Drumbeat: October 26, 2009

Canada's tar sands may to be just too dirty

Capturing and storing some of the carbon that would be released in the processing of Canada's tar sands may not clean the industry up. To turn the vast but dirty resource into useable oil, Canada will have to spew vast amounts of greenhouse gases.

That's the conclusion of a new study on the potential of so-called carbon capture and storage technology to reduce carbon emissions from tar sands operations.

Of Alberta’s Oil Sands and ‘Harmonizing’ Canadian and U.S. Climate Policy

In the run-up to December’s global climate change meeting, fissures are emerging between Canada and the United States over how to deal with the internationally contentious issue of Alberta’s vast oil sands projects, which have been responsible for a sharp increase in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Replace Harvest With Penn West

The prescient oil specialist and investment banker Matt Simmons, author or Twilight In The Desert, thinks OPEC has almost no spare capacity. The role of the monetary metals, particularly gold, is to perform mental calculations of value; pricing. The sooner you begin to calculate value in terms of real things the sooner you will be able to understand the relationship between gold, oil and your stomach. Provident living principles include having excess energy; a monkey that gets margin called starves to death.

The United States, consuming 400% more than it produces, needs a reliable source to feed its addiction and Canada is the perfect candidate.

Oil Price Drivers Are Complex, Obscured... but Perhaps Irrelevant

However, regardless of causation, OPEC may not alter supply at all. Kuwaiti oil minister Sheik Ahmad al-Sabah recently said he doubted that oil supply would increase in December, later calling such an increase “impossible.”

Some believe al-Sabah isn’t referring to a political impossibility, but a geological one. The specter of Peak Oil is much debated, but one fact isn’t: OPEC’s largest oil fields are all in decline, or fast approaching it.

$80 oil on the way to $100 by the end of 2009

Oil is now flirting with $80 per barrel. In January, while many other analysts were predicting $40 to $60 oil, I predicted that oil would soon be back at $100.

There are obvious and real underlying reasons for the escalating oil prices. But news headlines have ruled the price of oil since at least 2004. There was no real rational economic reason for oil to reach almost $150 (which for people with short memories may seem to have happened last century – it happened in July 2008) nor was there any reason for below-$40 oil, which happened right after the economic crisis hit last fall.

Why the world will never run out of energy

Oil remains so abundant that it is unlikely the world will ever run out, Jerome Corsi's Red Alert reports.

Economist Julian Simon, former professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, was famous for taking a contrarian position on energy resources, arguing that our perception of scarcity was not validated by the current or historical factual record of energy abundance.

In an essay titled "When Will We Run Out of Oil? Never!" Simon argued against Malthusian fears that peak oil theorists were right and sooner or later the pumps would run dry, as environmental alarmist Paul Ehrlich frequently argued.

Book Review: Crude World by Peter Maass

There are lots of reasons to look for alternatives to oil and to use less of the stuff; the two main ones you hear about in America are climate change and energy security.

But there is another story, another problem with oil- the disruption it causes in communities that are unprepared to deal with the sudden wealth that comes from sitting on top of it. Peter Maass has visited those parts of the world, some of them places that very few people would dare to go, and has written about them in Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.

Why has the price of gas jumped 18 cents a gallon?

Why are gasoline prices going up so much? I suppose I should be happy I am paying only $2.69 a gallon for mid-grade, instead of the $4.10 I paid in 2008. But it seems like the economy is not booming and oil supply exceeds demand, which would suggest oil prices -- and hence gasoline prices -- should be dropping. But they're not. And the reason is the same as last year -- speculators.

Arson or accident? FBI, ATF investigate fuel depot fire in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico (CNN) -- Investigators don't know if the massive fire at a fuel storage facility near San Juan was deliberately started or was an accident, the agent in charge of the FBI's San Juan office said Monday.

15 best places for green jobs

So where are all these green jobs? The Clean Edge study lists 15 metropolitan areas that are "current hotbeds of clean-tech job activity," based on the number of existing green jobs, the amount of green investing going on, and clean-tech employers' growth projections.

Tram inquiry gets underway

The first session will hear evidence from the Light Rail Transit Association, the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, Confederation of Passenger Transport and representatives from the Ultra Light Rail sector. It will cover issues around peak oil, climate change, health impacts and the role of innovation in light rail. Future sessions will hear from a wide range of witnesses, including existing and aspiring tram promoters (including Nottingham, TfL and the PTEs) as well as lobby groups like Campaign for Better Transport, and private sector perspectives from the light rail industry and business representatives.

Resource Nationalism: The Last Stand for the Oil Optimists

The price of oil has more than doubled from its nadir of $30 a barrel earlier this year. To explain the resilience of oil prices in the face of a severe economic slump, the oil optimists have turned to an old standby argument: resource nationalism.

Oil and the Future--A lunchtime address by John Hess

Our industry is at a crossroads. In the past few years, oil supply has struggled to keep pace with demand. But the financial crisis has reduced demand by 2 million barrels per day, creating excess inventories and lower prices. But once economic growth recovers, it is likely we will return to the market conditions of one year ago. The price of $140 per barrel oil was not an aberration; it was a warning.

Oil sector must think long-term

It is difficult to understand the number of reports that have emerged recently expecting or urging oil producers to go ahead with expansions and projects that have been slowed down, put on hold or cancelled.

Africa: Could regulation ease fears over land grabs?

Farmer organisations, civil society representatives and researchers at a debate at the European Development Days expressed concern about the impact of selling or leasing large tracts of land to foreign governments and companies. They fear it will harm Africa's ability to feed itself by improving the productivity of its small holder farmers.

Bangaladesh: National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas calls for new law banning gas export

Dhaka (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) -- The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port Saturday renewed its demand for enacting a law banning the export of the country?s energy resources.

Crude World

There’s a polemical directness to Crude World, Peter Maass’s tour of big oil and its myriad vices. Each of the 10 chapter headings comprises a single word. They begin with Scarcity and end in Mirage, taking in Plunder, Rot and Alienation on the way. The industry in the US is a “carnival of sin”, he says. Maass quotes approvingly former US White House official Harold Ickes, who, in the 1930s wrote in his diary that “an honest and scrupulous man in the oil business” was “so rare as to rank as a museum piece”.

This is the spirit that informs a short, sharp book that saw Maass visit 11 countries, building on previous articles from half a dozen other “oilcentric nations”. It’s a lot to pack in to a work of 200-plus pages. The pace is sometimes breathless. But Maass – a journalist and author of a book on the former Yugoslavia – succeeds in portraying an energy crisis mostly ignored or misunderstood in the developed world.

Poll: Oil to average $74 a barrel in 2010

U.S. crude oil was expected to average $74.00 (U.S.) a barrel in 2010, a Reuters poll showed on Monday, as almost one third of analysts surveyed increased their forecasts on the back of a stronger economic outlook.

Qatar eyes China as big new LNG volumes come online

RAS LAFFAN, Qatar (Reuters) - Qatar is looking to China to absorb some of the huge increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies as the world's biggest LNG exporter nears completion of its plan to double production capacity this year.

Qatar inaugurates on Tuesday the second of three giant LNG plants it has started up in 2009. The plants are the largest in the world, and were expected to help Qatar's economic growth this year outperform oil-exporting Gulf Arab neighbours constrained by OPEC output quotas.

Shell in petrol dilemma

Uganda’s largest fuel importer, Shell, is experiencing a shortage of petrol, which it blames mainly on the stringent measures of getting fuel from Kenya. For about three weeks now, several Shell fuel Stations in Kampala have had no Petrol in their pumps although Diesel remains available.

Crude Oil Lands

Even before the start of a two-week ultimatum from the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL) and the Local Union of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to the Mills Administration to supply the refinery with crude oil, over 100,000 metric tonnes of crude oil has arrived from Nigeria, courtesy of Sahara Oil.

Daily Guide learnt that a ship-load of crude oil from the Nigerian city of Warri berthed at Tema Port yesterday to douse the rising tension at the refinery and the heightened embarrassment the government had been subjected to, including the call for heads to roll in the oil sector. President John Evans Atta Mills last Thursday quickly dashed to TOR to engage the staff of the refinery in a face-to-face discussion, after which he assured them of the supply of crude oil.

Credit slowdown may haunt Saudi in 2010

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's economic growth prospects in 2010 will partially hinge on two debt-laden private conglomerates reaching a settlement with foreign lenders, who could snub funding of major projects, analysts said.

Regulators and bankers are grappling with up to $22 billion of debt restructuring at Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Bros Co and Saad Group, viewed by some experts as the biggest financial blow to the region since the global credit crisis began.

Kunstler: Self-jiving Nation

Like a lot of other observer-interlocutors, I'd like to know what folks imagine we are recovering to. To a renewed orgy of credit-card spending? To yet another round of suburban expansion, with the boys in the yellow hard-hats driving stakes out in the sagebrush for another new thousand-unit pop-up "community?" For a next generation of super-cars built to look like medieval war wagons? That's the "hope" that our officials seem to pretend to offer. It's completely inconsistent with any reality-based trend-lines, by the way.

Waterous Sees Pace of Canadian Oil, Gas Acquisitions Picking Up

(Bloomberg) -- The pace of Canadian oil and natural-gas acquisitions will pick up next year, partly as companies such as EnCana Corp. and Suncor Energy Inc. shed assets to free cash for projects, according to mergers and acquisitions adviser Scotia Waterous.

Europeans Dream of a 'Supergrid,' but Many Wires Need Connecting

LONDON -- European energy planners have a dream: an electricity grid spanning the continent and farther, one that seamlessly blends in the sharply rising but wildly fluctuating power coming from renewable sources and, at the same time, cuts transmission losses.

From the wind and wave-rich north to the sun-soaked south, the goal is to make sure not only that the electricity is low-carbon as part of the battle against climate change but also that it gets to where it is needed, when it is needed. The ideal would be to make the connections without consumers' being the least bit aware that one moment they are watching television powered from Scottish winds and the next from the Sahara sun.

Household Hints to Halt Heating

A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that Americans could easily cut carbon emissions by more than France's entire output.

DB Climate Change Advisors Publishes Analysis of 270 Climate and Energy Policies

Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division (DeAM) today published research which provides investors with an analysis of climate change policies and assigns a risk rating to 109 countries, states and regions based on key government mandates and supporting policy frameworks. The report, titled "Global Climate Change Policy Tracker: An Investor’s Assessment” (Climate Tracker), was produced by DB Climate Change Advisors (DBCCA), DeAM's institutional climate change investment and research business, working with the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth Institute, Columbia University.

The "Climate Tracker” is the first publicly-available analysis of its kind. It incorporates results of a model prepared by Columbia Climate Center researchers that estimates the impacts on carbon emissions of each of 270 major climate policies, and aggregates them at country, regional and global levels. The "Climate Tracker” provides a risk rating of countries and regions based on their relative attractiveness to investors. It is designed to help investors identify the best risk-adjusted returns in climate change investment opportunities around the world.

A post-oil world gets less sci-fi by the day: Dwindling supplies and no plan B – are we heading for Mad Max scenario?

It is 30 years since the film Mad Max was made, launching the career of Mel Gibson.

The film made a big splash at the time for its terrifying view of a world without oil, where gangs of grisly looking people roam deserts in a post-apocalyptic world, killing each other to get their hands on the few drops of petrol that some have managed to produce in makeshift refineries. Social order has completely broken down.

Great film if you like that sort of thing but complete fiction, of course. Or is it? Three decades later, and I wonder if the film was, in fact, years ahead of its time.

Oil Price to Reach US$ 350 in Near Future

January 12, 2020 - Even though the oil price crossed another barrier earlier this week with US$ 320 a barrel, we have probably not seen the end of it. With the stumbling of the world's current oil production even higher oil prices are to expect in the future. 1

When Saudi Arabia officially announced in 2010 that the oil production in Ghawar, the biggest oil field in the world, was significantly decreasing, the price for a barrel passed US$ 200. The current total world production of oil is 91 million barrels a day. To get down to the same oil price as before 2010, adjusted for inflation, an estimated world production increase of about 10% is needed.

This can only be achieved in three deposits in the world, Green River Oil Shale in the US, Athabasca Oil Sand in Canada, or Orinoco Oil Sand in Venezuela. However, all of them are extremely stressed at the moment with full capacity, which prevent them from increasing production for a lower oil price.

$80 Oil…

The $80 oil price is starting to worry me a little. Translate it into gasoline and you get somewhere around $2.50 per gallon or a little higher, depending on where in the US you fill up your tank. Add to that a little cold weather and expanding crack spreads in refineries, and the price will edge toward $3.

History-derived economic models show that the US consumer starts to change behavior as the price of gas approaches $3, and then goes into a more pronounced state of shock when it ranges higher, in the $3 to $4 corridor. The reaction is to cut spending and retrench if the consumer thinks the price is going to stay at the new higher level for a while. When the consumer thinks the price will not stay higher, he keeps on spending and buying on credit.


That history is derived, and has been modeled, from a time period when household balance sheets were relatively solid and when credit was flowing easily and when the unemployment rate was close to 5%, not 10%. So that is why I am starting to worry.

OPEC says to raise output if oil at $100

LUANDA (Reuters) - OPEC ministers will raise output to protect the global economic recovery at a meeting in December if oil prices rise to $100 per barrel, the group's president said on Sunday.

Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos, who is also Angola's oil minister, said that both producers and consumers were comfortable with oil prices at between $75 and $80 per barrel and that higher prices could put a brake on the global economy.

Gas jumps nearly 18 cents in 2 weeks

(CNN) -- Gasoline prices jumped nearly 18 cents over the past two weeks, the first two-week rise since early August, according to a survey published Sunday.

Goldman Keeps $85 Oil Target on China’s ‘Robust’ Diesel Demand

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. maintained its forecast for crude oil to reach $85 a barrel by the end of this year on “robust” demand for diesel in China, the world’s second-largest energy consumer.

“Chinese oil demand is leading the way and U.S. oil demand is lagging behind,” Goldman analysts led by David Greely said in a report dated Oct. 23 and made public today. “We are likely to see a recovery in which strong emerging-market oil demand puts upward pressure on crude oil prices.”

China oil demand in fastest growth in over 3 yrs

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's apparent oil demand rose 12.5 percent in September from a year earlier, the sixth rise in a row and the fastest rate since June 2006, as refiners operated at record rates amid a sustained recovery in economic activity.

However, the robust September rate, anticipated by some analysts, may have been inflated by a low base a year earlier when implied oil demand inched 2.3 percent as the global financial crisis began infiltrating into the world's second largest oil market.

Chinese LNG imports hit record high

China imported 788,514 tonnes of liquefied natural gas in September, customs data showed today, the highest on record since China started its first imports of the super-cooled clean fuel three years ago.

China’s Sept. Coal Imports Rise as Economy Recovers

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s largest coal user and producer, increased imports of the fuel in September to meet rising domestic consumption following an economic recovery.

Purchases rose 7 percent to 12.55 million metric tons last month from August and were more than triple what the country imported a year earlier, according to data from the customs office in Beijing today.

Tower of Power

In China, one doesn't have to look far to see the country's commitment to renewable energy. In cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, rooftops are now covered with solar water heaters. On the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, towering white wind turbines are popping up where only cattle, sheep and herders on horseback once roamed. While coal consumption is expected to climb more than 3% annually for the next two decades, the government has also required that electrical companies add a significant amount of alternative energy to their portfolios. With the global economy languishing, China — which is not only the world's most populous country, but also the most polluted — offers the promise that its green-energy drive can become a major source of demand for international wind and solar companies.

Aramco to start Khursaniyah gas plant soon

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco's gas processing plant at Khursaniyah was expected to start partial operations in a few weeks, two contracting sources said on Sunday.

Delays in construction at the plant delayed the whole 500,000 barrels per day Khursaniyah oilfield development project, one of the largest in Saudi expansion plans as the kingdom boosted crude production capacity to 12.5 million bpd.

Touradji Beaten by Commodity Indexes Shows Funds Losing Edge

(Bloomberg) -- Hedge fund managers are trailing benchmark commodity indexes by the widest margin in four years after copper doubled and oil surged 58 percent.

Barclays Hires Ex-Marubeni Oil Trader on Japan Hedging Demand

(Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc, the U.K.’s second- biggest bank, hired Marubeni Corp. oil trader Hiroyuki Oda to help meet growing demand from Japanese refiners and fuel wholesalers for hedging against petroleum price swings.

Sudan oil output falls short of estimates - minister

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan's oil production averaged 470,000 barrels per day in 2008/09 below estimates of 500,000 bpd, and plans to build a new refinery in Port Sudan have been shelved indefinitely, the oil minister said on Sunday.

Al-Zubeir Ahmed al-Hassan, also the minister of mining, said Sudan was witnessing a "gold rush" with commercial concessions being awarded to new companies and small-time mining exploding throughout Africa's largest country.

"The average (output) had been expected to reach 500,000 (bpd) but the actual is 470,000," Hassan told Reuters in an interview.

"Next year we are trying to be realistic... in the pricing and production."

Woodside’s Pluto LNG Expansion Costs May Climb, JPMorgan Says

(Bloomberg) -- Woodside Petroleum Ltd.’s plan to expand its Pluto project in Australia may cost A$3 billion ($2.8 billion) more after a potential supplier opted to feed gas to Chevron Corp.’s rival venture instead, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said.

Gazprom sees EU fully taking contracted gas

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Gazprom expects its European customers to fully take volumes of contracted gas this year thus avoiding the need to fine them for low consumption, an executive said on Monday.

The comment from Gazprom's export chief Alexander Medvedev follows a report in The Wall Street Journal that European customers owe Gazprom $2.5 billion under take-or-pay provisions, which fix a minimum amount of gas that they must buy annually.

Ghanem returns as head of Libya's state oil firm

LONDON (Reuters) - Shokri Ghanem has been reinstated as chairman of Libya's National Oil Corp., an unexpected return to the top oil post in the OPEC member-nation weeks after he left the job.

"Reinstated, and no other comment," Ghanem told Reuters. He left the post in September for reasons that were never made clear and had been replaced with Ali Seghir Mohamed Saleh.

Northwest Australia May Have as Many as Six Cyclones This Year

(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s northwest may have between four and six tropical cyclones this season, the Bureau of Meteorology said, potentially threatening mining operations and oil production.

UK: Utilities, Gas and Electric Fuel Poverty Expected To Hit 4.6m Homes By The End Of The Year

New figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have warned that the number of households living in fuel poverty in England is expected to hit 4.6 million by the end of the year.

Fuel poverty is the term given when a household spends more than 10% of its income on fuel to ensure it has enough heating for its home.

The projection comes from the latest figures, which show that the number of fuel-poor households in the UK rose from 3.25 million in 2006 to four million in 2007. The increases have been blamed by the continuing rise in fuel prices.

Hydro-Québec seeks control of N.B. corridor to U.S.: experts

Hydro-Québec has a strategic motive for its interest in NB Power, say people familiar with the industry.

Former New Brunswick energy minister Jeannot Volpe said Hydro-Québec may want to buy the utility so it can block sales of electricity to the United States by Newfoundland and Labrador from its Lower Churchill development.

The Newfoundland government wants to get electricity from that project into the U.S., he said, but it has not been able to arrange transmission through Quebec.

Iraq's Black Comedy

Who Wants To Win The Oil? is the latest satirical TV panel show where smart-mouthed comics comment on the day's events. But there's a twist. Who Wants is a daily show, it'll feature big-name comedians and they'll all be competing to win five litres of crude oil sitting in barrels in the studio. Sick and tasteless given the recent Iraq war? Well, yes, but Who Wants To Win The Oil? is actually on Iraqi television and is part of a new wave of satire sweeping the troubled country.

92-year-old's website leaves oil giant Shell-shocked

At 92 years old, Alfred Donovan is an unlikely online campaigner. But he and his son John, 62, have been a painful thorn in the side of Royal Dutch Shell for more than a decade. The pair run one of the oldest and most effective "gripe sites", and the oil giant's army of well-paid lawyers do not know how to neutralise them.

US threats prompted Iran nuclear facility

WASHINGTON - The administration of United States President Barack Obama claims that construction of a second Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Qom began before Tehran's decision to withdraw from a previous agreement to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in advance of such construction. But the November 2007 US intelligence estimate on Iran's nuclear program tells a different story.

The Iranian decision to withdraw from the earlier agreement with the IAEA was prompted, moreover, by the campaign of threats to Iran's nuclear facilities mounted by the George W Bush administration in early 2007, as a reconstruction of the sequence of events shows.

What's Behind Iran's Nuclear Delaying Tactics

Why the delay? Iran's leaders may simply be engaging in brinksmanship in search of further concessions over the amount of uranium transferred or the rate of deliveries. Iran's signature approach to negotiations has been to drag them out and incrementally roll back Western red lines. Not only has Iran finally won direct negotiations with America without ever changing its own positions, but the talks are increasingly occurring on its terms. Whereas President George W. Bush had insisted that Iran could not be allowed to "master the technology of uranium enrichment," today's talks are focused not on the question of whether Iran can continue enriching uranium, but on how its stockpile of enriched uranium is to be used.

UK: Energy reports 'a waste of time'

A former Tomorrow's World presenter has branded new energy reports "insane" after purpose-built 'eco homes' were given a low efficiency rating.

Lindsey Fallow said Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were made using a "glorified spread sheet" and did not recognise advanced technologies.

It comes after a firm she is involved with scored low ratings on four new homes in South Lanarkshire.

Detroit house auction flops for urban wasteland

Almost 9,000 Detroit homes and lots in various states of abandonment and decay are being picked over by speculators and mostly discarded -- despite a minimum bid of only $500.

Sidewalks become battlegrounds

JACKSON, Miss. — The nation's crumbling sidewalks have disabled residents taking their wheelchairs to the streets, a potentially dangerous practice that has cash-strapped cities and disability-rights advocates at odds over how to fix the problem.

Energy Dept. Aid for Scientists on the Edge

WASHINGTON — The federal Energy Department will make good on a pledge for a bolder technology strategy on Monday, awarding research grants for ideas like bacteria that will make gasoline, enzymes that will capture carbon dioxide to counter global warming and batteries so cheap that they will allow the use of solar power all night long.

Solarworld, Phoenix Shares Gain After Merkel Retreats on Cuts

(Bloomberg) -- Shares of German solar-power companies Solarworld AG, Q-Cells SE and Phoenix Solar AG climbed after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s incoming government retreated from threats to cut their subsidies.

2010 Now: Brazil Anticipates 5% Biodiesel Addition to Diesel by Three Years

The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, announced last week that the addition of 5% biodiesel to the diesel consumed in Brazil has been advanced in three years. The so-called B5, which was expected to start being used in 2013, will already be compulsory in 2010.

Who says it's green to burn woodchips?

One of the most cherished articles of faith of the green movement – that wood-fuelled power stations can help save the planet – is being increasingly challenged by campaigners and conservationists around the world.

Water-demanding farms looked at as resources vanish

YUMA - Along its final miles, the Colorado River snakes through a dizzying series of dams, canals, siphons and ditches, diverted to hundreds of users in Arizona and California until barely a trickle remains.

What flows through this watery Grand Central Station could fill the needs of all the homes and offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and much of Southern California.

But it doesn't.

The water, more than a billion gallons a day, irrigates vast fields of wheat, alfalfa, cotton, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, melons and a produce aisle of other fruits and vegetables, feeding an industry tilled from the desert more than a century ago.

‘Semi-vegetarianism’ could ease global warming

More people should be vegetarians and the food outlets on campus should be offering a greater variety of options to cater to people who take responsibility for their carbon footprint. The reduced environmental impact of using recyclable bags or taking short showers, while admirable, is nothing compared to the difference you can make by simply decreasing your meat consumption.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every American resisted meat consumption just one day per week, the environmental advantage would be the same as having 8 million fewer cars off the roads. There are plenty of interesting and tasty ways to adapt your favorite meals to be meatless; the meals available on campus are a truly poor representation of this.

Study: Warmed Northwest forests may yield less timber

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A new study suggests warming temperatures predicted over the next century could boost tree growth on Northwest forests, but less so at lower elevations where most of the timber is and temperatures are already warm.

Cap on Ships, Planes, to Increase Carbon Demand, Lloyds Says

(Bloomberg) -- Caps on emissions from ships and planes, which account for about 5 percent of global releases, may drive up demand for carbon credits and boost prices before a climate gathering in Copenhagen, an expert said.

International shipping and aviation may increase demand for carbon credits by as much as 25 percent, with marine accounting for 15 percent to meet European Union plans, said Anne-Marie Warris, a climate change expert at Lloyds Register, which certifies ships. About 3 billion metric tons of carbon credits are traded under the EU’s carbon trading scheme, she said.

Climate targets can't be achieved, say energy companies

Energy companies have privately warned the Government that its climate change targets are "illusory" and "delusional" as global leaders prepare to sign up to stricter guidelines at the Copenhagen climate change conference in six weeks.

When world production peaks will producers bypass countries which heavily subsidize transportation fuel costs? They would seek the highest profits, after all. Perhaps this would delay the onset of shortages in developed nations that don't have artificially low prices such as Venezuela or China. Or the visible appearance of same would send a signal that production has indeed peaked, giving other nations time to respond.

When world production peaks will producers bypass countries which heavily subsidize transportation fuel costs?

Why should they? As long as they get their money, why should they care if it comes from the individual consumer or the government?

More likely, governments would struggle to keep subsidizing fuel costs, and be forced to let prices rise.

It was countries like us, without artificially low or high prices, that cut back on consumption the most. The price rose much faster for us, since we don't have government-controlled prices, and because we don't have the taxes on fuel that many European countries have. That meant the rise in oil translated into a much bigger jump in gas prices (percentage wise).

Maybe I'm not making a distinction between price controls and subsidy - is there one? I was under the impression that price controls exacerbated the shortages in the 1970s - without such market intervention there wouldn't have been shortages in countries such as the US, since the actual shortfall in production was fairly modest. Ergo, in their absence shortages shouldn't appear, initially anyway.

Maybe I'm not making a distinction between price controls and subsidy - is there one?

There can be. A government can dictate the price of fuel, without subsidizing the cost. This caused shortages in China during the last spike, because refineries were losing money.

OTOH, some countries subsidize the cost - they pay the difference between the market price and the subsidized price.

In both cases, the oil producers get their money.

I was under the impression that price controls exacerbated the shortages in the 1970s

That may have been the case, but it was because we were an oil producer.

The US is the 3rd largest producing nation - when you say we "were an oil producer" do you mean that we were capable of increasing production back then? Lifting price controls gave companies the incentive to increase output from Prudhoe Bay in 1979, which isn't an option now.

Nations which subsidize fuel now could, post peak, redirect those subsidies to the open market for oil, which ostensibly could aid their bargaining power, I'd think. Or the resulting price increase would curb demand, obviating the need to buy oil in the first place. Perhaps movements like this could obscure the reality of a peak in production for some time.

You might check out the EIA link below and compile a list of oil exporting countries that have cut their consumption sufficiently to keep their net export decline rate above their production decline rate--given a production decline.

Incidentally, the current world record holder for highest annual net export decline rate, over their post-peak net export decline period, is the UK (55%/year net export decline rate). As you probably know, the UK has fairly high taxes on energy consumption, and the UK showed almost no increase in consumption over their decline phase.

The US is the 3rd largest producing nation - when you say we "were an oil producer" do you mean that we were capable of increasing production back then?

No, I meant the mechanism that caused shortages for us would not have worked that way in other countries.

We were in a kind of strange situation. We produced a lot of oil, and despite the price controls, had a mostly free market system. The rules were rather strange, too. The price controls were only on "old oil" - oil that was discovered before the price went up. The result was US producers pulling "old oil" off the market.

A country that did not produce any oil, or very little, would not be affected by price controls that way. Similarly, the US did not force domestic producers to sell or ban exports, as countries like China did during the last spike.

China & Venezuela are interesting case histories. You might examine their total oil production, consumption and net oil exports at the following website, from 1986 forward for China and from 1997 forward for Venezuela:


When world production peaks will producers bypass countries which heavily subsidize transportation fuel costs? They would seek the highest profits, after all.

Looks like Jakarta could single handedly keep demand going all by itself.
"Peak Oil, Global Warming"? Say What?


Plan is 200 million cars in China by 2020, same in India. This doesn't look like it will continue for long or end well!

The US gov't is about to max out its credit card.

Clock ticking on debt ceiling

Roughly $211 billion separates what the country owes and its self-imposed credit limit.

And by Friday, after another week of massive debt sales by the Treasury Department, that gap will likely have narrowed considerably.

It is now expected that the $12.104 trillion debt ceiling could be breached by the end of November.

It is also expected that lawmakers will raise the ceiling, as they have done more than 90 times since 1940 -- eight of them since 2002.

That's $40k / person of current debt according to the debt clock. Like we can pay this back.... And what is the point of the ceiling when 90 times before it didn't matter?

Most government obligations aren't included in that total-the last estimate for the whole pile I read was about 1 million dollars per USA income tax payer.

Of course that doesn't include the 23.7 trillion pledged to cover grifter scams, which in itself is double the entire debt number quoted in the article.

So round up and say my share is $2 million. So what?

The most likely result is greatly increased taxation on the USA worker, along with far lower wages and benefits. This older generation of Americans appears to be the last one to get reasonable health care and pension benefits.

Given the political environment it is unlikely to be direct taxation. Even the Democrats are too close to the moneyed interests to raise taxes on the people who have the money to pay more. I mean, heaven forbid that the people who benefit most from the system should pay the same share to support it as the poor stiffs at the bottom of the ladder.

A regressive, value added (sales) tax is coming for the USA. Bury it in the price of the product and the public will accept it readily like putting sugar in the cough syrup.

But ultimately that levels out by cutting into profits, where the elite take their cut.

VAT may be regressive on the first order distribution, but it is more likely to "trckle up" than payroll taxes that are equally or more regressive.

A regressive, value added (sales) tax is coming for the USA.

And the IRS won't go away. Employs too many and is a useful control on the population.

The total debt per person of 2 million'ish, is too big to repay. Debasing the currency or total default are the choices.

Inflation is the usual way countries default - looks like it has to be Zimbabwean style though!

Adding up total debt (liabilities) without adding up total assets is a useless, meaningless exercise. What are the total assets of government? I'm not talking about cash flow which is the amount of revenue the government takes in. All that matters for all practical purposes is that there is adequate revenue (cash flow) to cover current debt obligations coming due. In the case of government, which owns the electronic printing press, cash flow can be created at the press of a button.

I submit that the assets of the U.S. are the total assets of the country not just the Government since supposedly each of our portion of the debt is $40K which is a bogus number that I will get into in a minute. If each of us were to pay off our share, clearly we would have to use assets since personal cash flow for most would be inadequate. Thus the assets of the government are the sum of the assets of all of us since the government represents the people.

Now we know that the peoples' assets are not distributed evenly which the $40,000/person liability infers. Indeed it is well known that the top 10% or so own most of the wealth. How then is it logical to divide total government debt by population and expect those with low income or no income like infants to pay it? It is not. It is nonsense.

Clearly the debt has to be paid according to assets with those with large assets paying most of it. Now how is this to be done is the problem. The answer is that those with the most income must pay off the debt by having their taxes increased to cover the governments debt obligations that can not be covered with the electronic printing press.

Assigning debt on the basis of population and not on the basis of assets makes no sense and violates fundamental accounting principles. It is grossly unfair to burden those with no or few assets with national debt while Warren Buffett and Bill Gates only have to pay their $40,000 share.

Good point. I have been saying for decades that one of our fundamental problems is that we have been trying to run fiscal policy on the basis only of a cash-basis income statement, with no national balance sheet. Businesses that tried to operate that way would soon run into bankruptcy, as are we.

The real concern isn't the gross amount or the amount per capita, it is the percentage of GDP. Were it only a few percent of GDP, "paying it back" wouldn't really matter that much one way or the other. When you get up to 100% of GDP or more, that is serious trouble.

Add in the reality that we are probably looking at a stagnant economy at best, and a declining economy more likely, and it starts to look like a hopeless, terminal condition.

According to zfacts.com's debt clock, the Federal Debt is expected to reach the $12 trillion threshold around 9 am tomorrow, Oct. 27, 2009. Also adding in the negative net worth of the US which according to John Williams SGS site, is approaching $75 trillion, it is clear that
Washington is out of control and has been for the last nine years.


"Don't worry about that red stuff. You and I will be long gone before that matters."

Ronnie and Bush 1 quadrupled the national debt--
It was the best of time for the charge and rape crowd.

That red stuff is government's untenable political promises.

Reagan said "I would say the problem with liberals is that they spend money like drunken sailors but that would be unfair to sailors because at least the sailors are spending their own money".

Margaret Thatcher, a Reagan ally said, the problem with socialism is that eventually the socialist run out of other peoples money to spend.

They have run out in California and soon will in the U.S. This will result in severe inflation especially in commodities prices and especially in the U.S. Inflation will be more politically acceptable than unemployment and worse in the U.S. as the dollar declines. Our government will turn up the printing presses (because other countries won't pay for our debt). Early this year the government not coincidently decided to stop publishing M3 which was by far the best measure of how much money is floating around.

Ronald Reagan was brilliant but not perfect (because he delegated too much). Read an impartial biography.

And for high trecker: Reagan and Bush are from opposite philosophies. Reagan wanted to cut taxes and felt that would force government to cut spending. Bush was a terrible president in many ways and he was a terrible communicator and essentially a punching bag when he was right or wrong. He was also a very liberal a spender (ie greatly expanding medicare)and was essentially no different than the liberals in congress whose legislation he signed off on.

The 23.7 trillion pledged for the grifters is just one more example of those damn liberal ideas. Or was that conservative? The farce is getting too confusing.

perhaps you could direct me to an 'impartial biography' that delineates the mans brilliance.

If true, he surely 'hid his light under a bushel'.

Reagan, Bush, Palin, ...they're all of a piece...they don't just play idiots on television, they are authentically, deep-down... well..."intellectually incurious". Meat puppets.

Hard to see Pelosi towering over that trio of nitwits.

two entries below.

Lets be honest-- Reagan was a front man for a group of elite's who needed to regain power that had been reduced in the 1970's. He was a B Actor, and not the brightest porch light on the block, but perfected the electronic Nuremberg Rally to give simple stores to the sheeple who were traumatized after a defeat in Vietnam, and a weak economy.
The story and myth worked, and the casino was opened 24 hours a day.
The rest is history, as they say.
If anything, it but this puppy in the ditch faster, and possibly was a better outcome.

To above:

1. Reagan ended the cold war. That was an intentional strategy that he wrote about in his memoirs. He knew and stated back then that if he put enough pressure on the soviets though military and especially the star wars proposals that would break their backs economically to match and they would fold. The liberals continually criticized "star wars" as impossible but Reagan knew exactly what he was doing (and we also did develop missile defense eventually).

2. In case you weren't around in the 70's, the government and elite had the same power that they have today. The government had the same power to write laws and the elite had more money than the average citizen. The only power that was actually lost before that was that of people who couldn't get jobs and had to suffer though 17% inflation and a president telling them it was their fault.

Incidentally, another who lost power in the 70's was the Shah, who Carter intentionally overthough and replaced with our friend Komeini. Peter Jennings was on the plane from France with Komeini and all his allies as they flew over for the coup - the President of France called Carter a bastard for allowing it).

3. Lou Cannon offers an excellent objecive and both highly complementary and also highly critical biography of Ronald Regan. If anything, I thought it overly critical at times but overall objective. Its long and a little slow at times (I even skipped a few dense pages)but facinating at others. Reagan's number one fault was that he delagated much too much and even his own people sometimes felt they were without guidance. Other than that, by far the best is to see if you can find something, anything, that contains his personal writing which I believe gives the best incite into how smart the man really was.

4. Yes, liberal educators and part of the liberal press would have you believe Reagan was stupid (that's what they actually continually said about him). And Gerald Ford was a klutz (not a prior college football player) and Dan Quail was an idiot who couldn't spell potato (but did you ever hear him and how articulate he really is) and Sarah Palin is a jerk (but an inexperienced governor who somehow debated Joe Biden to at least a tie). I don't agree with all of these peoples positions (less on social issues, more on economics) but I do see right through the extemely biased information that many accept as the truth.

I grew up in the 60's and developed a healthy skepticism about Everything (and was liberal in everything). Winston Churchill once said "If your young and your not liberal you don't have a heart, if your old and not conservative you don't have a mind".

5. My recommendation, if you are open minded, would be to watch Fox News for less biased information and to talk radio 77 A LOT for at least a month. I don't agree with all the positions but I agree with many and at least I get real information. If you do it, by the end of a month, you will discover how most media view their role as shaping the common man's opinion, not disseminating information. You may come to see what I mean when you see both sides of the story and how it is reported in the mainstream media. It is not a coincidence that Fox has more listenership than all the other news shows. People are generally very smart. The typical CNN and MSNBC format, over and over repeatedly, has three talking heads who are all liberal who absolutely agree with each other on almost everything. That's some format for getting real information.

...watch Fox News for less biased information and to talk radio 77 A LOT for at least a month.

gee wally, if we do will that make us smart like you ?

If you are really interested and not funnin me, the mind is absolutely a muscle and it can specifically intentionally developed. I have been reading since I was young. I also intentionally developed my vocabulary by circling every word I can find to look up in a dictionary and every time I go back in to circle a new word I see the old circled words. I started doing this as a teenager when I learned that vocabulary is the mechanism that links concepts in the mind (by creating connections in the brain). At that time I also learned that relative vocabulary within a field also correlates with success within a given field (info from the Johnson O'Connor Institute, a career guidance program). School helps although I certainly wasn't a good student until I hit college.

I strongly suggest you start with the Reagan book below which will open up your mind.

Fox News is OK, as long as you stay well clear of their editorial shows which is most of prime time. I've never liked having opinions force-fed to me.

If you really want to work out your brain, consider that the media's "respected experts" pick the counterfactual side more often than not (that's conservative and liberal figures both).

Pick an expert you really respect, try to pick out the half the time they are wrong, then try to figure out why. Make sure it's someone you usually agree with or it isn't a challenge or enlightening.

Since this requires examining many of one's own deep assumptions it is almost certain to be an intellectual workout.

Fox News is OK

On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

Point to Mr. Blair. I thought they were only lying outright on their editorial shows.

Reagan ended the cold war. That was an intentional strategy that he wrote about in his memoirs.

Yea, because no one who has the ego to run for President would ever overstate his position in his memoirs.

Those memoirs, unlike most, were never intended to be published. It was not like the typical presidential bio where a president gets together with a ghost writer.

Also, reading them for his incites and intellegence. He didn't need to overstate his positions, those were his positions.

To ABOVE: I was inspired by my own recommedation and searched on "Reagan and personal writings". If you want real incite into this supposedly stupid man, I just ordered "Reagan in his Own Hand" and "The Reagan Diaries" for about $4 on Amazon. These personal writings were his thoughts and visions which were never intended to be published.

Then when you realize you were so Very obviously blatently and absolutely lied to about the President of the United States, you can start to question other things that might be told to you.

I don't think Reagan was stupid, but I do think he suffered from dementia...well before they publicly admitted it.

In particular, I suspect it became noticeable after the assassination attempt. This is quite common, though doctors often don't tell you this. Anesthesia can cause dementia. For someone with a young, healthy brain, it's no big deal. For someone who is already compensating for a cognitive deficit, it can cause a sudden and very noticeable decline.

Even you (and I mean that as a high complement). Read the Reagan memoirs I mentioned above and tell me about what you just said.

There's no denying it. He was senile. The only question is when.

And it's become clear that Alzheimer's is not something that happens suddenly. Cognitive deficits are there years, possibly decades, before they become obvious. If he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years after leaving office, he was suffering its effects while in office.

Agreed. But he was still absolutely brilliant while in office and everyone, and especially anyone who thinks otherwise, should read his memoirs. Nothing like direct source information

Yes, but your detractors have taken a semester of sociology and have received "The Truth." Who dare question Mother Professor?

the sad part is that when he said he didnt remember details about the iran-contra cash for missles arrangement, he was probably telling the truth.

As I mentioned above, his worst fault by far was delegating too much and the Iran Contra situation was just one example. He would tell people he trusted (many of whom but not all who were competent) his broad ideas and then expect them to do them without specific guidance. He might not have even known at the time.

Also, by the way, I personally think giving some arms under the table to save hostages lives wasn't nearly that big a sin as the mainstream press would have had you believe. Admittedly, arms for hostages is a bad idea in general and was not allowed but can you say it is so clear when peoples lives are at stake? What if he felt they would die otherwise and the only way to save them was to make a presidential exception under the table to save their lives and do an arms deal under the table that might not encourage future hostage taking? Is that so very simple ethically and morally when soldiers and hostages lives are on the line? Maybe he did the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Jimmy Carter on the other hand intentionally installed the Komeini regime. Intentionally allowed it and he could have stopped it. He felt (correctly) that the U.S. had previously improperly installed the Shah and that therefore he would allow his fall to Komeini. This then immediatly created a hostage situation and a problem that lives on to this day, an enemy government with almost absolute power that may soon have nuclear capacity. A much worse thing for a much less practical reason.

And while we are at it in the Middle East, I personally heard Bill Clinton say "we had Osama Bin Laden but we didn't feel we could hold him". He was discussing why when Bin Laden was offered to him by the Saudis the U.S. refused to take him. He didn't feel there were legal grounds. You'll never hear that from the mainstream press and these issues aren't always simple.

the guy was a moron.
don't believe me? here, snopes has it trying to fix a number to it, and he barely makes it out of double digits...
dumb as a bag of rocks
worst example of an American cornpone demagogue yet...early opponent of all major civil rights legislation and later used 'code' to demonize welfare mothers and black people.
Rabid enthusiast for capital punishment, flip-flopped on abortion, blatantly lied and violated his oath in Iran Contra.
Strictly an opportunist and a creature of his handlers (Lyn Nofziger and Donald Regan among them) the man had no moral compass and no intellectual gravity.
I'm sorry if you have been seduced by the hype.
Men like this...even their ministers laugh behind their back.

As my wife said, liberals see the world the way they want to see it. Spend $4 and get the direct source knowledge from his memoirs.

I don't have time to discuss all you said and you are correct about some items (capital punishment, abortion (which is an issue without answers). Iran contra is discussed above. Nobody doesn't make some mistakes, especially a president. On the other hand you are Very wrong on other issues. Read the book and then start questioning what other blatant lies you have been told. What if Ronald Reagan turned out to be really a brilliant, clever, thoughtful man? What other things that you absolutely know to be true could be subject to question if that proved to be true? If you read it ask yourself that question.


Did you even read your own link? The Snopes page says that the IQ ranking of presidents with the two Bushes and Reagan at the bottom is a hoax.

I guess it is extremely efficient to discredit your own point so that no one else has to, but it doesn't make you look too smart.

missles for hostages ? what the hell are you talking about ? it was missles for cash to fund the contra's in el salvador. are you having a senior moment ?

The Iran–Contra affair (Persian: ماجرای مک‌فارلین, Spanish: caso Irán-contras) was a political scandal in the United States which came to light in November 1986, during the Reagan administration, in which senior US figures agreed to facilitate the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo, to secure the release of hostages and to fund Nicaraguan contras.

It began as an operation to improve U.S.-Iranian relations, wherein Israel would ship weapons to a relatively moderate, politically influential group of Iranians; the U.S. would then resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of six U.S. hostages, who were being held by the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah,

You were saying? Why don't you simply read the book with a truly open mind?

here is a news flash for ya: ray-gun was elected in 1980.

Shocking! And he served as President from 1981 to 1989, when he was replaced by President GHW Bush.

So, you got a point, or is it "poke the noob day"?

point ? no, that is a normal reation when a wall steet lawyer with an mba responds with gobblygook. gobblygook begets gobblygook.

that is the beauty of the internet, anyone can be anything.

i'm a doctor, a lawyer and a movie star, i'm an astronaut and i own this bar.

It is 30 years since the film Mad Max was made, launching the career of Mel Gibson.

I read the first article quoted today (top) in Uk's Guardian newspaper this morning. This is the second of Ashley Seager's very recent PO articles. He is a well-respected member of Guardian's economics team. His article is a fair account of PO from a British perspective, including absence of government plans. The article begins to provide some main-stream visibility at least.

He sure isn't holding any punches saying that our future looks like the movie Mad Max. For those that haven't shut off their minds to this subject, that visual could really motivate readers.


I think the msm are gradually beginning to wake up to the reality of the oil situation-the articles that place the blame for high prices on speculators are not nearly so numerous as they used to be-and the coverage of the peak oil community while still grudging,niggardly, and condescending is growing-You can actually find names such as "Nate Hagens" in the NYT and organizations such as TOD mentioned.

Not so long ago they apparently had a defacto policy of pretending such people and organizations didn't really exist-that the peak oil community existed only as a bunch of deluded bloggers without leaders.

Change in our society has a way of starting slow and it usually takes a long time for a critical mass of people to embrace a new way of thinking or a new social movement-but when a critical mass is reached,sometimes change comes on in very short order,historically speaking.Examples include women's educational opportunities, gay rights, the organic foods movement and popular support for renewable energy-although this support is not enough yet to to overcome the status quo and the entrenched energy industry.

So now some suburbanite who is reading the NYT can type "Nate Hagens" or "The Oil Drum"into his search engine in about a second and open up a whole new world if she has never given peak oil more than a passing thought.

The very fact that the name is actually in the paper is a significant change and in my opinion may be compared to the (relative)trickle of water that is running off the Green land icecap-I think we have good reason to expect to see more and more coverage(and ice water!) of peak oil in the msm as Darwinian's description of the behavior of the media plays out-he says(approximately) they will publicize anything if it will sell papers regardless of whose ox is gored-

I believe he is right -once the coverage dam breaks and one or two big players start running regular pieces there may well be a flood of coverage.

Whether that will result in positive change or panic I can't say-a little of both seems likely.

You would think that they might have noticed that in "Mad Max", remarkably few newspapers were being sold and read. That would tend to have disturbing implications for the future cash flow. . .

It's important to remember that newspaper's content's job is not to present a coherent worldview but to provoke whatever emotions in the reader will induce them to buy tomorrow's edition. (For some people that's "bad news" they can use to feel "the world's going to hell in a handbasket"; the reason to censor news isn't because it's bad but because the reader might not appreciate it, whether it's good or bad.) For example, here you get details of a complete contradiction between two different "local editions" of a newspaper based on what the readers will agree with. (It's only suprising if you believe there's some reason for a newspaper's content to actually have a coherent view.)

It's important to remember that newspaper's content's job is not to present a coherent worldview but to provoke whatever emotions in the reader will induce them to buy tomorrow's edition.

I was told by staff+owner of a local weekly fishwrap the purpose was to sell Ad space.

But I much prefer this:

The following remarks were apparently made by John Swinton in 1880, then the preeminent New York journalist, probably one night in during that same year. Swinton was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

I found this recently, and it is quite relevant here:

You can actually find names such as "Nate Hagens" in the NYT and organizations such as TOD mentioned.

LOL if you see any mention of me in NYT let me know because you can kiss your ass good buy.
And I suggest run for the hills :)

if you started being quoted in newspapers, there would be tree shortages.

Or maybe a mountain has lost its top.
For a dyslexic, memmel sure has a way with words.

His article is a fair account of PO from a British perspective, including absence of government plans

Although there is an absence of Government plans, Gordon Brown has a 'Special Representative on International Energy Issues', Michael Wicks MP who has produced a report Energy Security: A national challenge in a changing world.

He puts an upbeat positive spin on most stuff but does actually point out a potentially bad situation. He gives Gordon an explanation of Peak Oil if he cares to read it, but he thinks gas is even more of a problem! He concludes that energy independence for the UK is unachievable and recommends that Norway, Qatar and Saudi Arabia be prioritised as the most significant relationships for our energy security - too bad he doesn't seem to mention ELM!


Gas prices going up... can a resurgent recession be far behind?

I've been watching. Looks like sometime in the next 48 hours, the YOY price for gas will be positive. A month ago, the difference was 60+ cents. Today it's 267.1, versus 269.9 a year ago.

That should conclude all the CPI deflation talk. Of course it won't conclude it, but it should.


This might be interesting for folks here. A well known political scientist uses game theory to predict there never be a deal on climate change:

Recipe for Failure


Why Copenhagen will be a bust, and other prophecies from the foreign-policy world's leading predictioneer.

Want to know what's going to happen with climate change? Is the world going to come together this December at the Copenhagen summit, or at some future date, and regulate away enough of the greenhouse gases that are heating up the planet to warm Al Gore's heart? I'm no climate scientist, but I've done my own calculations, and I can tell you the answer: probably not.

Despite the hoopla, the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen is destined to fail. Here's what will happen instead: Over the next several decades, world leaders will embrace tougher emissions standards than those proposed-and mostly ignored-in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. But real support for tougher regulations will fall. By midcentury, the mandatory emissions standards in place will be well below those set at Kyoto, a far cry from the targets for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases set to be discussed by world leaders in Copenhagen. And by the time 2100 rolls around, the political will for tougher regulations will have dried up almost completely. The reasons are many, but come down to this: Today's emerging powerhouses like Brazil, India, and China simply won't stand for serious curbs on their emissions, and the pro-regulation crowd in the United States and Europe won't be strong enough to force their hands.

Big money will be made with the carbon credit trading scheme-that is the bottom line.

I suspect you're right Brian.

But will you get localized carbon markets of the type we see at work in the EU or some global scheme? My guess, and BDM's too, is that you'll never see a global carbon market - too many localized vested interests sabotaging efforts to organize a response one level up... but powerful enough to profitably control the process in a more localized (i.e. protected) carbon market at home.

Whether this is enough to meaningfully combat global warming... well....

What about carbon tariffs like Jeff Rubin is forecasting?

This will likely happen, but, again, it won't likely be coordinated through some sort of global agreement/scheme like Kyoto or through a body like the WTO. What will happen is that AGW will become a football for domestic, protectionist interests with ecological concerns a second, distant concern.

So, dirty, but expensive, carbon emitters in the rich world will argue that cheaper, but marginally dirtier, carbon emitters in the poor world should have tariffs placed on their exports. What you'll get will be the worst of both worlds - you'll still have dirty, expensive carbon emitters in the rich world and now poor countries will get even poorer because their marginally dirtier goods are being discriminated against by richer countries. In fact, because you've cut off competition from abroad, those dirty emitters in the rich world can now afford to emit even more emissions even if you have something like a carbon tax or cap and trade because you've given them monopoly profits by eliminating their foreign competitors.

Thanks for the link.
De Mesquita is an interesting fella.
I'm not quite to the point of putting money on his prognostications,
but they make interesting reading nevertheless.

You can dig up a not very enlightening talk on TED.

The most interesting thing I've found on this guy so far is this:

More at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/magazine/16Bruce-t.html

The guy (Bueno De Mesquita) is a hopeless cornucopian ...

So how might we solve global warming and make the world in 500 years look attractive to our future selves? My short answer: New technologies will solve the problem for us. There is an equilibrium at which enough global warming -- a very modest amount more than we may already have, probably enough to be here in 50 to 100 years -- will create enough additional sunshine in cold places, enough additional rain in dry places, enough additional wind in still places, and, most importantly, enough additional incentives for humankind that solar panels, hydroelectricity, windmills, and as yet undiscovered technologies will be good and cheap enough to replace fossil fuels. We have already warmed enough for there to be all kinds of interesting research going on, but today such pursuits take more sacrifice than most people seem willing to make. Tomorrow that might not be true, and at that point, I doubt it'll be too late. And, looking out 500 years, we'll probably have figured out how to beam ourselves to distant planets where we can start all over, warming our solar system, our galaxy, and beyond with abandon.

His prediction for the next 130 years (see FP) ... also seems to be blind to resource scarcity. I concede that there's some interesting "game theory" modelling ... but GIGO applies to his predictions too (garbage in, garbage out).

His prediction for the next 130 years (see FP) ... also seems to be blind to resource scarcity. I concede that there's some interesting "game theory" modelling ... but GIGO applies to his predictions too (garbage in, garbage out).

Agreed. My take is this: The effects of Climate Change will be so pronounced by the years he mentions that one would have to be a rock, literally, to not be scared poopless. The predictioneer understands climate issues not at all, apparently.

Action will happen far, far earlier. Where I agree is that it is extremely likely to be too little,too late.


Today's emerging powerhouses like Brazil, India, and China simply won't stand for serious curbs on their emissions, and the pro-regulation crowd in the United States and Europe won't be strong enough to force their hands.

Is that so?

If the US and Europe is so adamant about cutting their emissions why this:
Solar hot water capacity added worldwide (2006):
China: 80.2 %
USA: 0.5 %

And if the US and Europe is so adamant about cutting their emissions why does China currently install more wind power?

And why are China and Brazil currently building the longest HVDC lines?

Are the Chinese and Brazilians simply wealthier than Americans that they can afford all this expensive cutting emission technology stuff?

And why is China still producing several factors less CO2 per capita even-though it produces all the consumer goods for the US and Europe?

Should Americans have borrowed money from China such that Americans could also have built a couple of solar hot water heaters to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel imports? Oh, wait a minute, poor America has borrowed lots of money from wealthy China, but apparently did not choose to invest wisely...

And is the foreign-policy world's leading predictioneer just having fun blaming others for ones own shortcomings or is he simply happy to be that embarrassingly ignorant?

Solar hot water heaters to heat domestic water is one of the most efficient solar energy technologies available.

"In 1980, the Israeli Knesset passed a law requiring the installation of solar water heaters in all new homes (except high towers with insufficient roof area)." Wikipedia

The attempt to transition to cellulosic ethanol is lacking compared to the simplicity and higher yield of rooftop water heaters in the sun belt. With Washington you do not always get good decisions, you only get decisions.

Detroit house auction flops for urban wasteland
I'd buy as many properties as I could, demolish/recycle all of the buildings and convert all of the properties into permaculture lots. I don't know how I could then afford the city's property taxes, maybe they'll accept payment in apples and nuts.

You could donate to a nature conservancy which is tax exempt in Michigan. Don't know if they'd want it though.


I'd try to somehow persuade the area's Arab minority to stage a nice little domestic insurgency right in the area in question, thus turning it into a war zone. Let the DOD handle the demolitions, they can do such a good job of it. Afterwords, the area becomes eligible for all sort of government goodies - much more so than what they could get at present.


I remember hearing that it costs near $100,000/acre to take care of the lead contamination problem.

As you add compost, the lead will be diluted -- just don't eat the dirt or have children play in it. At least that is the response I have developed.

One section of the my urban garden tested at 700 ppm of lead -- naturally you would expect 7-20 ppm. I suppose I should go get a blood test done to see if my lead levels are elevated after eating quit a few root vegetables, spinach, and lettuce.

It's probably not a problem with the crops, just don't eat the soil. I live in an urban area, afew houses from a community garden and there were initially concerns with the lead as old buildings with lead paint had been demolished years ago at the site. Also, years of leaded gasoline have created elevated lead levels adjacent to all highways. If you are concerned, check with your state health department or cooperative extention service.

I think the bottom line with the local garden was that most of the lead in the soil gets bound up and unless there's a lot of acid rain or something like that, it's not a real problem. Six or eight inches of compost would be real good.

Soil organic matter can help bind heavy metals such as lead (though metals are still slowly available over time). Also, note that soil pH can affect availability of heavy metals (he higher the soil pH, the lower the solubility of the heavies, therefore judicious applications of lime can be helpful in ameliorating metals contaminated soils).

Also, note that not all crops accumulate heavy metals at the same rate. This knowledge can work for you in a couple of ways. Firstly, you could concentrate on growing those crops which are less inclined to accumulate metals or which tend to accumulate them in non-edible portions of the plant. Secondly, you may be able to use plants with a high tolerance/high uptake of metals to actually cleanse the contaminated soil. There's a lot of research out there there on remediation of metals contaminated soils. Much good info is likely freely available on the web.

Some folks have posted that Detroit may be a place to relocate postpeak, partially due to the abundance of cheap or abandoned homes and land for reclaiming.

Unfortunately any home left unattended for a length of time here gets stripped and gutted.
All metals, brick, glass, wood flooring etc. are "recycled" and then they start to naturalize.
Tearing these homes down to reclaim the land is also problematic as many homes here have basements, whatcha gonna fill the holes with?
Up until WWII most homes were sort of like row houses with small yards and minimal space between, after WWII alot of homes were sided with asbestos which has its own disposal issues.

Much of the industry here took place before enviornmental issues with toxics were acknowledged leaving former factory areas and assembly plants highly contaminated.

Some areas, such as Delray, had decades of toxins pour from the sky that have doubtlessly accumulated in the soil.
My highschools' team bus was the first example I saw of acid rain waay back in 1972, all horizontal surfaces had been stripped of paint and showed bare metal. The swim team borrowed the pool at one of the schools there and the bus was parked outside once a week, for 3-4 hours only during the swim season.
The Rouge plant was a sight to behold with eyes bleary from the heavily chlorinated pool. The smokestacks belched many colors of flame and a gritty particulate that stuck to your skin.
Oh to be young again! :)

Are you in Detroit? I might get a slot on the agenda of the city's Green Task Force tomorrow. (Wed. 3:00 - 5:00) I'm in process of beginning a permaculture/urban ag/green tech training center and am presenting my plan.

Would love the support.


Lots of us are trying to do just that.

See my other post this sub-thread.


JHK had several good analogies this morning like …

It is also well within the realm of possibility that a Black Swan the size of Rodan the Flying Reptile will swoop through the stock markets to breath fire on the computer terminals and melt the glorious rally of 09 away.

I am a believer in giant Black Swans on the horizon and Rodan may very well be applicable to the market.

Lynford -- having just finished the "Black Swan" it's fresh on my mind. Taleb makes a great point: you cannot predict a Black Swan's probabilty or timing by definition. But there is one very clear course you can take regardless: do not allow yourself to be in a position of potential major loss should a BS occur. IOW, don't have a big chunk of your money in the stock market. He actually mentions the very low risk (and equally low return) gov't securities. Yes...you won't make those big gains. But, no, you won't lose your retirement nest egg either should the market flip. By definition, even if BS are not predictable, it doesn't mean you have to expose yourself to the possibiity. Taleb also makes the point that you can do the same with good Black Swans. A few small investments in risky but potentially huge return investments isn't a bad thing. He considers combining such investments with very low risk investments a viable approach. Good Black Swans do occur. He considers the middle of the road approach to be dangerous: we tend to underestimate risk and over estimate the return. Thus taking moderate risks with attractive returns can often be the worse path to follow in his opinion.

Good morning Rockman et al:

Yes I have read Taleb’s The Black Swan and also Fooled by Randomness. It is not by pure definition that I like “A black swan the size of Rodan.” It is the extremism of the immage that is delightful.


Now that’s a Black Swan! (or a red swan like no one has ever seen before).

Lynford -- Who wrote "Fooled..."? Thanks

Taleb wrote that one too, and I highly recommend it.

Thanks guys. I'm hooked on Taleb for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is his sarcastic and dismissive tone he takes at times. Suits my personality well, if you haven't noticed.


I thought Fooled by Randomness was the far better of the two books, but partially because he comes off less sarcastic and dismissive.

Damn Jack...I've already order it and there you go bursting my bubble. But thanks for the review anyway

Rate Of Bank Charge Offs Surpasses That Set During Great Depression

Even as the cataclysmic events of last year fade into memory and most pundits are convinced that the government alone can push the country into prosperity, if it only wasn't for that pesky unemployment number that just refuses to cooperate, yet another comparison with the Great Depression emerges, one that shows that the current period is in fact even worse than what occurred in the years after 1930. Moody's has released an analysis which shows that the most recent rate of bank charge offs, which hit $45 billion in the past quarter, and have now reached a total of $116 billion, is at 3.4%, which is substantially higher than the 2.25% hit in 1932, before peaking at at 3.4% rate by 1934.

And yet, the economic news seems to be getting better.

What's also being ignored here is that the price of oil has doubled from January (~$40) to now (~$80). In absolute terms, the price is back to where it was in 2007- and now, we're in a major recession (whereas 2 years ago we were not).

I anticipate that any whiff of recovery will easily push oil above $100/barrel and push the recovery back down, forcing more bank failures.

I think it very likely that the US Economy will continue to contract while the overall global economy expands, paced by Asia and South America. Borrow and Spend has neutered the US economy as it witnesses the demise of its consumer/service industry's massive overcapacity in restaurants, big box stores, etc., and the deadend jobs created for workers. Dave Cohen's recent analysis is excellent as it provides empirical data for predictions I made almost two-years ago and shows why things will worsen. My prescription for solving the problem remains the same: Immediately cease spending monies on unproductive pursuits, like expanding the Empire and an unaffordable military, and start spending those monies on putting our unemployed masses to work building the alternative energy and transportation systems we'll require in the near future.

These guys had the USA at #4 last year-quite the slide http://www.prosperity.com/rankings.aspx

Link up top: $80 oil on the way to $100 by the end of 2009 ,bold mine.

Neither the price escalation of the previous four years nor the oncoming one have anything to do with “peak oil.” This will eventually happen, but not for decades. Physically, but not necessarily politically, the world can produce 130 million barrels of oil per day, compared to the current 85 MMbbl/d. But achieving that level requires proper investment and management and will.

Such articles as this drive me nuts. Peak oil is decades away and the world can produce 45 million barrels per day more than it is now producing. That is an increase of over 50 percent. All that is needed is the proper investment, good management and will.

Now we might expect this from some reporter for the NY Times or some other daily rag. But the author of this piece is none other than Michael J. Economides, supposedly one of America's leading energy analysts.

Ron P.

You may recall my account of debating him at Texas A&M in October, 2007. He kept saying that EIA data showed that Saudi production was up in 2006 and in 2007, over 2005, and he produced a chart showing higher production. It was not until I proposed a $1,000 bet that he admitted that he was talking about "productive capacity."

One of the little oddities about the Peak Oil debate is that engineers, like Economides, tend to be optimists (decades away), while geologists tend to be more pessimistic (realistic), e.g., Deffeyes.

while geologists tend to be more pessimistic (realistic), e.g., Deffeyes.

And let us not forget that eminent geologist Jeffery Brown. ;-)

One of the little oddities about the Peak Oil debate is that engineers, like Economides, tend to be optimists (decades away), while geologists tend to be more pessimistic (realistic), e.g., Deffeyes.

Too bad that logic also exists south of the border...

Mexico oil output slide ending: minister

A dramatic slide in Mexico's oil production has come to an end and it can maintain output at 2.5 million barrels per day for the coming years, Energy Minister Georgina Kessel said on Tuesday.

Mexican crude output has plunged by nearly a quarter since peaking in 2004, straining public finances and spurring bond rating agencies to warn the country's debt could be downgraded.

However the government now believes the rate of decline at the giant Cantarell field has slowed and become more predictable.

"I am convinced this is a reasonable baseline and that we can work with it for the coming years," Kessel told Reuters in an interview, referring to the 2.5 million bpd level.

"I am confident that production at (Cantarell) has been stabilizing and this gives me confidence that we will not be seeing rates of decline that we experienced last year," she said.

Someone take her to Prudhoe, The North Sea, or even hop her north of the border to Texas. Declines happen.

Of course there is an economic rationale for oil to hit $150 dollars (although I don't think it will get there again until 2011). I don't trade futures but I have read that the way oil is actually priced in the current market has a lot to do with prices in the futures market. The actual spot market for physical delivery is somewhat thin and spread out and does not have enough volume to create reliable prices. Therefore, as circular as it seems, the price in the current market is often determined by the prices in the futures market. That is the reason for higher current prices than the current fundamentals might support.

This also makes sense from a logical and financial perspective because the "present value" of the future price of oil is higher when traders anticipate and price future higher prices.

This is actually very good for society as it gives an anticipatory warning of anticipated shortages before the fundamentals appear (as did $150 last year).

Canadian Oil Sands are huge polluters and land strippers and that is one reason I didn't invest in them. Penn West mentioned above is my largest personal investment by far (I recommended it here at a much lower price) and a leader in carbon sequestration (although I make absolutely no guarantees to anyone of any kind about investment).

Canadian Oil Sands are huge polluters and land strippers

I thought only the open pit operations (Syncrude and Suncor) could be accused of "land stripping", whereas the other 50% and growing production comes from in-situ operations. I've also seen publication which claim that oil sands production is no more carbon intensive than imported heavy oils from other regions. Do you have different data?

Only about 3% of the total oil sands area (containing 20% of the oil) would be developed by strip mining. The other 97% would be developed with in-situ drilling. They conserve land space by drilling 10-20 horizontal wells off a single gravel pad (they can go underground 2 miles or more horizontally with each well).

There's a picture of one such production pad on the front page of Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) web site: http://www.capp.ca/Pages/default.aspx

Canadian oil sands are about 10 to 20% more carbon intensive than California Kern River heavy oil. There, they are drilling vertical wells on 1-acre spacing, so the area looks like a gawdawful mess. The California politicians should pay more attention to what is happening in their own back yards (but dealing with reality has never been one of their strong points.)

Forbes announces layoffs as the magazine joins other magazines and newspapers in succumbing to pressures from the Internet and declining advertising revenue due to the Great Recession:


My thesis is that these media changes will have profound social consequences as some cling to old media and others embrace the Internet where the wide variety of messengers and messages leads to fragmentation and disorganization.

For a while those using the old media will be less fragmented and more organized because of the finite number of messengers and messages. But they will gradually be out numbered as younger people and even many seniors like myself give up on magazines, newspapers, TV and embrace the Internet.

Society will lose cohesiveness and direction as internet users each live in a virtual world of their own creation communicating with other like minded users in an echo chamber.

Re Canada tar sands, be sure to check out Nate's post: Environmental Impacts of Oil Sands Development in Alberta.

I would not describe this as "Nate's post", and I don't think Nate would either. The introduction describes it as a guest post by Simon Dyer's from Pembina Institute. The post is very one sided, but at the end, the Pembina Institute comes out supporting more production of oil from the Oil Sands.

Read the comments to the post--quite a few of the statement in the post are questionable at best.

Fair enough -- my memory only went as far as "Posted by Nate Hagens."

Gail - Here's a statement that isn't questionable: The Tar Sands are an abomination.

Every time I see a picture of the Tar Sands it reminds me of one of Peter Jacksons' sinsiter sets in his Lord of the Rings movies. It's really creepy that we're destroying the earth to fill up our gas-tanks.


Wasn't Saturday the 24th 350.org day? We're already at 391 PPM and it's rising quick. Let's ask Mr. Mckibbon why he wasted his time trying to wake up more people to the consequences of rising Atmospheric carbon.

Here is some news for Alberta. Carbon Trading schemes are going to be the order of the day after Copenhagen (Yay! more fees for MBA's). With the huge carbon footprint of extracting oil from tar sands it may be too cheap at $150 a barrel. Carbon Capture and Storage is hypothetical wishing and hoping (that we can keep up this high livin' for just a little while longer).

I suggest all supporters of The Tar Sands should be made to live in condominiums looking at those tailing ponds and environmental waste. Disgusting!


"...made to live in condominiums looking at those tailing ponds..."

Sigh. Something of the sort happens all the time without making anyone do anything. For millennia, people who have had the opportunity have been moving from more pristine places - which are often unutterably boring on a day-in-and-day-out basis - to less pristine places, often against the strong wishes of the government of the day. Today, they're still moving as fast as they can, even where the less pristine places - namely the cities - are awful far beyond anything that can be grasped by most Westerners.


See article above on Semi-Vegetarianism.

"A 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization stated that the meat industry accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than those cumulatively produced by all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes and ships in the world. The report also found that the industry is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”

I wonder how many hamburgers we could pry from people's cold dead hands, at least one day a week ?

Here's something different for the Drumbeat. Autoweek columnist predicts the end of the Automobile Age. As expected the "you can have my car when you pry it from my cold, dead hands" crowd is out in force in the comments section.


Unlike Europe and Japan, we in the United States are still expanding into a frontier. Westward ho! Europe and Asia have reached the edges of their petri dishes. They have realized that everybody driving their own cars would be a mathematical and physical impossibility. You'd hit a traffic jam at the end of your driveway.

But we in America, our frontier is running out. Outside of L.A. there is desert. Tract homes made a valiant effort to carpet the desert between L.A. and Las Vegas but gave up when even Angelenos realized that they didn't want to do that. Short of paving Nebraska and replacing the corn with stucco, we too may be reaching the edges of our frontier. It was a fun 400 years, but now the party's over and it's time to try and live together peacefully, without road rage. That means cars are on the way out.

livefreeordie wrote:
'Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.' Benjamin Franklin, 'Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor,' November 11, 1755."
Iknow, I know, this was said by some old white guy, over 200 years ago, who believed in the individual freedoms and liberties that this once-great country used to espouse. You know, when it wasn't your neighbor's business as to why you worked far from home. A time when you were free to make choices that you were responsible and accountable for. A time when you were free and socialism/marxism/communism were frowned upon. A better time.

As long as we have true rural areas, and roads like the 3 Sisters (near Utopia in the Hill Country of Texas) we'll have cool cars/bikes to drive. What they run on in the near/far future I'm not sure, but as long as we have some sort of choice in the universe, we'll have individual transportation.

Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20091022/FREE/910229995#ixzz0V67QOmMC

Is the first guy for real? The second guy is at least right, we will always have individual transportation. That being said, we have always had individual transportation.

Columnist Vaughn also writes:

There are 12 million people living in Tokyo not far from where I sit right now... From what I have seen of the city and of this part of the country, I cannot imagine all of those people driving individual cars on freeways and then trying to find somewhere to park them.

From what I've seen, I can't imagine it either. However: it's not uncommon to see car elevators in Tokyo-area driveways. People will go to that much trouble and expense to have transportation that takes them where they need to travel, when they need to travel, as opposed to buses and trains set up for someone else's trips on someone else's schedule. So I wouldn't get too delusional about peaceably extending the Tokyo model to North America, a vast expanse with but a few dozen square miles even approaching Tokyo's population density. (Los Angeles is practically wilderness by comparison.)

Oh, and by the way, while bicycles are still somewhat common in Tokyo, use seems to have plummeted drastically - at a guess by a factor of five or even ten - over the last couple of decades. So I might not even get too delusional about extending the Tokyo model to present-day Tokyo itself...

Maybe Tokyo is the logical end of the "Green Economy" paradigm. Expensive, high tech infrastructure combined with BAU growth lets a city grow to gargantuan proportions with relatively clean air and low per capita energy use.... and crash harder in the end.

Maybe Autoweek is just getting into the holiday spirit and feel the need to scare their readership with a spooky story.

this fellow has never been in traffic jams in europe, the ME, or asia, then, has he? wall to wall cars,
every bit as ugly as 5:30 pm on the beltway or your traffic nightmare of choice in the US.
If switzerland, with the greatest public transportation system on the planet covering every last village into the
alps, with enormous public support and matching public largesse for public transit, with almost punitive
discouragement toward cars (including simply not making enough parking available, by design, and letting prices
rise to ration it), still drowns in car traffic, then while the gas is affordable, any other place can
put the dreams of eliminating the cars back into fantasyland where they came from.

Now throw into the mix the reality of just about every other country in the world: there is a lot of money to be
made selling the car culture to the rubes. money from the cars themselves, in selling them and then servicing them,
money from the market for accessories for cars and people as well, money from all the new shopping malls and
concentrations of people possible as long as there's enough parking space, money in the pockets of all those
contractors who build all this stuff and all the roads to get to it (bonus points if it's paid for by someone else's money, like tax money or debt your kids will be stuck with), money for bureacrats to regulate, license, monitor,
control, and officiate over it all, even a generous payout for the local cops in some back hills town to
write out some tickets. and where does it come from?
it comes from getting people hooked on cars and then they are forced to run on the hamster wheel all that
much more and all that much faster to pay for it all.. and once you get enough people hooked on this car
culture, the people who resisted it for the scam that it is, are forced to play along as well- the local shops close down (or get so lousy you can't justify going there anymore), communities of people turn into
miserable deserts of cars and car infrastructure, so that you can't even walk anywhere anymore (or maybe it's
too dangerous or filthy to try), sooner or later your only way of making a living is miles away and either you get
a car, or put up with a concentrated serving of the poorest slice of society still riding the bus or train,
and god help you if you think you'll ever impress that girl's parents enough for them to ever like you, without
a car... and so on and so forth. Let this cook for a generation and you're about as deep into this trap as
LA itself.

the solution is right in front of our noses- hell, it's the very purpose of this site. this problem solves itself
when the fuel is no longer available. but trying to stop it before then?

a lot of americans tend to think that europe is somehow so much better, people so much wiser and more responsible... they really should visit and see that, indeed, people (and governments, industry, etc) are basically
just as greedy and shortsighted as elsewhere. For a brief while in the 70s and 80s, europe surfed over just the
right part of the prosperity curve, while just enough people were coming into town from just enough of a basically
late middle ages standard of living (electricity didnt hit a lot of rural places until the 60s or 70s, and farming in many cases was done with animals until then it wasnt done at all (huge agribisiness of NW europe is a different story)), that people got by with no cars (or tiny little fiat 500s), a lot of walking, tiny apartments, and generally a lower demand for quantity of material goods. That era is preserved in lots of movies and modern
nostalgic dreaming, but nowadays that very lifestyle is as much an expensive choice as the mythological
brownstones off of central park is in new york. mere mortals cannot afford it. Yes, people still live in the old city centres in europe. Then millions more live in apartment projects and suburbs all around those cities, and they (and their cars) clog the maze of highways here too.

It's nice to think that somewhere at least, people havent made the same dumb mistakes, but there are
very real reasons of profit that people have been herded into those mistakes. Come to switzerland if you want
to see the only place in the (developed) world where it isn't 100% this way, but be prepared, even here, more
than 50% of all passenger-miles are in cars, not public transit!

Wheels Magazine (Australia) has had a long-running series on Oil for about two years now. Surprisingly forward-thinking from a magazine dedicated to private transport (it's main competitor, Motor, is fixated on the latest big-banger from Ford or Holden, however).

Statisticians reject global cooling

The recent Internet chatter about cooling led NOAA's climate data center to re-examine its temperature data. It found no cooling trend.


Thanks! I was predicting to myself that 2010 could exceed 2005 -- nice to see it backed up by somebody who (Gavin) is learned on the subject.

Of the 10 hottest years recorded by NOAA, eight have occurred since 2000, and after this year it will be nine because this year is on track to be the sixth-warmest on record.

The current El Nino is forecast to get stronger, probably pushing global temperatures even higher next year, scientists say. NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt predicts 2010 may break a record, so a cooling trend "will be never talked about again."

That's a tad optimistic. I suspect they'll still be pushing this 'cooling trend' when half of Texas is underwater and there are three successive sunny days in Wales. AGW denialists are pretty reality-proof.