Drumbeat: January 3, 2010

Yemen’s Chaos Aids the Evolution of a Qaeda Cell

SANA, Yemen — Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has rapidly evolved into an expanding and ambitious regional terrorist network thanks in part to a weakened, impoverished and distracted Yemeni government.

While Yemen has chased two homegrown rebellions, over the last year the Qaeda cell here has begun sharing resources across borders and has been spurred on to more ambitious attacks by a leadership strengthened by released Qaeda detainees and returning fighters from Iraq.

The priorities of the Yemeni government have been fighting a war in the north and combating secessionists across the south. In the interim, Al Qaeda has flourished in the large, lawless and rugged tribal territories of Yemen, creating training camps, attacking Western targets and receiving increasing popular sympathy, Yemeni and American officials say.

US wants new UN sanctions against Iran's 'continuing' nuclear ambitions

The US believes the official intelligence assessment of Iran's nuclear programme is wrong and Tehran is working on the design of a nuclear weapon, it was reported today.

Kingsnorth Power Station fire investigated

An investigation is under way to find the cause of a fire which shut down a coal-fired power station in Kent.

Fifteen fire crews, with five specialist appliances, were called to Kingsnorth when the fire broke out in a pump room at 1925 GMT on Saturday.

E.On said the oil fire was contained in the pump house, which is responsible for two out of four of its units.

The power station was shut down as a precautionary measure but is now running at 50% of its capacity.

It was working at 50% at the time the fire broke out, which is sufficient to supply the current demand of the national grid.

Americans Doing More, Buying Less, a Poll Finds

Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online.

But Americans are not just getting by with less. They are also doing more.

Some are working longer hours, but a larger proportion, the poll shows, are spending additional time with family and friends, gardening, cooking, reading, watching television and engaging in other hobbies.

The Department of Labor’s time-use surveys show a similar trend: compared with 2005, Americans spent less time in 2008 buying goods and services and more time cooking or taking part in “organizational, civic and religious activities.”

Will Oil Hit $300 A Barrel in 2010 Due To Mid-East Tensions Part I

While I am very reluctant to provide short term forecasts on area such as commodity prices or stock prices, I have a strong opinion about future oil prices. I am confident in my prediction because huge oil disruptions might occur due to tensions in the Middle East this coming year. I strongly believe that the media, politicians and investors do not realize the severity of situation. I think the coming year can see geo-political events that may cause the price of oil to skyrocket from current levels. While I think oil prices are currently over-priced, tensions in the Middle East could increase that will cause oil spikes this coming year. These Middle Eastern tensions are related to the current actions of the Iranian government.

There have been growing tensions between Iran and many other countries in the region. Although the media has been covering them, I do not think the media realizes the severity of these recent events.

Part II is here.

Urban Communities and Peak Oil: Transition Brixton (Video)

Yesterday we looked at Al Jazeera's report on Transition Town Totnes—offering a vision of how small towns are tackling climate change and peak oil through community involvement. But how does the Transition model relate to the city? On the one hand, urban density and great mass transit make city living green. On the other hand, almost everything is trucked in, so where does that leave the concept of resilience?

Woolgatherers ponder worst case scenarios

It’s not uncommon when driving across Kansas to come upon a sign outside some small town proclaiming, “Home of Someone You’ve Never Heard of” or “Girls Class C Volleyball Champions 1954.” Why is there no sign outside Lawrence announcing, “Woolgathering Capital of the World?”

The validity of this distinction was illustrated the other day by a report on the city’s Peak Oil Task Force, created a year ago by city commissioners. Its mission: to brood upon the challenges that would face Lawrence if there were a disruption in the supply of oil or a staggering upswing in its price. Members of this ad hoc think tank leapt into action with gusto. It was just the sort of challenge to excite woolgatherers and their powers of conjuring up visions of doom.

Obama and Afghanistan: America’s Drug-Corrupted War

Full-spectrum dominance is of course not just an end in itself, it is also lobbied for by far-flung American corporations overseas, especially oil companies like Exxon Mobil with huge investments in Kazakhstan and elsewhere in Central Asia. As Michael Klare noted in his book Resource Wars, a secondary objective of the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan was "to consolidate U.S. power in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea area, and to ensure continued flow of oil."

Living on Nothing but Food Stamps

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — After an improbable rise from the Bronx projects to a job selling Gulf Coast homes, Isabel Bermudez lost it all to an epic housing bust — the six-figure income, the house with the pool and the investment property.

Now, as she papers the county with résumés and girds herself for rejection, she is supporting two daughters on an income that inspires a double take: zero dollars in monthly cash and a few hundred dollars in food stamps.

With food-stamp use at a record high and surging by the day, Ms. Bermudez belongs to an overlooked subgroup that is growing especially fast: recipients with no cash income.

Saudi foreign assets dip by 12%

Saudi Arabia's foreign assets dipped by nearly 12 per cent in the first 11 months of 2009 as the world's oil superpower heavily overshot assumed spending and its main oil operator pushed ahead with massive investment plans.

Bangladesh: Govt plans to expand LPG use to end energy crisis

The government is eyeing on rapid expansion of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) uses along with gas rationing in industries and other bulk consumers to come out of the current severe crisis, officials said Saturday.

But businesses and other affected people see the government plan as non-pragmatic and said it would fail to make any significant headway.

Nigeria: Queues in fuel stations persist in Lagos

Long queues noticed in filling stations in Lagos before the Christmas had yet to reduce, even in the new year, as many motorists spent several hours on Friday trying to get supply.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that most filling stations in the metropolis were shut to motorists, leaving the few with supply in difficult situation controlling the crowd

Fight Against Asian Carp Threatens Fragile Great Lakes Unity

CHICAGO — Asian carp, the voracious, nonnative fish whose arrival near Lake Michigan is threatening to cause havoc in the Great Lakes, are now setting off strife on land as well.

In an urgent effort to close down Chicago-area passages that could allow the unwanted fish to reach Lake Michigan, the State of Michigan is suing the State of Illinois and other entities that govern the waterways here. Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin have filed documents in recent days supporting Michigan’s move, and Indiana says it will soon do the same.

The new rift between these Midwestern states, which would reopen a nearly century-old legal case in the United States Supreme Court over Great Lakes waters, comes at a particularly sensitive moment — just as the numerous entities with interests in the Great Lakes had united in what lakes advocates consider some of their most significant progress in decades.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: Military leads the way in breaking our oil addiction

The safety and security of the United States will depend on how well we as a nation address the challenges of climate change.

That was reaffirmed for me at the recent United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen, which I attended as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation.

Opponents of climate action argue there is no proof that greenhouse-gas emissions are causing climate change and therefore we should not expend significant effort to reduce those emissions.

But many of the steps that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions are steps we must take to increase our national security — specifically by weaning ourselves off oil.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am concerned about how our dependence on oil threatens our national security. As a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, I am confident that renewable energy, especially solar energy, can be a key solution.

The Greatest Story Rarely Told

On December 30, I posted the following Twitter riff: Check this diagram of the year’s news. Find climate? Climategate? Copenhagen? http://j.mp/noCO2news.

The diagram, drawn by compiling weekly news summaries from Journalism.org, contains not even a postage-stamp-size space for coverage of climate — or the environment as a whole, for that matter.

Stable prices at the pump lull motorists

A deep recession, home foreclosures, job losses, swine flu — among the many things Americans had to fret about in 2009, the price of gasoline ranked pretty low.

After topping $4 a gallon in 2008, U.S. gasoline prices failed to crack even the $3 mark last year, the first time in four years that hasn't happened.

Held in check by lower oil prices and a sputtering economy, the national average price for gasoline — after starting the year at $1.62 — rose to $2.69 a gallon in October but never went higher, according to AAA statistics.

In Houston, prices were even lower. The daily average bottomed at $1.43 in January and peaked at $2.53 in June.

But U.S. drivers may not be so lucky in 2010.

Russia halts oil flows to Belarus refineries

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has halted oil supplies to Belarussian refineries after failing to agree terms for 2010, traders said on Sunday, threatening a repeat of a dispute which disrupted supplies to elsewhere in Europe three years ago.

Deliveries to Belarus refineries were halted after talks broke down on New Year's Eve, two traders from major Russian oil firms told Reuters.

Transit flows to other parts of Europe have not so far been affected, but Germany and Poland are closely watching the stand-off after supplies to some of their major refineries were cut during a similar row between Moscow and Minsk in January 2007.

U.S. states strive to regulate shale gas industry

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - As U.S. energy companies scramble to mine natural gas from shale deposits, state regulators are struggling to keep pace amid criticism that they lack the resources to enforce environmental laws.

Where Are Oil Prices Heading in 2010?

So where are oil prices heading now? Higher in the long-term, with some short-term factors likely to keep them volatile for months at a time. How volatile? As James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics, told MarketWatch, the unreal volatility of the past two years could continue: “2010 could be another with prices as low as $40 or as high as $110 or even higher.”

South Korea Should Gradually Open Up Gas Market, Watchdog Says

(Bloomberg) -- South Korea should gradually open up its natural-gas import and distribution market, currently dominated by Korea Gas Corp., to ensure competitive pricing of the fuel, the country’s antitrust watchdog said.

Domestic natural-gas prices have risen 55 percent since 2000 and the current price of the fuel for industrial use is 71 percent higher than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average, the Fair Trade Commission said in a report today.

Union warns of risks in refinery closure

THE closure of Caltex's lubricating oil refinery at Kurnell could prove catastrophic for Australia, a union leader warned yesterday.

Paul Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, urged the company to reconsider, saying the Sydney refinery was the sole domestic source of lubricating oil.

The refinery produces 600,000 litres a day for the Australian market, including the Australian Defence Force.

Saudi Arabia gets two bids for Jizan refinery

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia: Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has received two bids from four Saudi-owned firms to build, own and operate a new export-oriented refinery in Jizan, industry sources said.

Earlier this month, Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said he expected the winning bid to be announced by the end of the year. The tender for Jizan has been delayed several times, after initial plans to open bidding in the second quarter of 2007.

Huge Oil Spill Reported in China

SHANGHAI — A huge oil spill in northwest China has heavily polluted a tributary of the Yellow River, and threatens to reach one of the country’s longest and most important sources of water.

China’s state-run news media said late Saturday that a “large amount” of diesel oil had leaked out of a pipeline last Thursday in Shaanxi Province.

Lithuania Shuts Down Its Only Nuclear Power Plant

Lithuania's Soviet-built nuclear power plant was shut down late Thursday as part of an agreement with the European Union, ushering in a new era of energy uncertainty for the country.

Engineers say the closure of the Ignalina plant in the town of Visaginas happened on New Year's Eve shortly before midnight local time.

The shutdown is bad news for the recession-hit country partly because it will lose a source of cheap electricity and be forced to import more expensive energy. But the shutdown was mandated by the EU, where the Chernobyl-type facility is considered unsafe due to inherent design flaws.

Gordon Brown unveils £100bn wind farm gamble

GORDON BROWN will this week launch a £100 billion green power revolution when he awards a raft of development contracts to build a new generation of offshore wind farms.

The government envisages a third of the UK’s energy coming from wind power by 2020. The plan is far and away the most ambitious in the world and comprises the central plank of the country’s efforts to cut emissions.

Geothermal Energy Association to ring closing bell

The Geothermal Energy Association will ring the closing bell at Nasdaq in Times Square on Jan. 14 — the same day of its geothermal energy finance forum.

The D.C.-based trade association is made up of U.S. companies who support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. The geothermal energy industry added 750 full time jobs and 2,827 construction-related jobs due to a roughly $800 million investment in the technology this year.

Biodiesel producers lose $1 a gallon tax credit

OKLAHOMA CITY - An alternative fuel for diesel engines is off to a shaky start this year even though it emits fewer pollutants and cuts down on petroleum use because it's made from environmentally friendly waste and vegetable oil.

A federal tax credit that provided makers of biodiesel $1 for every gallon expired Friday. As a result, some U.S. producers say they will shut down without the government subsidy.

Venezuela rations water supplies

Large parts of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, will be without water for up to 48 hours over the next week after officials began water rationing.

The measure is the start of a possible six months of rationing before the rainy season in Venezuela begins again.

Ethiopia rejects warning of hunger after drought

An Ethiopian minister has denied reports that millions of people need urgent food aid after failed rains.

Disaster Prevention Minister Mikitu Kassa told the BBC that the government was helping those hit by the drought.

Cleaning up fruit harvest

Processors historically treated wastewater through spray irrigation, in which they use common farm irrigation equipment to spray liquids on fields.

"It's sugar water they are putting on the field and you wouldn't think it's a problem," Heuer said. "But it creates a very interesting chemical reaction just discovered around the turn of the century."

Naturally occurring bacteria in the soil devour the sugar and other food wastes, but over time the subsoil, mostly what's saturated with groundwater, goes from an environment with free oxygen to one without.

Bacteria then steal oxygen molecules from metal compounds in the soil. The metals, usually iron and manganese, dissolve into the water and become mobile.

WHO Warns Climate Change Bad For Health

The World Health Organization says the effects of so-called climate-sensitive diseases already are killing millions of people. WHO reports more than three-and-a-half million people die every year from malnutrition-related causes. It says diarrhea-related diseases kill nearly two million people and almost one million die from malaria.

WHO Chief Margaret Chan says such problems will be magnified under climate change. "With the changes in temperature – vectors - disease vectors like mosquitoes have been reported to cause malaria in places that had never reported malaria cases," she said.

Indian PM admits climate talks a let-down

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who successfully fought against binding caps on emissions at the Copenhagen climate talks, admitted Sunday that all parties involved were unhappy with the results.

Singh told a science conference in the city of Thiruvananthapuram that world leaders "were able to make only limited progress at the Copenhagen summit and no one was satisfied with the outcome.

"There is no escaping the truth that the nations of the world have to move to a low greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficient development path," he said.

WSJ: Crude Awakening: Gas Producers Shift Focus

Exxon Mobil Corp.'s $31 billion purchase of XTO Energy Inc. is seen as a big endorsement of the future value of natural gas. But many gas producers aren't so optimistic. After years of volatile gas prices, and last year's dismal performance, dozens of small gas companies are expanding into crude oil, taking the opposite tack of Exxon, which last month agreed to buy XTO.

The contrasting moves highlight the conundrum facing natural-gas producers and investors: Gas appears likely to become a favored fuel over the long run, because it is seen as a cleaner and more environmentally friendly fuel, but its near-term prospects are limited by a glut of supply and weak demand. A number of small gas firms have said recently that they are putting more rigs to work drilling for oil, and some have made deals aimed at boosting oil production. The moves allow them to take advantage of the larger-than-normal gap between high oil prices and low natural-gas prices.

Some NFL players drowned?

I'm commenting on the Greatest Story article, if anyone's puzzled by that remark. Have always been diligent about paying as little attention as possible to the irrelevant travails of the celebrated. Wasn't until about a year into the OJ Simpson circus that I found out that Nicole was white, for instance. "Huh!" I said to myself, as I stood reading headlines in a checkout stand. Remember that big kerfluffle about the DA's haircut? People are seriously messed up!

Linked on Calculated Risk:

Real Estate in Cape Coral, Fla., Is Far From a Recovery

THE MESS is the product of The Story, the fable that waterfront living beyond winter’s reach exerts such a powerful pull that it justifies almost any price for housing. The Story propelled the orgy of borrowing, investing and flipping that dominated life here and in other places where January doesn’t include a snow blower. The Story lost its magic amid the realization that speculators had simply been selling to other speculators, making the real estate market look like a Ponzi scheme. The ensuing crash was breathtaking. By the winter of 2007, median housing prices in Cape Coral and the rest of Lee County had fallen to about $215,000, down from a high of $278,000 in 2005. By October 2009, they had fallen to near $92,000. . .

“One elementary school principal noticed parents going into schools with kids in the morning and sitting down in the cafeteria with them,” Mr. Browder said. “Then they noticed parents eating breakfast off kids’ plates. And then they noticed parents taking scraps home.”

"Indian PM admits climate talks a letdown"

"There is no escaping the truth that the nations of the world have to move to a low greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficient development path," he said. (after successfully fighting emissions caps)

Yeah, as long as someone else does it...stuff like that makes me crazy - then I have to go out in zero-degree weather and walk the dog until my heart stops pounding, and my blood-pressure returns to normal.

I wonder how the politicians will slither off the hook when the first climate refugees start showing up...

PostScript: it's too cold out there - I'm polishing candlesticks instead. Adrenaline has its benefits...

Yeah, as long as someone else does it.

Or, if someone else pays me enough to do it.

ah, as long as someone else does it

Wonder why he thinks like that.

India's per capita emission is 1.3 metric tons compared to 19 for US.

India's per capita income is about $1,000 and the US is $47,000.

ps : "Equitable Solutions to Greenhouse Warming: On the Distribution of Wealth, Emissions and Responsibility Within and Between Nations"


India's per capita emission is 1.3 metric tons compared to 19 for US.

Do you think India would be affected if the USA's per capita emissions was the same as theirs.?

Just sayin' I think the world economic situation has grown to be totally interdependent. Emissions associated with fossil fuels have facilitated the green revolution.
There are no longer and for the foreseeable future, cannot be any islands of plenty in a sea of want.
The major problems are global and need global solutions.

Of course we all know that but the foibles of humanity are so far an insurmountable hurdle.
As has been said many times, if climate change was similar to a meteorite hit instead of a large cauldron under a slowly building fire.

Iraqi oil production to reach over 11m bpd within 5 years

Iraqi oil production would reach around 11.4 million barrels per day within the upcoming five years, said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki on Sunday.

I have been harping for years about the Arab's predilection for gross exaggeration. I get called every name in the book as a result. But save this post for five years and my point will be proven.

Edit: This tendency to exaggerate is not considered derogatory by the Arabs. They think of it as an asset, something to be admired for its for oratorical eloquence. They even have a name for it. It is called mubalagha.

Arab Emotions and Hyperbole.

Orators are prone to be carried away in verbal exaggeration when speaking before an audience. This exaggeration is called mubalagha in Arabic, but it is not considered to be a derogatory term by the Arabs. Rather it is considered to be an admirable capacity for oratorical eloquence. A key point in understanding Arab hyperbole is that their mentality finds nothing wrong with eloquent exaggeration because they feel that words really shouldn't be taken at all times at their face value.

Ron P.

Official Says Iraqi Oil Production Still Lagging - New York Times, Sept 22, 2005

Mr. Chalabi, who was oil minister in Iraq in the late 1980's, before the Persian Gulf war of 1991, told a conference here: ''There is no plan to develop the Iraqi oil industry.''

Looking at current production, he said that Iraq would be ''lucky'' to maintain its level of some 1.5 million barrels a day. He also said that he doubted Iraq could return to its 1979 record production levels of 3.5 million barrels a day until 2009.

You can find no end of statements like the above in the Google News Archives. Average 2008 production was 2423 kb/d, 69% of the 1979 peak of 3489 kb/d. 2009 looks to have declined very slightly. Their big fields will perform more like Spindletop or East Texas I bet, huge finds which were abused badly by operators indifferent to reservoir mechanics and long pay outs, seeking only quick returns.

It is the same article as I linked above Kingfish. I just highlighted the section on the subject I discussed.

Ron P.

These are deep insights you provide us here. Do you have any observations you'd like to share with us about Jews, blacks, Mexicans, gays, Catholics, or just plain Americans? I'm sure you'll feel equally comfortable supplying those insights and that they will be equally edifying and helpful to us understanding the current world situation.

Dave, I was trying to explain why Arabs do what they do. Some may think they are lying but they are not, this is just their normal way of speaking. They are very proud of it and simply do not understand why people like Davebygolly see it as derogatory.

And Dave, because you think like you do, you will never understand the world situation. No two cultures on earth are alike. No two cultures see religion in the same light.

Dave, you will never understand why many people behave like they do because you see racism in every discussion of cultural difference. That is nothing more than sanctimonious posturing, a trait I find absolutely despicable.

Ron P.

And Dave, because you think like you do, you will never understand the world situation. No two cultures on earth are alike. No two cultures see religion in the same light.

Would you say that Americans are given over to violence and murder, to bombing innocent people, to stealing their resources and denigrating their cultures while softpedaling their own defects? Or is it more inherent in the system that has it hands around their throats?

I'm not particularly PC, and am not uptight about ethnic and religious discourse or jokes as long as they're not too viscious and unilateral, i.e. the fun isn't paid for by just one party. And everyone has their prejudices.

But right now I AM particulary touchy about anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudices because of the monstrous crimes our gov't and other powers are committing against Arab and Islamic nations. These are the only groups that it is SAFE to openly denigrate right now. And that has been the case for quite a while now. The West is and has been conducting a war in which denigration of Arabs and Islam plays a key role. You seem entirely unable to grasp the significance of your choice of target for ethnic discourse, and its very convenient safety.

Would you say that Americans are given over to violence and murder, to bombing innocent people, to stealing their resources and denigrating their cultures while softpedaling their own defects?

Yes by a landslide I've lived all over the US in 16 different cities in every single part of the country often for several years and lived overseas and traveled the world.

Americans are by far the most vicious people on earth on and individual basis. Hands down. The only group that comes in close are the English. Not the Scotts not the Irish but the English.

Of course the fact that Americans are willing to allow its government to spend more on defense than most of the worlds other countries combined should be a hint that perhaps we are not the worlds most peace loving nation.

I suspect most people that are more peaceful in the US tend to segregate themselves from the majority on a daily basis insulating themselves and not bringing up certain topics. Discussion of military spending is probably a bigger taboo in the US than religion.

But if you dare to at least probe the issue you will find that overwhelmingly people support a strong military. The pork barrel helps a lot. Underlying this veneer is insipid racism and dislike of immigrants and all the various bigotry possible. Even in the minority communities there is a huge amount of friction betweens those with money and those with little.

What we generally don't do these days is talk about it in public with people you don't know. But that does not change the real situation one bit.
Our politicians are experts at pandering to the unsaid and untalked about bigotry of the nation and thus its warlike stance.

The English are a bit more open about it which I found a bit shocking but I realized the shock was not the attitude but the fact they where more open about their attitudes and realizing that is more of a shocker.

Since you mention immigrants, is it really wise to bring in people at the levels the U.S. has been post 1965? This is a peak oil site after all, everyone here should be well aware of finite resources.

What do you plan to do if the oil minister has indeed embellished the Iraqi production figures? Do you believe the OPEC reserves which were inflated in the 1980s exist as well?

Americans are by far the most vicious people on earth on and individual basis. Hands down. The only group that comes in close are the English. Not the Scotts not the Irish but the English.

I'd like some further elaboration on why you thonk thusly. As a lifelong resident/citizen I don't have much of a basis for comparison. It feels like you might be right, although there do exist other cultures with much more severe domestic violence (murder, and ethnic rioting etc). Most of the foreign military adventure stuff, is just not seen as violence by the majority of the people, i.e. illusions about us being over their to do good works still dominates.

If you read James Webb's book "Born Fighting" about the history of the Scots-Irish, you may get a glimpse into the American psyche.

He makes a good case that the US national culture is that of the Scots-Irish, who settled the west when it was the Appalachians, took on George Washington and the new US government during the Whiskey Rebellion, and went on to settle the frontier which became our cowboy mythos.

According to Webb, the Scots-Irish culture in America is one of individualism instead of community, mistrust of government, fighting to defend one's honor, and loyalty to family and kin over everything else.

Folks I can't say that I'm exactly PROUD of everything our govt does or everything that our society stands for but I must insist on this:Either you know next to nothing about history and other cultures and peoples or else you just enjoy preening , showing off your morally holier than thou attitudes.

I might consider calling myself a liberal except for some of the utterly asinine things ....

Have you ever heard or the rape of Nanking or the Gulag or the Holocaust or headhunters or the hordes of Genghis Khan ?

Who the hxxx erected the Iron Curtain?

How about King Leopold of Belguim and his record in Africa?

How about the Spanish in Central America?

Pardon me but .......I'm having a very hard time remaining civil and better sign off.

How about just about every primitive society of which we have any good documentation?

There is no disputing what others are and have been guilty of -- the issue, the sole issue, is the actions of the US gov't NOW, the role it is playing on the world stage TODAY.

As I said, I'm not exactly proud of our govt, but let's try to be at least half way realistic.If we were out of the big power picture .....

I just don't believe you are capable of understanding just what a TRULY NASTY AND VISCIOUS place the world would be if someone OTHER than Uncle Sam were the world's sole superpower.

Human nature is a reality.The problem with liberalism above and beyond everything else wrong with it is the failure to recognize that you can't just jaw jaw all the time.Action, proactive as well as reactive, is necessary, or you cease to exist.

The world is a Darwinian place.If you are very lucky, you will not live long enough to see our current place in it occupied by whoever the next dominant power happens to be.

There are always others who don't share your girl scout mentality and are more than ready to rape and pillage and enjoy doing so , to glorify doing so , while they laugh at you.

Anyone who will step back far enough to get a good look at the big picture of the world as it exists must realize this is true.

Why don't you tell me which society , if it had our armed forces in place in the Middle East, and were capable of FORCING thier cooperation, as we are, would not just TAKE the oil without paying for it?

Which society would spend money in short supply on trying to rebuild those countries infrastructure?

Uncle am is without a doubt the worlds biggest bully at the current time but he is not bad as bullies go.

Just because you have lived in many countries, still does not make you an expert on this topic. Pure unadulterated BS.

I don't have any problem with considering culture or folk ways in explaining what particular people do; but the cited article, which is just recycled Raphael Patai, shows the two ways that the method is usually abused. First, it overestimates the commonalities of the behavior of Middle Eastern people as if traditions and tendencies reflected an unchanging essence and that is the universal method of racism. Second, it is is incredibly condescending: the umpteenth version of some Colonial Office memo on understanding the willy Oriental--Patai, it should be noted, wrote his book in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his partisanship is as obvious as his proclivity for psychobable.

The problem isn't cultural analysis. The problem is oversimplified, tendentious cultural analysis.


From the article:

"Arab behavior has a propensity for conflict."

Wow! Odd to hear this. I think of 20th century conflict, and wonder how much of that murderous psychopathy was dispalyed by "Arabs". Oh, and guess who were the only people ever to use atomic weapons in war?

Might be more usefull to consider the more basic demographic, human beings. As long as there is attachment to ego and its fundamental insanity, all of us are capable of violence.

I think I have heard the old "only people ever to use atomic weapons in war" line more than once on this site. Amazingly you fail to put it into the context of the times with the heavy losses the US and its allies had sustained. I would postulate that ANY country who had the ability to instantly end that conflict with such a weapon would have done so.

Frankly, every indication was that the Japanese were ready to quit w/o the Atomic bombs being dropped. You need to peruse the info that has been release in the past 15 years or so, previously classified, but now in the public domain.

I think that our 'humanitarian' guise was dropped when we fire bombed civilian targets, both in Germany and in Japan. There was never any indication that killing civilians did anything except make the rest of them mad, and more determined. The war ended because Japan ran out of gas... simple as that. And, we are quite ruthless people, us Englishmen and Americans. We exterminated most of the natives, and called it "Divine providence." Not very nice!

Then, after espousing some rather profound theories of humanitarian policy, with our Nuremburg Trials, we became what we were fighting in Europe duringb WWII, when we went to war in Iraq. For the oil! And we stay in the Mid-East... for the oil. Trading off our freedoms and our moral standing for a few more years of BAU, so the rich may continue to get richer.

Yes, ron, in some ways we have become a sick society... in others we always have been. And, we have shown that we can change, that we can be noble, that we can make a difference in a good way. It is always our choice, in every generation, to decide what and who we are today.

And, reacting to comments with Jingoistic nonsense adds little to the discussion. Saying that Hitler would have dropped atomic bombs on England and the US in order to instantly end WWII does not make it right for the US to do so. Making assumptions that this was the only way the war would end w/o the disasterous invasion of Japan does not help. Frankly listening the the military geniuses of the US armed forces does no good whatever. If we had listened, for instance, to General LeMay, we would have invaded Cuba in 1963. With consequent losses of an estimated 250,000 of US forces, and perhaps a world nuclear conflagration. Fortunately, we had leaders in the Whitehouse who took counsel from others, and avoided such calamity. The best you can say is that, with the killing of about 300,000 or so Japanese civilians, we were able to avoid the death of about 500,000 American troops, and maybe 3,000,000 Japanese civilians who would have died in an invasion. And that only if Japan had steadfastly attempted to avoid the inevitable by resisting with no fuel for their airplanes, tanks and trucks. There is absolutely no reason to believe that would have occurred. q.e.d.

I don't think there's much doubt that we'd have won the war, one way or another. The nukes just made it easier.

What I find most interesting is that before the war, everyone agreed that bombing civilians was barbaric. But when push came to shove, that went right out the window. For all sides.

My answer, wrt the WWII nukes and all that, is that I think it would have been very much better for the entire human race - and for the Japanese - if WWII had never been fought in the first place. I always have had trouble understanding why it is so terrible to have been killed by an atomic bomb, as if being killed by any other type of weaponry is perfectly OK. No, the entire war was a terrible thing, from start to finish, and I don't cede the moral high ground to anyone who suggests otherwise.

Which leads, inevitably, to the question: Just who exactly was it, again, who started it?

Standard answer WNC...the loser. As Leanan said, you might think killing civilians wouldn't be part of the "official" battle plan. Some folks after WWI thought that would be the case since areal warfare could bring the battle to the civilian homeland and what gov't would risk that? But that's not how wars have been fought in modern times. Countries were at war...not militaries. Being the winner and writing the history books makes it a easier to soft peddle those realities. Take the D-Day invasion made so popular in "Saving Private Ryan". Thanks to being the winner you seldom see mention of the fact that around 40,000 French civilians were killed by allied action in the first 2 weeks of the invasion. Just acceptable collateral damage. When we attacked the French towns were the Germans were marshaled guess who was still living in the towns? Same ugly mess in the Middle east: we're not fighting military personnel. We're fighting combatants. Civilian + weapon = combatant. Dead combatant on the ground with weapon gone = civilian. A civilian with a weapon pointed at you = enemy. A civilian with a weapon not pointing at you = ? Just more good reasons to avoid war if it's at all possible.

Re: WWII and Japan: just saw an interesting documental how close the Japanese came to developing a nuclear bomb. An interesting side fact was how it had remained classified for decades after the war. They were just guessing but maybe nuclear capable within a year of war's end. The Germans (who also had a nuke development plan but shut down by bombing those civilians) had actually shipped a load of uranium via sub but the sub aborted when Germany surrendered. A key delay: the main Japanese research lab was destroyed in a fire bombing targeting Tokyo civilian neighborhoods. The Japanese had already developed two delivery systems: deliver nuke to US fleet using a suicide sub and a sub (largest in the world at that time) that carried planes onboard which would launched off the CA coast and bomb L.A.

Which leads, inevitably, to the question: Just who exactly was it, again, who started it?

In Europe, that's easy. In Japan's case ... not so much.

The Japanese were fighting a war in China. The US stepped in, partly because they wanted to trade with China, and partly to maintain their hegemony in the Pacific. They had blockaded Japan and were starving them economically, primarily by restricting fuel imports. So the Japanese either had to give up their own empire building goals or go to war with the US. Who started it? Egg, chicken, etc.

The Japanese did unspeakable things in WW II. Mostly to the Chinese, Koreans and other occupied nations, but also to allied POWs. Nothing they did can compare in any way to the civilian deaths caused by the US firebombing or the nuclear attacks. It could be argued that they happily would have done such things to US civilians, if they could reach them, but they couldn't. The firebombing and nuclear attacks served very little in the way of military purpose. Lemay only undertook them because his bombers couldn't precision bomb worth beans and the lack of effectiveness was making him and the air fleet look bad.

On the other hand, I do agree that the nuclear attacks were nothing special, at least in comparison to the firebombing attacks. Hell, the air fleet had to exclude Hiroshima from firebombing attacks for a few months (and 4 or 5 other targets) to save an "intact" city for the nukes to be practiced on (they really wanted to see what one would do to an intact city). Those poor bastards were going to get it one way or another.

The Japanese were willing to surrender prior to the nuclear attacks. They were not willing to surrender unconditionally, however. That little condition, virtually unprecedented in warfare, caused untold extra suffering in both Europe and the Pacific.

The Japanese did unspeakable things in WW II.

And the US military had starvation and abuse issues with German POW's after the war.

(and just to add more fuel to the 'humans abuse other humans over resources' fire - the way the native American's were treated over the years )

Well, ya, it can be hard to feed hundreds of thousands of prisoners, especially at the end of a many thousand mile supply chain. I don't think the US intentionally mistreated POWs, though, certainly not in the way the Japanese did, or like the Germans and the Russians did to each other - at least not on a large scale. Eisenhower certainly saw himself as "the good guy" and would not have permitted such a policy. Patton probably would have just shot them all. In the end, as in so many things, a lot of it comes down to individuals.

The abuse of Native Americans (if you can speak of semi-deliberate genocide as "abuse") is not really relevant to WW II. The standards were different, and the abuses only stand out in contrast to how we like to think of ourselves today.

No need to be hypersensitive on behalf of Arabs or anyone else, Dave. Identifying and discussing cultural characteristics is not a forbidden activity. Refusal to countenance or analyse cultural differences is a very common source of conflict (between my daughter and my girlfriend for example).

No need to be hypersensitive on behalf of Arabs or anyone else, Dave.

A few years ago I would see the TV monitors in the PATH trains I take into NYC running wanted postings: Arabic looking men (and names) wanted for questioning in regard to possible terrorist acts. Not ads for people already KNOWN to have murdered or stolen, not for bank robbers.

We opening a new front (actually it's already been opened) in Yemen. The pretext? A Muslim with exploding pampers! One can say anything about Muslims and it will be believed, unquestioned. I won't go back to 9-11, except to say that was believed because one could say anything about Muslims and Arabs and it would go unquestioned. One could say things about what our own gov't was doing that were plainly true, and it wouldn't be believed. Such have been the effects of a long and insidious campaign by our media and elite to soften up public for what was to come. It's very similar to a campaign waged by a power in the 30s that wanted to carve out an empire for itself. There was a group then in that camp that one could say anthing about and be believed.

So I beg to differ -- there is a need to hypersensitive, because great damage is being facilitated by the gov't and media endorsed denigration of certain groups.

Lacking that I'd have no problem. Back in the early 70s I heard and told a million ethnic jokes -- Italians, Poles, Jews. Because the yoke had been lifted, and one was free to joke -- the Italians especially went crazy telling Italian jokes. Richard Pryor's humor was almost dangerously funny, one could almost literally pop a gut. But that was because lifting the yoke for (by) blacks had only just started (and is far completed now).


You mean like the obvious American cultural characteristic of killing millions of innocent people for "geopolitical" reasons and calling it "collateral damage" ? or is it the renaming of torture to "tough interrogation techniques" as soon as thugs within US started torturing ? Or perhaps you are referring to North Koorea's obvious culture of detaining foreign journalists where as we just put them in jail and our Meida won't talk about them ?

ps : I wonder who runs IEA which never exaggerates oil production ....

.. and beyond that, I wonder if Dan Yergin is lurking here today, and secretly wondering if his family must have Arabic roots, which could help explain his tendency for such rancorous hyperbolic bull..

just plain Americans?

Does such a thing exist?

Darwinian, I'll back you up on that.

I don't have references and links handy, being an amatuer scholar out only for my own edification, but I have read several accounts written by people involved with Arabs in business discussions.

They say the same thing basicly.One the serious negotiations start all the high flown rhetoric is forgotten and it would be considered utterly asinine to believe the high flown rhetoric was ever intended to be taken seriously.

Over here were call it salesmanship.

Over here were call it salesmanship.

And isn't salesmanship known as lying?

As we enter a new year the discussion on what we need to do in the UK over the next ten years or so finally steps up a gear - too late I fear. Let's hope that the world recession is a cause of recent oil peaking and not a symptom - my opinion is that it is a symptom, time will tell!


"Fight Against Asian Carp Threatens Fragile Great Lakes Unity"

From a Peak Oil perspective, this is an interesting (if that's the word) quandary - shut the transport locks to separate the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes, cutting off river transport, or risk the carp getting in, and destroying lake fishing habitats.

Of course, the solution is hardly assisted by the politics involved, and we are getting into election season, so I expect it will get worse before it get better.

We do need the barge transport system - more so when trucking becomes too expensive, or unreliable. But then, what do we do about the carp ?

spring_tides -

Perhaps specially bred cold-water alligators?

Hey, I'm just trying to be helpful here.


It's as good a suggestion as I've seen coming from TPTB ;)

They tried poison already, and the electric barrier appears to be a failure. Introducing a predator would seem to be a good solution, except that this always has unintended consequences.

Since the river water is too toxic to swim in, I'd have to say I'd go for the alligators, if they were on the smaller side and couldn't attack canoes and kayaks - one of which might be mine.

The issue then would be how to keep the 'gators out of the Great Lakes.

Nope --- wouldn't work since the 'gators and carp would reach an ecological balance. Now two problem species since 'gators won't eat all the carp. Still not likely even if you mass bomb the canal with specially reared large starving 'gators.... and they would need be large if you expect them to eat the 100 pound spawning mama Bigheads.

Did read something a while ago about a riverside bar holding a contest --- the winner had more than 100 Silvers jump into his boat in an hour. Wondered at the time on total fleet catch ;-)

I suppose that still makes us the best option with regard to predators ;)

Some monetary compensation for catching the carp. Best way to eradicate a species.

Oh, there is already some financial compensation --- if nothing else we humans are opportunistic ... always making lemonade when stuck with lemons even if they are of our own making. We could speed the process by a bit of judicious re- branding ... worked well with Chinese gooseberries now know as Kiwi fruit or the Patagonian Toothfish now labelled 'Chilean Sea Bass', 'bastard mackerel' is now a Wahoo; 'Jack Fish' is now a Pike; Extensive list ;-) We do know how to market :-(

Some monetary compensation for catching the carp. Best way to eradicate a species.

Nah! The best way is to start an urban myth that eating the fins causes virility, and large sexual organs etc. Then everyone and his brother will be out trying to catch um. And you won't have to pay out any bounty money either.

Why didn't I think of that ? I'll get right on it...

Some monetary compensation for catching the carp. Best way to eradicate a species.

America = a nation so great they wiped out a species of Locusts. Yup - killed off a plague of Biblical proportions.

(given the water quality - do you really want to eat the fish?)

Nessie of loch fame?

IIRC the hydro bill is some $40,000/month to operate the existing two electric fish barriers. A third more powerful barrier is being built. Does anyone know what is happening on the Calumet river since it also was reversed taking Lake Michigan water into the Mississippi?

But then, what do we do about the carp ?

Carp burgers at Mikey Ds. Hey we have the technology to over fish any fish stock on the planet why would these carp be any different?

They would need a new name before people would eat them. "Illinois River Trout" or something lame like that might do the trick.

They would need a new name before people would eat them. "Illinois River Trout"

You're right and forget Mickey D's, go to straight for the upper echelon with "Poisson à la Bordelaise" :-)

The problem is the "floating bones." That means this fish can't be mechanically processed like other fish.

Perhaps a technological innovation could take care of it. Or some company could turn them into fertilizer.

Toss 'em in the pit (where the telephone sanitizers are placed) with the Black Soldier Fly and make biodiesel!


(and thus I have linked fish to alternative oil and the circle of TOD is complete. I'll be here all week folkes - remember to tip your waitstaff)

Well, I said I would mark it on my calendar, and I did...

Two years ago, I said I was not expecting a fast crash, and "710" predicted I would change my mind. I asked him to set a date, and he said January 2010. Well, it's January 2010. And I haven't changed my mind.

His prediction:

By October of this year, the economy will be a pathetic wreck, and most everyone will know it. That's date 1.

By January, 2010, I expect at least one of the following will happen: nuclear detonation during war; at least one area of the US will seriously attempt secession; North America will experience riots related to heat, food, gas, or electricity; Mexico will fail as a nation-state; or an infectious disease epidemic will sweep the continent. That's date 2.

But if something happens before October, well, it wouldn't give me any pleasure to say "told ya so". I'd rather that the people who prepared, who made it through the bottleneck, are those like you and other posters who have the capacity for the critical thinking and independence necessary to sow a new mentality post-crash. Which is why I'm attempt to make the case that when the crash begins in earnest and when it hits the US, it will be relatively swift and sudden and there won't be time to prepare.

I suppose H1N1 might be considered a "hit," though it wasn't the calamity many feared.

And my prediction:

My bet is in January 2010, it will still be pretty much BAU. People may not be spending as much for big-screen TVs, but they'll still be more interested in the Super Bowl than in peak oil.

Bullseye. IMO, of course.

So no, folks, I have not changed my mind on the fast crash/slow collapse thing.

Interesting. Score one for catabolic collapse.

A friend of mine is indignant - I think - that, having heard about peak oil for the last five years or so, we're not facing gasoline rationing or riots or something. History proceeds at its own pace. Maybe we'll see irrefutable signs of global oil peak this year. Or not. Are we in a hurry? Is being vindicated what matters most?

We read about past events and, barring reading about all the fine details in a book, fail to recognize the sluggish pace at which history unfolds.

2000	World War I begins.
2001	Lusitania sunk.
2002	Germany ends unlimited submarine warfare.
2003	Germany renews submarine warfare.
2004	World War I ends.
2005	Treaty of Versailles
2006	 The League of Nations is formed.
2007	 Adolf Hitler becomes leader of the Nationalist Socialist Party (Nazis).
2009	 France occupies the Ruhr Valley.
2011	 Hitler's book, Mein Kampf, is published.
2014	 Herbert Hoover becomes president.
2015	 The US stock market crashes resulting in the Great Depression.
2016	Nazis become Germany's second largest political party.
2018	 Franklin Roosevelt is elected president.
2019	 Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.
2020	 German President Paul Von Hindenburg dies, and Hitler becomes Fuehrer of Germany.
2021	 German Jews are stripped of their rights by the Nuremberg Race Laws.
2022	 German troops occupy the Rhineland; Mussolini's Italian forces take Ethiopia.
2024	 German troops occupy the Sudetenland, and the Czech government resigns.
2025	Germany invades Poland as World War II begins.
2026	 Germany invades Western Europe, British forces withdraw at Dunkirk.
2027	Battle of Britian, Germany invades the Soviet Union, Pearl Harbor attack.
2028	 Germany U-boat offensives, US forces arrive in North Africa.
2029	 The Germans are defeated at Stalingrad the Allies invade Italy.
2030	 The Allies invade France at Normandy, Paris is liberated on August 25.
2031	World War II ends.

Cribbed and abridged from 20th Century Germany and America: An Annotated Timeline

It's an interesting list of historical events, but the years are from the 21st century, with many in the future. Is the list good, but the years are off?

Seems a merging -- present timeline on left compared to the past.


Tonu, aha, history repeats itself. Duh, I get it now.

Although there's always a risk of getting into a "win the argument rather than find the truth" mindset, I think for some people the point is that if you're going to make significant changes in your life based on predictions, it's significantly worrying if those predictions appear incorrect.

As for the pace of history, there's also the problem that it's only in hindsight that the first raindrops are seen as part of a big storm rather than a light shower. There have been food and fuel riots around the world in recent years, but have they been due to purely local circumstance or triggered by global fuel issues? Too early for me to tell. As far as most people were concerned the events leading to respectively British and American entry into WWII happened quite quickly and almost overnight, precursor events not really being noticed.

Everybody - including Hitler, and Stalin, probably the French, probably the British public, and even most of the British MPs, were probably assuming in late August and all the way into Sept 1, 1939, that Chamberlain would probably just call for another Munich conference, and end up selling out Poland and giving the Germans their former territory back. This is, after all, exactly the way he operated with Czechoslovakia, and past behavior is a pretty good predictor of future behavior.

It was the sudden discovery of Chamberlain's spine that was the really big surprise.

Pretty good except I'd move our begining of the end if you will back to 1990.

I'd argue that all the "modern" forces where in play at that point including the decline of the Soviet Empire. So it makes a lot of sense to start the "modern end " in 1990 not 2000.

That gives you a SHTF date 10-15 years sooner 2015-2020 which seems much closer to reality.

2014 Herbert Hoover becomes president.
2015 The US stock market crashes resulting in the Great Depression

Is about right or in a few years depending on your definition now for example and you can see how your shifted a bit.

To some extent our current situation is evolving in its own manner since its really a real estate crash/ long term debt crash. Its a slow motion train wreck of unrealized losses on infrastructure that has little or no long term intrinsic value post peak oil. Associated is a general peak resource/ population bomb slowly going off.

I think the best way to look at it is that the forces that will end our civilization are huge and unstoppable but the shear size or mass means they initially move slowly. It simply takes a while for them to overcome the friction but as they gain momentum they simply cannot be stopped.

At some point unknown of course but likely soon this titanic mass of unsolved problems will start smashing through various barriers put in its path and laying waste to the system. Of course the irony is the more it smashes the faster it goes.

One key factor will be the silent spring when houses simply don't sell because no buyers even look. I really think that this summer will be that year. The faux house price support will draw many people waiting for the market to get better and holding homes off the market to put them back on.
Banks will begin to clear inventory despite the hurdles and as the housing market celebrates recovery the depths of the real problems will become clear.

And I expect oil and food to become problematic over the year.

So in general next year in my opinion represents the year when the underlying massive systemic collapse thats really happening simply cannot be ignored or hidden.

From that point things will begin to quicken.

Huge prediction. I'll keep tabs on it for you.

Hey Memmel

I think that this is the year that the intersection of three powerful trends will be accelerating that momentum. ELM, the Greater Mid East in expanded turmoil, and perhaps a hoarding trigger in the general falling storage/production situation.

As to ELM. As one by one the large oil producers go over peak they are under increased pressure to reduce subsidies. We are reminded periodically how expensive oil is in many countries where heavy taxation helps control oil consumption and even out price spikes, but OTOH there are just as many areas where subsidies tends to increase consumption and increase the volatility of global pricing.

For the greater Mid East (and elsewhere) As we have seen one after another in the past-peak producers, reduction of subsidies has exacerbated political upheaval on an unprecedented scale. ('fertile grounds' for a really western-centric term) Reduction in oil revenue results in a reduction in services AND an increase in the price of consumer goods. It really pisses people off. Mexico, Iran, Indonesia the list will be growing.

Falling storage was yesterdays topic. While the price of oil is a really big deal it is always important to think of the people who's lives are affected by the peak. I'm not thinking of the consumer nations so much and all the entitlement loss and belt tightening that will go on there but more of how the man on the street in a former producer (and now much poorer and less influential) nation reacts when the promise of that petro dollar lifestyle is yanked out from under him. Why should these people have sympathy for anyone who squanders their future so ruthlessly.

When the really big producers begin to slip, it's 'Katie bar the door' time. This I believe is the nightmare scenario for SA and the US and we really don't know how far in the offing this could be. However when SA does go I expect this to be the tipping point at which disruption of supply creates a strong positive feedback favoring more hoarding and even more resentment to the US, the Royal family, the Mullahs ect. And there is no way anybody is going to be able to secure the current oil supply lines in such a world much less the regimes who control them. I think this is why SA is scared spitless about the situation in Yemen, where plots on her leaders have already been hatched. http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/12/27/bergen.terror.plot/index.html

Well as my daughter said to me tonight on the promise of renewable energy being so uncertain. "You like the future of oil better?"

History never repeats itself, and you can't map the past on to the future. It just doesn't work that way. "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."

Nevertheless, there are lessons from the past to be learned and applied to the future. As Mark Twain said, "History never repeats itself, at best it sometimes rhymes".

I don't give most people slack for smugness.. but somehow, you make it work.

One line of his came close..
"when the crash begins in earnest and when it hits the US, it will be relatively swift and sudden and there won't be time to prepare.." I don't think it'll be all that swift, but it will STILL take most people by surprise.. and they won't be ready at really even the most basic level.

Just in the most immediate term, who is ready if their electric service went out tonight? What's in place to make a quick smooth transition to that one little bit of energy instability?

Luckily (or 'appropriately', perhaps), we do have a level of genetic resilience that gets some folks through even the harshest disasters, even despite the many actions that ought to have doomed the whole lot.


What are your stock market picks? Superbowl?


The reigning Queen of Doom.

Arch Druid is Court vizier

(I say this because I believe that slow is much worse than fast. For one thing we will then have time to degrade all infrastructure to the point where rebuilding will be next to impossible)

I wish I knew, Eeyores, which was worse. I first entered TOD about 2 or so years ago, firmly convinced fast was worse, and most likely. Today I feel slow is more likely, but am becoming convinced it is worse... as you stated above.

Still, as someone else said, being right/vindicated is not the point. Being prepared for whichever scenario we see is most important to me. I have 9 grandkids running around the countryside, frome sea to shining sea. And I cannot even get my own children to acknowldge the direction we are going, and to begin preparing. And like most on TOD, I see evidence that the next year or two will be decisive.

Well, perhaps before the end of 2010, the 350 KG PO Gorilla will be acknowledged and investigated. Maybe too late, but we can still marshall some hope.

Buy your grandkids some serious science fiction books-the kind written by Hienlien, Asimov, Sagan, etc.Pay them if necessary to read them.This must be done before they get old enough for thier lives to be under the exclusive control of teenage hormones or it will be too late.

By the time they emerge into thinking adulthood, out of the box thinking is impossible, the ruts being too deep to get out of them,the box being so deep they won't be able to concieve that they are IN a box, intellectually.

Thanks, Mac.

I keep a hardcopy library and paperback of Asimov [met him once... he was a neat guy! Fun!!!], Heinlein, Vonegut, Arthur C. Clarke, Cherryh (my wife's collection), David Weber, Anne McCaffery, plus odd volumes from many others. The oldest grandson is reading them already!

I remember in grade school and Jr. High reading Heinlein and Asimov, as well as the pulp fiction Sci Fi mags [Campbell, et al.]. It was a good counter for the RC upbringing and religiosity of the day.

Sagan came later, and I have Contact and several of his pop-sci non-fiction books... plus others by Dawkins, Dennet, Sherman, the last 4 or 5 years of Skeptic Magazine and Skeptical Inquirer. Three of the grandsons live here with me, and I keep them where they can be read. I especially like the Jr. Skeptic section of Skeptic.

Several folks in the house look down on these, but I won't let them faze me. The other day the boys heard their Dad and me as we discussed my viewpoint on established religion, God and the like. They have a heavy input of Protestant Fundamentalism coming from great grand parents, and were a bit amazed, to judge their reaction, that I do not believe there is a God, at least as described in scripture - and that I did not believe that there is no God of any sort. I'm somewhat more than agnostic, but not atheistic per se. Dawkins and the "new Atheists" disturb me a bit... they are over the top from my POV.

Still, I am allowing the boys to make their own judgments, and not actively disparaging any view that is presented. I figure that they will figure it out when they have sufficient input, and I make sure the input is complete so their decisions are well founded.

Anyhow... I am still working on their Dad on PO. He thinks I am just a pesimist... actually to the contrary, I believe I am an optimist. It is just that I recognize reality. He needs more input, and is resisting. Just like so many others who want things to continue so badly that they tune out reality. Wish me luck with my kids... and grandkids. Keep the faith!

The trouble with the dominate religions of the world are that the god thing is invisible and always works in "mysterious ways". And, science, which uses logic and rational investigation, can't prove a negative. Thus, science can't prove that god(s) DO NOT exist. At the same time, science has gained more and more knowledge of the Universe, which has moved many events and experiences from the realm of superstition into the list of explainable forces. However, using all the tools and techniques available so far, science hasn't found incontrovertible evidence that those invisible god(s) DO exist. Thus, a person who is a true scientist must be an agnostic, even though they might lean toward being an atheist. This is especially difficult as there are lots of folks who continue to believe the super promoters who sell the invisible to the gullible...

E. Swanson

In my understanding of Greer's concept of catabolic collapse, it is quite possible (likely even) that collapse proceeds stepwise with crisis periods in which fast collapse appears to be happening, alternating with partial rebuilds or periods of relative stability. The overall trend, perhaps only visible with the benefit of hindsight long after the fact, would appear as a gradual descent, but in the present one could easily suppose that everything is falling apart now.

This is off topic a bit, but for some reason catabolic collapse always reminds me of the poem "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats,

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

EDIT: Additional comment, lest I be taken for a religious proselytizer... The overtly religious content of this poem is less important in my view than the provocative images and sense of impending doom!

In my understanding of Greer's concept of catabolic collapse, it is quite possible (likely even) that collapse proceeds stepwise with crisis periods in which fast collapse appears to be happening, alternating with partial rebuilds or periods of relative stability.

Yes, I think it's becoming clear that this is what we're going to get. Even many who expected a slow collapse expected it to be one-way. But I think there will be partial recoveries, at least in some areas. Few will notice that it's "one step forward, two steps back."

Westexas posted this link, about Florida real estate. Yes, it's bad. But OTOH...home prices there are still wicked expensive by most Americans' standards. And investors are still jumping in, with one woman on the tour thinking of buying not only one vacation home, but two.

I think this means it will be a long time, if ever, before people admit things are not going back to the way they were. And therefore, not many will make changes (except for the sort they are forced to make due to lack of money).

And the spike and crash in oil prices over the last couple of years means few will take peak oil seriously. Never mind the current "low" prices are three times what they used to be.

I think by this definition you could count the collapse in the US as starting from our very own peak oil in 1970 where, coincidentially, wages peaked in the US.

Alas, the year before I graduated college.

Yes, we were given to believe that the 80s and 90s were boom times. In retrospect, we are now starting to see that things were not, in fact, quite as they seemed. The long term decline that started and was obvious in the 70s was obfuscated in some sophisticated ways through massive deficit spending and balooning indebtedness in general, combined with media manipulation, disinformation, and propaganda.

A large part of this happened because the economists have not seen fit to give us a national balance sheet alongside the national income accounts. Thus, it dawned on to the politicians that they could float the national income by going deeper and deeper into debt. This has worked out just about the same as the individual who piles on more and more debt to buy bigger and bigger houses, cars, etc. - the cash flow in and out keeps getting larger and larger, and thus life seems to be lived larger and larger as well. Meanwhile, out of sight the net equity keeps shrinking. Sooner or later reality comes knocking on the door, there to repossess.

I think we're only in the prologue. I think the fits and starts are just the first hard rains, with the hurricane to follow. I think one of two things must happen.

1. PO becomes public knowledge around the world.
2. They cover PO with a major, area wide war.

In the first case, you have a quick shift down as the rats all scramble to get as much remaining cheese as possible.
In the second case, you have a quick shift down as the rats all try to get as much remaining cheese as possible.

Probability of 1 - 1%. Probability of 2 - 99%.

When the war really starts going, oil production will fall off the map and we'll be eyeball deep before you can say boo.

So I believe fast crash, but only after a trigger. Until then it's just foreplay.

it will be a long time, if ever, before people admit things are not going back to the way they were. And therefore, not many will make changes (except for the sort they are forced to make due to lack of money).

This is exactly why I have been saying for some time that IMO the MSM has been using Climate Change as a surrogate for PO in the press, as a way to perhaps motivate some of the change that is necessary. Most folks refuse to listen, they see and hear only what supports their hopes. It is what makes cognative dissonance possible (might I say, popular?).

To the extent that it limits the discussion of PO, that is bad. To the very limited extent that it foments necessary change, not so bad. If only people were more capable (I started to say willing, but that was wrong) of listening to reality...

Strange species, homo sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed?

I think of Catabolic Collapse as coming to terms with the "New Normal". Say, right now, oh, about a quarter of us have taken a hit on the income, through layoffs, furloughs, wage cuts, family members out of work, what have you. We're focusing on keeping what we've got, paying down the debt, and hunkering down. And then we look up and see our friends and acquaintances buying second homes, buying two houses in Florida, buying new cars, and we (a) scratch our heads wondering why they're doing that when we can see that things are so precarious, and (b) get pissed off.

So that's the first stage of collapse. It hits some of us, but most are still sailing along in BAU world. With the second stage, another cohort gets the 2x4 upside the head, more of the consumer-driven economy fails, more tax revenues drop. A bigger chunk of people are hunkering down, but still it's BAU for a substantial number.

And on it goes. Heading down, one flight of stairs at a time. Rest awhile on the landing and fall down the next one.

So that's the first stage of collapse. It hits some of us, but most are still sailing along in BAU world. With the second stage, another cohort gets the 2x4 upside the head, more of the consumer-driven economy fails, more tax revenues drop. A bigger chunk of people are hunkering down, but still it's BAU for a substantial number.

Well put! Also this will occur at different rates in different places. Detroit, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Cape Coral have been whacked pretty hard at this point even though elsewhere BAU is still the norm. And then we have "places" like The Oil Drum, where we talk about all of the 2x4's flying, then turn off the computer and head back to the reality of everyone else out there, at least where I live, talking about grad school and travel plans and saving for retirement and having kids. Serious cognitive dissonance.

This new years party - there was talk of the future and it came to me. I just went with a 3 sentence reply about energy and its effect and then the SO piped up. He's been a downer like that for years. Sad part is, he's been right.

Yes. It's that time of year...when people send out their family newsletters with Christmas cards. I realize that there's a lot of spin involved, but still...no evidence of a recession in those letters. My cousins sent photos of their European vacation. They flew first class, in those planes where the seats fold down into beds. My friend who's an engineer in Florida has tons of work - stimulus funds from the government. She's actually hoping to be furloughed or laid off, because she's tired of working. Another friend who's an engineer in Ohio is getting a 7-day furlough this year...and she's very happy, already planning a lavish vacation.

Yes I read that article. Pretty stunning stuff, especially those people who are out to capitalize on the devastation. No doubt some people will make some money, but I expect them to be fewer and fewer with more and more losers in between.

Also, don't underestimate the propensity and ability of the oligarchs in charge to attempt to fool the general public into thinking that things are better than they are. It is possible to manipulate things in such a way that a couple of quarters of (mostly phony) GDP "growth" are posted, which is just enough to break up one long, deep recession into a couple of shorter, shallower ones. The longer-term trend is down just as much, but is mostly unnoticed and unacknowledged.

I see this sort of pattern happening over and over again throughout this new decade, and probably beyond.

I generally agree with the take of the Long Emergency, or Long Descent,
but I don't think 710 is that far off with the failed Mexican state scenario. When something like that happens, it could be pretty fast, and set off a sort of mini-crisis here, that will be overcome, but will add more permanent stress fractures to our systems.

I think it will be slow AND fast, depending on where you live and what you're circumstances are. When you get foreclosed on, it can take a lot of time for it to actually happen, but when they actually come to kick you out, that probably seems pretty fast. I don't know personally, I don't own a home, but I imagine it would seem fast even if it developed over a long period, missing this payment, cascading, etc.

What if the Long Emergency is like that?
I just don't know, but I think that what we will get is probably a little bit of everything.
I do think the southern United States is in for a bigger share of trouble than the northern arc.


p.s. planning to move back to ND again, from the SF-Bay Area.
It's my assessment that the bay area will just have too many problems to be worthwhile, water not being the least. I'll miss being able to grow citrus and apricots though. :(

When you get foreclosed on, it can take a lot of time for it to actually happen, but when they actually come to kick you out, that probably seems pretty fast. I don't know personally, I don't own a home, but I imagine it would seem fast even if it developed over a long period, missing this payment, cascading, etc.

According the article linked further up this thread, it's not that fast, at least in Florida. Banks have so much inventory they are reluctant to add more. They are asking people to stay in their homes, even if they can't pay. Just to discourage looters. (Denninger points out that as long as they don't foreclose, it doesn't have to be booked as a loss, so banks have incentive not to foreclose.)

Sounds like a sweet deal, but there are problems. One family moved after a pipe burst and they didn't have money to make repairs. Even for free, they didn't want to stay in the house. Another decided to move in with a friend after his water was cut off due to lack of payment.

Hmm, wonder if it would be a good time for a would be squatter to approach banks and agree to look after the place in exchange for being out of the wind and rain.

Why approach the bank at all? Just move in.

Does Adverse Possession (Squatters Rights) still exist in the US? And what is the SoL (I suspect it varies between States).

So no, folks, I have not changed my mind on the fast crash/slow collapse thing.

Nor have I, still firmly in the declinist camp.

I do think that 2010 is going to end up playing out worse than what the generally upbeat mainstream pundits are expecting, although I suspect that people will still be watching football games on 1/1/11. It wouldn't surprise me if at least one college passed on a post-season bowl invite, though, due to lack of funds to transport the team and do all the other hoopla and glitz. It also wouldn't surprise me if several bowl games had considerable sections of unsold seats, and if quite a few of the folks watching at home were huddling on the couch under blankets, with the thermostat set down to save precious money.

I think some bowls might fail. Hawaii is probably a good candidate. They've been struggling for years.

But bowls are money-makers for colleges. Already, some are choosing their bowl games and their regular season opponents on the basis of who's paying more. I expect that to increase.

so friday i drove my GF home. i stayed there a while but drove myself home later. home before midnite. both this saturday and sunday i did not drive my cars, both 15 year old clunkers. when i awoke saturday morning i fired up the "cat" stove. it is still cooking sunday afternoon, it being about 5pm here in the great state of NJ. 2 days now with temps never rising above the LOW teens. howling wind. this new year's holiday weekend i have shoveled snow every day. thursday, friday, saturday sunday. sure it was only 2 or 3 inches at a clip but it adds up. today sunday i need to shovel twice, later tonite after the wind alert dies down. barometer was steady all week but starting dropping new year's day and still dropping. my PV solar panels covered in snow but the fierce winds seem to be clearing them off. now if i can only get some sun. monday it's off to the factory. the routine continues.

but for how long?
when is the collapse to be obvious? oh, when the internet ceases to function and i can no longer post comments to the oil conundrum. pretty soon we will all be on the lead standard. trading bullets for food stuffs and other useful items. reach out and touch someone. only those brutal enough to kill and rape will survive. i told my Gf to order some tickets for a musical performance in february. while there is still bread and circuses, i think i will partake.

siduri sits in the garden at the edge of the sea, with the golden vats and bowls the gods gave her. i quote, "gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things, day and night, dance and be merry.....cherish the little child that holds your hand and make your wife happy in your embrace, that too is the lot of men".

why is despair in your heart and your face like the face of someone who has made a long journey?
too many are wandering over the pastures in search of the wind.

Ecclesiastes: 8:15 tells us,

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better, for a man under the sun, than to eat and drink and be merry [glad in the NIV]. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of his life.

I think Shakespeare may have paraphrased that and added, "... for the 'morrow we will surely die." But, I cannot find it.

Still, I wish you well with your entertainment, and with your good friends for the time remaining to BAU. I am trying to do a bit of that meself...



That's an article on state budget woes. 2010 looks to be worse budget wise than 2009. Remember, most states were saved by using stimulus money to pay their bills in 09. Now people in droves are demanding more medicaid and food stamps, and revenue is way down.

Hey, it's not possible that the recent economic meltdown was the big post peak oil collapse, but we didn't think it was because it seems like we are pulling out of this recession, right? No, that was a bad thought - never mind. I just got a bad feeling for a moment. I'm sure it'll pass.

I think that we are headed toward something akin to a civil war--between current/former government employees and taxpayers. Government employees have been promised benefits far in excess of many governments' ability to fund the benefits, even without the economic contraction. As Warren Buffet said, like a receding tide, the economic contraction is revealing who has been skinny dipping, and lots of government entities have been skinny dipping.

MIsh has a note about a program on CSPAN 2 tonight at 10:00 P.M Eastern time:


Sounds similar to the disconnect between what GM was promising retirees and what they could deliver on. In sunny times its easy to think it will always be sunny, and bold promises are made.

Mish has an intense anti-union and anti-public worker bias and is just as guilty as anyone else of cherry picking examples and facts to suit that bias. Yes there obviously are some locales with "bubbles" in what has been promised to public employees. But more than anything this feels to me like more of the same sort of amplification of moral hazard that has defined this economic crisis. Public employees (like the police, firemen, and teachers that Mish most likes to rail against) in most parts of the country passed on the chance to gamble for well-compensated professional success in the private sector and instead chose the slow and steady path of public employment. For a lot of people I know who work public jobs, this was a conscious choice. Public school teachers in most parts of the country for many years earned less than people with the same degree of education in the private sector. But now that the private sector is in trouble, the first thing people like Mish want to do is punish the people who made conscious decisions to play it safe and trade down for a little security.

So once again, the savers- - the ants- take one for the grasshoppers. Frankly I think it's shameful that someone with a skimming-off-the-top job like Mish feels entitled to complain about the working class getting paid too much. There's my bias. When it comes down to investment bankers complaining about the working classes, I know whose side I'm on.

They are still expecting things to get better:

Typically, the worst budget years for states are the two years after a recession ends.

It's still all temporary fixes, as they try to "wait it out" without raising taxes or cutting services.

Here in California they are cutting services like crazy, and more to come as the 2010 budget shortfall is projected to be 20 billion dollars.

Crikey, mate. If that is after their cutbacks, furloughs, and all, that is serious indeed.

Any indication how the Governator plans to cover that?

He is asking for a federal bailout.

The basic mistake so many people are still making is assuming that the future is going to be just like the past, so they map the patterns of the past on the future. Just like Talib's turkeys, projecting their growth trends past Thanksgiving.

What we have actually experienced over the past 5 years (and are still in the midst of) is a fundamental paradigm shift. We are transitioning from an era of resource abundance (all resources, not just oil) to an era of resource depletion and scarcity. Economies do not work in the latter paradigm the same way they do in the former, which is why all the old lessons and "rules of thumb" that worked so well for "experts" in the past are worse than useless, and are actually misleading, now.

If state and local governments are assuming that this is just your normal downturn, and that recovery and renewed economic growth are just a couple of years a way, they are very much mistaken. What they are facing is something more along the lines of a stairstep or sawtooth pattern downhill for many, many decades to come. So what should they be doing?

1) Pay off debt, and don't take on any more.

2) Cut, cut, cut. Pare back the budget to absolute essentials, and then cut again. Redefine "essentials" to just things that really are "life or death" issues.

3) Among the essentials is effective planning and preparation for worst-case scenarios. Assume that multiple and severe disasters of any and all types will happen, including some that are unprecedented.

4) People need to be cared for, but only at a very minimal level. What people actually need for minimal life support could actually cost a lot less per capita than what the US now considers "poverty level", but this requires a whole different approach, a lot more in common to what you see at inner city rescue missions and overseas refugee camps and a lot less in common with typical single family household life.

5) Restructure taxes so they are flat, broad-based, simple, and low. Make their tax structure a competitive advantage relative to other jurisdictions. Don't cut just for the sake of cutting, though, and above all, don't start using the tax system to dispense special favors to corporate players who might be here today and gone tomorrow.

6) Jurisdictions need to start thinking strategically about how they can best position and build their next economy. They need to stop playing the sucker's game of chasing after the decreasing number of corporate developments, and instead start concentrating on building a home-grown economy. Priority should be given to establishing policies and initiatives that will encourage development of localized renewable energy resources, localized agricultural production, and local small business formation. Instead of squandering precious and declining investment dollars in proping up yester-year's transportation infrastructure, they need to be moving with all deliberate haste toward setting up the energy-efficient transport of the future. They also need to be educating tomorrow's workers for tomorrow's economy, not yesterday's, and they need to figure out how to do a better job with less money. Indeed, they need to figure out how to do everything better with less money.

7) That last sentence boils down to needing to enlist the citizenry as citizens and not just "subjects". State and local governments are going to need to enlist a lot more volunteer workers, and a lot more voluntary cooperation, from their people. This in turn will require building trust, which will require that public officials have the courage to tell people the truth. This one might be the most difficult of all for them, but is also the most essential.

I doubt that many jurisdictions will be able to do all this. A few might really try, quite a few more will muddle through, doing some but not all of what is called for. A very great many will fail, causing their citizens to suffer more than they really need to.

1. The rate at which "Yemen" and/or "Al Queda" appear in MSM headlines is indirectly related to the amount of time left before the U.S. opens yet another front in the invasion of the Middle East. The whole Yemen thing is almost too funny. 6 months ago, Yemen was just another unidentifiable country somewhere between Romania and China. Now, Yemen is a terrorist hot spot that harbors men who, if they could just work out the mechanics of the underwear bomb, are a threat to liberty. And, you know, our freedom, which is not, as I'm also sure you know, free. So because this one dude set his c-ck on fire attempting to bomb a plane, with the help of a well-dressed man in the country of origin and an amazingly inattentive safety screening crew at the airport, a country will be invaded. Obama, who has not yet lied to us (excepting about guantanamo and iraq and torture and such things), has already said that Yemen is an Al Queda hive. So. It's time. Oh yeah, and they have oil and they're strategically positioned.

2. My spidey sense is going off the charts. The WH has just announced that Obama and company don't believe the "controversial" findings a year or two back by scads of U.S. info agencies to the effect that Iran is not close to a bomb. They believe, according to their sources, that Iran is on the verge of the bomb. Which we all know is reserved for our use only. And a few friendly countries and a few non-friendly countries that snuck in the door before the Obama/Bush doctrine was implemented. Yemen. Al Queda. Iran. There's just too much in the news for this to be just posturing. My best guess is that something is going to break soon.

3. The Global Warming/Climate Change belief system took a huge hit this year, first with climate gate, then with 10 years of no warming, and now with the U.S. getting hammered by cold weather. Just like nobody wants to talk about Peak Oil when gas is at a buck a gallon, nobody wants to talk about global warming when there is 4 feet of snow on their front porch.

EDIT - Just noticed this headline - "http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100102/ts_nm/us_denmark_cartoonist" which claims that the cartoonist attacker is tied to Al Queda.

I guess that should all help us rest well. Dude went in with an Axe. An Axe. Looks like Al Queda is having a harder time outfitting the front line than is the U.S. military.

If anyone is interested here are two very good recent novels about the area. The Zanzibar Chest is the serious one dealing with British imperialism but Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a hoot on many levels.

The US is not going to open another front in the ME. Even if we wanted to, we are stretched too far already. Yemen has been a "terrorist hot spot" for years. Al Qaeda launched a successful suicide attack against the US in Aden in 2000 (the USS Cole). On September 17, 2009 our embassy in Sana'a was attacked.

Yemen is a poor country with a weak government and in the right location for al Qaeda Inc to want to have some franchises. AQ has had its eyes on Saudi Arabia for years and Yemen is an ideal location.

The US has had drones covering the Yemeni skies for years and I'd bet that's there's been plenty (well, maybe a couple pairs...) of eyes on the ground intel as well. Terrorists in Yemen may pose a potential threat to SA.

Oh yeah, and they have oil and they're strategically positioned.

According to the BP 2009 Statistical Review, Yemen has 2.7 billion barrels of proven oil and produces around 300,000 bpd... little more than spit in a swimming pool.

EDIT - Just noticed this headline - "http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100102/ts_nm/us_denmark_cartoonist" which claims that the cartoonist attacker is tied to Al Queda.

Thanks for the update. I thought for sure he was a Scientologist groupie :)

Of course, if the US is engaged in Iran and Yemen (which just happen to sit right on two chokepoints upon which all of human civilization depends), then everyone will understand - and indeed, will hardly even notice - when the US has to pull its troops out of Afghanistan in order to redeploy them in more critical battlegrounds. There you have it: the REAL Obama plan for getting us out of Afghanistan!

the verge of the bomb. Which we all know is reserved for our use only.

I'm much more interested in the discussion on 'who will be allowed fission electrical power plants'.

A discussion mostly avoided by the pro fission power people.

3. The Global Warming/Climate Change belief system took a huge hit this year, first with climate gate, then with 10 years of no warming, and now with the U.S. getting hammered by cold weather.

'Climategate' is a storm in a teacup, and the only catchcrys that can be used are because they are taken out of context. The pundits and Bloggers are all expecting the Scientists involved to be unemotional supermen as well. Hell, if you throw out all the CRU research, there's still more than enough independent evidence to 'convict' Mankind of an uncontrolled fluid dynamics experiment-gone-wrong.
The 'Decade of no warming' is nothing less than an inability by the pundits and Right-Wing Bloggers to comprehend charts. The temperature in 1988 was higher than the temperature in 2008. So what? it's the trend that matters, and even the 1998-2008 trend was up.
The northern hemisphere is suffering an unusually cold spell. Again, so what? It's Weather, not Climate, an I for one am sick of reading letters and articles from people who, even at this stage, either can't or won't understand the difference. In any case, AGCC predicts extremes like this: stronger storms, more extremes of temperature, longer and deeper droughts etc etc. Attributing a given weather event to AGCC is foolishness, but it's reasonable to suggest that the event could be 'nudged along' by AGCC.

From, "Will Oil Hit $300 a Barrel?..."

Even though Saudi Arabia has a majority Sunni population, if the Government collapsed Sunni Al Qaida extremists could take over who will align with the Shia government in Iran.

Al Qaida extremists in Saudi Arabia are allinged with the Wahabis, who would like nothing better than to depose the king and his court. They are dedicated Sunnis, and as fundamentalist and extremist as you could want... and they would NOT allign with Iran.

First of all, Iran is not an Arab state. Second, it is Shiia Muslim state, and if there were no western powers to fight, the Sunnis and Shiia would be fighting each other today, as they have been since about 200 after the death of the Prophet.

Not that it would matter much to the West. Having two divergent extremist regimes in the Mid-East will not help at all. Neither will be particularly friendly tpo the West, and they do share a few goals that are generally inimicable to us. Their main difference is in who should be Imam, and how that person should be selected.


Since Iran/Shiia and the Saudi Wahabis/Sunni differ in their doctrine on this matter, each considers the other apostate, and there seems to be as much animosity between these Muslim groups as between Muslims in general and other people of the Book. Of course, both groups consider secular Muslim states, such as Iraq and Egypt to be apostate as well. They are not very forgiving people.

All of which makes the situation worse, IMO.

Oil Rises on Optimism About U.S. Economic Growth, Cold Weather

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose for an eighth day in New York on optimism fuel demand will increase amid freezing temperatures and improved prospects for an economic recovery in the U.S., the biggest energy consumer.

Oil reached $80 a barrel for a second day amid forecasts the worst U.S. employment slump since World War II may have almost ended in December. Cold weather also prompted speculation stockpiles of winter fuels, including heating oil and natural gas, will decline further.

“There are further indications that the recovery is progressing,” said Ben Westmore, a minerals and energy economist at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Melbourne. “It’s also been pretty cold in the U.S. and that’s also been supportive.”

See: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=aIVPlw9HZ_lU


Up 2 bucks a barrel at 9 AM.
It's through 80 and rising quickly and we could be back over 100 in the blink of an eye.
All hell's going to start breaking loose if we get a run up well over 100 again without a followup fall back.

Hi Andrew,

I don't understand the fundamentals of the oil market nor the psychological drivers that influence it, but as a passive observer it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the days and weeks to come. All we can do is tighten the seat belt and hang on for the ride.


Re: The Greatest Story Rarely Told

The diagram, drawn by compiling weekly news summaries from Journalism.org, contains not even a postage-stamp-size space for coverage of climate — or the environment as a whole, for that matter.

I disagree, the economy is in reality an extension of the environment. The Economic Crisis is the largest area covered by the graphic. Everything is a subset of the environment and how we as a society interact with it. The real Greatest Story Rarely told is that we are still pretending that it isn't so and that our economy can exist separate from nature. I think we are finding more and more that it can't.

the economy is in reality an extension of the environment

Well this certainly is true, but only those people who have thought about economics outside of the neo-classical box and/or who have read Herman Daly know anything about this fact.

On a similar note, back in the last presidential campaign some Obama campaigners showed up at my door asking me what I thought was the biggest issue facing the USA, and as I was about to launch into an explanation of the triple crunch of Peak Oil, Climate Change and the End of Easy Credit, I realized that they were asking me to check one of the boxes on their list (terrorism and healthcare no doubt being the others). So I answered, "the economy" and they added another name to the list of people wanting TPTB to bail out the banks. Maybe I blew a teachable moment, but it also struck me then that national politics are mostly out of touch with anything approaching reality.