DrumBeat: July 15, 2009

A Costly and Unnecessary New Electricity Grid

Energy experts generally agree that the electrical grid in the United States needs to be upgraded if the country is to increase its use of renewable-energy sources like wind power and significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But plans to string new high-voltage lines to bring wind power from the midsection of the country to the coasts, where most of the demand is, could be expensive and unnecessary, and a distraction from more urgent needs, some experts say.

A new national grid, which has been likened to the Interstate Highway System constructed in the 1950s, has been proposed by groups such as the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank, and AEP, a large utility; elements of the plans have been included in recent federal legislation. According to this vision, new high-voltage transmission lines costing billions of dollars would be built across the country, augmenting the existing patchwork of transmission lines much as the Interstate Highway System laid down high-speed roadways over an existing network of highways. But such a plan is "only a dream," says Paul Joskow, president of the Sloan Foundation and a professor of economics at MIT. "It's expensive. It's politically contentious. In the end, I think you're better off spending the money on other things."

Robert Rodriguez’s Energy Portfolio

In the case of supply, within the next five years, three countries may reach a peak in oil production: Mexico , China and Russia . Several analysts estimated that Mexican oil production would likely peak around 3.4 million barrels per day and that this event would occur in 2004. Mexico ’s largest oilfield, Cantarell, appears to have peaked and if this is the case, so has Mexican oil production, since six of every ten barrels produced by Mexico comes from this one field. Earlier this year, a 3% decline rate was forecast for Cantarell’s production. This has proved incorrect since it is now estimated that the decline rate is 8%. Obviously, this is likely to be of some concern to Mexico . Should this forecast of peak oil production for these three countries be correct, an additional 35% of non-OPEC oil production will have peaked, and together with the 41% from eleven major countries and others that have experienced a peak in production rates, 76% of non-OPEC oil production might have peaked by 2012. If this occurs, it will give the middle-eastern countries even more clout in the setting of oil prices. This is not a pleasant thought.

From here to there: The evolution of healthcare

Many respected mainstream researchers and even senior members of the financial community agree that the end of cheap, readily available oil is at hand, probably before the end of the next decade. Health care, as it exists now, cannot function without cheap oil. As one submission to an Australian senate committee states: "Rather than looking forward breathlessly to … how stem cells will be curing all sorts of ailments … we should really be asking … How will we be able maintain … childhood immunization in 2030 …"

A bit apocalyptic, but even the rosiest of forecasters do not have a ready rebuttal.

Sheriff's deputies investigate well vandalism

FLORA VISTA, N.M. — The San Juan County Sheriff's Office is investigating several cases of vandalism at wells near Flora Vista owned by Conoco-Phillips.

Undersheriff Mark McCloskey said the vandalism happened last weekend and was reported to authorities on Monday. The vandals smashed electrical panels and gauges, damaged wiring, drained fuel tanks and did other damage.

Lufkin profits take a dive

Oilfield equipment manufacturer Lufkin Industries posted a 79% slump in second-quarter profit as it was hurt by a drop in bookings at its oilfield and power transmission units.

Lufkin warned that uncertain energy markets and economy posed a short to mid-term risk to its operations, but remained optimistic about an improvement in the second half of this year.

US DOE takes step forward on FutureGen coal project

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) took another step forward on the coal-fueled 275-megawatt FutureGen carbon capture and sequestration power project in Illinois, the DOE said in a release late Tuesday.

Specifically, the DOE said it issued a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Record of Decision.

"This step forward demonstrates the (Obama) Administration's commitment to developing clean energy technologies, creating jobs and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in the release.

Monbiot: Energy bill rises to tackle climate change are tiny

Compared with wildly fluctuating wholesale gas and electricity prices, the cost of cutting emissions will scarcely be detectable on future energy bills.

Governments trying to reel in 'ocean sprawl'

(CNN) -- We all know what happens when urban sprawl gets out of control: Commutes back up, smog thickens, and concrete suburbs gobble up green spaces.

But what about "ocean sprawl"?

Until recently, no one gave that idea much thought. But the oceans, like the land, have gotten crowded, and now scientists and policy makers are looking for ways to plan ocean development -- with the aim of preventing our public-owned seas from turning into sprawling, watery versions of Houston, Texas, or Atlanta, Georgia.

Toxins May Have Doomed Ancient Forests

The same noxious compounds released from burning coal and crude oil may have devastated forests and the early dinosaurs that lived in them 200 million years ago.

Bill McKibben - Environment: race against time

At last month’s G8 summit, western leaders including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown pledged to forge a deal that would hold the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius and the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide to 450 parts per million.

Two years ago that would have been an unthinkably progressive stance. Then, the American president wanted to do essentially nothing at all about global warming. And because two years ago it seemed like those numbers might be good enough to tackle the problem.

But two years ago, almost to the week, scientists noticed that the Arctic was losing ice at an almost unbelievable pace, outstripping the climate models by decades. Clearly we’d passed a threshold, and global warming had gone from future threat to present crisis. It wasn’t just Arctic ice; at about the same time methane levels in the atmosphere began to spike, apparently as a result of thawing permafrost. Surveys of high altitude glaciers showed they were uniformly melting, and much faster than expected. Oceanographers reported – incredulously – that we’d managed to make the oceans 30% more acidic.

Pemex aims for 48 percent Cantarell oil recovery rate

MEXICO CITY: Mexico's state oil company Pemex plans to reach a recovery rate of 48 percent at its Cantarell field in the northeast marine basin, CEO Jesús Reyes Heroles said in a speech, according to BNamericas.

Comparable fields in other parts of the world have an average 36 percent recovery rate, Reyes Heroles said, according to a transcript.

Nigeria’s Main Rebel Group Threatens to Call off Ceasefire

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s main rebel group threatened to call off a 60-day cease-fire announced overnight following reports that the military is planning to raid one of its camps in the oil-rich Delta region.

The cease-fire will be suspended “with immediate effect” should reports of an attack prove true, Jomo Gbomo, a spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, said in an e-mailed statement today.

PetroChina First-Half Refining Profit Rises to Record

(Bloomberg) -- PetroChina Co., the world’s largest company by market value, increased its refining profit to a record in the first half after the government’s revised fuel pricing system allowed refiners to pass on rising costs.

PetroChina’s refining subsidiary achieved a “remarkable performance” in the first half even as processing volumes and operating rates were cut by the financial crisis, parent China National Petroleum Corp. said in a statement today. The refining profit was PetroChina’s highest since its Hong Kong listing in 2000, it said, without giving any figures.

Zimbabwe State Oil Company Back in Charge & Fuel Shortages Return

Fuel shortages have become widespread again in Zimbabwe amid official moves to pull back on issunce of import licenses to new operators, leaving the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe with a an effective monopoly again in the sector, sources said.

VOA was unable to reach Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for comment.

The Philippines: Lawmaker calls for boycott of ‘Big 3’ oil firms

Sen. Francis Pangilinan called on Wednesday for a boycott of Shell, Caltex and Petron unless they follow the lead of Unioil and reduce the prices of their oil products.

He said that Unioil’s decision to cut the price of their gasoline and diesel by as much as P4.75 a liter showed that there was still room for the Big 3 of the local oil industry to reduce their prices also.

“If Unioil can reduce its prices, then the Big 3 could afford to reduce theirs also because they have a deeper pocket,” he said.

Medvedev goes to Germany to defend key projects

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Dmitry Medvedev will defend a Russia-backed deal to buy German car maker Opel and seek more support for the Nord Stream gas pipeline project when he visits Munich on Thursday, a top Kremlin aide said.

Sergei Prikhodko, the Kremlin's chief foreign policy aide, told reporters that top-level intergovernment consultations in southern Germany would be dominated by efforts to keep afloat bilateral trade and economic ties hit by the global crisis.

Cameroon, Total Sign Oil Exploration Deal for Southwest Region

Total-E&P Cameroon and the government-run National Hydrocarbons Corp., or SNH, signed a deal Tuesday permitting oil exploration in the West African nation's south-western locality of Rio del Ray, SNH said.

The agreement authorizes Total-E&P to explore for oil and gas within the 83 square kilometer Longahe block "for two years, renewable once, for an estimated cost of $10 million."

Australian oil warning

Professor Laurie Sparke, a leading Australian automotive engineering expert, has warned of an energy crunch that could make the 1970s oil crises seem small-time. He says that in coming years Australia may not be able to buy oil, at any price.

The solution he says is gas, and he's making the case that all Australians should consider converting their petrol driven cars to LPG.

Natural gas could brighten America's energy future

It's plausible to argue that oil, the world's most important commodity, will contribute to another U.S. recession, as it did in 1973-74, 1979-80, and 2008-09. So you have to ask if there is another fossil-based energy source that can weaken, if not break, oil's grip on the U.S. economy? Natural gas has a chance, if the right factors line-up.

Our exploding population is the gravest threat Britain faces today

For most of my professional life, I have derided the population alarmists. Those who spent the past few decades warning that there were far too many people in Britain and the wider world had always struck me as shrill, their arguments flawed at best and downright racist at worst.

Back in the Seventies, it was received wisdom that, by the early 21st century, the West would be groaning under the weight of its billions, with famine stalking the land and supermarket shelves empty.

This didn't happen. Instead we face an obesity epidemic, and, in the rich world, ageing populations which - we are told - have to be shored up by mass immigration.

So why have I changed my mind? Why do I now agree that excessive human population is not one of Britain's biggest problems but, arguably, the greatest single threat to health, wealth and well-being we see in the world today?

Welcome to the Middle East, 2030

2026: Crude oil production in the Middle East falls below 20m barrels a day for the first time this century as climate change policies across the world cut fossil fuel demand and reserves in smaller producers run out. The total labour force, though, in MEC countries has doubled since the turn of the century to 200 million, 60 million of whom are unemployed – 7.5m of those in Saudi Arabia alone. Former US President Barack Obama accepts an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Tehran. A woman driving a car is arrested in Riyadh.

Carter’s Speech Therapy

IN the summer of 1979, as millions of Americans idled in creeping gas lines, President Jimmy Carter was preoccupied with matters abroad: first he was in Vienna completing SALT II with Leonid Brezhnev, next pleading for it before Congress, then away in Japan and Korea, hoping to rest in Hawaii afterward.

Instead, a White House reeling from approval numbers lower than Nixon’s urged Mr. Carter to get back home fast and do something. In other words, make a speech that would silence the mobs and revive his presidency. The networks cleared their schedules for July 5, 1979.

L.A.'s Coal Ban Leads to Another Abandoned Power Plant

The Sierra Club enjoyed a victory last week when a Utah-based utility announced it would walk away from plans to build a coal-fired generating unit in the state.

According to the environmental group’s tally, 100 coal plants have been foiled or abandoned since 2001, the beginning of an era it dubbed the “Coal Rush.”

'Water Hog' Label Haunts Dallas

DALLAS -- A reputation as a wasteful "water hog" is complicating Dallas's efforts to siphon water from nearby communities.

Local officials, who say they need to nearly double their water supply in coming decades to keep up with a fast-growing population, want to build new reservoirs and buy water from nearby Oklahoma. But these efforts are entangled in federal lawsuits as Dallas's neighbors see the city's love for emerald-green lawns and lush golf courses as rampant waste.

"It's not that they need the water to survive," said Michael Banks, an East Texas dentist who lives near a river Dallas wants to dam. "What they want is to destroy our wildlife so they'll have enough water for their grass."

Craig's twist: http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14029874

Dr Venter reckons that even with existing technology, it should be possible to turn out ten times more fuel per hectare than can be garnered from maize. That is not a completely fair comparison, of course, as growing algae is far more capital intensive, and requires the plants to be force-fed with CO2. But it can be done on land that is unsuitable for agriculture, as long as a source of CO2 is available.

In the end, that might be the limiting factor, for not all power stations, oil refineries and so on are suitably located for biomanufacturing of this sort. That said, if the process really can be made to work, CO2 would go from being a polluting waste product to a valuable raw material, and it might even become worthwhile building systems to capture it and pipelines to ship it around. That really would be ironic.

Monbiot: The rich can relax. We just need the poor world to cut emissions. By 125%

Well, at least that clears up the mystery. Over the past year I've been fretting over an intractable contradiction. The government has promised spectacular cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. It is also pushing through new roads and runways, approving coal-burning power stations, bailing out car manufacturers and ditching regulations for low-carbon homes. How can these policies be reconciled?

Arctic glacier to lose Manhattan-sized 'tongue'

The biggest glacier in the Arctic is on the verge of losing a chunk of ice the size of Manhattan. A group of scientists and climate change activists who are closely monitoring the Petermann glacier's ice tongue believe the rapid flow of ice is in part due to warm ocean currents moving up along the coast of Greenland, fuelled by global warming.

Michael T. Klare: Will Iraq Be a Global Gas Pump?

Has it all come to this? The wars and invasions, the death and destruction, the exile and torture, the resistance and collapse? In a world of shrinking energy reserves, is Iraq finally fated to become what it was going to be anyway, even before the chaos and catastrophe set in: a giant gas pump for an energy-starved planet? Will it all end not with a bang but with a gusher? The latest oil news out of that country offers at least a hint of Iraq's fate.

For modern Iraq, oil has always been at the heart of everything. Its very existence as a unified state is largely the product of oil.

...Iraq is, of course, one of the world's great hydrocarbon preserves. According to oil giant BP, it harbors proven oil reserves of 115 billion barrels--more than any country except Saudi Arabia (with 264 billion barrels) and Iran (with 138 billion). Many analysts, however, believe that Iraq has been inadequately explored, and that the utilization of modern search technologies will yield additional reserves in the range of 45 to 100 billion barrels. If all its reserves, known and suspected, were developed to their full potential, Iraq could add as much as 6 to 8 million barrels per day to international output, postponing the inevitable arrival of peak oil and a contraction in global energy supplies.

Oil industry profits expected to fall sharply

HOUSTON - Big Oil is set for another big flop.

For the second straight quarter, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and most of the world's largest oil companies are poised to report quarterly earnings that pale in comparison to a year ago, when results were buoyed by crude prices that topped out near $150 a barrel.

Oil Rises, Snapping Three Days of Decline, on Stock Market Gain

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose, snapping three days of declines, as share markets advanced and an industry report showed a drop in gasoline stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s largest energy consumer.

Oil climbed from an eight-week low after the industry- funded American Petroleum Institute yesterday said gasoline inventories fell 69,000 barrels last week. Asian stocks gained for a second day after U.S. stocks advanced on stronger-than- estimated retail sales, bolstering hopes a recovering economy will increase fuel demand.

U.S. CPI seen up in June by most since July 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Higher costs for oil and gasoline likely pushed U.S. consumer prices up in June by the most for any single month since oil prices peaked last summer, according to a poll of economists.

The Consumer Price Index, the most broadly used gauge of U.S. inflation, will likely help further dissipate fears over the potential for deflation, a broad-based pattern of declining prices, and could spur inflation jitters.

Venezuela tells oil workers: join socialist groups

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela's oil workers will be suspected of conspiring against President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution if they do not join socialist workplace groups in the OPEC nation, the oil minister said on Tuesday.

Ramirez, who told oil workers to support Chavez ahead of his 2006 reelection, has long headed the president's drive to bring politics into Venezuela's main industry.

Nigerian rebels halt offensive, seek peace talks

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria's most prominent militant group on Wednesday declared a 60-day ceasefire in its offensive against Africa's biggest oil industry to provide a chance for peace talks with the government.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), responsible for attacks that have cut around 300,000 barrels per day of Nigeria's oil output since May, said its decision was also a goodwill gesture for the release of rebel leader Henry Okah on Monday.

"Hopefully, the ceasefire period will create an enabling environment for progressive dialogue," MEND said in a statement.

Rosneft, Lukoil Face Profit Squeeze on Higher Export Duties

(Bloomberg) -- Russian oil producers including OAO Rosneft and OAO Lukoil are likely to have their profit margins squeezed as the country prepares to raise export duties for the fourth straight month even as prices fall.

The export duty for crude may be increased to $222 a metric ton, or $30.29 a barrel, on Aug. 1 from $212.60 a ton in July, Alexander Sakovich, deputy head of the Finance Ministry’s Customs Payments Department, said by phone today. The figures aren’t final and have to be approved by the government.

Total Says European Refining Margins Slump on Demand

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA said refining margins in Europe slumped 69 percent in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, amid weak demand for gasoline and diesel.

Profits from turning a barrel of crude oil into fuels plummeted to $12.40 a metric ton, or $1.69 a barrel, from $40.20 a ton last year, Europe’s biggest refiner said on its Web site today. That’s also down from $34.70 a ton in the first quarter, according to the Paris-based company.

Morgan Stanley Wins Bid to Supply LNG to Argentina, Clarin Says

(Bloomberg) -- Morgan Stanley won a bid to supply Argentina with three liquefied natural gas shipments, beating a more costly offer from Repsol YPF SA, newspaper Clarin reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

UK targets stemming gas imports

The British government wants to ensure that gas imports do not rise between 2010 and 2020, it said today.

UK gas imports are widely expected to rise over the next few years as Britain's own gas output declines but Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband told parliament today that imports should not climb beyond 2010, wrote Reuters.

Origin, Conoco May Delay Australia LNG Venture, Merrill Says

(Bloomberg) -- ConocoPhillips and Origin Energy Ltd. may have to delay their A$35 billion ($28 billion) liquefied natural gas project because the venture hasn’t signed up fuel buyers, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch & Co. unit said.

“With global forecast demand continuing to soften, Origin will struggle to get a contract for its January 2014 target,” the Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a note dated yesterday. The project remains “on track” for that date, said Lina Melero, a Sydney-based spokeswoman for Origin.

TIMELINE - Key dates in Ambani brothers' feud

MUMBAI (Reuters) – A dispute between the billionaire Ambani brothers over the supply and pricing of natural gas comes as a test of India's governance standards and could discourage investment in India's energy sector as the country scrambles to shore up its energy security.

Following is a timeline of key dates in the Ambani rift.

Tullow to Make Ghana Top 50 Oil Producer With Jubilee

(Bloomberg) -- Tullow Oil Plc said Ghana will become one of the world’s top 50 oil producers after the government approved a plan to pump crude from the Jubilee field in the second half of 2010.

The deposit, to be developed with a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, or FPSO, will reach a plateau rate of 120,000 barrels of oil a day, the London-based company said today in a statement. Ghana also approved an agreement between the project partners to rearrange their holdings.

Yanbu National Starts Output at Petrochemical Complex

(Bloomberg) -- Yanbu National Petrochemical Co., a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp., started production from its 4 million ton-a-year complex in Yanbu Industrial City as the world’s largest oil supplier expands its chemical output.

The plant has the capacity to produce 1.3 million tons of ethylene and 800,000 tons of polyethylene, the company said today in a statement on the Saudi bourse Web site. Ethylene is a basic chemical used in glues and plastics, such as car dashboards. Propylene and polypropylene will also be produced at the complex.

Entergy pushes to get spinoff of reactors done

NEW ORLEANS – Entergy Corp. has filed a proposal with utility regulators in New York state in a push to get approval of its long-running plan to spin off some of its nuclear power plants into a separate company.

Under a plan announced in late 2007, Entergy would spin off six nuclear reactors involved in the wholesale power business into a separate publicly traded company called Enexus Energy Corp.

U.K. to Invest $330 Million in Green Technology Industries

(Bloomberg) -- Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said the U.K. government will invest more than 200 million pounds ($330 million) in new environmental technology as part of an effort to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Mandelson’s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, published today, says jobs can be created in areas including renewable power generation, such as wind and tidal power, in building new nuclear power stations, and in developing energy-efficient buildings and vehicles. It pledges to intervene to provide finance and infrastructure for these projects.

Tackling climate change will require 'comprehensive changes' in the UK's economy and society: Miliband

Tackling climate change will require "comprehensive changes" in the UK's economy and society, energy secretary Ed Miliband said today as he unveiled plans to slash emissions from power, transport, agriculture and industry.

Laying out how the UK would meet its legally binding targets to cut emissions by 34% by 2020, he said 40% of electricity would come from low carbon sources including renewables, nuclear and clean coal by the end of the next decade.

US, China announce clean energy research center

BEIJING – The United States and China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters, announced plans for a joint clean energy research center Wednesday as the American commerce secretary appealed to Beijing to avoid imposing trade barriers on green technology.

The research center is an effort at compromise between the two governments, which disagree on whether China should join richer nations in adopting binding emissions-reduction targets to stave off environmental devastation from climate change.

Experts hail Sahara-Europe solar plan

FRANKFURT (AFP) – Far-sighted plans to energise Europe by tapping solar power from the sweltering Sahara desert offer bright prospects but must not overshadow renewable sources closer to home, experts say.

Turbine rules may foil wind ventures

A majority of "construction ready" wind projects in Ontario won't go forward if the province passes regulations that keep wind turbines a minimum distance from residences, roads and railway lines, warns Canada's wind energy association.

Association president Robert Hornung, in a lengthy letter to Environment Minister John Gerretsen, said more than three-quarters of 103 advanced-stage wind projects will likely be affected if the new rules are enacted.

Green My Ride

“About the most disgusting thing in the world,” Mike Brown says conversationally, “is to be parked in traffic, and have one of those Dodge Ram trucks with a huge exhaust pipe sticking in your window. Most of them don’t even have enough class to use biodiesel.”

Given Brown’s distaste for the stink of fuel, he’s in the right business. He and his wife Shari Prange have been selling kits to convert gas cars to electric vehicles for 30 years at their Bonny Doon shop, Electro Automotive. On a recent sunny afternoon, he took me out for a spin in two different electric cars, a black Volkswagen and a zippy little orange Porsche. Along the way he talked about charge and volts and mileage, and I focused on keeping my lunch where it belonged. Electric cars, contrary to popular belief, go plenty fast. We got up to 50 mph on the dizzying hairpin turns and hills of Bonny Doon, and he says many electric vehicles will reach 75 mph on a flat road.

5 Reasons to Fear Inflation

The ongoing recession / depression has been a boon to those who have long scoffed at the whole notion of Peak Oil - that cheap energy, fossil fuel that comes gushing up from out of the ground with little or no effort and has served as the very foundation of the world economy over the last 80 years or so, will soon be a thing of the past.

Of course, the fact that economic growth is now declining for the first time since the Great Depression puts a whole new spin on things, albeit, just a temporary one.

That is, unless what we've seen over the last nine months is what we'll be seeing for years and years and years.

Since changes in global energy consumption are inextricably tied to changes in economic growth, the only way that peak oil is not going to be a problem in the years ahead is if the global economy grows at a much slower pace. Slow growth means less jobs which mean lots of people have lots of idle time on their hands and governments don't generally like that.

We Can Produce Less and Consume More

A major gulf between environmental and social justice activists is "stuff." Environmentalists (or at least serious ones) say "less." Social justice organizers have the habit of saying "more."

This divisive question cuts to the edge of the sort of society we want to build. Deep greens envision a world with much less stuff. A great outline is Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff. An excess of human-produced objects destroys species habitat, poisons communities with toxins, depletes oil and intensifies climate change.

Social justice activists, however, have devoted centuries to denouncing capitalism as placing fetters on the expansion of production. Whether the struggle is against racism, for labor rights, or resistance to imperialism, the cry is for the oppressed to have a much bigger piece of the pie.

A Son of Portland, Ore., Tries to Puncture the Myth of 'Smart Growth'

Randal O'Toole thinks riding the train damages the climate more than driving an SUV. And he thinks his numbers prove it.

The World Food Crisis in Historical Perspective

The "agflation" that brought this crisis to the world's attention at the turn of 2008 saw the doubling of maize prices, wheat prices rising by 50 percent, and rice increasing by as much as 70 percent, bringing the world to a "post-food-surplus era." In an article in the Economist titled "The End of Cheap Food," the editors noted that, by the end of 2007, the magazine's food-price index reached its highest point since originating in 1845. Food prices had risen 75 percent since 2005, and world grain reserves were at their lowest, at fifty-four days. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), agflation from rising agrofuels production "would lead to decreases in food availability and calorie consumption in all regions of the world, with Sub-Saharan Africa suffering the most."

The current conjuncture is associated with the intensification of energy and food demand in an age of peak oil. A rising class of one billion new consumers is emerging in twenty "middle-income" countries "with an aggregate spending capacity, in purchasing power parity terms, to match that of the U.S." This group includes new members of the OECD - South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, and Poland, in addition to China and India (with 40 percent of this total) - and the symbols of their affluence are car ownership and meat consumption. These two commodities combine - through rising demand for agrofuels and feed crops - to exacerbate food price inflation, as their mutual competition for land has the perverse effect of rendering each crop more lucrative, at the same time as they displace land used for food crops.

Transition Communities discussed at Natural Sciences

"Cuba hit peak oil overnight," said Bill Mettler, one-half of the brotherly duet Quiet Riot. The occasion was a presentation on Transition Communities at the Academy of Natural Sciences, July 9.

Transition communities are communities that take active steps to prepare for peak oil and climate change. Although the issue of climate change will be familiar to many people thanks to its prominence in the news, the concept of peak oil may require some explanation.

Peak oil – for a country – is the point in time when the availability of petroleum begins to decline. Cuba had received a large portion of its oil from the Soviet Union. When that source ended, the Cuban government had to close factories, reduce agricultural fertilization, and cut back on gasoline for private transportation. The government proceeded to buy thousands of bicycles from China and invent new forms of public transit. And at the neighborhood level, the government was forced to tolerate private gardening on state property.

Sen. Barrasso Makes a Name for Himself Fighting EPA, Climate Bill

Earlier this year Barrasso used his ability to delay nominations to temporarily block Obama's nominee to lead EPA's air office over concerns about the administration's climate policies. He has criticized the administration for using the threat of the endangerment finding as a cudgel used to spur support for more flexible legislative efforts.

"There is an effort to force Congress to pass something under threat of action by the Environmental Protection Agency," Barrasso said in an interview. "And I think that should be a decision for Congress to make, not for the Environmental Protection Agency. If you take a look at who, when they wrote that initial bill, there was no conception that something like that would be used to regulate carbon."

Britain may go back on its promise not to buy ‘permits to pollute’ from poor nations

Britain’s plan to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by more than a third by 2022 could be achieved by buying “permits to pollute” from poor countries rather than genuine reductions in domestic emissions, according to documents seen by The Times.

A draft copy of the Government’s energy strategy, due to be published today, reveals that ministers have considered scrapping a commitment made three months ago intended to prevent the UK from buying so-called “carbon offsets” from developing nations. It states that while genuine cuts would be preferable, carbon offsets — where one country is paid to make reductions in emissions on another’s behalf — should be reserved as an “insurance option”.

Chilly reminder of potential disaster

A former mining sector executive who has been warning about the advent of peak oil for nearly a decade, Mr Dunlop said he became aware of the potential effects of greenhouse gases nearly 50 years ago.

“During the 60s, I was working in London for Shell doing scenario planning around the impact of atmospheric carbon dioxide on the environment,’’ Mr Dunlop said.

“Over the years, the climate change evidence has been building up and we really need to start looking at how we can stop it. We need to rethink how we do things.’’

Carbon Tariffs A Veil For Protectionism: China

BEIJING (AFP)--China said Wednesday it was against proposals to impose "carbon tariffs" on goods manufactured in the developing world, saying such moves were a pretext for trade protectionism.

Any such laws, which have been mooted in the U.S. and France, would breach World Trade Organisation rules, said Yao Jian, a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman.

"Behind such a policy, there is an attempt to impose trade protectionism under the name of environmental and resource protection," Yao told reporters.

Gore urges Australia to lead global warming fight

SYDNEY (AFP) – Climate campaigner Al Gore has challenged Australia to lead the fight against global warming, saying it was well placed to find alternative energy sources.

The former US vice president met Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Sydney to discuss progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reaching renewable energy targets ahead of a UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

Swapping technologies fails to address the root causes of climate change

Technology is part of the solution to climate change. But only part. Techno-fixes like some of those in the Guardian's Manchester Report simply cannot deliver the carbon cuts science demands of us without being accompanied by drastic reductions in our consumption. That means radical economic and social transformation. Merely swapping technologies fails to address the root causes of climate change.

We need to choose the solutions that are the cheapest, the swiftest, the most effective and least likely to incur dire side effects. On all counts, there's a simple answer – stop burning the stuff in the first place. Consume less.

Sinclair Eyes Chapter 11

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said in a regulatory filing that it may file for bankruptcy protection, reports the Associated Press. A miserable advertising market and crippling debt burden may force the Baltimore-based broadcaster into Chapter 11.
Sinclair owns 58 stations, including 20 Fox outlets.

Wasn't Sinclair the network that was going to run the Swift Boat Vets for Truth and backed down when an internet-based organization effort started calling advertisers and letting 'em know what they thought?

From Wikipedia...

Kerry film controversy

In October 2004, it was reported that Sinclair would order all 62 of its affiliate stations to preempt prime time programming to air Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, a documentary critical of U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activism, just two weeks before the November 2 election. [3] The film was produced by Carlton Sherwood, a former associate of Tom Ridge, and accuses John Kerry of prolonging the Vietnam War because of his anti-war activism. The organization Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an anti-Kerry organization whose name become well known in the 2004 election year, was cross-promoting the film as part of a $1.4 million advertising campaign. [4]

In response, the Democratic National Committee filed a legal motion with the Federal Election Commission stating that it is inappropriate for the media organization to air "partisan propaganda" in the last 10 days of an election campaign. [5]

Sinclair fired its Washington bureau chief Jon Lieberman, stating he revealed company business when he publicly discussed the documentary in an interview published October 18, 2004, in the Baltimore Sun.

Sinclair later aired an edited version of the documentary.

SBGI stock took a dive during and leading up to this time period as stockholders who threatened lawsuits and portions of the general public became enraged. The stock did not fully recover until late 2006.

All must be right in the world, at least according to Goldman Sachs...

The return of the $773,000 paycheck
Goldman Sachs, Wall Street's biggest name, is socking away a record bonus pool even as the economy struggles.

The Goldman Sachs gravy train is back on track.

The New York-based securities firm posted a $3.4 billion second-quarter profit Tuesday. The firm is clearly bouncing back from the fall market meltdown that prompted government officials to prop up Goldman and its rivals with taxpayer dollars.

The first-half rebound should bode well for Goldman's (GS, Fortune 500) 29,400 workers when bonus season rolls around.

The average Goldman worker could end up taking home between 12 and 15 times the typical American family's income...

Even if Goldman doesn't set a record this year, the outsize pay numbers could make it the target of more populist anger at a time when the economy is sputtering. Goldman has come under scrutiny over the past year for its connections -- numerous former execs serve in government -- and for the windfall it received in the bailout of AIG.

Thank God we bailed them out. I mean, imagine if they had to pay less than half a mill for bonuses this year... That would have been a damned tragedy.

It is things like this that make me think that more stimulus is unlikely.

You seem to be assuming that the leadership cares about what the citizens think.

It's things like this that make me think that more stimulus is virtually certain.

ANy more of this and the country will go bankrupt. . .

Oh, wait! I just remembered - GS has things set up so that they can MAKE MONEY if the country goes bankrupt.

Talk about sitting pretty. . .

Well, I guess the promise of a fat bonus at Bank of America has come and gone.

A man in the United States popped out to his local petrol station to buy a pack of cigarettes - only to find his card charged $23,148,855,308,184,500.

That is $23 quadrillion (£14 quadrillion) - many times the US national debt.

"I thought somebody had bought Europe with my credit card," said Josh Muszynski, from New Hampshire.

If anyone needed yet another reason to give up smoking....

See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8152278.stm

nice number :-) - I am puzzled that such a number 'can fit in a card' - in context of being permitted , that is.. How many millions must he to pay as interests per second, at say 3% interest ?

And just as a reference - the number of stars in the entire universe are estimated at 70 sextillion, or seven followed by 22 zeroes. ..."That is more than the total number of grains of sand in all the Earth's beaches and deserts ..."

Seems there has been a lot of these transactions

Visa dings teen for $23-quadrillion restaurant charge

Admits 17-digit 'glitch'

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco • Get more from this author

Posted in Security, 15th July 2009 17:54 GMT

Visa says a technical glitch is responsible for a rash of notices warning customers their accounts are overdrawn to the tune of $23 quadrillion.

An anonymous Reg reader tipped us to one emailed statement, which claimed the account of the tipster's son was on hold because of a charge made to an Applebee's restaurant for $23,148,855,308,184,500.00. The tipster continued:

"After checking with him to make sure he really hadn't purchased 23 quadrillion dollars worth of food from Applebees - he's really not that big an eater - I called to dispute the transaction. A tired-sounding customer service rep interrupted me: 'Are you calling about the $23 trillion dollar charge?' I corrected her "Actually, it's 23 quadrillion. I looked it up."

All the errors were apparently on pre-paid Visa accounts. Would have been interesting to see what would have happened had the transaction credited 23 quadrillion to the accounts instead of debiting :)

These two stories smell like an urban internet myth. The first is that the amount in both stories is exactly the same. The second is the anonymity of the people involved in the second case and the lack of a town named in the first case. Finally there are simply too many digits to fit in the space available.

Good Sherlock-tendencies here Thomas - I'm inclined to accept your version.

A google search of "Visa 23 quadrillion" turns up a number of specific stories from fairly mainstream news sources. There is a video interview with someone in NH who had this problem:


It's that $20 negative balance fee that I would fight...

The amount was the same, and a bunch of people were affected. "Fewer than 13,000," according to Visa. It was due to a programming error.

If, say, 12,999 people got the same error on their accounts, well, you'd expect a lot of similar stories about it.

How many millions must he to pay as interests per second, at say 3% interest ?

More stars than grains of sand on the Earth. Still, it's not the interest; it's the overdraft fees.

All of this above and below - even though I've not read below yet (and don't need to) - is why it will ultimately get violent. Until it gets violent, until the joe-in-the-street puts the politician's head on a pike, until the joe-in-the-street puts the developer's head on a pike, until the joe-in-the-street puts The Man's head on a pike, it won't change. Of course, by the time joe-in-the-street does that here in the US, it will be far too late. Not too late to put heads on pikes; humans can always figure out a way to do that. But far, far, far too late to matter.

The US and developed nations play no role here; they cannot. The citizen consumers within must consume and to consume they must deny any responsibility. It's up to groups like MEND to shut this sucker down.

The best the US can contribute is a global nuclear holocaust. That might indeed be necessary if a few hundred thousand humans are to survive to the end of the century, as Lovelock suggests.

What "we" need is a grand spanking thermonuclear war. Sweet.

cfm at ground zero

Joe in the street is going to be Joe in a FEMA camp before he realizes what you already know.
The financial system could be crashed in one day. Just go to the bank and withdraw your money and with it your consent. Can't do that though might miss the next episode of Desperate Idol or American Housewives or the current unreality TV program.
Nothing will happen until the pain is local.

I'd be interested in what we think about this: http://www.z55555.com/

The claim is that this invention alters the air intake in a car's engine such that it can improve performance by up to 40%. The improvement is reflected in increased power, more efficient fuel usage/improved mileage, and lower emissions. The inventor is an Israeli teenager. I don't know anything about this other than what I just read this morning.

You could hook up a tank to feed pure O2 directly into the intake, and get one hell of a boost in performance, I'm sure.

Cost, though. . .?

you're right -one hell of a boost for maybe ten seconds and then things start melting and fusing together as the computer enriches the mix trying to restore the proper combustion balance.Car motors won't stand it.The motors on top fuel dragsters are basically operated in this way and they get an overhaul every three or four trips down the quarter mile.Every thirty seconds running time ,max.

You heard it from a former gearhead.

That's the idea behind nitrous oxide injection. It has more oxygen than air, N2O2, and it's already very stressful on components. Forget about 100% O2.

The Z5 looks like pure snake oil to me, based on just the claims and its basic construction: metal mesh in air intake that enriches oxygen.

You insert a metallic alloy thingy of unspecified metals into your intake air stream and it improves air intake quality via an unspecified effect, the differences between low quality and high quality intake air are left unclear. Looks like the fuel magnets thing re-incarnated.

It looks like a copper "tornado".

Popular mechanics debunks the bunk.

But, it seems possible to me that by bypassing the airfilter, that the backpressure needed to inject air may be decreased, so the unwary customer may see some improvement in performance (at least until dirty air fouls things up).

you can get a small acceleration performance boost,maybe three percent, by installing a high performance air cleaner and induction system,but since you generally drive at part throttle fuel savings are generally insignificant.

I have dynomometer results of my 2.7 liter Porsche engine with and without an air cleaner. Difference? ZERO.

As someone said at Car and Driver many years ago:"What do you think automotive engineers are doing between coffee breaks?"

The monsoon arrived, just in time:

Heavy rain eases Mumbai's water woes

A lack of consistent rain since the start of the monsoon season in June left levels dangerously low at the lakes that supply the city with 3.3 billion litres (872 billion US gallons) a day and prompted a 30 percent cut in supplies.

But downpours since Monday night have made up for the shortfall in the city of 18 million. Some 82.9 millimetres (3.3 inches) fell in Colaba, south Mumbai, and 274.1 mm in the western Santa Cruz district in the 24 hours to 8:30 am (0300 GMT) Wednesday.

1 litre = 0.264172052 US gallons. 3.3 billion litres equals 872 million gallons not billion. A million is 1/1000 of a billion.

Part-Time Workers Mask Unemployment Woes

A jobless rate of 20 percent is clearly a bit shocking. It sounds like something out of the Great Depression, and as bad as this recession is, it’s no Great Depression.


The stimulus isn’t helping as much as it could, because too much of the money is going to states that need it the least. In most of the Great Plains and Mountain West, the broad jobless rate was still below 12 percent this spring. In North Dakota, it was 7.8 percent. Yet these are some of the places receiving a disproportionate share of stimulus, as recent articles by The Associated Press and The Times have shown. It’s a classic case of politics trumping economics.

And a completely natural result of our political system.

Someone blamed our shoddy Interstate system on trying to spread the money around as much as possible. But that's the inevitable result of our "balance of powers" political system. Small states have disproportionate power, because they have two senators, just like California or New York. (Which is also why Gore lost, even though he won the popular vote.) The money has to be spread around, or nobody gets anything.

The same thing happened with the flood of security money after 9/11. New York, the state that was attacked and was presumably at high risk, got less money per capita than Wyoming...a pretty unlikely target for an al-Qaeda attack.

Had to protect the Cheney ranch near Jackson Hole.

Cheney's "Ranch" is a home on the Teton Pines golf course. It is on the 18th hole so I immagine the expense had more to do with green fees for the secret service than physically protecting Cheney's "Ranch".


BTW: Cheney was a senator from Wyoming at one time. 100 bucks per person in Wyoming isn't a whole lot of money compared to a 50 bucks per person for California or NY yet the headlines "Cheney's Wyoming gets twice as much Security Money as NY."

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

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.1 million barrels per day during the week ending July 10, 139 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 87.9 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging about 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production was relatively unchanged last week, averaging 4.0 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.5 million barrels per day last week, up 325 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 9.4 million barrels per day, 675 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 931 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 159 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 344.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.5 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline blending components increased during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 1.5 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Oil Rises After Report Shows Bigger-Than-Forecast Supply Drop

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose after a government report showed a bigger-than-forecast decline in U.S. crude inventories as refineries increased operating rates.

Supplies fell 2.81 million barrels to 344.5 million last week, the Energy Department said today. Stockpiles were forecast to drop 2.1 million barrels, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Refineries operated at 87.9 percent of capacity, the most since August. Oil also climbed as a global equity rally raised optimism that the economy will strengthen.

Some City Folk Are Mad as Wet Hens When Chickens Come Home to Roost

The chicken fight began last summer, when a neighbor snitched on Barbara Palermo to city authorities for keeping four pet hens in a backyard coop. Chickens and other livestock aren't allowed in Salem backyards where land isn't zoned for agricultural use. A city compliance officer knocked on Ms. Palermo's door to tell her she had to get rid of her pet birds.
Ms. Palermo is part of a debate that's playing out in several cities across the country. The 51-year-old veterinarian's assistant says she's stunned by the opposition. It's hypocritical that Salem residents can keep potbellied pigs weighing under 100 pounds, she says. "They generate a lot of poo and don't give you eggs...so it's ridiculous when you ask for a hen and people panic."

No need to wait for peak oil, climate change, economic depression, etc., to play out and see which communities will be winners and which will be losers. You can put places like Salem, Ore. in the "losers" column right now.

Any place that can't even see fit to allow its residents to keep a few chickens is already so far behind where they need to be that it is highly unlikely that they'll ever turn around in time.

Here is a list of municipalities and their chicken ordinances;


Huntington Beach, CA allows chickens under certain conditions.

We're not ready to join the loser's column yet. Yes there are some hysterical types who are pandering to fear on urban hens, but there seems to be the necessary five votes on the City Council for getting some sanity to prevail. It won't be the ideal ordinance immediately, but it will break the dam and get us going in the right direction.

It's definitely going to be hard for these people though --- the commercial real estate broker quoted opposing chickens is an example of the power set in town that has brought us a heap of wildly unaffordable condos in the urban core, with prices at $300/foot, way way way out of line for a pretty socioeconomically challenged city with its best jobs being government salaries -- hell, the Gov makes about $130k/yr and the state AG about $72k. The level of denial and fantasy needed to build those condos reflects a "movers and shakers" set that is totally unaware of what's going on in reality.

Last summer, with oil at $60 and rising fast, I bought 20 copies of the Post-Carbon Cities book and distributed them to the City Council, some key city officials, the County Commissioners, the newspaper editorial board and a few others with a personal letter asking them to read it or at least the executive summary and I offered to help in any way possible to get some planning going around energy uncertainty. Not a single one has even to this date acknowledged receipt of the books, thanked me, or even hinted that they had cracked them.

So we've got our work cut out for us. We're starting a Transition Salem group (Salem Transition Initiative for Relocalization) and will get started without them and hope to bring them along as we go.

Iraq holding a whole lotta oil -> I bring you Mr. 5%.


(A bit of history of oil that doesn't get mentioned that often.)

The Foundation / The Founder

World War I brought the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. Once again Calouste Gulbenkian led the negotiations between T.P.C. and the new Iraqi government, securing a concession in 1925.

At this stage the USA had become increasingly interested in the region and was determined not to be left out. Gulbenkian again played a decisive role in the negotiations which led to the "Red Line Agreement" of 1928, signed by Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Royal Dutch Shell Group, Compagnie Française des Pétroles and the Near East Development Corporation (a consortium of the leading American oil companies). The so called “red line” was Gulbenkian’s hand drawn addition to the map during the talks: setting out the borders of the former Ottoman Empire to divide the petroleum interests of the major powers. The Red Line Agreement required the signatories to seek concessions only as part of this group within the red line. Calouste Gulbenkian had ensured that the great powers would act together in an ordered manner, and had secured his 5% shareholding again. It was perhaps his greatest achievement. The Turkish Petroleum Company was renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company.

His persistence, business talent, and flexibility to accommodate new interests and situations earned him grudging respect and the nickname of Mr. Five Percent.

As a footnote, Calouste Gulbenkian also negotiated that 5% of the employees in the oil fields of the Iraq Petroleum Company should be Armenian. This earned him the enmity of the Soviet government.

His foundation still has $3 billion in assets and in 2007 earned $64 million from its oil interests.

I wasn't able to see Drumbeat this morning. It was missing when I looked at the list of posts for The Oil Drum, until just a little while ago (about 11:30 EDT). Did anyone else have the same problem? Clearly some people have been able to see Drumbeat, because there are comments posted. What could cause a problem like this?

I think it was posted to "section" rather than to "front page." So anyone looking at the DrumBeat section, or at yesterday's DrumBeat, could see it. But it wasn't on the front page.

Not sure if I somehow clicked the wrong thing, or if it was a server blip. It's happened before; the server burps while I'm editing a story, and it appears in the wrong section. Usually I notice because there are no comments, but this time, there were some comments, so I didn't notice for quite awhile.

Yes Gail, I had the same experience.

I had this link show up on iGoogle: DrumBeat: July 15, 2009 (open-thread edition), which leads nowhere.

Re: Klare's article on Iraq, Peter Wells puts the global peak in production at 2020 if Iraq can get to 7mb/d:

Wells-Iraq Production

and SA doesn't decline at all:

Wells-OPEC Forecast

And here are the largest oil fields in the world (according to Aleklett's work):


It's left as an exercise to the reader to determine if the Iraq invasion was for weapons of mass destruction/freedom/(insert cover story here) or oil.


And there is that pesky net export thing. Yesterday, I listed 13 examples of net exporters showing net export decline rates in excess of their production decline rates (or rate of increase in production in the case of China). We can also add Yemen to the list. So far, I have not seen any exceptions, at least for exporters producing a few hundred thousand barrels per day or more.

In regard to the OPEC graph, just to address two examples, Indonesia has been a net importer since 2004 (and I believe dropped out of OPEC) and Venezuela's production & net exports have been falling since 1997, with net exports down about 40% from their 1997 rate. Here are the rates of decline for production and net exports:

Venezuela (1997-2008)
-2.6%/year (prod.) & -4.5%/year (net exports)

As I have noted a few thousand times, the net export decline rates tend to accelerate with time. Here are Indonesia's production, consumption and net export exponential rates of change by year (EIA), relative to 1996, i.e., 1997 versus 1996, 1998 versus 1996, etc.

Exponential Rates of Change for Indonesia:

(1) 1997:
-1.9%/year (Prod.)
+9.3%/year (Con.)
-16.0%/year (Net Exports)

(2) 1998:

(3) 1999:

(4) 2000:

(5) 2001:

(6) 2002:

(7) 2003:

Clothesline bill hung out to dry

I don't know what is most discouraging about articles like this: that counties/hoas have the authority to prevent you from hanging clothes, that an issue like this even makes it to the state legislature, or that, when presented with the issue, the state laughts it off.

I don’t think the state should have an umbrella ordinance for clotheslines…we just can’t legislate everything,” said Sen. Malcolm Graham

...said the Senator just before the lights went out.

Meanwhile NC unemployment rates are forecast to continue to rise:


America, the LAND OF THE FREE

Where you can take a gun almost anywhere

but can't hang your clothes out to dry


Those of us who do not fear the return of inflation would do very well to read the Seeking Alpha link.

I would personally like to invest in a little gold if I had more money ,but since we are firmly rooted and moving for nobody,period,our very modest investments are materials and infra structure that will last indefinitely for the most part.

Things that I believe will be an incredibly good investment made now WHILE ENERGY IS STILL CHEAP include:

Raised bed gardens-salvaged materials such as masonry block is still easy to obtain and haul home.You can hire a by the hour contractor with a small loader or backhoe to strip off topsoil in areas not suitable or close enough for gardening and fill your beds. You might also consider leveling some land for better gardening results.

You will be damn glad you have the raised beds when you can no longer easily work at ground level.Potential square foot yields are MUCH higher and imo you also get more food per hour of work,if comparing hand work in both cases.

Plastic pipe is cheap.If you live have a good well,a few hours of running a sprinkler can be the difference between a good yield and no yield at all.Get the pipe buried and a frostproof (if needed) hydrant .Use 100 pound pressure pipe and a minimum 3/4 inch size for reliability and efficiency.Bury below frost line and below any likely depth of disturbance from vehicle traffic,etc.

I suggest a hydrant at seventy five foot intervals if you have a large plot,which allows a fifty foot hose to reach every thing easily.

You will probably never have an opportunity to buy double or triple paned windows or more insulation cheaper than you can right now,unless the govt puts you on its ever expanding welfare rolls.If you are not able to do your own handy man /minor contracting work, find a capable and intelligent young freelancer to do it and cultivate a working relationship with him or her.

If you have a large woodlot get a road open into it so you can get in and out easily.You DO NOT get stronger as you get older.

Do not wait until autumn to cut firewood if you can avoid it.Well seasoned wood burns more efficiently and saves not only wood but labor too.

Take up new hobbies that pay a profit-walking along a stream for a few hours is just as good for you as playing golf and you might catch your dinner.It's generally cheaper too if you live near public waters.

Rabbit hunting gets many an old hillbilly out in the fields again after retirement.

of course if you live on a small lot in town most of these don't apply but you can think of more that do.

I think that article is wrong. I am still expecting deflation, for quite some time. IOW...I think triple-paned windows and insulation ARE going to get cheaper.

For people who have money to buy them, of course.

I agree with you on deflation and the gross over supply that must be sitting in warehouses of many things but especially building materials.
No one is going to borrow money to piss it away like the last 20 years and the government spending it into the economy will be a hard push to get it to "trickle" down. The other thing is that I believe that people in general are starting to figure out that the fiat system is a fraud and that electrons are not wealth.
We are going to have a long debt implosion and many bullshit occupations are going the way of the dodo bird.
Americans in particular are going to have to go back to working at real things for a living not shuffling papers and gambling and cheating each other.
Once we can't import all our junk anymore we will have no choice but to make it and do with much less at that.

Building is very slow but it hasn't stopped .A good many production lines HAVE STOPPED,however,and backlogs are being cleared out.Now is the time to look for bargains as remaining overstocks are cleared,or as building materials retailers go under and sell out cheap.Once inventories are back in line with consumption ,the bargains will be a lot harder to find.

I have said before here that cash may be king for a while yet.

But prices can be pretty sticky once supplies on hand are realigned with sales.

Just why every body seems so set on believing deflation is king for he long run escapes me.Because the economists say so?The same ones who failed to predict the crash?

Where people are concerned, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

People who have forgotten history are condemned to repeat it.

There is plenty of history to support my position but not much to support the deflation scenario-especially when the govt planning on inflating is not subject to coercion.

Just why every body seems so set on believing deflation is king for he long run escapes me.Because the economists say so?The same ones who failed to predict the crash?

No. The economists who failed to predict the crash are mostly warning about inflation. I think most of the "experts" are.

People who have forgotten history are condemned to repeat it.

Exactly. And the history I'm reminded of is the Great Depression. And Japan.

There is plenty of history to support my position but not much to support the deflation scenario-especially when the govt planning on inflating is not subject to coercion.

I've come to the conclusion that that is the difference. Here's what I said when we staff were discussing this article:

"I have absolutely no doubt that the government prefers inflation to deflation, and will do everything in their power to make it happen. I just don't think they have the power to make it so.

And I don't think anyone really understands economics as well as they think they do. Neither Keynes nor Friedman can fix this mess. Everyone used to think that a Great Depression could never happen again, because now we know better. To me, it looks like we never really understood it to begin with. It's not like anyone had the chance to test their theory by applying it. Now Bernanke, Great Depression scholar, is getting that chance, and it's not going well."

I think we agree the government will try to inflate away their debt. You think they'll succeed. I think they'll fail.

I'm with ofm on this one.
Who is to say which industries will be afloat a year from now?

The more I think about this, the more I am thinking that
companies that produce exotic products will either be the first or the last to go under but if it is a necessity, it is assuredly prudent to obtain those items NOW while they are still available.
My 2¢.

You are correct.
We need to parse this discussion.
Inflation in the things that Everybody needs.
Deflation in the superfluous junk that No body needs.
So food,energy and other necessities will hold value and increase but all the bullshit, which is most of the retail economy will sit on shelves.
There are just way too many moving parts in this topic to make blanket statements.
There is a story about a Russian farmer that was approached by a starving former nobel with a Fabrege Egg as a item to trade for food.
He looked it over and said he really wasn't interested and finally agreed to give a meager amount of food for it.
The Nobel followed him to a barn where, when the farmer opened it, he saw piles and piles of "riches" that the farmer had obtained in exchange for food.
The fricken Hope Diamond is worthless to a starving man.

I don't think that matters. I think we're headed for Kunstler's "eBay economy." People will be selling anything they can to get cash.

There will always be demand for things that can make you money or in the extreme, help you survive.
A few good tools can get a car running again.
And for the extreme case a hand pump for drawing water comes to mind.


I agree with you concerning the general problem of failure to understand economics.

And of course this time things could be different.

But we don't necessarily have to understand things very well to make fairly decent predictions sometimes.Certain kinds of clouds are indicative of rain,for instance,and you don't have to have a degree in meteorology to notice the correlation.

My actual thoughts are that the government PLAN is to try to inflate enough to get things rolling again and TRY to dry up the excess printed money without creating another crash.

But the pressure to inflate just a little more may well be overwhelming and if things aren't going well then the pressure to bull thru pedal to the metal WILL be overwhelming.

And one of the the first rules of politics is to always do the easy thing today and let the next administration worry about fixing the problems later.

Nobody has ever been elected on an austerity platform in this country,and I doubt anyone ever will be.Inflation is just another form of austerity because wages (of the poor and working classes and often of the socalled middle classes as well) generally lag behind.

But inflation is the hangover price that is always paid TOMORROW for the pleasure of drinking tonight,and the general public doesn't understand this.The ones who do understand are generally "getting thiers" as a CONSEQUENCE of rising prices.[The builders and realestate sales industry are prime examples.(Buy now!! Build now!!Refinance now!We'llsell your new mortgage before it sours on us.)]

We are always ready to charge a few more goodies-and necessities too these days- to our grandchildren.

The debt load is now and has been for some time,simply UNSUSTAINABLE. The real question is not if but when things get totally out of hand and nobody will buy the bonds anymore.

It's getting bigger by the day.

Individuals go bankrupt.

Governments inflate,or repudiate thier debts.Or they simply collapse.Or the leaders start a war or two to distract the people and justify rationing,etc.

Inflation imo is easiest for American politicians.

The chinese are stocking up because they are convinced that prices are going to be going up faster than the interest accumulates on the dollar bonds they are using to pay for thier oil,iron ,etc imports before too long.

And "inflation" as such is a terrible metric any way because it is defined in such a way as to make things look better than they actually are.

PRICES WILL BE GOING UP.Just when we hit bottom is not something I can predict,nor can anyone else.

But the whole Oil Drum "thing" is energy and the way it will influence our lives in the future.

The current "slowdown " or recession or depression or whatever one chooses to call it has resulted in a drop in energy consumption far smaller propartionally than the drop in economic activity.

The depletion curves and the ELM models are solid as far as I can see,although my opinion is second hand in this respect-but I came by them here at the Oil Drum.

I didn't have to come to the Oil Drum to learn that perpetual growth and forever rising populations are physical impossibilities.

My biology professors taught me this in 1968,and my ag professers confirmed the truth of this matter but held that the day of reckoning was far off.I fear that day is now near.

The oil ministers of OPEC have made it clear that they will hold prices at levels that the dollars they are paid buy something,and they will soon be in charge of world prices again.

It's not going to be too long before energy prices are climbing again.Fast.

People don't have to have money in thier pockets and banks don't have to be making loans for soveriegn governments to inflate thier currencies.

One away or another ts is going thtf,and not too far down the road.Inflation is just one more tool-a very big tool -in the government tool box that can be used to put off the ultimate day of reckoning.

They will in my humble opinion use the inflation shovel to get us out of the current deflation mudhole and continue to use it to unload the cargo box full of bad debt from the economic truck.

And among engineers,mechanics,generals, and farmers who are lacking in tools other than the brute force kind,sop seems to be that if it didn't work the first time,hit it again -HARDER- if you have nothing to lose.

Maybe I 'm wrong.

I've been wrong before.

Differences of opinion support horse races and stock markets.

If I had more time I could organize these thoughts a lot better.

I am replacing all of the hinges (1930) and some other hardware (locks, casement window, lights) that have reached or are near the end of their useful life.

I am getting Baldwin (mainly) ball bearing hinges and hardware and some real bargains are on eBay. Some from contractors that are clearing out what they had in the back "for the next job", some from bankrupt distributors/retailers (one guy bought 5,000 Baldwin pieces at auction and is selling them slowly so as not to flood the market), some from "model changes" clearance and some from homeowners with canceled McMansions.

A few items I have seen on eBay appear to be desperation sales (someone pulls down $2,500 chandelier and tries to sell it on eBay for $600). A number of used Baldwin hinges on eBay make me wonder where they came from.


PS: Hinges are one of the necessary items, although we seem to have a large installed surplus. Last US makers are Merit (Philly) and Bommer (South Carolina).

Fortunately, decent quality hinges can be hand-made by a fair quantity of skilled craftsmen around the country.

ABANA, the largest national blacksmith's organization that I know of, has quite a few active regional groups as well.

There is really cause for hope. Our local group has a wide range of members, from old hands to teenagers.

But if you have to keep replacing them because the disenfranchised keep hurling stones through them it may not be so great, eh?

The 30% tax credit is supporting the price for insulation. LOTS of potential retrofits.

Down some, but not dramatically,


Do not wait until autumn to cut firewood...

I don't cut wood while birds are nesting. I wait until after leaf-fall. It's cooler, doesn't stress the trees as much to be pruned or coppiced after they're dormant, and doesn't destroy bird nests, eggs, hatchlings.

You cut LIVE wood for heating?
Do you own your own woodlot?


Live wood cut far enough in advance to dry well is by far better fir the local ecology than cutting dead trees,DD is correct.

Dead trees support a lot of different species and are generally in short supply in most woodlots.Especially the big hollow ones that make good den trees.

Incidentally we cut next winters wood this winter too,as that IS the best time all around.

The wood I will burn this winter was cut last winter. The wood I will cut this fall & winter will be burnt the winter after. You're correct Mac: leave snags standing as "habitat trees," if they aren't located where they present a danger.

There are so many dead ash trees in my area from an invader that I've not cut live wood for fires for 10 years.
This year I've actually had to turn down some people asking me to take some trees from them.
I am growing some poplar, oak, locust and spruce for firewood as I can see this "resource" ending.
It will be strange to cut them live though.

Timing is everything in the gold market. Shortly after I started at the Post Office in 1980, gold hit $800/oz.. Stamps at the time were 15 cents. Now, about 30 years later, stamps are 44 cents and gold is a little over $900/oz..

Back then the forever stamp was not available, but now it is. I think the forever stamp is one of the best inflation hedges around.

Had they been available in 1980, you could have nearly tripled your money with the forever stamp while gold is up only about 15%. And postage is a smooth consistent rise with no dips. Buy and hold forever stamps to hedge against inflation.

A variant of that idea was how Charles Ponzi made (and lost) his fortune.

Did this New York Times article get noticed?

Exxon to Invest Millions to Make Fuel From Algae
Published: July 13, 2009

The oil giant Exxon Mobil, whose chief executive once mocked alternative energy by referring to ethanol as "moonshine," is about to venture into biofuels.

On Tuesday, Exxon plans to announce an investment of $600 million in producing liquid transportation fuels from algae -- organisms in water that range from pond scum to seaweed. The biofuel effort involves a partnership with Synthetic Genomics, a biotechnology company founded by the genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter.

The agreement could plug a major gap in the strategy of Exxon, the world’s largest and richest publicly traded oil company, which has been criticized by environmental groups for dismissing concerns about global warming in the past and its reluctance to develop renewable fuels.

Despite the widely publicized "moonshine" remark a few years ago by Exxon’s chairman and chief executive, Rex W. Tillerson, the company has spent several years exploring various fuel alternatives, according to one of its top research officials.

"We literally looked at every option we could think of, with several key parameters in mind," said Emil Jacobs, vice president for research and development at Exxon's research and engineering unit. "Scale was the first. For transportation fuels, if you can’t see whether you can scale a technology up, then you have to question whether you need to be involved at all."

. . .

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/14/business/energy-environment/14fuel.htm

Yes. Yesterday or the day before.

Ever hear of the R&D tax credit?

Used to work for a company where all I did was programming. It was considered R&D, so I had to meticulously report my time, so at the end of the year the company could take the tax credit.

Now, looking at the fact that Exxon Mobil is the most profitable company according to Furtune 500, it makes sense to develop a tax shelter for the $40 Billion or so it makes annually.

How about Marriot hotels tax boondoggle using some BS scam about turning something into something else and calling it alternative fuel research.
Total abuse of the system. But after all tha is the American way right? anything you can get away with because if you get caught nobody inposes any consequences anyhow. Lie, cheat, steal...........the american business man's creedo.

A major gulf between environmental and social justice activists is "stuff." Environmentalists (or at least serious ones) say "less." Social justice organizers have the habit of saying "more."

Yep! I was and still am a Marxist (among other things). But the Marxist vision was predicated on the continuance and progression of industrialism. But neither continuance, and much less progression, is in the cards. The issue now is becoming survival for everybody, not technocratic abundance for everyone. The issue is: how to retrench in such a way that everyone can survive comfortably, but without a lot of stuff, and with a lot more use of hands and legs and sweat glands, not to mention dirty hands, the clean kind of dirt.

Little Cuba, whatever complaints one might want to make against it, has apparently not been completely doctrinaire in its Marxism, and faced up to some of the realities we will all have to face.

Stuff, no -- survival for all, yes. A slogan I like from Venezuela: zero misery. That's a realistic goal, and a very pleasant contrast to "to big to fail".

The madness continues...

World’s longest golf course to open in Australia

MELBOURNE (AFP) – The world’s longest golf course, stretching along 1,365 kilometers (848 miles) of desert highway with holes at 18 towns and service stations, is to open in Australia this year, organizers said Tuesday.

The Nullarbor Links, which will span two time zones and measure more than the entire length of Britain, is expected to be completed next month and will host its inaugural tournament on October 22...
SWAG: upon completing the course, the total embedded energy in a single golf ball will equal roughly 3 gastanks of gasoline. Much more embedded energy/ball if people fly in from all over the globe to golf this course.

From article:

The course, conceived five years ago “over a couple of beers,” is meant to attract tourists to the Eyre Highway which traverses the desolate Nullarbor Plain and hugs part of Australia’s southern coastline.

The course was the brainchild of Bob Bongiorno, who was managing a roadhouse at remote Balladonia when he came up with the idea.

Bongiorno, now living in Kalgoorlie at the course’s western end, said he tried hitting a few balls when he first moved into the Outback but got sick of encountering spiders when trying to retrieve them.

There should be no such hazards on the synthetic greens of the Nullarbor Links, although golfers who hit a stray shot into the desert will face a monster sand trap.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when it was conceived 'Over a couple of beers'. A golf course that requires someone to drive over 800 miles to complete it...

If Bob Bongiorno had been practicing the Peakoil Shoutout when drinking his beers: he would have immediately realized that this golfing idea only makes things worse in the long run.

Bongiorno, now living in Kalgoorlie at the course’s western end, said he tried hitting a few balls when he first moved into the Outback but got sick of encountering spiders when trying to retrieve them.

I'll bet the spiders didn't like him much either. Here's to hoping a few of these crawl into his boots.


Twas probably latrodectus hasselti
that made the poor man so unhealthy
and drove him to a drunken golf desire

Exxon Dry Brazil Well Was ‘One Off,’ Oil Agency Says

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- A Brazilian oil well drilled by Exxon Mobil Corp. that showed no sign of oil was a “one off,” according to Nelson Narciso Filho, director of Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency.

So what is the significance of one dry hole in the much-hyped Tupi field:

1. Just a random miss, the technology to find oil isn't perfect?
2. The oil bearing strata doesn't extend to all originally expected zones?
3. There isn't really 5-8 billion barrels of oil there?

I wonder what that one-off cost to drill?

Any stats on probability of a dry well with the "profile" of Tupi? Or anywhere else to show whether dry well actuals in "a plenty zone" compare to prior forecasted probabilities?


one dry hole here and one dry over there - so goes the story in todays North Sea ..

3. There isn't really 5-8 billion barrels of oil there?

This Tupi-thing is interesting - say if they manage to extract maximum of their guestimate at 8 billion barrels, what does it mean in a greater context ? Well in short : It will add ( Tupi at 8 billion / Global consumption at 32 billion per year) ==>> 1/4 year more oil. 'Everything can be prosponed for 3 months' .... heck, where is my remote-control gone?

"...I can't go for that, no CANDU...."

$26B cost killed nuclear bid

Ontario ditched plan over high price tag that would wipe out 20-year budget

The Ontario government put its nuclear power plans on hold last month because the bid from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the only "compliant" one received, was more than three times higher than what the province expected to pay, the Star has learned.

AECL's $26 billion bid was based on the construction of two 1,200-megawatt Advanced Candu Reactors, working out to $10,800 per kilowatt of power capacity.

See: http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/article/665644

The cost per kW of additional capacity achieved through my DSM measures typically falls between $0.00 and $1,000.00 CDN.


So what is Ontario going to do now? I thought they were planning on shutting down all their coal powered generating plants.

Well, as featured in yesterday's Drumbeat, they're building a crap load of natural gas plants.


Yes I have seen that massive one along the 407. Plus the Ontario gov is throwing a s**t load of money at their buildings for energy conservation. We just received approval of 10 million for our schools. My manager has basically thrown it to me to find projects.

Personally I think through conservation, demand management and de-industrialization we won't need anything for some time.


Congratulations and best of luck with these new initiatives. We've upgraded three schools in the past year, but the economics are tough due to limited hours of operation (basically, 9 hrs/day x 205 days/yr), reduced classroom utilization and day lighting practices. Thus, the cost per kWh saved is often two to three times higher than a typical commercial account.


How come the price tag for the biggest nuclear plant in the EU being built in Finland so much lower? Some sort of corruption is involved here just like the 14 billion dollar (early 1980s Canadian dollars) fiasco called Darlington.

The difference is the fact that the planned reactors had almost twice the capacity and were CANDU reactors. CANDU means that the reator can run on unrefined Uranium, which saves money on cost in the long run, but not in the cost of building it. CANDU requires large ammounts of Deuterium Oxide, (heavy water) which can only be made at an existing nuclear source or refined from water at the bottom of the oceans. The reactor in Finland on the other hand is a pressurized light water reactor which requires less heavy water.

The cost overruns were in large part due to high interest rates and an intentional stretching of the construction schedule in response to sharply falling electricity demand, which only further compounded the problem. Darlington may have been a fiasco on many levels, but please don't suggest it was due to criminal wrongdoing unless you can provide evidence to substantiate such claims.


RE: A Costly and Unnecessary New Electricity Grid

In other words, if you want electricity from the wind, then you had better be living someplace nearby a feasible wind power site. The upgraded national grid simply isn't going to happen.

Neither is that CCS boondoggle, by the way.

I agree it won't happen. But then I see price tags in the $60B range, and I think "isn't that pocket change?" - compared to bank bailouts and oil wars I mean. Maybe if we call it the "War on Power" it could be put in a supplemental funding bill. We really have fallen down the rabbit hole where nothing having to do with money makes any sense at all.

That is roughly what is spent on bottled water every year in USA


Imo you are dead on and if there is anything worth spending money on,it is infrastructure rhat will reduce our dependence on ff and advance conservation.

Even if such money is not EFFICIENTLY SPENT,it will be far BETTER SPENT than if it is spent on military adventures,fast cars,bottled water or more mcmansions.

We're going to need all the renewable electricity we can generate in order to transition away from oil,stretch our coal and gas supplies, and slow down the co2 express.

I am confident we will find ways to use it whenever it's available,so long as we can get it to where the people are.

All sorts of "energy batteries" will become practical as prices rise.

As Alan Big Easy stated a few days ago,a refrigerator can be made to takle advantage of such availability spikes very easily,no new tech needed-only deployment is necessary.

An ac could switch on early when wind juice or pv juice is plentiful and cool your house a little more than usual before you get home in the afternoon,thereby reducing the ff needed later if the wind falls off or after the sun sets.

Pumped storage is worth more than just load leveling.

The ecological and cash costs might be high but such reservoirs if large enough could be filled beyond the normal drawdown during wet weather and serve as additional supply for local towns and cities in emergencies,as well as providing recreational opportunities.

If thin film PV could truly get down to $1 a watt it would not only reduce the need for new transmission but also proxy for Chu's reflective roof idea. Every house, carport, barn, doghouse and outhouse would be covered. I think the idea would be to combine it with a 2 day UPS and smart meter. Major electricity users could negotiate with pre-programmed smart meters for some stored kilowatt hours at a premium price.

Note this is different from plugin vehicle-to-grid because the house is now the low cost generator, not the nuke or coal fired power station. The cost would need to be under say $5000 for a system with 2.5kw max PV output, 20 kwh battery, inverter, internet connection etc.

Hello TODers,

"She comes down from Yellow Mountain.."

This could be quite the "In Cold Blood" Climate Change Poster to help raise awareness:

Antarctica's Blood Falls
IMO, Mother Nature is just trying to clearly semaphore to us that we need to change, or else...

Just need some Photoshop expert to place massive heaps of dead Overshoot atop the melting ice...

Weblink below to explain the 'flowing blood':

Newfound iron-breathing species have lived in cold isolation for millions of years

..Chemical analysis of effluent from the inaccessible subglacial pool suggests that its inhabitants have eked out a living by breathing iron leached from bedrock with the help of a sulfur catalyst.

..The fluid is rich in sulfur, a geochemical signature of marine environments, reinforcing suspicions that the ancestors of the microbes now beneath the Taylor Glacier probably lived in an ocean long ago.
Asimov's list [P is #1, S is #2..], will we ever recognize the obvious clues?

It's articles like this one that make me hate "science news" reporting. Chemoautotrophic archaean extremophiles are well known, and their metabolism well characterized. Not one mention of the term "archean" in this article, nothing about the reduction/oxidation of mineral elements as a source of metabolic energy. Instead, we are told that these "microorganisms" (a term that encompasses organisms of all three domains) "breath" iron. And then the obligatory quip about how the presence of life in such a harsh environment lends credence to the notion that life may exist on one or more of the gas giants' moons. And then we wonder why people in general and Americans in particular are scientifically illiterate.

The UK gov have announced yet another master plan on CO2 reduction.

Does that look realistic to you?

Sizeable cuts in power station CO2 production, 30MTCo2e in one year, accounting for a full third of the total over 15 years. Half of the total in all.

20MTCO2e in transport by 2022 (actually that bit does sound an underestimate, but not for a good reason)

Only <10 MTCO2e from home, yet they are talking about much more insulation and this is an area where you could really make savings, big savings, and relatively cheaply and painlessly.

On the whole it STILL looks like they aren't taking onboard peak oil and problems with gas supply to the UK. A fifteen year plan than doesn't include reference to peak oil even once.

You have to hope they are actually trying to hide reality, rather than just being oblivious to it.

It looks like a wet fantacy to me .. when I rest my eyes on such "random charts" ,I am looking for changes. I see 2 interesting ones here.

1 Light blue sliver / Industry - a sudden and remarkable shift will happen in 2012 'just like that', but more interesting ..

2 Red sliver / farm,waste - zoom the picture and see what will happen in 2017-18 "a double cut" in ONE year only ... BUT there after it will taper back again 'to where it came from' ... what ? . NOTE : Little or nothing is ever doubled or halved in one year with running politics in this paradigm . (well apart from energy-, raw materials and stock-prices then -' or in short :stuff which are auctioned or bidden for).

Conclusion :
Politics is about good deeds 'always starting after NEXT election ...'. This very sitting UK gov could DOUBLE petrol taxes tomorrow, that would be SOMETING 'to write home about'

In the context of the UK I don't see it as fantasy so much as an inevitability.

This looks like the emissions profile I would expect if the government did nothing at all. The Uk is going from a net energy exporter a
few years ago to about 80% importer by 2030 on the BAU model. However, we have huge personal and national debts, dreadful balance of payments, and our two main cash cows (North Sea and banking) have just about dried up. Stirling is going to tank faster than the dollar in the next few years. We will be well into fast economic crash, regardless of peak oil, by 2020.

We won't be burning carbon because we won't be able to pay the cost of importing it.

I mreceived this in an e-mail:

Does anybody out there have any memory of the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ...... during the Carter Administration?

Didn't think so !

Bottom line .. we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency ... the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember.


It was very simple .. and at the time everybody thought it very appropriate...

The 'Department of Energy' was instituted on

8- 04-1977




Hey, pretty efficient, huh?????

AND NOW IT'S 2009,














Ah, yes, good ole bureaucracy..

And NOW we are going to turn the Banking System, Health Care and the Auto Industry over to them?

At least half of the budget is for military related nuclear weapons management. Nuclear weapons have always been under civilian control. About a fourth is for waste removal and cleanup. So, your post is misleading as it probably was intended to be because the oil and coal industries are under pressure.

I googled a phrase from this post ("IS AT $24.2 + BILLION ") and found 55K results -- folks are replicating this nonsense quickly.

And I googled : "United States Department of Energy" ....... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Energy
And Wikipedia's info on "United States Department of Energy" -( box upper right) reveals the same numbers that are being "replicated" just above. Then again it boils down to whether you "believe" in WP of course. Some folks only believe stuffs coming from the horses mouth and sometimes even not that - I'm not saying this goes for U goghgoner .

The viral propaganda is nonsense because it would lead one to believe that that money is wasted. I really like the energy star labels and weekly petroleum reports. I can't imagine how many btus the DOE energy efficiency has saved the American people. Where is that analysis? The nuclear stuff that factfinder mentions. That is waste?

Just because a message is anti-government does not make it a valid point.

goghgoner I'm not taking any stance here - I just merely found the numbers 'interesting' and looked them up via proper sources -

However I can agree with what you here say. All countries should have a dedicated DOE - since 'what ever they supervise' is actually what is running it, par se .

Duplicate your post a hundred fold and you will have demonstrated why many decent well meaning people are conservatives,politically.

I might still be voting republican if not for the Bush family.

Maybe not.Most republicans have long since abandoned any true conservative values for spendthrift growth policies.

The likelihood of a real leader willing to tell the truth winning on either ticket is slim.

The last person running who moght have actually tried to make the hard desisions may have been

Or maybe Carter.

The democrats are at least willing to admit we have environmental problems.

But so far they have shown more interest in saving the problems,ie GM, than in solving them.

Lets wait a bit and see how the Kennedys and Fientsiens buddies vote when we need wind and pv located in thier nieghborhoods because said nieghborhoods are the best locations.

I'm not impressed so far.

But at least I'm encouraged to be somewhat hopeful.

Uhhhh...DOE incorporated the former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Civilian energy production and conservation is a mere sideshow to the prime DOE mission. Then there is the NIF (National Ignition Facility), which is an inertial fusion pipe dream and a good cover for other research IMHO.

If only we could have turned loose all the PhDs and the budget from the 'primary mission' to renewable energy, more efficient energy transmission, energy conservation measure...