not come as a surprise to climate scientists, though it may to a public that has perhaps become used to the idea that the rapid temperature rises seen through the 1990s are a permanent phenomenon."

Hold on to yer arses, friends...

When you start seeing the word "ebullition" in your local McPaper, you can kiss it goodbye.

And welcome to the Ohsh8ocene.

"And the Canadian PM wants to spend 100 million to fund a government search for more oil and gas in the region."

As opposed to the Liberals, who, when they were in power, diverted $100 million of taxpayers money to their Quebec bagmen during the Adscam scandal.

Does Nunavut really have that much oil? No one can say for certain, but I suspect that, like the North Slope of Alaska, any oil production from Nunavut will at most just produce a shoulder or plateau on the downslope of Canada's Hubbert peak.

The big excitement will be if someone can figure out a method to harvest the methane clathrates in a controlled manner, and bring the natural gas down south at a reasonable cost. The Alaska pipeline was last quoted at $26 billion, and I can't imagine future ones being any cheaper.

If Nunavut oil is found in large quantities beyond what is currently known, look for lots of news stories in the mass media gushing about reserves and how this proves peak oil is a fallacy. Here in Alberta, where our economy stands or dies on the price of oil, I don't have to do much explaining about peak oil, but elsewhere it is obvious that Hubbert supporters must continue to educate people on the difference between reserves and production. That seems to me to be the biggest impediment in making the general public understand what is coming, the inability to perceive that it doesn't matter how great the reserves are if they can't be pumped fast enough.

"And the Canadian PM wants to spend 100 million to fund a government search for more oil and gas in the region."

As opposed to the Liberals, who, when they were in power, diverted $100 million of taxpayers money to their Quebec bagmen during the Adscam scandal.

Not sure I understand your logic.

Are you attempting to justify one stupid government spending initiative by reference to another equally stupid government spending initiative?

If so, you are drawing a parallel between the Harper and Chretien governments and by inference claiming there is no distinction between them.

I guess you are voting Green, huh?

Sure, we can capture some tiny percentage of the escaping Siberian/Arctic methane to heat our homes awhile longer, but that hardly addresses the real issue: The greenhouse potential of all that escaping CH4 - on top of anthropogenic CO2 - is so vast that any debate about climatic tipping points is moot.

SchNews Drills For the Truth In Peak Oil Theory This story is not quite as kooky as the bit quoted above sounds. They suggest that there is plenty of fossil hydrocarbon, albeit produced by increasingly expensive and dirty means, to send the climate regime into uncharted waters. Their final paragraph suggests that Government-sponsored programs to tap methane clathrates, or whatever else, might just be a bad idea--

Mother nature has been steadily locking away excess carbon under the ground for the last three billion years in order to maintain a steady, liveable temperature for all of us life-forms. Suddenly, us wayward children have begun reversing the process, sticking it back in the air. In the process we’re experimenting with the atmosphere on an unprecedented scale, causing massive changes to the climate and biosphere, driving many species to extinction on a par with the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The real problem isn’t that we’re going to run out of fossil fuels. The problem is what happens when we don’t…

Tapping the methane clathrates is a spectacularly stupid idea. If we don't do that, and just keep burning coal and as much oil as we can pump, I suspect the human race will survive, albeit much reduced in range and number. If we tap into sequestered methane in a big way, I think it's all over. It happened once before, the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PEMT. We may yet trigger a release of clathrates as a consequence of warming, but hurrying the process along is just dumb.

Burning the methane to CO2 is vastly preferable to just letting it dribble into the atmosphere. From Wikipedia, the lifetime of CH4 in the atmosphere is on the order of tens of years, but if you burn it it's almost zero. And burning it removes about 95% of its greenhouse potential.

Continuing to burn anything carbon-based is a stupid idea, but clathrate methane is probably one of the least-stupid.

Burning it makes things much worse. The amount of clathrate methane is almost 100 times the amount of fossil fuel burned by humans so far. There is a small chance of methane runaway from open burning of all the remaining FF reserves, but if clathrates are added to those reserves, then runaway de-gassing is a sure thing. The majority of clathrates will decompose and enter the atmosphere long before they can be tapped and burned.

Not only would there be a much larger greenhouse effect than the earth is now experiencing, but that much reduced carbon in the stratosphere would destroy the ozone too.

There's "only" 500-2500 gigatonnes of carbon available from methane clathrates; less than that available from coal.


You are aware we need to be going BACKWARDS in atmospheric CO2, no?


My source was this .pdf slide show, entitled "Robust Strategies for Sustainable Energy Supply" by Klaus Lackner of Columbia, and I had remembered incorrectly, his figure is only 100,000 GT (50x emission to date)

The link is from this course.

By the way, with all the gloom on this board it is nice to be able to acknowledge a truly positive new trend, and that is world class universities like Columbia posting their lectures on the net like this. It gives everyone the chance to develop the skills to find solutions.

The big excitement will be if someone can figure out a method to harvest the methane clathrates in a controlled manner, and bring the natural gas down south at a reasonable cost.

Great, and you can use that natural gas to increase oil sands production until your oinking little conservative devil-take-the-hindmost digestive tract reaches up and strangles you while your bulging piggy eyes gaze straight into those of Beelzebub grinning at you from at the bottom of the sludge-pit once known as Alberta 'Wild Rose Country'.

Perhaps the whole Peak Oil and Global Warming event is playing out just like mother nature intended.

Colin Campbell states:

"...the bulk of the world's oil comes from only a few epochs of extreme global warming, which caused the proliferation of algae, effectively poisoning seas and lakes. The resulting organic material was preserved in favourable plate-tectonic settings."


Well, who is to say that our use of fossil fuels, which may be driving global warming, is not setting the stage for the next epoch of oil creation? And the real irony may be the fact that the biggest users of fossil fuels might become part of the next batch. ;) Just another one of mother natures cycles? You decide. Just a thought.

I like it - very karmic

One doesn't have to be particularly religious to feel the irony, expressed metaphorically as a sort of wager between Satan and the Lord (two faces of Mother Nature) Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither Logic and reason have little power in the face of the power of nature. But really, we could put up a better fight.

6: Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
7: And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
8: And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9: Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10: Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11: But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12: And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
13: And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
14: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
15: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
16: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
17: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
18: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
19: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
20: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21: And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Unfortunately NeverLNG

So looks like it will be one weird tussle you has in mind, my son.


Yeah. The giving in is what I don't get.

Where is our will to prevail? People really do have the brain power and the ability to pull it together. But fear and apathy are our constant enemy.

"They struggle for a while, but then they just lie back and accept it."

Peter Griffin

Family Guy.

Russia looking for new oil customers

Putin is pushing for the completion of Russia/Aisa pipeline, from Reuters:

Russian state-owned news agency RIA said Putin had signed a government order "on speeding the building of phases of the Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean (pipeline) and not allowing delays," while on a visit to the Far East.


While UK/EU looking for new suppliers, as evident by Gordon Brown comments earlier today:

Mr Brown said Britain would not be allowed to "sleepwalk" into energy dependence on less stable or reliable partners and signalled that the UK would explore alternative suppliers, as well as push ahead with alternative fuel projects, including nuclear power.


While oil and oil supplies were mentioned as the underlying causes behind the Georgia conflict, it seems those issues came out full to the surface this weekend.


Looks like the states is finally waking up to the fact that "free trade" may not be in the national interest. Its great when you're the winner, but the downside is overwhelming.


I think the powers that be in America are trying to get the best situation: aggressively push globalisation during the time period its in your own interests, smashing any regulations other countries may have that you don't like (carefully obscuring regulations and subsidies of your that support politically important voting blocks). Then as soon as it appears to be too costly (even if only in terms of bellyaching voters) from other countries are working harder and more productively than you are, declare globalisation to be a mistake and slam the shutters down. As a country you get bonus points if you can maintain a straight face when you come out with the arguments you declared to be uniformed a few years ago when they didn't concentrate on your national interests.

I always wondered when the US would realize the dangers of such practices, hell we can't even make our own passports or computers anymore.

Bring on global warming, the sooner Wall Street sinks the better.

The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself? From the gun blogs.

OK, this is gonna get me labelled as anti-American whereas I'm really anti-American values ;-)

I really don't see huge amounts of stupidity in America (but then, I see much less stupidity in the world in general than many on the oil drum; in general I think emotional/psychological issues are the problem rather than "intelligence"). The big american problem (in my opinion) is a sort-of arrogance of self-centredness: my viewpoint is the world and there's no possibility that one has to figure out with other people's views are how to deal with them (even if that means deciding you want to impose your own), and accepting that some of your own decisions may have been less than perfect. I wouldn't claim that the UK has acted particularly well, but one advantage we have from the closeness to Europe (and our imperial past) is a deep down understanding that other places are different rather than that the only options are either they're either a carbon copy of us or else they're insane, crazy people who hate us. Ie, we have acted like b******ds but we didn't fool ourselves that we were doing the world a favour rather than acting in our own interests. (I'll refrain from commenting on whether american's have this attitude when dealing with each other.)

Incidentally, in case it wasn't clear from my previous comment: what annoys me about American globalisation is not the actions they've taken (if I had been in a position of power I might well have done the same) but the putting forward the view that it was the act of righteousness and global good rather than "because we're powerful enough to impose what we want".

I think one of the key problems isn't American stupidity per se but Americans distrust of those who are intelligent, especially those who have degrees from elite institutions of higher learning unless those same people (like Bush) can come across as a jock sniffing, bumbling idiots. The brain power this year is clearly on the Democratic ticket which leads me to believe that the Dems will lose. Americans know virtually nothing about Sarah Palin but she appears to have working class, redneck, moose shootin' roots. Obviously, based on those qualifications, they are perfectly happy with her leading the United States even though our problems are going to require all the brain power we can possibly muster.

Sarah may be perfectly competent but thus far there is very little evidence that she has the ability to successfully run this complex country or to deal with the foreign and domestic problems that we have. She recites the mantra drill, drill, drill and has a husband who literally knows how to drill so all will be well.

The interesting point in your comment is "she has the ability to successfully run this complex country", as if it's universally accepted what constitutes successfully running America. My contention is: what if she's of reasonably intelligence but her idea of what successfully running America means is different than you (or me)? That doesn't mean that her view isn't wrong, just that being wrong doesn't stem from being uintelligent? As far as I can tell from abroad all the past presidential candidates in America who one might say suffered electorally because of a perception of intelligence were also saying things that a large portion of the country disagreed with. I'd argue that, say, Rush Limbaugh must be quite smart to cleverly keep debaters onto the ground he wants and I suspect a lot of his listeners would say that they think he's smarter that all the damn Washington lib'ral elite put together, but because he says what they want to hear he's a swell old boy rather than an intellectual. Likewise a lot of the militia like the ones that planned Oklahoma city don't classify as stupid from my viewpoint. Batshit crazy and evil but not especially stupid.

The reason I keep bringing this up is that believing the problem is stupidity makes you think that just removing the stupid (by "label based natural selection") all the clever people that are left will be on your side. If people can be clever and disagreeing with you (and the fact that they're clever doesn't mean they're not wrong), then you've got a more difficult problem to solve.

Embryonic, just use one rule, if your world view, and how you would run the world if you were selected to do so, is based on religion and not science, then you are stupid. If, on the other hand you put science above religion then you are wise.

Just look at any theocracy and yo will see what I mean. Look at all the nations that have no constitution and run their country based on the laws laid down in the Koran. See what I mean?

There was a time when religion ruled the world, it was called The Dark Ages. If we return to religion running our country and science is overruled, then we will return to The Dark Ages.

Ron Patterson

I tend to think religion still rules the world. Try to be a politician who declares "There is no such thing as God." Wouldn't last 5 minutes.

That's only in the US.

I wouldn't say so.

In most of Europe, it is politically wise to not even touch the subject. Saying things like 'everyone should have their own beliefs' or something along those lines. Clearly stating there is no such thing as God would most certainly lose you the elections in most of Europe. And now with more certainty than - say - 20 years ago.

However, we have new gods to openly worship. GDP. WTO. WB. You get the idea. Mentioning these wins you any elections. The politically correct way to be religious today means that you believe in the 'free market'. Like it was an omnipotent entitiy.

Matthew 7:12
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

This is One Rule that would benefit all mankind that is religious based and certainly not stupid.
Automatically excluding ideas based on religion demonstrates neither intelligence nor tolerance.

I really don't see huge amounts of stupidity in America

The problem isn't really one of raw intelligence versus stupidity, rather it is that evolution gave us hunter gatherers a brain that is 98% devoted to parallel emotional attraction/repulsion circuitry covered by a thin veneer of rational conscious thought. It had to have been that way, because when gathering in the forest and spotting a prettily colored partially hidden cyllinder, you have to instantly pull back from the snake, there is no time for a conscious mental debate about whether it is just a pretty cyllider, or maybe a poisonous snake. But, modern society requires a significant exercise of the conscious rational brain, and our instictive reliance on the more primative emotional thinking leads to a lot of cognitive weaknesses, and cognitive fallacies. Our societal and political stupidity results from the fact that we ignore this issue, and just assume that people will be able to make rational decisions without having been trained how. On top of that, by far the greatest amount of research about our irrational brains is being done by people whose intent is to exploit others irrationality, rather than to help them overcome the worst results of it. Now, add in our national tendency to dislike/distrust those who seem smarter than ourselves, and we are set up for catastrophically bad collective decision making.

On Australia's high per capita coal use it seems to be a case of the Al Gore principle; talk about it but don't do much. Both State governments and agencies of the Federal government are pre-positioning to undermine the intentions of the carbon trading scheme starting 2010. New coal loading railways and ship loading terminals are being constructed. A new lignite burning power station is being built. Meanwhile there are endless discussions on the imminent arrival of carbon capture and storage. Existing energy hungry industries such as aluminium smelting may be let off the hook with special deals. New energy hungry industries such as desalination are springing up with the pretence they may be later converted to wind power.

Expect the same with next US government.

I don't actually think the dire predictions about the threat posed to civilization by global warming/climate change or peak oil are the most pressing problems we face.

At the risk of being labled a 'doomer' I don't think we'll be around to see the effects these two massive challenges have in store for us over the long to medium term.

I think, that right now, today, the biggest problem we face is the probable collapse of Capitalism as we know it. I believe were entering an era of unprecedented economic instability in the West. The sickness in the financial sector is spreading rapidy to the rest of the 'real economy' and the huge debt bubble that's grown and grown over the last thirty years is bursting.

The 'immediate' consequences of the 'collapse' of the finacial sector could well be a slump of gigantic proportions rivalling the Great Depression, which for various reasons we may never recover from. At the moment it's touch and go. Is the State going to be forced to 'nationalize' the financial system, pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into it, or will it 'collapse' dragging the real economy with it?

The social and political consequences of a deep and sustained, structural crisis in the Capitalist system are probably going to be profoundly unpleasant, and one of them, the Big One, might well be hightened tension, rivalizing and conflict between the leading Capitalist countries, that may result in war. This has happened before, it could happen again. It seems to be built into the very political/ideological structure of Capitalism.

War is a bigger immediate threat to us than climate change or peak oil.

Here's an interesting question. If all credit dried up (and it would appear that we are trending that way), by what percentage would US GDP fall?

Well, with traditional banking requiring 10% reserves for lending, the GDP could fall by 90%. But currently the leverage is more like 30:1 so the GDP could drop to to 3% of current. That's my guess.

Leveraging is more like 60:1 currently, I believe:

30:1 in the 70's.

"War is a bigger immediate threat to us than climate change or peak oil."

I agree 100% but would add that PO, AGW, and Global Financial Collapse ALL lead to war unless the people stand up.

Wow! I am starting to sound like Sister Bertrille.


Actually if I wanted to be a doomer, I would worry the most about nuclear war.
You have Iran working to develop an atom bomb that they say they will use to destroy
Israel and Israel saying no way are they going to let this happen. Moscow is trying to use Iran as a proxy state to advance their cause.
Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers with marginal stability in their governments.
Throw China in the mix and what do you have? Certainly not peace and stability. Think about it, it makes global warming a minor issue.

You might worry most about your apparent ignorance.

Iran has not said it will or wants to destroy Israel. The current president has predicted the end of Israel. Perhaps he was reading Revelations.

Iran has denied working on a nuclear bomb, so they certainly have not made a claim that they will use it to destroy Israel.

India's government is not marginally stable. It is very stable. Even chaotic, poor Pakistan has a government that in one way or another continues to govern. The nuclear weapons in Pakistan's stable are controlled by systems as sophisticated as those in other nuclear weapon holding nations.

China is a paragon of stability, despite enormous problems.

Global warming is not a minor issue. It is real and already killing and dispossessing individuals and undermining the stability of nations.

The state with marginal stability in the middle east and access to nuclear weapons is Israel.

Perhaps it is also less than reassuring that Clinton in her bid for the nomination threatened to nuke Iran, with which the US is currently at peace, McCain sang 'Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran' and Obama apparently felt the need to pledge undying fealty to Israel.

Is you want nutty, warmongering rhetoric, you are well supplied by the US and Israel.
Iran is comparatively the soul of moderation.

I say worry about things you can do something about like how to feed yourself. Nuclear war has only one outcome unless it has been pre scripted. The same goes for global warming. Try warming about decreasing you gas bill this winter maybe global warming will take care of itself.

I take it you've never listened to Ahmadinejad's tirades.

Have you? Is your farsi that good?

No. Well, who's supplying the translations you read?

i read the properly translated version of the speech that this discussion is hinting at. it clearly shows that he was referring to the government and not to literally remove the state from the face of the planet.
Frankly knowing what the government of isrial is doing to the palistinenes, how they treat them, and how they let a small fraction of their populace treat them and their property, i have to agree with him. One would think that they would not do this when it's been a mere 60 years since this same treatment was heaped upon them.

here is a link to a human interest story about
the bakken brothers.


and if you need some humor, you could hang around and read the editorial and comments about agw,abiotic oil and dinosaurs with a badlands perspective.