Drumbeat: April 15, 2009

Repsol Shuts Spain Refinery Temporarily on Low Profit

(Bloomberg) -- Repsol YPF SA will close its oil refinery in Cartagena in southern Spain for an undefined length of time because of low refining profit margins as the economic slump erodes demand for fuel.

“It’s a commercial decision to stop for a bit,” Kristian Rix, a spokesman for the Madrid-based company, said today by telephone. The shutdown will be completed over the coming days, he said.

The plant accounts for about 14 percent of Repsol’s refining capacity in Spain. Waning demand for fuel has made refining less profitable. Profits from turning a barrel of crude into refined products are 44 percent lower than the second quarter of last year, according to data from BP Plc.

Peabody's 1Q results miss analysts' forecasts

ST. LOUIS – Peabody Energy Corp. said Wednesday its first-quarter profit tripled, but the showing fell short of Wall Street's expectations as the coal miner again deferred its earnings outlook for the year and cut its output target amid weak demand from steel and power plants.

Natural Resources Canada: Government of Canada Provides New Funding for Tiverton Ethanol Plant

TIVERTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire) - Ben Lobb, Member of Parliament for Huron-Bruce, on behalf of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced that the Government of Canada's ecoENERGY for Biofuels program will provide up to $14 million for GreenField's Ethanol Inc.'s facility in Tiverton.

Iraq drought hits marshes in ‘Garden of Eden’

HOR AL-HAMMAR, Iraq - A severe drought is threatening Iraq's southern marshes — the traditional site of the biblical Garden of Eden — just as the region was recovering from Saddam Hussein's draining of its lakes and swamps to punish a political rebellion.

Marshes that were coming back to life a few years ago with U.N. help are again little more than vast expanses of cracked earth. The area's thousands of inhabitants, known as Marsh Arabs, are victims of the debilitating drought that has ravaged much of Iraq and neighboring countries the last two years.

UN Defines Norway’s Maritime Borders, Adding U.K.-Size Area

(Bloomberg) -- The United Nations agreed to new borders for Norway’s continental shelf, giving the world’s fifth-biggest oil exporter resource rights in a maritime area almost as large as the U.K.

The UN’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf recommended outer borders for Norway’s continental shelf in the Barents Sea, the Arctic Sea and the Norwegian Sea, defining the Nordic country’s rights to 235,000 square kilometers (90,734 square miles) of maritime area, the Foreign Ministry said today. The recommendation addressed Norway’s 2006 request.

Non-Opec decline: the means towards a renewed bull market

Of course, in many circumstances the reason why a lot of the production is still hanging on — specifically the case for mature fields like the North Sea — is because once it’s gone it may be gone forever. That’s because mature fields are not like Opec swing producing fields which can be easily turned up or down. Reduced output impacts pressure which can be very hard to restore.

Which means if non-Opec cuts do come in any accelerated pace, you can expect the ultimate supply-squeeze generated rally many are expecting further down the line will be all the more sharper.

Suncor and Petro-Canada get U.S. approval for merger

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - U.S. antitrust authorities have approved Suncor Energy Inc's (SU.TO: Quote) C$18.4 billion ($15.2 billion) takeover of Petro-Canada (PCA.TO: Quote), a ruling that reflects the companies' relatively small U.S. operations.

The Federal Trade Commission made the announcement on Wednesday in a listing of approved deals issued several times a week.

Oil job flow turns to trickle

It's much slimmer pickings this year for grads who just last year were fielding multiple job offers with plum salaries and signing bonuses. As oil and gas prices fell amid a global economic downturn access to credit was reduced, and energy firms are slashing exploration budgets, shelving major projects and starting to lay off staff.

This year, oil and gas firms are still recruiting on campus, but the jobs and offers are fewer. And with more students spilling into the work world than ever before, the competition is much tougher.

Nigerian Militants Warn Shell of More Delta Fighting

(Bloomberg) -- The main militant group in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger River delta said Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s unit shouldn’t return to the EA oil fields because it can’t guarantee the safety of its staff.

Dominion, BP start up Indiana wind farm

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Power company Dominion Resources and oil giant BP Plc (BP.L) said on Wednesday they had started operations at a 400-megawatt wind farm in Benton County, Indiana, that will generate enough power to supply 120,000 homes.

The Fowler Ridge Wind Farm, developed by Dominion and BP's BP Wind Energy arm, is about 90 miles (150 km) northwest of Indianapolis, and could be expanded to 750 MW, the companies said.

Russia's oil output declines 1.3% to 880 mln bbls in Q1

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russia's oil output (including gas condensate) declined 1.3%, year-on-year, in January-March 2009 to 120 million metric tons (880 million barrels), the country's top statistics body said on Wednesday.

At the same time, oil output in March increased 0.5%, year-on-year, and 11.2%, month on month, the State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said.

Primary oil refining declined 1.1%, year-on-year, in January-March 2009 to 58 million metric tons (425 million barrels), Rosstat said.

Production of vehicle gasoline grew 0.5% to 9.1 million metric tons (66.7 million barrels), with diesel fuel declining 3.5% to 16.9 million metric tons (124 million barrels) and heating oil dropping 4.6% to 16.4 million metric tons (120 million barrels) in the reporting period, Rosstat said.

EIA Estimates OPEC's Oil Export Earnings at $476B in 2009

Based on projections from the EIA April 2009 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could earn $476 billion of net oil export revenues in 2009 and $598 billion in 2010.

Last year, OPEC earned $970 billion in net oil export revenues, a 42 percent increase from 2007. Saudi Arabia earned the largest share of these earnings, $287 billion, representing 30 percent of total OPEC revenues. On a per-capita basis, OPEC net oil export earning reached $2,686 in 2008, a 40 percent increase from 2007.

Natural gas production decline creates fiscal headache

CALGARY - Even more than royalties or sagging commodity prices, the Alberta government needs to be worried about falling natural gas production to fill its gaping fiscal hole, oilpatch insiders said in the wake of Tuesday’s record $4.7-billion budget deficit.

In its budget document released Tuesday, the provincial government expects resource revenue to plummet by more than half, to $6 billion in the current fiscal year from $12.3 billion in 2008-09.

Although oil prices have fallen more than $100 US a barrel from last summer’s all-time highs, the biggest hit to the provincial treasury will come from natural gas, whose revenue is expected to fall more than 40 per cent to $3.7 billion.

Qatar Energy Minister Says Oil Between $40-50/Barrel Realistic

Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah al-Attiya said on Monday that oil prices between $40 and $50 per barrel are realistic under the current global financial crisis.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum (IEF), the minister said, "We are talking about reality, so we have to be practical."

Morgan Stanley Cuts Petrobras Profit Estimates on Diesel Outlook

(Bloomberg) -- Morgan Stanley recommended that investors “take profits” in shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA as the company’s earnings may decline because of a potential cut in diesel prices.

2009 Hurricane Forecast Dampened by Cooling Waters

The team of Professors Philip Klotzbach and William Gray of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU) released their first revision to their initial forecast for the 2009 hurricane season. They now see this year as an average season, down from their prior assessment of it being an active season. The new forecast calls for 12 named storms, down from 14 in their December 10, 2008, initial forecast. These storms will produce six hurricanes and two intense ones, each category lower by one. While the number of named storms is above the 50-year average spanning 1950-2000, the number of hurricanes and intense hurricanes is in line with the historical averages for that period.

State Highway Projects Draw Low Bids

WASHINGTON -- Construction firms desperate for work are bidding 15% to 30% lower than anticipated for transportation projects funded by the federal economic-stimulus program, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Lower commodity prices and high unemployment, particularly in the construction industry, have combined to make the best pricing environment for states in at least six years, said John Horsley, AASHTO's executive director.

Drop in State Revenue May Mean Further Cuts, the M.T.A. Says

An alarmingly sharp decline in state tax revenues could further undermine the finances of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to a new projection made public on Monday. Combined with other recent forecasts of plummeting revenue, the data made it likely that, without a financial rescue from Albany, the authority might have to resort to additional service cuts or fare increases beyond the measures already proposed.

Brazil Can Protect Amazon as Crop Output Expands, Unger Says

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil can protect its Amazon rainforest and boost agricultural output by planting crops in areas now used for low-intensity ranching, Minister of Strategic Affairs Roberto Mangabeira Unger said.

“For every acre under cultivation in Brazil, there are more than four acres given over to low-intensity ranching,” Mangabeira Unger said in an interview yesterday in New York. “If we could recover even a small part of that territory, we could double the area under cultivation and triple our agricultural output in a brief time without touching a single tree.”

Shallow Science Criticized by Global Warming Experts

Willie Soon, a Harvard University astrophysicist and geophysicist with scores of peer-reviewed papers and books to his credit, said he is “embarrassed and puzzled” by the shallow science in papers asserting the Earth faces a climate crisis caused by global warming.

Soon told the second International Conference on Climate Change on March in New York City, “We have a system [of peer reviewing scientific literature] that is truly, truly appalling.”

Soon’s criticisms echoed an earlier presentation at the 2-1/2-day conference that was attended by about 700 scientists, economists, and policymakers considering the issue of “Global Warming: Was it ever really a crisis?”

Global warming guru

RealClimate blogger Gavin Schmidt says the public hungers for better and more information on climate change.

Carter’s ‘Malaise’ Speech: Conservative Manifesto?

It’s remembered as a hallmark of Democratic defeatism, but actually it was a daring statement of conservative values, Sean Scallon writes in the American Conservative.

Speaking during the energy crisis, recession and other woes of 1979, Carter (who never actually uttered the word “malaise”) acknowledged a “crisis of confidence” across the land. And so the devout Southern farmer and ex-Navy officer exhorted Americans to self-sufficiency, discipline, sacrifice, conservation, independence and “the striving for meaning and purpose beyond material wealth,” Scallon writes.

Pretty conservative stuff, he contends: “Could Russell Kirk or Richard Weaver have said it any better if they were debating Ayn Rand?”

Economic survivalists take root

When the economy started to squeeze the Wojtowicz family, they gave up vacation cruises, restaurant meals, new clothes and high-tech toys to become 21st-century homesteaders.

Now Patrick Wojtowicz, 36, his wife Melissa, 37, and daughter Gabrielle, 15, raise pigs and chickens for food on 40 acres near Alma, Mich. They're planning a garden and installing a wood furnace. They disconnected the satellite TV and radio, ditched their dishwasher and a big truck and started buying clothes at resale shops.

"As long as we can keep decreasing our bills, we can keep making less money," Patrick says. "We're not saying this is right for everybody, but it's right for us."

Hard times are creating economic survivalists such as the Wojtowicz family who are paring expenses by becoming more self-sufficient.

Reviving "almost lost" skills and preparing for tough days make people feel more in control, says Charlotte Richert, consumer sciences educator for Oklahoma State University's Extension Service in Tulsa County.

Karen Gulliver, MBA program chair at Argosy University in Eagan, Minn., expects the movement to grow as the sour economy forces people to reassess priorities. People are asking, "Do I really want to be 100% vulnerable with no self-sufficiency skills if something happens?" she says.

Oil prices could spike higher without investment

LONDON (AFP) — Oil prices could return to record highs in the long term, despite a weak demand outlook, if crude producing nations do not invest in extra capacity, energy consultancy CGES warned Tuesday.

The London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) added in a monthly report that current oil price levels of about 50 dollars per barrel would not allow for adequate investment.

"In the longer term, the world will need more oil production capacity, if a repeat of the recent damaging high-price period is to be avoided," CGES said in its latest report.

OPEC Cuts 2009 Oil Demand Forecast as World Economy Contracts

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cut its forecast for oil demand this year for an eighth successive month as the economic slowdown in the world’s biggest oil consumers worsens.

The estimate for 2009 global demand was lowered by 430,000 barrels a day to 84.18 million barrels a day, the producer group said. Demand will contract by 1.37 million barrels a day this year, or 1.6 percent. That’s slightly more than North Africa’s biggest oil supplier Algeria produces. OPEC forecast a decline of 1.2 percent last month.

“The world economic recession continues to erode oil demand growth, particularly in the U.S., Japan and China,” the group’s secretariat said in its monthly oil market report today. Demand in industrialized countries will fall this year and developing economies are “likely to see only minor growth.”

U.S. summer gasoline use seen up 1 percent: IEA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Demand for gasoline in this summer's driving season in the United States is expected to rise an anemic 1 percent, which will help to keep the lid on fuel costs, the Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

Shell declares force majeure on Nigeria Bonny exports

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell said on Wednesday its Nigerian joint venture has declared force majeure on the country's Bonny Light crude oil exports in April and May.

This came as result of the recent production shut-in from fire on Bomu manifold on the Trans Niger Pipeline. The force majeure came into effect from noon (1100 GMT) on April 14.

Nigerian militants warn of more clashes in oil delta

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's main militant group warned on Wednesday of further clashes with the military in the oil-producing Niger Delta and said it had moved two British hostages "out of harm's way" in anticipation of unrest.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it would "join the fray" between the military joint task force and youths who it said were protesting against oil giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) in the southern state of Bayelsa.

Iraqi VP to discuss Total oil deal in Paris

PARIS (AFP) – Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi said Tuesday he will meet executives from the French energy giant Total to discuss a multi-billion dollar oil deal during a working visit to France.

Briefing journalists in Paris on the first day of a three-day visit, Abdel Mahdi and senior Iraqi officials said they hoped to attract French investment in the key oil production sector, devastated by war and neglect.

Sinopec to Start New Capacity at Tianjin Refinery in September

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s largest refiner, plans to utilize new capacity at an oil- processing plant in Tianjin city on a trial basis in September as demand for fuel increases in northern China.

Annual capacity will triple to 15 million metric tons, or 300,000 barrels a day, from 5 million tons now, Tian Lihua, a spokeswoman at the plant, said by telephone from Tianjin today.

WWF Scotland boss calls for energy wasters to be prosecuted

Wasting energy is an "anti-social act" that should be viewed in the same way as drink-driving, a leading environmentalist said today.

The anti-oil sands industry

Environmental pressure groups have sprouted up across the country in an effort to undermine Canada's oil sands industry. They portray themselves as righteous defenders of the good, protecting Canadians from the forces of greed and exploitation. But a closer look at these groups reveals a sobering truth: the movement is as much an "industry" as any other and is not above manipulating of science and public opinion to achieve its objectives.

Consumption, Not Population Is Our Main Environmental Threat

Let's challenge the convenient notion that "over-consumers" in rich countries can blame "over-breeders" in distant lands.

Recession fueling right-wing extremism, U.S. says

MIAMI (Reuters) - Right-wing extremists in the United States are gaining new recruits by exploiting fears about the economy and the election of the first black U.S. president, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a report to law enforcement officials.

Most Americans OK with Big Government, at least for now

WASHINGTON — Most Americans say they're glad Big Government is back to help through hard times. But they aren't sure they want it to stay.

The Obama administration, trying to reverse the economy's meltdown and prevent it from happening again, is redefining the role of the federal government in the economy — spending trillions of dollars, building new regulatory systems for financial institutions and effectively taking over a major part of the automobile industry.

Chrysler's debt could derail Fiat deal, bailout funds

DETROIT — With the clock ticking to sign a merger deal with Italian automaker Fiat, Chrysler is struggling to shed a majority of its debt by getting the holders to take shares in trade.

It's a stumbling block that could delay or derail the proposed partnership, which the government has ordered completed by May 1. If Chrysler can't meet that deadline, the government has said, it will get no more bailout money. That likely would push it into filing Chapter 11.

Eleven potential sites for new UK build

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has named eleven sites that could be potential hosts to new nuclear power stations in the UK. All the sites have been vetted to ensure they credible and could be home to an operational plant by 2025.

Finding the low-carbon diet: Clearly, we cannot keep eating this way

When you hear the words "peak oil," the long lines at gas pumps during the energy crisis in the 1970s may spring to mind. However, the continuous decrease in the world's oil reserves more likely will result in longer bread lines than gas lines.

Collectively, we Americans eat almost as much fossil fuel as we burn in our automobiles. American agriculture directly accounts for 17 percent of our energy use, which is the equivalent of 400 gallons of oil consumed by every man, woman and child per year, according to 1994 statistics.

'Carrot City' exhibit highlights innovation and growth in urban agriculture

TORONTO — Inuvik is a long way from 50 Cent's hometown of Queens, N.Y, but the hip-hop mogul shares something in common with people in the Northwest Territories community - helping citizens to flex their green thumbs.

Inuvik residents and the award-winning rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, have worked to establish or refurbish community gardens in their respective hometowns where locals can grow their own food.

Likely EPA Decision A 'Game Changer' For Climate Policy?

Big Business, greens and lawmakers are all bracing for an announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency this week on regulating greenhouse gases.

A declaration is widely expected but not officially scheduled. Experts predict it will assert the federal government's right to restrict emissions in the name of health.

Joe Mendelson, global warming policy director for the National Wildlife Federation, said the expected announcement would be a "game changer" for climate policy.

Carbon Offset Investments Stalling

WASHINGTON (OneWorld.net) - Global investments in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions are falling this year and will likely continue to decline as countries wait to negotiate a new climate change treaty in December.

Warming pushes birds to migrate farther

PARIS (AFP) – Climate change will force bone-weary birds migrating to Europe from Africa to log extra mileage, with possibly devastating consequences, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The annual voyage of some species, which fly north in search of food and suitable climes, could increase by as much as 400 kilometres (250 miles), the research found.

Energy from spam could power 2.4 million homes

The average business email user is responsible for 131kg of CO2 per year in email-related emissions, with 22 per cent spam related, according to a new report.

McAfee’s ‘Carbon Footprint of Spam’ equated the energy used by spammers to the emissions that resulted if every user burned an extra 3.3 gallons of gasoline each year.

It also said that the total energy used by spammers totalled 33 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh), which could power 2.4 million homes for a year.

Study: Worst warming impacts avoidable if...

WASHINGTON - So what would the world's temperatures, and the planet, look like in 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continued as is? And if they were cut by 70 percent?

Researchers at a well-known climate center asked those questions and used a computer model to conclude that it'd be catastrophic if unchecked, but manageable if the world could reduce gases by that much.

RE: "Recession fueling right-wing extremism" article topside

This is why I keep harping on the need for local communities to be organizing some sort of militia or police auxiliary under official auspices, rather than attempting some sort of DIY ad hoc effort. There are just too many right-wing crazies out there with an agenda. There are plenty of decent, law-abiding citizens out there that can see the potential coming for trouble that might overwhelm the regular police forces, and want to be prepared to do something to help protect their entire community. Unfortunately, unless the local governing officials step up and place such an effort under their authority and command, these things will inevitably become magnets for the worst sort of right-wing loonies, ready to hijack the effort for their own warped purposes.

I have written about militias often here, but I am stating for the record that I have absolutely zero interest in being involved in any such thing that does not operate under the authority and command of a local government.

Sadly, that puts the new militia directly into the hands of the right wing authoritarians and business interests that own the various levels of "government" in the US. Hardly a peep from the Governors of the states when the Feds took over the Guard. Your militia - in the hands of the "authorities" - will likely end up as an irregular paramilitary adjunct to the police. Guys (mostly) with extensions out looking for kicks.

cfm in Gray, ME

That might be prudent, but isn't the first rule of war in one of those classic Strategy Texts from Asia an admonition to 'Undermine the enemy's will to fight' ?

Just Arming up on 'both' sides is merely begging for that fight. It is vitally important to create and enhance messages and actions in your communities that give people useful things to work on together to rebuild functional local systems so that people aren't driven into that desperate corner.

We still have some gas in our tanks.. it's increasingly critical to decide well where we use it to drive towards.


"Scott for scientific method, Amundsen for speed and efficiency but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton."

From William Lind, the Foreign mirrors the Domestic:

"What are the implications of these three observations? Militarily, they portend continued failure and defeat. We will fail to get out of Iraq before the next phase of that war begins, or, worse, an Israeli attack on Iran costs us the army we have in Iraq. We will be defeated in Afghanistan, because we will refuse to scale our strategic objectives to what is possible and we will continue to alienate the population with our firepower-intensive way of war. We will push Pakistan over the brink into disintegration, which will be a strategic catastrophe of the first order. We will ignore the disintegration of the state in Mexico, while importing Mexico’s disorder through our ineffective border controls. We will not even be able to stop Somali pirates. What does it say about us when the whole nation rejoices because the U.S. Navy, the most powerful navy on earth, defeated four Somali teenagers?

It does not end with this...

These foreign policy failures and military defeats – or even more embarrassing "victories" – become just two of a larger series of crises, including the economic crisis (depression followed by runaway inflation), foreign exchange crisis (collapse of the dollar), political crisis (no one in the Establishment knows what to do, but the Establishment offers the voters no alternative to itself), energy crisis, etc. Together, these discrete crises snowball into a systemic crisis, which is what happens when the outside world demands greater change than the political system permits. At that point, the political system collapses and is replaced by something else. In the old days, it meant a change of dynasty. What might it mean today? My guess is a radical devolution, at the conclusion of which life is once again local."


Cascading Systems Failure now underway.

JOURNAL: Taleb's 10 Rules to reduce financial Black Swans
Nassim Taleb (the author of The Black Swan) has published 10 rules to reduce the dynamic instability of the global financial system. Nothing on this list will be implemented.


Its not that bad, Iraq is getting better month by month and the Somali pirate problem both has a not very expensive and brutal solution and probably also a more humanitarian one. The brutal one is arming the civilian ships and bombing the pirate bases and with the cash flow cut off the pirates will be unable to win an arms race. That might kill most of the hostages and scores of civilians and would require changes in how civilan vessels are registered and run but it would end the problem. A humanitarian solution could be based on regulating and protecting the fishery to give the Somali a reasonable income and then they can build an economy etc from that. A desperate economy would probably force the first solution and I hope for something humane even if it costs more.

but I am stating for the record that I have absolutely zero interest in being involved in any such thing that does not operate under the authority and command of a local government.

Is FedGov local? How about StateGov?

Sheriff of the County - start of local for you?

I'm open minded about that, and not particularly concerned about it. I am more concerned that there be some sort of authority and command over any "militia" from SOME level of government, rather than it being entirely a DIY thing.

The FedGov already has a military, and the State and Fed govs share authority over the NG. Militias in the US historic context have been local affairs.

I know that in my state - NC - our laws provide for the formation of a "state guard" if the need exceeds what the NG can cover (if they are federalized and shipped overseas, for example). All adult citizens, including me, supposedly belong to this state guard, but it is at present inactive. I suppose it would be a very simple matter for the Governor to issue a proclamation to activate the state guard, and to authorize local police and sheriff forces to organize and command their local units. So, the legal framework is there, it is just a matter of it being activated on a timely basis.

WNC Observer -

The recent Department of Homeland Security warning about the growing danger from 'right-wing extremists' has less to do with a real threat and more to do with laying the groundwork that will enable the government to paint any future civil unrest as the work of a bunch of right-wing loonies rather than a manifestation of legitimate grievances by ordinary Americans.

Expect more of the same in coming months. Should, for example, some mentally unstable unemployed and foreclosed father-of-four lose it all and go on a shooting rampage at the office of his former employer, he will of course be somehow linked to right-wing extremists. Should a crowd of angry investors storm and burn down some financial company's headquarters building, it will of course be the work of right-wing extremists. Accordingly, any emergency police-state actions such as declaring martial law or activating detention centers will be to protect the people from right-wing extremists.

This is not to say that right-wing extremists don't exist. They do, but what the government can NEVER admit is that there also exists a growing body of decent ordinary law-abiding people who feel they have been screwed by the government and who are getting in an increasingly ugly mood.

When it comes to creating boogymen, it seems that Democratic administrations prefer right-wing extremists as their hate object, whereas Republicans prefer Muslim fundamentalists. I guess one works just as well as the other. Come to think of it, there's no reason you can't use both: one to justify a domestic police state and the other to justify continued American imperialism.

My nightmare scenario (and there are multiple versions of this) is what happens when the cities are all in flames, the FedGov and state govs are overwhelmed, and masses of refugees (or worse) are streaming out of the cities to "head to the hills", i.e., where I live. In that scenario, our local police and sheriff forces WILL NOT be able "to handle it" on their own. The time for them to ask for the help of our local citizenry is before it gets to this point. That's MY version of "homeland security"; I don't see anything right-wing or left-wing about it. The stronger a security position into which our local community can place itself, the better possitioned it is to actually help unfortunate refugees as well as our own people instead of things quickly escallating out of control into something ugly.

Now, if it is the US Army itself heading to the hills on a less than helpful mission, that is a different scenario. I can see why they would not want there to be anything even remotely like a militia around. On the other hand, I don't think that any civilian militia would have a prayer of a chance against well-armed and well-trained regulars anyway; any milita under local government command would be ordered to stand down, if those in command were sane. Thus, I see this as a non-issue that is only of concern to people of the paranoid sort, either in or out of government.

On the other hand, I don't think that any civilian militia would have a prayer of a chance against well-armed and well-trained regulars anyway; any milita under local government command would be ordered to stand down, if those in command were sane.

I don't see this happening at all. I mean no disrespect for our past and present service people but the military has a rotten record when it comes to this type of "battle". It is highly likely that the military would be driven back to its enclaves using fourth gen warfare...or even a reading of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Remember how the army had to stop a ME war game a few years ago when Von Ripper of the opposing side didn't play by the rules.

No, I believe people would fight on.


Guys: If this is plausible, then why hasn't anything happened in Flint, Detroit,Cleveland,Buffalo or a number of other places? People either move on or take it. IMHO the press release is just about preparing the sheep for even more intrusion (an example would be guv takeover of 401Ks-forcing the public into Treasurys). Internet controls are probably coming but the public could care less.

The people take it until they can't anymore. We haven't reached that point yet for most people, and I don't think we will for at least a couple years. Much, much more suffering needs to occur yet.

There is a lot of ex-mil in the civilian population. Some will side with the Government, some will side with the people. Sympathies within the standing military will also be split. The fulcrum of those sympathies will depend entirely upon how repressive the Government decides to try to be. At some point the military will likely refuse to fire upon civilians. End of government.

Also if, as likely, this takes the better part of five to twenty years to play out I can imagine the military being much less well funded due to the economic constraints. Remember how quickly US military readiness fell off in the wake of the Vietnam war.

Civil War and revolution are very easy to imagine. Here. In the USA.

Four years ago if I had written something like that I would have checked myself into a mental institution.

I suspect it's going to be a lot longer than a couple of years.

I was reading this article, about how downtrodden airline passengers have become.

“All in all, flying is a psychologically trying experience: minimal control, physical discomfort, sublimation of basic needs like food, water and restroom use. Expectations drive our experience,” Durvasula said. “Over the last eight years, most of us have re-calibrated our expectations through successive approximations. We all (initially) said we would fight to the death if they charged us for food, blankets, exit row seats or checked bags. Now we meekly fork over our cash for the very same plane food we were insulted by when it was free.”

If it happens overnight, yes, people would be mad and fight back. But if it happens slowly, over years and decades...we'll put up with it.

An excellent observation. I suspect we all accept much more in (fill in your blank) than we would have dreamed possible a decade ago.

BTW Leanan, you do great work. Must suck pond-water to chronicle the Apocalypse.

I quite agree with your catabolic collapse theory. It's just that I think in the end it may have both the appearance of a fast crash and catabolic collapse. Twenty-thiry years can go by pretty quickly, it's hard for me to believe I graduated HS in 1980!

Where I disagree with Stoneleigh and Illargi is that I think they are married to the 1930s depression as a blueprint for what to expect a bit too much. What we face is going to be way, way, way worse than that. The best historical analog that I can find would be more like the French Revolution/Napoleonic period from a bit before 1789 to 1813. This period basically had it all: revolution, economic collapse, hyper-inflation, world war, civil war, and world war again. I think that the next twenty-thirty years will look a lot like that, though not necessarily in that order. We will have different political institutions, different borders, different nations, and different economic arrangements, and likely a reduced population. That part will be the fast crash.

After that it depends on the nature of all those new institutions. Will they be forward looking enough to even try to address population issues, sustainable energy issues, ecological holocaust issues? If not then given another hundred years or two we will most certainly be in a new dark age, if we survive at all.

Or there is another possible response.

I don't put up with it wrt airline travel, but I don't put up a fight, either. I simply have decided to arrange my life in such a way that I no longer need to fly; I refuse to subject myself to the treatment airlines dish out to their passengers, so I refuse to be a passenger - period.

Same thing with banks. Yes, I am mad as hell at them, and I am not going "to put up with it" any more. Neither am I going to be rioting in the streets and smashing their windows. I simply refuse to deal with them any more. I now do all my banking through my credit union.

Same thing with "Wall Street" and the corporate CEOs feeding at the government trough. I'm not going to put up with that, either, but neither am I rioting in the streets. Instead, I simply have divested my portfolio of all stocks, and shall not be placing my investments in stocks or entrusting my money to those who deal in stocks again.

There are a variety of companies that have treated me unacceptably in the past. I do not "put up with it". I maintain a list, I do not forget, and I do not do business with those companies again.

Many commentators have lamented the way in which suburban mega-malls have destroyed the viability of traditional downtown shopping districts dominated by locally-owned independent businesses. I don't "put up with it", I simply refuse to any longer do any shopping at a mall. I can't remember when the last time was that I set foot in one, and do not plan to do so again.

I am increasingly finding places where my life intersects with the economy in ways that I no longer want "to put up with", but where I am able to simply disengage and drop out. There are a lot more that I am seriously working on. The bottom line is that corporate America has gotten me royally pissed off, and I am bound and determined to set about doing everything I can to make myself just about as much of the exact opposite of a loyal customer as is humanly possible.

I have been saying that the 21st century is going to be one long exercise in giving up things. Much of that is going to be by necessity. However, much of it could also be people standing up for themselves and realizing that there are things like human dignity that are more important than the junk that the corporations are pushing.


I do more or less the same thing, and I've found that simply avoiding companies that tick me off makes for a much more relaxing and enjoyable life.

Well said WNC!

What you wrote is a good basis for a "Consumer Manifesto".

I maintain a list, I do not forget, and I do not do business with those companies again.


It should be noted that any consumer that is badly treated and then brings it to the attention of management is also doing the company's quality control for free.

A citizen votes every four years, a consumer votes every time he enters a store.

From today's NYT:


Man tries to use first class restroom for "emergency", gets arrested.

Sure. Just like when the Dept of Energy under Cheney/Bush (April 2001) published the report LEFT-WING EXTREMISM: The Current Threat (pdf). Except the Left Wing Extremists aren't quite as paranoid as the right. Paranoid, yes, but not advocating as staffers on broadcast news that people rise up and revolt before it's too late.


A very timely post was made by Bart at EB two days ago. It lists a series of links to documentaries that are very on-topic.


"The power of Nightmares" is very insightful.

As good as they all are, it begs the question; How does one break through the rhetoric and dis-information so more than just a small percentage of the people call bullshit?

If we haven't figured out that we are being lied to by now, I doubt we ever will.

I think the largest terror attack prior to 9/11 was perpetrated by none other than Tim McVeigh. It remains to be seen what well trained, well armed Iraq veterans will be capable of achieving? It is coming up on some anniversaries, is it not?

Greg Hunter -

Please keep in mind that one major job opportunity for Iraq veterans is becoming a cop. Police forces, all denials to the contrary, are quasi-military entities and for that reason just love to hire ex military people. (Ever notice how almost every cop you see under the age of 40 has a military style buzz cut? Coincidence?)

So, that guy who was once patrolling the streets of Baghdad and who was trained to shoot those towel-heads first and ask questions later might now be making traffic stops and participating in swat team operations, where he can make full use of his military training.

Unfortunately, there is a natural selection process at work here. People who are not easily indoctrinated either don't join the military, or if they do, do poorly once they are in. On the other hand, those with little individuality are easily trained to do what they are told and have little problem in following orders, no matter how atrocious they might be. Trained dogs. That is why I fully believe that many in the National Guard or ex military people in the police would have few qualms about shooting fellow Americans if ordered to do so. The historic precedence for this type of behavior is overwhelming. I think only a small minority would refuse such orders, and those would be quickly dealt with.

The militarization of civilian policing is growing. Coming to a neighborhood near you (if it ain't there already)!


Your thesis has a ring of truthiness, but I'd love to see some data/statistics to confirm that local law enforcement is significantly accomplished by individuals with a military background.

They killed the last guy that tried to publish a study like that so good luck :)

I don't think local militias are either viable or a good idea. genning up on guerilla tactics is a good idea though.

Re: Study: Worst warming impacts avoidable if ...

It would be great if the PR types out there would release their news blurbs AFTER a report is published. According to this MSNBC story, the report mentioned won't be published until next week.

E. Swanson

What can one expect from a media culture that now tries to predict elections a year ahead of time?.. and tries to predict candidates even further into the future?

Don't forget "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars". This morning's radio news which hit my ear at 7 AM included a comment about the latest problem for one of the Dancing Guys. It's just another distraction as we slide toward Idiocracy. Also, the CEO of our local EMC was quoted as warning about increasing rates for electricity which would result from efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, presumably the Cap-and-Trade proposals...

E. Swanson

After some further digging, I found the paper in the online preprint section of the AGU. Here's the reference:

Washington, W. M., R. Knutti, G. A. Meehl, H. Teng, C. Tebaldi, D. Lawrence, L. Buja, and W. G. Strand (2009), How much climate change can be avoided by mitigation?, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL037074, in press.

I might get the time to read it after I finish with my taxes...

E. Swanson

You're paying taxes?

Your criminal government thanks you.

Without taxes there would be no roads, no bridges, no schools, no firemen, no policemen, no medical research, and no government services of any kind. There would be only lawlessness and disorder. The criminals would reign supreme. As Thomas Hobbs put it, without government life would be; "poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

People who don't pay taxes are freeloading off those who do. They are accepting government services they don't pay for. They are stealing from those who do pay their fair share of taxes. Are you a freeloader? If so then you are basically a criminal.

Ron P.

Of course we have to pay taxes. The ONLY question is how much.
In France and Germany for ex. you are paying a tax rate of roughly 53%, earning 70'000 Euros or more per annum. That means, you are working for the state until the beginning of July of each year. Not very motivating to say the least.
And then you have a VAT tax of 20%... etc. etc.

The Italian way to reduce paying taxes is cash, cash and again cash.
I personally understand fully this behaviour.

Yes, Thank you kind sir, you keep paying thru the nose like a good servant of the government. Because that is what you have become in the US. The criminals in your government ('Lil Timmy G. is just one of thousands)love their yachts and summer houses on the beach. So do their friends and relatives.

If you read between the lines just a bit on the MSM, what is starting to happen is a groundswell of revolt. As it should be. 95% of your stolen "tax" is wasted. Power to the People!!

Wake up. Or just keep sending your check........

their fair share

Therein lies the rub. Protesting by not paying taxes is dangerous to one's freedom of movement, but understandable given the despicable things done with our tax dollars.

Some have suggested the best way to bring about the low energy and low carbon lifestyle changes we need is to reduce taxes paid by simply dropping out of the economy.

Someone posted, however, that even barter is taxed... goin' and comin', I tell you.

People who don't pay taxes are freeloading off those who do.

I'm going to assume you mean those who are involved in tax evasion?

A note on European taxes vs. US: I will repeat my comment of a couple I knew from Sweden (I think) who added up all the various types of taxes and found them equal in the US and Sweden. However, the Swedes get a hell of a lot more for their money.


CCPO - check your email


A study of history will reveal that there were many societies with no taxes, no fireman, no policemen and no government services of any kind. These societies were not subject to lawlessness and disorder. In fact the US was modeled after one of those societies - the Iroquois Confederacy.

You may argue that these were not industrial societies and therefore this are not appropriate models. I would argue that what we call "industrial society" does not have long to survive and we may be wise to research how prior societies comported themselves. But we will not do that. We will just collapse in a heap of smoky rubble and something else will arise in our place.

A study of history will reveal that there were many societies with no taxes, no fireman, no policemen and no government services of any kind. These societies were not subject to lawlessness and disorder. In fact the US was modeled after one of those societies - the Iroquois Confederacy.

The above is the usual ahistorical romanticism of utopian anarchism.

Of course, the Iriquois and every other tribe had equivalents to taxes, government, armies, etc.. What was the the tribal chief but a "government"? Those who violated the norms of the tribe where subject to punishment including death or banishment (pretty much the same thing). Tribal societies shared almost everything, so you could argue that the effective tax rate was 100%.

60 seconds with wikipedia gives
"The union of nations was established prior to major European contact, complete with a constitution known as the Gayanashagowa (or "Great Law of Peace"), with the help of a memory device in the form of special beads called wampum that have inherent spiritual value (wampum has been inaccurately compared to money in other cultures). Most anthropologists have traditionally speculated that this constitution was created between the middle 15th and early 17th centuries. However, recent archaeological studies have suggested the accuracy of the account found in oral tradition, which argues that the federation was formed around August 31, 1142, based on a coinciding solar eclipse.[7]

According to legend, an evil Onondaga chieftain named Tadodaho was the last to be converted to the ways of peace by The Great Peacemaker and Ayonwentah and became the spiritual leader of the Haudenosaunee.[8] This event is said to have occurred at Onondaga Lake near Syracuse, New York. The title Tadodaho is still used for the league's spiritual leader, the fiftieth chief, who sits with the Onondaga in council, but is the only one of the fifty chosen by the entire Haudenosaunee people. The current Tadodaho is Sid Hill of the Onondaga Nation.

In Reflections in Bullough's Pond, historian Diana Muir argues that the pre-contact Iriquois were an imperialist, expansionist culture whose possession of the corn/beans/squash agricultural complex enabled them to support a large, warlike population that was in the process of conquering Algonquian peoples. Muir uses archaeological data to argue that the Iroquois expansion onto Algonquian lands was checked by the Algonquian adoption of agriculture enabling them to support populations large enough to include a body of warriors that could hold back the threat of Iroquois conquest.[9]"

There would also be no Reaper drones, Hellfire missiles, tanks, F-16s, and countless other instruments of destruction. I'd gladly do without all those government "services".

I'd gladly do without all those government "services".

And without taxes you would also do without police or fire protection. Here is what happened to Montreal when they were without police of fire protection for just 16 hours.

"When law enforcement vanishes, all manner of violence breaks out: looting, settling old scores, ethnic cleansing, and petty warfare among gangs, warlords, and mafias. This was obvious in the remnants of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and parts of Africa in the 1990s, but can also happen in countries with long tradition of civility. As young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin's anarchism. I laughed off my parents' argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that had competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist)."

Steven Pinker, "The Blank Slate" page 331.

Don't believe it. Then check out this CBC video:
Montreal's 'night of terror'

Ron P.

And do you think it will be any different when the cities in the US burn, after the food and fuel run short? There will be no safety in the cities. One can wish and pray for your government to come to the rescue, as I'm sure they will, just like they did in the Kentucky ice storm recently...Ha!

Do you think they can control 25 cities at once? how about 10? They couldn't even stop the LA King riots for three days when the people took to the streets. Multiply that by a factor of 1000 and see where we are.

Continue to send all your money to the current criminal government, ask them to send you a statement of the services they provide for it.....that and a dollar will get you a cheeseburger at Micky D's....

Only with a complete collapse, will anything change in the mindset of so many like yourself. The problem is the government, and the people that blindly follow like a slave to power.

Wake up...Only with the Black Panthers, and other groups of Brothers willing to fight, was it possible for Brother King to achieve his stature. On the backs of many.....

And do you think it will be any different when the cities in the US burn, after the food and fuel run short?

That ain't the flipping point Juglans. We are not even discussing what will happen after the collapse. We are talking about Taxes Now! This is what it would be like right now with no police protection. When there is no police all hell breaks loose.

Somalia has no police. Warlords rule. That is what it would be like if we had no government. And that may be what it will be like after the collapse. But don't try to say that because the government will eventually collapse that we need no taxes right now.

Enjoy life while you can. Pay your taxes and respect the police now. After the collapse you will wish for the good old days when we had to pay our taxes.

Ron P.

Sorry, did'nt mean to offend. You must be a Cop or government employee.

It is, all about not being a slave to TPTB. Wacked out taxes and debt burden is modern day slavery. When the slaves are free they will pay back their former masters.

That's the way it has been done for thousands of years.

When there is no police all hell breaks loose.

Oh, come on, Ron. You're way overboard here. These kinds of blanket statements serve no one. When neighbors don't watch out for neighbors, you're right. There are lots of places that either 1. have low crime because of good neighbors and/or 2. have low crime because neighbors banded together and drove crime out.

Even more importantly, the crime that really affects the structure and health of society is that for which police have no impact. See Enron, the current bailouts, etc.

The state ain't all. In fact, the state is nothing. It's a concept. We are the state and we, when we choose, call the shots.

I've no problem with taxes well spent. I have a lot of problems with taxes badly spent. I have even more problems with taxes inequitably gathered and badly spent.

I pay my taxes because I don't want to go to jail. That doesn't mean the taxes are just and should not be protested. We need massive changes in the tax code. However, my protest will be in the form Nigra suggests: get to the level of having to pay little, if any. Further, I hope to help slowly move our society to a sustainable, steady-state sort of economy within a far more cooperative social structure - both of which should either greatly reduce the need for taxes or make the tax system far more equitable and expenditures much more useful to society.


Oh, come on, Ron. You're way overboard here. These kinds of blanket statements serve no one. When neighbors don't watch out for neighbors, you're right. There are lots of places that either 1. have low crime because of good neighbors and/or 2. have low crime because neighbors banded together and drove crime out.

CCPO, apparently you have not bothered to read this entire thread. I am not talking about just when the police are not around and if your neighbor sees anything he can pick up the phone and call the police. I am talking about when there is no police to call!

Read the Montreal story. The exact same thing would happen in any city in America if there were no police. I don't mean just not crusing the neighborhood, I mean not anywhere because they do not exist! Looters will loot your store even if you are standing there trying to stop them. They will because they know there are no consequences to crime if the police do not exist.

Goog God CCPO, why do you think we have police? Why do you think we have jails and prisons if all we need are good neighbors? Use a little common sense here!

Ron P.

Guess I better comment on this, against my better judgment.

Yes for about two weeks,maybe a bit longer we saw not a trace of any federal involvement.
It was rather late in the game that they declared us a Federal Diaster and for my part I wish they hadn't.

What then happened? A gang of Humvees with mostly kids driving them. Hanging out at any convience store that was open and trying to swagger around pretending to be important. A sick joke.

When someone asked them to pickup a chainsaw? The word was that they said "we are not checked out on chainsaws".

So what did they really do? Went around jerking meters off meter bases at everyone's place. I got mine myself and hid it. Others did the same.

That was the sum total. Finally they left. Oh..once I saw a stack of 3 gal kerosene containers being handed out for one or two days. I drove to the line but they were doing this big ID check and writing shit down so I pulled out of the line(me and one other car was the line). Don't need no monkey business like that.

The other thing the USA gobermint did was send money. This gave a lot of mexicans some real pocket change and resulted in a lot of trees being needlessly cut down. Just to fill quotas and the more hauled off then the more these people made.

By the time all this started after about two weeks 'we the people' had already cleared all our roads , put up our own generators or just hunkered down and did what we had to do,helping each other and those who needed it. The FEDS helped not one bit in this area. Not that I saw. Far as I know they didn't even send a spokesperson. Funny that a lot of the real work was done by local churches. Yep,,religious folks. Fundamentalist rightwing somewhat,conserative like, Christians. Except my own church which I was ashamed of and where we had to go help the preacher who apparently was helpless to do aught but sit on his ass and wait. But the others were great. Housed workers, cooked meals, put up cots and made sleeping arrangements.

And most of all many churches from far far away came to town and helped actual real people for no pay. From as far away as S. Carolina. This was heartwarming to me. Everyone else did it for money.

So a shit load of money went to someone. Not sure who. Yet we paid a price with wanton destruction and its still going on as I speak.

For my part it was almost worse that the storm.

Also this gave the BigAgFarmers a chance to demolish more trees and fence rows and get some of it paid for by the gubbermint.

A travesty. How was Katrina and NOLA any different?

Seems it took our governor several days to get a chopper off the ground to come see. Before that it was apparently all chatter and bullshit.

I have little faith in governments. Be it local or federal.
If you can't take care of yourself and family? Your in trouble.

I know of no citizen who got anything. Money was funneled to something I guess but I am at a loss at to just what.

Its like DHS made local governments put up new radio towers and antennas. Forced all the services to go to digial and encrypted communications. Now we have no idea what is transpiring. All the scanners that folks have to know will pick up nothing. Great move ExLax. Great one. Shows real thought processes.

There is a crime wave in your area of the county? You only know when a neighbor tells you he has been ripped off. Like happened 5 days ago just up the road from me.

I was leaving just 2 hours ago for a Tea Party and spied a strange car with two guys casing out my driveway, the next gravel road, driving down it, coming back out and slowly watching everything. It was a white over tan. I spoke to my neighbor about it and he said the guy up the road a piece had a white car just rob the house up the hill.

So I didn't get to go to the TEA party. Had to atay and watch my place. Then be called a 'right wing extremist' by someone in charge of DHS. Sheesshhhh.

Like I said. We are now partially blind. Only one sheriff for the whole county. I just love it when a stupid ass plan comes to pass!!!!
I just F(*)))) love it!

Airdale-I do not give permission for anyone to post my comments elsewhere on the net. Unless they ask first and I agree.Agree for just the one post in question.

I posted the above with some trepidation.

Yet I felt I had to state it as I saw it. Others may have seen differently. I am sure the local government people did all they could
and responded as well as they were able.

How they felt about the Federal involvement I am not sure.

Seems everyone would prefer to have all the trees removed and just blacktop and concrete everything over. There are few conservationists here in the rural farming areas anymore that I am aware of except possibly two or three.

The money here is in farming. The farmers are doing the dance that the Big Biz,Big Chem, Big Seed,Big Gov and other biggies are calling the dance to and putting up the music for.
The market,the market and then the market..That seems to be all that matters anymore(commodity markets that is).

We are traveling far far from our roots and our heritages. We are drinking that KoolAid I hear mentioned so much hereabouts.

TPTB seem to be the ones mixing the brew. Big Biz is right in there with the dippers.

By the time all this wrings out and the cityfolken and suburbanfolken decide to head to the outback for some really nice sustainable living? Might not be too much left. Dead soil. Weeds rampant and out of control. Water shot. Climate ..not good.Not much firewood left..... etc,etc,yada,yada and yadadado.

Airdale-back to my silent running

You have obviously never lived in, or even visited, Montreal. This is a quiet afternoon. When I was there one crossed the street when you came to a mailbox as they were in the habit of exploding unexpectedly. Machine Gun Molly was making regular withdrawals from the downtown banks and machine gun fire was not uncommon. The FLQ was kidnapping and executing various politicos until finally the Government sent in the troops. This really deadened the spirit of the place. Still its a great city. You need to learn Gallic sang froide. If you don't know it Montreal will teach you!!

Well what do you expect when a heavily suppressed populace suddenly has the lid taken off ! - There are many examples of tribal existence that don't have a "police" or "state" as we know it and live good lives.

Just curious if anyone did any calculations:

If all human activity were to suddenly cease, what would atmospheric CO2 levels stabilize at?

How much CO2 would the forests take up as they regrow and at what level would oceans stabilize/enter equlibrium with the atmosphere?

If all human activity were to suddenly cease, what would atmospheric CO2 levels stabilize at?


April 13th, 2009

What is the best, most accurate soundbite for climate science advocates asked about projected climate impacts on this country by 2100 assuming we stay on business-as-usual emissions — according to the latest science?

I suggest some version of

On our current emissions path we are projected to warm most of the United States 10 - 15°F by 2100, with sea level rise of 5 feet or higher, the U.S. Southwest a permanent Dust Bowl, half or more species extinct, and much of the ocean a hot, acidic dead zone.

I say that, of course, because that is what the latest science says, as I document at length with links to the literature here: An introduction to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water.

What will global warming look like? Scientists point to Australia


To even hope for success, we would need to –

a) reduce human population dramatically;
b) massively restrict economic and industrial activity on a global scale;
c) reduce the personal global footprint of 7 billion humans to the level of African villagers;
d) and finally, somehow reverse the damage we’ve already done and stop the positive feedback loops already set in motion (and there is almost no evidence we can actually do this last step).

And this is why “nothing” will happen, because we will NEVER willingly do this to ourselves. Not a chance. No way, no how, you will NEVER see this and neither will your kids. There is nothing in our makeup as humans that will put the sacrifice of self, civilization, comfort and what we erroneously call “hope” (just another way of saying “things will get better”) ahead of us (me). Me always comes first, always has and always will.

Therefore, what you will actually live to see (for a short while) is catastrophic collapse on a global scale. This is the only possible outcome there is despite all the rhetoric you will read of engineering a solution.

Complex systems do not like debt-Taleb

Oh, and to answer your question of immediate cessation of human activity, it will take something like 50-100 years at the minimum to keep to a 1.5C rise-SWAG


"early and rapid decline emissions --47% decrease in emissions== 2.1-2.8C rise in global temperature by 2100"


Hadley Center: “Catastrophic” 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path

Dr. Vicky Pope, head of climate change predictions at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, writes in the UK Times that

In a worst-case scenario, where no action is taken to check the rise in Greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures would most likely rise by more than 5°C by the end of the century.

It may be “a worst-case scenario” for rational people like her, but right now even Hadley understands it is better described as the “business-as-usual” case."

And Half Life is critical here. And never talked about.

Along with Leptokurtic Distribution and the Fat Tail
Shark Fin Non Linear Event which ALWAYS happens on the

And of course the H/T to:


And this is why “nothing” will happen, because we will NEVER willingly do this to ourselves. Not a chance. No way, no how, you will NEVER see this and neither will your kids. There is nothing in our makeup as humans that will put the sacrifice of self, civilization, comfort and what we erroneously call “hope” (just another way of saying “things will get better”) ahead of us (me). Me always comes first, always has and always will.

Therefore, what you will actually live to see (for a short while) is catastrophic collapse on a global scale. This is the only possible outcome there is despite all the rhetoric you will read of engineering a solution.

I incline in your direction, except that I do think that rapid decline in FF use will help to blunt the impact of GCC to some extent. That decline is not just due to depletion; I expect that we'll be shutting down production, let alone exploration and development, more rapidly than anyone is anticipating, due to lack of funds. A big chunk of those proven reserves are going to be staying in the ground, because we won't be able to afford to get the last of them out, and our technical capabilities and infrastructure will dissapear sooner than we expect. So, that will do far more for the global climate than any "engineered solution".

Much of it, though, will have to just come down to a matter of adapting to the new world in which we'll be living. It is going to take us a very difficult and painful century to get to that point.

I do think that rapid decline in FF use will help to blunt the impact of GCC to some extent.

WNC, from what I have read, I'm afraid I don't share your limited optimism.

Due to the paucity of alternatives, I think we will continue to use all of the remaining FF's. Our slightly reduced demand right now will not affect ACC due to:

A) The fact that we have not yet felt the full effects of our prior emissions.
B) The long half life of CO2 ~100 years.

An interesting but somewhat rambling presentation by David Rutledge asserts that burning less over a longer period will do nothing to help. The key issue is whether we burn it at all.


IMO, Drill, baby, drill or Dig, baby, dig will be heard for many years to come.

I have no doubt that we would use every last bit of the remaining FF in the ground if we could. As I said, I just doubt that our declining economy is going to be able to maintain that capability all of the way to the end.

It is going to be frustrating to no end to people to know that there is still oil and coal and NG in the ground, and they even know exactly where it is, but they will have no way of getting it out. I could even see something like the South Pacific cargo cults developing, with "drill, baby, drill" being chanted incessantly in a vain attempt to restart the magical oil flowing.

I agree, somewhat.

The thrust of my post was FF consumption wrt ACC mitigation, but on your last points, I think we will use just about every method possible to continue extraction. If one looks back at the incredibly crude and dangerous techniques we used in the past and combine that with a flood of unemployed, I think we will be picking up all the crumbs.

Obviously, the high tech methods will go first but I think they will be maintained as long as possible for iconic reasons in the same way that GM is being kept alive despite all logic to the contrary. Shades of cargo cults indeed. This brings up the issue of EROEI.

While the basic concept is valid, energy is not fungible. Certain forms of energy will continue to be extracted when EROEI is below 1, simply because of its utility.

For example, if you are rich and you like a toasty coal fire, you can pay peons to hand dig small deposits or pick through overburden piles. The energy expended by the peons will likely be far more than the recovered coal contains. Even if alternatives have a higher EROEI, demand will continue to seek out the dregs. Think of the very poor in India who live in garbage dumps picking over scraps.

In the developed world, a better example for now is a recent post of people trying their hand at gold panning in so-called exhausted areas. Sorry, can't find the link.

All that said, perhaps my only point of contention is how much we leave in the ground. My guess is that it will be a lot less than we now assume, whatever that may be.


Very thoughtful and illuminating, pragma.

The bottom line is that there is a massive wave of actual foreclosures that will hit beginning in April that can’t be stopped without a national moratorium — this wave is so big I would not put it past them trying it.

"While the basic concept is valid, energy is not fungible. Certain forms of energy will continue to be extracted when EROEI is below 1, simply because of its utility.

For example, if you are rich and you like a toasty coal fire, you can pay peons to hand dig small deposits or pick through overburden piles. The energy expended by the peons will likely be far more than the recovered coal contains. Even if alternatives have a higher EROEI, demand will continue to seek out the dregs. Think of the very poor in India who live in garbage dumps picking over scraps.

In the developed world, a better example for now is a recent post of people trying their hand at gold panning in so-called exhausted areas. Sorry, can't find the link."

NBC Nightly News. Try that on the gold panning link.
I saw it last night, I think.


BTW, WNC's right. Think Billions trying to hire slaves.

gold panning in so-called exhausted areas


Like your old PC's or PDP 11/5's.

Consumer prices dip unexpectedly in March

WASHINGTON - Consumer prices dipped unexpectedly in March, leaving inflation over the past year falling at the fastest clip in more than a half-century. The recession is expected to keep a lid on inflation as widespread layoffs dampen wage pressures and weak demand keeps companies from raising prices.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent last month as a drop in energy prices offset the biggest rise in tobacco prices in more than a decade. It was a better performance than the 0.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index that economists had expected.

Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have fallen 0.4 percent, the first 12-month decline since a similar drop for the year ending in August 1955.

inflation over the past year falling at the fastest clip in more than a half-century.

Strikes me that when you have a falling price level in the face of massive injections of money then what you face is deflationary environment. How do you treat this when the interest rate is near 0?

I suggest that all the financial troubles have concerned the problems in the financial sector. That is where both attention and money have been focused.

But the real issue is out on Main Street. If consumers continue to decline to purchase and borrow there is little Bernanke will be able to do about it. This is the "real problem" and it has not been addressed.

Still scratching my head that Geithner, Summers, Bernanke, and as late as yesterday Obama in his speech yesterday still talk about restarting lending (to consumers). Heck - who can afford more debt?!

I am trying to shed debt at the fastest clip in a half century - just the house left.


What you describe is exactly the problem that the Fed and the Obama adminstration cannot solve.

We speak of the Fed "creating" money. What really happens is that the Fed promotes conditions under which consumers are willing to take on debt. This no longer applies as consumers are, in general, behaving exactly as you are doing.

It will take a few months for this awareness to percolate through the business community. As it does there will be more layoffs. It will take another Friedman unit for the main stream media to finally "get it" and begin reporting on the issue. By that time the "doomers" on TOD will appear to be well prepared optimists.


PS: If you go to TAE there is an excellent article by Steve Keen which gives a very clear explanation of Hyman Minsky's insight into the current problem and the fact that neo-classical economists cannot deal with it because their knowledge and theory does not reflect objective reality.


Households aren't able to take on new debt, but the unreported disaster in the making happening right now is in the commercial sector. Businesses and not-for-profit institutions like colleges are seeing their credit lines cut or called in like crazy, and they are all scrambling to find some way to cover their cash flow and stay in operation. When you hear about "the credit crunch", this is what it is really referring to, but very little is actually being mentioned in the media.

Unless the banks start lending to their commerical customers very soon now, we're going to see a huge wave of bankruptcies, layoffs, and closures in the commercial and NFP sector. When this happens, the people talking about "recovery" starting later this year are going to be looking pretty foolish.

The problem with commercial real estate is going to be a big one. Most commercial loans are secured by the revenue stream generated by the property. As tenants depart and the rent declines to attract new tenants from a shrinking pool, the value of the building also declines.

The outcome is the same as we now see in residential properties but the value at risk is considerably greater and the consequent threat to the banks and financial system is significant. Calculated Risk has had a number of posts on this.

The commercial real estate problem is another huge one that is looming in front of us. What I am referring to, though, is just a business or institution that has a credit line with a bank to tide their cash flow through the lean months of the year. These credit lines are now being cut or called, leaving these businesses with no money to pay their bills or employees. There are more of these than you think that are just a matter or months or weeks away from having to close their doors.

The commercial RE problem would have been bad enough given a normal downturn. In a normal downturn, tenants lose revenues and incur losses, CRE owners lose some tenants, and some CRE owners can't cover their cash flow, default on their loans, and are repossessed. Now, add to that the tenants who have not only lost some revenues, but had their credit lines called in. I think that we are looking at a carnage that could be as much as an order of magnitude greater than what we see in a "normal" downturn. Even businesses and organizations that own their facilities free and clear, with no debt, could be forced to close if their credit lines are called in.

This could have been prevented if a fraction of the money that is going to the looters (the only word that fits for them now, "banksters" doesn't even begin to cover it) were instead dedicated to providing stopgap credit lines for businesses and non-profit institutions. Instead, our government (under both administrations) has deemed it more important to save Wall Street than Main Street.

I just read the following which was originally posted by someone else (thanks. It is a very good article):


Gives a good understanding of the politics of what is taking place and the reasons the banksters get what they want.

Good points. If I recall correctly, doesn't consumer spending make up almost 70% of the GDP?

Regardless of the actual percent - which I know is high - is there any breakdown as to how much of that consumer spending is discretionary?


The 70% figure for the consumer share of US GDP is the one that I have seen frequently.

The problem is that consumers spent their 2009 income in 2005. Now they must pay it back. So current discretionary spending declines by the amount of debt repayment.

Government spending on wars boosts the economy, increased borrowing (essentially bringing future income into the present) boosts the economy, low interest rates boost the economy, offshoring production to low wage regions will boost the economy, accepting low wage immigrant labour will boost the economy. Essentially everything the US has been doing for the last 8 years creates a positive impact on GDP but these are all now being withdrawn with a slowdown in consumer spending resulting in the biggest hurt.

So, we paid today's income yesterday. What do we have left today? And if we pay tomorrow's income (with interest) today, what shall we have tomorrow?

I think the only way out of this is when you die- then you never pay it back. This is one of the reasons it wouldn't be bad to be north of 60 years old right now.

On the flip side, I'd hate to be a kid...

The kids get the debt. But they also get the problems of PO and AGW to deal with. And all the indebtedness will severely constrain their ability to address these issues.

With house prices retreating to 3.4 times family income, it will take a while for real estate to return to the 2.75 norm over the last 50 years. Even if banks take 3 as the new norm, we are still off by 12%. With many loans under water now and increasing every day, it is difficult to see why anyone would want more debt now. It is also difficult to see banks taking on more risks now, given the villain role banks played in the meltdown. Today both lenders and borrowers have cold feet.
This recession started when Washington and the FED disregarded the real state boom that exceeded all previous bubbles in 2003 and continued up with the now discredited argument "we don't consider asset prices as inflation". the big problem now is that the same people who caused the problem are now still there and creating more problems.

"Wholesale merchants are also squeezed. They have to retrench. Pressure from vanishing demand is further passed on to the producers who have to retrench as well. All of them experience ebbing cash flows. They lay off more people. This aggravates the crisis further as cash in the hand of the consumers diminishes even more through increased unemployment. The vicious spiral is on.

But what is happening to the unprecedented tide of new money flooding the economy? Well, it is used to pay off debt by people desperately scrambling to get out of debt. Businessmen are lethargic; every cut in the rate of interest hits them by eroding the value of their previous investments. In my other writings I have explained how falling interest rates make the liquidation value of debt rise, which becomes a negative item in the profit-and-loss statement eating into capital of businesses. Capital ought to be replenished but isn’t.

Worse still, there is no way businessmen can be induced to make new investments as long as further reductions in the rate of interest are in the cards. They are aware that their investments would go up in smoke as the rate of interest fell further in the wake of “quantitative easing”.

Self-fulfilling speculation on falling interest rates

The only enterprise prospering in this deflationary environment is bond speculation."


And I'm noticing more and more(MISH) doing
acrobatics to avoid the implications of
the PPT pegging the S&P/DJIA thru futures.

"Unwittingly", "bumbling", "inadvertently", the types
of words being used.


From 17.6 to 18.4 at the open.

Why "unexpectedly"? Tax receipts are off 15%
and corporations...:

Calculated Risk: Federal Tax Receipts Off 28 Percent YoY

Apr 10, 2009 ... This graph shows the year-over-year change in total Federal tax receipts. For March 2009, receipts were off 27.9% compared to March 2008. ...


Social Security tax receipts fall with job losses - AOL News
Posted: 2009-03-31 15:54:35. WASHINGTON (AP) - Job losses are cutting into ... That will put a damper on the tax receipts that Social Security gets," Weller said. ... rate going up that you would have the tax receipts falling off. ...


Deflation is kicking in with a vengeance and the PTB
fear this like the Angel of Death.

And that would be an article to read: Backdating BLS
U3/U6 with year-over-year change in total Federal tax receipts.


April 14, 2009, 3:50 PM ET

Goldman Sachs and Merrill: Did December Ever Happen?

Deflation is kicking in with a vengeance and the PTB fear this like the Angel of Death.

And so they should. By my SWAG, the "on-balance" debt of the US will be near $20T by the end of Obama's (first?) term, to say nothing of the massive state, corporate and consumer debt load.

Deflation is good for anyone with cash, but it spells death for anyone in debt. The majority rules so TPTB will do anything to avoid long term deflation. IMO, the only other option is default.

I'm not an economy wonk, but it seems reasonable to me that a dislocation in the bond market is very likely. If and when that happens, interest rates will skyrocket and printing money will be the only option, and probably an unsuccessful one.

We are sitting on a one legged stool and trying to cross our legs.

Parents finding ways to curb cost of kids

As the recession drags on, moms and dads are finding ways to dote on their kids without opening their wallets. Fancy birthday parties, music lessons, sports leagues and gifts are being scaled back or eliminated. Even the Tooth Fairy has been put on a budget.

The pain is not limited to the kids. Businesses are also feeling the pinch. And even parents with reliable incomes are saying “no” more often.

Ahem, and I am one of those parents... I actually buy my children very little, and let others get things for them. I have found that their happiness is not related to the amount of stuff they have, or whether they have a room full of toys or not. I'd rather teach them not to be materialistic, especially in the upcoming FF constrained future.

My son is 3 and his favorite toys are scaled down versions of whatever mom and dad are using. His grandparents bought him some small gardening/lawn tools (spade, hoe, rake, etc.) that he gets out whenever I'm working in the garden. He also has a tricycle that was passed on to us from some friends and a glider-style bike (2 wheels, a seat, and handle bars, but no pedals) so he can learn how to ride a bike just like mom and dad.

We've tried to keep the toys to a manageable level, and found that the easiest way to do that is by involving our son in whatever we're doing.

When you are three the best toy is the box that your present came in.

This article (and others I have read) simply don't go far enough. I can't really be sympathetic to the family that bemoans not being able to spend $500 on one of 8 kids' birthday party, or to the family that has to cut back on their 2 year old's singing lessons. Also, having two of my three boys (ages 7 and 9) in YMCA soccer for the first time this year, I just don't understand for the life of me why the kids can't just kick around a ball in the neighborhood soccer field - the weekly after school practices and Saturday games are kind of a drag and involve a lot of driving around. I also feel the coach takes things too seriously, planning player rotations the night before the game, etc.. Same for summer camps - it's not easy keeping kids that age entertained (without TV) for 11 weeks - but at the cost of $200-300 per week per child, couldn't families get together to do some sort of rotation??

I guess it's up to me to organize this...

Kids ultimately need something genuinely useful (not exploitative, of course) to do within the family - a place in the world beyond Playstation and mind-numbing TV shows - and in this world, we are swimming upstream trying to design that sort of life for them.

"Life coach" Barbara Sher says one of the best things she ever did was have her young sons cook her dinner. She was a single parent who worked hard all day, then came home and fought with the kids because they were bored and she felt unappreciated. Finally she realized that they needed to make her dinner. They wanted to help, but didn't know how. Now she's very successful, and her grown kids tell her, "You couldn't have done it without us, Mom."

She recommends this to her clients who are looking to do what they love and spend more time with the kids. If you don't like sitting on the floor playing Barbies or Lego with your kids, don't. Take them out with you, do what you love, and teach them to love it, too.

Yes, I have read Barbara Sher and other moms who did this and it sounds great. So far my 9 year old can make Annie's mac and cheese, though this is hardly local low-processed low-packaging food. He also made popcorn the old fashioned way and totally oversalted it - that was a learning curve item.

Summer is around the corner, and I have the kids on notice that they will be responsible for picking the strawberries. I'll have to think about what else they could pick and cook that they like (two of them are crazy about roasted asparagus - so its not hopeless).

Actually this is the first year the 7 and 9 year old seem genuinely excited that we are planting seeds. It's a long process and I continue to repeat " we don't do video or computer games in our family". The complaints of "everyone else in my class has a Playstation" continue. but are not intensifying. Recently, it also became apparent that my kids have more freedom to venture out in the "open space" around our house than other kids their age who live nearby. It all goes together - and that's why I say that we are swimming upstream - not that it's not worthwhile.

everyone else in my class has a Playstation

"So what if you have a Playstation? Everbody has a Playstation. Bet you don't have a pumpkin growing from seed you planted yourself." Would be my response to the schoolyard taunts. Maybe you can start a movement!!

Finding the low-carbon diet

Anybody else find it strange that this article didn't mention anything about vegetarianism or the high environmental cost of consuming meat? Sure shipping food long distances and using too much pesticide and fertilizer are problems; but switching to a vegetarian diet is the simplest and most effective way to reduce agricultural oil consumption.

Meat is obviously some sort of sacred cow.

The article is short and weak and missing in detailed numerical analysis.

Nevertheless, this is what British researcher Chris Goodall has to say, in "Living a Low-Carbon Life" (which is well-researched and appears compulsively detailed) http://www.lowcarbonlife.net:

Substantial but manageable changes to food purchase behaviour could result in a two-thirds reduction in emissions, with total UK output of greenhouse gases fallng from 126 million to 41 million tonnes.


The food industry, one of the most carbon-intensive in the world, is by far the largest indirect contributor to UK emissions.

His recommendations include (in order of impact):
- switch to organic food
- buy 75% of food locally (especially avoid anything air freighted)
- eat less meat and dairy
- buy 90% minimally packaged foods
- cut processed foods by 75%
- compost 90% of all organic materials
- avoid supermarkets

Sources of emissions remaining after above changes in consumer behavior:
- Farm operations
- Methane from tilling and soil management practices
- Food transport of remaining non-local food
- Remaining food manufacturing
- Operation of retail stores
- Consumers driving to shops
- Landfill gas from remaining food and packaging
- Packaging costs


Under the new regulations, the cultivation of MON 810, a GM corn produced by the American biotech giant Monsanto, will be prohibited in Germany, as will the sale of its seed. Aigner told reporters Tuesday she had legitimate reasons to believe that MON 810 posed “a danger to the environment,” a position which she said the Environment Ministry also supported.

Deflation is finally here...

Consumer prices in 1st annual drop since '55
Government report shows year-over-year decline after 0.1% dip in March.

The Consumer Price Index, the Labor Department's key measure of inflation, declined 0.1% in March, after climbing 0.4% the previous month. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a 0.1% rise in the latest reading.

The index is down 0.4% over the last year, the first 12-month decline since August 1955, the government said.

Energy prices fell 3% last month, after increasing 3.3% in the prior month, while food prices declined 0.1% in March.

Enormous debt (from the bailout) coupled with deflation is bar none the perfect recipie to bankrupt the government...

One of the definitions of Inflation is an increase in the money supply -that is certanly happening in spades. I suspect it has simply not worked its way through yet into the CPI -any other explanations?

Something else to ponder:

-The creation of debt was occuring at an enormous rate till last summer and that has now dropped significantly. Could this creation of debt/money help explain the last 8 years of commodity price rises?


It's not enough to "create" money if it just vanishes into the black hole of debt.

We had inflation during the last energy crisis because workers were in a stronger position and could demand wage increases. That is no longer the case. Without wage increases, there won't be price increases.

Gecolizard -

I think as has been discussed here on several occasions in the past, there have been some questions as to what sort of conclusions can and cannot be drawn from changes in some of these gross economic indicators such as the CPI and GDP.

I have a general question re GDP. Do I understand correctly that some but not all interest expenses are included in the GDP, and that the ones that are included are those somehow directly involving the financial sector as opposed to personal loans?

If that is correct, then is the income of credit card companies such as AMEX included in the GDP? If they are, then most of such income consists of interest paid on credit card balances, and therefore represent consumer debt. Does this then mean that as far as payment of credit card interest goes, increase in consumer debt = increase to GDP?

Now, if consumers cut back on credit card usage and thus reduce the amount of interest income for companies like AMEX, it would seem that doing so reduces the GDP. To me this seems like it would be counting something that should be good for the economy (reducing consumer debt) as being bad for the economy (reducing GDP).

As should be obvious, I am not an economist, but does this make any sense, or am I on the wrong track here?

Alright, I looked it up here and here... I don't claim to be an economist, but I minored in it in college...

The formula for GDP is as follows:

GDP = Consumer Spending + Investment made by industry + Excess of Exports over Imports + Government Spending

So, spending of any sort should improve it.

If that is correct, then is the income of credit card companies such as AMEX included in the GDP?

I'd think yes... Providing the service of a Credit Card, and charging interest for that service would be a part of GDP.

Does this then mean that as far as payment of credit card interest goes, increase in consumer debt = increase to GDP?

I'd think so too... but I'll twist it to say that increase of PAYING debt increases GDP. In other words, paying for a service (rather than having IOU's for it) increases GDP. My thought is that if DEBT is increasing but is not being paid, GDP does not increase... It's only when money changes hands that it increases.

Now, if consumers cut back on credit card usage and thus reduce the amount of interest income for companies like AMEX, it would seem that doing so reduces the GDP. To me this seems like it would be counting something that should be good for the economy (reducing consumer debt) as being bad for the economy (reducing GDP).

I'm actually in agreement here. On the other hand, though, if the customer is not spending their money on high interest loans, they'll put it in the bank (increasing investment by the bank via loans) or consume something else (i.e. get a bigger car or go on a vacation).

My theory as to what is going on with GDP is as follows (going back to the equation)...

GDP = Consumer Spending + Investment made by industry + Excess of Exports over Imports + Government Spending

We know that Gov spending is up, Exports over Imports is up (for America), driving up GDP; and Consumer Spending and Industry Investments are down, driving down GDP. The ways to increase GDP in the long term is to crash the dollar or throw up tarrifs (allowing more exports vs. imports), make government bigger (or hand out more bailout), and reduce interst rates and taxes (which increases consumer and industry spending). Since we are doing all the above (except dollar crashing and tarrifs) with limited success, I'd expect more medicine in the form of BAU with some protectionsim thrown in if things get bad enough.

Gecolizard -

Thanks for the clarification.

As government spending is such a large component of the GDP, and since government spending to a large extent is made possible by the government going into debt, then it would follow that a large component of the GDP is debt-based. In other words, the deeper the government goes into hock, the more it increases the GDP. On the other hand, if indeed, debt only counts toward the GDP when interest payments change hands, then when I cash in a government bond and receive the interest on that bond, does that transaction count as 'government spending' and therefore contributory to the GDP? But if some portion of government spending will never be paid back to the people who financed it, should that get erased from the GDP?

I am starting to get the impression that a larger and larger component of the GDP comprises the amount of financial 'churning' going on and that a smaller and smaller component represents real economic output. The 'product' in Gross Domestic Product appears to be getting more abstract.

Basically Gross Domestic Product is simply becoming Gross Domestic

That is the game the government like to play. Right now, they are spending to stimulate "GROWTH" (or GDP). Of course, they are borrowing to do it. It's like a family charging a vacation on credit to make them feel rich.
Of course, what was sold to Obama is that "you have to spend to create JOBS". This spending will suppose to be beneficial in the long run -- an investment as they want to call it. Say, you invest in a car to allow you go to work or investment in a business to make money.
But it's not so simple since we already up to our nose with debts. When the government create $1 (either through debt or just do it) and spend, they hope that will generate way more than $1 benefit to the economy (GDP). A lot of people are saying this will not work -- and the GOV is having a hard time fighting deflation on top of this. People don't spend now if things get cheaper tomorrow (deflation)thus a lot of economic activities slow down. Anyway, for now the GOV will spend until someone says "we only accept gold".

Yeah -- a large % of GDP are services : financial, health, etc... But these service are supposed to add "VALUE" to the economy. Say -- doctors -- who are not really making anything -- but they keeps you healthy so you can make stuffs. Same as banks -- and thus they got counted toward GDP. What happened if a lot of these "financials" are just "gamblers" -- do they really contribute. Of course -- no. But for now, they got counted anyway. We had seen a lot of these large bamklers recently. Even worse, the large banks when they gambled and lost, the house have to pay them back. Funny heh?..

As government spending is such a large component of the GDP, and since government spending to a large extent is made possible by the government going into debt, then it would follow that a large component of the GDP is debt-based. In other words, the deeper the government goes into hock, the more it increases the GDP.

BINGO! In fact, this is how it is commonly beleived America pulled out of the Great Depression.

On the other hand, if indeed, debt only counts toward the GDP when interest payments change hands, then when I cash in a government bond and receive the interest on that bond, does that transaction count as 'government spending' and therefore contributory to the GDP?

It counts when it is spent. I give the Gov't $100 for a bond, they spend it on a barrel (or two) of fuel for an aircraft carrier, then it raises GDP (at the loss of GDP for me because I gave them the money). Then, I cash the bond, get my $100 back plus interest, and spend the interest and raise GDP more.

I am starting to get the impression that a larger and larger component of the GDP comprises the amount of financial 'churning' going on and that a smaller and smaller component represents real economic output. The 'product' in Gross Domestic Product appears to be getting more abstract.

Yep, and to illustrate think for a moment of two twins, John and Jane. They have identical jobs with identical salaries ($70K/year) and identical homes with identical expenses.

John goes in hock for $50,000 in CC debt and pays out 20% interest annually, or $10K. Jane, however, does not... John's salary pays the interest on his debt on top of his other expenses, while Jane's salary is fully spent on products and services. They both contribute their $70K salary in the form of GDP, but Jane's share of GDP is just goods and services, whereas John's also includes a massive amount of interest payments, which is much more abstract.

Our basic problem is that we are running our national economy with only an income statement. No national balance sheet. Try to operate a business that way, and guess what happens? Bankruptcy, in very short order. It therefore should not be a surprise that we are now staring national bankruptcy in the face.

The basic difference between your company and the government: The company cannot print (money) its way out of debt. Of course that causes problems too but bankruptcy is not one of them.

If you use the monetarist version of the GDP equation (the others are also correct), GDP x Price=money supply x velocity of money. The economic crisis has been caused by a dramatic slowdown in the velocity of money, which has reduced GDP and price level (reduced inflation). The fed has massively increased the money supply, however, the money velocity slowdown has outweighed the increase in the money supply, so we're still seeing reduced GDP/inflation.

The risk involved is that when the velocity of money stabilizes, the increased money supply could stoke inflation if not brought down quickly enough. However, the risk is definately outweighed by the impact of doing nothing. One of the principle causes of the great depression is that the fed reduced the money supply (to preserve gold reserves) in the face of a recession, which ultimately contributed to the intensity of the great depression. If the fed didn't get ahead of this crunch, then we could easily have seen a repeat of the great depression. While we're still not out of the woods by far, it does look like we may have avoided a complete calamity (for now at least).

Re: Shallow Science Criticized by Global Warming Experts

Now there's a classic example of the denialist disinformation, brought to you by The Heartland Institute. For those who haven't been paying attention, these guys are the folks who sponsored the denialist love fest called the International Conference on Climate Change, the second of which was held March in NYC. These guys seem to think that all they need to do is shout very loud and often to win the "debate". I'm afraid that they are going to be proven right on that score. Of course, NATURE isn't listening to them...

E. Swanson

Before people put any stock in what these heartland folk have to say, read up on who they are: lobbyists of the worst kind.


"The Heartland Institute is an American libertarian/conservative free market-oriented public policy think tank".

So don't be fooled, this "Conference on Climate Change" is *not* a scientific conference. It's lobbyist and media circus, designed to do one thing and one thing only: spread misinformation and confusion, so that corporate interest can use the confusion to stave of climate legislation that they see as a threat to their business interests.

Also this talk is a must see... it explains perfectly what kind of strategy these people use to confuse the public on issues like climate change and the health effects of tobacco smoke.


Thanks for link #2
Where in the 1 hour video do they get into the denialist tactics?
Rummaging through quickly, it seems to me at around 30 minutes into the program

Someone want to explain how a press release directly from Heartland about it's own mock climate conference quoting one of the biggest climate denialists out there - who is NOT a climate scientist - is worth a top link? It's not news, it's not unbiased, and it's not science.

Oh, the one on Gavin Schmit is two years old.


Yeah, ask Leanan. One might think she is being overloaded these days, not to mention that she comes from an engineering background, not science...

E. Swanson

Please lay off Leanan. She is doing a great job giving us a pulse of what's happening out there. I like hearing about everything that is going on — it helps me gauge how strong the major discourses in our society are.

Further, she clearly trusts the readership here to come to their own conclusions given a wide range of views.

I think of the links I post as a sort of survey of the current media coverage of energy and the environment. "Know your enemy," if you will. I've even posted links to Corsi's abiotic oil articles on occasion.

At least abiotic has *some* validity. Willie Soon and Heartland have none.

I have a new post on my blog. That's the equivalent of Heartland's web page, just more based in reality. Can I get a top link, too?



As one of the 'Not-too-Climate-Trained' of the posters here, I was quickly aware that she posted this as an indicator of the kind of misinformation that's out there.

No, It's not news, but it plays one on TV. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

The posts are meant to help you see the water you swim in, be aware of the beliefs mixed in with your facts.

False equivalencies. Not worth the risk, imo.


OPEC April report (PDF) is out. Here's OPEC's take on world production

OPEC natural gas liquids and non-conventional oils
OPEC NGLs increase by 0.41 mb/d

OPEC NGLs and non-conventional oils are estimated to have averaged 4.42 mb/d in 2008, a growth of around 0.4 mb/d over the previous year. In 2009, OPEC NGLs and non-conventional oils are expected to increase by 0.41 mb/d to stand at 4.83 mb/d.

OPEC crude oil production
OPEC crude output dropped 145 tb/d in March

OPEC total crude oil production averaged 27.90 mb/d in March, according to secondary sources, a decline of 145 tb/d from the previous month. All Member Countries saw a decline in crude oil production with the exception of Angola and Iraq. Total OPEC crude oil production for the first quarter 2009 now stands at 28.22 mb/d. OPEC, not including Iraq’s production, stood at 25.57 mb/d, down 170 tb/d from the February level.

World Oil Supply
Global oil supply fell 0.19 mb/d in March
Preliminary figures indicate that global oil supply fell 0.19 mb/d in March to average 83.39 mb/d. Non-OPEC supply experienced a slight decline of 0.04 mb/d, while total OPEC supply dropped by 0.17 mb/d. The share of OPEC crude oil production saw a minor decline to stand at 33.4% in March from 33.6% in the previous month. The estimate is based on preliminary data for non-OPEC supply, estimates for OPEC NGLs and OPEC crude production are based on secondary sources.

OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report is out today. I did some figuring as to how much each OPEC country had cut or declined since their peak in July of 2008. I think there is no doubt that most of the decline is due to voluntary cuts but some is likely also due to natural decline.

	Algeria	Angola	Ecuador	Iran	Iraq	Kuwait1
Jul 08	1,401	1,903	504	3,925	2,396	2,607
Mar 09	1,268	1,653	448	3,663	2,337	2,213
Chg.	-133	-250	-56	-262	-59	-394

	Libya	Nigeria	Qatar	Arabia	UAE	Ven.	OPEC 12
Jul 08	1,686	1,916	865	9,522	2,612	2,335	31,672
Mar 09	1,546	1,772	758	7,894	2,229	2,123	27,904
Chg.	-140	-144	-107	-1,628	-383	-212	-3,768

Ron P.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending April 10, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 14.0 million barrels per day during the week ending April 10, down 300 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 80.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging 8.9 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging nearly 4.0 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 9.4 million barrels per day last week, up 59 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.4 million barrels per day, 271 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged nearly 1.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 144 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 5.6 million barrels from the previous week. At 366.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.9 million barrels last week, and are above the upper boundary of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories rose last week while gasoline blending components inventories decreased during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 8.2 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Happy April 15- Tax Day for Americans!

Commentary: Why your taxes could double

In recent years, the federal government has spent more money than it takes in at an increasing rate. Total federal debt almost doubled during President George W. Bush's administration and, as much as we needed some stimulus spending to boost the economy, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office now estimates total debt levels could almost double again over the next eight years based on the budget recently outlined by President Obama.

Regardless of what politicians tell you, any additional accumulations of debt are, absent dramatic reductions in the size and role of government, basically deferred tax increases. Remember the old saw? "You can pay me now or you can pay me later, with interest."

To help put things in perspective, the Peterson Foundation calculated the federal government accumulated $56.4 trillion in total liabilities and unfunded promises for Medicare and Social Security as of September 30, 2008. The numbers used to calculate this figure come directly from the audited financial statements of the U.S. government.

If $56.4 trillion in financial commitments is too big a number to digest, think of it as $483,000 per American household, or $184,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.

And coupled with deflation we're cruising into the death spiral of government financing...

When you look at those numbers (something like $542000 per American taxpayer) you realize that these are the good days-there is a giant US dollar bubble still inflated and when it pops it won't be pretty at all.

When asked "should Iceland pay back its debts", Dr. Hudson said it hardly mattered [I think it was on yesterday's TAE], becase "debts that can't be paid back won't be paid back." Same logic applies here; those debts will never be paid. Hudson also pointed out that before giving up, Iceland (or any country) will give up everything, sell the first born, the rivers, the roads, the libraries and the air before recognizing the simple fact that no, those debts cannot be paid.

I've chosen deliberately to reduce my dollar earnings as much as I can. I could probably get food stamps if I were willing to be tracked and didn't have a large, full garden. Certainly state funded health care - except that program has run out of money here in Maine. I don't want to help pay that debt or any portion of that debt. As in the Roman Empire, when legistlation was passed to make it illegal to sell one's self into slavery, the path I've chosen will probably be illegal - failure to participate in my own rip off.

Here's a chance to make your case about our energy future. http://www.planetforward.org/ This program air's tonight on PBS.

Well I hope some TOD members will contribute ...

a sample of what folks are saying ...


what say ye ?

That was a good one jmygann! While I don't expect this approach to get us frogs out of the soon to be boiling water, I would move forward quickly with at least something to help mitigate the negative impacts of fossil fuel depletion. This video discusses a combination of nuclear and renewables. http://www.planetforward.org/videos/teaming-nuclear-and-renewable-energies

We could enhance local renewable development significantly with Feed In Tariffs and use HVDC lines to bring CSP from the southwest to the midwest. These are practical at least partial mitigation measures, if we can just find the political will and the money.

I doubt that most TODers read Ferfal's blog on his experience surviving in Argentina. In any case, his promised book is now available. The table of contents looks like it has lots of good advice - enough so that I'm going to buy it. More information is available at his site: http://ferfal.blogspot.com

My guess is that people who liked Jim Rawle's Patriots will like this book too - plus Ferfal's book is nonfiction.


I just returned from Argentina on Thursday. I would classify Ferfal's blog and book as "fiction" for sure.

Nothing I saw in Argentina resembles the "red in tooth and claw" survivalist imagination that Ferfal writes about. My son is studying at a University in Buenos Aires and living with a local host. Nobody that we talked to owned or carried a weapon, and instead locals questioned us about the frequent violence in the US that they read about. There was a media campaign to whip up concern about "insecurity", so that whenever a robbery or murder occurred in BA ( a city of more than 11 million people) the story was repeated on TV all day, mostly in support of opposition politicians.

But Ferfal's detailed descriptions of knife-fighting techniques, required caliber ammunition, etc., seemed to have nothing to do with the prosperous, relaxed, sociable life that I saw in Argentina. People routinely go out to clubs starting at midnight and return at dawn without worrying about crime. Argentines have survived several financial crisises over the years, but most locals said that they had become used to cash economy so the world-wide credit crash was having less impact, because people operate without credit anyway.

A glance on Google reveals the Buenos Aires murder rate to be about 1/12 that of Rio as of 2006 so it would appear that his claims are exaggerated to a certain extent. Caracas also has an extremely high murder rate. Doug Casey is a big fan of Beunos Aires as he feels it combines the sophistication of Europe with the cost of living of India.

I have had numerous friends spend lengthy time in Buenos Aries, and all loved it. Argentina is one of the bright spots on the planet these days, a resource rich, sparsely populated well educated and politically literate country. And has great fly fishing, one of the criteria for rating countries.
Unfortunately, this has not gone unnoticed, and those a head of the curve are making Argentina their home.

How you can classify Ferfal's book as anything without reading it first is mystifying to me.

And he has made it quite clear on his blog that certain parts of town (the more wealthy parts) are perfectly safe. But apparently there are other parts of town that are just the opposite.

WW, et.al.,

I'm not pimping his book so my suggestion is to not buy it if you feel he is full of it. I did for $41.39 including priority mail. Suit yourselves. Don't expect a review.


FerFal has posted the table of contents and excerpts from his book on his blog, and they continue the survivalist fever-dream tone of his blog, which as I mentioned did not seem to have anything to do with the Argentina that I experienced (or with the low murder and crime rate statistics that Nationmaster, etc., show for Argentina). Ferfal's "post-collapse" Argentina has a lower murder rate than the US and I do not walk around the US, armed and in fear of attack, although some may do so.

Mish sums up the current situation today: "Of course it's possible (some might suggest likely) that Geithner and Bernanke simply do not give a damn what happens to taxpayers as long as banks are bailed out.

But regardless of what Geithner and Bernanke are up to, all indications are that Obama will continue to support Geithner no matter what happens. Indeed, president Obama's misguided trust in Geithner may even be his downfall in the next election.

The answer as to "Why?" is simply this: President Obama placed his trust in the wrong person, and the president is too stubborn to change his mind or consider other ideas. Unfortunately, the country is sure to suffer the consequences of a long prolonged L shaped recession as a result."

Some of us think that the "L" shaped recession was pretty much inevitable no matter what was done. The only thing is, the FedGov could have done some things to manage the decline, and to assure that the next downward step came later rather than sooner. Instead, the FedGov did almost exactly the wrong things, and has thus assured that the next downward step will come sooner rather than later, and will be very steep indeed.

And this was under Obama, who might be about the best we could possibly have hoped for. THIS is a good as it gets, I guess.

It is ALL downhill from here.

I know someone teaching biology in a local community college this summer. Registration opened up at 10:00 A.M. this morning. At 11:00 A.M. the class was full. The students should check out private schools like Harvard and Yale--they may have room.

This week, one of the regulars at our Sunday breakfast get-together told us about what is happening where she works. The manager has been contacted by a headhunter job shop, they want to see job description and salary history for his staff. They offer to find replacements for his staff, workers who are better qualified and willing to work for less.

I'm also hearing anecdotally that large companies try to fire workers "for cause" rather than announce layoffs and cause stock value repercussions. A friend who was fearing being laid off contacted an attorney ahead of time and was coached on what to say, how to record the phone conversation and have witnesses in the room so he can dispute the "for cause", which he feels is unjustified.

Paranoid -

This sort of thing is akin to what has been going on with corporate America's attempts to replace American workers with cheaper workers imported from India and other low-wage countries.

I recently saw a short You Tube segment showing excerpts from a seminar given by a group of labor-relations lawyers to a corporate audience on how to hire foreign workers on these H1B visas while still pretending to be looking for American workers.

The lawyers gave pointers on how to demonstrate that their company was running good-faith want ads, collecting and evaluating resumes, and how to generate seemingly valid reasons for rejecting applicants, all the while having no intention of hiring Americans. The idea was to build a paper trail showing these good-faith attempts at hiring Americans and showing that they just couldn't get qualified applicants and therefore had to seek out foreign workers on H1B visas.

They were totally blatant in advising how to bypass American workers, and I found the whole thing pretty despicable. Should times really REALLY get bad, this sort of thing could come back to haunt some people in a way that might not be too good for their health.

More happy drought news:

Drought lowers Lake Mead to 1965 level

Another below-average year on the Colorado River will soon shrink Lake Mead to a level not seen since President Lyndon Johnson unveiled his "Great Society" and the Beatles bared their "Rubber Soul." ...

Historic drought leaves Melbourne with 500 days of water supply

MELBOURNE'S dwindling water storages are on the verge of a historic low, a quarter of a century after the Thomson Dam was promised to drought-proof the city. ...

I was talking to someone from the Las Vegas water department or Nevada water district, can't remember which, about a year ago, and she said that one of the plans that they were looking at was to tunnel up into Lake Mead from below in order to drain the very last of the water. Sounds like something from "The Onion," but what doesn't these days.

From Wikipedia...

As of October 2008, the lake is currently at 47 percent of its capacity, threatening to make the Las Vegas valley's primary raw water intake inoperable. If the lake doesn't receive enough inflow this spring, problems may arise later this summer.[2] Arrangements are underway to pipe water from elsewhere in Nevada by 2011, but since the primary raw water intake at Lake Mead could become inoperable as soon as 2010 based on current drought and user projections, Las Vegas could suffer crippling water shortages in the interim...

Further research in February 2008 by the University of California in San Diego led researchers to conclude that, if future climate changes as projected and water use "is not curtailed," Lake Mead's water level could drop below the dead storage elevation by 2021, and that the reservoir could drop below minimum power pool elevation as early as 2017.

I'm confused about that. Local TV meteorologists report Colorado and Yampa river basins well above average for snowpack this winter. Front Range was dry as a bone until the last month, but the mountains got a lot of snow. I don't know how snowpack translates to streamflows, but I'm surprised that a below average year is expected. Was Utah worse than usual?


A new study entitled 'The Carbon Footprint of Spam' (PDF) published by ICF International and commissioned by McAfee claims that spam uses around 33 billion kilowatt hours of energy annually, which is approximately enough to power 2.4 million US homes (or roughly 3.1 million cars) for a year. They calculated that the average CO2 emission for a spam email is around 0.3 grams. Interestingly, the majority of energy usage (around 80%) comes from users viewing and deleting spam, and searching for legitimate emails within spam filters

Hello TODers,

Not Subtle, But It Works: Peepoo Bag Converts Human Waste Into Fertilizer

...The bag is lined with Urea, a common fertilizer that breaks down urine and feces into ammonia and carbonate. Pathogens in the waste, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, are killed within anywhere from a matter of hours to several weeks.

The PH value increases as the material is broken down, and plants eat up the ammonia byproduct as the bag degrades in the soil. At the moment, the Peepoo bag is made from 45 percent renewable materials, but the developers are striving to get to 100 percent.
IMO, a clever idea if it helps prevents freshwater pollution and the spread of disease and parasites. I hope it can jumpstart even more O-NPK recycling from cities & towns back to the local and rural topsoil.

deflation? i saw kampbell's tomato soup for 85 cents a can. it was available for 60 cents a can only six months ago. and baby carrots? $1.69 per pound. i could drive round trip for 60 miles and get them for 99 cents per pound. yukon gold potatoes? $3.99 for a 5 pound bag. tomatoes are all $2 per pound.my town is forcing the supermarket/strip mall to renovate and put in shaded parking. i fear i am seeing the price increase now. i live very close to a farms, dairy, apples, corn, onions, you name it. but nothing sold is local all trucked in. very little price drop for in season. if every american is in hock for 1/2 million dollars or so, how come i aint got nothing to show for it? tarp and other trillions went to the elite criminal class. just like JHK sez, get yer pitch forks and tar and feathers and storm the gated communities and get your share. jon corzine the gold man sacks 666 point man gov-nor of new jersey recommends the state pension fund buy toxic assets backed by the feds. what does that tell you? WE ARE DOOMED!!!!!!!!!! but when? tomorrow? next week? next month? next year? in a decade? what is the criminal elite doing with all the trillions they grifted out of the system? when i was in the supermarket grumbling about the high cost of tater tots i heard all the employees talking about baseball. my fellow customers seemed to be happy zombies high on prozac. i dont want to pay my taxes but the sheriff will evict me if i dont. what does that tell you? your taxes are used to keep the power structure in place to punish you if you dont. why is reality only reflected in the postings on "the oil conundrum"?


end of last century - $8.99 for 20 lbs of Canadian chickpeas. Today $19.66 for 20 lbs USA crop. A Turkish labeled bag is $37.99 for 50 lbs however.

why is reality only reflected in the postings on "the oil conundrum"?

Oh, oh! I like reality! Where can I find the oil conundrum" ?

I wanted to ask an open question to Oil Drummers. I have been very impressed by the strong scientific and mathematical analyses I've seen at TOD (especially Hubert analyses that seem to have strong data pointing to a recent past oil production peak and the importance of the ELM). I've been a regular reader for years.

So I wanted to ask a real-life question that is nagging me.

I live in Asheville, North Carolina (south-western NC, not far from Atlanta). I wanted to visit my family in a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut. So I tried to find one of the lowest costing airline tickets, but avoided a couple of carriers who had not given good service in the recent past.

To travel north, we flew from Asheville, NC to Atlanta, Georgia, and from there to Hartford. Seems a reasonable balance of other cost-savings (using airline hubs) compared with fuel usage.

But what was weird to me was that on the way back, the flight from Hartford, CT flew north ACTUALLY INTO Canadian airspace (for quite some minutes), then transferred in Detroit, Michigan before heading back to Asheville, NC. whoa. This was the cheap ticket.

So is jet fuel, which I believe to be made of oil, still quite cheap even though strong evidence points to imminent and compounding production declines for oil? That seems a very unfortunate way to enter power-down ... didn't the Hirsch report basically imply ... if we enter the downslope of depletion without having bothered to even begin mitigation effort ... well, it kind of sounded as though starting 5 years after the fact should result in something more dramatic than this American public expects within the next couple of years (this year, probably?). Can anyone explain how we could still be burning oil so fast that I was weirdly in Canada yesterday?? That seems like an ultra-bad sign for this system holding up long enough for any of the food to ripen.

The US has a glut of jet fuel right now and the "crack spread" (cost of oil versus wholesale price of jet fuel) is at lowest in five or six years. So airlines can sell cheap tickets and route passengers via circuitous journeys. But remember that the idea for profit is to fill every seat on the plane, even if it means selling the last few seats at less cost. If the plane flies with seats empty they have generated no revenue from those empty seats and the extra weight of passengers does not bring much extra expense with jet fuel being so low in price. This reduces the possible loss of each flight. Most airlines are losing money this year as percent of seats filled has declined a little and revenue per seat mile has fallen 5 - 10%.

This jet fuel situation may change soon as refineries are shut down to get capacity up in the remaining refineries and thus decrease the oversupply of jet fuel, some of which is imported. As jet fuel rises in price, so will the losses at major airlines as lower fares have not induced more travel, just kept it from falling. Air freight is off by 18 to 25% for airlines (international off more than domestic) and this is also hurting the airline's bottom line. See www.joc.com or www.businessweek.com for more info on airlines falling revenues and poor financial performance.

The shortest route between Hartford and Detroit does pass through Canadian airspace.

If you're wondering why you detoured to Detroit, well, that's the "hub" system of US airlines. If you start from off-the-beaten path cities like Hartford, chances are you will have to go to a "hub" city first. There's just not enough traffic to justify a direct flight. I used to fly from Albany to Pittsburgh, and had to go to Detroit first. We flew right over Pittsburgh, my final destination.

97 years ago today(yesterday, actually)they stopped arranging the chairs on the Titanic.

Hello TODers,

Q: Do you think Jim Rogers is right to be buying agricultural commodities now?

A: Legendary commodity trader Jim Rogers recently told Bloomberg viewers that farmers, not brokers, would drive Lamborghinis. He also told the host to start up a Bloomberg farm show...

His argument is simple: Farmers can no longer get loans for fertilizer, so supplies of most crops are down. However, demand for those crops, like cotton and soybeans, is actually rising. That means prices must rise.
IMO, it would be fascinating to get Mr. Rogers to reveal more statistical details on the global fertilizer financing problem. I'm certain that Jim Rogers can afford all the high dollar proprietary fertilizer reports. Sure beats my feeble flogging of Google trying to find any relevant info on this topic.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?


Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be in San Francisco on Thursday to hear what the nation's biggest energy companies and the public think of the federal government's plan to open up California's pristine coastal waters to oil drilling for the first time in more than 20 years.

Hello TODers,

Too bad that OCP is state-owned. I have long believed it would have been a fabulous investment due to their near monopoly power of [P]hosphorus:

Morocco's OCP profit soars 9 times on prices rise

..OCP has 45.5 percent of the world lime phosphate market, 49 percent of the phosphoric acid market and 12 percent of fertilisers, according to company data.

'We use our dominant position to influence the market without wrecking its long-term fundamentals,' Terrab added.
There are not very many companies that can, at will, dramatically increase profits by curtailing production. As posted before: there are No Substitutes to the Elements NPK to leverage photosynthesis.

I just hope the Govt. of Morocco doesn't somehow screw it up and kill its Golden Goose & I-NPK eggs-->because we would sure be damn hungry unless/until we dramatically scaled up O-NPK recycling. We should be very glad that Morocco is America's oldest ally, IMO.