Drumbeat: April 21, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy: Get in fighting shape for the coming storms--psychologically, economically, and environmentally

What’s a nice girl in the suburban smudge doing in a neurotic place like this? I’m a positive person and I believe in starting things rather than waiting for others to start them for me. But back in 2005, I was a new mother, not working, swimming in a soup of sleep deprivation, vulnerability, a little too much Internet time on my hands, and a growing sense that I should leave behind a planet for my infant son that resembled the one I’d grown up on. The End of Suburbia, and the theory of Peak Oil, made sense to me. Since 1859, when the first well in Pennsylvania pumped oil, we have burned through one trillion barrels of the world’s supply as more countries industrialize and globalization increases international trade. At this rate, how long can it be until we come up dry?

Everywhere I looked I began to see oil—in my computer, lipstick, stockings, buttons, pens, mattress, coffee pot, telephone, camera, cotton swabs, Frisbee, Scotch tape, guitar strings, refrigerator shelves, photographs, vitamins, rugs, DVDs, running shoes, sunscreen, eyeglasses. I got a little desperate. I became obsessed with trying to take my house, in the middle of the biggest energy- and oil-dependent matrix in America, off the grid. I briefly considered making bumper stickers that said i ♥ saudi oil and sneaking out after the baby was asleep to stick them on my neighbors’ Explorers and Tacomas.

Post–Hurricane Katrina, I’d lost faith that my government would protect me in the event the oil ran out, the food stopped arriving at the store, and the lights went off (as they did in most of the Northeast on August 14, 2003). Convinced that the blackout had been a dress rehearsal for the real thing, I resolved to become a survivalist in the suburbs, a dark manifestation of my positive can-doer. I would grow food in the front yard, dig a geothermal well in the back, buy a wood-burning stove to heat the house, string a clothesline. For a couple of years, I tried to make my home resilient, and was thwarted every step of the way, by economics ($50,000 for the geothermal well) and my boyfriend (vetoed anything but grass in the front yard and the wood stove as "romantic retro low technology"). Even the town was against me: Larchmonters frown upon clotheslines.

Oil settles above $46 again

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Oil prices gained ground Tuesday as the stock market rose on the strength of bank stocks, after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress that some banks could be allowed to repay financial bailout funds.

Benchmark crude for May delivery rose 63 cents to settle at $46.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. With Nymex's May contract expiring Tuesday, traders focused on the June contract, which gained 4 cents at settle $48.55 a barrel.

Weak Fundamentals Suggest Oil Prices Will Remain Low

Producers argue that oil prices need to remain high to fund the investment necessary to meet future oil demand, an important part of which is replacing production lost to depletion, OxAn says in Outlook for oil prices looks weak. They say that at current price levels investment will be insufficient. Once oil demand growth resumes, OPEC’s production cuts will be quickly eroded as will the level of surplus capacity. The attraction of this argument is that it justifies high oil prices no matter how bad or deep the current crisis because it is future shortages that are the imperative rather than the present.

OPEC, Asia Energy Ministers to Discuss Reviving Oil Spending

(Bloomberg) -- Asia’s biggest oil users will meet the world’s largest producers this week in Tokyo to discuss ways to revive spending and ensure energy supplies after the global recession ends.

Iraq's oil exports drop worsens budget outlook

(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Iraq's budget deficit could soar to $25 billion this year if oil exports stay at their current low levels, prompting the government to consider new taxes and import duties to bolster revenues, the finance minister said.

Asia companies new players in Iraq oil industry

The predominance of Asian operators among bidders for a chunk of Iraq’s vast oilfields shows the rising power of small and flexible state-run companies prepared to take risks, analysts say.

The latest bidding round, the second since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, covers 11 gas and oilfields, including the massive West Qurna field where reserves are believed to extend to some 20 bn barrels of oil.

StatoilHydro Touts Russia for Arctic Energy

OSLO -- StatoilHydro, the world's largest offshore oil and gas operator, said Russia had the most promise in the push to explore the Arctic region's undiscovered reserves.

"In the northern territories, it is Russia that distinguishes itself, as it holds a large share of what is estimated to be the resource base in the Arctic territories," Bengt Lie Hansen, head of StatoilHydro in Russia, said in an interview at Melkoeya, off Norway's northern tip. "Our focus, to a large extent, is Russia."

Toyota Prius Gets $1,000 Price Cut in Duel With Honda

(Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker, cut the base price of its Prius hybrid by $1,000 to help beat back competition from Honda Motor Co.’s gasoline-electric Insight.

McClendon says $9 gas needed to drill

Natural-gas prices must more than double to $7.50 to $9 per million British thermal units to ensure producers will provide adequate supplies of the power-plant and heating fuel, Chesapeake Energy boss Aubrey McClendon said.

That is the price range needed to maintain the 85% of the US natural-gas supply that comes from conventional wells, McClendon said today at an investor conference in New York sponsored by the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Petrobras May Stow Gas From Offshore Oil Fields in Subsea Caves

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, may store natural gas from the Western Hemisphere’s largest petroleum find since 1976 in subsea caves carved into a mile-thick layer of salt.

Now, if Obama would just buy us all Priuses ...

Now then, the U.S. Department of Energy budgetary request for fiscal 2010 is $65 billion, including nearly $40 billion from the National Economic Recovery Act. The 2010 Toyota Prius will probably come in at around $23,000 when prices are announced later this spring. Since we've got the federal checkbook open, what if we took $46 billion and bought Priuses? Would that help?

Why yes, yes it would.

By my calculations, $46 billion would buy about 2 million Priuses. Assuming we use them to replace cars that get 15 mpg and assuming an average driving year of 15,000 miles -- and assuming the junkers are retired out of the fleet -- these 2 million Priuses would save about 700 gallons of gas per car, or 1.4 billion gallons a year.

An Easier, Yet Uneasy, Commute to Work

According to transportation officials, the number of commuters using trains, buses, roads and bridges that serve Long Island is down by as much as 7 percent — a phenomenon they say is most likely tied to higher unemployment that has grounded would-be commuters at home.

“A lot of it is related to the downturn in the economy,” said Aaron Donovan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the L.I.R.R.; bridges like the Throgs Neck, Whitestone and Robert F. Kennedy (formerly the Triborough); and Long Island Bus, which serves Nassau County.

Peak driving season falls victim to recession

THERE will be no summer driving season this year.

Of course, there will be summer. And people will still get into their cars to go places.

But in the traditional sense, the "peak driving season" that the US has come to love and hate will be another victim of the recession.

The government's Energy Information Administration thinks gasoline prices will keep rising, but the agency predicts the peak won't be reached until sometime in September, when it is projecting that the economy will be turning around.

Good luck with that! Normally, gas prices get to their highest level in April or May as speculators in the energy markets bid up prices in anticipation that Americans will squander more on gasoline during the summer.

Photo-Radar Van Driver Shot to Death: Rage against cameras taken to another level

PHOENIX - A suspect was arrested Monday in connection with the shooting death of a man operating a photo radar unit in Phoenix, but police said it's too soon to know the motive.

BMI: Russian oil production to rise by 13.25%/year

Russia will account for 50.77% of Central and Eastern European (CEE) regional oil demand by 2013, while providing 70.96% of supply, according to the latest Russia oil and gas report from analyst BMI.

The analyst is forecasting Russian oil production during 2007-18 to increase 13.25%, with output rising steadily to 11.3 million b/d by 2018 from 9.98 million b/d in 2007.

Oil consumption during the period is forecast to rise by 27.40%, permitting exports peaking at 7.86 million b/d in 2018.

Bill Ford: Detroit needs predictability

Laguna Niguel, Calif. (Fortune) -- What does Bill Ford, CEO of the only Detroit Three automaker not likely to file for Chapter 11 anytime soon, have in common with power-company CEOs David Crane of NRG Energy and Jim Rogers of Duke Energy? A deep aversion to unpredictability.

That's why Crane and Rogers have been begging for carbon legislation for years - so they can make big investments in renewable energy. And it's why Ford says he wants a gasoline tax - so he can invest in smaller cars.

US urges food output boost to avert unrest

The US agriculture secretary has warned that unless countries take immediate steps to sharply boost agricultural productivity and food output and reduce hunger, the world risks fresh social instability.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Tom Vilsack indicated that food security and global stability were tied, in a sign that Washington's worries about the global food crisis go well beyond its humanitarian implications.

"This is not just about food security, this is about national security, it is about environmental security," he said on the sidelines of the first meeting of the Group of Eight ministers of agriculture. Although the US has in the past talked about the links, Barack Obama, US president, and his team have made it a priority, officials said.

Climate change means shortfalls in Colorado River water deliveries

The Colorado River system supplies water to tens of millions of people and millions of acres of farmland, and has never experienced a delivery shortage. But if human-caused climate change continues to make the region drier, scheduled deliveries will be missed 60-90 percent of the time by the middle of this century, according to a pair of climate researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

"All water-use planning is based on the idea that the next 100 years will be like the last 100," said Scripps research marine physicist Tim Barnett, a co-author of the report. "We considered the question: Can the river deliver water at the levels currently scheduled if the climate changes as we expect it to. The answer is no."

China, France extend cooperation on peaceful use of nuclear power

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- The China Atomic Energy Authority(CAEA) Tuesday signed an agreement with the French Atomic Energy Commission to continue cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power.

New bug wiping out our cassava plants

Uganda’s hope of extracting industrial ethanol and biodiesel from locally grown cassava is being threatened by the emergence of a new and destructive cassava disease which has attacked the country.

Crop scientists have identified the disease as the Cassava Brown Streak Virus, which causes the stem, roots and leaves of the plant to rot.

High oil stocks, falling demand add to OPEC challenge

LONDON - Oil inventories are at the highest in nearly two decades and global fuel demand is falling more than expected, increasing the challenge for OPEC in seeking to balance supply with demand.

Physical oil markets are looking more bearish than a month ago as the International Energy Agency and other forecasters cut global demand estimates, physical crude prices weaken and oil inventories balloon.

Oil futures fell more than 8 percent on Monday to below $46 a barrel, hit in part by caution about the pace of any economic recovery and its impact on oil demand. Still, crude has risen from a low of $32.40 in December.

Syria PM visits Iraq to discuss rebels and oil

BAGHDAD - Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari visited Iraq on Tuesday in a sign of warming ties between nations whose relations have been strained since long before the 2003 U.S invasion.

Prior to Otari’s arrival, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said talks would touch on a demand for Syria to crack down on former Iraqi army commanders plotting against the government from exile in Damascus, and on the reopening of an oil pipeline.

Chinese vice premier calls oil pact with Russia "milestone"

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- An oil cooperation agreement signed by China and Russia Tuesday was a milestone in bilateral energy cooperation, Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said.

"This [agreement] provides a solid basis for comprehensive, long-term and steady cooperation in this field," Li told visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin.

Ecuador to keep Perenco oil sales until debt settled

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador will continue to auction crude seized from Perenco until the French oil company repays $350 million in late taxes, Oil Minister Derlis Palacios told Reuters on Tuesday.

U.S. firm Weatherford to start drilling in Iraq

Abu Dhabi (Reuters) - U.S. oilfield services company, Weatherford will start drilling for oil in southern Iraq in May, a company official said on Tuesday.

Millions pledged to stop general bee decline

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A British consortium pledged Tuesday to spend up to £10 million ($14.5 million) in research grants to find out what is causing a serious decline in bees and other pollinating insects.

Huaneng Power First-Quarter Profit More Than Doubles

(Bloomberg) -- Huaneng Power International Inc., China’s biggest electricity generator, said first-quarter profit more than doubled on higher power prices.

...China increased power prices twice in the second half of last year to offset utilities’ rising fuel costs. The country vowed to step up efforts this year to loosen government caps on power tariffs and let market forces determine prices, which will help power companies’ earnings.

Citibank starts trade in Kyoto offsets in Israel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Citibank has started to trade Kyoto-backed carbon offsets in Israel from green projects, it said on Tuesday.

Offset trading will be done from the bank's existing trading desk in Tel Aviv which mostly deals with foreign exchange and government bonds.

Biomass energy could be carbon "sinner": UK study

British finance minister Alistair Darling presents his budget on Wednesday and is expected to announce new support for renewable energy and to back tough, legally binding 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets.

But recommendations in a report commissioned by the Environment Agency, if adopted by government may dent biomass initiatives especially by excluding support for electricity-only projects rather than those which use combined heat and power.

Making no-cash deals with neighbors

There are hundreds of barter networks set up across the country. Many use barter credits as currency, so a plumber who needs to have a cavity filled doesn't need to search for a dentist's office with plumbing problems to make a deal. He can fix a leaky pipe for one member of a network and use the credits he earned for that job at any other.

Michael Krane, president of Green Apple Barter Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says his company has brokered everything from breast implants to college tuition to a horse.

Saudi Aramco delays Manifa offshore project

An industry source close to the US$9 billion Saudi Arabian Manifa offshore oilfield project has told the news gathering agency Reuters that the project has been delayed for at least the next six months by state-owned energy company Saudi Aramco.

"Aramco will proceed with the project and agreed on a six month delay," the source told Reuters.

The Moneefa project is in line to become Saudi Arabia’s largest offshore field, capable of producing 900,000 barrels of crude. However, the heavy sour crude the field holds makes it expensive to process and not economically viable in the current financial climate.

Use Energy, Get Rich and Save the Planet

Among researchers who analyze environmental data, a lot has changed since the 1970s. With the benefit of their hindsight and improved equations, I’ll make a couple of predictions:

1. There will be no green revolution in energy or anything else. No leader or law or treaty will radically change the energy sources for people and industries in the United States or other countries. No recession or depression will make a lasting change in consumers’ passions to use energy, make money and buy new technology — and that, believe it or not, is good news, because...

2. The richer everyone gets, the greener the planet will be in the long run.

Russia's Medvedev offers to rewrite energy rules

HELSINKI (AFP) — Russia was set to release proposals for new rules on global energy cooperation Monday, President Dmitry Medvedev said, replacing a 1991 energy treaty rejected by Moscow.

The announcement of the ambitious plan was the latest sign of Moscow's increasingly assertive bids to revive its influence in the world.

The Mexican Oil Dilemma: Refining Pemex

Mexico is running out of gas. The world's sixth largest producer of oil and America's third largest source of crude imports faces declining production at its primary oil fields, and the well may be dry in less than a decade. Meanwhile, the structure and management of Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos), Mexico's state-owned oil monopoly, coupled with the government's historic dependence on its revenues, have limited the country's ability to bolster its reserves. And while the government celebrates the recent passage of a Pemex reform bill, the changes enacted are overly cautious. Experts predict that Mexico's reserves will run dry.

But all is not lost. The resulting turmoil may, in fact, save Mexico. The reality is that Pemex cannot simply be refined; it must evolve in the face of external pressures to remain viable and ensure Mexico's long-term energy independence. That change is coming, although it is taking an energy crisis to make it a reality.

Kuwait Energy Finds Black Gold in Egypt's Western Desert

The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported that Kuwait Energy Company, one of the largest independent E&P companies in the Middle East, has announced a new oil discovery in the East Ras Qattara (ERQ) Field, located in Egypt's Western Desert. The company estimates a daily production capacity of 5,285 barrels of oil and unproven reserves of 3.460 million barrels.

Why Planes in the Desert May Boost Fares

MARANA, Ariz. -- Hundreds of once-proud aluminum birds are parked here with engines sealed, tires wrapped and windows covered. Whether these passenger jets will soar across continents again will have a direct impact on how much you pay to fly.

The airline industry has grounded more than 11% of its jets in dusty airplane boneyards, mostly in New Mexico, Arizona and California. Planes from all corners of the world end up here, but U.S. airlines have led the way, clipping the wings of 800 aircraft since mid-2008, according to London-based Ascend Worldwide Ltd. That's a fleet far bigger than AMR Corp.'s American Airlines' 626 jets (plus 47 in storage).

More are coming -- jets are being parked at a rate of about 30 per month this year. And the drop in international business travel has prompted the mothballing of wide-body jets.

The long road to credibility for new modes of transport

Looking back, we find that motor cars themselves were the subject of ridicule for years before they became fast enough to escape mocking. Daniel Yergin’s book ‘The Prize’ notes that in 1895 a Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race helped the car gain credibility, but a race the following year in Rhode Island was so slow and boring, at 15mpg, “that there was heard the first cry, ‘Get a horse!”.

Renewable Energy in China: A Necessity, Not an Alternative

What role does renewable energy play in the world's fastest growing economy? We have all heard about China's prowess as an economic power, but not what its growth means for the country's energy needs in the coming decades. China's burgeoning consumption rate, its increase in heavy industry exports and a construction boom that has led the Chinese to nominate the "crane" as their national bird have fuelled a massive and increasing appetite for energy -- intensified by the government's balancing act of not imposing energy constraints while also seeking more energy sources.

"The Unbearable Lightness of Wind"

Like anybody who understands electricity, McCracken is both slightly provoked and slightly alarmed by the headlong rush into wind power in Europe and America. "Wind power has its critics and they feel that their reservation have been overridden by policy makers whose imagination have been captured by a green agenda that downplays wind's limitations," says McCracken judiciously.

Are wind farms a lot of hot air... and what would we do when it's not windy?

They're fine for making the odd cup of tea. But, says the Mail's Science Editor; if we wanted to go totally green, we'd have to carpet the country with more windmills than exist in the whole world.

Green technologies to watch

Which technologies specifically have a good shot at making the biggest impact? As part of our Earth Day 2009 coverage, we try to handicap technologies that bear watching.

In bailout nation, Florida takes its place in line

At bottom, Florida's underfunded, state-run program is a cynical ploy to get people in places like Iowa and Tennessee to subsidize those who want to live in hurricane-prone areas.

It's not hard to envisage the argument Florida would make: How could you bail out Wall Street, and Detroit, but not us? Look at all the money that has flowed into New Orleans. What about us?

Politically and practically, these would be hard arguments to counter. Except that Florida's problem is something that Floridians should be solving for themselves right now, painful though their choices might be.

Talking Climate Change with Anthony Watts

Q: What is your basic position on the question of global warming? Are you a believer? A skeptic? Somewhere in between?

A: I would call myself what some people describe as a "lukewarmer" in that the CO2 effect that people have done thousands of studies on is in fact real. However, it is not a crisis. The reason it is not a crisis is because most people do not understand the logarithmic nature of the CO2 response in our atmosphere.

Kjell Aleklett: Newsweek and “Cheap Oil forever”

Newsweek’s cover declares that we shall have ”Cheap Oil Forever”. Furthermore, on their hompage, www.newsweek.com they promise that we shall be told ”The truth about oil” and the person who will tell us is Ruchir Sharma, Head of Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Of course, I want to know who this oracle is and, with the help of Google, I discover Ruchr Sharma as a smiling young man in the prime of his life. With great interest I examine the article "If It’s in the Ground, It Can Only Go Down", the article that will show me the truth that my research group strives daily to find, that truth that the entire world seeks.

As I began to read the article I was struck by the thought, ”I have heard this before” and a memory of the cover of the Economist from March 1999 with the headline, ”Drowning in Oil” forced its way into my consciousness. That was ten years ago when we consumed 27.6 billion barrels per year. Back then, the flow of cheap oil was meant to grow and prices were to drop by half from $10 per barrel. Of course, the oil continued to flow and last year we consumed 31.2 billion barrels. But it was not $5 per barrel that we paid or even $50. Instead, we approached $150 per barrel when the market crashed.

Oil languishes near $46 as stock markets sink

Oil prices languished near $46 a barrel Tuesday after renewed doubts about the health of U.S. banks sent crude and stock markets tumbling.

Benchmark crude for May delivery was up 5 cents to $45.93 a barrel by midday in Europe in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Ukraine, Russia gas transits looking safe - Piebalgs

HANOVER, Germany, April 21 (Reuters) - EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said on Tuesday he was convinced that Russia and Ukraine will work towards avoiding any future gas supply disruptions to Europe.

Speaking to reporters during the Hanover industry fair, Piebalgs said, "If there is another crisis, their credibility will be ruined. I think it is important for them that it (the transit system) functions in future."

Petrobras’s Gabrielli Says China Loan Won’t Be Backed by Crude

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, said it won’t provide crude as collateral for loans from China worth as much as $10 billion.

Chinese companies will instead receive right of first refusal on some future output as part of a deal being finalized between Brazil and China’s Development Bank, Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli said in an interview.

Shell still plans Chukchi drilling despite ruling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell still plans to start exploration drilling next year in Alaska's potentially oil-rich Chukchi Sea in spite of a new legal setback, a company manager in Alaska said on Monday.

Pete Slaiby, Shell's general manager for Alaska, said the company remains committed to drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska and to build that into a major new production base for oil and gas, even after a decision from an appeals court in Washington, D.C. on Friday that found the federal offshore leasing plan to be illegal.

Gunmen attack Nigeria oil tanker

Abuja - Gunmen in Nigeria attacked an oil tanker off the coast of the Niger Delta on Tuesday, kidnapping the ship's captain and chief engineer, private security sources said.

The vessel Ilena Mercan, chartered by French oil company Total, was attacked on its way to Onne port in Nigeria's southeastern Rivers state, said two security sources working for the oil sector.

Schwarzenegger blames auto woes on empty US policy

DETROIT, Michigan (AFP) – The once mighty US car industry has been blighted by the lack of a coherent US energy policy to cut dependence on foreign oil, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger charged Monday.

"The government should provide money to help the automakers in research and development, but it can also no longer keep changing their policies," said Schwarzenegger at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) conference here.

"We need a vision for energy, a vision for our cars, a vision for greenhouse gases and a vision for tailpipe emissions. In all this time we have not had those visions."

Global Shipping Industry Sees Long Duration Economic Recession

On the issue of peak oil, although the delegates acknowledge that 2008 was probably peak oil – they believe that the demand will fall for oil faster than the supply contracts. They do not believe Asia will emulate Western energy use – and believe the West will change they way they use energy. The bottom line is that they believe peak oil is a non-issue.

Travel cutbacks slash service to midsize airports

As the summer travel season nears, fliers are about to feel the full brunt of cuts in air service — and vacation spots aren't the only places getting hit.

The recession and resulting falloff in business travel are taking a particular toll on second-tier business airports such as Cleveland, San Antonio and Hartford, Conn. Large airlines have reduced flights and switched to smaller planes since fall. Others have pulled out or shut down.

Consider peak oil and electoral reform when you vote

This will not be a slow transition that we’ll be able to adapt to, especially as peak oil doesn’t even seem to be on our radar yet.

Vancouver’s population of two million is sitting at the 49th parallel, which is not the equator where you can crop year round. We harvest once a year. It’ll take a few acres to feed each mouth, and there aren’t many in Vancouver who can afford that land. Those who have the acreage will be faced with desperately hungry neighbours. It could get very nasty.

The Inevitable Future: Peak Oil and Socialism

Today’s observer might say that the process of a changing world as a result of expensive energy is already well under way. When the middle class gets squeezed, they naturally turn to government officials who make the most promises. The United States is now led by a popular liberal president along with liberal representatives in the nation’s House and Senate. It is no accident and conservative critics may not be exaggerating when complaining about a move toward socialism.

Somebody needs to tell conservatives, however, that the move toward socialism is now inevitable. Just imagine today’s oil prices doubling or tripling on top of our current economic problems. The result would be rapid inflation and a people who are only more desperate, naturally turning to government officials who make the most promises. Those who make the most promises are those who will naturally ignore long term economic ramifications.

National service bill to get Obama's signature

The legislation provides for gradually increasing the size of AmeriCorps to 250,000 enrollees from its current 75,000. It outlines five broad categories where people can direct their service: helping the poor, improving education, encouraging energy efficiency, strengthening access to health care and assisting veterans.

Michael T. Klare - Gates' Revolution: Back to the Future

The preliminary Defense Department budget announced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on April 6 represents the most dramatic shift in US military thinking since the end of the Vietnam War. Gates merely hinted at the magnitude of the proposed changes, claiming only that he seeks to "rebalance" the department's priorities between conventional and irregular warfare. But the message is clear: from now on, counterinsurgency and low-intensity conflict will be the military's principal combat missions, while other tasks, such as preparing for an all-out war with a well-equipped adversary, will take a decidedly secondary role.

Just £4bn will save a generation from starvation, says UN

Agriculture ministers from the world's richest countries are holding an unprecedented meeting this weekend as the United Nations warns that hunger threatens to "spiral out of control" in the wake of the financial crisis.

The three-day meeting, which opened in Italy yesterday, will address a growing food crisis as harvests threaten to slump at a time when record numbers of people are already hungry. Crops are being hit by a combination of bad weather, falling food prices and farmers' being refused credit to buy seeds and fertilisers.

It is the first time that the agriculture ministers of the G8 leading economies have held such a meeting, and they have invited their counterparts from China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Egypt to join them in Treviso "to work out a common route to lead us out of the crisis and respond to the world food emergency".

Makers of plastic bags to use 40% recycled content by 2015

The plastic bag industry has an Earth Day surprise: less plastic.

Under pressure from consumers, environmental advocates and retailers, the companies that make more than 80% of plastic bags used by the nation's big retailers on Tuesday will announce plans to make the plastic bags from 40% recycled content by 2015.

China says planning more dams on troubled Yangtze

BEIJING (AFP) – China will build at least 20 more reservoirs or hydroelectric projects in the Yangtze river system by 2020, the government said Tuesday, despite growing concerns over dam construction there.

2 Suriname men win global environmental prize

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – When Hugo Jabini saw his people's territory in Suriname being devastated by logging in the mid-1990s, he and a tribal leader of the forest-dwelling Saramaka decided to devote their days to halting the buzz of chain saws.

For years, Jabini and Wanze Eduards, who are from settlements of palm-thatched huts deep in Suriname's central rain forest, organized tribal communities to peacefully defend their land and promote their rights — even as the South American nation's government warned they would be imprisoned if they tried to stop the logging.

Virgin to report greenhouse gases

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Virgin America on Monday became the first US airline to sign up to report its greenhouse gas emissions to the nonprofit Climate Registry.

Climate debate tests clean coal power

They’re the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a collection of 48 mining, rail, manufacturing and power-generating companies with an annual budget of more than $45 million — almost three times larger than the coal industry’s old lobbying and public relations groups combined. ACCCE (pronounced “Ace”) is just celebrating its first birthday, but it has already become a juggernaut shaping the terms of the climate change debate on Capitol Hill — even while weathering a high-profile assault by critics who accuse it of peddling hot air.

Energy Bill Would Create Climate Agency

A sweeping energy bill under consideration by a House panel not only would try to curb global warming but also would create a federal program on adapting to climate changes that may be inevitable.

Cyclones Spurt Water Into Stratosphere, Feeding Global Warming

ScienceDaily — Scientists at Harvard University have found that tropical cyclones readily inject ice far into the stratosphere, possibly feeding global warming.

The finding, published in Geophysical Research Letters, provides more evidence of the intertwining of severe weather and global warming by demonstrating a mechanism by which storms could drive climate change. Many scientists now believe that global warming, in turn, is likely to increase the severity of tropical cyclones.

Climate-change disasters to affect millions: Oxfam

LONDON (AFP) – Hundreds of millions of people will become victims of climate change-related disasters over the next six years, Oxfam said on Tuesday, urging governments to change the way they respond to such events.

The Oxford-based international aid and development charity estimated the number of people affected by climatic disasters would rise by 54 percent to 375 million people a year on average by 2015, based on data on similar disasters since 1980.

"the collapse in the US trade deficit has been absolutely breathtaking and will clearly influence GDP"

The Baltic Dry is the index now.

The US Markets are clearly being manipulated.

"The end of that spending spree means the flow of dollars to foreign central banks is collapsing.

But, that recycling of money was used to finance the U.S. government. The red line in that chart plots the three-month sum of purchases of U.S. debt by those gullible central banks. Early in the chart, the surplus of dollars, the U.S. trade deficit, more than covered the purchases of U.S. debt by foreign central banks. That situation no longer exists. With the U.S. trade deficit collapsing due to the Obama Depression, the supply of dollars going to foreign central banks no longer exceeds their purchases of U.S. debt by foreign central banks.

Foreign central banks can not continue to purchase U.S. debt at current rates as they do not have the flow of dollars to do so. The New York Times reports(12 April 2009) in “China Slows Purchases of U.S. and Other Bonds,”



Real-Time: 29.26 Down 1.22 (4.00%) 9:48am EThelp
Last Trade: 28.55
Trade Time: 9:33am ET
Change: Down 1.93 (6.33%)
Prev Close: 30.48


And the DJIA is green.

I only caught three words of that:

"The Obama Depression" WTF!? (I guess 8 years of Bush as Captain means nothing after you have hit the the iceberg...)


Bush, Obama, Democrat, Repulican - just names. It's a sham, a "watch the birdie" trick. Obama is a far more effective tool than Bush - like carving with a sharp, fine chisel vs. a mangled screwdriver - but still just a tool. People tend to give these things names, and like it or not it will be named after whoever was holding the bag when the crime gets real obvious. But why does it matter which spokesmodel it gets named after? They don't represent you after all, they belong to someone else.

I love the way that anytime people point out how much devastation the Republicans created over the last 8 years, the response becomes "Oh ALL those politicians are just crooks!"

No. George Bush and Dick Cheney and their sycophants wrought some absolute devastation on this country through both negligence and active lying and defying of any rule or law that was inconvenient to them.

There are some unsettling common traits between the parties, and I'm afraid I tend to agree with Nader's description of the difference being the speed their knees hit the carpet when a lobbyist arrives in the office.. but let's not start equivocating about the smirking destruction that the last administration foisted on us. As the Onion put it.. "Black Man gets the worst job in the US"

Speaking of The Onion- here's a piece written in January 2001...

Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street...

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"

We do not live in an unchanging world. The differences between the parties and Presidents have varied considerably over the years, and those differences also vary by issue. However, the long term trend has been one of consolidation. The coup of 2000 was a step change, but not perhaps as big as it appeared given the effects of Clinton's policies.

By now however, the insidious influence of money and power has erased any real differences, and that very consolidation of power has reduced the need to even bother pretending anymore. Bush and his pals changed to a more overt, in-your-face style, both because they understood the serious nature of what was coming, and because they are thugs. They did a lot of damage. Time will tell, but so far other than personal style I don't see any significant change nor an effort to repair that damage.

So yes, if Obama does not change Bush's policies, then why would you not equate them?

He has just called waterboarding torture. The EPA has now called CO2 a danger to public health. He's advocating for rail, he has just said the Cuba policy has not worked. He just said it is not his understanding that talking to leaders like Ahmedinajad, Castro or Chavez in any way compromises the security of the US.

There are differences, and I don't believe it's just convenient and cynical window-dressing or lip service, as some here seem to accuse on a daily basis. If you are a spokesman, then TALK is Action, too. No doubt, we have to see the follow through, but the fact that he is saying these things on the world stage is not just 'Adept Salesmanship', as Brian likes to call it.

But where they are on the same turf.. how they deal with Corporate Interests and Banks, these are critical issues, and how you get an inflexible ship like the Western World's Upper Caste to turn that boat at all is anyone's guess. But I'd say it won't be voluntary by a leader who is there with the presumed nod of the wealthy.. I would bet that turn has to be forced by nature.. a tidal wave of public opposition (nothing like the whimpering we see right now), an iceberg of a widespread crop-disaster or fisheries collapse.

It is really vital at this point to note BOTH their similarities and their differences, if you want to find a place to start lodging the wedges..

But where they are on the same turf.. how they deal with Corporate Interests and Banks, these are critical issues, and how you get an inflexible ship like the Western World's Upper Caste to turn that boat at all is anyone's guess. But I'd say it won't be voluntary by a leader who is there with the presumed nod of the wealthy.. I would bet that turn has to be forced by nature.. a tidal wave of public opposition (nothing like the whimpering we see right now), an iceberg of a widespread crop-disaster or fisheries collapse.

Today's testimony by Simon Johnson amplifies this and perhaps offers some "whys". It borrows a lot from his Atlantic Monthly article. Courtesy of a commenter from The Market Ticker this is an 11 page pdf: Simon Johnson Testimony

Testimony submitted to the Joint Economic Committee hearing on “Too big to fail or too big to save? Examining the systemic threats of large financial institutions,”

April 21, 2009 (embargoed until 9:30am).

Submitted by Simon Johnson, Ronald Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan School of Management; Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; and
co-founder of http://BaselineScenario.com

The depth and suddenness of the U.S. economic and financial crisis today are strikingly and shockingly reminiscent of experiences we have seen recently only in emerging markets: Korea in 1997, Malaysia in 1998 and even Russia and Argentina, repeatedly.


Looking just at the financial crisis (and leaving aside some problems of the larger economy), we face at least two major, interrelated problems. The first is a desperately ill banking sector that threatens to choke off any incipient recovery that the fiscal stimulus might be able to generate. The second is a network of connections and ideology that give the financial sector a veto over public policy, even as it loses popular support.

That network, it seems, has only gotten stronger since the crisis began. And this is not surprising. With the financial system as fragile as it is, the potential damage that a major bank could cause - Lehman was small relative to Citigroup or Bank of America - is much greater than it would be during ordinary times. The banks have been exploiting this fear to wring favorable deals out of
Washington. Bank of America obtained its second bailout package (in January 2009) by first threatening not to go through with the acquisition of Merrill Lynch - a prospect that Treasury did
not want to consider.


Stiglitz (pdf) has testimony too.

Somewhat curiously this was not CSPAN-ed.

where is WT when you need him

... Russia oil exports to peak in 2018... big increase coming

Obama won't prosecute. You tell me what's worse, the criminal or the complicit law enforcement? Think that one through. While in pratice - at least at first - the difference might seem small, I think it a huge qualitative difference. The Bush administration ignored "rule of law" - and tried to keep it hidden - but the Obama administration is the one finally destroying "rule of law" - openly.

Ultimately, that's why all the guns are being sold - because order is breaking down and the herd knows it. On the other side of the coin, I suspect the Obama administration wants an excuse to militarize everything. That's why big O upped that domestic US military unit from 500 to 80,000.

cfm in Gray, ME

I think it is too early to put everything on Obama's shoulders. WHere is the Congress, where is the Justice Department? There are a lot of power running behind the scene -- it will take some time to sort this whole mess out.

There is only one Commander-in-Chief. The buck stops there. What's the point in making excuses?

And, yes, jokhul, it's all window dressing if the PA, MCA, domestic spying, etc., aren't rolled back. It means any gains are illusory because they can be taken away at any time without any warning.

I will be returning home, but it is in spite of conditions, not because of. The US is essentially a military-industrial fascist state with an elitist socialist economy and a debt-ridden, capitalist plebiscite. But it's home.

The best way to change it is to triple R our lives, get into Transition in some form and bleed TPTB of their power the old fashioned way: reduce what we pay in taxes and vote them all out of office.

The more self-reliant and self-sufficient the populace, the less government that is needed. Government should only be doing those things individuals can't, such as equip an army for national defense, coordinate major works such as national transport, etc. Also, the government should have a hand in protecting the Commons, but not owning it. The people should decide what to do with the commons. Depending on the nature, that might be local, state or national governance, but never outside the wishes of the people directly affected. Gov't powers should be returned to the bare bones outline of the Constitution.

One of the reasons I push micro-energy so hard is that it removes the profits, taxes, and power over my health and happiness from the military-industrial fascist state with an elitist socialist economy and a debt-ridden, capitalist plebiscite.

Basically, I hope for a true democracy with only limited republican powers and a steady-state, locally focused economy.

But this requires people to stop watching TV and start building communication, community and cooperation. We don't need revolution, we don't need chaos. We just need to retake our power from the grass roots up. Start changing the laws locally. As the future constraints become clearer, the choices will become narrower and national consensus can be achieved. Then we change the state and national laws, too. For us, not the corporations.



Here here!


it's all window dressing if the PA, MCA, domestic spying, etc., aren't rolled back. It means any gains are illusory because they can be taken away at any time without any warning.

And they won't be rolled back. I hate to waste my time thinking about it - it only encourages the bastards. But one must understand the context.

the government should have a hand in protecting the Commons, but not owning it.

Tell me more, ccpo. I'm thinking "maine waters held in trust for the people by the state - like the deer", only the state still sells off the waters to Nestles behind the scenes. Still, there is something germinating there.

cfm in Gray, ME, potting up potting up potting up

the military-industrial fascist state with an elitist socialist economy and a debt-ridden, capitalist plebiscite.

You clearly don't understand political history or the meaning of the three -isms you refer to.

Argumentation by assertion is always useful.



it is the objective of the right wing to pin this on obama, but not apparent to anyone with a memory longer than 3 months, or an iq higher than an idiot. judging by the fox news sponsored tax protest, the right wing's "solution" is very similar to herbert hoover's.

I love this right-wing, left-wing BS. OK, so the tax protests were "right wing" which makes GS, JPM, Paulson,Bernanke, Geithner et al "left-wing". These guys have a lot in common with Hugo.

how 'bout meghan mccain ?

Meghan McCain: 'Old School Republicans' Are 'Scared S**tless' of the Future (flag)


"I love this right-wing, left-wing.."

ok, i get your point, henceforth i will refer to the "scared shi*less wing".

My guesstimate would be that wing includes about 85% of the USA population at this point.

hiding under the bed ?

Well the economic iceberg was floated upon us well before Bush II. It was Clinton's economic team which started the US on the path of deregulation. Larry Summers, Robert Rubin and good ol' Alan "I might have been slightly wrong" Greenspan set wall street on course to sink main street when they teamed up to prevent derivatives contracts from being regulated on exchanges and the repeal of Glass Steagel to prevent excessive leverage.

Obama has taken the worst of Clinton and the best of Bush - Clinton's worst economic team of wallstreet peddlers and meddlers and Bush's best - his bailout policy and too big to fail routine.

Lets take a closer look at Obama's Cabinet

Steve Rattner, Car Czar, recently caught out on receiving alleged kickbacks from NY pension fund.

Larry Summers, Chief Economic Advisor, received 5.2 million dollars from hedge fund D.E. Shaw and got around 135K for speaking at Goldman Sachs and 46K from speaking at Merrill Lynch 8 days after Obama got elected, what did he say? "Go team" ??

Robert Rubin, Economic Advisor, got more than 120 million dollars for working for CitiGroup. Where did Citi end up? Stuffing their losses on to US taxpayers thats what.

Tim Geithner, Prodigy of John Thain (Ex Goldman and ex CEO of Merrill) and responsible for PPiP debacle, as former head of the NY FED he was the who botched up AIG bailouts and bonuses, and responsible for Lehman failure too. (Two Goldman competitors were killed on his watch)

Rahm Emmanuel - White House Chief of Staff, Earned 16 million dollars from the banking industry over two years.

The arsonists have taken over the fire station and the man responsible for putting them back in there was Obama. Was he conned into doing so or is he simply a Manchurian candidate for the banks? The facts speak darkly on this, why has he bet his political legacy on saving failed banks?

VK: It is deja vu all over again-why did Carlos Menem bet his political legacy? The problem with money is it makes you do things you wouldn't otherwise do http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/South_America/Argentine_Rebellion.html

How about if "we the people" stop buying Chinese junk and do everything we can to minimize our motor fuel consumption (= Arab oil), and instead of "recycling" our dollars through foreign banks to US Treasury bonds, we just save our money and buy those bonds ourselves?

Or is this plan too complicated for the people in power to grasp?

If you're talking about America, motor fuel consumption != Arab oil. Most of America's oil comes from America, Canada, and Mexico.

If you're talking about America, motor fuel consumption != Arab oil. Most of America's oil comes from America, Canada, and Mexico.

Because of the fungibility of oil, it makes no sense to ascribe the imports to any particular exporter or group of exporters. The only defensible attribution, is as a percentage of total world exports, or perhaps as a percentage of swing export capacity. Both of those methodolgies give high weighting to ME oil.

Two-thirds of US motor fuel (or more correctly, the oil from which it is refined) comes from outside the US. Much of it does come from Canada and Mexico, and that is less of a problem because they are trading partners and actually buy a lot of stuff from us in return. Unfortunately we do get imports from other places too, including the middle east, and that is mostly just a dollars for oil deal.

former FDA head announces US is conditioned to hyper-eating.

At the crux of research on overeating is the question of how the brain is affected by different stimuli. There is increasing unanimity amongst neuroscientists in recent years regarding how the combination of fat and sugar excites dopamine receptors in the brain, releasing a pleasure-response similar to that initiated by alcohol or drugs.

We know that addiction leads to steep discount rates, and that climate change, resource depletion, etc. need us to think about 'larger long term rewards' as opposed to immediate gratification. Sugar/refined carbs need to be rethought, as Kesslers research seems to highlight...

"If I wanted to destroy a nation," he wrote in 1966, "I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick."
--John Steinbeck

When a person or a country has everything the next thing it gets has to be excess/decadent. It can be no other way.

"When a person or a country has everything the next thing it gets has to be excess/decadent. It can be no other way."

"Goldman Sachs is running about one out of every ten trades on the NYSE."

"When Spain had its own currency, the peseta, the central bank could have simply devalued it, or cut interest rates to zero. But that is not an option in the era of the euro, when monetary policy is controlled from the European Central Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt, said Santiago Carbó, a professor of economics at the University of Granada.

“If we enter into a deflationary period, we won’t have the monetary tools to sort it out,” Mr. Carbó said."


Thanks to Zero Hedge for their amazing investigative work:


The Capital Markets Liquidity Index subcomponents:

* The Capital Markets US Treasury Bill Index CPMKTLTBI
* The Capital Markets Short Term Large Certificates of Deposit Index CPMKTLCD
* The Capital Markets Commercial Paper Index CPMKTLCP
* The Capital Markets Agency Discount Notes Index CPMKTLDN
* The Capital Markets Banker’s Acceptance Index CPMKTLBA
* The Capital Markets Short Term US Treasury Bond & Note Index CPMKTLTBO
* The Capital Markets Short Term US Federal Agency Index CPMKTLTA
* The Capital Markets Short Term US Corporate Investment Grade Bond Index CPMKTLCBO

Goldman Monopoly

GTM’s (prior story) on how the tri-party repo system works is critical to understand. Since many of the banks funding that system are gone, or incapable of funding, one big shark is left in the lagoon–Goldman Sachs. How do you trade a market when a single entity controls a large and growing share of the daily volume? Goldman Sachs is running about one out of every ten trades on the NYSE.


''How did you go bankrupt?"
''Two Ways. Gradually, and then suddenly."
--- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

Hyper eating is the perfect sense for the US.
Since you in the US are forbidding everything that makes fun - unless eating... it is quite normal, that your ever growing part of really FAT people (you will never see that magnitude in Europe or elsewhere) will skyrocket.

For most European visitors, the first impression of the US is mostly to see, how just fat they are.

Same thing in New Zealand. Just extended the dole for a 20 year old who weighs 190 kg (418 pounds in the states). He is on the waiting list for state funded obesity surgery.

Also just saw a 31 year old, massively obese woman who is in a wheelchair and taking morphine for back pain. She is pregnant with her 7th child by her 3rd partner. Well on her way to becoming an octomom one baby at a time. All of this is taxpayer funded.

Retirement Dreams Disappear With 401(k)s

"There clearly has been a raid on these funds by the people of Wall Street. And it's cost the savers and the future retirees a lot of money that would otherwise be in their account, independent of the financial collapse," Rep. George Miller [D-CA] said.

Congressman Miller is chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and a staunch critic of the 401(k) industry, especially its practice of deducting more than a dozen undisclosed fees from its clients' 401(k) accounts.

..."And most of the people that look at their 401(k)s have no idea that these fees are being taken out?" Kroft asked.

"No. Where would you find it? Where would you find these fees in this prospectus? You can look on any page you want, and when you're all done reading it, and you will find some of the fees and the commissions here, but you won't find them all, and I'll bet you won't find half of 'em," Miller said.

There are legal fees, trustee fees, transactional fees, stewardship fees, bookkeeping fees, finder's fees. The list goes on and on.

Miller's committee has heard testimony that they can eat up half the income in some 401(k) plans over a 30-year span. But he has not been able to stop it.

Thanks for posting this. It was one of the "big stories" on 60 Minutes last Sunday in addition to the nuclear effect. I REFUSED to watch the story on the matadors for "humanitarian" reasons.

David Wray, president of the Profit Sharing/401k Council of America and a lobbyist for the 401(k) industry, says it's one that empowers people to make their own investment decisions.

I thought Wray was a real piece or work and on at least one occassion was totally flummoxed when questioned.

Interesting, too, that most "fancy named" mutual funds available to 401K plans are at best mediocre funds or worse.

I had forgotten that 401K was originally designed to be a deferred income savings plan - not a retirement plan - add part of the "three legged stool" for retirement which was to include: SS, pension AND 401K savings.

But corporations saw the tax/proft benefits and soon limited/closed their pension plans thue effectively making 401K a/the major retirement plan - and we know what condition SS is in.


I wonder how much people still believe in the retirement dream, and how angry they will be when they realize it's not going to happen? It seems like the people I know are still contributing heavily, and still talking about what investment strategy make the most sense, as if nothing was happening. HR is holding a company meeting soon to go over the plan - I was going to skip it as it's irrelevant to me, but I think I will go just to listen and watch the reactions.

The concept of retirement is a very unnatural concept created in the last few hundred years... The plan was to have kids, and they take care of you as adults.

I wonder if that's where we're headed post-peak...

The History of Retirement

Prior to the 19th century, most people gained their living from working the earth; they'd farm until physically unable to do so, but chances were good their children would take over their duties as they aged and they'd stay in their own homes until death, alongside multiple generations of family. As the Industrial Revolution took hold, people left the farms in droves and a large labor force began to emerge, with the need for decent wages and a sense of security. In 1875, the American Express railroad company set a precedent by establishing the first private pension plan in America. Banks, utility companies, and manufacturing companies quickly followed suit and established pension plans funded mostly by the employer.

Another common mode was for older people - especially those without grown kids at home - to take in renters/lodgers. Presuming they owned their home free and clear, that brought in enough money to at least cover property taxes and quite a few other expenses. Raise a big garden, keep some chickens, and lay in a supply of firewood every year, and one could get by OK.

"...they take care of you as adults. I wonder if that's where we're headed post-peak...

If it is, we're headed for really big trouble. Before there were societal arrangements, many people had as many children as they possibly could, to yield the highest possible odds that enough willing/able children would survive to provide the care. Nowadays, of course, the odds of survival are higher, implying a need for "fewer" children - but on the other hand, old people (on the whole) live far, far longer and become far frailer, so having "enough" children might still imply a rapidly burgeoning population.

That may have been fine and dandy in a world where the frontier was still wide open, but it may work rather less well in a world that's full past bursting. In addition, old people now survive readily even when they are so frail that the help must have professional training. In the world you seem to posit - so far gone that the societal arrangements are impossible - I doubt universal training would be feasible. The institutions supporting the training might have gone away with the societal arrangements, and people might well be so completely occupied with sheer survival that they simply don't have the time.

I have five kids, all around the age of 40. Who's taking care of 77-yr-old me in my retirement? My young husband of 26 years. He's only 50. We married in Montreal in 2005. God knows who will take care of him. Or my kids. Though they look out for one another despite having fought throughout their adolescences . . .

my mother does.. she is almost begging me not to take out the couple thousand that was put into a 401k on my behalf by my last job.

"I wonder how much people still believe in the retirement dream,.."

that depends upon what is meant by dream. if your dream is to cut the time clock umbilical, that is not all that difficult.

A state program that encourages best environmental and energy practices in the lodging industry is saving more than $1 million a year


The eight-room inn and conference center has since become something of a shrine to alternative energy use in the hospitality industry.

The combined solar hot water and electric system on its conference center roof is among the largest in Maine, saving more than $20,000 in power costs over the past 2 years. A small wind turbine spins in a nearby field. Next up: Plans to heat the conference center with a wood-fired pellet boiler, instead of propane.

"I personally feel energy is the key," said Scott Cowger, the inn's co-owner. "That's how we contribute to climate change."

Some guests agree. The daily performance of Maple Hill Farm's solar electric system can be tracked on the inn's Web site, and Cowger gets frequent feedback from visitors. He estimates 20 percent of customers say they chose to come because of the inn's green practices, identified by the Environmental Leader logo.

Cowger. One of those environmental leaders presided over the destruction of Maine's natural resources like the salmon and eels.
From last Friday's hearing at Maine's Natural Resources Committee, the last piece of testimony by Kerry Hardy, squarely putting the blame for the destruction of environment (in Maine) on the executive and the enablers. He turned me on to Charles Atkins, Maine's first commission of fisheries. 300,000 atlantic salmon per year in the Kennebec alone. $10/pound for wild atlantic salmon?

Cowger is in same class as Tierney, discussed elsewhere on this thread. That $1M is peanuts compared to what they destroy in pursuit of their riches. Environmental Leader.

Sorry to be so negative, but we'd be better off without that inn.

cfm in Gray, ME

Re: "The Unbearable Lightness of Wind". Up top.

The article criticizes wind for not being reserve capacity and for being subsidized.

Firstly less reserve capacity is required if wind is given priority and so long as wind is a relatively small part of generating capacity which is likely for the foreseeable future. The idea that wind has long periods of idleness is not born out by the wind farms around here. The turbines are nearly always running. Yesterday, the Crystal Lake wind farm did shut down, but not for lack of wind. I think it was because the wind was too powerful. The GE turbines were running but the bigger 2.5 megawatt Clipper turbines were not running when I went out in the field. Later I noticed that 3 of the Clippers started up. Soon a truck came and evidently shut them down. About an hour later I noticed that the GE turbines were shut down too. It was a very windy day.

It any case wind makes its own backup in that fuel is saved for use when the wind is not blowing. To my mind backup for wind is a non issue so long as it stays a relatively small percent of total capacity. The time when it becomes a large percent of capacity is far off IMO.

As for the subsidy argument against wind turbines, it is without merit. There is probably no technology that has received more subsidies than nuclear. It fact nuclear was the outgrowth of a government program, the Manhattan Project. The only competitor would be hydroelectric which also had large government involvement, the TVA being the prime example.

And coal receives a de facto subsidy in that it privatizes profit and socializes costs. It is well known that coal is very dirty and polluting. These environmental costs are socialized. And the destruction of land in coal mining is a cost that is not fully borne by the mining companies. Then there is the loss of life in underground mining. While no longer frequent, clearly this cost is not borne by the coal electricity power plant.

The article conveniently forgets about subsidies given to wind's competition just as anti ethanol critics forget about subsidies given to oil.

- Any private company that's too big to fail is risk-subsidised.

- I'm pretty sure miners and coal generators receive "awesome" tax breaks, at leas they do in Australia. This is another form of subsidy.

I think the Newsweek cover story “Cheap Oil forever”, says more about the interests of Morgan Stanley than anything else. Written by Ruchr Sharma, Head of Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, the story repeats the same arguments weve heard a dozen times before. It is merely a shock tactic, that a glance at the newstand you would immediately pick up on. I saw this a few days ago at the airport, and i couldnt bring myself to pick it up..

Morgan stanley has a vested interest in keeping the oil price low for the time being, and influencing investors to remain bearish is very much the name of the game. Good job to ASPO and Kjell Aleklett for demasking these shameful 'illusionists'. I just hope that people will see through the veil of propaganda and get to the real story.

Don't look now folks, but the crybaby analysts are at it again:

Traders Mounting "Speculative Attack" on U.S. Banks

”Basically these people are betting the big banks will be forced into some sort of default. Now, if enough people bet that, and if the banks can’t draw on enough external support, which in their case would be from the U.S. government, then these runs can be self-fulfilling. It’s extremely dangerous and a situation that’s really not been addressed by the U.S. authorities.”

Get ready for the banks to go, "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, MOMMY I NEED ANOTHER BAILOUT!!!" soon.

What a joke.

Get ready for the banks to go, "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, MOMMY I NEED ANOTHER BAILOUT!!!" soon.

GM, Chrysler to get $5.5B more in government loans

General Motors Corp. could get as much as $5 billion more in federal loans, while Chrysler LLC could get $500 million as they race against government-imposed deadlines to restructure, according to a government report filed Tuesday...

A person briefed on the plans said Tuesday that the exact amount of the loans have not been finalized and will be worked out with the companies. The person asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential.

GM already has received $13.4 billion in government loans, while Chrysler has received $4 billion.

What's good for the goose...

True, but at least GM and Chrysler will leave behind some potentially productive assets when they depart us.

Can the same be said for AIG or Citibank? Maybe we can sell their leftover logo T-shirts and coffee mugs on eBay to close the trade deficit!

Was watching CNBC this morning -

* US oil inventories at 19 year highs
* 100m/b oil floating around in tanker storage

We're swimming in oil according to this news source. What gives? Has demand eroded that much? Are the producers really cranking out that much oil? It doesn't jive with what I read here on TOD.

Did you see the article about how many Airliners are getting parked in the desert every month? .. mix that in with Plant Closures, Layoffs, Idled RailFreight Cars, Container Ships..

We're swimming in it. We're soaking in it. But the supply flowrate isn't going up.. we're just choking on the first of the bones, while stuffing ourselves with the last of the Roast Beasts..

Demand has dropped that much. Higher % outside US and in apparently.


Hmm, about inventories being up, memmel made some interesting reflections the other day,

here http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5277#comment-493228 and

here http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5277#comment-493202

Thus overall these supposed storage builds in the OECD are probably simply and artifact of the changes in trade relationships with strongly rising oil prices.
Producers find that they have no shortage of buyers in the form of speculators and thus they store little oil the speculators and real consumers then use arbitrate the final price.

In general you have no real build in overall storage whats happening is instead of oil producers storing the oil and eating the costs and not reporting their storage levels you simply have oil moving into storage that is reported. Given that the oil is speculative and may change nominal ownership several times one has to wonder how well the actual amount physical amount of real oil vs the number of paper trades is resolved.


If you noticed in this long tirade at no point in time was the amount of physical oil increasing in fact for all this to work you must have a steady persistent and probably steep decline in physical production.

I find his reasoning compelling...

Interesting...memmel usually is! Thanks.

"100m/b oil floating around in tanker storage"
Wow enough oil in tanker strorage to supply the U.S for 3 days.

3 days supply if production and imports stopped. if demand exceeds supply by 1 million bpd, 100 million barrels equates to 100 days.

Use Energy, Get Rich and Save the Planet

As their wealth grows, people consume more energy, but they move to more efficient and cleaner sources — from wood to coal and oil, and then to natural gas and nuclear power, progressively emitting less carbon per unit of energy.

Wow New York Times. Did anybody else read this article? I feel like it's rare to see this level of fundamental misunderstanding. Either that or he's trying to excuse himself from doing anything about energy or the environment. I kept waiting for this article to turn out to be satire. No big surprise that the author (John Tierney) holds New York Times Magazine's record for hate mail. I can't believe that he gets paid to write crap like this.

Possibly less carbon per unit of energy, but way more units of energy... It's like saying you are going on a diet with low calorie foods, but consuming 30 servings a day... Net net, you WILL gain weight.

This is what you get with ideologically-driven thinking. Start with a belief, as in free market capitalism rules, and then find reasonable sounding arguments to form a rationale. Tierney does this routinely. I can't believe he has a column in the science section of the NYT.

Question Everything


I subscribe to the "Question Everything" motto, always have. There are always agenda so its essential to be on guard; I can guarantee that 99% of what we are being told is not in our best interest, even if the teller thinks it is.

As bad as all that is, what is on the rise and much more disturbing, IMO, is that most talking heads and so-called pundits seem to be driven by the need to say something, anything. It appears that they have no idea whether what they say is true or not and they really don't care.

In a saner world, these sources of noise would be at least marginalized, or preferably taken to task but we get the information, or lack thereof that we richly deserve.

Thinking, learning and questioning have been soundly denigrated by the masses so for that reason alone, we are well and truly screwed.

Most talking heads and so-called pundits seem to be driven by the need to say something, anything. It appears that they have no idea whether what they say is true or not and they really don't care.

Interesting observation.
The word is full of critters that make noises.
We humans like to believe that when flocks of these critters get together and chirp at each other, they are communicating.

But why should that be so?

Maybe they are just making socializing noises?

Say or chirp anything just to get attention, just to be part of the crowd.

And maybe our chirping pundits/experts are doing the same? Saying or chirping any song that works just to get attention, just to be part of the choir. Works for them.

Saying or chirping any song that works just to get attention, just to be part of the choir. Works for them.

You could well be right, but that begs the question; Is "news" information or a social function? IOW, it may work for them, but does it work for us?

Personally, I don't need to have a bobblehead on my screen to feel connected, I have friends for that.

The point I wasn't very clear about is that the vast majority of talking heads throw stuff out which is just plain rubbish. The airwaves have about the same level of insight and integrity as most YouTube comments and the purveyors of this crap are unapologetic.

I guess they don't need to be if we just accept it.

The purpose of MSM is to sell advertisements.

In order to sell advertisements, all you need to do is make noises and/or produce visuals that attract the crowds.

The substance of the noises and/or visuals may be wholly irrelevant to the type of advertisements being put out there.

If you make the right resonating noises, they will come.

Don't expect pundits to make logical sense. That expectation analyzes the situation under a faulty model of the way the world works. The purpose of experts is merely to attract the crowds. Truth and rationality are accidental byproducts; if and when they happen.

That expectation analyzes the situation under a faulty model of the way the world works.

LOL. I guess I deserved that. When I read your reply, my brain was protesting "but... but... it's crap"

I'll grant you that that is the way the world works, for now. Due our temporary excess energy, we have devolved into a society which is largely without consequences, hence there is no impetus to be accurate, truthful or rational.

In my world, my continued income requires all three of these traits and much more.

I am not eager for the upcoming upheaval, but a big reduction in superfluous shills will be a pleasant and welcome byproduct.

Unfortunately, in the process, I think we will see an increase in the noise as irrelevant elements clamor for a slice of the diminishing pie. Who knows, some of them might even go and do something productive.


Yeah, I was shocked.

I don't recall that he mentioned per capita or absolute amounts, only happy little curves.

He never mentioned exponential growth or population either.

It felt like an adult trying to fool a kid.

his article doesn't take comments, sadly. Amongst more subtle wrongness, he misses the point entirely that the pollution is outsourced to other nations.

This is why Nate Hagens makes the point that we won't get any sort of change until all the adherents to the existing paradigm die off.

We need the die off. Doesn't that suck?

cfm in Gray, ME

Hi Dryki,

Did Nate really say that?

Goodness. The thing about "memes" (and the effects parental guidance/conditioning/child-raising/culture/etc. for that matter) - they don't "die off" when their originators do.

This means one perhaps has to look for an alternate way to deal with the "existing paradigm".

John Tierney (NYTimes) is the guy who made the famous bet with Matt Simmons some 4 years ago about what the "price" of oil will be.

Seems like Tierney will get the first if not last laugh when he collects his winnings soon. The price of oil did not go to $250/bbl as Simmons had predicted. Once again "The Market" provides as indeed it always has and always will. Cough cough.

Bill Ford: Gas tax, please.


“I’ve been talking for five years now about the need for a gas tax,” he added. “We have to have some predictability on fuel pricing and that price signal has to be strong enough so customers” will continue buying smaller, fuel-efficient cars.”

For those of you who receive Canadian programming, Steve Paikin's The Agenda, 8 pm EST. Peak Oil will be presented. What happens when it runs out? The rhetoric and reality of peak oil.


No hockey?
Thats right, the Leafs didn't make the playoffs, eh?
Might as well watch aboot the end of the world.

Re: BMI: Russian oil production to rise by 13.25% (By 2018)

. . . exports peaking at 7.86 million b/d in 2018.

We (Khebab/Brown) have a slightly different outlook--net oil exports in the 2 mbpd (middle case) to 3 mbpd (high case) range in 2018 (at least from mature basins). The frontier basins are somewhat of a wild card, but IMO they are to Russia as Alaska is to the US--helpful, but no panacea.

Our net export outlook for Russia follows (the overall projected 10 year net export decline rate is shown, it would start out slowly and accelerate with time). The EIA shows Russian net exports declining from 7.1 mbpd in 2007 to 6.9 mbpd in 2008 (-2.9%/year).

Re: Climate

I have made the claim here several times that climate scientists by-and-large are far more pessimistic than is publicly known. That was based on two articles that I've read over the last few months or so, but I couldn't locate at the times I made the posts . The Guardian, however, has provided even better evidence. Well, beyond evidence, it's proof of my claim.

For those of you still on the fence or in the denialist camp, please listen to what the experts are telling you. The first link is to a slide show of comments, unattributed to a specific person. The second is the companion article.


Some select quotes:

* By 2100, I seriously fear there will be civilisation collapse and social chaos.

* We should also be mindful that the temperature sensitivity of the planet to carbon dioxide has been grossly underestimated as is clear from the catastrophic loss of Arctic summer sea ice and abundant evidence of the dramatic feedback loops associated with decreased albedo and methane released from tundra.

* Current government actions are playing into the hands of special interests


From the article:

...The poll asked the experts whether the 2C target could still be achieved, and whether they thought that it would be met: 60% of respondents argued that, in theory, it was still technically and economically possible... But 39% said the 2C target was impossible.

...Asked what temperature rise was most likely, 84 of the 182 specialists (46%) who answered the question said it would reach 3-4C by the end of the century; 47 (26%) suggested a rise of 2-3C, while a handful said 6C or more. While 24 experts predicted a catastrophic rise of 4-5C, just 18 thought it would stay at 2C or under.

...Many of the experts stressed... the emphasis is now on damage limitation....


More climate related news:
(from Science Daily)

The scientists, who examined stream flows from 1948 to 2004, found significant changes in about one-third of the world's largest rivers. Of those, rivers with decreased flow outnumbered those with increased flow by a ratio of about 2.5 to 1.
Several of the rivers channeling less water serve large populations, including the Yellow River in northern China, the Ganges in India, the Niger in West Africa and the Colorado in the southwestern United States.
In contrast, the scientists reported greater stream flows over sparsely populated areas near the Arctic Ocean, where snow and ice are rapidly melting.
"Reduced runoff is increasing the pressure on freshwater resources in much of the world, especially with more demand for water as population increases," says NCAR scientist Aiguo Dai, the lead author of the journal paper. "Freshwater being a vital resource, the downward trends are a great concern."

...Many of the experts stressed... the emphasis is now on damage limitation....

“- is like that of the American Indians at the height of the genocide in the late nineteenth century. At that point, there was no question of winning the battle. What remained to be done was to keep hold of what it meant to be human”
– Stephanie Miles

"By 2100, I seriously fear there will be civilisation collapse and social chaos."

Ever the optimists. ;-)

By 2100 I seriously fear I will not care.

To paraphrase dear Oscar... "either this planet goes, or I do"

The Guardian, however, has provided even better evidence.

Why should I believe that communist rag, when Anthony Watts, who runs the #1 science blog on the internet (according to the recent vote), who was a TV weather caster for 25 years, tells me all this concern over CO2 is overblown because of its logarithmic nature? Don't you know about logarithms?

Maybe Anthony's obvious presumption that climate scientists and atmospheric chemists have not heard of logarithms is based on his own extensive published research.

Don't you know about logarithms?

Within the range of concentration change we are talking about, (approximately a factor of two), the difference between a linear, and a logarithm isn't very great*. And of course any scientist or layman who has studied radiative transport knows the approx logarithmic dependency. It might be smart as propaganda, fooling the masses, with purported knowledge and scientific sounding jargon is an old trick, but as far as logical mathematical based analysis (which is the only way to judge such issues), it has little relevance.

* It is no bigger than the uncertainty of the climate sensitivity (Charney coeff). Which you will note is in degrees C per doubling (i.e. it assumes the log dependence).

I get no quotes at the first link, in IE or firefox. Is it broken?

Works for me. It takes a few seconds for the applet, or whatever it is, to start up. You need to scroll down a little. You should see a statement on the left, a picture on the right and little, green, numbered navigation buttons below.

And yet, and yet. The data appear to show staggering CO2 levels at times too recent (in geological terms) for the sun to have been more than negligibly less bright. If the much lesser levels we can reach by burning FFs are actually as utterly "catastrophic" and world-ending as is asserted, then the models would be "proving" that none of us ever were born, nor could possibly have been born, for sheer lack of living ancestors. That is the mystery I still haven't seen explained coherently.

And yet, and yet. The data appear to show staggering CO2 levels at times too recent (in geological terms) for the sun to have been more than negligibly less bright.

IIRC a 1.7% brightening of the sun is equivalent to doubling of CO2 (forcing wise), and means a global temp change of 3C
(near the middle of estimates of the Charney sensitivity). With the sun currently brightening at about 1% per hunder million yeras, that doubling is similar to 170My of solar evolution. Go back twice that long, and you need 4X the CO2. So you can get pretty big numbers for CO2 concentration just to break even if you go back in time. In fact climatolgists are still struggling with the early dim sun problem. It is generally thought CO2 alone even in really high concentrations wouldn't have been enough to prevent a snowball earth. So both high methane and high CO2 are needed. The effect is like
LOG(CO2)*S1 and LOG(CH4)*S2 (where I think s1 is roughly 3C per doubling), but S2 is several times smaller. Of course other effects such as, different distributions of land/sea, locations of mountains etc, might also change the balance by a percent or two.

And of course these high CO2 times, were times of an ice free earth state. There seem to be three major quasi-stable climate states, Ice free (poles semi-tropical), partial ice state (current), and snowball (-50C on equator!). Now clearly the Ice free state isn't the end of life on earth, or even of complex life, or even of humans. But it is hugely different
than anything our species has had to deal with.

And yet, and yet. The data appear to show staggering CO2 levels at times too recent (in geological terms) for the sun to have been more than negligibly less bright. If the much lesser levels we can reach by burning FFs are actually as utterly "catastrophic" and world-ending as is asserted, then the models would be "proving" that none of us ever were born, nor could possibly have been born, for sheer lack of living ancestors. That is the mystery I still haven't seen explained coherently.

Depends on what you care about. Survival of flowering plants, earthworms, insects and vertebrates - not a problem.

On the other hand, if you are talking about times like the Eocene, you do realize that sea levels were over 70 metres higher then? Consider the amount of farmland, the number of cities below that level and a problem becomes evident. Compound that problem with the expansion of deserts. Even uber-doomer James Lovelock doesn't expect humans to go extinct. But it is hard to see how the current human population could be supported on a neo-Eocene climate Earth.

Hello TODers,

Another golf course closing, which closed in January after more than four decades in business:

The Corona Planning Commission on Monday voted against rezoning part of a now-closed golf course for more homes, a decision applauded by residents who live around the course.

..About 150 residents came to the meeting, and a number of them spoke against the rezoning proposal, saying that allowing more homes on the city portion of the course would virtually guarantee the county portion would be developed also. Some suggested that the city buy the property to use as a municipal golf course, park or agriculture center for local students.
Assuming they have access to sufficient water-->I would like to see this turned into the last option: agriculture center for local students. Perhaps, a major pizza chain, like Domino's, could finance this conversion and benefit at the same time by having a localized source for pizza sauce [much fewer transport miles].

Kids love pizza, and tomatoes are a major and expensive input for a pie or even a salad nowadays. Plowing the greens for students to grow tomatoes, then offering them big food discount coupons based upon their hours of work would be a win-win for all, IMO. I believe big red and juicy, vine-ripe tomatoes fire off more dopamine and saliva than any other veggie.

As evidenced by Leanan's other food toplinks today: we have a huge educational task ahead of us to make untold millions of Americans into farmers and Master Gardeners. 16,000 converted golf courses is only the beginning, IMO.

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

BMI: Russian oil production to rise by 13.25%/year

Isn't this cap wrong? The text below seems to say the 13.25 is over the whole period, not per year.

Pemex just released its March production numbers. 2,652 of crude was produced and exports to the US were down also. I am on vacation, perhaps someone can do a more complete breakdown and make an up to date projection of exports to the US in the near future.

Mexico's annual total liquids data for 2008 were (EIA):

Production: 3.19 mbpd
Consumption: 2.1
Net Exports: 1.08*

*Down from 1.38 mbpd in 2007

Their average production in the first quarter of 2009 was 3.04 mbpd (Pemex). If we assume flat consumption of 2.1 mbpd, this suggests net oil exports of about 0.94 mbpd in the first quarter of 2009.

I think that Mexico will be approaching zero net oil exports by the end of 2012, unless they can drastically curtail consumption. I estimate that they need to cut consumption by about half in four to five years in order to maintain net oil exports of about one mbpd.

But so far, Mexico is following the ELM "script."

Here are the 2004 EIA numbers:

Production: 3.85 mbpd
Consumption: 2.0
Net Exports: 1.85

A 17% decline in production from 2004 to 2008 (-4.7%/year) and a 5% increase in consumption (+1.2%/year) resulted in a 42% decline in net exports (-13.5%/year), with the most recent annual net export decline accelerating to -25%/year.

Spain’s Falling Prices Fuel Deflation Fears in Europe

“Alarm bells are going off,” said Lorenzo Amor, president of the Association of Autonomous Workers, which represents small businesses and self-employed people. “Economies can recover from deceleration, but it’s harder to recover from a deflationary situation. This could be a catastrophe for the Spanish economy.”

Deflation is not just a Spanish concern. Luxembourg, Portugal and Ireland have reported price drops, too. While the declines have been slight — and prices rose modestly after factoring out food and energy prices, which can fluctuate widely — other figures released this month suggest the risk of deflation is growing.

In Germany, wholesale prices dropped 8 percent in March from a year ago, the steepest fall since 1987. In Japan, wholesale prices fell 2.2 percent on an annual basis. In the United States, the Consumer Price Index fell 0.1 percent in March, year over year, the first decline of its kind since 1955, though prices rose 0.2 percent excluding food and energy.

“It doesn’t mean it will spread here to the U.S., but we need to look closely at Spain and other places to understand the dynamic,” says Simon Johnson, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund. “It’s like the front line of a new virus outbreak.”

Hello TODers,

IMO, I find it alarming when even the British MSM is becoming concerned about worrisome trends in American farm financing:

United States-Bank failure hits farmers.

While the fallout from the failure of northern Colorado ’s largest bank has yet to be fully ascertained, New Frontier Bank’s takeover by federal officials last week might be felt the most in rural areas miles beyond the city limits.

..The failure of New Frontier, one of agriculture’s largest lenders, couldn’t have come at a worse time, said Tony Miller, president of First FarmBank of Greeley.

..Miller said First FarmBank has had 20-25 applications from former New Frontier borrowers, seeking loans of about $16 million.

"We’re not that big of a bank and can’t handle that," Miller said at a meeting last week between an aide for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and a dozen farmers, farm organization representatives and bankers at the Greeley Chamber of Commerce.
Recall my previous posting series on investors directly buying the inputs for a farmer to mutually participate in the 20:1 agro-ERoEI of a Liebscher's Optima. Contrast this idea versus my earlier weblink of plummeting yields in the Ukraine due to I-NPK induced Liebig Minimums.

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today? IMO, we should not want to wait until Ft. Knox stacks the gold outside in machine-gun bunker formation to protect the seeds and I-NPK inside...

Hello TODers,

I bet more people would start researching Peak Everything, plus Overshoot & Collapse, if idle fuel tanker trucks were parked outside grocery stores. Recall earlier TODer postings on how it ultimately takes 10 ounces of FFs to get one ounce of food to our mouth.

So imagine each week: the grocery store location would shift where the empty tanker-rigs would park. Picture the shoppers having to park on the street because the parking lot is filled with 100 rigs. Each rig would have banners displaying Peak Everything messages. The local fire department could have a firetruck on location, just in case something went wrong, but would mostly be handing out Fire-safety and Peak Outreach pamphlets. The local government could hire TODers & EnergyBulletin [EBers] to be on hand to provide expert presentations and answer questions.

IMO, it would cost virtually nothing to jumpstart this idea to drive Peak Outreach into nearly everyone.

EDIT: posting this picture of cavemen throwing spears at empty shopping carts is bound to help,too:



I like your sentiments but I don't think we are there yet. Remember Paul Erlich of "The Population Bomb"? The enormity of his message was largely lost because he got the timing wrong. Personally, I don't quite understand how we continue. One part of me expects it to all go to guano tomorrow, (hmm.. no, guano would be good :-) ) and yet I can also see us muddling along for a decade or two.

I would be more than willing to make presentations at my own expense, but right now I might as well go to the local feedlot and give my power point to a pen of docile, oblivious and soon to be slaughtered cattle.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Julius Caesar Act IV


Wha??? Elle magazine has an extensive peak oil, resilience and Transition Town article (Leanan's top link this afternoon)? Knock me over with a toothpick. And it's written by the magazine's editor! Cosmo can't be far behind...then People? Then, maybe, something more than just a tiny fraction of the US will have a clue?

Thanks Leanan for catching this one. I actually rank it up there with Kunstler's Rolling Stone piece back in, gads, 2005? Four years: short or long time?

Coming next week: US Weekly posts grainy paparazzi pictures of Sharon Astyk planting veggies, and Nate Hagens fighting his way through a crowd of photographers to deliver a talk at a local college.

I know. Holy crap! The end of the world is truly upon us.

(Prof. Goose sent me that link. I'm not sure if he secretly reads ELLE, or if one of our readers sent it to him. ;-)

Well now, this was rather startling to say the least. I guess it's now possible to be a survivalist and still look, feel and smell great. No bad hair days for the fashionable survivalist :-)

Maybe we'll get tips on what nail polish matches the earthy brown texture of the soil?

The articles really decent as well, she talks about all she went through and what she's tried to do. The fact she got this published is amazing. Guess it's the times we live in.

Maybe Project Runway will do a segment titled "Post Peak Chic"

I loved Leanaan excerpts, but after those horribly annoying popups kept covering the text, I said scruuh U, and left vthe site. I don't plan on going back!

I use Firefox, and didn't even notice there were any popups.

If popups and ads bug you, use Firefox. You'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

1. There will be no green revolution in energy or anything else. No leader or law or treaty will radically change the energy sources for people and industries in the United States or other countries. No recession or depression will make a lasting change in consumers’ passions to use energy, make money and buy new technology — and that, believe it or not, is good news, because...

Umm, maybe because...
the author of that article is a member of the typically clueless journalists club?

Either that or he has been doing a heck of a lot of happy pills lately. I just hope, (for his sake) he doesn't try floating out of a window up on the 20th floor of some skyscraper in Manhattan based on his absolute certainty that the gravitational constant has no effect on his mass.

Somehow I seem to meet more than my fair share of people who think exactly like him, maybe I'm the one that needs some of those happy pills.

"No recession or depression will make a lasting change in consumers’ passions to use energy, make money and buy new technology — and that, believe it or not, is good news, because..."

No need for happy pills, that statement is absolutely true ... he is talking about consumer passions and that is good news ... they are happy passions but someday they will wake up and be PO'ed (that's not 'Peak Oiled') and go hunting.

In the coming years, do you think armed gangs (MS and others like them) will go hungry? Gee, I wonder what they will do?

No need for happy pills, that statement is absolutely true ... he is talking about consumer passions

Thats what I was thinking. Of course the author, is a card carrying member of part of the misinformation apparatus, which makes that outcome almost certain.

Mexico production free fall continue:

MEXICO CITY, April 21 (Reuters) - Mexican oil production fell 7.8 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 2.667 million barrels per day as output from the aging Cantarell field slid further, state oil company Pemex said on Tuesday.

Mexico produced 2.652 million bpd in March, down 6.6 percent from the same month in 2008.

Cantarell, which has been losing about a third of its production capacity at annualized rates in recent months, produced 754,063 barrels per day in March, down 34 percent from a year ago.

Full article:


Shell still plans Chukchi drilling despite ruling

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell still plans to start exploration drilling next year in Alaska's potentially oil-rich Chukchi Sea ...

I remember reading an article about Arctic oil exploration, I think it was a linked article here on TOD -- it stated that several dry holes had been drilled in the Chukchi Sea, yet it seems that oil companies believe this is one of the best prospects for Arctic oil.

Just the nature of exploration geologists Frugal. The next well they plan to drill is always "one of the best prospects they ever saw." On such claims I always like to point out that it was there were 92 wells drilled in the North Sea before the first major discovery. Granted technology is much improved since that time but it's still "exploration" (which is our code word for being wrong a lot more often then being right).

this is from the 'We had to destroy this town in order to save it' department:


The audio clip is interesting, too.

An Effort to Save a City by Shrinking It

Instead of waiting for houses to become abandoned and then pulling them down, local leaders are talking about demolishing entire blocks and even whole neighborhoods.

The population would be condensed into a few viable areas. So would stores and services. A city built to manufacture cars would be returned in large measure to the forest primeval.

“Decline in Flint is like gravity, a fact of life,” said Dan Kildee, the Genesee County treasurer and chief spokesman for the movement to shrink Flint. “We need to control it instead of letting it control us.”

Now there's a novel idea, I like it. If the same thing that's happening in Flint was happening throughout the world, we wouldn't have to worry much about fresh water, food, electricity, pollution, peak oil, ....

Dumb. What they should be doing is connecting with the relocalization and transition movements to remake whole areas of the city. Looking far ahead, people will be repopulating areas north as AGW makes living south of the Mason-Dixon unbearable.

Places like Detroit and Flint are perfectly situated to be important cities of the future, rebuilt true green, not just greenwashed.


Looks to me like they are working within the paradigm they understand.

If Flint condenses itself successfully it may result in walkable neighborhoods in a former cartown. It may not be perfect, but no town ever was.

Condenses itself? What is this Honey, I Shrunk the City? There's no way that city was depopulated in an organized manner, so you're looking at a patchwork of living areas. What are they going to do, pay for all the outliers to move into the inner area?

If that's their approach, they've already failed.


Well, destroying outlying neighborhoods to pull in services sounds like exactly that, doesn't it?

The few remaining people in those neighborhoods aren't going to move on their own dime, and there are doubtless open houses in the neighborhoods that are targetted for maintenance, so if they aren't planning something like that the plan is nonsense.

Since neither of us lives in Flint, how about we watch from a safe vantage and see how it works out for them instead of guessing. It is a wonderful learning opportunity for folks in other areas, and I hope for their sake that it works out well.

Actually, there was one quote somewhere - maybe it was that story - of a woman having been offered a chance to move, so maybe there is some kind of program for that.

It's still a bad idea. A lot of wasted time, money and effort, when they could do much more by revitalizing the city with a homesteading program, community agriculture, etc., etc. Just tearing down all those houses is a huge waste of resources.

Maybe I'll write them a letter.


No, don't return it to the forest primeval - that land needs to be reclaimed for orchards, market & community gardens, and dairy farms. Do that, and they really will be the city of the future.

I just love it, though, that someone is actually talking about managed decline and doing something about it.

Confucius said: "Three men can keep a secret, as long as two of them are dead" http://www.wtopnews.com/?sid=1657033&nid=25