Drumbeat: March 20, 2010

Pakistan gas pipeline is Iran's lifeline

TEHRAN (UPI) -- As Iran braces for another broadside of economic sanctions over its nuclear program, Tehran moves closer to opening up a new lifeline -- a natural gas pipeline to Pakistan and possibly India and China as well.

If everything goes as planned, this much-delayed, controversial project could wreck U.S. efforts to check Iran's expansionist ambitions.

U.S. energy analyst Gal Luft said the pipeline could also "have profound implications for the geopolitics of energy in the 21st century and for the future of South Asia."

Power crisis worsens across country

LAHORE/HYDERABAD — Severe load shedding continued across the country as prolonged power cuts made common man’s life miserable. Hyderabad, Sukkur, Khairpur, Noshehro Feroz, Ghotki, Obaro, Nawabshah, Jaccobabad, Mirpur Khas and Larkana experiencing eight-hour load shedding in urban areas and 18- hour load shedding in rural areas.

The Philippines: Arroyo declares ‘Water, Energy Week’

“The country is now experiencing the impacts of climate change, particularly a water crisis that threatens agricultural productivity, and an energy crisis affecting hydro-powered energy resources that leads to power outages,” the proclamation states.

“There is a need to conserve water, a scarce resource which sustains life on Earth, because our quality of life and the health of our ecosystems, man’s life-support systems, depends on water, which is now being threatened by climate change, over-extraction, pollution and wasteful use,” it added.

Baker Hughes: US Oil, Gas Rig Count Up 20 to 1,427 This Week

The number of rigs drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. climbed this week as producers ramped up drilling activity despite sagging natural gas prices.

The number of oil and gas rigs climbed to 1,427, up 20 rigs from the previous week, according to data from oilfield-services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI). The number of gas rigs was 939, up 12 rigs from last week, while the oil rig count was 474, an increase of eight rigs. The number of miscellaneous rigs was unchanged at 14 rigs.

Petrobras Net Rises to 8.13 Billion Reais on Prices

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, said fourth-quarter profit rose 31 percent on higher crude prices and production. The company will spend $200 billion to $220 billion this year through 2014.

False economic paradigm, false employment, artifical employment

In this ongoing series with economist Mike Folkerth, www.kingofsimple.com, and author of The Biggest Lie Ever Believed, he writes about “When reality comes knocking; be long gone” as it applies to present day America.

Americans continue operating in a 20th century economic paradigm that cannot continue in the 21st century. We think we can grow, consume, grow and consume more.

Some think we can grow more, but consume less, but keep growing. The economist Kenneth Boulding said, “Only economists and fools think we can continue unlimited growth.”

Paul Krugman vs. Reality

Krugman is right about one thing - China's currency peg is destabilizing the global economy and must end. But he fails utterly to understand the implications for the U.S. and China. If China were to reverse its role in the U.S. Treasury market, both economies would be destabilized in the short-term. But in the medium- and long-term, China would clearly emerge as the winner.

Absent Treasury-bond purchases, the value of the Chinese currency would rise sharply, causing goods prices to tumble in China. This long-delayed increase in purchasing power for everyday Chinese will unleash pent-up demand in what is already the largest middle class in the world. Chinese factories would retool in order to produce goods for their own citizens to consume. In RMB terms, commodity prices would plunge, making it easier for China to produce all kinds of stuff, such as automobiles, while also making it cheaper for the Chinese to buy gas. Millions will trade in bikes for cars, and Chinese oil imports will swell.

A Rising Green-Tech Tide Will Lift All Boats

Asia watcher Christina Larson questions the zero-sum mentality in which green-tech advancement elsewhere somehow hurts the United States.

Throwing the Race for Green Energy

We’ve seen the case of the first-mover advantage in other industries. Part of what this depends on is these innovation clusters. We’re [in] Silicon Valley. We can see how important just the spatial dimension of innovation is. There are many different aspects that contribute to the innovation process — and a lot of momentum involved in that process. Once those clusters are established, it increases the barrier to entry significantly. It makes it harder for other countries to compete.

South Korea, China and Japan are setting up these clusters. They’re going to be interacting — not only in their own countries but across borders — in a way that’s going to make it increasingly difficult for the United States to compete. That’s exactly what they’re trying to do. That’s why they’re moving so quickly and so heavily into these sectors.

How guerrilla gardening took root

The history of illicit gardening in Britain goes back centuries, starting with "the Diggers" - a group of socialites in the 17th Century who fought for the right to cultivate land.

China’s Growth Shifts the Geopolitics of Oil

Last summer, Saudi Arabia put the final bolt in its largest oil expansion project ever, opening a new field capable of pumping 1.2 million barrels a day — more than the entire production of Texas. The field, called Khurais, was part of an ambitious $60 billion program to increase the kingdom’s production to meet growing energy needs.

It turns out the timing could not have been worse for Saudi Arabia.

Only two years ago, consumers were clamoring for more supplies, OPEC producers were straining to increase their output, and prices were rising to record levels. But now, for the first time in more than a decade, the world has more oil than it needs.

As demand slumped because of the global recession, Saudi Arabia was forced to shut about a quarter of its production. After raising its capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day, Saudi Arabia is now pumping about 8.5 million barrels a day, its lowest level since the early 1990s.

“2009 was painful for us as it was for everybody else,” said Khalid A. al-Falih, the president and chief executive of Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state-owned oil giant, and a company veteran who was promoted to the top post at the beginning of last year. “We experienced the same cash flow constraints that everybody did. But we adjusted quickly and, certainly, everything that was strategic to us was not touched.”

The recession also precipitated a milestone for Saudi Arabia and the global energy market. While China’s successful economic policies paved the way for a quick rebound there, the recession caused a deeper slowdown in the United States, slashing oil consumption by 10 percent from its 2005-7 peak. As a result, Saudi Arabia exported more oil to China than to the United States last year.

China May Be Among World’s Top Gas Markets by 2020, Shell Says

(Bloomberg) -- China may become of the world’s biggest natural gas markets by 2020 as the country seeks to reduce its carbon intensity by increasing the use of cleaner burning fuel, Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said today at a forum in Beijing.

Crude Oil Drops Most in Three Weeks as Dollar Gains Versus Euro

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil tumbled the most in three weeks as the dollar strengthened against the euro, curbing the appeal of commodities as an alternative investment.

Oil retreated 1.9 percent as speculation that Greece may fail to secure financial assistance from the European Union weakened the euro, which is heading for its biggest weekly decline against the dollar since January. Prices also dropped after failing to sustain a move above $83 a barrel this week.

“The market looks like it’s tracking the dollar play,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “It’s also retreating from the $83 level because fuel demand dropped below the five-year average.”

Gasoline Tumbles 2% as Dollar Surges, Fuel Demand Declines

(Bloomberg) -- Gasoline futures slid 2 percent as a surging dollar reduced the investment appeal of commodities and as demand for the motor fuel declined.

Gasoline, which reached a 17-month high March 17, tumbled as the dollar gained 0.6 percent against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners as of 3:25 p.m. in New York. Motor fuel demand slipped 1.6 percent last week, according to the Energy Department.

Alberta firm eyes Ontario's untapped shale gas

A junior oil and gas company from Alberta has been quietly scooping up land rights in southwestern Ontario, part of an audacious plan to bring Alberta-style exploration to the birthplace of Canada's petroleum industry.

Consider it a rebirth. Calgary-based Mooncor Oil & Gas Corp. wants to develop a resource in Ontario that has been largely overlooked by its rivals: shale gas.

Gas more important than quarrels with Russia: Polish PM

Gas supplies are more important than ideological quarrels with Russia, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Friday in parliament replying to criticism of his government's gas policy by oppositionist Law and Justice (PiS).

PiS caucus leader Aleksandra Natalli-Swiat accused the Tusk team of protracting Poland's dependence on Russian gas by sealing a longterm contract with Russia's gas distributor Gazprom, according to the Polish news agency PAP.

Q&A: Houston executive speaks for energy industry

Q: Under the Obama administration's 2011 budget proposal, your group estimates there will be nearly $40 billion in tax increases on oil and natural gas production over a 10-year period and predicts a long-term reduction in energy output. Not all the budget is likely to pass, but what is your industry bracing for?

A: We're bracing for all of it. And it does kind of take you aback. In a time like this, when we have record deficits, we've got an economy on its heels, we've got the highest unemployment we've seen in a long time and the oil and gas industry is one of the few industries that can actually create jobs. They can create permanent jobs, they can create high-paying jobs and have done so. It's astonishing that we would try to come forward to that industry and increase its taxes, take cash flow away from it, reduce investment in oil and gas resources in America and, more importantly, costing jobs across America because of that reduction in capital investment. What we're trying to do is not just fight them, but go to Washington to educate members of Congress, educate members of the administration, so that they understand the unintended consequences of their actions.

Cyclone Ului, Approaching Australia, May Strengthen

The stretch of coastline where the cyclone is expected to land is about 1,000 kilometers north of Brisbane. It includes key coal ports and most of Australia’s sugar cane plantations, which generate about A$2 billion ($1.8 billion) in revenue annually. Cyclone Larry wiped out most of the country’s banana crop and devastated sugar cane fields when it hit the Queensland coast in March 2006.

Worst US school disaster passes 73rd anniversary

NEW LONDON, Texas — That infamous March 18 was a Thursday, and launched a swift drive to change the way natural gas is processed and dispensed in the United States.

So many with a direct connection to the London, Texas, school explosion of 73 years ago are gone now, no longer here to mourn the 282 students and 14 adults lost in oil-rich east Texas that March.

But history never really dies in a person, place or thing — especially a painful history. And in this modern-day New London (located about 20 miles west of Tyler, then a bit south), pain is a big part of history.

Many people today are aware of the smell of natural gas — that rotten-egg aroma that alerts us to gas escaping from a stove or a furnace. But that odor wasn't there before March 18, 1937.

Shell defends its operations in oil sands

Royal Dutch Shell PLC, under pressure from a small group of shareholders, has responded to critics' concerns with a report detailing its activity in Alberta's oil sands.

Shell said it published the 17-page report because it shares many of the same environmental and economic worries expressed by the shareholders who are demanding the oil and gas giant provide greater transparency with respect to its operations in northern Alberta.

Orlen to ‘Analyze Options’ for Lithuanian Unit After Talks Fail

(Bloomberg) -- PKN Orlen SA, Poland’s largest oil company, will “analyze other options” for its Lithuanian unit after negotiations with the Baltic country’s government failed to guarantee a return to profitability.

The talks, which yielded a Lithuanian pledge to build a 19- kilometer (12-mile) rail line to improve logistics, “didn’t meet the expectations” of the company, Plock, Poland-based Orlen said in an e-mailed statement today.

UK: Energy firms could be forced to buy low-carbon power

The government will next week signal a move towards the introduction of a "low-carbon obligation" that would force British Gas and other suppliers of energy to buy a percentage of their power from nuclear and clean coal plants.

The radical measure – an extension of the renewable obligation that is funding wind farms – will appear in a document to be published alongside the budget next Wednesday.

Ontario slaps new 'green' tax on electricity bills

Ontario electricity customers will soon be slapped with an additional tax to cover $53 million of the Liberal government's new conservation and green energy programs, the Star has learned.

The levy will appear on hydro bills just as the 13 per cent harmonized sales tax is about to be charged and as smart meters are being phased in, which one industry insider described as "a perfect storm" for consumers already rattled by rising energy costs.

The path to sustainable living here is CLEAR

Alaska's two U.S. senators may soon have a chance to work on a bill that would benefit Alaskans, and many others, in a number of ways. The CLEAR Act is a rare opportunity for bi-partisan cooperation on legislation that will create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and put money into the pocket of every American. Perhaps most surprising of all, though the bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels nearly 20 percent by 2020, this approach is supported by many oil companies. The CLEAR Act represents a clear way forward, and although this legislation needs some changes, our senators now have a vehicle for strong energy policy they can approve and pass.

City Limits

Municipalities need clear thinking about how the big picture shapes the thousands of tiny challenges inherent in running a local government. Instead, The Carbon Charter uses a bewildering assortment of charts and graphs to tell the reader that climate change is a big problem. I hope this isn't news to anyone.

Worse, the book's introductory material conflates climate change with peak oil. This is a common and serious mistake. Climate change is an assault on our common biosphere, which will be borne disproportionately by the world's poor, while the benefits of the carbon-fuelled party continue to accrue to the world's rich. Peak oil is more about losing the luxury of continuing to live beyond our means. In other words, some of the partygoers are worried that the champagne is running out. These are different problems with different imperatives.

Can Climate Skeptics Be Convinced?

Thomas Friedman, in Hot, Flat and Crowded, proposes that we refer to our time as the "Energy-Climate Era." Friedman's thesis -- that the converging trends of rapid population growth, man-made climate change, and peak oil will define our time -- is well-argued. But events since the date of publication invite a refinement upon Friedman's label for our time.

Town launches its own ‘Hawick Pound’

A BORDERS town has launched its own currency in a bid to revive businesses.

The aim of the “Hawick Pound” is to encourage more people to shop locally amid concerns from traders about competition from big retailers.

Participants will be able to pay for goods from shops with £1 Hawick notes.

About 30 firms have so far signed up to the scheme, which is being organised by the Greener Hawick group.

The measure is connected to Hawick’s status as a “transition town”, the aim of which is to prepare for life after “peak oil” and climate change.

Of Chilly Offices and Space Heaters

One of the biggest culprits in office electricity use may be hiding just under your desk. “The fastest way to chew power up is to plug in a space heater,” said Michael Cation, the chief executive of the energy efficiency company, Smartebuilding, in an interview in Austin, Tex.

“It’s like plugging in a couple of blow dryers on high and letting them run,” he added. But plenty of shivering office workers resort to the devices, even though space heaters are often not permitted.

In one 150,000 square foot building (roughly three times the size of the White House), Mr. Cation’s company, which monitors electricity use in big buildings and offers feedback on how to cut bills, spotted 38 space heaters. In a hot climate like Texas, that means they’re probably on when the air-conditioning is blasting.

Clean Tech Sector Thriving, Survey Finds

The recession has battered investors, but new data suggest that the clean technology sector was largely immune from the global economic collapse.

China speeds up offshore wind power construction

China will give top priority to developing offshore wind power projects to boost its flourishing wind power industry in 2010, according to a senior energy official .

The government would put large-scale offshore wind power concession projects out to tender, said Shi Lishan, deputy director of the New Energy and Renewable Energy Department of the National Energy Bureau at a recent seminar sponsored by Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA).

No uranium sales to India: Australia

CANBERRA: Any Australian uranium sales to Russia would meet nonproliferation requirements, but the government remains firmly against sales to India, Trade Minister Simon Crean said on Friday.

Lebanon mulls long-term renewable energy projects

BEIRUT: Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil criticized on Friday the chaotic electricity network available in Lebanon and said that technical and legislative changes need to take place in order to introduce renewable energy in the country.

“We are not ready on the technical and legislative levels but we are committed to deal with these issues and get over with them as soon as possible,” he said, adding that “We need a smart grid in Lebanon.”

Non-renewable phosphorus both a curse and a necessity

We Canadians like to think of ourselves as a resource-rich nation. And it is true -- we are well-endowed with energy, water, land and minerals.

But there is one nutrient necessary to our well-being -- in fact our food security -- that we don't have in plentiful supply, and a new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) warns we are squandering what little of it we have.

That nutrient is phosphorus, a non-renewable resource essential to plant growth. The same phosphorus that is killing Lake Winnipeg through eutrophication.

So which is it -- precious or noxious? The IISD says our management of it makes it both.

... but this is

Canadians who aren't hearing from their federal scientists on climate change have an excellent backup source if they want the latest on climate science: NASA.

The U.S. agency welcomes a chance to talk about its extensive climate research, at the same time as Canada is keeping mostly quiet about its own research.

NASA, unlike Environment Canada, answers calls from reporters without having to get political clearance. And beginning this month, the agency has a new tool for the wider public. Its climate website combines articles, photos, graphs and videos.

States Take Sides in Greenhouse Gas 'Endangerment' Brawl

States took their places in the trenches this week as they joined the court fight either for or against U.S. EPA's "endangerment" finding for greenhouse gases.

Sixteen states asked a federal appeals court this week to become parties in what has grown to be a major legal fight pitting EPA, states and environmental groups against industries, global warming skeptics and other state challengers.

Top-Emitting Countries Differ on Climate Change Threat: Chinese see least threat from global warming; Japanese see the most

Public opinion about climate change across this mix of developed and major developing economies reveals some remarkable similarities and differences, both in awareness and in the perceived level of threat that global warming poses.

Military advises climate change could threaten national security

Military leaders advised state politicians Friday of the dangers of fossil fuel dependence and potential climate change threats.

Is Earth past the tipping point?

Biodiversity loss. Land use. Freshwater use. Nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. Stratospheric ozone. Ocean acidification. Climate change. Chemical Pollution. Aerosol loading in the atmosphere.

A team of 30 scientists across the globe have determined that the nine environmental processes named above must remain within specific limits, otherwise the "safe operating space" within which humankind can exist on Earth will be threatened. Amid some controversy, the group has set numeric limits for seven of the nine so far (chemical pollution and aerosol loading are still being pinned down). And the researchers have determined that the world has already crossed the boundary in three cases: biodiversity loss, the nitrogen cycle and climate change.

Re: China’s Growth Shifts the Geopolitics of Oil (uptop)
By: Jad Mouawad

Last summer, Saudi Arabia put the final bolt in its largest oil expansion project ever, opening a new field capable of pumping 1.2 million barrels a day — more than the entire production of Texas. . . Saudi officials have said they favor prices of around $80 a barrel. Despite soft demand and high levels of inventories, oil futures in New York have averaged $75 a barrel over the last six months. On Friday, they closed at $80.68.

While Texas oil production is down to around one mbpd, what Mr. Mouawad conveniently fails to mention is that this is down from its peak of about 3.5 mbpd in 1972. So what happens when the current swing producer, Saudi Arabia, arrives at about the same stage of depletion at which the previous swing producer, Texas peaked? Consider what the Saudis were saying in early 2004:

A Quick Trip Down Memory Lane to April, 2004:


Mr Al-Naimi said: "Saudi Arabia continues to be committed to OPEC's $22-28 price band. There are signs that worldwide inventories have begun to build but no one really knows for sure. I do not believe there is a fissure [within Opec]. There is dialogue. Opec in general is committed to the band," he said.

As I have noted several times, the Saudis increased their net oil exports as oil prices rose from 2002 to 2005, but then they showed a substantial decline in net oil exports, relative to their 2005 rate, as oil prices continued to rise from 2005 to 2008.

The average price of oil to date in 2010 exceeds the average annual prices for all prior years, except for 2008, when it hit $100. I suppose that when and if average annual oil prices hit $150 or so, the Saudis will be complaining about "weak demand" for $150 oil.

Regarding new Saudi oil fields coming on line, what counts is the true net productive capacity, which is the contribution from older fields + newer fields coming on line. North Sea crude production peaked at about 6 mbpd in 1999. Sam looked at North Sea oil fields whose first full year of production was in 1999 or later. These post-peak oil fields had a peak of about one mbpd in 2005, about one-sixth of total 1999 production, but the new fields just served to slow the net production decline rate to about 4.6%/year.

What also gets me is the way they continually juxtapose 2 different terms in the same sentence, production vs capacity, giving the reader the wrong impression.

"As demand slumped because of the global recession, Saudi Arabia was forced to shut about a quarter of its production. After raising its capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day, Saudi Arabia is now pumping about 8.5 million barrels a day, its lowest level since the early 1990s."

Net Exports 1965-2008

My own work. It's a limited data set, only using countries in the Stat Review which have entries for both production and consumption. Hmmm, production "peaked" in 2008 but net exports were manifestly down? If that's the case why should we care? 2008 production was at roughly the same level as 2006, yet no net export rebound.

This matches my conclusions about the depth of the last demand destruction trough, too. If we are really capable of reining in demand like in the 80s that would suggest that we have only about 6 years before an uptick is apparent, which would be in ca. 2013; but we are already seeing growth in US gasoline demand.

Country Exports Imports Net
A 2000 GB 3000 GB -1000 GB
B 4000 GB 3000 GB 1000 GB
C 1000 GB 100 GB 900 GB
D 1000 GB 1900 GB -900 GB
Total 8000 8000 0

This is a typical Export Land Model (ELM) table. It is a hypothetical analysis, yet I don't find it totally engrossing because it essentially illustrates an example of a boring zero sum game, since the net total sums to zero. It tells us something about the interactions between oil-producing and oil-consuming countries, yet it doesn't indicate which country will have enough capital or clout to obtain oil from another country when it hits large deficits.

Global trade and the prevalence of internationally-based corporations can make the net export/import entries less significant than they appear. Of course it will hurt countries without money or clout.

WestTexas realizes this and tries to deduce the rates at which these factors are encroaching on us. This rate is important because it tells us a lot about how fast we can adapt and how agile we are in facing diminishing supplies. But like I said, just the static analysis isn't too interesting because it describes a zero-sum game.

Bottom-line, I am not surprised that the net export graph that you show looks a lot like a scaled version of the global production plot. Unless I am missing something significant in what you are trying to say?

Re: 2013. . .

In 2013, Sam's best case is that the (2005) top five net oil exporters will be down to about 21 mbpd in combined net exports (versus 24 mbpd in 2005), but that they will have shipped about half of their post-2005 CNOE (Cumulative Net Oil Exports) in just 8 years.

Regarding ELM 2.0*, at their 2005 to 2008 rate of increase in net oil imports, Chindia's net imports will have risen from 4.6 mbpd in 2005 (EIA) to about 9.5 mbpd in 2013. So, expressed as a percentage of (2005) top five net oil exports, Chindia's net imports will have risen from 19% in 2005 to a projected 45% in 2013.

Or if we turn it around, based on the above projections, (2005) top five net oil exports, less Chindia's net imports, will have fallen from 19.4 mbpd in 2005 to 11.5 mbpd in 2013, a decline rate of 6.5%/year.

However, if we jump forward another five years, to 2018, Chindia's projected net imports of 15 mbpd would be equivalent to the (best case) projected (2005) top five net exports of 15 mbpd.

The estimated total volume of net exports from the (2005) top five, less Chindia's projected net imports, over this 13 time period from 2005 to 2018 would be about 46 Gb. The estimated total volume of net exports from the (2005) top five, less Chindia's projected net imports, over the 8 year time period from 2010 to 2018 would be about 22 Gb. This implies that developed countries are currently depleting the remaining projected post-2010 (2005) top five CNOE, less Chindia's projected net imports, at the rate of about 25%/year.

*Developed countries like the US will have to make do on what is left after developing countries take what they want

Bottom-line, I am not surprised that the net export graph that you show looks a lot like a scaled version of the global production plot. Unless I am missing something significant in what you are trying to say?

Oh, I don't know. It was a lot of work putting together that database, felt like doing something with it. The net exp/prod ratio has hovered around .55 for about 15 years now, after peaking in 1984 at .066 and bottoming out in 1996. What's that indicative of? It's risen twice a few .01 over 5 year spans, only to fall back. Staggered up in this fashion 1996-2002 before falling back again - Mexican N2 at work, perhaps. Maybe that's a way of quantifying a supply boost ceiling: how much the industry can boost things short term. When I plot prod and net exps on different Y axises it looks a lot like those spare capacity charts from Schlumberger etc.

Hi Tex,

You and Sam seem to have an irrefutable argument down pat; barring a miracle, I can't see anyway out of the mess we are in.

But as a relative newcomer here, I am still missing a few key pieces of data needed to follow all the comments.

Just who is Sam? Meaning, what is his Oil Drum handle?Or is he just a friend/coworker of yours who doesn't post comments personally, or what?


Formerly known as "Khebab" on TOD

Re: China’s Growth Shifts the Geopolitics of Oil

I just don´t get it, why Saudi Arabia let it happen to be overtaken by Russia in oil production and exports. They lament their cash flow constraints and the difficult business environment. Rubbish. 60 Billion US$ are earned within 2 and a half years with 8.5 million barrels per day production and prices around 80$. Anybody elsewhere in the world would deem this as a really good amortization time (without operating costs). Operating costs included, it won´t be very much longer. And if they really had the 4 or so mmbpd reserves, they would use it and it wouldn't drive down prices very much. 80 $ per barrels is an undoubtable sign for narrow oil markets. They just don´t have the claimed capacity. The predicted Twilight in the Desert has arrived long ago. That´s the real reason why Russia overtook KSA. (And the Twilight will come to Russia too)

Yesterday I watched a report about oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico in German television. The time and effort for this is just incredible and there is always the danger of dry holes or non-met production expectations. And the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world (hurricanes). No sane businessman would operate under these conditions (but the oil industry). The only reasonable cause for this is the still incredible value of oil (in terms of versatility and energy content) despite all difficulties. And oil is not only an energy carrier, it´s also the most versatile chemical on earth. And if oil is going to get scarcer, the loss of easy-to-use energy will hamper the economy, but this could perhaps be compensated. But if the non-fuel use of oil gets restricted by narrower availability, this will rip into the heart of technology and economy (e.g. high-quality UV-, electric-breakdown- and high-temperature-proof electric insulation like PVC or PTFE)

"...the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world (hurricanes). No sane businessman would operate under these conditions (but the oil industry)."

Really? On which alternate earth? The oil industry may seem a little crazier than some in this respect, but nothing seems to deter countless other businesses having far less know-how than the oil guys from exposing themselves to severe hurricane risk all along the Gulf and Southeast coasts. In one of the most dangerous areas, New Orleans, some even build facilities below sea level. You have to wonder about people engaged in utterly nonessential activities doing something as wholly unnecessary as that, but then again, the expectation persists even now that Uncle Sucker will bail them out in full and for free, time and again.

Watcher -- You don't have to be nuts to drill in the GOM...but it helps. Actually it boils down to limited options onshore. And we just joined those ranks. We were high bidder on 4 GOM federal leases. And there were many more high bids: total high bids were just under $1 billion. And the bid expense is the cheapest part of the game. Our adjustment in our biz plan may explain what's going on in the industry in general. We had planned to spend $300 million with the drill bit to generate in ground reserves we would flip when the next price spike hits. But our owner has decided that the onshore plays just weren't big enough to reach our goal in the next 3 - 4 years. The GOM shelf projects can typically hold 5 to 10 times as even large onshore prospect. The costs are also typically that much greater. And then there is the risk you mentioned. It was interesting to note that even ExxonMobil has regained interest in the GOM shelf. Many outside the oil patch don't realize what a huge change in biz plan this represents for XOM. For one thing they have a huge budget to spend and while playing on the shelf is big bucks for my company its pocket change for them. It will also require a significant allocation of their manpower.

The shift is a sign of insanity…it’s desperation IMHO.

PVC is commonly made from natural gas, not oil:

As near as I can tell, neither is used to make teflon.


In general so little of the petroleum oil produced in the world is used for non-energy applications that it isn'w worth worrying about.

I've not seen any reporting on the Oildrum of the recent report from the UK's Royal Academy Engineering titled Generating the Future: UK energy systems fit for 2050.

See http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Generating_the_fu...

Specifically from the Conclusions

Turning the theoretical emissions reduction targets into reality will require more than political will: it will require nothing short of the biggest peacetime programme of change ever seen in the UK.

Just because these are the people who are expected to build this energy infrastructure, it doesn't mean they will be heard!

The report contains some interesting figures, such as the comparison of data between onshore and offshore wind load factors:

So in terms of the current state of play, the UK in 2008 had 2.8 GW of onshore wind and 586 MW of offshore wind installed capacity that generated 5,792 GWh (0.66 GW(av)) and 1,305 GWh (0.15 GW(av)) of energy at load factors of 0.27 and 0.30 respectively.

When one considers how much more it is likely to cost to build offshore wind farms, the load factor increase for offshore does not seem attractive.

You may have seen this recent report:

Offshore wind costs at least twice nuclear

Generating Britain's electricity from offshore wind farms is likely to be at least twice as expensive as nuclear power, according to a new report by engineering consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Britain plans to build up over 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power capacity by 2020 and wants to build new nuclear power plants to replace old reactors.

The government's nuclear plans are opposed by some environmental groups as being too costly.

But analysis by Parsons Brinckerhoff, a company backing plans for an offshore wind grid, estimates nuclear generation costs to be 6-8 pence per kilowatt hour (p/KWh), including decommissioning and waste disposal, compared to 15-21 p/KWh for offshore wind.

If you read through the report, the following prices are given:

Tidal power 16-38p/Kwh
Offshore wind 15-21p/KWh
Onshore wind 8 - 11p/KWh
Natural gas 6 - 11p/ KWh
Nuclear 6-8p/Kwh

Their analysis would indicate that offshore wind is much more expensive than onshore wind. Since they are both variable energy sources, it is not entirely fair to directly compare their costs with natural gas and nuclear costs.

Interesting Gail. Difficult to believe but so be it if their analysis is valid. But I wonder if part of the apparent cost advantage of nuclear is estimated cost vs. actual costs. Don't have specific links but it's been reported many times how much nukes run over cost estimates. Sometimes several fold. But that may be part urban legend. OTOH, the estimate that offshore wind would cost only twice as much on onshore seems way off IMHO. Assuming a turbine built for offshore would be no different than an onshore model then we're talking about facility and transmission differential costs. Having dealt with offshore oil patch construction projects for over 30 years that 2X factor seems ridiculously low. Just a minimum structure to support just one turbine would cost several million $'s in construction and setting costs. Compare that to a big concrete pad and an acre of land onshore. And maintenance? Compare a few trucks and a big crane compared to a lift boat and support vessels (running $30,000+ per day) and perhaps a few chopper runs at $7,000 each. Thus IMHO either the onshore costs are estimated way to high or the offshore is estimated way too low.

It will be interesting to hear what our resident Don Quixote’s have to say on the subject

I wonder if part of the apparent cost advantage of nuclear is estimated cost vs. actual costs. Don't have specific links but it's been reported many times how much nukes run over cost estimates. Sometimes several fold. But that may be part urban legend.

i dont think this was an urban legend, except maybe a legendary flop.


wiki tries to put the best possible face on it, but it was not exactly a stellar success. as the wiki article states, it was designed as a rate following -vs- base load plant.

Having dealt with offshore oil patch construction projects for over 30 years that 2X factor seems ridiculously low. Just a minimum structure to support just one turbine would cost several million $'s in construction and setting costs. Compare that to a big concrete pad and an acre of land onshore.

I watched offshore turbines being erected on Discovery Channel, and I was amazed at how organized and efficient the process was.

The location was shallow waters off Britain or Denmark. There were basically two big barges. One did the pile driving for the base, and the other erected the turbine on the piled base. Afterwards a service boat put in the undersea cables etc. What struck me was the matter-of-fact way they went about their business. No drama, no surprises, just erecting turbines like they'd been doing it every day for a long time. They were taking maybe one or two days day per turbine. (Can't remember the exact figure, but they were pretty quick.)

Although maintenance at sea will be more expensive, it is offset by no land or servitude purchases, no annual rental, no need to construct roads for heavy equipment, no transmission towers, etc etc. While I have no idea what the real differential is, 2x the cost of land-based systems doesn't seem too outrageous.

Although maintenance at sea will be more expensive, it is offset by no land or servitude purchases, no annual rental, no need to construct roads for heavy equipment, no transmission towers, etc etc.

Hi aardvark,

Of course, one of the benefits of offshore placement is increased capacity. If you can raise the capacity factor from 30 to 36 per cent, say, then you've effectively increased energy output (and revenue) by an additional 20 per cent.


keep in mind that if you dump electrial power into a coral reef the coral can actually build coral structure.

So the wind machines out in the sea may help provide habitat if they dump a bit of the power into the sea itself.

“The world is running into oil, not out of oil.”

As the information economy matures, the world will, in effect, be able to operate without resources.

Oil represents a smaller percentage of the American economy than it did in the 70s. Therefore oil is less important now.

If we actually were to run out of a resource, which wouldn’t happen because price signals would spur discovery and production, we can always find substitutes.

The way to end recessions is to encourage consumption.

An energy tax is a very bad idea; the burden would fall hardest on the poor.

Cars represent freedom / I love my car. I love my SUV.

Home ownership is the American dream. We need to encourage home ownership; Every American should aspire to become a homeowner.

Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.

If environmentalists would get out of the way, America would be energy independent. There’s plenty of oil in America, environmentalists are blocking exploration.

The American way of life is non-negotiable.

"Oil represents a smaller percentage of the American economy than it did in the 70s."

Define "American economy". Is it the real economy, where people produce or distribute useful products and services? Or does this include the financial sector, which is paper and parasitizes the real economy? I am suspicious of measures such as GDP because they include Wall Street shenanigans as part of the economy. CDSes and other toxic paper churned out by the banksters are considered as part of the economy even though they are just numbers on a computer screen and do not correspond to any useful function.

My reason for questioning this is that if only the real-world economy is considered, then I suspect that we use just as much oil as ever, subject to a small downward adjustment to account for the Great Recession.

Since we have exported most of our manufacturing, it is no surprise that our GDP has become less energy intensive. Which of course doesn't mean very much except that we really should be including all the energy required to produce and distribute imports.

I should have wrote "Oil consumption represents a smaller share of the American economy."

I believe that's how I've read or heard it in the past.

Define "American economy".

I'm not defining anything, those are not my thoughts. I'm just paraphrasing from memory.

The way to end recessions is to encourage consumption.

Actually that one happens to be true (but widely misunderstood). Without consumption (spending) their is no money to pay for work, so people become unemployed and productive assets become worthless. People try to do moral calculus, spending/consumption/borrowing is bad, implies we need a nasty punishment, how about a recession. What happens during recessions is that people become afraid for the future and decide to save rather than spend. But if others don't spend, I lose my job since my boss can't sell my output. Then I don't spend and you lose yours. Now spending doesn't have to be on consumption, it could be investment in things that help the future. An example I "stimulated" the economy last year by buying a PV system. Not exactly consumer spending, but it did provide some employment and profits for a few people for a short while.

Actually that one happens to be true (but widely misunderstood).

What you wrote in response may be true, but can’t keep working indefinitely. Increased consumption cannot last forever on a finite sphere. Rising oil prices reduces discretionary spending and consumption of things that are unnecessary. What do you do to encourage consumption 30 or 40 years after we start heading into terminal decline?

We are not sustainable. We grow exponentially in population and consumption. We can’t keep doing that forever.

In the long term, we all must learn to make due with LESS.
Less is More

We waste allot of resources on things of little value that people just don’t really need.

You simply fail to comprehend that "need" isn't important. What matters is what Madison Avenue tells you to want.

And what you want can only be obtained by buying it.

You can only buy it if you have money.

To have money you must have a job.

To have a job you must submit to the wishes of your employer.

Your employer wants you to work cheap and not complain.


We waste allot of resources on things of little value that people just don’t really need.

Of course we do. And it is absolutely necessary that we do so. Millions of people are employed manufacturing, selling and servicing those unnecessary things. If we started consuming only what we need another 40 million people, at least would be thrown out of work. And that is just in the US. Perhaps 100 million Chinese would lose their jobs if we started consuming only what we need.

And I am not being sarcastic.

Ron P.

Millions of people are employed manufacturing, selling and servicing those unnecessary things. If we started consuming only what we need another 40 million people, at least would be thrown out of work. And that is just in the US. Perhaps 100 million Chinese would lose their jobs if we started consuming only what we need.
And I am not being sarcastic.

But if the work they're doing is unnecessary except as "make work" jobs - that is, providing silly goods and services with no value - then those "jobs" are just an inefficient distribution system for the largesse of the "virtual fossil fuel slaves", and what gets done by the employees is a very toxic version of digging holes and then filling them up again for no particular reason.

Indeed, that's all most jobs are these days; the actual "value" of what's being done is decoupled from the rate of pay, since most of the actual work done is by the fossil fuel slaves.

So by all means throw them out of work and put them on a straightforward dole; it'd be a great way to lower CO2 output as well as many other kinds of impact, and extend the remaining liquid fuels.

Friday Night Failures:

Regulators shut 7 banks in 5 states; 37 in 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators have shut down seven banks in five states, bringing to 37 the number of bank failures in the U.S. so far this year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday took over the banks: First Lowndes Bank, in Fort Deposit, Ala.; Appalachian Community Bank in Ellijay, Ga.; Bank of Hiawassee, in Hiawassee, Ga.; and State Bank of Aurora, in Aurora, Minn.

Earlier, the agency said it had shuttered Advanta Bank, based in Draper, Utah; American National Bank of Parma, Ohio; and Century Security Bank of Duluth, Ga.

The bank failures this year follow the 140 that succumbed in 2009 to mounting loan defaults and the recession.

Good bye banking system. Good riddance

The whole system is a house of cards. There were too many loans made to people who could never conceivably repay it with interest.

The first shoe dropped, and now we’re waiting for the next shoe to drop as a result of the next oil price spike due do the end of the recession or Chindia’s insatiable appetite for oil.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who detests our financial system and big banks. Instead of people tied to the land working for a feudal overlord, now peasants work endlessly to payoff their debts to bankers. I know more banks will fail in time, I say, let the chips fall where they may. Let them fail.

The banking industry needs to shrink.

Down with the FED, Down with Fiat Currencies and down with Fractional Reserve Banking. Money should be tied to something real, like oil, natural gas coal, or gold.


Economics has to fit into its proper place. And in an advanced civilization that is usually about halfway down a list headed by complex, unresolvable political and social considerations or questions. If political leaders tell us that things have changed and that unfortunately this is no longer the case, what they are really saying is that they don't have the commonsensical energy to maintain the public good above private interests. We have been through periods like that before, periods when self-interest reigns. At the time they seem endless, but our memory reminds us that they come and go.

The history of sensible policies also tells us that economics is a domain particularly given to mysticism, romanticism and to sudden optimistic enthusiasms followed by equally sudden depressions. Fashion and economics are often interchangeable terms.

John Ralston Saul, On Equilibrium (Toronto: Penguin/Viking, 2001), 54

Good bye banking system. Good riddance, you say...

To phrase another way, "The wilder the party, the fiercer the hangover."


Hey Zadok! Nice Handel!


LOL... HAcland, you've got it!! Better than having a Messiah complex :-)

OT - The cost of AG chemicals...

We read a lot of how farmers are eating it because of the cost of chemicals they use. The other day I had my wife pick up a few quarts of:

Brush killer (triclopyr - generic Garlon) - $18/quart two years ago; $27/qt now*

Liquid copper (for apple scab/peach leaf curl) - $12/qt two years ago; $17/qt now (The electric pump on my sprayer doesn't like micronized dry copper.)

The total bill for four quarts of stuff was $95.

I use two quarts of copper/year for my fruit trees. So, that's $34. I use pheromone traps for coddling moth for another $30. Then I spray between the trees with glyphosate where I can't mow because of the irrigation system (I use Remuda a cheap generic RoundUp); maybe $10 bucks worth. And, last of all, there is the cost of electricity to irrigate.

Now this is just a little home orchard with about 50 trees and I have over $100 dollars in expenses a year. Think of the real growers who have lots of acres and also have to pay for pruning and picking. Ugh!


* Of course there is no inflation...just ask the government.

This is one reason why I tend to believe prices for "organic" food will never reach parity with conventional: that is, as regular ag. prices rise, "organic" prices will rise further, because "organic" chemical controls--copper and other "certified" chemicals--are always more expensive than conventional ones, and these costs are passed on to consumers.

I don't care what others eat, but I prefer food that hasn't been sprayed.


Essentially all orchards are sprayed whether they are organic or conventional; typically for fungal diseases but also some pests. The same thing is true of other crops like wine grapes where sulphur is used to control fungal diseases.

One point regarding fruit that goes for juicing: Processing plants will not accept "wormy" fruit since botulism can form in the worm hole. Therefore, even organic growers who sell to this market will, indeed, spray with something for pest control.


Well, if you insist..., you can spray my food with water.

That's a nice thought, but I doubt you'd have any tree fruit to eat that way.

Being a day old, this thread is probably as dead those unsprayed trees. Little life, not much. I think that is the real rub with feeding the masses, we just won't have the production. Seen many Dutch elm back east-takes a good many years to get disease resistant trees established. Those few tree fruits you'd see would be priced out of this world.

Which brings up a good point-to a large degree degree, organic tree fruit production is able to work present day due in no small part to disease control efforts by neighboring non organic efforts. And especially with tree fruits in a renaissance of backyard ag and tree fruit production that some espouse, disease from your shiffless neighbor will wipe out your fruit. In some states, failure to control disease pests will bring in the state, even if they have to bull doze, to control and then bill you. A lien on your property, hard to shirk.

I wonder to what extent all organic production is so influenced-I know organic grain here is often an island within conventional ag. What will be the case later?

Yes, I think this is something a lot of people don't realize.

Especially those claiming switchgrass, hemp, algae, or whatever doesn't need any pesticides. That's only true because it's not being grown in monoculture. If we grew those crops the way we grow corn, they would certainly need pesticides.


I used to use Roundup between trees in a row, but quit a while back. Just got to be too much work, no sooner had I sprayed than a new group would start pushing up, never ending cycle. Now I'm cutting between trees with a whacker, hand or gas. The idea is to get grass back between trees, let it crowd out weeds, tree shading control grass. Still not sure whether it'll be better. I've got about 200 trees, they are on large dwarf stocks, MM 111, B 118, etc. You'd probably have a harder time, lower production, this way with smaller semis or full dwarf stocks, if it would work.

Hi Doug,

I have a variety of root stocks ranging from small standards to some old Stark interstem semi-dwarfs, M-26, EM-111, etc*. Anyway, I used to weed whack and/or mulch. I'm too old to whack weeds and buying mulch costs too much for a home-use orchard. It's not a big deal to spray since I spray glyphosate for grass control along the sides of our mile long road.

*This might be of interest to growers in coastal northern CA. Some of you may know Greenmantle Nursery. I was talking to the owner (Ram Fishman) a few years ago when I was buying some bench grafts and he feels that Mark root stock is best for the north coast. If you want heirloom stuff, especially apples, check their web site.


None of these chemicals can be made with local materials, and certainly the sprayers can't be made with local materials.

It seems like the higher the price, the more dependent the system is likely to be on our whole fossil fuel way of life.

Yes...I have noticed this phenomenon too! Prices go up but the government chants more and more loudly, "we have terrible deflation!".

Recently I noticed a report that land prices around the main Nagoya train station were going up (I think real estate in general in Japan is up or stable vis a vis currency value). Gasoline prices are up over ten years. Food prces are up. Clothes are expensive until they don`t sell and then are discunted. What you do notice is that shops that used to sell expensive things or so-called high quality things close and are replaced with shops selling those plastic clogs, polyester fleece items, real junk, but cheap.

The supply of nice things ---quality cotton shirts, good socks, etc.---is steadily eroding and disappearing. Or it is becoming really really expensive and out of reach.

There is a lack of money flowing through the system. Maybe that is what they call deflation but it isn`t true deflation. It is a kind of freezing process.

I don`t think it works to call it deflation. It is a process by which everything valuable is being withdrawn (very slowly, almost imperceptibly) from the markets because it isn`t worth the while to offer it anymore. If a shop is left empty as a result then it may open again to offer cheap snacks, plastic clogs, etc. Those things are still worth selling.

But let`s not kid ourselves about the endgame! In the end even cheap snacks and plastic clogs will be withdrawn.

It isn`t worth it to try to make any alternatives to plastic clogs and offer them for sale. If you have land and you have a cow and you get his hide for shoes the cost of those shoes would be very high because of land taxes and vet bills, etc.

Things don`t look very good, I`m afraid. The government is basically covering up the truth because the truth would be scary. I can`t see any good outcome here. When the money finally stops (either its value is zero--hyperinflation--- or its not to be found---hyperdeflation) and people are trading old stuff for a cup of rice, the government knows that its goose is basically cooked. They don`t like that so they are trying to maintain a facade. Well, elites do circulate, after all, not just money and materials.

But as for what comes next, that is a kind of black hole...monetarily speaking it`s hard to see any light emerging from the crystal ball.

Don't you need to spray for Plum Curculio? What about Japanese beetles? Where i live i have both plus another nasty pest, Rose Chafer. I go from one to the next as the HDD add up. I might pick up a bag of "Surround" for PC, and then continue to use plastic baggies for fruit protection (works great for apples, although u still have to watch the squirrels). Maybe we'll just go back to using lead arsenate and blackleaf 40?

On fruit trees our major pest is coddling moth. The major disease problems are apple scab and peach leaf curl.

Major vertebrate pests are ravens and bears. Can't do a darn thing about the bears - some years are good like last year, some years we bring in a culvert trap. Some times I whack a raven with the 12ga.

On veggies the major pests are cucumber beetles and boarded plant beetles. I use yellow sticky traps and sometimes an insecticidal soap spray. If I get really pissed I spray a pyrethroid.


Long day yesterday. Kinda sore.

Codling moth is a bugger. Ever had any luck with "Last Call"? I got a line on some real cheap, but not sure it's worth the application effort.

I got hit pretty rough with Fireblight couple years back. That's devastating. Heard of a myriad of old wives cure, commercial market offerings, none worth it.

My biggest vertebrate pests are deer and northern pocket gophers. Those gophers saw a 6 inch tree off just below the ground. Bears around, but knock on wood, dogs keep them farther out. Bow hunter pulled a nice sow out last fall, feeding on an old Yellow Delicious on the other end of our place.

Of Chilly Offices and Space Heaters

...that means they’re probably on when the air-conditioning is blasting.

My current office, which is LEED Gold certified, is the first that I have worked in where it is not freezing cold in summer, and oppressively hot in winter. Other offices I have worked in made it so cold in summer that people were using space heaters to keep warm in August.

I take this as positive news. This means that there is a lot of painless fat to be cut before tough measures are needed. Of course, Nat Gas supplies are not the issue right now.

The problem I've run into is that it's hard to keep the building evenly heated or cooled. If the top floor is comfortable, the bottom floor is freezing. If the bottom floor is comfortable, the top floor is a sauna. People sitting near windows are freezing in winter and boiling in summer. The occupants would like to leave doors open for airflow, but the fire regulations require that they stay closed. And all this is not something easily fixed via retrofit.

And of course, a lot of these office buildings had no air conditioning when they were originally built. People just sweated. Air-conditioning became necessary when computers became an office staple, because they couldn't handle the heat.

The problem I've run into is that it's hard to keep the building evenly heated or cooled.

I think the problem is not having thermostats in individual offices. Theres always a cold office and/or person with no cold tolerance, and they turn the building thermostat up, and most other people are overheated. I used to be involved in wintertime thermostat wars at work. A certain indidual would come in feel cold and crank it up. I'd enter my office which was a hundred degrees, and go and turn it back down. In our case, the heating/cooling vents are very unequal and impossible to adjust. But also different people have different amounts of waste heat (computers, which vary from one to several per office). Of course the other solution is what the article is about, lots of people using electrical resistance heaters. Americans are just so spoiled by having thermostats to twist, rather than clothing layers to add/remove.

I've been in office buildings where the "cold" or "hot" offices vary by the season and even by the day. We had one office that was 45F aat 8 a.m. -- it is hardly unreasonable for such offices to choose auxiliary heat.

With electronic equipment labs, server closets, windowed corner offices, unimportant storage areas, etc. it is hardly a one-size-fits all situation, but that's what most offices have. Rarely is the mgmt willing to spend money on re-balancing distribution registers, especially if they have to be re-balanced several times a year.

I see a grand future for dynamic register controls, along with variable load air handlers and HVAC units.

I was in an office once in which the folks next to the thermostat were crash dieting all the time. They cranked up the heat and baked all the rest of us that had the metabolism of regular eaters.

Of Chilly Offices and Space Heaters

The most energy efficient office is the one that does not get built. If more companies and individuals can support telecommuting, I have a theory that the overall energy use in kwh/person and commute-fuel/person per work day would go down.

Personal example: I telecommuted for working Friday. I was able to work from my backyard gazebo. The only power, via my kill-a-watt meter, was the 25watts to run my work laptop (via extension cord from the garage), then the power for my home wireless router, and DSL connection.

No gasoline, diesel, heating or cooling power was used for my commute or office accomodations.


Leanan: I am currently working for a major HVAC company. Some of the work we are doing in government facilities, where they are extremely inflexible and resistant to change, is only yielding 20% energy savings, but there are many facilities where we get 30-40% energy savings and improved occupant comfort. There are a lot of neat systems now that match chiller capacity to load very carefully and cheap VAV boxes allow good local control.

Hi Consumer,

For greatly enhanced occupant comfort and maximum energy savings, raised floor plenums and radiant heating and cooling systems are attractive options. Each individual can adjust the low velocity air vent under their desk to allow more or less [moderately] conditioned air to flow in close proximity to their body.

See: http://www.canadianarchitect.com/issues/ISarticle.asp?aid=1000119412


What I've found is that those who crank the office air conditioning are the same types who love their SUV's and couldn't care less about anything or anyone around them. It's absolutely ridiculous to set a thermostat at 65 degrees in August, yet that's most offices are like. I agree that the "good news" is that there is so much potential savings resulting from simple efficiency measures like adjusting the thermostat a few degrees. technology really does have a role here, LEED certified or high performance buildings use much less energy and provide the same or better comfort. This country has barely scratched the surface on reducing building energy consumption.

Yeah, it has always driven me crazy - the space heaters heat the air which the HVAC has cooled, which the space heaters have warmed, which the HVAC has cooled, which the space heaters have warmed, which the HVAC has cooled, which the space heaters have warmed, which the HVAC has cooled, which the space heaters have warmed, which the HVAC has cooled, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

the space heaters heat the air which the HVAC has cooled, which the space heaters have warmed, which the HVAC has cooled, which the space heaters have warmed, which the HVAC has cooled, which the space heaters have warmed, which the HVAC has cooled, which the space heaters have warmed, which the HVAC has cooled, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

I do not have the solution (and seems most designs also do not) but the problem seems to be either that the area is not evenly heated or cooled, or that the design assumed all people would find the same environment of temperature acceptable.

So it is perhaps a social engineering requirement that rarely gets addressed, or a system underperformance due to money constraints.

The one thing I wish people would do, who always 'feel cold' would just simply keep a coat, or lap blanket at work, instead of running a resistive electrical heater. I suspect that, due to previous generations of 'energy is cheap' just don't bother with warmer clothing, as it's easier to run the heater.

One possible way to change this bad behavior would be for mgmt to randomly walk the work environment, and personally warn employees the resistive heaters are not allowed, and then if behavior does not improve, start passing part of the electrical costs of the workplace to those workers....

Hi mrflash,

One option would be to limit the amount of current that is accessible through the office furniture, much like the razor outlets that were popular in older homes. Plug in anything that draws in excess of 500-watts, say, and the circuit breaker for your cubical trips.


Another good option is to tell people they are getting their own thermostat, and then put a dummy thermostat on the wall. It has been done.

IME, this isn't a big issue. People are willing to wear warmer clothing. (The big problem is when your hands get so cold they're stiff. There's a limit to the thickness of the gloves you can wear, and still be able to use a keyboard.) The main problem is the buildings are so unevenly heated. I worked in one building where you could step from one room to another, and the difference could be 20F or more. Some people were freezing, some were boiling. The top floor had an overhang, with a wall made of windows. Offices at the edge of the building were very cold in winter, because the floor had nothing but outside air underneath it. And of course, all the windows made it very hot in summer. There was one office that was so cold that no one but the occupants would go in. People visiting them would stand in the hallway and talk to them from the doorway, because it was so unpleasantly cold in that office. They spent big bucks to fix the HVAC system. (And it was a nightmare working there during the reconstruction, with loud noise, dust, asbestos, and horrible fumes.) It only made it worse.

Which gets us around to the observation that most modernist and post-modernist architecture is crap and a public menace.

It used to be that office buildings had offices. These offices had windows that you could open in warm weather, and doors that you could leave open or close depending upon the circumstances, sometimes with a transom window above, and a radiator that you could turn on and off. In other words, the occupant of each office was empowered to do a lot of things that could make their work space more comfortable. The closable doors also had an important function: conversations - face-to-face and telephone - could be kept private (as was an executive's dictation to their secretary, which is how things were done in pre-computer days), and disctracting noise could be shut out so that one could concentrate. This arrangement worked very well for most office workers.

Building aren't designed for occupant comfort or energy efficiency.
They are built as property.
What gives property value? Location, accessibility, image, income potential, infrastructure--available electricity, water, storage, safety and durability, etc.

Nothing about energy efficiency or comfort or health.

Once a building is built it is very difficult to remake it into a comfortable, energy efficient structure.

One possible way to change this bad behavior would be for mgmt to randomly walk the work environment, and personally warn employees the resistive heaters are not allowed, and then if behavior does not improve, start passing part of the electrical costs of the workplace to those workers...

I suspect the real issue is not the cost of the juice, but rather the violation of fire codes. If the business's fire insurance company knew, I expect there would be hell to pay.

Guys, those same execs and their secretaries have heaters just like everyone else. They're the ones who sign off on a little more utility costs to avoid a massive HVAC rebuild expense.

I think the problem is companies which put less thought into designing office space for their workers than the average sheep farmer would put into designing his sheep pens. See Planning Your Sheep Pen for more details.

Well-designed sheep handling facilities are essential if a producer is to have a successful sheep production operation. The sheep producer will find few other investments that can match handling facilities with respect to labour efficiencies and savings. Most producers will only build, or purchase, one handling facility in their lifetime, so planning is essential.

Now, of course, the same concept applies to office workers, but corporate management doesn't think in those terms. They think they can just put people into some kind of random space and they will somehow be unaffected by their environment - hence the inefficient nature of the modern cubicle farm. Their goal is to put as many people into the smallest, cheapest space possible without worrying about if it will affect people's efficiency. Sheep farmers at least know if they put sheep into a poorly designed space it will affect productivity.

Sheep handling in "make-do" pens is not only hard, difficult work, it is outright unpleasant, and results in important jobs like vaccinating and deworming being delayed or not getting done at all.

The LEED rating system is “a tragedy,” according to Henry Gifford, resulting in buildings that use more energy, not less, and “a fraud perpetrated on U.S. consumers trying their best to achieve true environmental friendliness.” Henry is a mechanical systems specialist in New York City and, apparently, a vocal critic of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. I heard him make these claims on Tuesday night as he sat next to Brendan Owens, USGBC’s vice president of technical development. The two were part of a public debate that took place in Boston at Building Energy 09, the annual conference of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association.
The source of the debate is a study released a year ago that compared the energy performance of LEED-certified buildings with that of existing, noncertified buildings. The USGBC claims that the study shows LEED buildings to be 25% to 30% more efficient, but Henry says their methodology is flawed. According to him, the LEED buildings actually use 29% more energy than other buildings. Henry also thinks that “green” buildings ought to be certified based on their performance after a year or two of service and that the energy use for buildings ought to be available to the public on utility Web sites. You can read more about Henry’s views on his Web site and in the latest issue of Northeast Sun. Iconoclastic building scientist Joe Lstiburek has weighed in on this debate (pretty much agreeing with Henry), as has Nadav Malin of Building Green.

I should make it clear at this point that the study and the controversy surrounding LEED deal only with commercial buildings, not houses. The USGBC launched the LEED program for commercial buildings more than 10 years ago, while LEED for Homes is brand new. I hesitate to offer an opinion on all of this because I haven't read the study and don't understand the rating system like these other guys do. But I will venture to say that launching LEED and then waiting 10 years before studying the actual performance of certified buildings hardly qualifies as “leadership.” And I certainly hope that the LEED for Homes program learns from this embarrassment.

LEED sucks

N.B. set to blaze the smart grid trail
Energy: Government keen on province becoming testing ground for smart grid technology development and application

The goal is to be able to measure the most minute changes in power coming onto the grid - especially through less predictable renewable resources including wind and solar - and match power flowing from the generation side to the demand side through technology.

Devices giving customers control over their own measurable power usage would then allow a home or business owner to avoid using power when it's the most expensive, in turn allowing utilities to spend less on spot power and ultimately generate less.


The project's purpose is to pilot an innovative technology cluster to help power from New Brunswick's abundant wind energy resource integrate on the grid.

The difficulty with wind is that it doesn't necessary blow when power is needed.

NB Power and its partners will be installing communication technology with thermal devices and appliances in customers' homes and businesses in a non-intrusive way to test how to match demand for electricity with the variability of wind.

See: http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/journal/article/990635

Some 90 per cent of all homes in New Brunswick are equipped with electric water heaters and these loads can be easily controlled by utilities with little or no discernible impact with regards to their performance. Likewise, electric thermal storage units. Customers don't really care when these devices are energized or if their recharging is momentarily interrupted, provided they continue to supply space heat and domestic hot water whenever and in whatever quantities desired.


Re: Paul Krugman vs. Reality, up top.

I critiqued Krugman's piece shortly after it came out early in the week here:


I don't agree with all of Schiff's politics especially his love affair with the Austrian school economists, but we do agree on Krugman in this case. I usually agree with Krugman, but not this week.

Schiff's background from Wikipedia:


The criticism I have of Schiff's article, while generally agreeing with it, is that he manages no to mention the elephant in the room in the whole thing. That elephant is named Peak Oil.

As I pointed out earlier this week, should Krugman's recommendation of a rise of 25% in the yuan and the implied devaluation of the dollar associated with it come to pass, the price of oil is likely to rise by a similar percentage in dollar terms.

But that would mainly apply to the world's biggest oil importer, the United States. China would not see it because its revalued currency would have the effect of keeping oil prices about where they are now in real terms for them.

So the United States would be left in a disadvantageous position vs. China due to even higher real costs for imported oil. The Chinese would see little change in their price for oil since it is denominated in dollars.

As Schiff correctly points out other commodities denominated in dollars would also see little increase or maybe even a decrease for the Chinese. American farm exports like corn and soybeans would be much cheaper for the Chinese and would partially off set increases in Chinese labor costs for China.

But Chinese labor is so cheap that a 25% increase doesn't mean much in the overall scheme of things especially if other costs such as oil and grain imports are constant or falling.

So as Peter Schiff correctly points out Krugman's recommendation is a gain for the Chinese over all and a loss for Americans. He just arrived at the right conclusion with one hand tied behind his back and blind folders on.

Schiff didn't seem to identify a scenario where the US could prosper in the years to come. Is there one?

Are small oraganic farms endangered?

Has H.R. 875 (Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009) been discussed here? This bill would establish a new regulatory administration called the Food Safety Aministration and be under the Dept of Health and Human Services. I haven't read the bill in its entirety but I am concerned by its wording. It is possible that this bill could endanger small(read organic) farms, local food production, CSAs, etc.

I have seen some real non-sense floated around the internet concerning this bill, i.e. backyard gardens would be prohibited. It does seem that it is aimed at giving favor to the Industrial Food Complex over local food production. The bill has been in committee for over a year now so I don't know if this is a real issue or not.

Linda Hug

small(read organic) farms, local food production, CSAs, etc.

I haven't read the act, but "small" does not "read" as "organic."

We're small. We're local. We spray.

In fact, the majority of the small farms and CSAs in this part of the state use whatever methods they deem necessary.

You're right Mike. My prejudice was showing. HR 875 would apply to all small farms not just organic. So if it passes you too could be out of business if I'm reading the bill correctly.

Linda Hug

For many large businesses, government regulation can be a good way to limit competition and increase profits. Often, big business works better with government than small business.

We have had discussions on this here before. The jury is out on what it means, but if it can be interpreted as limiting even small market gardens, it will be.


I understand that the vote on the Senate Health Care Bill will be held in the House tomorrow. After reviewing some online comments, I suspect that we may see a couple of things happen if the bill passes the house:

(1) A significant portion of the CWP (Crazed Whiteperson Party) may spontaneously combust, or

(2) The passage of the bill may cause the Rapture to occur, causing a significant portion of the CWP to vanish.

I'm leaning toward #2, since the Rapture Index is at all time high (171):


Rapture Index of 100 and Below: Slow prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 100 to 130: Moderate prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 130 to 160: Heavy prophetic activity
Rapture Index above 160: Fasten your seat belts

Since Obama wants to force people to buy insurance they can't afford, withing 3 years, rising gas prices and the cost of insurance will force more people onto streets asking for handouts.

No rapture..., just plain old fashioned revolution.

I recently got a phone call encouraging to call my senator's office and tell him to vote for this bill. The lady could not answer all my questions, including the issue of forcing people to buy health insurance when they can't afford it. I need insurance and would love to have a single payer option. But I don't want to be fined if I can't afford it.

Linda Hug

I agree.

westexas -

One of my favorite bumper stickers:


Heres' one I saw just yesterday, the logic and thought processes behind which I am still trying to decode:


This was accompanied by a large cross on both sides of the message.

When I see things like this, I truly despair about any prospect of the US logically and methodically tacking the major work that needs to be done to get us out of this energy hole into which we are slipping deeper and deeper. Need I remind you that the owner of this bumper sticker has an equal say in who will be president as do you and I.

Aw, c`mon. Look at it from another perspective! It`s funny, weird, bizarre, "only in America". Have a sense of humor! Go look at the People ofWalmart.com website for more along these lines. It`s a dimension that is reached only in extremis, perhaps, like now.

I would enjoy it if I were you. Of course, I do say this while I sit in another country, but anywhere has its weirdness. I know religious extremists are not amusing, basically, but some of what they say and do can be quite interesting from a cultural viewpoint.

I don`t mean that educated people should only stand around and laugh at the uneducated. Although that may happen.....but I think there is something deeply significant going on and its not necessarily all bad. A creative force? A wish to make a difference? It is a sign of something this person is feeling, not necessarily really a serious prescription.

The pretribbers have recently gone off the deep edge. They are spouting many new and weird ideas such as alien demons mating with women and other tin foil stuff. I suspect that when crash and overshoot become more obvious the "great falling away" will happen. Many evangelicals and fundies will find other things to occupy their time. By the way I am a christian but I do not agree with their hate filled non-sense.

Linda Hug

Grandma, can you point me to a few good sources for this sort of thing? I try to keep track of the way that apocalyptic themes morph in popular culture -- it's an early warning system for mass movements, among other things -- and I'd like to follow up on this.

Tea Party Protests: 'Ni**er,' 'Faggot' Shouted At Members Of Congress

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock. Preceding the president's speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.

A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident. But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

Take a look at the huffpo comments, "racism" and "homophobia" are the new heresy. I wonder what they're going to do when they realize there's not only no money for wars, but no money for Social Security and other things they've grown accustomed to.

Yet, until we reach that point, the people in the know will continue to show rationality and try to lead the best they can.

I only have one comment on the health insurance act pending in congress.

All insurance companies use essentially the same actuarial algorithm to analyze risk. This gets based on years of data from a large population of patients. Since no real technical competition exists between companies, they can very clearly only compete on how well they can subtly rip-off their customers. And if they did offer better risk analysis, it could only involve getting better data from their customers. But not all customers would willingly provide info on risky behavior or potentially preconditional or pre-existing illnesses. In other words, custumers lie and won't give out information to a for-profit company.

So who better to provide a single optimal algorithm, pool resources, and get good data from their people? A government insurance company. Single payer remains the obvious answer. I can't even argue this futher because that would involve having an indoctrinated wingnut in the room.

I don't think anyone would care about larger pools of clients, what they don't want is to be in a pool with other people who aren't paying. I don't see how the data would be more consistent with the government, there's tons of medicare fraud as it is.

TheOilDrum site is always here to place things in a depletion context. How would you like it if we were not allowed to get oil from a larger pool of sources?

All the other negatives you can dream up will not allow the single payer solution to drop out of the Pareto frontier of optimal solutions. I would love it if more people would understand optimization theory. Wingnuts typically only think in terms of B&W and any solution that is not perfect (check the theory of "second best") leads them to a "conservative" or "reactionary" defense. This fallback is always to leave things the way they are. That is where the term conservatism apparently came from.

All the other negatives you can dream up will not allow the single payer solution to drop out of the Pareto frontier of optimal solutions.

And the translation of that from gobbledygook to English is ... ??

The Pareto frontier is the situation where you meet the criteria for acceptability for the majority of the important objectives.

Low Cost - Yes
Coverage - Yes
Fairness - Yes

It is called a frontier because the solution exists on the periphery of a multidimensional space.

People do this all the time without knowing it. They call it a "Trade Study".

Floridian: (Assuming that this is how you feel, and you're not playing devil's advocate or channeling more extreme factions of a subculture you may claim to represent.)

So even if a single payer system reduced your personal costs for the same quality of care, you wouldn't want it if someone who is not capable of(or chooses not to be) paying the premium you currently pay were to be in the same pool, even if they were now capable of paying the reduced premium you would pay under said single payer system?

A less confrontational way of putting this is: Would you like lower cost health care even if it allowed those less fortunate to afford healthcare?(Oops...still confrontational.)

Or is it that you want the poor to suffer for making the bad choice of being poor(because I'm sure that none of the poor have a good reason to be poor, not even the ones bankrupted by the insurance companies denying them coverage for pre-existing conditions.)

Or do you just want the poor to suffer?

Or do you believe that the US cannot provide decent health care for all it's citizens?

Or do you believe that the US cannot provide decent health care for all it's citizens without inconveniencing you in some way?

Or is it that the poor will somehow contaminate the pool?(Just how does one chlorinate a metaphorical pool? oh... that's right, you don't let them in.)

The U.S. can't afford a lot of things, this bill was one of those things. At some point, debt really does matter.

yeah, the constipation party........er.....i mean do nothing party apparently approves of an end to "pre-existing" conditions for political purposes but don't say how they plan to achieve that without bringing everyone under the umbrella.

i'm no fan of the insurance industry, but how are they going to exist in a world where insurance companies have to accept anyone unless everyone is covered ? it all boils down to how to ration health care.

and those tea partiers......the childish wing of the wing nut party.

WHT, if we ignore the end-goal values, there is the not-terribly visible fact that new taxes are immediate while most of the newly insured won't come about for several years. Even the pre-existing condition removal, however valuable, will have the immediate effect of increasing costs for the existing insureds (since most who will opt-in will of course have a significant illness). This will tend to drive those will low expenses out of the plans...since if something big comes up they can always rejoin.

Given the scope of the legislation, I fully expect massive unintended consequences.

Your actuarial points are equally valid regardless of payer, right? You could have a coupled risk pool with multiple payers and even multiple coverage levels, it would seem.

I am talking single-payer of course. Whatever we have is on the path to single-payer.

Human life is an unintended consequence, born out of multiple mutations. Let's try mutating out of this mess.

I think the pre-existing condition rule will kill the insurance companies. They will become unprofitable, and your gov't will have to bail them out, let them fail, or buy them.

Then you'll have non-profit, single-payer healthcare...because nothing else will be possible.

It all depends on how many sick people regain coverage, and what the companies can charge them.

However, I had thought this might play out over decades. If what you propose happens, signs of untenability will show up sooner rather than later. (though I don't understand how you can opt out if you are required by law to have insurance...)

Given the scope of the legislation, I fully expect massive unintended consequences.

Who says the consequences are unintended?

Floridian, your conservative paranoia is tiresome.

The tea partiers really are a strange and scary group. What exactly do they propose? And what would bring them to shout insults to their fellow Americans (even if they are those nasty liberals or politicians)?

It's well documented that there were tea partiers who mocked people in wheelchairs who were advocating for health care reform. That's just disgusting, but not surprising especially if they are mimicking their hero Rush.

I don't like political correctness any more than the next guy, but the tea partiers don't even want to engage in any discourse whatsoever.

I don't like the Tea Party movement any more than the next guy. But a few people misbehaving should not discredit the entire group. The tea party folks aren't a problem until they begin wearing uniforms and carrying firearms. However, if you were to consider scenarios presented on TOD, that's a definite possibility in perhaps a decade.

What's wrong with carrying firearms?

Nothing at all, but when in conjunction with uniforms it's more of a militia movement. Not that the Tea Party is a militia movement or will become one or that the militia movement is inherently bad. But depending on what the world looks like 15 years from now future groups could present a problem. That would be a sign of instability.

The vision of naked flying christians is somewhat disturbing.
I wonder if the Talking Snake knows about this?
He is my go to guy when dealing with Bronze Age Fiction.

I'm leaning toward #2, since the Rapture Index is at all time high (171):

"Rapture," from the Greek rapio, comes from a specific source, but not the apocalyptic books of Revelation and Daniel, as one might suppose.

The concept was invented by a temporal lobe epileptic and Pharisaic Jew named "Saul (Paul)" in the First Century C. E. In his epistles, Paul tells us that the Risen Christ dropped by to visit him one day. The author of Acts also gives separate (but contradictory) accounts of Paul's encounter with Jebus.

# Auditory hallucinations consist of a buzzing sound, a voice or voices, or muffling of ambient sounds. This type of aura is more common with neocortical temporal lobe epilepsy than with other types of temporal lobe epilepsy.

Fear or anxiety usually is associated with seizures arising from the amygdala. Sometimes, the fear is strong, described as an "impending sense of doom." source.


11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. ...15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man.... Galatians


"Saul, Saul. Why persecutest thou me?" Acts 9:4

Saul nee Paul went on to tell the Thessalonians, who were concerned about what would happen to those who had "fallen asleep" (died) when The End came, that they would be taken up into the sky to meet the dead. Literally. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.

Rapio means RAPE. The Christ is going to rape his followers at The End (according to Saul, that is). And they long for it.

Paul also made it abundantly clear that this "rape" was to happen in his and his followers' lifetimes:

17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up [rapio] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

That this has been repeatedly disconfirmed for two thousand years seems not to matter.

It utterly amazes me that a two-thousand-year-old HALLUCINATION still informs the way decisions are made in this country (U.S.).

Ours is a postictal culture.

I guess you will be left behind if the health care bill passes.

With cheap food imports, Haiti can't feed itself

"Decades of inexpensive imports — especially rice from the U.S. — punctuated with abundant aid in various crises have destroyed local agriculture and left impoverished countries such as Haiti unable to feed themselves."


Jmygann, what the article says is true but that does not tell the whole story. However it is true that Haiti would be much better off had they never been able to import cheap rice from the US. Had they not had access to lots of very cheap rice then Haitian farmers could have survived and sold their rice in Haiti, at a price that allowed them a profit.

However had that happened rice prices would have been much higher and far fewer Haitians would have been able to afford food in the past. More of them would have starved. So had there been no access to cheap imported rice Haiti would have a much smaller population, perhaps half of today's population. And their farmers would get a fair price for their rice.

Basically if Haiti had never had cheap imported rice many would have starved in the past but still far fewer than will eventually starve when they no longer have access to cheap imported rice.

The choice is seldom, if ever, between good and evil, the choice is usually always between the greater evil and the lesser one.

Ron P.

That's precisely the "fork" I came to believe last year -- you can either have some people starve to death sooner, or more people starve to death later. By working diligently to prevent death and starvation, we guarantee it in larger numbers and thereby maximize suffering.

The mistake was made..., it's too late now.

Now, Haiti can't feed itself because it's grossly overpopulated....


has less vegetation to hold on to what's left of its topsoil.

There are hardly any trees left.

It can no longer exist without international aid.

It would be Easter Island part II were it not for international aid.

It's just too late.

Time to try to institute some kind of policy to try to stabilize and eventually reverse its population, before they crash.

Decades of inexpensive imports...

Isn't the damage done to Haiti via cheap imports what is happening to the U.S. with cheap imports from China? Are we not in fact destroying our own economy by purchasing goods imported at a price cheaper than we ourselves could produce it? But what is the trade off? In the case of Haiti it caused a loss of their rice farmers and an increase in population. In the U.S. it means less people employed in manufacturing, but it also means a lot of money is being exported out of our economy.

A microcosm of this dynamic can be seen at Walmart. You have money being exported to China and the Waltons getting even wealthier doing it, while the poor working class. But Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, also have tons of chinese manufactured goods. How is that in our best interest? Are we not headed in the same direction as Haiti?

The difference is that you have a choice. Haiti doesn't. In fact they never had a choice in 200 years of independence. They alway were the paria of the new world. When you fly over Haiti by plane you can see the whole disaster. The destruction of soil is just overhelming. There is no way to feed those almost ten millon haitians with local agriculture. And don't expect the trend to change. All the deaths caused by the recent earthquake are only the equivalent of one single year of population growth.

In a way La Hispañola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, is a microcosm refelcting the vast mayority of global conflicts: Resource sacrcity, ethnical discrimination, territorial conflicts, huge inequality of wealth.

That these problems can't be solved at such a relatively small scale and within a relatively wealty enivronment of neighbouring countries only shows the horrible dimension of the the global picture.

By 1990, 98 percent of Haiti's native tropical forest was gone.
With little more than 50 percent of the island's potential farmland still arable, the island's growing population no longer can feed itself.
- Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery

I highly recommend this book (Dirt)

And an article on the rice subsidies:

30 Years Ago Haiti Grew All the Rice It Needed. What Happened?

..in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff protections for their Haitian rice and other agricultural products...

Doctor Paul Farmer was in Haiti then and saw what happened. “Within less than two years, it became impossible for Haitian farmers to compete with what they called `Miami rice.’ The whole local rice market in Haiti fell apart as cheap, U.S. subsidized rice, some of it in the form of `food aid,’ flooded the market. There was violence, `rice wars,’ and lives were lost.”

- Ron L: