DrumBeat: September 24, 2008

The Approaching World Oil Supply Crisis

A world oil supply crisis is looming in the near future, according to a growing number of energy analysts. This summer, Christophe de Margarie, CEO of the French oil company Total (one of the world's top 10 oil companies), said it will be difficult to raise world oil production above 95 million barrels per day by 2020.

This is the first time a top executive of a major oil company has stated a maximum world oil-production level this low. But it is consistent with maximum world oil-production estimates provided by prominent peak oil forecasters such as Chris Skrebowski, editor of London's Petroleum Review, and Colin Campbell, founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil.

Socar calls force majeure as Azeri oil output drops

BAKU (Reuters) - A further drop in Azeri oil production following a gas leak last week has prompted state oil firm Socar to declare force majeure on some shipments, a Socar source said on Wednesday.

The source at Socar said the country's Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) fields in the Caspian Sea were currently producing 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), or a third of their usual 900,000 bpd.

ConocoPhillips, EnCana start huge refinery expansion

ConocoPhillips, the second-largest U.S. oil refiner, and Calgary-based EnCana Corp. began construction this week on a $3.6 billion Illinois refinery expansion to boost Canadian heavy-oil processing.

Nigerian oil output around 2 mln bpd - minister

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia said recent militant attacks on oil facilities had not significantly hit output and that the country was currently producing around 2 million barrels per day.

U.S. navy tanker under apparent pirate attack off Somalia

LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy said on Wednesday it appeared pirates had tried to attack one of its big military oil tankers.

A security team aboard the vessel opened fire on two small boats near Somalia after they ignored warnings and pursued the ship, a U.S. Fifth Fleet spokesman said.

Firm says it suspects collusion in SKorea oil spill case

SEOUL (AFP) - An international ship management company said Wednesday it suspects South Korean officials are colluding to blame a Hong Kong tanker crew for Korea's worst oil spill despite an earlier acquittal.

Polar war could break out in 12 years over scramble for oil and gas, British think tank warns

A Polar war could break out in the Arctic within 12 years, a respected British think tank has warned.

At its heart will be a mad rush for the black gold bonanza of oil and natural gas locked beneath the frozen waters.

Melting ice caused by global warming and high energy costs suddenly make the fabulous wealth of Arctic energy resources more accessible and very attractive.

Five nations – Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway– are claiming large tracts of the Arctic as their own, said the authoritative Jane’s International Defence Review.

Farming interns sow their sustainable oats

One thing that drew me to Howell was the idea that lessons in historic farming might provide unique insight on important modern issues: global warming and peak oil, the safety and quality of our food, and the movement toward sustainability and self-sufficiency. Essentially, I wanted to travel back in time and see for myself if the good old days were as good as advertised and perhaps worth returning to.

Obama declares support for 'clean' coal

Barack Obama's campaign yesterday rushed to proclaim his support for "clean coal" technology after remarks by running mate Joe Biden cast doubts on Democratic friendliness to the coal industry.

In a videotaped exchange with an environmental campaigner in Ohio, Biden allowed Republicans to change the subject from the financial gloom that has put John McCain on the defensive this week.

Asked why he and Obama backed the expensive prospect of capturing and storing carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants, Biden told the campaigner: "We're not supporting clean coal … No coal plants here in America."

Biden's comments contradict Obama's public promotion of "clean coal" as well as a more controversial scheme to turn coal into liquid fuel.

Costs of Climate Change, State-by-State: $Billions

Climate change will carry a price tag of billions of dollars for a number of U.S. states, says a new series of reports from the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER). The researchers conclude that the costs have already begun to accrue and are likely to endure.

Combining existing data with new analysis, the eight studies project the long term economic impact of climate change on Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey and Ohio. Studies on additional states are in the works.

New studies find global warming will have significant economic impacts on Florida coasts

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- Leading Florida-based scientific researchers released two new studies today, including a Florida State University report finding that climate change will cause significant impacts on Florida's coastlines and economy due to increased sea level rise. A second study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University recommends that the state of Florida adopt a series of policy programs aimed at adapting to these large coastal and other impacts as a result of climate change. Key findings of the FAU report were included just this week by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's Climate and Energy Action Team when it adopted the "Adaptation" section of its final report.

British public 'unwilling' to pay for climate change costs

Public confusion over the environmental agenda appears to be as high as ever, with a majority in the UK calling for more action to tackle climate change while at the same time saying they are not willing to pay more to help.

It needn't cost the earth

At the moment it's too difficult to live the green life. Obstacles should be removed and green choices made cheaper and easier.

Costa Rica Electricity Rates Could Increase 30-80 Percent

Even though Costa Ricans are already feeling the pressure of rising costs of fuel, food, and other goods, last week, the government-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced plans to increase electricity costs by an astonishing 30-80 percent. ICE cites rising gasoline prices as culprit for the increase, since the institute uses crude oil to produce energy for consumption.

IOC to speed up work on oil pipeline to Nepal

New Delhi: An Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) pipeline project, which is expected to reduce oil transportation cost to Nepal by as much as 60%, has gained momentum with the visit of Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the Himalayan nation’s prime minister, to India last week.

Greece: Strikes cause gas shortage

Some gas stations began running out of fuel yesterday as drivers rushed to fill up their tanks due to fears that rolling 48-hour strikes by customs officers will lead to the country running dry.

5 Myths About Wind Energy

The United States now has nearly 17,000 megawatts of wind power installed, which can supply about 1.2 percent of the nation's demand for electricity, according to a recent report from the Department of Energy (DOE).

With these numbers projected to grow in the coming years, it might be good to be aware of a few myths that are blowing in the wind.

Wind Farm Site Considered 10 Miles From Queens Shore

Has the economic or political climate changed for wind power on Long Island? The Long Island Power Authority hopes so.

A year after the authority withdrew its proposal to build an $800 million offshore wind farm near Jones Beach, it said Tuesday that it would look into building a potentially larger wind farm 10 miles off the south shore of Queens.

Mexican Petroleum Reports Gasoline Imports Rise

During the first eight months of this year Mexican Petroleum (Pemex) spent 10.538 billion dollars to purchase gasoline abroad, an amount practically equivalent to what it spent in the entire 2007 for the same purpose, that is, 10.676 billion dollars.

The cost of importing automotive fuel combined negatively with the continuous drop in crude oil production mainly as a result of the declining main oil field known as Cantarell, whose volume last August was below 1 million barrels per day, for the first time since 1995.

Pickens: Foreign Oil Soon Will Be 'Abhorrent'

T. Boone Pickens has a plan to end foreign energy dependence, but for him, it's not a question of whether the United States will listen to him. It's simply a question of when.

Current levels of foreign energy dependence are unsustainable for America and present both economic and security risks, Pickens told a Gaston Hall audience Sept. 21. Pickens came to Georgetown to present his eponymous plan for using alternative energies, chiefly natural gas and wind power, in lieu of foreign oil. The U.S. already is in an energy crisis, he said, and refusal to focus on alternative energies cannot continue.

"The way I see this unfolding is that we'll do what I said we should do," Pickens said with characteristic bluntness. "But when? … This has to be done."

Sen. George V. Voinovich: Ohioans tell of hardships caused by high gas prices

I heard from parents who have had to slash their family budgets; from seniors who are struggling to cover health care costs; and from small business owners who are really feeling the pinch and not sure how to make ends meet and keep their companies afloat.

An elderly woman from Defiance shared her struggle to pay for groceries, medications and health costs -- and she's especially worried about her home heating bills this winter. She said the high prices of gas have really affected the local Meals on Wheels program because volunteers are being forced to spend even more money to pay for gas.

Trucker Protest Runs Out of Gas

Independent truckers organizing a protest against high fuel prices hoped pain at the gas pump would drive 200 or more truckers to Washington Sept. 23. Instead, fewer than 20 truckers showed up for the rally and protest, and organizers blamed high fuel prices.

Millions secured for energy assistance

Millions of dollars have been secured to help Missouri families this winter meet high energy costs, but officials say it will not be enough.

Compressed workweek: 4 and 10, do it again

As energy bills mount, more employers around the country, including municipalities, school districts and businesses, have adopted an abbreviated schedule. Many others are weighing the option, not only to ease commuting costs for workers and help the environment, but also to save on operating expenses.

Experts, however, give the model mixed reviews.

4-day work weeks can get job done

Four-day workweeks, introduced by some Metro Detroit businesses in light of high gas prices, offer more benefits than just saving employees money on fuel.

Workers who are given the option of a shorter workweek say they have more time to spend with their families and are coming to work more refreshed after a long weekend.

Employers say worker morale is up and staffers are more productive because they know they have to squeeze five days' work into four.

As Gas Prices Rise, Cornell University Works To Limit Consumption of Fuel

Rising fuel costs — while a major concern for the general public — are not the primary motive behind many of Cornell’s green initiatives designed to cut emissions and reduce fuel usage.

“It’s more of an environmental issue than a monetary one,” said Director of Transportation David Lieb ’89. “One of President Skorton’s major policies for the University is to be at the cutting edge of green technology.”

OPEC oil output expected to drop

LONDON–OPEC's oil supply is expected to fall sharply in September because of lower output from members including Saudi Arabia and Iran, industry consultant Petrologistics said on Wednesday.

The estimate boosted oil prices and indicates that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was starting to cut supplies even before it agreed on Sept. 10 to trim output back to official targets.

OPEC's 13 members are expected to pump 32.6 million barrels per day in September, down from a revised 33.4 million bpd in August when output was unusually high, Conrad Gerber, head of Petrologistics, told Reuters.

"Things have come back to normal," Gerber said. "This has nothing to do with the OPEC decision. That reduction will come later on."

Investigation Widens Into Unusual Oil Price Rise

Federal regulators have subpoenaed recent trading records from several Nymex traders as part of a widening investigation into the sharp rise in oil prices on Monday.

Dmitry Orlov: Adieu, stage 1 collapse!

So far so good. In terms of mental milestones, we can tease apart financial collapse into a number of psychological levees that are being breached one by one. The first one to go was people's faith in home equity: that the value of their homes will serve as a nest egg to sustain them in retirement. What we have been witnessing for the past week or so is the demise of people's faith that their investment portfolio will sustain them. It is still easy to find investment advisers who will tell you to "go long on equities" because, you see, "eventually the economy will recover," but their reassuring words are starting to sound like a death rattle to all those whose retirement savings suddenly look laughably inadequate.

LaBruzzo: Sterilization plan fights poverty

Worried that welfare costs are rising as the number of taxpayers declines, state Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, said Tuesday he is studying a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied.

"We're on a train headed to the future and there's a bridge out," LaBruzzo said of what he suspects are dangerous demographic trends. "And nobody wants to talk about it."

LaBruzzo said he worries that people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people who presumably pay more tax revenue to the government. He said he is gathering statistics now.

Power From the Restless Sea Stirs the Imagination

For years, technological visionaries have painted a seductive vision of using ocean tides and waves to produce power. They foresee large installations off the coast and in tidal estuaries that could provide as much as 10 percent of the nation’s electricity.

But the technical difficulties of making such systems work are proving formidable. Last year, a wave-power machine sank off the Oregon coast. Blades have broken off experimental tidal turbines in New York’s turbulent East River. Problems with offshore moorings have slowed the deployment of snakelike generating machines in the ocean off Portugal.

B.C.'s ethanol standards for gasoline a mistake: scientists

B.C. is taking the wrong approach by mandating that gasoline sold in the province contain five per cent ethanol by 2010, according to some scientific experts.

Spain eases plan to slash subsidy for solar power

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain has decided to ease proposed sharp cuts in a generous subsidy scheme to solar power producers in one of the world's hottest markets, Energy Secretary Pedro Marin said on Tuesday.

BHP wants to sell uranium to China for decades

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, is positioning itself to supply China with uranium for "decades'' as the country ramps up its nuclear plant program in a carbon conscious world.

Green idealists fail to make grade, says study

People who believe they have the greenest lifestyles can be seen as some of the main culprits behind global warming, says a team of researchers, who claim that many ideas about sustainable living are a myth.

According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.

The burning issue: Few now dispute that coal is key to a clean energy future

AS the climate change debate moves from the abstract to the concrete, the clean coal sceptics are slowly being mugged by reality. The facts are that almost a quarter of world energy demand is fuelled by coal and 39 per cent of the world's electricity is generated in coal-fired power stations. It is impossible to imagine a smooth international transition to a carbon-constrained economy without finding cleaner ways to burn coal.

EU lawmakers set to halt carbon curbs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union lawmakers are set to slam the brakes on plans to curb carbon dioxide emissions from cars, easing the burden on the auto industry in the fight against climate change, documents circulated on Tuesday showed.

A draft European Parliament resolution would delay and soften the mandatory emissions limits proposed by the executive European Commission, reduce the fines for non-compliance and give carmakers a freer hand on how they achieve the cuts.

Senate approves bill with energy trade-offs

WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies could soon be helping fund renewable energy projects, via the Internal Revenue Service.

But the industry also may be one step closer to gaining access to more areas offshore as Democratic leaders agreed Tuesday to drop a quarter-century ban on drilling off the East and West coasts.

"The White House made it clear any new drilling provision was a nonstarter," said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "The future resolution of offshore drilling will have to be addressed with a new president."

In what could prove to be a pivotal day on Capitol Hill for the oil and gas industry, the Democratic-led Senate — in its ninth attempt — finally, and overwhelmingly, approved a measure that would provide $17 billion in tax credits for renewable energy sources, largely by hitting up the oil and gas companies for higher taxes.

Oil rises $2 on U.S. fuel supply concerns

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil rose more than $2 to over $109 a barrel on Wednesday as concerns about U.S. fuel supply outweighed anxiety about the U.S. government's $700 billion plan to rescue the finance industry.

Chavez sees 1 million-barrel oil exports to China

In comments broadcast Tuesday on state television in Venezuela, Chavez said Venezuela's oil exports to China would increase to almost 500,000 barrels a day next year. That figure could reach 1 million barrels a day within four years, he said.

The sides also plan to construct three oil refineries in China capable of processing Venezuela's heavy sulfer-laden crude and build four oil tankers.

"While the world enters an energy crisis, we are investing," Chavez said.

Jordan gets first subsidised Iraqi oil under new deal

AMMAN (AFP) - Jordan received 11,000 barrels of Iraqi oil by road on Wednesday, the first delivery under a new agreement which revises the subsidy the kingdom receives in the light of spiralling world prices, Energy Minister Khaldun Qteishat said.

"Forty-one tankers laden with 11,000 barrels of crude oil from Iraq crossed the border today," Qteishat told AFP.

The road less travelled: a sceptic’s view of the commodities boom

While arguments on ‘peak oil’ have been around for decades (and yet to be realised), the inability to add supply quickly in many commodities due to infra­structure and labour supply bottlenecks has fuelled con­cerns over the ability to add supply in the longer term.

The ability of these argu­ments to elicit an enthusiastic reaction among a large number of investors is obvi­ous. The opposing case for sceptics is perhaps more complex.

Saudi central bank says no scarcity in bank liquidity

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's central bank governor said on Wednesday there was no scarcity in liquidity in the world's top oil exporter and Saudi banks were in a good position to weather a global downturn.

"Figures point to strong growth in loans, money supply, banks have liquidity, additional deposits. There is no scarcity in liquidity," Hamad Saud al-Sayyari told reporters.

"Banks want to expand. This conflicts with our policy in limiting the increase in liquidity and the rise in inflation."

Scooter sales skyrocket 66%

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The scooter is becoming the new must-have set of wheels in a lot of American cities.

While auto sales have continued to sink, scooter sales were up 66% in the first half of 2008 compared to a year ago, while motorcycle sales overall only ticked up 0.5%, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.

Green energy’s big win in Congress

After a year of stalemate that threatened to strangle the nascent United States solar industry, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed energy legislation that extends a key investment tax credit until 2016.

Review: Carfree Cities by J.H. Crawford

Can you imagine a world without cars? No honking horns, snarled traffic, and no cloying pollution. J.H. Crawford, author of Carfree Cities, not only asks us to consider this possibility, but he outlines in his book the steps to turn the carfree dream into a reality. “Venice, Italy is certainly the best advertisement for carfree cities that I have ever seen,” explains Crawford.

Jeremy Leggett: Independence from the street up

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is warning of an oil crunch by 2012, so we have to act immediately if we aren't to add peak oil to our credit-crunch woes. There is also a grave risk of major shortfalls in gas supply in the next few years. North Sea oil and gas production is plunging 7.5% a year at the same time as liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects are being cancelled around the world. Meanwhile, Moscow dangles the prospect of sending most of its gas exports east to China, rather than west to Europe.

Double-dose of Kunstler on Community Learning Day

"A list of the things you said that I disagree with would be very long," Kunstler said.

"Compelling in its compassion but a little strange," Kunstler said of Bates' standpoint. "It raises the basic question: so what? My answer to that question, to all of the displays of compassion (is that we)are going to be overridden by our own problems."

He emphasized the idea that people should focus on environmental problems as a nation and let other countries handle their own problems without U.S. assistance.

Getting on track

And the corn looked strange. After 15 years away, I expected changes, but I had to look closely to understand what I was seeing. While childhood scenes usually appear smaller when revisited in adulthood, these fields looked larger.

It wasn’t just because I’d been urbanized — these fields really were bigger! What had shrunk was the space in between the cornstalks, in between the corn and the bean fields, and in between the fields and any roads or farmhouses. Fortunately, I’d watched the documentary “King Corn” (click here for more information) and read Michael Pollan’s writings on modern corn cultivation, so I had some idea of how to account for these seemingly endless vistas of corn and soybeans.

Evidently, hybrid strains of corn have been developed that can produce even while planted pretty much toe to toe. Unless you look at them from above, say from the observation car on the second story of the train, you can’t even see that there are rows. Back when I lived in Iowa City, my friend’s beagle used to periodically take off between the rows in the cornfield near the park, and stay in there for hours. Now, you couldn’t shove a beagle between those stalks. A guinea pig, maybe.

Crisis no reason to dilute climate plan - EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The global financial crisis is no reason to water down the European Union's flagship plan to fight climate change, the bloc's environment chief said on Wednesday.

Arctic 'methane chimneys' raise fears of runaway climate change

Scientists claim to have discovered evidence for large releases of methane into the atmosphere from frozen seabed stores off the northern coast of Siberia.

A large injection of the gas - which is 21 times more potent as an atmospheric heat trap than carbon dioxide - has long been cited by climate scientists as the potential trigger for runaway global warming. The warming caused by the gas could destabilise permafrost further, they fear, leading to yet more methane release.

But climate experts have expressed caution at the claims, which have yet to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. Methane release from stores of so-called gas hydrates, that can form on land or under the sea, is not new to researchers. Huge quantities are known to exist in the Arctic, but special circumstances would need to exist for significant releases to occur.

Met Office: Global warming sceptics 'have heads in sand'

The UK Met Office climate change bureau has issued a stinging attack on the idea that recent falls in global temperature might mean that global warming is over or has been exaggerated.

"Anyone who thinks global warming has stopped has their head in the sand," said an unnamed Met Office spokesman in a statement released online today.

Vegetarian shift seen helping climate, not poor

OSLO (Reuters) - Eating less meat can help rich nations to combat global warming but may not work for poor countries where people depend on livestock for survival, a leading expert said on Wednesday.

Western cap and trade initiative faces obstacles

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - A new Western regional plan to cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions faces a tough road in state legislatures, where the details still must be worked out.

The Western Climate Initiative would establish a regional market to trade carbon emissions credits, allowing industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy and sell credits for their emissions. The goal is to cut the region's carbon emissions to below 2005 levels by 2020, a roughly 15 percent reduction.

The initiative, proposed Tuesday by seven western states and four Canadian provinces, covers more polluters than other regional plans adopted in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Re: Senate approves bill with energy trade-offs

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed an important energy bill, H.R. 6049, which included extensions of the renewable energy tax credits for up to 8 more years. These tax credits are set to expire at the end of this year and if this comes to pass, the solar and wind energy industries would falter. The bill contains various incentives for other energy sources as well, including clean coal. And, there are incentives for energy conservation, such as increased insulation in houses, both new and old and for home owners who install ground source heat pumps.

Here’s a link to a summary of the bill (PDF warning).

Here’s a press release from the Solar Energy Industries Association about the bill.

The bill originated in the House and must be again voted on there. The vote may be taken this week, hopefully before Congress goes on recess to campaign for the elections.

E. Swanson

Lifting the $2k cap on residential is a good thing, not shrouded in corporatism!

A study released by Navigant Consulting, Inc. just this week showed that more than 1.2 million employment opportunties, including 440,000 permanent jobs, and $232 billion in investment would be supported by 2016 with an 8-year extension of the ITC.

The correct press release link from the SEIA is

The Day The Earth (Almost) Stood Still
Walking home after work last evening, there was almost NO traffic moving on the street. The street that I walk beside is one of the main streets in town, but is not super busy; it is rare for more than thirty seconds to go by without a car passing me going one way or the other. Last evening, I would go two, three, even four minutes without seeing a car on the street. It was a really strange feeling walking along that empty street, as if I had been transported forward in the future to a time when gasoline no longer existed.
It felt so strange that I asked several people in their yards along the way if I was just imagining it, or if traffic really was down that much. They all agreed with me that it was.
The few cars that passed me were all traveling slower, too. Usually they zoom past at five or ten miles per hour over the speed limit, but not last night. They were all obviously taking it slower and trying to conserve gas. For the past couple of days now I’ve been noticing more cars carrying more people than just the driver.
Where were the cars? Probably a fair number of them were still in line at a gas station, waiting for fuel and hoping that they would get some. I talked to someone I knew as I passed by on my walk to work this morning, and they told me that they had to sit in line for five hours yesterday waiting to get gas. For those not trying to get gas, I would venture to guess that they just stayed home. The local restaurants and fast food places must be starting to hurt for business.
We have often speculated here on what would happen when the gasoline supply curtailments actually hit. It has been fascinating to have a ringside seat to observe it happening on a small scale here in Western NC.

Good job, Observer. Keep it up!

Where were the cars?

They're all here, in my town. Gah. The Monster Truck Rally continues.

(excellent post, btw)

That sounds nice. I wish we'd have a gas shortage here. Then maybe I'd be able to ride my bike without fear of being killed or having things thrown at me.

I live in WNC also and have noticed both calmer and more frantic traffic. Just depends where the needle points on their gas gauge.

There has only been gas shipped to our station across the street 2 times in 15 days, a normally very busy gas-up. It has made the intersection a traffic jam as I walk to the grocery store attached. The local Asheville news had a piece about all the automotive stores being out of gas cans and siphons. People are siphoning gas from lawn mowers and less efficient vehicles to get to work. The one Hess gas station that seems to be getting shipments daily is supposedly going all the way to Willmington NC to get it, a 5 hour trip each way. Once a shipment shows up, it is cleaned out in about 2 hours.

Me, I am an unemployed civil engineer, I have no where I need to go with my little car with a full tank of gas. I can walk or ride my bike most places. My wife and I were planning a little near-cation to some things in North Carolina. Now even a short trip to nearby state or national park for hiking seems futile. I am surprised things are going as well as they are, no major fights or police actions yet.

There is an article about people starting to car-pool and such for work and of course are still running out of gas. The newspaper has made attempts to tell the public which stations have gas. By the time it is posted, and people figure it out, the station runs out, or their car runs out waiting.


Received news a couple of hours ago that the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (aka AB-Tech) is shutting campus as of 9/24 @ 4:30 PM to remain closed through the weekend because of the gas shortage.

Wednesday, September 24:
College Closing at 4:30 p.m.

Due to the gas shortage A-B Tech will Close at 4:30 p.m. today, Wednesday, September 24th. The College will remain closed for students and staff through Sunday, September 28th. This includes all academic, continuing education, GED, ESL, and any other programs. The College will make a decision about opening next week on Sunday, September 28th. Announcements will be made through the A-B Tech website, email accounts, radio and TV.

The Sam's Club got a shipment of gas earlier this morning and at least two people left work to join the line. There was apparently no rationing and one report of a dually pickup filling the tank full, then proceeding to fill two 6-gallon cans before driving off - $3.79/gal. Gasoline is on everyone's mind...you can't go 10 minutes without someone saying something about it.

One rider of the Asheville transit system (bus system) has reported an increase to a 10 minute delay due to increased ridership. I've seen more people walking in places I don't normally see them walking, a few more bikes, and a general sense of less traffic - though traffic on the interstate still doesn't understand the concept of not going 70+mph.

Lots of closures and cancelations being announced. It is sounding like they might not be able to continue to run the school buses past next week.

There was a press conference this afternoon, this has finally gotten the attention of local government officials. They are both promising that gas is on the way, and also saying that it would be at least another week until things start to get back to normal -- that's a mixed message if I ever heard one! The truth of the matter is that there is very little that they can do.

I think that the big lesson to come out of this episode is that Just-in-Time materials management is dead, and that the value of inventories has been proven. Inventories buffer systems from unexpected disruptions; eliminate the inventories and you eliminate the buffering, which means that any disruption becomes a very big crisis. It would have helped a lot if local governments and major employers kept larger (or ANY) stocks of motor fuel on hand, and if suppliers had maintained more and larger tank farms aroound the country. Yes, there is a cost to maintaining these larger inventories, but we are now learning that there can be some very big costs to not maintaining them.

This gets back to that optimism article that I posted below. JIT looks great on paper - IF everything works perfectly, all the time. In the real world, things don't work like that; in the real world, things go wrong. Assuming that nothing ever goes wrong is the management philosophy of an idiot.

With the pushback against "price-gouging" (AKA free-market pricing), there is very little incentive for end-retailers to keep extra inventory on hand. When the system is functional, the JIT folks benefit, but when TSHTF, retailers who keep excess inventory are effectively prevented from seeing any kind of profit for their foresight.

Wise planning just means selling out of everything at the same everyday low prices a couple hours later than the competition.

I forget where I first read this, but full credit to the author of:

JIT--> Just Isn't There

Sadly, I haven't been able to convince any local motorcycle/scooter dealers to jumpstart my Hell's Angels' gas-station idea.

To help foster Peak Outreach: it would be cool if someone would hand out Peak-books [Simmons, Deffeyes, Heinberg, et al], or TOD & EB printouts, to those waiting in the long gasoline queues. Then, when they finally reach the gas-pump: collect the materials, then give them a quick, but simple quiz. If they pass--> small discount on the gas.

I bet they will drive their now refueled cars straight to the library or bookstore, or immediately home to log onto TOD, EB, LATOC, DIEOFF, etc.

A whacky and freakishly good idea. (looks at author's name) Oh yeah, it's gotta be Bob!

My saga went like this:
Last Sunday before last(14th) we lost power at about 9:30 AM..By we I mean most of western Ky. At least 4 counties were shutdown. The remains of Ike came up the Mississippi valley and totalled a huge number of trees. Not mch rain but the power never came back on for my immediate area for 4 very long days. Many lost all their frozen and refrigerated foodstuffs. We lived in the dark for all those days.

I worked on several large generators in order to help many neighbors and just barely managed to save most of my freezer contents.

Then this last Saturday I had to go with my son to Raleigh, NC..hitch up a 6x12 uhaul trailer and load many of his and my wifes belongings and haul them back to Ky.

Little did we know about the run on gas and the crisis in the southern states.

It was like a trip thru apocalypse. Weird and scary.Reminded me of 1973 somewhat only more personal.

As we pulled out of Raleigh at midday on Sunday we had a full tank. We soon found out what chaos was all about. No gas in Asheville. Finally found one station with very slow pumps and huge lines. Managed to finally get topped off. They were soon out. Took one guy over an hour to get 15 gals.

Then on the road but wiser. We made it to Knoxville. Passing stranded autos as we went along the highway. No gas in Knoxville.Driving on and now almost on fumes we found one station in the boonies with enough to get us a start towards Nashville. Guess what?

Nashville was closed down far as gas went. We managed to get up to Clarksville , Tn just about the time we were running out.

My son was aghast and now he realized that what I had been saying all these months and even years was finally coming true.

The financial situation hit him right in the head. He has a masters in Accountancy and is a CPA and also works in DC. He was shocked..shell shocked.

I knew it was just the past catching up with us. I said "we drive far as we can..then we stop while we still have a reserve for in the morning when someone fills a stations tanks."

I was just hoping that we didn't lose it along the way.

The CB was strangely silent. At 5 AM Monday morning we pulled into the farm.

The huge trees were still being chainsawed up. A neighbors brand new pole barn was a total loss. Others escaped damage but they will now look differently at our coming situation. There is a huge amount of anger out here. You see all our lineman and cherry pickers were sent south to Texas. No one apparently was capable of following a storm track and judging the obvious!!!!

Gas is now available but the previous weeks there was fights and altercations in the two small towns in my county. Something I thought would not happen but it did and it will again and again.

Airdale-nothing can stop what will be.....
What can be said then about the utter folly of those we trusted to govern us...and what has been done to the gifts of God of the Heavens and this once good green Earth?

airdale, good to have you back safe and sound. Cheers!

Slightly off topic, but related to societal changes...

I run a gardening maintenance business. I decided to test whether people were really making big changes in preparation for rising food costs. So I put an ad in the local paper, part of which offered to do vegetable gardens. There are no other ads running which offer vege gardens from the 30 ads, so I thought I stood a good chance of generating some good business. Response from the ad was incredible, however, only 1 person requested I do a vege garden.

Where I live is the very wealthy Northern beaches of Sydney. Property values are so high that most people are really only concerned with maintaining the value of their homes I concluded.

On a side note, a customer of mine is a professor of geology, so I asked him what his take on peak oil is. Interesting conversation followed and he said almost certainly it is real. Not that I needed to ask of course. I told him to have a look at this website.

TODers in the Portland Oregon area are invited to a little meet 'n greet on October 4th, 4PM, at Powell's City of Books, in the World Cup Coffee/Tea Room (formerly the Anne Hughes Coffee Room). Also present will be some of the crew from peakoil.com. Should be good yuks, see you there!

I'll try to be there.
I love Powell's;)

Green idealists fail to make grade, says study

I'm flying to Portland in spite of the CO2 this week and will be in town for the meeting...may stop by if I can make it. Although TODers are a lot smarter than I am, I try to pay attention.

EDIT: Oops... Checked calendar...I'm leaving Portland on 10/3. Sorry.

The main reason I keep my dabbling in commodities restricted to a small percentage of liquid assets:

Pickens funds down about $1 billion this year: report

(Reuters) - Texas oil magnate T. Boone Pickens' hedge funds have lost around $1 billion this year, including $270 million of personal losses, The Wall Street Journal said.

One fund focused on energy stocks was down almost 30 percent through August, the paper said adding that a smaller commodity-focused fund is down 84 percent.

"It's my toughest run in 10 years," the paper quoted Pickens as saying.

Pickens could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

IMO anybody who thinks they know where oil/nat gas etc are headed a year from now, are deceiving themselves.


A link to the full WSJ story:


Mr. Pickens argues that the recent falloff in energy prices in large part is due to dislocations in financial markets, which forced a range of investors to sell holdings to raise cash. "I'm not willing to accept that [the downturn] was due to a global slowdown" reducing energy demand, he says. "When there's deleveraging in markets it will affect everything."

Unless there's a deep, global economic downturn, he says, oil prices will head higher because oil demand will outpace supply by at least two million barrels over the next year. "Oil likely will finish the year around $120 or $125 a barrel." Still, Mr. Pickens says he's shifted his funds' portfolios to a more neutral stance, to keep his losses in check. That means he hasn't fully benefited as oil prices jumped in the past few days to $106.61 a barrel from about $90.

IMO anybody who thinks they know where oil/nat gas etc are headed a year from now, are deceiving themselves.

Well, you can never know anything. It's always a matter of the odds. And studies in neuroeconomics show that the mistake people are most likely to make in investing (or any other life decision) is being too risk-averse.

Further, this story about Pickens is missing so much important information that it tells us nothing useful. Pickens has been wrong all year, but we have no idea of why from these articles. For example, he was short in February and stayed short (as buying from China went crazy), and we have no idea why. There were at least a dozen signals telling traders to go long in February.

Also, large drawdowns are not necessarily a sign that you're doing something wrong. If you're a very aggressive system trader, you know to expect large drawdowns as part of attaining huge growth in your capital every year. High variance is a standard part of system trading. Maybe he's seeing normal variance for his trading method, and made a normal cut in his bet size as a result.

And who knows what Pickens is doing for bet sizing? His bad flux may be due largely to overbetting his bankroll (because most people in the markets rely on unsound ideas about leverage).

Every trader I know in the commodities markets, including myself, is up hugely for the year, despite some bets in August that had to be closed out for a small loss.

I think long-term bets in commodities are still the best place for investors to be, simply because of the oil production decline rate. One of the best places to put money if you're concerned about deflation risk is in CDs for which the return is based on commodity prices. If you buy the CD at a bank, it's insured up to the FDIC limit, and you can't lose any of your principle even if commodity prices go down.

Or be like Nate, and go long chickens.


I'm absolutely fascinated by your posts:

Every trader I know in the commodities markets, including myself, is up hugely for the year, despite some bets in August that had to be closed out for a small loss.

Does this mean what it seems to suggest-- that commodities trading is not the zero-sum game it seems to be to the ignorant? That if everyone were just smart enough, we could all get rich by trading commodities?

Keep in mind that traders with losses generally don't talk about it. Pickens, to his credit, has generally been quite willing to comment on his losses.

Commodities is definitely a zero sum game. Every contract purchased was sold by somebody else.

It's actually a minus sum game because there are commissions.

Or be like Nate, and go long chickens.

Or like totoneila and go long I-NPK.

I like Nate's logic. I just finished the total enclosure (top, sides and chicken wire buried about 1 ft deep) of my chicken run. The crazy critters should be safe now from urban cats and raccoons. My new flock of chickens numbers 15 and as they are about 5 wks old I should see egg production kick in this winter. All our friends first ask "is is legal?" - yes it is in our small city (Boulder CO) then they think I'm nuts but I think the timing is very fortuitous. Who knows the state of state we will be in this winter?

A lot of people around here keep chickens as a hobby. It's become insanely popular.

However, they do not lay in winter. Everyone's drowning in eggs in the spring, but has to buy them from the store in winter. I gather the commercial producers use artificial lighting to keep their hens laying, but most hobbyists don't bother around here.

I added a second chicken coop and a wire enclosure this year. We lost quite a few birds to the local fox this spring, likely when she had pups. Kinda just like the cartoons, it's actually pretty hard to catch the buggers, so we added a livestock guardian dog to our ever-expanding menagerie. By next year she should be able to earn her keep.

We also added some hens known for winter laying. I consider the eggs to be a significant part of a food security plan.

As a long time chicken grower, I must tell you that you will probably need to provide supplemental light during the winter if you expect decent egg production. I'm a bit north of you, up here in NH, but still, when the photoperiod drops below 12 hours a day (as in now, post-equinox), egg production drops with it. Just a simple light on a timer to add a couple of hours at each end of the day makes a huge difference. It's quite remarkable.

My problem isn't cats and raccoons - it's weasels, foxes, and fishercats. Lost 5 hens last winter to weasels. Skinny little bahstads go right through chickenwire.

Your girls probably won't start laying until February. I usually get day-old peeps in the early spring, and they don't get serious about laying until Sept/Oct.

But once they start, it's grand!

Good luck!

In my small town, people can get away with having a few chickens, but not roosters. The crowing results in complaints from neighbors, and then they get busted and have to get rid of all their chickens. A better strategy is just to rely on buying hatched chicks or fertilized eggs if you want meat, or just buying laying hens if all you want are eggs.

My rule of thumb is that it is safe to have a rooster in town when you hear at least three other roosters crowing in your neighborhood every morning for at least two months.


I'm actually a bit long oil at the moment but here's the bearish case in a nutshell:

Oil consumption in the context of high prices is very GDP sensitive. A 1% loss of GDP during a recession could translate into a 10% drop in oil consumption in the US.

Note that in the EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report released today, the latest 4-week oil consumption figure is down 5.3% from last year! I believe that's a record so far (for the oil runnup of the last few years).

So, what happens if US GDP contracts by 2% or world GDP contracts by 1%? You could easily be looking at $50 oil.

Carfree cities by J.H. Crawford

The article contains a funny little blooper:

"[..] the practical, well-thought out arguments, and concrete examples of how to actually implement a carefree city, are finally ready to have their time in the sun".

The book reviewed has been on sale for quite some time now, and Crawford has just finished another, the Carfree Design manual, which is expected in US book stores in april 2009.

Palin allowed a “Road to Nowhere” to be built.

The road goes from the airport on the island to the point where the bridge to nowhere would have been built. The three mile road, at eight million dollars per mile, will make a great bicycle path. However since the bikers would still have to take the ferry to the island just to ride their bikes, I seriously doubt that it will get much use.

Campaign spokeswoman Meg Stapleton said Palin would not have allowed the road project to go forward under normal circumstances. But the deal had been signed just before she took office in December 2006, Stapleton said.
"The governor was left no viable alternative," Stapleton said.

Anyone with any brains knows this is not true. Deals are cancelled every day after they have been signed. Sure, there would have been a penalty; the amount depending on how much the contractor had already spent in the planning stage, but cancelling it would have been no problem.

Similarly, above road ends near same epoch as proclaimed drill-baby-drill shrill

The Power of Negative Thinking, by Barbara Ehrenreich - NY Times 23 Sep 2008

Positive thinking is endemic to American culture — from weight loss programs to cancer support groups — and in the last two decades it has put down deep roots in the corporate world as well. Everyone knows that you won’t get a job paying more than $15 an hour unless you’re a “positive person,” and no one becomes a chief executive by issuing warnings of possible disaster.

The tomes in airport bookstores’ business sections warn against “negativity” and advise the reader to be at all times upbeat, optimistic, brimming with confidence. It’s a message companies relentlessly reinforced — treating their white-collar employees to manic motivational speakers and revival-like motivational events, while sending the top guys off to exotic locales to get pumped by the likes of Tony Robbins and other success gurus. Those who failed to get with the program would be subjected to personal “coaching” or shown the door.

The once-sober finance industry was not immune. On their Web sites, motivational speakers proudly list companies like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch among their clients. What’s more, for those at the very top of the corporate hierarchy, all this positive thinking must not have seemed delusional at all. With the rise in executive compensation, bosses could have almost anything they wanted, just by expressing the desire. No one was psychologically prepared for hard times when they hit, because, according to the tenets of positive thinking, even to think of trouble is to bring it on.

This explains some things. . .

Oh, that's a big sore subject for me. I've had an interesting perspective in that I've worked for the same company for over 20yrs, but in that time it has gone from small, privately held to 8 years in a giant conglomerate. This year our group was sold off and is now a part of a small privately held company again. I (we) was always a fish out of water in the large organization, and I often would sit back and play amateur anthropologist - just watching what went on.

The positive thinking thing was utterly pervasive. It was simply unacceptable to present bad news without spinning it in as positive a light as possible. The concept that perception was reality - an important thing to understand when dealing with customers and how they view you - was twisted around to the idea that reality could be altered by changing the perception.

The whole experience was very educational (in the way that bad things are referred to as "character building"). By and large the majority of management was quite young and very arrogant, had little understanding of the complex technical products, or the design and manufacturing processes that produced them, but were willing to jump right in and tell everyone how it would work better if everything were changed. In general, they were thoroughly indoctrinated in the concepts of something for nothing, infinite growth, and the wondrous powers of positive thinking.

I am far from tone def in the areas of personal and corporate politics, but being a stubborn engineer I usually refused to play. It wasn't fun. If any of them have any concept that there may be an end to the party (there was one who might), they more than likely believe they'll be above any repercussions. I don't. I must admit I get a certain satisfaction in the daydream that they may run smack into a reality that they cannot ignore or spin or alter through perception. There are times when news is actually bad.

By and large the majority of management was quite young and very arrogant, had little understanding of the complex technical products, or the design and manufacturing processes that produced them, but were willing to jump right in and tell everyone how it would work better if everything were changed. In general, they were thoroughly indoctrinated in the concepts of something for nothing,

I work for the same kind of moron. Hang in there, they get canned eventually if you don't make them look good. For some reason they seem to think new products just appear from Scotty's transporter and they should get bonuses for just showing up. Any Degree title with "Management" in it needs to be shown the door in this country, it just guarantees that the guy will become a subhuman species in the workforce.

Sorry to hear you're stuck in that, but I don't have to deal with that crap anymore. Through good luck and risk taking we are small and privately held again - there are always politics to some degree, but it's manageable now. And for the most part the decisions are being made by people with a lot of ability and experience who have had a painful 8 year lesson on how not to do things - and frankly have something to prove. There was a lot of damage done to the organization, but there is enough left to make it work.

Any organization that promotes idiots will likely just put another one in there. My advice is to recognize failure and incompetence for what it is, and that being associated with it will become a very big liability for you, and act accordingly. Maybe that means to stay and suck out a salary from it as long as possible, while working on other plans, or maybe it means jumping now - there will be a big weeding out, and depending on a poorly managed company is dangerous.

Unfortunately, I would venture to say that the vast majority of companies and other organizations in the US are poorly managed. That doesn't leave many places to jump to.

Totally agree. Your best bet is a small company in some market associated with energy or food or some other essential area. Don't worry about maximizing your pay, or benefits for that matter. Having a paycheck, even a much reduced one, will likely be a very big deal.

Any Degree title with "Management" in it needs to be shown the door in this country, it just guarantees that the guy will become a subhuman species in the workforce.

Hey! I have a degree in 'Operations Management'! I'm not subhuman... Rather, to the contrary: I just completed a project that gives out raises in the form in incentives to our workforce... I proved to the company that if we pay people $X more performance, we get roughly $2X back as profit. And no one complained, especially the folks inhabiting the command chain from me up to the top of the company...

Sore subject for me too.

Like you, Twilight, I was once employed in administration/management within the business world on the technical side of things. Never advanced very far up the ladder since my idea of saying what was on my mind didn't always sit well with my bosses. All this gibberish of speaking truth to power is mere gibberish. Those who hold reigns of power didn't get there by speaking the truth to anyone.

I always draw sustenance from the biblical phrase, "“Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4).” There was a time in the not-too-distant past when most people would have understood what this meant. It does not mean to be a doormat, but rather that we mature by handling whatever life throws our way, good, bad, or indifferent. Character is the ability and the maturity to handle both the blooms and thorns in life. To borrow from Kipling's 'If', "to meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same."

We've moved away from "character" to "personality", from seeing "patience under suffering" to trying to fulfill Maslow's hierarchy of needs and "self-actualization." We get so twisted out of shape with reaching the "love/belonging" and coddling the "esteem" in ourselves and co-workers, that we forgot that correction is an avenue for growth, discipline is a window into dealing with bad news, and that sometimes failure happens despite the best efforts and intentions of all.

There's a question that is sometimes raised in church land (sorry folks, no offense, but that's the venue from which I speak) that I think has relevance. Jesus taught the adults and coddled the children, why then do we coddle the adults and teach the children?

All coddling "esteem" does is stroke egos. And there is little need to wonder why the boys in suits on Wall Street are so blinded to reality. B/c everything else in their (and our) world is slanted against seeing things as they are in favour of a fantasy world where we portray things the way we would like them to be.

Back in the early 1950s, one of the best movies of all time was produced: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, that extols the virtues of NOT being a yes-man and telling the truth no matter the preconceived perceptions. During my brief teaching career, I used the movie as a thought-experiment essay producer. Today, it serves as a marker detailing how far our culture has moved from these very important moral anchors. Indeed, our current epitaph ought to read: Here lies a culture that tried to spin lies into truths.

Agreed. Amen.

Hell, I catch grief here for doing so. Some will pipe up and claim it is my manner or style, but I say bullocks. I ask: how can calling a liar a liar be rude?


Agree with what you say, but don't forget "church land" has many houses. Essentially what you have quoted from the Bible, is also a mainstay of Buddhism. Although not of the practice, this was a revelation in "The Art of Happiness". We should be thankful to those that bring us suffering because we learn and grow from the experience. This was also central to Christ's teachings.

I am trying to deal with the coddled generation now at work. I don't propose that we were superior, or had all the answers - far from it - but we were not the self-absorbed, everyone gets a ribbon, don't spank as its cruelty, everyone gets to play PC, bo-hunk, mind f*%king, completely PC brain fried society.

I think reality is going to be a very sour dish to the newly minted generation of adults. But I digress...

I wonder who you mean by "the coddled generation". From my point of view, my parents were the ultimate coddled generation - born right around 1940 (1939 and 1942 to be exact), they grew up with ever expanding wealth, growth and access to cheap everything, and are now retired millionaires unable to grasp that "the news" might be lying to them that gas shortages will ease this weekend (they live near Asheville, NC). Unlimited growth worked out just about perfectly for them.

And being a new parent myself now, the reason you don't spank is not because it's cruel, you don't spank because it is a bad example, and children learn by example. No more do as I say not as I do hypocrisy.

I think that's why the kids of the boomers are the "coddled generation." Because their parents had it so good.

And really, it would have worked out fine if the party kept on. I've found the generation just entering the workforce to be remarkably creative, and I suspect it's because they had so much freedom as children.

But they also have expectations that are probably way beyond what reality can provide.

Speek, you're right about the observation that the coddling has been going on for a while. Yep, your parents' generation was at the start of all that jazz. Please don't get me started on the baby-boomer generation - a highly narcissistic over-indulged and self-absorbed litter of brats if ever a generation born. And they wonder why their kids are so messed up.

Hate to burst your bubble but a love tap on the bum was certainly better than sending a sizable portion of our kids to drug dispensaries for their monthly doses of Ritalin and Amphetamines. http://www.nida.nih.gov/infofacts/ADHD.html Sure, drug them enough so they don't misbehave. IMHO messing with a growing body by poisoning it with behaviour altering substances in lieu of disciplinary measures is far more abusive than spanking ever was. At least when parents spanked children you got the impression that they cared enough to teach to stay out of harms way.

"Spare the rod, spoil the child", is not as barbaric as it may first appear.

Teach by example, you say. "No more do as I say not as I do hypocrisy." Hogwash. Ever wonder why bullying is especially prevalent where 0 tolerance is practiced. B/c the stronger know they can pick on the weaker with impunity.

All these contemporary theories of pedagogy forget one important factor - human nature. We're not always nice to each other. And if we can get away with something, we will.

I didn't realize my only alternative option to spanking was ritalin. The things I learn at TOD!

I suspect your tendency to be completely illogical has been overly coddled during your lifetime.

Speek, your "coddled" comments above seem to hit me at a particularly cynical and less charitable moment. I'm afraid my response came across a little forceful.

You're right. There are alternatives to spanking other than Ritalin. Though I am deeply bothered by the propensity to medicate social behaviour.

Truth be known, I'm not the disciplinarian of the family. If anyone, that's my wife's territory. Kids as a general rule have me wrapped around their fingers. Can't even say that I'm more bark than bite since I don't even bark.

Perhaps what I do find most irksome is the number of adults who expect everything to be handed to them. As I said above, it's one thing to coddle children, quite another to have it continue well into adulthood. And part of growing up is taking on the knocks of life in stride.

Meanwhile please coddle my momentary indulgences in illogic. Cheers!

The problem is that reality is considered negativity.

Pessimist is a word optimists came up with to describe realists...

I like what Kunstler calls himself, an "actualist."

And "fool" is a word realists and pessimists came up with to describe optimists.

You know, these guys should really push for drugs to be legal. The power of positive thinking is just another escape from reality and drugs are cheaper than these motivational speakers. Of course, they've had the 7 figure euphoria and now they get the 8 figure crash.....try wishing that away. It might be a good time to invest in Rolaids and Jack Daniels stock though.

I prefer the Boy Scouts motto over "You can do it!", just "Be Prepared" covers all sorts of things.

Be Prepared

Time to truck out Tom Lehrer again -- one of the most perceptive commentators on the American scene. A voice now gone silent, but alive on YouTube

Thank you so much for turning me on to that, though the pigeons needn't worry of me.

You know, these guys should really push for drugs to be legal.

There was some well known senator (Carl Levin ?) on TV last week talking about legalizing marijuana. Maybe they need to free up prison space for some new types of crimes (to be announced shortly after Jan 2009).

Some activities that will be criminalized:

  • shorting stocks (they must only go up)
  • being long on oil (it must only go down)
  • owning a copy of the Constitution (no one is supposed to actually read it)
  • owning a dictionary
  • speaking or thinking in "OldSpeak"

‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.
‘Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?’

Language of 1984

The New Morality (2020)

Getting stoned

Watching "American Idol"

Watching Fox News

Reading a book

Reading a science book

Reading a banned book (Kunstler, Ron Paul, etc)

Ah, yes, live by The Secret. And be sure to erase any remaining "negativity" by recklessly prescribing limitless quantities of psychoactive drugs. Who cares about rationality anyhow.

But look at the bright side - the postmodern ability blithely to go the whole hog with the ideology of "something for nothing", in complete freedom from those negative qualms. Contribute nothing useful, just get a liar loan and live the life of Riley off the appreciation in house "value".

Oh, well, that was another bubble. But again you've got to look for the bright side: consider the endless possibilities for ecologically-correct dematerialization of the economy. Raise the drug dosage yet more and the great mass will think they're in paradise even if they're reduced to starving in hell.

She seems to be lifting from Kunstler...he has long decried out Jimmy Cricket syndrome through which we believe that wishing upon a star can make things come true.


...no combination of alternative fuels or systems will allow us to keep living the way we do. They will not even allow us to keep running a substantial fraction of what we are currently running. This is particularly true of the so-called hydrogen economy. There isn't going to be any hydrogen economy. The idea is a fraud. It represents the wishful think thinking of American leaders in politics, business, and even technology. I call this the "Jimmy Cricket Syndrome,” the notion that wishing for something makes it come true.

Businesses send their people to these motivational seminars even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence doing so has any effect in the long run. Natural born optimists stay optimistic and pessimists stay pessimistic. Engineers keep saying the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. While people prefer to be around optimists the scientific evidence shows pessimists are much better predictors of outcomes of decisions. To believe that thinking about what troubles may come will cause them to occur is easily disproved. The safety improvements made to airliners were made by people who believe the worst will happen if steps are not taken to prevent them. Safety engineers spend a lot of time thinking about what could go wrong and there work has resulted in much safer airline travel as the years have gone by. According to positive thinking dogma the thought of these engineers and FAA inspectors should have caused more accidents to occur. As Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch have recently shown us that just like pride positive thinking goes before a fall.

What is usually missing from the public analysis are the known results of failure or malpractice. We, the priest-engineer class, responsible for their public safety souls are keepers of this knowledge and no one gives a rats ass to hear nor learn about it.

Although, Joe Public wouldn't be able to understand the math involved because "I just don't like math, it's so hard (whine, whine)" - but that's unfair. And, the true burden of the Engineer, (not to be confused with the American abuse of anyone involved in a semi-technical capacity being called an Engineer, which is in fact quite illegal by all State Laws; but to use the term respected by the rest of the world where an Engineer is a registered professional equal in stature to doctor or lawyer, and I have been called "Engineer Taylor" in other countries - I think you get my point), it is our job to be moderately pessimistic because we know how bad things can go; even if the probability is remote.

Working in high voltage and large energy systems, you get to see every day the potential for destruction and painful bodily harm. The trick is to see the invisible harm. I work around 4160 V, 25 kV, 230 kV systems and they hum along inconspicuously - and then you witness the energy unleashed and the metals flash, melts, or vaporizes while whole machines and houses are blown apart in milliseconds. The inertia of the machines can crush whole large trucks without slowing down, and you don't want to be around when that happens. Or, if the power system goes down for a second, (like we had yesterday and millions are lost - and I do mean a second), or for days and lives and communities are lost, we know the peril.

FWIW, thanks for what you guys do!

The UK Met Office report referenced above is at Global Warming Goes On

Anyone who thinks global warming has stopped has their head in the sand. The evidence is clear – the long-term trend in global temperatures is rising, and humans are largely responsible for this rise. Global warming does not mean that each year will be warmer than the last, natural phenomena will mean that some years will be much warmer and others cooler. You only need to look at 1998 to see a record-breaking warm year caused by a very strong El Niño. In the last couple of years, the underlying warming is partially masked caused by a strong La Niña. Despite this, 11 of the last 13 years are the warmest ever recorded.

From the accompanying PDF

This graph shows global average temperature anomaly from 1975-2007, relative to the 1961-1990 average.

The black line shows the annual figure.

The red line shows the trend over the full 33 years.

The blue line shows the varying rate of the trend over 10 year periods.

It took two months of lower oil prices to cause normals to pile back into their SUVs and say the party's back on. Well, the normals who still have any cash left. Same for global warming. We will defect at the first sign of good news, then drag ourselves slowly back onto the diet program when the long-term bad trend resumes.

Whew! Thank god it's virtually meaningless wrt climate/climate change!


How so?

some more for you ccpo.

Sunspots.(or lack of them)


Thanks! And that was peer-reviewed by whom? And published in which scientific journal?

I needed more toilet paper...

I think I need to ask a question here.

It may well be my last posting on this site.

1. I posted a simple reference to a NASA Press release.

2. I posted no opinion on its meaning, though it would be fair to say that in context , it could be 'seen' as anti- global warming or climate change or whatever.

3. The posting , by NASA was simply factual. It made no interpretation. I leave it to other , curious people to connect there own dots.

4. During the course of the evening, it has drifted on and off -1

My Question is this: Does that mean posting a link to a site considered August in measurement science is regarded as bad?

NASA offers no opinion on the impact of the loss of solar wind.

(or indeed the depletion of the magnetosphere - but that is another and wholly scary can of worms)

Others may well do. They may insist that the decay of the heliosphere is unimportant and that the C02 pulse is the great driver.

Others may say that C02 is a mitigating positive in the face of the next Maunder Type Minima. - One which may otherwise result in a catastrophe for the Northern Hemisphere.

I hope it is not your last posting.

The question you are asking is not clear from what you have written, but presumably is an enquiry as to why there was a large response often hostile to a factual link post.

Well, it has to be seen in the context of the history both of GW discussion on this forum and of personal posting history, and it has traditionally been heated.

Personally, I agree with Marco and am profoundly disinterested in discussion of GW here. I reference some sources being better than others for CO2 emissions as the people who feel that anthropogenic GW is a reality will obviously want to give additional weight to those sources, but almost all off the things we need to do are desirable regardless of one's viewpoint on GW, and so that seems about the limit of it's relevance to an energy forum.
As and when carbon sequestration becomes a reality and it's costs become clear then the debate should rightly move to the fore again here.


IMHO, your opinions are among the most interesting on this site so please keep posting.

Some weeks ago, there was a topic on TOD about streets being closed in New York. People would make comments like: "I loved my visit to NY" or "What a great idea" and they would get a marked with a (-1). At one time, *every* comment was below zero - which is totally absurd.

There are some people on this site (let's call them vandals) who want to suppress anything that they don't understand or agree with.

I will say this to those individuals:

  • if you do not agree with what is posted, state your specific issues as *clearly* and as *briefly* as possible
  • react only to specific statements by someone - not by what you *infer* that they *might* be saying
  • intelligent people may interpret the same data in different ways
  • both AGW and PO are very complex subjects. Anyone who thinks that they know the absolute truth about either is an idiot

There are a lot of very smart and very knowledgeable people on this board and I have learned a tremendous amount from them (including you, MUDLOGGER).

The rating system as implemented actively discourages discussion. I would suggest one of two options to improve it:

a) remove the "down" arrow so that immature posters can't abuse it
b) publish a "list of shame" of people who consistently try to diminish others

Keep posting dude!

I think that's probably someone protesting the rating system. So "shaming" them wouldn't work. They don't care if everyone knows or not.

We could boot those who abuse the rating system, but I don't think that would be fair. We explicitly said that it was just a test, and there would be no consequences. So how can we boot someone for playing with a beta like we asked them to?

Just ignore the ratings. They have no consequences at the moment, and if that changes, it will take a lot more than one or two crabby people to invoke them.

Blaming Mud's problems on the rating system holds no water, at least not with me. I'm his biggest detractor, but I almost never use the rating system with him... or anyone else. If the guy would stick to energy issues he'd have no problem with me or anyone else.


Undertand your sentiment.

Enjoy and appreciate your posts and expertise on this board. As regards GW, it is tangentially at best related and I am trying mightily not to get drawn into a senseless debate but it does take some courage to challenge in a reasoned way conventionally accepted postions.

To accurately observe, to reason and to question are the core of science.

Science makes no provision for 100% certitiude.

Science makes no provision for 100% certitiude.

Literally true, pragmatically and practically false. See my post on the IPCC.


I still have no firm opinion although I live among a forest region larger than Great Britain wiped out by a 1/4" pest that was naturally controlled by typical cold weather patterns. Those patterns have seemed to change towards the warmer lately and now we have 1000's of hectares of brown, dying pine trees.

Maybe it's global warming, or maybe its sunspots. Who cares, its a problem - get over it folks.

I am reminded of a saying a past boss had, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up."

Dear Muddy,

Were you to refrain from posting crap you would not be treated as if you were posting crap. You know the old joke: if it hurts when you do that, don't do that. But you do post crap. You should not be surprised at the response.

But let's cut to the chase. Your #2 above is contradicted by your #3 because you know #2 is, in fact, why you posted it. As ever, you were attempting to imply or state something with an agenda fully in mind. You are again not being wholly honest. This is borne out by the balance of your post which outlines exactly why you posted the data in the first place.

Now, I am all for good science, but I am not for agendas. You undoubtedly think I have an agenda, but I studied long and hard once it became clear there are serious issues to be addressed. Everything I studied - and saw in the world around me - made it clear there is a serious problem with climate change. And literally everything produced by skeptics, both well- and ill-intentioned, has been either found to be bad science, based on incorrect data or assumptions, or intentional propaganda.

I keep asking you: where is the science? You have no answer. All of the science supports my position, none of it yours. Why are you sure of yourself? You have zero support for your contentions. Yet you continue to post drivel, bad science (there is no way you can not know much of what you post is not good science) and to disparage good science. Why? WHO has the agenda? You or I? Mine is supported, yours is not. How can you expect to be treated with respect when you engage, literally, in propaganda? Post some science so we can talk! But you never do. The data you reference above is the only time you have, and you use it to infer conclusions that are not there.

There may well be an issue with the subject you posted,but you have used up your allotment of good will. You want to replenish it? Post some solid science with some discussion/commentary from respected scientists. And stop accusing world-class scientists of horrible things.

Douglass and Christy's paper (2008) on the limits of C02 Forcing:


Ah... they're back at it, are they? If at first you don't succeed...

Lying liars are lying liars... to wit:

The IPCC report also states: “[M]ost of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”. The ‘greenhouse gas’ is mainly CO2.

How freaking dishonest. This paper will be shot down,and fast. Sitting here, a non-scientist, I can see the lie they base their work on:

greenhouse gases = CO2

Now,they use "mainly" as their weasel word, but then the paper ONLY looks at CO2!

Liars. Hate liars.

What's really cute, though, mud, is you posting this at all since it doesn't say there is no warming, only that it can't be only CO2. Which is correct. They say so above! It's GHG's, not JUST CO2. ALso, the paper isn't even about temps, but about temp anomalies.


Enough now ccpo,

If all you have got is the repitition of the word LIAR! :-

Then I give ground to your obviously superior science (I take it you have at least a BSc with at least some major component in Physics.)

Life is way too short to be screamed at by a child. (you missed the whole point of both posts).

Anyhoo. We will see how things pan out over this Solar Cycle.

You have the floor sir, you have the floor.

Kind regards and goodbye for now.

Thanks for the floor. I have more!

What's really cute, mud, is you posting this at all since it doesn't say there is no warming, only that it can't be only CO2. Which is correct. They say so above! It's GHG's, not JUST CO2. ALso, the paper isn't even about temps, but about temp anomalies.

Hmmm... I wonder why they simply ignore three years of data?

CO2 data
We use CO2 concentration values (C) measured at Mauna Loa. The data are from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) [CDAIC, 2007] from 1958 to 2004.

Also note they restrict their work to the tropics. Hmmm... that data is almost certainly based on this data


which was soundly kicked in the arse here:



Anywho.... I look forward to a scientist getting their hands on this crap.

Oh.... and it's not a scientific journal, it's an energy industry "journal." Lomborg on the editorial board? Ha!


Kind regards and goodbye for now.

Deny, deny, deny. Then quietly slip out the backdoor when the truth can no longer be obfuscated.

We see the same antics WRT to most right-wing drivel. For years I listened to people devoutly proclaim that the Republican party stands for the integrity of the "free market". In reality, there is no such thing as the free market. And the evidence has always been there, in plain sight, perfectly visible to anyone who actually looked.

But trillion dollar bailouts tend to rattle even the most dogmatic belief systems. Has anyone else noticed that the right-wing free-market worshipers have gotten awfully silent these past few weeks?

The CC deniers will continue spouting their increasingly fringe viewpoint, right up until the truth becomes so obvious that it cannot be denied; for some, that may mean the ocean surf lapping up against the back door.

why on earth do you think I am a 'right winger', or a republican?

enough now.

Dont wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

dorme bien.

why on earth do you think I am a 'right winger', or a republican?

I didn't. For all I know, you could be an environmentalist, more of the Bjorn Lomborg type. Bjorn isn't right wing.

All I said was that the message is decidingly right wing. The majority of the CC-denying research is funded by right wing interests.

CCPO, I understand how much you care for the environment (as do I but) but your continual vehment anti-denial ranting really is tedious. The reason there are still skeptics is because the case for AGW is still not 100% settled.


And as long as the case is only 99% settled, we will do nothing unprofitable. Just like Peak Oil.

The case that the Soviet Union was a Fourth Reich-like evil that was waiting to nuke and enslave all humanity at the slightest sign of weakness - was that ever even 50% certain? The case that the only solution to the current financial collapse is for the government to give the rich everything they want - is that 50% certain?

But it's profitable for Wall Street to be bailed out by emergency powers, and it was profitable for business to have a permanent Cold War and militarized government.

So what determines a risk worth acting against or even vastly increasing government powers against is not its probability, but its profitability for the economic elite.

I don't think we'll do anything. Maybe if BAU continued...but it's not going to continue, and people are going to burn anything they can get their hands on when TSHTF.

However, I still it's worth studying. As I've said before, I think climate change could have a much larger impact than peak oil. Climate change affects food production, from the smallest subsistence farmer to the biggest agribusiness. Even Matt Simmons on his organic farm will not be immune.

It also affects our peak oil mitigation efforts. If sea levels really do rise catastrophically, or hurricanes get worse, it will affect how we place infrastructure such as rail, offshore windfarms, nuclear power plants, etc.

From a geological point of view rather than an atmospheric science point of view, Carlson, a UW-Madison professor of geology and geophysics: "The Laurentide ice sheet, which encompassed large parts of what are now Canada and the United States, began to melt about 10,000 years ago in response to increased solar radiation in the northern hemisphere due to a cyclic change in the orientation of the Earth's axis. It experienced two rapid pulses of melting — one 9,000 years ago and another 7,600 years ago — that caused global sea level to rise by more than half an inch per year."


This is somewhat along the lines of other studies of the end of the most recent ice age although there is some variance as the causes and timeline, it was likely not CO2 emmissions.

The paper which you linked to news coverage of is written largely from an atmospheric sciences point of view, and uses the geological record for validation and constraint of their model data. Always interesting to find an apparent greenhouse sceptic embracing the field of climate modelling though - I take it you're aware of what a "fully coupled ocean–atmosphere model" is?

FYI, here is the abstract of the Carlson et al paper concerned:

The demise of the Laurentide ice sheet during the early Holocene epoch is the most recent and best constrained disappearance of a large ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere, and thus allows an assessment of rates of ice-sheet decay as well as attendant contributions to sea level rise. Here, we use terrestrial and marine records of the deglaciation to identify two periods of rapid melting during the final demise of the Laurentide ice sheet, when melting ice contributed about 1.3 and 0.7 cm of sea level rise per year, respectively. Our simulations with a fully coupled ocean–atmosphere model suggest that increased ablation due to enhanced early Holocene boreal summer insolation was the predominant cause of Laurentide ice-sheet retreat. Although the surface radiative forcing in boreal summer during the early Holocene is twice as large as the greenhouse-gas forcing expected by the year 2100, the associated increase in summer surface air temperatures is very similar. We conclude that our geologic evidence for a rapid retreat of the Laurentide ice sheet may therefore describe a prehistoric precedent for mass balance changes of the Greenland ice sheet over the coming century.

I should further note their paper makes clear that they are only discussing the final phase of melting of this ice sheet - much of it melted more like 14,000 years ago, and had its maximum extent at ca. 20,000 years ago. No-one is saying that anthropogenic CO2 had anything to do with the last deglaciation so I'm not sure what your point is re CO2 emissions - especially given the orbital and CO2 forcings are explicitly compared in the paper and found to have potentially similar effect.

There was obviously not a great deal of human input to CO2 levels in the Pacific, but it is not perhaps so clear that there was not substantial human input into the climate - you are just the man to comment on it!
There appear to be two ways that man may have influenced ancient climate, by burning of the land to make hunting easier - evidence for this is clear from the time of the first human immigration into Australia, for instance - and by killing off large animals which had previously grazed the Siberian grasslands and helped maintain the cold, dry climate there:
STANFORD Magazine: September/October 2008 > Features > Climate Change in Siberia

Some also argue that it is human influence in agriculture and other inputs which has caused the unusual period of climatic stability since the end of the Dryas period.

Interesting stuff!

There appear to be two ways that man may have influenced ancient climate, by burning of the land to make hunting easier - evidence for this is clear from the time of the first human immigration into Australia, for instance - and by killing off large animals which had previously grazed the Siberian grasslands and helped maintain the cold, dry climate there

There certainly is a school of thought that anthropogenic inputs might have played a part in the unusual stability of the Holocene interglacial when compared to other warm periods in the late Pleistocene, but so far I think most would just regard it as an interesting hypothesis. But there would be very few these days who doubt an orbital trigger for the last deglaciation, regardless of the exact mechanism chosen. Humans are most unlikely to have had any significant effect on this, not least because they simply were not around for any of the dozens of previous very similar deglacial events. Which of course has absolutely nothing to do with the question of whether humans are able to affect global climate now!

The lesson not learned every day as we of the TOD community go about our scientific, engineering, analyst type jobs is the underlying, near the surface human desperation that is always waiting to reveal itself again. Although we consider ourselves a civilized society, the awful animalistic truth is always one cataclysmic event away.

If, and when TSHTF, the immediate energy opinion will be "burn, burn it all and f#*k global warming". The same attitude will hold true towards just about anyone outside your county whether it be food, shelter or a short fall of Pampers. I'm not an anthropologist or sociologist (obviously), but I've been around enough of my own species to know how they are going to react. I despair for the species.

the case for AGW is still not 100% settled

Yes, it is. You say, "you care for the environment (as do I." You saying that proves how well the machine has worked. You care for the environment, but you don't care if people lie about the state of the environment? And you don't care if they because of a lie they have told you? (See your quote above.)

Very likely, in terms of the IPCC report means over 90%. However, the scientists wanted even stronger language, but the US objected, so they settled on "very likely" so they could publish the thing.

Here's the US EPA on the issue:

What's Known

Scientists know with virtual certainty that:

* Human activities are changing the composition of Earth's atmosphere. Increasing levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times are well-documented and understood.
* The atmospheric buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is largely the result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.
* An “unequivocal” warming trend of about 1.0 to 1.7°F occurred from 1906-2005. Warming occurred in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and over the oceans (IPCC, 2007).
* The major greenhouse gases emitted by human activities remain in the atmosphere for periods ranging from decades to centuries. It is therefore virtually certain that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will continue to rise over the next few decades.
* Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations tend to warm the planet.

Emphasis mine.

Here is a site that details how the science gets watered down: http://www.meridian.org.uk/Resources/Global%20Dynamics/IPCC/contents.htm

I can't locate the article now, but there were critiques in Feb. '07 about the language being softened. The scientists wanted a statement that was 95% or virtually certain.

In science, this kind of consensus is more than equal to a virtual certainty.

Finally, there is virtually no other topic where 100% certainty is demanded before action is taken. The consensus on PO? Doesn't exist. Should we do nothing? Auto insurance? Life insurance? ICBMs (MAD)?

Tell me, where is your spewed hatred for the anti-AGW stuff? The total lack of science?

Give me a break...

CCPO the point I am making is that you are flogging a dead horse here. This the wrong place for it. Go post over at realclimate.org. I lot of folk like my self read over there.


I am not posting, I am responding. When I do post, it is information, not agenda. I hope to post a state of the cryosphere post soon, in fact, but it won't be to "prove" anything, as there is nothing to prove. It will be information and inference.

FYI, since you do not seem to see it, there is a very definite connection between climate change and PO. We need to be careful not to exacerbate one while fighting the other. The fundings will interfere with each other. Etc.

Do you bake bread with only flour?


"because the case for AGW is still not 100% settled"

Well in that case we can just run the experiment and see what happens, after all if it turns out to be true then we will only have destroyed civilisation and we do have a plan(et) B don't we?

On the other hand if we take some action to move away from FF it will just cost us some money now but we will save later.

Think if the future of all human civilisation depended on me, what would I do, how would I be?

So you have come to lobby the oil drum people to change lifestyles?

I personally think the global warming posts/arguments are starting to swamp drumbeats and would be happier to see a separate thread for this topic, maybe a link down the side to "oildrum.climatechange", or something like that.


Marco , I agree.

It is almost certain now that PO has arrived , or if not, certainly in the next decade.

If this is accepted in this community, then the next phase of discussion is:

How best to deal with it.

Is it nuclear, is it carbon capture, is it solar, wind ,tidal, wave or any mix of all?

Is it communal travel by rail , is it individual travel by electric vehicles?

I am exasperated by repeated reference to AGW.

It matters not if GW is AGW or GW. If it is happening, then it is happening. Personally, I am of the opinion that Climate Change is much beyond our ken and well beyond our control.

The usurpation of TOD by Global Warmists is frankly unhelpfull and it diminishes the utility of TOD.

I post opponent opinions to ensure that not all visitors here assume it is of a AGWarmist agenda.

Were there a separate Side site, I would not post there at all. I would just leave them to it. I dont post at real - climate, why should I? - I dont get AGW.

Honestly I dont see the NASA study you posted as being "anti AGW"
I mean the measurements (peer reviewed) show we are hot, and this is during a time of "Low solar activity" - so imagine how hot things will get when the sun shows us its other side? Or during an El Nino year? Surely if we can show that we are reaching record temps while solar activity is low - that SUPPORTS the greenhouse gas theory of global warming.

Most of the Denial crowd try to tell us that this part of some natural cycle. But low solar activity contradicts that claim - at least on some small scale. Or am I missing something? I admit to not reading the NASA report at length.

Honestly I dont see the NASA study you posted as being "anti AGW"

Nobody said it was. It was Mud's intention in posting it that was questioned. See post up thread.


How best to deal with it.

Is it nuclear, is it carbon capture, is it solar, wind ,tidal, wave or any mix of all?

I vote for "Managed retreat from the coasts."

The usurpation of TOD by Global Warmists is frankly unhelpfull and it diminishes the utility of TOD.

"Usurpation"? When posts like this made TOD what it is?

Thanx L 4 link: looks like a good article by SS.

Is your position that climate science and related fields (thousands of geologists around the world research in this area BTW) are simply inept and that predictions of AGW are outright wrong; or, is your position that the Earth's climate has done such extreme things at times in the geologic past that we shouldn't care what happens now?

From my own perspective as a geologist researching Quaternary paleoclimate (a field which has become deeply intertwined with climatology), AGW and PO seem likely to interplay in ways that we can only begin to imagine. Severe, disruptive climate change could have massive repercussions for oil production (more, larger hurricanes? reduced, unpredictable arctic sea ice? melting permafrost?) and even larger effects on our ability to mitigate any of the effects of peak oil (without massively mechanised agriculture are we able to adjust to pole-ward movement of climatic belts? How's the rainfall looking in those hydro reservoirs? Aren't things bad enough without loss of parts of coastal cities? What does climatic volatility do to planning for wind farm siting? And for those of you with sanctuaries to go to, how's your wildfire risk looking, especially without the air cover to put them out?).

But it is the feed-backs of PO into AGW that fascinate me - are we able to weather PO well enough to spend trillions mitigating AGW (almost certainly not!), or do we face a long, slow collapse with massively increased reliance on coal (this is the potential aspect of PO that most terrifies me); or do we face rapid collapse, plummeting global coal consumption and thus stave off the worst of AGW at the expense of all that rapid collapse implies for global food production, population and human civilisation in general?

My family have what will pass for a sanctuary, a good one. I'm not running there yet, but I am frightened.

The usurpation of TOD by Global Warmists is frankly unhelpfull and it diminishes the utility of TOD.

Ironic, hypocritical and dishonest. The long threads on AGW happen because of YOU. When the denialists don't jump into the issues, the threads are short and informational. And at their worst they can't be said to "swamp" the DBs.

Tung, Zhao, and Camp (2008) on using surface temperature response to solar cycle insolation variations to infer the surface temperature response due to CO2 forcing. The two previous GRL papers cited also can be found on Professor Tung's web site.


Can you translate? I get that they are saying the solar cycle signal for the 11-year cycle exists, but I could get no meaningful observation on how much they claim.

It should be noted that the IPCC does not claim short-term cycles don't impact temps, only that the effect is tiny. Does anything in this paper refute that?


Short-term cycles absolutely affect temperatures, and they affect them by amounts much larger than anthropogenic warming. Where I live (SE PA) diurnal temperatures can vary by 20-25 degrees C. Annual temperature variations can exceed 60 degrees C. Compare that to the maybe 2 degrees C of warming caused by GHGs.

And therein lies the problem. AGW is a subtle but persistent signal against much larger natural variation. It took a long time to conclusively detect the signal, and it is always subject to being masked by other signals. That's why an 11-year temperature cycle based on sunspots, if there really is one, is no more relevant to AGW than is the fact that it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter in Pennsylvania.

At this point I consider the issue to be moot, which is why I don't get too agitated about deniers any more. While I still support doing whatever we can to mitigate global warming, I am quite sure we not only won't do much, we'll do things to make the problem worse by our responses to the financial meltdown and peak oil.

I specifically wanted to know what the 11-year cycle # was supposed to be.

And, yes, you may be right, but I keep hoping the combination of PO and AGW will wake people up in time.


Non-technical translation: The surface temperature response due to solar cycle insolation variation can be used to show that the surface temperature response due to greenhouse gases may be larger than indicated by the GCMs used in the IPCC AR4 report.

Here's the translation (more technical):

You can identify the solar cycle temperature signal in global datasets. You also know the insolation variation due to the solar cycle. So you can determine that surface temperatures vary by ~0.14 K/(W m^-2) of solar insolation. You also know that the insolation variation only produces a radiative forcing on the unclouded visible disk, as opposed to CO2 forcing which produces a change in radiation over the Earth's entire surface area. Solar forcing also differs from CO2 forcing due to its wavelength content, but models suggest this effect is minimal. The solar forcing change within the solar cycle is similar to the change in radiative forcing due to CO2. So you can transform the solar cycle response into an equivalent CO2 response, which implies that surface temperatures should warm 0.69-0.97 K/(W m^-2) of CO2 related radiative forcing in a transient sense. The equilibrium response may be higher.

In the paper by Douglass and Christy, MUDLOGGER cited, the no-feedback value of surface temperature response due to CO2 forcing is cited to be 0.30 K Wm^-2. The feedback multiplier factor is called g, and it's one of the key numbers that come out of a climate simulations. What this paper says is that g is minimally 2.3-3.2 and does not require any GCMs to say that. In fact, it says GCMs are underestimating the short term value of g.

The other key point raised in the earlier papers is that the climate responds to volcanic forcing differently from CO2 and solar cycle insolation forcing. In fact, the responses due to the latter two is quite similar.

I see that John Christy has done it again. As usual, he asserts that his MSU TLT is a great data set to use, even though there are many problems with it. For example, he claims:

The importance of the MSU data sets is that all areas of the globe are sampled uniformly.

Well, the MSU scans across the ground track of the satellite. The ground track over the high latitudes near the poles is nearly East-West, such that the scan is North-South. That means that the resulting weighted average is a average over latitude, which is not what happens nearer the Equator, as the scan is East-West. This can present problems where there are latitudinal changes other than that due to temperature, such as changes in sea-ice. One reason that there is a difference between Christy & Spencer's TLT and the RSS product is that RSS excludes coverage over the Antarctic because of problems due to ground contamination of the measured radiance.

Worse yet, the ground track is such that the coverage is not total over the mid-latitudes and the repeat time over one area can be a few days. And, lastly, the sampling is not uniform in time, as the MSU and AMSU instruments tend to drift and degrade and orbits change. One of the largest issues has been how to stitch together the data from several satellites, each with different problems. For Christy to use the phrase "all areas of the globe are sampled uniformly" would imply that these problems do not exist. The casual reader might not take the time to dig thru the comments in the Appendix or look to the references given for deeper understanding.

Christy, et al. (2007) state quite clearly:

These products capture temperature variations in the layer from the surface to about 350 hPa. Over land, surface emissions can contribute up to 20 percent of the signal.

But, the casual reader has no clue that this is part of the mix that Spencer & Christy call "Temperature". It gets worse over land with higher elevations, areas such as the Andes and the Himalaya mountains and Antarctica, which RSS exclude.

The report goes on to say:

Figure 2 shows the UAH_LT anomalies for NoExtropics, Tropics, SoExtropics and Global. The average trends over the range 1979-2007 are 0.28, 0.08, 0.06 and 0.14 ºK/decade respectively. If the climate forcing were only from CO2 one would expect from property #2 a small variation with latitude. However, it is noted that NoExtropics is 2 times that of the global and 4 times that of the Tropics. Thus one concludes that the climate forcing in the NoExtropics includes more than CO2 forcing.

They list other possible forcings, but leave out the main one, which is water vapor! At higher latitudes, there is relatively little water vapor in the atmosphere, especially during the winter months. The amount of water vapor which the atmosphere can contain is a function of the temperature, so water vapor acts as a strong positive feedback mechanism. A small warming can increase the amount of water vapor, the result being further warming. No mention of that well known fact I could see.

One of my biggest gripes with Spencer & Christy's work is that they haven't explained their method used to derive their processing algorithm. From my readings of as many published reports as I could find, they appear to have used a fixed atmospheric temperature profile corresponding to that at temperate latitudes, the so-called U.S. Standard Atmosphere. Thus, there's no way, IMHO, that this algorithm could be optimized for either tropical or Arctic conditions. But, that's OK, they still get lots of media coverage and funds from Uncle Sam.

E. Swanson


It is clear you've read more than me on this and per your admission much of the source material. I'm not saying this to be facetious but rather I am trying to get my head around really the first part of the question of global climate and as I am time pressed and lazy would care to pick the brains of someone who has done a lot of work. Namely, what is "global temperature"?

There can't be a rational discussion unless we are all talking about the same thing and as you critique Spencer and Christy's interpretation of "temperature" it is something you have considered and read on. Just from my poking around the internet it is obvious this in itself is a quite complex question. Of course the physical definition of temperature is well-established but quotes from the following, generally considered authoritative sources demonstrate the difficulty of defining a global temperature.

UAE Norwich CLimate Research Unit

"Stations on land are at different elevations, and different countries estimate average monthly temperatures using different methods and formulae. To avoid biases that could result from these problems, monthly average temperatures are reduced to anomalies from the period with best coverage (1961-90). ... Because many stations do not have complete records for the 1961-90 period several methods have been developed to estimate 1961-90 averages from neighbouring records or using other sources of data. Over the oceans, where observations are generally made from mobile platforms, it is impossible to assemble long series of actual temperatures for fixed points. However it is possible to interpolate historical data"

Here is a quote from NOAA concerning the methodology for merging land and sea temperature readings.

Both the SST and LST components of the SR05 are created by separately analyzing the low- and high-frequency anomalies. Low-frequency anomalies are analyzed by spatial and temporal filtering when enough data are available. Spatial filtering is done by averaging anomalies over 10-15 degree latitude-longitude regions, and temporal filtering is done by averaging and median filtering over 15 year running periods. Separate low-frequency analysis is done to minimize the damping of those signals. Damping of the low-frequency may occur if it is analyzed by projecting it onto a set of stationary modes that do not fully resolve all of its variations. ... After testing several cut offs, it was decided to exclude regions with a normalized sampling error of 0.5."

My first take then is that the question of what is the global temperature is indeed complex.

Additionally, it is often not absolute temperature which is discussed, but rather anomalies (absolute difference from average?) of different (varied?) time ranges. Satellite readings, which also infer temperature also enter the debate, while I am uncertain whether it is mercury thermometers, some electronic device or some method I am unaware of that comprises some or all of the data.

It would be interesting, perhaps not too heated, (oops) to get a synopsis from you, perhaps in its own thread, on the definition of global temperature.

If I were to attempt to establish an informed opinion on AGW, I would after much study first make an estimation of the accuracy, precision and reproducibility of temperature measurements, the sampling methodology and the algorithms employed for dealing with missing data. From there one would need to decide whether there was sufficient consistency with sampling, temperature measurement equipment and missing data approaches, to allow for valid comparisons over time. If one forms the opinion such temporal comparisons are valid within a specific time frame's data set, my next question would be are any trends seen part of natural variability or abnormal trends. If one considers that there is a valid abnormal trend one might take the leap of attempting to discern what is causing "global temperature" to change over the time frame in the dataset. If one then sets on a particular causation (certainly increased CO2 has scientific plausibility), though keeping in mind that correlation is not causation, one's final question would be can our hypothesis for the cause of this global temperature trend yield a model which will accurately predict future temperature trends.

For myself I tend somewhat towards GW but I do realize my opinion is based more upon my estimation of scientist's integrity then on a fundamental understanding of the issue. I'll go MudLogger one better and say that from my current understanding of "global temperature" I can not say with 99% certainty there is global warming, let alone future trends of anthropogenic global warming. But I'm sure all the readers know the several methods developed to interpolate missing data in the 1961-1990 HadCRUT3 dataset.

Finally, as Leanan pointed out, it is all moot, if the US is like Tennesse in 2009 we might likely burn Copenhagen for firewood. Still it would be nice to know the relative risks from these these two beasts of PO and AGW.

Your point regarding the definition of the Earth's "temperature" has been tossed about many times. The denialist crowd regularly makes claims that we can't really "measure" global temperature, therefore we can't know if the Earth is warming or cooling. If the simple measurement of air temperature were all that was available as an indicator of GW (or Climate Change), then the possible errors would preclude any sort of definitive assessment of the question as there would never be 99% certainty. That said, there are other indicators, such as the changes due to warming in the Cryosphere and Biosphere, which also provide evidence that the Earth is warming. Measurements in the oceans, which are taken with much greater accuracy than that from the atmosphere, also point to a warming Earth.

The satellite data from the MSU (and the follow on AMSU instruments) may also be a valuable as a guide, but I think there are still issues to be settled regarding that data and have published a paper about one problem which I found. The basic problem with the MSU is that the instruments were not intended to be used to measure climate change and so there have been many difficulties in the attempts to use the data with this goal. To begin with, the MSU measures microwave intensity in a narrow band as it views a series of spots below while scanning across the ground track. That microwave energy is the result of O2 emissions from the full depth of the atmosphere viewed at each scan position and the different path lengths at each view position are the product of different theoretical emission profiles vs. altitude. S & C first claimed in 1990 that this was a useful product, then later claimed in 1992 that this was not so due to emissions from the stratosphere. There TLT product was intended to remove the stratospheric component, which has a well known cooling trend due to ozone depletion. And, that was just the beginning of the questions regarding the satellite "temperature data"...

Of course, if you insist on 99% certainty, it's highly likely that none of the available measurements would ever convince you. But, a less stringent test, say 95% confidence, might be a reasonable threshold. The IPCC has tried to address the question of statistical certainty in their latest report, the Fourth Assessment. If you haven't taken the time, you might want to read that report before you insist on "99% certainty".

E. Swanson

Thanks for the reminder undertow. You don't need to be 100% certain to be aware of the potential for real disaster.

Here in the Great White North, we are beseiged by commercials deploring a carbon tax (accompanied by offsetting tax cuts). According to the Conservative party it represents expensive and dangerous "risky" tax policy and "fuzzy thinking".

This is the government we're about to elect to a majority with a resounding 34% mandate. In Canada, a majority means 100% policy control, including the ability to call future elections.

This party doesn't believe global warming is a problem, that Christians must make laws according to Biblical fiat, God created oil for the benefit of white people and the rich deserve more rights than the poor. A government quite capable of entangling Canada in Bush's military games...

Our reborn northern neocons have another plank in their platform, imprisoning a lot more criminals and extending criminal treatment to a lot more offenses. Sure, we have been coddling criminals, but I'm not sure expanding prison populations is the best way to cure all our ills.

More like a great way to get your core constituency, people who are angry about something and want to hurt someone. It will be a remarkable turn of events if Canada turns to the party of angry reactionaries just as we reach peak prosperity. The formerly Great White North...

CERA predicted oil would be at a volume of 112 MBD in 2117.
Matt Simmons & ASPO offered CERA a wager of $100,000 that the volume would be lower by ? amount.
CERAs reaction? Silence. Ignore Simmons.

On Topic; no matter how bad the future gets...the Yergin measurement will STILL be funny;)

Notice: WAGS below
I predict oil will average 3 Yergins next year.
I predict oil will average 3.5 Yergins in 2010.
If you are a Doomer my predictions might seem optimistic. There is a relivent detail; I beleive that a worldwide Depression will cause enough Demand Destruction that oil will only rarely exceed 4 Yergins in the next 2 years. This is definately not good; Depression OR oil will cost more than 4 Yergins...both SUCK!
Final variable; IF Israel or USA attacks Iran oil will go to 5 or 6 Yergins for at least 6 months.

I read the thread on the "bail out", where many commenters mention hyperinflation/shredding of the $ as a result.

I also remember Don Sailorman's stance of a 90% chance of hyperinflation/10% chance of deflation (according to Don the Fed has near-unlimited powers in influencing the financial markets)

As memmel and others note, it "does not look good"

So demand destruction or not, 3.5 Yergins in 2010 seems very conservative.

I think what we're seeing is proof that the fed does not have near-unlimited powers.

I tend to disagree. Near-unlimited is still limited. This is far from over. W'll see.
BTW I'm not sure Don stated it in exactly those words.

Don himself admitted that he completely missed the impact of the credit crisis. Which is kind of the point of the deflationists. They argue that old school economics like Don's aren't really adequate for the current situation.

Actually neo-classical economics is fully up to the task. There is nothing we've seen so far that isn't straight out of the textbooks.

What constrains the Fed is the high price of commodities (and a falling dollar). Of course, back in the 70s the Fed saw fit to ignore that constraint and thus provoked the Great Inflation.

There is nothing we've seen so far that isn't straight out of the textbooks.

Untrue. We've seen a failure to increase oil production commensurate with price increases.

Nope. There is nothing in neo-classical economics that says resources do not deplete.

I have several standard texts from the mid 80's where resource depletion is discussed in detail. The world's resource endowment is emphatically regarded as limited.

A few months back I took a look at one of the most widely used current econ texts (published in 2005). It included a discussion on resource limits and stated that persistently high commodity prices would be an indication we were getting there.

Doesn't neo-classical economics STILL treat the velocity of money as a fixed rate? Because it's about to slow to a crawl and that's going to have an effect.

The Fed, acting with expansionary fiscal policy from the Treasury, does indeed have nearly unlimited ability to inflate the money supply. I don't recall that I ever said there was going to be hyperinflation, but what I did say was that the Fed has the power to prevent debt deflation.

Now it is not clear whether or not the Fed and the Treasury are going to go to the extreme inflationary lengths that would be necessary to prevent deflation; the current bailout proposal is too little, too late, and misdirected.

Stoneleigh in a post on the bailout thread today said that deflation is coming (soon, and abruptly), to be followed eventually by hyperinflation. This scenario is plausible and more likely than it was a year ago when I was arguing against the probability of deflation.

I still read TOD regularly, though I post seldom now. When the Consumer Price Index falls from one year to the next, then I will concede that we are in a deflation. I expect the economy to fall deeper into a recession and eventually into a Greater Depression as a result of Peak Oil. I am still not convinced that this depression will be deflationary, but for today I'll put the odds as 50/50.

For folks general information, here's the CPI from 1929 to the end of 1933. Prices fell a lot. (one third)

That is what I regard as extremely unlikely. Could we have periods of mild deflation like in Japan? Sure. That's not a huge deal.

But early '30's deflation? Not a chance.

I agree that the Japanese form of stagnation is more politically palatable, but then the Japanese were drawing down a huge pile of savings, and we are sitting on a huge pile of debt. If we must continue to pay down our debts and there's no extra money printing, then won't cash get scarcer and more valuable? And isn't that deflationary?

Besides, both 1930s America and 1990s Japan at least ended up with greatly improved public infrastructure. It looks to me like the US is getting set to force its local governments to sell off highways, water treatment plants and schools to pimps. If these are the same pimps that were supposed to run Iraq's infrastructure under the Occupation, you can see my concern about whether America can ever be rebuilt.

If we must continue to pay down our debts and there's no extra money printing, then won't cash get scarcer and more valuable? And isn't that deflationary?

If commodity prices fall ( or after the effects of current prices work their their way through the system and prices stablelize) they will print more money if it looks like deflation is a possibility.

Yes, a decline in spending (as people pay off debts) is deflationary. But that doesn't mean that deflation happens. It just means that deflationary pressure is exerted. Currently high commodity prices are more than offsetting spending declines.

At any give moment, the general price level (CPI) is the result of a balance of inflationary and deflationary forces. The FED's job is to step in and restore that balance if it goes too far one way or another.

The japanese model can not happen here, it's hopeful thinking.

The Japanese people can act as one when necessary, because there is no internal demographic friction. They also are courteous and for the most part know their individual places in the big picture.

This is one big difference.

It also was a different world then. Not only did they have high savings, the world then operated in a more conservative way, many small and medium business people self financed.
In the US today everyone works with OPM (not just the sub prime loans, they were the cultural spark). If commercial credit freezes for even just two weeks it's light out. Most borrow to make payroll and buy materials, in part because large clients pay 30 or 60 days later. They are not paying because they in turn need to hoard liquidity. Freeze commercial credit and all business stops with massive unemployment.

This is what has them spooked. Money Market funds are frozen.

Datamunger I posted more below but I don't think we can look to the 1930's as and example of whats going to happen. First and foremost for most people all of the money they have including debt is tied up in cars and houses. For most people like 90% of the money the control is in the form of debt in homes, cars, and credit cards. This alone makes the future completely different from what happened in the 1930's.

We would basically have to see like 70% of the debt destroyed before we even get back to something close to the debt/cash ratio's of the 1930's.

And next of course the demographics are quite different along with world trade patterns. And of course peak oil puts a bottom price on all the critical commodities needed for daily living.

Given the current situation most of this bust will consist of falling home and car values as more and more people default on long term and short term credit card debt.

We could very well eventually see a sort of 1930 style price deflation after a bout of monetary inflation causes a new currency but regardless this would be near the end of the current crises which is on focused on credit defaults.

Who knows what will happen then for sure given we will be pretty much in shambles by the time the debt deflation is over purer monetary problems will happen nearer the end of our depression instead of at the start as in the 1930's.

Thanks for posting Don I think your viewpoint is valuable and will become more so as this debacle proceeds.

Given that we are just now seeing monetary inflation slow down with the topping out of the various M's.

I think that what we will see is general debt deflation, non-critical asset price deflation, commodity price inflation and eventually inflation in the prices of critical assets. And eventually plain old money printing classical inflation.

I think that taking a strict inflation vs deflation viewpoint does not do the situation justice.

Traditional inflation is probably not going to happen because of stagnant and falling wages for example.

And last but not least because of globalization the forex exchange rates play a lot larger role today then they did in the past. This forex problem esp with regards to commodities and esp esp oil prevents us from using monetary inflation immediately to get out of this mess and into deeper problems.

So although the end is pure monetary inflation I don't think we will go down this route until the US government can no longer borrow from external sources. As long as the government can keep growing its debt we will simply move bad loans onto the government books. Only when they can finally no longer borrow will they resort to printing to clear the debts.

Its great to see a post from you again !

Thanks for your kind remarks, memmel.

You raise good points about the interrelated problems of foreign exchange rates, commodity and especially oil prices acting on the Fed and the Treasury to moderate any tendencies to "print money." Nevertheless, as a last resort to prempt a Greater Depression I take Ben Bernanke at his word that he will (metaphorically) load the helicopters with money and drop it all over--and not just on banks and other financial institutions that caused our current credit debacle.

Real GDP is going to go down a lot over the next dozen years. Nominal GDP, however, may keep rising, and I think these are two of the main ways our living standards will decline: Prices will go up faster than wages, and unemployment will increase enormously.

Thanks for your response. If you have been lurking I'm sure you have read that I think most of the money dropped out of the helicopters will be used to buy up more and more assets and ever cheaper prices. Out side of the alphabet soup of wall street games most of the debt is associated with some sort of real asset houses , commercial real estate, companies etc. The approach Bernanke plans to take to "solve" our problems seems clear the US Government will buy up this debt basically at face value then resale it back to the banks at a steep loss. This combo of recapitalization and concentration of assets into the hands of the few seems to be the goal to solve this debt crisis. Eventually of course the US Government will be insolvent and unable to borrow as it can no longer service its debt.

Over the short term hiding this debt in the government will probably keep the dollar from tanking to badly but long term the value of the dollar can and should decline and the interest rates the government pays will increase any printing at this point will be consumed in this black hole of government debt. The concept of attempting to print your way out of trillions of dollars of debt without immediately destroying whats left of the economy seems impossible.

Basically the problem I have with printing is not that it won't happen but that its simply monetizing the debt with these huge debt loads regardless of how we book the debt printing money does not result in any increase in real money circulating in the economy.

Thus I just can see traditional inflation for a long time the actual i.e real money supply will continue to shrink real productivity or GDP will decline and real wages will fall regardless of the nominal value of the dollar. The dollar will continue to weaken on the exchanges albeit somewhat slower if the government assumes the debt since it will simply take time to figure out that the government won't pay.

Thus the former citizens of the US now called consumers will see monetary deflation and price inflation since imported oil will force up prices of domestic goods. Wages can't rise since the main driver of prices is rising costs not rising wages.

Now finally I think I see what your saying nominal GDP will increase in the sense that the costs of goods and services will increase and the inflationary printing to cover debts should show up in the GDP even though the money actually never passes through the real economy.

But it seems to me that the real economy will shrink rapidly under these conditions as the production of goods and services slows and becomes focused on necessities. This should result in and overall contraction in my opinion even though its not clear which force wins. Next and in my opinion probably the most important thing this whole game is dependent on the consumer fulling his only remaining role in the government and paying taxes. If the total income is declining and wages are declining and profit margins for businesses are declining rapidly then the tax base is shrinking. On top of this most people who consider themselves wealthy are invested in real estate and the markets they are and will continue to see a massive loss in wealth and through all this real interest rates have to be kept low to allow government spending to continue so they won't make money via simply sticking it in the bank. State and local tax revenues will be even worse expect for example California to go bankrupt.
And on top of this 401k and pension funds will be blowing up left and right most pension funds are probably insolvent now and the companies that have them bankrupt its just the accounting has not been done.

This final point is in my opinion the most important since falling tax revenues cannot support the interest payments on the exploding Federal debt.

So I just don't see this game lasting much longer I think they can play it long enough to transfer most of the assets to a few of the rich and powerful then impose martial law no way can they keep the game going.

What I've outlined above in my opinion spins out of control in a few years at best I can't see the dance lasting under these conditions. I can see what your saying about nominal GDP increasing maybe but thats not really the problem.


The Government Accountability Office (GAO), Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Treasury Department have warned that debt levels will increase dramatically relative to historical levels, due primarily to mandatory expenditures for programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest. Mandatory expenditures are projected to exceed federal tax revenues sometime between 2030 and 2040 if reforms are not undertaken. Further, benefits under entitlement programs will exceed government income by over $40 trillion over the next 75 years.[17]The severity of the measures necessary to address this challenge increases the longer such changes are delayed. These organizations have stated that the government's current fiscal path is "unsustainable."

Taking on trillions in bad debt and trillions in bailouts coupled with a rapid shrinking in tax revenue will move the point that the Federal government is no longer able to fund its debts much less hire people up to effectively now in my opinion. Given the size of the debt once the Feds are forced to print money just to make interest payments the whole game explodes immediately.

The American Consumer/Taxpayer simply cannot afford it.

Well stated.

I think the Treasury is already borrowing to pay interest on government debt.

Note that one way to reduce Social Security, Medicare, Veterans' pensions etc. is to have the rate of inflation greater than the rate of increase in spending on these unfunded liabilities. Indeed, this is already happening: My real Social Security benefits went down this year because the rate of inflation is much larger than my 3% (if memory serves) cap on cost-of-living benefit increases.

Finally, increasing the rate of inflation reduces the real burden of the national debt. Thus the pressures for bigger deficits and money printing will increase as time goes on.

What has surprised me the most about Paulson's bailout proposal is the amazing political ineptitude with which it was crafted and presented. The public hates it. The Democrats hate it. Even the Republicans hate it.

What has surprised me the most about Paulson's bailout proposal is the amazing political ineptitude with which it was crafted and presented. The public hates it. The Democrats hate it. Even the Republicans hate it.

Of course everybody hates it. If it looks like crap, and it smells like crap, and it tastes like crap, guess what? It's crap. And no amount of sugar coating is going to change it.

The $64 thousand (closer to trillion) question is: will it pass into law?

This administration is adept at using intimidation to get what it wants.

(PS, similar sentiments to Memmel, great to see you posting again Don. Cheers!)

Wow I did not know that they where borrowing to pay interest I'll google around for this.

Another thing about the 700 billion dollar bailout plan is depending on how you do the accounting they have already spent 400-500 billion if not more on bailouts this year. The liabilities in the GSE's easily exceed this 700 billion. As near as I can tell 700 billion buys us six months to a year at most and it not even taking into account other failures.

I would be surprised if 700 billion makes a real difference if they kept going at the rate they are now with the current bailouts they would have probably hit 700 billion by then end of the year and we are in "dire" straits.

So not only does the plan stink its not clear that it actually accomplishes all that much.

They need some real money like 2-3 trillion to make a difference. I'm not sure they can roll the 700 billion fast enough to even keep up with the problems.

If everybody hates it, but it passes anyway, what does this tell us?

Thanks for replying and setting it straight for me.

Where is Sailorman anyway? Maybe the insanity of recent events finally got him to take the boat to Costa Rica. He thought the Fed would take the coward's way out and print cash, and instead it took the madman's way out and launched a coup against the rest of the country.

The part you miss is that printing is the end as government ultimately collapses.

Ring fencing government, even if they have to shoot the economy in back of the head, allows us to live to fight another day.

Technical Analysis (TA) – 11th Post

Now the ugly details of the give-out, um, I mean the bailout, are starting to be revealed. We the borrowers are going to be paying the bankers the “mark-to-maturity” price. Which sounds to me like a fancy way of saying “full price”! Very good for the Smart Money (SM)! I recall that about six months ago, a big hedge fund bought a bunch of the cream-o-the-crop for about 27 cents on the dollar. Now, after a bunch more housing price decreases and walk-aways, how much would the average stuff go for? This morning on cnbc a number of 2 cents was floated. Great deal for the SM, give them 100 for something worth 2! “Mark-to-maturity” may be a fancy way of saying, “We will give the bankers (ourselves) 100, and then not let you know what they are really worth until they mature (around 30 years in the future, when we will be dead and everyone else will have forgotten).

Even “defeatist” old me got on the internet and sent a couple of respectful emails to my representative and senators.

Hey Paulson, I'm still waiting for the proof that this will save Wall Street! Please remember to include how it will protect Wall Street from a derivatives meltdown.

What's up with Buffet putting 5 billion in Goldman? http://www.cnbc.com/id/26858974 Is this supposed to be a case of buying undervalued companies with strong management? What about all of the losses? What about the likely future losses? What about the forced conversion to a bank? How about the going from 30 times reserves to 15? How about the dark balance sheet? Quick, somebody tell Buffet that he just bought into so many “Weapons of Financial Destruction” that it will take the economies of several alien planets to bail it out.

This is not the Buffet I know, someone kidnapped the real Buffet and inserted an impostor! I'll bet that there is a ransom note somewhere that says, “Give us 700 billion in small, unmarked bills, or else the lovable old guy gets it!”

Oil inventories are bound to be bad today http://www.cnbc.com/id/26859564 and OPEC supply went down by 900,000 in September. But, I'm wondering about the physical buying that caused the short squeeze on Monday. Was this enough to increase the oil inventory numbers? People like http://www.briefing.com/Investor/Public/Calendars/EconomicCalendar.htm only report crude. Could this be chance to minimize the really bad gasoline numbers? (estimated to be -4,000,000)

This morning, oil and the dollar are up a bit. The talking heads are touting that oil will get an inventory bump. I'm not sure what this might mean. Is everyone is supposed to wake up this morning and suddenly remember that the projected inventory will be bad?

As far as my TA on OmniTrader is concerned, for USO, I am only getting unfiltered (“unconfirmed”) signals. I am getting a weak long signal (69/99) signal from my volume strategy, and an even weaker (13/99) long signal from my reversal strategy, and a weak (1/5) short recognized “trend line reversal” pattern. UGA has weak long filtered vote (43/99) from the reversal strategy, and a weak (1/5) short recognized “trend line reversal.”

With all of this volatility it seems like a person should be able to make a buck, but my paper trading has indicated that I would have lost money. This could be the start of a trading range that could last until the elections or war. No oil plans for me today.

(For my TA, I am using OmniTrader (20-day backtested, end-of-day [EOD]) with the pattern recognition module (short, med, and long), and I trade USO as a proxy for oil, and UGA as a proxy for gasoline. I am using the standard strategies for breakout, trending, and reversal (all filtered and non-optimized), one that I created with all 75 systems, another one I created with only the volume systems (both optimized and minimally filtered), and an unfiltered version of the reversal strategy. Once again I have put myself out as a fortune teller – a sure way to end up looking like a fool. I am not an expert at TA, I am a beginner (sometimes a badly hungover beginner). This is in no way to be considered to be investment advice, I'm the one who needs investment advice. Please add to this analysis, and don't feel shy about flaming me if I said something dumb. I definitely want to stay out of the group of the “stupid people losing money.”)


Speaking of inventory reports, it is Wednesday and no inventory report summary has been posted.

Did not get one last Wednesday either.

Is this a discontinued tradition?

We have a key post about it. See the front page.

We expected this one to be...noteworthy, so we gave it its own thread.

Some people, especially if time-pressed, just only look at the drumbeat. I know I've missed interesting posts until someone linked to the discussion in the drumbeat. So, if I may be permitted, for the time-pressed, or just lazy :) the actual link is Gas Shortages? This Week in Petroleum September 24th

Thank you for your TA post. Please keep posing. I find it educational.

This is how you "make" money?!! No wonder we're in trouble. How is this activity tied to any real physical worth (other than your investment accounts)?

Once upon a time I could do multi-varible differential equations with uncertain boundary limits and I can't figure out a word you said. Is there more or less? I didn't think it would be so hard...

Hey, Leanan, I just wanted to reiterate my dated predictions to you from January of this year, as I originally posted here.

By October of this year, the economy will be a pathetic wreck, and most everyone will know it. That's date 1.

By January, 2010, I expect at least one of the following will happen: nuclear detonation during war; at least one area of the US will seriously attempt secession; North America will experience riots related to heat, food, gas, or electricity; Mexico will fail as a nation-state; or an infectious disease epidemic will sweep the continent. That's date 2.

Now, "pathetic wreck" was rather vague. So was "most everyone". And the definition of what we might mean by "economy" is debatable. So maybe you don't agree with the first prediction.

So I'm extending the second prediction to June, 2010, and outlining it thusly:

By June, 2010, at least one of the following will happen.
1. Secession attempt by an area of the US.
2. Organized public rebellion against law enforcement and/or government.
3. Mexico fails as a nation and oil production drops more than 50%.
4. Infectious disease epidemics, plural, across the continent.
5. Riots and social chaos in the US. While protesters and rioters may claim it's about food, water, gas, electricity, government, or war, it's really about desperation.
6. Somewhere in the world a nation-state detonates a nuclear weapon during war.

I have left martial law in the US off this list because (a) US citizens' rights have already been gutted and (b) I think attempting to institute martial law across the US as a means of control would be one of the final acts of desperation by TPTB.

This is also going to be a difficult time for Canadians, but I know only enough about them to suggest that Canada may actually become significant on the world stage, instead of being relegated to a joke in a comedic standup routine or a South Park musical.

By the way, I'm wondering if are there any eligible ladies in Canada on TOD who would consider marrying an American ...

You're right. I disagree about your first prediction. So far. There's still time. :)

As for your other predictions...#6 is the only one that really has teeth. You could argue that the others are happening now, or have happened recently.

I could argue that some of the others are happening now, but I won't, because if they are happening now, they'll only get worse.

By the way, I'm wondering if are there any eligible ladies in Canada on TOD who would consider marrying an American ...

710, sounds like you're planning an exit strategy.

For what it's worth, I live in Canada and have a license to marry couples. I'll leave the finding a good woman entirely up to you.


Atzlan, at last...





Now far be it from me to try give pointers, but you do know that sometimes to attempt to woo the light heart of a lovely lady the best opening ice-breaker isn't always a numerical list that within two years there will be seccession, public rebellion, failure of nations, multiple plagues, riots, social chaos and a nuclear detonation. Just a tiny buzz-kill at the party.

Then, if there is someone from a different country that you like, you might want to avoid turns of phrase like, "Canada may actually become significant on the world stage, instead of being relegated to a joke in a comedic standup routine or a South Park musical." This usually wouldn't seem a great predeeding sentence to a generic solicitation for marriage;)

Then again, this is TOD.

Good Luck young man, you can let me know when Pam Anderson's little sister emails you tonight.

I turn 41 next month, so I'm not young, except at heart. And any self-respecting Canadian belle I'd be interested in who frequents TOD would have the self-awareness to be able to at least chuckle at her country, precisely for things like, "Blame Canada!"

Besides, there's always crossing the border and actually meeting women in person. Too bad Hook A Canuck never got up and running.

By Canadian immigration law you don't have to marry - unlike the primitive, backwards American law. You only have to live common-law, or be a same-sex partner. So if your door swings both ways you have options.

Now, would they marry an American? Not if you are bringing US$ to the table, and you get 50 demerit points for a country that re-elected Bush. The cards are stacked against you. However, I see the logic in your intent. BTW, you might get +100 merit points if you live in L.A., Miami, or a quaint little beach house in the Keys.

Disclaimer. I moved back to Canada from the U.S. last year and my American wife is about to join me here in a month or two. Thanks to TOD and CFN, we saw this coming over a year ago.

People seem to assume that the current meltdown of the financial system means nobody has any money.

On the contrary:

Corporate America sits on its cash

Corporate America waded into the darkest days of the credit crisis with more cash than ever before, a sign many of the US’s biggest companies have been bracing for signs that Wall Street’s problems will infiltrate the rest of the economy.

Excluding utilities and financial institutions, members of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended June with a record $648bn in cash and short-term securities.

Remember that the members of the S&P 500 are the largest publicly traded companies in the US.

Meanwhile, yesterday the industrial giant, Caterpillar,(discussed a few Drumbeats back) was able to raise $1.3 billion in the bond market by offering an interest rate in the 6 - 7 % range. When you consider that inflation is running at close to 4%, that's not bad.


There is plenty of money around. A big problem is that banks don't want to lend money for anthing much longer than overnight and even then if they can lend to the central banks then they will do this instead of lending to each other.

In Yurop today the French company EDF has agreed to pay about EUR 15bn for some old nukes and is going to spend another EUR 15bn on new nukes and upgrading some of the existing ones. This indicates that EDF thinks it is well worth investing EUR 30bn in energy. Of course we don't know the full details of this deal and i would not put it past our fabulous government to have agreed to protect EDF against any unfair competition, e.g. from renewables feed-in tariffs!! Let's see what we can find out.

Another example of someone with cash, Buffet has invested USD 5bn in Goldmans and he is going to get a 10% return. Buffet is betting that we are over the worst of this and provided Goldman's don't go down he should gain, maybe even more with high inflation.

The money problem is one of liquidity, i.e. the people with money don't want to lend to others where there is any doubt they will get their money back. Normally this is covered by posting collateral, i.e. bonds etc. against the loan. Right now it is difficult to put a value on much of the stuff the banks want to borrow against. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, in rides the cavalry in the shape of the taxpayer to pay more than anyone else (the hold-to-maturity value) and bail-out these rogues. Remember at the heart of just about every bubble have been the banks.

It appears that Buffett's interest in GS followed Paulson's bold and likely successful move to tap the taxpayer without limit-GS was going bankrupt like a week ago-doesn't anyone remember that Buffett could have had the whole company for $3 the way things were going (pre taxpayer suck scenario)?

Shipping containers could be 'dream' homes for thousands

CORRALES, New Mexico (AP) -- It was a side trip through a destitute, ramshackle neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, that detoured Brian McCarthy from building houses in Albuquerque to an idea to offer the very poor a chance to own a home.

His answer lies in a humble steel shipping container, 40 feet long, 8 feet wide, 81/2 feet tall.

Check out http://affordableportablehousing.com/index.html
The first of the "legal single" type is on my land.
These containers are 9 1/2 feet high, good hurricane shelter and good for building off of.

When things get really bad, the first problem we will have to deal with is theft. Those of us who prepare for hard times won't be able to keep our tools and supplies in a barn, shed or garage without a very high risk they will be gone in the morning. Although, a very large dog would be a great help.

The idea of converting shipping containers to housing is a fantastic one. I think another use could be as a secure storage facility for a household. Certainly those of us in the suburbs are not going to get a zoning variance:) but anyway it is those of us in the country who will have the tools and supplies that are in short supply. The more paranoid of us can waterproof and bury the thing. I'll settle for the biggest steel lock and chain I can find.

Brachio, I left you a comment in yesterday's DB about living in Holland, my apologies but I had to get some sleep. The news is keeping me up late at night.

CNN did a story about rebuilding Galveston. They think it might be much harder for Galveston than it was for New Orleans.

Why? The financial crisis. Typically a disaster area gets a flood of FEMA and insurance money, creating an economic boom and attracting private investment. Galveston will get their FEMA and insurance money, but with the economy the way it is, they aren't expecting much private investment.

I wonder how Bob Ebersole's house did. "OilManBob" picked Galveston for his peak oil hideaway. I thought it was rather too much in harm's way for my taste, but he thought with the seawall it would be okay. (He passed away last December, so never got to see his theory tested.)

I have several friends there. The problem is that the max payout for flood insurance is 250K (+100K for contents)

That's not anywhere enough to rebuild, so it's a decision to make a further investment or just take the money, doze the lot and sell it.

For some there is a legal issue with tide lines that may have changed dur to erosion, ie they may not be allowed to rebuild even if they wanted to.

The slides from presentations at the Sacramento Conference are supposedly on the ASPO website. But I can't seem to find them. Can anyone provide a link?

It sounds like The Clash got it almost right 29 years ago this month-

From "London Calling"'s chorus we have : (switch ice-age with global-warming, but NOTE they sort of predict the sealevel-rise)

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
London is drowning-and I live by the river


Drugs, they work every time (sarcasm) But not wholly dismissed. Or more aptly questioned, is a weed a drug? I think not.

When you have turkey dinner with sage dressing, are you having a side dish laced with drugs? This is a weird tangent, but then someone brought up The Clash. Wait until we get started on Devo. Man! They were on the mark.

But how can they be so prescient?

I know most of you are already aware of it, but don't forget The Hunt for Black Gold" comes on tonight on CNBC, 9PM EDT, 8PM Central.

Running Dry
Geo-scientists, roughnecks, and roustabouts may be looking far and wide for more oil...but, they're coming up dry. Most oil experts agree, we may be approaching peak production from current fields.

* When will we run out of oil?

Sarah Palin will be giving her two cents worth. That ought to be good.

Ripped from the web site:

Drill, Drill, Drill

Sarah Palin, is the Governor of Alaska and Senator John McCain's Vice Presidential candidate, knows the oil business better than most. Her husband has worked the slope for nearly 20 years. Palin is front and center in the oil debate.

Palin's energy solution.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink on scooter sales increasing. Although expensive: the new Piaggio 3-wheeler in 250, 400, and 500cc looks to be a surefire winner from an enhanced safety viewpoint. They even look narrow enough for lane-splitting, as is legally allowed in California, which is a tremendous commuting time-saver in rush hour traffic [wish my AZ could lane-split :(]. The embedded video link says that Piaggio will have hybrid models soon to really jack up the efficiency and MPG. Used 2-wheel scooter prices are up, too, based upon my anecdotal evidence of scanning scooter want-ads.

I have discussed this before, but for those on a real tight budget and who are leery of their balancing skills: buying a used quad ATV, then adding street-legalizing modifications is an extremely cheap way to have personal, high MPG, year-round transportation. Don't just run out and buy any used 4-wheel quad--investigate fully what is required and the related costs before you jump. There are companies now selling the items needed to legalize your ride [see weblink below]. They even sell trailer hitches now so that you can haul bulky goods behind you when required.


I would like to see the engineers really advance this cool, big wheel, concept quad for when our postPeak streets are badly pot-holed [photo below]:


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


My wife has expressed an interest in buying herself a scooter for traveling around. We are a one car family living in a rural area and our family budget (and inclination) cannot justify the gasoline, maintenance, and insurance for a second car.

Funny you should have mentioned modified ATVs since we were looking at that option this past weekend. It just so happened we were passing a showroom, although balance is not yet an issue for either of us. Winter time driving, however, is a different matter.

You would recommend a Piaggio, yes. Forgive my lack of technical expertise, but what are the differences among 250, 400, or 500cc specifications?

What kind of scooter do you ride? How does it perform in terms of gasoline mileage? Maintenance?

Any feedback would be sincerely appreciated.

Cheers! Tom

Hello Zadok,

Thxs for responding. If your wife has any fear of getting road-rash [abrasions]: she should get the Piaggio or a street quad. Then, she only has to mostly worry about preventing potential impact trauma. Of course, this is the inevitable tradeoff from not having two tons of surrounding cage--such is life and physics, but having one's knees in the breeze makes it worthwhile, IMO, as I have had fourteen different rides varying from a 125cc street-legal dirtbike to the big Honda Goldwing and Harley clone [used V-twin 1500cc Suzuki Intruder with windshield and leather bags].

When I became Peak Aware back in 2003: got a used 600cc Honda Silverwing 2W scooter, so when required, I have sufficient HP for freeway acceleration and pacing the Maniacs in my Asphalt Wonderland. Like Nate Hagens, I too am 6-foot-five, so I needed a big scoot to have sufficient legroom. The specs and other details on all rides are available at the various websites. All major Mfgs make a reliable product nowadays.

Thanks Bob,

I'll check out some of the various webpages. At least now I'll have a few extra names to google. Handy also to know that the manufacturers produce reliable products.

Certainly, neither my wife (5'5" ) nor I (5'9") have the height of you or Nate so we should be able to get by with the smaller versions of scooters. Wow, at 6'5" TOD could start its own basketball team:-) As far as abrasions, we live on a side street that is not well traveled (except for kids on ATVs) along side an old trunk highway (also not well traveled) so here's hoping for the best. There is always the risk of a speed maniac on the loose, but those are the risks we as drivers always have to navigate.

Most of our friends live within a couple of miles of here and the farmers' market is within the same radius so we figure a scooter would be ideal. Except of course for the winter driving. The past few winters, however, have been very mild in Nova Scotia so if the trend continues, it may be an o.k. means of transport up until January to be resumed again in April.

Thanks again for the tips. Cheers! Tom

Zadok, you will find 250 CC suitable for any town and country transportation. Most motorcycles can take the rough roads better than any car - even street bikes. You can look at all sorts of low cost, low fuel use bikes, but living in NS, winter is a concern. I've looked into all sorts of more energy efficient vehicles and for the next ten years or so, buy a good used Suzuki Sidekick, which is also the Chev Tracker. It goes by many different names as Suzuki OEM'd this vehicle to GM in the 90's.

It gets around 35 - 40 MPG, has a heater and is enclosed, is rugged and reliable, and you can even drive it to Fredericton.

Thanks BC_EE. Hoping to have scooter momma and putt-putt papa on the road by next Spring.

Will depend on paying our bills (please no serious car repairs!!) and saving a bit of cash.

Road trip to Fredericton would be nice, but would be happy to get as far as Halifax. Anything to save on gas.

I got a nonworking 49cc scooter I bought for $250 up and running thanks to the forums on ScootDawg, http://www.scootdawg.com/

Lots of info on buying, riding, and maintaining scooters.

And BTW: my little scooter gets 105-110 mpg.

Thanks EdlinUser for the link. Cheers!

Careful with ATV's there fuel economy is really bad. I use an ATV for stock work. 3 Dogs can ride on the back as apposed to a motor bike. BUT It uses as much fuel as my diesel 4x4 hilux ute. The ATV is a Fuel injected Honda 425cc. Lots of Go :)

That second one looks like a 4 wheeled bike.

Not that a 4 wheeled bike whould be all that bad... Just add a few pedals and a crank/sprocket and who cares if there's no gas- just pedal it yourself.

Next step: the pedal-powered combine tractor.

Totoneila, what are your thoughts about "peak phosphorus"? I'm sure, you know this analysis: http://www.energybulletin.net/node/33164

You seem to be the expert for this kind of thing.

Hello Euro,

Just like any other living thing: we need a balance of nutrients to live, so depleting mined P as a Liebig Minimum will be a big worry postPeak if we have not ramped O-NPK recycling bigtime. Even Pres. Clinton now wants to close the landfills, then recycle. We can do natural darkness, just not starvation. We will do anything for NPK when required:

Cats as O-NPK:

...The process of mummification – invented by the Egyptians – is examined.

Animals were also mummified so they could accompany the dead into the Afterlife. In Victorian times cat mummies were so common, they were sold by the ton.

Around 400,000 were imported into Liverpool in the 1850s to be used a fertiliser...
Just shows the value and potency of properly prepared O-NPK-- ancient kitty-cats, thousands of years old, put to good use to power the Brits' topsoil. My guess is they marketed this under the brand name of: MEOW-MIX. Pitchforks must have been very handy. BTW, I love cats and dogs--no TOD flaming required.

Not to discount the fabulous analysis in the EB link, as it is very relevant, but just like in FFs: it is not the size of the reserves--but the flowrates. I fear that too many are already flowrate priced out of I-NPK and water: UN FAO nows says nearly a billion are lacking food security.

I have no doubt in my mind that we will shift whatever amount of resources and energy we have remaining to keep making I-NPK as long as possible. Then, humans with picks and shovels will be next at vastly reduced flowrates. After all, that is how this NPK industry got started: burning nearly every tree, guano mines, bones from graveyards, nitrates from the scorching Atacama, hand-digging in hot and humid Florida swampland, etc.

The past ugly resource wars for fertilizer & food will occur again: Liebscher's Law of the Optimum generating a photosynthesis guaranteed 20:1 or better ERoEI will be an incredible geo-strategic political force, IMO. No Substitutes to the Elements Sulfur, N, P, and K.

The power of a mere crust of bread: "Make us your slaves, just feed us", or Tadeusz Borowski, #119198, or more recently Haiti and Cuba. Maybe these entire island countries are now at multiple Liebig Minimums and cannot afford any I-NPK flowrate to kickstart a massive O-NPK program.

In 1908 the Dominican Republic attempted to sell itself to the United States. As in, give up its sovereignity for money. The US, not yet having discovered the country's fantastic supply of All-Star shortstops, declined. I'm surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.

Dear Toto,
The brits used human mummies from Egypt as well for fertilizer. An odd bit of trivia for you. Me, I'll stick to bovine manure, lots of that in S. Saskatchewan. Wheel-barreling it around gets you in good shape too ;^)

The wheelbarrow and the shovel. I'm starting to look like an athlete again thanks to all this Peak Stuff.

My wife and I are considering starting a composting business by collecting yard wastes (leaves, branches) and food scraps from restaurants, food manufacturers, hospitals, cafeterias, etc. There is a company in NC that already does this - Brooks Contracting. The idea is, restaurants produce a lot of food waste and pay to have it taken away. A composting company could charge less for these food scraps because the resulting compost can be sold - retail prices for compost appear to range from $100/ton to $500/ton. Not sure about wholesale prices, I've seen prices anywhere from $5/ton to $250/ton and not sure what to make of the large variance in numbers.

When we talked to a local food processing plant, they told us all their food waste is currently picked up by a farmer who takes it back to his farm to compost! When we talked to some local trash haulers, there were immediately interested in the idea of delivering yard wastes for free to our land, until they calculated the costs due to the land we currently have being about 20 miles out of their way. They said if only we had land closer to the city. Apparently, the landfill they deliver to is not far away at all.

We think the business idea is a slam-dunk, but frankly we have not funds to get things started, and so are working out how little we can get started with and where we might get grants from. But we are pretty excited to do this.

Good luck on your venture. It's an excellent idea, one that I thought of starting here in Oregon. There's a NASDAQ-listed company doing this also, but can't remember its name.

Just repeating a story from above

Trucker Protest Runs Out of Gas

Independent truckers organizing a protest against high fuel prices hoped pain at the gas pump would drive 200 or more truckers to Washington Sept. 23. Instead, fewer than 20 truckers showed up for the rally and protest, and organizers blamed high fuel prices.

Does anyone see the irony in this...?

Hello GeckoLizard,

Given the chance: I think this person would have protested against high food prices, but as the saying goes, "I ran out of gas..."

[disturbing photo warning]

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

Wow. That definitely brings your point full circle... There's a difference between running out of gas and running out of food.

Didn't that photographer just kill himself?

McCain seeks to delay debate to focus on economy. Has he ever heard of multitasking?

Obama's campaign are claiming they started it. (That they suggested it to the McCain people.)

Translation: both McCain and Obama are catching flack from their constituents at home, and each is worried he will still be a senator after Nov., and will need said constituents' good will.

Obama and McCain are going to make a joint statement.

Uh-oh! Bipartisan is what you get when the elite wants to jam through a policy which the vast majority of people oppose, like a foolish bail-out.
That way, the blame gets spread so that there is no effective way of opposing it.

One of the joys of a two party system.

They (Obama campaign) might have... makes him (McCain) look like he can't handle both issues. But then, why lay claim to a dirty trick?

I think Obama wanted a joint statement.

McCain jumped the gun and made the announcement first, in order to appear presidential and leader-like. This issue is really hurting him, so he's probably a bit desperate.

Now Obama's not sure he wants to go along, since if he does, it will look like it was McCain's idea, and he's just going along.

I'd heard he hasn't taken a vote in the Senate since March, so apparently the answer is no. Why is the need for naptime not a campaign issue?

Update: he hasn't voted since April 8th. He has missed 109 of the last 110 votes. Again, not an issue? We don't just have to wake him for the 3 am phone call, but the 3 PM phone call.

How many presidents do we have now? What happened to the decider?
Isn't George still in the bully pulpit? It's his job to unite the country if it needs uniting in a crisis. Or has he failed at that too?

Neither McCain or Obama have been elected to anything but to be senators. Their party nominations don't mean poop as far as constitutional power goes.

McCain tries to run against his own party that he has supported at least when he managed to show up to vote. Now he wants Obama to help fix the mess he helped create. Good grief, Obama is a first term senator while McCain has been farting around Washington for over 20 years.

This is another "Hail Mary Pass" type move just like the Palin choice brought about because he is falling behind in the most recent polls. The guy is a jerk.

BHP wants to sell uranium to China

The expansion of the Olympic Dam mine seems to be at impasse. To increase U3O8 output from 4000 to 19000 tonnes per year they will need 690 MW of additional power. There are plans to construct a 120 megalitre a day desalination plant on the coast 300 km away. However they won't say what power source will be used and some locals are concerned about the effect on the marine environment which will be minor in my opinion.

At one stage it was proposed to bypass all these hassles and send shiploads of ore concentrate direct to China. China has bought into other uranium ventures but not of this size. Basically it seems the mine will continue in an output constrained way until some kind of crisis forces the expansion to go ahead.

Well, there's something new. What do you all think about Obama coming out for clean coal?

He's always been pro-coal. Though at some times less enthusiastically than others. He's from Illinois - a coal state.

Politicians always get around this one buy using the euphemism "clean" coal.

Though I'm supporting Obama, if I thought there was really a safe place to stash CO2, I'd put a nuclear reactor there instead.

There are no "good" choices going forward. I think we'll have to all get used to that, unfortunately. Such is how it is when only taking action close to the deadline: all the best options have by this time disappeared.

Hirsch on Monday in Sacramento pointed out that just as perfect can be the enemy of the good, good may become enemy of the adequate.

Hello TODers,

Exclusive: Former Presidents on Hurricane Relief, Economic Crisis and Election

..."It will bounce back," he said. "It might look different, but a lot of it will be the same. It's not as though people are just saying, 'We don't want to go there anymore, we don't want to live there anymore because of another hurricane coming up.' People have a better spirit than that."
Mother Nature doesn't give a damn about 'spirit'. She rewards common sense and adaptation. You, your insurance co [if not BK], and/or FEMA can rehab a house in some safer inland area, for far less cost than constantly rebuilding coastal properties.

Google came out with an unusual contest today that should be of interest to many TOD readers.

At Google, we don't believe we have the answers, but we do believe the answers are out there. Maybe in a lab, or a company, or a university -- but maybe not.
Maybe the answer that helps somebody is in your head, in something you've observed, some notion that you've been fiddling with, some small connection you've noticed, some old thing you have seen with new eyes.
If you have an idea that you believe would help somebody, we want to hear about it. We're looking for ideas that help as many people as possible, in any way, and we're committing the funding to launch them. You can submit your ideas and help vote on ideas from others. Final idea selections will be made by an advisory board.

Here is a link to get you started.


They have an ENERGY category!