DrumBeat: June 14, 2009

David Stahan: We need a stable oil price – but we're at the mercy of Opec

BP famously "doesn't do" oil- price forecasts. After 18 months in which crude has ricocheted from just under $100 per barrel to an all-time high of $147, then down to less than $40, and now up to $73 again, you can see their point.

But at the launch of its annual Statistical Review of World Energy last week, its chief executive, Tony Hayward, came close when he ventured "there is a rational argument to say that somewhere between $60 to $90 a barrel is the right sort of level". At the same time, BP continued to claim that there is no geological shortage of oil, and sought to blame the recent volatility on Opec's refusal to open up to Western investment. These arguments are wrong, partial or beside the point.

Pemex May Drill 22 Wells at Sihil Through 2012, Triple Output

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, may drill 22 wells at Sihil through 2012, tripling output at the field that is part of the Cantarell complex.

From recovery to oil price surges

Dubai: Last week Goldman Sachs' "Energy Watch" led with the headline: "As the financial crisis eases, an energy shortage lies ahead". For Goldman, the energy shortage will include a four-stage oil price rally over the period 2009 to 2010. More of that later.

For the thinking-man, experienced investor, Goldman's piece is further evidence of the sentiment now doing the rounds: global recovery will stimulate asset prices. The sub-message is: asset prices must have been at their bottom or remain at a "near-to-bottom" level. And, given the nature of the absolute historic bottoms, it leads to the question: where is the opportunity?

Aramco to speed up natural gas projects

Saudi Arabian Oil Co may speed up natural gas projects in light of growing domestic demand especially from the industrial sector, Saudi-based Al Riyadh daily reported yesterday.

Too Poor to Make the News

The deprivations of the formerly affluent Nouveau Poor are real enough, but the situation of the already poor suggests that they do not necessarily presage a greener, more harmonious future with a flatter distribution of wealth. There are no data yet on the effects of the recession on measures of inequality, but historically the effect of downturns is to increase, not decrease, class polarization.

Jesse Jackson: U.S. needs better industrial policy

We need an industrial plan that helps forge new industry and new markets. Public investment in mass transit -- buses, subways, fast rail -- and subsidies for fuel-efficient cars help generate the market. Significant investment in research and development for the next generation of products helps capture the future. Resources to retool factories and retrain workers are needed to build the new generation of fuel-efficient cars or renewable energy sources.

Making Case for Climate as Driver of Migration

NEW YORK — A new report on human migration and climate change, released as delegates from 182 countries gathered in Bonn over the past two weeks to continue hammering out some preliminary language for a new global climate treaty, made its case plainly:

“The impacts of climate change are already causing migration and displacement,” the document began, adding that by midcentury, “the prospects for the scope and scale could vastly exceed anything that has occurred before.”

Humans Intrude on Indonesian Park, Threatening Forests and Wildlife

Forest rangers have been powerless in checking development inside the park as the local authorities have urged people to settle and open businesses there.

City Known for Its Water Turns to Tap to Cut Trash

Italians are the leading consumers of bottled water in the world, drinking more than 40 gallons per person annually. But as their environmental consciousness deepens, officials here are avidly promoting what was previously unthinkable: that Italians should drink tap water.

Peak Coal, Global Warming Policy and Exponential Math

Three reports say coal is not nearly so abundant, or cheap, as we think it is.

Departments to Toughen Standards for Mining

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Thursday that it would toughen standards for mountaintop-removal coal mining but would not end the practice as some environmental groups had hoped.

Jon Wellinghoff, Obama’s energy futurist

When giving his slide presentation on America’s new energy direction, Jon Wellinghoff sometimes sneaks in a picture of himself seated in a midnight blue, all-electric Tesla sports car.

It often wins a laugh, but makes a key point: The United States is accelerating in a new energy direction under President Obama’s newly appointed chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). At the same time, FERC’s key role in the nation’s energy future is becoming more apparent.

Green 'supergrid' could plug Europe into renewable power by 2030, say scientists

Europe could build an electricity supply based entirely on renewable energy by 2030, according to scientists making a presentation at the House of Commons this week.

MPs will hear that an electricity "supergrid" across Europe and North Africa could solve the problem of the intermittency of wind turbines and solar power and dispense with the need for nuclear and "clean coal" power stations altogether.

Harnessing underground energy

An underground revolution in alternative energy is heating up the industry — and it comes a 30 percent tax credit.

Caltrans goes green

A Marysville Caltrans maintenance yard will soon be greening up.

Caltrans announced plans Thursday to install $20 million in new solar energy systems at 70 of its facilities throughout the state. The installation is estimated to save taxpayers $52.5 million in avoided energy costs in the next 25 years.

Rush for ‘easiest oil in the world’

This month an Iraqi politician will appear on television to open envelopes and reveal the winners of a long and hard-fought contest. In the balance hangs the wellbeing of 28m people, tens of billions of dollars of contracts and how much you and I pay for everything from yoghurt pots to petrol.

It should make good viewing. For the hopeful contestants, it has been a long wait — since 1972 to be exact. That was when the Iraqi oil industry was nationalised and foreign operators were booted out.

Kurds lay claim to oil riches in Iraq as old hatreds flare

Sitting on vast untapped oilfields, the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk has the natural resources to become one of the wealthiest places in the Middle East. But a standoff has developed between local Kurdish leaders and Baghdad over rights of ownership. And in Kirkuk itself, ethnic tensions are rising.

Oil prices will be driven upwards by the needs of developing nations

The "demand destruction" argument was always overdone. Across the Western world, oil demand is relatively "income inelastic", seeing as people want to get around, heat their homes in winter and keep cool in summer whether the economy is slowing or not. So Western oil use hasn't fallen that much.

But the main reason "demand destruction" is nonsense is that the populous emerging markets have, for the most part, continued to grow despite the credit-crunch. And, as more and more of their people get richer – buying cars, air-conditioners and white goods for the first time – per capita oil use in these nations is growing faster still.

Oil must reach $90 to stabilise market - Algeria

ALGIERS (Reuters) - The global oil market could stabilise if crude prices rise to around $90 a barrel and that is likely to happen in the second half of 2010, Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said on Saturday.

"A price which ensures the stability of the oil market must evolve around $90 a barrel. It should be reached between the middle and the end of 2010," Algerian official news agency APS quoted him as saying.

How Much Oil Is In The Arctic?

One way to know that the end of the Age of Oil will soon be upon us is the current excitement and chatter about going—literally—to the ends of the earth to find more oil.

The Arctic Circle, which circumscribes about 6% of the earth’s total surface, is one of the last regions of any significant size to be explored for oil, and for good reason: It’s locked in ice for much of the year, far from support and distribution lines, and is one of the most extreme environments on earth. Whatever oil and gas is extracted from the top cap of our planet will be the most expensive and difficult oil ever produced.

Interview with Nick Griffin

Why do you want to give me £50k to leave?

Because this country is the most overcrowded in Europe. To some extent I would agree with the greens that its proper carrying capacity is about 30m. Particularly with the peak oil problem – which is the real problem that politicians should be addressing and not climate change which is either nothing to do with us or nothing we can do anything about or which won't strike for another 100 years anyway – the real problem is peak oil and the implications of running out of oil for a civilisation which is built on easily available oil and the benefits it brings that this country should not have the population it has and what's more we need the most stable, homogenous population possible because anything less than that once you subject a society to the stresses of the economic impact of the crisis which is very rapidly approaching people instead of pulling together tend to fall apart.

Forget the BNP. What about the planet?

There have been two big media stories of the 2009 elections: the demise of Labour and the rise of the BNP. Both were trailed heavily throughout the six weeks of the campaign. Both have received a good deal of attention since. But behind the headlines there's another story, a story that I would suggest offers Britain rather more hope than the other two: the rise of the Green Party.

Nigerian militants say destroy Chevron oil wells

LAGOS (AFP) – Nigeria's main militant group said it had destroyed three oil wells belonging to the US firm Chevron as it continues its campaign against foreign oil companies.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in a statement its fighters had destroyed two of Chevron's oil wells at Makaraba and the Otunana oil well in Nigeria's southern Delta state.

Secret papers 'show how Shell targeted Nigeria oil protests'

Serious questions over Shell Oil's alleged involvement in human rights abuses in Nigeria emerged last night after confidential internal documents and court statements revealed how the energy giant enlisted the help of the country's brutal former military government to deal with protesters.

Iran Calm After Vote Fraud Claims Trigger Clashes

Tehran was mostly calm Sunday after election fraud claims triggered violent street clashes, but the government maintained fairly tight control of information flow and new details emerged of arrests of high-profile reformists.

The efforts seemed aimed at avoiding a repeat of the chaos that lasted past midnight Saturday. Opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad set buses and cars ablaze in the capital and threw rocks at police to protest what they viewed as his illegitimate victory.

Attack Demonstrates Pirates Expanding Reach

DUBAI -- Pirates commandeered a cargo ship in the territorial waters of Oman, dramatically extending their area of operation and threatening for the first time shipping in and out of the oil-rich Persian Gulf.

The hijacking, reported over the weekend, took place Friday. It follows another failed attack nearby earlier last week.

Chavez's expropriation of oil service firms could spark labor unrest

CIUDAD OJEDA, Venezuela -- Despite the recent sharp rise in oil prices, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last month expropriated 70 oil service companies in western Venezuela, putting some 10,000 Venezuelans out of work, turning local unions against him and forcing production cuts at important oilfields.

The action has drawn little international attention because Chavez stopped short of nationalizing big U.S.-based multinationals such as Halliburton or Schlumberger that carry out technical and highly skilled work in producing oil. Nor have the owners of the 70 Venezuelan firms - in addition to four foreign-owned firms - protested publicly, fearing that doing so might jeopardize settlement negotiations with the government.

OPEC Unlikely to Raise Oil Output in September, Qatar Says

(Bloomberg) - OPEC, the supplier of 40 percent of the world’s oil, is unlikely to increase output when the group meets in Vienna in September, Qatar’s oil minister said.

“I don’t think so,” Abdullah bin-Hamad Al-Attiyah said today in an interview in Amsterdam when asked if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would need to raise production. “I would like to see where the real growth is, when the economic crisis reaches bottom and will take off again” before making a decision on oil output, he said.

Skills shortage may hit oil projects - expert

A stabilising of oil prices above $70 is likely to expose a skills shortage at Gulf national oil companies (NOCs) which could lead to “bottlenecks” in completing projects designed to ramp up capacity, according to a leading energy consultant.

Pertamina suffers Rp 15b in losses in gas depot fire

State-owned oil and gas firm PT Pertamina said Sunday it had suffered losses of Rp 15 billion (US$ 1.5 million) in the gas depot fire that happened in Makassar on Saturday.

Rosina Nurdin, a spokeswoman at Pertamina’s Makassar unit said the fire had destroyed four Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LGP) tankers and other equipment belonging to Pertamina's business partner.

Oman oil revenues drop 50% in 4 months

(MENAFN) Non-OPEC producer Oman said that it posted a 50.5 percent drop in net oil revenues in the first four months of 2009 as oil prices weakened, but raised spending by 7.2 percent, Reuters reported.

Qatar, Shell Talk on Joint Projects Outside Country

(Bloomberg) -- Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is in talks with Royal Dutch Shell Plc to jointly invest in oil and gas projects outside the country, Qatar’s oil minister said.

Bartlett's 'eccentricity' is an acquired taste

Bartlett, says the Sun, is "regarded as eccentric" by his fellow Republicans. Let that statement sink in for a moment. In a party currently defined by the level-headed likes of Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, if you're considered eccentric, you must be on one of Jupiter's moons.

But Bartlett begs to differ. The reason he was passed over has nothing to do with his peak-oil rants before an empty House chamber, or statements made through the years, including the assertion that not enough science fair winners have "normal names."

No, the reason is he does not raise gobs of cash for GOP fundraising efforts. In a statement, he wrote: "Not for the first time, big-state and big-money politics trumped experience, independent judgment and dedication to the legislative work of a committee."

Study: Harnessing of oil shale could aid energy solutions

BOULDER, Colo. — The University of Colorado's Center of the American West released an online report Friday that examines the extensive history of oil shale and aims to "bring an impartial perspective to the debate" over its future.

World Bank withdraws loan to Brazilian cattle giant

Sao Paulo, Brazil — The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank, has withdrawn a USD 90 million loan to Brazil's cattle giant Bertin. The loan was used for the company to further expand into the Amazon region, which was causing destruction of the rainforest and fuelling global climate change.

US, Canada to update Great Lakes water agreement

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario – The United States and Canada say they will update a key agreement to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species, climate change and other established and emerging threats to the world's biggest surface freshwater system.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which was last amended in 1987, is no longer sufficient.

Australia demands bushfire exemption in carbon treaty

Peat bogs in Germany, New Zealand firs and North American forests will likely allow industrialized countries to lower carbon emissions while still burning coal and oil, according to a draft United Nations document.

Australia is demanding that emissions from natural disasters, such as bush fires, not be counted in its tally.

Met Office predict likelihood of climate change on your doorstep

The most detailed set of climate change projections ever produced will show the risks of sea level rise, droughts and floods in Britain over the next 80 years to within 16 miles of your front door.

Korea moving toward a subtropical climate

Global warming has increased temperature and precipitation and widened regional and seasonal weather differences on the Korea Peninsula, changing it closer to a subtropical climate, the state meteorological agency said yesterday.

The Korea Meteorological Administration yesterday released its analysis on climate change that occurred for the past 10 years.

White Rooftops May Help Slow Warming

Chu has brought increased attention to an idea that -- depending on your perspective -- is either fairly new, or as old as Mediterranean villages, desert robes and Colonel Sanders's summer suit. Climate scientists say that the reflective properties of the color white, if applied on enough of the world's rooftops, might actually be a brake on global warming.

But if anybody is seriously considering a global whitewash, "simple" and "immediate" are probably not words that come to mind.

"I don't think that it could ever be done at a sufficient scale," said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution in Stanford, Calif. He added: "It's hard enough, in many of the cities of the world, to keep the streets swept, much less to keep the city reflective."

From "Oil prices will be driven upward by needs of developing nations." Up top.

"The latest edition of the excellent BP Statistical Review of World Energy, published last week, shows that, for the first time, total oil demand in the emerging markets now outstrips the West. That's an important milestone. From now on, the Western world can slump but global oil prices can stay "fundamentally" strong."

This is an important change IMO. It no longer matters as much that oil consumption is falling in the U.S. due to recession. The price of oil can remain high or rising in the face of American usage decline. The game has changed.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

From the Energy Export Databrowser:

I like to use the "Outreach 5 nations" (O5) as a proxy for developing nations in general. If you look at their consumption of natural gas and coal you will see very similar graphs.

The assertion that oil prices (and energy prices in general) are becoming independent of demand in the West is demonstrably true as long as the following assertion holds:

People in developing nations desire all the advantages of a modern industrial society as much as Westerners cherish them.

I think this is a safe assertion.

x,There are days you actually make sense.

I strongly suspect that you wouldn't mind making a good living in some way related to the ethanol subsidy,but then we all gotta make a living.

You also need to answer the question "what % of developing Nations oil demand is reliant on Developed Nations consumption (of goods)"...

If the answer is "High" then recession here =drop in demand there...


Hello Drummers,

Links to a couple of articles of interest in The Walrus, a Canadian magazine. One about trains and one about a Peak Oil activist, a retired hydrocarbon geologist named Dave Hughes




This second linked article from "stvo" is fantastic!

The title is An Inconvenient Talk and it is part the observations of someone first learning about the iss of PO, and part the information and insights presented by the person they are learning it from. Very well done. Here is a clip:

So again: an exploration manager for a major oil and gas company is telling you, anonymously, as one concerned citizen to another, that he doesn’t think there’s enough of any of it left. After he finally leaves you to return to his routine business of urgently searching for more, you wander the gas-heated, coal-lit shopping malls at the bases of the office towers at the epicentre of Canada’s gilded oil capital. Eventually, you return to your own car and turn the key, and the engine roars to life. Familiar as it all seems, you can’t help feeling like the world as you’ve always known it has been bumped way off kilter. Nearly upside down in some fundamental way. The temptation to set it back to a more recognizable alignment is enormous. Surely there’s some way. This can’t be so.

I'll have to find some time to read that tonight. It's the beginning of a journey of progressive revelation - many years on and it is often still difficult to wrap my head around, and to deal with the incongruities of trying to live in two worlds. Somehow it seems like a cause for celebration when someone awakes and begins to see the truth about things, even though it will bring sadness. Eventually one becomes used to seeing the things around you as temporary. That really bothered me for some time, but after many years I now accept the (rather obvious) fact that everything really is temporary, that change is the only constant, and that fighting this is futile and dangerous.

I met a really bright guy last week who has come to an understanding that things are not at all what they appear to be in our political and financial world. He's got that figured out pretty well, but totally does not see the fossil fuel and climate change problems that are driving it. So to him it seems like a problem that can be fixed by the people asserting their rights, etc. He was surprised that I was well versed in almost every point he made, and could indeed supply even more info, but was essentially uninterested in the political angle. I see the political and economic problems as merely the social manifestations of PO and CC, and while they are the things we will have to deal with first, there is no way to save the Western industrial empire so we need to focus on learning the skills needed to survive without it. This guy is presently stuck in the Libertarian thing and be somewhat hostile to the ideas of PO and CC, but he seems to have an open mind so I will break my normal rule and see if I can open his eyes.

For those Intrested ASPO Canada have a link to Dave Hughes full article in PDF at.

Another article of interest, but off general oil drum topic:


Crop scientists fear the Ug99 fungus could wipe out more than 80% of worldwide wheat crops as it spreads from eastern Africa. It has already jumped the Red Sea and traveled as far as Iran. Experts say it is poised to enter the breadbasket of northern India and Pakistan, and the wind will inevitably carry it to Russia, China and even North America -- if it doesn't hitch a ride with people first.

Great link and read--
Eventually something is going to take out these monocultures, and the result is going to be interesting.


It's not only the monocultures that are sitting duck targets.

I can think of several ways that any one who wants to can inflict tens of billions of dollars in permanent annual losses on the developed world economy for the price of a cheap vacation.Most of the damages would be directly related to food ,fiber and forest products.

Any two or three reasonably well educated farmers could come up with a similar list over a long lunch,and it would take them that long only because the idea of deliberate sabotage is not generally on the working farmers radar.

So far As I can see the only reason we haven't had a dozen WTC order catastrophes inflicted upon us is that no one is really trying,except maybe some nuts who can't keep secrets..Of course the thought of a cruise missle thru the window might be helping somewhat,and some govts might be trying to tamp down the enthusiasm for such adventures out of reluctance to play host to an extended visit from our armed forces.

I will not actually outline any such scenarios here, as it is not the place,and after all loose lips do sink ships sometimes,even when the information disclosed is not a secret of any kind.

First time I heard about UG99 was under the claim that such could be used as a weapon of war.

How exactly is wiping out 80% of the wheat a good thing for the attacker? The attacked is obvious - but its a biological and would eventually come back around to the attacker.

What is the leadership's plan when this hits? The bread and circus paradime is underthreat if there is no bread and you have to divert energy from the circus part towards other food production.


War and checkers are both games of attrition.If you can inflict a serious wound on your opponent at the cost of only a minor wound to yourself,you win-that series of moves or battle at least.

The person/group most likely to use UG99 as weapon would logically come from a country not highly dependent on wheat,as we are.Religiously motivated warriors might not care about collateral damage.Furthermore the USSR insurgency doctrince held that ANY trouble outside the Soviet borders was a plus,as it disrupted our alliances and further set the stage for new revolutions-which would then be hijacked by the Soviets of course.This doctrine was widely taught by the soviet equivalent of our infamous CIA operatives to large groups of people from many countries during the cold war era.Quite a few of these trainees are now involved in the adventures in
Iraq and Afghasistan.

(from memory)

When you are wounded
and left upon the plain,

and the women are coming
to cut up your remains

just roll to your rifle
and blow out your brains

and die like a man
in Afghanistan


Here's a book that sounds interesting:

Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream

An incisive look at the consequences of today's costly and damaging suburban lifestyle, this new book exposes the economic, cultural, environmental, and health problems underlying life in suburbia. John Wasik provides powerful insights into how the U.S. suburban lifestyle became unsustainable and what can be done to salvage it. Wasik's observations are firmly grounded in exclusive on-the-ground research, interviews with thought leaders, and the latest studies and statistics. He exposes the untold truths about home ownership: green isn't always so green, life isn't cheaper after accounting for gas, water, and taxes, and modern suburban living isn't so idyllic considering the toll it takes on our health. Wasik's trenchant analysis adds a new dimension to an important topic, with exclusive research and analysis that debunks the many myths of suburban living, while exploring innovative solutions being developed in cities and suburbs across the country.

I found this through a review here.

I'm not so sure on the ABC Iran story. Twitter & Facebook are telling a quite different tale - mass arrests, ongoing interruption of communication, and the like.

Ahmadinejad's position has always depended on having Bush to push against. Now that Obama's in office the Iranian moderates are ready for some relief. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Crowfoot C-Train station unveiled

The long-awaited unveiling of the Crowfoot C-Train station happened Saturday, introducing a few thousands Calgarians to the newest LRT extension in the northwest since 2003.

Canada's oil town is getting on the electrified rail bandwagon. Anything happening like this in Houston?

"Canada's oil town is getting on the electrified rail bandwagon."

Actually, we've been on it since 1981, when the LRT system first began as part of advance planning for the 1988 Winter Olympics. During the lost decades of the 1980s and 1990s, when Alberta was in the extended commodities slump, the LRT lines didn't grow because there was no money in the budget. In this past decade, extensions of the system are continuous.

One problem with the Crowfoot station and others like it is that they are well out into the sprawling suburbs. Every station has a car park, for which the City recently implemented a $3 per day parking fee. As a result, surrounding neighbourhoods are plagued by parking problems.

The older parts of the LRT system connect densely populated areas in the central part of the city, as well as commuter hubs such as the downtown core, the university and the polytechnic, and major shopping malls. The Crowfoot station is handy to two car-centric suburbs, an auto mall, and a pedestrian-hostile shopping plaza designed for cars. However, I expect that over time there will be a slow redevelopment around LRT stations to higher residential density and condo towers in the plazas. This is now happening further back on that line, in the Brentwood area, a typical car-centric suburb but which is finally getting high-rise towers around the station.

This is why I don't believe Peak Oil will destroy the outer suburbs overnight. Rather, they will gradually concentrate along bus lines and LRT lines. Houses beyond reasonable walking distance will become lower-middle class neighbourhoods, then white-trash neighbourhoods, and a generation from now be recycled back into vacant lots. Detroit and Cleveland have been gutted because of job loss, not Peak Oil, whereas we Albertans are fortunate enough to be sitting on lots of oil and a relatively low unemployment rate.

Calgary Transit buys its electricity from wind generation in southern Alberta, so they boast they are green. The vast majority of Calgary (and Alberta) still gets its electricity from coal-fired stations. If there has been any reduction in car traffic, I haven't noticed it. Gasoline today in Calgary is about 96 cents per litre. Houses are still selling well at the lower end, although high-end sales are down.

I find it incredible:" Houses beyond reasonable walking distance will become lower-middle class neighbourhoods, then white-trash neighbourhoods, and a generation from now be recycled back into vacant lots."

Do you mean that because a person has to drive 3km to the local train station, it's going to de-value their home? Lets see, all electric vehicles have at least 6km range ( including a Prius plug-in), and would use about 1.2kWh of electricity round trip.Lets say wind energy electricity is more expensive so you pay 20cents/kWh, a quarter for the day, looks like the critical factor would be parking costs at the station, you would need a lot more than $3.25 a day extra costs to cause a 50% devaluation in home prices. Even using petrol would be 0.5L/day, would have to be $6/L before the fuel costs were the same as the $3/day parking.

The abandoning of the suburbs just doesn't add up under any credible scenarios, abandoning whole cities has been going on for thousands of years, that's a different matter, although some have been around for a few millenniums.

Is this what we have come to? Is this the country we need to emulate?

Mongolia will ban usage and importation of plastic shopping bags from January 1, 2010 in a bid to curb the worsening environmental pollution. A draft law on the prohibition of plastic shopping bags thinner than 0.025 millimeters (single use bags) took nods at the meeting of Standing Committee on Nature, Food and Agriculture to go further for Parliament level discussion in the near future.


Having lived in Mongolia I know it's bloody dirty everywhere there, not just in towns but the countryside as well. But now they are doing something. Finally. Are we going to do the same?

Why don't people properly dispose of or recycle their trash? Almost every day when I come home from work, some crack monkey has thrown their empty Wendy's bag out the window of their car and it's sitting in the middle of the road.

It's not really an issue of banning plastic products, it's an issue of educating people to properly dispose of their garbage. Plasitc bags are useful when used correctly, but there are too many morons in the world that can't be trusted to do the right thing.

Plasitc bags are useful when used correctly, but there are too many morons in the world that can't be trusted to do the right thing.

Exactly that's why we need laws - to keep those morons in check. ;) And then pray, that they are at least law-abiding morons..

I guess you have never been to Mongolia, or any third world country.

Apart from the total lack of any organised trash collection service, the country has a very cold, fragile environment. Trash does not decay, it is not buried in soil by the action of worms. It sits around on the surface, gets shredded and embedded in trees by the wind, and stays there a very long time.

A secondary issue is the Mongolia is only just entering the age of consumerism. Until recently non-biodegradable, non-reusable trash was not an issue. They have not yet adapted to the concept of waste that has to be buried in giant toxic landfill sites because we have no other use for it.

Betting the farm
As world population expands, the demand for arable land should soar. At least that's what George Soros, Lord Rothschild, and other investors believe.

The fundamentals remain in place for a long-term boom in the prices of everything ag-related. The simplest metric to consider is the amount of farmland per person worldwide: In 1960 there were 1.1 acres of arable farmland per capita globally, according to data from the United Nations. By 2000 that had fallen to 0.6 acre (see chart, "Precious Acres").

Dooh! We have been going about this all wrong!

Nearly Naked Riders Protest Oil Dependency

"This is good for awareness," said Chris Bracken, 24, of the District, who, along with two friends, was participating in her first naked ride. "Nudity is always a good way to get someone's attention."

The goal of the two-mile trip downtown was to protest oil dependency and promote bicycles as a transportation alternative. Of course, there are ways to make these statements while wearing clothes, but let's face it -- they're not nearly as attention-getting.

Given the demographics of the Peak Oil movement--generally middle aged to older guys--it occurred to me that ASPO could make a fair amount of money by pledging not to do a mass naked bike ride.

Yeah, that could be a problem. But I guess the idea is to raise awareness and get some (albeit small) headlines, I am not sure how much that matters. The people reading the newspaper have no idea and would let their imaginations run wild.

Even better WT: we can create a "cover and trade" progam where old farts like me agree to not go naked in return for some sweet young things bearing it all. And then you and I can split to the commission and I get to call you Al junior.

Sounds good to me.

I am reminded of an ordinance passed in a French coastal town a few years ago, to the effect than public nudity on a given beach was illegal--except for attractive women.

You guys need more girls like me. Obviously I am going to have to get more pro-active in my outreach.
We had World Naked Bike Ride Day in Australian cities too... but not now, in the middle of winter! We don't like freezing our tits off. We did ours last March. Bewdaful!

I ran across an article about this in one of the mags I get and thought this story to be fascinating.

I like a mystery.

I also like the steady-state population, living in harmony with nature ideas. Leave room for nature. Bravo.

Too bad some wackos just defaced this monument with paint. People fear what they don't understand. And people fear what they do understand to be a threat to their vested interests and personal world views. These same people are actively and passively ruining our World.




wrt white rooftops:

"I don't think that it could ever be done at a sufficient scale," said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution in Stanford, Calif. He added: "It's hard enough, in many of the cities of the world, to keep the streets swept, much less to keep the city reflective."

But almost no one even hesitates for a second about laying thousands and thousands of acres of blacktop and untold amounts of black asphalt roofing.

This and many other ideas seem too simple for most people to grasp. And...most people do not vest any interest in improving the World beyond the time horizon of their individual lives.

One would think that the titanium dioxide lobby would rise up and lobby Congress for this...

Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white pigment because of its brightness and very high refractive index (n = 2.7), in which it is surpassed only by a few other materials. (From Wikipedia, article on Titanium Dioxide)

Hey, how about an albedo tax?

Not sure there's much of a TiO2 lobby, but the sunglasses people should be all over it. Being in one of those big texas parking lots in the summer would be blinding if it was white.

I found this article posted on TAE:


This is a great idea, but will be fruitless unless population growth is curtailed in concert. Otherwise, cities will just re-inflate.

Stop the bubbles...embrace a steady-state population. Other problems are subordinate to the issue of population growth. Yes, the World might be able to support 15B people if they all live like cave men...not gonna happen. Why not live with reasonable modernity with a lower and steady-state population?

I wonder what the population curve would be if starting tomorrow the Worldwide fertility rate was 1.8 for 50 years? There are sites with models but I am off to hike the mountains!

Moonwatcher, You have to keep in mind that people live approx. 3-4 generations. So if every couple replaces themselves with an average of 1.8 it still means an increasing population. That's why the Chinese went to 1. But it still didn't work, because like all societies, those that can will, so the party members (35 million) and the wealthy (who pay a small penalty) have had as many kids as they like and the population went from 1 billion to 1.3 billion.

But it makes no difference because the religions of the world believe that to have more is to please God. So we will just have to bounce off of some resource constraint and experience a die off. No way around it.

I think the situation in China is better explained by Demographic Momentum

But it makes no difference because the religions of the world believe that to have more is to please God. So we will just have to bounce off of some resource constraint and experience a die off. No way around it.

Hmmm. Seems like to reach a balance it can systain, the planet needs about 80% fewer humans.

And about 80% of humans believe that there is an afterlife and that death will not negatively affect their social lives.


To quote eloiburger,
"And about 80% of humans believe that there is an afterlife and that death will not negatively affect their social lives.

Where did you get the stat/quote? Because surely the last part of the sentence "death will not negatively affect their social lives" is blindingly funny! :-) I mean, I dream of coming up with a line like that for the purpose of satire, spoof, etc., what a variety of comedy opportunities, the boomer class, the most social in history, carrying their social jockeying for position right into infinity!

How would the boomers with the designer handbags and the fascination with status and appearence and the progressive inclusive ethnic collectables stack up against any other generation of social climbers in the great beyond? Would the turn of the 20th century "Portrait of a Lady" Euro status seekers fit in pretty well with the boomers of the 1990's, and how would they stack up against the middle level princesses of the Egyptian ruling class? What about the upper class functionaries of the Ancient great Chinese culture, mixed with the newly aspiring modern Chinese SUV driver...would they, at the very gut level, understand each other? This is just too much fun! :-)


I like the bit in the article about giving the land back to nature, but some of it could doubtless also be turned in to gardens or urban farms, helping the remaining city be even more resilient. Any idea if that is happening?

They are tearing down a lot of houses in the most depressed areas of my city, but we're having trouble convincing the authorities to turn many of those properties over to gardens.

I'm having a salad tonight from the garden- 4 types of lettuce, fresh yellow squash, radishes, sugar pees--
Not very hard, and grounding---
Things are unwinding faster than the media is feeding it to you.

I would be concerned about what is in the soil in such reclaimed areas - serious testing would be wise.

Yeah, that's another choke point--not enough "clean" soil and compost. It will be interesting to see how quickly people wake up to the importance of local tilth and start composting like mad--saving and stealing leaves, bidding for access to used grounds from the local coffee shop and hair from the local barber...And when use of humanure will become common and not seen as distasteful, dangerous or an embarrassment (though,here again, those who eat lowest on the food chain and so have the lease bioaccumulation of toxins will have the most highly prized poop!)

I'm surprised at how fast the coffee grounds from my office are piling up.

Stop the bubbles...embrace a steady-state population.

Hey, I embraced it, I embraced it. But damn, the population just kept right on growing anyway. One hell of a lot of good my embracing it did. :-(

Ron P.

Me too. But I did enjoy advocating post-partum sterilization for grandmultips at Jefferson Davis - the Houston Charity Hospital and by being an officer and program coordinator for ZPG. I suspect that I lowered population growth by at least a few hundred. My own vasectomy may have added one or two more.

Robert, you miss the point completely. There are always some who see what is happening and take what actions they can to mitigate the situation. But they, (we), are a tiny minority...and always will be. For the vast majority of humanity, their thoughts never leave the immediate problems of the day. And that Robert, is just human nature.

We are not going to change human nature Robert. So we can shout "stabilize the population" until the cows come home and it will not make one whit of a difference.

And please, don't have visions of grandeur by thinking that you have actually made much of difference concerning the world's population problems. Sure, if everyone would just do as you did.... But that's the flipping point isn't it!

Ron P.

I think culture can have a bigger impact than you can realise, in certain circumstances. Jared Diamond (IIRC) talks about Hawaiian culture before the Europeans arrived. There was effective birth control and resource management centrally controlled by the king. The finite size of the islands made it a prime constraint visible to the whole of the people. If there were food shortages due to rising population, the culture was to load a raft with the young and fertile and set off into the unknown sea to find a new paradise island or die. Most died.

Of course the problem on the global scale is that there are no more paradise islands to find, and the limits on the resource are not visible to all, leading the ultimate tragedy of the commons.

I do not accept your claim that I missed your point or that I have delusions of grandeur.

Of all the links on todays The Oil Drum, of all the worldwide news and developments, one is more shocking to me than the rest put together:

People actually, ACTUALLY still listen to anything Goldman Sachs says.

There is one way in which the words of Goldman Sachs can be useful: IF IT IS GOOD FOR GOLDMAN SACHS and the rip off artists and stock and commodity manipulators they serve, then it will happen. They will see to it that it does.

After being robbed repeatedly by exactly the same "authoritive" bunco artists, You would think we would learn.


High Water: Greenland ice sheet melting faster than expected and could raise East Coast sea levels an extra 20 inches by 2100 — to more than 6 feet

The eastern United States must plan on the very real possibility that total sea level rise by 2100 will exceed 6 feet on our current emissions path. Sadly, the Washington Post got the story only half right...

deleted--wrong DB