Drumbeat: December 9, 2009

The Peak Oil Crisis: Copenhagen – Prelude to Extinction?

Although world oil production is likely to start declining in the next few years, followed by world coal production in another 20 or so years, neither of these are likely to reduce emissions enough for many decades to have much of an impact on increasing carbon emissions. The decline in world oil production and much higher prices are likely to have a major impact on economic growth however.

The Obama-China-EU alliance is a powerful one, but so far only the EU seems willing to make major economic sacrifices necessary to contain carbon emissions. It will probably be another 50 years before we will know whether global warming has been contained or whether we have gone over the legendary tipping point beyond which the situation will be beyond man's ability to control. In the meantime get ready for hard times, sell your beach front property, and start thinking about higher ground.

Oil sector watches Mexican strategy

Mexico’s decision to spend more than $1bn to guarantee that it will earn a minimum of $57 a barrel on all its 2010 net oil exports appears to suggest it is pessimistic about the outlook for prices and demand next year.

After all, it hedged its 2009 output at $70 a barrel – a strategy which has netted it a profit of more than $5bn.

That deal, struck in mid-2008 as oil rocketed towards $150 a barrel, was bravely contrarian when forecasts for a price peak of $200 a barrel were widespread.

So should its view about 2010 set alarm bells ringing among oil market analysts?

Japan to protest against China if gas development report true: Hirano

TOKYO — Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Wednesday that Japan will protest against China if it has completed a drilling facility on its own in a gas field in the East China Sea, as reported. “This is a sensitive issue for Japan too and we will watch (the development) closely,” the top government spokesman said at a news conference. “If it is true, we will state our opinion clearly.”

Pemex sees Chicontepec at 40,000 bpd by end of year

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) expects production at its Chicontepec field to rise to 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2009, a Pemex official said Wednesday.

Iraq opens big slice of oil riches to outside bids

BAGHDAD - It's been a strained courtship between Iraq and oil companies jockeying for its untapped riches — complicated by jitters about insecurity, lack of a legal rule book to govern investments and Baghdad's tightfisted bargaining that turned last summer's much-hyped bidding round into a failure.

Even as the same security and political concerns remain unresolved, they appear ready to give it another go.

U.S. Makes ‘Urgent’ Safety Recommendations to Citgo

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Chemical Safety Board urged Citgo Petroleum Corp. to quickly improve an emergency water spray system at its Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery in the event of another “potentially deadly” chemical release at the plant.

Gulf economy 'strong' says Saudi oil chief

DUBAI — Saudi Arabia's oil minister told a Dubai conference Wednesday that Gulf economies remain strong, even as the emirate's stock market spiralled downwards over debt default fears.

"I want to emphasise that the overall economy of the Gulf region as a whole remains strong," Ali al-Naimi told the fourth Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association Forum.

Phil Flynn: The Energy Report for Wednesday

Remember that the major reason oil is trading anywhere near current levels is because of the weak dollar. As the economy improves, interest rates will go up and that should put pressure on oil. The price of oil, like the economy as a whole, is being supported by outside means. Even the former peak oil bulls and other formerly wildly bullish analysts are coming to that same conclusion. The economy and the price of oil have training wheels on. At some point when the Fed gets some confidence that they can stand on their own, those wheels will come off. When they do we know there will be a fall in price but then eventually the price and the economy will start to ride on its own. Still the EIA forecast for US GDP is a modest 1.9 percent in 2010 and world oil-consumption-weighted real GDP grows by 2.6 percent. Perhaps they feel that this growth is not going to be enough to see much higher interest rates.

Engineers say stimulus slow, Canada oil sands back

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Leading U.S. engineering companies do not expect much federal stimulus money to flow in their line of sight any time soon, but believe opportunities in Canada's oil sands are ripe with the recovery in crude prices.

Executives said on Wednesday the local and shovel-ready nature of many stimulus-funded projects meant their companies might not see much of the money, and anyway the U.S. government expects only a fraction more of it to start moving next year.

UK's Darling unveils aid for greener homes, cars

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Alistair Darling announced plans on Wednesday to support new low carbon industries, cut gas emissions from homes and boost the embryonic electric car sector.

Keen to burnish the government's green credentials, Darling scrapped taxes on company electric cars for the next five years.

Demystifying green jobs

NEW YORK (CNN) -- "Green jobs." You may have heard President Obama use this phrase often. But what does it really mean? It's one of those phrases that isn't really specific -- so we set out to demystify the phrase -- digging down into the sectors of business that people are referring to and actual job titles when they reference green jobs.

The home of the future: smaller, simpler, more affordable

Though Cusato's 300- to 1,800-square-foot Katrina Cottages -- now for sale at Lowe's -- are an extreme example of the smaller-is-better mentality, the movement appears to be more than a fad, especially now that the economy has tanked.

A slew of surveys shows that homeowners are looking to slim down, hoping for less space to heat, cool and clean, and cheaper mortgage payments. A recent CNN poll found 69% of respondents felt homes had gotten too big and Kermit Baker, an American Institute of Architects economist, reported in October that while people want a home office more than ever (reflecting in part the growing number of self-employed and telecommuting workers), special-function rooms such as home theaters, exercise rooms, guest wings and three-car garages have become less popular.

Consumers are also abandoning some of the excesses that had come to define the modern home before the housing bubble burst: living rooms in addition to family rooms, big master bedrooms with big master baths, walk-in showers that are adjacent to standalone Jacuzzi tubs, pantries the size of closets and closets the size of bedrooms.

Climate deal likely to cost trillions of dollars

WASHINGTON - If negotiators reach an accord at the climate talks in Copenhagen it will entail profound shifts in energy production, dislocations in how and where people live, sweeping changes in agriculture and forestry and the creation of complex new markets in global warming pollution credits.

So what is all this going to cost?

‘Greening’ the Royal Bank of Scotland

Environmental and anti-poverty campaigners had hoped that the taxpayer’s majority shareholding in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) would mean the bank, which has styled itself until recently as the ‘Oil and Gas Bank’, would now have to cut unethical investments linked to climate change and human rights abuses. However, during a recent preliminary hearing to take the Treasury to a judicial review over the matter, government lawyers viewed such environmental and social considerations as a “burden” to the financial sector.

Economics, politics chill Arctic pipeline dreams

INUVIK, Northwest Territories (Reuters) - Driving by industrial yards along Inuvik's icy Navy Road, Jackie Jacobson, an aboriginal guide, hunter and politician, pointed out fleets of idle trucks and clusters of unused oil field equipment.

They are the tangible evidence of an economy in limbo, waiting for one of the world's biggest unbuilt energy projects -- the C$16.2 billion ($15.3 billion) Mackenzie natural gas pipeline -- to get underway.

After decades of setbacks, work on the pipeline has not started, and it's not entirely clear it ever will.

Aramco Drills Record Number of Wells, Adds Gas Output

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil company, is drilling a record number of wells to find more resources and boost natural gas output to meet industrial demand, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said.

Saudi Arabia’s state producer aims to discover a minimum 5 trillion cubic feet (142 billion cubic meters) of so-called non- associated gas reserves annually, he said at a conference in Dubai today.

The country, which had gas reserves of 263 trillion cubic feet at the end of 2008, has opened areas for exploration in the south in partnerships with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec, Lukoil OAO and Eni SpA, al-Naimi said.

INTERVIEW - Oil price over $70-80 risky for recovery - IEA

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Oil prices above $70-80 a barrel could be risky for global economic recovery, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

Birol told Reuters in an interview that current oil price levels were good for investment.

Oil prices have more than doubled from the lows near $30 a barrel at the end of 2008 to around $75 a barrel as investors eye signs of wider economic recovery which could boost oil demand. Oil was trading at $73.79 at 1045 GMT.

"Price levels we see today betwen $70-80 dollars is a good price level for almost all investment," said Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA, which advises 28 industrialised countries.

Sinopec May Build 240,000-Barrel-a-Day Refinery in Shanghai

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the nation’s largest oil refiner, may build a 240,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Shanghai to meet the rising fuel demand along the eastern coast, said a company official.

Sinopec Gaoqiao Petrochemical Corp. is conducting initial design work of the plant, said an official from the Gaoqiao refinery in Shanghai, declining to be named because of company rules. The company aim to receive state approval for the project in 2011, he added.

Eletrobras Says It Plans to Pay Dividends Next Year

(Bloomberg) -- Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, Latin America’s biggest power utility, said it plans to pay overdue dividends of 10 billion reais ($5.71 billion) next year, according to a regulatory filing today.

Eletrobras, as the state-controlled company is known, owes shareholders dividends dating back to the 1970s. The company is seeking government funds to help make the payments, which were deferred to fund projects such as the Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the Paraguay border.

'No financial reason for gas crisis'

No basis exists for a new crisis with Russia over supplies of natural gas, Ukraine's Naftogaz said today.

Outlook bleak, says Caltex

CALTEX has disappointed the market by predicting a soft start to next year, as profits are eroded by refining margins weakened by fierce regional competition.

A week after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would block Caltex's purchase of 300 petrol stations from ExxonMobil, the only listed refiner said it continued to hold a ''weak outlook'' for the first half of 2010.

South Africa: Don’t be fooled by power price

SOUTH Africans had been falsely led to believe that there was enough electricity, but that it was just going to cost more, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said in Pretoria yesterday.

After a national stakeholder advisory council meeting on electricity, also attended by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Manuel said it was accepted that energy was the “life blood” of any economy.

“There will have to be some kind of price adjustment. It’s inevitable. We have all been lulled into a false sense of security. We think that there is sufficient energy. Life is not, actually, as easy as it seems.”

You may have to pay up for wasting food

MUMBAI: Yadnyesh Narkar and his friends, who often dine at various restaurants in Matunga and Dadar, recently witnessed a new campaign; there were notices pasted on restaurant walls explaining why the rates of delicacies had gone up.

Customers were warned against wastage of dal, vegetables, water and power as they were very “expensive’’. This campaign is not confined to Dadar and Matunga restaurants. Lakhs of Mumbaikars will soon face such a campaign in around 7,000 restaurants across the city and other urban pockets in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

Kazakh uranium output growth set to decline

ALMATY - (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's uranium output growth is set to moderate in 2010 after a leap in recent years that has made it the world's largest producer, analysts said, citing technological and economic considerations.

The former Soviet republic, which sits on a fifth of global uranium reserves, plans to produce 13,800 tonnes this year, up from 8,500 tonnes in 2008. But 2010 production is seen at 15,000 tonnes, a much smaller increase.

Is nuclear the low carbon future?

With a predicted shortage of energy by 2015, should we build more nuclear power stations?

Surprisingly some environmentalists believe nuclear power is an acceptable way of making electricity - without the carbon emissions that comes from burning coal and gas.

Kansas tries to tap cow manure as a smelly source of electricity

Kansas has plenty of cow manure, with two cows for every human in the state. Over the course of a year, just one cow’s manure contains the same amount of energy found in 140 gallons of gasoline.

Thomas Homer-Dixon and Andrew Weaver: Responding to the skeptics

Despite wide agreement among scientists on the basic facts of global warming, many people remain confused about the issue. The vigorous efforts of skeptical commentators have raised doubts about the scientific consensus. These skeptics use four arguments most commonly. Here we offer a short refutation of each.

Messenger of doom

JAMES HANSEN IS NOT an easy man to pin down. He may be the world's most renowned climate scientist, and almost certainly its most confrontational, but he keeps his tracks well camouflaged.

Randy Udall: Copenhagen and the new American reality

We may already have most of the climate policy we are ever going to have, an accidental assemblage of energy policies and economic realities that may prove surprisingly effective at further reducing emissions.

Is six children a blessing or three a crowd?

As the Copenhagen summit gets under way, we meet a large and a small family to assess their carbon footprints.

Immigrants prop up metro areas

"We've been a nation on the move ever since people settled here from Europe, and we've been moving westward," Frey says. "All of a sudden, this stopped because of external forces. People stopped moving for housing reasons. People stopped moving for jobs reasons. The exurban growth stopped."

What's not clear is whether the itch to move will return when the economy rebounds.

Scenarios abound, Frey says. Among them: Sun Belt areas that boomed because of cheap housing — from Las Vegas to Orlando — may never boom again. Suburbanization may slow as the environmentally conscious balk at living in big homes on cheap farmland. Others believe Americans may just stop moving so much.

"Migration overall is going to slow just for the simple reason that the population is getting older," says Joel Kotkin, a fellow at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and author of the upcoming The Next 100 Million: America in 2050. "People will be moving less for lots of reasons."

These Revolutionary Times

Central to the problems we face is our reluctance to see them as anything more than temporary downturns in the usual up and down cycles of economics and climate. They are not. World production of oil in the past three years has remained steady—85 million barrels per day— while the price has more than doubled in that time, and in early July had reached as high as $145 per barrel. A human slave, on the other hand—of which there are now approximately 27 million in the world, more than at any other time in history—can be purchased for a mere $40. Add another 3 billion people to the planet in 40 years while simultaneously trying to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent. Find livelihoods, food, fresh water and shelter, as well as education, health care and stable governments for these numbers without causing species extinction, soil degradation, civil wars, nuclear wars and mass migrations. Try running any of the world’s major cities—their subways, waste water plants, transportation, lighting and heating—for even a few days on low density solar and wind power.

Available Now! The 2 Disc Special Edition of ‘In Transition 1.0′!

You saw the online test screening, you’ve seen it shown at a Transition initiative near you, you may even be in it, but now it is properly released…. ‘In Transition’ is the first detailed film about the Transition movement filmed by those that know it best, those who are making it happen on the ground. The Transition movement is about communities around the world responding to peak oil and climate change with creativity, imagination and humour, setting about rebuilding their local economies and communities. It is positive, solutions focused, viral and fun.

Sharon Astyk: Jared Diamond Done Drunk the Kool-Aid

Finally, the executive I'd been speaking with all this time asked me why it was that the Ford Corporation got so little credit in the media for all of its efforts to become more environmentally sustainable. Why did people pay so little attention to how hard they were working? It was a sincere question, and a legitimate one.

I answered him. "Well, you do make cars, you know." He looked at me blankly. I continued "We can't have a world where everyone has a private vehicle and still have a viable planet, right?"

That was pretty much the end of our discussion. The level of difference in our assumptions was simply too great - to the Ford Executives, reducing waste but continuing to make more cars made a lot of sense - and ideally, making more and more of them. The problem, however, is that as we've seen over the years, waste reduction in the absence of constraint leads to more efficient products - and more of them, for a net increase in energy use. What is needed, if we are to soften the simultaneous blows of climate change and energy depletion is to use dramatically fewer fossil fuels - and that's only possible with fewer cars on the road.

Living without money

It was always Schwermer’s belief that the homeless didn’t need money to re-enter society: instead they should be able to empower themselves by making themselves useful, despite debts, destitution or joblessness. “I’ve always believed that even if you have nothing, you are worth a lot. Everyone has a place in this world.”

But the homeless of Dortmund seemed not to take to Schwermer’s plan, few ever turned up to the Tauschring. Some, they told her angrily to her face, felt that a middle-class woman with some education would never be able to relate to the circumstances of the dispossessed. Instead it was mainly the unemployed and the retired who began, in snowballing numbers, to flock to the Tauschring, their arms full of things that had been lying around their homes unused for years, or skills that they possessed but no longer exercised: retired hairdressers volunteered to cut the hair of out-of-work electricians, who would wire their kitchens in return; retired English teachers gave language lessons in return for the services of a dog-walker. The point was, not a single pfennig changed hands.

Iraqi oil power may shake Iran more than Saudi

BAGHDAD/DUBAI (Reuters) - The geopolitical power balance in the Middle East faces upheaval if Iraq succeeds in tripling oil output, and fellow Shi'ite power Iran will feel more threatened than rival Sunni oil giant Saudi Arabia.

Iraq's potential leap into the ranks of the top three global oil producers could result in a strengthened Shi'ite Muslim front within OPEC if Baghdad aligns supply policy with Tehran.

That would rattle Riyadh, already suspicious of the rise to political supremacy of Iraq's Shi'ite majority since the fall of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. Disunity within OPEC could increase, undermining efforts to present an image of harmony.

But oil development in Iraq is more likely to feed tensions with Iran, draw away potential foreign investment from Iraq's neighbour and fuel social discord by depriving Tehran of much-needed money should it result in lower oil prices.

As oil production fades, Mexico is losing its clout

Over the past 20 years, oil functioned as a type of life jacket for Mexico's economy. It hid economic distortions, allowing governments to postpone needed structural reform as it financed the status quo. Mexico was able to float along, buoyed by billions of dollars of oil revenue, without having to swim more quickly than its competitors in the sea of emerging markets. But now that oil production at Pemex, the state-owned oil monopoly, is plummeting, the country faces some hard truths that the oil bonanza obscured. The government had become too dependent on a non-renewable resource and therefore did little to widen the tax base. Moreover, the manufacturing sector had become too dependent on U.S.-driven export demand, and the population had become too dependent on remittances from emigrants working in the U.S.

Oil rises on surprise inventory drop

LONDON (Reuters) -- Oil rose more than $1 towards $74 a barrel on Wednesday, rallying after several days of falls, on industry data showing a big drop in U.S. crude stocks and on a weaker U.S. dollar.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) said in a report late on Tuesday that crude inventories in the world's top oil consumer fell 5.8 million barrels last week, bucking expectations for a rise, as refiners boosted fuel production.

Oil May Tumble Below $65, Commerzbank Says: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil may tumble toward its 200- day moving average near $65 a barrel in New York after breaking through the bottom of a supporting channel, according to technical analysis by Commerzbank AG.

Crude is set to extend this month’s 5.3 percent loss after dropping below an ascending price channel that has buoyed prices this year, the Frankfurt-based bank said in a report yesterday. Breaching this barrier opened the way for a further slide towards a price range between $65.23 and $64.88, it said.

Gas Exporters Defend Oil-Price Link as Glut Grows

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas exporters, meeting today in Qatar, may discuss how to maintain the link to oil prices that’s supported revenue this year amid a glut in supply.

The connection between prices for the two fossil fuels is essential to attract investment in gas export projects, Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said yesterday after arriving in Doha for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum. Qatar’s ruler, who’s hosting the meeting, said the forum needed to act to keep oil and gas prices together.

Russia takes gas Opec helm

Stroytransgaz executive Leonid Bokhanovsky will take the helm of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) grouping of gas producers, Libya's Shokri Ghanem announced this morning.

The Russian was elected secretary general of the so-called "gas Opec" this morning, a Reuters report said.

Jeff Rubin: Will tumbling natural gas prices fell oil as well?

With the price of gas now trading at a record low — one third that of oil (per unit of energy) — its hold over the price of its hydrocarbon cousin should be its strongest ever. Yet oil prices have not only resisted gas’ gravitational pull but have moved in the opposite direction over most of the year.

And with good reason.

Poland ‘Bubbles Up’ as Marathon Target for Next Shale-Gas Boom

(Bloomberg) -- ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Corp. are betting that Poland, which gets half of its natural gas from Russia, can yield a development boom in shale formations like those that drove a jump in U.S. output of the heating fuel.

The third- and fourth-biggest U.S. oil companies obtained exploration licenses this year covering hundreds of thousands of acres in Poland. The country, which imports 72 percent of its gas, could become an exporter of the fuel, said Maciej Wozniak, chief adviser on energy security to Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Poland confident of winter supplies

Poland is confident it will not run out of gas this winter despite prolonging negotiations with Russia on a new gas deal, an economy ministry official said today.

China, India LNG Imports May Rise Sevenfold, Santos CEO Says

(Bloomberg) -- Demand for liquefied natural gas in China and India may surge more than sevenfold by 2025 as the nations boost their use of cleaner-burning fuels, said the chief executive officer of Santos Ltd.

Consumption of gas chilled to liquid form in Asia’s two fastest-growing major economies may increase to 75 million tons a year in 2025 compared with 10 million tons a year currently, Santos’s David Knox said in an investor briefing today.

“Those are very, very significant growth rates,” Knox said. The Adelaide-based company expects a “considerable and sustained rise in LNG demand,” he said.

Lukoil Cuts Production Growth Targets on U.S. Shale Gas, Demand

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Lukoil cut its 10-year output targets as Russia’s biggest non-state crude producer postponed some natural-gas projects on a decrease in European fuel demand and unconventional gas developments in the U.S.

“It looks like our country will face serious problems with gas exports as early as the next decade,” Deputy Chief Executive Officer Leonid Fedun said in Moscow today.

An “acute glut” of gas may arise in the next few years because of rising production of so-called unconventional fuel in the U.S. and Canada, the International Energy Agency said last month. Lukoil plans to boost gas production to about 26 percent of total output by 2019, from about 10 percent now. Its previous 10-year plan to 2016 had targeted 33 percent.

Medvedev: changing Ukraine gas deals "irresponsible"

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday it would be "irresponsible" to amend gas supply contracts with Ukraine, in a sign that Moscow will offer no more concessions to its ex-Soviet neighbour on gas payments.

Medvedev, addressing a media forum, said Ukraine had shown it was capable of paying for Russian gas under the terms agreed in a 10-year pact signed in January to end the "gas war" which damaged industry and left millions of Europeans without heating.

"We have signed a treaty this year for 10 years ... I think that proposals to change them are irresponsible," Medvedev said. He made no reference to any specific moves to alter the contract.

Norway's prelim oil production rose in November

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's oil production rose to a preliminary 2.06 million barrels per day on average in November from 2.01 million in October, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Wednesday.

Mongolia Coal Winners Should Sell Domestically, Lawmaker Says

(Bloomberg) -- Peabody Energy Corp., China Shenhua Energy Co., Vale SA and other companies interested in mining a coal deposit in Mongolia should expect to produce fuel for domestic consumption if they’re awarded the development rights, a lawmaker said.

The winning group of investors, to be selected by April, will be required to convert some of the thermal coal in the Tavan Tolgoi deposit into clean-burning fuel, Batkhuu Gavaa, deputy speaker of Mongolia’s parliament, said in an interview today in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Lawmakers want to include the provision into any agreement to help cut Mongolia’s dependence on foreign fuel and create jobs, Gavaa said.

Renault Says LPG Car Demand May Triple on Pricing

(Bloomberg) -- Renault SA, the French automaker that plans to roll out the first of its electric cars in 2011, says demand for liquid petroleum gas-powered vehicles in Europe may triple within five years because its fuel is more affordable.

Sales of new cars using LPG will increase to as much as 6 percent of the total vehicle sales in the 27-member European Union from about 2 percent now, Philippe Schultz, head of energy and environment planning at France’s second-biggest carmaker said in an interview at the global climate summit in Copenhagen.

Farm tractors go electric: Model from 1940s in demand

APPLEGATE, Ore. - At Blue Fox Farm, the tractor is old but the fuel is new.

Like a small but growing number of organic farmers around the country, Chris Jagger has converted an Allis-Chalmers Model G tractor built in the 1940s to run on electricity at his farm in southwest Oregon.

EDF to Lead French Group Bidding for U.A.E. Nuclear Contracts

(Bloomberg) -- Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, will lead a group of French companies bidding for nuclear contracts in the United Arab Emirates, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio said.

Vestas to Temporarily Halt Output at Colorado Plant

(Bloomberg) -- Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s biggest maker of wind turbines, said it will halt production at its Windsor, Colorado, blade manufacturing plant until at least the second quarter of 2010.

Historically low sales during the first quarter have been exacerbated by tight credit markets caused by the recession, Peter Kruse, the Denmark-based company’s spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. Vestas opened the plant in March 2008.

Siemens Expects Solar Earnings to Swell, Match Wind-Unit Growth

(Bloomberg) -- Siemens AG, the manufacturer planning to supply turbines to the Sahara desert’s biggest solar project, expects its solar-equipment earnings to leap during the next few years, the company’s head of technology and research said.

Sales and earnings will each match the growth of its wind- energy unit, whose profit has risen an average 71 percent a year since 2004, Reinhold Achatz said, without estimating a figure. Wind-equipment income was 382 million euros ($565 million) in fiscal 2009, about 5 percent of Siemens’s total.

Constellation to build solar plant in Md.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Constellation Energy Group, Inc. said Tuesday it would build a solar power plant in Maryland that will be the state's largest when completed in 2012.

The company, which is headquartered in Baltimore, said it would construct a 15.9-megawatt thin-film solar power plant that will sit on 100 acres. The plant will be part of a $60 million energy facility that's run by Constellation in Emmitsburg, Md.

California leads with 36% growth in 'green' jobs

Jobs in California's so-called green economy increased by 36% from 1995 to 2008, beating the state's 13% job growth, a study out Wednesday says.

The research, by Silicon Valley-based research firm Collaborative Economics, underscores California's lead in the "green economy" and may indicate where other states can expect green-job growth.

Bellingham council considers impact of energy shortage, will develop resolution

BELLINGHAM - After a task force's 18 months of work and more than 100 meetings, City Council members heard how limited energy resources globally could have an impact locally.

Members of the Bellingham/Whatcom County Energy Resources Scarcity/Peak Oil Taskforce recommended tying their work to how the county manages emergencies, especially if there is a shortage of oil and other energy resources, as well as things that need fuel to get here, like food.

No recommendations were approved or adopted by the council Monday night, Dec. 7, after the presentation. Instead, Councilman Jack Weiss, who worked toward initiating the task force's assignment, will work with the group to bring a resolution back to the council for approval.

Pollution from rail feared

The city's proposed $5.3 billion rail system could increase greenhouse gas emissions in Hawaii by as much as 28,000 tons by 2030, according to a study commissioned by rail opponents.

EPA chief: US will regulate CO2 with common sense

COPENHAGEN — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says she will take commonsense steps to regulate carbon emissions to protect the health of Americans.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said her newly declared power to regulate greenhouse gases will be used to complement legislation pending in Congress, not replace it.

She said "this is not an either-or moment. It's a both-and moment."

China Exports to U.S. May Be Cut by Climate Plan, Report Finds

(Bloomberg) -- Legislation pending in the U.S. Congress to cut greenhouse-gas emissions may reduce imports of Chinese goods by 20 percent, a World Bank study said.

The provision, included in the measure passed by the U.S. House in June, would tax imports from countries that don’t enact curbs on carbon-dioxide emissions.

Copenhagen climate summit: global warming 'caused by sun's radiation'

As the world gathered in the Danish capital for the UN Climate Change Conference, more than 50 scientists, businessmen and lobby groups met to discuss the arguments against man made global warming.

Although the meeting was considerably smaller than the official gathering of 15,000 people meeting down the road, the organisers claimed it could change the course of negotiations.

Poor nations' fury over leaked climate text

(CNN) -- A leaked document known as the "Danish text" has driven an even deeper wedge between rich and poor countries embroiled in U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen.

The document, subtitled "The Copenhagen Agreement," proposes measures to keep average global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Developing countries have reacted angrily to the text, alleging developed countries have worked behind closed doors to draft a document slanted in their favor.

Hottest Plan at Climate Talks Never Got Onto Table

(Bloomberg) -- The proposal drawing the most attention and criticism at the United Nations climate-change talks in Copenhagen never got put on the table.

The formula for slowing global warming, circulated by Denmark before the two-week negotiations started Dec. 7, has generated a stir because Denmark is the host country for more than 190 nations, striving to be neutral.

The plan, leaked more than a week ago, is flawed because it was drawn up outside the UN process without input from poorer nations, said Kim Carstensen, head of the global climate initiative at environmental group WWF. UN climate chief Yvo de Boer issued a statement saying the paper is “informal” only.

Insurers at core of climate change fallout

COPENHAGEN (MarketWatch) -- With the number of extreme weather events continuing to grow around the world the insurance industry is finding itself at the very center of efforts to avert the worst effects of climate change.

But as drought and demand for water intensify; heat waves become more severe; downpours more violent; and destructive coastal flooding more frequent, some even in the industry say its traditional risk-management tool may not be up to the task.

A lingering pool of disbelief: Despite a decade of record drought, Australian farmers refuse to buy into climate change

What all this means for 2 million Australians who live on farms and in towns along the Murray is that communities must die, families must move and a hugely overbuilt irrigation system will have to shrink, experts said.

The government is ready and willing to make the exodus happen, with $3.1 billion in the bank to buy out irrigators and $5.8 billion to upgrade infrastructure. New laws have stripped farmers of guaranteed access to water from the Murray, while creating a market for buying and selling water allocations. As a result, the cost of water has soared and waste of water has sharply declined.

Yet in town after town along the Murray River, residents have been shying away from the future as predicted by scientists and planned for by politicians.

"They really do face a bleak future," said Chris Miller, a social scientist who teaches at Flinders University in Adelaide and has been interviewing farmers along the Murray for 15 months. "But they do not yet believe the water isn't coming back."

NASA climatologist James Hansen criticizes emissions trading proposed in Copenhagen. He did an interview with Tony Jones from the Australian ABC TV.

And if you look at how much carbon there is in oil, gas and coal, what you quickly realise is that oil and gas is already going to be enough to get us up to approximately the dangerous level. The only way we can solve the problem is by phasing out coal emissions and prohibiting unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands and oil shale.

But in fact, if you look at what’s happening, the United States just signed an agreement with Canada to make a pipeline to carry oil from tar sands to the United States, and Australia is expanding its port facilities to export more coal……

I have put everything together in this post:

Hansen's interview, his new book entitled "The Storms of my Grandchildren", Australia's continued coal addiction and the geological history of oil

Sounds like Palin is also against the proposal, albeit for different reasons (like she is an oil company shill). It is a sad statement about the ignorance of the USA that she has such a large base of supporters.

Palin calls for Obama to boycott climate change conference

Referencing private e-mails from climate change scientists at a research facility in Britain that were hacked and published on the Internet late last month, Palin said now is not the time for the President to show his support for the "radical environmental movement."

If the republican party is lucky Palin will fade away ans finish out her career making speeches and appearances in republican strongholds.

All the conservative realists of my acquaintance recognize that she is a light wieght to say the least and that she would be pure poison on next the national ticket as far as independent voters are concerned.

The only thing that got her on the ticket the last time was the desperation of the Mc Cain campaign to use her as a match to light a possible fire in the electorate most likely to vote republican.

This desperation strategy did indeed succeed in stirring up a lot of heat and smoke but the fire never amounted to anything.The people who are the rank and file of republican party activists will not likely want to risk another election on such a controversial figure,but the Gods are fickle.Maybe they will give her the nomination as a gift to the democrats and a well deserved hubris prize to the republicans who should know better but .....

We may not have seen the last of her-she could possibly pull a Hillary of sorts and win a congressional seat someplace.Hillary had a very large following among long time democratic and women's activists , however, and Palin doesn't have any significant long term base-just a large number of very frustrated conservative voters.Most of them will come to realize that she is not thier longed for Savior before too long in my estimation.

I have no trouble admitting that she's cute and feisty. She makes good TV.. and I can see how the wounded and threatened pride of America's right clamors over such a soothing treat..

My prediction for Sarah. She'll have a talk show soon. (Or does she already?)

Dr. Emmett Brown: [holding Marty's video camera] No wonder your president has to be an actor, he's gotta look good on television. ... Back to the Future

Not that I disagree with you Mac but what "heavy weight" Repub do you see filling the spot? They can certainly run one of the old dogs out again because "it's his time" but as we saw with Dole (who I personally liked as a fellow human being)it guarentees a loss IMHO.


They will just have to scrounge around and find a new face somewhere.As I see it, the last democratic nomination went to OBama because there were so many "anybody but Hillary " democrats around-she would have had everything sewn up airtight except for her high personal negatives.Of course the democrats are much more sensible about not shooting themselves in the foot by talking about this sort of thing in public, as compared to the republicans, so you won't see my opinion backed up by a whole lot of public announcements by the democrats.But I heard plenty in private.

Folks might find it amusing that I maintain contact with two distinct groups of people socially who are so radically opposed.It came about like this.

I grew up with one group.I met the other in college and by hanging around other young professionals on the job.There was very little contact between the two groups as I moved to go to school and take my first job.

I fell hard for a girl really into liberal politics in the early days and was more than willing to be lead to the liberal altar-if you are not liberal when you are young you have no heart, after all.

It turned out that most of the gold in her case was on her head rather than in her heart,and when we broke up she told some really rotten lies about me and I found myself unwelcome in just about every place I had been socially for a couple of years.But my old buddies on the right were glad to see me and I found myself a new job out at the nuke that paid about three times better to boot, as well as a country girl who could bait a fish hook.

After a couple of years the blonde pulled the same trick on her next guy and skipped town.The upshot of that was that the guy was a local well known to and well respected by my former liberal social circle and over a peroid of a couple of years I was sort of welcomed back into that circle as the word got around and every was able to pretend that they hadn't judged me too hastily.

It didn't take me long to realize that having a foot in two different worlds can be a very good thing socially and business wise.One old liberal buddy runs a private school and says that he can find a place for me if I want one.

And a couple of old conservative buddies are ready to team up and gaurd the farm if tshtf.

Nowadays about half the people on my contacts and speed dial list think I am a somewhat eccentric liberal and the other half think I am one of them-technically educated conservatives.The odd ones left over are the Jesus crowd , which consists of family and local folks.

So I guess I am a sort of amatuer triple agent.;)

The hardest part is remembering to play the right role but after a while it gets easy -just like driving two different cars, one an automatic and the other a stick shift.As long as you drive both of them occasionally you have no problems remembering how.

If I meet a likely unattached female with sufficient assetts intellectually and financially I will be able to get along with her , having learned the ropes by marrying both kinds, a New York girl who majored in art and activism , and a southern girl mainly interested in church, chickens, fishing, and kids. ;)

I'm somewhat similar - too liberal for most conservatives, and too conservative for most liberals, but I mostly just keep my mouth shut and listen, so I can manage to get along with most people. I understand both camps. I understand them well enough to know that I don't really belong or feel comfortable in either, but it is worth at least trying to keep up reasonably good relations with everyone that you can.

I am hoping that the Democrats will push the big government/big business agenda much too far down ordinary people's throats, that the Republicans will stay true to form and run a white male neanderthal, and that this will open up an unusually wide window of opportunity in the middle for someone with reasonably good intelligence, competence, and civic-mindedness to step in and finally make a successful 3rd party run. It is overdue for the BAU in Washington to get up-ended big time, and I don't know what else would do it.

LOL Mac -- You and I seem to have traveled down different but parallel trails. I could go into the details but it's easier to just say "me too" to most parts of you saga. I especially appreciate you "one foot in each world". You can imagine that working in the oil patch I deal with some of the worse racist and homophobic idiots out there. The ones that give us conservatives a bad rep. Probably like you I don't pick fights with those windmills anymore. Like the old joke about trying to teach a pig to roller skate: frustrate you and irritates the hell out of the pig. Why bother.

What I've disliked about our two-party system for as long as I can remember is the inside trading. Candidate selection seems to have little do with putting forth an individual that might properly represent the majority of that party's members. I'm a registered R in Texas for the same reason I was a D when I lived in La. Your vote only really counted during the nomination process. The R in Texas and the D in La. almost always one the general election. That only tells you how unrepresented the system can be.

I like the top 2 primary we now have in WA. We were able to get rid of two BAU Seattle mayoral candidates (both D) and elect a liberal. We will see how that goes ...

Palin was an exceptionally good fund-raiser for Obama.

Palin is pretty much an airhead.

She is digging her own grave anyway.
No way can she become a candidate.

Besides by that time it the whole paradigm will have changed markedly.


I suspect that deep down inside she knows that she is not really Presidential material, and that it really wouldn't be good for her family (which is obviously a matter of real importance to her, to her credit). I think she answered McCain's call out of a sense of duty, but is secretly just as glad that she didn't have to relocate to Washington. I know I wouldn't want to, and I'm a small-town person too.

I think she is enjoying having the opportunity to speak out and get some national attention while doing it. It is quite possible for her to have quite a long run doing just that, without it really leading to anything more substantive. We have plenty of people pontificating on the national stage already, who is to say that there isn't room for one more?

While I don't agree with everything she says, I must say that I was and am truly pissed off by the way the elite media trashed not only her, but pretty explicitly small-town America and everyone in it. They made it very clear that they look down their noses at all - ALL - of us. It was a personal insult, meant and taken as such. Given that, I am having a little bit of a hard time joining in with the gleeful media pile-on.

Yes she did get trashed. But was she NEW to this game? I doubt it.

The media is now busy trashing Tiger Woods. Soon he might write a book.
Then a movie and then a sitcom and so on.


yeah-but Tiger is already rich, although by the time his women and thier lawyers are finished with him his nerves and his bank account may be shot.He may NEED to write a book when by then.;)

I feel sorry for the guy- a little,in a way.Any man with that much money should have enough sense to stay single until the old urge dies down enough to stay home.But even if he winds up bankrupt he can get a job somewhere nice and outside the reach of an American judge making a few hundred grand playing foursomes and doing a little coaching with the superwealthy who will want to show off thier new buddy .

At least Palin needs the money from the book.

I'm with WNC on the trashing of small town culture and values but I hardly ever watch tv or listen to anything on the radio anymore, excepting some BBC, and if an article in the publications I read takes that path I just skip it.

Every once in a while I do listen to some NPR on a car radio but I get tired of the liberal spin on absolutely everything.

Every once in a while I do listen to some NPR on a car radio but I get tired of the liberal spin on absolutely everything.

If NPR is 'liberal' then I'm a monkey's uncle.

I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything, but the political spectrum may be just a wee bit wider than this statement represents. IMO NPR is a bit right of center on my own personal spectrum. On either end (of my personal political spectrum) you have Utopianism. Libertarians are basically utopian and so are socialists. But, having made that observation, there are socialistic or, at least, partially socialistic countries in the world (mostly northern Europe) that work reasonably well, or at least far better than good ol' USA. I don't know of even a partially libertarian society (if that is possible) that 'works reasonably well.'

Best wishes for pragmatic governance that is willing to try what seems to work well regardless of mindless labels (most certainly *not* accusing you Mac as being mindless)

You need to check the Political Compass - a much better 2 axis determination rather than a single one.


As they say, US is a right of center country.

Political Compass of 2008 US presidential candidates

did I just get put into a box?

As I have said repeatedly, the Democrats transplanted to most other countries would fit comfortably as a center-right party, while the Republicans would be on the far right wing of the political spectrum. Quite a few countries don't even have something as far right as our Republicans, at least not a party that actually ever gets elected to anything. Other than a few outliers, the US really doesn't have a political left wing at all. Even what passes for center-left in most other countries is considered way out in left field in the US.

How can you get twice as libertarian as Ron Paul? You'd have no gov't at all long before you got there....

NPR used to be liberal, and still maintains the trappings and the illusion, but like most things has been subverted to serve the same master as everything else - those with money/power. Every now and then I listen to National Propaganda Radio to get the official spin from the Empire. It's a good place to here what people like Yergin are saying, along with the Neocons.

You know NPR is bad when the only progressive stuff happens when Garrison Keillor writes an OpEd in the NY Times.

I will pretty much read or listen to anything Garrison does!

Harry Shearer is also good. He also mocks NPR with his "CPR" skits.


I guess we will just have to disagree about NPR and liberalism.

Let me offer you up a thought experiment.

Listen to the network programming (the local programming varies and I can't say much about it) for a month.

Tabulate the number of opinions and facts that will fall under "liberal leaning" in US politics and "conservative leaning" under the same US politics.

Point out to me a list of KNOWN conservatives who have shows on NPR .

You may have heard the expression "token black" in respect to the one or two black employees often hired for highly visible positions in companies that are virtually lily white-this was a rather common practice in Americam business not so long ago.

Listen to a show.

The liberals get an hour to make thier case and at the end some lamely made reference to conservative opposition is given ten or fifteen seconds.

Of course there are occasional guest appearances of conservative figures.Gotta maintain some hypocritical semblence of impartiality of course.

And if you are the sort of person who listens critically and pays attention to nuance, you will find my case even stronger.

But my guess is that your definition of liberalism and conservatism are different and it is often said that most American liberals would be center or rightish in Europe.

Personally I am a sort of odd guy out, holding to some conservative views, some liberal, some libertarian, some anarchistic.

Every once in a while I find myself thinking Marx and Lenin had some useful things to say about the future.

Every large group tries to enforce a public demonstration of solidarity whereby any deviation from the accepted dogma or orthodox interpretation of the facts is suppressed and if an insider steps out of line he is accused of heresy or worse-insanity.

The latest example is Jared Diamond "drinking the koolaid" because he is willing to admit that there is someting worth listening to and examining coming out of the business community.

If the gung ho environmentalists in this country could get thier way, they would set up thier own inquisition and burn every book by a conservative and shut down every conservative publication, and make Diamond either recant or burn him at the stake-figureatively of course, as capital punishment is nowadays frowned on by the liberal coalition.

I suppose that for the benefit of those that will not get it otherwise I better say specifically that there is an equally gung ho bunch of cornucopiann conservatives that would gladly do the same, except for the fact that the stake and the fire would be real possibilities. ;)

Those who might jump to the conclusion that I am a "rightwingnut" are cordially invited to click on my commentary in user profile and will find that I am not quite THAT simple. ;)

There is always a bigger envelope.

Anybody who wants to really know "WHY " there was a WWII simply MUST read Mien Kampf" and at least one thick Hitler biography.Not because he is a nazi wannabe.Simply because he wants to know why.

I might add that the ONLY thing I listen to on the car radio anymore is bluegrass and NPR. ;)

I get my conservative news from the National Review, which I take with the same "grain of salt" I have with my Washington Post and NYT online.

One commonly accepted conservative definition of a liberal in the US is a person who reads either of these papers.Any one who reads both is definitely a far gone liberal.By right wing standards I am dangerous around small kids and impressionable young people whose pure minds might be corrupted by my socialist/commie ideas. ;)

For what it's worth imo NPR is not nearly as liberal as it used to be and is now in the pocket of big biz in many respects. That goes with both the e ver expanding insidious influence of big biz as well as ideological solidarity with the democrats currently in power.

IMHO, I wouldn't call the Washington Post a liberal rag these days. I have no idea what got into those people, but it is nothing like the paper it was when they dropped the dime on Nixon.

The LA Times and Baltimore Sun lost their focus when they got bought out by the Tribune Company. Maybe 20% of the articles, if that, are local any more. Seems like the owners think they can keep increasing profits by dropping more content. Zero is the lower bound, I'd guess. For both content and profit.

Palin adds nothing of value to the national conversation.

The willingness by some to embrace and worship anti-intellectual charlatans is depressing.

'Grifter' is bandied about in reference to Bill Clinton and Al Gore a lot...I would apply that description to Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, et al. They have been conning and milking their sheeple for all they can get.

The folks out there who have good heads on their shoulders and know the right things to be done are derided as 'too intellectual', 'elite', and 'uninspiring'...or 'socialist', anti-American, anti-heartland, etc. The jingoism and sloganeering is out of control.

You usually have to look good, be seen as 'folksy', and be seen as in bed with mainstream Christianity to be elected to high office. Good ideas based on rational knowledge are not important.

the elite media trashed not only her, but pretty explicitly small-town America and everyone in it. They made it very clear that they look down their noses at all - ALL - of us. It was a personal insult, meant and taken as such.

I posted a couple of months ago on "Conservatives4Palin.com" that I found her quite alien and outside my experience (many on that site go on about how she is "just like me/us"). I went on and stated that that fact alone did not elicit a negative reaction from me (heh I am from New Orleans, weird is normal here) but it probably did from many others.

I suspect what you saw was the cultural divide, and the normal reaction to someone quite alien (more alien than an emigrant from X quite frankly).

I did not follow the coverage of Palin very closely, but I did not get the impression that it was insults (I did laugh at the Saturday Night Live skits, but they are rough on everybody).

Just wondering if you could elaborate ?

Best Hopes for Cultural Understanding,


Questioning her qualifications for the job and disagreeing with her positions was fair game, and I have no problem with that. I don't think she is qualified to take on anything bigger than governor of Alaska at this point in her life; whether she ever will be qualified is an open question. I also do not agree with her 100%.

However, much of the reporting and commentary in the national media (and I am not just talking about the late night entertainment shows) went way beyond those boundaries. There was an inordinate amount of focus on Wasilla and on the folkways of rural Alaskans, and the tone of that was clearly not just a matter of providing some interesting and colorful background for a new face on the national scene. The attitude that came across to me was not just a matter of questioning whether Palin was qualified, but whether anyone who came from small-town America could ever be qualified, or indeed had any right to even speak up and make their voice heard in the national conversation. I am not alone in perceiving that, and in taking offence to it.

I don't think she is qualified to take on anything bigger than governor of Alaska at this point in her life;...

what were her qualifications to be chief of the oil and gas commission ?

What you're describing is the Villagers in action. The Washington Establishment, which extends to the news media (thanks to wankfests like the Gridiron Club dinners) doesn't like the Little People disturbing the corridors of power.

Clinton got nailed by them: "He came in here and he trashed the place," says Washington Post columnist David Broder, "and it's not his place."

More on the Villagers' response to Clinton's Impeachable Scandal here:


Re: Copenhagen climate summit: global warming 'caused by sun's radiation'

This meeting appears to have been a gathering of the main members from the denialist camp. Trouble is, while there is a link between the short term variation in the "solar constant" and climate, other researchers have found that there is not enough variation to explain the long term trend of increasing global temperature. The mechanism hypothesized by Svensmark has not been proven, last I heard. but, that doesn't stop the denialist from repeating the claim as though it were absolute truth.

E. Swanson

Hansen discusses solar irradiance in 2008 in this paper:

Solar irradiance: the solar irradiance remains low (Figure 4), at the lowest level in the period since satellite measurements began in the late 1970s, and the time since the prior solar minimum is already 12 years, two years longer than the prior two cycles. This has led some people to speculate that we may be entering a “Maunder Minimum” situation, a period of reduced irradiance that could last for decades. Most solar physicists expect the irradiance to begin to pick up in the next several months – there are indications, from the polarity of the few recent sunspots, that the new cycle is beginning. However, let’s assume that the solar irradiance does not recover: in that case, the negative forcing, relative to the mean solar irradiance is equivalent to seven years of CO2 increase at current growth rates. So do not look for a new “Little Ice Age” in any case! Assuming that the solar irradiance begins to recover this year, as expected, there is still some effect on the likelihood of a near-term global temperature record due to the unusually prolonged solar minimum. Because of the large thermal inertia of the ocean, the surface temperature response to the 10-12 year solar cycle lags the irradiance variation by 1-2 years. Thus, relative to the mean, i.e, the hypothetical case in which the sun had a constant average irradiance, actual solar irradiance will continue to provide a negative anomaly for the next 2-3 years.


The solar forcing between a solar minimum and maximum is 0.2 Watt/m2 in Fig 4.

Just as a reminder: Hansen's paper Implications of peak oil for atmospheric CO2 and climate:

...it is feasible to keep atmospheric CO2 from exceeding approximately 450 ppm, provided that future exploitation of the vast reservoirs of coal and unconventional fossil fuels incorporates
carbon capture and sequestration.

Yesterday we discussed the way that production was decided - with short term economic choices overweighing what appeared on the surface to be long term advantages, and that PO would result in cheaper coal plays being utilized for energy first, etc. History would suggest that 'we' will not take the precaution of mandating carbon capture and sequestration. Also, reality suggests that, even with the best technology, coal will never be clean, at least in any meaningful way.

Once the stuff really begins to hit the fan, then 'we' will insist that 'they' clean up the environment. Of course, by then it will be too late, if it is not already so. Also assuming that we still have a worldwide economy, and national governments capable of mandating anything at all by then.

Not that I am a doomer. Heaven forbid. Just a sad realist.

There was another description of that denialist camp meeting in the NYT.
The story ended with a real putdown:

Then, as debates over global warming often do, the discussion dissolved into incomprehensible shouting.

Perhaps that's because the denialist don't have any serious science to present in the first place, so their only tactic is to repeat the same discredited talking points as loud and often as they can, where ever they can find a soap box from which to address an audience...

E. Swanson

Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down

Before explaining how the Af-Pak surge is a direct attack on the US public, let’s peer through the illusion and look at the reality of the situation.
With all due respect to people who have been force-fed Pentagon propaganda by the US mainstream media, any serious observer of the Iraq and Af-Pak wars knows that these are geo-strategic conflicts based on controlling the world’s oil supply. Anyone in the “news” media who tells you otherwise is either unaware of what is actually going on, or is a well-paid propagandist working for the very people who profit off of them.

A rather long article that draws together much recent war reporting. I wonder what others think of the claims this author makes, especially regarding the geo-political energy supply angle, which I know has been discussed here before.

Answer this one question and you have your answer.
If there was no oil in Iraq would the US military be there?
Afghanistan and Pakistan have more moving parts but the reasons are centered on US/corp interests.

If there was no oil in Iraq would the US military be there?

It seems to me that the obvious answer is "Of course not." But as usual the devil is in the details. Maybe it's not a matter of there being a single Big Reason why we are over there, so heavily committed to a permanent and growing military presence, but a convergence of multiple factors -- the group think of a foreign policy establishment dominated by those in favor of military "solutions," the political and economic influence of the corporations who stand to gain from such "solutions," continuation of the Carter Doctrine as the dominant strategic thinking on the Persian Gulf Region, not to mention the domestic political uses of enemies, real and manufactured, etc.

Anyone know if Matt Simmons has ever talked about what those Bush/Cheney energy task force meetings were all about? Or is the content of those meetings classified?


Many thanks for the links!

Whats between Iraq and Afghanistan answer that question and you know why we are in Afghanistan.

If ME had no oil - we wouldn't be in Iraq nor Afghanistan.

If ME had no oil - Osama Bin Laden wouldn't have neccessary motivation or resources to pull off 9/11.

check, and check.

The author makes no mention of peak oil or indeed of any energy constraints whatsoever, and he conflates record oil company profits in 2007/2008 with profiteering from American imperialism in Iraq. That makes little sense to me but it makes for good rabble-rousing. I found the article to be a disjointed and/or ideologically slanted collection of observations that did little except reveal the bias of the author.

As a life long liberal I think the elements of the left wing opposed to our involvement in Afghanistan these days are missing the bigger picture. I have great sympathy for proponents of the peaceful conduct of international affairs, but I think the situation in the Middle East has more to do with keeping 7 billion mouths fed than it has to do with crushing the Afghanis to benefit US profiteering. I see great hardship hurtling towards us and I think the world will be better off with western powers pulling the strings in the Middle East than Islamic extremists.

I think the situation in the Middle East has more to do with keeping 7 billion mouths fed than it has to do with crushing the Afghanis to benefit US profiteering. I see great hardship hurtling towards us and I think the world will be better off with western powers pulling the strings in the Middle East than Islamic extremists.

Yes, I see the same thing. And, I see that it is the oil in the Middle East that keeps those 7 Billion people alive and breeding. And that our Industrial base - no, not now... it is our Information base... whatever... the Capitalists who really run things [use of money, sometimes known as bribes or pacs] need to keep the show on the road to continue BAU. Which is the whole point of the charade in Afghanipak. We need those 150,000 plus soldiers over in the mid-East to keep 'em in line. We have been in this particular resource war since 1990, never having left SA after the Gulf War, moving them from SA to Iraq and now to Afghanistan.

IMO the capitalists involved will never let us out. It keeps the bonuses coming! And, besides, the United States of America is too big to fail. Right?

I think the world will be better off with western powers pulling the strings in the Middle East than Islamic extremists.

Pre Iraq War, Saddam Hussein was hated by Islamic extremists in general and Osama Bin Laden in particular.
Pre Afghan War, the Taliban was occupied with the task of running a Medieval Theocracy.
Al Qaeda is not a Nation. The 9-11-2001 attack was coordinated out of Germany. How has destroying two Nations at a cost of $Tillions, been the answer to confronting Al Qaeda?

Coordinated out of Germany, carried out by Saudis and Egyptians...masterminded by a Saudi...the madrases which schooled many of Al Quaida's troops funded largely by KSA oil profits. We are there to mind the oil store, and to ensure endless profits rolling into the military industrial complex.

Thanks for the link. Which, for everyone else's benefit is a video interview with F. William Engdahl, author of "Full Spectrum Dominance," on what is really at stake. Much more cogent analysis than the original article I posted, IMO. Don't know if Engdahl's blog ever appears here in the links, but from what a cursory glance indicates, it might be worth checking from time to time, although I'm not sure how current it is. It's here:

EDIT: I take back my endorsement of Engdahl, or at least warn others (and hopefully save myself a flaying here) that he seems to be one of those abiotic oil freaks. Oops!

Yes, Engdahl used to be a peak oiler, then suddenly he decided oil was abiotic.

He writes a lot about petrodollars these days.

Maybe he liked the PO thesis because he thought it was a conspiracy theory. Then as the data accumulated, he jumped ship and started blaming "political factors," i.e. some sort of cabal, for apparent supply constraints. Abiotic oil seems natural as a next step. Just idle speculation on my part of course.

Bingo. Peak oil seemed attractive until he found out that there was actual analysis involved, which handed the field to experts. Much better to hide in abiotic oil and the perennial petrodollar paranoia where storytelling is the key skill involved.

Hi Leanan,

I have to smile at this, after an evening of one and then another very diplomatic (if I do say so myself) "peak"-related conversations that evoked the following responses: 1) interested, share contact info; 2) physically turn and walk away; 3) let me know that although what I say may be true ("anyone can see it"), "the market" will fix it, and government can't do anything; 4) not interested, "too old to think about this." 5) not interested, topic too weird...6) Who are you, anyway? etc.

I can almost understand a retreat:

"Yes, it's abiotic, now...let's go home."

No cover-up investigation, says head of UN science body

THE head of the peak United Nations scientific body says he has not begun an investigation into the allegations of a scientific cover-up based on emails hacked from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit.

Slate news item: seems that the 'wealthy' nations have already written their version of agreements in Copenhagen. "Poor" nations are upset. And the bickering and contention begin.


Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending December 4, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 13.9 million barrels per day during the week ending December 4, 77 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 81.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.0 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.1 million barrels per day last week, down 264 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.5 million barrels per day, 1.4 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 750 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 185 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 336.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 1.3 million barrels last week and are near the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 4.3 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

This massive cold wave has hit our energy use here in Colorado very hard. I'm curious if these prolonged lower temperatures have impacted the natural gas markets in anyway with increased heating demands. Once this cold wave rolls east it should drive up home heating oil demands, correct? Even with a new super-efficient furnace we have had much higher heating demand. Not good to spend so much on utilities right when Christmas shopping season hits the home finances too.

Once this cold wave rolls east it should drive up home heating oil demands, correct?

I dunno. Heating oil is not like natural gas. People may use more during a cold spell, but it's not reflected in demand (as measured by the market) right away. Most people have their own tanks, and buy several hundred gallons at a time. Many buy during the summer, when it's (usually) cheaper. A brief cold spell won't mean the average person has to buy oil. They'll wait, and buy when their tank is empty - which may be weeks or months.

If someone hadn't gotten around to buying heating oil for the winter yet, they may suddenly want to fill their tank now - but it's been pretty cold for weeks now in the northeast, so I doubt there are many in that situation.

I just had a new tank put in, and had it filled yesterday, so I'm good for the winter. I use very little oil anyway - I always say the oil burner is to keep the pipes from freezing, the woodstove is for being warm. (I just came in from measuring the snowfall - 10" so far. This is in central NH).

I have not turned on the oil burner yet this winter. Our bedroom is usually in the mid to low 50's in the morning - I remember a couple of years ago when this seemed like a big deal, and I would get up in the night to reload the stove to warm it back up. Now I never bother - it seems perfectly normal and there are always hot coals come morning. There's nothing easier to change than your own expectations.

I hadn't turned on the oil burner either, until yesterday. But we've been puttering along with just our little woodstove - no problem. It's those below-zero mornings that are a little rough without the furnace.

It's not really that cold anyway, at least around here. Lotta snow, but it's actually above freezing, so it's not taxing the furnace like those single-digit days do. The northeast isn't getting the frigid temps the plains states got.

No, it hasn't been terribly cold so far. It's coming, though...

The forecast at Weather.com has the temps pretty mild for the next two weeks. Of course, they could be wrong. But I think the freezing temps out west are going to stay there.

goodness I hope your wrong. was down to 2 night before last and 4 last night. It's a bitter cold here in the high sierra. I switched to wood heat this year and put up 7 chords, thinking I'd only need 6. In my early 30's I thought a life was there to be lived, now, early 40's I think it's just something that happens to you

...I think the freezing temps out west are going to stay there.

huh ? the cold temps and blowing and drifting snow have already moved into the midwest. maybe the midwest is "out west" to you ?

its all relative.

Another great article by Sharon Astyk up top (Jared Diamond Done Drunk the Kool-Aid).

This is the bit that tends to be ignored over discussions of Peak Oil and Climate Change (though, not on TOD, usually).

Ford's commitment then can only go so far - they can engage in small refinements and reduce waste, reduce toxic outputs. But the base issue that we face - the enormous pressure for endless growth in the economy, which is always accompanied by rising resource use - one cannot expect the Ford corporation to participate in anything that will reduce its profits. Thus it may be an ally in metal recycling, but its underlying goal is to make and sell as many cars as possible, and this will always be so.

This is why I strongly believe that nothing will really be done to address either Peak Oil or Climate Change. Very few people want to accept a future economy that does not constantly grow, so our species will only accept an economy that does not constantly grow when we are forced to.

To me, the real focus of trying to "DO SOMETHING!" about Peak Oil and Climate Change centers on developing a new type of economy that is mostly static. We need to say goodbye to our beloved Free Market Capitalism and find something new, since no other changes will really have an impact on addressing the pressing issues of PO and CC.

Unfortunately, the thought of a static economy is so frightening that no one really wants to talk about it. Once you start analyzing what would be required, you hit some big obstructions (not the least of which is a static population smaller than it is currently). Trying to figure out answers to these obstructions leads one to realize that there are no "good" answers - just various "bad" answers, trade-offs, and compromises. When you add in human nature, and the ingrained instincts of "survival of the fittest me and mine", one realizes that no solutions are viable.

Whenever I think about it, I always come back to Douglas Adams:

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

I think Jared Diamond knows this. He is careful not to be too pessimistic in his writings, and I think he genuinely hopes we'll succeed where so many other societies failed. But reading between the lines, drawing the obvious conclusions...well, I don't think he's as optimistic as Sharon Astyk is. He's not expecting a private car for everyone. He's not against equality by any means, but he's studied enough societies to know that inequality is inevitable, barring a collapse back to the stone age.

I agree, Astyk is an optimist compared to Diamond.
A realistic atheist, fully imbedded in history and science.
Astyk is a religious gardener, and is able to segregate and put unwanted things in boxes.

He may well know this. However, the issue isn't about equality or everyone having a private car (to me, anyway). It's about the fact that our economy is based on an assumption of constant-growth. In the U.S., this means consumer spending on "things".

I think the op-ed was his way of saying: "Hey, Business Leaders. Doing good environmental things will help your bottom line!", which is very true and he makes valid points. But, it ignores the 800-pound gorilla of a constant-growth economy based on consumer spending. In many ways, I think it does more harm than good, for it leads to complacency.

I think the op-ed was his way of saying: "Hey, Business Leaders. Doing good environmental things will help your bottom line!", which is very true and he makes valid points.

No, I think the point was "We need government rules, because otherwise, corporations taking the long view will lose out to those taking the short view."

But, it ignores the 800-pound gorilla of a constant-growth economy based on consumer spending.

If you've read Collapse, you have to realize he is very aware of this issue. The societies that succeeded made "zero growth" their religion.

I think Diamond knows that a world government is probably the only way we avoid catastrophe. Yes, there's a definite downside to that, and I think he's well aware of that, too. But he sees it as the only way to avoid collapse. Many Americans would no doubt prefer collapse, and they may be right.

If you've read Collapse, you have to realize he is very aware of this issue. The societies that succeeded made "zero growth" their religion.

This is exactly why I think the article did more harm than good. He doesn't address this at all, and, instead, points to the (microscopic) good things that some companies are doing. As I said before, this leads to complacency.

No, he didn't address it at all. He'd be considered a loony if he did.

What he did do is lay out the case for government rules protecting the environment.

So you think Diamond just figures it will likely be a train wreck regardless, and just supports doing whatever will help, even if it is a minor improvement?

It is also possible for informed people to simply decide to believe something else, simply because the the conclusion supported by reality are so unpleasant.

I'm not sure what to make of it - I'm seeing both sides of this discussion.

So you think Diamond just figures it will likely be a train wreck regardless, and just supports doing whatever will help, even if it is a minor improvement?

No, I think he understands that change is going to be incremental, and politics is the art of the possible.

I finally had time to read his op-ed, and I'm still not sure what to think. The problem is simply the same one we've discussed before - that these things he is praising will not "fix" things, as it is not a situation that can be fixed. They are worthwhile steps but there is a big difference between the magnitude of such incremental changes and the kinds of changes Sharon is talking about. I think that is the disconnect. Clearly (to me anyway) there is more than he's letting on. The kinds of things these companies are doing are worthwhile in one sense, and they have the scale and funding to have a bigger impact than most other organizations. But they are also not even close to adequate if you want to have a significant impact on the way things will play out on the coming decline.

I think Diamond believes we have more time than Sharon does. Judging from her comments on Greer, she's expecting a fast crash. I would guess that Diamond, looking at how long it took other civilizations to collapse, thinks there's time for incremental change.

Another big difference between them: Diamond understands that grassroots will not work on this problem. What good will it do to have your own self-sufficient farm or town, when the people upstream are polluting your water, the people upwind are burning coal that kills your trees with acid rain, or the people on the other side of the earth are launching nukes that rain radiation down on you? What good will your carefully saved heirloom seeds be if the climate changes to the point they no longer grow on your land?

Diamond touches on this point when he discusses the societies that succeeded. He notes that small societies can succeed, and large societies with strong central control can succeed. Medium-sized societies cannot succeed. They inevitably collapse, because people who wouldn't dream of pillaging their own land will do it to their neighbors...if there isn't a central government to stop them.

Diamond also noted that a large society with weak central control would have the same problem.

But I don't think he'd get very far making that argument to Joe Public. It sounds like 1984.

Thanks - good food for thought. I need to go back and re-read parts of "Collapse".

It could be that he'd be considered a loony for talking about it. It could be that I'm considered a loony for talking about it, though I am not of the same caliber as Mr. Diamond.

Yet, these choices (that, perhaps, we all make) to refrain from talking about the real causes of our problems will lead to the very collapse we are hoping to avoid.

We incrementally make ourselves feel better offering tiny - but practical - treatments to the symptoms, while ignoring the disease that is killing us and a lot of the rest of the life on this planet. It is too frightening for us to face the truth about our disease.

Sorry for getting on the soapbox. I think Diamond is a smart guy - smart as they come. But, he lacks the kind of courage I think we need to face a crisis like this. Perhaps, we all do.

It is curious - curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.
- Mark Twain

I think he's facing it.

Reading Collapse (and its predecessor, Guns, Germs, and Steel), it's very clear that he understands the problem. But I think he also understands that if he's too pessimistic and lays it out too starkly, no one will listen to him, at least in the NY Times. He's more explicit in his books.

In Collapse, he talks about the likely last days of the Norse who settled Greenland. While it's understandable how some of the smaller, poorer farms died out, how could the largest, wealthiest farms, with huge barns and hundreds of cattle, have failed?

Diamond points to "overcrowded lifeboat syndrome." People respect authority only if those in power can provide for them and protect them in bad times. Once that broke down, there would have been nothing to keep people from overrunning the wealthier farms and looting them.

Starving people would have poured into Gardar [the largest farm], and the outnumbered chiefs and church officials could no longer prevent them from slaughtering the last cattle and sheep. Gardar's supplies, which might have sufficed to keep Gardar's own inhabitants alive if all their neighbors could have been kept out, would have been used up in the last winter when everyone tried to climb into the overcrowded lifeboat, eating the dogs and newborn lifestock and the cows' hoofs as they had at the end of the Western settlement.

Diamond then draws an explicit parallel with unrest in the U.S., and our inability to secure our borders against illegal immigration:

I picture the scene at Gardar as like that in my home city of Los Angeles in 1992 at the time of the so-called Rodney King riots, when the acquittal of policement on trial for brutally beating a poor person provoked thousands of outraged people from poor neighborhoods to spread out to loot businesses and rich neighborhoods. The greatly outnumbered police could do nothing more than put up pieces of yellow plastic warning tape across roads entering rich neighborhoods, in a futile gesture aimed at keeping the looters out. We are increasingly seeing a similar phenomenon on a global scale today, as illegal immigrants from poor countries pour into the overcrowded lifeboats represented by rich countries, and as our border controls prove no more able to stop that influx than were Gardar's chiefs and Los Angeles's yellow tape. That parallel gives us another reason not to dismiss the fate of the Greenland Norse as just a problem of a small peripheral society in a fragile environment, irrelevant to our own larger society. Eastern Settlement was also larger than Western Settlement, but the outcome was the same; it merely took longer.

Diamomd absolutely gets it and he hasn't been drinking any kool aid either.With all due respect to those who may think otherwise, I must reply that they are obviously unfamiliar with his life's work.

One thing that does bother me is that quite a lot of environmentally and politically aware people tend to act just like bible thumpers when everyone doesn't toe the orthodoxy line they have drawn in the sand.

That sort of attitude makes it impossible to connect in a meaningful way with people on he other side of the environmental , political, or economic fence but with the same attitude.

You don't convert the heathen masses in one short piece that won't get printed in the msm.You do maybe begin to build some footbridges so people can at least engage in a conversation about thier common ground.

I have acquaintances who believe in "the market" and don't care to hear about energy saving initiatives because "the market" will take care of the problem.This sort tends to admire Wal Mart and knowing WM is getting into doubling fuel economy in thier truck fleet NOW while the rest of the industry has made no announcements tends to get them thinking-maybe about really high fuel prices and from there maybe peak oil.

Most people, other than a few like us -Oil DRUMMERS-cant be TOLD anything, anymore than a cat can be taught to obey like a dog.But they are capable of changing thier minds , if they figure things out for themselves and don't have to admit they were previously wrong.

Somebody who thinks running a scrupously clean operation is a waste of money or putting solar panels on the roof is a poor business move will perhaps change his mind when he realizes successful companies are doing these things.

The very fact that Diamond has acknowledged that businesses can do the roght thing and often actually DO the right thing gives him a certain credibility with the cornucopian camp that will lead them to the springs of knowledge where some of them will imbibe of the water.

My lawyer, a very intelligent guy, is pretty liberal personally and politically.But he is technically illiterate in the sciences.He is absolutely convinced the climate gate emails prove there was political hanky panky and data spinning if not actual fraud.He takes any person who insists that there is no proof of this in the emails as seriously as he takes the "I didn't do it" of the guys caught in the act of cheating on thier wives (we only went to that motel to talk over her problems with her husband !)

Nixon was able to go to China because he had the necessary anti communist credentials.

We need a lot more people like Diamond who can build bridges -unless one has decided that collapse is inevitable and coming very soon.

My position is that there is hope and that we should be prepared but not just give up.

One thing that is absolutely not going to happen is a religious conversion of the American public to Gaia worship and a rejection of the American Dream.The kind of news we have to peddle has to be broken to the recepients very very gently, whether time is short or not.

Thinking people who are maybe just a little concerned about the environmental situation will notice the titles of Diamond's books.Some of them will read them.Any that read them cannot fail to understand his message unless they are REALLY dense.

The oped is a net gain for the forces of reason.

You gotta go to the cathouse to save the soiled doves and if you want to build a relationship with them you don't start by talking about thier sins but rather about thier problems and concerns.

"One thing that is absolutely not going to happen is a religious conversion of the American public to Gaia worship and a rejection of the American Dream." Posted by oldfarmermac

Completely agree. A few things may not be possible until three or four generations have passed from the time TSHTF. At some point, BAU, the American Dream, the emotional attachments to various political/economic isms and ideologies will fade from living memory. This should considerably facilitate the ability to think outside of what to-day is "the box."

In the meantime, look out for a pretty bumpy ride down.

Antoinetta III


Well put. The issue is about strategy, which Diamond clearly gets. I find myself tempering how I talk about economic/energy/environmental subjects depending on who I am talking to. I try to put ideas out that are within grasp - perhaps causing the receiver to stretch a bit and digest (or at least be presented with) some ideas outside their normal sphere of thinking. There is no point putting ideas out in a forum that are "beyond grasp" as it won't penetrate others' worldviews. While I don't disagree with Astyk's critique of Diamond's piece, Diamond is using a good strategy - perhaps reaching some of the masses in the MSM with the messages in the article, and maybe motivating some to take him seriously and read his books (and then get some real eye-opening lessons).

I see the issue of energy descent advocacy as an issue requiring appropriate forcing (in the mathematics and engineering sense). Too little and nobody realizes there is a problem. Too much and people dismiss you as a loon. It's like driving along and suddenly realizing that you're going way too fast on ice - slamming on the brakes is nearly as dangerous as maintaining speed. I agree with Astyk's critique of Jared Diamond's op-ed but I don't think Jared Diamond is drinking any kool-aid. Astyk might be drinking a little bit of her own kool-aid (homegrown and organic though).

Jared Diamond is a good example of near-optimal forcing because he first wrote Guns, Germs and Steel, an excellent book, and then, building on his reputation from the first book, he wrote Collapse, which I have yet to read. Kunstler, on the other hand, comes across as an angry old man fishing for a biophysical, apocalyptic solution to his pet peeves.

These are great examples that he does get it. Thanks for quoting them. And, to be clear, I do not doubt that he gets it.

The problem in his op-ed isn't that he isn't more explicit. It's that he doesn't address it at all, preferring instead to list incremental steps that will have little consequence if he truly believes what he writes in his books.

I enjoyed the book a great deal. He lays out the case very clearly.

But, then in the op-ed he ignores the main thrust of Collapse (I haven't read the earlier work yet). This seems to be due to fear that no one will take him seriously.

I would argue that if more people with voices to the masses would explain these larger issues (which, you point out, he does in Collapse) then it would push these issues further into the mainstream. Someone has to start talking about it publicly, or we will spend the downslope talking about these (nearly worthless) incremental steps instead.

He's facing it in the same way most of us on TOD are facing it - in small communities. But, to really make changes happen, these things need to be faced publicly. IMHO, of course.

Hello Mark

Thank you for bringing this up.

re: "But, then in the op-ed he ignores the main thrust of Collapse (I haven't read the earlier work yet)."

The issue is the truth.

Then, we can talk about: how to tell the truth, is it safe to tell the truth, is it pragmatic to tell the truth, can people hear the truth and so forth.

I support your questioning of this article. To me, your argument and point should not rest on your having to make a case for the consequences of not telling the truth. Because, for one thing, when the truth is hidden, we most likely will never know the full extent of the negative consequences.

There's something about "it" (truth) that is a good simply for it's own sake. We might call honesty a basic human need.

When you know the truth and don't tell it, it can be a great disservice.

Not always, of course. But more often than we may realize.

I wonder sometimes where we would be in the global discussion, in regards to CC, if Al Gore hadn't made An Inconvenient Truth. Hansen, et al, would certainly still be talking about it, but the public would have a much lower level of understanding.

Regardless of whether you think Gore is a charlatan or a saint (or somewhere in between), I think one would have to admit that it took some courage to make that film and put himself out there publicly. It was that courage that brought the issue further into the mainstream and got everyone talking about it (not agreeing with it, but talking about it).

Peak Oil needs someone to make the public case like that.

But, much more importantly (to me, anyway), someone needs to make the public case about the problems of a constant-growth economy and all it entails. Sure, some will think they are loony, but, progress isn't easy.

Isn't it odd that we should take a spasm, every now and then, and go spinning back into the dark ages once more, after having put in a world of time and money and work toiling up into the high lights of modern progress?
- Mark Twain

I see it the same way Leanan. Part of my goal with the long winded discussion of oil patch economics yesterday was to make it clear that energy corporations have no choice but to work in the short term. The boards of directors and shareholders demand it. And so does Wall Street. As much as I detest the idea of our gov't becoming more directly involved in the oil patch I can't see the current system change to a long term perspective without significant, and probably heavy handed, direct gov't involvement. Puts a chill down my spine just thinking about it.

In an October 5th comment I pointed out the difference between the UK's management of natural gas reserves ("let profit motivated corporations manage it") and Holland's ("let the government bureaucrats manage it"):

From the Energy Export Databrowser:

While Britain enjoyed the natural gas party, doubling their own consumption since 1980 and even briefly exporting, the Dutch with their polder model decision making have taken a more conservative approach.

Profit is an excellent motivator if your goal is maximum production (and hence consumption) of resources. But it is a poor motivator for conservation.

Now I don't for a minute believe that our current government is capable of making farsighted decisions that benefit the common citizen. Big business is far too entrenched. I just want to make the point that federally owned, federally managed resources can can be a better system in the right cultural setting.

Perhaps we'll evolve in that direction after learning our own hard lessons over the next decade or so.

-- Jon

So long and thanks for all the fish
Written and produced by Joby Talbot

So long and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you all but oh dear

You may not share our intellect
Which might explain your disrespect
For all the natural wonders that
grow around you

So long, so long and thanks
for all the fish

The world's about to be destroyed
There's no point getting all annoyed
Lie back and let the planet dissolve ...

Trying to figure out answers to these obstructions leads one to realize that there are no "good" answers - just various "bad" answers, trade-offs, and compromises.

I am reminded of Garrett Hardin's "The Ostrich Factor" and a conversation between a Martian and an Earthling. Bold mine.

"But what are we to do?" I asked in anguish. "God tells us that all men are brothers and commands us to take care of the immediate needs of our rothers. We feel so good whenever we share! Is it wrong to feel good?"

"No: but I assue you, it feels even better to be right. The Earthly God apparently thinks that the human choice is between good and evil. Our Martian God knows that the choice is always between evils--the greater evil and the lesser one."

"What a dreadful thought!" I exclamed. "You won't find that detestable thought in our gospels."

Ron P.

One of the reasons I say the solutions will ultimately be from the ground up are

1. vested interests have no interest in a different kind of economy. Why would they? Going to a steady-state, time valued barter economy would be like having their bank accounts and investments devalued at outrageous ratios. Say, minimum 10:1? In their eyes, they are instantly poor.

2. despite the obvious logical problems with unending growth, no government can bring itself to deal with the reality. People can. The article about the woman living sans money is a perfect example. Perhaps the best thing, in theory, that could happen in the developed world would be a 1 week blackout so people could see what life can be like without electricity and gadgets. A small example is the European city that simply removed its traffic lights to manage traffic better. Turns out, by not having lights tell you what to do, you actually look where you are going and drive more carefully. Guess what? No more traffic jams.

3. individuals are not as bound by institutional thinking. We can, and often do, think outside the box. Someone says to me we can't have a time-based economy, I say, "Why not? You've never done in-kind work exchange?"

4. we live with the daily consequences of actions, whether our own or others. Those generally making the decisions do not. They live very insulated lives. Living in Korea, I saw this up close and personal-like.

Engineers and corporate types enjoyed their lives far more than English teachers. The former lived in large, comfortable homes and apartments with all amenities, often with drivers and house cleaners and company cars. They rarely interacted with day-to-day life in Korea. The latter often lived, literally, in a 12x12 moldy room, rode the buses and subways and dealt with everyday Korea at all times.

Both groups, overall, had no intention of staying in Korea indefinitely, but the former were far more comfortable and satisfied. The latter, of course, were constantly trying to organize to fight the cheating, lying and fraud they dealt with on a nearly daily basis. (This has to do with the English teaching industry, specifically, not necessarily Korea in general.)

5. trust. Too many people no longer trust authority. We find ourselves simply assuming corruption, fraud and self-interest are the norm, and who can argue otherwise? Of course, this isn't recognized for what it really is: complexity overwhelming the system. it's easy for those with power to manipulate the system because it has become so large and complex the A. Joe has great difficulty sorting out who is telling the truth, or saying what is most true, at least.

We have to rebuild small communities, start controlling what we can in our sphere and then move the movement up the ladder. We need to, in the end, move as many Mr and Mrs Smiths into positions of power as we can, then hold them accountable.

A quick, but in my mind important, aside. Without accountability, no government will listen to the people and power does corrupt. The greatest mistake America may have ever made was not impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney and not fighting implementation of spying, the PA and the MCA. (Though I should point out it was Iran-Contra that convinced those in government they had no fear of accountability.) Because of that failure, we now see the next president continuing the same policies, though he pledged he would not.

Nobody in Washington or Big Business thinks they will ever be truly held accountable.

So, I say, act locally. Color outside the lines when possible, and especially when necessary. At the end of the day, we are the government. When we assert that unambiguously, then things may change. Until then, not so much. So, send your Mr/Mrs Smith to Washington. Establish a new status quo.

Support localization.

Support Transition.

Support local, non-monetary economies.




The real big change that the big corporate dinosaurs can do that will really make a difference is to go extinct, and clear the field for their smaller-scale replacements that will be better adapted to the new resource-constrained environment. Diamond couldn't say that, but I bet he knows it. He also knows that it will happen, regardless of anything he says or does - and regardless of anything the corporate dinosaurs say or do, for that matter.

The stuff that Diamond cited the corporations as doing is along the same lines as T. Rex refining his hunting techniques. Won't make much difference in the final outcome.

Hi all. I just dropped in for a quick read and one little comment.

The problem that never gets enough attention by most authors is population. Sharon is no exception AFAICS. I have read two of her books and most of her articles posted here. This is a subject no one wants to address because there is no way to say (or write) in a civilized way that the planet can only sustain ~4% or less of the current population. To discuss climate change, peak oil, peak phosphates, soil erosion, limited water aquifers, politics, finance, etc. without eliminating most of the world population is an exercise in futility. When this happens; one year, ten years, or a hundred years from now is of little consequence, but it must happen. Darwin’s Dog seemed to think humans would overshoot the die off and end up extinct. DD might have lead the way since he isn’t commenting lately. A thermo nuclear war about a couple month's or couple year’s worth of oil or some other trivia is possible and let Gaia clean up the mess. So much for Ford and other corporate execs not understanding the problem. No one truly understands the problem or what to do about it since it is only a problem for those few left standing in the Olduvai Gorge with no support structure remaining.

If you think it is not a problem for you I might mention again “Armed gangs will not starve first.” Do you really believe the JIT food supply system is adequate for an extended national emergency? Are you ready for TEOTWAWKI? If not, try a two or three week dose of Adyashanti and if you make it all the way to oneness, it might help.

Good luck and have a nice day drummers.

Link up top: Aramco Drills Record Number of Wells, Adds Gas Output

Aramco has 263 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and they are spending billions to find 5 more? For some reason that just don't sound right. Also, Qatar has over 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. If they need 5 more wouldn't it be cheaper just to buy it from them?

Saudi is burning crude oil in their power and desal plants because of a shortage of natural gas. It makes sense for them to look for more but the price of oil, per unit of energy, is way, way higher than natural gas. Qatar borders Saudi so a pipeline would not be that expensive. It just seems to me that it would be so much cheaper to buy natural gas from Qatar rather than burning their precious high priced crude.

There must be something wrong with this logic but I just can't figure out what it is.

Ron P.

I heard this little story once-it might be true.

This lady made her family roll up the windows of the family car no matter how hot it was within a few blocks of home.Thier car had no airconditioning but she was embarrassed and did not want her nieghbors to realize that they could not afford a better car.

I can believe Mac. I was raised by a grandma who refused to take free gov't cheese and butter for the same reason. And I ended up in the hospital at 5 yo for malnourishment. Pride can be just as damaging as any emotion I suppose.

There's more fuzzy logic in the above article:

In 2013, Saudi Arabia aims to start a pilot project that will capture and inject carbon dioxide emissions into Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field, to help cut emissions into the atmosphere and maintain pressure.

An then one paragraph down we have this:

At the same time, Aramco is delaying crude oil production plans as it keeps about a third of its capacity idle on weak global demand. The company delayed its Manifa heavy-oil field development because of lower demand, Executive Director Khaled al-Buraik told reporters in Kuwait City today.

So they're going to inject carbon dioxide to maintain pressure in Ghawar, yet they don't need to produce more oil because of weak demand?? Also, I thought that CO2 injection was a tertiary oil recovery technique, something you do to fields that are way past peak.

You have to apply FIL--Fantasy Island Logic. On Fantasy Island, oil fields don't deplete.

And although the Saudis aggressively increased their net oil exports in the 2002 to 2005 time frame, to combat rising oil prices, starting in early 2006 they couldn't find buyers for all of their oil and were forced to curtail their net exports--as annual oil prices rose to $100 in 2008, more than three times the upper limit that the Saudis had pledged to support in early 2004. So, I anticipate that even if oil prices do ultimately trade in increments of hundreds of dollars per barrel, the Saudis will complain about the lack of demand for their oil, as an explanation for their declining net oil exports.

Take me to Fantasy Island!

I believe! I believe!

On the other hand, people like Michael C. Lynch, who believe in unicorns and non-depleting oil production, are in a happier place than the rest of us back in the real world.

The Ghawar CO2 injection effort is a pilot project, most likely in the far north of the 'Ain Dar region. It was announced at an environmental conference. That, plus the fact that startup is three years from now, suggests that this is more of a PR ploy than anything.

More interesting is the recent drilling+ project awarded to Halliburton for work on Ghawar and the delay for Manifa startup to 2015. It's almost as if various parts of Saudi Aramco aren't talking to each other.

Future (or alien) archeologists will find the Manifa neo-islands and causeway, long since submerged, rather intriguing.

Maybe Saudi Arabia is doing a much as it can, and this is the way things are working out. The delay in Manifa may really be beyond its control.

Tell us more about the neo-islands and causeway.

By itself, it has been described as the largest infrastructure project ever by Saudi Aramco. With water too shallow for drilling rigs, islands 300 meters on a side were built from which horizontal wells are to be drilled. These are complemented by wells drilled from shore as well as a handful of more traditional platforms further out. The causeways carry pipelines and electricity. Maybe even cable TV and broadband. Perhaps they could sell it off to Dubai World.

Here's a detailed PDF about the project: MANIFA FIELD CAUSEWAY AND ISLANDS, SAUDI ARABIA. The 21 km causeway parallels the coast line NE of the town of Manifa, seen here on Google Maps. Maps in the PDF will point you to where the causeway will be located. None of the details of the construction show up on GM yet. Bloomfield reported last week that the causeway is 60 percent complete.

The wave of soveriegn debt downgrades continues


And Moodys still eyeing you know who

The inter-BRIC markets are still growing strong. Oh to have low debt and something valuable to trade. I vaguely recall someone around here warning about this trend. Historically defaults seem to top during times of crisis. http://www.capitalspectator.com/032408a.GIF
Notable in the
10 countries most likely to default was California at #6. Sure glad that won't impact the other countries nearby.

Re: Jeff Rubin: Will tumbling natural gas prices fell oil as well? up top.

Rubin touches on one of my favorite themes. All BTU's are not the same and therefore forms of energy can not be compared based solely on energy in vs. energy out or net energy.

Comparing and adding BTU's of different forms of energy is common practice in the oil and gas industry. It is a fallacy. It is invalid. An equal number of BTU's of natural gas is not equivalent to the BTU's in a barrel of oil for several reasons.

The most obvious of course is price. Since oil is more expensive analysts love to state natural gas reserves in terms of barrel of oil equivalent. This makes financial schemers happy and fools a lot of people. But it is like stating bushels of corn in bushels of soybeans equivalent. It is total nonsense, yet we often see these type of statements and few call bullshit on the numbers.

As Rubin points out the utility of natural gas and oil are different. The in place infrastructure is set up such that there are only a few instances where natural gas and oil can be used interchangeably. If this were not the case natural gas BTU's would not be a fraction of the price of oil BTU's. Utility matters and is important. If one energy form has double the utility of another energy form, it is obvious that only half the BTU's of the first form would be required to do the same work .

My point is that different energy forms can not be compared or added even if they are closely related as in the case of natural gas and oil. It is common for the prices of forms of energy to rise and fall together, but that does not mean that one form is causing the price of the other form to change.

When it comes to ethanol which has the characteristic of being renewable, the nonsense of comparing, adding etc. of BTU's of different forms of energy is compounded again. I am glad Jeff Rubin can see the problem.

We have done almost as much oil switching to gas as we can in the US. The big place that is left is the use of oil for heating in the Northeast. In most of the rest of the US, there was a big switch away from oil for both heating and power generation, back in the 70s and early 80s. The northeast was farther away from natural gas sources, and the supply was short, so they never made the switch.

There is an interesting paper (up on Scribid through Morgan Downey's blog) by Dermot Gately and Joyce Dargay showing that most of the oil efficiency improvement in the 70s and early 80s represented a switching away from the use of oil as a fuel (for home heating and electricity generation) to other fuels (nuclear, coal, natural gas). The efficiency of oil for vehicle use changed much less.

Hopefully, we will get a summary of the paper up on The Oil Drum in the not too distant future.

The islands of Hawaii & Puerto Rico burn oil for electricity. Wind, solar PV, a little pumped storage, geothermal in Hawaii and LNG would be better solutions.

Some peak power in New England is oil as well.

Best Hopes,


..And a great predominance of our Home Heating is still with oil.

80% in Maine is the number still tossed around..

Holy cow man you've done this to death.
A damn BTU is a BTU, no matter where it comes from. If we use a particular source of BTU because it is cheaper so what. If it becomes scarce and a switch is made to an alternative source of BTU's, THAT will in turn alter in price as it depletes.

If a majority of vehicles switched form oil to gas or ethanol as you would like, the price will alter, so where does that leave your inane price argument? The cheapest, easiest source of BTU's to convert to energy are used first. If all I have is an axe and the BTU's from burning a tree is easiest, it doesn't matter a fig if there is oil below me or not if I can't get to it.

If I can't eat enough to provide me with the calories to wield the axe then what is the use of looking for a tree. No matter what I eat be it high calorie sugar, bread or meat, the energy sources are all different but in the end they are burnt by my body to produce energy.

It's simple ERoEI. If picking apples keeps me alive I need to pick enough each day to sustain me. If I pick more than I need then I have energy for sale. If I cannot pick enough I slowly die.

If you are building a device which can produce energy, whether you use the BTU's from oil, gas, ethanol, brown coal or a combination of each, it makes absolutely no damn difference if the device you build cannot produce more energy than was expended in manufacturing it.

With time and different replacement infrastructure, different sources of BTUs can be shifted (sometimes with a conversion factor#). Jet fuel is the hardest to substitute.

I believe that your argument has merit in the short & medium term but limited validity in the long term. IMO, the current price ratio of NG to oil cannot last.

# Some examples.

NG > fertilizer > corn > ferment + NG to distill > ethanol (60% energy density of gasoline, an inferior but usable substitute.

NG > Gas to Liquids process > gasoline or diesel

NG > H2 +CO2 > methanol, another inferior substitute

NG > combined cycle power plant + Wind > electrified rail (an expensive infrastructure but superior substitute)


Several posts and articles over the last few days got me thinking about food, localization, and sustainablity.

What happens to large cities when they can only get food from local gowers? The models we are living in aren't built on sustainability. If we are to change things for the future we need to start as soon as possible and go as deep as possible. It is all fine and good to tell people to grow food in their yards, but will they know how to put up the extra tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash?

When my Dad retired from the military my parent's bought a house, but he only bought what he could pay for with his retirement check, so that if he lost his regular job he would not loose the house. The house is paid for, and when they die, I'll have to make do with my limited funds to keep it (barring nasty taxes or other things). One thing I learned while growing the garden here when I was younger was future storage of the foods I grew.

Some people think that growing vegies will help them be sustainable, and it does, but not enough. You have to plan a diet around your garden. Have you grown enough dry beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, squash and other high calorie foods to last you a year? Have you set aside land to grow fruit trees? Have you built in cushion for bad weather?

Everytime I think about how much land it takes to feed people, I see track houses and tiny yards, or apartment buildings, or trailer courts filled with people unable to grow enough food to even get by a whole month, let alone a year. I see a few bright spots but in general I feel that the US BAU is going to end up with more people dying here at home than in thrid world countries when things crash.

Maybe we could sell a new app for phones, where it scans your yard and tells you what it would take to grow all your own food. Or scan your dinner plate a tell you what you can't have when you have to live off your own land in the future.

Angst in December,

This is Dmitry Orlov's main point, that the US is going to crash like the USSR did, only worse, because at least in the USSR people had gardens and put up pickles and mushrooms and nuts and stuff for the winter.

1) This year I'm hearing (second-hand) about people who work on a barter system. First time I'm actually hearing about this.

2) On a related topic,


3) Is an alternate moneyless economy arriving on the horizon?

3) Is an alternate moneyless economy arriving on the horizon?

Not a chance. If money disappeared we would not have an economy at all but just a few people trying to stay alive in a dying world. There would be no electricity. Try paying your electric bill with turnips from your garden.

Since no "company" would accept beans or cabbages for shoes, or clothes, everything would have to be made by hand. You would have to make a trade with the cobbler for shoes. But there are no cobblers anymore. No one weaves cloth anymore or gins cotton by hand or spins it into thread. All those lost arts will take many decades to return.

An alternate moneyless economy may be in the future, but way, way in the future, long after the die-off.

Ron P.

There are people who know how to work up hand looms.
One of them is my sister. She's prepping for Peak Oil.
Another one is my bi-polar former X. She had over a dozen looms of all types. She even taught the subject. Unfortunately, she also has severe emotional problems and hostility issues;)

There are people who know how to work up hand looms.

I am sure there are. And there are likely people in Holland who can carve wooden shoes as well. Do you really think these people will make a difference?

One of them is my sister. She's prepping for Peak Oil.

Is she going to grow her own cotton? Will she gin it by hand? Will she then spin it into thread to use on her hand loom? And how many yards of cloth can she weave her cotton growing, ginning, spinning and weaving.

Of course she might grow sheep instead and spin and weave only wool. But a sheep would be a tasty morsel to a starving refugee from the city. She would need to guard them day and night.

I hate wool underwear, they itch like hell. ;-)

Ron P.

And there are likely people in Holland who can carve wooden shoes as well. Do you really think these people will make a difference?


Of course they aren't going to clothe the world, but they do mean it won't take "many decades" for such skills to return.

I have several friends and acquaintances who do things like raise sheep, spin the wool, and weave, knit, and sew clothing out of it. No, they are not peak oilers, nor are they interested in sustainability (which they consider liberal crap). It's a hobby, something they like to do.

They would be hard-pressed to even clothe their own families this way. But they can and do teach others to do it. It's not hard, and their interest means the skills aren't being lost.

In the old days, children would learn to spin at about age 3. Girls would spin using a drop spindle while walking to school. It's not rocket science.

Clogs, yes. Visit Oporto in Portugal, in the countryside many people wear clogs. I've seen some Portuguese going barefoot, too.
In Oporto it is easy to buy tools to make wooden shoes, many stores sell them.
It is a fact that many traditional industries or crafts survive, certainly in Europe probably everywhere -they even teach flint knapping in Britain.

There are cobblers in the UK, in every city and in every small town, they even teach it (and they pay you to learn) http://www.timpson.com/ timpson has stores all over the country, in ultra-modern Milton Keynes for example.
If our friend Bob Shaw (totoneila) is going through a bad patch he could do worse than coming to Britain, next day get a job in a hotel (salary, food and lodging included, as long as it is not in London, too many creeps there) and learn some trade with timpson or somebody. There are job placement agencies that can do the paperwork for him, no problems.
You are not cheating the Brits out of a job, there are reasons why they don't do it themselves.
Another survival strategy for desperate but well behaved young Americans, I mean short term of course, is to get a French girlfriend -Je sais très bien ce que je dit - and move to France. Immediately the French Government, courtesy of the EU, gives both partners some monthly allowance and teaches the foreigner the French language for free, a crash course, several hours a day, five days a week.
Three months later, with English language and a good knowledge of French you get a job in some service industry.
Same thing in other EU countries like Germany or Holland, but don't try it in Spain, hard hearted bstrds that they are.

Yup. She grows her own cotton.
Yup. She gins it up and spins it by hand.

People like these will make a difference locally, perhaps.
I think the real issue is that for a lot of folks, doing something keeps one from going insane thinking about the worst case scenarios.

In the end, it'll prolly not make much difference. But I'll put my money on people like this before I waste my time and energy trying to influence public policy through governmental channels.

At the end of the day, all effective adaption to change happens locally. Huge inertia bound, inflexible BAU structures will topple, because they cannot change.

Jeez, Ron. It sounds like you're wearing some of them woolen undies..
My mom was generating a ton of stuff out of her loom, and then knitting, sewing, making bread and other foods, setting up a couple gardens, built a small cabin in the woods last summer.. still going strong at 72.

These people can teach, they certainly inspire others to see what can be done.. Your petulant challenge that they do every aspect of the process from growing the cotton or shearing the lambs, spinning etc.. belies the recurring blindspot in your philosophy.

There are OTHER people out there doing some of these things as well. There are farmers who will want to sell cotton or hemp fiber or wool. There are people who work together and cooperatively and can synthesize their efforts.

Why do you think one person has to do the whole thing alone? Cooperatives can be almost as fun as conspiracies.


There are OTHER people out there doing some of these things as well. There are farmers who will want to sell cotton or hemp fiber or wool.

Perhaps you missed it Bob, but the discussion was about a total barter economy. Others will sell cotton, hemp or wool for money, but all you have are vegetables from your garden. I don't think you guys have a clue as to how difficult it would be to always match something you have to swap with something they have to swap. Everything you grew on your farm, if you were one of the very few lucky enough to have a farm, would have to be planted with its "swappage value" in mind.

And I do not believe those crafts are all that available. Perhaps one in one hundred thousand can build a loom with only hand tools. And who can tan leather, mold it into the shape of a shoe and cobble it together? What percentage of the world's population can do that? Less than one in a million I would guess.

I think the whole idea of a barter economy is something people believe in who have never thought about it for very long or very hard.

Ron P.

And I do not believe those crafts are all that available. Perhaps one in one hundred thousand can build a loom with only hand tools. And who can tan leather, mold it into the shape of a shoe and cobble it together? What percentage of the world's population can do that? Less than one in a million I would guess.

To my knowledge the last tanery located in California closed recently due to EPA regulation. I think the owner couldn't deal with it anymore and was getting old. Most people that I know get their leather in places like France and Pakistan where environmental law may not be stringent and labor is cheap (dangerous). Speaking of the US and more specifically where I live, there are more cobblers than you think. My town of 41K people has at least 10 cobblers, and of course this is not enough IMHO. It takes about two weeks to train a person to build shoes, but a lot longer to be artisan. Obviously, shoes made in the US is a rarity now, but I can see it coming back albeit slowly. Where I see the problem lies is in the transition phase. The supply chain for something as simple as making shoes is a lot more complex than one could imagine.

Where I see the problem lies is in the transition phase. The supply chain for something as simple as making shoes is a lot more complex than one could imagine.

I see another problem, one Greer mentions. He notes that the Romans had mass produced pottery of high quality, so cheaply produced that just about anyone could afford it. It was very useful, because it was used for roof tiles as well as dishes, cookware, etc.

But the knowledge of how to make it was lost when Rome collapsed, and medieval kings had crockery that would have embarrassed a Roman peasant.

One of the reasons was that at first, no one really needed new pottery. As the population declined and the economy shrank, there was plenty of pottery for everyone. By the time they really needed new stuff, the people who knew how to make it were gone.

I could see something similar happening to us. We have so much clothing that even Goodwill and the Salvation Army send a lot of donations to be turned into industrial rags or filler. We buy clothing because of fashion, not because we wear it out and actually need it. On Clean House the other day - a show supposedly devoted to encouraging people to get rid of things - they had a discussion about how many pairs of shoes a woman should reasonably have, and decided on 90. (Which mean the client in the show had to sell about half her shoes.)

I suspect that if things got really tough, people could do without buying new clothing for a long time. Even shoes. They might want new stuff, but if they have more pressing needs, like, say, food, they'll patch their shoes with duct tape and cardboard, swap clothing with friends and family, and let their kids wear hand-me-downs.

Jane Jacobs talked about much the same thing in her "Cities and the Wealth of Nations". People in what she calls "bypassed regions" - areas cut off from civilization (and that would apply to everyone post-collapse) - find that daily life is so difficult that things that are not absolutely essential are just set aside, and eventually forgotten. Furthermore, what is still essential now later enters the non-essential category and is given up as well. In such manner do societies slowly give up technologies and become "simplified" (to use Tainter's term).

There are tribes on islands whose ancestors had to know how to build and use boats to get there, but who now are clueless about boat building because it was too much trouble to keep up the technology.

My town of 41K people has at least 10 cobblers, and of course this is not enough IMHO.

That's a lot of cobblers for such a small town.

My cobbler used to make hand made shoes for those with unusual feet, but now specialty firms do that. He is quite skilled. I found him by calling the local shoe repair supply firm and asking who was the best cobbler in town.

Best Hopes for Cobblers,


BTW, Cole Haan, Johnston & Murphy, Allen Edmonds and Alden all still make men's shoes in the USA. Very good quality at a "very good" price.

Several years ago, I made a pair of Chinese style house shoes. They were hand stitched (using heavy thread, a big fat needle and an awl) from layers of fabric with a sole made from recycled car upholstery. I wore them until they shredded. The same assembly technique would work to make a pair of outside shoes, by using sturdier materials. We used to get Mexican sandals, which were soled with car tires.

I know, I know, the point was how it is impossible to operate with a barter economy, because the shoemaker, who might even be me, doesn't take cabbages. Actually, this is specious and misleading. All fiat money is just a way of trading mutually agreed IOUs for useful goods and services. The form of the IOUs can be anything that works: cowrie shells, mob "markers", pieces of green paper. Economies have even functioned fine for long periods with little or no cash. As soon as things settle down, IOU money is reinvented, first as letters of credit between merchants and then as fiat money.

Actual barter economies always have a strong component of IOUs, gifts, and mutually agreed exchanges, as in how about I give you a hand with your hay this week and we both get my hay in next week? They can also have exchanges valued in coin and paid in goods. There are records of mediaeval exchanges valued at so many silver shillings, but no shillings changed hands. The debt or tax was paid in grain, wool or sheep. This was used to keep Scotland bankrupt for centuries. The Scots had to pay taxes in silver, but almost no cash circulated and very little was earned through exports.

It is even possible to exist in multiple economies simultaneously. I do this all the time. The bank won't take cabbages for my mortgage, but I can get a loaned car, pasta, free range eggs, potatoes, a haircut, various goods and services without a nickel changing hands, and often without a direct barter exchange. We are just used to making cash for paid work, paying taxes on it and turning around and paying for nearly all goods and services.

I have to agree with Darwinian here. In 2002 in Argentina, after their default a kind of a barter economy was setup, Naomi Klein in her less wise moments praised it.
Predictably, it being Argentina, very quickly the people involved created some paper money backed by the barter goods, equivalent in value to a peso, inflated it, and the whole scheme collapsed in swindles and acrimony.

I don't think barter is the best plan. 'Gifting' perhaps; use what you need and give away the rest. I am poor I have little to share with my neighbors except for my open-pollinated, proven seed. In times ahead I plan to offer it freely to them and trust when they have eggs or meat to share they offer me some. Already, a neighbor that I gave Texas Hill Country okra and Cherokee popcorn seed to said I was welcome to fish in his stocked pond anytime.

Interesting times, indeed.

Hey Jabber, you trying to say she weaves a MEAN rug?

OK really now .... a few 'beats ago someone here remarked on living in a hillbilly town, people good as gold and, the tales of the old times, they farmed and fished etc and grew corn for corn likker that paid the taxes. Illegal as hell but it was that or lose the land. One guy's grandpa lost his crop so couldn't make the likker so didn't pay his tax and lost the land.

It sounds like a total produce-and-barter economy with very very little cash circulating. This is what I feel is coming.

Ron, you're missing the point. When someone says a money-less economy, that's what they mean, economy. That would include power generation. The control of people via the control of energy is one of my primary non-energy reasons for calling for a massively distributed energy system. in that scenario, nobody can take your energy away. Makes a barter economy a whole lot easier.

But let's go a step further. Why shouldn't the people who work at the utility also be part of the barter system? Why shouldn't they/can't they go produce the electricity while someone else produces the food, then exchange goods?

Since this is (approximately) what we need to end up with, why not just make that the goal now and start figuring out the transition?


A year ago, I spent a day resoling my boots in Idaho. It took me ~9 hours to resole one boot, and the owner help me with other while giving me an impromptu lesson. There is one cobbler in my town with a shop, and several others working at home. They cater to ranchers, government workers with money and tourists, but none built boots or shoes. I'm trying to get an apprenticeship with the boot builder in Idaho, and this is my plan of preparation. I figure everyone needs shoes and/or boots regardless of societal conditions. I am hoping to buy his shop, but currently he is asking way too much.

“The mummied dead everywhere. The flesh cloven along the bones, the ligaments dried to tug and taut as wires. Shriveled and drawn like latterday bogfolk, their faces of boiled sheeting, the yellowed palings of their teeth. They were discarded to a man like pilgrims of some common order for all their shoes were long stolen.”

—The Road

In ANY disaster, the first thing that goes is shoes.


I have this fascination with cobbling that I can't kill, yet, how can I go into competition with Wal-Mart selling shoes that are "good enough" for $10 a pair?

Maybe my days as a hippie sandal maker will actually pay off someday!


No doubt your sandal making will come in handy.

I have been bemused, amused, and amazed at how quickly some of my long-standing subsistence activities have become mainstream. Seed saving, even just edible gardening, bread baking,etc. A couple of years ago I was a nutcase. Surely I should be borrowing money to expand my business, not spending time gardening. What self respecting engineer not only grows tomatoes and cucumbers but makes them into pickles and ketsup? Surely I should be buying sourdough bread, not making it.

Now I get asked for advice on just those subsistence activities. Curiously, some of my miscellaneous skills have been the most useful lately.

There have been some excellent articles posted to Bill Totten's blog recently that make a compelling case that the real problem we face is not money per se, but who creates the money, how much of it is conjured up, and for what purpose. I encourage everyone to browse the archives there for some excellent perspective on our current financial situation:


I know Nate will probably have something snotty to say about why I'm totally wrong, but as I understand it our current system is fundamentally flawed because private banks control the creation of the money supply through the issuance of debt, and by doing so they are able to use fractional reserve banking to inflate money (debt) far beyond any ability of the underlying physical economy to support it. Thus we have these periodic boom and bust cycles in which excessive debt (money) must inevitably be deflated and deleveraged, sometimes catastrophically.

One solution is to impose a 100% reserve requirement on banks, thus limiting the amount that the existing money supply can be leveraged into new debt.

Another solution is to remove the power to create money from private banks entirely. Money (debt) should be a public utility, issued only by the government and spent directly into the economy at zero interest. This has been done quite successfully in the past, usually during times of war such as America's revolutionary and civil wars, as well as the reconstruction of Germany's (hyperinflated) economy after WWI through massive military re-armament under Hitler.

Ironically the U.S. constitution gives the government sole authority to issue the "coin of the realm", but that implicit power was almost entirely usurped by the financial elite through the creation of the Federal Reserve about 100 years ago.

Now we find ourselves with insane levels of government debt, to the tune of trillions of dollars, billions more spent on usurious interest rates paid by taxpayers to private banks for the privilege (yes, Virginia, the Fed is a private bank), and a cuppa joe costs $5 bucks.


Dear Darwinian

I can sew moccasins by hand. I know one smelly traditional way of tanning leather and know enough chemistry to probably reproduce a smelly traditional European way of tanning leather. Brother-in-law hunts and can't sew worth a damn. Everybody can trade services and be happy...

On a related note, a neighborhood in San Francisco has created a tagging system to be put on regular ten dollar bills to create a kind of local money. If you spend the tagged dollars at local store, the stores will offer a bonus or reward of some kind. Not exactly a new currency/no currency, but still interesting.


Not a bad idea. Gets past the government confiscating your local dollars as illegal tender issue.


Boyle's experiment was brave and commendable. I would like to see some kind of analysis of the amount of land and resources he had access to during that year and what it would mean to multiply that by 7 billion.

In the conversations about shale gas that have been going on for the last few days you said that most gas drilling companies typically use a discount rate of as much as 15% for wells because the risk of a failed well. However, my understanding of most shale gas wells from comments from companies and on TOD is that the chance of a dry well are incredibly small, which would lead me to believe that the discount rate for shale gas wells would be considerably lower.

I'm also interested to see the results of international shale gas exploration. There's the operations going on in Poland and I've heard reports that Chinese companies are interested as well. Could have a huge impact on the geopolitics of nat gas; it already has in the US.

I found yesterday's threads about discount rates and NPV very entertaining. Reminded me of when I joined Citibank just out of MBA school. I thought, "Now I'm really going to put what I learned to good use." Ha. HA HA HA HA! What I learned is that project analysis is used only to justify what the executives have decided to do already. NPV and discount rates were just numbers that could be tweaked, as were any number of other variables. Later, when I went to work for people who really had to know if they were going to make money, they had no use whatever for NPV, they just use payback period -- payback period and a pro-forma P&L are far and away the most widely used tools for determining a project's viability, in my experience. They might look at NPV, but they decide based on payback period and P&L.

True Dax. In some SG trends you're certain to make a commercial completion with every hole punched. But making an acceptable profit is another matter. Two SG wells side by side: one might flow at 3X the rate as the other and recover 4X as much NG. But there are orther rationals for the high DR's. Over head, local taxes, absurd lease costs, etc. There's no real science that I've ever seen behind the calculation of any DR.

In truth a numerical analysis of any drilling deal is as much smoke and mirros as anything else. As a prospect generator I establish the reserve target size and probability of success. And these are never hard numerical values. Mother Nature isn't that kind. Valid and honest estimates always have a rather wide range. If I like a deal I'll pick my numbers to make it look good regardless of what economic parameters are used. And if don't like the idea I can kill it just as easy. And that's how every prospect generator I've known for the last 34 years does it. (shhh...please don't tell the engineers)

Just this morning my owner sat across from me joking about how some economic analysts will calculate out to 2 or 3 decimal places.

Ha, the analysis is only as good as the C/F assumptions which, as you point out, can be so easily manipulated to suit your needs.

IF SG wells produce mostly early and then decline rapidly, it won't make much difference what you use for a discoiunt rate the NPV just wouldn't be very sensitive to it.

Compressed natural gas bi fuel Focus no bargain:


Excellent article but wrong conclusion X.

The gasoline/ CNG technology bifuel Focus works fine.
Problems are mainly EPA $10000 charge and a lack of CNG fueling stations.
If existing oil fields will be 2/3 exhausted in 20 years and oil investment continues to be minimal CNG would be an excellent mitigation plan.

More on the Saudi carbon capture plan from The National.

In Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, the use of carbon capture would satisfy three objectives: reducing emissions, increasing oil output and providing a substitute for scarce natural gas that is currently left in oil wells to maintain pressure.

Sounds like a good idea all the way around, but clearly it indicates some level of discomfort with anticipated production ability. It's a big project to undertake and I can't believe they would do it if production levels weren't at risk. THE BIG QUESTION: Where is the CO2 coming from that they are going to pump into Gahwar? I guess from their electrical generating plants.

Also lowers cash flow to the general fund of the Saudi treasury.


Could you feature this article from the Atlantic. great analysis of the financial crisis in context


You posted it, so I don't need to. :-)

Besides, I don't post purely financial/political articles up top.

In the May 2009 article, Johnson wrote:

From long years of experience, the IMF staff knows its program will succeed—stabilizing the economy and enabling growth—only if at least some of the powerful oligarchs who did so much to create the underlying problems take a hit. T

Trouble is, all those years of experience occurred during times with declining real cost of energy, driven mostly by cheap oil. After Peak Oil, it's highly unlikely that such conditions will obtain. Other than that, I thought the article was a great statement of the mess in out financial system. He wrote:

From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent.

Those statistics alone shows the problem as well as any.

E. Swanson

A bit of comic relief... this article mentions Saudi Arabia running out of sand, of all things.


This is not a joke for the construction industry.

1) Not all sand is usable for concrete. It needs to have the right mixes of sizes. The issue with the saudi sand is that the sand is too fine.

2) I last did costing of sand and aggregate in 2001, so these numbers are too low, but will illustrate the issue. As a ball park number in the USA, sand costs 10 cents per ton to move by truck. It costs a few dollars to produce at a pit or a quarry, and we needed sand to be less than 5 to 7 dollars to be competitive. We also like to make a profit, so we could spend $4.00 on transport or ship it 40 miles. Saudi Arabi is not one market for sand, but many markets. Each metropolitian area or large field such as Ghawar will have its own source of sand.

3) Sand can be ship for a thousand or more miles by ocean going ship. Examples of this are the great lakes where 80% of the market is supplied by two island who ship aggregate by boat. Or the San Fran Airport expansion where the aggregate was to come from British Columbian Island.

Using this information, let us start looking for sand/aggregate in Eastern Saudi Arabi near Ghawar. Basic analysis:

A) Exclude any area cover by a sand dune. The sand is of the wrong type, and it would cost too much to move the sand dune to get at any good quality rock below.

B) Major rivers are an excellent source of sand. Saudi lack those.

C) Any soft rock such as sandstone, will not produce good manufactured sand.

D) I doubt the Oil people want open pits up to 200 feet deep cover a few square miles each near the oil area. More lost area.

So, from a distance, it appears a lack of sand is quite plausable. If there is a shortage of sand in Eastern Saudi arabi, the last thing the saudi want is it shipped to other countries.

So there may be a basis for the old joke about the salesman who was so good he could sell sand to the Arabs.

Home values plummet $500 billion

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- American homeowners will have lost nearly $500 billion in home value by year's end.

Still, that's a big improvement over 2008, when values fell by $3.6 trillion, according to a report released Wednesday by real estate Web site Zillow, which provides online appraisals for tens of millions of properties nationwide.

But lenders are apparently still expecting home values to drop a lot more.

I fail to see how homes losing value is a big deal. If you could afford the mortgage before it lost it's value and you still have the same income, why can't you afford it now? If you don't have the same income, that's the real problem, not the decrease in the home's value.

If you are going to sell your house, yes, you'll get less for it. But presumably you are going to buy another house somewhere else, and that should also cost less, so it's pretty much a wash. You might owe more on the mortgage than the house is worth, but if you can pay the mortgage, so what? You'll pay it off eventually. It will limit your ability to move in the meantime if you can't pay off the loan though. It would really only hurt you if you weren't buying a new house because you were going to rent, or it was a sale to close out a relative's estate.

If you bought it as an investment property, yeah, sure you got burned. But so did everyone who had money is stocks as well. It's just the risk you take in the investment.

If you don't have the same income, that's the real problem, not the decrease in the home's value.

I think that's the heart of the problem right there. People couldn't afford their homes, even before the bust. Now they really can't afford those homes. Because they don't have the same income, but they do have the same mortgage. And they can't sell, because they're under water.

The loans were given, and accepted, with the idea that home values would only go up. A buyer who got in trouble could sell, pay off the loan, and pocket the profits. The lenders would never lose money, because they could foreclose, sell the home, and get their money back.

But if home prices go down instead of up, it all falls apart.

FWIW... we sold my mom's house in Woodside, Ca, in July. $2.05 mil. I think asking was $2.4. Realtor said in Sept. they really like the property, but may tear down the house and start from scratch. Paid cash; they sold their house in Atherton/Menlo Park.

May be we should have spent 10 Trillions stimulus to help the boom... Did they just ignore that we spent a few trillions to support this bubble?

Re: Economics, politics chill arctic pipeline

I wonder about the timing for this - not in the sense that the news-story makes it out, as if the boom in Shale gas is making the prospects of getting the project off the ground, but rather in terms of the eventual playing out of the NG and Shale gas down-south prospects.

If the regulatory report coming on in the next few weeks is 'positive', and the parties begin to seriously work on getting the project actually off the ground, the talk then is of NG flowing perhaps by the end of the next decade. What do people here on TOD think - casting out speculative musings that far - about the state THEN of the flow of NG and Shale gas in southern Canada and the US?

I can see that the way money works the fact there seems to be an abundance of NG and Shale on the market NOW may influence whether the pipeline gets a 'go' at this point, but from what I see people talk about on TOD it seems likely that the picture when the pipeline is finished could be quite favourable.

When I talk with family in the Delta I've been making this sort of argument for the last few years (our corporate governance body has been expressing frustration with the slow pace of the regulatory boards deliberations, and while I can appreciate that having the building going on will provide [some] jobs for youth in the Delta and an inflow of $ [a good thing??], I see some positive in having the delay, in then pushing out the time when the NG actually flows.

Now, if we can only hope as well that by the end of the next decade the NG won't be primarily used to keep tar sands production going (that is, the magical 'turn gold into lead' they seem to have planned - cleaner NG used to help produce dirty tar sands products...)

James Vitek had a great article about the revolutionary times in which we live. He made a point of some paradigm changes we need to make:

Here’s a rough draft of our ecospheric “to-do” list.
Reduce the industrialized world’s carbon footprint 80 percent by 2050.
Reduce human population 80 percent from its current level without famine, war, viruses or the loss of human dignity by 2110.
Eliminate the automobile as a form of personal transportation.
Create political and social systems that run on a solar economy.
Revise the scientific method so that it more accurately balances the goal of discovery with moral considerations and precaution.
Devise viable models of happiness and success that do not require economic growth and increased consumption.
Make the virtues of humility, cooperation, generosity, gratitude, kindness and thrift cool again, or hip, or bad, or the bomb, or whatever word or phrase you use to describe something really good and worth having.

Looking at his suggested revolutionary changes, the first one seems fine, with the necessary international political resolve. Reducing the carbon footprint by 80% in 40 years. That is what Copenhagen is about, as was Kyoto. Does anyone see a problem here?

Next, reducing population. Hmm... who decides who gets to have kids? How do you stop those who disagree? Bigger problems here, and IMO 2110 is way too long. Famine, war or virus looks like the way we will "choose". Has anyone else read Al Gore's new book, Our Choice?

Political and social systems are not run on the energy source of the day... they are set up and allowed to exist by people.

Revising the scientific method? No. It needs to be channeled, not changed. The method is not at fault, it is the funding. To paraphrase, it's the money, stupid.

Mr. Vitek's suggestions are nice platitudes. I hope they happen, and they are certainly needed. Both Kuntsler and Greer devoted considerable space in their writings to that.

In short, we face a revolution in many ways, and so far have come up short. We at TOD pat ourselves on the back, but are we doing any real good out here? Voices in a wilderness? IMO, at least, AGW is a smoke screen that is being used to distract people from the true depth of the problems ahead of us. Not that it is unimportant. Just that the deniers have found ways to use it to make noise and turn our attention from Peak Oil, population, water and soil.

When our severely depleted soil faces drier conditions in a warmer world, and when there is insufficient water for irrigation, insufficient clean water for drinking, and neither fuel nor alternatives in place to run pumps, tractors and transportation, that is when the stuff will truly hit the fan. It won't do us much good then to tell the deniers, "we told you so." If there is anything we can do to make this dillema patent to the populace, now is the time.

I believe that the final steps, the philosophical ones and societal ones and political ones, imagined by Vitek will be the most difficult to achieve, but that they will have to be done before we can engage the rest of humanity in the physical steps.

Good luck to us all.

gubbermint is run by crooks for crooks.
my barometer is going crazy. it swings from low to high over the course of 24 hours. been doing that for a week now. has happened many times this year. my state, nj, had snow, then sleet then rain, then THUNDERSTORMS! today, in one day. my town got 6 inches of snow then 1 and 1/2 half inches of rain. quite unusual but the new norm. so a mild day or two then a cold day or two. or maybe half a cold day the 2 mild days. or...1/2 a mild day then 2 cold days. i went to the supermarket and bought another frozen pizza. i cooked it. mmmm....it's all good.
i looked at my fellow shoppers. not a care in the world. many looked shell shocked. why? economy i guess. or maybe they all had good meds. perhaps it is just a disconnect from reality that is allowing them to move about as automatons. because we aint got no options.
there's only one game in town.
at work it's only deadlines and production. a distinct single mindedness of purpose. no one ever mentions peak oil or the impending crash of western civilization. nope, not a peep anywhere. only on the oil conundrum can i get my so called scientific trend data fix (i.e. doomer porn).
if jon corzine ex gov-ner of nj and ex CEO of goldman sacks has his income reduced by 90%, he still has millions of dollars. if my income is reduced by 90% i have a few thousand. and that is why all those wall street crooks are stuffing their matresses. because they know that the dollar is going to tank. my house was worth $350k 3 years ago. currently at $250k. and predicted to lose another 30% in 2010. i bet you a plug hobo nickel that my property taxes go up and they wont be taking any cabbages in payments. in the future the homeless will be called refugees. because there will be millions of them. forced reductions in consumption coming to all and sundry.

why can Gail post articles on raising chickens?
please show why this is relevant

can I post articles on cross country skiiing...

or cruising on the Oasis Of The Seas (5X larger than the Titanic BUT 40% more energy efficient per passenger)

or rhumba, tango and mambo dancing

I think all those would make good Campfire discussions.

This is just one part of the localization (local food) movement that is happing around our country. Chickens and rabbits can also be important components in a Permaculture system. eg see section 5.10 Animals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

A farmer friend of mine uses a chicken tractor like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tractor

Just had my XC skis waxed this afternoon and will be on the trails this weekend.

Because individual food production is a major element of reducing energy consumption and sustainability.

In certain places XC skis are a low energy and historically proven way of getting around.

How do they work in hot sand?

on snow, not bad, 20 feet per stride if you get some momentum going

Humbaba they will be called Insurgents and we'll all feeding 'em, helping 'em when wounded, etc. like the Viet people helped their folks against our Empire. We'll have Insurgent friends and family members, some of us will be Insurgents also.

From the Science Daily article about sea level rise this century, (link below),


is this interesting statement:

"Since 1990 sea level has been rising at 3.4 millimetres per year, twice as fast as on average over the 20th Century," says Stefan Rahmstorf. Even if that rate just remained steady, this would already lead to 34 centimetres rise in the 21st century. "But the data show us clearly: the warmer it gets, the faster sea level rises. If we want to prevent a galloping sea level rise, we should stop global warming as soon as possible," adds Rahmstorf.

The idea that global warming can be stopped is an interesting notion. Obviously a lot of momentum has built up to this point, so what would it take to stop global warming? Even if we stopped adding CO2 and other greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere in the short term - which is very unlikely - that wouldn't immediately stop its momentum. Thermal inertia - adding gasses to the atmosphere that then transfers energy into the oceans over a 30-40 year period - means just the amount we've already put into the atmosphere will have that many years of momentum.

I think there's a disconnect here as to the magnitude of the situation. If a train is running out of control its momentum can be stopped, but it will take many miles of track to do so, or it will crash. The analogy is, either we will need to reduce CO2 to the point where the biota of the Earth can absorb each years emissions completely and wait for the momentum to slow in 30-40 years, or it can crash. And the only way that can happen is if an ice age starts.

So either we are bound to a much hotter world with ever increasing rates of sea level rise that inundate many coastlines, or we are plunged into an ice age. Not that we have a choice, but if we did, an ice age would be the best thing that could happen for life in the sea and on the ice. It may be the only possibility that can save much of the biodiversity from eradication via human activity.

It would be a bummer for people, but we are always bragging about our ability to adapt, so then we just adapt to a colder world.

Thermal inertia - adding gasses to the atmosphere that then transfers energy into the oceans over a 30-40 year period - means just the amount we've already put into the atmosphere will have that many years of momentum.

I think there's a disconnect here as to the magnitude of the situation.

No, you're just assuming he meant stop warming immediately. He didn't.

ccpo, my point was he doesn't realize how long it will take to stop it, and I don't think most people do. The post was about the magnitude of the situation, the momentum of global warming as something that can't be turned around easily or quickly. And it's a good point to make, because there are a lot of discussions about stopping global warming but few if any about how long that would take.

It's not as simple as slowing ozone depletion by halting the use of CFC's. That was a situation not affected by momentum, in the same manner as global warming.

I agree with how you phrase this above, but the point still holds that the stopping needs to happen or the stop never happens, right? Besides, anyone that actually understands ACC knows the time line and doesn't really need to state it explicitly each time they speak. Perhaps that is the case here.