DrumBeat: September 9, 2008

Oil ends at 5-month low on OPEC talk

Crude futures decline amid expectations cartel won't officially cut production, and as Hurricane Ike appears set to miss the Gulf production fields.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices fell Tuesday, as investors believed OPEC will keep production at current levels, and as Hurricane Ike lost strength over Cuba.

U.S. crude for October delivery settled down $3.08 to $103.26 a barrel, the lowest close since April 1, when oil ended the day at $100.98 a barrel.

Green activists 'are keeping Africa poor'

Western do-gooders are impoverishing Africa by promoting traditional farming at the expense of modern scientific agriculture, according to Britain's former chief scientist.

Anti-science attitudes among aid agencies, poverty campaigners and green activists are denying the continent access to technology that could improve millions of lives, Professor Sir David King will say today.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Europe and America are turning African countries against sophisticated farming methods, including GM crops, in favour of indigenous and organic approaches that cannot deliver the continent's much needed “green revolution”, he believes.

Gunmen seize oil vessel in Nigeria - security source

LAGOS (Reuters) - Unidentified gunmen in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta hijacked an oil industry supply vessel with five foreign workers and eight Nigerians on board on Tuesday, a private security contractor said.

The contractor said the vessel, H.D. Blue Ocean, was attacked at about 2:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) at the entrance of the Sambreiro River in the delta, a vast network of mangrove creeks which is home to Africa's biggest oil industry.

Bolivian troops guard gas lines

The army in Bolivia is sending in troops to guard gas pipelines to guarantee exports to neighbouring Brazil and Argentina.

The move comes amid growing anti-government protests in the east, where most gas fields are situated.

Iran in talks with CNPC and ONGC on Caspian

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran is in talks with the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) and India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) to develop oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We have an agreement on some projects but it is not finalised yet," Nozari said declining to provide more details.

It's Not Over Yet For Enron

It looks like Enron is back from the dead.

On Monday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that fraud cases previously brought in a Texas state court against Enron's former leaders and more than a dozen financial institutions accused of playing a role in the company's collapse should be allowed to proceed.

Cost of filling car, heating home easing, government says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The cost of filling the car or heating the home is retreating although prices remain well above last year's levels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

Heating oil prices are expected to average $4.13 a gallon this heating season, down from last month's forecast $4.34 a gallon but well above last year's price of $3.31 a gallon, the agency said in its monthly Short Term Energy Outlook.

Gasoline prices are expected to average $3.61 a gallon this year against $2.81 a gallon last year. But for the final quarter of the year gasoline prices are to average $3.70 a gallon, down from the previous forecast of $3.81 a gallon.

Power bills 'bad news' warning

Consumers face "appalling news" when increases in electricity and gas prices are announced on Wednesday, Northern Ireland's utility regulator has warned.

Iain Osborne said people were facing a very serious situation this winter.

He warned it would be "deeply improbable" that fossil fuel prices could drop back to previous levels.

Gauging the value of a gallon of gas

Those Canadians — they’re a sneaky bunch.

Consider: They’ll sell you a pint of beer and a 12-ounce steak, but when you go to fill your gas tank, they’ll charge you, not by the gallon, but by some arcane calculation called “cents per liter.” They say it’s based on the metric system, but I’m beginning to think it’s actually part of a nefarious plot to get unwitting Americans to fork over more money without realizing it.

Four projections for what's going to happen in the markets: Plus, four reasons why this may be the worst crisis since the 1930s.

The clear and present danger is that we are now using several times more oil than we are discovering. The world currently produces about 310 billion barrels of oilper decade. That amounts to about three times the current discovery rate of 100 billion barrels per decade.

According to the Peak Oil calculations, we have already used about half of the energy stored over the last 100 million years. Against that, we have a steady increase in demand emanating from population growth and economic development, especially in Asia. This, coupled with the dearth of major new discoveries, assures that energy markets will remain at high prices, for the foreseeable future. The current big drop from almost $150 to $110 has happened from a slowing economy and from some conservation at the extreme high gas pump prices, but the long-term view is that the lack of reasonable alternatives to petroleum argues for continued higher prices returning to the previous peak in the year ahead.

The real cost of a free ride

More evidence came Monday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's efforts to buy off the electorate voter by voter come at a real, significant cost. The Chicago Transit Authority announced it will eliminate 80 more jobs. Fare increases and service cuts could be on tap for next year.

Why? Several reasons. But here's a big one: Blagojevich insisted that the CTA and other state transit agencies give away their services to certain people.

Richard Heinberg: Is Peak Oil "A Misleading Concept?"

George Soros has just published an interesting article in the New York Review of Books for September 25, titled The Perilous Price of Oil. In the course of explaining the recent spike in the barrel price of petroleum he writes that "the cost of discovering and developing new reserves is increasing, and the depletion rate of aging oil fields is accelerating." The discussion of these worrisome facts, he notes, "goes under the rather misleading name of 'peak oil'," a phrase that implies that "we have approached or reached the maximum rate of world output."

Soros goes on to point out that "some of the most accessible and most prolific sources of oil in places like Saudi Arabia and Mexico were discovered forty or more years ago and their yield is now rapidly falling." But, tellingly, he reassures his readers that "[Peak oil] is a misleading concept because higher prices make it economically feasible to develop more expensive sources of energy."

Soros is far from being alone in this opinion. There is a veritable cottage industry of economists and statisticians (including Daniel Yergin, Bjorn Lomborg, Peter Huber, and Michael Lynch) who tirelessly implore their readers not to panic over oil prices because The Market will always come to the rescue. As easy conventional oil depletes, tar sands, oil shale, and biofuels become more economic to produce. Even coal-to-liquids becomes feasible on a large scale. And, as everyone knows, there is an endless amount of coal.

Donations Sought For Winter Heating Assistance

With energy costs rising, officials expect this winter will place unprecedented demand on the state's heating aid programs.

"We really need everyone's help," said the executive direcotr of Operation Fuel, Patricia Wrice, recounting the story of an elderly man in eastern Connecticut who received aid for the first time last winter. "The following week, he called to say he'd taken a hot shower for the first time in two months."

South Korea May Give N. Korea $20 Million Food Aid

(Bloomberg) -- South Korea is considering providing $20 million in food aid to North Korea through the United Nations World Food Program, the Dong-a Ilbo reported, citing a government official it didn't identify.

...North Korea's worst food shortage in a decade may continue until next year's harvest as poor availability of fuel and fertilizer threaten to lower production in the current growing season, the United Nations said on July 30.

Pakistan: Power consumers get inflated bills in Multan

MULTAN: Majority of businessmen, especially the shopkeepers of Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Vehari and Dera Ghazi Khan have received double amount of electricity bills in the month of September as compared to the amount of bills received in August.

India: Malls, hotels shell out more to fight power cuts

CHENNAI: It is not just residents who having to sweat it out during the daily power outages. Shopping malls, hotels, hospitals and other establishments in the city too are hugely affected by these scheduled power cuts. The administrators of these facilities state that this is mainly due to the large amount spent on running generators and shortage of diesel.

Gas prices: Down 11% from July high

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gasoline prices fell yet again, according to a nationwide survey of gas station credit card swipes. The decline comes as focus turns toward Hurrican Ike -- expected to hit the central to southern coast of Texas by the end of the week.

Sounding Like ‘Peak Oil’ Advocate, Toyota Warns World Faces ‘Supply Shortages and Resource Exhaustion’

The phrase “liquid peak” would appear to be a more dire warning of the potential for motor fuel shortages than the warnings encompassed in the term “peak oil.” While peak oil refers specifically to oil production reaching a physical limit insufficient to satisfy demand, the term liquid peak suggests that not just oil but also biofuel and nonconventional fossil fuel production could reach maximum output and there would still not be enough liquid transportation fuel for some 1.5 billion cars and trucks.

Cruise lines change course to cut fuel

Royal Caribbean International and other cruise lines have begun charting a new course in search of routes that eat up less fuel. Already one of the industry's biggest costs, record fuel prices have cut heavily into the bottom line.

Australian coal seam gas production hits new high

Australia’s booming coal seam gas (CSG) sector has reported record production in the 2007-08 fiscal year, while petroleum trade deficit continued to soar.

According to the latest figures released by energy advisory firm EnergyQuest, CSG production jumped to132.9 petajoules in the year, up 39 per cent on the previous year.

Serbia's Parliament Ratifies Energy Deal with Russia

Serbia's parliament ratified an accord on Russian investment in the Balkan country's oil and gas industry by a vast majority on Tuesday.

The deal clears the way for Russian gas giant Gazprom to build a pipeline in southern Serbia and an underground gas storage facility in northern Vojvodina province, and to buy the Serbian oil monopoly NIS.

Folly of the progressive fairytale

Russia – rich, nationalist and authoritarian – has made a mockery of our leaders' pretensions. The west is no longer in charge.

Storm Warning: Ike’s Impact Could Go Far Beyond Hurricane Season

While armchair meteorologists are plotting Hurricane Ike’s path into the Gulf of Mexico, trying to divine what could happen to vulnerable Gulf oil installations and oil prices, the real problem isn’t short-term price spikes or even refinery outages that drive up the price of gasoline.

The real problem is that thanks to hurricanes, the Gulf of Mexico will never live up to its promise as a mother lode of U.S. domestic oil production, leaving the country even more vulnerable to imports. Then the question becomes—imports from where?

That’s the argument laid out in a new report from Jeff Rubin at Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets, the guys who earlier this year projected $200 oil. Hurricane damage in the Gulf isn’t limited to evacuated rigs or shut-in refineries; the real damage from increasingly brutal storm seasons is the long-term delay in getting new oil fields up and producing.

China pleads India-like nuke deal for Pakistan

NEW DELHI — The Chinese government has advocated a nuclear deal for Pakistan similar to the one being worked upon for India. China made the case for Pakistan in a veiled statement, saying it hoped the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would ‘equally address the aspirations of all parties.’ A number of analysts have taken the phrase ‘of all parties’ to mean a reference to its ally Pakistan.

Sino-Pak nuclear deal not possible: US

New Delhi: The US Ambassador to India, David Mulford, on Wednesday stated that a nuclear deal between China and Pakistan is not possible as the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group won’t grant a waiver to Islamabad.

Kyrgyzstan launches negotiations with Kazakhstan about electricity purchasing

“Kyrgyzstan has launched negotiations with Kazakhstan about possible electricity purchasing,” Yury Danilov head of the fuel and energy sector committee of the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan said in an interview with the German Deutsche Welle today.

“The issue of energy crisis in Kyrgyzstan will be raised in the Parliament soon. It is expected that lawmakers will demand government and the Premier Chudinov answer whose fault is that and what to do next? Our committee prepares answers and comments,” Danilov noted.

Will rising fuel costs reverse globalization?

As much as we would like it to be, the world is never a stable place for very long. After the technology bubble and the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in the early years of this decade, we managed to eke out about five years of relative economic stability. Now we understand that the U.S. was only incubating its current credit crisis, and that rising commodity prices - especially for oil and food - are raising the spectre of inflation once again.

A subject of lively debate among economists and business analysts today is the effect of rising oil prices on globalization. Rising oil prices translate into higher fuel costs, and that in turn drives up shipping costs. Ninety per cent of global demand for crude is based on the need for transportation fuels. In a world of triple-digit oil prices, could it cost less to manufacture products more expensively at home rather than ship cheaper products half way around the world? Could rising oil prices slow, stall, or even reverse the trend of globalization?

A race to use less gas in the long haul

With energy crisis on full bore, fuel-efficient cars are scarce. But a new breed of driver is stretching what you can squeeze out of a tank.

California pay-as-you-drive insurance program pushed by Poizner

WHEN it comes to traffic reduction, California needs all the help it can get. And sometimes the only thing to finally get people out of their cars is to offer them cold, hard cash.

The proposal for a voluntary pay-as-you-drive, or PAYD, insurance program for California drivers, being pushed by Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, might be a carrot that actually works. The draft proposal would let drivers have the option of buying auto insurance plans that are based on the number of miles they drive.

Energy protests pulled in 70 percent of House GOP

Nearly 70 percent of House Republicans returned to Washington during the August recess to speak out on energy policies.

The GOP initiative to deliver energy speeches on the House floor — even though the lower chamber was officially adjourned — started spontaneously with a couple of members.

But it quickly became a scheduled daily event as 136 House Republicans tag-teamed in their call for Democrats to commit to votes on drilling.

Pickens not surprised by supportive Chesapeake ads

T. Boone Pickens says he's not surprised by new television ads sponsored by Chesapeake Energy Corp. that support his "Pickens Plan" for energy independence.

The ads, featuring Chesapeake Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon, began running last week as part of what the Oklahoma City-based company said is a public education campaign called "CNG Now."

The ads tout increased use of compressed natural gas, or CNG, as a transportation fuel. Chesapeake is the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S.

Survey: Public transit pressures could hurt riders

Cash-strapped public transit systems are cutting services and raising fares even as more Americans ditch their gas-guzzling cars for trains and buses, a survey of transit agencies out Tuesday finds.

People took 2.8 billion rides on public transit from April through June, up 5.2% over that period last year, reports the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which represents transit agencies.

The increase marks the highest ridership for that period in half a century, says William Millar, APTA president. "We're seeing record ridership, but it is a double-edged sword," he says. "We're going to see more (fare) increases and more service cuts at a time when the nation is trying to encourage people to use public transit."

Of the 115 agencies that responded, 61% are considering fare hikes to make up for budget shortfalls, while 35% say they may cut services.

Only about one-third of costs are covered by fares, APTA says, so transit agencies rely in part on public funding. Funds tied to the health of the economy, such as sales taxes, have been drying up, Millar says. Gasoline prices also are hurting providers.

Saudis imply OPEC will hold production steady

VIENNA, Austria - OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia suggested on Tuesday that a meeting of oil ministers of the 13-nation organization will decide to keep crude production steady, despite their concerns over rapidly falling prices.

With the Saudis accounting for about a third of the output of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries, their views often are adopted by ministerial meetings deciding on whether to boost, keep steady, or cut oil production. Therefore, the comments by Oil Minister Ali Naimi suggested that the ministers would opt for the status quo.

OPEC to cut real output by 500,000 bpd

VIENNA (AFP) - OPEC will agree to cut its real output by up to 500,000 barrels per day at its meeting on Tuesday while leaving its official production policy unchanged, energy consultancy PFC Energy said, citing unnamed sources.

"PFC Energy has learned that OPEC has in principle agreed to trim production from current levels above official output targets," said the respected Washington-based group.

"PFC Energy understands that a cut in actual production could be in the order of 500 (thousand barrels per day), but that the communique text will likely focus on the need to abide by agreed-upon production targets rather than on numerical targets for cuts," it added.

Could 100-dollar oil become a new OPEC price floor?

VIENNA (AFP) - With the oil market falling rapidly, questions have been raised at a gathering of OPEC producers in Vienna this week about whether 100-dollar oil should be a minimum price to defend, analysts say.

Russia minister may intervene in BP deal

IRKUTSK, Russia (Reuters) - Russia's Natural Resources Ministry will intervene if BP's venture TNK-BP fails to close a deal to sell control of the Siberian Kovykta gas field to Russia's Gazprom by the year's end, the minister said.

Norway oil fund exits Rio Tinto on ethical grounds

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway on Tuesday excluded iron ore miner Rio Tinto from its $375 billion sovereign wealth fund due to environmental concerns over its activities in Indonesia, as part of its drive for ethical investment.

Rough Seas Ahead?

Underlying my expectation of long term rising oil prices is the ever-dangerous idea that, “This time it’s different.” The difference, of course, is Peak Oil. Peak oil is different partly because it has never happened before despite having been predicted frequently and because we don’t have “peaks” in other commodities. There is no “Peak Wheat” or “Peak Copper”. So the idea of Peak Oil is hard for many commodity experts to accept.

The Business of Water: Shrinking Water Supplies and Growing Energy Demands—an Emerging Strategic Headache

The links between energy and water have significant strategic implications for many businesses and will affect companies outside the energy and utility sectors. The future development of these interrelationships begs the question: Do businesses fully recognize the wider strategic risks posed by water scarcity, the impact of climate change and the implications for energy production and availability? In most cases, the answer is no.

iPhone Hits the Road with Avego's Shared Transport Application: Avego combines GPS and Mobile Technology to Unlock Millions of Wasted Seats

Debuting at DEMOfall, Mapflow Ltd. today announced Avego, a new technology designed to reduce wasted seat capacity in cars and dramatically expand commuting options. Avego [pronounced a-vay'-go] pairs passengers and drivers through an easy-to-use system using iPhones and other mobile devices.

A cross between carpooling, public transport and eBay, Avego matches a driver's wasted seat capacity-those seats which are unoccupied-to passengers, reducing commute costs for all participants. Avego automatically apportions the cost of the commute, providing a key financial incentive to commuters frustrated by high gasoline prices.

Register now at St. Lawrence College: Food Sustainability

This new 13 week course examines the causes and consequences of mounting global food shortfalls and price hikes: peak oil, ethanol, peak water, peak soil, meat eating, export-bans, speculation, climate change, etc. We will calculate the costs of our own eating habits with special guest grocers and farmers and explore the history of famines around the world.

Town launches its own currency to encourage residents to shop locally

A historic county town was today launching its own currency in a bid to encourage residents to shop locally.

More than 70 local traders in Lewes, East Sussex, have agreed to accept the Lewes Pound as a complementary currency to pound sterling.

Google sees energy solution in the math

SAN FRANCISCO--Google CEO Eric Schmidt outlined an energy plan Monday to reduce America's dependence on oil and create green jobs.

..."It's just a math problem," Schmidt said to a crowd of executives here at the Fairmont Hotel.

He said that, if by 2030, the U.S. were to adopt renewable energy sources for 100 percent of its power generation, replacing energy production from coal-fired plants, and replace at least half of its cars with plug-in hybrids, then it could cut carbon emissions by half. (And potentially avert a global warming crisis.)

No easy feat. But if the plan is adopted, Schmidt calculated that the U.S. would save 97 percent of $2.17 trillion in energy spending over the next 22 years. So expenditures would only be $600 billion; or assuming an 8 percent discount rate (factoring interest rates), the government could save even more in that time.

The Flying Dutchman solves global warming

If mimicking a massive volcanic eruption by spraying sulfur dioxide into the air or flying thousands of mirrors into space to shade Earth to halt climate change doesn't cut it for you, how about this? A fleet of 1,500 automated ships, dubbed "albedo yachts," spewing saltwater into the sky to make denser clouds that reflect more sunlight—and cool the world.

Research Links Allergies to Climate Change

Dr. Clifford Bassett, of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, says ragweed allergies affect more and more people; he says that over the past three years, he has seen about 50 percent more new allergy patients.

"We're really looking at an epidemic of new patients, children and adults alike, with allergies, as well as asthma coming in for the very first time," Bassett told ABC News.

Some scientists believe they can explain why allergy season is the worst yet: climate change.

Hot air at UN to curb global warming a success

UNITED NATIONS - Hot air at the United Nations has been so successful that more is on the way.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised the temperature in offices at U.N. headquarters by 5 degrees during August and announced he would be wearing lighter suits.

Many male staff members doffed their jackets and ties while women chose sleeveless attire as thermostats went up from 72 to 77 degrees in offices and 72 to 75 degrees in conference rooms.

'Emissions-free' coal plant pilot fires up in Germany

BERLIN (AFP) - One of Europe's biggest power companies inaugurates on Tuesday a pilot project using a technology that it is presenting as a huge potential breakthrough in the fight against climate change.

But green campaigners have denounced the project as a cosmetic operation that does not really address the problem of global warming.

Climate inaction 'costing lives'

Failure to take urgent action to curb climate change is effectively violating the human rights of people in the poorest nations, an aid charity warns.

A report by Oxfam International says emissions, primarily from developed countries, are exacerbating flooding, droughts and extreme weather events.

As a result, harvests are failing and people are losing their homes and access to water, the authors observe.

They say human rights need to be at the heart of global climate policies.

"Rough seas ahead?"

What, Peak Copper has been cancelled??

And with PO looming, it's highly questionable that Peak Wheat will not take place.

I was watching BNN and a fellow in the copper mine industry was explaining how sulfuric acid, which is used to process copper, has gone up in price because it is used to make fertilizer. This is due to the ethanol industry. I think these little connections will be the key to peak everything.

"Peak oil is different partly because it has never happened before despite having been predicted frequently and because we don’t have “peaks” in other commodities. There is no “Peak Wheat” or “Peak Copper”."

I don't know mining so I can't comment on copper, but as an old farm boy I'm always suspicious when someone declares a peak in grains or any other agricultural commodity. The price of wheat has more to do with a few bad harvests than peak anything, and can easily reverse after a good harvest. The only distorting factor is the ethanol subsidy, but that is politics.

Climate change will shift crop zones about, but if one area goes to desert, other areas in the north will open up. Grain-fed beef might dwindle away, but rangeland grazing will still be with us. In Alberta, crop production is shifting slowly northward. Anyone who wants a long-term speculation might want to look at buying farmland in the Peace River district of northern Alberta.

One reason I don't mind seeing high oil prices (besides owning mineral rights and small investments in junior petes) is that it will encourage local market gardening and re-populate the productive agriculture lands. In my parents' day, every village had a market garden but they were wiped out because it was cheaper for supermarkets to buy produce imported from California than what the local farmers could do. I never understood how California produce could be trucked to Alberta via long-haul diesel semi-trailers and still be cheaper than a local farmer. With higher diesel prices, this hopefully will re-start local economies, not just in Alberta but anywhere in Canada or the USA where produce is imported despite local farmland.

I understand there's a limit to how far north you can go in Canada before the good soil runs out. Meanwhile, bad deal for the US and Ukraine, good deal for Russia.

The farther north you go, the less sunlight that falls on a given area. Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan are not going to replace Kansas as a growing area, at least not acre for acre, I don't care how warm it gets up there.

My experience with marginal agricultural areas in Wa St is that, so far, the winters are not quite so harsh...but summer temps and precipitation about the same as ever.
One critical limit though, is just the length of the growing season and I can't see that reliably lengthening...also the number of 'growing-degree days' will not expand, so to think that areas that traditionally have not ripened grapes and cantaloupes and corn and any number of warm weather crops will start to do so is wishful thinking.
Now if we could just geo-engineer a few more hours of daylight for the month of September, we'd be talkin.

September is the best month, bar none, unless you live on the Gulf coast.

This year is a mammoth change from last, and in spite of the talk of global cooling in the farmer's almanac, I'm afraid we're witnessing a big change underway. Wheat harvests are way down this year, depending on county. South central WA reported some yields at 10 bu/ac. The Palouse, WA area yields are expected to only be 60-85% of normal, due to a cold, erratic spring (snowmelt of large drifts really delayed spring operations) and a cool summer which has pushed harvest back 2-3 weeks.

The climate models have predicted the colder, wetter spring and we certainly got it. With the continual loss of the Arctic icecap, I doubt we can expect many more mild summers. We'll need a new farmers almanac next year.

Rising food prices was a major concern in the Spring. Worldwide inventories were running low.

In eastern Canada, the late summer of 2008 was especially balmy and wet, leading to the ruin of many crops, at least in the Maritimes.

Will be interesting to see how food inventories hold out if harvests are down throughout the northern hemisphere this autumn.

We count on North America to make up for drought related shortfalls in Australia.

In England the wheat crop was virtually ruined by continual rain, so it's only good for animal feed, if they can harvest it. Not what we were led to expect with climate change. Summers were supposed to get dryer but we've had the wettest August since 1912. June and July wern't so hot either.

You are so full of crap.

The US southern tier is expected to be drier, especially the southwest. The northeast is NOT expected to be appreciably drier.


Temperatures are expected to continue to increase, as are rainfall and extreme weather events such as ice storms and even droughts.

Stuff your propaganda up your arse and then pull your head out of same. I hope someday lying liars about climate change will be tried for their continued crimes against humanity.



Try getting your facts right.

The major wheat growing areas of the UK are in the South East.

There were plenty of predictions that 'AGW' was going to creat a dry desert with Chad-Like conditions. in the South East of England.

This was based on a couple of hot summers in the early 2000's , most notably the same summer that did all the French Pensioners in.

The call from the warmists then was 'see - look - global warming equals desertification of England!'

People were advised to restock gardens with plants more suitable to the southern mediterranean littoral (mostly by plant salesmen...)

Now of course, the Warmists are saying 'see - look: all this rain is due to global warming'

This rapid about face is why Warmism is increasingly regarded as a religion for hysterics.

I await my trial for crimes against humanity while shivering in yet another cool damp September...

Perhaps your confusion is the result of your lack of study of the problems which might result from AGW. For example, if the THC weakens (or, worse, shuts down) one result would be cooler conditions for Northern Europe. Don't forget that the flow of warm water which branches toward the north from the Gulf Stream is what keeps Britain warmer than areas at similar latitude along the Pacific Coast of North America. London is at about 51.5N, which is farther north than Vancover Island, BC and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Consider what happened during the Younger Dryas period...

E. Swanson

I am fairly confident in GW.

I am sceptical regarding AGW.

I am not confused about GW at all

Perhaps you should address the Warmists who change their story from year to year (depending upon the weather situation from year to year!).

One year its a desert (with fanciful maps)

Next year its Noahs floods.

Perhaps that is why they retreat from the moniker GW and now use Climate Change :-)

'cos it changes...

At the risk of whipping a brain dead horse...

If your understanding of the science does not include what happens as the result of our changes to the optical properties of the atmosphere, well, I would think you wouldn't understand AGW. As for the local impacts, they will vary due to the different distribution of energy as the solar energy flows thru the climate system and back out to deep space.

Short term variation is weather, changes in long term trends are climate. One year does not make a trend. Try 10, 20, or 30 years.

E. Swanson

It would help if the climate observed bore any relation to climate models. Instead they have been the exact opposite. As Mudslogger said claiming opposing conditions as evidence of AGW is damaging the credibility of it's claiments.

Cant you read?

Take up that same argument in your last sentence with the warmists!

They are the ones trying to freak everybody out with predictive pronouncements based on weather events

I know the difference between weather and climate. You need to try and explain that to the AGWarmists who take a couple of years of weather (when it suits them of course) and extrapolate climate 'science'.

You just dont get it do you?

Sorry to say, after more than 30 years of study, I DO think I get it.

AGW can cause different changes in different locations. Taking a couple of years of "weather" is not the same as taking several decades of satellite "temperature" data, oceanographic temperature measurements or measuring the daily sea-ice extent since 1979. And, there are other examples of changes seen in the environment which are consistent with AGW, but I doubt you would care to think about it with an open mind. For example, has MUDLOGGER read even 1 of the (now 4) IPCC WG 1 reports? Does MUDLOGGER think his lack of a reply to my comments about atmospheric optics or the the Younger Dryas is acceptable? Is MUDLOGGER only playing politics by repeating the disinformation spread by the petroleum industry shills?

Of course, I do find it rather significant that Weatherman and MUDLOGGER posted replies within 8 minutes of each other at 4:41 and 4:59 PM USEST , long after the thread had been superceded with today's DrumBeat.

E. Swanson

As an expert then (and me only a mere earth scientist, oil company shill and evil troll)

Please tell me all about the Mann Hockey Stick

Please tell me why the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice age were smoothed out between 1990 and Mann.

You still failed to recognise that Warmists use hot dry summers as 'evidence' and then a few years later cold wet summers as 'evidence'

Your lsast para is of no significance. But then as a warmist I am sure you can read an evil and coordinated plot into it.

Denmark is one of the more productive farming areas in the world, and is north of Alberta. The North Atlantic current keeps northern Europe warm for the latitude, and there is enough sunlight in the summer. Remember that northern areas actually get more hours of sun in the growing season. It also helps that Denmark is flat, has good soil and enough and stable rainfall. The amount of sunlight is not such a problem.

The extra hours of sunlight may not produce much more gain. That's because the real issue is the amount of energy falling on flat ground, such as a field. At higher latitudes, the sun stays lower to the horizon, i.e., the sun vector has a high zenith angle. Thus, the effective energy on a horizontal surface will be less than that at lower latitudes where the sun is high overhead. That's the sort of information that the solar energy folks worry about and crops are essentially solar collectors. I don't have the data in hand, but I would expect that the net solar availability thru the growing season may not be so large as you suggest.

E. Swanson

Crops are not flat like the ground they cover. There is a vertical component to most of them. The longer sunlight season is meaningful.

Other than the edges of the field, most crops are "horizontal only" for solar absorption.

I could see spacing plants further apart at higher latitudes.

Winter solar insolation has little value in growing crops, and high latitudes do benefit from long days during the growing season. 20 hours of low intensity sunshine can be good for many crops.


You are right about that.

In western Canada, the soil will support crops up to very high latitudes.

Eastern Canada, however, suffered multiple periods of glaciation and there is very little arable soil outside of the river valleys (with the exception of southern Ontario).

One reason that northern rivers in Quebec are ideal for hydro development is that the river beds are basically just rock - there is very little silt to build up.

I am always amazed when travelling in the US as to how much good farmland there is. It explains a lot about the different settlement patterns in the two countries.

Eastern Canada, however, suffered multiple periods of glaciation and there is very little arable soil outside of the river valleys (with the exception of southern Ontario).

Soil can be built up pretty much anywhere you have the rain, sun and temps to grow. Time is the real problem. Start now.


Re limitations of Canadian soils for row-crop agriculture: It's a combination of things -- the acidity of Canadian Shield basement rock, the cold climate and coniferous vegetation under which soils formed, poor drainage over broad areas, etc. A nice source of info on global soil distributions can be found here.

Nice link, POT. University of Idaho no less. Maybe it will counter all their negative publicity of late.

As I usually harp, climate change isn't just about sea levels, it's precipitation patterns that are the big worry.

Hi doug, yes, I thought it was nice site they have, too (though I noticed that the link to the "US Distribution map of the 12 soil orders" was broken -- here's another).

Negative publicity?

Yes, one of their C students is being investigated daily in the national press. I guess the overall picture for UI depends on which side of the fence you sit. Broadcast journalism major, as opposed to the business major, which I think is the current White House occupant. We used to complain about politicians being lawyers, now look what we got.

Personally, I'd like to see an agronomist in the White House:-)

Well I think she claims to have been a fisherman for a season. Not close enough I guess.(what is the correct term for a female fisherman?) An agronomist, heh, for one more rooted in reality?

Glaciation scraped Northern Ontario clean down to the bedrock and deposited all the good stuff in the now fertile south. And "Northern Ontario" really covers the vast majority of the province - you don't have to travel that far north of Toronto to see the changeover happen.

One of the challenges facing hugely built-up regions, like the Boston-New York-Washington corridor, is that vast amounts of formerly productive agricultural land was sacrificed to urban/suburban development. In a future when transportation costs become an ever-increasing component of food prices, these large, heavily populated areas will have serious problems recreating local agriculture on a scale even fractionally capable of feeding those large populations.

In the ever-outward expansion of cities and suburbs, productive soils were destroyed in the process of development. Any project of reclaiming land for agriculture will take at minimum several years remediation. Like so many of the changes that are coming, ideally we would be making choices and planning well ahead of the crush of dire necessity. Sadly, this seems unlikely.

The US Congress will consider energy legislation this week. The we_can_solve_it movement is asking people to call their representatives and make their views known. They say "...Of course, the oil industry is pushing its "drill, drill" slogan with all its might -- and some are hoping to use this for political advantage.

Meanwhile, tax credits for investments in solar and wind power have not been extended, and the growing renewables business that just made America the largest producer of wind power in the world, is on the verge of shutting down huge planned projects all over the country.

Billions in private investment, thousands of megawatts of new, clean energy, and more than 100,000 new jobs expected for 2009 will be lost.

We face a stark choice: subsidize old, dirty energy or invest in new, clean energy. This should be easy, but the influence of the oil lobby is deep -- they've already spent more than $100 million in lobbying and advertising this year...."


There are gobs and gobs of sub-economic (less than 0.5%) copper in Arizona. For a price you can have all the copper you want.

Robert a Tucson

However, to mine 0.5% copper, you have to move and process 100% more rock than for 1% copper. In general, mine grade has gone down over the past several decades. The cost of processing rock, in the meantime, has gone up, and not only for inflationary reasons. In short, it is becoming more difficult and energy intensive to get the copper out of the ground, which is what you would expect to see before an eventual peak in production.

I would wager that plenty of landfills offer copper concentrations higher than 0.5%

That's all true econguy. My only point is that we are not going to geologically run out of copper as we will with oil. If there's a peak copper production it's because at some price people will substitute cheaper inferior metals. That's already done in most cookware and in many homes including mine electric wiring.

I don't think there is a maximum rate you can mine copper as there is a maximum rate you can produce oil. There's probably a maximum rate you can open new mines because of the paperwork and skilled labor shortages.

"....sub-economic (less than 0.5%) copper in Arizona"

interesting, 0.5 % was also the economic cut off for copper in the olden days. (that was the early '70's). copper was about $0.60/lb and gas was about $0.25/gal. so a pound of copper would buy a little over 2 gallon of gas. what is it today, about 1 pound copper/gallon of gas ?

As luck would have it, last night found on P122 in Odum's "Environment, Power and Society", a couple of graphs of scarcity and energy required to concentrate copper. The energy required skyrockets below 1% and .5% is dismal.

Another interesting point from Odum: if civilization is a pulse, then everything in the civililization would have to be "in phase" with that pulse or the pulse would disorganize. I can't remember my wave theory all that well, but doesn't it run more or less along the lines of change the velocity of the wave and the amplitude changes? Everything is going to self-organize to peak at the same time; some of the amplitudes will get wildly erratic. On the face of it, that seems a little hard to buy as a whole package. But then again, the pulsing of civilization is very clear so maybe most everything else has to get in sync. Otherwise it wouldn't be a well organized and powerful pulse. Hurts my head.

cfm in Gray, ME

It is likely worth pointing out that there is a difference in kind and not degree between PO and shortages of metals such as copper, steel or even wheat. Once the copper is mined and refined it exists. It may be stolen from a decrepit house and resold but it remains. To be "consumed" would require a nuclear reaction (i.e change to a different element) or to be again dispersed or adulterated by impurities to the point of being economically worthless. Yes, iron may rust. But the overall point is valid. Even food, will be renewed, barring catastrophe or human intervention.

Oil is different, its consumption entails an increase in entropy. Or to put less scientifically and to borrow a phrase from the Shawshank Redemption, once it is burned it, "up and vanished like a fart in the wind". It existed in the first place because photosynthetic organisms took energy and (locally) reduced entropy by storing the energy in carbon hydrogen bonds. Once burned, for energy, it ain't coming back (without energy).

There may be peaks in non-energy related commodities but they are fundamentally different and influenced by different factors than fossil fuels.

I will say again, as I have said consistently while I have been on this board that while PO is deadly serious the incoherent to counterproductive lack of public policy is what may likely be the proximate cause of harm. Just heard Ford is mass producing a 65 mpg diesel which can only be sold in Europe. Wonder whether there is the know-how (rhetorical) to mass produce it as a diesel-hybrid.

the incoherent to counterproductive lack of public policy is what may likely be the proximate cause of harm.

Great insight. It is the lack of insightful leadership that will rubble civilization not the limited availability of FF.

Avego! I don't know if this is "The One" or not, since they only have 64 users, but one day this is going to be a billion dollar business. The only real problem is that it's going to take a couple more years to get enough iPhones into people's hands. And when I say "people's" I dont mean the yuppies who own most of the iPhones today. We need people who aren't too "snobby" to actually use something like Avego!

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you. It may make sense for some people in some cities for some jobs, but just when it makes the most sense I think dynamics of work and travel will alter negating its usefulness. also, I don't think many people want to become taxicabs.

If it has a rating system where users can rate each other, you can easily reject giving a ride to the stinky person who looks like he might stab you. It also helps the rider from hopping into the car of a person who drives like a maniac. :)

I'm not sure myself. As gas prices get higher, there may be more incentive. "Ride boards" have been a staple of college campuses for decades, because many don't have cars, and even cheap gas is expensive for a college student. There's also more trust among students of the same or nearby colleges than there might be among randoms.

I've been thinking...would I participate? I couldn't. I don't have a cell phone, and would not buy one just for this. I simply don't travel enough to make it worth it.

If I did have a cell phone, would I participate? Not for every day driving. I don't drive much, and a big part of the appeal of driving is doing it alone. You can leave when you want, stop if you feel like it, don't stop if you don't feel like it, and blast your music whether it's Barry Manilow or Body Count, with no one complaining. A couple of coworkers have commented to me that the drive home after work is their favorite part of the day: the only time they have to themselves.

If I did want to scab a ride or pick up hitchhikers, it would probably be for special events, where I might be driving a long way. If you're going three hours to a baseball game, it might be worth it to have someone chip in on gas. You might also welcome company a drive that long, especially if it's someone you have something in common with (a fellow fan).

I suppose if there are a lot of HOV lanes, the calculus might be different, but there are none around here. And frankly, I'd be really hesitant to pick up a total stranger. Mom always told me never to hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers, and that's what this seems like.

the drive home after work is their favorite part of the day: the only time they have to themselves.

It's always struck me that this is one of the car's biggest attractions that's also the one people are loathe to mention. It's generally not socially acceptable to say "I'd like to take a couple of `free' half-hour/hour long slots during each day when I'm not with my wife and/or kids" (and presumably vice versa for women) but if you can get it as a side effect of traveling to/from work that's a great bonus.

It's also a big copout. A fallacy of epic proportions. There are plenty of ways to obtain more time for oneself without all the negative connotations attached to driving and maintaining a motor vehicle.

I recall a comment that one of the main reasons people like to drive is that when driving, one is in complete control of his/her life. For many of us, that's the only time during the day when this is true. Living and working as we do, life becomes a constant compromise with others. The car companies feed this illusion, with TV and print adds showing the driver in pleasant situations with the driver and (maybe) a passenger out of traffic in some pastoral setting. Or, we see the SUV in a wilderness setting portraying the back-to-nature or macho images. Then too, there's the image of buy-the-car-get-the-girl, which appeals to the single male, who are led to think they, too, are NASCAR speed demons. I think they got me hooked that way decades ago...

E. Swanson

When I'm taking a walk or riding my bike, I am also in complete control, whatever that means. I don't feel "in complete control" if I'm sitting in rush hour traffic and those who are into road rage are clearly not in any sort of control mode much less complete control. This whole freedom of the road crap meme is just stupid. I once had a car who was glad he lived far from work so he could think while he was driving. What a moron.

I asked my coworker how he could stand driving over an hour to work and back. He said he didn't like driving to work, because then he had to worry about traffic, being late, etc. But going home, no amount of traffic bothered him. He didn't mind congestion. He was by himself in his truck, with the aircon/heater running, maybe a soda and a snack on the console, listening to sports radio. He said he's in no rush to get home, so why would traffic concern him?

I meant I once had a boss (not a car) who was glad ...

That is a topic I've been writing about for years. People are not in control when they are driving. They are in fact slaves to their vehicles. The math I did for the Yaris proves it. $500 a month to own and operate a Yaris is absurd. (Surely the "real price tag" on a typical new SUV must be obscene.)

How anyone could pay nearly a grand a month to own, operate, insure, and fuel a vehicle, and not see that as a form of bondage is beyond me... And I'm talking about typical $20-something thousand dollar vehicles. Not luxury cars or Hummers...

But one of the things that makes this "driver's mentality" really dangerous is the fact that these drivers, when they're stuck in rush hour traffic, are extremely vulnerable to corporate propaganda. Right wing radio has really capitalized on this. For years, millions of people have tuned into Rush Limbaugh and other villains like him while sitting in traffic. In that situation, the propaganda just flows right in. Unfiltered. It has done such a masterful job at brainwashing the public that most of them actually still believe that the republicans lowered taxes. They cannot yet see that all these price increases over the last few years are mainly attributable to what can only be called a War Tax. Or an Inflation Tax, as Ron Paul calls it. I strongly believe that one of the main reasons no one can get through to these people is because they are being "programmed" during their stressful commutes. And make no mistake, driving is stressful. Primates were not quite designed to be moving in such ways and constantly processing visual data. Insert a stream of Rush Limbaugh or Hannity into your brain while it is under those conditions, and you can kiss your mind goodbye!

That's why I only buy used vehicles. My last car I purchased was $350, and I get anywhere from 38MPG to 50MPG in it.. (1985 Honda Civic CRX HF with 290,000 miles.) Sure, it looks beat up as hell, but I'm concerned about transportation, not looks.

People are not in control when they are driving.

But nor are they in control when they're waiting forever for a bus that shows up at random when some tenured jobsworth driver happens to feel like it, only to creep along glacially, stopping forever at every corner, and randomly miss the bus that it was supposed to connect to. Nor are they in control when it becomes obvious they'll soon be sick for a week, because the passenger next to them still hasn't stopped hacking and coughing and sneezing all over everything in sight.

In the real world where the vast majority live - as opposed to the exotic 100-mile hyper-commute world featured by bored hype-addicted reporters ravenous for story hooks - or the equally exotic world where there's affordable housing, reasonably low crime, and frequent transit service that actually takes you where and when you need to go - the typical drive to work takes a mere 20 minutes or so. But the germy bus trip - if it's available at all - plods along to the tune of an hour and a half, or even two hours. And of course, in the evening, at night, and on the weekend, it's uselessly infrequent or even nonexistent, requiring the non-car-owner to live as a hermit. So in the real world, $500/month to have a car starts looking, if not like a bargain, at least not so bad at all.

Oh, and the only reason the bus (or train for that matter) seems cheap is dishonest billing. The bus is massively subsidized by that prize chump, the taxpayer. The bus rider pays zero for the road (no road tax on the bus diesel although the bus axle load is high and damaging), pays zero for the bus itself (the chump taxpayer picks up all capital costs), pays very little for insurance (the city will probably self-insure for most things, with the chump taxpayer eating the costs as special budget items), and pays only around 1/3 of the "operating cost" (sweet deal.)

Now, with such vast quantities of sugar - no car payment, no insurance payment, no road tax, two-thirds of fuel and maintenance borne by the taxpayer - it would cost (directly) only around a dime a mile to drive even a good-sized SUV. That's less than a typical transit fare. On a 'level playing field', most transit outside places like Manhattan (i.e. wall-to-wall people stacked sky-high in pigeon coops) would simply cease to exist - except for some ferries, which in the right places can command enormous fares for very short rides.

The bottom line: transportation in any form is costly, in time, money, or both. That's the reality - forget the irrelevant pseudo-philosophical excursion into Limbaugh and just deal with it. And public transportation seems cheap solely because egotistical mayors and councils, filled to the brim with themselves, lavish massive subsidies on it, as must-have urban jewelry to show off breathlessly at "conferences". Of course, as a purely accidental side effect it may be nice for you if you just happen to be one of the few who can actually use it. But should times become hard, the lavish subsidies may become less affordable, leaving the true costs - high for all modes - to emerge.

In Michigan all the transit system are insured as a group but each system usually budgets in an amount to cover smaller liability claims. There is also a national insurance pool which rebates the premium back to the system with the best safety record that year. I recall back in the 1980s getting a share of that rebate. We had a period of nearly 18 months of not causing an accident and received about a $200 bonus for that achievement. I don't know where you got the idea that bus drivers are tenured like professors. Getting fired for causing a serious accident was always a real possibility. If a driver makes as many mistakes in a year as the boss makes every day we would be fired. Management demands perfection from drivers in more ways than one. Drivers are also constantly exposed to diseases and unlike passengers we can't change where we sit or get off at the next stop. If we catch a disease from a passenger getting workman's comp is nearly impossible.
The truth is that bus fares cannot cover costs outside of a few very dense urban areas. Everyone who uses a city street benefits from people who ride the bus. Financing public transit is a nightmare because it is separated from the funds allocated to other transportation subsidies like the road repair funds. Transit subsidies are a small fraction of what the taxpayers pay for street repairs. While a large bus outweighs most cars they are lightweights compared to 18-wheelers which outnumber buses 100 to 1. Cars outnumber buses at least 1000 to 1. Who damages the streets the most? 1000 cars, 100 trucks, or 1 bus?

Who damages the streets the most? 1000 cars, 100 trucks, or 1 bus?

Since damage is equal to the 4th power of the axle weight, 1 bus does about as much as 1,000 cars (not SUVs). I have not been an advocate of more buses. For me, the ideal is short, light feeder buses to Urban Rail (some trolley buses).

Best Hopes,


If it is the 4th power then 1 bus should do as much damage as 10,000 cars. Or did you mean third power?

Most cars are in the 1,400 to 2,600 lb/front axle range. Buses depend on several factors (including # of passengers) and are typically heavier on the rear axle. Weights up to 35,000 lbs/rear axle AFAIK (it has been years since I looked at the data)

Trying to make an exact weighted (by 4th power) average axle weight is beyond the scope I am prepared to do.


If we assume that the average car weighs 2,000 pounds and the average bus weighs 35,000 pounds, then a bus does (35/2)^4 = 93,789 times as much damage as a car. So the damage done by a car is negligible and basically just a rounding error.

The rear axles of front wheel drive cars are negligible. OTOH, some Cadillac front axles are not. It is axle weight and not total weight.

The "4th power" calc ignores the width of tires (an error IMHO) since wider tires spread the weight around for lower impact.

City civil engineers do engineer a street with a bus route to a higehr standard than one without.


not just the width of the tires, but also the number of tires where the rubber meets the road. and its not as simple as that either. for example: axle limits on trucks are also based upon the distance between axles (bridge laws).

wouldnt a bus with a single rear axle be limited to about 28,000 lbs.

A dirty little secret is that many city buses, with a full load of fuel and people, exceed axle limits.

Is there a Civil Engineer in the House ?

It is my limited understanding that the damage is below the surface area, in a cone coming from the tire contact patch. So wider is better, but it is NOT proportional since wider enlarges the cone of damage but not proportionally to the width (think a narrow car tire damages 2 ft2, a double wide tire 3 ft2 as a hypothetical).


"it would cost (directly) only around a dime a mile to drive even a good-sized SUV."

the irs uses about $0.50/ mile. what exactly do you consider direct costs ? gas costs in the range of $ 3.50/gal. a $0.10/mile fuel cost implies 35 mpg. what suv is that ? also insurance, taxes, maintenance are direct costs some of which are fixed.

imo, a more accurate statement would be "fuel costs to drive an suv are up to $0.90/mile".

and of course the bus is not the only option if you dont live in the wasteland ('burbs).

Obviously you only skimmed the post.

I said it would cost around a dime a mile if you got all the sugar the world seems to owe the massively subsidized bus (or train or tram for that matter) passenger. The passenger pays no taxes; somebody else pays most or all of the insurance, all of the capital cost, and all of the cost of the existence of the road, the heavier construction of the road to accommodate the bus, and the wear and tear on the road. The passenger only pays 1/3 of a narrow version of the direct incremental (non-fixed) operating cost, such as fuel, tires, light maintenance, and the driver's hours.

Now, at 15-20mpg the direct cost of gas for a private vehicle will be around 18-22 cents a mile (yes you can find ultra monster vehicles that consume more.) Throw in something for non-warranty maintenance if the driver even keeps it long enough for that to come into play in a serious way (the cost of the occasional oil change is negligible), and maybe you get to the 25 to 35 cents range. So take 1/3 of that, and you're somewhere around the dime range. And you get where you're going in a quarter of the time, without freezing in the cold or stewing in the heat at the stop while the bus (or buses since just one usually won't get you where you're going) fails to show up.

So I repeat, level the playing field, and in nearly all cases the bus immediately disappears, because it costs just as much, it's not reliable, it's burdensome if you need to be carrying stuff, it's glacially slow and wastes gobs and gobs of your irreplaceable time, and it may not even be operating at the time you need it. In other words, when the cost to the taxpayer is thrown back in, it's usually just hideously expensive rubbish.

But having a "transit system" may make the mayor "look good" at "conferences", and it seems to conform to many versions of Political Correctness including the one that governs the rating arrows. Such silly matters seem to trump all other considerations.

Edit: "...the wasteland...": that bit of snobbishness is strictly your problem. Just look around and you will see that lots of people prefer to live in places where the schools are decent, crime is kept to tolerable level, and housing is affordable - even when it costs them in other ways, which, in the more extreme cases, it does.

i dont suppose those $$,$$$ tax credits for $$$,$$$ suv's counts as a subsidy.

a wasteland in the sense that they are a waste of land, a waste or resources(including infastructure and vinyl siding), a waste of petroleum for moving all the soccer moms and dads in the suv rat race to nowhere so they can have jobs to support their suburban lifestyle and to bring them their 3000 mile salads and every concievable consumer gadget to the local walmegamart. dont forget they have to heat and cool those 4000 sf three car garage leitmotif megaliths. and last and not least a cultural wasteland.

and dont forget the 1st act in developing a new subdivision is to remove all the trees.

and the part i really dont like about the 'burbs is they are most likely the ones responsible for the last eight years of bush and his reproduction tax credits.

I always enjoyed being propagandized by NPR.

I prefer being propagandized by watching television. That way I get to pay for the cable subscription, plus watch the commercials.

Thanks! You made me glad -- all over again-- that I emigrated to a country famous for its excellent public transportation!

Definitely! I figure I get "free exericise" when I bike, and "free time" to read or relax on a bus. Choosing to spend time driving is madness to me. It's not relaxing to me to have to continually pay attention to everything around me to stay alive! (Well, I should add I avoid rush hour traffic on my bike when I can, but slower speeds feel safer too.)

In an economy reduced to 1930s income levels, we will be glad to hop on the back of a pickup truck to get to the lettuce-picking. Much of the world is still in that condition and cell phones are booming.

Maybe, but what's in it for the pickup driver?

In South America almost all vehicles, including trucks, fill empty space with passengers and freight.
Offering a payment to the driver is polite and sometimes accepted and sometimes refused. In a poorer US, sharing expenses to fill vehicles will likely become the norm, as it already is in much of the world. Cell phones, GPS, instant payments are all kind of cool, but not required for vehicle-sharing.

I think there's more than just poverty involved. It's a different culture (just as it was a different culture here in the US back when it was considered safe for kids to hitchhike to school).

I also wonder if alternate fuel vehicles might make people more aware of the cost of passengers, and more reluctant to accept them. I have driven electric cars, and your range drops noticeably if there are two people in the car instead of one.

Leanan, I thought you and I agree that in the next several years people (in the USA) will be stuck with the vehicles they have. Very few will be willing and able to buy an electric car, even if they appear on the market. Right now many feel stuck with the SUV they are "upside down" on, and continue paying for the gasoline instead of accepting the loss and switching to a reasonable car.

Yes I agree that culture needs to change in order for more people to share rides, but I think that culture will indeed change. It starts with friends and neighbors sharing rides, and then expands to friends-of-friends, and so on, until riding with strangers no longer seems unusual. This may also happen concurrently with an expansion of the "barter economy".

I also expect some of those "upside down" SUVs and minivans, when their owners lose their jobs, will turn into jitneys.

Leanan, I thought you and I agree that in the next several years people (in the USA) will be stuck with the vehicles they have.

I'm talking about much farther in the future than that. At least, I don't think many soccer moms will be hopping in the back of pickups to pick lettuce in the "next several years."

By then, the people who are driving will be the wealthy, just like it used to be in the old days.

Yes I agree that culture needs to change in order for more people to share rides, but I think that culture will indeed change. It starts with friends and neighbors sharing rides, and then expands to friends-of-friends, and so on, until riding with strangers no longer seems unusual. This may also happen concurrently with an expansion of the "barter economy".

Maybe, but right now, an awful lot of Americans don't even know their neighbors, and don't have friends.

I see this Avego thing as a way to get around some of the roadblocks to ride-sharing. One is that the cost of fuel is going to be an issue, and the more people/freight, the more fuel you need. That is really not an issue now, even in Third World countries. The barrier is the cost of the car, not the cost of the fuel (which is often subsidized).

The other is trust. People in modern-day America are afraid to pick up strangers, and I don't see that improving as the economy worsens. A rating system would offer some reassurance.

People in modern-day America are afraid to pick up strangers,

Never pick up a stranger

Don't put your car in dangeer

Pick up Prestone anti-freeze.

Am I the only one who remembers that little bit of brainwashing? A cultural difference indeed, as Leanan points out, but I'm not so sure it will be hard to undo by a small dose of reality.

cfm in Gray, ME

I think it might be quite hard to undo. Even now, people worry about carjacking, and I think it's a legitimate worry. Crime is likely to increase as the economy worsens and people get more desperate.

I don't have a cell phone, and would not buy one just for this.

I have a cell phone which I keep turned off in a desk drawer.

If I carried it around, people would just phone up and bother me. They can always reach me at my desk during business hours or send me an email.

I disagree with you. This has great potential, especially if you start thinking in terms of "People-Miles per Gallon."

Truly there's a tremendous amount of unused seat capacity zipping around our cities. If those become marketable commodities....

Sometimes it's hard to find a regular carpool mate but with enough users you might be able to get a seat occupied on a regular basis, defraying the cost of the trip.

Yes, that's something this offers that slug lines and ride boards don't. It automatically calculates the cost (and presumably takes care of the payment as well). Drivers who pick up slugs generally do it in order to use HOV lanes; they don't get paid. With ride boards, you may end up with some guy who doesn't want to pay, and you have to pry the money out of him. Get paid without having to do the billing yourself could be very appealing.

As for not doing the billing oneself, I recently saw a bus company take a ride sharing service to court because the ride sharing service "facilitated payment" (might have made it to the DB a few weeks back). The bus company argued that if payment is accepted, then the service enters the realm of "public transport" and thus must meet public safety regulations or shut down.

Ok, found the link:

The thing is, I can really see both sides. I for one think public safety laws have done wonders in all sorts of consumer product/service areas. I work with business a lot and I am well aware that most businesses would cut back on safety if there is no law that forces the issue.

Perhaps a new class of transportation service will have to be created just for ride sharing services.

Safety is partly in the eye of the beholder, or in the conventions of the society. Driving is dangerous: about 100 people are killed every day in the USA in car accidents, and many many more are injured. But as a society we seem to have agreed that the costs are outweighed by the benefits. We even give the car keys to 16-year-olds, even though the statistics show that that's the biggest danger to their lives and health, FAR bigger than the hyped danger of a sexual predator behind every tree. And the safety regulations (both training and devices) never reduce the dangers to zero. So what are we willing to accept? Economic reality will modify the standards.

BTW, in some cases the "safety" regulations are mostly about insurance, forgetting the essential distinction between Ensurance, Insurance, and Assurance.

Regarding the current forms of "mass transit", as much as I like the idea in principle, I think there is something wrong with it costing as much as it does (the real cost, not just the "fare"). If it costs more than driving alone, it is a good bet that it uses more energy too, once one adds in the broad picture, not just the direct fuel burnt. And even in direct fuel, a mostly-empty bus is a gas guzzler. We need a system that is more flexible. Not every run needs to be a large (and handicap accessible) bus. I think that jitneys are the answer (and they don't have to be "smart" although they could be).

As an aside, I predict that hitchhiking will come back into fashion. Not everybody will want to participate, but that's always been the case. Economic necessity (on both sides: riders and drivers) will trump (in some cases) the trumped-up worries about criminals - and also the current laws. Anecdotely, I've seen an increase in hitchiking around here in recent months, including on major highways where it's illegal. Many hitchhikers have not yet learnt to think like drivers and choose to stand in places where the driver can stop easily and safely. The silly American concept of walking while trying to hitch a ride (showing you're willing to put in the work of getting there?) gets in the way of that.

I'm not saying it isn't a good idea. I just think the market will, in general, price out the ride sharers vs. other forms of public transit. The cost of gasoline doesn't come near the value of general cost of ownership of my car (as it gets pretty good gas mileage), so I'd charge dearly to share it with another person. Also, there is alot of liability associated with offering a person transport which many people don't want to deal with.

Taxi driving is considered one of the highest risk professions out there. I don't think many people are interested in joining it just to save a few dollars on gas, or people willing to become passengers of non taxis for higher prices than what taxis offer.

Read the slug-line website I linked to. Make "payment" the use of HOV lanes (and less congestion) and (I would like to see added) much better parking than SOVs (Single Occupancy Vehicles).

In DC, more people now take public transit than drive alone to work. But when multiple people in a car are added, a majority still drive (or ride on private cars) to work.

Best Hopes for the Near Future near you,


IMO, that's not workable in most of America. It's not a coincidence that slug lines are found in places like DC and SF - really big cities, at least by US standards.

The site you linked to notes that you must have a convenient backup in case there are no drivers around to pick you up, which means near bus or rail. That alone eliminates large portions of the US.


Merge it with match.com and it could really take off.

Great. You'd show up to pick them up, and they'd be 10 years older and 40 lbs. heavier than their photo, and you'd have to decide whether it really is the same person.

No iPhone Required !


Best Hopes for ... Ride Sharing,


Nahh, to make it "cool", iPhone must be required (and other kinds of cellphones excluded), the software will only run on Macintosh, and the only acceptable cars would be Priuses... :-)

Actually around here recently a Geo Metro carrying 4 young adult guys is not an uncommon sight.

By the way, I am really surprised that google hasn't gotten into this yet. They are the perfect company to do it. They can pony up the few hundred million it would take to build up the 10 million+ user base required to make this work. And they have a phone coming that can handle the software. And they have the mapping software already, only slight modifications are needed.

But no, here we have yet another example where Google CEO Eric Schmidt shows how to miss the boat. I feel sorry for google's shareholders... Obviously his math skills are severely lacking, if he thinks that we can somehow save $1.5 trillion by spending what would amount to many tens of trillions bringing online the massive amounts of phantom alternative energy he is talking about. You can always tell when these guys are talking out the wrong end of their bodies when they frame things in terms of carbon emissions.

We need to help steer Schmidt away from floating barges and toward companies like Mapflow/Avego. I guess it may as well be called the "21st century taxi system".

Hey Eric, here is some math for you:

5 million riders a day.
2 miles a day average ride.
30 cents a mile fee for the service provider.
70 cents a mile for the driver.

Annual revenue for the service provider = 5,000,000 * 2 * 365 * 0.3 = $1.095 billion

Annual revenue for the drivers = 5,000,000 * 2 * 365 * 0.7 = $2.5 billion

Annual fuel savings (@ 20 cents/mile) = 5,000,000 * 2 * 365 * 0.2 = $0.73 billion

As you can see this is only a drop in the bucket in terms of the actual number of miles driven. A billion dollars in revenue for less then one tenth of one percent of all passenger car miles traveled. At 1 percent of all passenger car miles traveled, revenue would easily top 10 billion. And that's only charging 30 cents a mile.

Even at $4/gallon it costs me less than 30 cents a mile to drive my own car, alone. (The car is of course small, economical, well-used, and paid for.)

That car wouldnt cost you 30 cents a mile to own, operate, maintain, insure, and pay the taxes on if you only drove < 5000 miles a year. This is what prices million of people out of the car market... you have to drive tens of thousands of miles before the total cost of ownership and operation even drops below $1 a mile. Even a Toyota Yaris requires over 100,000 VMT before it can claim 20 cents a mile total cost, not including gasoline!

Toyota Yaris MSRP + tax + fees + maintenance + typical finance charges + insurance > $20,000

That is $333 a month spread over 5 years, plus the cost of fuel. That is nearly $500 a month, if driving 12,000 miles a year. For a freakin Yaris! $500 a month for a subcompact budget-mobile? Perhaps even more if you wish to have a reasonable insurance deductible. Am I missing something? I believe these numbers are completely untenable.

Yes you're missing something: buy it used. For 1/2, or 1/4, of the original cost.

I would agree though that the method of leaving most of the depreciation to the first buyer is a method of living "off the crumbs" of the affluent society of yesteryear. Try finding a used Yaris nowadays...

My costs/mile are "high" but affordable.

I made a "lifetime" purchase of an extremely durable car, a 1982 M-B 240D (manual transmissible) in superb condition and 69,xxx miles for $11,500.

Insurance, about $500/yr.
Fuel, <60 gallons @ $250/year
Maintenance about $200/yr.
License - $20/yr
"Depreciation" over 20 years, $575

About $1,500 for about 1,500 miles/yr. Good value for money IMHO. especially during evacuations (or planned evacuations) :-)


If you are driving 5000 miles a year, you can easily make a car last 15 years if you take care of it-that changes your 333 to 111 a month.

Exactly. If you don't drive much, the car will last a long time, and the insurance is also lower.

And many of us live in places where there is no alternative. Most of the car-free schemes only work for big cities, at least right now. Car sharing, subways, buses...you aren't going to find those in the small cities, suburbs, and towns most people live in. And forget taxis - you'll never get one when you really need one.

I really wanted to go car-free, but came to the conclusion that it was not feasible for me.

Plenty of people live car-free in Boulder,CO, a small city. Lots of people live car-free in Colorado's mountain ski towns. I would never presume to tell someone else that car-free life is feasible or appropriate for them, but I know plenty of people doing it who don't live in big cities.

For many more people, car-lite life (one car shared among several drivers and rarely used) makes economic and logistical sense. Buying a highly-depreciated used car and rarely driving it can result in very low per-mile costs even for occasional drivers, if they share (we have one car for 4 licensed drivers and my 90 year old mother and it still sits on the curb 90% of the time).

Buying a highly-depreciated used car and rarely driving it can result in very low per-mile costs even for occasional drivers, if they share (we have one car for 4 licensed drivers and my 90 year old mother and it still sits on the curb 90% of the time).

I'd be willing to do that...but I don't know anyone else who would be. I don't have family around here, and my friends have all decamped to the suburbs.

Or, you could buy a $72/month bus and subway pass, like New York City.

The solution is so obvious. People just like to jerk around with these stupid schemes. I expect higher prices will eventually kill that habit.

for us non-yuppies its called "hitch hiking".thumb is pretty low tech most folks have at least 1.

the drumbeat isn't what it used to be since prices have fallen so much :)

back then it was all grim and doomerish, forecasts about prices reaching 200 dollars, people writing bullish articles, and so on. a true drama :)

now, it's back to worrying about politics and polar bears / global warming. it's not fun anymore :P

We're just taking a little break. I think we will get back to full "drama" when everybody in the north east gets their November heating oil bill. That reminds me, I gota get back out there and finish stacking the five cords of wood I just bought on Craigslist.

By the way, the first leaves just started falling in my yard today. I can't remember, but I think this is a little early.

Yeah, me too, I'm having real trouble adjusting to
Post Peak-Oil-Price Drumbeat. Where's the buzz ?

Get used to it. It's happened before, it will happen again. Interest in peak oil is pretty closely tied with oil prices, and oil prices are not going to go up steadily and forever.

And so manipulation has been successful, for as long as it can

Those crews have still not been returned to the GOM rigs.

So for the last ten days we have pulled how much oil/gas out of the GOM?

And Bodman is releasing reserves to two more as yet un named oils.

We won't find out until we run out.

As the eye of Ike crosses Cuba, it will not follow Dolly
into S Texas.


For the record, today's MMS report (pre-Ike, post-Gustav, or the other way around?)

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT today, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 167 production platforms, equivalent to 23.3 % of the 717 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Production platforms are the structures located offshore from which oil and natural gas are produced. These structures remain in the same location throughout a project’s duration unlike drilling rigs which typically move from location to location.

Personnel from 44 rigs have also been evacuated; this is equivalent to 36.4 % of the 121 rigs currently operating in the Gulf. Rigs can include several types of self-contained offshore drilling facilities including jackups, submersibles and semisubmersibles.

From the operators’ reports, it is estimated that approximately 77.5 % of the oil production in the Gulf has been shut-in. Estimated current oil production from the Gulf of Mexico is 1.3 million barrels of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 64.8 % of the natural gas production in the Gulf has been shut-in. As of June 2008, estimated natural gas production from the Gulf of Mexico was 7.0 billion cubic feet of gas per day. Since that time, gas production from the Independence Hub facility has increased and current gas production from the Gulf is estimated at 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Well, the current Republican president is an oil man. It should be no surprise that the oil markets stabilized and came down to acceptable levels approaching the election. It wouldn't do for the GOP candidate to have to explain $140.00 while he is so busy. He'll have plenty of time to apologize for it after he is elected. Russia invades a major pipeline, hurricanes blow through our offshore oil fields, and yet the price of oil doesn't even bounce. It looks like someone has a tight grip on it.

On another note, I stayed up last night reading about the New Deal. It is no coincidence that the powers-that-be appointed Bernanke as our Fed Chairman -- He's a leading expert on the Great Depression. These "new and innovative" measures for bailing out the banking industry look a whole lot like the New Deal banking fixes which were put in storage in 1943. Maybe the Democratic candidate will have the sense to step up and take party credit for the legislation and insist that the other aspects of the Deal benefiting the general population be pulled out of the closet, too.

Actually price fall is what I expect to happen as we pass peak. Since there has to be some mechanism to drive demand lower I expect it to be a recession.

Here on TOD we tend to look at the production side of things, but it is equally valid to look at the demand side.

A recession will cause demand to fall away rapidly and unpredictably.

There is no reason to expect the decline in demand to exactly equal decline rates of oil production.

Since demand can't exceed supply the only side it can be 'in error' is to be less than supply, resulting in falling prices.

The still falling prices indicate demand is still declining and less than what we know is largely stagnant world supply - i.e. we are definitely past world peak!

Anyway my computer thinks the average price for 2008 will be $90 +/- about $5, I think we should still be way above that!


Since demand can't exceed supply the only side it can be 'in error' is to be less than supply, resulting in falling prices.

Utter nonsense.

Demand at a given price can certainly be higher than supply at that price. What happens then is that the price increases until enough demand is destroyed and/or supply added to find a new equilibrium. "Demand destruction" was all over TOD a few months ago when prices were high; have you already forgotten?

Sometimes, some of the data just plain doesn't support the notion that peak is right now, regardless of how much you wish it did. Instead of making up nonsensical rationalizations, it would be a lot more useful to simply point out all the very good reasons why cutting back on oil consumption is just as important now as it was 3, 6, 12, and 24 months ago.

If you think this month's data matters, whatever it says, you don't understand the problem. This isn't a short-term issue.

This isn't a short-term issue.

I strongly agree.

Any real solution to our energy and environmental problems will require substantial lifestyle changes.

One of the encouraging signs that I see is how much the environment has become a major political issue. Even the energy companies seem resigned to the fact that CO2 emission standards are going to get much tougher. The squabbling is now about what form any new legislation will take - cap-and-trade, carbon tax, combination of both, etc.

This kind of debate wouldn't have happened twenty years ago.

Who says discussions of politics can't let you get your doom on? I present to thee:

Palin's Pastor: God "Is Gonna Strike Out His Hand Against" America

(Personally I think this headline is poorly titled. It would be more accurate to say God "Is Gonna Strike Out His Hand Against Everyone)

On July 20, 2008, the pastor of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's home church, Larry Kroon, delivered a sermon called "Sin Is Personal To God." Kroon, the senior pastor of the non-denominational Wasilla Bible Church in Wasilla, Alaska, used the book of Zephanaiah as his reference point for discussing "that great day of the Lord when God will finally bring closure to human history... a day of wrath." According to Kroon, "all things and all people" are going to bear the brunt of God's "intense anger." "There's anger with God," he proclaimed. "He takes sin personal."

Blumenthal provides a recording of the sermon and a link to a transcript. The sermon (which I have to admit is quite riveting), is not very upbeat. It fact it makes most of the prognostications around here seem pretty tame. Kunstler's World Made by Hand would be a vacation compared to what this cat thinks is coming down. I apologize for the extensive quote, but it is only a small part of the entire sermon.

We’re talking about the whole timeframe of the end, when God begins to bring closure to the world as we know it. It’s not...it’s not a sunny picture. In fact, later in Zephaniah, when we get down to the very end of chapter 1 if you wanna glance there, chapter 1 verses 14-16, there’s a drumbeat almost of descriptive terms in which Zephaniah, looking at the future and seeing that great day of the Lord when God will finally bring closure to human history, he says this--it is a day of wrath.

A day of wrath is that day...

And then he begins a drumbeat of follow-up terms. He says ‘It’s a day of trouble and a day of distress.’ He says it’s

A day of destruction and desolation...

He goes on and says ‘it’s a day of darkness and a day of gloom, it’s...’

A day of clouds and thick darkness...


A day of trumpet and battle cry...

Probably grimmest of all is what he says in verse 18 when he describes it. He says

For God will make a complete end, indeed a terrifying one...

The day of the Lord...Zephaniah sees that and he announces God’s message—He’s going to remove all things.

Now, when we hear that, the next question that often comes to mind is, ‘Well, who all is going to be impacted by this? I mean, for whom is this message really relevant?’ Bottom line we’re really concerned—‘does it really apply to me?’

Response there is to pick up on what I call the repetition that we’re gonna see. And as we see it, it’s gonna become emphatic that when God says it’s gonna be all things, He’s talking about all things and all people. In fact, in the original Hebrew, the word ‘things’ is not there; it just simply says ‘all.’ And it’s the next verse, the emphatic repetition of verse 3, that fills in the content of that term ‘all.’ Let’s read it together; I’ll just read it out loud for you. He says

“I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea, and the ruins along with the wicked’ and I will cut off man from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.

Go to the very end of this chapter, that grim verse...verse 18, and you’ll find the same repetition that is so emphatic. Not only does He say in verse 3 “I will cut off man from the face of the earth,” when you come to verse 18 he says

He will make a complete end, indeed a terrifying end,

And here comes the last phrase of his opening message, verse 18 last line, and he says

...of all the inhabitants of the earth.

This devastation, this destruction, is so absolute that there is no way to escape it, not even the grave. It’ll be a final day that deals both with the quick and the dead, the living and those who’ve passed on.

Kroon goes on to state his opinion that the end is nigh. Anyone want to join my new Political Action Committee, Doomers For Palin?*

* This posting was meant to be a humorous parody of actual political endorsements and is not to be interpreted as a real endorsement of said candidate. The author (who does believe in the fast crash scenario) in no way supports the use of nuclear weapons (strategic or tactical), EMP bombs, biological weapons, energy,food, water or I-NPK embargos, war, genocide, financial market collapse, asteroid or comet impact, gamma ray burst, ice age, super volcano, pandemic virus, rapture or any unforseen events caused by the use of GMO's, toxification of the environment, loss of biodiversity, nanotechnolgy or geoengineering that could lead to the permanent reduction in the population of Homo Sapien Sapien.

...I will remove the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea...

The Big Guy'd better move quickly. Man seems intent on beating him to it.

Strikes me as odd that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright gets pilloried in the press for saying that blacks were mistreated and that, heaven forbid, God may very well be on the side of the oppressed. Obama, subject to political heat, ends up leaving his adopted church b/c of potential association. Simply, bad campaign optics to continue to be a member of Trinity Church.

Jeremiah Wright on Bill Moyers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ytn2p8FHos0

But Palin's pastor, Larry Kroon, can preach doom and gloom and watch out all you nasty sinners - the day of the Lord is at hand - and since he passes mustard with the Christian right, her association with him is considered an asset.

Wassup with this crappola? Preachers must proclaim the good news that God is 100% true patriot American to be credible? That a mighty God who smotes is preferable to one who proclaims good news to the poor and lets the captive go free?

Sure, phreephallin, sign me up for your new Political Action Committee, Doomers for Palin. Hell, if she wins, the apocalypse can't be far behind. Easy way to vindicate all our doomerish comments.

Since we're roasting the earth with all our hydrocarbons anyway, let's be done with it: just launch a few missiles Russia's way and watch the fireworks.

Yes, a die-off the quick and painless way. Zap, we're vaporized.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if we're really good, we can watch the spectacle on the grandstand seats assigned for the raptured in heaven.

You know, it's so twisted, no body could make this stuff up!! Seriously, it's too twisted to be fiction.

Palin's former pastor actually sounds like he might be a peak oiler:

Pastor Ed Kalnins cites conflict in the Middle East, America’s dependence on foreign oil and the depletion of energy reserves as evidence that “storm clouds are gathering”. He told The Times: “Scripture specifically mentions oil instability as a sign of the Rapture. We’re seeing more and more oil wars. The contractions of the fulfilment of prophecies are getting tighter and tighter.”

He told The Times: “Scripture specifically mentions oil instability as a sign of the Rapture.

It does? News to me.

Then again, one could say scripture specifically mentions that real men become gay math teachers. "Be fruitful and multiply." Guess it depends on how you read the text:-)

Hi phree,

I think you left off the production of a mini-black hole that will relentlessly gobble up everything.


As I understand it, the chances of this happening are so remote that it would be like winning the Powerball lottery every week for a year. I actually just made this up as I don't know the actual odds but they are incredibly remote. I can live with that sort chance!

But since you brought up the Hadron collider, I would like to say that I feel like the money and effort that's spent on things like this could be better directed towards, oh I don't know, making sure people have clean water or birth control. Of course that's not the way the world works, but haven't jokers like these been trying to prove the existence of "dark matter" for three decades? It is my understanding that they are no closer to proving it than when they started.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink: Climate inaction 'costing lives'

Possible supporting evidence?

UN says Ethiopian food shortage now alarming

...The U.N. says more than four million Ethiopians need emergency assistance and a further eight million need immediate food relief.

Severe floods hit Ethiopia last year, destroying most of the food crops. This year, drought has worsened the situation.
As others have stated before: climate change brings larger and longer weather whipsawing effects. Combined with higher energy costs and decaying infrastructure [Matt Simmons: Rust never sleeps], it just becomes ever more difficult for the Overshoot to mitigate the ever growing cascading blowbacks.

Even if you can afford I-NPK, or can move O-NPK to where it is needed, it doesn't do any good if there is no rain, or no petrol to run a irrigation water-pump from a fast-depleting aquifer. Since job specialization is entirely dependent upon food surpluses--the economy nosedives into decline.

Speaking of I-NPK: POT recently released an excellent and concise global analysis, that is chock full of charts [48 page PDF Warning], that covers many of the foodstuffs and fertilizer topics:

Q3 Market Analysis Reports August 29, 2008
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

Climate inaction 'costing lives'
Oxfam says rich nations' carbon footprint are putting lives at risk

Failure to take urgent action to curb climate change is effectively violating the human rights of people in the poorest nations, an aid charity warns.

Maybe people won't think me so aggressive or "out there" in the future when I greet denialists with the accusation of committing crimes against humanity.

Or, at least I now have some company.


Huh. We're going to be cajoled to bail out the humanitarian disaster in Ethiopia - while our favorite authoritarian warmongerer (African branch) continues to cause a humanitarian disaster in Somalia under Ethiopian occupation, backed by US airstrikes, with outside aid kept on the sideline. Now I understand why Zenawi tried to withdraw from Somalia - he needs those troops back home. But of course the US ordered him to stay until we got whatever fantasy we wanted.

The double standards are getting wider all the time.

Didn't the ancient Egyptians have problems when the Nile didn't flood? That was a drought in Ethiopia. What's tough about Ethiopia now is the huge population and not enough social structure to stockpile food for the inevitable bad seasons. And now the whole world isn't stockpiling food for the inevitable next Mt Toba / Krakatau / your favorite disaster or economic catastrophe here. Speaking of catastrophes: buffs might like to look at the new edition of Tsunami: the underrated hazard. Nice pictures of boulders on the top of headlands that didn't get thrown there -- they settled gently as the water receded! Compelling case that some of these events were caused by asteroid/comet splashdown. If you're in Melbourne you can browse it in the new books section of the State Library.

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the post on Cuba over in the hurricane article.

Since you read the longer report, do you have any ideas about why so much of their ag land is not in use?

McCain gets a large jump from Sarah-only voters under 30 are unimpressed http://www.gallup.com/poll/110137/McCain-Now-Winning-Majority-Independen...

And according to this poll, it's men's support, not women's, that give Palin the edge.

I wouldn't get too worked up about polls, especially at this stage of the game. There's a reason they call it a "bounce." What goes up usually comes down.

There's a reason they call it a "bounce." What goes up usually comes down.

Just like world markets:

FTSE 100 5416.10down -30.20 -0.55%
Dax 6231.90down -31.84 -0.51%
Cac 40 4296.39down -43.79 -1.01%
Dow Jones 11436.73down -74.01 -0.64%
Nasdaq 2255.73down -14.03 -0.62%
BBC Global 30 5610.44down -41.90 -0.74%

Looks like the excitement generated by the US treasury rescue package for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac didn't last long -- shelf-life expired after one day. Too much bad news on the wire.

Not surprising with the business headlines today courtesy of BBC:

Oil falls ahead of OPEC meeting
US home sales 'decline in July'
Airbus unveils new saving plans
Airbus European job cuts fear
Pakistan's future
Investors sue ex-Fannie Mae execs
Indian bank chief wary on prices
Global slump hits German exports
Software blamed for LSE failure
Google to dump user data earlier
Boeing supplier cuts production

Yep, the bounce is over, gone, gone, gone.
Depression anyone? Or just another temporary market mood slump??

Barack Obama in his first major decision has made a dreadful mistake that may cost him the election. That mistake of course was picking the longtime loser and also ran dropout over the hardened and savvy runner up in the primary.

It shows Obama's small mindedness and lack of vision. If one wants to win don't choose losers. Choose the best with the most support to unify the party. Hillary wanted and her supporters were practically begging for the "dream ticket". He stupidly snubbed them both.

Obama is no John Kennedy who picked Lyndon Johnson even though he couldn't stand the guy and was his political opposition in the Democratic party. His petty fear of being upstaged by Bill Clinton and Bill's inability to keep his lips or his pants zipped overcame Obama. Now he is paying the price in the polls.

Amazingly McCain in the short week or so after Obama selected Biden figured out the situation and jumped at the opening when Obama screwed up. That Obama could not foresee this shows either inexperience of lack of foresight. Presidents need to be able to see ahead in order to lead. If they can't they will be out maneuvered just as in this case.

The election is not over until it is over, but this setback was totally unnecessary and self inflected on Obama's part. He was not leader enough to know that keeping your troops in step and focused on achieving your goal is number one in winning a close election.

While I can't stand McCain or his VP choice, at least McCain or someone on his team was astute enough and quick enough to correctly analyze the situation and act on it. That is what leadership is about and Obama failed his first test.

Yes, leadership is all about pandering to the basest instincts of the electorate. Winning at any cost. The Republican Way.

I'm having difficulty (as usual) following your logic.

A man who has served 34 years in the Senate is a "longtime loser and also ran dropout"?

and from his wiki bio: "When Biden did take office on January 3, 1973, at age 30, the minimum age to become a U.S. Senator, he became the fifth-youngest senator in U.S. history.[26] In 1974, then-freshman Senator Biden was named one of the 200 Faces for the Future by Time magazine.[27]

Biden has since won additional terms easily, usually with about 60 percent of the vote. Biden spent 28 years as a junior Senator due to the two-year seniority of his Republican colleague William V. Roth. After Roth was defeated for re-election by Thomas R. Carper in 2000 Biden became Delaware's senior Senator. He is now the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Delaware history."

so if he is a "longtime loser" - who is a winner in your little world? I'd be interested in what you have done with your life to compare? or to compare apples to apples (or gasoline to ethanol) - would you say Joe Biden is a "loser" compared to Sarah Palin? I think I'd like to lose the way Joe Biden has....

and McCain has shown how astute he is by picking a scandal-ridden Governor with so little knowledge of the issues she's being kept from the press? Have you ever heard of a post-convention bounce? And how long-lasting said bounce usually is?

Your political views are about as insightful as your opinions on EROI.

It helps if your "troops" are deranged apocalyptic religious fanatics.

Come on, if Obama had picked Hillary, McCain would have swallowed his pride and picked Huckabee, who is a more natural campaigner than Palin and could cut the Clintons to pieces on their cultural mismatch with Arkansas. He was worth even more to the Christian right.

Hillary Clinton offered watered-down racism against Obama ("He's not a Moslem that I know of") when the GOP offers full strength ("He is a Moslem"). A real American only demands full strength of anything.

OT but something all Peak Oil Aware people already know about:

"Storm in a Toilet Bowl"

News Media Incompetence - A BBC article discussing the deliberate
mis-reporting by the media solely to pump up interest in the audience (i.e. increase newspaper sales, titilate etc) resulting in false crisis that then waste the public's short attention span.


"They even warned journalists that it was unreliable. Did any mention the doubt? " Junk Rating: Five out of five. This is about as bad as it gets: abject ignorance masquerading as a crisis. "


"Even the researchers said the numbers were not statistically significant... Told this, reporters carried on regardless. Hey, it's a laugh, they say. Who cares?"

All media majors should be required to take classes on statistics, and editors should be held responsible for garbage articles and their repercussions.

Not gonna work (in the UK at least). Firstly, most reporters either come up "from the bottom" by joining a small paper at 18 directly after school or parachute in after doing a degree in something else (often at a prestigious university. Hell,


used to be a journalist on the basis of a degree in classics).

More importantly, the whole point of the media is learning how to present a compelling story, which on a good day may bear a passing resemblance to the actuality. In the case of statistics you can make a reasonably tight case that something is being reported which is factually wrong, but in most other cases its a case of taking one of the extreme possibilities as what they report and being extremely cursory about any doubt's this possibility about what'll happen.

I have more faith in making the relatively few people who actually read/listen to factual articles more critical than in making reporters more balanced.

Why I'm not expecting oil prices to hit new records any time soon:

Lehman going under?

Federal deficit to soar to $407 billion: Congressional Budget Office cites 'a substantial increase in spending' and 'halt' in tax revenue growth.

Consumer borrowing: Weakest in 7 months

States' jobless funds shrink

The sharp rise in joblessness is draining unemployment insurance trust funds in many hard-hit states, setting the stage for a federal bailout to keep the funds solvent.

China & oil exporting countries will be glad to pick up the slack if there is significant demand destruction in the US. Note that in China & India, growth may have slowed, but there is still growth. I think right now the price of oil is simply tracking the rising US dollar. During the last 6 weeks the US $ has climbed around 12% in value compared to the Euro. If the US $ had not appreciated, oil would be around $118/barrel now.

That was the theory for awhile, but I don't think they'll be able to drive oil to new record highs, at least not soon. It's looking like a global slowdown to me.

It is a race between global slowdown and declining exports. I think it will take a few months for oil to be back around $140/barrel.

I think the global slowdown is just starting and will be permenant - like Heinberg said in "The Party's Over, peak oil will likely be characterized by serial recessions/depression.

But as noted here in a article the other day, will Death of The Economy (ie. Demand Destruction) keep pace with declining Supply?

And in the meantime, the US government will bail out the Freddie and Fannie, hundreds of banks and the FDIC, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Pension funds, municipalities... printing dollar bills like the toilet tissue it really is.

So the price of oil will continue to go much higher even if demand levels off or falls simply because the value of the Fiat Garbage Dollar will continue it's slide to Absolute Zero.

Garbage dollar my arse. The dollar is appreciating spectacularly because they are disappearing at a alarmingly fast clip due to the deleveraging going on in the credit world as the financial sector implodes. Just look at Freddie and Fannie. It's called deflation and the next turn in the road is depression.

The dollar is going up against the Euro. It is going down against the Yen (107 today, down from near 111 in early August). The dollar index is more heavily weighted towards the Euro than the Yen, which is why it looks like the dollar is appreciating. There really is no objective standard by which you can measure the value of a fiat currency.

I agree with you about deflation & depression. But whether the US dollar would be a long-term beneficiary of that seems doubtful to me. The supply of dollars may be shrinking, but I think the demand for dollars is going to shrink even more as the size of the US debt explodes and third-world style economic corruption becomes more visible to the rest of the world. IMO, what we're seeing now is more the depreciation of an over-valued Euro than it is appreciation of the dollar.

Here's an interesting graph I cobbled together. It's the dollar index for the last month compared with the reciprocal of the price of oil for the same period. It's a fairly good coorelation visually. Maybe somebody who has access to the data could do a nice numerical coorelation.


A bank economist here said capital is not looking for rate of return (NZ central bank rate 7.75%) but is looking to "preserve its value", he described the US Dollar as the "tallest pygmy".

If the US looses its "aura of invincibility" then on this basis the capital will flee.


Yes, the rise in the dollar is temporary - 3 months to 1 year, but there is no way it will remain strong given the destruction of the economy and the uncontrolled rise in the US government deficit. Don't be surprised to see a $1 trillion government deficit next year as entitlement programs rise due to inflation and tax receipts fall because of the economy. There are so many more shoes to drop: credit cards, commercial real estate, high-yield debt, state/municipal debt - these factors are not so bad in any other countries (except maybe the UK).
Any estimates / guesses on how much US oil demand will decline in 2009 ?

Ah, the dollar is depreciating spectacularly, not appreciating relative to both other garbage fiat currencies as well as Tangible Goods (ie. gold and oil, metals ... commodities in general)..

Look at the long term trend, not just the short term bounces.

Yes there is deleveraging and the financial sector is imploding - and Freddie and Fannie are fine examples - they created money that Did Not Exist out of their credit-issuing orifices.

Now guess what? Uncle Sam and the Federal Reserve are going to PRINT MORE dollars to bail out the Fannies and Freddies (and the Banks, Auto sector, GMACs, Pension funds etc, etc. ??? where will it end?).

And when the Fed does print the trillions needed for these bailouts, it will continue to Crush the value of the dollar until we end up in a Hyperinflationary Depression.

The dollar is in a permenant decline against Tangible Goods, and eventually most if not all other currencies will not act as a safe haven from the dollar because most if not all other currencies are also fiat garbage and their countries/economies are also in danger.

The dollar may rally from time to time, it may even be recreated (frankendollarstein) several times over the years ahead, but it will still die worthless.

Just like all the fiat currencies throughout history.

And, given the renewed vigor of "printing money" in the USA, we can expect the value of the US$ to descend back down soon?

Printing money?

As expressed so well by Ilargi on today's (September 9, 2008) Automatic Earth, "These days, it takes a trillion dollars to prop up the markets for one single day"

With funny money like that, who needs markets?

H/t Kunstler:

(Bloomberg) -- About 96 percent of crude-oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and 92 percent of natural-gas output remains halted because of Hurricane Gustav, the U.S. government said.

There is no way that this damage has been repaired in
a week.

Or that crews have been put back on those rigs, and yet crude
is down to $104.25.

With an almost certain Cat3 storm entering the GOM.


Yep...I think deflation has won the short term battle and will hide any geo-political realities of Peak Oil for the rest of this year at least. All those hoping for price point pain at the pump will be disappointed for a bit more.

This is not a short-timers game...waiting for the reality of PO to set in the minds of the world.

Another result of this deflation of commodity prices, of course, is that many entities that bet on a huge runup 3-6 months ago are getting slammed and dunked. Do you think those darn speculators have learned their lesson yet?

Given the economic downturn, what Megaprojects says about production (and the lack of small fields therein, which are pushing a lot of new oil to market in the US), I'd say we are now looking at at least 2013 before PO really slams down. That is, unless decline is significantly higher than the 5.2 recently reported.

That said, the Perfect Storm is just getting wound up. Lots more fun to come. Category 1 now. Can't wait for Cat 5...



Like that song...Inflation to the right of me, Deflation on the left...stuck in the middle with you...

Lots of heads are rolling at Lehman right now. A friend just emailed me that it's his last day: "It's a blood bath over here... Much of my dept is leaving today."

"Federal deficit to soar to $407 billion:"

first what the cbo calls deficit is only the "on budget" deficit.

i dont see how an increasing deficit will have the effect of lowering oil prices.

I saw this letter-to-the-editor in today's Dallas Morning News and it gave me a good laugh:

If we could just harness the hot air from both political conventions, we will be well on the way to solving our energy problems.

Sam Price, Dallas


I thought about creating a free energy device by strapping magnets to the bodies of the US's Founding Fathers and then wrapping copper around their coffins. I'm sure with the violations we've had to the constitution over the past 7 years, I could generate at least a kilowatt with just one body!

Be honest: Last 90 years ... since Fed Reserve etc. The '30s did the constitution in and the rest have been piling on.

Dated Brent just went below $100.

11:00a EDT $99.98
11:30a EDT $99.58

Charles Maxwell talking about oil prices this morning on CNBC. As low as 80 short term as high as 300 long term:


Regarding this bit from the Heinberg top link:

The Market will always come to the rescue. As easy conventional oil depletes, tar sands, oil shale, and biofuels become more economic to produce.

One thing I'm always amazed that the economists ignore is that a higher price may make those additional energy sources economically viable, but not "more economic". Their price remains high. (Actually, goes even higher, as is often explained here.) And this higher price has an impact on the economy as a whole. E.g., without cheap transport energy globalisation may not survive. And more generally, higher-priced energy (i.e. lower EROEI sources) mean less energy available for the rest of human activities.

Heinberg is a very smart guy that is basically honest. IMO his blind spot is that he assumes others (Soros, top economists, etc.) are just as honest in their pronouncements and are unable to grasp his insights. The chances of George Soros being unaware of the implications of decreasing EROEI are literally one in a million. Anything they say on this subject is irrelevant-their actions are the only indication of their beliefs.

I find myself amazed by the same lack of comprehension. Cries of ecstasy that 30-40% price increases in electricity now make solar more "cost competetive" ignore the fact that for millions of low income and working class consumers, the future is an endless struggle to keep the lights on because they can't pay the bills - no matter how it is generated. Discussions of the benefits of higher food prices for organic farmers who can compete ignore the fact that now poor people who were merely priced out of organic food are now priced out of all food.

It continually amazes me that people can't get this.


I just started your book last night. Got through the first chapter. So far so good.

As for making solar more competitive, I think that the key is to make energy prices somewhat high so that people treat energy with respect, but then to offset those prices by lowering taxes on the low income workers.

I like the idea of putting on a pollution tax, then setting the standard deduction to $100,000.

Low income households pay very little in income taxes compared to other expenses like rent and utilities. For low income families to take advantage of solar means someone else would have to pay for it.

From the story on paying for insurance by the miles travelled:

or they could have an electronic mileage-tracking device installed on their vehicle.

This should be mandated on all new vehicles. In addition to pricing insurance on a mileage basis road usage should also be charged on a usage basis.

This would allow road users to see the inclusive true cost of road construction and maintenance. Construction is several million dollars per mile and I have not seen maintenance/repair/snow removal costing but it will not be cheap.

Once drivers become aware of the true cost of driving they will be more inclined to move to alternate modes of transportation and they will demand that the system of "public cattle wagons" be upgraded to something that a human being would actually want to use. This would have a positive effect on FF demand and also be positive for AGW.

With regards insurance issues I would advocate the electronic device function as a black box and record the last 30 minutes of car function. Run down a pedestrian or a cyclist and if the black box shows high g forces, no use of turn signals, speeding etc then it is no longer an "accident" but deliberate abuse of the rights and responsibilities of a driver.

Since usage of a vehicle is not an inherent right ( you were not born with 4 wheels and an ICE) I see no reason why the data recorder could not be used to first give the driver feedback on his/her bad driving habits and if no corrective action taken within a specified period then the device starts issuing fines with these increasing until the driver either gets rid of the car or begins to behave in a responsible manner.

Since the government is already free to monitor all of your communications (USA) and all of your movements (UK) then why not extend that to making sure drivers actually obey the laws and cease placing the innocent at risk.

Each year 100 times more die on the roads than died on 9/11 but no one has yet declared war on Detroit.

"an electronic mileage-tracking device ... should be mandated on all new vehicles"

- it's already there, it's called an "odometer".

"In addition to pricing insurance on a mileage basis road usage should also be charged on a usage basis."

- much better to charge by damage to road surface. Larger vehicles cause more damage - proportional to FOURTH POWER of weight. I.e., a 5000 pound SUV causes _16_times_ more damage to the road than a 2500-pound car. And a heavy truck is completely out of sight. But let's compromise, and charge in direct proportion to weight. That's called a gasoline tax. I gather it's already established, only need to bump up the rate so we can fix the bridges before, rather than after, they collapse.

No new big-brother devices needed.

Yeah I really get nervous every time I hear/see/read someone say "I've got the solution we just need more government interference assistance."

Any milage pricing will have to be ran through some silly government formula (read loophole for the rich) so that smaller vehicles don't end up paying much more than their fair share vs SUV's. If the tax/insurance makes up most the cost of owning a car/SUV/Hummer people, that can still afford them, will go back to driving the largest vehicle they can. Dang unintended consequences.

The Freakonomics guys tackled this too, but don't call it a gasoline tax. Shhh. It's Pay At The Pump Insurance.

Doesn't sound fair to me either to charge straight mileage for either road tax or pay-per-mile insurance.

The black box data recorder already exists in modern vehicles. It does record what the driver was doing before an accident. The problem is the ongoing legal issue of whether a car driver can be compelled to produce the data to authorities or insurance companies after their involvement in an accident.

With regards to insurance, miles driven do not correlate to accident risk. Major risk factors include age; both the very young and very old, and drug and alcohol use. Driving habits are also a primary risk factor. Study after study has shown that drivers who receive traffic violations or who are involved in a single accident will be more likely to be involved in future accidents. I've employed as many as 175 drivers at one time. Over 20 years I have paid dearly when I gave a driver who was involved in an accident a second chance. Far to often the second chance equalled a second accident. Our policy is we will not hire any driver who has had an accident or who has more than one traffic violation. And that one traffic violation has to be minor This company policy has cut our auto insurance premiums by more that 40%!

You point on a data recorder giving a driver real time feedback is an excellent one. The key is accountability. Unless that data is made available to someone who can use it to force a change in driving habits, it won't be effective. Drivers of commercial vehicles respond well to this type of feedback. Their jobs depend on it. Years ago, an rental car company, I forget which one, used a data recorder to fine drivers for exceeding the speed limit. It was rather controversial and I don't think it lasted long.

TOD readers who have teenage drivers might want to check out a data recording device called CarChip. http://www.carchip.com/ It allows you to download key information on your son or daughters driving habits. You can set several parameters that give the driver feedback while driving when they exceed programed limits. It simply plugs into the vehicles ODB II port. It also records the time interval when the teenager unplugs it:)

You point on a data recorder giving a driver real time feedback is an excellent one. The key is accountability.

If the driver failed to correct his behavior or her performance was so poor as to present a risk to others then the system would fine the driver or register demerit points against the license. If performance was extremely bad then the system could shut down the car.

My background is offshore safety and I am constantly appalled at the risk exposure accepted by the motoring public. In an earlier life I was engaged in marine search and rescue and once you observe the effects of momentum and inertia on the human body then you tend to become very respectful of physics.

VT raises the privacy issue and I agree with that position. However, driving is not a right, it is an obligation and responsibilty; you must meet certain criteria before you drive on the public roadway. The problem there is limited enforcement of the law and a driver can literally get away with murder. Enforcement is variable to non-existant and typically follows after loss of life and damage to property not before.

I am torn over the civil liberties issues but see those as already being eroded without any real complaint. Your civil liberties avail you little if you or your loved one has been run down by maniac with a 4,000 pound semi-guided missile.

A data recorder would reveal we are all lousy drivers. Now what?

I highly recommend the book Traffic:Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has spent years researching the psychology of driving. He ranges on topics from the influence of eye contact or anonymity to politeness to why roads that feel more dangerous are actually safer. Here is a snippet from the Amazon Q & A with the author discussing the importance of feedback:

Q: We’ve all had the experience of the annoying passenger who can’t stop critiquing our driving when we know are driving just perfectly. Then again, we’ve all been the back seat driver to people who think they are driving perfectly when we know for sure they are about to kill us. What accounts for the way drivers vs. passengers experience the same ride?

A: First of all, I should stress that passengers, even annoying back-seat drivers, are good for us: Statistics show that people are less likely to crash when they are accompanied in the car (except, interestingly, teen drivers). But there’s several interesting things going on between drivers and passengers. For one, driving as an activity often lacks regular feedback — we’re often not aware in the moment of how close to a crash we almost came, or our own culpability in that. Secondly, drivers tend to self-enhance. They all tend to think they are better than average, or at least average drivers — it’s been called the "Lake Woebegone Effect." Passengers are not caught up in this dynamic — there’s no such thing as a "better than average" passenger — nor do they feel themselves joined to the mechanics of the car, the way a driver does. Brain scans of people doing simulated driving have even revealed different results from people acting as simulated passengers. In the end, a back-seat driver, like it or not, is providing feedback, the same way someone can view footage of their golf swing to learn what they couldn’t see in the moment.

Q: You talk about numerous experiments going on around the world to study traffic, what are some of the ones that you found most interesting?
A: One of the most fascinating things that is happening, thanks to technology like TiVo style cameras and feedback sensors, is that researchers are becoming increasingly able to study how drivers really behave on the road, learning curious details about, for example, how much time drivers spend looking in certain places — forward at the road, in the rear-view mirrors, away from traffic, at the radio, etc. With companies like DriveCam, this information is actually being used to coach drivers — beginners but also experienced drivers — based on the crashes they narrowly avoided.

An interesting anecdote he relates is from a teen driver who had the DriveCam system installed in his vehicle. After some period of having the device recording "events" (triggered by sudden stops, high speed turns, excessive acceleration), the teen related that he had learned to "beat" the DriveCam, that is to ensure that it never reported his driving mistakes.

His secret? He kept his speed at or below the speed limit, he looked out well in front of the vehicle, he maintained a greater distance between the car in front of him, he slowed down early etc.

He kept his speed at or below the speed limit, he looked out well in front of the vehicle, he maintained a greater distance between the car in front of him, he slowed down early etc.

I do all that stuff right now, but it just pisses off the other drivers on the road, who are intent on speeding, weaving through traffic, and racing up to the next light only to slam on the brakes.

Found some data on road costs per mile over a 30 year period.


The data is for the Sacramento area which I doubt has to deal with snow clearance and frost heaves. Over a 30 year period they estimate a per mile cost of $2,820,000 for a well maintained road and a cost of $3,640,000 for a poorly maintained road. On an annual basis the well maintained road costs $94,000 per year and poorly maintained road $121,333.

And these costs would not include social costs for injuries and damage due to accidents over that time span, or the health costs due particulate matter in exhaust. Nor does it include the costs resulting from a massive transfer of wealth from country A to country B and the cost of borrowing back some portion of those funds. And the bill for AGW costs remain to be determined.

According to the PDF, 30% of the current costs are not being met and are being deferred. This means that the infrastructure is declining by 30% a year. So we can add Peak Infrastucture to all the other Peak events. Of course this problem would be easily solved if we listened to the economists and allowed a market based solution. No more socialist molly coddling!! America needs to fully embrace free enterprise or grow poor trying. /scarnol

I don't get it. It costs $800,000 more to not take care of the road? Please explain.

Let's not pretend to mistake the meaning and context of the original statement, in order to indulge ourselves in a fun rhetorical zinger, shall we? Remember that old saying about an ounce of prevention?

The practical alternative to good maintenance is not literally no maintenance, because with no maintenance, the road will soon enough become altogether impassible. Usually the locals won't stand for that regardless of how much they hate to pay taxes. And usually the local authorities, corrupt or inept as some may be, won't actually want to risk the huge lawsuit that will come after an ambulance, police car, or fire truck simply can't get through.

The real world alternative is poor maintenance. That almost always entails deferring preventive work, such as attending to breaks and cracks before they propagate wildly and destroy the pavement. Or, to quote from the Google cache since the pdf document link goes through the motions but fetches up nothing:

Texas Transportation Institute studies conclude that it costs less in the long run to have good roads than bad roads – if you keep up with preventive maintenance continuously.

Deferred maintenance drives up long term cost; it shortens the cycle for rehabilitation, which is four times as costly. Deferred rehabilitation compounds the problem, often leading to pavement failure and the need to reconstruct the whole roadbed, at ten times the cost

Just what part of that is so hard to believe? Wouldn't it be the same with a lot of other things, such your own teeth (i.e. dental work) ... or a bus you drive? Neglect either one and run it into the ground, and pretty soon you're into very expensive heavy rehabilitation, no?

Not sure what happened to the link. This is Google's HTML copy of the original PDF:

Perhaps the site is running on generator power. I thought it fitting it was down. Nameservers too. Though those are back up. Portents of future.

Oil prices, technology, and the cost of ignorance

Many opportunities exist to use a little understanding, a little technology, and a little capital to make a significant decrease in fuel consumption. But rest assured that these things will not happen.

Interesting column talking about using basically current electronics to improve energy efficiency.

Apologies if this is too off topic; first time poster here.

Just wondering if any regular TOD contributors plan to attend the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. It isn't oil-themed, but there are enough links between energy/development/biodiversity conservation that I thought some of you might be. My sense is that the big conservation NGOs are fairly well behind the curve.

I'll be there--happy to report back if folks are interested.

Yes, d0g3n, many of us would like to hear your insights. Have fun & learn much!

This is a few weeks old so sorry if its already been covered.

"Catherine Austin Fitts reviews the book "The Oil Card" by James Norman "


From the authors comments;

"The record is now clear as to how we broke the Soviets by driving down crude prices in the 80s and holding them there until the USSR was bankrupt, and went away without a shot fired. The purpose of the book is to note the large volume of evidence that the same mechanisms used to achieve that oil market management (downward) in the 80s are now at work in the opposite direction for the apparent purpose of stressing the PRC. Those include: Saudi (and now Russian) production restraint, zero-growth liquids output by the international oil majors (despite massive cash and technical resources) and huge fund flows into the oil futures market (diverted from the capital markets by a series of questionable US regulatory actions)."

I don't by it all but IMO it fits into the mix a bit.

Agree souperman2, I don't buy it all either. My skeptical side chalks this up as wishful thinking. Easier to believe the USA has a firm handle on the control of key resources (in the guise of a high level and long term strategy) than to accept the harsher alternative, i.e. that America and the world are subject to the natural and finite constraints of geology and technology -- and by the real restraints of realpolitik played by numerous international actors each acting in their own self-interest.

Not to say the US is not a highly influential actor in the game. It is!

Not to say the US does not use oil as a political weapon. It does!

Rather to say Mr. Norman's argument gives a tad much credence to the belief that world history is, by and large, a byproduct of decision-making by the power brokers in Washington.

Possible? yes. Probable? no.

Thanks for responding Zadok.

I don't look at things from purely an Amero perspective any longer.

I believe that the Global Economic Warfare that Mr. Norman and Mz Fitts discuss is International banksters VS the rest of the world at this stage.

This is the only explaination I can come with for the 7 hour shut down of London trading yesterday.

I don't think that anyone has all the pieces of the puzzle figured out. At least that I have been able to find.


This is the only explaination I can come with for the 7 hour shut down of London trading yesterday.

My only frame of reference is that I spent the better part of the summer of 1989 in London. At that time tube workers were on rotating strikes and the telephone system was abysmal (I've heard that it has since improved). The standing joke at the time among the people I was staying was: "Britain is a third world country that dresses well". Not quite true, since in all fairness, North Sea oil was providing a steady cash flow into the country's coffers at the time.

Yesterday's trading halt does seem conspicuously and suspiciously convenient. But then again, it may very well be merely another sterling example of British technology and expertise at work.

Sad to think, a century ago, London was at the center of the world stage. The British Empire covered much of the globe.

It is no longer a laughing matter: increasingly, "Britain is a third world country that dresses well."

Perhaps it is just as well the lights went out early, yesterday. Something symbolic in that.

As the Supertramp song, Fool's Overture, stated so well, "how great the fall can be."

We dress well?

I questioned that too. Dress well? Compare to whom? Didn't want to upset my hosts so I went along with it.

After seeing Boy George, the observation was wearing thin. :-)

Yes, how great the fall can be!


but we do have the best dentists....

smile, and the world smiles with you... :-)

I think the problem is the belief that having an empire that covers much of the globe qualifies as greatness. Like America's bases in 130 countries, it's just a pathology that weakens the homeland while blinding it with vanity.

Sweden gave up its empire when it was still ahead, and avoided the worst case nightmare of having its own capital destroyed in war. I'm developing an affection for the idea.

The Soviet Union withstood the German invasion during World War II. I think a claim that low oil prices caused a collapse of the Soviet Union is a little simplistic.

That has mostly to do with leadership, though. I don't think Stalin would have allowed the USSR to collapse in 1991.

Definitely not. Stalin: 'No People, No Problem!'

Yeah, Stalin had no qualms about slaughtering the population until morale improved (gets to be a point when simply being allowed to live is a joyous compromise)

The Soviet system was better equipped to survive war than peace. It was better at delivering victory than refrigerators. In war the people worked hard so their country could survive, in peace they cheated the system and then whined about the crappy refrigerators. Market economies tend to turn into state capitalism during prolonged conflicts anyway, so the Soviets needed a Cold War to reduce their disadvantages with the US.

Interesting theory anyway souper. If that were really the plan I would have to say it been a failure. The PRC has made huge (and largely unnoticed) gains in accessing future oil production. In addition to buying oil in ground out right they've committed many billions of $'s for development of future production all around the world. If the US gov't really wanted to terminally hurt the PRC all they would have to do is come up with some convert plan to shut down WalMart.

Oddly enough IME Walmart does not have a higher percentage of Made in China merchandise compared to other retailers. I would say that they have a lower percentage. In addition they disclose country of origin on both Walmart.com and Samsclub.com

Places like Office Depot usually push their store brands (e.g. Office Depot markers, rather than Brand-name markers). The shop brands are more likely to be from the PRC.

Since WalMart has forced down the cost of retailing/distribution, they may have contributed to extra consumption of Chinese made merchandise via a general increase of consumption (same dollar buys 2 widgets instead of 1)

When Sam Walton was alive, WalMart tried to stock "Made in USA" products. Today, my impression is that WalMart has a higher percentage of PRC and a lower % of "Made in USA" goods than any other major retailer.

I bought a "Made in USA" paring knife several times from WalMart (their one and only USA knife) and it has disappeared.



I'm not sure I'm remembering the numbers correctly but a couple of years ago I read a report showing that something like 80% (in value) of all Chinese exports to the US were sold thru WalMart. I joked at the time that Walmart could exeet greater control over Chinese policies then the US gov't at that time. 'all they would have to do is threaten to cut their orders.

What ever the number actually is it's clear that Walmart is THE outlet for China exports to the US. Anyone have a number for the % of Chinese exports to the US vs. the rest of the world?

Hi Rockman,

I thought I'd do a "google-is-your-friend" search.

So far we have Kazakhstan, Iran (couldn't actually get to the article), Sudan, Timor...

"The CITIC Group of China bought the oil assets of the Nations Energy "Company of Canada and granted KazMunaiGas, Kazakhstan’s state-owned oil company, an option to a 50 percent interest in Nations Energy, the official Xinhua Agency said."


"China buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil and supplies the military with weapons and aircraft."

"The solution is also pretty simply: sell assets to cashed up undemocratic countries such as China, Singapore and various Middle Eastern regimes that have ridden the energy boom.
We’ve seen a classic example of the problem and the solution in Friday’s deal between the struggling Timor Sea energy play AED Oil and China’s largest energy company, China Petroleum Corporation."

re: "convert". I think you meant to say "covert", but "convert" would probably work as well.

So Reagan deliberately caused the worst recession in 50 years in the US just so he could bankrupt the Soviet Union through low demand for oil. And now Bush is trying to pump up oil prices to bankrupt China?

Is it time for a new poll? http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4397

Front month dropped below $102 today.

Another milepost on the way to a wider conflict in the Middle East:

The source, who asked not to be identified because of the confidentiality of his contacts with the NIC, said the White House was warned that if US commando raids continued over a longer period of time, the NIC believes they could threaten the unity of the Pakistani military.

US special operations forces based at Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan carried out a helicopter-borne ground raid by commandos in South Waziristan on September 3 which reportedly killed as many as 20 people, most of whom were apparently civilians. Both the New York Times and Washington Post said top officials indicated this was only the beginning of wider campaign of raids against al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in the frontier area of Pakistan.


Did anyone see the 60 Minutes interview with Bob Woodward? He said that the US has a new weapons system that allows the military to very specifically target individual terrorist leaders. He compared it to military advances like the tank--in terms of importance. He said that if terrorists knew its capability, they would get the hell out of Dodge. He refused to elaborate further.

He attributes a lot of the lower level of violence in Iraq to a systematic, and successful, effort to kill terrorist and insurgency leaders. Makes you wonder if something similar is going on in Pakistan.

Discussed on yesterday's DB. See this Washington Post article for more detail.


Guard: Al Qaeda chief in Pakistan killed

(CNN) -- The newly appointed al Qaeda chief in Pakistan, Abu Haris, has died of his wounds after a missile attack in northwestern Pakistan, according to a guard who was also wounded in the attack.

The guard said the missiles hit the compound of a key Taliban commander. Asked about the report, the White House had no comment.
The strike apparently targeted Jalaluddin Haqqani, a key Taliban commander who has played a major role in the fight against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, sources said Monday.


Haqqani was in Afghanistan when the missiles hit and was not hurt, his son said.

It was unclear where the missiles were fired from, but CNN's Nic Robertson reported residents saying they saw two predator aircraft fire missiles at Haqqani's compound.

Haqqani was among the mujahadeen fighters who received U.S. help to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

I watched "Inside 9/11" on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday evening which was followed by a program on the search for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I dont remember seeing the name but a quick search on Google reveals The Hunt for Zarqawi DVD, As seen on the National Geographic Channel

The program described the creation of a special operations team charged with taking out key terrorist targets that were supposedly fomenting divisions and sectarian violence amongst the Sunni and Shi'a Muslims in Iraq. They describe how the targets were tracked in some detail including the use of unmanned drones. I guess far more people watch 60 Minutes than long (boring?) documentaries on Nat. Geo.! Having watched the documentaru, Bob Woodward's revelations are a yawn.

In one segment they described how a checkpoint was caught off guard by al-Zarqawi turning up late. He runs the checkpoint and is followed by a drone into a village at which point apparently the drone switches from a narrow to a wide angle view i.e. zooms out. Apparently this switching is something that these drones do automatically and by the time it had switched back to a close up, al-Zarqawi had disappeared. They showed video os the destruction of the house al-Zarqawi was in and mentioned that the two bombs used two different guidance systems, Having seen that, it doesn't seem far fetched to me that, precision weapons carried aboard unmanned drones might exist.

Alan from the islands

Hitting targets with armed drones is not exactly a news bulletin. Woodward describes "it" as a technological revolution on par with the invention of the tank.

During WWII the allies developed an intelligence technique known as "traffic analysis." This did not require breaking any enemy code. Rather it involved capturing radio traffic data and seeing which node was in communication with which other nodes.

Perform this analysis over a period of weeks or months and a communications hierarchy begins to reveal itself through the repeated pattern of communications. You could identify important nodes (high level HQ) and lesser nodes (unit HQ). It was not "real time" it was slow and painstaking.

If you vacuum up all civilian communications (and this would be easy to do in Iraq)and monitor the communications network in real time you would be able to see who talks to whom and the insurgent command chain. Once you locate the high value nodes you can then monitor them to determine if they are hostile or friendly.

What is critical is the ability to perform real time scanning and analysis of an extended communications network. Couple this with the ability to have a very quick response (armed Special Forces teams, pilotless drones, aircraft on station) and you could undertake "pinpoint" attacks which would disrupt the hostile command structure and make it very difficult to rebuild.

This is speculation on my part but I do know the Pentagon had publicly proposed a similar system earlier this decade. This proposal has since dropped from view. During the IT boom there was a Google competitor which crawled the web and produced a "real time" visual spider web of all the links. You could navigate through this spider web by clicking through it. It was very cool technology but that too has "disappeared."

The only basis I have for this speculation is the infrequent report of some high powered "friendly" tribal chief who despite being on "our side" and covered with coalition protection, and his own protective teams, is somehow attacked and killed and there are no reports of any of the assailants being killed, captured, or even identified.

My hunch is that the "friendly" tribal chief was found to be working both sides of the street and was eliminated for that reason. The advantage of this system is that you do not need to develop human assets; you simply need to have high powered technology and the US military is very good at high powered technology. The British used a similar system in Malaya in the 1960s but they did not have the benefit of the advanced computer and communications technology available today.

It's just that, what I saw on "The Hunt for al-Zarqawi" about the succesful completion of the mission, sounds like something about which terrorist targets should be afraid, very afraid. According to the documentary, following a tip his spiritual leader, Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman was followed using unmanned aerial drones to a location where he changed vehicles and then to the house in which both he and al-Zarqawi were meeting when F-16s dropped laser guided bombs on it. From the fugitive's point of view, that's gotta be as scary as it gets, especially when you're wanted dead or alive.

Outside of the developed world, especially in failed states or states that are on the verge of failure, gangsters live in communities that they rule, that are highly suspicious of outsiders, My perspective can be seen from reading this preview of an article by an American who is a lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. These outlaws are literally untouchable when they are in their safe zones. They can only be harmed by first making them feel safe and then, getting close to them without arousing suspicion or luring them outside of their safe zones, in which case they travel in convoys and surround themselves with small crowds of "foot soldiers". If they feel threatened it is just about impossible to take them out.

The only thing I can imagine that would be scarier than the al-Zarqawi operation, would be something like the "spiders" in Minority Report and frankly, I don't buy it. It was far easier for the 9/11 terrorists to operate in America than it is for Americans to operate in the third world. I think it would be difficult for the US to find someone who could infiltrate a remote Afghan region, someone who looks, talks and acts like an Afghan, has a good cover and is willing to risk his/her life for the cause.

If Bob Woodward is talking about any thing other than the sort of technology used to take out al-Zarqawi, I'll believe it when I see it.

Alan from the islands

Gee whiz golly gosh Batman, another secret weapon for the superior white man. A pile of crap. All we're doing is killing anything that moves. We'd like to pretend it's "surgical" and discriminatory but it's not - to kill such a widespread insurgency we have to kill oodles of little leaders. Other than that we're paying off groups to kill each other and shutting down media coverage. If we're lucky, we'll be able to turn Iraq over to some warlord. Woodward is a shill.

cfm in Gray, ME

Burgan Oil Field, Kuwait

I read this article:


In the last paragraph the author stated that the bulk of Burgan reservoir sands would be waterswept by the end of the decade. Burgan is the largest oil field in Kuwait and one of the largest in the world in terms of production.

Am not sure what decade the author is describing. Ten years from when the article was written, or 2010, or the next decade 2020? It is not the evidence of a 100 billion barrel reserve some had hoped for.

Once a water sweep is completed there might be some oil pockets left behind and stripper wells to take the lesser amounts of oil that might yet be lifted from below. In spite of some continued small scale production the end of the water sweep is the end of large scale production.

Of the four fields that were recently producing one mbpd or more of crude oil, it would appear that we are now down to two--Ghawar and Burgan. The common connection between all four is that they are watering out (North Ghawar in the case of the Ghawar complex). They are on their way to where the East Texas Field is now--1.2 mbpd of water of day, with a 1% oil cut.

New Short Term Energy Outlook released today.

The monthly average price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil decreased from over $133 per barrel in June and July to about $117 per barrel in August, reflecting expectations of a slowdown in world petroleum demand growth. WTI, which averaged $72 per barrel in 2007, is projected to average $116 per barrel in 2008. Projected stronger growth in world petroleum demand is expected to increase the annual average WTI price to $126 per barrel in 2009.

Consumption. After rising by about 370,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) during the first half of 2008, global oil consumption is projected to rise by about 970,000 bbl/d in the second half of 2008 and by 920,000 bbl/d in all of 2009 compared with year-earlier levels. Sluggish growth in consumption during the first half of 2008 was driven in large part by a 930,000-bbl/d decline in U.S. consumption. Declines in U.S. oil consumption are not expected to be as large in the second half of this year due to both relatively weak consumption in the second half of last year and the price declines over the past several months.

So, has anything come out from today's OPEC meeting? Have they said exactly what they intend to do as far as production goes? I've read conjecture ...guesses ...implying ... Has anything solid come out of their meeting?

Here's one comment from OPEC whoch was posted on DRUDGE:

OPEC to cut output by 520,000 bpd: OPEC president
Sep 9 09:19 PM US/Eastern

The OPEC oil group has agreed to cut its real output by 520,000 barrels per day in the next 40 days, OPEC's President and Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said Tuesday.

The BBC has a bit different take, noting:

Opec has told its members to strictly limit their production to agreed quotas as Brent crude dipped below $100 a barrel for the first time since April.

E. Swanson

According to this web page, http://www.opec.org/opecna/Press%20Releases/2008/pr112008.htm they are returning to last year's production level.

"Since the market is over-supplied, the Conference agreed to abide by September 2007 production allocations (adjusted to include new Members Angola and Ecuador and excluding Indonesia and Iraq), totalling 28.8 mb/d, levels with which Member Countries committed to strictly comply."

They also announced that Indonesia has officially left OPEC and joined OFPEC--Organization of Formerly Petroleum Exporting Countries.

And last Sept they announced


OPEC sought to stamp its authority back on volatile oil markets today by agreeing to increase production by 500,000 barrels a day to meet an expected surge in winter consumption and push prices down.

At the same time, OPEC’s top representatives said they feared that a slowing world economy might dampen future demand. The oil cartel signaled that it would be ready to act “swiftly” to protect the interests of its members.

Oil was $75 a barrel Sept '07.

Wonder if OPEC cuts include this oil production drop from the UAE?


Abu Dhabi plans maintenance that will cut oil output from offshore for 150,000 to 200,000 bpd for 40 days in October and November.

OPEC "voluntary" cuts of about 0.5 mbd should ensure that prices do not drop further. I expect that prices will soon increase again as demand increases next month. The updated chart below shows a demand supply gap of 1.2 mbd from October 2008 to March 2009 which should place upward pressure on prices.

Supply, Demand and Price to 2012 - click to enlarge

The chart below has been updated for the recent EIA IPM and STEO.

The forecast crude/condensate production is also in alignment with the recent "voluntary" OPEC production cuts.

The drop in August is due mainly to production drop in Azerbaijan caused partly by the Russia Georgia conflict.

Crude and Condensate Production to 2012 - click to enlarge

Could you produce a similar report for conventional C+C (i.e. minus tar sands) ?

It is my understanding that

1) Oil/tar sands were added to C+C a few years ago and
2) The all time high conventional C+C was May 2005.




New 65MPG Ford Fiesta not available in US? Ford? American company yes? Oh well i'm sure you guys know what you are doing!!


Don't know if anyone caught CNBC directly after the markets closed yesterday the 9th. Maria Bartiromo interviewed Alan Greenspan live, he used the exact terms I have been using the past several weeks on the TOD DB, "fiat currency", "Privatising profits" "Making Public risk and debt", when answering
specific question's posed to him by Maria. He spoke no less then 15 minutes about how the gov take/over of
Fanny and Freddie was the right thing to do.."Because
it removed abiguity from the markets" He neglected to say and any obsevers wouldnt understand that had the gov announced it wouldnt take over Fannie & Freddie,
that would have "REMOVED AMBIGUITY" also.

All roads lead to Rome
The sun never sets on the Brittish empire
and now...Project for a New American Century...will
all be chiseled on the same stone.

Of course all this (the markets tanking)is directly related too P.O. and the confussion among the masses
about oil prices falling, stronger dollar, commodities
sinking, deficits, debt, housing sales, are all just
smoke and mirrors to muddy the waters of the rip tide
sweeping everyone out to sea.
Want to get a peak at the future of a world without
oil? Dont try and do without plastic bags....try a few
days without legal tender!
E-PLURIBUS-UNUM indeed from one many will suffer.
IN-GOD-WE-TRUST indeed because dollars & filthy lucre
will be worthless. Even many TOD doomers who profess to be aware...will question even themselves as its happening right in front of them. I can hear an angel
blowing a horn and screaming "WOE IS UNTO THEM"...oh wait...thats a Lehman bro employee...never mind.