DrumBeat: September 11, 2008

Regulators can't quantify oil speculators

Agency calls for new rules to rein in traders without ties to oil, after critics blame swap dealers for record crude prices.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators say they're unable to quantify the number of speculators in oil markets.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a much-anticipated report Thursday that called for new rules that would curtail so-called swap dealers.

The Energy Challenge - The Future Starts Now

Record oil prices have sent gasoline costs skyrocketing, and America's rickety reliance on oil has claimed the electoral agenda and public attention. Yet, despite increased drilling, burgeoning demand continues to strain supply.

"Domestic gas production in the U.S. has not been proportionally increasing with the dramatic increase in drilling because much of what's being found with drilling has very high production declines during the first year," commented Vince Matthews, State Geologist of Colorado and one of many prominent speakers at the 4th annual Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO)-USA Peak Oil Conference in Sacramento, Sept. 21-23.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Saving the Chesapeake Bay

A couple of years back the Congress decided that a good way to deal with our dependency on foreign oil was to start using lots and lots of domestically produced ethanol in our cars.

The government, with some help from farm lobbyists, decreed that by 2022 we should burn 36 billion gallons of ethanol a year of which 15 billion gallons was to come from corn. Now this is all well and good, except that corn-based ethanol production will be about 9 billion gallons this year and will require a major increase in corn planting in order to reach 15 billion gallons a year and keep us eating at the same time.

Nigeria calls for way to track "blood oil"

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigeria's president called Thursday for help finding a way to fingerprint crude oil stocks in order to combat the theft and lucrative overseas sale of unrefined petroleum, aiming at stopping the flow of "blood oil" from Africa's biggest producers.

Opec plans closer links with Russia to control half of the world’s oil supplies

A top-level delegation from Opec will travel to Moscow next month to forge closer ties between the oil producers’ cartel and Russia.

Speaking at a meeting of Opec oil ministers in Vienna, Abdullah al-Badri, the group’s secretary-general, said that he and other officials would hold a joint workshop with the Russians on global oil supply, demand and market issues. Russia already attends Opec meetings as an observer and was represented this week by Igor Sechin, the Deputy Prime Minister, who said that the Moscow talks would focus on “global energy security” matters and ensuring stable prices.

“Opec is one of Russia’s key partners on the global oil market,” Mr Sechin said. “It is very important for us to create mechanisms of regular dialogue.” He said that Russia had already presented Opec with a draft memorandum of understanding including a variety of proposals.

The prospect of closer ties between Opec, whose 13 member states produce 40 per cent of the world’s oil, and Russia, the world’s second-biggest producer after Saudi Arabia, will alarm consumer countries. Together, Opec and Russia would produce about half of the world’s oil, giving them even greater control over prices if they chose to collaborate.

Investors urge SEC on reporting oil climate impact

LONDON (Reuters) - Major investors from the U.S., Canada and the UK are pressuring the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require energy companies to assess the environmental impact of oil and natural gas reserves.

A group of 19 environmental, investor and non-profit groups want the regulators, under new proposals, to ask that oil and gas companies disclose reported reserves that have higher than average greenhouse gas emissions associated with their extraction, production and combustion.

... "We urge the SEC to pay more careful attention to the implications of climate change and carbon-related regulations ... since the risks and challenges posed are likely to grow rapidly in the coming years, with significant consequences for the oil and gas industries," the group said in an open letter.

"We are concerned that climate change, and policies adopted to combat greenhouse gas emissions, could render certain assets -- particularly those with high carbon intensity -- uneconomic."

Bolivia protests deepen, tensions with U.S. rise

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Violent anti-government protests mounted in Bolivia on Thursday, creating havoc with its key natural gas industry and increasing tensions with the United States.

In the eastern city of Santa Cruz, a stronghold of groups opposed to President Evo Morales' leftist reforms, protesters occupied government buildings for a third straight day. They included the state-run television network, the land reform office, and the tax agency.

OPEC Won't Crack Under Pressure

LONDON - It will take several weeks before the number crunchers close to the ground determine just how effective OPEC's plea to end excess production will be. But already it seems unlikely that Saudi Arabia, the oil-exporting cartel's biggest producer, would choose to brazenly flout the guidelines and risk an open rift with the group.

Petrobras Oil Reserves Likely to Swell on Iara Field

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, said its Iara offshore field contains 3 billion to 4 billion barrels of oil, its second giant find in a year and enough to supply the country for five years.

The assessment released yesterday is the first estimate of recoverable oil from the discovery announced Aug. 11. Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based company is known, said in January its Jupiter field in the same region contained gas quantities similar to its Tupi area, the largest oil find in the Americas since 1976.

How Real Is OPEC's Production Cut?

OPEC's production-cut announcement in the wee hours of Sept. 10 took nearly all the weary reporters and analysts assembled in OPEC's packed Vienna headquarters by surprise. Saudi Arabian officials, who usually call the shots at OPEC, were telling their contacts before the meeting that they were happy with the current state of the market and not terribly worried by the 30% fall in prices since mid-July. In fact, Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia's dapper oil minister, said more than once with satisfaction that the desert kingdom had worked very hard to bring prices back down to earth from near-$150-per-barrel levels.

So why a cut? The answer is that in the strange world of OPEC, where words have special meaning, this cut may not be a cut at all. For the sake of unity in the organization, the Saudis appear to have yielded to pressure from hard-liners such as Algeria, Iran, Libya, and Venezuela to put what at least seemed like a cut into OPEC's post-meeting communiqué.

IEA asks India to do away with fuel subsidies

NEW DELHI: International Energy Agency on Thursdasy asked India to remove subsidies on fuel to moderate demand in the country that had contributed to high international oil prices.

IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka, on a visit to India, yesterday met Petroleum Minister Murli Deora to make a case for removing fuel subsidies and inviting New Delhi to become a member of association of oil consumers in US and Europe.

Two Britons Among Expat Oil Workers Kidnapped in Nigeria

(Bloomberg) -- Two Britons were among five foreign oil workers abducted by unknown gunmen in Nigeria's southern oil region earlier this week.

``There were two Britons seized on Tuesday and we're in touch with the Nigerian authorities to press for their release,'' James McLaughlin, a spokesman for the British High Commission in Nigeria, said by phone today from Abuja.

Niger Delta Militant Group Calls Ceasefire in Nigeria Oil Region

In Nigeria, the main militant group in the Niger Delta has called for a ceasefire. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) made the announcement Thursday in response to the creation of a government agency to develop the oil-rich region.

John Michael Greer: The retrofit economy

I’ve suggested several times in these essays that the broad shape of the most likely future facing industrial society, at the end of the age of cheap abundant energy, can be sorted out very roughly into three phases: the age of scarcity industrialism, the age of salvage societies, and – if we are lucky – the ecotechnic age, when new societies based on sustainable high technology will rise on the ruins of our own unsustainable time. For a variety of reasons, any typology of this sort is easy to misunderstand, and it seems worthwhile just now to clarify what I intend to say, and what I don’t, in proposing this model of the future.

The most important point that needs making, it seems to me, is that these three phases are to some extent ideal types, and the forms they take on the ground of actual history will be far more complex, messy, and idiosyncratic than the simple outline suggests. This isn’t simply a result of the fact that none of these phases have arrived yet. The same thing can be said, after all, of the use of economic phases to talk about history that’s already happened.

Nuclear is the real threat to the fuel-poor, not wind energy

Recent allegations that a dash for wind would cause a big increase in fuel poverty crumble when you do the numbers. Nuclear is the real worry.

Vietnam may cut coal exports to meet domestic demand

Vietnam may cut overall exports of the fuel by 89 percent by 2015 to satisfy rising domestic demand, the nation’s largest producer said.

Overseas shipments may plunge to three million tons from around 28 million tons this year, Do Dinh Nguyen, general manager of imports and exports at Vietnam National Coal & Mineral Industries Group, said at a conference in Guangzhou, China, Wednesday.

The death of OPEC

Saudi Arabia walked out on OPEC yesterday. It said it would not honor the cartel's production cut. It was tired of rants from Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the well-dressed oil minister from Iran.

As the world's largest crude exporter, the kingdom in the desert took its ball and went home.

Australia: Truckers gear up for cost hikes, emission trading

THE announcement last week that Kenworth Trucks would be sacking more than 80 workers — reducing production from 23 trucks a day to just eight — was a blast on the air horn for the Australian road transport industry.

The slowing economy, record fuel prices and rising interest rates have made for a rocky road in 2008, but for road transport operators a handful of looming speed humps will test even the most experienced operators.

Expected energy shortages in Kyrgyzstan will affect school children

Last winter countries in Central Asia experienced severe energy shortages, the situation being most severe for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In temperatures down to 30 degrees below zero electricity disappeared for days and weeks, with grave consequences for households, hospitals and schools. Kyrgyzstan is now preparing for a new winter with energy shortage. Daily power cuts are now reality in the capital Bishkek, and “winter holiday” from 20th of December till February is already announced for all schools.

Albertans risk higher electricity bills if we fail to develop new transmission lines

CALGARY /CNW/ - Alberta's Market Surveillance Administrator (MSA), Martin Merritt, argued in a public address today that Albertans will face higher electricity bills if the province does not find fair and timely ways to develop new transmission infrastructure.

"I am concerned that electrical transmission projects in this province may not be keeping up with our economic growth," he told a downtown Calgary Rotary Club. "We need more than the supply necessary to meet Alberta's needs. We need a system that allows electricity to flow freely around the province. That requires adequate transmission capacity."

An urban legend to comfort America: oil is oil, even if it is not oil

A common reply to warnings about peak oil is that we have vast reserves of oil. True, but misleading and of limited significance over short- and medium-term horizons.

When the world relied mostly on oil from the wonderful super-giant fields, the distinction between different types of oil was trivial except to those in the oil business. Sweet, sour, deep — these were technical terms. Now that these conventional sources are peaking, we must turn to unconventional sources. Calling unconventional sources ”oil” leads to serious confusion.

Wherever I lay my hat

I never thought I would spend my honeymoon on other people's couches in London, but that's what happened after my husband and I got kicked out of our flat. In three months, our energy bills trebled and so did the prices at our local supermarket. Freelance clients weren't paying, cash flow became non-existent, choices had to be made between eating and paying the rent. We chose eating. Our landlord asked us to leave. What I didn't realise was that we would be entering an emerging group of full-time couch surfers; people who have found a more communal, environmentally friendly, even utopian, way of living.

Bolivia natural gas repairs could take 15 days

BRASILIA, Brazil: A top Bolivian official says it could take 15 days to repair a damaged natural gas pipeline and fully restore gas shipments to neighboring Brazil.

Finance Minister Luis Alberto Arce says military security for Bolivian natural gas operations is being doubled, after a blast by saboteurs forced a 10 percent cut in natural gas exports to Brazil.

Brazil gets half its natural gas from Bolivia, using it to power its energy grid and as fuel for cars and cooking. Brazil will use diesel fuel to counter the shortage.

Kyrgyzstan: Energy Crisis Challenges Bakiev’s Presidency

Deep dissatisfaction brews among the Kyrgyz population as power cuts have been introduced throughout the country. Although President Bakiev hastened to reassure that heat and electricity supply will not be interrupted this winter, local observers say there are few mechanisms to make it possible, which seriously challenges Bakiev’s leadership.

Drought and low reservoir levels left impoverished Kyrgyzstan without ability to produce energy from hydropower stations this year. In order to save water for winter the government had to introduce electricity cuts, which last up to eight hours in capital Bishkek.

As the lamps and refrigerators die out so do lifts and water pumps leaving many households without hot and cold running water. Thousands businesses suffer huge losses and have to close. Some entrepreneurs decided to leave for Kazakhstan and Russia to save their funds.

Iraq ditches plans for no-bid oil contracts

AN IRAQI plan to award six no-bid contracts to Western oil companies has been withdrawn, those involved in the negotiations say.

Iraq's Oil Minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, told reporters at an OPEC summit meeting in Vienna on Tuesday that talks for one-year deals, which were announced in June and subsequently delayed, had dragged on for so long that the companies could not now fulfil the work within that time frame.

Underground coal mines to solve energy crisis

New underground coal mines could be created under plans to solve the energy crisis facing Scotland.

SNP ministers have been in talks with the Coal Authority to explore the possibility of a new generation of environmentally friendly, coal-burning power stations.

However, they came under fire for revealing that phasing out nuclear energy is their top priority, despite it offering a cheap and secure source of power with low carbon emissions.

UK: Energy cost 'pushing 10% into debt'

Soaring energy bills will push one in 10 households into debt with their fuel supplier by the end of next year, it has been warned.

The National Housing Federation said hikes in the cost of gas and electricity would force many low-income families to have to choose between heating their homes or eating this winter.

Energy bill: Drowning in Washington

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- An energy summit is taking place Friday on Capitol Hill and all 100 senators - including the presidential candidates - are invited to attend. But with all the partisan sniping on The Hill, it's hard to tell if a comprehensive energy bill will be signed into law anytime soon.

Arkansas: Mass transit makes pitch to the masses

The idea of increasing area bus service and exploring other mass transit options is meeting less skepticism than in the past, with nearly all central Arkansas mayors and county judges on the Metroplan Board of Directors encouraging exploration if not actual service.

Mass transit usually brings to mind visions of tracks and stations and people jostling each other on the morning commute, but nowhere in central Arkansas, including Little Rock, is the population density sufficient enough for even light rail service.

Stylish scooters sip gas, attract buyers

It's probably not surprising that with high gas prices, Americans rediscovered mopeds and their close cousins, scooters.

The question: How long will this latest love affair last?

Districts eye four-day school week

Elementary district officials say they know that they will spend an additional $229,000 on electricity alone this year compared with last based on the same number of kilowatt hours used, Allsbrooks said. Gasoline prices for operating buses is another cause for concern.

We have learned to live with $100, and cheap oil is not in our interest

Might the present oil shock dissipate as it did in the 1970s and we head back to cheap oil again? The working assumption of most people is that it won't and that the age of cheap oil will never return – not just in our lifetimes but never, ever. But the oil price has dipped below $100 a barrel and the fact that Opec plans production cuts does suggest that some producers at least feel that cheaper, if not cheap oil, is on the cards.

Oil goes on binge while we seek sober clarity

As oil prices crossed the threshold into triple-digit figures this year, peak oil was taking its place as more than just a theory that the world would run out of sufficient quantities of oil that was financially viable to extract. But it is more likely as an eventuality that would come to pass, probably within a decade.

An upward price trajectory for oil made it far easier to understand the link between prices and energy resource depletion, even though peak oil analysts cautioned that recession was bound to follow a price spike, thus reducing demand and lowering prices. This in turn would cause further price hikes, setting in motion a roller-coaster effect.

Invest wisely and thou shalt reap benefits of long-term resolve

Rule No. 3: There are no new eras -- excesses are never permanent.

Ignore "new era thinking" and "permanent shortage" beliefs based on the assumption that this time it's different. It never is, even under the guise of the "new economy," "peak oil," "finite supply of land" and "no more oceanfront property." Housing bubbles come and go.

The Big Question: What's happening to the price of oil, and how is it affecting the world?

Why are we asking this now?

Because the price has been bouncing around so much recently, although the general trend is firmly down. This week the value of oil dropped below the psychologically significant $100 per barrel mark for the first time since February, but it rebounded back up again yesterday following a surprise announcement from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) that its 13 member countries are to cut production by more than half a million barrels per day (bpd). Apparently they're a little concerned about the rapid fall in price since its eye-watering peak of $147 in early July.

Critical Q & A!

As with gold, what we are now witnessing in oil is merely a technical correction, and nothing more. Massive support lies at the $107 - $110 level in oil. But even if oil were to break that level, it would most likely hold the $90 to $95 level, and then resume its bull market.

In terms of fundamentals, all of my research indicates that the world has effectively reached "peak oil" — and that supplies are now in a virtually perpetual state of decline, save an occasional new oil find here or there.

Additionally, supply constraints and disruptions from terrorism and wars will unfortunately continue. Upward pressure on oil will also be created when the dollar resumes its bear market.

Bottom line: Once this technical correction in oil is over, I expect to see oil's bull market resume, with oil reaching $200 per barrel early next year, if not sooner.

Coming to New Haven, CT Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008: "Oil, War and the Future of American Foreign Policy" - A Forum with Michael T. Klare

Michael Klare, one of the world's most renowned experts on energy and security issues, unearths declassified documents and highlights forgotten passages in prominent presidential doctrines to show how concerns about oil have been at the core of American foreign policy for more than 60 years, rendering our contemporary energy and military policies virtually indistinguishable.

"Blood and Oil" calls for a radical re-thinking of U.S. energy policy, warning that unless we change direction, we stand to be drawn into one oil war after another as the global hunt for diminishing world petroleum supplies accelerates.

Cleared: Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Thou shalt go green

When the Rev. Richard Cizik talks, his message isn't what one might expect from the most prominent public voice representing the national organization of America's evangelical movement.

Religion and social issues aside, Cizik, 57, has become well-known the past few years for pushing a theme not usually associated with the evangelical movement: taking care of the Earth.

Transport - go green or go under

Are there any political leaders in the EU who say we must (urgently) move towards renewable-energy-transport and that road-building can no longer be our top transport priority? The issue is getting urgent and we must prepare for the risk of oil depletion and global warming, which could result in a six-metre rise in sea levels.

Even a small risk of oil running out should be enough to make us urgently review our transport sector. The economic arguments are powerful: There is big money to be made by "electrifying" Europe's transport fleets and the car industry is indeed quietly moving towards the electric car. But the political will is missing.

NASA study illustrates how global peak oil could impact climate

The burning of fossil fuels -- notably coal, oil and gas -- has accounted for about 80 percent of the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial era. Now, NASA researchers have identified feasible emission scenarios that could keep carbon dioxide below levels that some scientists have called dangerous for climate.

When and how global oil production will peak has been debated, making it difficult to anticipate emissions from the burning of fuel and to precisely estimate its impact on climate. To better understand how emissions might change in the future, Pushker Kharecha and James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York considered a wide range of fossil fuel consumption scenarios. The research, published Aug. 5 in the American Geophysical Union's Global Biogeochemical Cycles, shows that the rise in carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels can be kept below harmful levels as long as emissions from coal are phased out globally within the next few decades.

"This is the first paper in the scientific literature that explicitly melds the two vital issues of global peak oil production and human-induced climate change," Kharecha said. "We're illustrating the types of action needed to get to target carbon dioxide levels."

Peak Oil peak

The Peak Oil crowd is in a struggle with reality. The sandwich-board energy theorists who claim, "The end is near" for oil, are glumly looking at the crash in the price of crude. What was supposed to be heading for $200 now seems set to dip under the $100 mark. Over at Peak Oil: The End of the Oil Age, the Web site operator is absorbing the shock. "Oil prices have fallen and with it the mass interest in the Peak Oil phenomenon."

It looks grim. "The hits on this Web site have fallen, my webstore DVD stocks have suddenly stopped shrinking rapidly and it is business as usual again." But the writer adds: "Don't be fooled by falling oil prices."

At OPEC, cooling rivalries, extending a hand

VIENNA, Austria - The just ended OPEC meeting was about more than what a barrel of oil can fetch on the open market as the global economic picture grows dim.

OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia gave a nod, at least symbolically, to fellow member states that have grown increasingly uneasy about the rapid decline in crude prices. The Saudis attempted to placate rival Iran, and laid the groundwork for a potential new alliance with Russia, the world's second largest oil producer.

But OPEC's announcement that it would cut output by more than 500,000 barrels by sticking closer to quotas did little to change what most consumers care most about — the cost of filling up a car with gas or heating a home over the winter.

Bolivia tells U.S. ambassador to leave, protests mount

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivia's leftist president, Evo Morales, ordered the U.S. ambassador on Wednesday to leave the country, blaming him for intensified opposition protests that shut down a natural gas pipeline to Brazil.

Iraq ends talks with French oil company

BAGHDAD - France's Total says the Iraqi Oil Ministry has discontinued negotiations to develop an oil field in southern Iraq.

Total and U.S.-based Chevron were jointly negotiating a technical support agreement for the development of West Qurna oil field near the southern city of Basra.

Kazakhtan to hike oil export duty by 85% in October

ASTANA (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan's government announced on Thursday it will increase the customs duty on oil exports by 85% to $203.8 per metric ton on October 13.

...The government said the move would ensure stable supplies to Kazakh oil refineries and yield over $1 billion in revenue to the national budget.

Trade gap widens to 16-month high on oil; jobless claims dip

WASHINGTON (AP) — America's trade deficit shot up in July to the highest level in 16 months as oil imports hit an all-time high, offsetting strong export growth, and the deficit with China climbed to the second highest level on record.

Norway's energy industry to hike capital spending

Norway's oil and gas industry will raise investments to $22.9 billion, or 132.8 billion kroner , in 2009 as companies increase exploration, the statistics office said.

Gazprom faces fine for restricting access to gas pipeline

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom will reportedly be fined for restricting access to its pipeline network for gas producer Transnafta, according to the Financial Times, which quoted the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service.

France seeks European 'shared vision' for Arctic issues

ILULISSAT, Denmark (AFP) - France, which holds the European Union presidency, called Wednesday for a joint European approach to resolving the challenges in the Arctic, a region on the front lines of global warming.

"What we clearly need is a shared vision of the issues at stake, of the policies to face them in a region which is particularly sensitive to the impact of man's influence on his environment," Laurent Stefanini, French ambassador for the environment said.

Old forests help curb global warming too: study

PARIS (AFP) - Old-growth forests remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, helping to curb the greenhouse gases that drive global warming, according to a study to be published Thursday.

Many environmental policies are based on the assumption that only younger forests, mainly in the tropics, absorb significantly more CO2 than they release.

Head for the hills: U.S. economy collapsing under debt

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Or find a cave to hide in.

As the United States collapses under a mountain of debt worth trillions, another Wall Street investment bank struggles to stay afloat and global economies start to crumble -- the Bay Street guru who warned oil would skyrocket to US$200 a barrel has suddenly changed his tune.

Jeff Rubin, CIBC World Markets chief economist, is no longer talking about $200 oil by 2010 and in his latest Canadian Portfolio Strategy Outlook Report scales back other predictions for crude. Instead of crude averaging $125 this year, followed by $150 next year, Rubin now says it will be at $115 this year and $130 next year.

To me that's still overly optimistic. But peak oil advocates -- who paint a Mad Max future where we kill our fellow man for a drop of precious black gold -- would say I'm wrong.

The Green Rush: Full transcript of interview with Zac Goldsmith

I don’t know whether the issue of peak oil has been taken out of context or whether it's been blown out of proportion, but the truth is every one of our economic models, every one of our projections, all our assumptions are based on the availability of affordable oil. And, if peak oil theory is correct, and there are lots of people in the oil industry who say that it is, then we ought to know that, and I'd like to see a process where there is an audit of world oil supplies so we can start factoring the reality into our projections. Because if peak oil is true, if it's around the corner, or if we've already hit it, then the impact on our lives will be far greater in the short term than the consequences of climate change. It's a massive, potentially a massive issue. It may be nothing, it may be massive, but we ought to know the truth.

Prince Charles calls for 'wartime' effort against deforestation

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's Prince Charles called on the world Wednesday to act with a "sense of wartime urgency" to protect the rainforests, warning they were "umbilically connected" to the phenomenon of climate change.

The heir to the British throne told a black-tie dinner in London that rainforests "are the world's lifebelt", acting as the "world's air conditioning system" and helping store the largest body of flowing water on the planet.

Most Europeans 'very concerned' by climate change: EU survey

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Most Europeans are very concerned about climate change, but a sizeable minority feel they don't know enough to help counter it, a major EU opinion poll released Thursday suggested.

A majority of the 30,000-plus interviewed throughout the European Union and candidate countries thought that neither industry nor national governments nor the EU itself was doing enough to tackle the problem.

Record number of icebergs off Canadian coast

German photographer Rolf Hicker, who captured the image off the coast of Newfoundland in north east Canada, said: "I remember for years in Newfoundland where we hardly saw any icebergs.

"But in 2007, there was a record number of icebergs with four or five times more icebergs than they had ever seen in one season.

"For me this is a clear sign that something very bad is happening in the Arctic."

Watch as Greenland melts

A new webcam set up in Ilulissat will allow the world to watch as global warming eats away at Greenland's ice cap.
(Look like the English link isn't active yet, but you can see the Icecam here.)

Thinking about oil prices and bubbles in general, I am reminded of a great talk by Peter Thiel (a PayPal founder) that I hear recently via this podcast:
As you may know there is a group of people who believe that the human race is approaching a singularity - a sudden change in human technology and society. In this talk, Peter Thiel wonders if the prevalence of bubbles is a sign that we have already reached the foothills of the singularity. Definitely thought provoking.

If I recall correctly, Kurzweil thinks the singularity is still some decades off.


There are two problems with the theory, to my mind. First, we need complex society to continue until the singularity arrives and that won't happen.

Second, I think the theory is fundamentally flawed because it supposes that an increase in the computational power of our computers will bring a sea-change to how humans operate. In contrast, I think speed of computation (even if it brings about artificial intelligence) is not going to alter human thought processes.

Until there is a widespread understanding and alteration of some fundamental thinking patterns we use (binary logic being a good example), we will just think the same way, only faster. Or at least the computers will.

I agree. The theory assumes (almost) BAU until the singularity happens. I say "almost" because he does allow for some disruptions, just no major disruption that will alter the course of progress. Peak oil will be a major disruption.

There is another very serious flaw in his theory, to my mind anyway. It simply assumes that Moore's Law is valid and will not reach any physical limits before the singularity happens. But we live in a physical finite world and there are always limits. Just because we have not reached them yet does not mean they do not exist.

Current top computer clock speeds are about 3.3 gigahertz. (Most run at much lower speeds because of problems encountered at this speed.) Trying to go higher leads to a lot of physical problems. That is not to say they will not go higher because they almost certainly will but not that much higher. Moore's Law is about to hit a brick wall as far as clock speeds go.

Going off topic and technical for a moment, the bigger problem for lots of workloads at the moment is the memory wall


Essentially, depending what type of computation you're doing the dominant time contribution may not actually be calculational operations but waiting for data to be shoveled onto/off-of the chip/cache memory. (I'm actually sitting at work right now pondering how to mitigate this for a particular problem.) This is a big problem because, at the moment, there's very little support for automated code modification to ameliorate this effect. Likewise there's no particular problem getting theoretically greater computing power/dollar (the "generalised Moore's law" most computing people care about) by putting multiple processing cores in one package. The difficulty is actually having programs which can actually use a substantial fraction of the theoretically available capacity due to the aforementioned memory wall and the related problem of ensuring consistency of shared data available to multiple processing units ("locking"). The primary difficulty with getting greater computational abilities is the difficulty of writing the software; indeed my doubts about the singularity model are not based on physical limits, for which there are plausible technologies going at least up to the level postulated for the singularity, but that I'm not seeing anything like the progress in augmenting human deep thought with computational aids (which are needed for things like writing software to take advantage of the newer machines). Implicit in Kurzweil's writings is a feedback loop that I just don't see there.

Incidentally, people don't realise how seriously the generalised Moore's law is taken in computing: in my "assume the scenario that a severe energy crunch isn't happening now" planning, I'm working on projects that will only make sense practically if we get 10 more years of Moore's law (which translates to roughly a factor of 100 times more computation/dollar). (But then there has been a factor of 10000 increase since my first PC 20 years ago so this sort of thing has happened before.)

The memory wall has ben with us for many years, although it is getting worse. It is not that bandwidth (the ability to move data around), isn't also improving, its just that we are improving bandwidth at a slower rate than we are improving the capability to manipulate the data once it is inside the processing chip. I think one of the problems stems from the propensity of theoretical computer science to think of complexity in terms of logical (or floating point) operations to accomplish a task. But, as you have noted, in the real world, it is usually about the ability to move the data around, and algorithmic choices to enable more to be done with less data motion, are harder to quantify, and computer memory is getting very messy, with various types and levels of caches, memory buses, and memory chips, and disk atorage. It just doesn't lend itself to easy analysis anymore.

I think Moores law (which was always about the number of components (transistors) on a chip, not speed) will run for about your decade. Beyond that, barring some major technical advances, I think it begins to dramatically slow the rate of increase. That will present a major paradigm shift for the whole business model. Currently (I work in engineering software) customers are advancing towards exponentially more difficult computations, at some point the ability to make progress this way (at least by application of brute force), will be over, and further progress will become very hard. I suspect we will see this transition in ten to twenty years from now. Clearly the business model, of buying new hardware and software every couple of years because the old stuff is obsolete will have to change. Sortof the computaional equivalent of the end of growth.

IMHO I think Kurzweil is a fruitcake.

It will come to be seen that "human deep thought" is not really all that deep, and the current hardware (say, that 3.3 gigahertz chip with 4 gig of RAM of our humble 32-bit PCs) is more than up to the task.
What's lacking is a proper understanding of elemental human thought processes. When such is attained, coding will be one foot after the other, and the coders will be astonished at how few steps have to be taken.
For now, researchers like Lenat are on the wrong track.

That's probably true (although I fall into the camp of AI that thinks there is "the intelligence algorithm" is taking things too simply), but my point was that human cognition has various pattern recognition, abstraction, generalisation, extrapolative facilities which power creative scientific an engineering work. You can write something like Microsoft Bob/Clippy that attempts to augment my mind by making very simple suggestions (that most people think are more annoying than useful). But there's virtually no stuff that has actually been created that actually works so far that improves my "deep thought" abilities (eg, suggesting patterns in experimental results). If there were, a positive feedback loop enabling the creation of ever more complex technologies like Kurzweil suggests is plausible. But so far I don't just see it.

I cant agree with that at all. First of all, only the internal clocks of a computer actually run in the gigahertz. Overall, the speeds are limited by such things as a hard drive, which can only transfer data at around 100MB/s. Rather than looking at raw clock speeds of each individual component, it is better to look at the average number of Gigaflops of a typical computer. That number is steadily increasing regardless of clock speed. Gigaflops per watt is also a very important number, and also increasing exponentially.

And by the way, computers have totally changed the way we think. Even on a fundamental level. Kids growing up today are living in a world that is virtually alien compared to my experiences growing up. Brainwave patterns are being altered. Minds are being destroyed. Witness the result. A nation of morons, getting dumber every day, many unable to find the US on a map. Unable to use logic and critical thinking skills. Those that are able to use these skills are often unable to do so while using the right half of their brain. Half the population is suffering from lack of basic knowledge, as if mental pathways have been shorted out. The other half of the population that can process basic knowledge is unable to apply a right brain filter. This is a very grim situation, and most people fail to understand the scope of it. Of the two sides of the brain necessary to understand this, one or both have been suppressed. Either through chemicals (fluoride, mercury, lead, aspartame), drugs (from ritalin to ecstasy), electromagnetic (cell phones, power lines, cordless devices), and visual brainwave manipulation (tv & video & video games). It is a coctail of mental suppressants. All made possible by computers, either directly or indirectly.

Hard to say-the older, pre computer generation of Americans (55+) is mostly brain dead.

Try 57+ ;-)

Why I could tell you about PDP8s, paper tape punch, jammin in assembler, card decks, etc.

Color monitors interwhat - hahahahahaha.


Nothing like running a deck and putting a 360 into an endless loop. Man, that fanfold paper just kept flying out of that thing. Just amazing what a hole in a piece of cardboard can accomplish :-)

Just much better at playing possum.

And by the way, computers have totally changed the way we think. Even on a fundamental level.

I beg to differ on this. Human thinking, in my view, has not changed in its most fundamental ways as far as I can tell.

Many people still think there is such a thing as "truth" for instance beyond it being a linguistic construct. I think this idea has been around for a very long time and is the source of many arguments over time. There are many other fundamental human thinking patterns that seem to have not changed for as long as we have written records.

Witness the emotion that arises on blogs such as this one when people start to defend their thinking as "true."

I'll agree with both of you. People are fundamentally the same but electronic media has probably emphasized very different parts of our minds and brains than has happened before. The constant changes in images on TV and in the movies and on computer screens is constantly triggering reflexes in our brains that never got so much exercise before. In addition many of us are bathed in low level RF fields. I'm not saying this is bad, just pointing out that we are changing ourselves with our technology.

Human thinking, in my view, has not changed in its most fundamental ways as far as I can tell.

It's changed over time, but more as a result of modern society requiring different ways of thinking to succeed than as a result of computers.

In particular, people now are much better at abstract thought than people 50 or 100 years ago. This has led to the Flynn Effect, which is that scores on IQ tests go up substantially with every generation; it's not that people are smarter, it's just that they're more used to thinking in the way that IQ tests test.

But I agree with you that nothing significant has changed. Complaining about computers making kids stupid is just the same old "kids these days! why, when I was a boy..." rant wearing modern clothing.

Many people still think there is such a thing as "truth"

That's because, in most cases, there is. The problem is that most people don't realize that they don't know it.

To take a simple example, I've seen vehement arguments on gun control, with both sides arguing that their position reduces crime and the other position increases it. One of these sides is factually correct, but it's quite clear from reading the arguments that nobody involved knows which side that is; they just know which side they like, and have confused that with it being true.

For any question about the state of the physical world, there is generally a true answer. The problem is that people too often confuse physical questions ("will gun law X lower crime in area Y in period Z?") with moral questions ("is gun control good?"), and it's a lot less clear there's any kind of objective truth about the latter.

Witness the emotion that arises on blogs such as this one when people start to defend their thinking as "true."

Exactly - too many people are defending their thinking, and not their argument.

They've confused a moral question ("is current society good?") with a physical question ("is it possible to transition away from oil?"), and so they're having exactly the same kind of muddled, nonsensical arguments that you always find when that happens. It's basically plugging your ears and shouting "I believe!" over and over, and it's about as useful and as persuasive as that sounds.

If one wants to actually figure out what's going on with the world, one should:

  1. Gather evidence.
  2. Analyze evidence.
  3. Form a tentative hypothesis from that evidence.
  4. Go back to #1.

Note that one's beliefs don't actually enter into the picture anywhere. That's not accidental; when it comes to the physical state of the world, your (or my) beliefs are irrelevant as compared to the evidence.

If you're curious, you can add an additional step in between #3 and #4:

  • Compare that hypothesis to your beliefs; if they differ, adjust your beliefs, not the hypothesis.

That's purely an internal updating step, though; it shouldn't actually change what evidence you have or what hypotheses you come to.

Doing this will give you an argument to a conclusion that is based on evidence, rather than opinion. What's key about that (aside from the fact that it's a lot more likely to give you access to the physical truth of the matter) is that it's enormously more persuasive than an opinion-based argument, as you don't need to convince the person to accept your moral judgements. A proper evidence-based argument should require no effort on your part to convince people - anyone with an open mind can see for themselves how the conclusions follow from the data.

(This, incidentally, is why the scientific method was so important. It's not so much about doing science as communicating science.)

Witness the result. A nation of morons, getting dumber every day, many unable to find the US on a map. Unable to use logic and critical thinking skills...all made possible by computers, either directly or indirectly.

I like to indulge in a little hyperbole myself, but really...
I think I have a little perspective on this.
Being bored in retirement, I started taking classes last year at my local community college after being out of school for 30 years. I admit I shared the common misperception that today's kids are fat, lazy, and stupid. But, you know...just t'ain't so.
First,I did not find rampant obesity that I expected. I suspect there are marginally more overweight kids than 30 years ago, and those kids may be farther outside of the bell-shaped curve than overweight kids of 30 years ago which may skew our perception of them as fat, but...nope, for the most part 18 year olds have the same perfect bodies they've always had.
Second, I did not find them to be lazy once they had some real creative stimulation. It seems accurate, however, to say that they seem less motivated to study and work hard than kids of 30 years ago when they are not really into the subject.
Now, as for stupid...well, that is just silly. It does seem true that they have been 'taught the test'. But I found them very quick to pick up on critical thinking skills once exposed to them- such concepts as 'positionality' or 'cultural relativity' or the scientific method, these kinds of skills may be unfamiliar to them and yet they do latch right on to them once exposed.
Also, they have strengths that correspond to their weaknesses. To say they are 'computer savvy' is actually to allude to complex sets of skills that would floor students of a generation ago. For example, I have yet to meet a student who could not type at what to me seems blinding speed, and that morphs into being able to input a wide array of complex symbology almost effortlessly. I have seen 'average' community college students able to manipulate complex video-editing equipment skillfully after a 10 minute tutorial.
I agree there is a dire situation staring us in the face and they are going to be overwhelmed by the scope and scale of the problems , but when they fail it will be the result of my generations criminal selfishness and not because their generation is brain damaged.

I teach biological/ecological/environmental science (and an occasional critical thinking class) at the undergraduate college level.

I do not share your rosy evaluation. Critical thinking skills are sorely lacking, to a mind-boggling degree.

"Brain damaged" is a loaded and not so useful term. I don't know what to ascribe the slackness of the students I see. I'm not placing blame. Likely it is a package of environmental and cultural impacts.

But it is scary to behold, and really hard to deny.

But it is scary to behold, and really hard to deny.

Not actually teaching, or having some sort of objective comparison to the past it is hard for me to judge if it is really getting worse. But, we as a society, I think are at increasing danger from a lack of the teaching of critical thinking skills. It seems to me that reversion to ideology, and simple gut feelings is becoming much more common than it used to be. And this at a time where the society we live in is becoming more complex. Couple that with a democracy that has to cater to the most common (thinking style) classes, and we are creating an idiocracy.

I think our problem stems from an enlightenment assumption, that humans are naturally rational thinkers. This is just plain wrong. At best we have powerful emotional brains, with a thin layer of rationality. Unless a person is taught how to avoid the many pitfalls, and places great priority on constant evaluation of his thinking, he is going to be dominated by irrational thinking. This stuff needs to be taught, no later than junior high. Doing it in college, means too great a proportion of the population is never exposed to critical thinking.

I'm just an amateur in this field. I wonder if the people aren't the same but it's the world that has changed. Before the sixties knowledge existed on paper or on film strips. Somewhere mid-century we got television then computers and the internet. People now have to deal with a firehose blasting information at them all day. Perhaps the way kids have turned out is the human way of dealing with the ever shifting information presented all day long. It used to be that countries existed on a map on the wall and they stayed constant all year long. Now you get zooming, spinning, morphing 3D maps and six months from now when technology changes it will all be different.

I think there is a need to differentiate information from entertainment. A large part of the firehose's output is sheer entertainment. The graphics and frequent changes of screen often do little more than obscure the facts. Furthermore - we are exposed to this "infotainment"(many thanks to Kunstler for the term) in a passive state - the term couch potato did not evolve in a vacuum. The passivity of our interface with this sort of information stream discourages the development of critical thinking. Which is its whole purpose - no advertiser wants a critically thinking audience.

And actually, the interface between technology and humanity has changed very little recently. Most are driven by a pop-up-window-menu format. Once this is conceptually modelled by the user - it is possible to move between tools and rapidly gain a modicum of expertise.

Think about it - the same type of interface which allows you to change the settings on your TV is also used to navigate this blogpage. Learn it once and you can transfer that knowledge to many different applications. The type of interface I use at triage is the same as the one I use playing a MMOG.

So I guess I don't think that the ability to use many programme-type tools is indicative of an ability with critical thinking - one can use a hammer to bang many different things. Nor do I believe that exposure to vast amounts of videostreaming implies an exposure to information requiring processing - mostly those producers want you to sit back and agree with their point of view.


I agree, and as a college teacher of 25 years would add that I've seen geographic skills *improve* over this period. I have taught about once every one of these years some version of a regional geography/human ecology course. While the assignment has morphed a bit, on the first day of the course I've asked students to draw a map of the world, freehand, showing continents and locating about 4-6 places of current interest (Kuwait during Gulf War I, Bosnia during the Kosovo event, etc.). While the maps are still not very good, overall there has been steady, marked improvement.

I do still favor, though, a constitutional amendment prohibiting the US from attacking a country unless at least half of the citizenry can locate it on a map.

I do still favor, though, a constitutional amendment prohibiting the US from attacking a country unless at least half of the citizenry can locate it on a map.

While I don't lightly suggest amending the constitution, I whole-heartedly support your proposed amendment!

It's been reasonably clear in computer enthusiast circles for five years or so that clockspeeds couldn't progress much further in general-purpose x86 CPUs. Overclockers hit 6ghz on liquid nitrogen in 2004 on the Pentium 4. They hit it again in 2008 on the Skulltrail 2x4-core platform. I expect they'll celebrate hitting it again on the 8 core Beckton processors that are in Intel's roadmap.

The general solution to the speed wall has been to widen the pipe - more cores, more bus & memory bandwidth between them, better optimization, more instructions per cycle, more cache... the list goes on. In 10 years or so we'll likely be evaluating processors based on physical designs, instruction sets, and code that look fundamentally different from they've looked for the last 22 years. Shrinking, adding to, and speeding up the same x86-32 design simply isn't good enough anymore, because while we may keep increasing transistor density, we havn't been able to increase processor speed in a long time, and many code routines aren't multi-threadable. If we could have done so economically, it would have been infinitely preferable simply to double the speeds of microprocessors several years ago instead of adding a second core - which didn't benefit most apps.

Whenever I hear discussion of the Singularity I worry we fail to consider its cost.

Each new technology brings with it a set of new and surprising consequences. For every problem technology has addressed, it has also introduced costs inherent to its complexity (eg. waste management) or resulting from its advantage (eg. acute overpopulation). This website focuses on of our society's dependence on energy, itself the cascading costs of a sequence of technological changes dating back centuries.

Technology has never outrun its own shadow. The light of creation is behind of us, and every brilliant idea is one step beyond an ever-expanding darkness. The more majestic our solutions, the more dire their consequence. So slightly before humanity's progress becomes asymptotic, we will run into an wall of disasters of our own design. Just on the other side of the Singularity's shadow is the Singularity itself... but the shadow is every bit as infinite as its twin. Unless we suddenly discover a universe of consequence-free tech, we will never pass it.

Yeah. If you look back at 20th century science fiction, a lot of writers had ideas similar to the Internet, with computers everywhere, and everyone connected all over the world, etc.

But no one, so far as I know, predicted the dark side. Spam vastly outnumbering real messages, identity theft, Nigerian scams, worms that could spread all over the world and paralyze the net, eBay fraud, child molesters who use the net to seduce their victims, trojans that have turned millions of computer into zombies that are part of botnets, organized crime using DOS attacks to extort money from web-based businesses, etc. If you made this up in, say, 1970, it would be considered a horror story too terrible to be true.

We tend to see only the bright side. I was thinking about this the other day, when we were discussing using cell phones to set up carpooling. Some thought it was a great idea, some thought it was unnecessary, some thought it wouldn't work. But somewhere out there, a criminal is thinking it's a great way to make a buck.

But no one, so far as I know, predicted the dark side. Spam vastly outnumbering real messages,

Don't forget the lazy of nature of humans. Sprint 'owns' 204.248/16 where I got spam from and this is their answer:

> The spam in your complaints is actually from sources which are
> non-Sprint customers.
> The IP address has been forged to appear as Sprint.

Lazy, responsibility dodging people are a big part of the problem.

Precisely. Some people call it "human nature" and by that they almost always are referring to the dark side of our species. I think human nature is quite malleable but that is a diversion to this point.

Some of the fundamental human foibles are not addressed by The Singularity -- it doesn't even make an attempt:

  • breaking promises and cheating -- generally the world works better when people keep their promises, whether they are explicit ("I will deliver this by the 1st") or implicit (i.e. a work contract usually doesn't explicitly say that a person shouldn't embezzle from the company but the law of the land does, and by living here you are tacitly agreeing to that law)
  • the context of scarcity -- this drives much of our "need" for growth and likely was given to us by evolution
  • our need to look good or at least not look bad -- thank evolution again for this one; it causes untold mischief; it's the source of "pride" and "saving face" and "my house is bigger than your house" and people holding on to positions that make no sense, even when they know it! (but would never admit it)
  • limiting beliefs and stories in general -- call them conversations, narratives, stories, these are fictional interpretations of the world expressed via (mostly) representational language; they should be held lightly as merely useful interpretations but we often think they are absolutely true and often die for them

There are more, but you get the picture.

That's why I chuckle to myself every time I hear someone say, "This invention will bring the world together and foster peace." I've read that for trains, computers, the internet, the printing press, conferences, water purification devices and even specific (usually travel or social networking) websites.

What these people miss is that their particular invention does not address the fundamentals of human interaction and thus are merely put at the service of the ways we already think about and relate to the world.

Singularity doesn't have to be good. I don't know why (well I do) people insist on that. EOTWAWKI is a singularity.

There can be no doubt now.

Houston Ship Channel closes today. BP evac'ed everyone
yesterday. Ike at Cat3 on it's present course puts hurricane winds into Downtown, and a 15 ft surge at the head of it's estuary.

Crude = $103.

When a model loses it's predictive abilities, it also loses
it's function.

Please post the Ike stuff in the Ike thread(s). We're trying to keep it separate from the DB. (There will probably be a new Ike thread soon, so you might want to wait a bit.)

Glad to. Thanx for the Head's Up.


And it's up now!

When a model loses it's predictive abilities, it also loses
it's function.

What was the "model"?

Isn't it another way of saying "that was the wrong model"?

Script for future financial E-trade commercial:

Camera pans into a obvious tent city in Central Park.
Dishelveled people scuffling around, men in tattered Armani suits which are soiled and tread bare, Camera focuses on actor with thick Caribbean accent who says..

"Lets play limbo and see how low we can go"

Camera shot shows obviously dead ex-wallstreet broker
still wearing his trading color floor jacket...guys laying prone on the ground littered with trash...

Caribbean actor bends down and lifts traders arm and declares.."We have a winner over here"!!

Post was made when market opened 9:30 AM Sept-11

So will Paulson add Lehman, WaMu to his portfolio today?

Not like he's doing anything else.

Wild & Crazy 9/11 thought:

With the recent crude price plunge: OPEC would almost welcome an MidEast oil infrastructure attack by Al-Qaeda to get the price back up.

Totoneila, you will like this one:


LAHORE, Sept 10: With rivers’ flow dropping to a historic low for September and water in reservoirs of both the major dams depleting fast over the past few days, the country seems to be heading for a disastrous Rabi season and a more severe food crisis.

According to officials of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa), the country may face a staggering water shortage of up to 40 per cent during the season if the current trend continues.

The dams are facing double pressure — on the one hand inflows have dropped and on the other, provinces are demanding higher water release in order to save standing crops.

Irsa has called a meeting on Saturday to discuss what one of its officials termed an “alarming situation”.

Hello Suyog,

Thxs for the info. Here is another alarming link:

Iran battles searing drought across half the country
The Iranian leadership might now be strongly lamenting that they spent big sums on military imports and the nuclear build-out instead of spending it on desalination plants and drilling water wells. No water & no food = no security for anyone as everyone goes nuts. :(

Some perspective on oil prices (monthly WTI, through 8/08):

Scary graph, but that's all it is -- THE PEAKERS HAVE PEAKED You can't scare me. And neither does Ike. I'm snug as a bug in a rug.

Peak Oil peak

Terence Corcoran, Financial Post Published: Thursday, September 11, 2008

Over at the Post Carbon Institute, "the excitement is over." When the price of oil was above $140, "it was easy for Peak Oilers to feel vindicated and to hop on board the giddy Ferris wheel ride." But as the price of oil drifts down, "the excitement is over ... Page views on Peak Oil Web sites have fallen. All that talk of the party being over was just so much scaremongering."

And gee, with this recession we've got going I'm soooo glad that I was wrong about peak oil! Why, I'm sure my stocks and retirement funds are going to be just fine and recover all their lost ground now that peak oil has peaked and we can get back to BAU. /sarcanol

Crazy thought #2. Think OPEC countries could ever sponsor terrorist attacks in other OPEC countries in a big game of beggar thy neighbor. For example Iran, miffed at KSA for not following the decreased production limits, slips some in country Shia's equipment to take out a major loading/unloading terminal? Why share cuts equally when your neighbor can shoulder the whole burden alone. Of course, one could argue that KSA took a lead in that game about five years ago by stoking the US to invade Iraq in the first place.

Then there's the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1980 (supported by the US, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

For which Saddham thought he had tacit US approval.

Nobody starts a war without making sure the 800 pound gorilla has agreed to look the other way. Except Georgia of course.

Except Georgia of course.

What makes you think they didn't get maybe not approval, but at least encouragement from someone in the U.S. for their actions? Notice how Dick Cheney has been fairly active organizing aid for Georgia? I bet there was some interesting discussions at the white house over that one.

Except Georgia of course.

Perhaps Georgia felt they had the support of said beast?

I should have added the /sarconal tag. Oops.

Interesting stuff which would never appear in western media:

When Cheney visited Baku last week on Wednesday on a mission single-mindedly aimed at isolating Russia in the region, he came across a few rude surprises.

The Azeris made a departure from their traditional hospitality to visiting US leaders by accorded a low-level airport reception for Cheney. Further, Cheney was kept cooling his heels for an entire day until Aliyev finally received him. This was despite what Cheney always thought was his special personal chemistry with the Azeri leader dating to his Halliburton days. (Aliyev used to head the Azeri state-run oil company SOCRAM.)


In diplomatic circles what the Azeris did was the equivalent of telling Cheney to F**k Off. It is language that I am sure he understands.

*chuckles* so little toilets can wield arms?

Wouldn't it just be easier to cut production all round by say 10% to see price go up by ??50% result about 40% more cash for same amount of oil?

The advent of peak oil will likely be over shadowed by
the poverty, war, break down of society etcetera. Tantmount to a patient entering a ER with a heart attack and ER doctors main discussion is how dire the patients circumstances are..."This one hasnt insurance"
says the triage doctor...."Send him back to the waiting room" says the attending resident MD who's been
on call the past 48 hours.
The heart attack becomes secondary or even a non event for the heart attack victim. Its the lack of insurance which is the prime focus.
Sorry for the analogy, for all those TOD readers not in the USA. I know you couldnt fathom how insurance isnt a given. Sadly 20% of Americans dont have any and
fully 60% of those that do...are under insured.
My point of course is, PO wont take center stage, wont
even be waiting in the wings.
Oh...the markets opened over 1.5% down already...OUCH
The guy with the heart attack?...if he wasnt so pale. I would think he looks like my broker..hmmm.

Many posters here on TOD have speculated over the years that Peak Oil won't be noticed. If the economy collapses world wide, demand will decrease below what would be potentially possible to produce.

On the other hand, our scientists could find a way to run the world directly on phlogiston, without the intermediate step of hydrocarbon fuel, and there will be no recession.

Either way, the peak would be missed. That's probably what the Chicago School teaches -- and they are Nobel Prize level thinkers. I think Candidate Obama spent some time swimming in that tank.

a way to run the world directly on phlogiston

Amazed that none of the candidates have yet picked up on this possibility.

"Drill, Drill, Drill!! Drill for phlogiston!!" would really begin to move us away from BAU.

With regards to peak oil and climate change: It seems that the study assumes that everybody will listen to Hansen and leave the coal in the ground. Fat chance I say.

Exactly. As Mother Jones puts it:

It's the Coal, Stupid

This should be every environmentalist's nightmare: as oil gets progressively more expensive, we run electric vehicles whose electricity is gotten by burning more coal. This will be more damaging to the environment (and human health) than just about anything else we could do.

as oil gets progressively more expensive, we run electric vehicles whose electricity is gotten by burning more coal. This will be more damaging to the environment

It's not, actually.

Electric vehicles are about 10x more efficient than oil-fired ones, meaning that even converting coal to electricity at 1:3 and coal having twice as many CO2 emissions per btu as oil means the electric car should emit, roughly, 1/3 less CO2 per mile driven.

Note that these calculations have been done in more detail, and an electric car emits about 1/3 less than a Prius based on the current US generation mix.

Why should they leave coal in the ground if coal is all that will keep people from dying?

If you have a choice between hypothermia this winter or dying from an AGW Theory some time in the future, what choice would you make?

The idealists and theoreticians need to get out more. Humans are human and they are well tuned for fighting an immediate problem rather than worrying about fighting some other problem in the future.

Solve that little problem and they will have schools named after you all over the world.

Hansen wont solve it. Or much else for that matter.

If you have a choice between hypothermia this winter or dying from an AGW Theory some time in the future, what choice would you make?

I'm seeing Bjorn Lomborg and that's pretty much what he says, climate change comes around tenth in his list of things well down on malaria, HIV...

"NASA study illustrates how global peak oil could impact climate"

Ineresting article. Seems like pretty good news regarding climate change. NASA's peak oil assumptions are quite a bit more optimistic than TOD and others. 2020-2040 plateau, 2037 peak in line with EIA. Does this suggest that an earlier peak would be even better news for climate? Given the current state of CO2 sequestration capabilities, i.e. theoretical, can coal be reigned in completely by 2050? Which leaders (nations, heads of state) will actually lead that effort?

They won't.

Picture this: It's 2030, there are 8.5 billion people on the planet, Oil production is 60 mbpd. This means that there is half as much oil per person as today. There is also 30% less arable land per person as today.

In that environment, can you see a country voluntarily leaving coal in the ground or paying to sequester the carbon?

No I really don't. Not in 2030 or today. Thanks.

Clean coal carbon capture and sequestration is far more practical than
replacing coal with nuclear.

The problem is really confined to the few countries with large coal deposits(75% of all recoverable coal reserves are located in just 6 countries-US, Russia, China, India, Australia and South Africa). The energy required for CCS is about 25% higher per kwh output and the capital requirements are higher though still less than nuclear.
There are plenty of sequestration sites about.

It will increase consumer prices but that's good for energy conservation anyways.

The last I heard sequestration was at the level of the first small experimental plant being opened in Germany.
They are trying to establish how economic and practical it is.

You are comparing this technology which is just getting going and may run into unforeseen difficulties with one which has provided huge amounts of power for donkeys years and have decided that it is more practical?

Somewhat premature, I would have thought.

You assume that nuclear power has been a success.

It hasn't been.

The waste problem exists and economics is against it. Until recently the trend has been to shutdown rather than expand nuclear.

So what really has changed?

Only your level of desperation.

Why take any notice of whole countries obtaining most of their electricity from nuclear at some of the cheapest rates in Europe when you have a perfectly good theory?

After all, you can pronounce clean coal technology a success before the experiments are done!
You should contact the German experimenters and tell them that they are wasting their time, as you already know all about it! :-)

There are only TWO countries which get more than half their electricity from nukes-France at+80% and Belgium at 55%, most get much less. Sweden gets about 47%Japan gets 27%.

The reason the French give for supporting nuclear is that they have no fossil fuel resources.

There's no experimental technology involved in CCS just a capital expensive and unattractive one(20% loss of power for the CCS part) than conventional coal. They are just dragging their feet.

OTH, breeder reactors are not being built for a reason.


Light water reactors using 4% enriched uranium will run out virgin uranium in 55 years without reprocessing and eventually replacement of U-235 by breeding Pu-239 or possibly U-233 from thorium will be required.

Countries which have coal reserves need to get used to capturing and sequestering emissions from coal power plants.

France's situation 30 years ago was very much like the world's will be as fossil fuels get scarce.
They set up a system which meets their electricity needs perfectly well.
The main reason they did not bother developing breeder reactors was that uranium was so cheap
The Russians have been running a demonstrator for years and are building a bigger one.

Other technologies which have a much higher fuel burn have been demonstrated years ago.
You have a fairly singular definition of failure.

OTOH the cost and practicality of sequestration has not been demonstrated at large scale, and the experimenters very much indicate that they have a number of issues which are uncertain, including how long it will remain sequestered.

The main reason they did not bother developing breeder reactors was that uranium was so cheap

Oh, but they did, mon ami!

They built Superphenix which is now closed. It was an expensive mistake.


I have no doubt that CCS will work and no doubt that coal-fired electric utilities will try very hard not to build and operate these expensive units without subsidies just as they fought acid rain legislation.

It was 'expensive' - that is what you expect from a prototype - fossil fuel costs were also very low, and uranium cheap, so they had no incentive to continue - prices are always relative, and fuel is such a tiny part of nuclear power that it was not worth while at that time.

There are loads of critiques about, and load of theories.
There is also working, running, low-fossil fuel energy, and it is nuclear power.

Your argument is illogical.

The French build an expensive breeder reactor for which fuel costs are next to nothing(in your opinion) and then decide not to run it?

Because uranium is too cheap?

What about the damn investment!

Actually this is why the ancient(1964) Soviet era breeder, BN-350 is still running in Kazakhstan--they really need the power, a tiny 150 MW plus desalinization.


Your problem is that you don't understand why we have nuclear energy.
Originally bomb materials were made in reactors such as the famous Chernobyl reactor #4.

Nuclear power provided the rationale for building genocidal weapons.

If there was nothing good in nuclear energy, then people would outlaw it out of fear.

I am reasonably familiar with the history of nuclear power, thank you, so once again you seem to be trying to draw conclusions based on totally inadequate data.

I am well aware that the impetus for the development of the civil nuclear power was largely driven by the desire to get weapons grade materials, and that in fact has caused most of such problems as there have been, and meant that the best designs were not chosen.
This history would seem an inadequate reason to discard a technology which can provide power in a relatively fossil-fuel free manner, especially considering the immaturity of most renewables technology and the fact that they are by nature location specific.

You don't seem to have got your head around what a prototype is for.
It is not to produce commercial power, but to test the technologies which would be needed if it were decided to build a commercial reactor.

Uranium cost are not a matter of my opinion, but a matter of public record, and if you do not know how small a proportion of the total running costs of a reactor the fuel constitutes, even after a lot more expense then the basic material costs have been incurred by processing them into fuel rods, then perhaps it would be a good idea to research further before commenting, as you have missed most of the critical factors in the technology.

So the prototype reactor did what it was always intended to do, proved the technologies for if and when a commercial reactor was needed.

Since as well as processing waste the point of the reactor was to produce more fuel, when the uranium costs next to nothing then it could not be justified, but it remains ready for when and if predictions of shortages come true.

I'm sorry but I can't let this one go.

You don't seem to have got your head around what a prototype is for.
It is not to produce commercial power, but to test the technologies which would be needed if it were decided to build a commercial reactor.

Superphenix at 1241 MW was a huge COMMERCIAL breeder reactor, not a prototype.

After 50 years, breeder technology has yet to be perfected.

The waste products are tiny in amount and have ways of being dealt with on the scale needed. Much in the way that CO2 emissions from coal plants do not.

And the economics are only "bad" when compared to free energy from coal. Try comparing it when a real sequestration mechanism is created.

The economics is only against it because coal is subsidized.

Coal subsidies of $8 billion dollars are mainly for clean coal research. Coal represents 50% of US electricity.

Nuclear subsidies are $9 billion dollars and there is a minimal nuclear program
(no new plants since 1996 Watts Bar) currently going on in the US. Nuclear represents 20% of US electricity(yet it gets more than coal). Also the
US government pays for the insurance for individual power plants at several more billion dollars.

Ethanol subsidy is $6 billion and there's $6 billion for tiny renewables(1% of US energy).

Oil/gas gets $39 billion in subsidies.

We have over 40 years experience running nuclear power plants and zero seconds experience with commercial scale CCS. That alone makes nukes more practical at this time. We have years of experience with wind and solar at commercial scales. Come back after we have at least a few years experience with commercial scale CCS and discover its surprises before saying it is at all practical. Coal interests promote CCS for the reason you cite, CCS means they sell more coal per KWH to the customer.

"8.5 billion people on the planet"?????!!!

I don't think we'll EVER get that high. We're already straining all the ecosystems. The land where tropical forests have been clear-cut will lose too many nutrients by then; those farms will fail (heck, many are failing now). Fisheries are being over-harvested.

Then there are these changing-climate-induced droughts that we're seeing now.

And there's always something waiting in the side-lines. A few more mutations and maybe the bird flu won't be just for the birds anymore. Imagine a yearly bird flu season.

Besides, a co-worker of mine said he already filed a complaint with the planet's human population control. Said that they're sending out trucks with traps next week.

And most importantly; China, Eastern Europe+Turkey, Latin America, and a couple of the ASEAN countries will all be developed regions by 2030 (at least at the same development level of today's Portugal which is considered a developed western nation). So that's almost 3 billion people having a similar lifestyle as the average Portuguese today. Unless effective measures is put in place to stop that from happening of course. Like 60 mbpd oil in 2030, or more like 20 mbpd...

That's not a "good news" article. It's a press release carefully written to deceive. An end to all coal is "feasible"? Nor do I think Hansen is talking 450ppm as a survivable level - someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.

Here's the abstract and full pdf of report. I've not read it yet; anyone want to bet it's in sync with the tone of that press release?

UPDATE: Oh yeah, I have read it. It's the study from more than a year ago. This is like Winston Smith rewriting history.

cfm in Gray, ME

The study was posted over a year ago for review. Beta-testing, if you will. This is the official release.

Given the immensity of the task they propose, the paper does not read with any sense of urgency. Kind of of a yawner actually. I assume "beta testing" is your code for editing for suitability for pubic sensibility. TPTB wouldn't want to panic anyone?

I assume "beta testing" is your code for editing for suitability for pubic sensibility.

No, that was my attempt to put into terms mainstream America would understand. He posted it for peer review earlier. This is the final product. I don't think it's much different.

The Interior Department's Inspector General Report to Congress revealing the sexual hanky panky and other shenanigans going on at the Mineral Management Service confirms what I have long suspected.

There are big bucks being fiddled with in Royalty in Kind payments where royalties are paid in oil contributions to the SPR. The effect of this system is to relieve the oil producers of market pricing risk since when the price of oil drops so does the the dollar value of payment of the royalty.

In reality the tax payers of the U.S. subsidize the oil companies royalty payments when oil prices fall. True theoretically they gain when oil prices rise, but the oil seldom is put on the market to relieve price pressures except in "emergencies". The de facto result is that oil companies benefit by the dollar adjustable royalty and the citizens receive little benefit.

If anyone calls for the release of the SPR when prices rise, they are told that the reserve is for national security and should not be touched which benefits big oil by reducing supply and increasing price pressures even more. All the while oil companies are protected from the downside oil price risk of a fixed dollar amount system.

This amounts to an oil subsidy with the Mineral Management Service in charge. Now we find out Service employees have been accepting gifts and sexual favors from oil company employees. In is not hard to imagine that there were favors returned.

Oil sex scandal may affect drilling debate: Democrats say Bush administration failure; GOP leader calls outrage ‘hoax’

WASHINGTON - A scandal involving sex, drugs and — uh, offshore oil drilling.

It's a strange mix, and it couldn't have come at a worse time for those in Congress pressing to expand oil and gas development off America's beaches while trying to stave off an election-year rush by Democrats to impose new taxes and royalties on the oil industry.

Sex? Drilling? GOP?

Isn't the motto of 'drill, drill, drill' what got Bristol in a motherly way?

To me, there was always that cleverly implied tension in the selection of Ms. Palin by the otherwise almost pathologically asexual Republicans.

Well, as one wag put it, "We all know that as far as sex goes, the Republicans have just one position."

More this morning on the Alaskan pipeline...


I've argued before that this pipeline makes absolutely no economic sense at $7/MCF, that the cost to transport gas via the pipeline would consume 50% or more of that selling price. At current natural gas prices the only way it works is with massive government subsidies, which is what the oil companies are trying to tell her by their refusal to build the pipeline without those subsidies, but she refuses to hear.

This is yet one more example of how completely divorced Palin is from reality.

Incidentally, I found this quote from Tolstoy that pretty much sums up the mentality. Here he deals with "pseudosalvation" instead of Palin's pseudoscience, but I nevertheless think it gives a good description of the mental processes inherent in mass movements that lead to being so competely divorced from the real world:

...she converted him from an apathetic and indolent believer into a firm and ardent partisan of the new interpretation of Christian doctrine that had been spreading lately in Petersburg and that it was easy for Karenin to be persuaded by Karenin, like countess Lydia and the others who shared their views, was completely devoid of any depth of imagination, of that spiritual faculty thanks to which the ideas summoned up by imagination become so real that they insist on being brought into harmony with other ideas and with actual fact. He saw nothing impossible or incongrouous in the idea that death, which existed for unbelievers, did not exist for him, and that since he was in possession of the most complete faith, the extent of which he himself was the sole judge, there was no longer any sin in his soul, and he was already experiencing total salvation here on earth.

To be sure, Karenin vaguely felt the shallowness and falseness of his notion of faith... But for Karenin it was so necessary to think in this way; it was so necessary for him in his humiliation to have a lofty, though contrived point of vintage from which, despised by all, he would be able to despise others, that he clung to his pseudosalvation as though it were salvation.

--Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Peak Antibiotics?

Due to the 'Red Queen effect', new antibiotics must be continually developed as resistant strains of bacteria arise. It seems to be getting harder to stay in the same place.

Doctors running out of antibiotics to fight some infections, say experts

Doctors are running out of antibiotics to treat some infections that can kill vulnerable people or those in hospital, experts said yesterday, urging drug companies not to give up an area of research they consider unprofitable.

Although the pharmaceutical industry has developed new antibiotics to treat the so-called hospital superbug MRSA (methycillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), the pipeline for drugs to treat some other infections was practically dry, said Dr David Livermore, laboratory director of the Health Protection Agency's centre for infections.

Of course, overuse of antibiotics in the past, with little regard for whether or not they will continue to be of use in the future, hasn't helped. It's all so depressingly familiar...

Great to see some serious work on Peak Oil AND Climate Change. I wonder what the state of long term climate modelling is like, it would be great if we knew what was likely to happen in mid term. They've certainly got their hurricane models working well but the predictions for the Arctic Ice were seriously flawed (almost in hindsight now).

I guess if demand destruction gets real serious the coal could stay in the ground, that would be nice.

I wonder if we could just shut the global economy down to IDLE, would we be able to stack a bit of ice on the North Pole over winter, might save a collision with an avalanche of strange atrractors into, well, oblivion. Seriously, there are some monster droughts around the world at the moment, hurricanes trashing nations, shipping lanes threatened by icebergs soon.

Once all the ice is gone from the Arctic in summer then something else will have to melt, and that's Greenlands Ice Shelf, and that's major sea level rise and that's many of the world's coastal cities dysfunctional.

Has anyone noticed how ther is lots of talk and meetings, plans and proposals but VIRTUALLY NOTHING has been done about the MAJOR REDUCTIONS NEEDED in global CO2 emissions. It may be up to US to do something - savagely minimise consumption.

Yes, WE must DO something!!!

Belling the Cat

LONG ago, the mice had a general council to consider what measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat. Some said this, and some said that; but at last a young mouse got up and said he had a proposal to make, which he thought would meet the case. “You will all agree,” said he, “that our chief danger consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her approach, we could easily escape from her. I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon round the neck of the Cat. By this means we should always know when she was about, and could easily retire while she was in the neighbourhood.”

This proposal met with general applause, until an old mouse got up and said: “That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?” The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the old mouse said:


Old AEsop had it about right.

It was worth my time writing for the gift of that delightfull tale.

Yes. It is so easy to become paralyzed by cynicism and give up because "it's always been like this", "and nothing can be done" and "its just human nature" or "God's will be done."

All of us who are trying to think clearly must persevere, and encourage each other. We all get one crack at life-- and TOD helps me, at least, improve my game.

The beauty of The Oil Drum is that it is one of the few truly "scientific" sites on the internet. Ideas are truly scrutinized for their intrinsic value. Theories are refined. Thinking is sharpened. Engineers talk to biologists and both talk to poets. It is priceless -- who pays for this, anyway?

Pre-emptive apologies, but I do not believe I was not being critical of TOD, which has helped change my whole life for the better also. Lateral thinking sometimes requires flights of fantasy and frequently leads nowhere but certainly not to cynicism. Your reaction seems somewhat at a disconnect from what was written, interesting take on clear thinking.

Oh... I was not being sarcastic. I really got a thrill out of the fable.

This reminds me of the essential wierdness of the internet and the communication-by-computer in general.

I was trying to be appreciative of your obvious aprobation -- I didn't think it was sarcastic. And I was merely trying to express my thanks to the whole TOD group for helping me stay off the destructive shoals of paralyzing cynicism.

There is so much depth to communication that simply can't be expressed in words on a screen -- especially rapid-fire text messaging.

Incidentally, this is one reason why IMHO, electronic medical records are such a disaster -- to much nuance gets lost.

There's little real disagreement among the climate scientists regarding the seriousness of AGW. There IS, however, considerable noise being generated by folks that pretend to be interested in the science, but who are really trying to paper over the problem with their efforts. I call it "lawyer science", that is, using techniques of legal debate where one is trying to convince a jury that some crime has (or has not) been committed when there is incomplete information to point a finger at the perps. The junk science purveyors go to great lengths to "cherry pick" bits and pieces of the evidence which support their side of the "debate", ignoring the evidence from the whole spectrum of data which points to man-made global warming.

Perhaps the first step would be that suggested by Shakespear when he wrote "First, we kill the lawyers", but I might also include the lobbyist and PR flacks as well...

E. Swanson

So, the warmists dont cherry pick data eh?

Tell us all about the Mann Hockey stick. Tell us about the discounted data from New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Japan, Peru and Africa that bears out the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice age as a global phenomena and not just restricted to Europe.

And as for lawyers - tell us all about the 9 significant factual errors in Gore's schlokumentary as documented in the UK court case brought about by (and won by) a concerned parent and school governor
to stop it being propagandized in UK Schools.

or dont.


Al Gore isn't a scientist, so I wouldn't use him for an example of the present level of understanding about climate science. As for Mann et al., I wouldn't use Climate Audit for a reference either, especially after they extolled Craig Loehle's work some months back, even though it was full of obvious errors that even I could find and discussed in print. What's your peer reviewed source for your comments?

As I understand it, there was little warmth during the so-called Medieval Warm Period, perhaps a few tenths of a degree C warmer than the average climate before the 20th century. The Little Ice Age may well have been the result of the Maunder Minimum in sunspots between 1645 and 1715, but stretching the dates to cover a wider period is not reasonable, IMHO. Whether the Little Ice Age was truly global or not requires careful dating, which often is not done. There were cooler periods, but those were likely the result of short term impacts of massive volcanic eruptions in 1259, 1452, 1601, 1783, 1812/1815, 1883, etc, which would be expected to produce a global impact.

E. Swanson

The Hockey Stick argument has been beaten to death. If MUDLOGGER wants to persist being ignorant on such issues, then bully for him. Likewise, he falls, as others have, for the fictitious shredding of Gore's work by the British justice system (RealClimate and several other sites have good rebuttals to this claim too).

As usual, the deniers exacerbate the problem with assumed conflicts in the data and adding their own hot air to an already hot planet. These are the people who see the Arctic becoming an island and think "Hey, better trade routes", which is like seeing your house on fire and thinking "Better parking".

"Hey, better trade routes", which is like seeing your house on fire and thinking "Better parking".

LOL. Had to mod you up for that. Cheers!


At least black_dog is starting to respond scientifically.. The potential impact of vulcanicity on climate is not to be ignored. Indeed vulcanicty should be seriously taken into account (for weather , not climate)

Funny though, vulcanicity cannot be ignored but the output of, and proximity to, our nearest star can be ignored when inconvenient.

The hockey stick:

Used by Gore, Used by Attenborough on the BBC just last year.

The Hockey stick fraud has not gone away. It is the essential illustration of AGW by the UN and the warmists. It is Totemic.

What is the hockey stick? Extrapolation of temperature 'readings' by proxy using dendrochronology. Then , stapled to actual readings in the 20th Century.

The MWP and LIA are of course neatly 'smoothed out' of the Hockey stick, all reference to warm summers and cold winters eradicated as 'anecdotal' - unless of course they fit with the agenda.

Had the court case failed, then the hockey stick graph would have been pinned to every Gografy classroom in the UK.

But the case didnt fail. Gores 'documentary' was shredded in court as significantly incorrect on major propositions. The court case was not fictitious. Gores DVD was labelled as propaganda. Which is a bit of a shame: I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt until I actually saw his schmaltzy travesty of science.

As for your last paragraph: I am fully aware of the retreat of ice in the Antarctic : that is what happens as you pull out of an Ice Age (as we are still doing). We have a way to go yet before we swing back into a glacial phase, but it will happen.

To ignore the impact of variations of the Sun's effect on our climate is frankly insane. Man-Made C02 is insignificant by comparison. It is even insignificant when compared with water vapour.

The Hockey stick fraud has not gone away. It is the essential illustration of AGW by the UN and the warmists. It is Totemic.

The real hockey stick problem isn't of CO2 emissions, its a problem for human population growth. Too many people consuming too many finite resources. Even if humans can cut CO2 emissions to zero (impossible), Humans will still face a die-off.

Endless debate over CO2 emissions is completely pointless. Its like debating over how to conserve one 12Oz can of beans to feed a family for the entire winter. Its just not going to matter. Your just fooling yourselves that you can make a difference.


my review of this doesn't see significant factual errors and the judge apparently rejected the call to stop the viewing of the film. Further, Justice Burton found that "Al Gore's presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate."

My source is RealClimate, which I have come to trust.

What do you mean by "the UK court case brought about by (and won by) a concerned parent and school governor." Did I miss something? (Very possible.)

An inconvenient judgement.


From The Times
October 11, 2007
Al Gore’s inconvenient judgment

Al Gore was close beating George Bush to the US Presidency
IMAGE :1 of 2

Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter

The nine untruths - in pictures

Al Gore’s award-winning climate change documentary was littered with nine inconvenient untruths, a judge ruled yesterday.

An Inconvenient Truth won plaudits from the environmental lobby and an Oscar from the film industry but was found wanting when it was scrutinised in the High Court in London.

Mr Justice Burton identified nine significant errors within the former presidential candidate’s documentary as he assessed whether it should be shown to school children. He agreed that Mr Gore’s film was “broadly accurate” in its presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change but said that some of the claims were wrong and had arisen in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration”.
In what is a rare judicial ruling on what children can see in the class-room, Mr Justice Barton was at pains to point out that the “apocalyptic vision” presented in the film was politically partisan and not an impartial analysis of the science of climate change

An incomplete rebuttal

Burton is not saying that there are errors, he is just referring to the things that Downes alleged were errors. Burton puts quote marks around 'error' 17 more times in his judgement. Notice also the emphasised part -- Burton is not even trying to decide whether they are errors or not. This too seems to have escaped the journalists' attention

So what is Burton assessing in his judgement? Well, s407 says that where political issues are involved there should be "a balanced presentation of opposing views" so Burton states that the government should make it clear when "there is a view to the contrary, i.e. (at least) the mainstream view". Burton calls these "errors or departures from the mainstream".

So contrary to all the reporters' claims Burton did not find that there were 9 scientific errors in AIT, but that there were nine points that might be errors or where differing views should be presented for balance.


Its time for bed and I am only minus 8 on the little green number scale of niceability and likeability.


I am slipping.

Dorme bien.

Guess....wonder.... may be. Just wondering.

Like me, you can help start a Transition Initiative in your town. It's a fantastic way to get the community and government engaged and working on solutions. The Transition movement is the subject of an article in today's Christian Science Monitor:



Well, yes. That is the nut of it. We must do something but the nature of our society and economy is that we must continue to grow and to do that we need access to inexpensive energy (dollars and EROEI). This is what energizes the doomers. It seems like the bus is heading straight for a brick wall and the bus driver's response to warnings is to press harder on the accelerator. And yet we must do something. In a very short time we must find a new way to organize the lives and activities of billions of people before the perceived disaster strikes. The naive prediction is that the bus slams into the brick wall. There is the tension. We want our lives to go on, we want our children to do well and prosper and yet our science tells us that this way of running the world cannot continue. Interesting times.

Classic MSM article-read the headline- China growth slows-then the numbers-everything up over 20% YOY-exports, imports. GDP growth slow at 10% http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=a9606jHmkEdg&refer=asia

"Chubais Predicts Energy Crisis in 2010"


"Anatoly Chubais, former head of RAO UES of Russia, is predicting an energy crisis in Russia at the beginning of 2010 if the rate of gas production in the country stagnates."

There's some discussion in yesterday's DrumBeat.

Price Elasticity of Demand
that I usually post on Wednesday after EIA report

Products Supplied
Finished Motor Gasoline             9,337  9,535 -2.1% -2.0%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel              1,552  1,679  -7.6%  -4.5%
Distillate Fuel Oil                 4,130  4,148  -0.4%  -2.9%
Residual Fuel Oil                     551    749 -26.4% -16.2%
Propane/Propylene                     969  1,039  -6.7%  -4.9%
Other Oils                          3,607  3,789  -4.8%  -7.8%

Total Products Supplied            20,145 20,938 -3.8% -4.1%

Sorry for Late Post,


I appreciate that you take time to break down the weekly inventory data, but these still seem to be just snapshot of what is, in fact, a moving picture. I wonder if there's any chance of stringing out a series of these weekly values w/ some analysis of trends and their implications?

Agree. This is an interesting question.

Technical Analysis (TA) – Second Post

Even though I am relatively unskilled in TA, I have decided to make a few posts on it with the hope that some skilled players will also post – and I can learn.

The extreme practitioners of TA only follow the price and volume action and ignore everything else like fundamentals, news, and advice. To a certain degree, this is attractive to me because it cuts down on a lot of work. However, I admit I am addicted to the news. My biggest problem is that I love oil. I even considered starting up a “Church of Oil” so that I could (humorously) respect this black, messy, gift (and punishment) of mankind. (Wait a minute! It is black, comes from the underground, when used it produces a hot, sulfurous product – maybe oil is a demon?) So, I psychologically have a hard time selling or shorting oil. I am looking at TA as a way of respecting the price of oil for what it is, not what I want it to be...

It has been said that it only takes about 5.5 billion dollars to make the oil price go where ever one may want it to go. This is within range of many individuals, banks, hedge funds, and groups of such. (Sorry about the lack of links.) Therefore, the short term price may be totally unrelated to anything short of the desires of those with the money. Also, fundamentals and news can be used as traps. For example: the price going down during all of the recent bullish news could be a way of trapping the longs – and taking their money.

Anyway, it looks as if there was 5.5 billion spent on manipulating the oil market, I'm guessing that these “investors” will make a return many, many, many times their “investment” before they start a similar cycle again next year. Where do I sign up?

Yesterday the Saudis stated that they were not going to follow OPEC's production caps. Interesting, huh? Why would the Saudis be in such a rush to drain their limited resources (It could be said that a full oil field is the best long-term “bank account.”)? Previously, they stated that they didn't want the price of oil to go up, because they were afraid of unleashing a “political firestorm in America.” Huh? You mean like the political firestorm we had when oil was $147? Does anyone remember a political firestorm? I recall “drill, drill, drill” and windmills, but “firestorm”? Maybe they are talking about something else.

Some think that they are helping out the “party in power” so that the elections will go well. A friend of the Saudis is a friend of mine? In this case, we could expect that the price of oil will stay down or in a range until after the elections.

Some think that they are keeping the price low so that (when or if) Iran is invaded, they will make extra profits and the price will be less likely to destroy the world's economy. If this is the case, then the price of oil will go to the moon! Its hard to know if the US is going to surprise attack Iran http://armscontrolcenter.org/policy/iran/ There are lots of theories out there, some think that the US will attack today http://eldib.wordpress.com/2008/09/10/sep-9-2008-source-attack-on-iran-w...

So, what does TA say about all of this? I am using OmniTrader with the pattern recognition module, and I trade USO as a proxy for oil. I am getting a strong short signal on all of my strategies except for the “Reversal” strategy. One interesting thing is that yesterday there was a bit of a Doji candlestick pattern with not much of a spread. This could mean indecision. Also, most of the confirming patterns are starting to get a bit old with none for the last six trading days. However, there is still the constant march downward.

The price of oil is very close to the important level of 100. I can't help but think that the Smart Money (some call them Manipulators) would love to knock off some more long stops by blasting down past 100. However, there appears to be a bit of resistance at the 102 level. But, you know what happens when a hurricane takes out a bunch of oil infrastructure – yes, the price goes down!

So, I'm keeping my USO puts today and awaiting profit taking until the price of oil goes below 100, with my stop set at 88 for USO.

I would guess that there would be some leakage to “friends” if there was an imminent invasion of Iran. I would think that this would show up on the chart. However, the prices just keep on going down. This leads me to think that if there is an invasion, it won't be within the next few trading days.

So there, I just put myself out as a fortune telling – a sure way to end up looking like a fool. Please add to this analysis, and don't feel shy about flaming me if I said something dumb.


Just a little tidbit from CBS Evening News MoneyWatch last night...


They're even commenting on how the price went down in spite of OPEC's announcement that it would cut production and the potential supply disruptions of Hurricane Ike.

This is of course the theme being pushed by the Master's report (see post on yesterday's DrumBeat) and the Democrats. Was the price of oil at $148 above what fundamentals would dictate? Is it now below what fundamentals would call for (they're of course in denial about this half of the equation)?

Personally I liked the methaphor of some commenter here on the DrumBeat the other day that the price of oil is like a skier following a ski boat. He can veer right or left from the path of the boat, but within limits.

Much more is known now than was known in July and the time of $147/barrel oil. As Nouriel Roubini points out, evidence is rapidly accumulating that the global economy has not decoupled from the U.S. economy. Also the U.S. economy has not reversed itself, as many then believed it would, but has continued in an unrelenting downward trend. I can recall few oil bulls who argued that the higher prices could be maintained if we entered a severere global recession, and in the last couple of months, the liklihood of that seems to have increased greatly.

So if oil trades lower on this new knowledge, is that speculation? Or is it fundamentals? My head spins sometimes trying to figure it all out.

China is in a freefall-both export and import growth rates at over 20% while GDP growth is over 10%.

Can't wait to hear their explanation if retail gas prices hit double what the NYMEX quote is.

Keep in mind there are two aspects of the price of oil: the fundamentals and the value of the dollar. Both have been moving together to produce the recent free fall.

Yes, but is the lower price of oil caused by the stronger dollar, or the stronger dollar caused by the lower price of oil?

Roubini says the global economy is in a severe and worsening recession. Another article above, We have learned to live with $100, and cheap oil is not in our interest, argues just the opposite, that:

Yet the world economy has continued to grow. The United States has kept growing; China and India have kept growing. True, the eurozone economy fell back in the second quarter and the European Commission is now predicting recession in the UK and Germany. But even assuming these forecasts are right (and I think that having been far too optimistic in the past the commission may now be being a touch too pessimistic) the recession it suggests will occur is far less serious that that of the 1970s or 1980s.

I think T.S. Mathews had the Press pretty well pegged fifty years ago when he wrote:

The main business of the Press, supposedly is news. If news is what happened yesterday, the newspapers print an awful lot of phoney news. News is what the Press produces. Most of the world's "news" is manufactured by the Press itself: interviews with important men, reports on grave situations, political surveys, "informed speculation," etc. A large part of the Press has in effect abandoned the pretence of dealing exclusively with facts.

--T.S. Mathews, The Sugar Pill: an Essay on Newspapers

And no one wants to honor Wiggenstein's maxim:

About what we do not know, on that we should keep silent.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

I suspect you meant Wittgenstein.

I stand corrected.

I think that value of oil and value of the dollar are weakly correlated at best.

Withing the last month or so the financial system in the US has been imploding, with dollars going into a black hole (deleveraging) causing the remaining dollars to increasing in value.

On the otherhand there has been a very recent reduction in demand for oil, apparently world wide but especially in the US.

Finally, the value of oil as measured by the price of gold (for example) is currently 7.25 barrels per ounce. That's very near the all time low, implying that oil is holding it's value regardless of the dollar's value.

And here's a rebuttal to Masters:

Playing the Blame Game



nice post & reasoning.

new moon for tehran:
10/29, 11/29, 11/27,12/27.

let us know if 'friends' give oil investment indications.

Gordon Brown unveils £1bn help with energy bills for poor households

The measures, part of a wider political relaunch for the Prime Minister ahead of the party conference season, will see up to 11 million households offered free loft and cavity wall insulation in the next few years and others a grant covering 50 per cent of the cost.

In addition, 600,000 of the poorest families will, after a deal with energy suppliers, have lower "social tariffs" by the end of the year. There will also be action to ensure that households on pre-payment meters do not face higher tariffs and, in the event of "severe" weather, a rise in cold weather payments from £8.50 to £25 a week.


An insulation industry 'talking head' on the TV indicated that this sort of program might mean that all houses in Britain had some insulation within 10 years.

The least they could do is supply free hot water bottles for the intervening period, but I suppose we are unlikely to have hot water to go in them.

Given the density of British towns, I wonder what it would cost to just build a giant air-supported Climate Dome over each of them, with the use of internal-combustion engines banned inside. That would spread one big layer of insulation over everybody, and keep them dry. It wasn't like you were all getting to see the Sun anyway.

IIRC over a certain size and such domes are self supporting as a results of the hot air inside. As they get bigger still the problem becomes keeping them on the ground.

Anyone for a floating city?

Gulliver's Travels


Only in Vermont:)

From Wikipedia

In 1979, the city researched the construction of a dome over the entire city of Winooski, to reduce heating costs during the winter. The proposed dome would have been 200 feet at the center, and internal combustion engines would have been banned.

I lived in the next town over during that time. The debate was "lively" to say the least.

There you go, a fine concept in real estate development: "The Domed Community". Don't take an existing town and dome it, design one from scratch to be domed. The structures only need to be self-supporting (and fire-proof!), but not insulated at all. Bicycles, electric delivery and emergency vehicles, maybe those moving walkways they have in airports.

Sort of like living in the mall, I guess...


This isnt 'new money'. There is £2 billion available in grant money for loft and cavity wall insulation that has been available but unused for some time now.

I smell a large, Gordon-shaped rat.

Great progress! They have actually started implementing their policies then!
BTW, did you know that the increased cost of fossil fuels mean that wind is not costing so much more as they thought, so the Government has been able to skim off around £600 million that is supposed to be for renewables?

This does mean that within 10 years many houses in this country will just be very poorly insulated, rather than uninsulated.
Except for tenants, of course, who rely on their landlords to bother applying for the grants.

Getting those old hypothermia blues......

That is exactly the problem. Those most affected by fuel poverty are likely to be tennants and not owners and we are not just talking about sleazy private landlords, most of those affected are actually tennants of local government.

It would have been simpler to tell all landlords to get insulated and then just disperse the available grant monies to the landlords.

But only after the tennant has signed that the work was actually carried out.

Dunno if it is a problem.
Wonderful way of reducing the pension burden, although the next Tory government might get upset if too many tenants drop dead, as it could hit rental values hard in the private sector.

most private tennants are young and fit and unlikely to die.

The big problem is local gov. They have high rise flats, 1960's flats and houses ranging from the 1920's (land fit for heroes and all that) and lots of old people as tennants.

Trouble is (for Gordon at least) LocGov would rather spend money on hiring climate change coordinators index linked pensions and other gravy trains than actually serving the people they are supposed to serve.

Watch as Greenland Melts.

Should we check back each week, month, or year? While a composite video will eventually be most interesting, right now it's a bit like watching grass grow.

Nah, it's more entertaining to watch the results of the melt on the other end, when they set up video cameras next to the levy at Industrial Road in New Orleans and the seawall at Galveston as hurricanes approach. Over time, there's a little more spillover...

Oil Investors Pulled $39 Billion in Futures Contracts

"Commodity index investors, blamed for record oil prices, sold $39 billion worth of oil futures between a July record and Sept. 2, causing crude to plunge, according to a report released today."


I will be interesting to watch as the price drops and R&D cost rise the investors profits will drop. Maybe they should apply a new international R&D tax to gas.

Gasoline prices spike as Ike heads toward Texas

Gasoline prices jumped to unprecedented levels in the wholesale markets Thursday as Hurricane Ike tore across the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to strike Texas and its refineries.

The wholesale price of gasoline ranged from $4 to nearly $5 a gallon at the U.S. Gulf Coast on Thursday, said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst of the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J. That is up significantly from about $3 to $3.30 a gallon on Wednesday, Kloza said.

"We're looking at the highest wholesale prices ever for a huge swath of the country," he said. "People understand that regardless what happens with Ike, it's going to shut down the biggest refining cluster for a period of five, six, seven days."

"It's a strange, strange world here," Kloza said. "You might see an extraordinary thing — you may see crude oil less than $100 and retail gasoline more than $4 a gallon."

Edit: posted here rather than the Ike thread because it's really about the oil market as a whole, the disconnect between physical supply of gasoline (and diesel and heating oil) and the oil futures "market". Can we say "the crack spreads"?

Friday Night Frights

I guess we could start a contest to see who can best pick the announced financial failures for Friday nights.

Next up. Lehman and Washington Mutual. WaMu Woo Hoo!

Will Russia take Saudi Arabia's seat at the OPEC table?

On Wednesday, little reported in the western media, Russia signed an energy cooperation pact with OPEC.

Russia, who surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world's number 1 oil producer in 2007, already has seperate energy cooperation agreements with several OPEC members including Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran and Ecuador.

Western media has today reported Saudi Arabia announcing it will break ranks with OPEC and not cut production. Since their reported 500,000 barrel increase itself is being questioned as to whether it actually occured, and widespread belief that Saudi Arabia has no spare capacity, such an announcement appears to be a political statement intended to support their friends in the current US administration.

Western media is spinning this as Saudi Arabia removing the teeth from OPEC and making it irrelevant.

More likely, this opens the door to closer cooperation with Russia and another headache for western leaders.


I wonder if Russia is about to announce a series of "voluntary" production and export cuts, kind of like the 36 years of "voluntary" production cuts that we have seen in Texas.

Leanan, thanks for posting that article about Richard Cizik.

Also, did anyone notice the increasing efforts being made to destabilize Bolivia? This reminds me of memmel's comments on this site regarding the crucial role of natural gas in the years ahead, particularly in regard to refining heavy sour crudes. Bolivia has a lot of natural gas. But now it seems that their resources (lawfully administered by a democratically elected government that doesn't believe in free market excesses) are about to be jacked from them by Western elites.

This makes me think that the export land effect may not apply rigorously to life in the US for several years. Export land is a mathematical model which does not take into account various human tricks to game an economic system. I think the elites who run our economy are quite aware of the export land effect, but are working around it by the following methods:

1. Supporting thug minority governments in resource-rich countries. These governments are usually almost diametrically out of step with the majority of their populations. This describes many members of OPEC, who may be holding down domestic consumption by shorting their own citizens in order to ship more oil to the West.

2. Attempts to insinuate pro-Western sellouts into regional governments. This is what I believe is happening in Mexico, with President Calderon insisting that the only way to revive Mexican oil production is by privatizing the Mexican oil industry (as in, allowing foreign private corporate ownership of that industry).

3. Destabilizing the governments of resource rich countries when those governments oppose the "free-market" rape of their countries. This is what is happening in Bolivia, and this is why unnamed sources in the US intelligence community earlier insinuated that there was some connection between Iran, Venezuela, and terrorists in South America.

In my opinion, the critical predictor of geopolitical events over the next several years is the actual worldwide decline rate in the production of petroleum. If it's gentle, the game can go on for quite some time, and we can make a list of countries that can reasonably be expected to become targets for "destabilization." If the decline rate is steep, the game falls apart - especially if steep declines happen within the next year. But these are just my ramblings. Any thoughts?

Re Bolivia - I suspect that the CIA is up to it's usual stunts.They have plenty of form,particularly in South America.
How dare the people elect leftist governments who take an independent line.
And the Russian bogeyman has been resurrected by that convenient Georgia provocation.
All good for McCain/Palin.

Very good reporting about Bolivia here. As usual, Washington Depravity Central sponsored terrorists. I wonder if the TV footage mentioned is posted to youtube. And the Sarah Palin wannabe--wow! Yes, I'm quite biased and completely on the side of Morales.

Bravo, You get an A++. Your eyes are wide open. In the words of the Moody Blues, "It riles them to believe that you percieve the webs they weave."

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

This at first alarmed me, then I read the article and found the the "damage" was actually the cost to remove graffiti. My relief was short lived when the article went on to say:

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

If the "damage" had been of the type that prevented the power station from operating, would the verdict have gone the other way? I honestly don't know. But, in thinking about this article a couple of thoughts came up.

We have two opposing problems; global warming and peak oil. As the global supply of oil goes down, the first and most effective substitute will be coal. Yet global warming dictates we should use less, not more, coal.

I, like hundreds of thousands of households in the northern half of the U.S., will be relying more on firewood and wood pellets for winter heating as we can't afford heating oil. Last week in upstate NY heating oil was $4.00/gal. There is every reason to believe it will rise during the coming heating season. Is $5.00 a gallon a possibility? Higher?

We could switch to electric heat, but that would require more coal generated electricity.

I got to thinking, which is worse for global warming, wood heat or the equivalent of coal generated electricity?

Now for the really odd thought. Will a Greenpeace member in Florida have the legal right to shut off my wood stove because I'm contributing to global warming? And when I switch to electric, will they have the right to stop that also because I'm increasing the use of coal generated electricity? Like I said, an odd thought:)

But it does help to illustrate the tough choices we have ahead of us and how the immediate needs of individuals are, and will continue to be, at odds with global warming. The example of home heating is but one of many needs that pits peak oil against global warming. That's tough enough. Now, throw the courts into the mix and all bets are off:(

Heating with wood is not generally considered contributing to global warming because the carbon going into the atmosphere was only recently (in climate terms) removed from the atmosphere. Much of that carbon would have entered the atmosphere when the wood rotted anyway. Heating with wood does cause air pollution. It also can cause deforestation which is what happened to Haiti.

There are things one can do to make heating with wood have a smaller impact. Try to use standing deadwood, but leave some for the critters. Make biochar and put it in your garden and woodlot. For those with regular fireplaces, biochar can be made from the unburned charcoal after the fire goes out.

Biochar is an effective means of carbon sequestration, but probably only at a small scale.


Heating with wood is not generally considered contributing to global warming because the carbon going into the atmosphere was only recently (in climate terms) removed from the atmosphere.

Thats a silly arguement. It takes decades for a tree to grow, it can be cut down and consume to produce a few days or hours of heat. Every tree that is cut down is one less tree absorbing carbon. While you can plant new trees, it takes years before a small tree grows large enough to match the CO2 absorbsion of a large tree.

Its far better to leave as many trees standing and consume energy that is stored below the surface. The more trees that are processing CO2 the less CO2 will remain in the atmosphere. In either case, consumption of fuel (above and below ground) exceeds the planets ability to process it. Too many humans consuming too many finite resources is the problem. No policy changes is going to fix that.

TechGuy, your point is well taken. Trees are more than just standing lumber. I am particularly concerned about the advent of chipping operations that come in behind the saw log guys and haul out the tops that, in years past, would likely have been left to decompose. I have a hard time seeing this as sustainable.

Still, for those of us that have a few acres of trees, harvesting a few of them to heat the house makes good sense. It requires little energy to fell, buck and split the tree and I don't rely on an extensive rail, road or pipeline system to get it to my home.

Still, for those of us that have a few acres of trees, harvesting a few of them to heat the house makes good sense. It requires little energy to fell, buck and split the tree and I don't rely on an extensive rail, road or pipeline system to get it to my home.

Local resources are "priceless", and distant resources are still dirt cheap. Save the trees for later when you'll really need them. The longer you let them grow, the more resources you'll have in the future. Better to use an energy resource than you can import now. At some point in the future, you won't be able to import energy and you'll only have the energy that available to you locally. The more you consume today, the less will be available in the future. This is especially important if you plan to hand off your land and resources to your kids or your grandkids.

It is not a silly argument. Trees are current account carbon. Carbon in, carbon out. Not like liberating fossil carbon from a million years ago.

I burn 4 cords of firewood a year. This is a fraction of the carbon fixation of my 15 acre woodlot. This probably means more CO2 in the atmosphere than there would be if I didn't burn any of my wood. Though I'm not so sure, given the way I manage my woodlot. I think that that crowns of the trees adjacent to my selective cutting very quickly occupy the site. In any case, my 15 acres is still a CO2 sink.

But yes, I agree, there are too many people - there are not 15 acres of primo tree-growing land for everyone. That's too bad. I will continue to burn wood that I cut myself, skid into my yard with my horse, split by hand, and so forth. Or would you rather I burn oil imported from Saudi Arabia?

And yes, I am a forest ecologist.

This probably means more CO2 in the atmosphere than there would be if I didn't burn any of my wood. Though I'm not so sure, given the way I manage my woodlot. I think that that crowns of the trees adjacent to my selective cutting very quickly occupy the site. In any case, my 15 acres is still a CO2 sink.

No, The more trees you have the more CO2 will absorb. Lets suppose that on your land you have a gas well that you use for heating and you left all the trees to grow. Your tree lot can process more CO2 that it would if you cut down some trees. The only way you could manage to produce less CO2 emissions is to to plant many more trees than you consume. But if you have the land and capability to plant more trees than you would consume, it would be better to plant more trees and use natural gas since you would maximize CO2 processing.

That's too bad. I will continue to burn wood that I cut myself, skid into my yard with my horse, split by hand, and so forth. Or would you rather I burn oil imported from Saudi Arabia?

Your lifestyle certainly minimizes your energy\carbon footprint. But All the Oil will be consumed whether you consume foriegn oil or not. We all share the same biosphere and there is no way that changing your lifestyle will impact global change. The bottom line on consuming foriegn oil or burning your woodlot comes down to which ever is more economical for you. If you can save money consuming foriegn oil and use that money to expand your property (bigger woodlot) or become more self-sufficient (ie purchase of tools\equipment to be more self-sufficient) than do so. It doesn't make sense to pay a fortune to cut your energy/carbon footprint when there are billions of people who don't give a damn. (ie penny wise pound foolish)

It just makes far more sense to preserve (and expand) above ground resources and consume below ground resources. The more trees and biomass that is left untouched the better. Since its cheaper to burn fossil fuels than to burn biomass, the savings could be spend to expand forests and other biomass that have already been consumed. However this is really pointless. because of my original arguement: Too many people consuming too many finite resources. There is no way that the planet can sustain our large population. I have no doubt humans will accelerate the distruction of above ground resources as the price of below ground resources rises. People will do whatever it takes to survive\remain confortable. The forests will be history.

The consumption of above ground resources in the name of "green" is just an excuse to exploit them. It has little or nothing to do with lowering one's carbon footprint. Any large scale consumption of wood for energy would further cause expansion in CO2 emissions, not reduce them. Trees and plants consume CO2, the more of them the better, and the longer they grow the larger amount of CO2 can be processed. If someone sits down, and closely studies the consumption of biomass and Carbon emissions it will become apparent how ungreen it really is. People tend to listen to someone one in the media that is preceive to be "green" and immediately assume its correct, when in fact its dead wrong.

Will a Greenpeace member in Florida have the legal right to shut off my wood stove because I'm contributing to global warming?

Carbon released from wood burning stoves is already part of the earth's carbon cycle, so it shouldn't be an issue as long as harvest doesn't exceed regrowth.

Where I think we'll have problems is in the inefficiency of a lot of woodburning devices. Most notorious are the recently popular outdoor wood boilers. Newer boilers/furnaces that rely on wood gasification seem to burn much more efficiently.

Thanks, I'm off to sharpen my chain saw:)

Some boilers beat indoor stoves, and they are getting better. I was told they are shipping next year to beat anticipated 2011 EPA regs. When comparing total particulates to room stoves, remember to account for the total space heated, several times larger with the boilers. Prime advantages remain indoor cleanliness and breathing ease for those with respiratory ailments.


Dave, I recently looked into retrofitting a masonry stove in our home and while beautiful and efficient, they are not cheap (the estimate that I got was roughly $30k for a stove + 3 story, double flued chimney). Frankly, that feels exhorbitant on my modest salary. I do like the low-tech aspect (they require no electricty to run them -- a big positive if power outages become commonplace).

As it is, I'm re-considering the wood-fired boiler option and as doug fir says, manufacturers seem to have gotten the message about dirty and inefficient outdoor boilers (several towns in my region have place restrictions on them). Most of the cleaner designs rely on heavy refractories and dual-burn chambers to produce temperatures sufficient to get a clean burn (you frequently hear claims of 2000°F combustion temps with efficiencies of 85%).

P.S. For an interesting read on masonry stoves see The Book of Masonry Stoves; Rediscovering an Old Way of Warming, by David Lyle (Chelsea Green Publishing).

I don't know if this has been posted before but I do not think so.
How much difference will Brazil's Tupi field make? Not much.

Brazil’s Tupi field is expected to start flowing in 2012 at about 100 kb/d but will not reach peak production until nearly 2020 at over 1 mb/d.
Peak Oil Review: 8 September 2008

The one mbpd in 2020 would come in handy. At their current rate of increase in consumption (since 2003, EIA), their consumption would increase by about one mbpd by 2020. Of course, they also have to offset declines from existing production.

"No permanent shortages"...seems more likely no permanent oilfields. After a while they might no longer be declared oilfields for if you drill into a depleted you get a wet or a dry hole, but no oil. There is no shortage of 1000 carot diamonds, only the perception by some that there is a shortage. Most people have no use for them.

Build a better cheaper fuel and people will line up at your pumps. So far ethanol is beyond one's wildest dreams of a replacement fuel for petrol. There are traffic jams up and down the east coast this hour due to an abundance of cheap petrol. Petrol may someday become scarce. This scarcity will not last forever. Eventually people will not know what petrol is, it will cease to exist.

Food is another thing we do not worry about running out of. Some worry instead about the spiraling price of food.

The value of the dollar is also of concern. It is one thing that cannot be linked to the price of oil, silver, or gold. Check prices from 1970 compared to today. Seems impossible to stop the continuous long term devaluation of the dollar associated with government deficit spending.

I abstain from making any oil price predictions. It is too risky and potentially misleading.

I wonder if Kharecha and Hansen's coal phaseout scenario can be achieved without policy intervention. The item on Vietnam's coal export cuts supports not only Westexas domestic conservation theory but also the view that Asia is running out of cheap coal. Australia's annual coal exports of 250 Mt are just 10% of current Chinese domestic consumption. That is predicted to decline if I recall 5-15% a year. Meanwhile export spot prices ex-Newcastle have been increasing 50-100% a year. If China runs short then perhaps the US would be tempted to fill the coal supply gap, at least for a while. OTOH if China has to deal with coal shortages on their own that might trigger an economic slowdown.

Note declining EROEI is not an implicit factor at this stage, just supply shortfall. Perhaps a range of possible time paths for coal (absent lame duck carbon caps) could be plugged into the K-H model. One path might be low and slow and another would be early peak-fast decline. Maybe the required coal phaseout will happen anyway due to depletion and/or reduced demand.

Coal phaseout will not happen without policy intervention.There is still plenty of coal,more than enough to cause catastrophic climate change if it is burnt.
Demand for thermal coal will not decline significantly even in an economic depression as it is used primarily for electricity generation.If demand for electricity reduces a lot then I think we will have a major social and economic crisis on our hands.

Hansen et al are correct in targeting coal as the principal offender in the fossil fuel causes of climate change.How to convince those who make the decisions is another matter.

Further up the thread there was a bit of discussion about CCS.It is beyond belief that any rational person could think/hope that this is a practical technology.It makes the disposal of nuclear waste look like a play group picnic.CCS is a ploy by the coal industry to divert attention from the manifest necessity of eliminating that industry from the face of the Earth.The Coalies remind me of the tobacco industry - both pedlars of toxic products.

Vietnam is currently importing coal from Australia from most of its power plant. Her coal are being stolen away and exported to China. When I was in the country this past summer, there were a lot of stories on that. Boats and boats of coal were being held from moving b/c they managed to mine the coal "w/out the government authorization".

Vietnam is currently very short on electricity -- in the hot summer months, electricity outrage was quite regular. There are some effort of building up power plants but it's all fallen short b/c Vietnam's main electricity supplier, EVN, preferred to have its investment on tourists' resorts and such things. Anyway, I think the fossil fuel consumption in countries like Vietnam will only increase -- it's hard to tell people to stop using electricity for air-conditioner and the like when people are slowly getting used to the nice pleasant cool air.

Laos is building hydroelectric plants to service Thailand. Could some be built for Vietnam ?


Sarah Palin Defends Experience, Takes Hard Line Approach on National Security
Republican VP Candidate Speaks with ABC News' Charles Gibson in Exclusive Interview

On the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, Gov. Sarah Palin took a hard-line approach on national security and said that war with Russia may be necessary if Georgia were to join NATO and be invaded by Russia.

Excerpt from interview:

GIBSON: Would you favor putting Georgia and Ukraine in NATO?

PALIN: Ukraine, definitely, yes. Yes, and Georgia.

Nothing to be worried about, just because we could potentially have a fundamentalist from a church with an apocalyptic viewpoint, who apparently believes the world is a few thousand years old, as president. . .


Charlie Gibson did a good job. He had to explain the "Bush Doctrine," where Bush claims the preemptive right of attack, to Palin.

So, Palin is in favor of nuclear war to get to her objective--The Rapture.

As a counterpoint, Chomsky after reviewing recent history/events, seems to imply the "realists" won't allow another COld War. His review of events in Georgia are classic Chomsky.

Sarah Palin is in far over her head, no doubt about it. So far, we have been force-fed a carefully concocted image, but this will not stand up over the coming weeks. She is a train-wreck and I only hope that a majority of the voting populace figures this out before she gets her foot in the White House door. If not, it will be a tragedy for all of us -- not just for those of us who are appalled by her candidacy, but for everyone. This person is a crackpot.

That she did not even know a basic foreign policy term like the "Bush Doctrine" is truly frightening to me. Unfortunately, I think it will just enhance her "every woman" image for her supporters. Many of them are unlikely to be able to answer the question intelligently either.

That she did not even know a basic foreign policy term like the "Bush Doctrine" is truly frightening to me. Unfortunately, I think it will just enhance her "every woman"

Almost Orwellian: ignorance is laudable.

Funny, one of the foreign policy experts on CNN said he wasn't sure what the Bush Doctrine was either. I've never heard it called that, normally its been called the Preemptive Doctrine. I certainly would prefer the Bush Doctrine doctrine be forgetten, that's what Special Ops is for.

What a crazy interview, the shots I've seen show the interviewer condescending half the time, mumbling *BS* under hsi breath. Talk about biased. Questions weren't bad, but the body language and tone made you wonder what was said before and after.

Funny, one of the foreign policy experts on CNN said he wasn't sure what the Bush Doctrine was either.I've never heard it called that, normally its been called the Preemptive Doctrine.

Economist Jun 2008

Can the Bush doctrine last?

THE Bush doctrine is America's first attempt at a grand strategy since the end of the cold war. It consists of five interlocking parts:

• America is at war with global terrorism. This war demands that America deal with state sponsors of terrorism as well as terrorist networks.

• Attack is the best form of defence. America needs to act pre-emptively to prevent threats from materialising.

• America needs to preserve its freedom to act independently. Global bodies are too slow-moving to deal with terrorist threats.

• Success breeds success. The bold use of American power will encourage potential friends to join America and potential enemies to abandon their evil ways.

• The best solution to global jihadism is to export democracy. America needs to abandon its deals with authoritarian regimes and encourage democracy the world over.

Washington Times May 2007

The Bush Doctrine

Thankfully, Robert G. Kaufman, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, has just appeared on the national stage talking about his new book, In Defense of the Bush Doctrine. He presents a thoughtful, comprehensive case. It ranks in my mind as the most historically powerful support of Mr. Bush and his doctrine, including the Iraq war, that I have encountered. Mr. Kaufman is also powerful in another way: he is used to answering hostile questions about that support. He does so in a knowing, articulate fashion -- in stark contrast to the bumbling ways in which our president and his spokesmen often defend his policies.

Christian Science Monitor Aug 2006

Has the Bush doctrine failed?
Analysts say conflicts in the Middle East have halted aggressive US policy, and may hint at end of West's military superiority.

When President Bush unveiled "the Bush Doctrine" in a speech on June 1, 2002, to the graduating class at West Point, it was seen as providing a framework for US foreign policy for years to come. According to Wikipedia, the Bush doctrine "outlined a broad new phase in US policy that would place greater emphasis on military pre-emptive, military superiority ('strength beyond challenge'), unilateral action, and a commitment to 'extending democracy, liberty, and security to all regions.'"

CBS News Jan 2005

The Bush Doctrine

In a grand symbolic way, President Bush has staked his second term and his legacy on the success of this most un-conservative, most radical national vocation. And he did it in a speech that didn't utter the single word that will make or break the Bush Doctrine: Iraq.

It would have been unthinkable that the George Bush who sought the White House in 2000 would have had what is now the Bush Doctrine as the vital core of his presidency, the sole topic of his second Inaugural Address. The Bush of 2000 was hostile to what he called "nation building." He had no diplomatic or international experience. He was, like most of the conservative tradition, suspicious of idealism abroad, of entanglements, of instigating change, of any American messianic dreams in distant lands.

Washington Post Jun 2004

Iraq Occupation Erodes Bush Doctrine

When the war began 15 months ago, the president's Iraq policy rested on four broad principles: The United States should act preemptively to prevent strikes on U.S. targets. Washington should be willing to act unilaterally, alone or with a select coalition, when the United Nations or allies balk. Iraq was the next cornerstone in the global war on terrorism. And Baghdad's transformation into a new democracy would spark regionwide change.

American Enterprise Institute Jan 2003

The Underpinnings of the Bush Doctrine

If nothing else, the Bush Doctrine, articulated by the president over the past eighteen months in a series of speeches and encapsulated in the new National Security Strategy paper released in September, represents a reversal of course from Clinton-era policies in regard to the uses of U.S. power and, especially, military force. So perhaps it is no surprise that many Americans--and others in the rest of the world as well--are struggling to keep up with the changes.

Motherjones Jan 2003:

America's Age of Empire: The Bush Doctrine

On September 20, the Bush administration published a national security manifesto overturning the established order. Not because it commits the United States to global intervention: We've been there before. Not because it targets terrorism and rogue states: Nothing new there either. No, what's new in this document is that it makes a long-building imperial tendency explicit and permanent. The policy paper, titled "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" -- call it the Bush doctrine -- is a romantic justification for easy recourse to war whenever and wherever an American president chooses.

San Francisco Chronicle Jun 2002

On National Security
The Bush Doctrine -- Will it protect us?

For 50 years, America assumed that no enemy would attack this country out of fear of an overwhelming retaliatory strike. Sept. 11 ended that sense of security. Now, it is no longer the former Soviet Union that threatens this country. Instead, we face threats from terrorist cells scattered in 60 countries. Neither deterrence nor containment can protect us from such elusive networks.

Since a government's first duty is to protect its citizens, the Bush administration is right to search for new ways to prevent future terrorist attacks.

But will the so-called new Bush Doctrine truly protect us? And are the risks so great that it could result in even worse threats to our national security?

Ever since Sept. 11, President Bush has been developing the outlines of a new foreign policy and military strategy. At first, he insisted that any nation harboring terrorists would be held accountable and bear equal responsibility for their actions. Fair enough. That policy justified the air war in Afghanistan, a country that both harbored and nurtured the al Qaeda terrorist network.

National Review Online (Larry Kudlow) Dec 2001

The Optimist’s 2001
Here are ten reasons why we’re on the right track.

2. The New Bush Doctrine. In his national address following September 11, President Bush clearly outlined the gameplan for the freedom-loving world: "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." (And that includes states that harbor terrorists.)

Believe me, I could go on but I think you probably get the point.

They are also totally ignorant of international law. They have no idea that the US-sponsored Nuremburg Trials determined that the ultimate war crime is the plotting of a war of aggression. They don't even have the vocabulary to call an act by their anointed Leader a war of aggression, no matter how many dictionaries you point to.

I may have just described two-thirds of the adult population.

FWIW: Its seems unlikely that the world will be able to avoid a third great war. If we look at history, even back to ancient times, large wars always occured when resources become in short supply. The last two world wars were also started because of access constraints to resources. How will the future be any different.

I don't think it matters if a Democrat or a Republican gets elected. They are two sides of the same coin, chasing different false ideologies. Obama and Clinton have been strong proponents of going to war with Iran. Had a Gore won in 2000, the US still would have invaded Afganistan and probably Iraq too. Much of the Congress including the Democrat leaders voted in favor of the Iraq war.

Lets assume for the moment, that US reverts back to its former isolation state by avoiding forigner affairs. Do you really think that other world powers will stand idle while millions (or billions) of their citizens starve? I think not. Already minor food and water supplies are happening. In the future, these resources will be constrained even further when energy depletion begins. Sooner or later real food and water shortages will appear on the global stage. These will bring about a new age of instability leading to global war. It will probably originate in regions that are already unstable (the Middle East) or in regions with excessive populations and low natural resources (Asia and Europe). The US and other major powers will be dragged into the conflict as has happened time after time.

As far as Palin's statements, its unlikely that the Pentagon would support a military engagement with Russia, China or any power with significant miltary capabilities. The military brass and distingished statemen would be extremely critical on any engagement and would express so publically. Congress, the US military and the American people would not let a US President go to war with a major military power. Impeachment would probably be far more likely than approval. There is no way Americans would support a war were there is a danger that US soil would be attacked with Nuclear weapons.

Nato isn't a country club. What she said was that if Georgia joined NATO and was attacked, we would be obligated to help, which we would by international treaty. In case anyone has forgotten, Nato is a mutal defense pact against Russia. If Georgia was a member of Nato, it would be no different than the UK or France. Both Clinton and GWB are culprits in this idea of expanding Nato. Bad idea to poke a sleeping bear, which both of them have done, repeatedly.

After Russia fell apart, Nato should have been disbanded. Europe can afford to protect themselves, why should we pay for it. Not exactly a Hard Line on Defense as the press is reporting. What she stated was simply the requirements of treaty.

Georgia's admission to NATO will be a done deal if the Republican party has its way. At that point, we can expect a similar escalation on the part of Russia. Which will, of course, require a response.

You guys are the ones with your hands on the trigger. Don't try and call Russia's bluff unless you are willing to accept the unthinkable.

Your call...

Like I said, its not wise to poke the sleeping bear.

Russian doctrine since the first Gulf War has been to rule out going toe to toe with the US using conventional forces since we'd wipe them up. Basically they'll go from zero to tactical nukes pretty quick. I'm sure Cheney in his foolishness realized his mistake when Russia parked two mobile launchers on the border. I think they just wanted to annoy Russia and got more than they bargained for. Of course, there is the IAF to Iran express that has been mentioned, but it doesn't make any sense. Local Rogues and Cheney, I think this will end when responsible adults (NOT Obama/Biden) take over foreign policy and mutal respect is restored. McCain understands MAD and will get a good Jim Baker/George Shultz type to handle the relations with Russia.

Understands MAD? McCain is mad. All the time. About everything. When has he ever had to deal with the consequences of strategic nuclear weapons? He was a bomber jock, the people whose casual attitude about airpower was what made the jump to nuclear weapons so dangerous. He was the kind of person JFK had to ignore in the Cuban missile crisis.

During that crisis, one of the members of JFK's crisis group was going over the Navy's plans, and realized the officer he was talking to was intending to fire on any Russian ship that refused to be boarded, based on the fine traditions of the Navy. He told the guy, "I don't care what John Paul Jones would do. Tell me what you are going to do NOW!"

Does McCain actually get that distinction? Is there anyone left in the Unipolar Imperial Capital who remembers the self-restraint we used to have to exercise to avoid World War III? The Cold War ended eighteen years ago, before McCain's rookie term as senator did.

James Baker and George Schultz want their Cold War back. Their Carlyle Group shares need a boost.

"the people whose casual attitude about airpower was what made the jump to nuclear weapons so dangerous. He was the kind of person JFK had to ignore in the Cuban missile crisis."

You obviously have no clue how the miltary thinks. Casual attitude? And to compare McCain to "some generic Naval Officer" is just silly. The encounter you are talking about was obviously in Washington, the guys that actually do the fighting have much more restraint.

As a nation, I think we all miss the Cold war, it was much easier. Its because of guys just like Jim Baker, George Shultz and Bush I that WWW III didn't happen. If you think they want it back, you're terribly wrong.

I have an idea, lets have McCain and Obama have seperate debates with Putin, that way you can see just how Obama takes it when he's confronted with a real threat to his world view. I'm thinking he would go crying to the bathroom like the girly man he is. Atleast Putin would respect McCain. I might have voted for Hillary, but Obama no way.

It's too bad that our next leader won't be able to a have a soul analyzing gaze into Mr. Putin's eyes to determine the true nature of his character. GWB is a world-class checker player. Unfortunately the rest of the world has moved onto chess.

Book says White House ordered forgery

--In the first days of his presidency, Bush rejected advice from the CIA to wiretap Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2001 in Vienna, where he was staying in a hotel where the CIA had a listening device planted in the wall of the presidential suite, in need only of a battery change. The CIA said that if the surveillance were discovered, Putin’s respect for Bush would be heightened.

But Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national security adviser, advised that it was “too risky, it might be discovered,” Suskind writes. Bush decided against if as “a gut decision” based on what he thought was a friendship based on several conversations, including during the presidential campaign. The CIA had warned him that Putin “was a trained KGB agent … [who] wants you to think he’s your friend.”

Agree. IMO, Russia would just walk in and take over Georgia, either shortly before or shortly after Georgia joined NATO. There's no way NATO would respond militarily.

Isn't Germany and France dead set against Georgia joining - yes/no?

Both countries have learnt through history not to poke the bear.

After the recent escapade - I can't see them rushing to sign up Georgia or the Ukraine.

Blair M. Rogers

Georgia's admission to NATO will be a done deal if the Republican party has its way.

This is unlikely, since NATO also consist of many European countries, not just the United States. If they refuse, Georgia isn't going to become a member. Its also very likely that NATO's days are numbered.

I really have to disagree with the assertion that it makes no difference if the Democrats or Republicans are are elected or that Al Gore would have invaded Iraq. Yes, some Democrats voted to give President Bush the option to use military force if diplomacy failed. That is quite a bit different from being cheerleaders pushing for war.

Nor do I agree that war is a foregone conclusion. There are other options.

First story on todays DB here on TOD, takes alot of
Chutzpah. For the non Yiddish speakers or those who are familar with the word (Chutzpah) and believe they know the proper definition, heres the real skinny on it.

Chutzpah is "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father,
throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."

(Regulators can't quantify oil speculators) Sounds like an extreem amount of gaul mixed with equal amounts of bile, when they screamed bloody murder about speculators being the cause.

How dare he tell the truth.

Why ask a question if the real answer will offend you?

Re: The role of regulators and oil speculators .....

Over about the last year I have been quite puzzled by the volatile behavior of oil prices and have considered the many opinions expressed on TOD regarding the impact (or lack thereof) of oil speculators.

The overwhelming concensus at TOD has been strongly against the possibility that speculators have played a major role in the recent explosion in oil prices and strongly argued that only the 'fundamentals' were driving oil prices to their new highs. The main argument has been that speculators can affect prices over the short-term, but cannot affect prices over the long-term, as fundamentals will ultimately decide what the 'right' price should be. I can well understand the logic to that position, and in the abstract I tend to agree with it.

However, given all that has transpired one must ask: what exactly do we consider the short-term and what do we consider the long-term? Is the short-term one week, one month, or half a year? If indeed, half a year is considered short-term, and if it is agreed that speculators can affect and have affected oil prices over the short-term, then we can conclude that the recent run-up in oil prices WAS heavily fueled by speculation (in its many direct and indirect forms).

The more I learn about this stuff, the less I trust any data or anyone else's opinion. The only conclusion I can come to is that we are all flying blind. It's a new game.

Now, if these low oil prices suddenly explode after the US presidential election, what are all the experts here at TOD going to make of that? Fundamentals, no doubt.

Basically, at this point I don't know what the hell is going on, and I don't put much faith in any expert's opinion.

I came across this article on how the dollar has been gamed:

And here is a load of apparent fooling around on the stock market:
Dividend Inc.: If a picture is worth a thousand words then...

Dunno how they fix oil, but it is apparent that the whole thing is a rigged game.

(However, given all that has transpired one must ask: what exactly do we consider the short-term and what do we consider the long-term? Is the short-term one week, one month, or half a year? If indeed, half a year is considered short-term)

Okay, I'll bite on the time duration conditions argument.
Oil was what? $20.00 a barrel in 1999? and just shy of ten years later it hits near $150.00 in a steep curve
upwards steady over TEN years....sound like a long time
or short term? Dont support that short term theory so well now does it? Truth is...oil has been on a relentless climb upwards for over a decade now.


Now that we agree speculators can only influence oil price swings short term and oils price has a steady upwards spike for over 10 years...I guess it ain't speculators doin it.
Might be weak dollar, geo-politics, tight inventory from JIT, declining output, increasing demand, depletion of the low hanging cheap fruit, blah blah blah...but it sure as hades isnt speculator financial
terrorist boogy men.
15 minutes after the first airing of "THE WAR OF THE WORLDS" on radio, mass hysteria broke out because people all over thought the Martins had landed. Media has the ability to plant seeds of subtrafuge in the fertile minds of people who should know better.

Nephilim -

Sorry, but I am still at a loss to see what has been so radically different in the supply/demand structure June 2007 versus June 2008 that would logically explain the explosive price rise. Can you please explain?

Did oil supplies suddenly dry up? Was there some mysterious sudden increase in oil usage? Are we missing something else here?

No, the Economics 101 explanations just don't seem to do the job in this case. If the explosive price rise cannot be explained by simple supply/demand dynamics (which hasn't changed all that much 2007 vs 2008), then there must be some other reason. And the big question: What IS that reason??

As an aside, have you noticed that during the last several elections, economic indicators have always seemed to relax and stabilize and thus become non-controversial, a non issue, but then get back to normal after the election.

There are many subtle ways to pull strings, and we hardly know all the connections between the various strings and the various fingers. Economics and politics are hopelessly interwined.

Joule: I can't believe you ignored my post entirely. I
gave a link showing the TEN yr relentless upward climb in oil price and you refuse to acknowlege it. You then attempt to continue to argue about short term and suggest oil price increases have only been...(2007 vs 2008)
The crux of the debate centered on speculators ability to influence price rise or decline in only the short term. I showed beyond doubt or abiguity that oils price
rise is long term (ten years). Let me reintroduce the gragh.


I also gave numerous reasons for this rise accuring for the past 10 years, none of which were speculator boogy men. The news article posted here on TOD specifically states they cant even quantify how many speculators there are...let alone if they caused the prices we see today.

We are experiencing some gasoline shortages here in Western North Carolina. Not sure what other areas are affected. At the same time fear of shortages has made a run on the stations exacerbating what may have been a minor hiccup. Some gas stations are limiting sales to 10 gallons.

It was humoring to walk by my local grocery/gasup with the normally very busy gas station closed.


We are starting to see some outages at gas stations here in east Texas.
Traffic is heavy heading up the north/south state highway (hwy.69)with some vehicles that are obviously from the coastal areas such as school buses from the Beaumont school district. (I am in Tyler,tx)
I got the last 11 gals at the local discount gas station($3.48 gal).Tanker was due to arrive for a refill early evening.

No gasoline for 2 days at the station across the street here now.

It's going to be tons of fun watching the media fail to report this as a story of national interest.

The GOP can't afford the 1970s image of gas stations closing down to reappear.

Here in Toronto we get a 10% price hike overnight-should be interesting watching the NYMEX price and the black market price detach-wonder how far it can go http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/497921

That is 45 cents a gallon US price hike overnight.

A while back I would have agreed with you. But then the Republicans came out with the silly "drill here,..." slogan and lots of people bought it. When prices receded this summer some politicians claimed credit saying that the mere discussion of increased drilling caused futures prices to drop! If gas shortages and supply panics set in I can imagine the Republicans blaming that on the liberals refusal to allow drilling in ANWR and OCS. As if we could give the approval now and the oil would start flowing in the spring. The difference now is that the Republicans have a huge megaphone in their control of the media.

The death of OPEC
Posted Sep 11 2008, 07:01 AM by Douglas McIntyre

Saudi Arabia walked out on OPEC yesterday, saying it would not honor the cartel's production cut. It was tired of rants from Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the well-dressed oil minister from Iran.

As the world's largest crude exporter, the kingdom in the desert took its ball and went home.

As the Saudis left the building, the message was shockingly clear. “Saudi Arabia will meet the market’s demand,” a senior OPEC delegate told the New York Times. “We will see what the market requires and we will not leave a customer without oil."




Get a job.

“Saudi Arabia will meet the market’s demand”

Saudi Arabia exported 9.1 mbpd in 2005, when the average annual WTI price was $57.

I estimate that they will export about 8.4 mbpd in 2008, at an average WTI price so far substantially in excess of $100.

Well, it's midnight here in Oregon, a coup plot aganist Chavez has been unmasked; and as with Bolivia, the US ambassador is being expelled. The wonks in Depravity Central are insane.

Get your "cheap" gas now, for it won't be cheap much longer.

[edit] The story is finally getting US press with the predictible lines. Given the US backed events in Bolivia and the new Russia-Venezuela alliance, I can't say I'm surprised by this on the anniversary of the US backed coup of Chile's Allende, for which we have new evidence of Kissinger's and Nixon's plans.

Hello TODers,

Mosaic named in lawsuit alleging price-fixing

The Plymouth firm was among fertilizer companies from Canada to Belarus accused in a federal suit of collusion in the potash market.

Mosaic and seven other large fertilizer companies are accused of price-fixing and collusion in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Minneapolis.

This could be nothing, or it could be huge depending upon how a judge or a jury feels about the 1916 Webb-Pomerene Act and the Canadian Competition Act which legally allows these competitors to monitor prices and production within narrow boundaries plus also provides legal exclusion from criminal conspiracy:

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. v. PHOSPHATE EXPORT ASSN., 393 U.S. 199 (1968)
393 U.S. 199
Argued October 24, 1968.
Decided November 25, 1968.

Canpotex Limited
Re: Treatment of Efficiencies in the Competition Act
I am not a lawyer, but my brief reading on this topic shows how complex and difficult it is to fairly adjudicate antitrust and price-fixing lawsuits.

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

"I am not a lawyer"

I saw a lawyer, kill a snake, on a dung hill by his stable, it made me smile, for it put me in mind, of how Cain killed his brother Abel.

Twain or maybe Coleridge I believe?