DrumBeat: January 6, 2009

The Costly Compromises of Oil From Sand

OTTAWA — A major source of oil for the United States must now confront another problem: its carbon footprint.

Canada, in large part because of the production capacity of its oil sands, is now the largest oil supplier to the United States. But environmental groups in both countries are pushing for a slowdown or even a halt to further oil sands development, which is concentrated in northern Alberta.

Not all oil is alike when it comes to environmental impact, and many environmentalists single out production from the oil sands as the epitome of “dirty oil.” In a recent study, the RAND Corporation estimated that oil from the oil sands generates about 10 to 30 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional crude.

That may place oil sands exports in a precarious position when Barack Obama becomes president this month and moves forward with a climate change program.

Green revolution: still possible amid deep recession?

Experts believe that current prices, just below $50 a barrel, will persist only as long as the downturn. The IEA has for the first time hinted that the era of "peak oil" may be upon us – the highwater mark of production, after which output will start to taper off. As soon as economic growth resumes, it will open a costly gap between supply and demand – unless the world radically transforms the energy model.

"The minute you get recovery, you'll get a sharp rise in oil, which will stall the recovery," says Tom Burke, an environmental scientist and former British government adviser. "So you have to use the stimulus to get yourself off oil dependency and that will reduce the climate curve and you'll start to drive carbon the way you want to go.

New cold war in Europe as Russia turns off gas supplies

Fears of a deep chill spread across Europe yesterday after a row between Russia and Ukraine over gas prices cut supplies to the rest of the continent on a day of plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfalls.

The European Union said the situation was "completely unacceptable" as thousands of businesses were urged to switch fuels, and households struggled to keep warm in sub-zero temperatures. But there was no sign of an end to the standoff between Russia's energy monopoly Gazprom and Ukraine, locked in battle since New Year's Day.

Dependence on Russian energy places Europe at risk: The EU must ensure that no one can hold it to ransom in future

The angry stand-off between Russia and Ukraine over gas is now seriously disrupting supplies to several European Union countries. Romania has lost 75 per cent of its supply; Bulgaria has only a few days' gas left; Slovakia is on the verge of declaring a state of emergency. The European Commission has waded in with indignant condemnation. But what may look like a replay of what happened three years ago, when Russia drew international condemnation for shutting off gas supplies to Ukraine is in many ways very different; 2009 is not 2006.

Automakers Fear a New Normal of Low Sales

DETROIT — The historic collapse of the new-car market dragged on in December, raising questions of whether the auto industry will ever again have sales levels that it took for granted just a few years ago.

The 'McMansion' trend in housing is slowing

In Atlanta's 1920s-era Kirkwood neighborhood, teardown projects in the last year have been cast in the simpler Craftsman style, which have immediately found buyers. Indeed, US builders say their clients increasingly look for quality materials and workmanship rather than sheer size. Some families are even abandoning the one-bedroom-per-child model, builders say, in favor of larger, but fewer, shared rooms.

..."There's an awareness now that some of the homes frankly are too big," says Scott Van Duzor, a home builder in Illinois's Fox River Valley. "The McMansion has almost become embarrassing to some people," he says. "They're listening not just to their wallet but their conscience."

LA water cops hunt wasteful faucets, sprinklers

Officials estimate that landscaping accounts for as much as 70 percent of household water bills.

Offenders can be cited with a warning or hit with fines that start at $100 for homeowners and automatically appear on water bills.

The tough tactics began this summer after a voluntary conservation program yielded only a 4 percent drop in water use. Restrictions were expanded and penalties stiffened with the aim of seeing a 10 percent reduction.

Recipe for Famine

The bag of green peas, stamped “USAID From the American People,” took more than six months to reach Haylar Ayako. For seven of his grandchildren, that was a lifetime. They died as the peas journeyed from North Dakota to southern Ethiopia. During that time, the American growers, processors and transporters that profit from aid shipments were fighting off a proposal before Congress to speed deliveries by buying more from foreign producers near trouble spots. As a result of legal mandates to buy US goods, the world’s most generous food relief program wasn’t fast or flexible enough to feed the starving in Ethiopia’s drought-ridden South Omo region last year.

“I am so grieved that I lost those children,” said Ayako, a Bena tribesman, speaking in his local Omotic language. “They died of the food shortage.”

Chevron lifts force majeure on Nigeria oil output

LAGOS (Reuters) - U.S. energy giant Chevron (CVX.N) said on Tuesday it had lifted a force majeure on oil output from its Escravos terminal in Nigeria a month and a half after saboteurs forced it to shut in around 90,000 barrels per day.

The company said it had lifted the measure, declared on Nov. 19 and which frees it from contractual obligations, with effect from Jan. 1.

"Production and lifting operations have resumed," it said in a statement.

Peak oil expert to speak at Western Michigan University

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Kenneth Deffeyes, a famed Princeton geologist who believes world oil production peaked three years ago, will speak at Western Michigan University at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13.

Speaking in the Fetzer Center's Kirsch Auditorium, Deffeyes will be the first to speak as part of WMU's new Gwen Frostic Environmental Studies Seminar Series. The event is open to the public without charge.

The Powerful Case For $1 Gas

If problems in the Middle East are resolved fairly peacefully and other regions which produce oil can avoid significant turmoil, oil should dive back toward $30.

Oil prices are up 25% over the last two weeks. This rise in oil prices has encouraged some analysts to forecast that gas prices could go up 20 or 30 cents in the near future..

The case for lower gas prices is a simple case. The recession could move unemployment in the US to 11% or more. It could cut corporate earnings for several quarters. Air traffic could drop and with it jet fuel demand. Many companies could cut back on trucking.

Gas will move to $1 because things will get so bad that it can't stay higher, for better or for worse.

Gas war may boost alternative routes to Europe

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's decision to cut gas exports to Europe via Ukraine in mid-winter may shock the continent into backing major new pipelines to bypass Ukraine, cementing Moscow's control over European gas supplies.

The mystery of Antarctica's speeding glacier

With the possible exception of the ice that covers Greenland, the West Antarctic ice shelf is the most important body of water in the world. If it thaws, the results will be disastrous for millions, raising sea levels and flooding coastal cities such as London, New York, Tokyo and Calcutta. So it is understandable that scientists are alarmed as to why one particular section of it - Pine Island Glacier - is melting so much faster than the rest.

Pine Island, which contains around 30 trillion litres of water, is slipping into the sea at an ever accelerating rate, a development that alone could raise sea levels by as much as 10cm over the next century. Starting at an altitude of 2,500m, the glacier is 95 miles long and 18 miles wide, reaching the sea as an ice wall 750m high. Even before it began to speed up, it was one of the fastest-flowing glaciers in the world, at nine yards a day.

Utility cutoffs fuel carbon monoxide poisonings

Severe winter weather and a stormy economy could combine to make one of the season’s common killers, carbon monoxide poisoning, even worse this year, public health and safety officials say.

Coast-to-coast snowstorms and power outages, paired with spiking rates of utility shutoffs spurred by record unemployment, are likely to increase the accidental exposures that typically send more than 20,000 people to the emergency room and kill nearly 500 each year.

...Deprived of power, people are firing up gas-powered generators and bringing barbecue grills indoors, forgetting the deadly consequences of the colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can lead to illness, brain damage — and death.

“We see it during power outages and we see it during bad economic times,” said Jim Burns, past president and spokesman for the National Association of State Fire Marshals. “Unfortunately, people in desperate times take all means to stay warm.”

Iran offers more gas to Turkey

TEHRAN, Iran—Iran is prepared to increase gas exports to Turkey after Ankara's supplies -- along with those of several European nations -- were cut due to a dispute between Russia and the Ukraine, an Iranian diplomat said Tuesday.

Shell Said to Delay Start of Gasoline Unit at Pernis

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc is delaying the start of a gasoline unit at Pernis, Europe’s largest refinery, by at least a week after a pipeline fire forced its shutdown last month, two people familiar with the situation said.

BP names Russia troubleshooter as U.S. boss

LONDON (Reuters) - British oil major BP Plc (BP.L) appointed the man who led negotiations with its oligarch partners in Russian joint venture TNK-BP (TNBPI.RTS) as head of its U.S. unit.

BP said on Tuesday Lamar McKay, formerly leader of the company's Special Projects Team, had been appointed chairman and president of BP America.

The Fall of Green Travel

Environmentally-conscious vacations are out of fashion. Travelers expect their next getaway to be green — and they’re not willing to pay more for it.

Richard Heinberg: Slo-mo Splat

Remember the wall that environmentalists (like the 1972 "Limits to Growth" authors) have long been saying that industrial society would eventually hit? Permit me to make the formal introduction: Industrial society, meet wall; wall, meet industrial society.

It's understandably taking a while for the recognition to seep in. We are not accustomed to seeing every indicator of economic well-being, in virtually every country in the world, slam into reverse over the course of a few short months. I still have random conversations with businesspeople and bankers who say we've hit bottom and recovery is at hand; in their view, this is just another business cycle. I see things a bit differently: to my eyes the world situation looks like a slow-motion film of a train wreck, and the sheet metal at the front of the locomotive has only just begun to crumple.

Brace for 'Climate Wars'

On how to predict the fall of human civilization:

"Most of [the scenarios] were from military reports. There was a lot of awareness among scientists about the severity of climate change, but scientists don't do strategic scenarios. A lot of that scenario stuff, believe it or not, actually started with Shell Oil back in the '70s. They came up with relatively disciplined rules for these things -- we're not just writing science fiction here. What we want is credible, possible futures. The pentagon's very big on that now.

"The American military has been doing them for a long time -- they're not hard to get at. When Bush didn't want climate change discussed at all, the Pentagon went to the think tanks in Washington and said, 'We need you to do all the research that we've already done, but can't publish. You publish it, and we'll distribute it to our staff.'

"I was in Washington in February -- I met with a lot of senior career people, and there wasn't a denier among them. They had made their plans, and were waiting for the administration to change so they could get some action on these things."

U.S. In the Midst of a Revolution

Sandwiched around the election of the first African-American President of the United States, we find the debacles associated with the collapse of the international finance sector and the imminent end of the American automotive industry as we've known it for decades -- accompanied by the scurrying of would-be leaders and experts around the world attempting to patch holes in the badly leaking dikes with hastily-applied band-aids.

It's abundantly clear that the world has changed drastically. In my view, we're now in the midst of truly historical sea changes, although the biggest implications of these dramatic changes are very unclear -- and may not become fully apparent for some time to come.

FACTBOX - Global energy investment hit by financial crisis

(Reuters) - The deepening of the global financial crisis and a deep drop in energy prices have forced companies to scale back spending and delay projects, with expensive ventures in the Canadian oil sands hardest hit.

Below is a list of projects that have been delayed or scaled back in recent months, as well as other related news.

What's next: Oilsands

The collapse of oil prices has possibly set back Canadian production growth as much as five years.

Factbox: who gets what from Gazprom

The biggest European customers for Russian gas, whose supplies are likely to be hit by the dispute between the Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and Ukraine:

Gazprom's Tactics Harsh But Its Logic Sound

The Russian gas goliath's argument that the price it charges Ukraine must rise is a valid one, based on its own costs.

Bulgaria president: "We have to reopen the shut reactors of the Kozlodui nuclear plant"

Bulgarian president Gheorghi Parvanov declared on Tuesday that Bulgaria must reopen the closed reactors at the Kozlodui nuclear plant, Novinite informs. The decision comes after Russia decided to cease the natural gas deliveries though the pipelines that cross the Ukrainian territory. On Tuesday morning, the pipelines delivering gas to the Balkans region were shut down.

Shortage of nuclear fuel hits Indian nuclear power plants

Shillong (IANS) India’s nuclear power plants have been working at about half their capacity due to shortage of nuclear fuel despite the efforts of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to tap indigenous uranium deposits. The power plants are facing shortage of uranium supply due to the slow process of opening up of new uranium mines.

Tom Whipple: The Top 10 Peak-Oil-Related Stories of 2008

1. The Global Recession

The impact that declining world oil production will have during the coming year, and possibly longer, is now inextricably intertwined with the course of the economic recession that is sweeping the world. During 2008 the world’s stock markets lost some $30 trillion in investor equity. Nearly every major government was forced to begin massive bailouts of financial institutions and many have started to support failing businesses. The end is not in sight.

While many peak oil observers long anticipated that faltering world oil production would lead to much higher oil prices and eventually to an associated economic meltdown, the setbacks of the last year have complicated the situation. While it is clear that worldwide demand for oil has stopped growing and has started to decline in the last six months, it is not yet clear just how fast demand is falling. The sudden drop in oil prices has further complicated the situation by setting off a race between falling prices and slowing economic activity.

Related: PeakOil.com's most read stories of 2008

It will take more than goodwill and greenwash to save the biosphere

Monbiot: Shell may boast about tackling climate change, but companies tend always to sacrifice good intentions for hard cash.

Obama's Chance For a Blue Legacy

Today, President Bush will begin for the ocean what President Theodore Roosevelt did when he created the National Park System. The administration is announcing plans to create a national monument that will protect 195,000 square nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean -- bigger than the size of California and almost 50 percent larger than all U.S. national parks combined. Sweeping areas of the ocean's most pristine treasures, including spectacular corals and the deepest canyon in the world, will be protected by law and given the chance to become stronger.

Yet what is most significant about this move is the opportunity it creates for President-elect Barack Obama.

China's green investment challenge

China's environmental and renewable energy sectors are poised for another year of strong growth. However, green industries still face a daunting array of challenges.

Harnessing space energy

The first commercial solar power plant was commissioned in 1985 near the town of Shchelkino in the Crimea in the Soviet Union and had a peak load of 5 mWt, or just as much as the world's first nuclear reactor. But the costly and inefficient power plant had to be shut down in the mid-1990s, as on Earth it could not work to full capacity. Consequently, we must consider building such power plants in outer space.

Paramedics get muscle cars

EMS District Chief Jeffrey Hammerstein said the department comparison-shopped before settling on the Chargers, which are similar to those recently purchased by the N.C. Highway Patrol.

They are cheaper and more fuel-efficient than the Chevrolet Suburbans and other SUVs issued to EMS supervisors, as well as comparable police interceptors such as Ford's Crown Victoria. Their resale value, he added, should be higher when it comes time to sell them as surplus vehicles.

Gulf takes wrong currency path

The GCC members produce between them some 16 million barrels of crude oil per day, and possess some 45% of known oil reserves. In addition, members, particularly Qatar, also have immense reserves of natural gas.

The key innovation that will enable a Gulf Clearing Union is the simple expedient of creating - within a suitable legal framework - a "petro" unit redeemable in a constant amount of energy value, let's say the energy released by burning 100ml (measured at 20 Centigrade) of n-octane.

Such a definition of an energy value unit provides a straightforward benchmark for both domestic and international buyers of oil, gas, petroleum products, and even electricity, to use petros - as well as, or instead of, US dollars - in settlement for purchases of GCC production.

Oil Rises to 5-Week High Above $50 on OPEC Cuts, Russia Dispute

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose to a five-week high above $50 as Kuwait and Qatar indicated they will implement supply cuts announced by OPEC last month, and a dispute between Russia and Ukraine reduced natural gas shipments to Europe.

Kuwait and Qatar plan to cut oil shipments to Asia starting in January, refinery officials in the region said today, after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on a record output reduction on Dec. 17. OAO Gazprom cut gas shipments to Europe through Ukraine to less than one third of normal levels, a NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy spokesman said.

“The focus is shifting from demand to supply again,” said Eugen Weinberg, a Commerzbank AG analyst in Frankfurt. “We know demand is going to be very weak, but cuts from OPEC and the latest geopolitical risk will compensate.”

Gasoline price up first time in 16 weeks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. retail gasoline prices have risen for the first time in 16 weeks as higher crude oil costs were reflected at the pump, the government said on Monday.

The national price for regular unleaded gasoline jumped 7.1 cents over the last week to $1.68 a gallon, but was still down $1.43 from a year ago, the federal Energy Information Administration said in its weekly survey of service stations.

Soybeans Jump to 3-Month High on Crude Oil, Dry Weather Concern

(Bloomberg) -- Soybeans extended gains to a three- month high and corn rallied on speculation higher oil will boost demand for crops as a source of alternative fuel and concern that dry, warm weather will damage crops in Brazil and Argentina.

UK: Energy bills to drop by more than £100

CONSUMERS were today given hope that their energy bills will fall in the New Year, after Scottish Power cut the cost of one of its tariffs by 10 per cent.

Consumer groups said it was the “shape of things to come”, with reductions of 10-15 per cent expected across the board in the coming months.

Ukraine: Russia cut gas to Europe by two-thirds

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine's gas company Naftogaz said Tuesday that Russia cut natural gas supplies to Europe by about two-thirds, raising the stakes in a spiraling dispute between the two neighbors that bodes ill for European consumers.

Naftogaz spokesman Valentyn Zemlyansky said Gazprom sent only 92 million cubic meters of gas for European consumers, down from 221 Monday and about 300 during previous days.

"That is all they are sending, in several hours Europe will feel it," Zemlyansky told The Associated Press.

Slovakia to call state of emergency over gas-agency

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Slovakia will declare a state of emergency over a drop in gas supplies from Russia, Czech news agency CTK reported on Tuesday, citing Slovak Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek.

Europe begins to feel gas pipeline pinch

Moscow – Thermometers are plunging across Europe, and so is the pressure in the natural-gas pipelines connecting the continent with its key supplier, Russia.

But no one is pushing the panic button yet. The five-day-old gas war between Moscow and Kiev appears worse than in past years, aggravated by Ukraine's deepening financial and political crises and Russia's urgent need to refloat its floundering state budget by raising gas prices. Europe, watching closely, has sufficient gas reserves to see it through any short-term crisis and has officially declined to take sides.

It's time to see through Gazprom

The bust-up between Russia and Ukraine that threatens to gum up the gas supplies of much of southern and Eastern Europe hardly comes as a surprise. It is almost part of the New Year ritual and somehow – perhaps Kremlin meteorologists are in on the plot – always seems to strike during a cold spell. Across the continent, radiators run cold.

So why hasn’t the European Union devised some kind of strategy by now to deal with the threat? Years of talk about energy security have generated nothing but hot air.

Mexico's Pemex pushes ahead with Chicontepec field

MEXICO CITY, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil company Pemex has awarded over 2 billion pesos ($148 million) in construction contracts at its Chicontepec project aimed at boosting crude output, the firm said on Monday.

The contracts call for the construction of access roads and site preparation work at 344 well pads, where Pemex plans to drill thousands of horizontal oil wells to tap the difficult-to-produce oil of Chicontepec.

Dow to Take Action Against Kuwait on Halted Venture

(Bloomberg) -- Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker, plans to pursue legal options against Kuwait for canceling a joint venture agreement and will seek a new partner to invest in its basic-plastics business.

U.S. Refiners Don't Look Cheap (Unless We're Going Back to '06-'07 Environment)

In regards to U.S. refiners still being priced for good times, in my view as per EV /Capacity analysis. If you have a bullish near term view on their industry, think we're going back to 2006-2007, then fine. The point I make is that if you think we're going back to a 1999-2002 environment, then U.S. refiners such as Valero Energy (VLO), Tesoro (TSO), Holly Corp. (HOC), and Frontier Oil (FTO) still look a bit overvalued despite their massive declines this year.

Toyota to suspend production for 11 days in Japan

TOKYO — Toyota is suspending production at all 12 of its Japan plants for 11 days over February and March, a stoppage of unprecedented scale for the nation's top automaker as it grapples with shrinking global demand.

Cars outsell trucks in rough year

DETROIT — The final numbers are in, and it's official: 2008 was a crummy year to sell cars.

Not only did sales fall off a cliff, but consumer preferences changed faster than automakers could predict or react to. Gas prices skyrocketed, causing consumers to flee SUVs and trucks for smaller cars. Then the financial crisis hit, ruining nearly everyone's appetite for any vehicle.

Australians buying more bikes than cars

Australians continue to buy more bicycles than cars with the economic downturn, health issues and climate change driving sales, the Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) says.

Figures released on Tuesday put total vehicle sales for 2008 at 1,012,64 while bike sales were 38 per cent higher at 1,401,675.

Australia: Ethanol demands may consume grain crops: farmers

Farmers say one fifth of New South Wales' grain crop could be eaten up by changes to the proportion of ethanol in unleaded fuel.

The State Government announced last month it would quadruple the ethanol mandate within three years.

Severn barrage: Row breaks out over UK's biggest renewables project

Government consultants have been accused of miscalculating the costs of a project to generate vast amounts of green electricity in the Severn estuary, promoting a 10 mile-long tidal barrier strongly backed by ministers in preference to a scheme that engineers and environmentalists say is far less damaging.

SAfrica to start wind power project: official

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – South Africa's state-run power utility Eskom plans to start operating wind turbines this year to boost the supply of electricity, a company spokesman said on Monday.

"We are looking at building 50 wind turbines with two megawatts each before the end of this year across the country," Fani Zulu said on public broadcaster SA FM.

LDK shares slide after issues revenue warning

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Solar wafer maker LDK Solar Co Ltd warned on Monday of lower-than-expected fourth quarter and 2009 revenue, saying the global economic crisis and tight credit markets have weakened demand for solar power, sending its shares down nearly 14 percent.

The Chinese company also said it experienced a delay ramping up production at its new polysilicon plant. Polysilicon is the solar industry's key raw material.

The staggering cost of new nuclear power

A new study puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour — triple current U.S. electricity rates!

This staggering price is far higher than the cost of a variety of carbon-free renewable power sources available today — and ten times the cost of energy efficiency.

Group sues to force EPA to clean up Chesapeake Bay

WASHINGTON – A conservation group filed a federal lawsuit Monday to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the law and clean up the polluted Chesapeake Bay, citing 25 years of failure to restore the nation's largest estuary.

Timber company drops road deal with Forest Service

HELENA, Mont. – The nation's largest owner of timberland disclosed Monday that it will no longer pursue changes in agreements governing its use of U.S. Forest Service roads — changes that critics complained could transform forests into housing subdivisions.

Pope: Pollution could destroy world's future

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI is warning that pollution in the world could destroy our present and our future.

Contraceptive pill is polluting environment: Vatican newspaper

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – The contraceptive pill is polluting the environment and is in part responsible for male infertility, a report in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said Saturday.

The pill "has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature" through female urine, said Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, in the report.

"We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill," he said, without elaborating further.

1 in 5 considering leaving Hong Kong due to pollution: survey

HONG KONG (AFP) – One in five Hong Kong residents is considering leaving the city because of its dire air quality, a survey released Monday has found, raising fears over the financial hub's competitiveness.

The findings equate to 1.4 million residents thinking about moving away, including 500,000 who are "seriously considering or already planning to move," according to the survey by the think tank Civic Exchange.

Russia suspended from UN carbon trading scheme

The immaturity of one of the UN's flagship carbon trading scheme was underlined yesterday after Russia was suspended from trading carbon credits as a result of unpaid fees.

NEW FORECAST: 4ft Sea Level Rise by 2100 – threatened destinations include Manhattan, Maldives

The report, commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, found that in light of recent ice sheet melting, global sea levels could rise as much as 4 feet (1.2 metres) by 2100.

The IPCC had projected a rise of no more than 1.5 feet by that time, but satellite data over the last two years show the world's major ice sheets are melting much more rapidly than previously thought. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are losing an average of 48 cubic miles of ice a year, equivalent to twice the amount of ice in the Alps. The models used by the IPCC did not factor in the dynamic where warmer ocean water under coastal ice sheets accelerates melting. (About 600 million people currently live in low lying coastal areas.)

According to the Worldwatch Institute, of the 33 cities predicted to have at least eight million residents by 2015, some 21 coastal cities will certainly have to contend with sea rise impacts, however severe they may be. So it may not just be bye-bye to parts of Bangkok, but adieu to bits of Boston, many of Malibu's glamour spots and even sections of lower Manhattan.

Australia: Defence warns of climate conflict

RISING sea levels could lead to failed states across the Pacific and require extra naval deployments to deal with increases in illegal migration and fishing, a Defence Force analysis says.

"Environmental stress" has increased the risk of conflicts over resources and food and may demand greater involvement by the military in stabilisation, reconstruction and disaster relief, the analysis, prepared by Defence's strategic policy division, says.

It warns there is a risk of a serious global conflict over the Arctic as melting icecaps allow easier access to undersea oil and gas deposits.

The key innovation that will enable a Gulf Clearing Union is the simple expedient of creating - within a suitable legal framework - a "petro" unit redeemable in a constant amount of energy value, let's say the energy released by burning 100ml (measured at 20 Centigrade) of n-octane.

Such a definition of an energy value unit provides a straightforward benchmark for both domestic and international buyers of oil, gas, petroleum products, and even electricity, to use petros - as well as, or instead of, US dollars - in settlement for purchases of GCC production. "

Exactly what I've been calling for.

But then there's no way to manipulate/leverage the currency thru
inflation. FedRes out of business.

Worse than Saddam switching to Euros.

End of western economic model.

Beginning of muslim economic model. No usury. Not sure how this will play out apart from the fact that global leadership will transition away from current hegemon.

I have heard all this before. Several years ago there was talk of creating a new "Dinar" that was backed by gold. Eventually nothing came out of it.

And don't forget the Iran Oil Bore. End of Western model, death to hegemon, Fed out of business, dollar as toilet paper. I'm not holding my breathe this time either.

Most alternative energy systems (I'm thinking nukes, wind, csp, pumped hydro energy storage etc) have high capital costs and low running costs so fit the pension investment model perfectly. Your pension contributions go towards building the energy system and when the time comes to claim your pension, you could even claim it in kWh's of electricity. If electric transport and heat pump heating expand as much as I expect them to, this could cover a large share of living costs.

I suppose you could always make a similar arrangement with a local farm / CSA and bank work hours in your younger years in exchange to food. Maybe the 'electro, petro and gaso' can be launched as global currency.

Also relating to the story about carbon monoxide poisonings highlights the benefits of a heat recovery ventilation system in maintaining good air quality inside a building, which IMO will become increasingly important in the future as more people live in the same space, disruptions of food or energy supplies will increase the chance of diesease outbreaks.

There is a series of videos from Amory Lovins where he talks about advanced energy efficiency along the lines of the passivhaus and hypercar, well worth watching if you have time

"That is all they are sending, in several hours Europe will feel it," Zemlyansky told The Associated Press.

reminds me of living in communism.

people living at the higher floors got gas pressure, people living at the lower ones got water pressure :) (i'm talking about 9 stories buildings)

This game of chicken is not equal.

Each country has a different case. Romania, for example, only needs Russia for about 35% of it's gas needs. Others are not so lucky.
I guess we will see who the EU cares about soon.

China seen facing wave of unrest in 2009


The unusually stark report in this week's Outlook (Liaowang) Magazine, issued by the official Xinhua news agency, said faltering growth could spark anger among millions of migrant workers and university graduates left jobless.

"Without doubt, now we're entering a peak period for mass incidents," a senior Xinhua reporter, Huang Huo, told the magazine, using the official euphemism for riots and protests.

I suspect there will be a lot more unrest around the world. In "non democratic" countries, such as China, Singapore, Gulf states,... the untold agreement between people and government is that as long as the populace has to eat and economic growth, then they wouldn't question their leaders.

Suharto managed to keep power and steal Indonesia's resources for 30 years, but was toppled by street pressure after the Asian economic crisis of 1997.

Venezuela suspends US fuel aid

Citgo, Venezuela's Texas-based oil subsidiary, has suspended its scheme to provide cheap heating oil to thousands of low-income families in the US.

The programme is being halted because of falling world oil prices, the group that administers the scheme said.

The Venezuelan government says that since 2005, some 220,000 poor families in the US have benefited.

When the scheme was launched, critics said it was a publicity stunt by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez...

"The current economic meltdown," he said, "has forced Citgo to re-evaluate all the assistance programnes that they provide."

Uncle Hugo must be feeling the pinch. Do ya think Obama might fill in and bail these folks out?

Does Joe Kennedy get paid by the gallon??

If so he might have to cut his $400,000 salary he takes to help the poor.


Is that really his salary? Do you have a source? This is one of my pet peeves: Charitable organizations paying outrageous salaries. I want to know when I contribute that I am not funding someone's vacation home in France.

The United Way has always been one of the worst offenders in this regard.

The not-for-profit sector has always been a handy place for unproductive trust-funders to park themselves. Respectable titles, cushy offices, lots of elbow-rubbing with the rich and powerful and glamorous, little pressure to do real work and no need to actually generate a profit. Plus a nice salary to supplement the cash flow from the trust fund.

/Cynical rant off

We must have a different class of people here in Oklahoma than what you have in W North Carolina. The only time I went looking for money to fund a part time employee, we got turned down because we were not looking for enough money. We just found a volunteer instead. No paperwork, no taxes, and she probably worked harder because she truly wanted to contribute to what we were doing.

Your part-timer job is probably in a completely different category than the type of positions that the Joe Kennedys of the world occupy.

Absolutely - she has never even had a press conference. But, we do not do things on a grand scale either. But, the earlier comments were on the wasteful / excessive salaries at non-profits. We just don't have any salaries.

I tend to see, in other non-profits, a lot of time wasted by the actual workers, like at recycling centers and plants. This may be a part of their mission or perceived mission, but the folks getting the programs organized and working are generally underpaid (or volunteer) and hard working, in smaller non-profits. I have heard the reference in this regard to a working Board - folks are selected for their contributions, not who they know.

The best way to know where your money is going is to get active in the organization, even in a small way, before giving. The huge charitable organizations have to pay huge salaries to keep the top people, but the little ones have to get the work done. Many of the small ones, the ones delivering the goods, the ones doing the work, have no payroll whatsoever. It is hard to get many of the big charities to pay for infrastructure, and they want to see results. I have been a part of four, each all volunteer organizations, and we have been able to get it done. Local efforts produce local results.

You do not have to worry Robert - When you fund Joe Kennedy, you are just funding the ego of an ignorant bastard, not a vacation home in France.

Ich bin ein Berliner... Er, Billionarie...

"We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill," he said, without elaborating further.

Hmm...is this a problem or a solution? Perhaps Gaia needs a little something, kind of an antibiotic specific for humans.

This is something from the Pope's people. It wouldn't surprise me if the next thing they say is that condoms are responsible for the hole in the Ozone layer.

The Catholic Church wants to do everything in their power to maximize the headcount on the planet... The only sex in their mind involves reproduction, and divorce is not an option. "Go forth, and multiply..." Isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place?

There are various pharmaceuticals which have been linked to male infertility. And yeh, I don't consider that particular side effect environmental pollution but a positive development. I have always thought that we should put an anti fertility drug in the water supply and require an antidote to have a baby.

The Catholic church is keeping their uninterrupted streak of not getting it. Seems like the church is concerned that we are not populating the planet sufficiently. Time for those allegedly chaste Priests to get out there and do something about it.

It's a bit unfortunate that the effects do not exclusively apply to humans, don't you think? How about water mamals, frogs etc? Some of which already see there existence threatened.

Agree. But the part related to human fertility is a good thing. Anyway, the church is just picking on birth control pills. They need to be concerned about all the other crap we flush and pee down the drain.

Like all the clean, fresh water, you mean. Or did you mean antidepresant and cocaine leftovers?

AP Probe Finds Drugs in Drinking Water

A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

"We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water, and that can't be good," says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.

But, at least it's better than getting Cholera from your drinking water...

As Zim's water & sewer infrastructure started collapsing some time ago: you would think Mugabe would have handed out lots of copies of the Humanure Handbook and printouts of info similar to the MacFarlane Dung PDF.

IMO, an early change towards sound O-NPK recycling Japanese-style would have mitigated most of this death by diarrhea and vomiting. Sadly, the Zim embassy never answered my long ago Peak Outreach email.

I sure hope the USA is smarter when we can't afford anymore postPeak upkeep on our porcelain throne infrastructure.

Unfortunately, drugs in the water supply may hurt some of our animal friends. But how about paying people to get sterilized? Kind of a stimulus package? No questions asked.

But how about paying people to get sterilized?

But if we did that were would we get an underclass for the Merkin right wing Christians to kick and chastise to feel better about themselves, or fill the needs of corporate employers such as Walmart and Tyson, or provide subjects to star in shows such as COPS? Guess we'll have to import more Mexicans and Eurotrash.

Not just animals... the stuff we dump has been shown to interfere with human development too.

Animals are not your friends.

There are various pharmaceuticals which have been linked to male infertility

Yeah, and I'd like to thank the pope for bringing to our attention that males shouldn't take the pill.

I will make it 'Legal'!

Add to the reasons of why not to drink the standard water supply? Or possibly it should be added to all soft-drinks, as they are the only thing that people drink these days anyhow. I wonder if such drugs are removed via distillation?

The report, commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, found that in light of recent ice sheet melting, global sea levels could rise as much as 4 feet (1.2 metres) by 2100.

Well, that means that North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana are all facing huge land losses. All three need to impose an immediate moratorium on all new building anywhere that is <~25 ft above mean seal level (to allow for storm surges), and to begin a program of orderly resettlement of people living below that level.

Somehow, property insurers need to be allowed to refuse coverage to those properties in the flood zone, while still being allowed to write cover for the remainder of the state; otherwise, those of us living on higher ground will soon be unable to find insurance.

The economic impact of all of this will be enormous.

Of course, absolutely nothing is actually being done.

I wonder when we shall see a change in the trend somewhere in the world?


How would you extract a statistically significant S.L. trend out of this sort of data? BTW, this table is a prediction, not measured data.


Notice the peak tide at the time of the full moon, which will be experienced about 11 and 12 January 2009.

E. Swanson

I don't understand what you are saying,but on the website I provided the trends are all straight lines with the sesonal changes and tides removed.
Here are a couple examples of many.

San Diego CA

Warnemundy Germany

I'm not sure what your point was, actually. Are you suggesting that there is no change in the rate of thermal expansion of the oceans? The warming has been found to be reaching very deep into the oceans, which requires quite a bit of time. My guess is that this might smooth out decadal variations in the rate of change of S.L.

E. Swanson

"Are you suggesting that there is no change in the rate of thermal expansion of the oceans?"

I guess he is. And from the data he presented, it looks like a pretty good argument. The data in your reference is very short time and relatively incomprehensible.

"Are you suggesting that there is no change in the rate of thermal expansion of the oceans?"

I guess he is. And from the data he presented, it looks like a pretty good argument. The data in your reference is very short time and relatively incomprehensible.

No, Lynford. This just shows a lack of understanding of the use of statistics and trends, in particular. The straight line is used to make the trend clear. How can it show acceleration? That's not it's function. Besides, no change in SLR is going to be linear, so one can only speak in terms of averages and means.

I am weary of discussions of the validity of the science. This topic is among the most idiotic mankind has ever engaged in. It's akin to jumping into a volcano and discussing exactly how hot it is and just exactly how fast we will burn up. In mid-free fall.


I am simply providing a data source as presented and collected by NOAA. The sea level trends are flat and have been for the past 100 or more years.

Why don't we see a noticable shift in this trend in recent years? My point is when the shift in the trend is noticable it will be too late. And these data, though real, are the kind of data that keep people complacent.

Strange - the first station I hit shows a clear trend

Fernadina Beach, FL
The mean sea level trend is 2.02 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.20 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1897 to 2006 which is equivalent to a change of 0.66 feet in 100 years.

How about a foreign site ...
Less data, still a rising trend
Madras, IN
The mean sea level trend is 0.31 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.41 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1916 to 2003 which is equivalent to a change of 0.10 feet in 100 years.

That's two random picks. Am I missing something?

As I recall, century long sea level trends show a rise of about 2mm/year.
More recent trends in the 10-30 year range show a rise of about 3mm/year.

More here:

I guess I should have said straight line rather than flat line. It makes no difference weather the trend is 1 mm, 3 mm, or 5 mm the trend line has not changed in the past 100 years. When a trend changes say from its current trend of 2 mm to 5 mm then we have a serious problem.

If you look at some of the North Sea or Scandinavian locations you see they have a negative trend. The differences are due to the reference datum rising or falling. The world wide trend is about 2-3 mm/year and has been for as long as the data collected by NOAA are showing.

Best hopes for continuing straight line trends, when they change we will soon be in a heap of water.

I thought that you were looking at the linear trend lines. As you mention, there are areas where sea level is going down because of isostatic rebound after the mass of the glaciers was removed more than 10,000 years ago. Other locations have faster S.L. rise, as the land is subsiding. Looking at measurements from each location does not tell one whether the S.L. over the globe is rising or falling, as the data must first be adjusted for the local changes. Those long term trends you point to may be mostly due to those local changes. there's been a NASA program to measure global changes using satellite altimetry, the TOPEX/Poseidon system. One would hope that this effort would provide the sort of data which would give an unambiguous signal.

E. Swanson

Those long term trends you point to may be mostly due to those local changes. there's been a NASA program to measure global changes using satellite altimetry, the TOPEX/Poseidon system. One would hope that this effort would provide the sort of data which would give an unambiguous signal.

Which it does:

Aigooo... This is just flat wrong.

**You are expecting something from the graphs they are not designed to tell you.** You are expecting ONE set of data over ONE defined time period to have TWO trend lines. No. Can't. Period.

What you CAN do is have trends for multiple time periods with the same data. The graphs you are looking at are taking the trend for the ENTIRE time period. You want trends for shorter time periods, you have to do that for each time period.

There is a great graph that has been posted here with temp. trends in 15 year increments. That is an example of what I mean.

It was posted in Mearns' and de Sousa's (I think) post on the WEO that included climate.

FYI: as posted above (or somewhere) in this sub-thread, the trend HAS changed to @ .3mm/y. That's a 50% increase. It is not insignificant. That alone would be @30 centimeters this century. If we got an acceleration of 50% every ten years, we'd see @ 1.85 meters of rise by 2100.


Before I retired it seldom failed that folks would select short pieces of the total data to push their agenda.

Says the guy who posted two links to two local sea level data runs and asked Where's the accelerating trend? :LOL:

We just showed you the accelerating trend, DipChip. Give us a break.

Show me an example of an accelerating trend on any one of the locations from NOAA.

Here is another interesting site for SLT.


BTW I have been reading the UC site for some time.

Are you seriously saying one of us have to go into the raw data and plot it in 8, 10 or 15 year trend lines to prove you mis-spoke?

You are wrong. Accept it. You were trying to claim a single trend line over many decades can show a recent uptick in trend. It can't. This was already stated.

I'm fully aware of your position on a single trend line,And I accept it, however my point is that when you can eyeball a shift in the trend line using only the raw data from the charts we shall be in trouble.

Cryosphere chart of summer ice loss in the artic is a good example of eyeballing a shift in the trend.

IMO shifts in trends at the limits of a slide rules accuracy over 10 or 15 years don't prove much to me.

BTW concerning AGW I'm on the fence leaning hard toward accepting it.

WRT NOLA, just 14 ft. of sea level rise moves the coastline all the way back to Baton Rouge. In the river vally, maybe all the way back to Natchez.



Dear CCPO.
You reckon on a 14 foot sea level rise. In my world, that is 4.26 meters. That is a lot. Seal level rises are measured in millimetres per annum at present and recent measurements suggest a flat or even negative sea level rise. Current sea level ‘rises’ appear to be in the millimetre range:


It looks to me like a creaming curve. Flattening with time since start. Your claim is frankly hysterical at best, propaganda at worst. (Creaming Curves are a common feature of oil field geology.)

You propagandise that the planet is warming. We now have reasonable evidence of a new, decadal cooling phase:


The Ap Index is comatose:


Where is SC 24?


Greenland’s Ice is growing (in girth, if not in areal extent):


CO2 Has an impact (depending upon your chosen X-Y Scale) :-)


And in the mean time, consensus isn’t what it used to be:


But, (and on a lighter note):





Best regards and a Happy New Year.

You are utterly and completely full of crap. And that is the best you deserve.

I will waste no more of my kindness on such lies, obfuscations and homicidal delusions.

Get a clue.

BTW, I said nothing about rates of change or time frames. I merely, (that means only in this context) pointed out what 14 ft. of SLR will mean since the issue of long-term planning was brought up. Can't figure that out for your self?

My dear and charming CCPO.
If you liked my last post, then you will love this.


Kind regards

My dear and charming CCPO.

Yes, I am charming. My wife says so, so it must be true. We do laugh an awful lot and our one year-old is a pretty happy fellow, so...

Despite your sarcasm, I can lay claim to not being a liar. Since you are trying to claim recent trends don't exist by using data that obviously cannot show such trends, even if they do exist, the claim I make is not one *you* can make.

If you liked my last post, then you will love this.

Yes. I find your lies and his to be equally disgusting. I love it: one station equals the globe. Idiot.

One chart stops in 2000, the other in '95!!! Brilliant.

I consider such people to be criminals.



Your CO2 impact information is too narrow in scope. There's little or no discussion of the fact that doubling CO2 concentrations increase plant growth rates by 33 percent. Optimal plant growth is achieved at 1000 PPM. Thus it would take two doublings of CO2 concentrations referenced from the mid-1800's to realize planet-wide optimized photosynthesis for the production of food AND biofuels. Over the last century nothing has "GREENED" the planet more than elevated levels of CO2 in conjunction with modest sun-driven warming. The most astounding conundrum the world is now facing is the push by environmentalists, western liberals and the US Democratic Party to torpedo this rare gift of nature. As you note above, these natural trends so beneficial to all living things on the planet are now diverging into the worst case scenario, PeakOil coincident with Peak Warming.

Of course nothing is being done - nothing is happening!!!

Well, I guess the happening of a few storm surges will take care of it for us, if the government won't.

"77% of Americans blame media for making economic crisis worse"


Things wouldn't be nearly so bad if they didn't tell us about.


It would also help if they quit reporting stock quotes. Close down CNBC. Just tell us at the end of the year what the prices are.

Naw, that wouldn't help. The rich watch their money carefully and will still commit suicide.

Billionaire Merckle Killed by Train, Die Welt Reports


Since modern skyscrapers have windows that don't open, a (former) billionaire needs to exit the building and stand in front of a fast moving train in order to leave his troubles behind.

Many decades ago I saw several children playing on some train tracks. I went to warn them and they informed me that they placed pennies on the tracks and the trains wheels would flatten and elongate the copper coins. I gave them all the pennies I had in my pockets and they returned one to me after a train had passed. It was much shinier and very flattened and elongated. I have to admit I too was amused by the experience. As for Mr Merckle, Iam not so much amused as I am disturbed. I suppose its a matter of perspective among those who have many several thousands of millions and are suddenly reduced to mere tens of millions of dollars.

Could those first worlders be so inclined, after having secured as much and by what ever means, as to self destruct when the lions share has become diminished by a proportional amount ? I suppose that question will answer itself shortly.

Hell, all I need is about $50,000 after taxes, and I'll be set! (Enough to pay off everything and also buy sufficient tools/materials to become mostly self-sufficient.)

Maybe this will start a trend. Come on Donald Trump, don't be shy, fire yourself in a big way!

Pending home sales plunge to record low

WASHINGTON - The National Association of Realtors says pending home sales fell to the lowest level on record in November, as the plummeting stock market and faltering economy caused buyers to put their purchases on hold.

Factory orders plunge in November

Orders declined by nearly double the 2.5 percent drop economists expected

And someone asked if it was just getting to Vegas that was causing the decline there. My guess would be no. Lotteries are suffering, too:

Losing Faith in Gambling's Allure

Get-rich-quick schemes might seem appealing in tough times. But while gambling was once considered virtually recession-proof, state lotteries and casinos across the country are reporting sales declines as U.S. consumers battle the moribund economy. Some lotteries are managing to buck the trend by launching new products, but the overall trend shows many consumers shunning the lure of easy money.

"Just like Coke or Pepsi, we're competing for discretionary dollars in the marketplace," says David Gale, executive director of the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries in Geneva, Ohio. "People have fewer dollars left over after paying their bills, and they're spending carefully."

And another economic indicator

Manhattan Office Rents Fall Most in Two Decades

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Manhattan office rents fell the most in at least two decades last quarter as securities firms cut jobs and tenants leased less space.

Fourth-quarter rents dropped 4.8 percent to $69.44 a square foot from the third quarter, broker Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said in a report today.

...“This quarter was like no other quarter we’ve ever seen before,” said Joseph Harbert, chief operating officer of Cushman’s New York metro region, in an interview. “It’s as if someone let the helium out of the balloon. The downfall of Lehman really changed the real estate consumer’s psychology, and put everyone in a cautious, wait-and-see, don’t-make-a-decision attitude.”

...“When’s the bottom going to be -- that’s the big question right now,” said Harbert.

Hard-Hit Families Finally Start Saving, Aggravating Nation's Economic Woes

BOISE, Idaho -- Rick and Noreen Capp recently reduced their credit-card debt, opened a savings account and stopped taking their two children to restaurants. Jessica and Alan Muir have started buying children's clothes at steep markdowns, splitting bulk-food purchases with other families and gathering their firewood instead of buying it for $200 a cord.

As layoffs and store closures grip Boise, these two local families hope their newfound frugality will see them through the economic downturn. But this same thriftiness, embraced by families across the U.S., is also a major reason the downturn may not soon end. Americans, fresh off a decadeslong buying spree, are finally saving more and spending less -- just as the economy needs their dollars the most.

Bad families! Bad, bad! How dare they assume that the economy is there to serve them, rather than the other way 'round.

Isn't there some program that sends economists with brass knuckles to their house to explain it yet?


Maybe Obama will tell them it's their patriotic duty to go shopping, like Dubya did. ;-)

The change is really striking:

U.S. household debt, which has been growing steadily since the Federal Reserve began tracking it in 1952, declined for the first time in the third quarter of 2008. In the same quarter, U.S. consumer spending growth declined for the first time in 17 years.

That has resulted in a rise in the personal saving rate, which the government calculates as the difference between earnings and expenditures. In recent years, as Americans spent more than they earned, the personal saving rate dipped below zero. Economists now expect the rate to rebound to 3% to 5%, or even higher, in 2009, among the sharpest reversals since World War II. Goldman Sachs last week predicted the 2009 saving rate could be as high as 6% to 10%.

It's not just that people have less money and less credit and can't spend. They are actually saving more. A banker in the article expresses surprise at how savings accounts are growing at a time when unemployment is rising.

People really can turn on a dime, when properly motivated.

Bankers really live in their own world, don't they? I'd say that they wouldn't suffer so big losses if they had employed some down to earth people too.

I assume people with jobs are paying off credit cards and saving, and people without jobs are defaulting in droves. Either way debt goes down.

Relatively quick changes in behavior give me some hope that a big crash will (a) not be as bad as it could, because the little people will react somewhat intelligently even if our leaders don't, and (b) cause rapid collapse of luxury markets but decent stability for necessities.

I'm afraid, though, that this mostly applies to the middle-class and upper-middle with discretionary income, not the perpetual paycheck-to-paycheck middle-to-lower. It's easy to give up Macy's, Outback, and Spring Break ski trips. It's hard to give up groceries and utilities. Still, every little sacrifice will help bring us down just a tad slower.

people without jobs are defaulting in droves

Yes, I suspect a big part of the saving's rate going up is that billions worth of mortgages were taken off the negative side of the ledger.

Personal saving is no doubt increasing, but it takes a lot of savings to make up for removing hundreds of thousands of mortgages off the books.

I think a bigger chunk of "savings" is people trying to get back to a confortable level of reserves. As in I thought I had enough to retire on, now I gotta save every possible dime, and then some!

I think people finally discovered feedthepig.org

Leanen, you write:

Maybe Obama will tell them it's their patriotic duty to go shopping, like Dubya did. ;-)

And like John Maynard Keynes did way back a long time ago:

Therefore, O patriotic housewives, sally out tomorrow early into the streets and go to the wonderful sales which are everywhere advertised. You will do yourselves good - for never were things so cheap, cheap beyond your dreams. Lay in a stock of household linen, of sheets and blankets to satisfy all your needs. And have the added joy that you are increasing employment, adding to the wealth of the country because you are setting on foot useful activities, bringing a chance and a hope to Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Belfast.

Full text here:


Isn't there some program that sends economists with brass knuckles to their house to explain it yet?

I thought economists beat people with can openers.

Theoretical can openers, that is.

ahhhh, but they are assumed can openers, not messy actual ones, so it just doesn't intimidate properly...

Are they frictionless and with no mass?


Composed entirely of inverted Higgs Bosons.

This change in behavior makes it even more likely that the tax cuts proposed will be ineffective in stimulating the economy. But the Republicans won, I guess. It was just a rumor that we are going to have a Democratic president with a Democratic congress. You just can't win for winning.

Thats great. Soon children with piggy banks will be labled "economic terrorists" for saving tooth fairy money. In some places already, children are blamed for hiding terrorists under their desks at their UN schools, and subsequently killed. Persons stealing billions are protected in multi million dollar penthouse apartments. Its hard to fabricate this kind of crazy.

And despite the manufacturing drop and housing slump, stocks are up! Yahoo says:

The market is eager for signs that the U.S. recession will end this year.

I guess this is the "power of hope" in action?

I wonder how long it will be before the nation at large determines that the value of the DOW does not directly correspond to what's best for the common man after all?

Yahoo also has some snippets from last month's Fed meeting minutes:

The Fed indicated that most members at its meeting expected a slow recovery to begin in the second half of the year, but that unemployment would still rise "significantly" into 2010.

Employers cut 1.9 million jobs over the first 11 months of 2008, which took the unemployment rate up to 6.7%. The December report will be released by the Labor Department Friday and economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect a loss of 475,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate will rise to 7%, which would mark a 15-year high.

Of course the markets are now up even higher!

The latest interview with Nate is up on Global Public Media:

This is the sort of thing it would be great to have a transcript of. If anybody out there would like a new hobby, please let the folks at Global Public Media know. email laurel "at" postcarbon.org

Nate, perhaps some of your old Wall St. friends have extra time on their hands and can finally get around to listening to your interviews and even transcribe them?

Does voice recognition software like Naturally Speaking work?

If you spend an hour or two to train it to your voice, it will perform very well. I've used it quite successfully. If you're looking at playing recorded conversations into a microphone, though, it won't produce usuable results. I would be better to listen to the recording via an ear bud, and talk it into the microphone yourself.


I hired a court reporting firm to do a transcript of the 2005 Simmons/Kunstler interview. I have forgotten exactly what it cost, but it seems like it was not exorbitant. You might get an estimate from a court reporting firm. If you think it's important, I would kick in some $$ as a donation.

thanks, I'll forward on these ideas.

5,500 professionals came up for a search on "transcription" some as low as $8/hr (quick scan):


Probably could get it done for $30 or so.

Sorry if that was a whole lot less than you paid, Jeffrey :-).

quality of audio is very bad at some point

Second that, I had to stop listening, it keeps jumping around. Can it be fixed?

Hello Jason, it was a great interview, I could have listened for ages. Please invite Nate as often as possible, I know you guys are busy, but since IIRC he said two times "that could be a topic for another show", it is clear to me that he has so much more to say.

Brown warns of 'darkest moment'

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the crisis in Gaza is the "darkest moment yet for the Middle East".

In the tv interview just broadcast Brown described the situation in Gaza as a "humanitarian crisis" and said that the entire world was affected by the ongoing situation in the middle-east.

With the "darkest moment" comment, I fear Brown worries that we are once again knocking on the door of Armageddon - one day, if someone miscalculates, that knock will be answered.

With that kind of hyperbole, Gordon Brown shows himself to be remarkably ignorant.

Perhaps he has forgotten about Halabja, Hama, and plenty of other battles far bloodier than what is going on in Gaza.

To say nothing of Darfur.

Or perhaps he knows something we don't.

But I have to say watching live coverage from inside Gaza has me feeling pretty dark and sick right now.

Israel won't let western journalists in but both Al Jazeera and Press TV Iran have reporters on the ground with frequent live coverage for their English language services.

http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/ (Free Real Player Feed + subscription feeds)

http://www.presstv.ir/watch_live3.aspx (300K)
http://www.presstv.ir/watch_live5_us.aspx (500K US)

Serbian gas emergency forces widespread cut off of gas supplies to consumers due to lack of pressure according to a report just carried on Al Jazeera. No link yet and no confirmation anywhere else yet.

Edit just found this link

All Serbian gas supplies cut

BELGRADE -- Serbia’s supply of gas from Russia coming via Ukraine and Hungary have been completely suspended, says Srbijagas CEO Dušan Bajatović.

He explained that this took place at 15:30 CET, and that the amounts of gas the country has will last only for the next several hours.

All consumers in Serbia have been asked to urgently halt natural gas consumption in order to minimize the damage.

Note the statement that supplies would only last "several hours" was made five hours ago...

Further edit: Statement on Serbian Gas Website (google translated)

Press Release

We expect that the first customers remain without gas during the night. To the morning it is expected that the Republic of Serbia will remain completely without natural gas supply, because the amount of domestic gas can not maintain gasovodni system in the function.

Today in the UK, gas was extracted from the main long term storage at faster than the published maximum extraction rate ... the number of days until it runs out if used at max rate has dropped to 49 ... but short and medium term storage still had some spare capcity ... for now!

Best hopes for warmer weather!

And today was the forecast day of annual peak demand for UK electricity. UK demand peaked at 59.2GW today according to the national grid website. This (if memory serves) is considerably above their peak demand forecast for the year issued just a few weeks ago.

Full info at http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm

Yesterday national grid was paying up to £938/MWh (that's about $1.40/KWh!!) and today the latest price logged is £703/MWh

Rough generation mix today was
Gas 40%
Coal 48%
Nuclear 10%

As you say, best hope for warmer days - the National Grid seem to be banking on it! Btw, it's -8C in Belgrade right now.

Hello Undertow,

If things start getting cold & grim across Europe: I sure hope people know how to safely drain their home's pipes before a wall or attic freeze can make lots of leaks. If not, then the price of copper pipe & fittings, plus plumbers' hourly rate will quickly rise. I bet the price of sturdy plastic water storage jugs will also rise very fast if this turns into a prolonged winter energy crunch.

It's spreading across Europe rapidly now. This is a massive shutoff of Russian gas to Europe way exceeding the previous "dispute". This from The Times

Europe begins to freeze as gas taps are turned off in energy war

Outside, the temperature plummeted to minus 12. Inside, the gas stopped flowing to homes in some of Europe's eastern cities in the dead of night and stayed off all day while the thermometer stayed below zero.

Tens of thousands living on the shores of the Black Sea were the first to feel the bitter impact of Russia's dispute with Ukraine over gas payments on the coldest day of the year.

With even icier conditions forecast for this week, the gas flow from Russia dried up during the day to nine countries, leading Bulgaria and Slovakia to consider declaring states of emergency and others to warn that just a few days' reserves remained.

...The (Bulgarian) President even proposed that an ancient nuclear power plant, closed as a condition of Bulgaria joining the EU because it was deemed too dangerous, should be switched back on.

It's a cold Orthodox Christmas Eve for many tonight.

While blanketing up atainst those subzero temps, I wonder how many people realize that the soil a scant couple meters down is a balmy 45-50(F) degrees?

There are a number of low-tech, albeit labor-intensive ways for a family to guard against ever freezing and losing pipes..

Here's an Alt-Energy blog that I wrote this description in a couple years back.. (Section Called "CoolTube")


Interestingly, peak electrical demand is early evening ... I wonder if gas use is the same as a large % of gas usage is domestic, not industrial? If so, the emergency strategy of limiting industrial uses of gas at short notice might not be so effective.

I expect rolling electricity power cuts to stop domestic gas central heating consumption at some stage. I expect the gas/energy system to fail when it is under maximum stress (ie: very cold mid-week weather) ... so, as well as lots of insulation I have installed backup electrical power to run essential gas systems for a few hours.

BTW it will be -8C in SW England tonight too!

Short supply in many Euro states tonight.


Hi xeroid,

Nova Scotia Power is a winter-peaking utility and our peak demand typically falls around 20h00; the most recent hourly load report can be found at: http://oasis.nspower.ca/system_report/hourly_total_net_Nova_Scotia/Hourl.... Food preparation (virtually all cookers in this province are electric), electric space heating and domestic hot water usage related to the operation of dishwashers and laundry equipment all contribute to this high demand.


The EU was trying to switch to natural gas for power generation to avoid using coal. The poor blokes may have more to worry about than CO2 emissions credits.

There we go. Peak gasovodni.

Searched the web to try and understand the rationale for the IDF military action in Gaza, the lack of an "ememy," the profound failure of the world community to stop military action against civilians which is itself a war crime and found the following. Gaza may be the second instance of "Resource Wars" with Iraq as the first instance.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called repeatedly for a cessation of rocket fire, and denounced those factions who broke the truce. A Hamas spokesman criticized Fatah for allowing the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is affiliated with Fatah, to fire rockets.


From Sharon's apparently senseless visit to the Temple Mount in 2000 and his "unilateral disengagement" from Gaza to the relentless murderous attacks against the people of Gaza and the constant political and economic seige against Hamas - for the last seven years, israel's struggle in Gaza is and always has been to gain control over its natural resources.





Perhaps you're referring to recent resource wars BOP. If one digs all the way back to the beginning of the French adventures in Viet Nam, which led to the US adventure there, it was about resources. The French had little use for the jungles of VN but they craved the rubber and tin resources of the area and wished to reclaim them after they were lost during WWII.

I doubt there have ever been many wasr when resource control wasn't at least part of the motivation.

Breaking News again on Al Jazeera

Venezuela expels Israeli ambassador.

Things can really spiral away here if cooler heads do not prevail.

My guess is the powers that be have been working over the past few years to establish a "normalcy of brutality". Seems to me that part of the problem here is that cooler heads ARE prevailing and letting this continue. There is no equivalent of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. There is no US fleet - or Russian or British or you name it fleet - breaking the blockade. They don't want to; they benefit from global state terrorism. Israel seals her own death warrant because big brother US won't be able to bail her out much longer.

cfm in Gray, ME

From the McMansion article linked uptop:

"They're listening not just to their wallet but their conscience."

"Cheap is the new chic."

Re: the water cops (top link) - a start to Totoneila's "earthmarines"?

Just as some scofflaws keep an eye out for black-and-white patrol cars, gardeners have learned to spot the white Toyota Priuses driven by Los Angeles water cops out to fight waste as California struggles with an extended drought.


City officials first unveiled the "drought busters" patrol in the early 1990s. Their blue T-shirts and patches with images of crossed-out drippy faucets were reminiscent of the "Ghost Busters" movie logo.

Now, to be taken more seriously, the unit has been outfitted with gray uniforms and renamed the water conservation team. ... "They deserve to have a title that is reflective of the gravity of the situation."

Hello Vtpeaknik,

If the 'Governator' had a braincell in his head: he would charge for Cali-tapwater closer to its true ecologic and survival value, let's say a buck per 5 gallons. This would result in a rapid shutdown of carwashes, fountains, golf-courses, resort lawns & non-edible landscaping, and home swimming pools & lawns. Minimal water use strategies and O-NPK recycling would rapidly become common as most could not continue to afford to stupidly waste drinking water with a flushing throne. Same ideas should be implemented for all of the parched Southwest, including Mexico.

The few rivers would soon be much cleaner, the beaches would have less closures due to fecal bacteria and chemical runoff, and if more Colorado River water could actually hit the Sea of Cortez south of AZ & CA, then the former world class fishing habitat could greatly improve.

Instead, I fear BAU will result in huge postPeak problems.

I could never understand the whole car washing thing. My vehicles get washed when it rains.

I hope that your kids fare better than your car.

dude dont be a d00sh. kids are people. cars are not.

I chose not to breed, thank you. My vehicles are kept in top mechanical condition with above average Maintenance. Both my vehicles are over twelve years old. Appearance is unimportant. Also it is usually the shiny new looking cars that attract vandals.

Most kids I know (including when I was one) would much rather take a shower in the rain than be forced into a bath.

If there are a whole bunch of kids, and some mud as well, it's even better!!

I agree with you, but when car is full of salt, it is wise to wash it.

In the spring I power wash the undercarriage. I also touch up all areas where rust appears.

Most of California's water goes to crops. How about charge the farmers the same price as the homeowners and let the market decide.

Apply that principle to both water and energy. Imagine how the aluminium industry would fare if they paid the same price per kilowatt hour as households.

I did not say I was against one world government. What I am against is this agenda being carried about by the same people who created all the problems and in that video you clearly see Obama lying to the public.

Their one world government is a police state where sheep have more rights.

Religion poses more of a threat then the shadow governments secret agenda.

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the Antarctic toplink: The mystery of Antarctica's speeding glacier. I found it fascinating that they are worried about a volcanic hot spot, and/or a new climate change sea-current under the ice giving this huge glacier a high flowrate lube job. Let's hope the remote control sub can find out much more info. Recall my earlier postings on this topic.

What I suspect is something similar to this.


This opening in the sea ice looks like it could be caused by volcanism.
West Antarctica is an extension of the ring of fire.


Hello Dipchip,

Great links! Yep, that icehole in the Ross Sea is NOT a good sign, IMO.

fargin iceholes!

Russia just zeroed all exports of gas to Europe via Ukraine - during a deep cold snap across Europe.

Anyone else think they are testing out their energy weapon, whilst gaining the pretext to invade Ukraine?

Yup, I follow your energy-wepon theory. And actually I belive Ukraine is in on these stunts. All this "unpaid bills talk" is the scapegoat that deludes EU and Company.

Dear Garyp.
Perhaps they anticipate something that we in the West have failed to anticipate.


I wonder how good Putin is at Chess?