Drumbeat: August 22, 2009

The big drill

What energy crisis? Despite what you may be hearing about a global peak in oil production, waning reserves, and $100-plus oil prices, North America is suddenly awash in fossil fuel.

Sophisticated new drilling methods and a shared epiphany among exploration companies about the vast potential for new natural gas production from deep underground shale deposits have overturned decades of gloom about waning gas supplies.

“Natural gas will displace coal. It will displace oil,” said Mike Graham, Canadian foothills division president for Calgary-based gas giant EnCana. “There is no reason North America shouldn’t be energy self-sufficient if we can displace a lot of the oil with natural gas.”

Crude Oil Must Clear $73 or Face 25% Drop: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil risks a decline of as much as 25 percent in the coming weeks if the market’s bulls are unable to break chart resistance above $73 a barrel after repeated attempts, according to Cameron Hanover Inc.

Oil settled above $72 a barrel in the past two days, the closest test of its technical upside this month, and will sustain a rally only if prices rise above the June 30 peak, also the highest this year, said Peter Beutel, president of the New Canaan, Connecticut-based trading adviser. The gains of about 25 percent made since the mid-July drop to below $59 may unravel because of a failure to break resistance.

“Crude needs to settle over $73.38 to initiate a new leg higher,” Beutel said in an e-mail. “If we fail, we should drop all the way back to $58.20 to $59.25.”

Oil May Fall as Jobless Claims Rise, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil futures may fall on speculation that a rise in U.S. jobless claims signals the economy will be slow to improve, a survey of analysts showed.

Twenty-one of 38 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, or 55 percent, said futures will decline through Aug. 28. Eight respondents, or 21 percent, forecast that the market will rise and 9 said prices will be little changed. Last week, 50 percent of analysts said oil would drop.

Oil diplomacy in Megrahi release?

Libyan suggestions that the UK released convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi in exchange for trade considerations has raised the spectre of Tripoli engaging in oil diplomacy.

At GM, Dreams of an Electric Cadillac

Despite opposition from the Treasury Dept. and others, some GM execs still want to put the Chevy Volt engine in a luxury vehicle.

Garbage in, energy out

In harnessing that energy, Plasco chemically transforms Ottawa's residential garbage into a synthetic gas that is used to generate electricity – without emitting greenhouse gases. The process also produces some commercial byproducts such as sulphur, water and solid aggregate.

It's a 21st-century form of alchemy: garbage in, energy out. In a time when municipalities are desperate to reduce greenhouse gases and relieve overflowing landfills, gasification has the potential to be a world-changing technology.

But as with many green energy technologies, success depends on another modern dark art: raising capital.

World Bank Funds Energy, Agriculture In Nepal

KATHMANDU (Bernama) -- Nepali government and the World Bank signed two agreements on Friday here, to boost the nation's development especially in energy and agriculture sectors, China's Xinhua news agency reported, citing Saturday's newspaper as saying.

The agreements amounting to US$109.2 million.

Bangladesh unveils plan to end power crisis

DHAKA — Energy-starved Bangladesh will invite tenders next month for a six-billion-dollar power plant building program to end a chronic fuel shortage in the fast-growing economy, an official said Saturday.

Most of the power needed to end Bangladesh's electricity shortfall would be produced at plants built by private companies to be selected by the government through competitive bidding, the official said.

...Kabir said most of the power would be generated by coal and diesel and furnace fuel, ending the country's long reliance on natural gas.

Huntington User Fee Paving Underway

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – People who work in Huntington are now seeing the payoff of that recent $1 increase in the user fee.

Crews began paving 6th Avenue from 9 1/2 to 13th Street Thursday afternoon.

About $800,000 of the fee increase is being used to pave streets in Huntington. Other monies from the increase are going towards hiring additional police officers. Three new officers were sworn-in Thursday afternoon.

(The user fee is a weekly tax on people who work in the city.)

EU Carbon Gains to 14-Week High as Oil Rises, Utilities Buy

(Bloomberg) -- European Union carbon-dioxide permits rose to a 14-week high after oil prices climbed and utilities bought credits. German power prices advanced.

Shipping giant feeling effects of recession

Danish container-shipping, oil and gas, tanker and retail giant AP Moller-Maersk said yesterday the economic crisis had a severe negative impact on its business in the first half of 2009.

The group, whose oil and gas division is strongly represented in Aberdeen, from where it runs its UK North Sea business, said container-shipping freight rates and volume were down by 30% and 7% respectively on a year earlier, and average rates for tanker activities were considerably lower than in the first half of 2008.

Petrobras, Teikoku to Return Venezuela Gas License

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA and Teikoku Oil Ltd. will return a license for the Tinaco natural-gas field to Venezuela’s government, three years after the companies reported that an exploration well was dry.

The companies said in 2006 they failed to find “important volumes” of gas, the Energy and Oil Ministry said today in the Official Gazette, the formal record of government actions. The state accepted the return of the 2001 gas production license on May 8, the ministry said.

Mexican States to Get 26 Billion Pesos From Oil Fund

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s federal government will tap a rainy-day fund and sell bonds to provide states and municipalities with 26 billion pesos ($2 billion) to shore up their budgets, Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said today.

No change in Iran gas pipeline project route: Qamar

KARACHI (APP)- Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Syed Naveed Qamar said Saturday that there will be no change in the original alignment (route) of $ 1.2 billion Iran Gas Pipeline project. He was talking to media after chairing the meeting of sub-committee/steering committee of the ECC of the Cabinet on Iran Pakistan Gas pipeline. The meeting was also attended by the Chief Minister, Balochistan, Nawab Aslam Raeesani, Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin and senior officials of the Ministry of Petroleum.

“The meeting has decided to maintain the original route of the pipeline via Coastal Highway to Nawabshah,” he said adding that about 90 percent of the project is in Balochistan.

Arafat's costly Gulf War choice

On August 10, 20 Arab League countries at an emergency summit in Cairo drafted a final statement that condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and supported the UN resolutions.

Twelve Arab states supported the use of force while the remaining eight, including the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), rejected a military solution to the Iraqi invasion.

For the PLO, this was a precarious gamble. Since its creation in 1969, the PLO had enjoyed considerable financial backing from both Iraq and Kuwait.

Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader, realised that it was impossible to satisfy his two backers; he believed he was left with no alternative but to support Baghdad.

Chevron building solar-steam plant to produce oil

Chevron Corp is building a solar plant to create the steam that boosts production at an aging California oilfield, in a pioneering project the company aims to replicate elsewhere if it works.

Chevron outlined the previously undisclosed plan at a city council meeting in Coalinga, a city halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco that started as a coal outpost, boomed with oil gushers, and is now a potential solar energy hub.

ConocoPhillips spent nearly $3.3M lobbying in 2Q

Oil company ConocoPhillips spent nearly $3.3 million in the second quarter lobbying Congress on proposed climate-change and health care reform legislation, among other issues, according to a recent disclosure report. That was more than double what it spent in the year-ago period.

BP America spent $4M lobbying gov't in 2Q

BP America Inc., the U.S. arm of the British oil major, spent $4 million to lobby the federal government in the second quarter, a 54-percent increase from a year ago reflecting several potentially costly measures facing the oil industry.

A climate-change bill that passed the House this summer would, as written, raise operating costs significantly for BP's refining operations. The industry is urging the Senate to rewrite the legislation this fall.

Global forest destruction seen overestimated

The amount of carbon emissions caused by world forest destruction is likely far less than the 20 per cent figure being widely used before global climate talks in December, said the head of the Brazilian institute that measures Amazon deforestation.

Gilberto Camara, the director of Brazil's respected National Institute for Space Research, said the 20 per cent tally was based on poor science but that rich countries had no interest in questioning it because the number put more pressure on developing countries to stem greenhouse gases.

Climate change: Now Uganda faces a food shortage crisis

With famine still raging on, analysts warn that the government needs to work out a plan on how to let farmers know about the predicted weather if the population is to be assured of constant food supply. Saturday Monitor's Jenny Vaughan explores the idea:

Ms Victoria Kakoko Ssebagereka has lost her entire crop. In July she planted pineapples, vanilla, maize and beans but the rains never came and neither did the harvest. Her cows and goats are emaciated. “I have never seen my animals looking as horrible as they do now,” she says.

Ms Ssebagereka has been cultivating on her 32 acres of land in Kayunga for more than two decades and she has never experienced such a devastating spell of drought.

Report: Wood best clean energy resource for Wash.

SEATTLE - A University of Washington report says woody biomass may be the state's best opportunity to develop biofuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The report by the UW School of Forest Resources say woody biomass is the most abundant and sustainable state resource that can be converted into liquid fuels to replace gasoline and diesel.

Oil will hit $150 again: Herrera, Simmons: The question is when, not if, but too many variables in play to predict

Whether peak oil is in the recent past or near future, the decline of world oil supplies is imminent and inevitable, Herrera said.

“It’s too late for huge oil discoveries to delay peak oil,” he said. “The only thing that can help now is conservation — at least it can make a difference in the short term.”

A very slow recovery from the recession would not stimulate demand for oil to a great degree and put pressure on prices. Instead, it would result in stable oil supply/demand conditions, Herrera said.

If this happens, “it will string out the peaking of oil,” he said. “Prices would be affected only by inflation plus the impact of moderate growth, and they could remain under $100 a barrel for a decade.”

Oil could be setting an inflation time bomb for autumn

With oil prices back above $73 a barrel, anyone who regularly fills a gas tank has to be hoping that this isn’t the start of a new surge.

Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, says there’s a reason beyond the personal pocketbook issue to worry about another jump in oil prices: The effect on inflation gauges worldwide.

Drilling Rates Down Dramatically From Last Year

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) ― The number of oil and gas drilling rigs operating in Colorado is at its lowest level since 2003, dropping to about 40 rigs in July from roughly 140 a year ago.

Drilling across the state has dropped dramatically as the recession wears on and natural gas prices remain low. Industry officials have also blamed Colorado's new oil and gas rules.

Hurricane Bill to Pass East Coast, Head to Canada

Some refineries in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick may be at risk, including closely held Irving Oil’s Saint John plant that processes about 300,000 barrels of oil a day, according to Olivier Jakob, an analyst with research group Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland.

“The marine environment on Sunday and Sunday night is going to be a harsh environment,” Bowyer said. “It is too uncomfortable a scenario to take a chance on.”

Pemex Output Fell 7.8% in July as Cantarell Plunged

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, said oil output in July fell 7.8 percent to 2.561 million barrels a day as production from its Cantarell field kept sinking.

...Pemex plans to spend a record $19.5 billion this year to discover deposits and develop wells to help offset the fastest drop in output since 1942. Production has fallen every month on a year-over-year basis since July 2006, according to Bloomberg and Pemex records.

Nigerian militants give up weapons to police

YENAGOA, Nigeria -- A top militant commander and his followers in Nigeria's oil-rich Delta region have surrendered rocket launchers, gunboats, guns and bullets in the biggest hand-over of weapons since a government amnesty began two weeks ago.

Why Is Afghanistan So Important?

A glance at a map and a little knowledge of the region suggest that the real reasons for Western military involvement may be largely hidden.

Afghanistan is adjacent to Middle Eastern countries that are rich in oil and natural gas. And though Afghanistan may have little petroleum itself, it borders both Iran and Turkmenistan, countries with the second and third largest natural gas reserves in the world. (Russia is first.)

Electric vehicles aren’t the solution - yet

AS THE SEARCH for climate solutions hastens, urgency should not undermine long-term sensibility. Ever-mounting climate change concerns and oil-driven foreign policy challenges, in the wake of $4-per-gallon gasoline, have generated a stampede toward electric vehicles. If one listens to clean-energy advocates, recovery-bill architects, electric utilities, and eager start-ups and their investors, one might think an electric vehicle silver bullet is just around the corner. But electric vehicles will not provide an easy or quick answer to environmental and economic woes. Forcing an electric vehicle solution too soon may preclude more thoughtful actions that would improve electric vehicle technology and reduce its cost.

Current population growth not sustainable

Inhabitants of the United States literally eat oil. Oil is necessary to make the fertilizer and pesticides used on our crops; to irrigate them; and to fuel the machinery used to plant, cultivate, and harvest them. In one study conducted in 1994, it was calculated that feeding each American each year required the equivalent of 400 gallons of oil, exclusive of the energy, mainly oil, needed for packaging, refrigeration, transportation, and cooking. The authors calculated that for every calorie of food energy delivered to the consumer, 10 calories of other energy, mostly oil, are required. The lesson is clear: Without oil we starve.

So how fares the oil basket into which we have put so many eggs? Well, it's looking quite frail. Oil is a limited resource. Each successful well exhibits an early rise in production, a tapering off as production reaches a maximum (peak), and a decline until it is no longer economical to pump more. As with each well, so with entire fields and world production as a whole. U.S. production peaked in 1970.

In Brazil, Paying Farmers to Let the Trees Stand

QUERENCIA, Brazil — José Marcolini, a farmer here, has a permit from the Brazilian government to raze 12,500 acres of rain forest this year to create highly profitable new soy fields.

But he says he is struggling with his conscience. A Brazilian environmental group is offering him a yearly cash payment to leave his forest standing to help combat climate change.

Mr. Marcolini says he cares about the environment. But he also has a family to feed, and he is dubious that the group’s initial offer in the negotiation — $12 per acre, per year — is enough for him to accept.

“For me to resist the pressure, surrounded by soybeans, I’ll have to be paid — a lot,” said Mr. Marcolini, 53, noting that cleared farmland here in the state of Mato Grosso sells for up to $1,300 an acre.

Review of Cleveland rainfall records indicates climate change has arrived

A climate change storm isn't coming. It's already here.

That's the conclusion drawn by some climate scientists -- and supported by an independent analysis of National Weather Service rainfall records by The Plain Dealer.

The rainfall records reveal an increasing number of days each year with heavy storms -- those quick, violent bursts that drop a large amount of rain in a short time. Those types of storms more often also lead to damaging and expensive suburban flooding -- and conversely, dangerously dry periods or even drought in between.

Climate change opens Arctic route for German ships

BERLIN (Reuters) - Two German ships set off on Friday on the first journey across Russia's Arctic-facing northern shore without the help of icebreakers after climate change helped opened the passage, the company said.

Niels Stolberg, president and CEO of Beluga Shipping GmbH, said the "Beluga Fraternity" and "Beluga Foresight" left the Russian port of Vladivostok on the historic and cost-saving journey with cargo picked up in South Korea bound for Holland.

The melting of Arctic ice as a result of climate change has made it possible to send Beluga's multi-purpose heavy lift ships along the legendary Northeast Passage, Stolberg said.

Demand for tariffs in global-warming legislation splits allies

The tariff demand has placed a group of often-reliable allies for President Obama -- including Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin and the newly installed Al Franken of Minnesota -- squarely at odds with the president, who has said that he doesn't want to send "protectionist" signals with the climate change bill.

But Brown said shortly before convening a climate summit earlier this month in Perrysburg that the tariff provision "has to be in" to win the votes of factory-state senators.

Nile Delta: 'We are going underwater. The sea will conquer our lands': The Nile Delta is under threat from rising sea levels. Without the food it produces, Egypt faces catastrophe

"The Delta is a kind of Bangladesh story," says Dr Rick Tutwiler, director of the American University in Cairo's Desert Development Centre. "You've got a massive population, overcrowding, a threat to all natural resources from the pressure of all the people, production, pollution, cars and agricultural chemicals. And on top of all that, there's the rising sea. It's the perfect storm."

Looks like Bill might make a direct hit on Halifax (good to know you're prepared Paul in Halifax) before heading back across the Atlantic. Don't think I've ever seen myself in a 5 day cone before!

Frozen image for posterity as of 8am EDT.
Visit http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/ for latest details.

Wonder if the BBC will have Michael Fish on again? (UK readers will get this).

Hi Undertow,

More coverage can be found at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/nova-scotia-braces-as-hurri...

I know, first hand, that the grocery stores are especially busy this morning. I have a couple more last minute errands to do for some elderly neighbours, so I'll have an opportunity to checkout the petro courts along the way.


Earlier this morning, I drove by the Windmill Rd. Irving, Shell and Ultramar and none were very busy, nor, surprisingly, the two drive-through beer stores sandwiched in between (the latter shocked me). However, I just got a call from a friend who tells me all the pumps are down at the Irving station on the Bedford Highway and that the Sobey's gas bar a little further down the road has long line-ups. And, quelle-surprise, the grocery stores are jam packed with last minute shoppers.


Hi Paul,

I'm home from camp and heading to New Brunswick tomorrow. Weather permitting, of course.

Bill is on his way. Calling for mainly rain, here, in Three Mile Plains. However, our mutual home turf, Cape Breton Island, will likely bear the brunt of this storm. Should be downgraded to Hurricane 1 status by the time it arrives, although the memory of Juan haunts us still. No longer enough cold water offshore to ensure diminished intensity.

Grocery stores in Windsor are busy this afternoon. Similar to the scene in Halifax, I think the bulk of gasoline purchases have already happened. Not as much traffic and draw on the pumps in rural areas.

Any way, Paul, see you on the other side. Safe landing!!



Very latest track update puts the centre of Bill only 30 miles from Halifax at closest approach (and well within the cone) and currently Bill has a huge 30 mile radius eye... Although now a Cat 1, Bill still has a high IKE rating (Integrated Kinetic Energy) so don't be fooled by drop in category. The peak winds might have dropped a bit but they will last for a long time if you're near the eye and with considerable storm surge.

Bill still has a few more hours over very warm waters as well and is projected to be Cat 1 at Nova Scotia.

Edit: Latest NHC track update (5pm EDT) plotted in Google Earth

Thanks, Undertow, for helping us better understand the dynamics of this storm.

*Knock* *knock*, Who's that at my door?


Best place for good technical information as the storm approaches is storm2k. See the forum at http://www.storm2k.org/phpbb2/viewforum.php?f=59

The experts there certainly don't think it will be as damaging as it once appeared which is one good thing.

Thanks Undertow for the update. Nova Scotians learned a few years ago (by way of Juan in 2003) not to be sanguine about hurricanes. Until then, most hurricanes would peter out to tropical storm status when they hit the cooler waters of the continental shelf (courtesy of the Labrador current).

Such complacency came quickly to an end.

Right on queue, as if to assure proponents of global warming that our oceans indeed were heating up, Juan hit Halifax with a vengeance.

I live within the northern parameters of Bill's tracking and so this afternoon was a good time to batten down down the hatches, secure our emergency supplies, and ready ourselves for what may come our way. As anyone who lives in Hurricane territory can tell you, these storms have minds of their own. There is always an unpredictable element.

The wind is already starting to pick up and the clouds are moving in. Should be an interesting morning ahead. Best to stay indoors until it blows over.


Latest tracking from hurricane recon puts centre of Bill 50 miles south-east of Halifax at closest. Max sustained surface winds are currently about 70mph at 50 miles from the centre to the East so the highest winds will likely stay offshore but you could still be looking at sustained 50mph winds onshore with higher gusts.

Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 23rd day of the month at 12:15Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 306)
Storm Number & Year: 03L in 2009
Storm Name: Bill (flight originating in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 13
Observation Number: 21
A. Time of Center Fix: 23rd day of the month at 11:45:30Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 42°21'N 65°25'W (42.35N 65.4167W)
B. Center Fix Location: 184 miles (296 km) to the SSW (209°) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,776m (9,108ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 60kts (~ 69.0mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 51 nautical miles (59 statute miles) to the E (86°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 183° at 86kts (From the S at ~ 99.0mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 83 nautical miles (96 statute miles) to the E (88°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 965mb (28.50 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 9°C (48°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,049m (10,003ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 15°C (59°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,046m (9,993ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 5°C (41°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 105kts (~ 120.8mph) in the east quadrant at 11:03:10Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 66kts (~ 76.0mph) in the southwest quadrant at 12:07:00Z
Radar Presentation: Poor
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...

Thanks, Tom. Please take care of yourself and hunker down for the next 24 hours. Hopefully, any damage and disruption will be minor and there will be no injury or loss of life.

Have an enjoyable time in New Brunswick, delay your departure if need be, and have a safe return!


[...see you on the other side.... Hmm, wonder what I should read into that?!?]

[...see you on the other side.... Hmm, wonder what I should read into that?!?]

Yikes, that does sound a bit foreboding.

I do hope someday to see you on that other proverbial side, too, but let's postpone that journey for as long as possible. Please stay safe.


eek. I'm on the southern edge of the 2am circle.

Curious, weatherman, where are you? Bermuda? Newfoundland? Regardless, hold on tight at 2 a.m. Cheers!

I think he meant the 2am Thursday circle in the UK. Still the UK will just get a bit wet and windy at worst (just like a normal summer :-) ). Halifax could be hit hard.

2am Thursday. I should have realised Canada is too boring to get hit by a hurricane.

I hope you're right about the boring part! Cheers!

Don't think I've ever seen myself in a 5 day cone before!

As anything else in life you can get used to it... East Coast South Florida resident here :-)

Friday night failures...

Third largest bank failure of 2009 announced

Texas-based Guaranty Bank is bought by Spanish bank. Regulators also seize institutions in Alabama and Georgia, bringing this year's tally to 81.

From the article...

Jose Maria Garcia Meyer, chairman of BBVA Compass, in a statement said the transaction makes "excellent strategic sense" and represents an opportunity for BBVA to expand its presence in the "high growth Sunbelt Region."

Sunbelt? Higher rates of foreclosures, bank failures, etc. High growth indeed.

Looking at the terms of the sale, one might agree that it was a good deal for BBVA. The FDIC appears to have assumed most of the potential losses.

BBVA agreed to buy $12 billion of the $13 billion assets left at Guaranty Bank, which it will ultimately sell to private investors. The F.D.I.C. agreed to take on the remaining $1 billion of assets, as well as cover losses on the $9.7 billion pool of risky loans that BBVA bought. The agreement calls for the government to take on about 80 percent of the first $2.3 billion of losses, and 95 percent of the losses above that threshold.

E. Swanson

The reason Atlanta has so many bank failures is because of their high growth rate. The housing bubble went on for a lot longer there.

Growth seems to be causing a lot of problems for Atlanta. There's the water issue. They didn't want to help pay for the Lake Lanier dam, because "they'd never need the water." Now they need it, and the courts have ruled that they have no right to it, and have been using it illegally for years.

CNN is running a story this morning about how Atlanta is now the major hub for drug trafficking in the US. The high number of immigrants, attracted by the growth, make it easy for Mexican gangs to blend in. And it's conveniently located to ship drugs all over the nation. Most of the drug violence is not in the city; it's in the suburbs. (Ah, Atlanta. Where even the gangs prefer happy motoring in suburbia.)

I really wonder how Atlanta will survive peak oil and the Greater Depression. Will their high growth make them more or less vulnerable?

I think there were a lot of related things in the bank failures.

It was very easy to start a bank in Georgia--new bank on practically every corner. Since there were not enough local funds for deposits, quite a few got "brokered" deposits over the Internet, by offering the highest rates around on CD's.

To get loans to pay these high interest rates, they offered money to anyone who wanted it to build houses and new commercial buildings in Atlanta--also to potential homeowners, again with little regulation. Home prices in Atlanta weren't very high compared to the rest of the country, but a lot of overbuilding was done, especially in distant suburbs, assuming growth--growth--growth. So when all this started falling apart, we had a lot of bank failures.

I don't know abut the drug trafficking. I am not aware of Mexican gangs in the suburb where I live. Will have to listen to the news report.

A potential measuring stick re: gangs -

Is there a 'gang unit' at the local police force ?

I don't know abut the drug trafficking. I am not aware of Mexican gangs in the suburb where I live.

Meth-labs, once the mainstay of local cookers in the south, is now a large part of the Mexican Drug Cartels' "profit centers".


Meth-amphetamine may be the drug of choice in your Atlanta neighborhood. Think about it. For less than $20 an addict can maintain a state of delusional euphoria for 24 hours.

The rate of recidivism is: Ninety-three percent of those in traditional treatment return to abuse methamphetamine.


I remember a child social worker telling me he thought meth was the worst drug he had encountered. He felt it made parents more neglectful than he had seen with alcohol and cocaine. He saw parents who shrugged as their kids were taken away - just had lost the ability to care about anything.

From my point of view in clinic, meth abusers seemed to present with the "parasites in my skin" syndrome - they pick at their faces and see little yellow bits that look like parasites to them. And they can't be convinced otherwise. I finally got one person to consider treatment by telling him the "parasites" were probably feeding on meth - certainly would not go away until he quit.

Off topic, but I have to bite. I have strong opinions on this.

I believe in universal legalization of all recreational drugs. That said, meth is probably the worst drug. It really is bad for you. It has the fastest acting toxic effects on the brain of any commonly abused drug, and these effects seem to be largely irreversible. Recovering addicts have a hard time with brain damage, affecting mental state, motor skills, basically everything. This probably lends to the high recidivism more than anything else... their lives and bodies are often already ruined beyond repair, so why bother?

Now, that said, it should still be decriminalized for harm reduction reasons. If all drugs were legal, and thus (to use a TOD staple phrase) orders of magnitude cheaper and safer, few would use meth. After all, why deal with the harsh effects of meth when you can sustain "delusional euphoria" on oral oxycontin (which no matter what the media says is entirely non-toxic and safe when not given in ODing dosages or mixed with other downers) for a few bucks a day? The meth market would crash to near zero, I bet. People now substitute meth for other drugs because it is cheaper.

Kind of like the same thing with heroin addicts turning to alcohol (despite its high toxicity and far worse, if longer to develop, fatal withdrawal) because they're tired of being broke and in prison. The laws are self-defeating.

I agree. Most of the Eastern & mid Western cities are war zones with the gangs fighting for turf. Many innocents are gunned down in the battles. The addicts are running around the inner suburbs stealing and snatching to support their habits. My Son In Law ran a garage & used car emporium in Hartford, CT so I spent many late nights chasing repos to help him out. Very bad place and you better be street savy.

Many opinions have been posted about a retreat to the city as a survival ploy. Forget it unless the profit is taken out of the drug trade. Treat the disease and not the crime.

Your safest place is the country not that the drugs are absent there, just more easily spotted & controlled. The local country road is rumored to be a drug highway from Pittsfield to Springfield, MA. The state cops watch the main roads.

Natural selection at work.

Cantarell, in JULY 09, produced 588,210 b/d down 41% from July 08. Exports to the US slid to 1,069 m/b/d from 1,610 in JULY 07 or 33.7% less which amounts to 621,000 b/d. Only a 13.4% decline from July 08 was shown in the Pemex report.

Cantarell: January '09 = ~770,000 bpd; July 2009 = 590,000 bpd. 20% plus drop in production in 7 months. Wow. Where's the export land model guy's analysis on this. There may be no net Mexican exports within 24 months.

Trust the EIA, who say Mexico may become a net importer - by 2020. Mexico Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis - Oil, Gas, Electricity, Coal

This also says Mexico imported 550 kb/d of product in 2008, while exporting 192 kb/d, for a difference of 358 kb/d. This piece from Reuters says Pemex imported 341 kb/d: Mexico plans to build new refinery in Hidalgo state | Industries | Energy | Reuters. Compare to the EIA figure for US exports of product to Mexico of 333 kb/d. EIA also says gasoline is 60% of Mexican imports. I get different figures from the EIA for Finished Gasoline vs. Conventional vs. Reformulated, none of which quite add up to the other figures. The discrepancy between the 550 kb/d figure in the International section and these other figures must indicate reliance on Venezuela etc., which is an even chancier proposition. 60% of 550 kb/d = 330 kb/d.

333 kb/d = 13,860 gal/d, at average 2008 spot price of 245 cents/gal = $12.61 billion for 2008. Apply some kind of contract discount to that spot rate, of course, also variable prices through the year. Mexico showed a considerable spike in imports of US diesel last year as well, which hasn't been repeated for 2009.

you might want to re-do these figures again, I think you missed by quite a margin.

333 kb/d = 13,860 gal/d, at average 2008 spot price of 245 cents/gal = $12.61 billion for 2008. Apply some kind of contract discount to that spot rate, of course, also variable prices through the year. Mexico showed a considerable spike in imports of US diesel last year as well, which hasn't been repeated for 2009.

That was 330kb/d not 333kb/d that was one of the mistakes, the second one was > 333kb/d = 13860 gal/d < I think that would be 13,860 (K)gal/d

What I found interesting was you wrote down 333 kb/d but what you had on you little hand held calculator was 330, :-)

I didn't check the rest of the math, but you might want to.

old hermit

An article in the local paper (Berkshire Eagle, August 20, Pittsfield, MA) described how local farmers are raising sunflowers for bio diesel with animal feed as a byproduct. The farmers raised 30 acres this year and plan on 100 next year. No online link was found to the article.

The takeaway was 100 gallons of biodiesel per acre and one ton of what was described as high protein animal feed. Yields were excellent in an area with very little agriculture and a year where I describe the weather as cold, rice Paddy.

A combine will be purchased as well as a press by the 5 farmers in what I assume will be a co-op arrangement. I have no opinion on the possibilities of this but wanted the numbers out for the small tractor versus hook up the wife and kids to the single bottom plow argument. I noticed that sunflower oil is also a healthy and high temperature cooking oil.

The biggest problem was black bears apparently having a “cat nip” moment by rolling in the sunflowers and rubbing their backs. Bear circles and not crop circles.

Bears make awfully nice rugs, assuming you don't mind stepping over the head. (Which, you could always do without, I suppose.) Although, around my area, the biggest scourge are deer, which like being hit by cars, and eating people's gardens.

Last week I had a bear living in a swale in back of the house. He's wandered off and they are not much bother if you don't put bird feeders out or put stinky stuff in the compost pile at the wrong time of year. They have two weeks (split) of bear season because they are getting so thick.

Deer are a pain and I'm out at dusk to make sure none are sneaking up through the hay. I'd need a Washington, DC stimulous grant to put deer fence around all the gardens. There is so much up here for them to nibble on it is just bad luck if one gets into the garden. They don't stay up here all year as they head down into the river valleys to over winter.

I've had to dispatch a few chucks as they don't have enough sense to leave when told. No racoons as I don't do sweet corn. Easier to buy a few ears than have the racoons & squirrels take up residence.

About 30 turkeys drifted through this morning. I get a real kick watching them. The clowns of the animal world.

My garden is in a clearing I made in the woods. Lotsa critter problems, especially deer. I tried soap, hair, urine, hot peppers, mono filament line, The deer adapted to all. I put up a solar powered electric fence and baited it with strips of aluminum foil coated with peanut butter. That was a year ago. The deer problem stopped and hasn't returned.

I bought a large, live trap and have caught coons, possums, and chucks. I don't relocate them, I kill them. Live traps are safer for people than steel traps. A high powered air rifle takes care of the squirrels.

Coon meat is delicious, possums and chucks not so much.

I grow amaranth as a grain crop, it is rarely bothered by insects or mammals.

You can visit my garden here:

A note on coons - they are territorial and should never be relocated.


I've dropped a few off near the local dump - they don't come back.

Thanks for the electric fence info. I might be forced into it.

The Amaranth is very interesting. I'm using buck wheat now as cover crop and maybe a little grain. We bought a 50 lb sack of non-treated buck wheat and have been grinding it with a Kitchen Aide grinder set on the coarsest setting. You have to sieve the husks out. Best pancakes and waffles I've ever had. I would like to try a roller mill to crush the hulls. Any buck wheat experts around?

I noticed on your site that you are having bean problems. You might want to try some of the old horticultural types such as French's or Red Cranberry. They work for me when others fail. They are a dry storage type but I pick them at optimum and freeze them for succatash and other bean dishes.

I have read of an old Russian peasant method of soaking unhulled buckwheat until the grain and hull swells, then dry roasting the grain in the oven which shrinks the grain, leaving the hulls easy to rub off ( and presumably kasha?) I haven't tried it yet, been meaning to. Might be something to try.....no mention of which variety or species used.

I noticed on your site that you are having bean problems. You might want to try some of the old horticultural types such as French's or Red Cranberry. They work for me when others fail.

Thanks for that tip. I'll try Red Cranberry next year. Also I plan to try Fortex beans recommended by several people as the most disease resistant green bean.

My Hopi Red Limas are putting out pods and show no sign of disease.
My Razorback cowpeas show some leaf damage but continue to put out a heavy crop. I'll replant them next year along with Mississippi Silver cowpeas, I'm told it is the most disease resistant cowpea.

Leanan: I hope I'm not too OT here. I think knowledge of low input, subsistence farming will be valuable post peak.


Re. Fortex beans...heck it's a slow day on DB.

We have tried a number of pole beans over the years including many "blue lakes.". We found Fortex hard to pick. The best we have found is Rattle Snake pole beans. It's an old variety but a better try. It's all we grow now.



Re. Fortex beans...heck it's a slow day on DB.


You're right. What kind of gas are we talking about anyway.

How about buckwheat noodles?? You mix the buckwheat flour with water to make a dough. Roll it out and cut it into thin strips. Boil briefly. Have it with some lightly flavored salty fish based stock soup (like in here in Japan) or just plain.

The deer adapted to all.

One suggestion was cyclone or chickenwire laid on top of the ground. Seems metal pinching deer feet is not an experience they adapt to.

If one doesn't worry about the DNR fining you for animal harassment I'd suggest this.
(a paintball sentry that automatically detects moving objects )

See if you can get a nuisance permit, and just kill the deer. Deer meat is healthy.

And I'm sure this will be as successful as the last call for a 'general strike'


I'm calling for a national strike, one designed to close the country down for a day. The intent? Real campaign-finance reform and strong restrictions on lobbying. Because nothing will change until we take corporate money out of politics. Nothing will improve until our politicians are once again answerable to their constituents, not the rich and powerful.

Yeah, can't you just see it? This nation of religious Bible bangers joining Hustler publisher Larry Flint in his call for a general strike. Lotsa luck buddy.

Ron P.

What's more likely is an explosion of rage from the crazies as they lose access to the necessary capital to cruise suburbia in their pick-ups.

Here's a list of web-sites for hate-groups in the US: Chasing Evil


Alas, that is what I fear.

President Obama has the right idea.

It is a crying shame that the Generals won't let him go in the right direction.

Zero in 2030?

By 2030 we may be throwing rocks at each other...whether we use these things or not.


I have an idea of how to measure peak oil in some countries, and it relies on the relationship between oil and natural gas production.

In countries developing energy production, a nations oil production typically rises first, as oil is more valuable. At first, natural gas production is limited, probably mostly because it's associated gas, and it takes time for the demand for natural gas. As the demand for natural gas increases, the ability for associated gas becomes limited, so non-associated gas must begin to pick up the slack. Eventually, the oil production peaks and declines, while non-associated gas manages to hold up the countries' gas production.

The effect you would see is an outsized increase in the percentage of oil as a percentage of the country's energy production, which eventually peaks and begins to go down relative to natural gas production. The convergence in gas and oil as a percentage of energy production is an indication that oil is peaking.

Look at the mazamascience.com website and many cases in post peak countries are quite compelling.

U.S. Mortgage Loans: Seriously Delinquent and in Foreclosure, by type
This chart shows Prime Mortgages make up more than half of the seriously delinquent or foreclosed mortgages. How can this be since about 26 percent of all subprime mortgages are in trouble while only about 3.5 percent of prime fixed and 15 percent of prime adjustable mortgages are in trouble.

The answer is that because prime fixed + prime adjustable make up 57.5 percent of all mortgages outstanding while subprime fixed + subprime adjustable make up only 33.4 percent of all mortgages outstanding. The rest are FHA and VA mortgages. A chart here explains it all. foreclosure stats by loan type

Ron P.

To overwhelm these loan delinquencies, the supposed green-shoots are going to have to be pretty powerful. Plus it's looking like any talk of the recession bottoming out is driving up oil prices. How the heck is this recession going to end?

I was looking at Baker Hughes rig counts this morning and I was surprised by this chart of US offshore rigs:


Offshore rig count peaked in 2001 and 8 years of rising prices failed to reverse the falling rig trend. I don't study offshore closely, but that says to me that the oil companies are running out of targets to drill. Can a production peak be far behind?

The EIA is predicting a large rise in the amount of offshore oil. I wonder about that projections realism. The off limits areas remaining have less oil than the central and western gulf, which has been open already.

(I won't even comment on the 40 year on shore production decline doing a sudden reversal and growing by a million barrels per day).

(I won't even comment on the 40 year on shore production decline doing a sudden reversal and growing by a million barrels per day).

This is because of all the planned CO2-EOR projects.

At risk of being accused of cornucopianism I wonder if the rate of barrels discovered per well has improved. Plotting off-shore additions to reserves on the above graph (JF's graph that is) would tell the story. Unless that's true I think that the EIA curves are delusional.

At risk of being accused of cornucopianism I wonder if the rate of barrels discovered per well has improved.

Barrels discovered per well? I have never heard that term before. I think fields or reservoirs are discovered, not barrels per well. As far as barrels per field discovered improving, or getting greater, that is false. Barrels per field or the size of fields being discovered is getting smaller and smaller. The exact opposite of your hypothesis.

I know you have heard the story of the low hanging fruit being picked first. All the supergiants have been found. All the giants have been found. Only the runts are left to be discovered.

As far as the EIA goes, this is not surprising. They have been over projecting ever since they have been in existence. A chart drawn by them 10 years ago would look the same except with production turning up in 1999 instead of 2009. Is it that they never learn or are there other reasons for their year after year over optimistic projections?

Ron P.

Is it that they never learn or are there other reasons for their year after year over optimistic projections?

Maybe this quotes tell the story:

"It is unfortunate, considering that enthusiasm moves the world, that so few enthusiasts can be trusted to tell the truth."

- A J Balfour

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

- Upton Sinclair

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."

- John F. Kennedy

Now Ron, listen to his underlying point.

I think it is this: could technological change have meant that:

1. better imaging of fields means better development planning, meaning fewer wells needed for a field (than in the past); and/or

2. rigs can drill wells faster than in the past, so for a given rate of field development (measured in wells per year), fewer rigs are needed.

To which we respond:

1. Better imaging technology makes it possible to exploit smaller deposits of oil than would have been economic in the past. Lots of fields that previously had zero wells now have one or more - the "wells per field" is going up.

2. If rigs have somehow become more efficient, their use would be going up, not down, again because it would be economic to rework old fields and exploit previously uneconomic fields.

If the number of rigs is going down, it's because less drilling is happening. Trying to produce oil is less profitable than it was.

Gregvp, as I stated above, this has been going on for as long as I have been following the EIA's projections, or about 10 years. And I have seen documents that show it has been going on much longer than that. So what are you saying, that suddenly this new technology is going to kick in and finally prove the EIA correct in its projections?

I know Mexico, Norway and the UK will be glad to hear that, because if it is so we can expect to see a similar turn up in production from these countries as well. In fact the World should see a sudden turn up in production also. We should see C+C jump to over 100 million barrels per day within the next decade.

Hurray for all that new technology.

Ron P.

Thanks, that was my question. So after getting scolded I looked up the EIA reserve data in the gulf:

Crude Oil Proved Reserves (Million Barrels)

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Gulf of Mexico 4,088 4,251 3,919 3,852 3,500 3,320

Gulf of Mexico 356 303 225 190 155 144

So fewer wells drilled, fewer barrels in reserve.

Take it easy, take it easy. The thrust of the question is not totally nonsensical even if there's no such official technical term. In the best days of the big-time fields like Texas and Arabia, the oil often came at enormous flow rates from a relatively small number of wells, which probably happens less often nowadays. On the other hand, we now have horizontal drilling and the like, so the answer may be more complicated, and it may also be more fruitful to ask in terms of ultimate yield per foot drilled. Perhaps one of our experts can weigh in, since a quick Google is returning only a useless morass, and despite the ever-increasing sloppiness of Google search of late, Yahoo still seems to be even worse.

Shallow offshore peaked in the late 90s and and number of rigs have a peak in 2001. The peak in number of rigs coincide with the sharp increase in deep water offshore. I could see a dip in number of rigs from mid 2008 to now.

Motivated Reasoning

This research sort of fits in with Debbie's thread yesterday.


"We form emotional attachments that get wrapped up in our personal identity and sense of morality, irrespective of the facts of the matter. The problem is that this notion of 'motivated reasoning' has only been supported with experimental results in artificial settings. We decided it was time to see if it held up when you talk to actual voters in their homes, workplaces, restaurants, offices and other deliberative settings."


Interesting article, thanks for the link.

I have to go hike the mountains to break out of my doomer mood today...

Here is an interesting link from the Federation of American Scientists paper 'From Counter-Force to Minimal Deterrence' which was linked from the Slate arms control article from my previous post.

This is a link to an Office of Technology Assessment (Defunct once Newt Gingrich killed it off in 1995) paper titled 'The Effects of Nuclear War'


Check out Chapter 3, 'Three Attack Scenarios'

Makes getting hit with 10 class 5 hurricanes and a '8' earthquake in CA in one year look like a walk in the park.

Beside the general 'Doomer Porn' aspect, I found the light attack scenario targeting only oil refineries to be somewhat interesting to a TOD member.

OTA listed some consequences of this more 'minor' attack (perhaps 3-5 million dead (1979), depending on the breaks, given 80 1 MT air-bursts destroying 60% of US refinery capacity)...consequences that look familiar to the Post-Peak discussions here:

Post-attack society would be permanently and irrevocably changed. People would live in different places, work at different jobs, and
travel in different ways. They would buy different things and take different kinds of vacations.The Nation would tend to apply the
lessons of the past to future policy by seeking to reduce its vulnerabilities to the last attack.Energy conservation, where not required by regulations, would be encouraged by prices,taxes, and subsidies. Railroads and mass transitwould supplant travel by cars and planes; railand ships would substitute for planes and trucks in hauling freight. Automobile production would drop sharply and would emphasize energy-efficient models; bicycles and motorcycles would be popular. While housing construction would not necessarily end in the
suburbs, new homes there would probably be built closer together so that mass transit could serve them. Construction in cities would boom.
All houses would be better insulated; morewould use solar energy as fuel costs soared.Farms would be able to obtain adequate supplies of petroleum and its derivatives. Agriculture uses only 4 or 5 percent of the Nation’s petroleum, and its products are necessary. While gasoline and petrochemical-based fertilizers and pesticides would be much more expensive,they comprise only a small fraction of farm expenses and would be essential for large-scale efficient agriculture. Moreover much fertilizer is made from natural gas rather
than petroleum, so its price would not rise as dramatically as that of gasoline, Petroleum related cost increases would be passed on to
the consumer. The character of agriculture couId change, however. I n particular, the livestock industry might be sharply curtailed. At
every stage, livestock raising, slaughter, and distribution require much more energy than do crops. For example, rapid transportation and
extensive refrigeration are required. Meat would become very much more costly in relation to other foods than it is now, and so would
become a luxury. If livestock production dropped, a major source of demand for corn,soybeans, and other fodder would decline,possibly slowing price increases for other farm products.

Later on, on the large attack consequences discussion, OTA said that although rural people lack some technical skills that were lost when the city dwellers died, in general rural people were heartier than city dwellers.

No way, No how would a report like this be allowed to be written today. Bring back OTA. I would love to see OTA reconstituted and write reports like this on AGW and Peak Oil and environmental destruction (start with the fisheries, aka the Soylent Corporation Oceanographic Survey of 2025). No wonder the Contract on America Republican Congress got rid of OTA...can't have a government body writing the truth...

80 one megaton air bursts gets only 60% of the refineries. What a waste. 80 high altitude air bursts could take down 95% of all computers all over the world. No wonder they were shut down; they were all screwed up.

When I was setting on nuke alert in B-47s in the late 50's we figured that if fifty of the 500 of us on alert got through that USSR would be back to the stone age. Of course the 500 crews on alert in Russia thought the same thing about us. MAD was the concept.

Everyone is nicer now. :-)

How many computers were there in 1979?

No comment on the scenario's attack methodology.

What became obvious from reading this study is Russia is much less vulnerable to casualties from equivalent type attacks than the US is, due to their larger land area and lower population in general...lower population density and less concentration of population.

What is really obvious, to me, from the whole Slate article and all the linked information, is that we should take the toys away from the Generals and our civilian Dr. Strangeloves and put our scientists and engineers and dollars into renewable energy, efficiency, conservation, preventative health care....

Or, we could just admit that it would take a 'limited nuclear strike' to move us to more bicycles, windmills, solar panels, less consumer good consumption, etc. like the report says? Really? We won't move off top dead center BAU unless we take a nuclear strike?

If any of yuse guys and gals read the OTA report, you will be disappointed to see the language talking about striving to return to BAU as a post-attack goal...

Even so, I give them props for even releasing a report such as this.

I am not American but such study that I have done suggests the OTA remarks on agriculture are still about right for the USA, including a potential if push came to shove for a move away from the massive dominance of the meat sector (primary production of grains and Soy probably account for 25% of USA farm product value).

Agriculture uses only 4 or 5 percent of the Nation’s petroleum, and its products are necessary. While gasoline and petrochemical-based fertilizers and pesticides would be much more expensive,they comprise only a small fraction of farm expenses and would be essential for large-scale efficient agriculture. Moreover much fertilizer is made from natural gas rather than petroleum, ...

That seems about right even so many years later - figures for the globe are about 5% of natural gas used for fertilizer. Urea nitrogen fertilizer can also be made from coal in commercial quantities - see example of China in my guest posts (posted by Gail)earlier in the year - details and references for NG used in fertilizer in Part I
Hope brief sojourn in mountains brings back a recharged moonwatcher.

Railroads and mass transit would supplant travel by cars and planes...[blah, blah, blah]...

LOL. That scenario might be a tad self-contradictory in light of the real world. Of course, with a subject so unthinkable, one perhaps can't reasonably expect scenarios to be thought through with sparkling clarity.

It seems simply preposterous to expect that if and when things settled down to where people once again had enough choices to contemplate taking "vacations" or building "mass transit" as per the quote, anyone still in possession of their senses would seek to mass in population centers, i.e. into targets. But alas, mass transit has been useful - i.e. frequent enough and comprehensive enough to be more than mere urban jewelry mayors wave about to one-up each other at "conferences" - only in such places, where there are masses to support it. (Even the once-famous American interurbans were just that - interurbans, supported by population centers.)

More likely, the remaining population centers (targets) would slowly depopulate as people dispersed when and as they were able, fleeing out of mortal fear of being vaporized in the next attack. And yet even now, without that, masses travel only along trunk lines such as major freeways; precious few destinations need to be reached by masses coming from the same direction along the same route at the same time. As people dispersed even more, the problem of the first and last few miles would become even more intractable.

In addition, the government of such a day would be up to its neck in alligators, utterly impatient with freeloaders, financially incapable of giving riders the lavish handouts they mewl for and receive now, handouts that are the only thing keeping a little token transit going now. The days of charging only one-third of only the marginal cost (maybe 10% of the overall cost) of a ride would be a distant memory. So unless cars of some sort could be brought back, one might see mainly dangerous, uninsured, overpriced kamikaze tap-taps rumbling, weaving, wobbling, and occasionally overturning, amidst clouds of dust on the gravel roads.

Energy conservation, where not required by regulations, would be encouraged by prices,taxes, and subsidies. Railroads and mass transitwould supplant travel by cars and planes; railand ships would substitute for planes and trucks in hauling freight. Automobile production would drop sharply and would emphasize energy-efficient models; bicycles and motorcycles would be popular. While housing construction would not necessarily end in the

That part sounds almost good enough to motivate hacking into the targetting computer! If only we could get the same result with the collateral damage.

But, seriously. What would the odds be that we would respond rationally like that? More likely we would turn to a preventive war startegy -get um before they can get us........

How about a nice Cummings Turbo Diesel Ram Dually or HEMI powered Durango for your driveway? A Chrysler Aspen? *gag*

Chrysler Canada offers boost to federal clunker program

Chrysler Canada said Friday it is launching a "cash for clunkers" program to supplement the current federal program to encourage drivers to scrap old vehicles for new, fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

The company said it will kick in $500 to $1,500 to supplement the federal "retire your ride" program.

Qualifying customers must be owners of a 1995 or older model year vehicle that is in running condition and has been registered and insured in Canada for the previous consecutive six or 12 months, depending on the province, Chrysler said.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2009/08/21/chrysler-cash-clunker-incentive...


Where is the problem with that?
Do you prefer the good old gasoline 7.4 Litre V8's?

BTW: Chrysler is state owned as is GM. And yeah... 2 thirds of all mortgage lenders in the US are state owned and around 50% of insurance companies and then there are some very big banks, which only survive, because they received trillions of paper $.

Hi Euro,

That the purchase of a shiny new Ram Heavy Duty or Chrysler Aspen could be portrayed as a selfless act of kindness to the environment irritates the hell out of me. The $1,500.00 rebate applies to the least fuel efficient vehicles in Chrysler's fleet; if you want something that offers half decent fuel economy such as a Caliber, you'll have to settle for $500.00. Either way, you'll forfeit the full trade-in value of your vehicle. It's disingenuous to say the least and more in keeping with old Detroit mindset that has tarnished Chrysler's reputation with the car buying public.


Can anyone help me understand why the EIA database lists Australia as importing natural gas. It states that imports to Australia started in 2006 at 49 bcf and rose to 230 bcf in 2008. Does anyone know the source of these imports?

I suggest you email someone at the EIA. They are usually very responsive.

It seems that most of the web sites that I visit are really upset about Ben Bernanke speech to the Fed convention and thousands of words of consternation are written there.

Considering the audience, what he said was true. The Fed saved their world, they are mostly out of trouble and they are mostly stabilized, blah, blah, blah. The problem is he used the general term ‘economy’ meaning their ‘economy‘, not yours or mine. It would be meaningless to talk about unemployment because not one of the audience is unemployed. It would be meaningless to talk about mortgages in the toilet, because none of the audience is behind in their payments. When one takes the view of that audience, it all makes sense but it spells bad news for the rest of us.

The complete disconnect is frightening. We see the same disconnect from most Washington politicians. That’s why they cannot understand the big to do about tea parties or town hall meetings. “Why is everyone so upset? I am just fine.”

Yes, I know, it is all about right wing nuts …

Lynford -

Yes indeed, the disconnect between 'their' economy and 'our' economy is now just about total.

No one wants to admit that not only do we live a a zero-sum economic system, but that it would be more accurate to call it a 'negative-sum' economic system, meaning that the pie of real wealth is shrinking all the time and that the number of chairs in this game of economic musical chairs is getting fewer and fewer each time the music stops.

I fear that only some major unpleasantness has any hope of connecting 'their' economy with 'our' economy.

No one wants to admit that not only do we live a a zero-sum economic system, but that it would be more accurate to call it a 'negative-sum' economic system. - Joule

What is a zero sum game? A zero-sum game is like a poker game. At the end of the night there may be winners and losers but the players take away from the game exactly what they brought to the table. Nothing was produced.

Joule your assessment that our economy is a negative-sum game is spot on.

BTW let me recommend a terrific read: Las Vegas The Money and The Power. At the end of the book I formed a conclusion: Las Vegas is a disease and it has infected America.

"Get your money for nothin' and your chicks for free" Dire Straits


Yes, I know, it is all about right wing nuts … Lynford

I think a lot of the outrage expressed at the recent town hall meetings is people who struggle to express themselves coherently. That doesn't necessarily mean that their anger is a put-on. On the contrary...they're angry and they feel abused by the ruling class in America but they just aren't sophisticated enough to put it into words. Instead of intelligent expression they instead ape words or phrases they've heard over the television.

It reminds me of Paddy Chayefsky's brilliant satire Network. (video 4 minutes)

Howard Beale: Why are we in trouble? Because you people are listening to me right now. Because less than 3% of you read books...less than 15% of you read a daily newspaper. Because the only truth you know is the truth you get over this tube...

How can you have a democracy in a country of morons? (I guess that's mean so let me apologize before anyone gets outraged?)


It would be meaningless to talk about unemployment because not one of the audience is unemployed. It would be meaningless to talk about mortgages in the toilet, because none of the audience is behind in their payments. When one takes the view of that audience, it all makes sense but it spells bad news for the rest of us.

The complete disconnect is frightening. We see the same disconnect from most Washington politicians.

In the formal way that recessions are measured, shrinkage of nominal GDP, this one is over. But, recent recessions have had a long painful period called a jonless recovery. Krugman claims the 01 recession ended in Nov 01, but it was two years before it felt like a recovery. And that was resource limits to growth set in. So we are probably stabilized. But a lot of tough times are still ahead of us.

Are you claiming that with unemployment rising and mortgage defaults rising that GDP is growing? Hmmm...

Let's watch this space


shall we?


A better mood at Fed retreat: A year later, relief
There's confidence now that a second Great Depression has been averted

Ben Bernanke's "irrational exuberance" at the "Fed retreat" appears a tad shrill:

There's confidence now that a second Great Depression has been averted. And there's a whiff of self-satisfaction among policymakers about it. This time, most debates focused on how strong the recovery will turn out to be.

Bernanke struck his most optimistic tone since the crisis broke, saying in a speech that we have "avoided the worst" and that the global economy is "beginning to emerge" from the recession.

Maybe that's all we need is a little optimism, fresh air and exquisitely catered lunches with the backdrop of Jackson Wyoming:

On Thursday, Bernanke, clad in jeans and a red Washington Nationals baseball cap, took a nearly two-hour hike at the Grand Teton National Park with fellow Fed members Donald Kohn and Kevin Warsh.

And on Friday morning, Bernanke — in dark suit, crisp white shirt and blue tie — took a brief stroll with Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, and Masaaki Shirakawa, governor of the Bank of Japan. The snowcapped mountains and clear blue sky sketched a breathtaking backdrop.

I can almost hear Mr. Bernanke breaking out in an exuberant show-tune: "K-K-K-Katy..."

But I prefer my economic prognosticators to be held back by The Economics of Entropy. The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

Thirty years of economic policy dedicated to minimizing inflation have guaranteed a sizable second helping of economic collapse in the years to come – it’s only in the imaginations of politicians and publicists that the recent “dead cat bounce” in the stock market, and various modest decreases in the rate at which economic statistics are getting worse, add up to a recovery of any kind, much less a return to the unsustainable pseudo-prosperity of the years just past.

The Archdruid's Report July 29, 2009

I don't believe Bernanke has a clue about where we're at (if he does he's keeping his mouth shut about it).


I totally agree. See my post just above. Within the gang he runs with, everything he said makes sense and is true.

It is all true till it is not.

Yesterdays drumbeat had an article about Lithium due to its use in batteries but IMO its not 100% gauranteed LiMH will be the technology of choice -it might be NiMH. Either way Cobalt will be in demand as it is used in the Anode of both types. In addition Vanadium can increase the recharge lifetime massively...


NiMH will never attain the energy density of LiIon. That doesn't mean they might not make sense. If someone wants to give me enough NiMH to make my Prius into a (weak) plugin, I would be delighted. Today I would choose NiMH over LiIon, because I would rather have a proven tech, over higher energy density. But NiMH will never be good enough to mainstream all-electric transport.

But if you are looking for specialty materials that will become scarce in the future, I think there is no real shortage of good candidates. Take the thin film solar stuff, CIGS = Cadmium-Indium-Gallium-Sulfide. I suspect those first three are good candidates for near future scarcity. And I believe Vanadium flow batteries are approaching commercialization for utility backup/stability purposes.

I think the great white hope for high density batteries are the various Air-X batteries. Air zinc is furthest along. These have several times the density of LiIon, and most don't rely on scarce elements.

The Toyota Rav4 EV had a NiMH pack with a 120 mile range and many have well over 100,000 miles on the original pack. LiFePO4 is looking good though in terms of energy density, durability, and lifespan.

The sea will conquer our lands': The Nile Delta is under threat from rising sea levels. Without the food it produces, Egypt faces catastrophe

And how many nations/people *ARE* Screwed with a 6 foot sea level rise in 10 years? One figure I remember is 80% of human population is within 50 miles of the sea. How much of that is land-based food production - does anyone know?

the nile delta is sinking because ever since the aswan dam was built, the substantial annual deposit of sediment from
the river's yearly flood has been absent (along with the flood itself). Without a constant refreshing of the sediment,
the whole delta, made up of silt and mud, continues settling and sinking into the sea like it always has been, but no
longer receives any new buildup to maintain the ground level. Other problems caused by the dam are a decline in soil
nutrients, since the fields and lowlands no longer get an annual refereshment of new sediments and nutrients, as well
as an increase in salinization, as again the fields are now wetted by irrigation (and concomitant evaporation) and not by a wash-through flood.

settling and sinking into the sea like it always has been

That explains the particular issue of the Nile, but I'm more interested in a broad overview of exactly who and how badly other nations are gonna be taking it in the shorts if the earlier in the week report of a 6 foot water rise in the next ten years - I'd post a link to the alarming citation if I remebered where it was.


According to one projection, the warmer earth will only be able to feed 10 to 20 percent of the current earth's population.

And actual fight for dry ground - I can't imagine that would go well.

zuri -- You might be surprised to hear that what you describe happening on the Nile is also occuring on the Mississippi Delta. But a different cause: to maintain the shipping channel the Corps of Engineers has mainatained the current levee system. Otherwise the river would have diverted to a different path to the Gulf of Mexico. Now all the sediment load of the river is directed offshore into the deep basin with virtually nothing making it to the coast line. Just west of one of the greatest sediment sources the beaches at Grand Isle have been erodong away for decades. Addtitionally, the entire coastline of La. continues to subside as it has been for many millions of years. If you look at a map of La. the entie coastline from east to west was deposited by the Miss. River as it had change course inumerable times: once a delta builds out so far the river will switch course to a more direct route to the Gulf.

There has been some effort to divert some of the sediment load back to the coastline but I haven't heard that they've had any meaningful results.

And how many nations/people *ARE* Screwed with a 6 foot sea level rise in 10 years?

I don't think you could anyone at realclimate.org to take claims of 6feet/decade seriously. Two meters per century is probably still considered to be on the high side. Local rates much higher than that are possible with high rates of subsidence, but in that case global sea level rise is only a slight aggravating influence. Even global cooling if we could make it happen, wouldn't help a local that was subsiding that quickly.

With the U.S. having 5% of the world's population and using 25% of the world's energy; what will happen if China and India with over 30% of the world's population ramp up energy use in order to supply a carbon capped world with exports? Switching to natural gas in the remainder of the world yet emits carbon as natural gas has two thirds of the carbon content of oil. I suppose the Democrat's may plan a return to 19th century technology with bicycles, horses, and locomotives while China and India might have one car per family and jet around the world taking pictures of far away lands.

Wanna see what happens when a utility offers its customers generous quantities of tar, feathers, boiling oil and pitch forks, then paints a nice big bullseye on its buttocks? Well, days One and Two of the results (in reverse order) can be read online at http://contrarian.ca/

Given our current weather situation, I'm not sure how a Day Three would shape up.... (*)


(*) In response to a series of embarrassing power outages and the strong public outcry that followed, the NSUARB held a special hearing to evaluate Nova Scotia Power's reliability of service; company representatives were giving testimony, when, suddenly, the lights went... [yup, you guessed it].