Drumbeat: November 6, 2009

Interview With Ian Gordon

IAN: Well I do subscribe to the theory of peak oil. But again, I think the demand for oil is going to drop precipitously. Simply because no one’s gonna be working. Again if we use the idea that 45% of the U.S economy is going to be halted. That means essentially that the same kind of oil demand is the percentage dropping oil demand is also going to occur in the United States. And we are only picking on the United States because she has the largest economy in the world but we are all going be in be in the same boat.

So the whole world economy is going to drop by that kind of percentage.

TRACE: But not necessarily a precipitous enough drop that we could see 90% of the earth’s population washed away in this winter because of unsustainability?

IAN: Well, you are not going to see that because, as you know, there is a significant part of the world’s population who basically do not have anything anyway. If we go into Africa, or huge parts of China, India, etc. even though they are emerging nations they still have a large percentage of the population that are extremely poor.

Pemex to Boost Drilling at Chicontepec, Kessel Says

(Bloomberg) -- Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel said state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos will boost drilling at the Chicontepec field as it seeks to stem falling output.

New technology may help raise production at the geologically difficult field, Kessel said today in an interview at the Bloomberg Economic Forum in Mexico City. Mexico hopes the deposit will produce about 700,000 barrels a day by 2017, compensating for declines at the 30-year-old Cantarell field.

Two Mexico oil ports shut on bad weather

MEXICO CITY, (Reuters) - Mexico's Coatzacoalcos and Dos Bocas oil terminals, which have been out of operation for much of the week due to bad weather, were closed on Thursday, the government said.

Coatzacoalcos, which reopened Thursday morning, closed again in the afternoon as high waves made port operations unsafe.

The nearby Dos Bocas oil port remained closed all day due to high waves, the government said.

Baker Hughes: U.S. Rig Count for October Up 35 to 1,044

Baker Hughes announced that the international rig count for October 2009 was 983, down 3 from the 986 counted in September 2009, and down 113 from the 1,096 counted in October 2008. The international offshore rig count for October 2009 was 267, down 8 from the 275 counted in September 2009 and down 17 from the 284 counted in October 2008.

Australia: Diesel fuel shortage causes anger among truck drivers

VICTORIAN truckies are fuming about a diesel fuel shortage caused by drought-breaking rain and an early harvest.

And industry insiders say motorists should also expect shortages of unleaded petrol in the period leading up to Christmas.

China top refiners to run at record in Nov

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's leading refineries will raise their crude processing mildly in November to a record high as signs of recovering demand are piling up while a widely-expected fuel price hike nears.

Money no object in Chinese bid for Africa's oil

CHINA has offered a near open cheque book to Africa's major oil producers in a bid to guarantee supplies for decades to come.

It has offered $US30 billion ($A33 billion) to Nigeria and is negotiating for stakes in oilfields in Ghana and Angola.

China's thirst for oil is expected to be a major topic at the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao meets African leaders and ministers in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from tomorrow.

Ukraine: Russian gas debt paid on time

KIEV—Ukraine has paid for the Russian gas it used in October just days before a deadline, the prime minister said Friday, seeking to avoid a repeat of the January conflict that saw Russia cut supplies to Europe.

Shell Considering Arctic Drilling for Oil

Shell said it will decide within months whether to begin drilling for oil and gas off the Alaskan coast despite strong opposition.

The Anchorage Daily News said Thursday that environmentalists and Alaska North Slope officials are opposing possible Arctic drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Scientists suspect the two seas may hold significant stores of oil and natural gas.

Renewable Banality: The Latest British Export

I loved the true story of the Nigerian energy worker who, having received a pay check for $900, amended the figure to read $9,000. As the reporter wittily put it, “The check fraud proved entirely successful ... right up to the point where he attempted to cash it.” That’s kind of how I feel about the renewable energy revolution. It will prove entirely successful in the eyes of the public and media -- right up to the point where the lights start going out. And those lights will soon start going out, according to a new report.

Building A Better Lightbulb

The U.S. Department of Energy is offering $10 million to the first individual or company to develop an energy-efficient LED replacement for the standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. DOE lighting program manager James Brodrick discusses the L Prize, and what makes a better bulb.

Nuclear energy not on platter for Pakistan: US

The US, which signed a nuclear agreement with India last year, is not considering the option of providing atomic energy to Pakistan as part of its efforts to resolve the energy-crisis in the country.

World’s first hybrid power plants show promise

Soon, a bridging approach to solar and gas-fired electricity could reduce carbon emissions from power generation. Meet the integrated solar combined-cycle (ISCC) power plant, a hybrid design being pioneered in North Africa.

Spinners and losers in the wind turbine storm

Rural rejecters of wind power aren't bumptious bumpkins, says Adrian Snook. We are asserting our rights as consumers and voters.

Monbiot: We cannot change the world by changing our buying habits

Small actions allow people to overlook the bigger ones and still claim they are being environmentally responsible.

10 Most Surprising Places to Find Petroleum

Surprise. Moving away from oil is going to take more work than driving hybrids and avoiding plastic.

California Water Overhaul Caps Use

LOS ANGELES — California lawmakers on Wednesday approved a series of bills that would vastly overhaul the state’s troubled water system. The water package is the most comprehensive to emerge from the state since the 1960s, when California last upgraded its system for what was a far smaller population of users.

Prompted by a protracted drought — which has reduced water supply, harmed the fishing industry and contributed to crop loss — environmentalists and agricultural interests have agreed to broad concessions.

Back to the Land: The New Green Revolution

With so much yield for so few bucks, it might seem surprising that Indian authorities hadn't dug Thakare a pond long before now. But small farmers like Thakare have been neglected for much of the past three decades — and not only in India. Throughout the developing world, agriculture was the also-ran of the global economy. Governments equated economic progress with steel mills and shoe factories. While urban centers thrived and city dwellers got rich, hundreds of millions of farmers remained mired in poverty. Agriculture in many developing nations stagnated.

Now the farm is back. Fears of food shortages, a rethinking of antipoverty priorities and the crushing recession are causing a dramatic shift in world economic policy in favor of greater support for agriculture. Farmers like Thakare are being showered with more aid and investment by governments and development agencies than they have in decades in a renewed global quest for food security and rural development. The effort is still in its early stages, and some promises made have yet to be translated into real results. Some programs already in place may prove to be flawed. But a new commitment to agriculture by the global community is clearly emerging.

Rules on Modified Corn Skirted, Study Says

As many as 25 percent of the American farmers growing genetically engineered corn are no longer complying with federal rules intended to maintain the resistance of the crops to damage from insects, according to a report Thursday from an advocacy group.

Monbiot: Why growing virgin vegetable oil to burn is crazy

What makes more sense, burning virgin vegetable oil in car engines, or burning it in power stations? The answer is neither. In both cases you are snatching food from people's mouths.

But Andrew Mercer, chief executive of Blue-NG, the company which owns the UK's first power station running on vegetable oil, appears to believe that he is doing the world a favour.

Defining ‘Sustainable’ Palm Oil Production

Earlier this week the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an association of palm oil producers, manufacturers, and environmental groups, concluded its annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a decision not to include greenhouse gas emissions standards in its certification criteria for ‘sustainable’ palm oil.

USDA Research: Does No-Till Really Capture More Carbon?

Chisel and moldboard plowing increased carbon dioxide emissions for a short time. But measured over the course of a year, carbon dioxide emissions were no different from plots with intensive tillage than plots without it (EWG emphasis). She also found no consistent patterns to methane releases.

Climate expert James Hansen to join sleep outs in Boston

Dr. James Hansen, the NASA scientist known for sounding an early alarm about climate change, will join student protesters at a “sleep out” in Boston this weekend.

The students, from Boston-area and other Massachusetts colleges, have been sleeping out on Boston Common and at various campuses to push the state to pass a law committing to clean energy. Their target goal: Have Massachusetts pledge to be using 100 percent clean energy by 2020.

Study: Managing Emissions Intensity

A new World Bank study finds that some countries have managed to de-link economic growth and CO2 emissions.

Coping With Climate Change: Which Societies Will Do Best?

As the world warms, how different societies fare in dealing with rising seas and changing weather patterns will have as much to do with political, social, and economic factors as with a changing climate.

Polluters feel the heat in rising legal tide

THE New Orleans lawyer suing Big Oil over hurricane Katrina is making headway. On October 16, Gerald Maples, who was interviewed by G-BIZ in June, won on appeal the right to sue Murphy Oil and about 30 other big oil and coal companies, under the common law of nuisance, trespass and negligence, for the added ferocity of the 2005 hurricane that wreaked havoc on his home town, killed more than 1836 people and did more than $US100 billion ($A110 billion) damage.

It is another sign of a shifting paradigm that will slowly turn hitherto respected energy businesses into corporate pariahs and expose their directors, executives, consultants and lobbyists to increasing scrutiny, finger-pointing and litigation over climate change and its consequences.

Firing Bullets of Data at Cozy Anti-Science

The term “denialism,” used by Mr. Specter as an all-purpose, pop-sci buzzword, is defined by him as what happens “when an entire segment of society, often struggling with the trauma of change, turns away from reality in favor of a more comfortable lie.”

In this hotly argued yet data-filled diatribe, Mr. Specter skips past some of the easiest realms of science baiting (i.e., evolution) to address more current issues, from the ethical questions raised by genome research to the furiously fought debate over the safety of childhood vaccinations.

Volatility here to stay in an uncertain oilpatch

There is quite the bun fight going on these days among oil price prognosticators, with much of it taking place on editorial pages and through the airwaves.

While many make fun of economists--saying that if all the economists in the world were strung end to end around the globe, they would fail to reach a conclusion-- the same might be true for those predicting the direction of oil prices.

The issue started boiling over following an in-depth piece written by Daniel Yergin, the head of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, on the issue of oil supply. Yergin's thesis is that there are sufficient supplies of oil because of increased energy efficiency and a shift toward conservation. He argues that even with the growing demand in China and India, the focus on innovation will go a long way to changing the way the world produces and consumes energy.

His view was challenged by Matt Simmons, of Simmons and Co., weighing in on the matter in the Financial Times. Simmons, firmly in the peak oil camp, believes that even with developments in technology, the supply of oil is finite.

Michael Ruppert, Explaining The Coming 'Collapse'

A one-time freelance writer and the former publisher of a newsletter, From the Wilderness, Ruppert believes that human civilization is about to be violently downsized. The cause will be the declining availability of oil, although Ruppert mentions other threats, from genetically engineered foods to the lack of a gold-based currency.

He says "peak oil" has already been reached, meaning that petroleum supplies will continue to fall and prices rise until gasoline, plastic, pesticides and other oil-derived products become unaffordable.

"In the new human paradigm," Ruppert announces, "everything will be local."

He's probably correct — to a degree. But no one can predict how quickly the oil economy will deflate, or what will replace it. Ruppert is right to denounce ethanol as "an absolute joke," but he can't anticipate what other, more energy-efficient alternatives will be developed.

Apocalypse Soon? Michael Ruppert in Collapse

You'd be hard-pressed to find a movie that channels the anxieties of our time with the power and terror of the documentary Collapse. For 82 riveting minutes, Michael Ruppert, a former Los Angeles cop who became a rogue investigative reporter and author, sits in what looks like a brick bunker and talks about where he thinks the United States is now headed. It's not a pretty picture, but it is not a naive one either. The grippingly articulate Ruppert is like Noam Chomsky as a wry pundit of doom.

In 2006, he predicted the current economic crisis, and his startlingly detailed foresight seizes your attention. So you'd better believe that you're sitting up and listening when he starts to talk about ''peak oil'' — i.e., the likelihood that most of the planet's oil reserves have already been eaten up. According to Ruppert, the ''economic crisis'' is more than a bad patch; it's the finally visible symptom of a greater underlying instability.

IEA: Low-carbon plans to cause gas glut

Improvements in energy efficiency and wider deployment of low-carbon technologies could reduce global gas consumption by five per cent by 2015 and 17 per cent by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario, according to new projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Facts are stubborn things: Arthur E. Berman

We recognize that it may take many years before true pseudo-steady-state flow is reached. But in the Barnett, decline trends are well developed in thousands of wells, and we must forecast reserves based on those trends, and not on some future, model-driven expectation of flattening decline rates.

Let me be clear. We do not dispute the volume of gas resources claimed by operators. We do question the reserves that, by definition, must be commercial on a full-cycle economic basis.

Hot oil shares

The world has vast proved energy reserves of 1.3 trillion barrels of oil and 185 trillion cubic metres of natural gas, according to BP statistics. Even if we were never to find another barrel of oil or gas, that's still enough to let us continue consuming oil at current rates for over 40 years and gas for over 60 years. With such reserves, and more being found, it's hard to imagine 'peak oil' – beyond which point production enters terminal decline – happening any time soon.

However, what the statistics don't show is that exploration is getting tougher and more expensive, and the costs of drilling an unsuccessful well are surging. David Bamford, director of Finding Petroleum and non-executive director of Tullow Oil, warns: "The numbers and data are all beset by uncertainty. A lot of the resources are in difficult places that require lots of investment and long lead times. These regions are politically challenging and drilling is getting deeper and tougher." BP echoes these sentiments, saying: "The geologically 'easy' reservoirs were found long ago".

How to Play Buffett's Big Bet on America

In the years after World War II, the advent of cheap fuel and a brand new interstate highway system led to the rise of “18-wheeler” trucks. As a result, the railroads fell out of favor and inefficiencies and waste abounded.

The situation became so grim for the railroad industry that in the 1980s, the ton-miles per gallon rate for freight transportation was one-tenth what it is today. Many carriers went broke. In the intervening decades, 40% of U.S. railroad track was abandoned. Much of it was ripped up and sold for its scrap value.

The New American Hub

An analysis released earlier this year by Cushman & Wakefield, the commercial real estate firm, in cooperation with the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, found that between 1985 and 2005, the average price of a barrel of oil was $24.11; in the past three years, the average has more than tripled, to $81.45. And who can forget that between January 2007 and July 2008 alone the price of oil surged from $50 per barrel to $147 per barrel?

Not only did this rapidly accelerate supply chain costs, it also added a considerable amount of time to deliveries as ocean-going ships slowed to save on fuel. At the height of “peak oil” ships traveling from China to the ports on the U.S. East Coast took 23 days to make the journey rather than the traditional 18 days. And even those who relied on fast-track ships saw their delivery times increase from 14 to 18 days by some estimates.

When oil was $40 per barrel or lower, the cost of shipping from distant locations in Asia was more than offset by huge manufacturing cost advantages, Cushman & Wakefield’s study said.

Is Crude Oil Headed Lower?

The numbers tell us that crude imports could grow quickly with any spike in demand. Distillate inventories tell us the economy is not moving goods over the highway (truckers run on diesel), or rail. This conclusion is supported by third quarter results from YRCW, and BNI where freight volume dropped 27%.

Oil Set for $91 on Range Break, BarCap Says: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil is set to reach $91 a barrel in New York after breaking through its four-month trading range and 200-week moving average, according to technical analysis by Barclays Capital.

Energy-Trading Group Proposes EU Market Disclosures

(Bloomberg) --The European Federation of Energy Traders, the lobby group with members including units of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and E.ON AG, proposed rules for power-plant data to make buying and selling wholesale power fairer.

UK producer input price inflation jumps in Oct

LONDON (Reuters) - Annual input price inflation for British manufacturers turned positive in October for the first time since February, driven by a rebound in crude oil prices, official data showed on Friday.

China opposes US anti-dumping duties on oil pipes

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) Friday branded the United States imposition of anti-dumping duties on Chinese oil well pipes as protectionist and vowed to take measures to protect US domestic interests.

Five Consortiums May Bid In Venezuela's Oil Tender - Report

CARACAS -(Dow Jones)- About five consortiums of oil companies are expected to place bids in Venezuela's long-delayed heavy oil drilling tender scheduled for January, according to media reports Friday.

Chevron, Exxon and Dong Form Group for Greenland Exploration

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and five other companies searching for oil and gas on Greenland formed a group to share information about exploration in the waters around the island that may hold as much in reserves as the North Sea.

The Greenland Oil Industry Association, or GOIA, will hold talks with the local Inuit government on environmental and safety issues, Skaerbaek, Denmark-based Dong Energy A/S, one of the seven companies, said today in a statement.

Angola Signs Letter Of Intent To Develop Ecuador Oil

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Angola Thursday signed a letter of intent with Ecuador to explore and produce oil and gas in the Latin American nation, Ecuador's Oil Ministry said in a statement late Thursday.

Petrobras Makes ‘Large’ Gas Find in Peruvian Jungle

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, may have discovered at least 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Peru’s southern Amazon jungle, Peruvian President Alan Garcia said. The shares surged.

The block may hold as much as 5 trillion cubic feet, Garcia told reporters today in Lima. The Rio de Janeiro-based company is drilling next to the Camisea gas fields, Peru’s biggest.

Halliburton bags Saudi Ghawar gig

US services company Halliburton said today it has won an integrated turnkey drilling contract from Saudi Armco for work in South Ghawar including work on Uthmaniyah, Haradh, Hawiyah and Shedgum.

'Big Oil' Returns To Redevelop Iraq's Oil Fields

In the six years since the U.S. invasion, Iraq's oil production has hardly matched the level under Saddam Hussein. Iraq's oil minister had been harshly criticized, but this week the world's largest oil companies signed multi-billion dollar deals to redevelop Iraq's oil fields. What's most impressive is that the oil minister got the companies to accept Iraq's conditions and terms.

Iran's enmity rises with oil

WITH the price of oil close to a new high for 2009, even if it slipped a fraction this week, it's no surprise that Iran is confident enough to try to bend the terms of the supposed new deal to send its most sensitive nuclear material to Russia and France.

Repsol Shutting Down Bilbao Oil Refinery Before Strike Today

(Bloomberg) -- Repsol YPF SA is shutting down its Petronor refinery in northern Spain as workers prepare for a four-day strike.

Suncor Third-Quarter Net Rises Amid Petro-Canada Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest oil company, said third-quarter profit rose 14 percent, even after crude prices tumbled, reflecting its acquisition of Calgary-based rival Petro-Canada.

Peabody CEO Sees Up to 40% of Earnings From Australia

(Bloomberg) -- Peabody Energy Corp., the U.S. coal producer planning to double Australian exports over the next five years, said the country will likely contribute 30 percent to 40 percent of future earnings.

Why Do Countries Rich In Oil Still Have Poverty?

This week's Planet Money reports deals with what economists call the "paradox of oil." We'll meet two men who work in the African nation of Angola. One is an American, who makes big money in the oil business. The other is an Angolan who sells chewing gum on the street.

Greens call Brazil oil finds a tempting trap

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's huge offshore oil find, though an economic treasure chest, threatens to undermine the renewable energy industry the country has worked so hard to build.

A possible oversupply of oil products in the local market once expensive exploration, production and refining initiatives are up and running could make ethanol, biodiesel and hydroelectricity less competitive.

This possibility is feeding a vigorous debate about the country's relatively "green" energy matrix falling into a fossil fuel trap.

Estonia May Sell Eesti Energia Stake to Fund Plant Upgrades

(Bloomberg) -- Estonia’s government may sell as much as a third of Eesti Energia AS, the biggest Baltic utility, to help fund an estimated 20 billion krooni ($1.9 billion) of planned investments including oil-shale power plant upgrades.

U.S. Must Rely On Entrepreneurial Spirit To Keep Pace, Energy Secretary Says

Mountain View, Calif. The United States will need its entrepreneurial spirit to compete with deep-pocketed China in the race to develop green energy technologies, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says. "China is moving very aggressively," Mr. Chu told a event organized at Silicon Valley headquarters of search giant Google Inc. "They're now spending more than $100-billion a year in developing clean energy."

Nottingham most energy self-sufficient city in the UK

In 2006 Nottingham generated almost 14% of its own heat and power, of this around 4% was from renewables and waste. This makes Nottingham by far the most energy self-sufficient city in the UK.

Met's anti-burglary campaign upsets eco campaigners

THE Met has been accused of ignoring environmental concerns in its campaign to foil burglars by encouraging people to leave their lights on when they go out.

Empire State Building goes green the retro way

"There are no solar panels, and we are not planting a green roof," said Anthony E. Malkin, president of the company that manages the Empire State Building. "Everyone talks about going with high-tech materials. We went low-tech."

...Malkin and a team of engineers and designers presented the results of a study on the world-famous building and a plan they say will reduce its annual energy use by nearly 40 percent, eliminate 105,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year and save $4.4 million yearly, by 2013.

Germany to Help Develop Moroccan Solar-Thermal Energy Projects

(Bloomberg) -- Germany plans to help Morocco develop a water-desalination plant and electricity generators using solar power as part of a larger program to expand the use of renewable energy in the North African nation.

FACTBOX: Nuclear power plans in Europe

(Reuters) - Nuclear energy is seen by some countries as an effective way to keep up electricity supplies while cutting emissions of climate warming gases from burning fossil fuels.

Lingering concerns over nuclear safety, waste and costs have limited the sector's growth in western Europe but several central and eastern European countries are keen to build them as a way of reducing their reliance on imported fuels.

Below are the nuclear plants being built or planned across Europe:

BP eyes production of new biofuel types

PARIS (Reuters) - Oil major BP may start construction next year of a cellulosic biofuel plant as part of a push toward commercial production of new types of biofuels from next year, the head of the group's biofuels division said.

BP is planning to develop commercial production of grass-based ethanol in the United States with partner Verenium, which already has a demonstration cellulosic ethanol facility, Philip New, Chief Executive of BP Biofuels, said on Tuesday.

BP is also planning to launch in 2012/13 commercial output of biobutanol at future biofuel plant in the UK, he said.

Kenya: Country Needs Sustainable Biofuel Projects

Oil prices will always go up and down and unless consistent and sustainable biofuels strategies are developed countries will always be on a start-stop mode.

Japanese seek US base environment deal

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The heads of two key Japanese prefectures called for US troops to toughen environmental protection as a goodwill gesture, as a row over bases brews ahead of President Barack Obama's visit next week.

EPA to impose standards on PVC plant emissions

NEW ORLEANS – The Environmental Protection Agency will set new nationwide emission standards for makers of polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as the plastic PVC, under a settlement with environmental groups announced Thursday.

Study: Nitrogen pollution worsens in Rockies lakes

DENVER – Airborne nitrogen pollution from vehicle exhaust and farm fertilizer is turning algae in the alpine lakes of Rocky Mountain National Park into junk food for fish, a study says.

A similar phenomenon is occurring in Sweden and Norway, according to the study of about 90 high-elevation lakes set to be published in the journal Science on Friday.

Obama Urged to Find Climate Money

WASHINGTON (OneWorld.net) - Climate analysts are calling on the Obama administration to use an international finance meeting this week to press for a swift end to subsidies for coal, oil, and natural gas companies around the world.

Obama should also move immediately to end subsidies at home to companies producing energy from fossil-based fuels, said Nancy Soderberg, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under Bill Clinton.

This cost savings could then be applied to help communities adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change and prevent the worst from happening, Soderberg argued in an article on the Huffington Post Web site late last week.

Climate-Agreement Deadline May Slip to End of 2010

(Bloomberg) -- The deadline for 192 countries to complete a new global-warming accord may slip by as much as one year, as negotiators hold back on pledges to slash emissions or pay financial aid to poor nations.

Yvo de Boer, the United Nations supervisor for climate talks, said yesterday in an interview that too little progress has been made to conclude a treaty at a summit in Copenhagen next month, and it may take another year. He spoke in Barcelona, where the final talks before Copenhagen end today.

Delegates discuss way forward in UN climate talks

BARCELONA, Spain – Countries most vulnerable to climate change said Friday they were incensed that rich nations were rethinking the timetable for concluding a global treaty that would hold them to legally binding targets for cutting emissions.

Climate talks 'not going well': Ed Miliband

LONDON (AFP) – Negotiations ahead of the crucial UN climate talks in Copenhagen are "not going well", Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband has warned.

Miliband indicated that December's meeting to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, could be the precursor to a legally binding treaty, rather than yielding one itself.

Why India Is Playing Hard to Get on Climate Change

If U.S. diplomats consider India to be a major obstacle to global climate-change negotiations — and they do — it might be because of Sunita Narain. The director of the influential Centre for Science and Environment, Narain can be as caustic as she is intelligent, and never more so than when she is taking rich nations to task for what she sees as their hypocrisy on global warming. They pressure the developing world to control carbon emissions even as they refuse to move themselves, she says. "The rich have to reduce their emissions so the rest of the world can grow," says Narain, speaking in her office in New Delhi. "This is about sharing growth between nations and people. If we can't, then India has to be a naysayer for a bad climate agreement."

Rudd Criticizes ‘Do-Nothing’ Climate Change Skeptics

(Bloomberg) -- Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said “do-nothing” skeptics, deniers and a “gaggle of conspiracy theorists” are among opponents impeding efforts to tackle climate change and pass a carbon pollution reduction plan.

APEC seeks to slash emissions by 2050

SINGAPORE (AFP) – Asia-Pacific powers including the United States, China and Russia are expected to call next week for sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions on the final countdown to a crunch climate meeting.

Gore's book a toolbox for fixing climate crises

In 416 pages, Gore offers a potpourri of lavishly illustrated recipes — solar, geothermal, and wind power solutions — for slowing the greenhouse gases warming the climate. "It is now abundantly clear that we have at our fingertips all of the tools we need to solve three or four climate crises," Gore writes. "The only missing ingredient is collective will."

Essentially, Gore proposes moving ahead with such technologies on a broad front while securing an international agreement that puts a price on the carbon dioxide wafting from smokestacks, and limits the deforestation that adds to greenhouse gases. (The Senate's environment committee, led by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-Calif, forwarded just such a "cap-and-trade" bill Thursday, for a vote, despite a boycott by committee Republicans.)

'Conspiracy of silence' over climate migrants: UN official

BARCELONA, Spain (AFP) – A "conspiracy of silence" is stifling debate over the future of people who become displaced through climate change, a top UN official for refugees says.

In an interview with AFP at the UN climate talks in Barcelona, Jean-Francois Durieux, in charge of climate change at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the question "remains taboo."

Under 1951 UN statutes, the term "refugee" applies specifically to a victim of violence or persecution, who is then entitled to help and asylum in other countries.

But no such status exists for people who are forced from their home by drought, flood, storms and rising sea levels unleashed by man-made global warming.

From the Volatility article, linked uptop:

Simmons, firmly in the peak oil camp, believes that even with developments in technology, the supply of oil is finite.

The conventional wisdom appears to be that the finite earth types are considered to be similar to space alien cultists.

I don't see how you get that from that article. It's pretty friendly to peak oil, if you ask me.

Leanan, I think the point WT is making is that the author has no idea as to what the word "finite" really means. The author shows she doesn't understand Jeff Rubin's position either:

Rubin isn't necessarily of the peak oil camp, but he does adhere to the view that the cheap oil has been found and points to the rate of decline in oilfields around the world.

Rubin is firmly in the peak oil camp:

Jeff Rubin on why peak oil hasn't gone away

This is an eight and one half minute video where Jeff Rubin talks about peak oil.

Ron P.

If he wants to make that point, fine. But to equate it with saying peak oilers are space alien cultists is simply incorrect. I'm asking for more nuanced discussion here. Especially for the first post in the thread.

Regarding nuance, I guess we could start with the fact that I used space alien cultists as a simile rather than a metaphor. In any case, I think that finite earth types are widely considered to be similar to space alien cultists.

But in general, I think that MSM types have great difficulty in acknowledging the reality of finite fossil fuel resources, because they are dependent on advertising purchased by the auto, housing and finance sectors, among others, and the auto/housing/finance sector in turn is heavily dependent on generally cheap and expanding supplies of energy--and they are especially dependent on the perception of generally cheap and expanding supplies of energy.

Thus, the writer's description of finite oil as a "belief," although to be fair it's entirely possible that it was an editorial decision (remember the scene from End of Suburbia where the editor refused to run something a writer had done because they would lose advertisers?).


Speaking of beliefs-there seem to be a number of people who think we have experienced "peak demand".


If the financial mess gets worse and worse for more or less forever-meaning in this case the "next five or ten years".

But any body who foresees both a recovery and declining oil demand is a skilled practicioner of the Red Queens hobby-believing impossible things.

II rc she managed six before breakfast some days.

Her comments about runnung very very fast just to stay in the same place might be more relevant to any energy discussion.

No doubt some people have a problem with the terms "finite" and "infinite." These are, of course, extreme positions. As we are frequently reminded, "the truth often lies somewhere in between."

-- PO Tarzan (with tongue planted firmly in cheek)

In any case, I think that finite earth types are widely considered to be similar to space alien cultists.

That they are both right?

The Earth is finite. There is no other realistic conclusion one can draw.

Another article said the same thing the other day-IMO the writers don't understand the meaning of the word or are using it to mean rapidly declining or something similar.

I'll go further than Leanan: IMO the article goes a beyond "one conventional wisdom" in that the author is basically saying there's so many different things being predicted as going to behave in so many different ways that he's not sure what to think. That strikes me as a braver position for an op-ed columnist that picking one "side" and arguing that it's supporters are definitely right and the opposing supporters are naively wrong.

I wouldn't have had an issue with the writer if she had worded the comment this way:

Simmons, firmly in the peak oil camp, points out that even with developments in technology, the supply of oil is finite.

If the "belief" in finite oil is a valid point of view, then why isn't the "belief" in infinite oil also a valid point of view? But my larger point is that most people's operating assumption is that we can have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base--and describing finite oil as a "belief" doesn't help matters.

But my larger point is that most people's operating assumption is that we can have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base

Actually, I've come to the conclusion that what they actually believe or assume - articulated or not - is that consumption can continue to increase all the way up to the point of exhaustion, and then the plunge off the cliff. Unless something else comes along as a replacement, which they have faith will be the case.

All of us know this isn't the way it is. But I suspect that is what goes on between the ears of a lot of people.

assume - articulated or not - is that consumption can continue to increase all the way up to the point of exhaustion, and then the plunge off the cliff. Unless something else comes along as a replacement, which they have faith will be the case.

Now, if you take that as true, and also believe we have several (say 5 to 10 trillion barrels to go), you can compute how long we got:
so for 10 trillion barrels 80mbpd increasing at 2% per year we got 103 yeras before we suddenly go from consuming 628 million barrels/day to zero!
So it may not be totally delusional. You just gotta trust the people who tell us about huge "reserves", and trust in our ability to tap into them. Heck I won't be around in 103 years to hear the poeple scream!
So the problem is that people throw around maximal reserve numbers with no discussion of whether they make sense, or are in fact produceable at will (or at all).

Hi Jeffrey,

re: "believes" v. "points out" - nice distinction.

My experience is that almost everyone - (w. the exception of what a TODer once called "you - my invisible, online friends") - operates within what I could describe as a little moving bubble of infinite.

Something like: "The oil supply may be finite, along with everything else, but for me/mine - it's infinite. (And so is everything else.)"

Hey, Aniya;

Yes. I see it as a sort of ingrained 'The Show must go on' attitude.

It's possibly a matter of just how intensely one insists that 'Failure is not an option', how much they can allow for the system around us 'being maybe really unstable and due for heavy overhaul'.. It's often too much for my Wife to take in big changes and challenges like this, as smart and forward looking as she is. To keep on going, she has to not get dragged into every Macro-problem that I do.

It's enough of a kerfluffle in turning down the Flu Shots for our daughter right now.. as my state gets into a frenzy of fear about it all. Just shook hands with H1N1 this morning, through a sweater sleeve of a friend.

And this particular writer writes about peak oil a lot, and has been fairly sympathetic. She clearly does not think peak oilers are wackos. Her paper has published a lot of good articles about peak oil, too.

Yergin has "a thesis." Simmons "believes." The connotations are that Yergin is serious, high-powered, well-researched; while Simnmons has a tin-foil hat.

I'm surprised you didn't pick up on the heavy-handed discourse-framing straight away. Normally you do pick up these things.

Let's put it down to editorial interference, shall we?

Call it lower expectations. There's a difference between such subtle framing and "space alien cultists."

I also suspect that if it was the opposite, peak oilers would still feel discriminated against. Peak oil is a "thesis" would probably go over just about as well here as peak oil as a "theory."

I suspect that her characterization of finite oil as a "belief" probably is her point of view.

What she said was that Simmons believes that--even with developments in technology--the supply of oil is finite. I think that my initial characterization was accurate; in my opinion, the subtle implication was that Simmons holds an irrational "belief" which is not supported by the evidence, i.e., I think that she believes that the rational point of view is that technology can save us.


[ On the decline in oil production by supermajors:] “The reason is largely due to geopolitics and, to a lesser degree, technological limitations. It's certainly not because the world is running out of oil. A more accurate way of defining the current situation is that the world is dealing with geopolitical peak oil, not absolute peak oil.”
-- Deborah Yedlin, reporter for Calgary Herald

The Earth's volume is finite, thus limiting the amount of oil. How can she refute that without accepting space aliens shipping it in?

I think more likely her choice of words hints that while Simmons may believe in scientific fact, Yergin states what he is paid to say.

I suspect that she actually falls somewhere along the Yergin/Lynch/Huber spectrum.

Yergin--We might see a production plateau toward the middle of the 21st Century.

Lynch--We might see a production plateau at some point in the 22nd Century.

Huber--An oil production plateau at some distant point in time is a theoretical possibility, but our aggregate consumption of energy will increase forever.

To return to my original post, IMO the Yergin/Lynch/Huber spectrum is the mainstream conventional point of view. The Peak Oilers, who acknowledge finite fossil fuel resource limits (especially in the near term), are generally considered to be the nutcases.

The labor report was ugly.

Denninger has some charts and graphs, illustrating just how ugly it was.

I find the declining labor force interesting. I wonder what fraction is really opting-out on purpose, versus those who are just no longer looking until (if) things improve? A better understanding of their motivations and what they're doing would be nice.

Yes, that would be interesting, but probably difficult information to get.

There was an article at CNN awhile back, about people forced into early retirement. They'd planned to work longer, want to work longer, but they can't get jobs, so they retire.

I have yet to have anybody come to my door and ask for work. Since insulation ideas are my hobby, I would love some inexpensive help down in the crawl space. In my area, people depend on the government to provide for them.

When working in the yard, whether mowing grass, painting or hanging shutters (currently refurbishing my old ones), I get someone looking for work every few hours. Sometimes skilled (carpenter, painter, mason, very few electricians or plumbers) or, more often, semi or unskilled.

We have a more walkable neighborhood with higher density, and more construction work left to do here in New Orleans than anywhere else in the USA (AFAIK). No OT on any jobs, so some skilled workers use weekends to get some side work (they see the end coming and want some more $ saved).

I am going to do as much insulation as I can drag my carcass around in the attic by myself, but I may need to hire someone younger & smaller for the tight areas.


Alan, I suggest that we form a new political party--the LEP, or Low Expectations Party. Vote for us and things may not be as bad as they would otherwise have been.

Honesty in a Political Campaign !?!

It has never been tried before, just MAYBE it would work !

Best Hopes for the Not Quite Worst,


Well, there was Jesse Ventura's campaign and election in Minnesota! Even though I had some differences of opinion with Jesse, I still think he was overall a much better Governor for Minnesota than any of the political hacks that we have been saddled with before and after.

Most people who are interested in side work have found going door to door looking for it is a very poor way to find it-having been well acquainted with a number of people in this situation I can say that:

Your potential customer is very reluctant to even speak to you.

May actually call the police.

Wants to know about your insurance and business liscense.

Has very little confidence in the abilities of any one other than a liscensed contractor wioth a truck with his phone number on it.

Wants to pay with a check or credit card.

Ad infinitum.

So they can get some simple work such as raking leaves by leaving flyers and that's about it-but once the ice is broken they get other little jobs such as cleaning out a garage, painting a porch, and so forth.Things grow from there by word of mouth.

The lack of a business phone, business insurance,office, and tax records make it possible for an individual to work in the underground economy for half or less the going on the table rate.

You take your chances but actually a person earning his living this way usually does good work because his customers tend to know each other and he is at constant risk of problems with tptb.

Of course there is always the possibility that you are dealing with a scumbag
of some sort that may set you up for a burglary-that's why word of mouth is so important.

I have yet to have anybody come to my door and ask for work.

As I was told at a party:

Last year there was a snow that caused the local kiddies to have the day off.

2 kids approached. Said '$5 to shovel the walk'. The SO said yes.

The kids had this disucssion:

"Man, why'd ya tell her $5"
"Cuz that's the price"
"Man, that's the black person price, we charge whitey at least $10"
"That's racist!"

I've had people come up and ask, in effect 'will you pay me to help you' be it yard work, construction, moving.

If you want help, have you considered asking on Craigslist?

Try putting a "Help Wanted" sign on your front door...my gut tells me you get few bites.

I'm sure we all know some 50somethings who prattle about the house pretending the "social contract" has not been torn up and a return to the cubicle life will happen soon enough (think of a yuppie rapture) since they were downsized by "corporate." I know of two, one man coming to understand that things will be different, one literally saved from penury by a relative has found god in a bad movie sense.

I have run into a lot of people who say they are planning on early retirement, or actually taking it. One woman I talked to said she didn't feel bad when the factory where she worked closed--she would just move up retirement a couple of years.

Also, community colleges and state universities seem to be booming now. A lot of people are taking classes if they can't find a job. It is a socially acceptable thing to do. If one can combine school with a little part-time work (say, taking care of grandchildren or someone else's children, or doing a few home repairs for others), expenses can perhaps at least partly be covered. The person would likely not be considered in the labor force (especially if they "forgot" to report the income).

Notably, in my wife's dept (accounting) they were all put on a 32 hour work-week, with staggered times to provide coverage for the full week. Some get Monday off, or Friday, and my wife gets off early everyday. They've been at this for almost a year now, and when recently polled by the mgmt NONE wanted to go back to a full 40 (one singly lady did quit early on, as she needed the money and found a job elsewhere). Several said they'd like to go half-time.

The common theme was, "Money was tight for a month or two, but we adjusted, and honestly we like our life better this way." I know for us it's cost almost nothing, as now I don't have many lost hours for doc appts and other kid-related stuff, we never have after-school-care charges anymore, and we don't have as many pizza-emergency nights. I'm actually looking forward to my wife working less outside the house, and us making less money.

I guess what I'm musing about is whether a longer, slower crash might actually turn out OK for a lot of people, if they have time to adjust?

As I've said before, I think a shorter work week is the least painful way to deal with economic contraction. People seem to like it, to the point that many don't want go back to a full schedule, even if it means more money.

Longer holidays (probably unpaid) or lower wages but more vacation would help too, and have similar up-sides.

The key is being able to adapt faster than the belt tightens. Lifestyles are easier to squeeze then debt, though.

Also, I suspect most people can see the handwriting on the wall, and assume tax increases are on the way. Clearing some time on the weekly schedule to allow for some freelance work on the side, under-the-table to fiddle the taxman, is shaping up to be the next big thing.

They figure that if their taxes are just going to give favors to the likes of GS and GM, then why continue being good little citizens and go along with it?

The elites wanted results, what they are getting are consequences.

You may be right - I have been a good liberal type most of my life but now my eyes are open. Handshake deals "under the table" are the true currency of our age. That and silver.

The common theme was, "Money was tight for a month or two, but we adjusted, and honestly we like our life better this way."

I suspect a great many are literally caught up in a race. A race of income versus expenses. And if the race is tight, I don't think these people could see cutting back hours/income, because they they will start (or get deeper) into debt.

There are probably more than a few whose only hope for any sort of employment is minimum wage at the Wal Mart 30 miles away. By the time you factor in taxes, transportation, etc., their actual net is so low as to hardly make it worth the effort.

There are probably a lot of people in this country who have been in this situation for quite a while now, yet they have continued working and racking up the credit card debt, never understanding why they never seem to be able to make ends meet. I have no doubt that there were some people who were actually paying for the privilege of working.

This is now all going away. The credit cards are maxed out, so they can't afford to work any more.

I'm not sure why we're not getting someone polling people - most still would have a phone, you'd think. One could ask - do you have work? Did you have work 2 years ago? Are you now working under the table? Part-time? Both?

Phone rings!

"Hello, this is Joe formerly six pack" (now very cheap big bottle of wine...)

"Hi! Joe, this is Paranoid, I'd like to know if you are now working under the table."

"Yo! Paranoid?! WTF? You think YOU'RE PARANOID I check in my closet and under my bed every half hour to see if there are any IRS agents hiding there..."

Yanks phone out of wall and stuffs it in the trash then runs and draws the blinds and double bolts the door and loads his shotgun.

Paranoid checks off "NOT WORKING UNDER TABLE!!" on his polling questionaire sheet.

Editor's note: The results of this poll may be highly skewed and therefore unscientific.

Last week, I took a trip to Washington, DC for business. I happened to see the Friday Washington Post and looked at the classified section. There were many foreclosure notices, some 21 pages, which might have totaled almost 300. Today's WaPo lists 137 "foreclosure" and 139 "auction and sale" notices.

While I don't know the timing of such filings in the WaPo (there might be double counting), my feeling was that the problems with real estate aren't over yet. Not by a long shot...

E. Swanson

Just caught on CNBC, no news on the net yet however:

Wholesale inventories dropped .9 percent in September verses down 1.3 percent in August. This is the 13th straight month that wholesale inventories have dropped.

The stock market dropped early on the unemployment numbers but soon rebounded. The Dow is up over 20 points as I write this. Bad news everywhere but the market is booming???

Ron P.

I've heard that it's the likelihood of low interest rates continuing for some time. Aided also in part to the new language locking in the 0% Fed rate to performance of the economy. Which it clearly aint. Job weakness=cheap money to borrow and play with.
Where the 70% consumer economy goes w/o jobs is a problem for a later date ,in market terms, I suppose. Nevertheless the same in all good magic acts. (what really holds it up I can't tell)

For what it is worth, I was watching the BBC news yesterday morning, and they had a piece about the new documentary that features Ruppert. Apparently the movie opens today. In only one theatre - some place in NYC.


Gradually in the weeks ahead it will open in a handful more theatres, but odds are that if you want to see it that you will have to wait for the DVD.

I suppose the message is too much of a downer for people right now - my sense is that people are looking for something that tells them that things will get better and then we can party on again..

This type of movie never gets wide distribution. Michael Moore's documentaries are the exception, not the rule. Most people just aren't interested in documentaries.

True, but even by documentary standards this is particularly bad.

The website says "more coming soon". We will see...

Getting into any theaters at all is pretty good for an independent film, especially a documentary. A lot of them never see the light of day outside film festivals.

Lets hope this is different. Mike is interviewed in the Wall Street Journal!

A reader wrote to me and asked about whether there was an issue with propane shortages in the US Midwest that isn't yet being reported in the traditional news media. I sent a link to the This Week in Petroleum propane page, showing that at this point, inventories seem to be fine (although they are now falling faster than before.)

The issue in the Midwest is that the weather has been very wet for growing crops. Also, crops got a late start, because of the cold, wet spring. Now, there are many crops that haven't yet been harvested. The crops need to be harvested and dried out with propane very soon, or they may be spoiled by mold or other things that attack wet crops. The total propane usage is likely to be up, and occur later in the season than is normal.

Is anyone running into this issue?

Propane might have been a bigger issue back a decade or two ago, but since the relentless farm consolodation corn drying has moved closer to sources of natgas. The stories I hear is of waits at local elavators not farmers waiting on propane deliveries at their smallish farms. I assume the economics of natgas and corn dryers using 3phase electric power is better than when I helped on the farm where the corn dryer burned propane while the fan was tractor powered and the augers were powered by single phase electric motors.

Gold just went through $1100. Oil is down but bouncing back.

Did you know, it takes 1,330,000 barrels of oil to buy one 'barrel' of gold :)

(A bit more , now)

Supposedly China has put a floor-they are interested in buying on any price decline. It appears that the days of foreign governments increasing dollar reserves substantially have ended.

Ok, I'll bite (since gold is soft) let's see.

A standard 55 gallon drum is 22.5 inches in diameter and 33.5 inches high.


3.14 * 11.25^2 * 33.5. equals 13313 cubic inches or 7.7 cubic feet.

The Specific Gravity of Gold is 19.3. Therefore 19.3 grams occupy 1 cubic centimeter. 1 Troy ounce is 31.1 grams. So, to get the volume of 1 Troy Oz., we have 31.1/19.3 = 1.61 cubic centimeters.

7.7 cubic feet = 218,039.8 cubic centimeters

218,039.8/1.61 = 135,428.45 troy ounces x $1,100.00 = $148,971,291.90

Price of barrel of oil aproximately $80.00.

$148,971,291.90/80 = 1,862,141 barrels of oil.

Ok, that's within the bounds of the fluctuations of the price of oil and gold.

Though given the amount of energy you could extract as useful work from 1.8 million barrels of oil I'd say that the price of gold is stratosferically over priced and most certainly not worth it's weight in oil.

Which is just another reason *NOT* to invest in gold ;-)

Minor quibble: $80 will only get you 42 gallons of oil.

Your point is well taken nevertheless.

I ran across a couple of articles in the WSJ this morning I thought were interesting:

For Banks, Rate Rules Could Mean Tough Times

A looming federal rule to cap the interest rates paid by weak banks could accelerate their demise and make life even harder for depositors.

Banks deemed to be less than "well capitalized" by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. won't be allowed, starting Jan. 1, to pay more than 0.75 percentage point above the U.S. average. . .

The curbs are "another nail in the coffin" of banks battered more by the real-estate meltdown than bad management, said Greg Murphy, chief executive of Royal Palm Bank of Florida, a unit of Mercantile Bancorp Inc., Quincy, Ill. Royal Palm pays 1.62% interest on savings accounts, about eight times higher than the U.S. average of 0.2% as of Monday.

Weak banks have been advertising on the Internet for "brokered" deposits at higher interest rates. If they can't get these, they are likely to go under.

Another article of interest was (You may have to type in the title rather than use the link, since it is WSJ)

Fannie to Rent to Owners in Foreclosure

Fannie Mae will allow homeowners facing foreclosure to stay in their homes and rent them for as long as a year, as part of the government's latest effort to help troubled borrowers, while keeping more foreclosed properties from hitting the housing market.

The article later goes on to say that homeowner may even be allowed to rent longer--at market rents, which are generally below mortgage payments. The people allowed to do this are ones who can't afford their mortgage payments, but can afford market rents. If this happens, isn't a large body of people renting their former homes going to build up, making it difficult to unwind this program later? Won't people who are having difficulty paying have motivation to become renters instead? How do lenders get their money in this arrangement-- won't housing values be even lower a year from now than they are now? And rental payments provide much to lenders, after covering insurance and taxes.

I found the article regarding Fannie Mae to allow renting very interesting.

I've been thinking about this a lot - it seems to me that it is better to have someone occupying the home and paying something, rather than the home standing empty and falling into disrepair, and pulling down the values of other nearby homes.

I'd rather see someone living in a house on my block than look at boarded-up windows.

I'm less concerned about how the banks will make their money than how communities are going to survive, long-term.

PostScript : In addition, there are local taxes to support, families benefit by keeping kids in schools, it is less disruptive overall. In the long term, someoe will have to become the "owner of last resort" if private buyers can no longer be found. Maybe the entire concept of property ownership will change - maybe it will revert to the community.

PosrPostScript : In Chicago, mixed-income developments are being structured. Part market-rate owners, part-subsidized and "Section 8" renters. Of course, this model has both its benefits and its difficulties, but it is a way to maintain an affordable housing base.


It seems like quite a while ago when people were arguing that it is important to pay down debt, I was raising questions as to what would really happen to all of the homes. No one reasonably wants a huge number of vacant homes and a lot of homeless people. The only solution is to somehow let people stay in their former homes. Letting people rent is one way of doing this--but those who hold the debt are likely to get paid far less than planned, on average.

Well, the gov't, i.e. the taxpayer, owns the note, so they get the rent. Really all it's doing is preventing fire-sale price erosion of real-estate, and therefore slowing the slide of other homes. Probably the goal is to support prices long enough for inflation to buoy the prices and recover many loans.

The other way has benefits though -- affordable housing for all, and cash-buyers turning into owners/investors at lower prices. Of course that requires FM and FM to go under, bonds to default, China to scream, yada yada.

Really all it's doing is preventing fire-sale price erosion of real-estate, and therefore slowing the slide of other homes. Probably the goal is to support prices long enough for inflation to buoy the prices and recover many loans.

I agree, this is another attempt to prevent the slide in real estate, and keep the ponzi scheme from being exposed.
However, I don't see inflation coming to the rescue.
This does keep people off the street a bit longer, and provides a buffer.

The link up top: Halliburton bags Saudi Ghawar gig

The project is expected to use three to four rigs, and will involve between 153 and 185 oil production, water injection and evaluation wells.

The contract is rumored to cost ARAMCO about 500 million. And it is all to punch more holes in a very old reservoir in an effort to stem the rapid decline of the field. The Managing Director of Saudi Arabia's Strategic Energy Initive stated three years ago:

Without “maintain potential” drilling to make up for production, Saudi oil fields would have a natural decline rate of a hypothetical 8%. As Saudi Aramco has an extensive drilling program with a budget running in the billions of dollars, this decline is mitigated to a number close to 2%.

So three years ago, or several years before that, they managed to get Ghawar's decline rate to go from 8% to 2% by drilling a lot more wells, MRC horizontal wells, in a very old declining reservoir. Now they need even more wells to stem the steep decline rate. Doesn't anyone realize that these superstraws do not really put more oil in the ground, they just pull it out a lot faster?

Anyway this all begs the question, if Saudi really has 264 billion barrels of proven reserves, why are they spending billions of dollars to pull the oil out of Ghawar a little faster. Why did they let another multimillion dollar contract to inject CO2 into Ghawar in an attempt to drain a little more oil out of the very old supergiant? And why are they spending many more millions looking for oil under 7,000 feet of salt in the Red Sea?

Can't anyone in the oil industry put 2 and 2 together? When will the world realize that those Saudi proven reserves are nothing more than a proven myth?

Ron P.

Doesn't anyone realize that these superstraws do not really put more oil in the ground, they just pull it out a lot faster?

Anyone who knows what BAU means ('fast and more')should realize it.

Does one have to repeat the well documented obvious?

About the time that OPEC originated several OPEC countries had a giant leap in "proven reserves" only because the amount of proven reserves was the allotment criteria for OPEC. There was no substantial discoveries to justify that giant leap. It only happened on paper. Anyone who has believed the reserve numbers from OPEC countries since then is counting a lot of paper barrels in lieu of crude. The proof will only be found in the real output figures and ELM for exports. WT has a good handle on that so we do not have to worry about it.

We will see the price go up significantly when supply cannot meet demand. Hello; Duh! In this, I don't necessarily mean in absolute dollar value but affordability. Gas at $1/gal is unaffordable for most if the average wage is 25 cents per hour.

Why should anyone be interested in someone’s WAG of oil remaining? Right now there is enough but sometime in the future there will not be enough. Sometime in the future we are each going to die. So what? The important consideration now is preparation for some Black Swan event that will bring that "not enough" time to the present or as lovingly known here as TSHTF or TEOTWAWKI.

I have zero confidence that TPTB will do anything except BS the population to get elected regardless of the condition. What is most upsetting is that the population will believe them.

I happen to believe that armed gangs will not go hungry. We have a store of food so we are planning accordingly. If the Black Swan doesn't show up, it has been a great life; flew faster than the speed of sound, created inventions (patents) for infrared for agriculture, programmed computers, grown a garden and created art in wood. I hope each and every one of you do as well.

You are right. Desperation is showing up on part of the Saudis. Not to mention:

The desperation to create bio fuels, fuels from algae etc. More drilling in the arctic is another sign of something amiss.

that paper reserve increase is not without precedent. in the good old days(that was the early '80's) t. boone pickens made a run at phillips petroleum because of his claim that phillip's stock was undervalued because of ultra-conservative reserve bookings.

the majors were all using these same conservative estimates. i dont know for sure, but i believe this was done to accelerate depletion allowance. the depletion allowance was based on units of production and if the basis was lower, the effect was to allow a greater depletion allowance.

engineers were look upon with derision if they were too optimistic with reserve bookings. understating reserves was ok.

what a difference a few decades makes. imo, reserves are routinely over-stated and stock prices are hyped by telling the salivating analysts and "investors" what great success they are having. this all amounts to slight of hand. they want the public to think that an high ip equates to ever greater reserves. another good one is the claim that more frac stages equals greater reserves. unrealistic wells spacing assumptions and the reserve manufacturing paradigm is another.

For China, 0 billionaires in 2003 and now between 130-260 billionaires http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/15/china.billionaires/index...

Did anyone else notice that Ian Gordon did NOT say that there would not be a die-off, even though Trace tried to get him to do so?

Wonder if Ian thinks that 90% is possible? Or maybe just that 90% die off in the US, Canada, Gr.Britain [the WASP nations] is possible?

IMO, the ultimate number surviving will be about 15%, but it won't be a 'die-off' in the sense of sudden death, but rather a gradual reduction in numbers until we reach parity. I guess from some perspectives, a significant reduction in total population over any number of years less than 70 would be a 'die off' though. So... a rose by any other name.

It seems strange that there are so many directions from which the coup could arrive. Economy alone, AGW, or maybe just the Mayan 2012 'end of time.'

Still, I make my plans, and try my best to provide something my grandkids can build on - if they survive the descent. Hope reigns eternal.

Woody Allen:

I felt much better after I gave up hope…

My reaction exactly when I gave up on god.

been following this for 3 decades. best summary of what we ought to do. http://www.energybulletin.net/node/3813

Rube, isn't it time we stopped kidding ourselves about these things. I have read a dozen books where the last chapter ends with something like this: "So here is what we must do."

Don't you realize we will not do a damn thing? You have about as much chance of convincing all Islam nations to convert to Christanity as you have convincing people that unless we take drastic action now it means the end of the world as we know it. The vast majority will just laugh in your face.

If you really wish to take action then try to figure out what you can do to increase your chances, and the chances of your family, to be among the survivors. I believe there will be survivors. However I am myself 71 years old and have no plans to be among the survivors. I however, have desperiately tried to convince my three sons that they should make such plans. They just laugh and think their old man is off his rocker. So I just shut up and now talk only to those who are willing to listen.

Those folks are all on the net. No one else wants to hear a damn word I say. But if you think you have a chance of convincing people of; "best summary of what we ought to do" then have at it fella.

Ron P.

darwinian, I don't disagree. I am about your age. same problem with children and others. agree we are in massive overshoot. Not a lot anyone can do. However, I was fascinated by the comprehensive nature to the ideas presented in this article. The recommendations are founded on sound ecological and energy principals that are thoroughly explained in the book which this article is based on. i am under no delusions about what most will think and do , but believe many on the internet and this site who have not studied this book can see what might have been had we not hit the wall before us. Franz Kafka: "There is hope, but not for us."

Indeed, giving up hope is essential. There is no way we will return Earth to a state that remotely resembles the biosphere in which humans evolved.

There are only three possibilities:

1. Learn to control the global carbon cycle. This requires controlling diffuse carbon fluxes on a scale of many gigatons per year. For example, imagine how we could possibly contain the carbon emissions from melting Arctic permafrost.

2. Learn to colonize the new, much more desolate Earth. It will be like colonizing a desert planet with a toxic H2S atmosphere. This will likely require living in domed cities. Or mineshafts.

3. Choose extinction. This is the default and most popular option.

Any other discussion is just wishful thinking. Once we give up hope, we can contemplate the bleak future with clear eyes.

If i were a betting man I'd bet on door number three, but it ain't popular. Fear accompanies the possibility of Death, Calm sheperds it's certainty.

I'd probably make the same choice.. why make concrete predictions and risk being ignored next time. (Unless you've gotten a Pulitzer for "The Prize", and you're known for crying Candy!

For me, it would be a quick glance out the window and say 'Was that a wolf? Something smells like wolf to me.. Do you know what wolf-tracks look like? I'm gonna go check.'


"A significant reduction in numbers until we reach parity."


The govt here in Japan predicts that the population here will be down to around 40 million in 100 years if birthrates stay as low as they are now. (About 1.2-1.3 children per family). That is less than half of today`s population. The population started declining two years ago and the decline is accelerating---the first year of decline there were 10,000 fewer people then 50,000 (if memory serves). Needless to say the economic crisis has not helped increase the birthrate! The number of 18 year old peaked in 1991 (the same year auto sales peaked here by the way). Those 18 year olds are now 36. The age group 30-40 is a large group (I think it might be the most numerous in terms of comparisons to other age decades). But they are struggling economically. The age group 40-50 has more stability, jobs, families. But the 30-40s have a lot of part-timers, contract workers, so the number of kids they can support is much less. The age group 20-30 are also struggling. The huge numbers of elderly gradually is reduced as they pass away.....

I think the US might be in for the same kind of pattern, but maybe it might happen a little more quickly, like the auto sales suddenly plunging there. Things happen faster there for some reason.

I often suspect that the Japanese bureaucracy has known about peak oil for decades and has done its best to plan for as gradual a decline as possible. The politicians are given the job of cheerleaders and front men, singing the praises of growth. Meanwhile the real power, the elite in the ministries, take steps to ensure that growth will be muted and limited, or non-existent.

I think there is the feeling among people who like Hatoyama that Japan will be really Japanese (agriculture, villages, clean rivers) again, not a colony of the US. Subtly they are waiting for the sun to be the major source of energy again....remember it`s encoded on the flag!

Hi, Dear TODers,

I've been away and wonder - have "we" discussed this article at all? (A TOD search didn't yield it in top results):


I was a little surprised by Tom Whipple's lack of critique:

IMO there has not been much discussion of this article on TOD.

I did post a comment encouraging the more engineering-numbers oriented to email Mark Jacobson. I emailed him myself, interested in whether he had calculated the carbon emissions of his ramp up (the amount of calculation he has done is so extensive!) and whether he had considered the possibility that they might take us over the tipping point.

The only response I got is that for renewables, carbon emissions are up-front, and 90% less than for fossil fuels, overall.

That doesn't answer the question, except to tangentially suggest that this is our best option (for BAU, of course, which is the only option worth discussing by a majority of the most visible authors). It echoes another recent heated debate between Alex Steffen of WorldChanging and the Transition Movement folks on http://www.transitionculture.org.

Hi Aniya;

Yesterday, brief mention by Leanan that a keypost might be coming..


I commented at Falls Church, but it didn't get in, suggesting to the first commenter that 'Yes, I do think Whipple and SciAm are taking a step in the right direction, even if they're suggesting that renewables would replace current consumption levels, while I think we need to be bringing in whatever renewables we can, but targeting ultimately 1/8 to 1/4 of today's ExaJoules of use, meeting halfway with the need as lifestyles and waste are trimmed, and as population decreases.. and also that the challenge to how much material will be required to do this might come from the surpluses of this trimming as well. (ie, the materials of a 7billion person world being reapplied in a 3billion person world, or whatever number.. already a lot of airliners in the desert, easy pickins.)

So ultimately, they are taking the first step on an 8000 mile journey, while I am targeting a spot just 1000 miles away.. but these steps today run in the same line.


HI Bob,

Thanks for letting me know about Gail's comment yesterday.

Gail, if you're around, you and/or any possible takers on a TOD post might wish to check out the comments section that follows the article and appears (from here, anyway) not to be behind a pay wall.

It seems at least one comment reflects a knowledge of "peak oil":

If I can take the liberty to quote from the commentator "bruceb":

"Jacobson & Delucchi have convincingly shown that powering the world with their combination of measures is infeasible. The current infrastructure was built over a century, using plentiful cheap oil (the factor not mentioned in the article). The authors cite World War II as an example of the industrial effort needed. In that war the civilian economy was put on hold; no civilian automobiles were made, no tires, no toasters. Such a pace of production cannot be sustained for two decades. That production, and the interstate highway system, were built with huge quantities of cheap domestic oil. That resource is gone - US production peaked in 1970, and onshore conventional (i. e. cheap) oil peaked worldwide in 2005. The new infrastructure would have to be built along with maintaining the current economy, all on a declining oil base."

Anyway, Bob, it seems my "final" conclusion is a little different than yours, because I tend to think it does a disservice to advance such a proposal while leaving out the factor of our dependency on oil. And what it actually means: in financial terms, in physical "getting something done" terms. And etc.

An assessment that even begins to take into account the reality of global oil supply would be welcome.

To your "lifestyles trimmed," I'd say "restructured" and/or "re-configured" might be the words I'd choose.



Jacobsen claims high CO2 emissions for nuclear because he claims building nuclear power plants will result in a nuclear war, from which there will be high CO2 emissions.

I wonder how many banks got the axe today?

Two. Two banks today. Ah. Ah. Ah.

But who's counting?

Home Federal Savings Bank, Detroit, MI
United Security Bank, Sparta, GA

That's great. The rate of bank closing is going down. We must be recovering from the US financial problems. Look Jack, Look Jill, Green Shoots, Green Shoots!

What! The jobless rate is going up? Never mind; that's a lagging indicator.

I'm Dreaming of the Christmas Orders just like the ones we used to have.


Whoops, spoke too soon! I must have caught them mid-update this evening.

Now there are five.

United Commercial Bank, San Francisco, CA
Gateway Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Prosperan Bank, Oakdale, MN
Home Federal Savings Bank, Detroit, MI
United Security Bank, Sparta, GA

I posted this link a while back, which shows ice extent in the Artic.


I'm posting it again because the refreeze this year after the Summer melt has intersected with the refreeze after 2007's record setting melt. As you look at this graph, you'll realize that although weather conditions did not support as much melt in 09 as 07, the refreeze is no better and may get worse if that line moves to the right of the 07 refreeze line. The reason this is happening is because the thickness of the old ice is getting thinner, and more thermal energy is getting trapped in the Arctic Sea in subsequent yearly melts due to a blackened sea that absorbs energy vs. ice that reflects it.

So when we get another 2007 type meltdown, the refreeze ice extent will be far less. This is why there is consensus that the Arctic will be ice free in the not too distant future. Exactly what year that will occur remains uncertain. However, just 5 years ago climatologists were predicting an ice free Arctic in the year 2100. Now the predictions vary between 3-15 years. That's a significant change in predictions in a very short period of time.

Yup, and no one seems to have much of an idea what the climate of a planet with now northern ice cap will be like, a planet we could be on any year now.

The possibility that this is a tipping point that could trigger a number of other tipping points is rising rapidly.

Another possibility is that the open water which will be found in the Arctic Ocean will produce mega lake effect snows downwind. As it is, once the sea-ice forms in winter, the Arctic becomes a "snow desert", since it's so cold that the atmosphere can't hold much water to produce snow. We could see much more snow at higher latitudes, latitudes where there's less sunlight later in the year to melt it. I would not be surprised that lingering snow produces a local cooling, the result of the land-snow albedo feedback. If this does occur, I think it's entirely possible that the area covered by snow which survives the summer melt could begin to increase.

In short, a warmer Earth might trigger the beginnings of another buildup of glaciers, such as seen during the Ice Ages. As we know, the Earth has experienced Ice Ages for most of the past 3 million years, the present Interglacial is just another of the short term warming periods between much colder conditions. Whatever direction the change, are playing not only with fire but with ice as well and our Goldielocks climate is temporary...

E. Swanson

Yes, short term extremes of various sorts become more likely. That's why "Climate Chaos" may be a better term than Climate Change.

But the build up of ghg's already in the mix are certain to drive out any temporary northern cooling from such feed backs.

Snow falling on sea ice actually insulates it and keeps it from getting thicker, so this process will likely prevent new thick multi-year ice from reforming for some time.

We are throwing an enormous monkey wrench into the works of the global climate system and it is hard to know exactly how it will go off the tracks--the multiple systems and feedbacks become too complex to reliably model, from what I've read and heard.

This all makes it of course harder to know how to prepare for the coming changes. One friend of mine is collecting a range of species of vegetable varieties that can handle variety of conditions--hot dry summers, cool wet ones.... Building in this kind of resilience seems the best strategy going forward, but most of our agriculture is based on vast mono-cultures.

Such a chaos could become politically interesting. If for instance an ice free arctic would give humungous snowfalls threathening to start an ice age we would get an immensely strong interest from Alaska, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia to maximise the greenhous gas emissions while other parts of the globe can be saved from rising sea levels etc from the snowfall.

I realy hope we will get good models for the atmosphere during the next decade.

Snow falling on sea ice actually insulates it and keeps it from getting thicker, so this process will likely prevent new thick multi-year ice from reforming for some time.

I think it is a bit more complicated. I was familar with Wisconsin lake ice (which reaches a thickness of 30-36 inches or so). Snow does insulate the ice, which greatly slows the conduction of heat from the ice/water interface upwards. But, if the weight of snow is heavy enough, and the ice/snow surface is depressed below the water level of the lake (which happens with a snow weight of about a tenth of the weight of the ice), water will infiltrate up through cracks. Once this starts the snow wicks up water like a sponge, and this pushes the ice down some more. The net result is a lot of wet slush on (or close to) the snow surface. This stuff will quickly freeze, and this process is much more efficient at removing heat from the lake than conduction through thick ice.

Thanks, I hadn't heard of that process. With all of these things, the more you dig, the more complex it seems to get.

While more snow in the late fall and early winter do seem to be the most likely (and most easily predictable) direct result of a ice-free (or near-ice-free) Arctic Ocean, the longer term effect on ocean currents still have not been modeled at all, as far as I've seen. If someone knows of an article on this, do post a link.

Besides turning into snow, the effect of increased water vapor is particularly hard to model, as far as I've heard. On the one hand, water vapor is a greenhouse gas, so it could have a blanketing effect of keeping the Arctic warmer longer into the fall and winter. On the other hand, if the vapor turns into certain types of clouds, it could be effective at reflecting light. The latter potential effect won't have much impact during the winter, though, since there's no sunlight up there then any way.

Another possibility is that the open water which will be found in the Arctic Ocean will produce mega lake effect snows downwind. As it is, once the sea-ice forms in winter, the Arctic becomes a "snow desert", since it's so cold that the atmosphere can't hold much water to produce snow. We could see much more snow at higher latitudes, latitudes where there's less sunlight later in the year to melt it. I would not be surprised that lingering snow produces a local cooling,

[Grrr I just typed this whole thing in to find an empty screen -Leanann, can't you get better software]
I had looked into central Alaskan climate a few years back. Being a real cryophile, I had hoped to move there, but the job was offered to someone else. In any case snowfall has been increasing in recent decades. But the date when the snow is gone in spring has been advancing nevertheless. So the greater warming is more than erasing the effect of greater snows. I think the fire season is expanding also, the longer dry season more than makes up for the greater moisture supply.

And a strong secondary effect (a little further north, Fairbanks is heavily forested) is that the dwarf tundra plants are growing taller, and snow season albedo is decreasing because the taller shrubs are harder to cover with snow. The advance of vegetation is an important positive feedback, that I think the climate modelers had missed.

"The advance of vegetation is an important positive feedback, that I think the climate modelers had missed."

I did hear of studies a while back that showed that trees altered albedo so in the north at least they rather counter-intuitively lead to warming.

US ILI Rate (visits to doctor for Influenza Like Illness) down slightly but deaths up. Fifth consecutive week deaths have exceeded epidemic threshold.

2009-2010 Influenza Season Week 43 ending October 31, 2009


During week 43 (October 25-31, 2009), influenza activity remained elevated in the U.S.

* 5,258 (37.2%) specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories and reported to CDC/Influenza Division were positive for influenza.

* Over 99% of all subtyped influenza A viruses being reported to CDC were 2009 influenza A (H1N1) viruses.

* The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was above the epidemic threshold.

* Eighteen influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported. Fifteen of these deaths were associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infection and three were associated with an influenza A virus for which the subtype was undetermined.

* The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was above the national baseline. All 10 regions reported ILI above region-specific baseline levels.

* Forty-eight states reported geographically widespread influenza activity, two states reported regional influenza activity, the District of Columbia reported local influenza activity; Puerto Rico and Guam reported sporadic influenza activity, and the U.S. Virgin Islands did not repor

Nationwide during week 43, 7.7% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This percentage is above the national baseline of 2.3%

During week 43, 7.4% of all deaths reported through the 122-Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to P&I. This percentage was above the epidemic threshold of 6.7% for week 43. Including week 43, P&I mortality has been above threshold for five consecutive weeks.

In Colorado, I have heard the opinion that H1N1 has "peaked" (while 8 pregnant women are on respirators in Denver), and the number of new cases is decreasing. Meanwhile, in Boulder, the vaccine is essentially unavailable. Some schools have been swept clean, with one classroom reporting 13 of 17 kids out at the same time, while others just had a trickle.

It's been weird.

I've also heard that a "second wave" was expected in Colorado. What's the thinking on that?

Colorado is well past the peak of this wave in terms of number of infections. However the proportion of serious cases continues to increase in general across the northern hemisphere so the number of hospital admissions and deaths can continue to increase in a region for a time after the number of cases peak. Colorado Influenza Surveillance data at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/Influenza/index.html

As to will there be another peak? To be quite honest I don't think anyone is really sure why the waves are in general peaking at a far lower attack rate in general than expected - during the CDC webcast yesterday it was stated that they themselves had been "burned" with prior predictions and they certainly weren't going to sound an all-clear based on an apparent current peak.

One clue from Australian research is that the observed Reproduction Number (R0 - see details below) in adult-adult transmission in Victoria was below one. It was above one for child-child transmission and most adults were infected by a child rather than another adult. So basically once herd immunity builds up in children then viral activity declines leaving most of the adult population uninfected and still susceptible. Now it is known that R0 is environment and temperature sensitive and it is possible that a drop in temperature can push the adult-to-adult number above unity - BANG - Explosive growth and that may be what we are seeing in Ukraine, Norway, parts of Canada and elsewhere. Ukraine has just closed all schools so we will soon see if explosive growth continues now that the easy spread route via close contact in classrooms has been removed.


In epidemiology, the basic reproduction number (sometimes called basic reproductive rate or basic reproductive ratio) of an infection is the mean number of secondary cases a typical single infected case will cause in a population with no immunity to the disease in the absence of interventions to control the infection. It is often denoted R0. This metric is useful because it helps determine whether or not an infectious disease will spread through a population. The roots of the basic reproduction concept can be traced through the work of Alfred Lotka, Ronald Ross, and others, but its first modern application in epidemiology was by George MacDonald in 1952, who constructed population models of the spread of malaria.
When R0 < 1 the infection will die out in the long run (provided infection rates are constant). But if R0 > 1 the infection will be able to spread in a population. Large values of R0 may indicate the possibility of a major epidemic.

Is this accurate? Manadatory purchase of an annual $15000 health premium? Sounds far fetched http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?Docum...

You will be forced to buy a defective product, as the US health system is the last among the first world industrial democracies, and cost the most.
The US is ranked 37th, right between Costa Rica at 36, and Slovenia at 39.

probably about as accurate as the photo of iowa's resident rightwing nut, steven king, with a purported 2000 page health care reform bill. a ream of paper is 500 sheets, it looks like they stacked up about 8 reams bound up in 3/8 polyethelyne rope for that photo-op.

Is the health premium fully deductable?
Do new rules WRT lawsuits kick in as the purchase is no longer a choice?

I've yet to see any answers to those questions.
Nor have I seen if the issue is HEALTH - where are the changes to food policy?

Well, $15K is a typical year's individual or small business pool premium for a healthy family in the Northeast, plus co-payments, annual deductibles, and $150 per ER visit. Add another $7K/year if anyone has a chronic disease like diabetes.

I don't see how making health care mandatory is going to make it more affordable.

At a glance, the Dem scheme looks like a scam to pump cash to insurance companies. A mandatory premium is nothing less than a tax (and a very hefty one at that).

At a glance, the Dem scheme looks like a scam to pump cash to insurance companies.

I don't think that was the original intent (in fact it wasn't), but as all the interest groups, plus republicans who just want to see any bill do down in flames, and the so called moderates have given up so much ground, that is pretty much the result. It is hard to escape PAU Politics As Usual in DC, and when you gotta court all sorts of interest groups special desires in order to get enough votes, good intentioned bills can go to heck in a handbasket.

The most important thing to have gotten was cost controls. But this directly threatens the financial interests of a lot of groups with big time lobbying efforts -plus the Republicans demagogued any efforts at say trying to figure out what treatments are cost effective -as killing grandma -these important provisions got badly gutted.

I think there are subsidies for the poor to get the insurance at reduced costs. I don't think they exepct to get anything close to the whole population insured either. But without serious cost controls, I think the medical-insurance-pharmaceutical complex will simply scoop up as much loot as they can get their greedy hands on, and this bill I think just gives them a bigger pot to raid.

I don't see how making health care mandatory is going to make it more affordable.

Especially for people who don't have jobs or income to begin with. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!

Well, as I last understood this bill it contains help from the Federal government to pay the premiums on a sliding scale, 100% health care premiums for the poor paid for and phasing out at about $86,000 per year income. So, if you are poor you will be helped a lot, if you have a job where you are covered with a health care plan, as I am, perhaps not much of a change will be seen. I do hope it passes.

So what you are describing is a Dem scam to pump more cash to the insurance companies-it is either taken from the customer directly and forcefully, or the taxpayers have to cough up their cash for the connected grifters. I love how the "Federal government" is going to help pay, as if the taxpayers in aggregate are not ultimately the payers.

First of all, the insurance companies are against expanding health care with these new government programs. If this is a "scam", as you put it, to pump more cash to insurance companies, it strikes me as rather odd that they are not for it. The AMA and the AARP are for it, though. A perfect bill in the House that just passed? Of course not, but our present system of basically "corporate" health care is terrible. And too many people out there w/o health care at all, and many more who are paying out the yin/yang for high deductible insurance, that is the true scam. I know, I have been there, I now work for a company who provides health care, but previously as a farmer (still am) the premiums were sky high, probably even much higher now. Yes, the Feds should help here, let us reduce the Pentagon budget, and get us out of these useless and counter-productive wars, to re-allocate our resources to their proper places.

Sure the AMA and AARP are for it-they could care less how much money is sucked out of the US economy. Look, as long as the USA medical system has to be run through the grifter machine to operate it is just going to get worse and worse continually, and more expensive.

[Kondratieff] came up with this idea that capitalism really underwent this long cycle of expansion and contraction. That the cycle lasted about 60 years, so first half of the cycle is really the expansion phase, and the second half is the contraction phase, and the last quarter of that contraction phase essentially is the depression- a deflationary depression stage in the cycle.

...to have inflation you have to increase the money supply. But to have an increase in the money supply the money has to transfer to the people who want to spend it. And to spend it as fast as you can because what they see ahead of them is just rising prices so they buy today rather than pay the high price tomorrow.

What happens in deflation is people do not spend but instead hoard money because they see lower prices tomorrow and they would rather wait for the lower prices.

this guy ian (link) is making little sense. global deflation? with population rising, and especially, with the population of people in developing countries that can buy things rising (read: massive demand growth) why would he suspect that people are going to want to spend nothing? as one example, china is putting $100B into renewable energy research/devt/production, so lots more chinese workers are going to have money to spend.

bernanke is no fool... (link: bernanke wants u.s. to save, china to spend)

we're all in this together, and our leaders (worldwide) are acting in large part cooperatively - global government. so while the global economy is certainly *not* healthy, and it certainly won't be for years, the way forward is rather clear.

Hi TOD'ers

The Ian Gordon post got me thinking again...
how many people here on TOD actually share the same believe as him regarding the impact of peak oil.
And what is the reasoning to do so or what would be a really clear cut argument that would thwart such thoughts as his.

Personally I'm rather on the doomer side, simply because I think that if people cannot grasp the situation now, why should they in the future.
Plus it's not only a problem of peak oil it's rather a peak-everything/"limits to growth"-dilemma we are facing and if not now or in ten years
but certainly in 50, the way of live must/will have changed.

Say I give the whole system 100 years (ridiculously huge number, I know) before I'm certain that any kind of "mingle-through" approach
will have hit a brick wall because the denial of the circumstances would lead to absolute certain death, so when, if ever, will a change occur?
What will the dynamics be?

Ian Gordon's school of thought raises questions about how much our current system could actually cope with and how much demand destruction we will
have when we have a second financial fiasco.

I mean the idea of peak-oil, peak-everything etc. hasn't really permeated into main stream, which is (at least for us) suprising, since it doesn't really need much
critical thinking to see the insanity of our situation.
So isn't it possible that most people will never really be confronted with the issue and instead just
believe it to be whatever they're told (fox news syndrome).

The denial of our situation now seems to be the reason why everything still works and
I sometimes fear that it's this denial which will keep us going trying to preserve as much of the structures in place
and we will never really confront the issues in a sane way.

Greetings K.

I used to wonder why peak oil didn't get more MSM coverage. My first reaction was like that of the wicked witch of the East, I think, in The Wiz -- "Don't bring me no bad news."

I've now come to think the reason is simple - the rich and powerful want to maintain the status quo and plan for the future. Why would Warren Buffet decide to buy a railroad? Why would Kuwait and the Saudis decide just now to go into Solar energy in a big way? Perhaps they see the end coming, they have plenty of cash, and want to be set for the future while the technology is still available.

It would be just so nice to have such choices...

If Buffett really understood peak oil he wouldn't have bought a railroad (or a lot of other investments he has made in the past few years). Rails may or may not do well in a peak oil environment and many of his investments certainly would not do well. He would have bought energy.

There is no cohesive "rich and powerful" group. If the rich and powerful understood peak oil then oil and gas company stocks would be a lot higher than they are today.
The internal price assumption of oil that is built into the major oil companies stocks is roughly $60 a barrel. If the rich and powerful generally agreed and all went out and bought these stocks, the stock prices would be much higher.

The above is why I have bought stock in Canadian oil companies.

You are right that the Saudis are making smart investments and also right that the oil companies themselves have an incentive to hide peak oil. If oil prices go up too fast it will hurt their ability to replace current reserves.

I suspect Buffett is sitting on a pile of cash right now and looking for a bottom. But I do think he's PO or at least energy aware. Railroads (where is Totoneila?) are incredibly efficient at moving tonnage and could be the workhorse of shipping after the peak. But will they?

On buying oil stocks. I have none but it makes sense to buy nationals who have rights to in-country fields. Canada sounds like a great place for that....