Drumbeat: June 22, 2011

Saudis Set To Bankrupt Iran With Flood Of Oil

Today the Wall Street Journal has a fascinating piece describing a speech given this month by Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal. The prince, speaking to a group of U.S. and British servicemen at an airbase near London, explained that Saudi Arabia was so concerned about Iran’s continued march toward attaining nuclear weapons that it was considering opening its oil spigots and swamping the world with oil in the interest of gutting Tehran’s government revenue. The prince insisted that the Saudis still have sufficient spare production capacity that, if need be, “we could almost instantly replace all of Iran’s oil production” of roughly 4 million bpd.

Koch Industries lobbying members of Congress against natural gas subsidy

A top official of Koch Industries is sending letters to Capitol Hill Wednesday urging opposition to energy legislation that would boost use of natural gas, a proposal backed by energy billionaire, T. Boone Pickens.

Enbridge Discussing Shipping Cushing Oil To Gulf Coast

HOUSTON -(Dow Jones)- Enbridge Inc. (ENB) is discussing with customers the viability of shipping crude oil from the over-supplied storage hub of Cushing, Okla., to refiners along the Gulf Coast, a company executive said Wednesday.

Increasing oil production in the U.S. midcontinent region has caused a supply glut in Cushing, forcing U.S. benchmark crude prices to fall well below those for European crude oil. Relieving supply pressure in Cushing has become a mantra for pipeline operators such as Enbridge.

Keystone oil shipments cut back for July

(Reuters) - TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) said on Wednesday that oil shipments on its Keystone pipeline will be cut by 19.28 percent as it works on the line following two oil spills in May,

Norway indicts Transocean over alleged tax fraud

(Reuters) - Norwegian authorities said on Wednesday they have indicted two tax advisors and two Houston companies tied to U.S. oil services group Transocean over suspicions of tax fraud.

NOAA: US Unprepared for Changes in Arctic Ice

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is being inundated with requests for weather and ice forecasts as well as navigation information about the Arctic, but isn't able to provide all of the information that the Coast Guard, industries and native Alaskans need, NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco said Monday.

The NOAA chief, the commandant of the Coast Guard and the chief of naval operations spoke at a symposium about challenges ahead for the United States as summer Arctic sea ice declines, opening the Arctic to oil and gas extraction, fisheries, tourism and shipping.

Managing the Risk of Energy Uncertainty

A common characteristic with these future projections of climate change impacts and energy trends is uncertainty - levels of which differ but the sheer complexity of the issues makes it very difficult to accurately assess the levels of risk involved.

Instead of arguing how much hotter it will get or whether Hubbert was right, I think it would be much more productive, from a policy-making perspective, to focus on the nature of the potential threat. Which is more dangerous: a severe, short term, energy-induced economic crises? Or an unpredictable, long-term destabilisation of the Earth’s climate? (Of course these need not necessarily be contrasted -- ambitious climate change abatement can also reduce reliance on diminishing oil reserves).

Food Prize Goes to Ex-Leaders of Ghana and Brazil

Each year the World Food Prize recognizes the work of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The award was founded in 1986 by Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who transformed agriculture a half-century ago through his development of higher-yielding and heartier wheat varieties.

Why rational optimism beats ephemeral happiness

Start with one simple measurement. Appropriately fitted out with a CIS tie covered in small light bulbs, Ridley asks how long you have to work today to earn an hour of reading light. On an average wage today, half a second of work will pay for an hour of light. In 1950, the average wage earner worked eight seconds to run a conventional filament lamp; in 1880, 15 seconds of work was needed for a kerosene lamp; and more than six hours of work for an hour of light by tallow candle in the 1800s. In 1750BC, your average ancient Babylonian needed to work more than 50 hours to get an hour of light from a sesame oil lamp. That 43,200-fold improvement, says Ridley, signifies "the currency that counts, your time".

N.H.L. Tries to Give Back the Water

Before the Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins, the National Hockey League said that the finals would be the first “water neutral” series in its history.

“We’ve always been acutely aware of water usage,” said Bernadette Mansur, the league’s senior vice president for public affairs. “It’s in the DNA of the N.H.L.”

Levees Save a Farmhouse, but Farming Is Still a Risk

The great flood of 2011 is still slowly receding from the Mississippi Delta, sitting stubbornly in some areas, leaving behind in others thousands of damaged homes and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ruined crops. For farmers, who were expecting a banner year, it is closer to a nightmare.

“The two things that make or break us are the whims of a financial market and weather,” said John Michael Pillow, 41, who farms the land that borders the Harts, and who lost three-quarters of his corn crop this year, his first as sole owner of the family farm. “You can’t get any riskier.”

Save the global economy, save the planet

(CNN) -- For 50 years, environmentalists have argued we should save the planet for moral reasons, that there were more important things than money. But it will be the economic impact of climate change and resource limits that will motivate the sweeping changes necessary to avert catastrophe.

Leaders and experts are beginning to realize this. Chinese Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian recently said, "The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the worsening ecological environment have become bottlenecks and grave impediments to (our) economic and social development."

Oil falls below $94 after mixed US supply report

Oil prices fell below $94 a barrel Wednesday after a crude supply report reflected mixed signs about U.S. demand and the dollar strengthened against other currencies.

...The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that crude inventories fell 81,000 barrels last week while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had predicted a drop of 2.0 million barrels.

Inventories of gasoline dropped 1.5 million barrels last week, surprising analysts who had forecast an increase of 1 million barrels. Distillates fell 541,000 barrels, the API said.

High US Gasoline Prices to Cut July 4 Travel: AAA

U.S. Independence Day holiday travel will fall 2.5 percent from a year ago as expensive gasoline eats at driving demand, travel group AAA forecast on Wednesday.

Even with the recent decline in gasoline prices, AAA estimates 39 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the July 4 weekend, down from 40 million last year.

Of these, some 32.8 million, or 84 percent, will drive to their vacations — a million fewer than last year.

Goldman Sachs Says Libya Oil Exports May Rise, Near-Term Prices ‘Choppy’

Libyan oil exports could rise by as much as 355,000 barrels a day in the short term from the opposition-controlled part of the country after rebels pledged to resume shipments, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)

Qaddafi Tanks Deprived of Diesel as Ships Shunning Libya: Freight Markets

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is facing a fourth month without the diesel cargoes needed to power tanks as he endures an 11-week air campaign led by NATO.

No vessel delivered the fuel to Qaddafi-controlled ports since February, according to five oil-product traders and three shipbrokers interviewed by Bloomberg. The country, once Africa’s third-largest crude producer, normally got four shipments a month, they said. One vessel holds 34 million liters (9 million gallons), enough to fill all Libyan tanks 18 times over, based on data from IHS Jane’s, a military analysis company.

China warns US to keep out of S. China Sea dispute

BEIJING – China urged the United States on Wednesday to restrain other countries from provoking Beijing in disputes over contested territories in the South China Sea, warning that Washington risks becoming embroiled in an unwanted conflict.

Rubin: BP report shows economic growth still depends on oil

The relationship between energy and global economic growth has never been clearer than in BP’s World Energy Statistical Review for 2010. No sooner had the global economy shook off the shackles from the last recession than energy demand exploded. It grew by more than 5.5 per cent last year, the largest annual increase in more than 30 years.

Texas: Drillers Must Disclose ‘Fracking’ Chemicals

Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill requiring drillers to disclose the chemicals they use when extracting oil and gas from rock formations, making Texas the first state to pass such a law.

Deepwater Horizon Manager Refuses to Testify in Spill Lawsuits

Jimmy Wayne Harrell, Transocean Ltd. (RIG)’s highest-ranking drilling employee on the Deepwater Horizon rig before it exploded and sank, refused to testify in civil lawsuits over the accident, according to court records.

Transocean Says in Own Probe Gulf Spill Disaster Result of BP’s Decisions

Transocean Ltd. (RIG), owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that sank in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, said its internal investigation found the fatal explosion and subsequent oil spill was the result of many decisions made by BP Plc. (BP/)

In the two weeks leading up to the April 20 well blowout, decisions were driven by BP’s knowledge that the geological window for safe drilling was becoming increasingly narrow, Vernier, Switzerland-based Transocean said today in a statement.

Goldman Sachs Fined by ICE Exchange for ‘Disorderly’ Trading

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) was fined 25,000 pounds ($40,000) by the ICE Futures Europe exchange for “disorderly” oil trading, the London-based exchange said.

An ICE committee that investigated the trades “found no evidence of intentional manipulation of the market; nevertheless it considered the breach to be of a serious nature,” ICE said in a circular on its website dated June 17.

Fukushima post-mortem under way

As ministers debate nuclear safety standards behind closed doors in Vienna the spotlight is on changing the industry's culture of secrecy.

Japan Plans to Unlink Nuclear Agency From Government

TOKYO — Responding to criticism that lax oversight played a role in the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan’s government may make its nuclear regulatory agency more independent as early as next year.

Flooding Brings Worries Over Two Nuclear Plants

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As record floodwaters along the Missouri River drench homes and businesses, concerns have grown about keeping a couple of notable structures dry: two riverside nuclear power plants in Nebraska.

N.Y. Missed Deadline on Indian Point Decision, Operator Says

New York State missed a deadline for ruling on an application for a water quality certificate for the Indian Point nuclear plant, the plant’s owner, Entergy, said on Tuesday in a notification to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The filing raised the possibility that state officials may have lost a tool for blocking a license renewal for the plant’s nuclear reactors.

Uranium Mine Moratorium Extended at Grand Canyon

The federal government on Monday extended for six months a moratorium on new uranium mining claims in a million-acre buffer zone around the Grand Canyon as it awaits the conclusions of a study of potential environmental harm to the region.

Siemens Seeks Rare Earths Outside China After Supplies Curbed

Siemens AG (SIE) is working to obtain rare earths used in its wind turbines from outside China, the world’s biggest supplier, after the nation curbed production of the strategic commodities to reduce environmental damage.

Siemens, Germany’s largest engineering company, is seeking to develop supplies for rare earths in Australia, Russia, Greenland and California that will limit price increases and keep materials crucial to their products flowing, said Henrik Stiesdal, chief technology officer of Siemens Wind Power.

China Aims to Boost Share of Non-Fossil Sources in Energy Supply

China aims to boost the share of non-fossil sources in its energy mix to 20 percent by 2030 and to 33 percent by 2050, said Han Wenke, head of energy research at the National Development & Reform Commission.

Non-fossil sources including wind, solar, biomass, hydro and nuclear power accounted for about 9.6 percent of China’s energy supply at the end of last year, Han said at a conference in Beijing today, citing government data.

KLM to turn used cooking oil into aviation biofuel

AMSTERDAM (AP) - Dutch airline KLM plans to use recycled cooking oil as biofuel to power flights to and from France in a move aimed at cutting carbon emissions.

Starting in September, KLM will begin more than 200 flights between Paris and Amsterdam using biofuel made from used cooking oil, the company said Wednesday.

The Great Ethanol Scam of 2011

In an effort to get our fiscal house in order, Republicans decided it would be a good idea to cut funding for public radio and Planned Parenthood. Because clearly, this is what's bankrupting this country.

And last week, Joe Biden told reporters one of his first wasteful spending targets is a website dedicated to the desert tortoise.

Are you freakin' kidding me?! Can you believe the stones on this guy?

Meanwhile, the Senate has just rejected bills to end billions in tax breaks for oil companies and billions more in ethanol subsidies. The latter just went down last week, with a 40-59 vote.

Oil Free by 2020

Sweden rightly believes that world oil supplies are peaking. The catchphrase here is Peak Oil—a theory I believe is on the money.

Peak Oil maintains that the supposedly friendly regime in Saudi Arabia does not have the oil reserves it says it has. I have been writing for a long time that America should not be doing business with the Saudis or any of the radical Muslim crowd. I mean zero business.

And I sure as hell would not be selling arms to any of these folk. Talk about abject stupidity.

My goal, like Sweden's, is to sharply reduce the use of oil. My strategic target is for a total collapse in world oil prices.

Book Review – Life Without Oil

The premise of the book is that the world is running out of oil while at the same time depleting itself of its natural resources. These two issues can combine to cause destruction and complete collapse of a society. The book begins by highlighting some of the societies that have disappeared due to lack of resources whether it be water or trees or others. One of the most famous case studies he uses is that of Easter Island, now owned by Chile, and the irony that although the people knew their future was in jeopardy due to diminished resources, they used them all anyway. Will this be society today?

Collapseology: why this should be shaping Australian public policy

In recent times there has been an emergence of a genre of research theory that could be called collapseology. Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive (2005), Thomas Homer-Dixon’s The Upside and Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilisation (2006) and Graeme Taylor’s Evolution’s Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World (2008) are three of many books seeing the likelihood of a collapse of modern civilisation based upon a business-as-usual use of resources and continuous economic growth.

The cover story edition of New Scientist (5 April, 2008), ‘The Collapse of Civilisation: It’s more precarious than we realised’, discussed the work of a number of leading thinkers who believe that a breakdown of modern civilisation could occur because of technological systems becoming so complex that they reach ‘critical dimensions of instability’ and then collapse or slowly disintegrate. Joseph Tainter, an archaeologist at the University of Utah, and the author of The Collapse of Complex Societies (1988) believes that complex societies – including our own – can collapse in a matter of decades because of diminishing returns from increased complexity.

Making a post-oil transition

Think of the Scouts' motto or the ads about getting ready for retirement.

In this case, the "retirement" is crude oil and the "getting ready" plan is setting up a transition town, which is a plan for the future.

Transition town advocate David Turner says that future is close and plans need to be put in place now. The Okato-based Brit says that when he was growing up in Britain in the 1980s, he heard of an oil crisis and how it would affect "our children".

Prophets of Doom airing in Canada

Prophets of Doom, a two-hour special that originally aired about six months ago in the U.S.A., us getting its first airing here. It's about potential endings of the United States, due to your choice of the following: peak oil, freshwater supply decline, financial explosion, nuclear terrorism (domestic or foreign). So basically this is a fun two hours! (History Channel, 8 p.m.)

Angry buzz rises among neighbors of beekeepers

After planting an expansive garden in April, Perullo promptly added a hive of 50,000 bees to pollinate her vegetables and fruit plants. That's when the buzzing started from next door.

A neighbor fearful of bees had an attorney warn Perullo that zoning laws didn't permit them and she'd have to send her winged friends packing. As a result, the city council in this verdant suburb of San Francisco is studying whether to change its position on backyard beekeeping.

"I don't understand it — if I remove the hive, she'll still have bees," says a frustrated Perullo, 41, pointing to her neighbor's lot, which features numerous fruit trees and borders on bee-filled open space. "I didn't do this to create a nuisance but to teach my three kids where food comes from. I hope the city reconsiders."

Gore faults Obama on global warming

WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Al Gore is going where few environmentalists — and fellow Democrats — have gone before: criticizing President Barack Obama's record on global warming.

In a 7,000-word essay for Rolling Stone magazine that will be published Friday, Gore says Obama has failed to stand up for "bold action" on global warming and has made little progress on the problem since the days of Republican President George W. Bush. Bush infuriated environmentalists for resisting mandatory controls on the pollution blamed for climate change, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible.

Justices Rebuff States on Utilities’ Gas Emissions

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously rejected a lawsuit that had sought to force major electric utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions without waiting for federal regulators to act.

Climate Change: Public Skeptical, Scientists Sure

The American public is less likely to believe in global warming than it was just five years ago. Yet, paradoxically, scientists are more confident than ever that climate change is real and caused largely by human activities.

Something a bit strange is happening with public opinion and climate change.

Saving Nature by Ending It: Geoengineering and the Moral Case for Conservation

Keith is one of the world's leading proponents of geoengineering research as well as an advisor on climate and energy to one of the world's leading philanthropists (and richest men), Bill Gates. As a maker of machines, including the first atomic-scale interferometer, Keith doesn't think we're running out of techno-fixes or even beginning to approach any limits on resources, technological progress or even the Earth's ability to support an expanding human population. "It is true that we will run out of easy oil in the Middle East with profound geopolitical impacts, but that's very different than running out of oil," he said. "We have an absurd amount of hydrocarbons in the world and a growing technological ability to get them out at prices we can afford."

In other words, peak oil (or coal or natural gas) won't save us from climate change. What might, according to Keith? Government regulations, which are what has allowed progress on remedying environmental problems from air pollution to eliminating toxic heavy metals from the soil.

Fastest Sea-Level Rise in 2,000 Years Linked to Increasing Global Temperatures

ScienceDaily — The rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years -- and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level.

The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Oil and gas analyst Michael E. Lynch seems to be getting more bearish on oil production every day.

Declining production rates drive South American rig count

All over the world, natural declines are eroding production rates from existing wells. The rate of erosion seems to be increasing but statistics are hard to come by. The end result is that more wells are required to produce the same volume of oil. In the absence of a great reduction in gasoline demand, this trend is likely to continue.

Bold mine. Isn't this what happened in the US in the 70s? Now it's happening all over the world. Well, that is really not news. Two point four trillion dollars in capital expenditures since 2005 have only kept production level. But now it seems that all that capex can no longer even do that.

Ron P.

The significance of this could hardly be overstated, and sooner or later mainstream analysts and devotees of unlimited growth will have to face up to it. They are, perhaps, beginning to do that, but my guess is that it will be a while still before they let go of the idea that the American way will be to drill our way out of this problem.

Time to start searching for scapegoats....

Watch out for "Monsters on Maple Street,"

The Twilight Zone with a dash of Mad Max.....

I think this is one thing many people are missing. The global decline rate is going to be much much larger than most people expect over a short period when it does crack. My expectation is we will have a rapid decline into the 60 million barrel/day range and then we will be able to maintain this for decades. Jeramey Gilbert(from BP) discusses this here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d3kK4kgz5g Most of the technology over the last decade has had to do with getting oil out of the ground faster with super straws. We haven’t found enough new oil. Essentially it has pulled production from the future that will cause the decline curve to be not so linear. If Pemex wouldn’t have done all of the EOR on Cantarell they wouldn’t have had such a steep decline over the last five years but they never would have had production so high….. but in the end will they get any more oil out of the field?

My expectation is we will have a rapid decline into the 60 million barrel/day range and then we will be able to maintain this for decades.

I do not see that happening at all. The decline will, I believe, be very slow at first, around 1 percent per year, then 1.5 and so on until it reaches about 2.5 to 3. Then things will get very erratic after that. Peak oil will be a fact to every producing nation in the world. They will start to ration their exports, exporting enough, at very high prices, to keep their economy going but with an eye on future production and exports as well.

But there is a wild card that no one can foresee, the economies of world nations. They are starting to come apart in places right now but if they get worse and economies collapse in mass, that could hit oil demand as well as prices.

Let's just face it, everything is a guess, a WAG if you will. The system is extremely complex and interacts in ways we may not even know about. We can only be relatively sure about one thing... it's going to get worse.

Ron P.

Ja, Ron. Ten years from now, we will look back at 2012 and say, with confidence, what is going to happen then. And, why. Today, it's mostly a crap shoot, with a bit of trend and experience on which to base those predictions.

How bad, when, and how we will manage it, the future will be what we make it. Perhaps, like Oppenheimer, we will become as Gods?


Now that we've seen what's happened since the crash, we can make better guesses. The pace of global economic activity will slow down, developed economies will be in a persistent deflation/stagflation, the Chinese growth story will end. Major defaults on government debt and/or currency devaluations or collapses. Travel will become expensive and difficult, shipping will take alot longer. Things will become local. The prices of real assets - food, farmland, metals, energy, will rise in an unstable, chaotic manner even while the price of everything else falls in the same manner. The end of the American military and dollar empire, even if it takes decades. Capital controls and an increasingly intrusive central police state. Broken promises for those who have played by the rules as savers, the elderly/pensioners are wiped out while the banks and CEO's keep their ill gotten gains. Infrastructure will go unrepaired, the quality of education and healthcare will decrease. People will feel "trapped" in place, whether city or country. Politicians and experts in every conceivable field will appear to be helpless and lost. The "end of the world" never arrives as long as some people have a roof over their head and food in their tummies.

But yes, we can't predict the rate of decline of production and how it impacts each person in each locale, and we can't predict the black swans.

Re: The Great Ethanol Scam of 2011, up top:

“What do you need a tax credit for when you have this built-in huge market in the United States?” asked Bruce Babcock, an economist at Iowa State University. “The U.S. ethanol industry is very competitive; they don’t need the (subsidy).”


The same can be said for oil, yet oil benefits from subsidies like the oil depletion allowance, the strategic petroleum reserve, drilling incentives and wars for oil security to the tune of billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost.

There is no soil depletion allowance for ethanol, no strategic ethanol reserve to remove excess supply from the market and no wars costing billions and American dead defending the ethanol supply. It is oil companies which collect the so called ethanol subsidies as tax credits, not ethanol distillers or corn farmers.

For those who think that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve does not support oil prices, why are there so many attempts to release it when oil prices are high? What would be the point of releasing it if it would not lower prices? The reserve is American tax dollars tied up in an asset that benefits oil companies. It is not a feature of a free market.

The blenders credit was initiated because oil companies have a near monopoly on liquid fuel and its distribution . The blenders credit was to compensate them for use of their distribution and marketing facilities which it makes no sense for much smaller ethanol to try to duplicate if it could which is unlikely.

It is clear that ethanol is a competitive product to gasoline and without compensation of some form oil companies have little incentive to try to sell it. The blenders credit worked.

Now ethanol, an American made renewable fuel, is suppose to stand alone while oil which is over 50 percent imported, produced by some who support terrorism or are unfriendly to American interests, and sold by some of the largest and most profitable companies in the world receives billions and the sacrifices of lives of thousands.

if there is a government mandate (RFS) that forces blenders to use a certain amount of ethanol why do we (tax payers) have to pay the oil companies for obeying the law?

Why are the oil companies the only ones who need to be protected from unfunded government mandates?

I don't know. I understand the thought, and I just come back to, if the oil companies have to pay, they pass it on to the consumers. If they don't the taxes come back on the consumers. We're screwed any way we turn, as long as we insist on using ICEs to power our way of life.


For those who think that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve does not support oil prices, why are there so many attempts to release it when oil prices are high?

X that is a non-sequitur. It does not follow that because people want oil from the SPR dumped on the market to lower prices that the oil not dumped, doing nothing, keeps prices high.

Oil held in the SPR, doing nothing but just sitting there, cannot possibly support oil prices. Now if the US was filling the reserve, buying millions of barrels to fill it, that would have an upward bias on oil prices. And if they were to dump millions of barrels of oil from the SPR on the market that would likely cause oil prices to drop.

But if the US is neither filling or emptying the SPR that cannot support oil prices. But if you know a secret that no one else knows, that secret being how oil doing nothing can in fact be doing something, please don't keep it a secret any longer. Please share it with us.

Ron P.

Not only that, Ron, but the SPR is NOT intended for our pleasure. It is for emergency use... probably by FEMA or the military and emergency response teams during the civil unrest for which the Pentagon is rightly preparing (between 2012 and 2015).


Today the US is pumping the SPR for the pleasure of lower prices.

Now ethanol, an American made renewable fuel, is suppose to stand alone while oil which is over 50 percent imported

Why should corn contain toxic BT?

Exactly how will enough corn be grown to provide the amount of liquid based BTUs of the imported oil?

I look forward to your propmt and accurate responses.

The same can be said for oil, yet oil benefits from subsidies like the oil depletion allowance, the strategic petroleum reserve, drilling incentives and wars for oil security to the tune of billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost.

Agricultural subsidies - United States

The United States currently pays around $20 billion per year to farmers in direct subsidies as "farm income stabilization"[9][10][11] via U.S. farm bills.

A Canadian report claimed that for every dollar U.S. farmers earn, 62 cents comes from some form of government, with total aid in 2009 from all levels of government adding up to $180.8 billion.[12]

Corn is the top crop for subsidy payments. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandates that billions of gallons of ethanol be blended into vehicle fuel each year, guaranteeing demand, but US corn ethanol subsidies are between $5.5 billion and $7.3 billion per year. Producers also benefit from a federal subsidy of 51 cents per gallon, additional state subsidies, and federal crop subsidies that can bring the total to 85 cents per gallon or more.[17] (US corn-ethanol producers are also shielded from competition from cheaper Brazilian sugarcane-ethanol by a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff[18][19])

When it comes to subsidizing Big Oil, American politicians are a bunch of cheapskates by comparison with their subsidies to agriculture.

The wars are more a subsidy for the huge US military/industrial complex in general rather than American oil companies in particular.

Getting kind of carried away aren't you, RMG?
(Dizzy from riding your wind-powered train no doubt)
51 cents x 14 billion gallons= $7.1 billion dollars

Now I'm hoping Obama cancels Keystone and they shutdown those filty tar sands. Try building a pipeline to China and India.

Everytime you turn around there is another problem with oil.

We need to get off oil anyways.

You just show that relying as arrogant Canadians for energy is as a big mistake as relying on Saudis.

China will definitely buy the oil if you don't want it.

I was just quoting the Wikipedia article about US agricultural subsidies. I didn't write it.

No, I didn't get dizzy riding the wind-powered electric train to work, which I did for years - it was much less stressful than driving.

If Obama cancels the Keystone extension to the Gulf Coast, yes Canada will build a pipeline (or two) to China and India. Well, actually to a Northern BC port from which Ultra-Large Crude Carriers (ULCCs) will take it to China and India.

If that happens, feel free to take your own conveniently available wind-powered electric train or bicycle or walk to wherever it is you want to go.

Canadian malls growing in only one direction

Only two enclosed malls have been built in Canada since 1989 – Vaughan Mills in Toronto and CrossIron Mills in Calgary. Even places that have been mall-friendly in the past, such as Vancouver’s suburb to the east, Burnaby, no longer have room for them.

Established communities like Burnaby have been increasingly focused on developing more urban, mixed-use town centres to support improved transit services, higher amenity urban living and more walkable, complete and compact communities.

So how is expansion of retail space likely to happen?

First, many of the country’s 300 existing malls will expand upward on the land they already own to accommodate the horde of American and European chains wanting in, including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Juicy Couture, J. Crew, Vero Moda, Jack & Jones and more.

Coming soon to a pedestrian, bicycle, and transit-friendly community shopping mall nowhere near you. I could take my local wind-powered electric train to several of them.

"I could take my local wind-powered electric train to several of them."

And yet one size often doesn't fit all. They only run trains in crowded places, and apparently there's a price to be paid beyond the fare - according to this, the more urban your surroundings are, the more unhealthy they might be:

Meyer-Lindenberg’s findings, published June 23 in Nature, are a neurological investigation into the underpinnings of a disturbing social trend: As a rule, city life seems to generate mental illness...

Meyer-Lindenberg and colleagues noted that, while they consider social stress to be the most likely trigger, other factors — pollution, crowding, as-yet-unanalyzed demographic and socioeconomic factors — could be involved...

Like rats in an overcrowded cage?

So a study of a few students in Germany found that they were under more stress in the city than in the country.

What can one say?

On the one hand, it is a very limited and preliminary study, as they admit in the article.

On the other hand--Duh!

I'm sure there are some stressful jobs in the city, but in general, anyone who has spent much time in either knows that the city can be more stressful. This is why city people often take vacations in the country.

On the other hand, lots of people, rural, suburban and urban, love to visit big cities because they are so exiting.

So you can be bored but stable in the country, or stimulated in the city, but that increased stimulation comes with a risk of being stimulated to the point of becoming unhinged.

How could it be otherwise?

How could it be otherwise?

You could have a city with lovely open spaces embedded in it: Seattle Parks Foundation.

The key point is having a citizenry who thinks this is important. We voted on parks bond levies in 2000 and again in 2008 and both passed by a wide margin.

You could have a city with lovely open spaces embedded in it:

The key point is having a citizenry who thinks this is important.

However, I'm sure that citizenry will need to be vigilant against greed. They will need to stand together at all times and believe me over time greed has a way of winning. Probably in a few decades those open spaces will be developed. That's what happens to most cities. NY with its central park is an incredibly amazing instance of open space being preserved against the constant demands of absolute frothing at the mouth greed.

Greed only has to win once, preservation must win over and over and over....

The author of "The Worst Hard Times" (Westexas recommends it!) wrote a book I'm 1/2 way thru about the Forest Service, Teddy Roosevelt, and the big fire that burned up Idaho and Montana in the early 1900's. "The Big Burn" - Timothy Egan.

The staggering and overwhelming GREED of the timber barons, the railroaders, and the general citizenry make today's folks seem not so bad. It was truly awful how they wanted absolute private control and private profit of all the West. "The people that follow us can fend for themselves..."

Your observation was captured very well by Aesop (about 700bc) in the classic story of the "City MOuse and the Country Mouse". The country mouse has plain simple food he can eat in peace. The city mouse has luxuries but she must compete for them...dogs, cats and humans are waiting to come and get the food off the table too. She lives an exciting but stressful life. In the end the two mice go their separate ways and agree that they cannot change who they are. Some people thrive in cities and some like the country.

By the way, speaking of Aesop, who was Greek, what will happen as the Greek debt crisis continues? Does anyone think they will default?

Um, everyone knows they will default. The creditors are just trying to extract as much as possible first.

"Some people thrive in cities and some like the country."

Precisely. And that's the problem with supercilious one-size-fits-all prescriptions of the sort that often turn up in these discussions.

"supercilious one-size-fits-all prescriptions"

Right, like "the free market will always solve all problems perfectly everywhere"?

Many of those conversation aren't anything LIKE 'One-Size fits all' until some conversation on bikes, trains or buses becomes interpreted by YOU as a Dictatorial Edict that would forcibly bolt you and everyone else to the seat of these wretched and tortuous horrors.

You mentioned 'the Power of Positive Thinking' in another post here, and I want to caution you to avoid even the thought of such thoughts, since it's so diametrically opposed to your MO, that I fear it would disintegrate you entirely.

Hi pi,

How is it going for you in Japan?

The trains ran in Calgary, which is a city which recently exceeded 1 million in its metropolitan area. It started building the system 30 years ago when it only had half a million people.

According to US census data, over half of the population of the US lives in metropolitan areas of 1 million or more. There are over 50 metropolitan areas in the US which are larger than Calgary, and any of them could have a comparable area-wide light rail system if they really wanted to.

As a counterexample to almost everything you're going to say, let me offer the example of Richmond, British Columbia , a suburb of Vancouver.

According to Statistics Canada, residents of Richmond have the greatest life expectancy in Canada at 83.4 years, and the lowest obesity and smoking rates as well. The average price of a detached home in Richmond is $758,915. Serious violent crime is very rare in Richmond, and Richmond was ranked as the third safest city in British Columbia

The public transit system in Metro Vancouver, planned and funded by TransLink, currently has bus and rail connections from Richmond to Downtown Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, Delta and the University of British Columbia. A SkyTrain rail line called the Canada Line, connecting both Richmond Centre and the airport to Downtown Vancouver and to points in between, opened on Monday, August 17, 2009. The Canada Line provides travel to Downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes with a frequency of 3 to 12 minutes, 20 hours per day, using the same fares as the bus system.

There you have it. Very healthy people, very low crime rates, and really great public transit. You would have to go there to appreciate how relaxed the residents are.

"...any of them could have a comparable area-wide light rail system if they really wanted to."

Whoa... IIRC, not exactly. According to a previous discussion, the Calgary light rail just covers parts of the mere 1/6 of the metropolitan area that most of the population is stuffed into - and to boot, workplaces for 120,000 people were said to be crammed into just a single square kilometer or so. Most of the US cities are rather less jammed, and would require many more miles of light rail to serve the same number of people equally effectively. That raises the cost and reduces the frequency of service, making the rail a much poorer value for money. In Chicago, an older and denser city, the CTA operating (not capital) cost is apparently about $7/ride, for a daily roundtrip of $14, rivaling the cost of driving the fairly short distances the CTA typically takes you (the CTA can exist only due to the parking issue plus massive subsidy from functionally-bankrupt Illinois.)

And whoa again, big whoa. A place with an average home price of $758,000 is only for people made of money, not ordinary folks. That puts it far outside the scope of a general discussion. It also means that lavish subsidies for lightly-used wee-hours transit, paid via taxes unaffordable to ordinary folks, might well be just chump change for the highly affluent locals. Also, even in the US, places as highly exclusive as that often have low crime rates.

In other words, vast gobs of money simply can buy many things. Very possibly they can buy one's way out of all or most of the problems noted in the German study. But that doesn't concern us in this context.

According to a previous discussion, the Calgary light rail just covers parts of the mere 1/6 of the metropolitan area that most of the population is stuffed into - and to boot, workplaces for 120,000 people were said to be crammed into just a single square kilometer or so.

The downtown core of Calgary is heavily Manhattanized, since it is a major head office city. Large corporations like dense downtown cores since it is very efficient to put all the head office employees in a very small area full of skyscrapers. However, I wouldn't describe the population of Calgary as "stuffed" into anything. It sprawls like a typical Western North American city.

The light rail system currently covers the South, Northeast, and Northwest sectors of the city. The West line is now under construction, and after the North and Southeast lines are completed, the whole city will be blanketed by light rail. The purpose of the feeder bus system is to provide service to all the people who are not withing walking distance of a station.

In Chicago, an older and denser city, the CTA operating (not capital) cost is apparently about $7/ride, for a daily roundtrip of $14, rivaling the cost of driving the fairly short distances the CTA typically takes you

In Calgary, a younger and not so dense city, the transit system has estimated the average cost of a light rail ride at 27 cents. See Calgary’s CTrain – Effective Capital Utilization

A place with an average home price of $758,000 is only for people made of money, not ordinary folks. That puts it far outside the scope of a general discussion.

Yes, but that's Richmond. Millionaires from China are bidding up the prices because they like the quality of life and they need somewhere to live while they are buying up Canada's natural resources. Calgary is much cheaper and the quality of life is still pretty decent.

I'm not sure what all the Canada/USA bickering is about. As someone who has lived in Calgary and many places in the USA, each have their own good and bad qualities. What I found interesting in how much the same things were than different between both countries. My friends in Calgary would never be caught dead on a bus and wanted more highways/roads. Busses were for the underclass as they would say. The C-Train was better received, but although vast for a city its size, it didn't hit my neighborhood north of Nose Hill Park. To get downtown was a long drive over to Crowchild or the Deerfoot, both crammed with traffic like any American city. Calgary surely has better transit than 99% of American cities its size, but it's still not quite there IMO, both the network and the public acceptance. Driving is still too cheap and density isn't high enough.

From my experience transit works best in very dense cities where owning a car becomes too expensive and too much of a hassle to deal with. I have friends in Chicago that own cars but rarely drive them because it's just too much of a hassle and free parking is few and far between. But go outside Chicago proper and the burbs are just too sprawled out for anything other than a commuter train into the Loop to make any sense at all. Perhaps Calgary would be well served if they had a commuter train network with express service downtown from places like Country Hills, McKenzie and Chestermere.

Lastly, I must say that Canadian real estate is insane (unless your are in the prairies). When I was in Calgary about 5+ years ago the going price for a middle class house was around $500k and mortgage terms weren't nearly as relaxed as in the US. Top that off, no interest deduction on taxes, etc. IMO it is far more expensive to own a house in Canada than in the US outside of maybe California and some east coast cities.

The Canada/USA bicker is about statements like,

In Chicago, an older and denser city, the CTA operating (not capital) cost is apparently about $7/ride, for a daily roundtrip of $14, rivaling the cost of driving the fairly short distances the CTA typically takes you (the CTA can exist only due to the parking issue plus massive subsidy from functionally-bankrupt Illinois.)

Americans don't realize that what they are seeing in their cities is the result of half a century or more of hidden government subsidies to the oil and automobile industries. The Canadian government has provided much lower subsidies (to transit as well as to automobiles) so Canadian cities have a completely different orientation more in favor of public transit (which costs less because of higher ridership and lower government subsidies).

But back to attitudes toward buses. I remember one of my nephews in Calgary, who was having trouble keeping his Honda Civic running, complaining that he couldn't drive to his low-paying temporary job. His perspectives may have been distorted by the fact that his father was VP of an oil company, (but not keen on subsidizing an idle son), so he looked down his nose at me and said, "Buses are for the OTHER half!"

I looked back at him and said, "You're completely misunderstanding the situation. Buses are for YOUR half!" He was completely crushed by the realization. Many people will be in the same situation in the post-peak-oil world. They just haven't realized it, yet.

House prices in Calgary are very high, but it is, after all, one of the fastest-growing cities on the continent, mortgages have not melted down due to the annoyingly restrictive Canadian mortgage regulations you mentioned, and many people there (not just a select few) have insanely high incomes, so for them house prices are highly affordable.

Many of them would like to drive to work, but if you run the numbers, you just can't try to put 120,000 cars into half a square mile of downtown core with very narrow streets, and move them in and out in an average day. So, only corporate executives and people with more money than brains will drive. Everyone else has to take the train.

Americans don't realize that what they are seeing in their cities is the result of half a century or more of hidden government subsidies to the oil and automobile industries. The Canadian government has provided much lower subsidies (to transit as well as to automobiles) so Canadian cities have a completely different orientation more in favor of public transit (which costs less because of higher ridership and lower government subsidies).

I agree with you 100% that most Americans don't realize the true cost of oil through indirect subsidies like maintaining a military presence in the middle east. (I would argue it's a benefit all OECD countries receive while only one pays for, but that's a different discussion.) Canada seems to tax fuels more but I haven't a clue what that goes to fund. Transit perhaps?

Additionally, I do think Canada has been smart not to match the US in scope of highway and road building. That said, I fail to believe any public transit system in Canada is revenue neutral. I don't question they are more profitable to the ones in the States, but without gov't funds the C-Train would not exist, much like every transit system in the US. Prove me wrong because that would be excellent info to use in support of transit state side.

Until using a personal automobile becomes something that only the elite can afford I'm quite positive most people, Canadians and Americans alike, will prefer the car to transit. I strongly support transit because I think that day will be sooner than later, but the point remains that the difference in public perception of transit between Canadians and Americans is about 10 yards apart on a 100 yard field.

without gov't funds the C-Train would not exist, much like every transit system in the US. Prove me wrong because that would be excellent info to use in support of transit state side.

The Calgary C-Train resulted from a conscious decision by the voters not to build downtown freeways - the city just took the money they would have spent on freeways and spent it on building tracks instead. In that sense, it is revenue neutral - they would have spent the money anyway (much of it grants from senior governments), it was just a choice as to where they spent it.

Most major Canadian cities have all had freeway revolts, with the voters shooting down some freeways in mid-air, which would be unusual in the US. In Canada they just vote to kill the funding and there it is, dead in mid-construction.

American cities don't often do that (witness Boston's $14 billion Big Dig) and would try to build both downtown freeways plus a rail transit system. That would cost much more money, and result in much lower ridership on the rail system.

In retrospect Calgary's LRT worked out well because building freeways is becoming increasingly expensive as a city grows and would ultimately have cost billions, whereas the initial cost of the LRT system - which carries as many commuters as 16 lanes of freeway - was about $500 million. Expanding capacity is relatively cheap compared to widening freeways - they just buy more trains.

An secondary decision that worked out well was to defer building a subway because of groundwater problems. Once they got the LRT running, they realized they didn't need a subway at all, and saved themselves a billion dollars or so there as well.

very civilized reply to a somewhat nasty jibe. Well done. Maybe we would be better off slowing down the growth of exports. We would then have our dirty oil and be able to somewhat carry on a smooth transition.

Lately, this site has become nasty in personal attacks. I just wanted to say how much I value your comments, those of Ron P, and other experts. Don't slow the flow....of ideas.


majorian, you should get a Nobel Price for your extraordinary thought, quote: "We need to get off oil anyways." Thank you!

Do you know where Canada is located on a map? Do you know the difference between a democratic state and an Islamic kingdom? Apparently not since you write, quote: " You just show that relying as arrogant Canadians for energy is as a big mistake as relying on Saudis.

Do you know that Canada is the largest supplier of crude to the US? You write: Now I'm hoping Obama cancels Keystone and they shutdown those filty tar sands." How would you replace the oil? Perhaps you could beg your friends Chavez or the king of SA?

Isn't a government mandate to produce ethanol enough? How about subsidies to grown corn? And please tell us how you can produce corn without oil, another indirect subsidy? Further, drilling incentives encourage domestic production, not foreign production. I am not saying these are justified but they don't fit your dependency on foreign oil meme. The SPR seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do assuming it is only used in a true crisis, not just to try to manipulate short term prices.

please tell us how you can produce corn without oil,...?


If I had to, I could add pictures of my grandfather's old steam-powered thrashing machine. Or the horse-drawn wagon he took the crop to the railroad station in, or the steam train that took the grain to the steam-powered mills. The cattle and pigs got to the slaughterhouse under their own power.

Both my grandfathers had their own coal mines. They just dug holes in the ground and excavated coal to heat their houses and power their farm equipment.

Realistically, that technology could be reintroduced again. Farmers don't really need oil to produce food.

I grow vegetables without oil. But that doesn't mean I could produce them in sufficient quantity and cost to be competitive.


I grow vegetables without oil. But that doesn't mean I could produce them in sufficient quantity and cost to be competitive.

I can.


G'day Scrub, you should have a crack at "The Inventors" with that mother, it's a beauty.


What do you do with that thing when you are no ploughing/harvesting etc, does it just sit there?

I ask the question because it occurs to me that what you have there is a large, one-axis tracking system for solar panels. You could put a bunch of panels along the central truss, on a tilt mechanism that allows them to be adjusted for the optimum sun angle (saw once a month, or so), and then you have the thing lined up to face E in the morning, and it slowly rotates anti clockwise all day to face west in the evening. I guess, actually, if you set the rotation speed at 1 revolution per day, you just let it keep going over night an it is in the right position the next morning.

From your photos I am guessing 20m radius, and if you set up mounts for 200W panels, which are about 1m wide, you could have about 15 of them, for 3kW of tracked PV, grid tie (or not). Put some extra structure there to make the top wider, (the width of your end frames) and you could have three panels across, for 45 and 9kW. For an average of seven full sun hours a day, (thanks to tracking) you have 63kWh, worth about $16/day ($5840/yr).

Not enough to pay for the rig, of course, but since you already have a one axis tacker, that is connected to a power source, you are 1/3 of the way there. I know of no other "tractor" in the world that could be net energy positive!

Yair...tried the "Inventors" they did'nt understand/like it. We'll push the smaller version when I get it built.

Yes Paul, that version comprises four six meter sections for the mainframe. With the eight meter void space in the centre it gives two thousand square meters of swept area for planting.

Thanks for pointing out on a website the advantage of the concept as a tracking mount for panels. I sort of get blank looks when I mention such notions.

There is no reason the unit could not be grid tied or charge on board or remote batteries as well as driving a DC traction motor. Production units will use a small mercury rotating coupling to carry the current through the pivot...at the moment we just wind up an extension lead and have never had a problem.


It is clear that ethanol is a competitive product to gasoline and without compensation of some form oil companies have little incentive to try to sell it. The blenders credit worked

The blenders credit has been a hopeless failure.

It was first instituted in 1980, at the then rate of 54 cents/gal. (source: http://www.ethanol.org/pdf/contentmgmt/petro_and_ethanol_facts.pdf)

The ethanol industry produced minor volumes of fuel, with this credit, for the next 25 years. It was not until the Renewable Fuel Standard was passed in 2002 (to become effective in 2004) that ethanol production actually amounted to anything relevant;

So, the blenders credit hasn't worked, it's been a failure. It has not increased production at all - but it has increased the transfer of taxpayer wealth to the ethanol industry, which, it would seem, is the main reason for its existence.

The RFS is what has made the ethanol industry what it is - if the oil companies don;t blend enough to meet the mandates, they face heavy penalties.

If you really want to level the playing field, how about the ethanol and oil industry both keep all their existing subsidies, and the ethanol industry loses the one thing it has that the oil industry doesn't - the mandate. Then we'll really see how "competitive" it is...

Net imports starting falling in 2005. IMO, the increases in oil prices are the main driver to ethanol growth. The trouble is we have hit peak ethanol now, too.

Why do you choose that explanation over the mandate?

Because ethanol refineries don't care about the mandate, they care about profits.

"The American public is less likely to believe in global warming than it was just five years ago. Yet, paradoxically, scientists are more confident than ever that climate change is real and caused largely by human activities.

Something a bit strange is happening with public opinion and climate change"


nothing strange there at all. Given the great economic uncertainty it is not surprising that people are attempting to deny the existence of climate change. There are just so many things people can worry about a given point. Losing ones house and job plus the escalating cost of food and gasoline are just about all that people can handle at the moment. Something that will effect the planet in 30 years is just too far out given all that people are dealing with.

That's where attribution is so important. Note the flurry of articles musing on how many of the natural disasters like the tornadoes and floods are attributable to global warming. There are an increasing number of people being directly impacted by these weather events, and as bad as the economy is, you're going to be forced to take notice when you've evacuated your house due to a flood, tornado, or wildfire, or you find yourself wondering why food is costing so much more, due to mounting crop failures. So it's not taking 30 years to impact people. It's just that people aren't connecting the dots.

The public has been programmed not to connect the dots.

Something a bit strange is happening with public opinion and climate change

Yeah, think tanks, talk radio propaganda , cable propaganda and group think....

What I see in comments posted to the local papers (in OR) is something much more active: The majority are adamant that 1) AGW doesn't exist and the planet is actually cooling; 2) It's a scam to extort money via cap & trade, etc.; 3) scientists are frauds who routinely disconnect temperature sensors to exclude data they don't like; and 4) proponents have a hidden agenda to reverse technological society and force us all to live in caves.

I'm not exaggerating - these positions are representative of comments that I read, and they're not the rantings of people who have too much on their plates to worry about AGW. These people are activists, working toward a goal, and just like their conservative base, they all "sing from the same hymnbook."

The politicization of science, launched in earnest during the GWB administration, appears complete. There is no fact, no reality, no data that can't be challenged or outright dismissed on the basis of partisan ad hominem attacks.

1. Denial and Isolation
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

At least according to that schedule we're still early on in the process. I'm not sure I really believe we'll ever get to acceptance.

I agree that most people are very early in that process - perhaps even at stage 0: "Haven't heard the diagnosis yet."

The thing that interests me most about Kubler-Ross' model is what comes after Stage 5? Her model was developed to describe someone coming to terms with a terminal condition. The situation we face in the coming decades will be anything but terminal for many of us.

We do need to come to terms with (accept) the end of civilization as we've known it, but what then? We aren't all going to die en masse. There will be those who continue on. What psychological state do they have to achieve in order for their lives to have meaning and purpose? For them, acceptance will be just a beginning point. How do they best face life after the end of the world?

My nomination for Stage 6 is Transcendence. It implies a shift to a wholly new way of valuing life and acting in the world.

Such a state may not be possible for some engineers, but I suspect the poets will do just fine...

Such a state may not be possible for some engineers, but I suspect the poets will do just fine...

I agree that most currently trained engineers will probably have a very tough time of it. As much as I like poetry and art, I'm betting on the physicists and other scientific thinkers!

"A poet once said, 'The whole universe is in a glass of wine.' We will probably never know in what sense he meant it, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflection in the glass; and our imagination adds atoms. The glass is a distillation of the earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe's age, and the evolution of stars. What strange array of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization; all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts -- physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on -- remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure; drink it and forget it all!"
— Richard P. Feynman



Similarly distinctive are poets. Poetry was, is, and always will be an an essential part of their lives, whatever the cost, however financially or socially unrewarding. They spend their last penny on poetry collections, and can remember precisely when they encountered an author later important to them.

Note the unquenchable interest, contacts and background. Professional poets make careers for themselves in one or more of the following ways:

1. Take a Master of Fine Arts degree, and become a writer in residence etc. at some recognized university or college of further education.

2. Follow a university English course by a Ph.D., but spend much of their time writing and associating with poets, promoting their work and being promoted in turn.

3. Become officers of poetry institutions, again hobnobbing with poets and becoming part of the publicity machine.

4. Teach in English faculties, many of which run a poetry magazine publishing important names.

5. Work in a publishing house, particularly those few that bring out poetry collections or literary novels.

6. Join the poetry performing circuit, building up a loyal public and issuing collections of their popular numbers.

Poets will not notice a difference. Any poet not teaching in the very few remaining higher education jobs or working for very few remaining publishers will still be starving.

LOL - I am an Engineer by training and present employment (which will of course be temporary).

I would go so far as to say that the percentage of people unwilling or unable to adapt to or adopt "a wholly new way of valuing life and acting in the world" is so overwhelming that picking a particular group or profession to correlate with it is meaningless. For example, in my experience it is those who understand technology least that are most convinced in its ability to save their butts.

Nonetheless the question of what comes at Stage 6 is interesting, but it only matters in regard to those few who ever get to Stage 5. I guess I'd call it adaptation.

There's always the question of where do those of us who have gotten to Stage 5 already go from here? Seriously, now that you've accepted it, is there a mental outlook you can see yourself adopting?

I wasn't really correlating it with professions (except for picking on engineers a bit). It was just a bit of poetic license ;-)

I was never happy with BAU and the laziness, greed and stupidity it bred, so i'll be happy/content.

The shadenfreude will be quite a sight too.

Sure - for the most part my outlook aligns with the views of John Michael Greer, Sharon Astyk, Dmitry Orlov, Nicole Foss, etc. I'm focused on trying to make real changes in my own life and lifestyle, recognizing that I'm limited, fallible, and must live with compromises brought about by past commitments and the needs and wants of others in my life. I have no interest in large scale movements or any of the politics of the existing system, although I know I will be effected by them. I expect that I will live the rest of my life in a time of transition that will last for generations - it's my lot and I will make the best of it. I also expect to see large changes, many of them unpleasant, but I will not live in gloom about that, nor will I fret about what I did or didn't get done or how fast, I'll just keep my eyes open and adapt as best I can. And above all try to cultivate those moments when I can connect to people and the world around me, because that's all there really is (thanks to Chris Floyd for that concept).

Twilight, when I said that "I agree that most currently trained engineers will probably have a very tough time of it",that was because almost all the engineers that I know, with one notable exception, are convinced they can find a solution to whatever problem comes their way.

The problem as I see it is that their tool kit consists of the conceptual equivalent of a hammer and to them everything just looks like a nail. To make matters worse, they actually have a license to impose their solutions on the rest of us.

My guess, based on the fact that you comment on TOD, is that you probably don't fit that general mold.

I agree that a lot of 'Adaptation' will probably be necessary. Also a lot of humility in accepting that not everything can actually be solved with the same thinking that got us into this mess in the first place...

We may need some radically creative and risky out of the box thinking that might go against conventional ways of doing things.



Well, almost all the people (of whatever profession) that I know, with very few notable exceptions, are convinced that someone will find a solution to whatever problems come their way - and one that will not require them to make fundamental changes to their lives.

When you look around do you really see a world that was imposed by engineers? Is it the people who designed the SUVs or the people who drive them that are the biggest problem? How about the people who financed it, or the ones who owned the company and made the big bucks, or the ones who poured taxpayer money into the highway system, and so on.

It is systemic, it is the society as a whole - and that society will not be able to change, and so it will fail. A small number of people get that, and TOD is a place where you can find some of them - a surprising number of them are engineers!

It's not engineers, they're just guns for hire like us all. It's the culture of "engineering" now, that is the problem.

A culture that screams we put a man on the moon so engineering our way out of peak oil, global warming and population overshoot, are just problems to be solved with the brute force of capital funding.

You see it every day on TOD, "just buy a Prius", "we can build and maintain renewable energy devises with energy of their own production", "we can sequester CO2", "we just have to drill the Arctic", "we can cover a million sqaure miles with solar panels", "we can build thorium reactors", lasers in space to generate power, shades in space to block the sun.......look the list is endless but it's looking for the easy way out, and that easy way is perceived as engineering.

Engineering, gave us huge steam engines, hugs ships, tunnels through mountain, bridges over the widest canyons and rivers, x-ray machines, skyscrapers, autobahns, deep-water oil drilling, enormous mining equipment, jets, communication equipment. Engineering achievements are legendary and only limited by memory.

They enabled the human species to cover the planet and thrive. We've grown too big for the planet and there is nowhere to move to. I don't think engineering in the traditional sense can get us out of this. We are shi!!ing in our own nest and we've become accustomed to it.

Thanks Bandit, you expressed more accurately what I was really thinking!

As we slash and burn our way through the Amazon rainforest, we are finding increasingly it isn't virgin forest at all. We are uncovering ancient cultures that lived and thrived there thousands of years ago by slashing and burning through the rainforest - before disappearing again and allowing the forest to re-grow and erase their monuments.

Now, why would those cultures suddenly collapse and will we learn anything from their failures?


suddenly collapse

Evidence please.

Engineering is all about working within limits. The dramatic examples of engineering from the past couple of centuries are dramatic because people discovered that the limits weren't where they were previously thought to be.

Things are going to be ugly in the future, but the engineering mindset of "do what you can within the limits you have" is exactly the thing that's going to save a lot of people.

Many of these people will be cursing engineers the entire time they are engineering their own survival.

Yes, it is basically just the Religion of Progress that Greer discusses. I've said before that we've been surrounded by so much energy for so long that we can no longer even see it around us, therefore we ascribe all the achievements we've made to other things and believe that we must somehow be special and immune to those things that brought down other civilizations. But all along it was just the energy that made us different, and as it goes will those things we made with it.

Engineering is mostly just a process of balancing competing constraints and limitations, and that will still be useful even when those limits are much more severe.

Largely agree. Its mainly what our system tasks engineers to build/design. The capitalist system devotes billions to a new sports car, and very little Unit recently) to PV. It goes for short to medium term profit for some enitity and doesn't are about the systemic issues -thats someone elses problem, and since they would require something like government and regulation to tackle "well those are the designated enemy, so....".
That said, many of these things proposed here, are major changes of direction in the right direction, even if not sufficient, i.e. we need change of attitude and reversal of population growth. But these engineering changes are an essential, if not sufficient part of the change.

"Largely agree. Its mainly what our system tasks engineers to build/design."

Yep, or put another way, engineers provide the expertise to allow our insane 'civilization' to carry out its delusional dreams of dominating the earth. I'm not sure that lets them off the hook completely.

Are the engineers that helped build the zyclon b 'showers' and the V-1 and V-2 missiles completely free of blame.

'Just following orders' only gets you so far.

And of course today's engineered machines and the fuels that run them (produced mostly without the heavy and of military orders, only the soft tether of lucre) not only massacre people but are wiping out the viability of the entire planet.

You gotta admit that these guys don't lack ambition!

True, it's the technicians simply doing their job and advancing their techniques in their chosen field that are destroying the Earth. Call me a doomer if you like, but I don't think that this particular aspect of BAU is going to change, ever. Either technological civilisation wins or nature wins, I don't think the two can really coexist together.

Ahh yes, technicians are destroying the earth.

Long ago, someone (perhaps we would call them an engineer or technician now) invented a device called a mirror. If you look into one, you can see the truth.

Yes, and you'll also see there is no acceptable solution. There is no way of stopping the train and therefore the eventual train wreck.

Quite true. But you can see that by looking anywhere.

Kenneth Boulding-"An engineer is one who spends his life trying to find the best way to do things that should not be done at all."

"The problem as I see it is that their tool kit consists of the conceptual equivalent of a hammer and to them everything just looks like a nail."

The tool kit is mathematics and physics. And engineers never "have a license to impose their solutions on the rest of us." You went to the engineers demanding X, and they figured out how to get it with the materials available. If that was impossible, they came up with new materials that did work. Sometimes, they actually went back to you and said "We found a physical law that says we can't do that. Here is what we can do, is that good enough?"

Now politicians can impose solutions on you, and sometimes even petty bureaucrats. The case of the early airbags being set to "decapitate" being a fine example, the ban on cyclamates being another, and the banning of the incandescent light bulb being a third.

Setting aside the definition of "save". Actually, I think the cultural mythology scorn with the oft-cited "technology is not going to save us" is all wrong. It's only irrational to think technology will save this socio-economic system that necessitates infinite growth or collapse. Which is silly and based on myths of market protocols and other irrational economic dogmas. Of course, technological innovations is an alleged byproduct of market protocols, which is probably the derivation of the meme and also in question when you look at the science of motivation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc. However, technology probably will still come in very handy for many socially beneficial things, within the context of a steady state economy. Also, given the modern society is a technical creation, not economic, it actually does save us day in, day out. The quote should be replaced with "market protocols are not going to save us" if you wanted to get to the heart of the irrational cultural mythology. Why the peak oil community has decided to heap scorn on the application of scientific knowledge rather than, more directly, the real silliness, economics, is beyond me. But, I guess some things are more sacred than others. I happen to enjoy my electricity and running water is "saves" me a lot of discomfort.

I happen to enjoy my electricity and running water it "saves" me a lot of discomfort.

Yeah, it's nice. I enjoy it too. I would recommend you come to terms with the idea of not having it, or not having as much of it and the other comforts brought to you by the old solar energy stored in fossil fuels. Wanting it and appreciating it doesn't make it happen, nor will any particular market arrangement you'd care to dream up.

Markets are just social arrangements for distributing the wealth of nature and the fruits of labor. We're not smarter than people of other ancient civilizations, and the reasons they didn't have the luxuries so common to those of us in the wealthy part of the world is merely that they didn't have fossil fuels. There is no reason to believe that when we don't have fossil fuels we'll still have those things either. But appreciate them for now, as it's anybody's guess how long this process will take.

Well, my wife just came in from the outside shower saying how nice and hot it was even tho the day hadn't had much sun. I hadn't bothered to tell her that my parallel little wood water heater had boosted the shower temp a whole lot on a mere handful of wood chips stolen from the pile in front of her garden, dumped there by the wood chipper guys clearing power lines.

My point is that this planet could be a paradise if we just cut the ape population to maybe 1/10 what it is now, and kept all the good stuff we have learned over our last 20K years of apedom.

The reason they didn't have what we have is not just fossil fuels, its the time and luck and brains and work that got us all the good info that goes into, for example, that little wood stove. The replacement for ff is not just solar, it's information. A little wisdom would help, too.

FF energy slaves freed up enough people to work on other things besides food production that we could learn all sorts of wonderful things. I would be nice if we could retain some of that knowledge once the FF energy slaves are gone. 1/10 of the population would enable many things that won't work with our present population. If if's and and's were pots and pans there'd be no work for tinkers.

We cu'd grab 'em up and dustum off and turnum inta thinkers.

Stage 5 is the acceptance of the end of the Fossil Fuel economy and the beginning of the Hydrogen economy. Everybody will be happy for a little while (except for the extreme environmentalists that just want everybody to die), then the global warming crowd will learn of the toxic Dihydrogen monoxide that results from the combustion of Hydrogen. This gas is an even more potent greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide and we'll be back where we are now WRT climate change worries.

Stage 5 is the acceptance of the end of the Fossil Fuel economy and the beginning of the Hydrogen economy.

And then ya go back to stage 1 when you realize that the Hydrogen Economy is bunk.


Please also note that because of the staggering loss of exergy, use of
electrolysis for bulk hydrogen apps is a really, really dumb thing to do.

There's a lot of exciting research going on to find better ways to produce hydrogen then with basic room temperature electrolysis:

* The Sulfur-Iodine cycle can produce hydrogen with heat as the only input (think thermal solar)
* The hotter you make the water, the more efficient electrolysis becomes. Steam electrolysis also has some interesting possibilities.

And in previous posts on TOD one poster was showing how $12.00 in Hydrogen gas needed 1,500 kilos of steel to contain it - and such a vessel at the end of its lifetime was worth over $350 in scrap metal.

(I had that link in my profile - but profiles are gone and I really don't want to go look it up when Don Lancaster has pointed out why the Hydrogen Economy is bunk)

Actually, hydrogen from electrolysis - from excess wind power - may yet have a place. The real problem with hydrogen is transporting it, where you run into pressure vessel problems, or have to resort to cryogenics.

But if hydrogen is generated on site, and used on site, such that only a few hours/ days of storage is needed, it can be stored in large low pressure tanks, or even bladders (as are used for methane from anaerobic digestion).

This is a possibility for doing storage from cheap nighttime wind power, to then burn the H2 in a GT or even ICE to make high value daytime power. It is not quite that simple of course, but it is not that difficult either, and no exotic technology (e.g. fuel cells) is required.

I am orepared to write off H2 for transport but, surprisingly, many of the major carmakers still have H2 development programs. They are hedging their bets that it may yet compete with EV's. I can;t see it myself, but they are still spending a few $$ on it, even if the gov isn't - that is usually a sign they see some future in it.

But if hydrogen is generated on site, and used on site, such that only a few hours/ days of storage is needed, it can be stored in large low pressure tanks, or even bladders (as are used for methane from anaerobic digestion).

And if you go read Hydrogen is a Gas by Don Lancaster - he says the same thing. Generated and used on site for a purpose makes sense.

(About the only low-tech thing I can think of to use Hydrogen is to take a plant oil, hydrogenate it, and then use the resulting solid oil. For candles - soy based)

many of the major carmakers still have H2 development programs.

The key is storage - and if there is a storage breakthough, great.

But to repeat my links of the past:

Ulf Bossel: There is no future to a hydrogen economy because it is much too wasteful. We cannot solve the energy problem by energy waste. The energy losses are all caused by laws of physics. If you go through the entire hydrogen chain starting with AC-DC conversion, electrolysis, compression, or liquefaction, transportation, storage, re-conversion the electricity by fuel cells with subsequent DC-AC, there are additional losses in every process stage. These are all related to physical processes. This is physics, not poor handling, and as the laws of physics are eternal, there was no past, there is no present, and there will be no future for a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen economy is a structure of mind, which has no backing by physics.

One can choose to believe in the Hydrogen Economy or one can listen to Dr. Bossel.

from Lucerne, Switzerland is Dr. Ulf Bossel who is the organizer of the European Fuel Cell Forum in Lucerne, which for me at least is one of the conferences to go to, although Switzerland's Big Macs are a little more expensive than they are in Canada. Ulf has been around fuel cells and renewable energy for a long time now, but Ulf, I think, one of your best credentials is that your great, great grandfather back in the 1830s, Christian Friedrich Schoenbein, was the first to figure out how fuel cells work.

Ulf Bossel: Yes, he is the discoverer of the fuel cell effect.

The Hydrogen Economy is indeed bunk. The fanatical level of maintenance fussiness required to keep the hydrogen where it belongs is way beyond where the consumer economy can operate.

The methanol economy, on the other hand, is quite workable. If it's good enough for unlimited tractor-pulls, it's good enough for the trip to work. And that's not even including fuel-cell applications.

The ammonia economy might work, but anhydrous ammonia is seriously and immediately toxic.

""The thing that interests me most about Kubler-Ross' model is what comes after Stage 5?""

Well there GliderGuider, I guess you're Dead. Transcendence, should come before stage one. Some of us have already done that quite some time ago.

Do you think, what we have now, is "civilization"?

The Martian.

I died when I was 18 years old. I'm 56 now. Death doesn't worry me. Dying... well that's another thing altogether... ;-)

Transcendence comes when it comes. Chop wood, carry water.

There is economic uncertainty everywhere and climate change is having an impact now. The forest where I live is being decimated by the pine beetle, something that will keep eating until all the trees are destroyed. The fact that we are not having the very low temps of decades ago enables the beetle to keep eating until nothing is left.

At least in the US - people are less likely to believe global warming because it has been damn cold the last three years (especially the winters)

Which is ironic. The reason for the colder winters is because of the warmer arctic circle is driving cool witer airflow further south, resulting in colder winters in lower latitudes.

Colder winters is evidence of global warming, not the other way around.

It gets warmer proof of GW, it gets colder proof of GW. What weather change would not be proof of GW?

Try asking that question here:


"It gets warmer proof of GW, it gets colder proof of GW. What weather change would not be proof of GW?"

Perhaps no change at all would be a good indication that Climate Change is not happening?

Of cause one needs to verify that it actually is change and not just random fluctuations.

The genius of the Weather Channel is that there is alway weather somewhere that is bad enough to sensationalize.

I imagine that the heat of fusion to melt arctic ice may also be a contributor to the recent cold winters in the midwest U.S.

So wouldn't more snow at middle latitudes as a result of global warming be a negative feedback? ONE of the Earth's way to stabilize climate?

Only if it's greater extent instead of just more depth.

Good point.

And note that snow cover will only affect winter temperatures, and in the winter the difference between the week sun coming at a shallow angle hitting snow versus hitting water or land is not as great a difference as it would be if the sun were higher and stronger.

So wouldn't more snow at middle latitudes as a result of global warming be a negative feedback?

Only if it increases the solar weighted albedo. Most mid lattitudes are heavily vegetated, and snow has little effect on the overall albedo. Right after a very wet storm, or if things are consistently really cold, so the trees end up wearing a lot of frost, help the albedo. But mostly a couple of heavy snows won't have much effect. Interior Alaska is getting considerably heavier snows than a few decades ago, but the time when the snow melts out in the spring has adavanced, rather than become later. So it is possible to get heavier snows, but solar weighted albedo may actually go down.

A more important affect, in the tundra, longer warmer growing seasons let the scrub (dwarf willows etc) to grow taller, so they now stick out of the snow cover, and the albedo even with snow cover is lower. Thats a polar feedback the climate modelers missed.

The planet Earth has no ways for anything. It is a PLANET. It does not have any intent, ways, wishes, feelings or mechanisms or anything of that sort. There is no mother nature to step in and fix all the bad things.

That's it in a nutshell :/

As long as people are just reacting to whatever weather has hit them recently, there is not a lot of hope. This is why we have brains, newspapers, books, and the internet. There is information beyond that which you received just getting up this morning and putting your finger to the wind. Consider this from Al Gore's recent article in Rolling Stone Magazine: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/al-gore-obama-climate-change-ro...

According to NASA, 2010 was tied with 2005 as the hottest year measured since instruments were first used systematically in the 1880s. Nineteen countries set all-time high temperature records. One city in Pakistan, Mohenjo-Daro, reached 128.3 degrees Fahrenheit, the hottest temperature ever measured in an Asian city. Nine of the 10 hottest years in history have occurred in the last 13 years. The past decade was the hottest ever measured, even though half of that decade represented a "solar minimum" — the low ebb in the natural cycle of solar energy emanating from the sun.

Of course everyone knows that Al Gore is a lying hypocrite so you can safely ignore anything he says. No doubt he just made up all of the above.

Breaking news! The earth is warming up!

The second millenium (AD) was the hottest millenium since the ice ages!! This means that the climate is changing! So it is not stable!

Scientist are baffled, as the climate has appeared to be stable since their own grandparents were born.

(I just made this up to make a small point, even though it might be true)

Propoganda works

...apparently better than spell-check.

Two record highs for every record low, with extremes in both directions long predicted and expected.

Americans aren't smart. We are lucky and plucky, yes, but not smart. The average Brit, Canuck, or Aussie is ten times smarter than the average Yank.

America is a vast land filled with Bible believing rubes. Look I'm not a communist, I'm a capitalist and believer in free markets and democracy, but facts are facts. To the average American, "freedom" means being duped by people who ask for money and then tell you you are going to heaven. To the average American, evolution can't be real because "we aren't monkeys" and AGW can't be real because "God won't allow it." Ironically, these same people believe there is going to be a rapture in which the Earth is destroyed.

These are the people who going to be ruling over us, who are going to shout their opinion over all others, as we descend down Hubbert's curve. The churches are going to be the ones clothing and feeding people, which means they will have power.

I'm convinced this is true of Americans, I've traveled all over this country and been to lots of countries around the world. Believe me, it's one of many reasons why I've given up on the country altogether. Retreating to the Bible is a perfectly good response to collapse, but the problem is that it will turn into a communal rather than individual response, sending us back to the dark ages.

You can't confuse this response with intelligence, which is necessary to first, appreciate that the Bible is only a book written under certain circumstances many years ago, and second, understand AGW, if only dimly.

Americans aren't smart. We are lucky and plucky, yes, but not smart. The average Brit, Canuck, or Aussie is ten times smarter than the average Yank.

Britain is full of vast seas of white trash. Half of Australian comedy is how stupid the average Australian is.

America is a vast land filled with Bible believing rubes.


Actually, Americans are about as religious as every other Western nation, which is to say, not much. Americans report being more religious, but as a certain religious leader once said, "By their fruits you shall know them."

"Retreating to the Bible is a perfectly good response to collapse, but the problem is that it will turn into a communal rather than individual response, sending us back to the dark ages."

While the Bible may be a good retreat for some, (certainly it has a lot of wisdom in it), it also emphasizes the role of individual responsibility in one's relationship with God, so I'm not so sure about the communal bit. As well, I cannot see any significant level of survival if we don't live in a community and as part of a community. We do need each other and, in the future, we will need each other even more.

I am Canadian, so I don't feel I have the right to comment on your statement about American intelligence, except to say one shouldn't attribute mass behavior to all Americans.


I'm also wary of such idea-streams, popular myths that have Americans dividing and grinding each other down. I think we have to remember the old Roman ploys of playing two Cities or Nation-States against each other to keep them worn down, such that it was easy pickin's to pop in later and take what they wanted.

We're resting so heavy on these cliche's now about White-trash, Religion, Latte' Liberals, Nascar Fans, Soccer Moms, etc.. it's useful to remember that the people themselves are more complicated than this, no less than each of us is.. and scuffling against each other over such illusions is almost entirely Wasted Energy.

"Retreating to the Bible is a perfectly good response to collapse, but the problem is that it will turn into a communal rather than individual response, sending us back to the dark ages."

Christianity tends to be hierarchical, which is rather convenient for those seeking power, capture the top and you suddenly have control over millions. I don't think the neocons have missed this and are diligently working their way into the system (Tony Blair for instance). It's possible that religious control will replace democratic control in the future or some hybrid of the two.

I've long believed that the West's demonizing of Islam is due to the fact Islam is decentralised and therefore a huge threat to the hierarchical West. Decentralised systems cannot be corrupted, assimilated and controlled in the same way as hierarchical systems can and are therefore a threat. One can easily paint a future where people over-burdened by an increasingly tyrannical hierarchical system turn to a more egalitarian, supportive decentralised system. It is easy to imagine Islam becoming the favoured religion of people desperate to survive. After all, Islam was born in the harsh desert regions where survival required firm discipline but also communal equality to survive.

It's not about religion par se, its about power and social organisation that enables people to live with a sense of belonging and security. I believe some type of anarcho-Islam(ish) type system will be adopted by people as they group together for survival in urban ghettoes as a result of collapse.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 17, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged about 15.3 million barrels per day during the week ending June 17, 409 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.5 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production was almost the same as last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.1 million barrels per day last week, up by 511 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged just under 9.0 million barrels per day, 724 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 867 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 122 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 1.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 363.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.5 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.8 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.1 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged about 19.1 million barrels per day, down by 2.7 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged 9.3 million barrels per day, up by 0.9 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged about 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 5.7 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.1 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Midwest Refiners Ramp Up Output to Record Operating Rates

Taking advantage of both high regional gasoline prices, and low WTI and Canadian oil prices, Midwest refiners ramped up production to their effective maximum capacity – setting a record for utilization as it climbed 2.8 percentage points to 97.1 percent. This also helped push overall nationwide utilization rates to rise 3.1 percentage points last week to 89.2 percent, which is the highest rate national utilization rate since August 2010.

Despite refiners doing almost everything possible to increase gasoline output, US gasoline inventories fell anyway. US consumers actually increased purchases of gasoline as the regular gasoline prices fell back from a recent nationwide average of about $4 to $3.80. Also contributing to the drop in gasoline inventories is a fall in gasoline imports. As I have mentioned for the last few weeks, restrictions on Russia’s gasoline exports, plus special shipments of gasoline to Persian Gulf countries and Pakistan, have had the indirect effect of reducing exports to the US.

The refiners race to step up gasoline output was tripped up today as two of the largest US refiners, located in Texas and Louisiana, reported significant disruptions to their operations. Also the planned slowdown in oil shipments through the Keystone pipeline may prevent the Midwest from maintaining its high rate of refinery operations.

For the second week in row, the net amount of US oil and product imports, that is oil imports plus product imports less product exports, remained a concern. This week the overall import figure dropped 1.25 million bpd below last year’s comparable week, the same figure was down 1.4 mbpd the week before that. These are steep import decline rates due mostly to two factors: the US is on the verge of becoming an oil product exporter, and crude oil imports into the US are falling. In the latter case, the reason is fairly simple – the loss of Libyan oil and to a lesser extent other Mideast oil which has not been otherwise replaced. The fall of product imports is the result of more complicated factors, but may be motivated by the relatively low oil prices in the US vs. the rest of the world, and in general, higher world demand for oil products.

The Saudis are getting increasing hysterical. Now they can increase production 4 million barrels per day and crush Iran. I say talk is cheap. Show us some proof.

Nearly anything is possible in the short run (months). But I don't think they'll be able to keep it up for any length of time (years) as I described in this post:

What is "our" oil doing in their economy? -- Saudi oil consumption trends

Bankrupt Iran by flooding the market with oil? . . . LOL. Did we somehow timewarp back to the 1980's or is that one of the least-likely stupid conspiracy theories floated? I'd say the latter.

Here is the proof.They covered all shortages that was due to Libya.They were so good that now IEA has asked for an emergency release of 60m barrels since the actual shortfall is 132m barrels.They are not hysterical but liars.

Bosch plans Malaysia solar panel plant

AFP - German industrial group Bosch will invest 520 million euros ($750 million) in a solar panel factory in Malaysia, a statement said on Wednesday. Construction of the factory will begin this year in the northwest Penang region and will employ 2,000 people once operational.

I wonder if they considered building the factory in Greece?

Bosch is following the American business model. Use the gov't subsidies to develop your R&D, and then do the manufacturing offshore. there will still be some benefits for Germany in this, but not as much as if they built the plant in Germany. They can;t do that, of course, as it would be too expensive, and the environmental constraints too onerous - far cheaper and easier to do messy manufacturing in Asia.

Germany's export becomes high value intellectual property, but that doesn't help German factory workers. A real catch 22.

but that doesn't help German factory workers. A real catch 22.

They can always emigrate to Malaysia!

Italy breaks ranks over NATO's Libya mission

AFP - Italy called for a suspension of hostilities in Libya on Wednesday in the latest sign of dissent within NATO as the civilian death toll mounts and Moamer Kadhafi shows no signs of quitting power.

Allied Irish Bank has 'defaulted' says derivatives body

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) yesterday said that a "credit event" had occurred on Allied debt, meaning the bank has effectively defaulted on its debt, a situation the Irish government has gone to extreme lengths to avoid. Credit default swaps (CDS) sold on Allied subordinated bonds and, crucially, its senior debt, have been activated by the decision of the ISDA determinations committee that decides whether a borrower has defaulted.

The decision by the committee, which is made up of 10 major banks, follows the announcement earlier this month by the Irish High Court of a "subordinated liabilities order" that changed the terms under which junior debt in Allied was originally sold, forcing holders of the bonds to accept an extension in the maturity of the debt to 2035.
With a default by the Greek government regarded by most investors as a certainty, the issue is likely to become one of determining whether the form of the default allows holders of the bonds to exercise the CDS protection they have taken out on the bonds.

"There could be a big wake-up call here for investors. People still do not understand that a CDS credit event and default are two completely separate things," said one London-based credit trader.

The next to last paragraph perpetuates the notion that only holders of the debt buy the CDS. Just as oil futures speculators can buy futures without actually intending to sell or buy oil, speculators can buy or sell CDS without any intent to hold the underlying securities.

I'm confused again. So, buying a CDS is like taking out insurance on your house, except you are insuring your investment in the loan. When my house burns to the ground, I can show the insurance company my actual loss of property, and then they pay up. It's written in the contract that way. Now, when I buy a CDS, don't I have a contract that forces me to show my actual loss (of the loan)? Or am I able to gamble, by taking out insurance on some other lender's risk?

you can buy CDS without owning the underlying bond(s). CDS is a derivative so, like futures, when the buyer of CDS makes money the seller of CDS loses money and the net will be zero.


so, hypothetically, of course, a group of 10 major banks could buy CDS on some debt owned by some different group of banks.

then, by a

decision by the committee, which is made up of 10 major banks

you can announce to the world that a credit event has happened and holders of CDS get paid the insurance money?

My neighbour's a really bad driver. Can I take out insurance on his car, please?

I really hope I'm misunderstanding all this.

CDS is not insurance, it is a contract between 2 parties.
A group of banks can buy CDS but somebody has to sell it to them first.

There is no doubt that CDS increases moral hazard. A CDS holder has an incentive to try to trigger the conditions which cause the seller of CDS to have to pay out rather than try to come to some kind of agreement which could leave the company on which the CDS was written potentially intact.
An example may help:
Let's assume that you want to buy CDS on ABC bank because you think they are financially weak and may go under. You now have an incentive sell short their stock, bonds and whatever else is tradable. For a thinly traded company that type of activity can push them to the point where certain conditions in the CDS are triggered and the writer of the CDS (most likely NOT ABC bank, but some wall street dealer) has to pay. A bank's ability to attact deposits, to fund itself in general is highly influenced by where the CDS trades - tight spreads are good, wide spreads are bad. And those spreads are influenced by the supply/demand for the CDS written on ABC bank but also by the prices of the securities - they act as the canary in the coalmine.
In essence what happens that instead of fundamentals driving the valuation of ABC's stocks and bonds the stocks and bonds are now driving the fundamentals of ABC bank, and people who have nothing to do with ABC bank now have an incentive to push ABC bank into bankruptcy even when fundamentally the bank may be relatively healthy.

It's pretty clear that derivatives like these, used for pure speculation rather than to hedge a postion you have can cause value destruction rather than value creation.
On a more constructive note let me give you a futures example. Futures, which in theory are also Profit/Loss neutral like CDS can be used to increase value. Take for example a farmer who needs to borrow money to buy seed/fertilizer etc. A bank may be willing to lend him/her money if (part of) the harvest is sold forward. A liquid way to do that is by selling futures a couple of months forward. Now the farmer can use land which otherwise would be unused, thereby increasing the size of the pie, not just dividing up the pie.


Actually, some are of the opinion that CDS are a form of insurance. Dinallo proposed that they be regulated by the New York state insurance commission.

Also Gensler on CDS regulation: many a mixed metaphor

Gensler affirmed his belief in the empty creditor hypothesis, in which holders of CDSs and bonds seek to push companies towards bankruptcy for their own economic benefit. He evoked parallels with the English insurance industry of the 1700s, when individuals were able to buy insurance for ships they didn’t own. “It should come as no surprise that seaworthy ships began sinking,” he said.

Note that one of the big sellers of CDS was AIG, and insurance company. So part of the reason CDS are largely unregulated is whether they should be regulated by state insurance regulators, the CFTC, the Fed, the SEC, etc. And much of the business is done in London, so UK law would apply anyway. I suspect the the "10 banks" getting together do so in some cosy London club, sort of like setting LIBOR.

One problem with CDSs is that during the financial crisis (is it over yet), many of the sellers of CDSs did not have the collateral to actually pay up in the case of bond default. They were a sham but allowed banks to buy crap and show the regulators that somehow their phony bogus CDOs were not bogus or not protected. Frankly, unless it is part of some bigger scam, I don't understand why anyone would buy a CDS since it is quite likely that one may not be paid for the underlying default. Maybe things have changed since 2008. But I am not aware of any evidence that CDSs are regulated, even now, in any meaningful way.

If I thought there was a guarantee that the sellers of CDSs would pay up, I would consider purchasing them.

The "solution" to this problem, of course, is that no one intends to pay up for anything and counts on being bailed out by the government.

The basic problem with all these complex financial instruments is that heads, the banks win, tails, the banks win and the rest of us lose.

If the banks and countries, for that matter, were allowed to fail, then would be more likely that some of these instruments were collateralized.

CDSs are very problematic, for the reasons you state and also because the easy availability of them encouraged banks to make lousy loans ("even if it goes bust we still get our $ back"). REally banks need a disincentive against making bad loans. in the run up to the crisis we had exactly the opposite.

REally banks need a disincentive against making bad loans. in the run up to the crisis we had exactly the opposite.

The short term health of the economy is helped by loosening of credit standards, and hurt by tightening them. So the temptation is to goose the nearterm prospects, by allowing the standards to slip yet one more notch. That was what was happening during the bubble, the powers that be, wanted to look good, and goosing the economy via increasing the money supply by increasingly risky loans to be made was a way to have "growth in our time". But really, it works no better than a frightened cat climbing to the very top of the tree because hes afraid to look down.

You've got it.

With CDS's you can insure not only your loan but anyone else's.

So CDS's can serve as an amplifier of a financial crisis. If one loan goes bad (that has 10 people buying a CDS on it - essentially betting the loan will fail) it can sink the issuer of the CDS, because they have to pay off that loan ten times. That is the position AIG was in.

You have to think they either a) never thought the boom would end, or b) never intended to pay off the CDSs.

CDSs are the poster child for why finance needs to be regulated.

Brazilian Government, Energy Company Latest LulzSec Victims

... the group trained its attack on the website of Petrobras, Latin America's largest energy producer. A company spokeswoman could not immediately comment on the incident. On its Twitter feed, the company reported a large number of attempts to access its website, Wednesday afternoon, but said that there was no damage. The www.petrobras.com.br website was unreachable Wednesday at noon, Pacific time.

Still down. As is http://www.brasil.gov.br/ and several others.


LulzSecBrazil A Jangada dos Lulz
TANGO DOWN www.petrobras.com.br
5 hours ago

LulzSecBrazil A Jangada dos Lulz
by LulzSec
TANGO DOWN brasil.gov.br & presidencia.gov.br LulzSecBrazil
19 hours ago

More of how safe and clean Nuclear Fission is

An investigation reveals that 75% of US nuclear plants are leaking radioactive tritium into the environment and US drinking water supplies being detected at levels up to 750 times legal limits.

750 times the legal limit. Good thing the Law is there to stop it eh?

No Earthquake is needed for nuclear faults:

the fire is under control and there is nothing to worry about.

Now, how many readers and posters here think the truth is exactly what is being said - "there is nothing to worry about"?

"750 times the legal limit."

Don't worry, they'll just change the legal limit, and then we'll all be just fine.

Yes our sadness about laws being broken will become gladness and as we know, happy people do not suffer from radiation.

Dang, I vaguely remember something about that. Yup, here we go, straight out of The Secret, at least in spirit. The power of positive thinking: “The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret.”

If 750 times the legal limit doesn't hurt anyone they should.

What good is a regulation that doesn't actually do anything?

Mind you, releasing radioactive material back into the environment willy-nilly is a bad idea and somebody should be taken to task or people will get to making a habit of it, but you stopped reading after the first sentence so it doesn't matter what I say here anyway. Realistically this is a standard that all hazardous materials should be held to, but I know from personal experience that they aren't and people who can't read are trusted with large amounts of chemicals more dangerous to their health than a lot of the radioactive isotope releases people are hyperventilating about.

"releasing radioactive material back into the environment willy-nilly is a bad idea"

Well, thanks for that, anyway.

And you give us too much credit--generally I, at least, skip your posts completely '-)

are trusted with large amounts of chemicals more dangerous to their health than a lot of the radioactive isotope releases people are hyperventilating about.

This should be pointed out:

Large amount of "dangerous chemicals" are being compared to what should be a SMALL amount of radioactive isotopes.

Is the poster r4ndom claiming that the small amount of radioactive isotopes are *SO* dangerous that what should be called out as a false equivalence of volume isn't an issue?

Or is the poster r4ndom just trying to avoid yet another example of how man can not operate fission reactors safely by pointing at something else?

I want you to defend your case better. This is not a place for sloppy thinking or propaganda, pull together a case for your point that shows that the effect*frequency for nuclear power is worse than for other technologies used for the same purpose.

If I can point to higher risks that are accepted with less benefit, then perhaps your case is not as strong as you would like to believe it is, especially since you stake out such a strong stance:

man can not operate fission reactors safely

Frankly, Man cannot operate a can opener safely, so you'll have to come up with a better argument than "we are exceeding our self-imposed limits for releasing radioactive pollution" to show that the level of safety with nuclear is so low that we cannot as a species be trusted with it.

If 750 times the legal limit doesn't hurt anyone they should.

Determining the harm done would require epidemiological studies looking at things like cancer and birth defect rates around the plants based on level of contamination and length of exposure. Since this has not been done, and the parameters can not even be determined (we don't know how long the leaks may have ben in place), you cannot say no harm has been done. The health and safety laws are in place to prevent employers from making this kind of defence.

Mind you, releasing radioactive material back into the environment willy-nilly is a bad idea

You don't say. Lucky for us, the Government has set levels for what willy-nilly might be- and the levels measured were 750 times that. What do you define as willy-nilly? Got some studies that you've done? Levels you're willing to subject your children to?

Realistically this is a standard that all hazardous materials should be held to, but I know from personal experience that they aren't

So you know from personal experience. As a Health and Safety Rep, I fought an attempt to process asbestos in an unsafe manner and was laid off as a result. What did you do? I'm pretty certain you weren't a Health and Safety Rep, and your limited knowledge of Occupational Health and Safety suggests you have no training in it.

So you also have first hand knowledge of mishandling of non-radiological wastes with known health impacts. Good, then you should know exactly what I'm talking about in that area with even more detail than I could muster.

There are detailed statistics on mortality and morbidity out there.
The problems resulting from radiation exposure are well known.
There is a known conspiracy to conceal deaths of radiation workers in at least one country.
There is more than one way to draw a connection between radiation exposure and a death or illness.

Do I need to draw a picture for you?

There are detailed statistics on oil production and consumption out there.
These statistics are known to be compromised and inaccurate.
People here have managed to do solid analyses based on those statistics anyway.

Surely there must be someone in the anti-nuclear crowd with the math skills, sector knowledge, and inclination to do the analyses.

At this point the only attempt I've seen is the Yablokov report, which has many flaws and is a soliton in its conclusions. More work needs to be done independent of that report.

At this point the only attempt I've seen is the Yablokov report, which has many flaws and is a soliton in its conclusions. More work needs to be done independent of that report.

The only reason I reply to your posts is because I consider your opinions on Occupational Health and Safety to be uninformed to the point of being dangerous. Until this research you claim needs to be done is done, and the laws changed, any employer who acted on your opinions would be setting himself up for a big fine, and any worker who did this against his employer's wishes would be exposing himself to possible health risks and legal or job action by his employer (neither employer or employee are allowed to opt out of safety regulations.)

There are detailed statistics on mortality and morbidity out there.
The problems resulting from radiation exposure are well known.
There is a known conspiracy to conceal deaths of radiation workers in at least one country.
There is more than one way to draw a connection between radiation exposure and a death or illness.

Do I need to draw a picture for you?

If I cared and it was germane to my comment, then yes, I need a picture, because I have no idea what you're on about. I have no clue as to how this relates to my opinion that we should obey the exposure limits for radio-active materials and all other Health and Safety regulations.

And remember: unless changes to the law are imminent, I don't care.

And on the food front I present:

After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields.

Oh no! Now there is no one left to pick the crops... well, except maybe some of these people....

Georgia May unemployment flat at 9.8%

But obviously they are opting not to do this grueling work.

So do you propose marching them all off to the countryside North Korea style?

Well when they are not busy in the Safe Nuclear Power industry, sure.

Speaking of nuke power and workers:

Whereabouts of 30 nuclear power plant subcontractors unknown: Health Ministry

The whereabouts of about 30 subcontractors who helped deal with the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is unknown, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said on June 20.

I wonder why the Japanese can't keep track of the workers?

They have to keep them hidden, or r4ndom wouldn't be able to spout on about no deaths from this or any nuke in history.

Do note the post above about the highly secretive nature of the nuclear industry. I have spoken to people who have said that they have been eyewitnesses deaths by radiation in nuclear facilities, but that it is kept very quiet and people learn not to speak lest they meet the fate of Karen Silkwood.


r4ndom wouldn't be able to spout on about no deaths from this or any nuke in history.

Except that is not true - 2 are on the record as dead at Fukishima.

In a past drumbeat I outright asked r4ndom to explain exactly what she ment by the statement "nuclear power is the safest". When I last checked, there was no response to this direct question.

Because it is hard to have a discussion when one party is using English and the other is using Propaganda. So I asked for clarification.

Do note the post above about the highly secretive nature of the nuclear industry. I have spoken to people who have said that they have been eyewitnesses deaths by radiation in nuclear facilities,

One should not forget that over in the UK the bones of the dead were replaced with broomsticks because officials were worried about what those bones would show.


The UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has apologized for 40 years' worth of clandestine, illegal mutilation of the corpses of British nuclear energy workers. When these workers died, pathologists and coroners colluded with the energy authority to remove their organs without the consent or knowledge of their families, in part to remove the possibility of a lawsuit for cancer caused by their work environment, but partly out of a seeming cavalier, better-safe-than-sorry approach that had them scooping out organs that had no diagnostic value. The corpses were then stuffed with random detritus from around the shop to disguise their mutilation; for example, broomsticks were used in place of bones removed from workers who'd died of leukemia.

"In a past drumbeat I outright asked r4ndom to explain exactly what she ment by the statement "nuclear power is the safest". When I last checked, there was no response to this direct question."

I actually did answer your post. But then I couldn't find it (or your original) again. I think it got lopped due to off topic-ness.

The short version is if you compare direct deaths, then nuclear looks pretty good, better than PV manufacturing, in fact. Certainly better than coal, or deep water drilling (29 dead last year in WV, 11 dead on the Mancado blowout last year alone.) Indirect deaths are much harder to work out. And since no one agrees on how to count those, it's hard to make a factual determination of deaths per gigawatt-hour.

And if you claim that zero deaths per GW-hr are the only acceptable then you won't have power. And the death rates from candle-induced fires and food poisoning will rise dramatically. Finding the point where there is and acceptable trade-off is political decision, not an engineering one.

You wrote an excellent reply to the question. A shame if it disappeared. I'm still no fan of nuclear though.

I actually did answer your post

And you are not the one making the claim. In a court of law - your response would be hearsay, and rather than trying to nail down jello, I'm wanting solid statements.

The short version is if you compare direct deaths, then nuclear looks pretty good,

And exactly how does one determine direct deaths?

Keeping in mind in the UK the government apologized for doctoring the death data of nuke workers to keep Fission power from getting a bad rep - so who's numbers ya gonna use?

better than PV manufacturing, in fact.

Did they die from photon exposure? Remember - r4andom has been asked what the actual criteria IS.

In the past people have claimed a PV death is when the installer of PV falls off the structure and dies. Now, PV didn't kill 'em....impact with something else did. Another variant of "just another case of people doing stupid crap".

Which is why I'm asking exactly what the criteria is - I'm wanting the weaseling to end.

Which 2 are you referring to?

There are 3 post-meltdown deaths and 2 pre-meltdown deaths I have seen associated with Fukushima.

2 farmers committed suicide because of radioactive contamination or feared radioactive contamination of their land.
1 Industrial accident.
2 workers caught unprotected on site by the tsunami.

If there are others then we really should be informed of them.

As for the UK thing, first I've heard of it, but it is indeed dreadful.
Now to be the ghoul again: what has been the death rate for UK radiation workers for the past 40 years? Is it at all anomolous, or is this just another case of people doing stupid crap for no reason?

deaths I have seen associated with Fukushima.

Dear readers -
This is exactly what I refer to as "nailing down jello" - what r4ndom has seen.

As for the UK thing, first I've heard of it, but it is indeed dreadful.

Funny that as I've posted it many times. Guess it comes back to 'what someone has seen'?

what has been the death rate for UK radiation workers for the past 40 years?

Gosh, lets go look at the official records.

Oh wait - in the UK they were removing organs and bones so that links of death to the Nuclear industry could not be as easily made.

And after such an admission and apology for doing such a thing what motivates you to then post

what has been the death rate for UK radiation workers for the past 40 years?

knowing full well the record is corrupt.

I am not psychic and neither are you, and I don't follow your every post with bated breath. Frankly you have posted so much information of dubious provenance and questionable utility that I generally ignore you completely except when you are deliberately poking at me.

Whether someone was working in the nuclear power industry in the years before they died is not something that removing their organs could wipe from the public record, and presumably if they could compromise those records so easily they would have done that instead.

Really, I keep telling you where you might find evidence that I would accept that supports your position, including good indirect statistical sources that are very tough to manipulate. That sort of analysis is the very foundation of this site. If you don't have the math to pull it apart yourself, there are several people on here that I'm sure would be willing to do charts against a provided data set.

I'm not going to do your research for you.

I would accept

Given you "move goalposts" on what you consider "acceptable" I post information for the other readers of TOD to look over the evidence and come to their own conclusion.

And I show my sources via links - VS handwaving or just made up things one wishes were true. (If I cared enough I'd work up a scraper and compare link content of posters vs non link containing posters)

Now lets examine known effects of the open air radioactive bomb testing:

the average Sr-90 concentration in teeth of persons who died of cancer was 122% greater, or more than twice the level for healthy persons the same age. The 122% excess was statistically significant at p<.04.

So that radiation has a measurable effect. Contrary to claims otherwise.


Cancer incidence rates in the four counties closest to the Indian Point nuclear plant have risen much more rapidly than U.S. rates since the early 1990s,


report examines the high rates of hypothyroidism in newborns near the Indian Point nuclear reactors.



Data show a statistically significant reduction in red and white blood cell counts, platelet counts and hemoglobin with increasing residential 137Cs soil contamination. Over the six-year observation period, hematologic markers did improve. In children with the higher exposure who were born before the accident, this improvement was more pronounced in the white blood cell and platelet counts, and less for red blood cells and hemoglobin. There was no exposure x time interaction in 702 children who were born after the accident. The exposure gradient persisted in this sub-sample.

More on the Chernyobyl kids

During the past 10 years the percentage of healthy children has dropped and the number of disabled children is growing. It is widely recognised that those affected by Chernobyl suffer from a weakened immune system. The World Health Organisation predicts that one third of all the children from the area around Gomel aged between 0 and 4 at the time of the accident will develop thyroid cancer during their lifetime – a total of 50,000 children. Health studies on Chernobyl children have also shown a growth in nervous system diseases, mental disorders and congenital diseases including rare forms of genetic abnormalities. There have been significant increases in children suffering from cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, diabetes and other diseases.

How about some Three Mile Island for the doubters?

Over time, unusually high numbers of both strange and common cancers began showing up among residents, particularly those living in the path of the radiation plumes that crept over nearby communities during the first few days following the accident. Myriad other health problems appeared -- miscarriages, stillbirths, infant deaths, thyroid diseases, various autoimmune disorders, heart problems and the sudden onset of allergies.

Becky Mease, a nurse in her late twenties at the time, fled with her husband, eight-month-old daughter Pam, and two other adults two days after the accident, when then Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh suggested that pregnant women and preschool children within five miles of Three Mile Island evacuate. They drove more than 250 miles to Ocean City, Maryland, where they stayed for about three weeks.

Recounting her experience to citizen researchers Katagiri Mitsuru and Aileen Smith in October 1982, Mease said Pam, who had been outside playing in the grass the day of the accident, had gotten violently ill with diarrhea and projectile vomiting about two days after they left. A full battery of tests at a local hospital failed to find any bacteria or foreign organism, which could cause such symptoms, so the hospital staff told them to go to a civil defense station. Mease knew radiation sickness can cause vomiting and diarrhea, so she asked the people at the civil defense office to check their car and belongings with a Geiger counter. “It just went completely crazy… It went like nuts when it went over my pocketbook, too," she said. “They told us to go wash everything down."

Pam's severe diarrhea lasted the entire three weeks they were away. “Her behind was so raw that we just left it lay on diapers. Didn't even put them on after a couple of days," said Mease.

In the summer of 1981, when Pam was two years old, she was diagnosed with severe cataracts in both of her eyes, which her doctor attributed to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

The Meases' ordeal was one of thousands area residents suffered in the aftermath of the accident. But the radiation effects weren't confined to humans. The evidence was visible across the landscape, too, with unprecedented numbers of sick and dying farm animals and strangely mutated plants.

More general comments on radiation to remember when a poster claims "no issues" with radiation.



16 Million Radiation Deaths and Counting

I'm not going to do your research for you.

For the most part you do not bother posting links to whatever you claim.

And when asked straight up for a definition - you can't be bothered to even answer a direct question.

Given your willingness to move goalposts and not cite sources - I'm not working to remove your ignorance as you do not want your ignorance removed.

I'm making sure that others are aware your position is bunk and why it's bunk.

I acknowledge serious data. I don't have time right now to compose a proper response, but I'll do so later when I have time.

Expect me to try to kick it down, I want your argument as strong as you can make it.

A couple of links for my side (that fossil fuels are more dangerous):

Radiation mainly contributes to cancer deaths, where fossil fuel pollution mainly contributes to cardiovascular and respiratory deaths, but there's not a whole lot you can really tease out of the Wikipedia link without going to their referenced sources.

Immediate, direct deaths from nuclear power incidents are rare (mainly Chernobyl, but there have been others), where with fossil fuels they are quite common.

Have a good afternoon.

A couple of links for my side (that fossil fuels are more dangerous):

So that's your position - "the other guy" is "worse"

What a poor excuse for 2 known bad choices.

But if that is all ya got, "this other source is bad" - you go with that. But as one of our philosopher-kings here on TOD has said about fossil fuels in this drumbeat "We gotta get off the stuff anyway".

Immediate, direct deaths

Everyone gets to die. Which is better? Quick and fast or say riddled with cancer?

Yes, that has always been my position. Safety is relative, and nothing is perfectly safe.
The fact as I have seen it is that fossil fuels are so dangerous that nuclear is a needed improvement in safety.

Ultimately we should move past nuclear to something even better if we can, but I haven't considered the risks from nuclear to be the show stopper that you and others do.

Perhaps that is why you have the impression that I'm moving the goalposts. I am persuadable, you just have to convince me that nuclear is worse than what people will do without it. A rather high bar even given the deaths from the open-air nuclear bomb tests you refer to above.

Everyone gets to die. Which is better? Quick and fast or say riddled with cancer?

There is no good way to die, just a desire to put it off as long as possible.

Yes, that has always been my position. Safety is relative,

Safety is not relative.

At one end of the spectrum is "does no harm".
The other end is "dead".

Standing at the "dead" end doesn't make things "more dead" or "less dead".

There is no good way to die,

Sure there is.

just a desire to put it off as long as possible.

So you are wanting to see the process take as long as possible, even if there is suffering, just to put the event off "as long as possible".

Glad you are willing to share your framing with us.

http://www.radiation.org/spotlight/premature.html and "16 Million Radiation Deaths and Counting" are worthless. Gee, they extrapolate the decline in infant mortality to zero and assume that any value higher than their pseudo-regression fit is "excess deaths". Lies, damned lies and statistics. The mortality rate hovered between 8 and 10 from the 1950s to 2000. Did it ever cross the minds of these zealots that zero infant deaths may be UNPHYSICAL or MEDICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Every infant that is born is not 100% healthy some have terminal conditions and poverty is not at 0% (the health of the mother counts for something).

It's always about the babies. Save the babies, bomb Iraq! Get their oil and make sure that climate oblivion is guaranteed.

Hopefully you'll have a similar negative reaction when certain other data sources are brought up.


Note how:

regulators let the matter drop

One can examine the topic of:
Regulatory capture

make sure that climate oblivion is guarantee

Considering the ineffectiveness of Carbon capture - 70% of the expenditures do not go to the actual effort.
As long as the 100% parasitology of Investment Bankers (for every unit spent on actual Carbon reduction, one unit goes to invest banks per the report) and an overall parasite load of 70% - Carbon reduction is doomed to fail.

Figure out how to choke off the parasites, as high parasite loads historically doom hosts placed under stress.

Having worked in the nuclear industry for over 30 years I'll add the following to this discussion.

People die from accidents working in any industry. Whenever possible companies attempt to limit their liability for the deaths, some to any length, especially years ago.

The hardest part about radiation effects for most people to understand is- any amount of dose can cause the same stochastic effects (ie cancer), increasing the dose only increases the likelyhood of effects.Even for deterministic effects (ie radiation sickness) every person will react differently. In theory the cat litter in your house could cause a fatal cancer just like a reactor accident next door, it's just more likely with the accident scenario.

Generally cancers caused by radiation are not distinguishable from natural causes, so in most cases it is not possible to be 100% certain as to the cause of a cancer. That is why different studies of the same incident can have such different results.

All the studies I have seen for cancer deaths show nuclear workers die from cancer less often than the general population, but this does not mean some nuclear workers do not die from work related cancer.

I don't think there is any industry or activity that can't be shown to increase mortality in residents living nearby or is "safe".

The record for UK radiation workers from 40 years ago may be corrupt, but so are the records for any group of industrial workers from 40 or more years ago.

Do they even know it's available?

Are the farmers willing and able to pay people what the work is worth?

So do you propose marching them all off to the countryside North Korea style?

No, can't do that, it would make people think that we are no longer the land of the free and that we no longer believe in the ideals upon which this country was founded...

These words from the "The New Colossus," written in 1883, by Emma Lazarus appear on the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name,
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Oh, wait...on second thought we should just give the Statue of Liberty back, It was given to us as a present, by of all people, the French!

Ah, those folks who invented 'Liberty Fries'!

"the ideals upon which this country was founded" were that we should have the right to trade and ship molasses, rum, slaves, and various and sundry other goods without British regulation and taxation.

Oh, OK, then, I guess...

On the other hand, I've been participating in an on line conversation and though I have not asked for permission to post the entire comment, I don't think the person who made it, will mind if I include their closing statement... I think it is quite appropriate and one with which I wholeheartedly agree!

It's time for a second American Revolution, this time against the late-stage Hamiltonian corporatis/capitalist/centrist/elitist vision of America, and perhaps updating the Jeffersonian agrarian, artisanal, self-reliant, democratic vision.

Perhaps the closing verse of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere might aptly set the tone for how I feel.
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So through the night rode Paul Revere;=
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

It's time for a second American Revolution, this time against the late-stage Hamiltonian corporatis/capitalist/centrist/elitist vision of America, and perhaps updating the Jeffersonian agrarian, artisanal, self-reliant, democratic vision.

Hum, can't help saying: Jefferson was a slaveholder who made no serious attempts to oppose chattel slavery, and he spent most of his life in deep debt because he couldn't help gorging himself on Hamiltonian luxuries.

I don't mean to say Jefferson's eloquently expressed aspirations aren't worth considering, but we have to ask ourselves at the same time why he found it so difficult to, you know, be the change he wished to see in the world.

Hum, can't help saying: Jefferson was a slaveholder who made no serious attempts to oppose chattel slavery, and he spent most of his life in deep debt because he couldn't help gorging himself on Hamiltonian luxuries.

Yeees, I'm quite aware of that.

And Isaac Newton was a religious nut and an alchemist to boot, not to mention a bit of an Ahole. Yet his Principia Mathematica and the law of universal gravitation are still quite useful today. My point being, that one can't really take historical figures out of the context of the times in which they lived, nor should we expect them to be without foibles, idiosyncrasies and other human weaknesses, can we now?

I guess at some point in the future some 21st century noble prize winning scientist will be called despicable because he drove an automobile powered by oil energy slaves, his scientific accomplishments notwithstanding.


There's a big difference between driving an automobile and being a member of an agrarian elite who use a white underclass derived from indentured servants and deported criminals to control black slaves from Africa to grow cotton and tobacco for export in order to import manufactured goods and luxuries.

Sorry Merrill, my point has obviously zipped right over your head.

Perhaps from a perspective in the future, looking back, future generations might argue that a civilization where driving a car was acceptable and the vast majority didn't equate it with destroying life sustaining ecosystems and squandering precious resources upon which billions of our descendants would depend, was actually a few orders of magnitude worse.

At the time when he lived, Jefferson didn't have the benefit of the hindsight of history to know that today we consider slavery the total abomination that it is and therefore he can only be judged in the context of how he acted within the norms of his time.

Considering that he fathered children with Sarah "Sally" Hemings a black woman and his slave, who was notable because she became his concubine after his wife's death. Jefferson is now believed to be the father of her six children.Four Hemings-Jefferson children survived to adulthood. He let two "escape" in 1822 at the age of 21 and freed the younger two in his will in 1826. So one might even argue that he was ahead of his time.

I think our total lack of regard for the condition of the world we are passing on to our children, despite having the knowledge that we are indeed causing irreparable harm might indeed be judged rather harshly by our own descendants.

one can't really take historical figures out of the context of the times in which they lived, nor should we expect them to be without foibles, idiosyncrasies and other human weaknesses, can we now?

All fair points. But regarding context we can say the same about Hamilton, no? That was my (rather oblique) point, not so much to deconstruct Jefferson.

I would argue that Hamilton understood better than Jefferson what it meant to be sitting on a continent with resources comparable to old Europe's (and more as it turned out) and what to do about it. It's coming apart at the seams now that the credit piece has out-run good old fashioned resources, but I think someone like Hamilton was bound to emerge, and someone like Jefferson was bound to be on the short end of that historical debate.

...but I think someone like Hamilton was bound to emerge, and someone like Jefferson was bound to be on the short end of that historical debate.

Fair enough, point taken.

"So do you propose marching them all off to the countryside North Korea style?"

The correct short-term solution is to raise wages offered until there are takers for the open jobs. That's how other industries operate.

The long term solution is robots.

We have a large and growing prison population, courtesy mostly of the war on drugs. So an obvious (if distasteful and immoral) solution presents itself.

Or we could just legalize all drugs, release all non-violent drug "offenders" and tax the heck out of the drugs.

In other words, cut a huge amount of government and government spending, while simutaneously raising large amounts of revenue, freeing up the police, courts and prisons to deal with violent offenders. The streets would probably end up being safer as well. If we added in legalized and heavily taxed prostitution, we could probably balance the budget and start paying down the debt as well.

Nah, nevermind. Lets just keep raising college tuition, cutting back on food for the poor and arguing about budgetary noise instead.

""Or we could just legalize all drugs, release all non-violent drug "offenders" and tax the heck out of the drugs.""

That's actually what needs to happen. Trouble is, your criminal FEDGOV employee makes too much money off of the backs of those unable to buy their way out of the legal industry.

All Drugs, should be legalized, so to speak, and all non-violent offenders free. ASAP. My desire to grow any Plant I choose in my Garden, is nobody's business but my own. Least of all some FEDGOV Criminal with a Badge.

The Martian.

Trouble is, your criminal FEDGOV employee makes too much money off of the backs of those unable to buy their way out of the legal industry.



2. Declassifying endangered animals -- The federal budget passed this April gave gray wolf hunters the green light.

5. Banning composting on Capitol Hill -- Saving taxpayers $0.003 each.

7. Selling the wilderness -- Republicans used the April budget to defund some wilderness protection programs and continue to push for additional land privatization.


But, you see they have taken to saying "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste" to heart. It is an opportunity to push their pet projects and to destroy the oppositions pet projects. And if their actions bring on the next crisis, then that just means future opportunities for crisis exploitation.

The long term solution is robots.

Perfect, at least they don't have to eat...

Until they take too many jobs and then have to leave because of the robot-immigration act imposed by the governor.

This could have been better handled to smooth the transition, but illegal immigration did probably need resolving in some way. It was never going to be easy.

Yair...This is a little off topic but maybe of interest to some:- When talking about "farm workers" I seems to be assumed that these are low skilled repetitious boring jobs that any one could do.

I have to tell you that even with extensive training most Australian (and by logical extension American) folks are incapable of aquiring the manual dexterity and fitness necessary to generate any more than a bare survival income when doing many tasks on a 'piecework' basis.

In contrast Cambodians, Vietmanese, and Sudanase folks can make very good money (by todays standards) at the same rates.

This is not to say that rates and wages should not be higher...it just means the public need to get used to the fact they should be paying more for food.

This difficulty in getting skilled productive workers was the primary motivation in behind the development of our rotary farming system.


They won't do the work, or they won't do the work at the offered wage? Note that the wage is unnaturally depressed because some illegal immegrant who doesn't pay any taxes and still gets government benefits will do it for less.

I could personally get by on a lot less salary if I didn't have to pay any taxes, got free healthcare when I got sick, drove around without car insurance, etc. etc. I have nothing against illegal immigrants as individuals... they are just people born into difficult circumstances, trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. In their shoes, who is to say that I wouldn't do the exact same thing. However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and attempting to ignore the huge problems that illegal immigration as a whole causes in our society is extremely short sighted. Immigration needs to taxed and regulated, and people employing said individuals need to be held accountable for hiring legal workers, immigrant or otherwise. Every immigrant should be allowed to work, however, they should also be obligated to follow our laws, pay taxes AND not be allowed to milk the government teat for additional benefits. We'll take your hard workers... we've got enough lazy people of our own to worry about though, thanks.


Holy cow man, please run for office!

Logical non-prescription drug policy and immigration policy...

Holy cow man, please run for office!

Logical non-prescription drug policy and immigration policy...

Those are two rather massive strikes against him. Hard to win a ballgame, when the rules are that your side automatically starts with two strikes before they enter the batters box. Oh and I almost forgot, the strike zone extends twenty feet above the plate too. He had better bring a very very long bat to the game.

Someone has to do it. Otherwise all that perfectly good food rots in the field.

The idiocy of these guys is almost beyond comprehension.

And what happens when these Tea Party types really take over the whole country?

Political insanity will doom us/is dooming us much faster that PO and GW combined.

The article pointed out that it is not as simple as raising wages to attract unemployed workers. This would put the state at a disadvantage vs states that do not have the stringent anti immigration laws. The wages suck but perhaps they would be better than nothing. Or not. I get it,however, that working in the fields in the summer in Georgia would be hell on earth. So I am not in a position to judge anyone since I live in a cool area. Anyway, as the article points out, you can't try to fix illegal immigration on a state by state basis unless you want to suffer tremendous economic losses in the low wage agricultural sector.

Eventually, I guess one would reach some kind of equilibrium as farmers went out of business, raising food prices and thus raising wages. By that time, however, many of us would be broke from the high food prices.

Another issue is that the food in question is from vegetables and fruits which are not subsidized and not heavily mechanized.

Another approach would be CSAs where the participants pick their own fruits and veggies. We have some of those in our area. I guess, however, that most of these farms are too far from populated areas.

Anyway, the whole thing is a shame as there are so many people hurting these days. Shame that all that food is going to waste.

Apparently, the Georgia legislature and the Governor couldn't see this coming. Dumb.

Even with the current unemployment rate, you can still get a job at McDonalds. It pays about the same or more and it is much easier work. The job market has to get much worse before we find documented farm workers. In my dealings, it does appear that more young adults are taking an interest in sustainable farming, though.

Darn darn darn shazba!

I hate to think of blueberries going to waste...

I used to take my family out of Bossier City, LA up the road ~ 7 miles towards Bayou Bodcau and pick big, organically grown blueberries on a little fruit and veggie farm...I would have bags and bags of frozen blueberries in the freezer.

Blueberry pie, blueberry milkshakes, blueberry smoothies, blueberries over shortbread with whipped cream, blueberries on shredded wheat...

Ain't no organic blueberry farms near Albuquerque!

But Albertsons and Trader Joes sells me my blueberries, and I am not going to fret about them oily energy slaves bringing them to me!


Anyway, as the article points out, you can't try to fix illegal immigration on a state by state basis

This is one of the (many) things I don't understand about the US - isn't immigration a Federal matter? Doesn't the Fed gov set the immigration rules?

How can it be "illegal" to immigrate to one state and not to another?

Leaving aside the state by state part of it, the issue about immigrant farm workers is the same in Canada, Australia and likely other high wage countries too. Personally I think bringing in "guest workers" for below legal wages is State sponsored slavery. It is up to the farmers to work out how to afford their labour, same as every other industry. If that means the food prices go up, then so be it, though I suspect it will lead to more farmers markets and the like, and that is a good thing too.

Yes, it's very confusing. The Feds do set the entry rules. So the state laws can't really affect the legality of someone simply being present. However, to the extent the courts allow it in the end, state laws might affect privileges and benefits - drivers' licenses, eligibility for in-state (deeply discounted) tuition at state colleges, eligibility for other social benefits, eligibility to work, business/professional licenses, etc. This might affect whether someone in the US illegally can, at the minimum, be pushed out-of-state. Evidently the Georgia law has had some such effect, along with presumably unforeseen (cough, cough) side effects...

There's a bit of a beggar-thy-neighbor element to it, and in some regions there's frustration with the Feds doing nothing. In some respects the country might be a little too big and diverse to function as a unit any more - with the Feds having become as pettily meddlesome and standardizing as they are, live-and-let-live works less well than it did back when they were off the radar of day-to-day life. This is possibly not entirely unlike what goes on between Eastern and Western Canada, or Quebec vs. the rest (or perhaps BC vs. Alberta; I wonder what kind of ructions there will be in BC over piping Asia-bound tar-sands oil to a port there to be, horror of horrors, loaded onto ships.)

US Accused of News Blackout on Nebraska Nuke Plant

A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant [photo top left] located in Nebraska.


Seems a bit sensationalist, and the reporting news site is not exactly the NY Times, or such, but it did catch my attention....

There are no-fly zones over the plants - and the no-fly status started about the time of the NRC known troubles.

Without working radiation meters and that data being reported - how would one know if there is an issue?

OPPD Dispels Nuclear Meltdown Rumors In Ft. Calhoun

June 18 from local TV station. There doesn't appear to be a news blackout. The no-fly zone would seem to be a good idea to keep news aircraft and the curious away from the plant. A helicopter crashing into the "aquaberm" would not be a good thing.

Omaha Public Power District - OPPD.

TEPCO made statements about how safe things were. Statements that turned out not to be true.

BP presented pictures about how in control they were during the BP oil spill. It turned out that more than once the 'official' pictures were nothing more than photoshoped jobs attempting to present something true that was just not true.

I'm all for preventing a crash into the "aquaberm".

But why should "official statements" be trusted as truth?

If you read far enough down in the article, it becomes apparent that this site, or at least the writer, is a rabidly strong supporter of the coal industry and alleges that Obama is covering up because he wants to keep nuclear as an alternative to the coal industry and wants to kill the coal industry. Now, there may be problems at the nuclear site, but this news source clearly has a stake in negatively portraying the nuclear industry.

This news site, or whatever it is, is based in West Virginia. So consider the (coal) source.

Interesting link on Solar Storms and their potential effect on the grid:


Here is a question: Fukushima demonstrated the need for reliable backup power, and the consequences if that isn't available. What would happen if we got a huge solar storm that took out the grid, including some of the substation wiring at the nuclear plants? I wonder if the NRC has examined this scenario in detail, or simply assumed that it couldn't happen here.....

I've brought this up before and the response postings were "no worries".

But then again - the ppl posting "no worries" said the same thing just after the wave of water hit Fukishima.

Or solar cycle 24 will be weak and produce no significant solar storms.

Solar Cycle Progression
Presented by the NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center

and from PMOD, Solar Constant
Construction of a Composite Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) Time Series from 1978 to present

There is a PDF file of the chart at the link that is larger.

Solar cycle 24 might be so weak that the TSI might decrease from the average by ~.25 W/m2. That is not enough to exceed the ~1.6 W/m2 net contribution from GHG's reported by the IPCC for 2005, but it is a significant fraction that will slow global warming for a little while. Just what the AGW skeptics and denialists ordered for lunch.

The sunspot number back to 1745 shows there were many weak cycles without a massive CME like in September 1859. There is no particular reason to think one will happen during this cycle.

More news from the farm.

According to a recent report out of Washington University (WU) in St. Louis, Mo., the chemical industry's answer to genetically-modified (GM) induced superweeds is to now tamper with the genetics of the superweeds themselves, which may appear to provide a quick fix, but will eventually spur an even worse breed of "super superweeds."

Gotta make the quarterly numbers - and don't worry...we'll set things up for even better numbers in the future eh?

When that writer is done scaremongering and at long last gets down to facts, he says "And by playing around with varying temperatures and times of application, the scientists determined that in certain weather and under certain conditions, they were able to successfully mitigate the superweed." That's got nothing at all to do with "tampering with its genetics".

The irony is that the scaremongering is entirely superfluous. After all, fiddling with temperature and times of application probably won't work for long before another mutation shows up in the weeds and offsets it, and that ought to be plenty scary enough, no over-egging needed. And as Rockman has said about frac'ing, we ought to be scared about the things that actually matter.

Super Superweed is:

A) The newest smokable product from British Columbia
B) The newest member of the X-Men
C) A natural result caused by altering plant genetics
D) The Common Dandelion
E) All of the Above

IAEA criticizes Japan's nuclear data sharing

Participants at a closed door session of the International Atomic Energy Agency have agreed to set up an international mechanism to share information in the event of nuclear emergencies.

The IAEA held the ministerial meeting on Wednesday to assess Japan's response to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March.

A Japanese official quoted an expert from the World Meteorological Organization as saying the group was unable to obtain necessary information from Japan. He said this led to difficulties in projecting how radioactive materials would spread around the world.

The official said other member countries also criticized Japan's initial emergency response. They said they could not fully explain to their nationals what was happening as Japan failed to release detailed information immediately after the accident.

Water filters at Fukushima still not working

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still struggling with a malfunctioning water-decontaminator---the key to dealing with highly-radioactive water accumulating at the site.

...It says it will continue to try and identify the cause of the problem so that it can begin operating the system as soon as possible before the water begins to overflow from the facilities, which are almost full.


"Nuclear terrorism can cause another Fukushima: expert

Global action to protect the nuclear industry against possible terrorist attacks is urgently needed, a leading expert said, as are safety steps to prevent any repeat of Japan's Fukushima accident.

"Both al Qaeda and Chechen terrorist groups have repeatedly considered sabotaging nuclear reactors -- and Fukushima provided a compelling example of the scale of terror such an attack might cause," Matthew Bunn of Harvard University said."

It always puzzled me how the right wing, who are generally most enthusiastic about nukes and also most concerned about the eternal "war on terror", could reconcile these. But I guess we all have our little inconsistencies.

No where to escape ATVs and snow-machines?


I am a hiker, and have almost been run down more than once by idiots on noisy polluting machines out in the 'wild'.

Can we not preserve some at least sort-of natural/wild places?

We will sacrifice all to give a few some more dollops of the almighty dollars.

Good post Heisenberg, and my wife and I feel the same way. Why is it to be human seems in this modern era to be synonimous with needing some kind of transport to move one's arss across natural landscape? Doesn't the noise chase off the wildlife, and eliminate the idea of convening with nature?

Before we moved a little farther north, we lived in Marin County, just north of SF. We use to frequent Lake Lagunitas to hike around the upper lake. Then suddenly the bike craze got a hold of people and after dodging 125 or so bikes one day, we gave up on a walk in nature around that gorgeous lake.

Many people we know get their kids to convene with nature by riding extremely loud ATV's on BLM land. There isn't even an effort to muffle the sound, but rather an apparent goal of making them as loud as possible.

I don't get it, but it's nice to know others like yourself don't either.

Earl - That's such a shame. Too bad they haven't figured out how to seperate the different levels of access. I don't hunt much these days but I always avoided the big hunting camps. If I wanted to be surrounded by a bunch of noisey (and occasionally drunk) armed folks I go to a mall in Houston. Sitting under a shady mesquite observing Mother was the reward. Making a meat shot was just a bonus. A little bloodier than you outdoor adventures but the same idea. My last big outing was to Banff Park and went before the season. A little chilly for a southern boy but not nearly as many folks to share the glaciers with. My third trip to the park...a great time even though I didn't kill even one of Mother's other children.

My third trip to the park...a great time even though I didn't kill even one of Mother's other children.

We appreciate that, and luckily, so far this year, none of the animals has whacked any of the tourists, either. However, the tourist season is still young.

Gentle hint to tourists in the Great White North. Don't pet any furry animals which are bigger than you are. The horns, antlers, teeth, and claws are not entirely for show, and they aren't as friendly as they appear on the Disney channel.

Don't pet any furry animals which are bigger than you are.

The only animal encounter I remember from my one trip there. We were eating dinner at the picknick table in the campground, a squirrel jumped up and grabbed an apple, not two feet from me. Those critters have a lot of gumption. He didn't let go of it when I protested either, ultimately he ran off with his free lunch. Petting an animal one twentieth your size could still get you bitten.

I share your outrage. Hopefully Peak Oil will prevent these idiots from driving huge machines so they can destroy land with childish off road machines.
Embarrassing brain dead behavior.

More proof that most Americans regard the earth with pure contempt and view it as just something to drive on. I am a hardcore mtn biker and I am vehemently opposed to allowing mtn bikes or any motorized vehicles in wilderness areas.

The "power sports" industry will be a welcome casualty of peak oil.

Two trees, one on either side of trail. Sufficient length of high tensile, fine gauge braided wire. Q.E.F.

Can we not preserve some at least sort-of natural/wild places?

Hey, no problem. Just do what the State of Washington did.

As of July 1, it will cost $11.50 to set foot on any and all state lands. Per day.

The county park was demand-destructed for me at $5.00, which they started two years ago. Now the state lands are too, even worse. The beautiful Deception Pass State Park, one of my favorite places on earth. I wonder if I will ever get to see it again.

Of course, the wealthy state legislators who enacted this lovely new fee could not ever even remotely wrap their minds around the idea that there's a whole bunch of folk out there for whom ten bucks is a trip-stopper. They multiply the fee times the number of last year's visitors and think they can axe the entire state parks budget. Fools.

Rationing through pricing works great when you are rich. No more pesky poor people in your way on public lands.

Yes, but looking at the Washington State Park web site, I see you can get an annual pass for $35. You may well see me there with one prominently displayed in the window of my VW Eurovan camper as I pass through, recycling my Canadian oil dollars to where they came from.

And with planning you can avoid paying at all. One way is to go to Iraq and get your leg blown off, which will entitle you to the Disabled Veterans pass. I would recommend you go for the Volunteers Pass instead.

Volunteers who work 24 hours or more on agency-approved projects are eligible for a complimentary Discover Pass.

I don't get that kind of break. I work my butt off building trails and renovating cabins in our Canadian parks, and then I get to pay a hundred bucks or so for an annual pass like everyone else.

A new paper by James Hamilton and the relationship of oil price shocks to the US economy.

That finding is of course extremely relevant in the Spring of 2011, as dramatic developments in North Africa and the Middle East are leading many people to wonder whether we are about to see a replay of the historical pattern. The significant production disruptions at the time of this writing have been confined to Libya, which had been contributing about 2 percent of global oil production. If this is the end of the story, then it would be perhaps comparable to the 2002-3 Venezuela-Iraq disruptions, and significantly smaller than the supply disruptions that were associated with economic recessions. However, given the turbulent history of the Middle East, even if current events are contained, it seems quite likely that sometime within the next decade there will be broader conflicts with significant implications for world oil supplies.


Volunteers are the new city employees

In an era of dwindling revenue and slashed spending, volunteerism is becoming a crucial part of city operations and a strategy to solve its most pressing problems.

Related: NY state's largest public employee union has tentatively agreed to a 5-year deal that would raise health insurance premiums, offer no raises for the first two years, and have all workers take 9 furlough days over the next two years.

On the federal level: Postal Service suspends retirement plan contributions

Peak Oil does a cross over to HP Lovecraft.

Competition from new franchises like "Scary Clowns associates" and "Peek Oil ldt" has forced Cthulhu to take on smaller and smaller contract like country fairs and children's parties.

Just reported on CNBC:

IEA announces a release of 60 million barrels from worldwide strategic petroleum reserves. 30 million from the USA alone.


IEA makes 60 million barrels of oil available to market to offset Libyan disruption

23 June 2011 Paris --- International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka announced today that the 28 IEA member countries have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil in the coming month in response to the ongoing disruption of oil supplies from Libya. This supply disruption has been underway for some time and its effect has become more pronounced as it has continued. The normal seasonal increase in refiner demand expected for this summer will exacerbate the shortfall further. Greater tightness in the oil market threatens to undermine the fragile global economic recovery.

In deciding to take this collective action, IEA member countries agreed to make 2 million barrels of oil per day available from their emergency stocks over an initial period of 30 days. Leading up to this decision, the IEA has been in close consultation with major producing countries, as well as with key non-IEA importing countries.

“Today, for the third time in the history of the International Energy Agency, our member countries have decided to release stocks.” Mr. Tanaka said. “I expect this action will contribute to well-supplied markets and to ensuring a soft landing for the world economy.”

Hmmm. Weren't we recently informed that the SPR needed to shift some oil in order to conduct maintenance?

Is this an exercise in making a political virtue out of an physical necessity, at least to some extent?

Anyone with advance knowledge of this would have done well today.

CNBC saying Whitehouse tells them to focus on Brent not WTI az a key indicator. Is it enough to keep the price down after the initial plunge and how far can the price be depressed?

This deserves a TOD keypost ASAP. (Please)

I wonder what the reaction will be later today and in subsequent days as oil traders consider the implications of the move, i.e., presumably that the IEA thought that global supply could not meet demand (at current prices) later this summer. Incidentally, I suppose this says a lot about the IEA's confidence in the ability of the Saudis to "flood" the market.

My current guesstimate is that 10 years hence, around 2020, we will have burned through about half of the post-2005 supply of Cumulative GNE (Global Net Exports).

And what comes after the first 60 million barrels?


If supply remains disrupted and markets remain tight in the future, the IEA does not exclude another decision to make additional supplies available to the market.


tow - Still can't find details about who gets the oil...Gulf Coast refiners or the EU. As I understand how our SPR oil is released: it isn't sold per se...it's loaned. Within a specific time period it has to be replaced by who ever received it. Nice leverage if you get the timing right: the release lowers crude prices and you buy the replacement volume cheap...if you don't wait too long. But when the time comes to make the replacement and crude is selling higher than when the release happened then you lose. Of course we don't have to physically ship our SPR oil overseas. We can just swap with any producers shipping sweet to the US. But I think that's a rather short list.

Wonder how long before we see the details. Wonder if by the time the released is made and if it heads to the EU what will gasoline prices be like in the US? A summer run up in fuel prices here while we're sending the tax payers' crude to the EU could be a sticky wicket fo the administration. Maybe they're counting on our economy tanking some more and destroy some of that potential demand. This may be more entertaining than watching a game of Texas Holdem.


Logically it would seem that the US would use its light sweet crude to reduce the need for imports of the same. The crude no longer imported into the US would then be available to other markets. The US currently imports about 2mb/day crude with an API above 35.1 according to the EIA (and 1mb/day API 40 or greater).

Whether that's how it works in reality, I suppose we will see.

SPR releases can be by loan (say refinery in St. Charles is short of crude because a barge sank in the wrong place and the nearby SPR loans them some) or by auction.

It appears that this release will be an auction. About $3 billion to plug the federal deficit.

And it may never be replaced.


LONDON (MarketWatch) -- The International Energy Agency said Thursday that its 28 member countries have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil in the coming month because of the ongoing disruption of oil supplies from Libya. The Libyan unrest removed 132 million barrels of light, sweet crude oil from the market by the end of May, according to IEA estimates. As part of the IEA move, the U.S. will release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which stands at 727 million barrels. This is the third time in the history of the IEA that its members have decided to release stocks. "I expect this action will contribute to well-supplied markets and to ensuring a soft landing for the world economy," said IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka in a statement.


Oil is down $4 right now.

Isn't it funny how closely that followed this announcement?

Saudi Suggests 'Squeezing' Iran Over Nuclear Ambitions
BY JAY SOLOMON / WSJ / June 22, 2011

A leading member of Saudi Arabia's royal family warned that Riyadh could seek to supplant Iran's oil exports if the country doesn't constrain its nuclear program, a move that could hobble Tehran's finances.

In closed-door remarks earlier this month, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal also strongly implied that Riyadh would be forced to follow suit if Tehran pushed ahead to develop nuclear weapons and said Saudi Arabia is preparing to employ all of its economic, diplomatic and security assets to confront Tehran's regional ambitions.

"Iran is very vulnerable in the oil sector, and it is there that more could be done ...

So how is Iran taking the sudden collapse of the price of oil?


The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a de facto oil subsidy. Today's WTI price action proves it.


Rising Saudi Thirst for Oil Drives Plans to Go Nuclear

Some economists say that if Saudi Arabia's current energy-consumption growth rate of 7% a year continues unabated, the kingdom within 20 years will burn the equivalent of almost all its recent daily output—more than eight million barrels a day—or around two-thirds its total production capacity.

"They're really within, just mathematically, 20 years of having very little oil to export," said Brad Bourland, chief economist of Jadwa Investment in Riyadh. "I think it's a very significant medium-term challenge for them in how they turn it around."

Saudi Arabia's oil consumption to production ratio rose from 18% in 2005 to 28% in 2010 (BP). At this rate of increase, they would hit 100% (zero net oil exports) in 14 years, around 2024.

Hmmm, looks like someone has been reading your analyses. Though, as you say, they're still painting it rosy by 5-6 years.

Does anyone take such a 'Saudi flood the market with oil to hurt Iran' story seriously? It sounds like a silly conspiracy theory that some reporter made the mistake of taking seriously. The Saudis don't have enough oil to do that and even if they did, they would be hurting themselves and their neighbors. It is laughable.

Thanks daddy. Have you seen any details? My search found nothing. I suppose the prime question to whom are we going to release the SPR crude: Gulf Coast refiners who have been short of sweet crude for a long time or are we going to ship it oversease to the EU?

Rock, 30% of the total worldwide release comes from European stocks according to the IEA. I'm guessing most releases will tend to stay mainly in region.

IEA collective action – June 23, 2011: Frequently asked questions

Q: How much oil will each country release? Will each country release the same proportional amount, or will some countries do more? How is that decision made?

A: Country shares are based on their proportionate share of total IEA oil consumption – so larger oil-consuming countries obviously have a bigger share in the overall release. In this case, all IEA countries holding strategic stocks and representing more than 1% of IEA final oil consumption are participating. It is expected that North America will release 50 percent of the total, with European countries releasing some 30 percent and Asian countries providing the remaining 20 percent.
The IEA will produce a tally once it has a clear indication of the types of oil that each country will make available.

tow- I don't know. Again, no specific details but they keep saying our SPR will be released to the "world market". Are our refiners being consider part of the world market? If we release the sweet stuff to our refiners what sweet imports will our refiners then turn away? And how wiill the market respond when our refiners have to increase their sweet imports to refill the SPR? And maybe there's a little secret they aren't telling us: remember when we were told our admin wasythose talks failed. But did they? Might be time to dust off our tin foil hats once again.

Maybe the secret they aren't telling us is simply that we've passed Peak Oil and are well and truly screwed barring a miracle. So let's not tell them and keep the bread and circuses up for a little bit longer.

My suspicion is that without the ghostly fore-shadow of this announcement echoing around the corridors of power, we might never have seen crude pull back this last month and US average gasoline prices would now be over $4. Whoever bet big money on the oil price falling will have profited handsomely in the "Bear Raid" that Charles Mackay recently suggested had taken place.

tow- yep...thank goodness we have laws against insider trading. Especially by friends of our political leadership. SO if I recall the numbers correctly a $5/bbl swing in future prices is around $5 billion made by someone in perhaps as little as 24 hours. And the same amount lost by someone.

The US doesn't need light sweet, our refineries are capable of handling heavy sour. It's for Europe and the Third World.
These oil markets are dragged up and down by the scarcity of the highest grades of oil.
I like Obama's suggestion of buying Saudi(or other) heavy crude for the SPR and dumping the light crude to tamp down the speculators.
Remember when Bush refused to open the SPR and price zoomed to $147. It's true that there is a lot less speculative capital these days but oil prices are a lot more reasonable in June 2011 than they have been for a while.

At $90 per barrel, prices are high enough to encourage legitimate oil industry investment(justifying unconventional oil, biofuels, etc) without sparking wasteful speculation.

Approximately 45% of the oil currently imported into the United States has an API of 30 or more (ie various grades of lighter crudes) 22% is 35.1 or greater. If SPR light crude is released to US refiners it will reduce the US import volume of light crude and make that volume of crude available to other markets.

So when you say that the US does not need light crude you are ignoring over 4 mb/day, API 30+, imported and used by refineries every day.

tow - Thanks...good to have some hard numbers. Then we should be able to do some swaps with those sweet imports that aren't tied up in long term contracts. As much as I don't like our feds getting into the oil trading biz I can live with it IF it stablizes the market. Like I've said before: the oil patch does much better with stability than brief periods of high oil prices. Of course, as I've explained, nothing would be better for my company if they released 300 million bbls of SPR and knocked oil to $20/bbl. Then in 4 or 5 years we would have all the consumers by the short and curleys. As usual, nothing personal...just business.

tow - Thanks...good to have some hard numbers.

Meant to put in a link to the EIA import gravity data. The figures I quoted were for the latest listed month - March 2011


The trend towards heavy oil is clear though

Technically we don't need light crude, the facilities are there or in the process of being built.
US refiners don't want to refine heavy sour crude for free.
The profit margins for refineries are small and it takes more money and energy to refine heavy oil. Therefore it is important that heavy oil prices are kept low, something a lot easier if oil is released to the market. Of course being heavy oil it should be
cheaper to buy as well.

The US PADD III where 800 mb SPR is located has about 3mbpd of heavy oil refining capacity exists. If the SPR were filled with heavy oil, that would increase the supply of heavy oil driving down its price.

Technically we don't need light crude, the facilities are there or in the process of being built.

While there are obviously many refineries that can handle the heaviest stuff, the average input to refineries data would not agree with you that the US does not need light. The US needs a lot of light crude in its overall refinery mix and that isn't going to change over-night although the long term trend is clearly towards heavy.


Heavy oil is defined as an API of 22.3 or lower.
Light oil is defined as an API of 31 or higher so the US on average is not refining light oil and is in the medium range trending downward.

My point is the refineries will process light oil over heavy based on cost. They can physically process heavier crude but there is a cost penalty to do so.

You think there's a physical bottleneck but if that were true the cost difference of heavy crude(like Maya) to light would be lower than it is($20).


US on average is not refining light oil and is in the medium range trending downward.

And there's a very large amount of light oils being refined along with heavy if the average is just about the light/medium boundary, and as is confirmed by the import data.

Do you specialise in taking bits of information out of context from the larger picture? Actually that would explain a lot.


Which problem? Re-election?

New York Times adds new details:

Global Oil Reserves Tapped in Effort to Cut Cost at Pump

The United States will lead an international effort to release 60 million barrels of petroleum reserves to world markets, replacing some of the oil production lost because of the conflict in Libya, the International Energy Agency announced in Paris on Thursday.

The action is aimed at reducing energy prices for businesses and consumers, and in early trading futures contracts for West Texas intermediate crude oil were down $4.50 a barrel to around $91.

The United States will release half of the total amount from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the rest of the oil to be provided by other nations among the international agency’s 28 member states. Negotiations for the coordinated response have been going on in secret for weeks, according to a person involved in the talks. Similar unified action was taken in 1991 at the outbreak of the first Persian Gulf War.

And they are serving the good stuff:

The oil to be released is light sweet crude, similar to the type that Libya produces. The war in Libya since mid-March has been largely responsible for keeping about 140 million barrels of oil from international markets, according to government estimates.

Fascinating. So here today we have reports that:

1. Saudi may turn on the taps and drown the world with oil to punish Iran.


2. That the world is releasing oil from SPRs to make up for oil lost from our attack on Libya.

Does it make sense that both of these are realistic? If SA can do that, why are we doing the SPR release?

Twi - Maybe I'm being just a bit paranoid this morning but this reminds me of how a magician uses misdirection: Look at my right hand where the KSA is using its "excess capacity" to lower crude prices just like they said they could. What? My left hand that's releasing oil from the SPR's around the world? Nah...that's not significant.

Now if you'll return your attention to my right hand I'll prove that PO is just a myth.

In one sense these statements are conflicting and it seems silly to release both at the same time. But in another sense they both communicate the idea that oil prices are going to come down and it's all going to be OK now. How many will look at them carefully and critically? However, if the purpose is a simple PR attempt to make people feel confident, then likely there is nothing substantive behind them.

My guess is this SPR release is somehow connected to buffering the bond market from the end of QE2. If you can depress commodities, or add uncertainty to the commodities markets, you can push money into bonds.

And pushing money into bonds is very important if the key purchaser: Federal Reserve, is about to stop supporting the bond market.

In short, no.

The concept of Saudi Arabia opening the taps to cleanse the market as a way of punishing Iran is absurd - as, if we granted that SA could actually do this, the result would be a collapse in the price of oil. This would punish ALL producers - including Saudi Arabia itself, which has recently been promising massive largesse to its populace to head off domestic political discontent.

I suspect that the reason for the co-ordinated release of strategic crude stocks is as follows: the European refinery complex, which is the principal customer for Libyan crude, has already lost some 80-100 million barrels of oil that it was anticipating having in the bank, and this situation is deteriorating at the rate of maybe 1 million barrels of oil per day. Despite the Saudi bluster aimed at talking the market down, there simply isn't an alternative source currently available to pick up the slack. Without the EIA/SPR strategic stock intervention, I would guess that over the summer there would be a developing price competition between US and European refiners for Nigerian, Angolan and other West African deliveries, a dramatic tail-off in European gasoline imports into the US, and the potential for a very nasty hurricane season kick.

And also reducing the troops allocated to Afghanistan.

Sounds like someone is looking to attack Iran, and is lining up the supply to try and keep the markets sated so it doesn't bite them. Keep an eye on where the US aircraft are over the coming months, and what Israel are doing.

I don't think they've lined up enough supply for that.

Does it make sense that both of these are realistic? If SA can do that, why are we doing the SPR release?

Maybe we are in cohuts with the Saudis? We both know they haven't the capability, but if we can push down the price due to these releases (plus the world economy slipping on Greece), and oil prices drop, noone will notice the Saudis didn't follow up on their bluff.

Today, according to oil tanker tracker, ‘Oil Movements’, reports that OPEC is exporting about the same amount in the next few weeks as it has for the last four – which is about 1.25 million bpd less than the peak reached in early February just before Libya went off line.

So in the recent four weeks then OPEC has increased exports about 200,000 bpd towards the goal of filling in the 1.45 mbpd export deficit generated by Libya. There is no sign what so ever that KSA increased its oil exports at all (beyond the 200,000 bpd starting about June 1) since the rather boastful statement a few weeks back that they would increase output up to 1 million barrels per day in June or July (not counting the free oil now being sent to Yemen at a rate of about 100,000 bpd).

Let me repeat that – Saudi Arabia is not – not – increasing its regular oil exports since that widely reported claim that they would increase output. They didn’t actually say, mind you, they would increase exports – and they haven’t.

Even more bizarre in the face of doing nothing about exports is that some Saudi officials want to bury Iran with extra output – output that yet no one has seen in the form of exports, excepting again, former oil exporter Yemen.

It’s not surprising then that the IEA’s appraisal of market conditions is that the world is heading for oil shortages, and something must be done soon.

To a lesser extent, I do agree this is motivated by the US government’s efforts to improve the economy – such as QE2. There is already a small QE2.5 program in place, and I expect some type of transactions to be made by the Fed to try to keep bond interest rates under control – whether or not that is called QE3.

I cannot come to any logical conclusion that supports the release of oil from the SPR. Makes no sense to attack the price of oil because its still very affordable. In my neighborhood, gas sells for less than $3.50 a gallon. Nor was this an attempt to boost the economy. 60 million barrels might be a shot in the arm, but its just a shot. Therefore, only one reason appears certain. Someone has seen the coming production numbers for the next six months and has pannicked. Clearly, the only conclusion is that we are not producing enough oil and the floating storage of oil is gone.

But this attempt at releasing oil to support a lack of production will unfortunately have the exact opposite effect. This will increase demand and feed a new addiction to SPR oil. This decision is a disaster!

I, for one, was looking at taking the ole camper on the road for a 2011 Dylan summer concert tour, but gas prices were just too damn high. Long story short, I bought tickets to New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville and Atlanta shows today. The tour will hit these spots near the end of the 60 million barrel release. I'm thinking I'll be able to gas up the ole camper for less than $3 a gallon.

If anyone has any doubt about our fossil fuel future, we just saw how this will play itself out. We'll burn it all, as fast as we can without any plan for the future. Scary stuff.

The supply from Libya will likely be restored sometime in the future making releases from the SPR unnecessary. There is a genuine disruption in world crude oil supply that was mitigated by releasing refined stocks and a decrease in demand from Japan caused by a powerful earthquake. Maybe Japan's demand is increasing as they begin to rebuild.

TABLE-Japan refinery operations status after quake, Reuters, May 30, 2011. JX Nippon Oil & Energy was scheduled to restart its 189 kb/d Kashima crude oil refinery on June 4, 2011, and its 63.5 kb/d Kashima Aromatics condensate splitter on about June 11, 2011.

Note this:

Negotiations for the coordinated response have been going on in secret for weeks, according to a person involved in the talks.

Remember the sudden drop in WTI prices last week? I think the plans for the release was leaked back then and now it's time for the players to cash in their bets...

E. Swanson

Folks should take note 'they' are releasing it and not giving it away...plus it is a drop in the bucket in the scheme of things. Prices will drop "oh me oh my", and then go back up as folks realize it won't make any real difference. This is a stupid political move. This oil should be used for some kind of catastrophic emergency like closing of the Straits of Hormuz, not for a few cents at the gas pumps and a few votes. What are they going to replace it with? Pricier oil when peak takes hold?

Politicians are way overpaid.

Respectfully, Paul

Yeah. This has all the signs of a Hail Mary pass.

Schumer, Gillibrand Praise Prez Over Oil Decision

President Obama’s decision to tap into the strategic petroleum reserve was quickly praised by both of New York’s Senators. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have been asking the president to open up the oil reserves for months now, as gas prices skyrocketed.

“The President has heeded our call to release oil from the strategic reserve. This can only help in combating the all-too-high price consumers face at the pump, and is a needed shot in the arm for our economy. We hope the President will continue to keep a watchful eye on the situation with oil prices, and if this dollop proves to be insufficient, will consider releasing more from the reserve,” Schumer said.

"..a shot in the arm" of pain killer. Make the patient more comfortable.

As always with these politicians - (more than) a day late and a dollar short. Gas prices here in NY State are hardly continuing to "sky rocket" - they are down anywhere between 20 - 30 cents from their high a few weeks ago.

We are entering a period where it seems we don't think about the consequences more than even a few days down the road now. Yes - that's a good idea - let's release more and more to artificially suppress prices so we can burn another good load of it up a bit cheaper in our 5.7L Hemi trucks as we race from red light to red light. Then when that fix wears off and the price rebounds due to "tight supplies" it might really sky rocket. Rinse. Repeat.

I'm going to do my part to encourage continued releases from the SPR - I'm putting the hammer down on my way home tonight AND taking the long road home... Just want to make sure that more oil will be released so that prices don't keep going up.

This is the final straw after the other final straw after the other final straw that keeps popping up, it seems, on almost a weekly basis. Well, I guess this is what I should expect living in a nation of children needing their instant gratification. This, of course, will not add one ounce to the amount of oil left and the piper must be paid when it is time to fill the SPR back up.

Paul - We have to wait for the details but if they follow past releases they actually do give the oil away for free...no money changes hands. The refiners are obligated to pay back the release in kind with oil they purchase in the market place. If this happens it means the refiners save around $5-6 billion in expenses. In theory this can allow them to pass savings on to the public. It also means they added about the same amount of debt to their books. And when they buy back oil to replace the release they again, in theory, pass this cost on to the public.


I think it is different this time and it is outright sales.

SPR Drawdown
Crude Oil Sales Offer Program

The U.S. Department of Energy has developed an on-line Crude Oil Sales Offer system for emergency sales of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Offer provides registered users with the ability to submit offers for oil sales conducted by the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Thanks again tow. Didn't want to register so couldn't find the details. Might not be a bad deal for us. But makes me wonder how the price will be negotiated. Use spot prices? But with a sale pending those might be driven down. Or will it be a bidding war? Will some countries be given preference?

Time will tell. But maybe TPTB won't.

It's a good thing Ben Bernanke's 'recovery' isn't doing as well as he hoped, or we would need the rest. It's amazing that people don't get more scared when you put all the news together. Unemployment is bad, and yet we seem to be sucking up the available world oil production at prices that should make no sense in a recovery.

Surprise oil release targets speculators

Thursday’s release of 60 million barrels of crude reserves is not about keeping oil consumers well-supplied. It’s about chasing oil speculators out of the market.

And it seems to be working.

“This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back — this is the tipping point,” said Fadel Gheit, oil analyst for Oppenheimer, a leading investment bank. “The speculators will have to change their positions. Instead of betting on higher prices they have to bet on lower prices."

While they do exist and can be a problem i think they are the new age 'devil'. when something goes wrong and those who's job it is to either inform the public or run the place don't know or don't want everyone to know whats going on they invoke 'it's the speculators doing it' line.

Frankly, I am not sure I even understand why speculators are a problem unless the problem is that everyone things they are a problem so we come up with these hare brained schemes to crush them.

Hmmm. Speculators are supposed to be able to push up prices to astronomical levels without regard to actual supply and demand conditions. But this little piss ant release of the SPR is supposed to break their back. So, these all powerful, genius speculators are so inept that this release of the SPR is scaring them so much the futures price for oil, gas, etc. went way down because they apparently think supply makes a difference. Just about everybody believes that speculators are the reason for high oil prices but, apparently, the speculators.

Since the speculators can magically push up prices, why would a little increase in future supply prevent them from doing what they are supposed to do -- manipulate the market. All those who think that speculators have this much power should buy some oil and.or gas futures immediately. As far as that goes, I am a bit tempted because this downturn seems like a big overreaction. However, I decided awhile back that gas prices were going to go down anyway and they were going down before this announced release.

Speculators. Get some cojones. And do what you are supposed to do, you little wussies.

US to release 30m barrels of oil from strategic reserve


All commodities down sharply:

Crude Oil 90.87 - 4.76%
Natural Gas 4.26 - 1.37%
Gasoline 2.83 - 4.70%
Heating Oil 2.81 - 5.06%
Gold 1515.56 - 2.10%
Silver 34.87 - 3.97%
Copper 4.05 - 1.03%

From an announcement that less than a day's worth of global oil consumption is to be released from SPRs.......Wow! Stocks off sharply as well.

Crude Oil 90.87 - 4.76%

Nope that's WTI

Light Louisiana Sweet $110.40 (-4.42%)
Brent $107.92 (-5.82%)

Would it be safe to assume at this moment, other than Cushing and the SPRs around the world, that the world's commercial storage has been depleted?

No, just European commercial stocks of light sweet Libyan crude.

Actually, my cynical side thinks this is an appropriate time to further manipulate prices so buddy boys and insiders can have a another go at rigged markets and inevitable swings. Follow the money. Maybe this will be a time for a real SEC investigation? Maybe this is a chance for some money to be made before the 'Greek haircut'? It is way too simple to imagine this is just about oil and votes. It has to be about crooked dollars being made...IMHO

Who says crooked dollars and votes are mutually exclusive?

"I'll let you in on a little secret about the SPR, if you share some of your profits with my re-election campaign."

The stock market is supposedly down due to the bad jobs report.

Though of course, they'd shrug off news like that if they weren't worried about other things, like Greece, etc.

It does seem to be looking more and more like 2008.

It does seem to be looking more and more like 2008.

...but this time Bernanke's just about played his last QE card, the Euro Zone is up against a wall, the Chindia bubble is maxed out, Japan is in tatters, and MENA,, jeez......


"We don't have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting," Bernanke said. "Maybe some of the headwinds that have been concerning us, like the weakness in the financial sector, problems in the housing sector ... some of the headwinds may be stronger and more persistent than we thought."

headwinds...or icebergs?


There's a low thunder rolling across the plains, and it's coming this way. There's nowhere to hide; we’ll have to live through it. It's called debt deflation. Derivative debt deflation. Financial crisis? You ain't seen nothing yet.

2008? AIG was just a dress rehearsal.

Yeah - looks a lot like 2008. All asset classes are falling at the same time.

Layoffs, housing data point to chronic problems

... Analysts said the reports served to highlight the Fed's decision this week to cut its economic outlook for growth and employment this year. It also supports worries expressed by Bernanke that . [Ya think?]

They are using the SPR as a form of monetary easing. From CNBC:

Oil Prices Were Already Falling, So Why Tap Reserves Now?

An aggressive global effort to drive down oil prices even further appears aimed not only at easing gasoline prices but giving a boost to a faltering economy.

Dual announcements on Thursday by the US Department of Energy and International Energy Agency that reserve stockpiles would be released came even as the price of US crude had fallen more than 16 percent in just two weeks, while the more widely used Brent crude was down about 12 percent.

Experts saw the timing, then, as curious especially considering the rarity of tapping strategic petroleum reserves. And some speculated that over the longer term, draining stockpiles actually would raise the price and defeat the purpose of the unusual move.

The US Administration's level of desperation continues to surprise me.

What surprises me is how much economic importance TPTB have attached to the price of oil lately.

Here's a different take on the SPR release:


"Let’s face it. The strategic reserve is not strategic. It was created at a time when people worried that countries could withhold oil from us. But now we have a global market, so that isn’t possible. We have replaced oil shortages with price spikes. So if we don’t use the SPRO to deal with our current price spike, when would we ever use it? After all, in the entire three-decade history of the SPRO, a mere 32 million barrels were sold during crises.

So I can’t imagine we’re going to keep this relatively useless “reserve” for many more decades. As you know better than anyone Mr. Chairman, we need to be almost completely off of oil by mid-century to avoid catastrophic climate impacts. So sometime soon we’re going to sell off the SPRO’s oil- I can’t imagine we are seriously going to keep $100 billion under the mattress forever.

I think we could use the price relief now. We could generate 20 to 25 billion dollars this year alone. Some of that could help low-income families deal with high energy bills. And some could jump-start the transition to a clean energy economy and end our oil addiction."

And some could jump-start the transition to a clean energy economy and end our oil addiction."

Well, you are not going to end your addiction by gorging on your reserves!!

We could generate 20 to 25 billion dollars this year alone. Some of that could help low-income families deal with high energy bills.

US law doesn't allow money raised to be targeted like that. It goes into the general fund.

It should be noted that this decision was made in secret. So, it's fair to believe that the official view on this is misleading.

US law doesn't allow money raised to be targeted like that.

I think Joe was just trying (hoping) to put words into Obama's mouth. Not much chance it will have any effect.

New-home sales fell for first time in three months in May

Not surprise, I guess, since yesterday it was reported that existing home sales fell.

Defkalion Green Technologies is having a press conference today about the Energy Catalyzer. I haven't seen any media coverage about this yet, but the press conference may still be ongoing.
Also Defkalion have a new and improved home page.

It's about time the poor Greeks gets some good news.

Ahh yes - the Nickel based "cold fusion" technology - correct?

I don't know who's going to be more disappointed - the Greeks when they find out the Catalyzer is phony or Rossi when he tries to cash the Greeks' cheque..


At least they have a ship date that we can either watch come and go (AKA the Hydrino battery stated in 2001 was gonna ship by 2007 or mass produced Stirlings), watch people buy 'em and figure out it doesn't work as stated (Just like the magnetic bearing fans I bought that do not match the website or the box printing) or work as stated and TOD can get back to the nay saying/grumbling about technofixes.

Here's the beginning of my Hydrogen economy!

Report presents best policy options to reduce petroleum use

It will take more than tougher fuel economy standards for U.S. transportation to significantly cut its oil use over the next half century. It will likely require a combination of measures that foster consumer and supplier interest in vehicle fuel economy, alternative fuels, and a more efficient transportation system, says a new report from the National Research Council.

... The report was developed to inform policymakers of the pros and cons of available policy options to reduce energy use and emissions over time from cars, trucks, and aircraft -- the U.S. transportation modes that collectively account for 95 percent of transportation oil use.

The policy options examined in the report include a range of approaches but are not ranked in any particular order:

· land-use and travel-demand management measures aimed at curbing household vehicle use
· low-carbon standards for transportation fuels
· public investments in transportation infrastructure to increase vehicle operating efficiencies
· transportation fuel taxes
· vehicle efficiency standards, "feebates," and other financial incentives to motivate interest in vehicle efficiency

This report looks suspiciously like the measures that IEA expects of all signatory nations during an oil 'emergency'. Probably no coincidence that it was released today.

There is only one policy option, when thing get bad and that is called rationing. When that happens rearrange these words into a well know phrase or saying ( hit **** when fan the.) I'll put money on that most of the western governments have been printing rations coupons for energy the last year and working out an implementation plan.


Here's one for ya, YM:

Greek crisis could cost UK £336bn: British exposure 'significantly underestimated'

Britain could be hit with losses of up to £366billion from the collapse of the Greek economy, it has emerged.
The warnings came as the Greek government last night won a vote of confidence in the Athens Parliament, clearing the way for a second bailout to go ahead. The crunch will come next week when the Greeks vote on a £25billion austerity package demanded by the EU before they hand over any more cash.
The potential devastation of banks and other City institutions would be equal to 24 per cent of our annual national output, or £14,640 for every family in the UK.

Methinks rationing may be a self-implementing strategy.

Although, to be fair that's "The Daily Scare" and they reached that figure by assuming that if Greece goes then Portugal, Spain and Ireland all go as well.

The "good" news is that, if this all happens, oil will probably be less than $40 per barrel for a bit as the world's financial systems and economies crash and explode again.

However once the rest of the world prints a few more trillion and continues on with Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland reduced completely to third world economies and out of the picture, we can then take another run at the wall.

It seems like the transition from fossil fuels is going to come in these hard steps. Gradually they will become more frequent and severe - then less frequent as the transition completes. I guess it is better than one catastrophic collapse and gives us time to prepare in between the jolts.

tow - "...oil will probably be less than $40 per barrel..." From your lips to God's ear. LOL. And then if the feds don't add a big fuel tax hike (yeah...that'll happen on the way to the presidential election) or install some form of rationing (yeah...again not likely): Consumers will take advantage of lower prices and drive more. And etc, etc, etc. We've talked tha model to death.

Ever time I hear about these "devine" fixes to our problems I immediately think back to the question asked on M.A.S.H: "Why doesn't God answer all prayers? He does...just sometimes the answer is no."

Election year solutions to PO: can't wait for the next offereings. Now the R's will have to "go all in" so they don't get left behind in the effort to save us from ourselves. Can't wait for that: maybe they'll want to clear cut Yellowstone and turn the trees into ethanol.

Earth First! We'll rape the other planets later...


Yes, Americans get to soak themselves in oil just one more time. Ain't elections grand? Does a drunk worry about tomorrow's hangover? You would never know that the end of the world may be coming in August when there is no more avoiding the debt ceiling.. In the midst of global warming and peak oil, the administration has found a way to make those problems even worse. Who knew that finding a way to enable us to consume more was the answer to all our problems.

Ireland...and more "Daily Scare":

Allied Irish Bank has 'defaulted' says derivatives body

Banks that sold insurance on the debt of Allied Irish Banks will have to pay out to investors in the nationalised lender's debt despite complex legal manoeuvres by the Irish authorities to avoid putting the lender into default....

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) yesterday said that a "credit event" had occurred on Allied debt, meaning the bank has effectively defaulted on its debt, a situation the Irish government has gone to extreme lengths to avoid.

Credit default swaps (CDS) sold on Allied subordinated bonds and, crucially, its senior debt, have been activated by the decision of the ISDA determinations committee that decides whether a borrower has defaulted...

...With a default by the Greek government regarded by most investors as a certainty, the issue is likely to become one of determining whether the form of the default allows holders of the bonds to exercise the CDS protection they have taken out on the bonds.

Whichever way this house of cards falls, it's a certain lose/lose.

I wonder what "travel-demand management measures aimed at curbing household vehicle use" will "foster consumer... interest in vehicle fuel economy"?

They seem to mean high fuel taxes and legal restrictions on the use of private cars. That should go down well in the USA.

Here comes $6.00 dollar gas

From: Scope, Scale, and Timing of Impacts of Major Policy Approaches to Reduce Transportation’s Petroleum Use

And: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr307Summary.pdf

...Because taxes are already imposed on fuels used in most transportation modes, higher fuel taxes would be straightforward to administer. The major challenge to early implementation is to find innovative ways to engender and sustain public support for higher taxes, which have been resisted during the past two decades.

Somebody's trying to tell us the price of gas is going to be a lot higher in the next 6 months.

Gas prices prompt IRS to raise mileage rates

... The rate will jump to 55.5 cents per mile for travel in July through December, a 4.5 cent hike from 51 cents a mile for driving in January through June.

Sounds like our policy is to use more oil with the release from the SPR.

Now America can be just like China ...

Large numbers of birth defects seen near mountaintop mining operations

Birth defects are significantly more common in areas of mountaintop coal mining and are on the rise as the practice becomes more common, according to a study by researchers at Washington State University and West Virginia University.

The researchers, led by Melissa Ahern, health economist and associate professor in WSU's College of Pharmacy, found 235 birth defects per 10,000 births where mountaintop mining is most common, in four central Appalachian states. That's nearly twice the rate of 144 defects per 10,000 in non-mining areas.

Previous studies have found low birth weights and increased levels of adult disease and death in coal mining areas. ... These defect rates became more pronounced in the more recent period studied, 2000-2003, suggesting the health effects of mountaintop mining-related air and water contamination may be cumulative. This study offers one of the first indications that health problems are disproportionately concentrated specifically in mountaintop mining areas

The socio-economic factors, i.e. the poverty, in coal mining regions can more than explain this data.


They compensated for that. From the study ...

Residents of the region tend to have less education, less prenatal care, more smoking and more alcohol use during pregnancy. But after controlling for socioeconomic and behavioral risks, the researchers still found residents in mountaintop mining areas had significantly higher rates of birth defects.

The socio-economic factors, i.e. the poverty, in coal mining regions can more than explain this data.

And that poverty is due in large part to the impossibility of any other economic activity in the vicinity of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Look at any place in Western Europe with terrain like Appalachia's and you will find wealth. Only Apalachia is allowed to stay poor when it has potential for so many better things than coal mining.

What's interesting to note for me, is that the people in FF energy rich areas seem particularly UNenriched by this bounty. There are a few who manage to leverage in or get a few decent engineering jobs, but the areas seem frequently depressed.. or at least unIMpressed by the Power they supposedly hold.

Norway is an exception. But they kept the petrokronur royalties out of the local economy.

Best Hopes for Avoiding the "Curse of Oil",


Your "explanation" is possibly redundant. Poor people lack the power to keep rich people from dumping poison near them, etc. But I'm sure the study controlled for poverty anyway.

The Daily Ticker: “Straight-jacket Time”: Dow, Crude Tumble After Obama Releases Strategic Reserves.


What fools! The US uses 20 Million barrels a day. So, the release of 30 Million barrels is negligible. Yet, people think that cheap oil is here again. In radio new it was reported that with this the government aggressively battle speculators and the oil price responded favorable. Nowhere it is mentioned that the US bought the oil cheaply and now has to buy it back expensively.

IIRC in Watership Down the rabbits could not count over 4, so anything over 4 was "a lot". People must just hear "a lot" of oil is being released from the SPR.

Extra carrot for the Watership Down reference! One of my favorites.

According to DOE they bought the oil in the SPR at around 28 USD per barrel. Now they are selling at around 90 USD (don't know which quality though - for sour there's a discount).

Just a rough stupid calculation but at 21 MMbd US consumption, by selling the 30 million barrels over the next month or so, they need only to depress the price of oil by an average of 1 dollar for the next 40 days to make up what they paid for the oil released from the SPR?

n - Even worse than that. Maybe I've missed it so maybe someone has pointed out the 60 million bbls that will be released gobally represents 17 hours of global consumption.

As you well know, prices are set at the margin. It's a reasonable gamble that in the current economic context of wavering demand this additional supply will put significant downward pressure on price. Temporarily.

A lot of this is about animal spirits, in my view. Psychology matters. While I personally am depressed that hope springs from lower gasoline/diesel prices, that does seem to be the way of world. At least since Texans and Lousianians have slyly altered normal people's brains.

If you consider that a (supply/demand) delta of a million barrels per day can have a big impact on prices, it should have a substantial shortterm impact. I.E. 1 mbpd for two months... Assuming, there are leaks of the governments intentions, it might put some fear into "speculators", as a new unpredictable player is shown to throw its weight around.

EOS - So the impact of a million bopd can be big. I suppose you're correct: losing over 1 million bopd of sweet Lybian production eventually brought oil prices down over the last few weeks.

Sorry...still not convinced. As far a speculators the only ones I'm aware of are the folks speculatng in oil futures. And half of them just made around $5 billion just on the news of the release. Of course, some of them also lost that much.

But almost a day and a half of oil exports (or imports, depending on the perspective).



Another 60 million will be announced in 60 (or 90 days if they can push it) time unless something unexpected happens before then. IMHO. 1 mbpd of light sweet is about the very minimum they seem to need to mostly make up for Libya.

The U.S. can not have the pipeline capacity to release 30 Mb/d of crude oil from the SPR. The government will release about 1 Mb/d for 30 days, and Europe will release another 1 Mb/d during the same 30 days to compensate for the disruption in Libyan supply. This should make the price decrease during the 30 day period. After that period, they might release more.

UK government's Fukushima crisis plan based on bigger leak than Chernobyl

...The UK government's response to the unfolding crisis is revealed in documents prepared for Sir John Beddington, the chief scientist and chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), and released to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act. The 30 documents include advice from the National Nuclear Laboratory on damage to the plant, public safety assessments from the Health Protection Agency (HPA), computer models of the radioactive plume from Defra's Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network (Rimnet), and the worst case scenario that might unfold at the plant.

A substantial number of documents were withheld on grounds that they contained "information which, if disclosed, would adversely affect international relations," the government's civil contingencies team said.

... A fear raised in one document was that spent fuel rods might overheat, melt and slump to the bottom of their storage pools where enough could gather to "go critical", that is, restart nuclear reactions. The likely result of that, the paper states, would be releases of fresh radioactive material, "which could continue for some time".

Worst Case Scenario Document: http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/58313487?access_key=key-1amf2uutax7h93g...

And: http://www.foundation.org.uk/events/pdf/20110518_beddington.pdf (slide 5-6)

My take on SPR releases, they have figured out that printing money does not stimulate the real economy. They think they can stimulate the real economy with oil. They just fail to have any understanding of the size of the problem. If they can come up with 2mbpd (at $40 per barrel) for the next 10 years (about 8 billion barrels) that would stimulate the economy. A release of 0.090 billion barrels will have little effect.

Though if they do it once a month for the next 18 month until the election it might work to get the incumbent reelected.

Is oil being used as a strategic weapon? At the top of this page, there is discussion of Saudi Arabia's ability to "bankrupt" Iran by flooding the market with oil. Now, the U.S., unable to produce much more oil than it is producing now, has a fast way to flood, at least for a short time, by releasing SPR.

That is the ONLY way this move makes sense. The SPR is intended as a STRATEGIC reserve, not as price controling mechanism. The price of oil was already falling anyway.

Using oil to "break" Iran, and by the way, put some pressure on Russia as well, is risky, but it is the only way this makes sense. And in the meantime, China once again enjoys a lower price for badly needed oil, not a bad deal for them...


TIIO - First, I'm not sure I see a flood coming. Yep...60 millions bbls added to the market place but at what rate? In a day? Not physically possible. In a month? Maybe but that's 1 million bopd or an increase in global supply of 1.1%. And 3 months? That's less than 0.3% of global supply. Not exactly a flood IMHO. And then the day the last of the extra 60 million bbls is produced: the "flood" stops. There may have been billions lost/made in the futures market in the last 24 hours but that doesn't mean oil will be sold at those low prices in the future. What if the oil exporters who are producing flat out decide to not sell their declining reserves at a discount price and cut back production equivalent to the SPR release? They would suffer a smaller cash flow for a short period but they would also be saving some of their reserves for future sales at higher prices. If you owned a business and could survive a lower cash flow for a short period while you competitor depleted his inventory at low prices what would you do?

As unsavory as it may be for some folks to acknowledge, the US oil patch is a vital part of the US economy. So if the goal is to cripple oil producers like Iran by driving oil prices down it would be good to remember that the US is the 3rd largest oil producer in the world. It might make some folks giddy to think of ExxonMobil not posting as high a profit next year and reducing their dividends. But it would also be good to remember that a huge chunk of those dividends go to millions of retirement accounts owned by Americans. And of course there's also the 100's of oil patch service companies that would disappear along with countless blue collar but high paid jobs. Might also remember that the govt collects over $10 billion a year in oil/NG royalties...lower oil prices reduces those fat checks some. And let's not forget the greenies. Lots of the alts are having a bit of a problem competing with $100 oil. Wonder how many investors in "our future" would lose their butts if oil dropped to $50 /bbl for a while? Oil prices rise and fall and thus there is always a trail of winners and losers. It would be nice if we could all be on the same winning side all the time. But the economy doesn't work that way. Never has..never will IMHO.

60 million barrels per day is not much in terms of global consumption. But it is a lot in terms of the volume of the spot markets used to set prices.

IIRC, the daily volume at Cushing is on the order of only 0.7 million barrels per day. Brent may actually be even more thinly exchanged.

This is such a short sighted move, in the short term it will drive down prices (funny how it takes extra supply to do this and not just curbing "speculators")

In the long term:

1. Oil companies will be less likely to invest in new production given the lower prices and (much) higher uncertainty in the market.

2. Consumption (mostly waste) will rise due to the depressed prices.

3. Sales of hybrids and electrics cars will be hurt as will pressure for public transportation investments. With the reduced sales will go reduced investment in R&D to reduce dependence of FF.

4. Stock in oil companies tanked today, this will hurt peoples retirement funds and they will have less money to spend

5. Given the higher uncertainty invertors will be less likely to invest in oil companies further hurting their ability to grow production

6. China will doubtless choose this moment to expend their own SPR, they would be dumb not to, this is a gift

This single release isn’t going to do much to the long term price of oil, but the message it has sent to anybody contemplating investment in alternatives is stark, the government will kill the economics of your project, why bother!

I agree. The odd thing in this whole price increase since Lybia started was I don't recall any real commentary by the president or in the media for consumers to really hammer it to save fuel. When the recession hit, that should have been a lesson on the impact of a cut in demand. But the only thing the media would do is harp on the greedy oil companies. It seems like getting people to just cut 10% off their normal driving would be doable. I think I have been able to do it. I walk to lunch, altered my weekend recreation, etc.

It is almost as if the real policy is to encourage climate change, not retard it. All those billions spent on renewable energy, ethanol, increased mpg standards, and then this. To be fair, Obama is the President of spoiled children who must have their cheap gas now.

Obama is the President of spoiled children who must have their cheap gas now.

I like that phrase. It's not nice, but it is accurate.

Releasing oil from reserves will do nothing to affect fuel prices in the long term, but I guess for a politician it is important to appear to be doing something, even if it is totally useless.

Merril - you didn't really mean 60 million BOPD did you? As I understand it the total release will be 60 milion bbls. Just a rough guess but I would be looking for a release rate of around 500,000 bopd but might take a few weeks to reach that level. As I guessed above this would add about 0.5 to 1.0% into the daily production market.

Rockman -- sorry, you are right, 60 million barrels total. I think that it would be 0.5 million daily in US, 0.3 in Europe and 0.2 in Asia if I recall correctly. Presumably they go into the spot markets to affect the prices.

My take goes along the following lines,

Mainstream IEA, EIA, Administration, Mass Media etc thinking/advice

A/ before SPR release......... B/ after SPR release

A/ There is no problem with oil supply

B/ Maybe there is a problem with oil supply

A/ High oil prices do not affect the modern economy.

B/ High oil prices need to be suppressed to help the recovery.

A/ Saudi's have huge excess capacity 4 million barrels per day.

B/ Saudi's dont seem to have or are unwilling to use excess capacity.

A/ Speculators are an important part of the free economy.

B/ Some speculators need to be taught a lesson, those pushing up the oil price. Our mates at the Giant Vampire Squidery are speculators that need to be rewarded for shorting oil (because we told them to).

If oil stays down $6 plus, then the Saudi's are losing close to $50m per day over this. One can only assume they were pre-warned and went along with it. Otherwise why would they not just close down some production for "emergency maintenance" of about 1m brls/day and spook prices higher again?

Are Babies Dying in the Pacific Northwest Due to Fukushima? A Look at the Numbers

Let’s first consider the data that the authors left out of their analysis. It’s hard to understand why the authors stopped at these eight cities. Why include Boise but not Tacoma? Or Spokane? Both have about the same size population as Boise, they're closer to Japan, and the CDC includes data from Tacoma and Spokane in the weekly reports.

More important, why did the authors choose to use only the four weeks preceding the Fukushima disaster? Here is where we begin to pick up a whiff of data fixing. Though the CDC doesn’t provide the data in its weekly reports in an easy-to-manipulate spreadsheet format (that would be too easy), it does provide a handy web interface that allows individuals to access HTML tables for specific cities. I copied and pasted the 2011 figures from the eight cities in question and culled all data aside from the mortality rates for children under one year old. You can see those numbers in a Google doc I’ve posted here. (Note: Because I use the most recent report, my mortality figures are slightly higher than the Sherman and Mangano’s, as some deaths aren’t reported to medical authorities until weeks afterward. The small difference doesn’t change the analysis.)

Better still, take a look at this plot that I’ve made of the data:
[graph at the link]

The Y-axis is the total number of infant deaths each week in the eight cities in question. While it certainly is true that there were fewer deaths in the four weeks leading up to Fukushima (in green) than there have been in the 10 weeks following (in red), the entire year has seen no overall trend. When I plotted a best-fit line to the data (in blue), Excel calculated a very slight decrease in the infant mortality rate. Only by explicitly excluding data from January and February were Sherman and Mangano able to froth up their specious statistical scaremongering.

Score another for r4ndom

Not really. These numbers were curious at best but probably never really likely to be a Fukushima surge but worth posting (and I did given the authors) and watching just in case. The data for Japanese cities would be more interesting right now though.

Not looking for points.

I'm actually quite concerned about the effects in northern Japan now that the extent of the release is better known, I'm just against bad science no matter what cause it's conducted for.

I looked at the numbers and immediately dismissed them. The standard deviation is the square root of the sample size and that was a few dozen -- which is not even worth considering. Funny that someone even went into it any deeper than that.

It wasn't statistical scaremongering, as it wasn't even statistics, just some numbers.

Armadillo Moves North Across a Warmer North America

Some of that migration can be attributed to opportunity: The armadillo in particular has been moving northward since it arrived in Texas in the 1880s and Florida in the 1920s, according to Colleen McDonough, a biology professor at Valdosta State University in Georgia.

Some, however, is clearly triggered by a changing climate. Armadillos have settled into southern Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and Missouri - all areas that were "totally unexpected," McDonough said.

When it gets up here do we bake it, barbeque it, or make it into chili?

Merril - Do remember that armadillos are the only critter besides man that carries leprosy. Still have a few cases every year in Texas and La. Besides...they tend to be greasy.

To speed the transition to alternatives and to decrease CO2 (GW) we need the price of oil to go up to $200 per barrel. The alliance of the willing needs to bomb a major oil producing nation. If they could shutdown Iranian production would that be enough to get us to $200?

I guess with today’s IEA announcement to release 60 million barrels… proved Saudis' claim that “we could almost instantly replace all of Iran’s oil production” (yesterday’s WSJ report, above)to be another empty bluff! The more they bluff, the more it proves that they really don’t have much spare capacity.

There is no evidence that the Saudis will actually increase out by 1 million bpd, like they said recently, although the IEA says they have actually increases by 500000 bpd. Further above, I state that KSA has increased about 300000 bpd since June 1 (200000 to the East, mostly India, and 100000 to Yemen).

JUNE 23, 2011, 4:31 P.M. ET

OPEC Members Warn IEA Oil Release Could Backfire

LONDON—Some OPEC members warned of possible retaliatory measures after several of the world's largest oil consumers said they would release 60 million barrels of oil—a move that immediately sent oil prices sharply lower.

Saudi Arabia has said it would boost production by 1 million barrels a day. The IEA has said its preliminary numbers show the kingdom has already increased output by about 500,000 barrels a day. Kuwait has also said it could hike its production by up to 200,000 barrels a day this summer.


Some OPEC members warned of possible retaliatory measures after several of the world's largest oil consumers said they would release 60 million barrels of oil—a move that immediately sent oil prices sharply lower.

It would make sense that if suppliers are use to a certain threshold of price for their oil and an infusion of oil reduces price, those suppliers would restrict flow to raise prices again. It may come to pass that the opening of the SPR is nullified.

Earl - This will certainly be high theater. OTOH it makes sense for the exporters to cut back for a number of good reasons. But some may not be able to handle even a temporary drop in cash flow as they try to keep their natives happy. But many also see the end of their oil life approaching if not already on the door step. Maybe the exporters will cut each others throat to maintain/incease market share. Or not. As usual I don't like to make predictions because I'm seldom accurate but I will say there's a definate 50/50 chnace the exporters will cut back to some degree.

I guess with today’s IEA announcement to release 60 million barrels… proved Saudis' claim that “we could almost instantly replace all of Iran’s oil production” (yesterday’s WSJ report, above)to be another empty bluff!

It's pretty easy to see a release of 60 mb from SPR right after yet another Saudi vacuuous spare capacity claim, indicates clearly those at the top know a false claim when they hear one (finally). The last thing they wanted to do was open up the SPR which opens the door to a great deal of criticism. But it also shows the desperation of the White House to kickstart the economy to a higher level ahead of the 2012 prez election.


It's also interesting timing that right after Bernanke anounces the end of QEII with no more QE's planned (unless absolutely necessary), an announcement to open the SPR is made. We're at a point now in which one flim-flam maneuver after another is desperately being waged to bolster a weak economy into something resembling one that will re-elect Obama.

But also on the same day the SPR announcement takes place, the GOP walks away from Debt reduction talks with Biden. They have to politically wound Obama, and so as the White House makes its moves to supposedly help the economy, the GOP makes counter moves.

It's gonna get rough folks!

Seems like bad timing for a re-election ploy, unless they are going to keep dumping oil onto the market for more than a year, and convince all the other countries to do the same.

And the GOP were never ever serious about engaging with the likes of Biden on anything.

Forcing the price lower through the SPR release will only increase the demand for oil and delay the efficiency improvements and transition measures needed to be taken by the public and businesses to prepare for peak oil; once again the government is trumping market signals and attempting to manipulate the outcome; the same way it is manipulating interest rates lower to prevent deleveraging, a process that is clearly needed to strengthen the economy long term; it is unfortunate that society is governed through a series of short term measures with no proper planning for the long term.


For two hundred odd years "efficiency improvements" have steadily accelerated the consumption of fossil fuels and aided and abetted growth.
Now efficiency improvements have reached their logical zenith in a world of finite resources. And also from now on, we have efficiency to assist us to burn every single ounce possible for as long as possible.

The only transitioning we will be doing is from unbridled consumption of fossil fuel, to rabid, unbridled consumption of fossil fuel.

When Passenger Pigeons were declining and nearing extinction, did that stop their harvest? Of course not, it sent consumers into a frenzy to "get em' before they're all gone", the same with buffalo, cod, atlantic salmon and wales. The market for rhino horn is ever growing as it becomes harder to obtain. I can't see there being any change in behavior when it comes to FF's.

Coordinated Withdrawl from SPR

Is this the first multi-national coodinated withdrawl from the SPR? I've heard/read that this is the third US withdrawl (now, Katrina, Gulf War) but I wouldn't think other countries would've had to follow suit.

If this is the first, multi-national coordinated withdrawl from the SPR, I think I would like to always remember that date.

Thanks for any help!