DrumBeat: March 3, 2009

ANALYSIS - Fears grow for US natural gas in Obama tax squeeze

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil and gas executives and experts fear that President Barack Obama's push for renewables could shrink U.S. output and drive drillers away from vast reserves of relatively clean-burning natural gas.

Obama's budget proposal would remove tax breaks for oil and gas production and institute new fees in the Gulf of Mexico, moves that could unintentionally hurt the mid-sized companies focused heavily on the United States and push the largest companies to shift their investments to other countries.

Of particular concern is the loss of intangible drilling cost (IDC) tax deductions, which independent energy company Devon Energy Corp, a leading U.S. natural gas producer, said represents a quarter of its exploration budget.

"The elimination of the ability to expense drilling costs is just huge," said Bill Whitsitt, vice president for public affairs at Devon, one of the top U.S. independents along with Apache Corp, XTO Energy and Anadarko.

GM asking more European nations for aid

GENEVA - GM Europe is negotiating with Spain, Britain and other European governments beyond Germany to get the $4.2 billion they say they need to keep operating, General Motors officials said Tuesday at the Geneva Auto Show.

Auto sales plunge again

Dismal sales reports from GM, Ford and Toyota have the auto industry set for its worst month in 27 years.

Sinopec to Boost Diesel Exports as Local Demand Falls

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, plans to boost exports of diesel after domestic demand of the fuel dropped 30 percent in January.

China’s so-called apparent consumption of oil products, including diesel, fell 16.6 percent in January, China Petrochemical Corp., the parent of China Petroleum, said in a statement in its in-house newsletter today, without saying if the comparison is with the year-earlier period.

Eni delays Alaska oil project due to slump-reports

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Italian oil company Eni is suspending work on its $1.5 billion Nikaitchuq oil development on Alaska's North Slope due to the slump in crude prices, according to local media reports.

Shell Pushes for Discounted Cap-and-Trade Program

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, favors a cap-and-trade emissions program in which credits are initially sold at a discount.

“You auction the credits but you don’t have to start at 100 percent,” Marvin Odum, president of The Hague-based Shell’s U.S. operations, said today in an interview in New York. “As you move our economy into this type of system, there is probably some ramp-up that makes sense so that you don’t overshock the system.”

Obama shelves Bush-era species rule

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Tuesday shelved a Bush-era rule that critics say weakened protections for animals and plants protected by the Endangered Species Act.

"We should be looking for ways to improve it, not weaken it," Obama said of the Endangered Species Act. He spoke at an Interior Department ceremony to mark the department's 160th anniversary.

Taking the charge out of Chevy's Volt

But one of the main justifications GM offers for its long-term survival, "leadership in advanced propulsion technology," has been shaken by a report from Carnegie Mellon University.

The study concludes that plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt - GM's most publicized technology project - "are not cost effective in any scenario." GM says the Volt can go 40 miles on a single charge. But a better choice, according to the report, is a car that goes less than 20 miles on a charge.

Shell Sees Recession Improving Acquisition Prospects

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, said the recession is creating opportunities to acquire oil and natural-gas assets.

“As other companies potentially -- either already have or potentially -- go into distress and have an inability to perform on what they have, that likely creates an opportunity,” Marvin Odum, president of The Hague-based Shell’s U.S. operations, said today in an interview in New York.

Libya Urges Conoco, Hess, Marathon to Cut Waha Stake

(Bloomberg) -- Libya urged ConocoPhillips, Hess Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. to agree to lower their share of production from the Waha oil venture as state revenue is squeezed by lower crude prices and OPEC-mandated output cuts.

Coming Soon: Mass Migrations Spurred by Climate Change

A growing body of evidence, including analyses from military experts in the United States and Europe, supports the estimate that by midcentury, climate change will make vast parts of Africa and Asia uninhabitable. Analysts say it could trigger a migration the size of which the world has never before seen.

Some of the big questions remain unanswered: How many people will really move? Where will they go? How will they go? Will they return?

Report On Maine's Climate Change Future Issued

AUGUSTA—Unless humans stop producing carbon tomorrow — which would require something as momentous as an asteroid obliterating the planet, quipped a University of Maine scientist — Maine will experience enough climate change in the next 100 years to affect nearly every living thing.

That’s the finding at the core of a study on Maine’s climate future, which was presented to Gov. John Baldacci last week following more than a year of analysis by 75 experts and scholars in everything from biology to hydrology to meteorology. Fortunately for the state, said University of Maine Professor Emeritus George Jacobson, who led the study, all of the participants also shared another area of expertise: Maine.

Shell Urges U.S. to Include Oil, Gas in Energy Policy

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, said it will take decades for the U.S. to develop domestic, low-carbon sources of energy, and the nation will need to continue tapping fossil fuels in the meantime.

Energy policy must ensure that adequate supplies of oil and natural gas are available while the nation invests in wind power, biofuels and other alternatives, Marvin Odum, president of The Hague-based Shell’s U.S. operations, said today in an interview in New York.

Stimulus money hits the street

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The White House released its promised cash infusion on Tuesday to strengthen the transportation infrastructure across America, and began to announce the first recipients of the funds.

The U.S. government released $26.6 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to state and local transportation authorities, for the building and rebuilding of roads, highways and bridges.

OPEC’s Crude Oil Production Fell 2.7% in February, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC, which pumps more than 40 percent of the world’s oil, cut output by 2.7 percent in February as producers tried to stem price declines, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Production from the 12-member group averaged 27.775 million barrels a day last month, down 770,000 from January, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. Output in January was revised 20,000 barrels a day lower.

Venezuela to cut oil company costs by 40 percent

CARACAS, Venezuela (Map, News) - Venezuela's state-run oil company plans to slash costs by 40 percent as it struggles with low crude prices amid the global financial crisis.

The president of Petroleos de Venezuela says PDVSA aims to reduce spending on services provided by nearly 250 companies by renegotiating contacts.

BP scales back oil and gas production targets

BP PLC scaled back its short-term oil and gas production growth target on Tuesday as the economic downturn and the falling price of crude led Europe's second-largest oil company to reconsider the pace of expenditure on proven resources.

BP said it now expects annual growth from existing projects of between 1 percent and 2 percent a year through to 2013, rather than the 3 percent it had previously forecast.

Russia Gazprom to reduce offtake from gas producers

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom will reduce its gas offtake from independent producers as demand falls, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

"We will start reducing their (independent firms') offtake of gas, which is sent to an internal system, on the back of a reduction in usage," Alexander Mikheyev, First Deputy Head of gas marketing, told a conference call.

Russian minister says Moscow keen to market Iran's gas in Europe

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Visiting Energy Minister of Russia Sergei Shmatko said here on Tuesday that Moscow could play an effective role in marketing Iranian gas in Europe, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Rio LNG terminal to get first cargo March 11

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brazilian state oil company Petrobras' newly-built liquefied natural gas terminal in Rio de Janeiro will receive its first LNG cargo on March 11, according to sources and ship tracking data on Reuters on Tuesday.

The 138,000-cubic-metre Excellence tanker, coming from Trinidad and Tobago, will serve as a testing cargo for the terminal in Guanabara Bay before commercial deliveries begin later in the year.

Oil Thieves Destroy Shell Pipeline in Southern Nigeria

A pipeline operated by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, which sends crude oil to the Escravos oil export terminal in southern Nigeria, has been destroyed. Explosions on the pipeline are believed to be due to sabotage.

Royal Dutch Shell says explosions occurred on the Escravos pipeline in Delta state over the weekend. The incident was detected by a surveillance team and investigations are ongoing.

Research: Russian middle class failed to expand

Russia's oil-driven prosperity over the past eight years failed to expand Russia's struggling middle class, according to new research by a Moscow-based think-tank.

The Institute of Contemporary Development surveyed Russians in 2000 and again in mid-2007 to determine if the era of affluence ushered in by the rising prices Russia was getting for its oil and gas had expanded the middle class, which it defined by its skills, education level and expertise as well as property and income.

Tanzania: Use of charcoal remains high, leading to more environmental destruction

According to a recent study carried out by the Tanzania Traditional Energy Development and Environmental Organisation (TaTeDO) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), the use of charcoal in Dar es Salaam city has doubled in recent years.

This justifies the long standing presumption that a large portion of charcoal, which has promoted the cutting of trees, end up being consumed in Dar es Salaam and the practice continue unabated, despite efforts by the government to discourage its use through different means.

The increasing tendency of using charcoal instead of electricity comes as response to hiked power tariffs and its unreliability due to power rationing.

Tanzania Faces Pwr Shortage Due To Increased Gold Mining Ops

Tanzania is facing a looming power shortage because of increased gold mining in the northwestern region, the state power utility, Tanzania Electric Supply Company, or Tanesco, said Tuesday.

The power utility needs to keep adding up to 105 megawatts of power to the national grid every year to meet growing demand, mainly from the gold mines, Idrisa Rashidi, Tanesco managing director, said in a statement.

Ford's sales plunge 48%

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Ford Motor reported Tuesday that sales fell 48% in February, kicking off a series of reports expected to show that last month was the worst yet for the auto industry during this recession.

Mexico cuts 2009 Cantarell oil forecast by 7 pct

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil company Pemex on Tuesday cut its forecast for oil production at its aging Cantarell oil field this year by 7 percent and further lowered its long-term outlook for the giant field.

Pemex now expects Cantarell to produce an average of 700,000 barrels per day this year, down from an estimate in January that projected output averaging 756,000 bpd.

Mexico has been struggling to control the relentless decline of Cantarell since it peaked in 2004, when it produced more than 2 million bpd and accounted for nearly two-thirds of Mexican oil output.

Mexico Hopes to Revive Oil Production in New Fields

Mexico's situation has changed in recent years as production at its main field, called Cantarell, has declined. Since Pemex lacks the technology to explore and develop deep-water fields, some international experts have said the country's oil exporting days were coming to an end.

But, in a VOA interview, Governor Beltran hailed the development of newly discovered oil deposits in Chicontepec in his state that may offset the decline in other fields.

Schlumberger, Weatherford Defend Mexico Turf with Low Bids

Oil field service companies Weatherford International Ltd. and Schlumberger Ltd. are defending their market share in Mexico by submitting the most competitive bids for two recent drilling contracts, according to people familiar with the situation.

Mexico is one of the few oil countries that plans to boost spending on oil exploration and production this year despite the oil price crash, in an effort to shore up declining production.

Steve LeVine: The Financial Crisis Fuels U.S. Diplomatic Talks

President Barack Obama has long vowed to offer diplomatic talks to U.S. rivals and adversaries. But a month into his Presidency, Obama may be benefitting from the financial crisis and low oil prices, which—while they have shaken banks, investment funds, and entire nations—seem to have created potential breakthroughs in some of the U.S.'s thorniest relationships.

On China, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has shifted climate change—previously thought to have little or no chance of progress—to the core of U.S. policy toward Beijing. On Iran, the plunge in crude oil prices may make Tehran more flexible toward Washington and open the possibility of a fresh source of natural gas to Europe. Likewise, oil prices have made Russia much less able to finance geopolitically motivated energy projects, such as pipelines the U.S. opposes, and more open to a thaw with Washington.

BP Bumps Up Reserves Base by 1.7B Barrels of New Oil, Gas

BP last year added 1.7 billion barrels of new oil and gas to its reserves base, a replacement ratio of 121%, excluding acquisitions and divestments -- the 15th successive year in which it has reported the replenishment of reserves by more than annual output.

The company said today that it expected to be able to grow production through to 2013 from existing projects. With year-end 2008 reserves of 18.2 billion barrels and a resource base of 43.4 billion barrels, this growth could be maintained until 2020 without any further discoveries.

Wall Street Journal Announces Exclusive Sponsors for Second Annual ECO:nomics Conference

he Wall Street Journal today announced the exclusive sponsors of its second annual ECO:nomics-Creating Environmental Capital conference: Chevron, FedEx, Intel and Vestas.

Hosted by editors of The Wall Street Journal, ECO:nomics will once again convene top chief executives, policy-makers and thought leaders to assess the urgent risks and new opportunities in markets impacted by the environment. The event will be held March 4-6 at Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Tax the Streets: New Funding Ideas Are Needed for U.S. Roads and Highways

Demand for highways has surged over the past three decades. The highways are more crowded than ever. In the bigger urban sprawls, drivers are wasting 40 hours a year crawling in traffic, according to a Texas Transportation Institute study cited by President Obama in his budget message.

Everyone wants new roads, especially now that building them could provide jobs for people hit by the economic slump. But the federal trust fund that is supposed to finance road projects using gas tax receipts, can't keep up with demand. When the stimulus money runs out, Congress will have to confront that problem again if changes aren't made to the funding.

US vehicle miles driven continues to plummet; trends predict more bicycling, walking & transit

This continued drop in miles driven dramatically upsets transportation planning as it has been done over the past 50 years in the U.S. All road and highway planning is done on the assumption that travel miles will continue to increase at a 2-4% annual rate as they have done (on average) through the entire 20th century.

Early Signs of Petroleum Demand Revival in U.S.

For the week, the oil price rise was driven by a number of factors -- surprising strength in domestic oil inventory data, a positive report about OPEC's cutback compliance and signs that oil demand is rising. When the U.S. Department of Energy reported its weekly oil inventory data last Wednesday, crude oil inventories only rose by 717,000 barrels, about half the 1.2 million barrel rise anticipated by analysts. Gasoline inventory fell by a surprising 3.3 million barrels, although refinery capacity utilization was down reflecting industry efforts to take advantage of weak petroleum demand to undertake refinery turnaround operations early.

ANALYSIS - US energy policy focuses less on OPEC oil supply

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Recent comments by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu appear to mark a radical shift in U.S. energy policy away from its focus on OPEC and oil supply and toward an agenda of trimming petroleum demand and promoting renewable energy at home.

March Oil Prices Marked by OPEC, SPR Wild Cards

Oil traders puzzling over the near-term direction of crude prices may be wise to heed the advice given Julius Caesar: Beware the Ides of March.

OPEC's March 15 oil output policy meeting is chief among wild cards that will steer the market.

Gazprom Third-Quarter Net Rises 16% on Record Prices

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom said third-quarter profit rose 16 percent as Russia’s largest energy producer reaped higher natural-gas prices from its European customers.

Net income increased to 132 billion rubles ($3.65 billion) from 113 billion rubles in the same period of 2007, the Moscow- based company said today on its Web site. That missed a 149 billion-ruble estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Turkey hops aboard Russia's ride

Despite the impact of the rouble's instability and weak oil prices on the Russian economy in recent months , Moscow is pursuing a very active foreign policy strategy. Its elements focus on countering the continuing North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) encirclement policy of Washington, with often clever diplomatic initiatives on its Eurasian periphery. Taking advantage of the cool relations between Washington and longtime NATO ally Turkey, Moscow recently invited Turkish President Abdullah Gul to come to Russia on a four-day state visit to discuss a wide array of economic and political issues.

In addition to siding up to Turkey, which offers a vital transit route for natural gas to Western Europe, Russia is also working to firm an economic space with Belarus and other former Soviet republics to firm its alliances. Moscow delivered a major blow to the US military encirclement strategy in Central Asia when it succeeded

Nigeria Loses $1.5B Yearly to Oil Theft

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited, subsidiary of Shell Companies in Nigeria has disclosed that Nigeria loses about $1.5 billion yearly to crude oil theft and urged the government to urgently address the situation.

Kurdish government warns U.S. military pullout will spark war in N. Iraq

BAGHDAD — Kurdistan is pressing the U.S. military to remain in northern Iraq to prevent a takeover by the Baghdad government.

Kurdish officials said the Kurdistan Regional Government has sent messages to Washington that called for U.S. troops to remain in the north until a resolution of territorial and oil disputes with Baghdad. Officials warned that a U.S. pullout could spark a war between Arab and Kurdish forces.

Oil company cutbacks may raise gas prices down the road

Americans battered by the recession have found modest consolation in low gasoline prices, a salve that's likely to last as long as the economic downturn.

But the oil industry is quietly sowing the seeds for a sharp run-up in gas prices once demand recovers.

Oil companies are slashing new investment and production far more sharply than analysts projected just a couple of months ago, a strategy analysts say could lead to shortages and higher gas prices when consumption rebounds. And, analysts say, a standoff between the oil giants and their suppliers over the cost of rigs, labor and other expenses could prolong the investment slowdown.

"The turnaround will probably come faster than people expect, and the supply won't be there," says Joseph Stanislaw, an adviser to Deloitte's energy practice.

Oil hovers near $41 after US news spurs big drop

Oil prices crawled up to near $41 a barrel Tuesday after grim U.S. economic news and tumbling stock markets sparked a huge drop Monday.

Oil Close Above 1990 High May Stall Plunge: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil may plunge as low as $32.70 a barrel if prices today close below the highest level reached in 1990 before the conflict between the U.S. and Iraq, according to technical analysis by PVM Oil Associates Ltd.

Iran Says OPEC Will Offer ‘Solution’ to Boost Crude Prices

(Bloomberg) -- Iran said OPEC will come up with a “solution” to boost oil prices when it meets later this month.

Oil Prices: What Will OPEC Do?

With oil prices in full retreat again Monday—crude futures were down more than 7% in New York early Monday to below $42 a barrel—there’s a surprising question roiling oil markets: What will OPEC do?

A week ago, that would have been a silly question. Demand is anemic, the market is still oversupplied, and prices are more than $100 off last summer’s peak, and well below OPEC’s comfort zone between $60 and $80 a barrel. Last week, former OPEC president Chakib Khelil of Algeria called further production cuts at the cartel’s March meeting “very likely.”

So why is Iran now changing course and talking down the possibility of further production cuts? Iran’s oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari said Sunday “I do not think that we would move towards cutting production again,” Reuters and AP quoted local news services as reporting.

OPEC in Feb makes 81 pct of oil supply cuts-survey

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC oil supply fell in February for a sixth straight month as members enforced a deal to cut output and prop up oil prices, but output remained above target levels, a Reuters survey showed on Monday.

Could Obama Push Crude Oil to $300 Per Barrel

Then the government will take the initial taxes and “guarantee” they will go to something politically acceptable. In this case, the oil companies' money will be taken and given to alternative energy researchers. Of course, all the government's revenues go into one big fund and parceled out from there so that's all just a bit of good political marketing.

Finally, when oil prices do start to rise again and climb back to $100, $300, or higher (it's impossible to tell where oil prices will be in 10 years, but it's a good bet they'll be much higher than they are now) the public will demand to know why energy costs are so much higher.

Yet again, there's an easy solution here too. When the average American's disposable income takes a big hit, the government will simply point to the impact of peak oil, evil OPEC, and some energy security statistic like how “we import less oil now than we did 20 years ago” even though, on a percentage basis, the U.S. reliance on foreign oil will have actually increased.

Then we should thank our lucky stars we have miles of (by then) outdated, marginally efficient solar panels, thousands of wind turbines, and geothermal plants sitting all along western United States. It's perfect.

BP Shuts Units, Cuts Runs at Texas City Oil Refinery

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc was forced to shut units and curtail operations because of a malfunction at its Texas City refinery, the fourth-largest in the U.S.

BP is still determining how long the units will be off line, spokeswoman Sheila Williams said today by telephone from London, where BP, Europe’s second-largest oil company, is based. She couldn’t say which units were forced to shut. The malfunction occurred in a sulfur recovery plant early yesterday morning, Williams said.

Iraq struggles with spending plan as oil dips

BAGHDAD – Iraqi lawmakers struggled Tuesday to hammer out spending plans that could include additional cuts in reconstruction and military purchases because of falling oil prices.

Parliament members gathered in separate caucuses before an expected full session to discuss the budget, which has been trimmed by more than 10 percent. The cuts will likely require officials to mothball some reconstruction projects and military arms purchases even as Iraq prepares to take full control of security next year.

Why protectionism is a good idea

I believe that the world will fairly soon run out of cheap oil, with devastating effects on anybody, anywhere, who has not prepared for the worst by establishing or re-establishing every essential form of provision locally.

In practice, this means that I've been buying local (and therefore necessarily seasonal) food for several years, and moved as much as possible towards buying and making clothing that has been substantially produced relatively nearby. Perhaps more controversially, I've also moved away from prior tendency to employ cheap Polish plumbers in favour of employing somebody very, very local (in my street, in fact,) who is unlikely to head overseas as soon as the pound loses value against the zloty. That way, with a bit of luck, there'll still be a few skilled and experienced trades people in England when the oil runs out.

BP quits failed Russian test area

BP has abandoned the Sakhalin 4 oil exploration area in Russia after wells drilled there came up dry, marking a further disappointment in what had previously been seen as one of its most promising regions.

BP may scale back some Alaska operations

BP said it may “adjust the scale and pace of some projects” in Alaska because of lower oil prices.

“BP in Alaska as elsewhere is reviewing project plans in light of today’s dramatically different economics,” Steve Rinehart, a spokesman for BP in Alaska, said today in an e-mail. “We want to maintain activity, but in a lower cost structure.”

Ag census finds dramatic loss of Virginia farmland

While farm commodity prices rose to near-record levels in 2007 and 2008, so did farm expenses. The census reflects that change, showing that Virginia farmers paid $507.7 million for feed costs in 2002, while forking out a whopping $727.2 million for feed in 2007.

Meanwhile, gasoline, diesel fuel and oils cost Virginia farmers $156.8 million in 2007, compared to $84 million in 2002. And that was before the major fuel price increases of 2008.

No future for wind in Ontario

The Ontario government says its new Green Energy Act, if passed, will help Ontario become "North America's leader in renewable energy."

But since most of this new renewable energy will be from wind, it may not be the smartest move for Ontario because its large hydro and nuclear capacity is not compatible with wind generation. Wind requires natural gas-fired generation for support and natural gas will be a most precarious fuel for Ontario.

Asia's biofuel dreams shelved as crude oil tumbles

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Hopes of a biofuel bonanza for Southeast Asia, raised when sky-high oil prices made the search for alternative fuels a priority, have been shelved as global fortunes and crude prices nose-dive.

Economy, 'fat cat' label hit corporate jet makers hard

Propelled by a roaring U.S. economy and booming demand from oil-rich Middle Easterners and newly rich Russians and Eastern Europeans, the makers of corporate jets and other business aircraft set sales records every year from 2003 to 2007.

But global recession, constricted credit markets and the public flogging of corporations that spend lavishly to fly top executives on corporate jets have sent the sales of general aviation aircraft into a hair-raising nose dive.

Toyota talking to Japan about $2B loan, reports say

TOKYO — Toyota's financing unit is in talks with a Japanese government-backed bank on possible lending, the automaker said Tuesday, underlining the serious woes facing the car industry amid plunging global sales.

Toyota said no details had been decided. Kyodo News and NHK TV reported earlier in the day, without identifying sources, that Toyota's auto loan unit, Toyota Financial Services, had asked for a $2 billion (200 billion yen) government loan.

Security gains jump-start sales of American SUVs in Iraq

BAGHDAD — Here's a bailout idea for the American auto industry: Send all those unwanted SUVs to Iraq.

Just as General Motors is halting production of the Hummer, and other sport-utility vehicles fall out of favor with cost-conscious and eco-friendly Americans, the gas-guzzling behemoths are experiencing a rebirth among young and wealthy Iraqis.

Porsche goes hybrid

STUTTGART, Germany -- Porsches are known for the sound of their rippling horsepower under the hood, but the company's new gas-saving hybrid actually runs on batteries more than half the time -- leaving the driver with little more than the sound of the wheels on the road.

Electric vehicles - why we need them

Although vehicle sales are falling in many countries, they continue to add to the total number of registered vehicles. The rate of increase may be less but it is increasing. Encouraged by relatively low and slow moving fuel prices, vehicle sales will also grow in emerging economies such as those of China and India. In both countries there has been growth in the number of middle-income earners, hence the demand for cars.

There are cogent reasons for believing that a commensurate increase in oil production will not, indeed can not occur. This is due to the imminence of “peak oil”, reluctance of producers to increase production and development of technology making cheaper alternative fuels usable.

City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere

MONDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- After a week away from urban air pollution, children with mild persistent asthma begin to show dramatic changes in their respiratory health.

Hundreds rally for legislation on climate change

WASHINGTON – Hundreds of demonstrators are urging Congress to pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, and they're using the Capitol power plant as a symbol of the problem.

EU fails to pledge climate aid to poor nations

BRUSSELS (AFP) – EU environment ministers on Monday failed to agree on how to support poorer nations to fund the fight against climate change, and kicked the problem upstairs to the heads of state and government.

"We were not quite able to reach consensus on the financing mechanism. This is an issue where the (EU) council (of nations) will need more discussion time," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, said after an elongated meeting of EU environment ministers in Brussels.

Some states picking economy over environment regs

HELENA, Mont. – The call for economic stimulus is having an unintended side effect in places like Montana, where environmental protections are on the verge of being repealed in the name of jobs.

One bill gets straight to the issue — promising to exempt hundreds of millions in economic stimulus projects from the state's landmark environmental policies. Environmentalists are ramping up lobbying efforts as a wave of measures eroding regulatory rules gain serious traction in the face of a recession and shrinking state coffers.

"It is about jobs," said Sen. Jim Keane, a Democrat from the mining town of Butte. "But I think the issue is much bigger than that. All these projects also generate new taxes and revenue for the state government."

The only fear I'm seeing is from shorts looking to cover
on a bear rally.

We have yet to see that defining "commercial free
Tom Brokaw in the middle of the day market circuit
breakers" moment.

450 S&P by the end of April. SWAG

They are looking for a dead cat bounce again today, but this time they didn't even bother digging up a good reason. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Denninger warns - as have others - of the "rip your face off" snapback bear market rally.

However, downward momentum could delay or smother it from even happening. I'll be watching from the sideline thankyouverymuch.

Beware The Sharp Snapback

But - the easy money on the downside, for the moment, has been made. If you're looking to get short, in my opinion this is the wrong place and time for it. We are in a place where we can crash outright, but we're also in a place where we could easily see a 50% retracement of the collapse thus far - which incidentally, puts the SPX up around 1070 and is right near the 200 day moving average.


Denninger says today that GE, yes GE, will be bankrupt by 3rd week of June 2009.
This will be catastrophic to the markets and industry in America.
What will we do to prevent GE bankruptcy???

Well let's not put words in Denniger's mouth. Here's the article.

What he says is:

This is what is going to happen, as I noted in BlogTalkRadio yesterday afternoon, if "The Bezzle" is not removed from our system NOW.

Take a look at that folks. That's a snapshot of today's volume for June GE $2.50 PUTs.

That's over 52,000 contracts traded today, controlling 5.2 million shares.

They were purchased for about 30 cents, which means that the price has to be under $2.20 for them to go "in the money".

This is a bankruptcy bet on General Electric by the third week of June....

...If "The Bezzle" is not brought under control right damn now this is what is going to to happen to company after company. We WILL see the S&P trade at one hundred if we start to see firms like GE go down the toilet.


Pesky 'SPECULATORS' again -either they are or are NOT responsible for HIGH/LOW (insert asset or commodity of choosing)...

Which is it?


The news is getting ready for Obama to speak, and now the market bounce is shutting down.

The Carter-ization of Obama is underway. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but everyone's blaming him for crisis...already.

The lack of stock market support so far coincides with Wall Street's dwindling support and confidence in Obama's economic recovery plan, his just-released budget and the inability of the president's team at the Treasury Department to provide the market with a clear road map on how it plans to repair the broken banking system, says Pat Adams, a hedge fund manager at Choice Investment Management.

"The market has lost confidence in Obama awfully fast," Adams says. The Dow is down 30% since Election Day and 15% since Obama took office.

CNBC and the WSJ today are saying the recovery would be underway, except for Obama's meddling. Or is it his lack of meddling? Whatever. It doesn't seem to cross their minds that maybe this problem is so big that we would not recover no matter who was in the White House.

If Obama really wanted change, he'd force some tough love on the markets, he'd fully capitalize the FDIC, but leave the banks in the lurch for their bad decisions, streamlining bankruptcy laws to allow healthy businesses better deals at which to snatch up parts of the profligant ones. He'd tell GM, Ford and Chrysler to shove off ad fix their own problems or die and if their fellow corporations risked losing their suppliers due to GM's failure, let Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, etc fund them. He'd focus on the critical long term problems, which have to do with energy and transportation and give confidence to the entreprenuer that the government wasn't in place to increase their risk and block their progress. In short, he wouldn't be who he is and what America wants. Americans are all to blame for where they are because they elected who they elected. So if Obama is being Carterized, its because America elected another Carter.

"So if Obama is being Carterized, its because America elected another Carter."

The luxury of time is now gone.

I want Mr O to replace Hamilton on the ten spot.

He's got to neutralize the FedRes and retreat from

In days.

"...so what is holding these funds back from honoring redemptions, realizing terrible losses and quietly winking out of existence? in large part, denial -- and, for those few who've got past outright denial, a desperate twilit bargaining phase.

in large part, i suspect, much of the institutional response to the crisis is characterized by similar psychological conditions. a lot of folks at or near the controls simply cannot believe that the money is really gone. and that all but assures that competent and knowledgeable voices such as posen's will continue for the time being to get hearings without exerting much influence."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009
More On The $1 Trillion State Pension Crisis
Posted by Tyler Durden at 10:28 AM


This guy's been gettin' it right lately.

Agreed, mc:
Tyler Durden has been clear and accurate these days:

How markets react to new lows matter. The lack of panic, the smell of resignation, the crush of apathy – all points to a market ready to trade even lower as good news and bold actions carry less weight than the stale positions of hope and last year’s thinking drive the tape. All this leads many to look up the difference between a recession and a depression. The good news is depression is undefined we’ll just know it when we get there.

Continuing collective denial doesn't keep a Recession from becoming Depression - it just morphs it into -
The Great Repression!

Had to laugh at the one line;

"All this leads many to look up the difference between a recession and a depression."

Was reading an article just yesterday that lead me to look up if the NBER played the same role in declaring a depression as it does in declaring a recession (it does not).

"A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose yours."

-- attributed (probably incorrectly) to Reagan.

It is always the way; words will answer as long as it is only a person's neighbor who is in trouble, but when that person gets into trouble himself, it is time that the King rise up and do something.

- Mark Twain "Personal Reflections of Joan of Arc"

Ol' Sam was always there first, wasn't he?

If Obama really wanted change,

Pres. BHO can only get so much 'change'. He can cancel the signing statements, control the army (ala Ron Paul style pullback) and do something like the below.


Imagine the fun - The O man says 'Ok - EVERYONE can get a pardon for whatever they have done that they have not been charged for. Ya all got 14 days to confess in full to the "truth and stay outta jail free" commission. All confessions will be made public at "realchange?.gov"' (all would seem not to need Congresses blessing too,)
Anyone who didn't confess and is fingered by a confessor would run the risk of jail time. And think of all that dirty laundry

But almost all the 'change' we think of here at TOD is "less energy" expressed as food, BTUs and even people. And exactly how does that (what we see as realistic) change gonna play? Even here on TOD - a self selecting group - there is not unanimous support for "powerdown".

And I understand - having heat, food and machines like cars is the rather sweet life.

One's views on Obama might be influenced by the particular echo chamber they originate. What does the overall public think?

The weekend Gallup Poll finds 44% of Americans saying their reaction to the new plan is positive and 26% saying it's negative, with the rest having no opinion.

Party ID, of course, makes a difference, as only 14% of Republicans are favorable, while 37% of ind. are favorable and 69% of dems. Dems have an 8 percentage point advantage among the population over Republicans.

It's true that he is rapidly being Carter-ized in certain sectors of the press. And I also think that he is making some mistakes in the direction of not being hard-edged enough. But I'm also not sure why we should particularly care whether the market has confidence in him, and why the Dow should be considered the strongest indicator of the success or failure of his Presidency so far. If the Dow went up most of the time while Bush was President, does that mean Bush was a good President? Who died and made investors King (or Kingmaker)?

Who died and made investors King

The death of the value of the Dollar (via inflation) means that, if people wanted to attempt to preserve their buying power they would 'chase' the 'higher yields' of 'investments'.

How are we to get inflation anyway?

All I see is deflation - assets being worth less, and people making less (or nothing). And the government guarantees and bailouts have only been a small part of the trillions of dollars lost.

At this moment, I don't see the deflation coming in, unless Bernanke does quantitive easing - but that will probably be at some point in the future that is too late to turn this around anyway.

The Carter-ization of Obama is underway. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but everyone's blaming him for crisis...already.

Of course, and you are also right that you shouldn't be surprised. No one is going to be permitted to make it to the WH who is going to buck all factions of TPTB, and most assuredly not the military/corporate machine. Taxes on the wealthy need to be raised far beyond what he's doing to prevent a currency collapse down the road -- but look at the screaming because of what little he's done.

Stimulus? Bailouts? Growth? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The gov't should be putting a net under people, no starvation, no homelessness, no going without healthcare. But it also has to say bye-bye American Dream -- can't continue -- the McMansions, the malls, the cars. Instead, relocalization, small dense towns connected to agriculture. Re-concentration of suburbs, selective infrastructure rebuilds that facilitate this agenda (rail links, etc.) Shared facilities. A very decent life can be led at a teeny fraction of the cost in physical resources our present way of life consumes. And since those resources are in decline, all talk of growing our way out of this is sheer madness. We need to invest in shrinking comfortably -- it can be done if one is willing to depart from the profits-first model.

Maybe Obama will be like Carter in another respect: he'll be more radical when he leaves office (if the TPTB don't take him out before.) Who knows. But right now he's doing enough to tick them off, but far from enough to solve the problem, and in major respects is going the totally wrong direction. But maybe the base that elected Obama will stay in motion and push him, or push beyond him and around him. There has to be mass political action and it has to intelligent and reality-based or we are in deep doo. Opportunities are opening up for new ideas, new ways of doing things. But opportunities are also opening up for demagoguery and spewing hatred.

Ok, end of rant.

Nice rant dave-

Your line about the screaming from the a-holes on CNBC et al. regarding taxes being raised on the wealthy is right on target ("How can you possibly raise taxes when it's such a dis-incentive for investing, small business, charity, real estate sales etc... blah blah blah"). These idiots can't even seem to connect the gigantic dots with a simple straight line - taxes HAVE to be raised to bail out your Boyz on Wall Street that have received one bailout check after another... I mean - are these people from another dimension - they are so disconnected from reality that they can't even recognize this simple truth ?

I really want to let CNBC know that after careful financial analysis of the markets I've come to the conclusion that the best return on investment I can think of at this point in time would be for my taxes to triple - with the only condition being that the revenue from this increase be used specifically for prosecuting (really prosecuting - not some phony resort type prison) the CEOs, financial analysts, Fed Chairmen, specuvestors etc. etc. who were behind this crap.

Yes. Very nice rant.. but it reminds me that we 'give unto Caesar what is Caesar's'.. in other words, let the POTUS work at that level and with the possibilities that are available to him. But we all know that those possibilities are limited, and his POV will necessarily blind him to many essentials. There is no Leader up at the Top, who can 'fix' this thing to any of our satisfaction.

Those changes and new ideas you talk about largely have to be done by you and me, with local organizing and even just some lonely personal planning and digging in.. but start 'Transition Towns', a new kind of 'Neighborhood Watch', produce Community TV programs, build bike paths, offer after-school how-to classes..

It is also down here at the bottom where we support the opposites to demagoguery and hatred, and become the little, unfabulous examples that give the policians some reason for hope and courage.

Anybody who doesn't think they are deeply frightened probably hasn't stopped to think about it for very long.. let's help them out.



Well said.


I'll start believing that Obama really means "change" and not BAU when I start seeing the CEOs and Banksters doing perp walks and geting double digit prison time instead of multi-billion dollar bailouts.

here a spew-coffee-all-over-the-screen chart:

So, only 17 more months until we hit bottom? I'd say by that time we'll be in the depression for sure.

The timing is very interesting, because the Great Depression's crash was pretty much entirely during the reign of Herbert Hoover. Whereas this time Obama is coming in perhaps half-way through it.

I wonder how much of the money left is retirement funds. Since such funds are less likely to leave the system. Although panic may grip those people anyway.

Most of the 'damage' during the Great Depression was caused by protectionism. So far we have seen relativley little of this. In addition we are seeing one of the most massive fiscal stimulus ever. It wasn't until Roosevelt took office in 1933 that Inflationary policies where enacted (money printing) -we've already seen that and the UK start the presses tomorrow with, what £10-15 Billion/month, being created out of thin air...

Check out this graph of the 1907 panic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dow_1904_to_1909.png

-This 'Banking Panic' shows some similarities with today, the start of the bear was more gradual for instance. Rough eye-calculation showed it lasted about 20 months with ~50% fall.

I wouldn't like to be the one to call a bottom but I don't see us going that much lower as the stimulus/money printing start to take effect...

Also check out the explosive rebound -within a couple of years the market had regained all its losses, I'm not so sure this will happen but hey, if you double the money supply then that money has to go somewhere... (I've also read people are SAVING more -like upto 5% of income- this is a huge turnaround for the US where until recently savings rates where heading to 0%. Again this money will have to go somewhere...)


"Most of the 'damage' during the Great Depression was caused by protectionism. So far we have seen relativley little of this."

I think we will be seeing protectionism but it won't stop at the global/international scale.

As collapse progresses, I think protectionism will eventually extend to a regional/state/province scale, and then on a city/innercity/county scale... and then maybe intertribal scale (a hatfields and mccoy scale) in some parts of the country.

As for explosive rebounds in the economy - don't expect much and do not expect it to be sustainable.

The world is a very, very different place today. The US is this time the World's Greatest Debtor. And available resources ...just consider oil alone. The USA had plenty back then. Now, not so much.

This is not a Cyclical event - a typical "boom-bust." This is the End of the Greatest Multi-Century Growth Wave in Human History (so far).

For a truly long-term perspective, skip the historic charts of the DOW, S&P, etc. Go to the library and skip through "The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History.

Look at the charts leading up to the present, starting from the middle ages.

(after viewing, it is okay to assume the fetal position while pondering the possibilities)

It's always "different this time".

Except when it's the same as something that came before.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and don't worry about what might happen.

Nice chart!

The system dynamicists would say it lends a little support to the idea that this "recession" has structural causes. In their worldview, the 1930s Depression was a consequence of diminishing or negative marginal return on investment in the then-existing industrial framework, which was built around coal, steam power, rail transport, and the telegraph.

The Depression unlocked the industrial system from the coal-steam-rail-telegraph complex and allowed a transition to oil-internalcombustion-road+plane-television, all of which existed well before the Depression but didn't become widespread till after WWII.

(In order the four aspects of a 'complex' are: heat energy source, mechanical work delivery technology, major transport mode, communication technology.)

The resemblance between that Depression and this "recession" might point to a similar structural shift being under way.

I'm not sure what the new industrial structure will be, though. The leading contenders at the moment are nuclear+renewables-electric motor-rail+bus+telecommuting-internet, and wood-windmill and watermill-foot+horse or camel-word of mouth, with (following George Monbiot's "cats in a sack" quote sometimes shown here on TOD) nuclear-nothing-nothing-nothing as a credible option.

Great commment. I've been reading through Yergin's The Prize on this topic. If one puts two-and-two together it is apparent that the 1930s embodied the beginning of a systematic transformation in society based upon the automobile culture. We commonly point to the post-War error as the beginning of the suburban society but as I see the data this transition really began in the 1930s. If anything, WWII actually stalled this transition since it limited the expansion of the automobile due to re-allocation of factory output.

Do you know of any scholarly work on this topic?

Thanks, Jeff, and no, sorry. I live in a small town away from university libraries :-)

I have based my comments on studying John Sterman's textbook "Business Dynamics", McGraw-Hill 2000, and various PDFs and websites that contain and build on Jay Forrester's work. I'd like to get hold of Forrester's "Urban Dynamics" - that may shed a bit more light on the processes.

There are other macro-historical perspectives on these transitions, but few of them consider energy and technology to be primary, and to me they lack explanatory power because of that.

But hey, if you find anything, please post it!


Venezuela's hard truth
Hugo Chavez built his revolution on the back of the oil boom. But crude's slide has him backtracking

That won't leave Mr. Chavez with enough money to cover an import bill that last year reached $55-billion. Economists say the price of oil must reach about $70 a barrel for Venezuela to maintain its current spending levels.

The Venezuelan government can cover the shortfall in oil revenue by borrowing from its $42-billion foreign reserve fund. However, those funds will run out by the year's end.

“Then there will be a spectacular crisis,” predicts Jose Toro, an economist and former board member of Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the nationalized oil company.


I would suspect that similar economics will impact all of the oil exporting nations.

1) Those foreign reserve funds are likely held in US funds. Selling those dollars will put downward pressure on the dollar.

2) Once the reserve funds are depleted then the oil exporters will seek to borrow. This will increase the demand for loans which will push up all interest rates.

Hello TODers,

I am not a grain commodity expert, so I cannot vouch for the validity, but I thought you might like to consider this while you hug your bag of NPK today:

World Still Facing Major Food Shortages And Massive Humanitarian Disaster

...Conclusion: The math doesn’t add up. At this point it is already too late to do anything, millions will starve.

In a worst case scenario (couple of major crop disasters), world production could drop to 400mmt (a 40% drop). Over a billion people (15% of world 6,706,993,152 population) would then face starvation.
Lots of detail and numbers in this link. Full credit to LATOCer Bdrube.

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

I keep thinking of Thelma & Louise--pushing the gas pedal to the floor as they accelerate toward the edge of the cliff.

My major disappointment with Obama is that he is pushing the myth that we can maintain the auto centric suburban way of life--we will just use cool new green sources of energy--even as our estimates show that the top five net oil exporters are shipping about one percent of their remaining cumulative net oil exports every 50 days.

Hello WT,

IMO, an important factoid to remember is that I-NPK is basically 'transformed-FFs'--this stuff just doesn't 'come up from the ground like a bubblin' crude, oil that is [Beverly Hillbillies]. Thus, recall that farmgate-delivered I-NPK prices accelerated faster than FF-prices, and recovered sulfur pricing went up seventeen fold in less than a year.

There are thousands of oilfields, but very few P & K mines. Generally speaking: I-NPK prices haven't decreased anywhere near the same percentage as oil prices; for example, potash is holding steady and/or a rising trend. IF, all of a sudden, lots of countries suddenly move towards building Strategic I-NPK Reserves as Pakistan & Indonesia have started to do, then the price of I-NPK could increase very fast.

Don't forget how potash increased back in 1918, or how battles started for guano & Chilean nitrate in the Atacama. My feeble two cents.

"Crimea, will NPK be our Waterloo, too?" Got teeth?

Obama wasn't educated in the hard sciences. He's a damn lawyer. And a city fellow. What does he know about geology, biology, ecology? Squat. He's the national cheerleader, is all. All his appointees are shills for some aspect of BAU. He has failed to surround himself with people who could remedy his ignorance. He was a poor choice for POTUS. But what alternative did the PTB give us? A washed up old repug fool & his bimbo. There was no choice. It's BAU or nothing, & Obama's role is to get the people behind whatever counterproductive nonsense his handlers decide to cram down our throats. They have the interests of big business & the rich at heart, not those of the people or of the environment. In fact, in the face of the realization that PO & AGW are about to do a Katrina on us all, they are in a hurry to completely plunder the people & the environment while they still can. This is the last resort of those who know there is no future.

Well said. Spot on, except for the last line. I truly don't believe that they "know" this is the end. I believe that their minds and hearts are so ensconced in the dream of endless growth that it is not within their beings to imagine anything other.

This is why almost every conversation we have today about the economy begins with "when the recovery starts," "when things get back to normal," or "once we reach bottom".... We are still a long ways from a widely accepted possibility that the "american dream" is finished.

Right on Darwinsdog. Carter served on nuke subs, is very educated, and is someone to have great respect for. Obama is just a nice guy.

All his appointees are shills for some aspect of BAU.

Yeah, I'm really getting tired of those business-as-usual, noble-prize-winning, physics-department chairmen. What a blockhead choice by Obama if he had wanted there to be any chance of a realistic evaluation of the nation's energy policy.

Chu is a prime example: shill for the centralized nuke lobby.

Obama is pushing the myth of the autocentric life...but it's hard to see any way Americans would have elected anyone who would have proposed change in that area.

As Kunstler says, people will keep doing what they're doing until they can't anymore. Americans (and others) will keep driving their cars and buying replacements (used ones now) them until they really, really, really, really can't anymore.

By the time that happens the situation of having a strong and controlling central government in charge (and not just in America) might also be history. As Tainter says sociopolitical organization and energy are two sides of the same coin. With energy being the one in charge, not the other way around.

LOL as they say, When things aren't working, CARVE A BIGGER STONE HEAD.

Last fall I posted on TOD that I saw far far less fields planted in winter wheat here in my region.

That goes also for some of the bootheel of Mo. some of Southern Ill. where I have driven over.

Right here I can drive and drive around the country side and rarely see a field of winter wheat.

Now the reason for this is simple. The huge runup in fertlizer prices inclined the farmers to wait and not buy expensive N,P,K so therefore not planning to fertilize those fields they just did not plant the winter wheat.

A few years back you may remember we lost all our winter wheat due to a severe spring late frost that just killed it completely. Had to go out and cut it down , roll it up and set it aside to get the dead wheat off the fields. Some just burned it.

That could happen again but there will be very little wheat to be affected here.

The fertilizer runup meant that all over the USA farmers did not sow winter wheat. Part I understand is that they could not effectively fertilize it in the spring and if didn't do it in the fall then there was no need to sow it..ground conditions apparently dicate this...

Around here we never , IIRC , fertilize wheat in the spring. Right now it should be flourishing. Always does good under a snow cover too yet we had almost no snow this winter..just a few sprinklings.

If as the above website spoke of far less wheat , in the UK, and also elsewhere due to drought...then there is going to be hell to pay.

Airdale-wonder what the guberment is saying about this? USDA?

This is a post about wheat supply.

The CWB predict global wheat production of 633mmt in 2009, down from 683mmt in 2008. That is a serious loss of wheat. And suppose they are only half right. Is that a ludicrous assumption?

I don't think so. Just imagine wheat output in 2009 100mmt lower than in 2008. We'd have ending stocks of just a few weeks of supply. That is very very very tight indeed. Tighter than a tight thing on it's way to a tight things convention. We are talking TIGHT.

Here's a few figures: US production in 2009 is seen at 57.8mmt down from 68mmt according to the CWB. Canadian all wheat output in 2009 is predicted at 23.9mmt down from 28.6mmt, according to the CWB; EU-27 production is seen down from 150.5mmt to 140.0mt according to Strategie Grains; Russia down from 63mmt to 53.6mmt according to Informa; and Ukraine down from 25.5mmt to 19.1mmt according to UkrAgroConsult.

How much is that? Over forty million tonnes less, and that is without China, which could be down anything from 10mmt to 30mmt, maybe more. And Strat Grains are probably being over-kind to Europe. And none of these figures account for a weather problem. These are all based on lower plantings and a return to trendline yields. The US and Chinese crops are already at risk from failing to meet trendline yields.


A very head snapping scenario or conclusion.

Again I wonder...is the USDA raising alarm flags on this?

Guess I better go do some googling.

And if true then what is the outcome? Just how bad could it be?
How many might starve to death? When will it hit the MSM?
Is it another 'perfect storm'?


Everything I can find on the net about 2009 wheat is optimistic.

In fact the reports trend towards 'Glowing'.
Nothing about weather. Nothing negative.

Says that there will be an increase over last years crops.
Says wheat sales are sluggish. Demand is down.

Whats the reality then? Is this just jabber to finagle with the markets?


PS: I did find this:
“Prices should derive a degree of support from the extremely poor condition of the U.S. winter wheat crop,” Toby Hassall, an analyst with Commodity Warrants Australia in Sydney, said by e-mail today.

Reported by Bloomberg.Found on farmers forum.

And then this:
March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat exports from Australia, the world’s fourth-largest shipper, may jump 44 percent in fiscal 2010 because of increased local supplies, the nation’s key commodity forecaster said.

Not so long ago, Australians were facing wheat shortages. Another drought and Toby the Analyst will have to change his tune.

I doubt if anybody can predict,with accuracy,the likely wheat harvest in Australia.It is virtually all dryland grown and our climate is just too bizarre.Also,wheat is grown right across a big continent from West Australia to Queensland - that is,in the areas with sufficient winter and autumn rainfall - not that much,really.

The planting month is around May/June and a hell of a lot can happen before then and during the growing season till harvest(hopefully)in September/October.

Had to go out and cut it down , roll it up and set it aside to get the dead wheat off the fields.

Oy vey...

Suprisingly there are many BA(BigAg)-read farmers if you must-- who actually burn the wheat chaff after combining the wheat.

They tend to say it keeps moisture in the ground if they do.

Well I wondered about that for its good OM(organic matter) going to waste IMO. That time of year huge smoke clouds roll over the horizon over in the bootheel of Missouri.

They also do very intensive irrigation via sprinklers. They get the same amount of rainfall we do,approximately yet since the ground is very flat(think deltalike) they go that route.

All in all they IMO do some very stupid things. I guess they would disagree. I also don't see them doing much no-tiil.

I think there are still some very stupid ignorant farming activities taking place around the country.

Does anyone realize how utterly miserable the life of a 'confinement raised' hog is? Or the chickens? A short brutal life.

Is this the way man has come to treat the animals who flesh sustain him?

Topics that will arouse the ire of those who practice it but I really don't care. I went to meetings and spoke out about this nonsense. Did little good.

So how about all those cute little reading books for children who show Old MacDonald and his happy smiling farm animals? Or those animated movies at the cinemas?

What is reality? Where is it to be found?

Soooo...lets not lie to our children?

Winnie the Pooh seems to get to lead a very good lifestyle in an alternate multiverse that is.

Or more likely, we will all be obese:

Study Charts Heavy Global Burden of Obesity

Waistlines are expanding at such an alarming rate across the globe that, if trends hold, almost 58 percent of the world's population will be overweight or obese by 2030, according to researchers at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

I think obesity is a lagging indicator ;)


I would think fat/obsese people would have a hard time gardening or doing chores.

"Plants and animals disappear to make room for your fat asses",reads my bumper sticker.

Two days ago we had links showing Russian oil production was up, but only slightly, in February verses January. While scanning the oil news this morning I came across a link that said Russian oil production dropped quite dramatically in February:

Russia to benefit from oil output cut, experts say

In February alone, oil production declined 9.4 percent to 37.14m tonnes compared to January. Most oil giants showed weak operating results in February 2009 against the previous month and February 2008, experts say. Nearly all vertically integrated companies reduced output by 10 to 12 percent in February against January, except for Lukoil and Tatneft, who both announced a 9-percent rise in monthly production.

At first I was shocked that all producers except one showed a decline of 10 to 12 percent in February. Then it hit me, February had three fewer days than January or about 10 percent less and a decline in February of 10 percent would actually be flat production. (The data here is total monthly production in liquid tons.) It seems strange that this news bulletin would present the data as if there were an actual drop in Russian production in February when they really had a slight gain in production per day over January.


Deciphering Russian production data, especially from news releases, often reminds me of Churchill's quote " A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."

And it's worth remembering when comparing monthly totals with last year that February 2008 had one more day than February 2009.

From the Royal Danish Institute of Meteorology:


The Hockey Stick is broken. In Danish, but you should be able to get the gist.
NOAA appear to be looking for a back door on this AGW thing: (but they do insist it will come back... possibly in about 30 years!)


Cooler heads at NOAA coming around to natural variability
2 03 2009
Guest Post by Steven Goddard

It appears that global cooling recognition may be starting to make headway in the scientific community. We have this Discovery/MSNBC article about a NOAA scientist titled “Warming might be on hold, study finds“
“It is possible that a fraction of the most recent rapid warming since the 1970’s was due to a free variation in climate,” Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton, New Jersey wrote in an email to Discovery News. “Suggesting that the warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again.”


All the Royal Danish Institute of Meteorology are saying is exactly what we all know - that there is natural variability of climate. The trouble is there is still a man made warming effect superimposed which is slowly overwhelming the natural variability. - and they explicitly say this in the link you give with no mention of a 30 year break.

The scientist quoted in the second link says that if by some miracle natural variability does give us 30 years of cooler conditions (my guess 1 in 1000) then that the warming will be "explosive" after that.

It's really quite simple you know - Last year should really have been nearly 1C colder than it was without global warming. In actuality it was still in the top ten warmest years of all time despite natural variability attempting to make it a cold year. What's hard to understand about this?

"Explosive" temperature rise? If the earth were so fragile, it would have become Venus or Mars long ago.

Over geologic timescales the earth's atmospheric concentrations have been radically different than today, as have the climatic conditions. Life has gone on.

Natural resource limitations and over-reliance on complex systems will check the growth of Homo Sapiens long before rising oceans or desertification of temperate latitudes.


The earth has had documented periods of "explosive" climate change in the past. Yes the planet recovers but not on a scale of any use to humans.

However you could unfortunately be right that other things will do us in first.

Exactly. The planet and life eventually recover, but not most of the current species, and definitely not the species at the top of the food chain.

It's unlikely humans will become completely extinct since we occupy nearly every ecological niche on every continent. Some scattered groups will survive at subsistence level.

we occupy nearly every ecological niche on every continent

Umm, no. Between them, plants, bacteria, and fungi occupy the great majority of ecological niches, with insects taking most of the rest.

Have you checked your chlorophyll levels today? ;-)

He might have used the wrong term, but his point is one I haven't seen well challenged yet. We live across a very broad range of ecosystems. Admittedly, many of our communities only 'eke out' a comfortable living BECAUSE of the unnatural supports of imported energy, but even so, humans had already spread from well below the equator to the arctic circle before industrial technology came into the picture. Barring a complete global ecosystem failure, there will be isolated pockets of humans who will have everything they need to live and rebuild, while other places, yes, will be thoroughly devastated.

I'd be very surprised if we fell far enough that all humans lost written language, agriculture, metals and mechanical tools.. like our own genes, we have replicated the blueprints of the industrial age into countless artifacts and textbooks that have been collected across every continent. It'll be a hard record to erase.

OK, that makes sense.

Well , it looks like 100 million years of great diversity of life will be greatly diminished, after this mass extinction (Earth bounced back quite quickly from the k/t event 65 million years ago, but we are really dealing with a plundered planet).
And Earth does not probably have that many shots to do this, as we are on an aging star.
Just like many view the current economic crisis as a short term phase, the attitude here is this is just another event--
Do your homework.

Over geologic timescales the earth's atmospheric concentrations have been radically different than today, as have the climatic conditions. Life has gone on.

True as far as it goes, but this statement fails to consider that mass extinctions accompany these abrupt climate changes.

Furthermore, there has never been an excursion in the global carbon budget that was this large and sudden, by a couple of orders of magnitude.

"Explosive" temperature rise? If the earth were so fragile, it would have become Venus or Mars long ago.

Fallacy of the Excluded Middle.

He means "explosive" in human terms. A change of 5C in average temperatures won't melt the earth or kill off all life, but it will play havoc with agriculture, and with the low-lying regions where several hundred million people live.

Nobody sensible is saying that climate change is going to destroy the earth; what they're saying is that it will require substantial adaptation on our part (which crops grow where, how much irrigation is needed in different places, how many people different regions can support, what type of housing is needed where, etc.), that having to adapt quickly will put a tremendous strain on the most-affected societies, and that that level of strain is likely to lead to substantial suffering and possibly conflict.

Flooding half of Bangladesh won't make much difference to the global ecosystem, but 100M refugees will make an enormous difference to human societies in the region. Generally speaking, limiting climate change isn't about saving the earth, it's about preventing human suffering.

You wrote:

The Hockey Stick is broken. In Danish, but you should be able to get the gist.

Sorry, I don't speak Danish. I have, however, looked at quite a bit of the data and would like to see what this guy has to say and how the data was analyzed.

Presenting a comment from a denialist blog which quotes a MSNBC story is not science. Do take another look at the data in the temperature graph from NASA/GISS. There's lots of yearly variation and a few years below trend has happened many times. I have previously pointed out that there's a problem with the THC in the Greenland Sea, which may result in a few colder winter in Europe. Also, we are at the minimum of the sunspot cycle, which would likely cool things a bit as well. Please learn the difference between weather and climate...

E. Swanson

Google translation

"Hockey stick curve does not," says klimaforsker Bo Christiansen from Denmark's Climate Center and add. "That does not mean that we cancel the anthropogenic greenhouse effect, but the foundation has become more nuanced."

Thanks for the translation link. Not the King's english, tht still understandable.

Here's a link to the abstract for paper that is referenced as the source for the comment. It looks like these folks did a bit of statistical trickery with the proxy data. As usual, the basis of their work is a model...

E. Swanson

Dear Undertow.
Why did you not put the end statement ' but the foundation has become more nuanced'in bold?.

Because it was a nuance?


Main Entry:

\ˈnü-ˌän(t)s, ˈnyü-, -ˌäⁿs; nü-ˈ, nyü-ˈ\

1 : a subtle distinction or variation
2 : a subtle quality : nicety

And I'm not sure you do nuances ;-)

Dear Black_Dog.
The 'denialist blog' to which you refer is Watts Up With That. The 2008 winner of the science section of top blogs in the US. It is a blog that prides itself on hard science, fact checking and a superb moderator system that is scrupulous about civility to friend and foe alike. (unlike Real Climate)

This article refers to a statement about a cooling trend from the supposedly esteemed NOAA. Now, why would such a body as NOAA start to give themselves a little bit of a back door out of this trap? Why would they allude to a possible forthcoming 30 year period of 'unexplained' cooling?

I think they are quietly looking for a way out of the AGW cul-de-sac of poor AGW science at complete odds with the physical reality that is now emerging. Further, the recent hysterical outbursts by an increasingly desperate lunatic fringe marshalled by Hansen is beggining to upset and dismay more thoughtful scientists. Perhaps NOAA does not want to go go down with this ship.

Let us not forget: The models did not predict a climb of CO2 with a simultaneous fall in temperature. The IPCC temperature predictions are developing a delta with real temperatures. Now, If a model's prediction is not supported by real data, I was brought up to question the model. What were you brought up to do?

The models did not predict a climb of CO2 with a simultaneous fall in temperature.

Global average temperature is not falling:

Garbage is forever

Try again. The cooling trend has just commenced. You know this. Look again at the data from 1999 to 2008.

Even over the cherry-picked period 1998-2008, the trend is warming:

In fact, every year this century is on the top-10 hottest list.

Try again. The cooling trend has just commenced. You know this. Look again at the data from 1999 to 2008.

How can you possibly make such a statement? Even if history were to somehow show that you were right and that a cooling phase had begun about now - you cannot possibly have enough evidence right now to come to that conclusion - yet you do! You just somehow believe it's so as a starting point and filter all information to fit.

You'll likely project this back at me now but have you thought that maybe, just possibly, it's you who needs to look in the mirror?

Dear Barrett808
This portion is directly quoted from the piece by NOAA.

I assume that communications from NOAA are regarded as an acceptable and bona-fide source?

It appears that global cooling recognition may be starting to make headway in the scientific community. We have this Discovery/MSNBC article about a NOAA scientist titled “Warming might be on hold, study finds“

“It is possible that a fraction of the most recent rapid warming since the 1970’s was due to a free variation in climate,” Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton, New Jersey wrote in an email to Discovery News. “Suggesting that the warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again.”

And Swanson thinks the trend could continue for up to 30 years.

Here’s the complete story from The Discovery Channel via MSNBC:

For those who have endured this winter’s frigid temperatures and today’s heavy snowstorm in the Northeast, the concept of global warming may seem, well, almost wishful.But climate is known to be variable - a cold winter, or a few strung together doesn’t mean the planet is cooling. Still, according to a new study, global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades.

Earth’s climate continues to confound scientists. Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat.

“This is nothing like anything we’ve seen since 1950,” Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said. “Cooling events since then had firm causes, like eruptions or large-magnitude La Ninas. This current cooling doesn’t have one.”

Perhaps you only choose to believe NOAA when it supports your thesis?

Isaac Held: "...the warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again."

I don't know how you can possibly find comfort in Dr. Held's statement. What is unclear about "rapid warming commences again"?

Watts Up With That. The 2008 winner of the science section of top blogs in the US. It is a blog that prides itself on hard science, fact checking and a superb moderator

Bull poop. They are no better than JD, but with climate. They post the same stupid lies and bull poop that you do here. You can drive the Titanic through the holes in their BS.

There is no scientific support for an anti-ACC position, so a denialist claiming they follow science is akin to a astrologist saying they are a good astronomer or a racist claiming to understand genetics.

Global Warming -> Climate Change -> Climate Instability?

As long as local weather fails to agree with climate change models, public policy will not go to the extreme measures some feel is necessary to truly affect a change. Personal experience matters much more than scientific concensus when it comes to change of human behavior. So take heart, because even if the GW scientists are right and screaming in unison, the human race will continue towards destruction more than likely until its too late by its very nature.

For the sake of those greenies out there, you should hope the concensus is wrong or you've got a magic bullet because humanity is not going to sacrifice anything it doesn't have to. We're programmed for survival and procreation, not sustainability. If by chance we stumble upon sustainability in our advancements in leisure and energy manipulation, hallelujah, but it won't come about because we turned off the engine of industry and consumption voluntarily.

I'm not a doomer, but I am a fatalist and will embrace whatever comes, through energy depletion, climate change or random destructive event. I believe we have the capability to incrementalize our way out of destruction, but if not, bring on decline, my goal will be to starve last.

Yes, and glaciers are growing again in Switzerland (no they're not!). For all of you who need ammunition against global warming skeptics: http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

From this website: "1970's ice age predictions were predominantly media based with the majority of scientific papers predicting warming" (http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm).

Same thing now: a great majority of climate scientists confirm that global warming is happening (http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm). Only a tiny, but vocal minority (a few climatologists, retired weather forecasters, a few representatives of the dismal science, i.e. economists like Lomborg), claim it's not happening, not a problem, or natural.

Unfortunately, the media (liking controversy, and blind to the danger) keeps giving disproportionate attention to the few skeptics, thus giving the general audience the impression that there's no consensus.

Like: 97 medical doctors you consult highly recommend that you take medication to avoid a possibly deadly disease, and 3 doctors (one MD addicted to publicity, one MD retired, and one an economist) telling you there's nothing wrong with you.

Anyway, the last quote by dropstone ends with: “Suggesting that the warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again.” (my emphasis). So, we'll have (have had) global cooling for few years before the heating starts again (next El Nino year).

Unfortunately, the media (liking controversy, and blind to the danger) keeps giving disproportionate attention to the few skeptics

Most MSM is paid for by advertisers ... the product is the reader/viewer, who must be encouraged to return again and again, hence you will generally get 'good news' stories about the future ... "normal economic growth will return soon" etc.

If there is a 'bad news' story it will be about something bad happening in the past to somebody else ... since nobody knows what the future will be MSM can claim that nothing bad is ever going to happen to the 'product', party on ... stories predicting a bad future would destroy MSM (and politicians), so it will never happen!

"the product is the reader/viewer"

yip, we are just buying machines.

Manufactured consent, live in your living room.


Dear MarkM
I think you may find that in actuality, the MSM is giving a much easier ride and a disproportionate airing of pro-AGW advocates and almost none to sceptics both on screen and in print. However perhaps a tipping point will soon arrive and the MSM will start to look for ways to back out of the current consensus position. This will not be easy since they have printed or aired every piece of tosh from great balls of methane fire to hundred meter drown outs and venusian atmospheres that the fanatics have spoon fed them. So, they will at least look like very silly people. And of course, predictive climate science will be in the dog house for at least a generation

Supposing there is a 3 decadal cooling phase in the immediate future. What then for AGW? Even if temperatures just flatten out, where does that leave the predictive value of IPCC models? To say of course that at some point in the 'future' What ? 10? 20? 30? years? warming will of course resume and with a vengeance has no basis in fact, reality and certainly not in predictive models. That is the problem when people walk up and down a street with a board proclaiming that the 'end of the world is nigh': You tend to look silly in the morning.

So carbon dioxide in the atmosphere no longer contributes to the greenhouse effect?

Tell me, what other physical/chemical models have been refuted recently? Lavoisier's Oxygen theory of combustion, perhaps? We'll need to start science again from about that point if you're right.

Either you need to learn something about mathematical statistics, or you are being totally disingenuous.

Contrarians can use this handy five-point summary of global warming theory to create their new science:

1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (Tyndall 1859).
2. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958).
3. The new CO2 is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955).
4. Temperature is rising (NASA GISS, Hadley CRU, UAH, RSS, etc.).
5. The increase in temperature correlates with the increase in CO2 (76% for temp. anomaly and ln CO2 for 1880-2007).

Which of these discoveries to dispute? Hmm...

("Global warming in five bullet points", by Barton Paul Levenson.)

Dear dropstone,

I'd rather look silly than continue to run a great risk of condemning the next generations to an awful future. Anyway, acting on the risk that climate change happens means making a serious effort at renewables (we have to do that anyway because the fossil stuff is running out), reducing consumption (consumerism is dead anyway, and I've never understood why happiness equates to - buying as much as possible cheap junk from China, - living far away from work so that your commute takes about as much energy as work, - destroying the environment).

Have a look at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF_anaVcCXg

Have a nice day


(Reporting from the test tube named earth. Running experiment: what happens when we add 30% or more additional CO2 to the atmosphere. Current consensus amongst observers: it getting warmer)

Some fantastic discussion on the issues;

"Behind the Headlines: Scientists and Journalists Talk Climate"


It's setteled AGW is fact! Climate change science is complex and not easily settled but is dire.

The original paper is here:

A surrogate ensemble study of climate reconstruction methods: Stochasticity and robustness.
B. Christiansen, T. Schmith, and P. Thejll.
J. Climate, 22(4), 951-976, 2009. (preprint pdf)

The "Hockey Stick" is alive and well:

Progress in reconstructing climate in recent millennia

Note the mixing of proxies and actual temperature measurements. The 'blade' is instrumental measurements only. None of the proxies extend above an anomaly of 0.2C something that they attempted to obscure by adding the gray and red lines on top.

If the instrument records are accurately showing the current variation in the temperature the proxies are clearly underestimating the variation in the temperature. If the proxies are underestimating the current variability they are likely also underestimating the past variability.

they attempted to obscure


Maybe the post will answer your questions:

We discussed what would be required in an update of these millennial reconstructions a few months back and the main principles remain true now. You need proxies that are a) well-dated, b) have some fidelity to a climate variable of interest, c) have been calibrated to those variable(s), d) that are then composited together somehow, and e) that the composite has been validated against the instrumental record.

The number of well-dated proxies used in the latest paper is significantly greater than what was available a decade ago: 1209 back to 1800; 460 back to 1600; 59 back to 1000 AD; 36 back to 500 AD and 19 back to 1 BC (all data and code is available here). This is compared with 400 or so in MBH99, of which only 14 went back to 1000 AD. The increase in data availability is a pretty remarkable testament to the increased attention that the paleo-community has started to pay to the recent past - in part, no doubt, because of the higher profile this kind of reconstruction has achieved. The individual data-gatherers involved should be applauded by all. ...


And did you know that Al Gore is also fat? This is a scheme to sell books, and get rich, and is just a plot by the liberals to deny me my divine right to prosperity, and turn us all into socialist dictatorships!~
Those commie college professors and scientist don't know nothing.

You forgot to mention evolutionists and their Satanic conspiracy to convince our children that they're descended from apes. Surely, they must also be in on the climate hoax.

Science is Satan! You are correct, I ain't no ape!

AMEN: Alan, The reality is that in a Geo-Chemo-Physic-Biological system of such great complexity as the Earth we are in our infancy in understanding the variables associated with climate change. Not to mention their influence or what their results might be. Take the data presented in Barrett808’s post, any of the data prior to 1950 is subject to a lot of scrutiny as to its validity, as prior to then the data set becomes increasingly more dependent on extrapolation. Take the graphs and turn up the pre 1950 dataset amplitude and you get a different picture. At best, data derived from historical data and geologic study indicates trends not absolutes, so in effect all these diagrams indicate is that there is a history of variability in the climate. The long term geologic record also supports that as well.
The fact that the NOAA might be looking of an exit strategy is natural as when climate science is in its infancy to make absolute claims is foolishness. The current popularity of “scientists” or NASA lobbyists like Dr. Hanson and Al Gore, grand standing the public with a “climate crisis” may hurt real scientists who are truly trying to understand the science of the earth and its driving mechanisms. If man made CO2 is the major driving factor in long term climate change, how many years of “the sky is falling” from Hansen and Gore or of global cooling do we need? In our society, with its overall A.D.D. how long without environmental Armageddon will it take before real scientists find it difficult to get funding for research, 10, 15, 20years. The climate was until the last 20-30years a field of study that was a pure science, IE a science that not having a real bearing on pressing issues to society struggled to remain funded. With the scientific means to study the climate arising through costly global studies and remote sensing, if the ” sky wasn’t falling” and the 4 horsemen on the horizon, would governments and foundations shell out the same amount of funding? Likely not, NOAA is being wise in distancing itself from the pseudo-scientific fringe like Dr. Hansen and admitting uncertainties, in the interest of furthering the real study of the earth’s climate, and not jumping on the wagon as lobbyists for NASA or Green Energy.

...there is a history of variability in the climate. The long term geologic record also supports that as well.

Indeed, and we've learned a great deal about the variability of paleo-climate from the geologic record. In particular, we know that flood basalt events are coincident with mass extinctions. And we know that humans are releasing carbon into the atmosphere at a rate that's approximately equivalent to one flood basalt event per year (~7gT).

Why on god's name your lying ass is allowed to post here is beyond me.

At least we know where your stupidity comes from:


I just got back from Powershift 2009 and it was great! I go to school at SUNY (state university of New York) Geneseo, and we went from 9 students last year to 56 this year. I also met Richard Lawrence from ASPO who apparently knows you, westtexas and Leanan.

Anyway, I would like to write up a post about the conference if anybody is interested.

I am interested. The campus I work at sent a van full of students to the event. I would be particularly interested in hearing from people who managed to get a lobbying meeting with their representatives in D.C.: what was the response of congress and senate members? Was anyone available?

Hello Daxtatter,

Please do. Glad to see the 9-->56 student increase trend, too, as your generation will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting for the coming postPeak Paradigm Shift.

..we went from 9 students last year to 56 this year.

No jobs, may as well go back to school, for what it's worth.

By 9 students to 56 students, I'm talking about how many of us went to the conference, not how many are in the school. The school has ~5000 students (all undergrad), so we had over 1% of the student body there (2nd or 3rd highest per capita attendance for any school). Quite an impressive feat to have that big of an attendance considering it was 6+ hour drive and we had to get hotel rooms for three nights.

Please write it up! Possibly a campfire post? (or a bloglink, if the TOD editors prefer..)


http://powershift09.org/ (A little summary video at their site)

Hey Dax -

I'd definitely be interested in hearing about the conference.

BTW - I received my undergrad degree in Geology from SUNY Geneseo way back in 1993... are you in the geology dept. ?

- Catskill

Can't say I'm in the geology department (economic major physics minor who sucks at math, go figure), but I am taking a geology class this semester. My lecture professor is relatively new, but I just looked and my lab professor Amy Sheldon (not sure what her (possible (not sure if she's married)) maiden name is) graduated from Geneseo in 1990, so could have been there at the same time you were.

What part, may I ask, of the Catskills do you live in? I have an uncle that lives near Woodstock so I'm in the area a couple of times a year.

Thanks for the reply - I do know Amy and I think her husband is Brian (he may teach there as well)...

I'm not "technically" in the Catskills, I'm actually just outside of the "forever wild" line and one town over from Woodstock - in Saugerties, the town that was the site of Woodstock '94 strangely enough :)

I just chose Catskill because I love those mountains.

I'd be interested in reading about the trip and what you and others thought about the shindig.

Plus it would add to your resume having something published on here, just a thought.


I notice that a lot of people post on population issues. Here's one I read last night, for what it's worth....

The populations of both the passenger pigeon and the Rocky Mountain locust exploded in numbers in the 19th Century as they came across new food sources (human planted monocultures of grain). Both mysteriously went extinct in the early 20th Century even though their food sources were (and are) still there.

(Yes, the common wisdom is that the passenger pigeon was hunted to extinction; but according to this article, biologist aren't sure why either the pigeon or the locust disappeared... and nobody hunted the locust (last seen in 1902).)

You have to read this book about locusts in North America. It is a very good book. I won't spoil the ending but yes, they do know why the locust disappeared.


Passenger pigeons depended on beech mast & other products of mature hardwood forests. There's no evidence that their population increased along with increased grain production. Hunting was a factor but the primary reason for their abrupt decline to extinction was the clearing of eastern mesic deciduous forest for the sake of agriculture. It's not "mysterious."

Looks like the EU is trying to be proactive about population control;

"Baxter admits contaminated seasonal flu product contained live bird flu virus"


"The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany."



Check LATOC forum: Mike Ruppert says this was no accident! He said normal lab protocols would never let this occur.

Oh dear oh dear. That doesn't sound good at all.

I was referring to Ignorant's post.

It was a hard paper copy. I'll have to dig it out again.


Finally, the fact that Bt cotton crops decreases microbial activity in the soil portends a future of sterile soil that may result in massive desertification and loss of arable land in the future in a time where food security is evermore essential.

(now lets see the new sign-ups who come to defend Monsanto!)

Bt crops are slowly morphing into a predictable disaster. The Monsantos and their ilk were able to foist them upon us with less opposition than they received to their "Round-up Ready" plants because (1) Bt is a 'natural' pesticide and (2) it was advertised to reduce the use of chemical insecticides. There was one argument in opposition that is standing the test of time: encoding plants with their own Bt is akin to giving humans (or agricultural animals) a continuous dose of a single antibiotic. The outcome is totally predictable. First, resistant target organisms will evolve making not only the Bt-containing hosts susceptible, but making Bt useless as the favorite pesticide of organic farmers. Second, as this article points out, the microbial ecosystem will be disrupted with unpredictable consequences (much like the secondary infections in humans that accompany antibiotic abuse). Mother Nature bats last and she carries a big stick.

I read the linked report and found the data unconvincing as presented.

I saw no sign that tillage was taken into account. I also saw no sign that the control fields of cotton were being treated comparably to the fields of BT cotton. I also noticed that fields of non cotton crops were stated to be in the comparison to the BT cotton fields. For these reasons I suspect this study was designed to get this result.

Also in my understanding BT works by generating a large molecule which when eaten by an insect blocks the digestive tract starving the insect.

A lot of the oposition to GMO crops in my opinion is related to ignorance. Some points such as the farmer suicides related to the industrialization of agriculture may have some validity but all new technologies have costs as well as benefits. GMO crops have the potential to produce more food for less fossil fuel input.

Bt is an endotoxin that forms pores in the cells lining the gut. There is some specificity to the binding of the toxin to the gut wall such that it does not work on all insects, but also provides the avenue to resistance.
Opposition to GMO crops comes from many sides--ignorance, religion, and aversion to the pie-in-the-sky cornucopianism that biotech and others have learned to take advantage of.
Remember, West Texas has the potential to date Julia Roberts

Agreed. The report is crap, no experimental methods, etc. Read peer review instead. The Bt protein is selective to only a few types of insect larvae. Other microbes, soil animals, and insects are NOT affected by Bt.


I am not defending Monsanto, but lets be honest about the pros and cons of Bt crops.

I saw no sign that tillage was taken into account. I also saw no sign that the control fields of cotton were being treated comparably to the fields of BT cotton. I also noticed that fields of non cotton crops were stated to be in the comparison to the BT cotton fields.

Unfortunately, this completely invalidates their statistics. They're claiming that the observed difference is due to using GM cotton, but any one of the factors you point out could also be the explanation. It seems particularly questionable to compare BT cotton with non-cotton crops and assume that the difference is due to "BT" rather than "cotton".

Moreover, they're confusing correlation with causation. The results are phrased as if they'd done a longitudinal study (e.g., "a significant decline"), but they've done a comparison study, and so they can only speak about differences, not changes. It could be that this cotton causes declines in soil biota, or it could be that soil biota was lower before the cotton was even planted; for example, farmers who would use BT cotton might be more likely to have heavily used pesticides and herbicides on their fields in previous years.

Based on both of these problems, it doesn't seem like they know how to conduct a valid study. I don't agree that it seems to have been designed to get a particular result, though - it seems like a poorly conducted but relatively honest attempt to answer an interesting question. I can't help but wonder if they have enough valid control data points (i.e., conventional cotton farmed in a comparable manner and in comparable locations) to re-analyze and provide a reasonable answer. Their results might be correct, but what they've reported doesn't allow us to come to that conclusion.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a shill.

1. GMO crops keep farmers slaves to Big Ag. because they cannot grow their own seeds.

2. Higher yields, my arse. Try growing some bio-intensive or permaculture/natural farming-based food.

3. Those freaking GMO crops have passed into the natural environment, thereby destroying people's ability to grow their own seed and making them slaves to the seed companies, allowing Big Ag to come in and claim rights to payment for unintended use and eliminating bio-diversity.

Save your BS for the ignorant.

Why protectionism is a good idea

Adam Smith:

Book IV, Chapter II
Of Restraints upon the Importation from Foreign Countries of such Goods as can be Produced at Home
By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.

RE: Why protectionism is a good idea

Why don't you make your own shoes?

1) You would end up with two lefts of the most ugly footware imaginable.

2) Your "new" shoes would fail within a week and require as much time to repair as was spent in their construction.

3) Everyone would laugh at you.

4) You could save a lot of money by working your day job and paying a portion of your earnings to a capable shoemaker.

We specialize at different jobs because we learn specific skills. There is an opportunity cost to skills aquisition. It is very difficult to be very good at everything.

The same considerations apply to trade between nations. The Inuit have not had much success growing bananas North of 50. You cannot catch arctic char in the tropics.

The problem with "free trade" is that it was based on fixed (immobile) capital and labour. Both of these are now free to move around the globe and this fact runs counter to the basic premise behind free trade.

I think a greater problem is the fact we are subject to the whims of those gargantuan people we call corporations. These entities have unbridaled appetites, are effectively stateless, and have no concern for you, me, or anyone else if we stand between them and profits. They can buy governments and do.

Nice shoes.

The neo-classical/neo-liberal logic in favor of free trade is impecable. It also leaves out two little important tidbits:

1) Free trade makes each nation better off in the aggregate. There is no guarantee that each and every citizen of that nation ends up being better off. Far to the contrary, there are very likely to be losers as well as winners. There could very well even end up with there being just a few big winners and every one else doing poorly or worse. Sound familiar?

2) For however wide the free trade range is extended, there is no good reason not to believe that the eventual and inevitable consequence of free trade is that average wages throughout that range will converge toward a mean. This suggests that low wage areas will see their wages go up, and that high wage areas will see their wages go down. If the free trade area us global, then wages will converge toward global averages. This suggests that high wage countries (like the US) will be seeing wages (and real per capita GDP) stagnating and falling. Sound familiar?

Yeah, free trade is a really good deal - for some people.

Did you have a point you wanted to make?

If so, please make it.

Jim Rogers has always seemed to me a little of the TOD ilk. Latest news on him: http://www.cnbc.com/id/29477080

Commodities are still the best play for the long term, legendary investor Jim Rogers told CNBC, confessing that he has been buying farmland himself.

"We're still going to eat, probably; we're still going to wear clothes, probably. Farmers cannot get loans for fertilizers right now. So the supplies of everything are going to continue to be under pressure," Rogers said.

Just heard on CNBC from the Geithner hearing. A congressman from some southern state speaking of the poultry industry:

All they are asking for is a bridge loan because this thing is going to turn around at some point.

A bridge loan is what everyone wants because everyone expects this thing to turn around soon. But if it doesn’t turn around soon, if it doesn’t turn around in say five years, then all those loans will do is prop them up for a year or so.

I am a true Democrat but honestly I do not believe this bailout package will do a damn thing except drive the national debt into the ground and exacerbate the problem rather than help it. Actually what the Obama administration is doing is the right thing to do but if and only if the economy does turn around. But if the true problem is far deeper and far more complex than anyone in Washington realizes, then the bailout is the wrong thing to do.

Perhaps nothing would be the right thing to do because there is nothing they can possibly do to fix the situation. Nothing is what Hoover did and that was the wrong thing to do. But times are different. Doing nothing would probably be better than doing what they are doing.

Then again I am not even sure of that. Letting AIG go under would have devastating percussions all over the world. It might just trigger the total collapse right now rather than a bit later. Hell, it is all such a damn horrible mess that I am not sure what is going on, only that I expect a total world collapse in five to ten years.


Perhaps nothing would be the right thing to do because there is nothing they can possibly do to fix the situation.

I agree. This is what I've been saying. "First, do no harm." "Don't just do something, stand there." Etc. When you can't predict the consequences of your actions, whatever you do is likely to make the situation worse, not better. Obama and his appointees can't predict what the consequences of all these bailouts will be, i.e, they don't know what they're doing - they're just shooting in the dark. When all their efforts prove ineffective if not downright counterproductive, we'll all just be that much more in debt.

The more cynical interpretation is that they know very well what they're doing, and their intentions are to plunder the accumulated wealth of Western civilization. Perhaps this is what's really going on. Either way, circumstances support expectations of collapse on a time scale of months or a few years.

One reason I keep coming back to the drumbeat. The three of us are constantly finding places where we disagree with each other. And then I see posts like the two above and we are all in complete agreement.

For what it's worth, I don't sweat the "stimulus" or the "bailouts" - at worst they are just speeding up the collapse. We're going to have to get through this part (or not) in order to get to something different, so why not now? I know it will be hard (and I have two small children at home), but jeez, I've been waiting for this for 30 years, I'm pleased it's finally here.

darwinsdog -

I had been skeptical from the very beginning about the Obama administration's efforts to revive the economy with government stimulus spending. Well I just read an editorial by a Wilmington, Delaware attorney in our local newspaper (The News Journal) that made me truly despair that the $800 billion stimulus bill is going to do much other than piss away even more taxpayer money.

This attorney diligently speed-read through the entire 1,073-page bill in order to find out what was in it for our tiny state of Delaware. Here are but a few of the gems he uncovered:

- $1,500 for a brand new walnut desk for state senator Thurman Adams, complete with a specially reinforced lower left-hand drawer (This to a person who tried to kill wind power for Delaware and almost succeeded).

- $795,000 for new restroom stalls for Legislative Hall in Dover, DE. (Ain't that one a real pisser!)

- $278,000 to power-wash Rodney Square (in downtown Wilmington) after pigeon mating season. (Won't be much of an improvement.)

- $3,500 to paint Ceasar Rodney's statute Delaware blue and gold.

- $150,000 to subsidize the naming rights for a new press box at Delaware Stadium.

- $25,000 for a study of the psychology of bidding on low-number, black & while Delaware automobile tags.
(explanation for non-Delawareans: for years Delaware had these smaller-than-standard-size, European-looking black & while license plates that were discontinued sometime in the 1950s. These are highly prized as status symbols, and it has not been uncommon for people to pay six-figure prices for early 2-digit tags. A uniquely Delaware curiosity that I have never been able to understand.)

The list goes on, but I think the pattern here is obvious. Useless pork, pork, and more useless pork. And this is just for tiny Delaware. I shudder to think what California's share of the pork looks like!

Sure, money will flow to some places and to some people, but how much of this sort of stuff is really going to do any good whatsoever? Hell, if we are going to be throwing around taxpayer money, why not just write a check out to every man, women, and child in the US and be done with it? If they want to spend $3,500 to paint some ugly statue, surely they can't begrudge me the same $3,500 to go toward a psychedelic paint job on my 1968 Beetle. If we're going to throw away money, at least let's do it with some flair.

But, no "earmarks," right?

Why not just cancel income taxes for a year or two? Why not directly pay off peoples' mortgages, & other debt? Why not do something that benefits people directly, rather than bankers & corporate executives & stockholders? I guess the answer's obvious: it's a looting of the people, not for the people.

But, no "earmarks," right?

Why not just cancel income taxes for a year or two? Why not directly pay off peoples' mortgages, & other debt?

What they shoulda done is invest in the things we are going to need post peak. Some of it is, but much more is simply being thrown at anything deemed shovel ready politically well-connected. So when its done, this hodgepodge of new stuff will have only very modest utility.

"Shovel ready" makes me think about the adage that if your really wanted to create "jobs" you could just pay half the unemployed to dig holes and the other half to fill them up.

Obama's remark that "a stimulus bill is a spending bill" and all these useless projects seems that this is what this bill is about, giving people useless jobs.

Xav -

Well, providing Israel a billion dollars worth of weaponry, and then spending a billion dollars to help rebuild Gaza after Israel destroys much of it, strikes me as quite akin to digging a hole and then filling it back up.

But that sort of thing keeps both the defense contractors and the large construction companies happy, as the former makes money on the front end and the latter makes money on the back end. Quite stimulating.

The total world economy has already collapsed. Most people do not know it yet though.
The mass media is doing a good job of convincing people that the gov't can fix this mess.
This effort is allowing the elite class to fully secure their future before All Hell Breaks Loose.
All bets are off for 2010 outcome.

When they asked Geitner where the money would come from, and would China continue to finance the US, he totally avoided the question two times without an answer.
Then the Black congressman from Georgia spoke up and said he was glad to see some moves toward income equality and help for the lower class. He has been completly fooled by Obama. The only ones benefiting now are the elite. The small amounts given to the lower class will just sucker them in for the knockout punch next year when the gov't doubles taxes and stops all services at the same time.

I think so too, if you have not made your fortune in the big casino before 2008, it's basically game over, and we won't have a cheap fossil fuel resource base available for a recovery.

Even Paul Krugman has lost patience with the endless bailouts!
All your downside are belong to us

In effect, then, we’ve already nationalized a large part of the financial industry’s potential losses.

So at the very least, we have a right to know who the counterparties are: who are we subsidizing, here? And beyond that, shouldn’t there be some quid pro quo? Shouldn’t the US government get something in return for taking on so much of the risk?

Isn't the countrys mood shifting to the point where we can't delay coming clean for much longer?

It's certainly possible that poultry farms overexpanded in anticipation of future demand and overextended their credit, but poultry is a cheap staple food. It's safe to assume Americans will keep buying poultry even as they cut back on restaurant meals and expensive cuts of beef, at least until we get even poorer and end up getting most of our calories from grains and beans cooked from scratch. It certainly makes more sense than extending credit to Wall Street and GM.

The Avian flu will probably wipe them all out within a few years anyway. I'm looking forward to Kunstler's sequil, A World Without Chickens

It's all right - Jim has outlined the backup plan:
A World Made by Ham

Yes I agree the bailouts are making everything much much much worse than if there were no bailouts. For example, take the auto co. bailouts....what if the govt didn't give them any money and the auto co.s went broke? OK, lots of chaos, panic, people driving old cars that they have to fix up with whatever they can find, then they'll quickly get tired of the whole driving thing and turn on their local govts and force the ZONING LAWS to change so they can have chickens in their gardens, shops in their empty garages, little workshops to do business from in their basements etc. In effect the govt is preventing the society from making the needed structural changes that will cushion later blows as the FF energy depletes further. The govt should let the auto co.s fail then provide flour and cooking oil and other basic food and healthcare for the unemployed while people try to get their acts together and make structural changes that will be absolutely necessary later.

Someone wrote in a post above that this depression is a signal of a structural failure....that is true, and this problem can only be addressed on a structural level. Something that the govt can't do because it is....too huge? Allied with the elites?? Slow?? Why??

"Something that the govt can't do because it is....too huge? "

That is so true. Think about just a few facts for a minute. Here in Arkansas, the Biggest employers are The Federal Government, WalMart, and The State Government in that order. Scary stuff when you think about the facts that two of these employers do not produce any products and the other one is a retailer, not really a producer of products either.

Something that I posted on another thread has got me thinking about what you just said. I said give everyone 3 acres of land and let us make our living from that. But seeing that some of us already have land let us live on it like we could if the Zoning laws were different.

I don't see Local governments changing to help us though. We have to change them the old fashion way with votes and meetings and things like that.

The whole issue is the BIGNESS of Government. We found a way to downsize Government. But it means everything else is going to be Downsized along with it.

"But Ma, Where did Government go back then?"
"Well son, we just got tried of the whole mess and got out our pitch forks and hauled it out of the barn, put it out in the back and set matches to it. It was over with in a few hours. Now you run along and go to Mrs. Duncan's house for your schoolin'. Be good for her she used to work in one of the school building's in town where the farmers market got set up."


Plenty of fish in the sea? Think again

“We've caught all the big fish and now we're going after their food,” said Margot Stiles, a lead author of Oceana's report, “Hungry Oceans.” “We're stealing the ocean's food supply; these are fish that we basically never used to eat.”


Can we just go to eating plankton then?

Much more efficient- no energy losses up the food chain.

Just like on the Simpsons "you fat cats didn't finish your plankton".

I don't know what the EROEI on plankton is. I think that is one of the major benefits of big fish: they do the harvesting for you.

Five of our endangered Puget Sound orcas starved to death this season; soon the population will be unsustainable.

The Prince William Sound orca population has already fallen below reproductive viability: Prince William Sound orcas doomed by Exxon oil spill.

Oceans will be dead within 30 years: Ecological extinction and evolution in the brave new ocean.

That is really sad and freighting news. The anadromous returns up here on the North Coast of California are at an all time low, and it really saddens me.
I was just up on the Smith River, the last un dammed major river in California, at the height of Steelhead season, with an empty river.

You want really frightening news, read that Jeremy Jackson paper. Or watch his lecture: Brave New Ocean.

So glad I don't have children.

you don't have to have children to care about children

I won't have to explain to my children why there are no more whales and dolphins, and how we killed the oceans.

And as a bonus, I won't have to watch my children starve to death. Sure, it won't be a picnic watching everybody else's children starve to death, but I'll take comfort where I can find it.

There are two distinct populations of Orcinus that should probably be considered separate species since there is apparently no gene flow between them. One population eats almost exclusively salmon and the other eats virtually nothing but sea mammals. The two populations are phenotypically indistinguishable and perhaps the difference between them is more aptly described as being cultural rather than biological. In any case, the two populations apparently don't interbreed. My guess would be that the Exxon Valdez spill effected the mammal eating population of Orcinus and that factors such as river damning that contribute to the decline of salmon impacts the piscivorous whales. Too bad for the whale since we NEED more dams & hydroelectric power for running the electric trains that are going to save us from PO, according to some.

Plenty of fish in the sea? Think again

Its all in getting the metric right. When I lived in Wisconsin, I kept hearing the statistic that their were several times more trees than before the white man came. That was right, but what they neglected to say was that in the footprint of every former giant white pine, there are now a hundred one inch in diameter junk trees. So don't tell me that there are fewer fish. Chances are for every tuna we eliminate, nature is adding several small fish. So the total number of fish is inceasing due to our excellent efforts. Total biomass, of fish?...well thats another story. Please don't ask that one!

Get used to eating more bony fish products. Get used to opening cans for you fish produces as well. Get used to knowing the taste of fish soup mixed with green or red algea broth.

Get used to living in stick houses, eating lots of green leaves and algea-steaks.

We are going to grow ourselves out of house and home, but we will be still well fed, just eating more things that aren't on today's menu at Joey's Burger Joint and Fry Shack. Seeing that grass hoppers and Locust are edible by humans I am sure Joey will be able to change the menu and still get customers.


The loss of fish products isn't really a problem as far as feeding people goes, we could feed everyone with a quasi-vegetarian diet (mostly grains/tubers, veggies, fruits, eggs and milk and the occasional steak/chicken) with only a fraction of the current crop land. More people are overweight than malnourished in the world, so there's room to spare.
Something like a third of food is wasted by in the current food distribution chain between people who throw away food and carrots that are the wrong shape. (We tried to collect food from a supermarket once to give to homeless people, since they're not allowed to sale food past the date, but they refused to give it away for free and instead just threw it away, as they were afraid of lawsuits.)
And a good deal of crops are used to feed cattle. A good deal of fisheries are used to feed animals too.
I don't understand why Americans are so afraid of eating less meat or insects, when they eat plastic fast-food, spray cheese, and all sorts of colourful supplements without blinking.

What worries me is the huge loss of biomass and diversity, with the consequence that it can have.
A positive point would be that fishermen (the ones that always refuse to limit their catch) will be forced out of work.

When the stories of the future are written about the past. ( History books or whatever you will call them then ) We will learn about the Humans that did all the damage.

Homo sapien sapien petro, was the species of humans living back then. They ate everything they could and those things that they could not eat they either made into Diet Supplements, or Fad foods. Thereby killing off thousands of species that we only have pictures of or no knowledge of in the records of the time before we came to be living here on earth. Once again we are taught the lession of live within the environment of which you live.

Now children the kitchen has some nice Algea-burgers and bitter leaf salads on the menu today, so go enjoy. After Lunch you all can play a bit out under the dome for a bit, not too long we don't want the Rays to harm you.


Taking the charge out of Chevy's Volt

Not saying the Volt is going to make any actual difference but this paragraph is just stupid:

"With a likely price of $40,000, the Volt has always been a dicey economic proposition for GM. At that cost, the car would be limited to buyers with a high income who can afford a car - most likely a second or third one - with limited functionality. Nobody will want to take a Volt on a trip much beyond its 40-mile range because it is too inefficient."

Yeah it's expensive, I don't think anybody will dispute that. The fact they say nobody will want to take it on a trip over 40 miles because it is too inefficient is just stupid though. Even after the battery is exhausted it should still get 45-50 mpg. How is that too inefficient? Where does the so-called "limited functionality" come from? It still has a 12 gallon gas tank! I'm pretty sure it's functionality is less limited than most cars. I call BS on this story.

I continue to say that I will believe that the Volt will actually go into production and be available in showrooms when I see it. Until then, I consider it to be vaporware.

The odds that GM won't even be in business in 2010 seem to be getting higher by the day.

While I appreciated the thinking behind their preference for a lighter, cheaper 20-mile vehicle, which would meet some 50% of the standard daily car needs for the public, I was again befuddled by the amnesia as to recent and current EV's that are either far cheaper or have much more range with existing technology.

The RAV4-EV owners report getting 120 plus miles to a charge with NIMH batteries ($60k car) .. while people doing ICE-EV conversions for some $8k-$15k are getting ranges from the 20's through the 70's and more.. (fun site) http://www.evalbum.com/2390

There are a lot of Motorbike conversions going on too, which makes a lot of sense.. and check out this scooter, which is the same kind I just got the body for from a fellow freecycler.. hmmm..

That scooter is OK. At 36VDC it is the same as my solar powered golf cart. So I could use the solar panels to charge to scooter. The controller limits the solar voltage to 42VDC. The solar panels have about twice the grunt @ 300watts as their charger @150watts so it may only take four hours to charge the batteries.

Humm ... have to think about that one.

I hope you'll post a picture and some info on your Cart. Do I remember right that you're just getting the parts for it, or is it already up and running?


The fact they say nobody will want to take it on a trip over 40 miles because it is too inefficient is just stupid though. Even after the battery is exhausted it should still get 45-50 mpg. How is that too inefficient? Where does the so-called "limited functionality" come from? It still has a 12 gallon gas tank! I'm pretty sure it's functionality is less limited than most cars. I call BS on this story.

I noticed that as well. As long as it's a half way decent hybrid, your point stands. I do agree with their original premise, that they are overdesigning for electric range, and that that hurts the economics significantly. The best system would be a plugin with optional additional battery capacity. At the price of current high tech batteries, most buyers would probably opt for a ten mile range.

Sometime a year or two ago someone posted a photo of a small generator on a cart that could be towed behind an NEV to provide it with the extra power for extended range; it effectively turns an NEV into a PHEV. The advantage is that you only haul the extra weight of the generator + fuel around when you really need it; when you only need to take the vehicle around for a short spin, why haul all of that unused weight around? This could be an important part of the mix: NEVs for local transport < 20 mi +/- RT (if walking or bicycling are not practical or possible options - and for some people, some places, some times, they are not); NEV + tow-behind generator for longer trips not serviced well or at all by mass transit; and passenger rail for longer hauls (maybe keeping some minimal passenger air available for really long trans-continental or inter-continental trips that are really necessary).

You forgot the sarconol tag.

Well, I have read many different articles that kitchen gardens and same-scale farming are on the rise -- it is as it has to be, I still don't understand why anybody would have predicted that industrial farming would flourish. We live in a world of discontinuity now, analyzing past production trends is useful for historical purposes.

From the Virginia farmland article:

The number of Virginia farms declined by only 223 over the five-year period, to 47,383. And the number of very small farms—those generating $1,000 or less annually—actually increased. Farm numbers in that category rose from 10,502 in 2002 to 13,667 in 2007. Sales from those small farms, which typically sell products at farmers’ markets or direct to the public, jumped from $1.7 million to $2.5 million over the same period.

If the cut off is $1,000 or less then there is likely a whole bunch of the 47,000 bigger farms than make less than $10,000 that would be considered for the same Small farm or Large garden patch status.

I have seen Truck farmers make a lot more than $1,000 in a year. I think the numbers are hidding things from us. I would be interested if they have a database of the incomes on all the farms, the sizes of the growing areas, the number of crops grown and other such data-points.

Given 5 acres and some good planning you could do a lot in the way of feeding a family of 4 for all of the year without having any other kinds of imputs.

NOTE, I did say GOOD PLANNING. If you have hilly land you can steppe the place, you have to have water collection and water sources for when you have dry periods. You have to be labor intensive even if you do Mulch Gardening. But again with Good Planning it is possible.

I do wonder how many people are willing to work all day long for most of the year to get to where they have no more need to worry about where their next meal is coming from.

Hey I just got this idea. BHO gives every person in the US 3 acres of land. It is the best bailout I can think of. Oh and you get free seeds and seedlings for the first 2 growing seasons.


Given 5 acres and some good planning you could do a lot in the way of feeding a family of 4 for all of the year without having any other kinds of imputs.

You could feed up to 50 on 5 acres, though I'll likely be shooting for 2 acres for my family of 3 so we can have some eggs, fresh milk, non-beef meat and some grains. (One can grow enough rice for a family of 3 on 170 sq. yds. Do a double crop with a winter wheat or barley and you're rolling in grain.)


Re: Russia Gazprom to reduce offtake from gas producers

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom will reduce its gas offtake from independent producers as demand falls, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

Wonder if that's related to this in any way

Mystery veils Russian gas summit

02 Mar 2009

A VEIL OF secrecy is today drawn over a Moscow summit between Russia's independent gas producers and Gazprom, the government-run sector goliath. Novatek, the largest of Russia's independent producers, has acknowledged that the meeting took place, but it refused to discuss the results. Even that is more than Gazprom will acknowledge. Denis Ignatiev, Gazprom's spokesman for international relations, refused to return calls to Fairplay; an assistant said he would not reveal when the meeting took place, what companies attended or even give his own name. That is leading to some suspicion that Gazprom is trying to bury evidence of conflicts during the summit.

Could it be that any apparent reported future reduction in Novatek production will be magically and invisibly added by Gazprom to their own to reduce their apparent decline rate.

For the first two days of March Gazprom production has averaged 490bcm/day. Down from 510bcm/day in February. Now 2 days data isn't enough to draw any conclusion for the whole of March but it's not an encouraging start.

I don't think we can read much into production numbers. Oil or gas. Demand is down, and so production will be down, too.

I fear this means peak oil will never be acknowledged. Even if we are past peak, it will be explained as a result of a drop in demand...just like last time oil production seemed to be declining.

In this case though I think things will be clear in a few months and Europe will be out of gas within a year if Simmons is right.

I believe that Simmons statement that "Next Year Europe is toast - cold toast", could be the most important statement he has ever made. If he's right that changes absolutely everything and demand destruction will not trump peak gas in Europe. If he's wrong then, as a resident of Europe I'd be delighted.

Suppose he had said next year the USA is cold toast? He certainly sees a US Nat gas decline ahead but nothing like what he's predicting for Europe.

I have a lot of respect for Simmons, but his predictions have been a bit over the top. Saudi Arabia's production appears to be holding up. He's now warning about $500 oil. I don't think he has an inkling of how bad this recession could be, and how much demand could be destroyed.

I agree. I am a great fan of Simmons but I am greatly disappointed by the fact that he has not admitted his error in price prediction. Why can't a man just say "I was wrong!" The oil price crash caused by the recession caught us all by surprise. But in hindsight, it is easily explainable.

I am not so sure he was wrong about Saudi production. Saudi appears to have peaked. See today's thread by Ace: Saudi Arabia's Crude Oil Production Peaked in 2005


I believe Stuart came to the conclusion that Saudi did not peak. Rather, they were caught flat-footed when the price spiked (and a recession did not immediately follow). They could increase production, but not immediately.

And now we will probably never know, with the crash in demand and all.

Again, I agree. Saudi probably could have increased their production in 2009 by bringing on new fields such as Khurais and Manifa. However their old fields are declining at a rate of 600,000 to 800,000 barrels per year. Those new fields would have kept increasing their production for only a couple of years.

Now their declines still continue. When and if they ever shift back to maximum production, in two or three years, they will not be able to top their 2005 levels even when producing flat out. Bottom line, they have peaked.


I think that the Saudis were caught flat footed, in early 2006, by a sudden drop in oil production and a rise in water production at North Ghawar--just as Shell was surprised by the sudden production decline in the Yibal Field, in Oman. I've always thought that the crash in the Saudi stock market at this time was an interesting "coincidence." This time frame also corresponded to my all time favorite Saudi statement, that they could not find buyers for all of their oil, "even their light, sweet oil." Nobody wanted the stuff.

But if they know that peak has arrived (and they should have an idea, they see the same info as we do), maybe they are keeping it in the ground on purpose for when it is worth more?

Gazprom production is directly related to consumption. If consumption keeps on dropping, Gazprom will have to cut production. With independent producers Gazprom is asking them to share the burden of lower consumption and lower their production as well.

Russian gas is not like oil. It has fixed price, so consumers dictate how much is produced. If there ever be a shortage then it will manifest itself with producers moving toward flexible price (to price some customers out and to make more money). But for right now consumption is well below potential production.

Ukraine asked and got permission to purchase less gas from Gazprom then it was contractually obligated to buy. At the moment the "problem" is with low consumption not with production.

I'm sure there's real demand destruction in Ukraine but a lot of the reduced purchase from Russia I believe is due to them running down storage (or being forced to by the behind closed doors deal)

Russian internal demand is down only a few percent last I saw (as is Europe generally) yet Gazprom production is down about 18% on latest figures. European storage is nosediving towards empty and that can only be because of insufficient supply from Russia as far as I can see. I do not believe that Europe is voluntarily allowing its storage to drain so deeply so soon after a complete cut-off in the vague hope of cheaper gas later. If US production and storage was dropping at the same rate as in Europe then I think it would be the main talking point on TOD right now.

If we accept the alternative that Russia voluntarily cut-off gas to half of Europe then Europe's stuffed anyway.

The hope of lower prices is not vague. Price is tied to oil prices with lag of 9 month (if I am not mistaken). It is very rational for all countries (not just Ukraine) to use stored gas, rather then buying gas at the highest price while knowing full well that quite soon prices will be significantly lower. Doing anything else would not make any financial sense.

So where's this extra gas going to come from when the price falls? Gazprom has already said its production for 2009 will be only 495-511bcm (and that keeps getting revised down).

As to "Doing anything else would not make any financial sense.", well these are not normal times. Europe's biggest gas distributor just froze large chunks of Europe on the direct televised orders of Prime Minister Putin no less, and, it must be assumed, could do so again at any time.

MIT Burns Rubber With New 90 MPH Solar Car

Despite this obstacle, the team's finished product has a mere 0.11 drag coefficient, compared to a drag coefficient of 0.29 for the current Toyota Prius, or 0.195 for the EV1. The car features 6 square meters (64.5 square feet) covered in 580 silicon solar cells from Sun Power. The cells generate approximately 1,200 watts -- about enough power to run a hair dryer or a couple of desktop computers.


Don't know what it will do for the size of your zucchini, or the number of miles per photon but is way cool.

That drag coeffecient is very important. Open the windows on your Prius and watch your MPG go all to heck. And I'm certain I can have the world's only 100MPH+ Honda 250 Rebel by raising the power a little, raising the gearing a little, and bettering the drag coeffecient a LOT.

Heck I may do that project, if things go well enough for me that I can save up and get a slightly bigger bike for going places. Then I'd have the Rebel "cafe racer" to show off up at Alice's Restaurant lol.

Neat as a design exercise, useless as a vehicle or a solution to anything.

"The TALF program, specifically, seems designed to perpetuate an economy that's based on consumer borrowing and spending vs. being any kind of effort to break our national addiction to debt."

Now I can go out and buy that new boat I wanted .....


"The Oil Drum? I read it for the gallows humor." :-)

Ex-Leaders at Countrywide Start Firm to Buy Bad Loans

File this one under, "Sure to make your blood boil."

CALABASAS, Calif. — Whether they deserve to be or not, Countrywide Financial and its top executives would be on most lists of those who share blame for the nation’s economic crisis. After all, the banking behemoth made risky loans to tens of thousands of Americans, helping set off a chain of events that has the economy staggering.

So it may come as a surprise that a dozen top Countrywide executives now stand to make millions from the home mortgage mess.

Stanford L. Kurland, Countrywide’s former president, and his team of former company executives have been buying up delinquent home mortgages that the government took over from other failed banks, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They get a piece of what they can collect.


Hey TS -

See my post way up above about being willing to pay three times my current taxes if that money would go to putting these bloodsuckers behind bars for good.

These parasites can't recognize that (as many others here on TOD have pointed out) rule # 1 should be don't kill the host. But they are doing that quite effectively...

I didn't read the article you linked to because I was afraid that it would indicate that they were using taxpayer supplied bailout money to fund their "entrepeneurship".

- Catskill


This is why I don't think some of us are going to make it during the crash.

It just goes along with having to many cell phones handy and having people not remember what should be important in their lives.

Sad times are coming for us all. Be warned your fellow man might not like it if you run out of the goodies found at the Burger Joints.


To be fair...she didn't call 911 because they were out of McNuggets. She called 911 because they were out of McNuggets and wouldn't refund her money. The issue was not lack of chicken nuggets, it was theft. It may not have been an emergency, but that headline is misleading.