DrumBeat: June 29, 2009

Iraq Oil a Big Draw for Chinese

HONG KONG — As the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing consumer of oil, China is showing increasing interest in oil fields in a country that had seemed until very recently to be firmly in the American sphere of influence for natural resources: Iraq.

Chinese oil companies are expected to bid in Iraq’s oil field auctions that are set to start Tuesday, although Sinopec, the China National Petroleum Corporation and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation all declined to comment Monday about their bidding strategies.

...After six years of war, few Americans or Iraqis may have expected China to emerge as one of the winners in Iraqi oil fields. But signs of stability in Iraq this year, and a planned American pullback from Iraqi cities this week, just happen to coincide with an aggressive Chinese push to buy overseas oil fields.

Oil rises on Nigeria, stock gains

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Oil prices rose nearly 4% Monday, lifted by word of fresh rebel attacks on oil installations in Nigeria and gains in stock markets.

Nigeria's main militant group said its fighters had attacked an oil facility belonging to Royal Dutch Shell in the Niger Delta on Monday, days after President Umaru Yar'Adua proposed an amnesty.

U.S. crude rose $2.33, more than 3%, to settle at $71.49 a barrel Monday.

Nigeria pumping 1.74 mln bpd crude oil - NNPC

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria is currently pumping 1.739 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 560,000 bpd of condensate, the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Monday.

The total amount of production shut in by years of militant attacks and funding shortfalls currently stood at 1.26 million bpd, NNPC spokesman Levi Ajuonoma told Reuters.

Peak Oil And World Food Supplies

Only about 10 percent of the world’s land surface is arable, whereas the other 90 percent is just rock, sand, or swamp, which can never be made to produce crops, whether we use “high” or “low” technology or something in the middle. In an age with diminishing supplies of oil and other fossil fuels, this 10:90 ratio may be creating two gigantic problems that have been largely ignored. The first is that humans are not living only on that 10 percent of arable land, they are living everywhere, while trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes bring the food to where those people are living. What will happen when the vehicles are no longer operating? Will everyone move into those “10 percent” lands where the crops can be grown?

It’s Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado

DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West.

Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago.

Now two new laws in Colorado will allow many people to collect rainwater legally. The laws are the latest crack in the rainwater edifice, as other states, driven by population growth, drought, or declining groundwater in their aquifers, have already opened the skies or begun actively encouraging people to collect.

Scientists attack energy industry

Britain's energy systems are no longer fit for purpose, according to leading members of the UK's best-known scientific academy, the Royal Society.

A meeting of experts at the society said the government must invest hugely to create a new low-carbon economy.

And it must take on the big generating companies who dominate energy policy, participants said.

China Increases Diesel, Gasoline Prices to Help Oil Refiners

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second-biggest energy consumer, will increase fuel prices by as much as 11 percent today, allowing the nation’s refiners to pass on climbing crude oil costs.

EU says Ukraine must reform gas sector

BRUSSELS—The European Union said Monday it will push Ukraine to reform its natural gas sector in return for an international loan package to help pay a multibillion dollar debt to Russia.

Petrobras gets money for investment plan

Brazil's state-run giant Petrobras has secured financing to cover its aggressive $174 billion investment plan through 2013, financial director Almir Barbassa said.

"(Financing) is sufficient for the company through 2013 at current prices," Barbassa told reporters at a news event. "The plan is perfectly executable and it will bring us growth in all sectors. We are very comfortable."

Court order to limit emissions at BP plant

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- BP Products North America Inc. has agreed to a court order forcing the petrochemical giant to end what state officials say are illegal emissions at its Texas City refinery.

Court: It's too soon for plant to fight cooling rules

Connolly ruled the power plant was premature in appealing an August 2008 state Department of Environmental Conservation recommendation that Indian Point be required to use "closed cycle cooling towers" as a way of reducing fish kills.

That method uses primarily the same river water over and over to cool the reactors, along the lines of a car's radiator, rather than continually pulling in fresh water.

The electric power plant in Buchanan uses billions of gallons of river water daily, and the closed system would cut that use by 95 percent.

Crash Puts Focus on Aging Rail Fleets

The train that rear-ended another in Washington on Monday evening, killing nine people, was made up of some of the oldest cars in Washington’s relatively young subway system, cars that had been cited for vulnerabilities before. But federal data show that many other cities are also using outdated rail equipment.

More than a third of the equipment in the nation’s seven largest rail transit agencies was rated in marginal or poor condition by the Federal Transit Administration this spring. Replacing all the equipment that has exceeded its useful life and finishing all outstanding station rehabilitations for just those seven large systems would cost roughly $50 billion, the agency estimated, and keeping the systems in a state of good repair after that would cost an estimated $5.9 billion a year.

By contrast, the $787 billion stimulus law contains only $8.4 billion for transit capital improvements across the nation.

Scary movie: History Channel show on Tappan Zee Bridge

I don't like horror movies much.

If I watch one, it has to be over-the-top fiction, with characters way different than myself and in a far-away place, or I don't sleep so well.

I especially don't like to be scared by the History Channel, with specials like "The Crumbling of America."

The two-hour show isn't supposed to be a horror story, but for my money it is far too accurate, far too close to home and affects me way more than any chain saw movie.

IEA still sees major role for Canadian oil sands

PARIS -- The Canadian oil sands sector is "down but not out" in its role as a major and secure safety net in the global energy market, the International Energy Agency reported Monday.

The Canadian oil sands "appears to be the sector hardest hit by the recession and the sharp fall in oil prices," the Paris-based agency said in a report assessing the impact of the economic crisis on the world's oil and gas supplies.

Supreme Court rules against Chevron

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. energy company, in a fight with the Ecuadorean government over potentially tens of billions of dollars in liability for environmental damage.

The justices, without comment, today let stand a lower court ruling that blocked Chevron’s effort to force arbitration with state-owned PetroEcuador.

The nightmare of Nigeria's oil-rich delta

Immensely rich in oil and gas, the Niger Delta is the cornerstone of Nigeria's economy, but the southern region is a nightmare for both the authorities and its poor residents.

Shell Shuts Nigeria Estuary Field After Rebel Attack

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, shut its Estuary oil field in Nigeria’s southern delta region after a militant attack.

The strike targeted two well clusters in the western Niger River delta, Tony Okonedo, a Shell spokesman, said by phone from Lagos today. “We’ve shut in some production as a precautionary measure while further investigations are continuing.”

Medvedev Seals ‘Milestone’ Gas Deal in Bid to Thwart EU Rivals

(Bloomberg) -- President Dmitry Medvedev sealed a “milestone” deal to buy natural gas from Azerbaijan, as Russia seeks to thwart European efforts to diversify energy suppliers.

OAO Gazprom, Russia’s largest energy producer, agreed to buy 500 million cubic meters of Azeri gas next year, during a visit to Baku by Medvedev today.

Toyota Said to Consider Offering Version of Prius Hybrid to GM

(Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. may offer to supply a version of its Prius hybrid car to General Motors Corp. during a meeting between the companies’ chief executives, two people familiar with the plan said.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda and GM’s Fritz Henderson will meet in Michigan in August said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t public. A GM-badged car based on the Prius is among the options for new products at a jointly owned factory in California after GM said it would end assembly of the Pontiac Vibe at the plant earlier than planned.

The Key to Fixing Health Care and Energy: Use Less

Our health-care crisis and our energy crisis are complex dilemmas made of many complex problems. But our biggest problem in both health care and energy is essentially the same simple problem: we use too much. And in both cases, there's a simple explanation for much of the problem: our providers get paid more when we use more.

Undoing these waste-promoting incentives — the "fee-for-service" payment system that awards more fees to doctors and hospitals for providing more services, and the regulated electricity rates that reward utilities for selling more power and building more plants — would not solve all our health-care and energy problems. But it would be a major step in the right direction. President Obama has pledged to pass massive overhauls of both sectors this year, but if Congress lacks the stomach for comprehensive reforms — and these days it's looking like Kate Moss in the stomach department — a more modest effort to realign perverse incentives could take a serious bite out of both crises.

Saudi hires generators to beat power shortage

Despite having the world’s biggest oil reserves and significant gas deposits, both of which it taps to fuel power plants, Saudi Arabia has failed to develop enough power generating capacity to meet its electricity needs when demand peaks in summer.

Loadshedding turns life miserable in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: With mercury shooting up beyond 45 degree centigrade in the federal capital – Islamabad, followed by more or less similar level in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta – life became awfully miserable due to prolonged electricity load-shedding on Sunday.

Unannounced hours-long load shedding continued to persist – making men, women and children upset – as they did not have a moment of respite because of suffocated weather at home and scorching heat under the open skies in almost all the areas – with Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi – atop.

12 Suspect Charged in Stealing Oil for Zetas

Mexico - Mexican authorities have decided to charge 12 suspects of stealing and selling state owned oil for the Zetas.

...They are accused stealing oil from the Pemex pipe lines and smuggling it across the border to sell to U.S. refineries.

Rising sea level to submerge Louisiana coastline by 2100, study warns

A vast swath of the coastal lands around New Orleans will be underwater by the dawn of the next century because the rate of sediment deposit in the Mississippi delta can not keep up with rising sea levels, according to a study published today.

Between 10,000 and 13,500 square kilometres of coastal lands will drown due to rising sea levels and subsidence by 2100, a far greater loss than previous estimates.

For New Orleans, and other low-lying areas of Louisiana whose vulnerability was exposed by hurricane Katrina, the findings could bring some hard choices about how to defend the coast against the future sea level rises that will be produced by climate change.

They also revive the debate about the long-term sustainability of New Orleans and other low-lying areas.

In need of a clean: America’s climate-change bill is a bundle of compromises

THE headline is a big one: for the first time, America’s House of Representatives agreed, by 219 votes to 212, on Friday June 25th to cap emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. The bill envisions modest reductions of 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, but the cuts get more swingeing over time (under the assumption that technology to mitigate emissions will improve). By 2050 the cuts should hit 83%.

But environmental campaigners have gritted their teeth as the bill has passed through the legislative process.

Obama's Energy Bill: A Recipe for Economic Destruction

"Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad" is an ancient saying that Obama seems intent on confirming with his energy bill. It has been estimated that if implemented, this bill will added $9 trillion to energy costs by 2050. And the bad news does not stop there. Critics point out that the these costs will be felt throughout the US economy, particularly in the production of goods and services. However, Americans will not have to wait until 2050 for a severe energy crisis to strike.

The brilliant Waxman and Markey are demanding that electric utilities use grossly inefficient solar and wind power sources to generate 20 per cent of their power. This is the kind of insanity that raised California energy prices to nearly twice the national average and in doing so contributed mightily to the state's current economic crisis.

IEA cuts medium-term oil demand forecast

PARIS (Reuters) - The International Energy Agency on Monday cut sharply its medium-term forecast for oil demand because of economic recession, but said the threat of a supply crunch had only receded, not gone away.

The adviser to 28 developed countries said in a report demand will expand by 0.6 percent, or 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) on average, between 2008 and 2014. Its previous forecast, issued in December, predicted annual growth of 1 million bpd.

Demand may be weaker depending on the pace of recovery from recession, which has cut fuel use in the United States, Europe and Asia. The IEA also lowered its supply forecasts, but postponed its prediction of a supply crunch.

"The deep economic recession that has spread worldwide in the past year has taken a severe toll on oil demand," the Paris-based IEA said in its Medium Term Oil Market Report.

"This scenario paints a delayed picture of threatened 'supply crunch' later in the projection period."

Citigroup predicts Shell production drop

BP Plc, Europe’s second-biggest oil company, may post second-quarter earnings that are “more resilient” than bigger rival Royal Dutch Shell Plc because it’s less affected by weak demand for natural gas in Europe, Citigroup Inc. said.

Increased production from the Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico may contribute toward an expected 3.1 percent gain in output for London-based BP compared with last year, Mark Bloomfield, an analyst at Citigroup, said today. Shell may report a 5.4 percent drop in production in the second quarter because of disruptions in Nigeria, he said.

Shell’s “higher exposure to gas seasonality than BP points to greater risk around both earnings and pricing,” London-based Bloomfield wrote in a note to clients. “This is exacerbated by an Asia-Pacific bias to liquefaction capacity where gas volumes are also likely to be weak.”

N.Y. Natural Gas Futures Moving Toward $5: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures are heading toward $5 per million British thermal units as price support builds for the power-plant and industrial fuel, according to a technical analysis by Chris Jarvis, president of Caprock Risk Management LLC.

A Funding Roadblock Ahead for Clean Energy

. Since the economic crisis began last autumn, the once red-hot activity by wind and solar developers has slowed sharply. The U.S. government’s stimulus package is supposed to help (although some portions of its aid for renewable energy have not yet been disbursed).

But many advocates of renewable energy are thinking longer term. What happens when the stimulus funding runs out, as it is scheduled to do for the industry’s projects in the next year or two?

States Consider Gas and Oil Levies: Lawmakers, Facing Budget Deficits, See Revenue in a Tax on Production

Cash-strapped states are considering raising taxes on oil production to plug yawning budget gaps, but they face strong resistance from oil companies, which warn the moves could lead to lost jobs and higher energy prices.

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and California have proposed what are known as severance taxes on oil and natural gas produced in their states. A tax increase took effect in Arkansas at the beginning of the year, and Alaska last year raised its oil-production tax.

U.S. gasoline prices hover around $2.66/gallon: survey

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States remained virtually unchanged from two weeks ago as crude oil prices hovered at about $70 per barrel, according to an industry analyst.

The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gas was nearly $2.6613 a gallon on June 26, while two weeks ago it cost $2.6607, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of gas stations.

Commodity Rally May End as Supply Rises, Speculators Sell Bets

(Bloomberg) -- Commodities, heading for the first quarterly advance in a year, may struggle to repeat their gains in the next three months as supply expands and speculators sell.

Nickel may average 29 percent less in the third quarter than now, crude oil 16 percent, copper 14 percent and gasoline 10 percent, analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg show. Hedge funds and speculators cut their bets on higher prices by 23 percent in the two weeks ended June 23, the first back-to-back drop since March, based on an index using U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. The World Bank said June 22 the global recession will be deeper than it expected three months ago.

Crisis a threat to gas supply

LONDON (Reuters) - Weakening gas demand, low prices, regulatory uncertainty and the credit crunch are likely to jeopardise new projects, further undermining long-term energy security when economies recover, the International Energy Agency said on Monday.

"Falling gas prices and volumes have taken a heavy toll on all producers' cash flows, adding to the already serious problems in gas investment throughout the value chain," the energy adviser to 27 industrialised countries said in its Natural Gas Market Review 2009.

Canada is ‘Arctic superpower’: Cannon

Downplaying Russia's recent "jockeying" for position in the emerging polar oil rush, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has declared Canada an "Arctic superpower" that will be guided by science, international law and "world-leading Canadian technology" in securing its claim to resource riches in the North.

Mr. Cannon, who made a global media splash earlier this year by saying Canada "will not be bullied" by Russia over contentious undersea territory near the North Pole, told Canwest News Service in an exclusive interview on federal Arctic strategy that the Conservative government is "quite confident" about obtaining -- under the terms of a UN treaty -- vast new stretches of polar seabed beyond the country's 370-km offshore economic zone.

Off-shore platform burning after explosion

Lagos - Nigerian rebels on Monday announced a new raid against a Shell oil facility and said they had killed at least 20 soldiers in a gun battle, a claim denied by the security forces.

While a Shell spokesperson confirmed the raid and said it had caused a loss of production, a spokesperson for Nigeria's combined police and army joint task force (JTF) denied there had been any clash with the rebels.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) militants said the Shell Forcados off-shore platform in Delta state was burning "after a massive explosion" following their 2.30am (03h30 GMT) raid.

The Kazakhstan Oil Rush

“Agip illegally increased the reimbursable costs paid by Kazakhstan under the PSA and, as a result, decreased the republic’s share in its income. How can one believe the price of a shirt at USD 5K or of aluminum paper trays at USD 45K per kilogramme?” Seitkul asked. According to him, these violations have become possible because the republic “does not have an effective customs control over the real price of imported goods, and the participants of the foreign economic activities, such as AGIP and its contractors, take advantage of this.”

Iran Revolutionary Guards Amass Power While Backing Ahmadinejad

(Bloomberg) -- Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, whose forces helped President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suppress street protests over his disputed re-election, may be among the biggest winners as he moves to consolidate power.

Enterprise Products Agrees to Buy Teppco to Expand Pipelines

(Bloomberg) -- Enterprise Products Partners LP agreed to purchase Teppco Partners LP to create the nation’s largest pipeline partnership.

Teppco unitholders will receive 1.24 Enterprise common units for each Teppco unit, the companies said today in a statement.

Medvedev’s Dream of Africa

The move could further reinforce Gazprom’s influence over Europe’s energy supplies. “It is to show Brussels that if they really want to talk about gas from Nigeria, it will also be with Gazprom,” Konstantin Simonov, the general director of the Russian National Energy Security Fund, told New Europe telephonically from Moscow on June 25.

But a long pipeline stretching across unstable territories may be doomed to failure. “It is very difficult to build a pipeline from Nigeria to North Africa,” Simonov said. “The political risks are very high because you know the situation in Nigeria. For terrorists it’s a lot easier to attack pipes than wells.”

Russian Budget Won’t Recover for ‘Foreseeable Future’

(Bloomberg) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said it will take years for the government’s finances to recover from the worst economic slump in more than a decade and called for more spending cuts to limit future deficits.

Revenue will probably plummet to about 16 percent of gross domestic product through 2012, from between 23 percent and 24 percent in recent years, Putin said at a meeting with lawmakers yesterday, according to a transcript published on his Web site.

Iran's warship thwarts hijack of its oil tanker by pirates

TEHRAN, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Iran's navy has prevented an attempt to hijack an Iranian oil tanker by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

Ill. derailment revives hazardous cargo debate

CHICAGO – When derailed freight train cars carrying ethanol burst into flames just 50 miles from her Chicago suburb, killing a motorist who tried to flee, Barrington Mayor Karen Darch saw her worst fears realized.

"This is exactly the kind of thing we've been afraid of," said Darch, who tried but failed to stop a railroad sale that will boost freight traffic through her village. "Any community could find themselves in that situation."

First EIA report under President Obama predicts major American lifestyle change

So the United States government is saying that America must reduce normal 2015 consumption or normal US population trends by seven or eight percent. But wait you say, "7 or 8%, that's not much is it?" Actually its a lot. Let's compare it to losing weight so we can get a relative sense. I'm 185 pounds and my minimum weight, at an abnormally low 9% body fat, is 155 pounds. For me to lose 7 or 8% is about 14 pounds which doesn't seem major. But since I can at most lose 30 pounds 14 pounds is almost 50% of my maximum weight loss. That is I would have to lose almost half of all of my fat, a major difference. So before we decide whether 7 or 8% is major let's look at the picture above again to figure how much oil "fat" America has.

Rules May Limit Cash for Clunkers Program

DETROIT — In Europe, hundreds of thousands of car owners have taken advantage of government subsidies to get rid of their old vehicles and trade up to new ones. Car sales in Germany are up about 40 percent from a year ago.

But a similar so-called cash-for-clunkers program that starts in July in the United States is not expected to have nearly the same impact. While the program, which President Obama signed into law this week, gives consumers a credit that is in line with the payments in Europe — up to $4,500 — what qualifies as a “clunker” in the United States is far more limited.

Thomas L. Friedman: Invent, Invent, Invent

I was at a conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, a few weeks ago and interviewed Craig Barrett, the former chairman of Intel, about how America should get out of its current economic crisis. His first proposal was this: Any American kid who wants to get a driver’s license has to finish high school. No diploma — no license. Hey, why would we want to put a kid who can barely add, read or write behind the wheel of a car?

Let’s go back to the moon - and beyond

Here the attractions of space travel were vitiated, in part, by fears – now reviving, in the face of buoyant oil prices – of ‘peak oil’.

In keeping with the new century’s premonitions of doom, getting into space is also now seen in desperate, instrumental terms. People worry excessively about energy shortages, and do not have the confidence to believe that solutions are available on Earth – not least, by harnessing the tidal power set off by the moon. As a result, there is more talk, à la Moon, of going lunar to mine an isotope of helium, 3He, as a low-radiation, cheap-to-engineer alternative, in nuclear fusion reactors, to the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium. Going into space is also hawked as a means of protecting humanity from cosmic impacts, freakish weather, famine or nuclear war.

BP solar panel blaze raises concerns

Fresh concerns have emerged over the future of BP’s alternative energy business after a fire broke out at one of the company’s largest solar power installations in Germany.

The incident on June 21 destroyed nearly 200 sq m of one of the world’s largest roof-mounted solar panel arrays on a warehouse complex in Bürstadt, near Mannheim. As outside investigators and BP’s own staff were looking into the cause of the fire, a spokesman for BP Solar confirmed that much of the equipment involved had been supplied by the company four or five years ago.

New hydro power projects planned

Scottish and Southern Energy has announced plans for a further two major hydro power projects in the Highlands.

The Perth-based company said the projects in the Great Glen would be the first developed in Britain since 1974.

Shell Is On Track To Become Most CO2-Intensive Oil Co -Study

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) is on track to become the most carbon intensive international oil company because of its focus on unconventional oil resources like Canadian tar sands, said a study published by a coalition of environmental groups Monday.

"In the age of carbon reduction, Shell is fast heading in the opposite direction, massively increasing the carbon intensity of its production of oil and gas," the report said. "This represents a real risk for Shell, for investors and for the climate."

CO2: A bane and a boon to Wyo energy

If Wyoming one day achieves commercial-scale carbon capture and storage development, it may have oil to thank for it.

Dozens of oil companies are eagerly awaiting additional carbon dioxide supplies from Wyoming sour gas processing facilities owned by Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips.

They want to inject CO2 into oil reservoirs, sweeping millions of barrels of known reserves that remain after initial production via pumpjacks and water-flooding. With a price of $60 per barrel or more, the endeavor is commercially viable in most instances, according to industry officials.

Algae Farm Aims to Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel

Dow Chemical and Algenol Biofuels, a start-up company, are set to announce Monday that they will build a demonstration plant that, if successful, would use algae to turn carbon dioxide into ethanol as a vehicle fuel or an ingredient in plastics.

The green growth race

Sir Nicholas Stern, whose groundbreaking report in 2006 raised the alarm on climate change, recently declared that we had six years left to win the battle against global warming.

How realistic Sir Nicholas's claim is may be debatable, but there is no doubting the urgency of tackling the problem. Climate change is simply a matter of life and death.

Rising sea prompts concern about sand replenishment

With global warming threatening to raise sea levels, environmental groups are challenging the wisdom of spending millions of dollars to put sand on area beaches ---- especially if it is only going to wash back out to sea.

Krugman: Betraying the Planet

A handful of these no votes came from representatives who considered the bill too weak, but most rejected the bill because they rejected the whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases.

And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.

Climate Bill Helps Utilities, Factories More Than Oil Companies

(Bloomberg) -- The climate-change bill that passed the U.S. House on June 26 would set up a “cap-and-trade” market for greenhouse gases that cushions the cost for power producers, manufacturers and farmers while limiting aid to oil companies.

The bill, which creates a market for carbon dioxide permits potentially worth more than $100 billion a year by 2020, regulates the way the allowances could be traded to guard against speculation with derivatives that lawmakers say might drive up the prices of electricity and gasoline.

Obama Opposes Trade Sanctions in Climate Bill

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Sunday praised the energy bill passed by the House late last week as an “extraordinary first step,” but he spoke out against a provision that would impose trade penalties on countries that do not accept limits on global warming pollution.

“At a time when the economy worldwide is still deep in recession and we’ve seen a significant drop in global trade,” Mr. Obama said, “I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals out there.”

From the Daily KOS article, "First EIA report under Pres. Obama...":

"Under President Obama the EIA has finally taken a step toward admitting the magnitude of the problem we face; now we need that admission to come out of the fine print of an obscure report and into the state of the union address of a credible (non-Bush) president.

And this time around the change promoted by the government will need to be as radical as the 7-8% we need by 2015. Drive 55 will not be enough"

But it would be a start. This and higher gas taxes are clear no-brainers, yet these simple, immediately implementable measures don't even seem to be on the radar screen. If we can't do these, what hopes do we have of intentionally implementing the much tougher measures needed for the powerdown ahead--rationing, curtailment, outlawing gas guzzlers...??

Yes, any one measure will not get more than a fraction of the way there, but that is no reason to dismiss them. Especially when they are so straightforward and enforceable.

But we instead will embrace hugely complex "cap and trade" schemes that have been shown not to work and will only enrich the corrupt.

Glad to see someone with the authority and integrity of Krugman calling gw denying what it is: "treason against the planet."

Why do you state that "cap and trade schemes have been shown to not work", when they are modeled after the cap-and-trade scheme that was successfully used to reduce SO2 emissions?

My apologies. I meant use for this purpose--to control CO2 emissions. This has not been successful in Europe.

Piked at random from the first batch that came up on a google search of "cap and trade Europe" all of which, whether from left or right, conclude that it hasn't worked:

You must have missed this one.
Europe poised to meet Kyoto target: European Trading System a success?
Posted 1:10 PM on 1 Jun 2009
by Joseph Romm

Europe made a major commitment under the Kyoto protocol that U.S. conservatives have been telling us for years they would never achieve. It now seems clear Europeans will meet their commitment under the terms of the protocol. It will become increasingly difficult for those who don’t want a U.S. cap-and-trade system to point to the European Trading System ETS) as an obvious failure....
...And just two weeks ago, the European Commission reported that a subset of total EU GHG emissions, the carbon dioxide emissions traded in the European Trading System (ETS), dropped sharply in 2008:

Emissions of greenhouse gases from EU businesses participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell 3.06 % in 2008 compared with a year earlier, according to the information provided by Member State registries. With the 6.5% reduction in emission allowances that the Commission has secured for the second trading period, the EU ETS really started to make a difference to emissions in 2008. Last year marked the beginning of the second trading period of the EU ETS, which runs from 2008 to 2012.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “The 3 per cent reduction was partly due to businesses taking measures to cut their emissions in response to the strong carbon price that prevailed until the economic downturn started. It confirms that the EU has a well functioning trading system, with a robust cap, a clear price signal and a liquid market, which is helping us to cut emissions cost-effectively. This should encourage other countries in their efforts to set up comparable domestic cap-and-trade systems, which we would like to see linked up with the EU ETS to create a stronger international carbon market.”

If the permits to pollute aren't too expensive, I might buy a few and compost them.

Students look to buy air pollution credits
Monday, January 27, 2003, 10:27 AM
By Matt Kelley
Students at a southeast Iowa college are trying to prevent air pollution by raising money to buy what are called pollution permits. Maria Chookolingo, a sophomore at Maharishi University of Management, says the government-issued permits allow businesses to emit a certain limited quantity of pollution into the environment. She says businesses that modernize don't need the permits and sell them. Chookolingo says they're going through a private, non-profit environmental organization called the Clean Air Conservancy. She says they "represent us at these auctions where the companies sell the permits and buy them for us, and retire them permanently so the companies are forced to find other methods." Chookolingo says students at the Fairfield institution raised about three-hundred dollars and have been able to buy and "retire" three permits so far, but they're not cheap. So far, the students have purchased two sulfur dioxide permits at 132-dollars each and one carbon dioxide permit for seven-dollars. Other permits, like nitrogen dioxide permits, run 15-hundred dollars each. Some consider carbon dioxide the main cause of global warming, while surfur dioxide is blamed for acid rain. Chookolingo, a 19-year-old from the island nation Trinidad, says the environmental effort was sparked by one of her instructors who explained what happened. The Clean Air Conservancy website claims an E-P-A report says stopping these pollutants from entering the atmosphere saves millions of dollars in costs to health care and the environment. For more information, surf to "www.cleanairconservancy.org".


I've seen similar practices done with licenses to sell/dispense alcohol being purchased by churches and other religious groups to prevent bars from opening up in the area. Rather odd, if you ask me in regards to the alcohol permits.

EIA is starting to acknowledge reality. Maybe some other government agency can convince Congressional Idiots that climate change isn't a hoax.

The problem has passed the point of easy solutions, such as gasoline taxes. I would say get rid of all autombiles, but that will take place all by itself without any additional effort.

Eliminating cars, most trucks, relocalizing and concentrating housing and work, using electric for rail transport, more bicycles and eliminating processed and industrial food, there is a fighting chance for the next ten years.

No solutions until the population declines, however. Shouldn't be that hard a sell; everyone gets old soon enough. Cut back on births and the population shrinks all by itself ... there is an upside. Half the population means twice per- capital wealth. Particularly if various robber barons/politicians are burned at the stake.

I hate to say it but the dirty hippies were right.

Looking at population, here is the fertility rates of the worlds countries, with Ethiopia highlighted.


I wanted to understand better what happens in countries that have faced famines in the past (the "if everyone has less kids, they will all do better argument") but that does not seem to have lowered the fertility rate.

Russia dropped in fertility when it underwent collapse. It would be interesting to get a demographics expert on TOD to fill us in on how all the different factors relate and what should be our policy to promote a zero population growth society.

It is more informative, I believe, to view TFR as a trend.


Thanks! Where are you getting your dataset?

After world war 2 we saw a 'boomer' increase in birth rates in many countries - so to me it looks like it's the as designed 'survival of the fitest strategy' to see an increase in birth rate after a surge in the death rate for whatever reason.

Logically, the only viable long term strategy for any population is to always be attempting to grow faster than the food/resource supply.

I think there are some serious consequences there in the medium term for the planet let alone humans.

what should be our policy to promote a zero population growth society.

Eventually, we won't be able to grow our food and resources faster than population as we ahave for the last 200 years or so - at that point you will see how nature always achieves zero population growth.

Particularly if various robber barons/politicians are burned at the stake.

That would release C02 into the atmosphere I think we we should just recycle them...

They might be sequestered in the ocean, after applying concrete overshoes. Or, make the pirates walk the plank with an old CRT TV set strapped to their back. Good for fish food too...

E. Swanson

I spoke with a member of a local business association this weekend and learned that there are two types of "flippers." The most well known is the speculator who buys new houses and sells them as they appreciate. The second type of flipper is usually a small group of craftmen who buy delapidated houses at tax sales and spend a few months renovating them. For this second group, this is the only form of work they've every known... and they're really hurting now.

I was wondering if the second type of flipper was doing better than the first. I guess not.

A sort-of related story from USA Today...

ERs see more homeowners with do-it-yourself injuries

Cash-strapped homeowners are trying to cut costs by replacing the kitchen floor or fixing a pipe themselves rather than hiring a contractor. But some are ending up with a trip to the emergency room instead.

Nick Jouriles, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, says he has seen an increase in injuries from do-it-yourself projects in the past year, and he says it's probably the result of homeowners trying to save money in a struggling economy.

I imagine that a lot of these people haven't used many of these tools in ages. But my experience is that any type of job you have never done before will always take a lot longer the first time. After that you learn the things you should have done differently, and the next time it goes a lot quicker. The problem for a lot of DIY-ers is that these jobs don't come up very often, so you don't get a chance to gain experience. But general skills like swinging a hammer or using a wrench ought to be ones that many people ought to already have before attempting to do something like repairing a roof.

For some jobs there isn't much physical danger, so in the worst case it just takes longer or if you get in over your head you call someone to finish the job. The trick is deciding which jobs are ones you want to handle yourself and which ones you want to hire out.

I dread the day that we have to fix our roof. We are in a 4-story townhouse with a fairly steep roof, and I hear that some roofers are now insisting on scaffolding for similar jobs. I almost wonder why they don't use climbing gear to secure themselves when doing this type of work..

Reading the article, it sounds like most people get into trouble with the roof. Falling off ladders when they're trying to clean the gutters or fix the roof.

re; 'climbing gear..' They're supposed to. No sense dying over something like that.. once you have protection on, you can just have fun.

I love my roof, it's my chance to use my old climbing ropes, and get a view of the Ocean, work on my little energy experiments, and get to do some 'Extreme Chores'. My wife is the rock-climber, but she has no interest in going up onto the roof.


I suppose it depends on the roof. For a 1-story roof with a gentle slope, it would seem like overkill.

For the simple job of cleaning gutters, I guess the trick is being sufficiently comfortable and experienced with a ladder. Getting it set the right angle against the house, and making sure it is set on something solid that isn't going to shift when you start putting some weight on the thing.

I remember my dad climbing up on a ladder with a bucket of tar to try and patch a leak in the roof. It drove my mom crazy that he was doing this. And he was *after* he had his stroke.

One thing I was reading recently was how as we get older our sense of balance slowly degrades. Slow enough that it isn't really noticeable. At a certain point people start to use the handrail when climbing stairs for example, and it seems to happen subconsciously.

Safety 101:

Wear appropriate safety gear:

Wear a hard hat if there is any danger of anything hitting your head. This especially applies for tree cutting or pruning.

Wear safety goggles if doing anything that might cause objects to get in your eyes.

Wear steel-toed boots if there is any danger of heavy objects hitting your toes.

Wear gloves appropriate to the job to protect your hands.

Wear hearing protection when using noisy equipment.

Wear specialized safety gear when special situations warrant. For example, respirators when using spray paint or solvents in a confined space.

Use good quality, well-maintained equipment appropriate for the job, and know how to use it:

Cheap "bargain" equipment can sometimes be downright dangerous - it might break while in use, for example. There can also be dangers in using power equipment which is too small or underpowered for the job. If you are going to attempt to do the job, get the right equipment to do it right; if you can't get the right equipment, hire someone who does have it.

Failure to properly maintain tools can also be a safety hazard. You certainly don't want a chain breaking on a chain saw or a rope failing when on the roof. Working with cutting edges that are not properly sharpened can be as bad as working with power tools that are underpowered. Learn how to maintain your tools and equipment properly, and make sure that routine maintenance gets done.

Select the right tools for the job, and know how to use them. Read the friendly manual! If you need to do a job and don't know how to properly use a tool, then practice with it on something that doesn't matter before attempting to work with it on something that does matter.

Murphy was an optimist! Identify and anticipate potential hazards, and neutralize them up front:

Minimize your risks of falls. Have another person to hold the ladder, or to act as a "spotter" when ascending by rope. Make sure the ladder is securely positioned on the ground and not leaning at an angle. Keep your work area clear so that nobody stumbles. Erect temporary rails or ropes or something around the periphery of a deck under construction until the permanent rails are put in.

Minimize your risks of electrocution. Shut off circuit you are working on, and then TEST IT to make absolutely certain it is off. Then place a piece of tape over the breaker with a note to make sure that someone doesn't turn it back on before you are done.

Minimize your risk of puncture wounds. Pull those nails out of any boards, don't leave them around for someone to step on.

Minimize your risk of crushing injuries. Be careful about putting yourself or any part of your body underneath heavy objects. Use proper equipment to leverage loads, and have enough helpers. This will help prevent strains and back injuries.

Minimize your risks of cuts and other trauma. Chain saws are especially dangerous, use them properly, know how to avoid kickback, and especially refrain from doing anything stupid like sawing off an overhead branch.

The above is not a complete list, just some of the main points. The point is: there is a lot that can go wrong when doing work with tools and equipment, but the risks can be minimized if one works smart and not stupid.

I will add one more:

Do not run a chainsaw when you are very tired - resist the temptation to just "finish limbing this last tree and then I'll quit". Even if you know how to safely use a chainsaw, you will get sloppy and take shortcuts.

Most are supposed to use climbing-like gear when on a roof. They are a fall arrest harness and lanyard and we use them all the time. However, there are two schools of thought.

For the novice or occasional repair person, the arrest equipment should be used, but most places don't have a suitable place to attach. Similar to iron workers, professionals used to working on these roofs at height find the safety equipment more of a danger, so they don't use them.

Our house in FLA is a full two story with the roof line starting at 28 feet above grade. I was always real nervous having to do any work up there. A couple of summers ago our neighbor was having their metal roof replaced (still had the original 90-year old stamped tin). The professional crew could only work until 11 a.m. on the sunny FLA summer days because the bottom of their sneakers would start to melt and they would slide around.

Having been on both sides of the construction tool use issue, I can relate. I used my circular saw for the first time in two years this week end and it took a few cuts to get the feel back. While renovating the house I used that saw almost every day and could cut just about any way I wanted. I don't trust myself to rip a board right now.

My last trip to the hospital was for... you guessed it, home improvement-related injury. Two stitches to my hand. My 'helper' (a.k.a. my partner) gave a board a kick and in doing so she sent a nail right through my hand. Ouch.

Later on, I stepped on a board with the nail sticking up. Ouch again. Two puncture wounds- the first where the nail came in on the bottom of my foot, and the second where the nail came out the side of my foot...

I had another kind of double-OUCH a year ago.
I slipped a long narrow wooden plate (10 kg) directly onto my big toe - only so it could use this toe as a new revolving point to finish the crush on my other big-fu*****-toe.
The first big-toe nail came straigt off , and has just recently grown to full length. The 'texture and lay out' of that nail is 'as from a different creature' now. It's bulky and like double thickness - and the 'fibers' have taken a different direction.
What did we learn from this story ? That a new big-toe nail take approx one year to grow.

You should have also learned why some work boots come in steel toe models - and why it is a good idea to be wearing such for some jobs.


The fix and flip players are generally insulated from the market as long as prices are not changing too fast.A fix up flipper doesn't really care what houses are selling for-it's the spread between what he pays,plus his expenses, and what he sells for that matters.The name of the game is to buy a house in need of repair that can be brought up to market value at a really good price-a price that covers all expenses plus a near dead certain profit.

Of course a rising market will tend to add something to a fix and flip operator's spread,and a falling market could kill him deader than a mackeral if he gets caught near a peak and for some reason he can't finish and sell in a hurry.I expect that some fix up flippers were caught in this trap in the last couple of years.

I've been involved in a couple of fix up flips that went well.

Some fix-up-flippers were really only doing superficial "renovations" - like putting in granite countertops. I suppose in their minds they were fixing them up, but to me they were just garden-variety flippers.

We've been talking a lot here about the abandonment of suburbia and people needing to relocate closer to workplaces. This would suggest to me a good future for people in the business of re-habbing old houses - IF the pricing can be made to work for them. Of course, if prices continue dropping like a rock, then that is just one more thing to make a bad situation worse.

Rather than putting in granite countertops, I'd suggest that converting a single family residence into a duplex or adding in an accessory apartment (assuming the zoning permission is possible) would be a much better way to go.

In the UK 'flipping' is a tax loophole that UK MPs have been using to save tens of thousands of dollars when they sold houses at enormous profit in the property boom. This loophole involved 'flipping' the designation of which of their houses was their primary residence for just long enough to benefit from tax emption on the sale profits. If anyone but an MP did this they would be jailed for fraud.

".. a small group of craftmen"

more like a small group of cover-up artists, imo.

Ontario rejects three bids for nuclear expansion

Ontario is indefinitely postponing its much-touted plan to build new nuclear reactors at Darlington in part because the cost is "billions" of dollars too high, Energy Minister George Smitherman announced this morning.

Smitherman said Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. delivered the best bid for the contract for reactors that were to have been built for 2018, but said Ontario is also concerned about "uncertainty" at the troubled nuclear company owned by the federal government.

Huh. Wow. If a state funded agency, working at an existing site with built out infrastructure, using proven commercial technology still can't deliver an acceptable price range, it is hard to see nuclear as a medium term option. This tends to confirm the high cost numbers coming in for potential new US nukes.

It does indeed imply a Tainteresque situation of a law of diminishing returns. Using a financial BAU model it is now clear that any major infrastructure is unaffordable in free market terms. The financial return on investment is no longer possible, with the IEA predicting essentially zero growth in oil 'demand' in the next four years.


If we don't move the goalposts and start investing in infrastructure regardless of the finances, we might as well sit back and wait for Orlov's
little green men.


While I agree with your comment, some small part of this is the routine federal-provincial struggle.

I sadly suspect we won't be able to politically do anything we might actually be able to afford, let alone what we should be doing. Even in a place like Canada.

AECL doesn't have the best track record, and the 'acceptable price range' doesn't seem to be released. The announcement reeks of politics.

I highly doubt AECL could seriously compete with Areva, Westinghouse or Mitsubishi given the rather poor track record. I like CANDUs, but apparently they either are too costly or AECL has management problems that prevent them from actually producing them at a competitive cost.

From the Bloomberg article on the climate bill:

The climate-change bill that passed the U.S. House on June 26 would set up a “cap-and-trade” market for greenhouse gases that cushions the cost for power producers, manufacturers and farmers while limiting aid to oil companies.

The auction was ditched in favor of an allocation scheme, taking provisions for aiding consumers off the table (i.e. tax credits funded by auction proceeds). We'll end up paying the freight one way or another, though I would have liked to see lower income folks get more help.

Setting that aside, I think our experience with the SO2 program illustrates that the impact of the initial allocations gets worked out in the market pretty quickly. My biggest concern is whether or not we have a robust set of options for reducing CO2 in the short term that can be brought in with CO2 explicitly priced. We shall see. The initial 2020 target (17% below 2005 levels) is baby steps.

The foregoing assumes the bill can even get to Obama. Even with the full out horse-trading approach, the bill passed the House by the thinnest of margins. The path to getting Senate approval, reconciliation in conference, and consensus approval in both houses is narrow. Oil Cos. got the shaft in this version, so they will lobby the Senate for better treatment. A compromise between the House horse-trade and the Senate horse-trade is the only real path I see to getting an approved bill.

It is just my opinion, but I think it will take a global warming related 'event' to get a bill through this session.

The big stick that is apparently hanging over the Senate is that the EPA is now empowered to start regulating CO2 on their own, but at the moment the preference is that Congress works something out. So just shooting down this bill completely will end up being somewhat counterproductive.

That's a good point, perhaps decisive. I guess EPA could light a fire under the Senate by putting an aggressive rule out for comment 'in the absence of legislation clarifying' their authority.

China's banks are an accident waiting to happen to every one of us

The regime is so hellbent on meeting its growth target of 8pc that it has given banks an implicit guarantee for what Fitch calls a "massive lending spree".

I am not an economic guru, nor do I play one on TV. But the cheap credit through "explosive" lending model seems like yet another recipe for disaster waiting to happen.

Andy Xie, a Sino-bear and commentator for Caijing, said Western analysts are in for a rude shock if they think that China's surging demand for raw materials implies genuine recovery.

How much is global market influenced by the appearance of economic growth in China?

If I relax lending and urge people to borrow then everyone wants a house. Then the prices of houses go up and builders build houses. Then more people are employed with more money to purchase. This is a virtuous cycle that promotes development, employment, and prosperity.

But this prosperity only lasts if the borrowed capital can be repaid, if the economy can expand rapidly enough to repay BOTH the principal and interest on the loans. If it cannot, then a spate of borrowing today must be followed tomorrow by a protracted period of debt repayment. Debt repayment fuels an onerous cycle that discourages development, reduces employment, and dampens prosperity.

Bad debt means someone gave something away for free. Bad debt means otherwise prudent people paid too much for a house. Bad debt grows inexorably with the power of compound interest until it is flushed out and defaulted.

We have a ruinous mountain of bad debt, at record levels. Backfilling this private debt with mountains of public debt is no solution. If it can't be paid individually, it certainly won't be paid collectively. The longer we defer the final reckoning, the greater toll the power of compound interest will exact.

China's calling into question the dollar:

Dollar Falls Most in Month as China Urges New Reserve Currency

“To prevent the deficiencies in the main reserve currency, there’s a need to create a new currency that’s delinked from the economies of the issuers,” the People’s Bank of China, or PBOC, said.

Fears of inflation and the weak US economy are driving the dollar-question from China? China has massive holdings (400+ billion?) in dollars. Calls for new global currency devalue the dollar. Why jeopardize these holdings unless you believe the US has no chance in hell of a recovery in which case they fear the US will default?

Meanwhile, China ramps up massive spending programs ... taking a page out of the US' book and following the same path that led our economy into the shape it is today.

I must be missing something. Can anyone comment on this and perhaps shed light on what a new global currency would mean to the US?

The massive spending in China isn't identical to the USA situation-a high % of the China spending is on useful infrastructure and renewable energy- a tiny % of the 13 trillion allocated in the USA has been allocated to useful purposes. China is planning for the future, and politically and economically speaking it makes no sense for a declining, heavily indebted nation to control the reserve currency of the global economy. By the way, China's money supply is up 26% YOY and the Yuan is holding strength against the US dollar, so currently they have a money machine operating.

The massive spending in China isn't identical to the USA situation-a high % of the China spending is on useful infrastructure and renewable energy...

Let's hope for China's sake you are right. Then there's this:

Reports: China loan spree goes to stocks, property

About 20 percent of bank lending is going into stock speculation, and another 30 percent or so is going into the property market, state-run newspapers cited Wei Jianing, an economist with a Cabinet-level think tank, as saying.


...by pumping money into spending on building airports and other public works.

China central bank chief says economy on the mend

Beijing has sought to insulate China from the global recession with a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus plan that calls for higher spending on construction of highways and other public works.

of the Chinese infrastructure shopping list I approve of:

1) Building 20,000 km of new railroads
2) Speeding up and expanding capacity of the existing rail lines
3) Electrifying 20,000 km of rail lines (some new, most existing)
4) Building 17 subway lines in Shanghai, making Shanghai the #1 subway city in the world by every metric (line km, pax, pax-km, # of stations)
5) Smaller scale (12 subway lines in Beijing, etc.) in other large cities.

Best Hopes for Wise Investments,


Pretty soon they will be paying way too much to buy Rockefeller Center.
It is starting to look like a giant version of 1980s Japan.

Singlecarrier, a new global currency would be bad news for the dollar. First of all just a different currency than US dollars tied to oil would be a hard blow, but worse would be that our dollars would be more closely tied to the valuation of all other currencies. Right now our govt. is printing money, much of which I suspect they don't even officially acknowledge its existence in a desperate effort to hold back the damn of ballooning debt, like the Germans printed money during WWII.

The Chinese want a world currency to include the dollar, because their fear is we are teetering on the edge of a fiscal abyss. The point where we owe so much we can't pay for what's needed now without going so much farther into debt our currency devalues like some impoverished 3rd world country. The US will resist, but this ongoing push by China is a scary situation. It means we are too beholden to China's demands, and it also means that due to our immense debt ($37,500 per person at 300 million people) is starting to put cracks in other countries, like China, estimation of our financial future.

China/'s surging demand for raw materals might be driven in large part by the desire to spend as many dollars as possible while commodities are cheap.A giant pile of scrap iron is,from this pov,a better investment than a briefcase full of greenback secutities.

There is also the possibility that the Chinese expect thier dollar holdings to deteriorate sharply when all the funny money begins to work it's way thru the world economy.

Personally I think these thoughts are realities rather than speculations.

And even if the economy does not recover ,there is that shark fin depletion curve-if it's real,as most of the oil pros here seem to believe,oil prices are going up regardless of weak demand before too long.Ditto commodity prices.

I'm personally investing in easily stored energy intensive durables goods whenever I have a few bucks to spare.I'll use them eventually if bau triumphs,and they will damned good barter items if tshtf.

I have no doubt that year on year commodity prices will rise faster than the stock market for some time.And durables are mostly made out of or with commodities.

Don't know if anyone else has this problem but I've had a "Drupal" error a couple of times today (not that unusual) but then ended up in something called "temp-tod" on hitting refresh (where I was able to login and post in what looked like a backup of the database from last year). Should I contact "Super G" directly or is this a known problem?

Dunno about that temp-tod thing, but the site has been running slow and been 404 today. They are aware of that problem.

I've emailed you and Super G with the URL of the TOD test site I ended up on.

History Channel: "The Crumbling of America"

There is a link uptop to this program. The next airdate is July 7th:


It's a very scary, and from what I have learned from civil engineers, pretty accurate assessment of our infrastructure problems. IMO, the only realistic choice we have is selective abandonment. In effect, it's already happening.

That sounds inline with the abandonment (and subsequent bulldozing) of Flint Michigan, Detroit Detroit (sic!), and other "Rust Belt" cities. Of which is getting a lot of press (and bizarre comments on online articles like one comparing Obama (err... the Progressive Movement) to Margaret Sanger - it was on Drumbeat last week).

It's going to be very bizarre as to how people handle the crumbling and abandonment of America. Over at Rush Limbaugh's site they are blaming Blue State Governance, but still a lot of them seemed to think it was a good idea.

I see it as inevitable. If they want, they could just leave the houses and let nature take it's course. But I suppose the past is demoralizing.

Leaving the houses to nature is a waste. There are lots of good materials inside a house, even if you only go after it for all the copper.

From the city point of view, what they want to do is disconnect water and sewer service to the affected areas so they no longer need to maintain the underground pipes. They want to discontinue trash pickup, and they want to discontinue street maintenance. The electric and gas companies would disconnect the mains and probably recycle the wires/transformers/whatever.

In theory they could just let the houses go to nature, but the odds are that homeless and drug users would move in, which would mean that the police and fire would still need to come into the area, and that they couldn't really disconnect the water mains. If they tear down all buildings (recycling things as appropriate), then they could abandon the area entirely and let it revert to some sort of prairie.

The middle class doesn't want to pay taxes to support the lower class and then have all the services go to the lower class. Want to fix Detroit? Break it up into 10 towns. Then gentrifiers could take over a few of them and restore the houses before the houses crumble. Give middle class people areas they can take over and totally rule and control. Some of the houses in semi-abandoned areas of Detroit look pretty good. They could be saved with in smaller scale governance.

That makes sense-which is why it likely won't happen.

We are far richer in per capita GDP terms than when most of this infrastructure was built. What has changed are priorities.

I also think we just have a lot more parasitism. Cut out the parasites (bloated educational bureaucracies sitting in administrative layers above schools, highly paid government employees who get great retirement packages after 25-30 years, fat sums for retiree health benefits with doctors in some areas ordering far too many tests and treatments, etc) and we could easily afford to fix the roads and bridges.

Cut out the parasites (bloated educational bureaucracies sitting in administrative layers above schools, highly paid government employees who get great retirement packages after 25-30 years...

This is pocket change compared to mandatory entitlements such as medicare and social security.

Actually, I was thinking of Medicare when I said "fat sums for retiree health benefits". But you are right. Medicare is on course to way exceed Social Security in costs. This is not sustainable.

I am expecting substantially lower living standards both from higher taxes and from Peak Oil.

The 'Doff got 150 years...

Bernard Madoff gets maximum 150 years in prison

Convicted swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison Monday for fraud so extensive that the judge said he needed to send a symbolic message to those who might imitate his fraud and to victims who need relief.

Applause broke out in the crowded Manhattan courtroom after U.S. District Judge Denny Chin issued the maximum sentence to the 71-year-old defendant, who said he sought no forgiveness and knew he must live "with this pain, this torment, for the rest of my life."

Chin rejected a request by Madoff's lawyer for leniency and said he disagreed that victims of the fraud were seeking mob vengeance.

"Here the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff's crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of manipulation of the system is not just a bloodless crime that takes place on paper, but one instead that takes a staggering toll," Chin said...

"The sheer scale of the fraud calls for severe punishment," the prosecutors wrote.

Ahhh, yes, another one bites the dust... I feel sorry for his wife, who was oblivious to what was going on and will need to deal with this mess for the rest of her life.

I wonder if his wife was really oblivious. Madoff claimed he acted alone, but obviously, he cannot have possibly acted alone. The operation was too big. At least some of his family seemed to be in on it.

I was thinking the same thing.

There are all sorts of sob stories in the news about people who lost everything. They say the scheme was what - 65B$, but I wonder how much of that was what the "investors" really put in, and how much of it was phony money that they supposedly "earned" with the inflated returns.

I remember a passage in Jeff Rubin's book where he talks about how something (can't remember what) led to decreased yields for conventional investments, and as a result people started chasing riskier and riskier types of investments. It strikes me as relevant in that the people seemed like they were just being greedy - trying to chase incredible yields, and they got screwed in the process.

It was probably pensions - there are a lot of pensions that went into equities (stocks) which are more risky than the usual fixed income items they usually invest in. Why? Because they needed the extra revenue as these pensions were underfunded. Good call guys. Similar with State Run Investment Funds.

On top of that there appears to be a lot of fraud and overcompensated execs.

Yves Smith has focused a lot on this issue. And it's still scary/sad - a lot of these same beat up pensions are either keeping their money in stocks or even increasing it. So glad I'm not relying on that money.

It was probably pension

Yes, stuff like pensions, and university endowments. I doubt many went in with both feet (i.e. invested more that a few percent in Madoff), but it would be BAU for them to have invested modest fractions of their assets in an attempt to improve the returns. Desperation can lead to risky strategies. One guy I new during the dot-com boom, got into risky investing, he had lost too much to dovirce and figured he had to make over 30% to make retirement. I've lost contact with him, wonder how it came out.

I might feel sorry for his wife if she is genuimely EMBARRASSED as a result of her husband's schemes but I would be willing to bet my last dollar that she will never have to beg for a job sacking groceries.They out to put the MAN of that house to sweeping the streets wearing chains,regardless of his age.
If he would prefer not to have to do any real physical work,somebody could slip him a ceremonial knife.I expect he has already played a leading role in more than a few suicides.

But the thing that really burns me up is that none of the people collecting nice fat salaries and cradle to the grave federal benefits who were HIRED to keep an eye out for such crooks lifted a hand to investigate an obvious scam-AND they were warned at least a couple of times.

The one simple fact that such a large operator was using a hole in the wall accounting firm-the sort of place that should be doing the books for ma and pa businesses with maybe a half a dozen employees and a gross of a few million tops- is enough to convince me that there should be more people on thier way to jail.

If that happens my opinion of the current administration will rise considerably.But I'm not holding my breath.

Other than deliberate blindness ,how could any professional miss such a smoking gun?

Madoff is simply a sacrificial lamb.

Give the masses a voodoo doll to stick pins into.

At the same time, the bigger evil doers go home with golden parachutes, AIG, Bear Sterns, Merrill Lynch, ... (can't for the life of me understand why they let Lehman Brothers take the fall) ..., Darth inVader, GWB, ...

But yeah, right. Bernie is the guy responsible for it all.
Remember good citizens, this week Oceanana is our friend and Chine-Asia is our enemy. Long live BB.

It's good to run across somebody who has read the anti-utopian literature,it's more relevant than ever.

And I agree with you about Madoff being sacrificed to some extent as a means of diverting heat from the institutional thieves you mention.There is truly such a thing as honor among thieves ,but only at the local face to face level.

I never met a so called public servant who both lacked for material goods and also seemed to possess the brains/drive to do better in the private sector.

the death penalty is a direct application of the sacrificial lamb principle. the public demands an eye for an eye and calls it justice, never mind that most crimes are never solved, the public extracts it's revenge from the inept.

What I do not understand is how these top CEO types claim they are worth their pay.

Anytime there is a trial all I hear is "I didn't know". If they are worth their pay, should they not have known?

A prison sentence of 150 years for anyone is obviously ridiculous, let alone for a 71 year old man.

This is about as stupid as having laws preventing the collection of rainwater off your own roof (see up top).

I realise that all countries have some wacky laws, but USA is trying to lead the pack.

I fail to see how the age of the perp should have an impact on the sentence.

Especially in the case of someone who has clearly decided that his only option is to retire to Club Fed.

Truth is, if he was walking the streets he probably wouldn't last a month.

maybe you should look at it as the lesser of 150 yrs or until the grim reaper visits.

The Defense was pleading for a 12-year sentence. That means he would get out in 3 years for 'good behavior'. 150 years means he will die in jail, as he deserves.


In regard to my growing posting series: "She comes down from Yellow Mountain.."

If any are invited to participate in future API Roundtables with Red Cavanaugh, or attending Natgas Assoc. conventions: I would be thankful if you would ask a few questions relating to revenue maximization by Webb/Pomerene type actions to build giant S-blocks as we postPeak move to increasingly sour crude and sour natgas.

I extremely doubt that they will just release hydrogen sulfide gas onsite as that would be lethal to their employees:

..Hydrogen sulfide is obtained by its separation from sour gas, which is natural gas with high content of H2S.

..Small amounts of hydrogen sulfide occur in crude petroleum but natural gas can contain up to 90%.

..Hydrogen Sulphide is also a byproduct of some reactions and caution should be used when production is likely as exposure can be fatal.

..By far the largest industrial route to H2S occurs in petroleum refineries: the hydrodesulfurization process liberates sulfur from petroleum by the action of hydrogen. The resulting H2S is converted to elemental sulfur by partial combustion via the Claus process, which is a major source of elemental sulfur. Other anthropogenic sources of hydrogen sulfide include coke ovens, paper mills (using the sulfate method), and tanneries. H2S arises from virtually anywhere where elemental sulfur comes into contact with organic material, especially at high temperatures.

..Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic and flammable gas. Being heavier than air, it tends to accumulate at the bottom of poorly ventilated spaces. Although very pungent at first, it quickly deadens the sense of smell, so potential victims may be unaware of its presence until it is too late.

..Hydrogen sulfide is considered a broad-spectrum poison, meaning that it can poison several different systems in the body, although the nervous system is most affected. The toxicity of H2S is comparable with that of hydrogen cyanide..
On the other hand, we should be very glad that this S-compound is not found in FFs:

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, SF6 is the most potent greenhouse gas that it has evaluated, with a global warming potential of 22,800 [3] times that of CO2 when compared over a 100 year period.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I extremely doubt that they will just release hydrogen sulfide gas onsite...

Hi Bob. Yes, they do release it onsite. Here in San Juan county there are something like 18K wells and as many as a third of them emit H2S. Some of these wellsites are posted with warning signs but most aren't. It's a huge problem that the industry doesn't want the public up in arms about and hence isn't publicized.

Hello Darwinsdog,

Thxs for the reply. I am not a Haz-Mat expert [so I could be wrong], but it seems like some lawyer could make a killing in a class-action suit.

I think it would be better if S was Webb/Pomerene-priced to be so valuable that they would prefer to put the S into blocks for hoarding so later generations can use it. Recall that it is Darn Hard to beneficiate P without S, and S is critical for jumpstarting most industrial processes, too. Truly, the lifeblood of our civilization:


A woman named Katee McClure has been writing a series of articles in the little biweekly newspaper called "The Talon" in Aztec, NM, exposing the dangers of H2S and abuses of the natgas industry who release it. Of course the MSM won't touch this issue. I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up murdered for her efforts. Google "talon aztec nm" and read her work, if you're interested. You're correct that S is too valuable a resource to waste by wellsite release, which also constitutes a significant public health hazard. No one besides Katee seems to be overly concerned about this abuse, however. One hypothesis is that everyone in the San Juan basin is mentally retarded due to Hg emissions from the powerplants & H2S pollution from gas wells. Perhaps this explains the lack of public outcry over these outrageous emissions.

Three die at Queens sewage plant from toxic fumes
I betcha the S-fumes got 'em:

Three invisible killers in sewers
Three types of invisible dangers can be found in sewer manholes or "confined space" within the system. They are:

* Explosive gases
* Lack of oxygen
* Hydrogen sulfide gas

Have there been many deaths and injuries from H2S in the San Juan basin? I spent many years there and much time out in the 'field' on and off well sites, as did the many people I grew up there with. I don't remember many H2S problems. I do know some oil field workers have been killed or injured in the industry. But I don't remember any 'civilians' getting hurt. I could be wrong as I was young and didn't follow such things carefully.

The air in the San Juan Basin is filthy, primarily due to the two enormous coal-fired powerplants that occur here. Also contributing is dust due to rampant overgrazing of the Navajo Nation, smoke from forest fires as far away as Nevada, powerplant pollution from further away than the two local facilities, and emissions of H2S & other pollutants from the thousands of gas & oil wells in the region. Consequently, ground-level ozone and particulates pollute the air in high concentration. Asthma and other respiratory disease takes their toll on public health. But are there any reported 'civilian' injuries attributable unequivocally to H2S emissions from gas wells? Probably not. This doesn't prevent these emissions from being a serious source of concern from the standpoint of public health.

I found at least one article from the Aztec paper on H2S here:

http://www.aztecnews.com/NewsArchives/2AprilTALON2009all.pdf (pdf warning)

Much ado about nothing. As even McClure stated, she lived in Aztec for 11 years before she even heard of H2S.

We weren't talking about coal-fired plants or overgrazing by the Navajos. I do agree about the coal powered plants and I have no information about the over-grazing.

What started this thread was Bob Shaw's statement:

I extremely doubt that they will just release hydrogen sulfide gas onsite..

From Ms McClure's article you can see that this is not the case. H2S is indeed emitted from gas wells in the region.

"Much ado about nothing," you say. From both the McClure article and from Bob's statement that:

..Hydrogen sulfide is considered a broad-spectrum poison, meaning that it can poison several different systems in the body, although the nervous system is most affected. The toxicity of H2S is comparable with that of hydrogen cyanide..

any reasonable person can recognize that H2S emissions from gas wells is a potentially serious public health hazard. The fact that Ms McClure was unaware of these emissions and the difficulty she has had in obtaining information on H2S from industry and BLM officials, makes clear that TPTB are attempting to keep the issue from public exposure. It seems to me that only someone with a vested interest in BAU for the natgas industry would view H2S emissions as "Much ado about nothing." The issue of H2S emissions needs public exposure and these emissions need to cease, regardless of whatever cost or inconvenience to the industry may ensue. Public welfare demands it.

BTW, your link is to an earlier article by Ms McClure. She has written more on the issue in later editions of The Talon.

No, I do not have any ties to the industry. Another miss on your part. The standards, guidelines, and rules for handling H2S are public and subject to enforcement by the BLM. You must disagree with them? True? Or, as I have seen in this and some of your other posts, do you just not like the 'retards' who live and work in the San Juan area? And, of course, since oil companies are involved, it must be bad. Right?

We all know H2S is a powerful poison. I am duly impressed. But there are rules for handling it and I don't see where they are not being following. Even considering your un-supported conspiracy claims.

I did notice that Ms. McClure in an earlier article was unhappy because she lives way out from Aztec and the ambulances could not get one of her relatives to the hospital quickly enough. So, guess what, she blames the oil companies for not keeping the roads in repair. Even though the oil companies are living up to their road repair agreement with the county, they are at fault. They should pay more because of their huge profits. Please spare me. She has no credibility at all.

...and subject to enforcement by the BLM.

Har !!! Thanks for the entertainment! :D

...she blames the oil companies for not keeping the roads in repair. Even though the oil companies are living up to their road repair agreement with the county, they are at fault.

Heavy trucks tear up the roads and cause horrendous erosion. Upkeep of roads at public expense is just one more subsidy the industry receives. Please substantiate your un-supported assertion that the industry is "living up to their road repair agreement with the county." It appears to me from personal observation that nothing could be further from the truth. Roads around here are in universal poor repair.

McClure doesn't say they aren't meeting their commitments to the county. I would assume she would. But no, she just wants more than the written agreement. Where is your evidence they are not? Because the road around there are bad? Right, another logical assertion on your part.

You have nothing of any importance to say. You just like to hear yourself talk and complain about the conspiracies. Wow, I am impressed.

Let's release some H2S where you live & see how you like it. Wait a minute! Maybe you DO suffer from H2S neurotoxicity. Maybe THAT'S your problem! :)

I am simply trying to convey to you that this 'problem' is not worth throwing our hands up and spending too much time on it. I would rather have the natural gas to burn than coal. We had better get off of FF totally, so I would rather spend our limited resources, including our time, on that. These more minor issues just divert our attention.

The regulators and the oil companies are aware of it and are controlling it. If not you would see the bodies around the well sites. The oil companies certainly don't want it leaking out as it would kill the oil company personnel and they would be losing gas into the atmosphere they could sell.

And no I am not suffering from any H2S symptoms. If there is a real problem with H2S around you, you are dead.

But are there any reported 'civilian' injuries attributable unequivocally to H2S emissions from gas wells? Probably not.

there were the deaths of 9 people in 1975 near denver city, tx. the deaths were attributed to a combination of h2s and co2 casued by a leak of acid gases being injected into the san andres reservoir in the wasson field. this was an early application of co2 eor.


there have apparently been many. although most were industrial deaths.

I do not think the wife was oblivious. In fact, I think there is some evidence that she was complicit.

Betraying the Planet

And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.

To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research.

The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe — a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable — can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course.

Paul Krugman from today's NYT


I happen to think that the Cenozoic is biologically boring compared to the Mesozoic. Perhaps I think this because I am biased against mammals relative to fishes, herps & birds. Amongst verts I like mammals least of all, primates least amongst mammals, and humans least amongst primates. I would like nothing better than for a return to something like the great humid coal swamps of the Triassic or lush esturine environments along the coasts of shallow seas during the Cretaceous. Nothing today compares with the enormous sauropods, ceratopsians, hadrosaurs.. of the Mesozoic, and their therapod predators. Bats are cool but no comparison with the pterosaurs. Cetaceans are cool too but not to be compared with the giant marine crocodylians, mosasaurs, plesiosaurs & ichthyosaurs that prowled the Mesozoic oceans. Anthropogenic global warming a "betrayal" of the planet? I think not. I think that periods of repeated glaciation have contributed to the boringly depauperate state of the Cenozoic biotia. I think that the planet needs its greedy, clever ape to return all that reduced carbon to the atmosphere & surface ocean in oxidized form. Liberate the carbon! I say.

Wonder what the Fungi would say about all that?

Wonder what the Fungi would say about all that?

They'd love it. Warmer wetter world, CO2 fertilization, ramped up primary productivity, more biomass to rot... Mycelial paradise!

I think the trees should inherit the planet. Trees are way better than people.

Well after lurking on TOD more or less since the beginning of this website's existence, your post has finally prompted me to register and comment! This matches my sentiment exactly. I'm a H-U-G-E dinosaur buff and find the mesozoic far more interesting than the current. And like you, I find mammals the least interesting...and humans the least likable of the mammals.

Aside from that, I became peak oil aware some years ago and stumbled on to this site during my revelation. I am also an EE at a large LNG import terminal here in the US so I tend to follow the NG happenings as well.

All I can say is that this forum is a daily staple in my life and has provided with innumeral amounts of entertainment and insight over the years.

Any chance you are in LC?, I'm an EE & worked there 81/82.
lontimber a t gmail

Amongst verts I like mammals least of all, primates least amongst mammals, and humans least amongst primates.

This comes as a shock to no one. The revelling in misanthropy is quite popular here it seems.

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Sunday praised the energy bill passed by the House late last week as an “extraordinary first step,” but he spoke out against a provision that would impose trade penalties on countries that do not accept limits on global warming pollution.
“At a time when the economy worldwide is still deep in recession and we’ve seen a significant drop in global trade,” Mr. Obama said, “I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals out there.”

Am I the only one bothered by this logic? Allowing imports from countries that do not follow the rules destroys the economies of those countries that do follow the rules. Don't you think this was a major factor in all of our manufacturing going to China?

Good point also raised in Jeff Rubin's new book. I am not a politician but perhaps it is just bad timing to propose that Tariff right now. It needs to be there in the end though.

But the other point in Rubin's book is that ultimately transportation costs to haul stuff from China are ultimately going to put a damper on globalization.

Still, it makes sense that it is there. My understanding is that if the tariffs are too high, then the WTO would call it protectionism. But the WTO has already spoken a bit on this matter:

WTO: Climate Change Fight Trumps Free Trade

GENEVA -- The World Trade Organization acknowledged Friday that some limits on free trade may be necessary to stop runaway climate change -- provided the restrictions aren't a cover for protectionism.

"WTO case law has confirmed that WTO rules do not trump environmental requirements," the global commerce body said.

I'm not convinced about transportation costs killing globalization. People keep repeating that as if it were proven. It is certainly not true about bulk commodities and high dollar volume merchandise. Remember that before the silkworms were smuggled out of China it was economical to ship silk by camel caravan from Beijing to Brussels. So even with oil at $200/bbl what specific commodities will be forced to become "localized"?

I'm not convinced about transportation costs killing globalization.

I'm with you on that one. There are lots of ways to severely cut ocean shipping fuel costs. Most entail going slower, and accepting more unpredicability of deliveray time (such as making heavy use of sails). I can see some of the craziest stuff, shipping scape across the ocean for recycling, going away. But, that by no means will make much of a dent in globalization.

You might enjoy reading a fairly detailed analysis about this in the book "Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil" by Anthony Pearl and Richard Gilbert. http://richardgilbert.ca/

Of course transportation costs will not "kill" globalization ,but the short hand of every day communication always leaves out the qualifiers.

I read Rubin's book and the qualifiers are there,namely that a long down trend in wages and employment IN COMBINATION with increased shipping costs will drive de globalization as wage differences between the have and have not countries decrease.

Also higher resource prices will push consumption away from throw away products to higher quality long life repairable products,resulting in less trade between countries.

And when an industry such as steel manufacturing or recycling moves,it takes/brings a lot of smaller players with it.

The cost of moving coal and ore across the oceans and then moving finished steel across oceans more than wipes out the savings on steel workers labor, according to Rubin and I don' see ant reason to dispute him on this point.

There are numerous examples in the food industry of grocery chains paying more for shipped foods than local wholesale prices for the same items graded to the same standards for reasons that have to do with advertising and huge bulk volume contracts.

Washington state apples come to mind-nearly every local supermarke gives them a lot of space,but nobody-not even the farmers who grow them- can tell the difference between Washington apples and Va or NC apples with the same grade stamp on the boxes, once they are out of the boxes.

Those washington apples cost the hiusewife anywhere from a quarter on up more per pound locally. probably a dime of that is cross country shipping costs by the truck load.

As the American comsumer ecomony declines and shipping costs rise, these price differentials will sooner or later trump the advertisers claims.

As the Chinese become more prosperous thier manufacturing wages will rise as ours decline,further reducing the advantages of supplying Walmart from overseas.

All of this is to be interpreted in terms of years and decades,not quarters.

Of course all this depends on a general recovery of the world wide economy,as postulated by Rubin.He thinks things will be tough for a long time but he does not predict a collapse.

Not in so many words.

If you read Rubin carefully,you may find some between the lines messages ,depending on your personal inclinations.

So even with oil at $200/bbl what specific commodities will be forced to become "localized"?

Food. Some imported foods have 50 embedded calories of FF for every calorie of food.

If that issue isn't addressed from the start it never will be.

Am I the only one bothered by this logic?

Krugman had a good post about this today. Climate, trade, Obama where he pretty much made the economic arguments for including border adjustments (which WM does). I think the fairness issue -don't let countries who don't have carbon controls obtain an unfair advantage, is an even more pursuasive argument.

Isn't this unjust irony. The US spends a trillion dollars or maybe more when all is said and done in Iraq, yet China can simply walk up and start bidding for oil contracts. Ouch! The US can't claim some sort of first right or it will be too obvious that the reason for invading Iraq was to control their oil for the benefit of our oil companies, so we just have to let China scoop up as many contracts as their bids win. And, because their country had no expense in Iraq, they are in a much better fiscal position to now take advantage of this opportunity. And when you consider China is now the other kid on the block vying for oil on a mass scale like the US, Ironic is maybe too soft a word.

But the Chinese cannot march their army into Iraq.

On the other hand, any time "we" (the good guys of course) need oil for strategic national defense reasons, we can march our troops in and take over the Iraq oil fields and pipelines; contract or no contract.

But the Chinese cannot march their army into Iraq.

Why not?

On the other hand, any time "we" (the good guys of course) need oil for strategic national defense reasons, we can march our troops in and take over the Iraq oil fields and pipelines; contract or no contract.

Last six years showed that it's not so easy. Without support from locals it's useless waste of resources...


The Chinese can't march into the middle east FOR THE TIME BEING because they don't have the material capacity to do so and because we are already there-a huge advantage- and we are for the time being still able to whip up on them and any body who cares to join them.

This scanario is of course subject to change but it will probably hold true for another decade or so,maybe a lot longer.

As to not succeeding in pacifying the locals,that's a political decision,not a military one.
We hopefully will be able to eventually pull out w/o the locals going at each other hammer and tongs the same day.But I personally will place my bets the other way if anyone wants to bet.

It probably would not be hard to just move in people to operate the oil fields and just kill anybody foolish enough to get close to anything that matters to the oil industry.

Please understand that I do not advocate such a course of action,but merely point out that it is militarily possible.

This is the kind of insanity that raised California energy prices to nearly twice the national average and in doing so contributed mightily to the state's current economic crisis.

If the above article detailing the hazards of carbon legislation is any indication it's clear that this is going to be a dirty messy fight that will no doubt result in very little. TPTB are getting their agents in motion.

Q: Is there any requirement that columnists know more than the readers? Enron energy trading schemes preyed on a loophole and that was the cause of that bubble. BTW it was one of the few profitable ventures that Enron ever pulled off.

Filthy bloodsucking parasites