Drumbeat: October 14, 2011

Don’t Count Oil Out: Alternative energies won’t replace oil, gas, and coal anytime soon

While lots of idealistic environmentalists and some policymakers argue that we should quit using carbon-based fuels and move to a global economy powered by nothing but renewables, the hard reality is that hydrocarbons are here to stay.

There are three reasons why hydrocarbons will continue to dominate the global energy mix for decades to come: cost, the slow pace of energy transitions, and scale.

U.N. rights chief urges 'immediate' international steps to protect Syrians

(CNN) -- The top U.N. human rights official deplored the "devastatingly remorseless toll of human lives" in Syria on Friday and exhorted the world community "to take immediate measures" to protect citizens.

Rebels say Gadhafi loyalists on brink of collapse in Sirte

SIRTE, Libya — Libyan government forces brought more tanks into the city of Sirte on Friday to try to break the last pocket of resistance by loyalists of ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi in his home town.

'The Quest': Daniel Yergin on oil's future

For much of the way, "energy" essentially means oil. Yergin fully expects that oil will continue to be the world's key source of energy for at least the next two decades. From the Central Asian steppes to the plains of Alberta, from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to, inevitably, the sands of the Middle East, Yergin examines how new oil fields have been discovered and innovative technologies have brought previously inaccessible reserves into production.

US Issues Oil-Spill Violations to BP, Halliburton, Transocean

U.S. offshore-drilling officials issued their first violations stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill Wednesday, accusing BP and two of its contractors of breaking several rules.

The citations were widely expected against BP, the operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig. But the government's decision to pursue contractors Transocean and Halliburton for infractions jolted the contracting industry, which traditionally avoids liability in such accidents.

Oil Contractors Likely to Strengthen Liability Protection after Citations

The U.S. government broke precedent by issuing oil-spill citations to contractors Halliburton and Transocean in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, along with rig operator BP.

US to Allow BP to Bid on New Oil Drilling Leases in Gulf

The U.S. has decided to allow BP to bid on new oil-drilling leases that go up for sale in the Gulf of Mexico later this year, less than two years after BP's Macondo well erupted and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

While testifying at a House hearing Thursday, offshore safety chief Michael Bromwich said his agency "considered and thought about this issue quite a lot," but eventually determined to allow the British oil giant to bid for leases in an upcoming auction known as Lease Sale 218.

Dangerous allegations in the Gulf of Mexico

A simple swim in the Gulf of Mexico has complicated Steven Aguinaga's life in ways he could have never imagined.

In July 2010, Aguinaga, now 33-years-old, had gone on a vacation with is wife and some friends to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. After he and his close friend Merrick Vallian went swimming in the Gulf, they both became extremely sick from what Aguinaga believes were chemicals in BP's oil and dispersants from the largest marine oil spill in US history that began in April 2010.

China Begins to Tap Its Shale Gas, Despite Daunting Technological, Environmental Hurdles

CHENGDU, China -- A convoy of white vans barreled down a dusty road three hours south of this provincial capital in late September. Lush valleys were drying out after another long and turbulent rainy season.

TransCanada's Keystone pipeline shut down - trade

(Reuters) - TransCanada Corp has shut down its Keystone oil pipeline to the U.S. Midwest from Canada due to a lack of light feedstock at the Hardisty, Alberta, storage hub, trade sources said on Friday.

Crews struggle to drain oil-leaking ship off New Zealand

TAURANGA, New Zealand — The calmest weather in days has given salvage crews hope they will be able on Friday to resume pumping the remaining fuel from a cargo ship stuck on a New Zealand reef.

The ship Rena has already spilled hundreds of tons of oil and crews are in a race against nature to try and remove the remaining fuel before waves break up the vessel, which has begun to crack apart and is leaning on a 22-degree tilt.

Occupy Atlanta to protest Canadian oil pipeline

ATLANTA—Occupy Atlanta demonstrators are planning to protest a proposed oil pipeline that would carry oil from Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Making sense of the protests through a post-growth lens

Frankly, neither side of the debate has a particularly firm handle on the reality of the problem, and hoping that the movement will simply fade away will prove to be wishful thinking. Among all the mass confusion, steady-state theory might help us account for not only the the economic problems, but also the ideological divide. Using the Wall Street occupation as our example, let’s assess the two sides of the debate and hypothesize how the two groups have come to inhabit such different planets.

Why not space?

I was completely astonished by the prevalence of the “space” reaction to the inaugural Do the Math post on galactic-scale energy. The post illustrated that continuing growth of our physical scale (energy) is not viable on a number of fronts—not the least of which is that Earth’s surface would reach the boiling point of water in a mere 400 years, based purely on thermodynamic arguments, and independent of which energy technology is employed. Many comments on the internets chided this view as being hopelessly unrealistic in its willful ignorance of the great space migration to come.

Ride tirelessly — on a bike with steel wheels!

Twenty-five years after his Well-Tempered Chair, Ron Arad has used a similar process — in which the naturally sprung properties of tempered steel, bolted in tension, gives a natural yield or “softness” — to build a bike with wheels made of sprung steel.

France launches vast solar panel array

France on Thursday launched its largest-ever solar energy farm, with an array of panels spread over about 200 hectares (500 acres) in the mountainous southern Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region.

With a production capacity of 90 megawatts, the vast photovoltaic park features nearly 113,000 solar panels and was built at a cost of 110 million euros ($137 million).

Good Graph Friday: Who's going hungry

At some point last year, about 17 million U.S. households had some difficulty feeding everyone in their family.

That amounts to 14.5 percent of U.S. households, according to a report released last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Getting to 350 with a $2 pocket knife

Conventional methods of reforestation in Africa have often failed. Even community-based projects with individual or community nurseries struggle to keep up the momentum once project funding ends. The obstacles working against reforestation are enormous. But a new method of reforestation called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) could change this situation. It has already done so in the Republic of Niger, one of the world’s poorest nations, where more than 3 million hectares have been re-vegetated using this method. Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration involves selecting and pruning stems regenerating from stumps of previously felled, but still living trees. Sustainability is a key feature of the programme which requires very little investment by either government or NGOs to keep it going. The story in Niger can offer valuable insights and lessons for other nations.

Revisiting Population Growth: The Impact of Ecological Limits

Demographers are predicting that world population will climb to 10 billion later this century. But with the planet heating up and growing numbers of people putting increasing pressure on water and food supplies and on life-sustaining ecosystems, will this projected population boom turn into a bust?

John Michael Greer: Pluto's Republic

That’s always the problem with utopian schemes; the inhabitants are never allowed to be fully human, though the restrictions are rarely handled with the geometric precision Plato displayed. When a utopian scheme is put into practice, in turn, what inevitably happens is that whatever dimension of the human is supposedly abolished happens anyway, and defines the fault line along which the scheme breaks down. Marxism is a great example; in theory, people in Marxist societies are motivated solely by noble ideals; in practice, getting people to go through the motions of being motivated solely by noble ideals required an ever-expanding system of apparatchiks, secret police and prison camps, and even that ultimately failed to do the job. One way or another, trying to create heaven on earth reliably yields the opposite; whatever resembles Plato’s Republic on paper turns into Pluto’s Republic in practice.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Contagion

With every passing day it is becoming more apparent that the crisis of the depletion of cheap oil has become deeply enmeshed in the European debt crises.

...Our concern here remains how all this will affect oil prices and the availability of oil. Concern over the course of the Greek debt crisis has been roiling the foreign exchange and equity markets of late taking oil prices along for a rather wild ride. Last week we had London oil below $100 a barrel, but renewed optimism, or as it is now known, "risk appetite," soon sent London oil back up over $111 where it continues to methodically eat the heart out of the OECD economies. London oil has now been above $100 a barrel for the last nine months and so far shows no signs of collapsing to the fabled $60 a barrel level as it did three years ago.

Crude Oil Heads for Second Weekly Gain Amid U.S., Europe Demand Optimism

Oil rose in New York, heading for a second weekly gain on speculation Europe may contain its debt crisis and that the U.S. economy will recover, bolstering demand for raw materials.

Prices rose as much as 1.9 percent, rallying with equity markets as Group of 20 and International Monetary Fund officials said the fund may increase its lending resources to help stem the European debt crisis. Commerce Department data today may show U.S. retail sales last month climbed at the fastest pace in six months, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Technical indicators showed New York crude was oversold.

Natural gas cost to drop this winter in NY

ALBANY (AP) -- New York regulators say natural gas prices are expected to be 4 to 6 percent lower this winter and utilities have plenty of supply to get through the season.

The Public Service Commission says Thursday its staff assessed the status of companies serving the state's 3.9 million gas heating customers and found they have adequate supply to meet demand during severe winter conditions.

Tymoshenko’s Imprisoning Strengthens Russia Hand in Ukraine

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s prison sentence may have squashed President Viktor Yanukovych’s drive for closer ties with the European Union, putting him at Russia’s mercy before gas-price talks.

Bidders blanch at Iraq's oil terms

Iraq, which is offering up its first undeveloped fields to foreign developers, could lose out on major bidders because of its unusual contract terms.

PDVSA Said to Require $13 Billion for Light-Oil Output Increase

Petroleos de Venezuela SA expects to increase production at existing oil fields by 250,000 barrels a day in its joint ventures through 2015 for a total investment of $13 billion, a company official said.

Statoil Targets More North Sea Finds After ‘Fantastic’ Year

(Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA is targeting more prospects in the North Sea after the Aldous-Avaldsnes oil find revived interest in the area and strengthened the company’s goal of keeping output at current levels until 2020.

Encana hopes to triple gas liquids output

Natural gas giant Encana Corp. hopes to triple its production of natural gas liquids from processing plants in Alberta as the company and partners boost investments to expand capacity in the industry.

Encana said Friday that it wants to triple output to 30,000 barrels a day from about 10,000 barrels.

Libya Waha Oil Output May Resume On Dismissal Pledge-Officials

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Waha Oil Co., Libya's largest operation with foreign partners, may soon resume production after a pledge to dismiss its chairman unlocked a longstanding standoff at the company, oil officials said Friday.

Ending the strike at Waha Oil, whose pre-war production was over 350,000 barrels a day and whose partners are U.S. companies Marathon Oil Corp., ConocoPhillips and Hess Corp., would lift a key hurdle to the ramp up of resuming Libyan oil production.

Russia's Transneft restarts oil shipments to China

(Reuters) - Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft said on Friday it had resumed oil shipments via the ESPO pipeline to China as well as by rail to the Far East after a short suspension due to an earthquake.

"Pipeline shipments and deliveries by rail resumed three minutes ago," Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin told Reuters.

Analysis: Last stand for Russia in China gas talks

(Reuters) - Risks are rising that Russia could lose a long-term deal to sell gas worth hundreds of billions of dollars to China as Beijing's pursuit of an expanding range of rival sources of supply strengthens its hand in the long-running talks.

How Much Oil in Earth?

Hey, Matt: There must be an end to the earth’s supply of oil. Has anyone predicted when that will happen? — Just Wondering, via email

By now you must recognize the background music to this week’s puzzler. Hear it? The sharp tones of science guys arguing. They do agree that dead dinos and such created our oil reserves hundreds of millions of years ago. It apparently took 10 million years to create that oil. They do agree we’re not likely to have another dino invasion; ergo, gas and oil are not renewable. What we got is what we got, and eventually we’ll have none. They mostly agree the world uses 84 million gallons of crude oil a day; the U.S. uses 25 percent of that. But that about ends it.

Is fracking set to transform the oil market?

Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling revolutionised the natural gas market, unlocking huge quantities of previous unrecoverable reserves trapped in tight rock formations.

The question is whether they are about to do the same for oil -- unlocking billions of barrels of crude trapped in similar rock forms, and thereby upending forecasts about increasing oil scarcity and steeply rising prices.

Big energy woos the Big Ten

FORTUNE -- As the college football season kicks off, fans at Penn State University and Ohio State may notice the presence of Chesapeake Energy ads. For some, the scoreboard signage at PSU, a campaign that started last year, will conjure up the brouhaha over the company's gas fracking operations in the nearby Marcellus Shale. "We've turned up our education efforts everywhere so people understand how we do what we do with shale gas," says a Chesapeake spokesman.

Pennsylvania: Gas Company Sues Over Zoning Rules

The suit, which was filed on Wednesday in Washington County Court, adds to the growing debate over how much municipalities can regulate land use as drilling in the Marcellus Shale ramps up.

Iran takes one gas field from China to push it on another

Iran has suspended a $16 billion gas field contract with China in the Gulf to push it to meet its obligations in another nearby field that is already being tapped by Qatar, the Mehr news agency reported Tuesday.

Some analysts skeptical of alleged Iranian plot

U.S. officials say they are certain the bizarre plot against Ambassador Adel Jubeir was real.

But some analysts say they are not. They find it unlikely that the Iranian government, or legitimate factions within, would be involved in such a tangled plot.

Obama's Iran Dilemma: How to Respond to a Plot Seemingly Designed to Provoke Escalation?

The fact that President Barack Obama on Thursday found himself insisting that the facts support his Administration's efforts to hold Tehran accountable for a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington suggests that the world is not yet rushing to fall in line with his call for "the toughest sanctions" on Iran.

The Next Huge Oil Spike

Four months ago, I warned Fools to carefully watch relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia as both vie for power as the U.S. leaves Iraq. Yesterday, the world learned of a foiled Iranian government plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Escalations such as this have me and many fellow Motley Fool writers convinced a portion of your portfolio should be in oil stocks as sky-high oil prices are not as far off as you may think.

Tiny ND town bans oil workers' 'man camps'

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Concerned that a Colorado company appeared to be turning an old school building in the tiny town of Almont into dormitory-style housing for oil workers, city officials called a rare special meeting and banned such so-called man camps.

The ordinance passed Monday in Almont — a town of about 100 people 35 miles southwest of Bismarck — illustrates a growing tension in western North Dakota, where temporary housing has risen from the plains to accommodate a massive oil boom. Mountrail and Williams counties also recently put moratoriums on new crew camps.

Japan’s government, people split on nuclear power

As the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant continues to reverberate, two diverging plotlines are developing in Japan: Ordinary citizens are becoming increasingly anxious about nuclear power, even taking to the streets in rare protest. Meanwhile, their government is moving back into its old and comfortable embrace with the nuclear industry.

IAEA team praises Japan for efforts to reduce radiation exposure around damaged nuke plant

TOKYO — A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency has praised Japan for steps it has taken to reduce radiation exposure for the public, particularly children, near the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

Food prices fuel inflation in China

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Prices in China continued to rise at a steady pace in September, a sign that the world's largest nation still faces significant inflation pressures even amid signs of a slowing global economy.

Overall prices were up 6.1% from a year ago, little improved from the 6.2% rise in August. The reading matched the consensus forecast, according to Jay Bryson, international economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

China order for US corn signals supply squeeze

BEIJING (AP) — China has made one of its biggest-ever purchases of corn on overseas markets, buying 900,000 metric tons of American corn and showing that growing Chinese demand will play an ever larger role in global grain prices.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that China had made the purchase, which comes despite an expected record grain harvest in China this year.

Should cheap phosphorus be first on an elemental 'Red List'?

Should the periodic table bear a warning label in the 21st century or be revised with a lesson about elemental supply and demand?

If so, that lesson could start with one element considered a staple of life – but growing endangered, like the Asiatic dhole – phosphorus.

World demand for metals said a concern

LONDON (UPI) -- An insatiable demand for consumer electronic products could threaten worldwide shortages and bottlenecks of some metals, British scientists warn.

Economic theory and the Real Great Contraction

The contemporary debate over the future of natural resources features two competing theories of economics.

Unloved at Any Speed

Instead of conquering India's roads, the much-hyped Tata Nano -- the world's cheapest car -- is struggling to find buyers.

GM announces Chevy Spark fully electric car

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- General Motors, maker of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, will sell a small totally electric car beginning in 2013, the automaker announced Wednesday.

Go Slow To Go Fast

t’s the famous rice-and-funnels effect popularized by former Washington transportation commissioner Doug MacDonald: The slower you pour the rice, the faster it gets through the bottleneck.

Drive a Car in the City? Time to Embrace Bike Infrastructure

So how to convince well-to-do, aging urbanites who will drive until their car keys are pulled from their infirm hands that it is in their best interest to support the creation of good, safe bicycle infrastructure that allows people ages 8 – 80 to bike confidently and without fear, especially when at times this infrastructure will come at the expense of car parking or a lane of car travel? Such reallocations of space strike a chill in many a car driver’s heart. There will be traffic nightmares! The economy will collapse! If more space is given to bicycles, before you can say “Harvey Milk,” crazy liberal cities like San Francisco will outlaw cars altogether.

Or so the protestations go. But the truth is that even car drivers should welcome and support bicycle infrastructure. Here are six reasons why, drawing heavily from the theory of Other People.

Rick Perry to unveil far-reaching energy plan

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is set to unveil a far-reaching energy plan Friday that would dramatically expand oil and gas exploration — and, he may hope, also reboot his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Bill would cut heating subsidy while fuel costs soar, Schumer says

ALBANY — Sen. Charles Schumer says the cost of home heating fuel is expected to rise as much as 30 percent this winter.

He also says action in Washington could reduce the heat subsidy that needy New York seniors get.

Failed energy projects cross U.S. party lines

In April, the company that Hatch touted as on the cutting edge filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection — never coming close to producing the 10 megawatts that were projected at the Hatch Plant.

What Do You Think Is the Most Important Thing America Can Do to Improve Its Energy Future?

The energy future of America is among the most important topics we face today. New technologies, climate change, and peak oil are affecting the economy and our lives. The shifts are happening—it’s just a question of how we will respond. Of course, the question of how America can change its energy future is not a simple one, and the answers here will likely surprise you. It’s not just environmentalists calling for increased efficiency and renewable energy. Venture capitalists, students, CEOs, and policy experts are talking about a future that involves a whole lot of sun and wind.

China Targets GE Wind Turbines With $15.5B War Chest

China has taken on General Electric Co. (GE) and Western peers that control the $70 billion wind-turbine market, striving to repeat its 2010 coup when the Asian nation sold more than half the world’s solar panels for the first time.

Green sidewalk makes electricity -- one footstep at a time

London, England (CNN) -- Paving slabs that convert energy from people's footsteps into electricity are set to help power Europe's largest urban mall, at the 2012 London Olympics site.

The recycled rubber "PaveGen" paving slabs harvest kinetic energy from the impact of people stepping on them and instantly deliver tiny bursts of electricity to nearby appliances. The slabs can also store energy for up to three days in an on-board battery, according to its creator.

San Francisco Seeks Bird-Safe Buildings

Paradoxically, some of the “greenest” buildings in the country are some of the biggest killers, like the F.B.I.’s Chicago offices, which despite winning a platinum certification under LEED building standards takes out about 10 birds a day during the migration season.

From Oil and Gas Leases, the Greenest of Schools

Designed by klipp Architects of Denver, the 80,000-square-foot building will use only 30 percent as much energy as the average school in the state. It qualifies for a LEED gold rating, and planners hope to win the top rating, platinum, after it completes the installation of a ground-mounted solar power array later this year.

Amid weak economy, fewer people are having babies

A new report adds further evidence to the theory that the nation’s economic hard times have caused some families to delay having kids.

The U.S. birth rate has fallen sharply since hitting a high in 2007, although researchers have been hesitant to pinpoint the exact reason for the drop.

Approaching 7 billion people

With the approach of Halloween, we will try to calm our fear of witches, goblins, and zombies. But there is an even larger concern which will occur around the end of October — the world’s population will reach 7 billion. Sixty years ago, we were just 3 billion.

As Thailand Floods Spread, Experts Blame Officials, Not Rains

The main factors, they say, are deforestation, overbuilding in catchment areas, the damming and diversion of natural waterways, urban sprawl, and the filling-in of canals, combined with bad planning. Warnings to the authorities, they say, have been in vain.

“I have tried to inform them many times, but they tell me I am a crazy man,” said Smith Dharmasaroja, former director general of the Thai Meteorological Department, who is famous here for predicting a major tsunami years before the one that devastated coastal towns in 2004.

The real Greek tragedy may be the climate

The climate always takes a back seat when economies turn sour, but the impact of a euro break-up would be profound. Any country leaving the euro would also breach the treaties of Maastricht, Lisbon and Rome, and therefore be forced to leave the EU. A euro break-up is likely to shatter the EU, and with it the hard won architecture of climate policy.

Can a carbon price save us from global warming?

Scientists say significant climate change is already locked in and urgent action is needed to limit global temperature rises to 2 - the target set by world leaders at Cancun. This week the federal government's clean energy bills were passed by the House of Representatives, paving the way for a price on carbon of $23 per tonne from the middle of next year (assuming the legislation is also approved in the Senate). But a carbon price at this level still leaves coal-fired electricity far cheaper than gas, let alone renewable energy. Is it too little, too late? The task of cutting emissions poses a far bigger technical challenge than flying to the moon, so why don't we have programs of Apollo-like proportions to further develop and deploy alternative energy? And why would we rule out an existing technology, like nuclear power?

Which cities get hit hardest by rising sea levels?

Things don’t look good for India. But the United States doesn’t get off easy, either. If you look at exposed assets rather than total population, then Miami, New York-Newark, New Orleans and Virginia Beach all climb higher on the list, with $7 trillion in assets vulnerable to severe coastal flooding by 2070.

Climate benefits of population curbs merit review-Gerard Wynn

LONDON (Reuters) - Voluntary curbs on population through improved education could ease poverty and environmental pressures including carbon emissions but is ignored politically as the world passes 7 billion people because of long-standing taboos.

Discussion of fertility rates is unpalatable to religious institutions, for example opposed to contraception, and is often viewed as a private matter by conservative governments.

A link between choice of family size and environmental limits, meanwhile, has lost favour since the 1970s after peak oil and food concerns faded.

But as carbon emissions soar it may be time to review a connection with an increasingly urgent climate problem caused by burning fossil fuels and converting forests for food and energy.

Link up top: Approaching 7 billion people

Now the Green Revolution has begun to gray, and world grain prices have doubled. On the land, pesticide-resistant bugs flourish; top soils erode from aggressive tilling; declining yields and vulnerability from single crop agriculture demand more fertilizer and pesticides. Ground water aquifers lower as we irrigate marginal land. In the sea, over fishing causes species to disappear.

Hundreds of millions of personal cars and trucks are now at the world’s food table, consuming biofuels made from the fruit of the plant. The risk set out by Malthus, “Famine seems to be the last, the most dreadful resource of nature”, looms in parts of the world.

Finally someone tells it like it is. The Green Revolution has almost reached its limit when it comes to increasing production per acre. Soon production per acre, due to all the things mentioned above, will start to turn down. We will have less and less food to feed more and more people. But still we turn to the food supply and try to divert some of the food for the poor people of the world into the gas tanks of automobiles.

Of course we should not get too excited. This is just a small town in Minnesota blog read mostly by local people. This is still a long way from the mainstream media.

Ron P.

I suspect that a lot of us have concluded that protesters worldwide are, without really realizing it, primarily protesting against resource limits.

And we were promised, by ExxonMobil, Yergin, et al, that we would see decades of increasing production before we saw anything resembling a peak or plateau in global production. If we had seen the 3%/year increase in global production "capacity" that Yergin, in 2005, promised that we would see, then Global Net Exports (GNE) would have been at about 59 mbpd in 2010. Instead, they were at about 43 mbpd in 2010, resulting in a gap of about 16 mbpd between Yergin expectations and reality.

The "Yergin Gap" chart for GNE:

I suspect that a lot of us have concluded that protesters worldwide are, without really realizing it, primarily protesting against resource limits.

This is a nice sentence, and a lot of us have indeed concluded that. It might make a good quote for the TOD masthead, because it goes simply and directly to the disparity between mass perceptions and physical realities.

A lot of "us" here, looking at the world via the rose colored glasses of resource constraints will see that. If your shibboleth is 'global resistance' - as John Robb does, you see the protests as a GG event.

The ones who've wanted the Fed gone - well that is what OWS is.

The ones who've wanted the Fed gone - well that is what OWS is.

Only a few of them IMO. Mainly -at least from the organizers/instigators perspective, its about educating the public that the very wealthiest have taken over the media and politics, and are gaming the system to their own benefit, and the detriment to most of the rest of us. In that objective its probably succeeding (at least a little bit).
How that plays out. Most have figured out things are going against them. But, their are a lot of stories of who/why it is happening. Some are spread by the same malefactors of great wealth. So the resolution of the issue is no where close to being decided.

In that objective its probably succeeding (at least a little bit).

I'd say 'they' think 'they' are quite successful. From the objective of this knowledge being widespread 2005-2006 were the memo dates....when did you know about these memos?

No more traditional democracy for Citigroup. The omnipresent international financial conglomerate with operations in consumer, corporate, and investment banking and insurance has decided that it is pretty pleased with progress toward a neatly done plutocratic society. Democracy can be messy, and, frankly, it interferes with Citigroup’s vision of world globalization by countries dominated by plutocracies.

But just what is a plutocracy? Here are definitions:

the rule of power of wealth or of the wealthy.
a government or state in which the wealthy class rules.
a class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.

In a lengthy, but little-noticed two-part report from 2005 and 2006, Citgroup brags that it coined the phrase “plutonomy” to explain global imbalances in wealth.

According to the report, which refers to a Survey of Consumer Finance data, the rich in the United States continue to be “in great shape” compared to main-street citizens who continue to be in a demoralized and declining state of finances. And, Citigroup thought that given the great shape of the rich, it was “a good time to bang the drum on plutonomy.”

What will be the distraction to shift focus away from the monied interests?

I suspect that I agree with you on the reason why the protesters protest. However a more egalitarian society would give them a softer landing in the case of a resource squeeze. The trend for net exporters isn't that good really, someone made the graph below. Anyway do you have a graph on say the TOTAL BTU of all three fossil fuels or at least a graph showing overall production/export in oil equivalents? I think we need the whole story and not just the oil story to gauge the fossil economy.


Hundreds of millions of personal cars and trucks are now at the world’s food table, consuming biofuels made from the fruit of the plant. The risk set out by Malthus, “Famine seems to be the last, the most dreadful resource of nature”, looms in parts of the world.

Actually, Malthus probably could have made a good case for turning food into fuel on the upslope of overshoot, to minimize the eventual total of human misery and dieoff. I don't expect to see ethanol proponents using this line of argument, though.

That is food for thought. I have heard many say that the sooner the collapse comes the better. Their reasoning is that more time only allows more people to populate the earth and more other species to become extinct. Therefore if the collapse comes ten or twenty years later, there will be far more misery in the world than if the collapse happened tomorrow.

Ron P.

If one were to get really Malthusan about it, the logical thing to do would be to flare accessible oil and gas right at its source.

Since any oil and gas extracted will create the same amount of CO2 anyhow when used in industry, it would not add to pollution or CO2 load (sequestration will never be done significantly).

This flaring without converting it to complexity would have several effects: our populations would contract, and we would hasten and minimize the many downsides of the "foraging locust" phase of the bottleneck as overshot human populations use up what they can reach.

It's a particularly ironic observation for me to make, since my group's teams on the ground greatly hastened the snuffing of the Kuwait oilwell fires. But seen with a Malthus-like perspective, it makes a kind of grim sense. If all the gas and oil had been flared when it was found starting 100 years ago, this planet would be a relative paradise now. Coal would still exist, but oil is what has mainly enabled exponential buildout and adventures on the scale we've seen.

It kinda goes OIL -> DOPAMINE, DESPOILMENT & POPULATION GROWTH -> CO2. If we cut out the middle step, it's hard to argue we and the planet wouldn't be better off. As messed-up as that is.

That's the trouble with thinking like Malthus - it's depressing, but hard to argue with. I almost did a keypost on this back in the more freewheeling days of TOD, as one of a series of unsettling topics I had in mind.

What if the collapse is expected and the leaders of the world are playing that game? I had another go at writing. :-)

What if the leaders of developed nations aren't ignorant of the problems facing the world? What if the best explanation of the actions of the leaders in Europe, U.S.A, China, India is that they that they only intend to save themselves? The whole debate over the actions of the leaders of the developed world has centered around the idea that they don't truly understand and if we could just sit them down with a nice cup of coffee and a copy of Limits to Growth it would sort everything out. What if they knew all along that action was impossible and instead have moved to secure their future, the rest being damned all along?

The relatively slow progress of alternative energy seems better matched to the relative decline of fossil fuels than the needs to avert climate change. The progress and targets seem better explained as green-washing or enlightened self interest rather than self-less devotion to the common good. Surely any leader at this point if they were serious would have to consider the fight against climate change more akin to total war? If we have less than 66 months to turn this ship around, why does it look like the lazy course correction of a supertanker? Do they have another agenda?

What is the easiest way to stave off the limits to growth and reduce the carbon intensity of the planet at the same time? Let billions of people die, quickly. If the human populations would be so kind as to disappear the easiest way to reduce carbon dioxide is to let the forests and fields revert to their natural states. It is a very easy plan to implement and it is psychologically favourable because it requires that they do nothing. They can export food from 'colonial' farms at the same time as giving their sympathy to those affected by famine and disease within the same country. Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice.

We should have ruled out stupidity first instead of malice. Lets look at the situation from the perspective of a leader or plutocrat in one of the OECD countries. His power to limit the population growth and carbon intensity of other nations is quite limited. Any action which reduces the perceived standard of living in his country would threaten the ideals of growth and technology development and his own political/economic power. Losing 50 years of economic progress so that more people can live in comfort and peace is blasphemy to the religion of progress. It isn't enough that Western civilisation survives, it has to prosper and grow even at the expense of the rest of the world.

Instead of dividing the world into the1st/2nd/3rd world we should instead divide the world into two groups, the winners and losers. The winners are the countries whom will either have the economic power or the fortune to be least effected by resource constraints and climate change, losers are everyone else. Some countries like the United States are obvious winners whilst places like India are quite marginal and could go either way. Progress giveth and progress taketh away, progress also gives to some that which it takes away from others.

Morally where do we all stand? Do the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many if the few can best assure the survival of the human species? Is this the real reason for non nuclear proliferation treaties so the victims of the arrangement aren't in any position to make demands? What moral system really prepares us for a situation where we have to willingly let billions die? How can we even think of over-turning such an arrangement when our own best interest says not to? In the end as we've always known the complexity of our civilization requires the entropy of the world around us, but usually it was the natural world and not our own species which suffered.

If it wasn't so serious, it would be comical.

Bloomberg shows a picture of a woman carrying tree shopping bags, with the caption "Retail sales up 1.1%", and now oil is up 2 dollars in the first hour.

Brent is back to 115$, welcome to the recovery. This one lasted about 4 days.

Rick Perry officials spark revolt after doctoring environment report
Scientists ask for names to be removed after mentions of climate change and sea-level rise taken out by Texas officials

Denial. It's not a river in Egypt.

Seriously. WTF is up with Texas that they tolerate this idiocy?

They like their tales told tall in Texas.

How about: "The Lunatics have taken over Texas"? Not to mention the Republican (Tea) Party, that has made climate change denial a central focus. All they care about is Making Money, to Hell with the natural world. Here's a safe bet for yah. We won't see any mention of this censorship in the US MSM...

E. Swanson

There is a strong fundamentalist undercurrent in climate change denial. One of the leading "deniers" is a religious nut, very well funded, who asserts that catastrophic climate change cannot happen, because God promised Noah that He would never destroy the earth again.
This denier forgets that this time, it is mankind that is doing the destruction.


they better get the facts strait. This is not what the Bible says.

(Genesis 8:21) And Jehovah began to smell a restful odor, and so Jehovah said in his heart: “Never again shall I call down evil upon the ground on man’s account, because the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up; and never again shall I deal every living thing a blow just as I have done.

It states clearly He will not "call down evil upon the ground" and He will not "deal a blow to every living thing" on "man's account".
It does not say he will not punish bad people! On the contrary!



But he does reserve the right to do so in the afterlife rather than in this world.

In this world, we're on our own.

Perry's popularity as a candidate for president seems to be inversely proportional to the amount of national exposure that he gets. But in any case, my continuing prediction is that the GOP candidate wins* in 2012, followed by the Democratic Party candidate winning in 2016, and so on, as voters turn against the party controlling the White House on a four year cycle.

*As Tom Brokaw said about 2008, the "winner" should have demanded an immediate recount.

...By 2016, we might well be in "President for Life" mode.

At least the three principal "Nehemiah Scudder" types (Perry, Bachmann and Palin) are either fading fast or never got in the race.


The story* is set in a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).

*"If this goes on" by Robert Heinlein

Scudder's name leaps instantly to mind when viewing the assortment of the GOP's um, "best". The 3 you mentioned are certainly the ones to assume Nehemiah's mantle ("Timeline 3" for us I think), but unfortunately, there's potential in most of the remainder as well...:-(

thanks, wt. I'll go find that story.

If you've never, also read "The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. Especially now that we have our very public Perry and Bachman "characters" the memory of it makes chills down my spine.

"...By 2016, we might well be in "President for Life" mode."

That worked out well for Louis XVI.

Texas is Frying & Drying - and in the dark next year.

I just got word that a major coal fired plant in Texas (1,500+ MW) will cut capacity by 30% next year if the drought and heat return - as they are forecast to do.

My source said that they are not the only one.

Best Hopes for Texas Conservation and Solar PV installations in the next 8 months,


Do texas have any electricity intensive industry that can be moved?

Oil refining (about 8 million b/day) and petrochemicals.

Industries not easily moved.

The Houston Ship Channel is one of the major electricity consumers (and producers) in the USA.


If you accidentally double-post, remove the last one(s), not the first one.

It works better if there are replies, so I will always remove the second post when I remove duplicates.

I'm guessing the refineries are on the Gulf, they have their own electricity generation, and they can used the Gulf water for cooling, so perhaps they are fine?


Yesterday a lady called into Rush Limbaugh's radio program. She wanted to say that, of all the Rep. candidates, she favors Perry. So Rush asks her why. She ended her short list of inanities with:

"...and he's against global warming."

He's probably against "Asteroids, Tsunamis, and Super Volcano's" too, can't wait for a National Prayer Fest...

Hell, I'm against it too - maybe I should give this Perry feller a listen...

Actually, her phrasing was revealing. With these people it does not matter what you are for, it's what you are against. They're angry and they want to strike out. The anger is real, and there are real reasons behind it, but the almost total ignorance combined with layer upon layer of myths and narratives prevents any kind of understanding or reason. But the anger remains, and as it grows there will surely be those who hope to use and direct it.

, it's what you are against.

Both "parties" suck, both "parties" are a part of the suck - so why wouldn't you be reduced to voting for who sucks less VS voting for whom you'd actually want?

It's not that they're voting against a candidate - voting against any or all of them would be completely rational - it's that what gets them fired up is being in opposition to things, being against things. There aren't any ideas about what might be useful things to do, just about what can be stopped. I'm not even passing a judgment on that, it's just an observation. It's more of a shout of anger than anything.

Politics and science have played this game a long time, but it sure seems to be getting worse. The community college where I work has multiple physical scientists who are deniers... It's not religion based, but more of a call of the tea party. The geologist who runs our earth science classes has switched textbooks to "custom print" where the official looking book is missing all chapters that refer to global warming or climate change. No sense confusing anyone with facts I guess.

Many TOD readers have undoubtedly read "What the matter with Kansas"....food for thought.

hard to think we're not doomed!

This is an American phenomenon, not a Texan one.

And even if it was just limited to Texas, Texas is a part of America, is it not?

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that happens in these United States that you can say is just "over there." This country is right wing, through and through. If it wasn't, would it be the only major nation not to sign Kyoto?

I'm not defending Texas, I'm merely pointing out that it's convenient to point fingers without looking at the bigger picture.

I agree. I suppose they just express their penchant for anti-intellectualism in a more flamboyant manner.

Re: Food prices fuel inflation in China, up top:


- Bidders blanch at Iraq's oil terms -

Finally, the other shoe drops. I've been waiting and wondering about a sensible explanation for the Invasion of Iraq. This one fits. It's a scheme to prop up and recycle the U.S. currency. This might be an attempt to recapture the policy originally fixing crude to the Dollar made back in the Nixon Administration. Maybe that was the whole point all along. Dollars = Oil.

Less than ideal - that depends which side you're on, dunit?

re: Bidders blanch at Iraq's oil terms

I have wondered how Iraq can have it both ways? If it is a simple service contract, then if I represented a company I would bid with no risk as part of the terms.....that is to say, "cost plus" for development and all construction, and then a % for oil pumped...with all security paid by the

US TAXPAYER arh arh arh

That is probably what will happen if terms are not changed...but who knows?


The terms in the linked article are the same terms already agreed in earlier rounds. Although it is possible for the winning bidders to take their management fee in oil rather than dollars though at the then current rate. The problem for the oil companies is the very low rate per barrel produced. As low as $1.50 barrel. Iraq has the world's oil companies over the barrel as it were as it knows the world is desperate for the oil.

At $1.50 per barrel service fee that would mean the "winning" companies can keep between only 1% and 2% of the oil they produce if oil varied between $75 and $150 per barrel.

I've been waiting and wondering about a sensible explanation for the Invasion of Iraq. It's a scheme to prop up and recycle the U.S. currency.

Wars has a history of getting the population behind you, along with changing the populations focus.

Once again, the talk is about an attack on Iran - and today's 'need to distract' would be the economy and the rising OWS effort.

If you are looking for other "evidence" of 'propping up the dollar' - look toward the religions which forbid interest and then see if they are "under attack" from those who benefit from the dollar.

If you are looking for other "evidence" of 'propping up the dollar' - look toward the religions which forbid interest and then see if they are "under attack" from those who benefit from the dollar.

Well that pretty well includes all religions. But as the philosopher John Ralston Saul has defined it quite nicely,"Bankers - pillars of society who are going to hell if there is a God and He has been accurately quoted."

look toward the religions which forbid interest and then see if they are "under attack" from those who benefit from the dollar.

Interesting perspective. I hadn't thought of that. Although I think it was mainly something else. Like for one "What is OUR oil doing under their sand?". And Isarael. And the general distrust of anything Arab or Muslim. Even the desire to have another Christian crusade (in some quarters). Also its always been the strategy of the US to maintain respect by periodically knocking over a weak state (and it was about time). Of course pure plain old paranoia, he is the head of an arab nation who hates us, and he had had a weapons of mass destruction program. Despite all evidence to the contrary many believed he was hiding nukes and planning to give them to our terrorist enemies. Enough of the population thought that way, that the war was an easy sell.

Rarely a single cause. Different supporters may have different things in mind. Some thought they could turn it into a successful experiment/demonstration in spread neo0liberal Chicago School economics.

From above: GM announces Chevy Spark fully electric car

"The Spark EV offers customers living in urban areas who have predictable driving patterns or short commutes an all-electric option," said Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for electric vehicles at Chevrolet.

GM has not yet announced details such as the car's driving range, price or in what markets it might be sold.

...but scroll down a bit and we see that GM is hedging its bet, or trying to be all things to all people:

GM to unveil 580 horsepower Camaro convertible

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- General Motors will unveil the most powerful convertible Chevrolet has ever made at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

The 2013 Camaro ZL1 convertible will be powered by a 580 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine. The car's power output will exceed the current rating of its closest competitor in the marketplace, the Ford Shelby GT500 convertible, which has a 550 horsepower engine.

I, for one, would prefer to see more specs/info on the Spark, though I'll likely actually see the Camaro on the highway first. So it goes....

Electric car = halo-ware.

And not even good halo-ware, given the miniscule differences in efficiency:


That article is garbage. In the "real world" people wake up, drive their car ~40 miles back & forth to work, and go back to sleep. If you plug in your Volt every night, you'll end up using hardly any gas at all . . . only when you take long trips.

On that article they drove 385 miles, 180 miles, and 210 miles? Who drives like that on daily basis in the real world? Very very few people. And those people should not buy a Volt but instead get a hybrid with tall gears.

So if your job is to take really long drives to test cars . . . don't buy a Volt! But if you are like most people only only drive ~40 or so miles a day to get back & forth to work/school/store and you want to not burn gas . . . then buy a Volt.

It also chooses some pretty damn expensive cars too. the cheapest is the fiat 500 at 16k but the hybrids are in the 20k range and the volt nearer 30k. their much maligned smart car, mostly out of reaction to how small it is and over blowing how bad the transmission is. see here for the actual performance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuVCj6o2MeE is at base 12k. 13k if you add air-con. I am aiming to downsize my 2005 taurus to either a smart fortwo or a scion iq.

as a note i know there are other cars out there that are in the 13k-15k range most do not get the same millage as the smart, nor do they have one thing that makes it interesting to me and that 85%+ of the car is from recyclable components. the iq is a unknown though, it's based off of the toyota iq but they supposedly re-did the mechanics and internal structure before re-branding it.

General Motors will unveil the most powerful convertible Chevrolet has ever made ...

It is ironic, the Spark owner saves gas and the Camaro owner burns it up fueling the 580 horsepower.

Jevons' pair-a cars.

GM now look like short-sighted fools because they crapped on pure EVs with their original ads for the Volt . . . and now they are releasing their own pure EV. Derp. Well, at least they are learning . . . slowly. The Spark is a 2013 model so you'll see it in late 2012 at the very earliest.

And they can build all the muscle cars they want as long as they build electrics & hybrids too.

I'll pick up some of those gas guzzlers cheap when oil prices go up and the original buyers can no longer afford to drive them. :-)

I speak as a recovering gearhead who still occasionally spends an occasional guilty afternoon at the library reading the car mags.It is quite unlikely that you will ever see one of the Carmaro ZL1's, or a a Shelby Gt500, for that matter, unless you live in some place such as LA.

These particular souped up models are built in pretty small numbers , mostly for the bragging rights associated with them.
Anybody who actually wants a really fast car and the has the money to pay for one of these generally buys something more upscale and refined than a Mustang or Camaro, if he intends to actually drive it.

Limited production models of this sort have been around for a long time.I have never seen one personally except at a car meet or show.

The people who buy them mostly put them away as investments and status symbols in heated garages.

You need a pretty hefty income to make the payment and cover the insurance, etc, on such a car, especially if you are the sort of person to go for it-a young man who probably already has a couple of moving violations,such as "speeding in excess of one hundred mph" as it used to be specified on traffic summons.

The older radar units wouldn't register any higher speed.

You probably actually will see a Chevy electric on your local streets, if it makes it to market.

I spend quite a bit time on the Interstate nowadays, and have not yet seen my first Volt or Leaf.

But I agree with your sentiments.

Hope somebody here is making a commission on this...

INSIGHT-Oil Convoy Blues: Trucking Game Foils Crude Traders

On paper, it's the kind of arbitrage deal that oil traders dream of: buy crude at $85 a barrel in Oklahoma, truck it 550 miles south, and sell it to a Gulf coast refiner for $110.

In practice, the crude trucking trade - a measure of last resort as pipelines, trains and barges are maxed out -- has proved tantalizing but elusive. Just ask Robert "Bo" Collins, the former NYMEX president and hedge fund manager, or the teams at global energy trading titans Mercuria and Vitol.

Collins, who presided over the home of the benchmark U.S. oil futures contract a decade ago, has tried in vain to organize a fleet of trucks to haul crude out of Cushing, Oklahoma, down to the U.S. Gulf Coast, where he could sell it for $25 a barrel more.

An in-depth investigation by Reuters shows ...

also Oil traders unravel Cushing mystery

From your second article:

“Either it’s a temporary shortfall or the world’s in deep trouble"

The western governments’ oil watchdog this week reported that crude stocks in Europe had fallen to their lowest levels since 2003. “Crude oil inventories are unbelievably low in Europe,” says Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citi.

. . . Besides Libya, recent outages from the North Sea to Azerbaijan have also kept supplies scarce. “Either it’s a temporary shortfall or the world’s in deep trouble,” Mr Morse says.

I've been hearing the same thing from other sources--that the supply of light/sweet oil in the Atlantic Basin is extremely tight. As we head toward the Northern Hemisphere winter, it may be likely that we will see another release of oil from emergency supplies.

From Whipple's article up top:

Last week we had London oil below $100 a barrel, but renewed optimism, or as it is now known, "risk appetite," soon sent London oil back up over $111 where it continues to methodically eat the heart out of the OECD economies. London oil has now been above $100 a barrel for the last nine months and so far shows no signs of collapsing to the fabled $60 a barrel level as it did three years ago.

Nine months over 100 a barrel! Maybe we need a TOD Brent oil price over a 100 a barrel clock/price (off to one side or at top), so we can track how many months OECD economies and banks can remain in tact at over a hundred a barrel.

Related to the Housing Crunch for Oil Workers above

ND oil patch airports see booming business

Airports in western North Dakota's booming oil patch are setting new passenger boarding records nearly every month and need tens of millions of dollars to invest in terminals, parking and runway upgrades, the state's aeronautics commissioner said.

Dickinson, Williston and Minot airports have set airline boarding records nearly each month for the past three years, said Larry Taborsky. ... Williston, in the heart of the oil patch, boarded more than 2,700 passengers in September, which is nearly twice as many as last September and nine times as many as it served in 2002, according to aeronautic commission records

Conn. Awards $5 Million for Transit Planning

Connecticut is giving $5 million to 11 cities, towns and regional planning agencies as a first step to plan downtown development around rail and bus stations, state officials announced Thursday.

In towns and cities throughout the 350-mile corridor between New Haven and Montreal, officials are making initial plans to refurbish train stations along a proposed high-speed rail line. Planners see rail stations as future retail and office space in downtowns redesigned as pedestrian-friendly residential, commercial and shopping districts.

The paper version of the New York Times has a section headed "Energy" with two longish articles across from a full page ad by Shell.

Can anyone tell me whether this "Energy Section" is a new thing or how long the NYT has been including it?

Is it possible that our mini write-in campaign of June 17 had an effect? Have we nudged the Gray Lady ever-so-slightly in a different direction?

(Having a big oil/gas pay for full page ads no doubt helps justify such a section.)


Not sure which articles they were, but the online version has had an energy section for years.

They also have an Energy Challenge section that is particularly relevant to peak oil, but they've sort of dropped it since the price of oil dropped. As you can see, the most recent article is 2008.

They recently did a "special report" on energy (see the other articles on the sidebar).

U.S. Gasoline Demand Declines From Year Earlier, MasterCard Says

Motorists bought 8.79 million barrels a day in the week ended Oct. 7, the second-biggest payments network company said in its SpendingPulse report. That’s down from 9.01 million a year earlier and from 8.82 million the previous week.

Averaged over four weeks, gasoline use was 2.3 percent below a year earlier. It was the 29th week in a row that demand fell on that basis, according to SpendingPulse data.

Forest and savanna can switch quickly

Two recent studies have found that environmental changes can bring previously stable forests and grasslands to tipping points that produce sudden large-scale and sometimes irreversible changes in which forest can become savanna and vice versa. These findings challenge previous assumptions that changes to natural systems occur continuously and smoothly.

... The findings could have implications for people whose livelihoods depend on their landscape remaining the same, since it could change rapidly, which would require people to also adapt quickly to the changes. To assist them, Hirota’s team has developed what they call resilience maps identifying regions close to the tipping point.

Turning Arizona's Dry Heat into a Comfy Chill

An innovative solar-thermal heating and cooling system installed on top of the UA's Student Recreation Center is expected to harvest almost 200 million kilowatt hours of solar energy per year – enough to power more than 180 households.

The collectors utilize heat from the sun as a free energy source to drive an absorption chilling system to help keep buildings on campus cool while also heating the recreation center’s main swimming pool.

At first I thought they didn't teach math at the UofA, but the 200M kwh just seems to be a typo. The picture caption has a more realistic number, 2 million.

That did seem like a lot of juice for 180 homes to be using.

Free Climate Change Symposia in Tucson, AZ today

Univ of Arizona Leads Binational Climate Change Study

The public is welcome to attend the initial presentations of findings marking the beginning of a two-year study into vulnerability, adaptation and resilience to climate change in the Southwest U.S. and Northwest Mexico regions.

Plans to address vulnerability, adaptation and resilience to climate change – including the management of drought and water demands – begin on Oct. 14, from 8:30-11 a.m - with the launch of a University of Arizona - led binational project.

The presentations will take place at the Institute of the Environment in the Marshall Building, 845 N. Park Ave., Room 531.

Bad eggs and Oil Slicks: Making Corporate Crime Pay

If courts were able to award appropriate punitive damages that punish wrongdoers at a level tied to a company's financial worth, then businesses big and small would be at risk of being put out of business by punitive damages unconscionable offenses and would be deterred from bad behavior in the first place, according to Judy Feuer Zimet of the Phoenix School of Law in Phoenix, Arizona.

...She cites the oil company BP, which since 2005 has been held to account for a staggering 760 safety violations that resulted in a mere $373 million in fines. Meanwhile, BP's annual profits are in the double figure billions of dollars.

Texas Panhandle Officials Abandon Lake as Water Source to 11 Cities as Drought Takes Toll

FORT WORTH, Texas — The devastating drought has taken its toll on a Texas Panhandle lake, now too low to keep supplying water to nearly a dozen cities.

The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority near Amarillo voted to stop using Lake Meredith, which had been a water source since the 1960s.

The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority’s remaining water source is the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest.

The authority had already been pumping water into wells from that Roberts County aquifer for its customers. Then in June, the authority bought water rights beneath 211,000 acres for $103 million from billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens and his Mesa Water Inc.

related Texas Faces Billions in Water Costs as Drought Imperils Economy

Allan Ritter pushed a bill to make 25 million Texans pay an extra $3.25 a year to help provide water for decades. Then, with a record drought devastating farms and ranches, the state representative’s party leaders waded in.

“We couldn’t get the votes,” said the Republican from Nederland who heads the Natural Resources Committee in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers who run the chamber sought to oblige Governor Rick Perry’s pledge not to boost taxes instead.

... “What we unfortunately have in Texas are some very parochial areas that are focused on taking care of their own,” said Puente, a former lawmaker who led the House Natural Resources panel. “Planning ends at your political boundary when it should look at the entire region.”

Somewhere between 'Grapes of Wrath' and 'Chinatown'

Drought Hampers Wildlife Reproduction

In a 30-mile area of the Texas Panhandle, biologists found 76 white-tailed deer — but zero babies. Not far away, they located only three quail on a stretch of road where they would see 15 in a normal year. In South Texas, a biologist reports a lack of water on some ranches is "killing deer like flies" and says he discovered more than 20 dead adult deer on one ranch.

And this is only the first glimpse at the harm one of the worst droughts in Texas history is causing to the state's wildlife.

related Disease carried by insects is killing deer in Kansas

... The deer are being felled by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, which is spread by midges, tiny insects that pass infected blood from one animal to another. Because of the drought, the deer are drinking from shallow, stagnant water, which is a perfect breeding ground for midges, The Wichita Eagle reported

I am left wondering just what the people in those 11 small towns near Amarillo will do.

From somewhat limited knowledge of the area, they live off the farmers and ranchers around them. A small amount of manufacturing, support for oil & gas and wind farms add to the economic base - but agriculture is still King.

And the King is dead. Not enough soil moisture to germinate winter wheat (used for grazing as well as harvest). Irrigation is widespread, and will preserve some farming, but the lower water table will increase pumping costs - much of it with diesel powered pumps. Another hot, dry summer will require more water - so irrigated farming profits will be minimal if any. A farmer losing money spends less in town.


I am left wondering just what the people in those 11 small towns near Amarillo will do.

Probably much the same as other small towns across the Great Plains. Build a county-by-county map of population change for the Great Plains for the last 20 years, when the depopulation trend has become very pronounced. The population is collapsing back to the few river valleys where surface water is (usually) sufficient to support agriculture. The only exceptions are those where substantial amounts of oil/gas has been discovered.

Much of the Great Plains are ill-suited to modern industrial agriculture. Only about one-third has ever been plowed, and another third used for grazing. The remaining third is simply too rocky and too dry for anything. All of the trends suggest that in another 20-25 years, the US will be characterized by a wide (on the order of 300 to 600 miles) largely empty stretch separating east and west.

I have seen a proposal to turn that area into BuffaloLand - with periodic harvesting of the herds.

The genetics of the surviving buffalo may not be ideally suited for the southern part of the range - but over time they should adapt.

Best Hopes,



You may find this surprising - I did - but buffalo are at this time grazing in north-central Florida, in Payne's Prairie, which is south and east of Gainesville. If you drive on I-75, south of the last Gainesville exit, the land drops off suddenly, and there's a 1.5-mile flat plain before the road goes uphill again. That's I-75 clipping off the western end of Payne's Prairie. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which owns the land now as a preserve, reintroduced buffalo (I'm guessing from Yellowstone), and apparently they've adapted well to our climate.


Best wishes for reintroduction of native species!

With climate change camels might be more appropriate than buffalo.

Climate Change models suggest that the northern part of the range will do OK with rain - but not the southern part.

Jefferson Davis introduced camels into Texas 160 years ago and they spread out and survived for a remarkably long time. The last Texas sighting was in 1941 and in British Columbia in the 1930s.

So perhaps camels in the south (Do an Environmental Impact Study !) and buffalo in the north.

I do worry about a non-native mammal being introduced though.

Best Hopes for Grazing,


Re: Ogallala Aquifer

So how long is water going to be available from there (I understand the water level is rapidly dropping)?

It depends on which part of the aquifer you are talking about. The southern portion, in that most environmentally aware state, Texas, is the most depleted, while the northern portions are relatively unchanged;

More info here;

Total water in storage in 2005 was about 2,925 million acre-feet, which was a decline of about 253 million acre-feet (or 9 percent) since predevelopment.

Of course, the major decline areas have used up far more than 9% of their available water, and recharge is VERY slow.

At least it is "abiotic" water, but that does not make it renewable (in this case)

in that most environmentally aware state, Texas



Allow me to rephrase for Paul -- Texas, the state which has imposed the most stringent restrictions on water withdrawals from the Ogallala.

I grew up in Amarillo. The Canadian river was close but there was lots of well water. I spent the summer of 1948 working for Bell and Braden - a non union construction company - building a Rock Island bridge over Route 66. During down time we were sent off to dig sand traps for water wells. That Amarillo dirt was hard. Building Route 66 was easier.. There was one sight etched in my memory. A bull on the other side of a fence was taking care of 20 or so cows - mostly running between stops. By coincidence one of the Braden kids became manager of the marina at Lake Meredith after it opened. I once read that there was only one natural lake in Texas - Caddo I believe. All other lakes resulted from dams.
--I have been hearing about the demise of the Ogallala for at least 50 years.

The "Don't Count Oil Out" article at top is a strange polemic. "While lots of idealistic environmentalists and some policymakers argue that we should quit using carbon-based fuels and move to a global economy powered by nothing but renewables, the hard reality is that hydrocarbons are here to stay. "

Yes folks, hydrocarbons are here to stay, because they're here now. Or something like that.

Don't waste your time reading this tripe.

The author is Robert Bryce. He's the author of Gusher of Lies and the editor of Energy Tribune.

He may know a lot about the oil industry, but he sure has a grating, polemical writing style.

His argument in the current piece cited above seems to be that, since we don't have a drop-in replacement for hydrocarbons (which I think no one here would deny), that therefore hydrocarbons as fuel will be around forever. I.e., a very BAU stance.

If only those idealistic environmentalists would let us forget about climate change, and aquifer destruction, and so on and so forth.

Actually Bryce has left as editor of the Energy Tribune and is now on the staff of the Manhattan Institute. Michael Economides is now back at the helm as editor of the Energy Tribune.

Bryce does seem to be on a mission of promoting fossil fuels (and nuclear). He still devotes part of his time though to questioning global warming.

I haven't quite figured out the Manhattan Institute. It appears to be kind of a growth promoting free market think tank.

One of the Manhattan Insititute's founders was William Casey, director of the CIA under Reagan. His family later invested money to found NewsMax.com, a right-wing news(?) outlet.

There we go again with those "idealistic" enviros. Idealism being contrasted with "hard reality" of course, so idealism is implicitly "soft" or "fuzzy"; and don't miss that perennial gendered meme or trope lurking just below the surface -- "hard" is masculine and strong, "soft" is feminine and weak, and you don't want to be a sissy do you? so don't listen to those "soft" idealistic enviros! Kind of ironic when it isn't the enviros whose activities are lowering sperm counts in the industrial nations :-)

But really, speaking as a card-carrying member, the environmentalists I know are grim realists: we want to survive, we want our grandkids to survive. In health, and in as much freedom as possible. It's that simple. We want to eat and go on eating. We want to drink water that doesn't make us sick, and so on. We even (despite periodic accusations to the contrary) want human civilisational continuity (how deeply conservative of us!). We understand that exponential functions can't live in sealed boxes (like a planetary envelope). We don't subscribe to the Cult of the Infinite Hamster. We keep noticing -- and peskily pointing out -- that the Emperor is butt-naked. IMHO that makes us the cool-headed pragmatists, and the cornucopians the dewy-eyed idealists...

The gender trope may be difficult to combat though; in the metaphor of family life, it usually is the male humans who recklessly gamble with the family's resources and finances, and the womenfolk who fear the consequences and try to encourage safer and saner driving/spending/drinking/gaming/whatever. The voice of caution, the precautionary principle, is heard and despised as female: environmentalists nag "like a bunch of old women." Environmental regulation? Pshaw, who wants a "nanny" state?

I fear that so long as we (as a culture) glorify and romanticise the personality traits of young, irresponsible, aggressive men, we are not going to get much traction with ideas about stewardship, moderation, proportion, restraint, longsightedness etc. As a culture we despise old people and particularly grannies; but cultures that put the grannies in positions of high political power lasted longer on the N Am continent that we seem likely to :-) Unf conditions of increasing scarcity and disorder may even *further* valorise the warlord attributes (the SKA of brigandage and turf assertion)... oh dear oh dear, now I'm sounding like Jacobs, "dark age ahead"... but really, tripe like this continues the broadcast of relentless gendered posthypnotic suggestion (another puzzle piece is the popularity of "manly muscle trucks" that consume as much oil as possible -- don't let those damn sissy enviros take your powerful phallic symbol away -- memetic castration!). Remember when Arnold S called all non-neo-lib economists and pundits "economic girly-men" for daring to doubt trickle-down and infinite market growth?

This subtle drip, drip, drip of gender slur (enviros = weak = soft = cautious = emotional = sissies) isn't helping. Or it is helping, but it's helping the wrong side :-)

We keep noticing -- and peskily pointing out -- that the Emperor is butt-naked.

Unfortunately the rest of us (TOD readers excluded) are too vain and too proud to admit that there is something kind of like "made out of thin air" about the financial systems that clothe our Republic.

Besides, would we not be accused of disloyalty and unpatriotic thought harboring if we dared to suggest that the King (and all the Presidents men) are not as intellectually superior as they claim to be?

Interesting, but I would add that Americans never think of themselves as a settled people, unlike the entirety of the Old World and many part of the New as well.

It's a frontier country and this saturates our culture. And there always must be a frontier, somewhere...new enemies to be vanquished, new businesses to create and expand, new money to be made. And this implies seeking out and using resources, and part of why the calls for sustainability ring so hollow.

We equate the lack of a frontier with death itself, which of course makes this an existential phenomenon. Which is why I'm pretty sure that we won't change without collapse.

We are no different, or better, than the Romans or British or Nazis or Soviets, or any major power which could only be satisfied with total rule over every little thing that creepeth on this planet.

Good point! and I think that speaks again to the gender trope: the business of frontier expansion (which always involves aggression and warfare) is a "young man's game" (though old men profit from it and choreograph it from safe offices far away). America's notion of itself as a Frontier Territory is part and parcel of the worship of the holy Masculinity-Trinity of youth/strength/violence, or we could turn it on its head... the worship of the warrior male ideal is part and parcel of the self-perception of a Frontier Nation, which the US has been since its inception... chicken, egg, chicken, egg. [That silly fantasy of "total rule" (absolute control, dominance) is imho just another face of the hunger for alpha male status, wanting to be the biggest gorilla in the area... ]

I'll adduce one more quote from the lunatic fringe: the inimitable Anne Coulter -- "Liberals have managed to eliminate the idea of manly honor. Instead, all they have is womanly indignation."

Obviously not real straight-shootin' frontier cowboy types! These gendered tropes (I just mistyped "tripes" which might have been just as good) are twined all around the Tea Party rhetoric. They seem a bit ludicrous when unpacked, but gender panic is never far from the average male citizen of a patriarchal culture :-) just a whiff of Sissy is enough to render any idea, book, speaker, film, scientific report, politician, programme anathema -- it has girl-cooties, and that's all we need to know.

There was an interesting article (actually something of a book review) at Slate, about homesickness. It pointed out, correctly, that Americans see homesickness as a sign of weakness. This was not always the case. In fact, during the frontier days, homesickness was seen as a positive thing. The natural state of affairs, even.

This changed when the frontier days came to an end, and industrialism took off. Perhaps because so many people found themselves having to leave the farm and go to work in the factories, mines, etc.?

There was a fascinating web site (that has unfortunately gone dark), set up to try and find the relatives of a boy whose remains were found in a small cave in a hill...in Utah, I think. He was in his early teens, perhaps 14 years old, and had apparently gotten sick, holed up in the cave where he had been living, and died of his illness. His bones were found almost a century later.

They had a lot of experts commenting on the case, and apparently, at that time, it was common for young people to leave their farms and seek their fortune elsewhere. As we see with the Amish now, a farm can only be split so many ways, so "extra" kids have to find something else to do. Once the good land was mostly taken, that was jobs in city factories or rural mines. The town's local historians found evidence of large numbers of transients passing through, working in the nearby mine, then moving on. The boy likely had no friends or family in the area - no one would miss him when he got sick and died. And this was apparently pretty common throughout the US at the time.

Empires generally run on expansion. Taking all the neighbor's stuff is the human way. America is no different from the rest. Although our frontier-minded culture might be the most extreme example of this mindset in a long time.

One could make the argument that the USA has done a surprising amount of holding back its imperialistic urges, considering the gigantic amount of military power we've had for so long compared to everyone else on the planet.

I think this has more to do with conventional superpower warfare becoming obsolete than anything else. Modern mechanized & nuclear warfare are just too expensive to implement and too damaging to the countries involved. Economic dominance accomplishes the same thing for the USA with less collateral damage and expense.

The observations about feminine/masculine attitudes are interesting, but not a complete picture. Don't get too caught up in the feeling that the present situation is permanent and fixed. 100 years ago there were a lot of people fighting hard for other values, other ideas and ideals. Change is coming, not the packaged change of political campaign slogans, but real, chaotic, painful change for millions. None of us can know where that will lead. Some of it will be the result of very obvious environmental catastrophe, combined with the lack of available energy to smooth it over. What will Gov. Good Hair's state be like even next year - possibly lacking adequate water and electricity, and with agricultural output heading to zero.

The point is, people and attitudes can change, and will change, some for the worse, some for the better. Keep focusing on your own skills and knowledge, and you may have the opportunity to make a difference.

Bryce likes to use the pathetic "But what about the poor birds!" argument with wind turbines. A sure sign of hater of all things alternative energy. (As if cats, buildings, and cars don't kill a zillion more birds all the time.)

"Don't Count Oil Out"?!? who says that? No one. What a pathetic strawman argument. People encourage a slow transition toward more renewables and suddenly they are accused of "counting oil out?"

Licence to export liquid natural gas marks 'historic day' for consortium

The National Energy Board has granted a 20-year licence to export liquid natural gas to KM LNG, the consortium with plans to build a liquid natural gas terminal at Kitimat, marking another step toward the construction of a $4.5-billion LNG terminal on B.C.'s west coast.

KM LNG has plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant with the capacity to export 1.4 billion cubic feet of gas a day and a 465-kilometre-long pipeline, dubbed the Pacific Trails Pipeline, across the province.

Volkswagen EcoFuel engine runs on gasoline and natural gas

... The idea behind Volkswagen's subcompact is that the car runs on natural gas in regular use, but it also holds a 2.5-gallon reserve tank of gasoline to give owners a cushion of extra driving range.

Can a carbon price save us from global warming?

No. It will simply shift fossil fuel consumption to low-tax or high subsidy nations. It will delay consumption for a bit, as patterns shift to accomodate the new price, but probably not for long.

You know what else can't "save us" from global warming?

A system where 70% of the spending is to "overhead". Useless, crooked timbers like Investment banks taking 30% - in effect for each unit spent on Carbon reduction, the Investment bank is there taking a unit of spending while pretending to be important.

India appears to be struggling with quite a few critical needs. They did secure some potash last month but it may not have been enough or hasn't reached the farmers, yet.

India Grapples with Skyrocketing Fertilizer Costs

Like other global economies, India’s economy is also struggling, as corporate earnings fall due to slowing growth. However, spending on food, fuel and fertilizers has been swelling, and analysts are concerned that the country’s deficit could balloon even further. Earlier in the year, India was hesitant to settle potash contracts at the asking price, claiming that it would not be able to balance its budget and pay the going rate for potash supplies. Now, farmers are reporting that potash is in short supply.

The Govt recently cut the fertilizer subsidies over rising costs, there's also a power crisis looming with coal shortage and most of the farms are irrigated using water pumps which run on 'free' electricity.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for next year's inflation numbers, If ECB and Fed don't stop the stimulus programs I expect it to be above 15%.

As Alan says
Best hopes

...for a 21st century India

Links Between Climate Change and Increased Social Unrest Unacknowledged

Friday 14 October 2011
by: Michael Busch, Truthout | Interview


Haven't read it yet, but thought that TODers might be interested.
Such links are not often written of in popular media, and Truth-out is pretty popular online site

The alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassidor doesn't pass the smell test, imo. Why would Iran hire a third rate criminal to deal with another third rate criminal-informant to do an assassination ?

And why should any nation that has a history of sending out assassins of their own have the moral authority to click its tounge and chastise others over such actions?

I agree. It smells like either a cheap setup -or just making a mountain out of a molehill. But, is anyone who aspires to be called a serious person, publicly stating the (almost) obvious? Wouldn't want the media to take away a pundits "member of the serious people" card. That would be bad for business.

regarding the iran saudi plot : it is solely about
the price of oil . the media hypes the idea of war
with iran and the oil price rises

the extra revenue is then fractionally multiplied
and recycled through various schemes to prop up the
worlds economy . for example how else can the funds
needed to save the euro be realized ?

this scenario has been used repeated over the past
decade to elevate the oil price . there will no war
with iran . in fact the iran regime is complicit
in these affairs as it benefits economically

Seems so, but there are enough real, potential and imagined threats to keep the oil price ball in the air.

The consensus on TOD resides in the no speculation camp, with fequent visits from the collapse boogyman.

Green Machine: Towering factory will have humble needs

The world's first high-rise factory will be built in Nanjing, China. The 24-storey industrial and commercial building, to be completed in 2024, will dwarf today's tallest factories. According to the project architect Robert Caulfield of CK Designworks, based in Melbourne, Australia, existing factories don't rise above eight storeys.

The high-rise's footprint is 18,400 square metres, but the building has a total floor area of 111,700 square metres.

Caulfield estimates it will use less than half the energy of conventional factories producing similar goods.

Clean air fixes cold poles in model of ancient climate

Good news for climate modellers. After 25 years of trying, they have succeeded in simulating the hot climates of Earth's prehistory. So why has it taken so long? Not because of the models themselves, but because the modellers made a false assumption: that aerosol pollution in the distant past was as bad as it is today.

Russia halts oil supply to China after earthquake: Company

MOSCOW, Oct 14, 2011 (AFP) - Russian oil transport monopoly Transneft on Friday temporarily stopped oil deliveries to China after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Russia's Far Eastern Amur region.

“We have stopped freight shipments as well as pumping (oil) to China,” Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin told AFP. The earthquake's epicentre was 130 km (80 miles) southwest of the city of Tynda, according to the US Geological Survey.

He said there was no visible damage to a terminal and station at Skovorodino, close to the epicentre, which is used by Transneft to export oil to China via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO).

... Transneft began exporting oil via the Skovorodino terminal in January this year together with oil company Rosneft. The pipeline can pump 15 million tonnes of oil per year, or 41 thousand tonnes per day.

Japan's food radiation limits set too high: Belarusian scientist

Vladimir Babenko, deputy director of the Belrad Institute of Radiation Safety in the former Soviet republic, told a press conference in Tokyo that he cannot understand the thresholds designated by the Japanese government for food and beverage products, saying they are much higher than Belarusian standards.

Babenko also criticized the Japanese government for its failure to set special standards for children to better protect them from internal radiation exposure.

For example, he pointed out that the limit for radioactive cesium in 1 kilogram of drinking water is set at 200 becquerels in Japan, 20 times as high as the maximum allowable level in Belarus.

Just In: Emergency meeting in Yokohama City after gov’t tests confirm strontium-90 on Kohoku-ku rooftop

Just In: Yokohama City Just Confirmed Strontium-90 Existence in Rooftop Sediment

[...] Details to be announced later in a press conference, according to a Yokohama Assemblywoman (Ms. Sakura Inoue). Right now the city is holding an emergency meeting of the radiation countermeasures staff.

Breaking News: Strontium was found at two more different locations

Having measured 195 Bq/kg of strontium, Yokohama city government announced that they also found strontium at two more locations.

Sample taken 9/12/2011
Lab: http://www.isotope.ac/ (The same lab as where the first strontium was measured.)

1)129 Bq/Kg from street gutter in Okurayama, Kouhokuku,Yokohama (Cs-134 & -137 40,200 Bq/kg)
2)59 Bq/Kg from the dirt left on the bottom of a stopped fountain in Shinyokohama Kouhokuku, Yokohama (Cs-134 & -137 35,000 Bq/kg)

Strontium90 in Yokohama was 2.5 times more than what they measured in Fukushima

195 Bq/kg of Strontium-90 was measured in Yokohama.

It turned out that it’s 2.5 times more than what they found in Fukushima, April and May.

In April and May, they measured 77 Bq/kg just outside of the Fukushima plant.

Yokohama is about 250km away from the plant and it was measured in September.

Considering the manipulated data of fallout, the “77 Bq/kg” might be extremely manipulated as well.

Obama orders U.S. troops to help chase down African 'army' leader

... "I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield," Obama said in letter sent Friday to House Speaker John Boehner and Daniel Inouye, the president pro tempore of the Senate. Kony is the head of the Lord's Resistance Army.

"I believe that deploying these U.S. armed forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa."

Not that I'm cynical or anything, but ...

Derricks in the darkness

A series of discoveries heralds a new oil province

TULLOW OIL, an Anglo-Irish exploration firm, announced on August 4th that it had struck oil while drilling in Uganda near the shores of Lake Albert. It was the tenth discovery in the area. Indeed, oil firms do not seem able to drill a well in Western Uganda without hitting the stuff. That part of Africa had long been seen as something of a wasteland by oilmen. But now an oil rush is under way.

Wonder if they'll put a stop to this ...

Where child sacrifice is a business

... members of the country's new elite are paying witch doctors vast sums of money for the sacrifices in a bid to increase their wealth. "They have a belief that when you sacrifice a child you get wealth, and there are people who are willing to buy these children for a price. So they have become a commodity of exchange, child sacrifice has become a commercial business."

A BBC undercover reporter is told: "We can bury the child alive on your construction site"

From cablegatesearch.net
Uganda: Scenesetter For Visit Of Assistant Secretary Carson Oct-2009

23 In October 2006, Canadian firm Heritage Oil announced the first oil discovery on the shores of Lake Albert. The British firm Tullow Oil, has made major discoveries both around and under Lake Albert, and has plans to begin producing and exporting crude oil by mid-2010.

Libya's TamOil is the primary investor in a proposed pipeline from Uganda to Kenya to import fuel, and possibly export crude. Chinese firms are also interested in expanding investments in Uganda's oil. The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) is funding a feasibility study for a refinery in Uganda. Exxon/Mobile is considering a visit to Uganda later this year.

24 (SBU) Our message: Uganda's oil resources could and should be a boon for economic development and make the country less dependent on foreign assistance. We wish to support transparent management and prudent investment of oil wealth in the years ahead.

Note: Ugandan oil is waxy [like Libya], and so likely to solidify in a pipeline unless heated. Building such a pipeline will cost at least $1.5 billion. Iran has offered to invest, and has been advising Mr Museveni’s government.

Note: Ugandan oil is waxy [like Libya], and so likely to solidify in a pipeline unless heated.

Surely you meant unlike Libya. Uganda oil is very heavy and waxy but Libyan oil is very light, the lightest of all MENA oil, not waxy at all. Libyan oil was likely to solidify in the pipeline only if it sat there, unmoved, all during the very hot summer. The sitting still in the hot summer was what was likely to make the Libyan oil turn to paraffin, not the nature of the oil.

Ron P.

What a world.


See . . . I told you Perry wouldn't bash Bachmann on her crazy $2/gallon gasoline promise because he wanted to use the same strategy. Governor Good Hair released his "Jobs Plan" which basically amounted to "Drill, Baby, Drill".

It is filled with the usual sophistry. Conflating oil and natural gas by using the vague 'energy'. References to massive oil resources in western states . . . which we know as Kerogen & oil shale . . . oil that is not economically viable at today's prices. Etc.

And for some reason, they forgot to mention that domestic oil production has increased more during the Obama administration than during any administration in the last 25 years.

Here's a link to Perry's energy and jobs speech today in Pittsburg. Not much new there, though the attack on EPA might appear so, since he attacks specific regs. His claim about previous rules providing a 50% reduction in emissions appears to miss the fact that energy demand has increased since 1980 and the standards at the time were too lenient to reduce pollution to safe levels in many cities.

Further more, he stated:

At the same time, where America has ecological treasures, like the Everglades or Yellowstone National Park, we will not explore for energy.

while in the same speech he pushes for drilling in ANWR and the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. He made no mention about drilling in US designated Wilderness Areas, though he mentions exploring on Federal lands in the West, which could be taken to mean to include Wilderness areas and National Monuments.

Regarding Global Warming, he stated:

I will take another step important to economic growth: I will stop the EPA’s draconian measures related to the regulation of greenhouse gases.

When you consider that any carbon reduction will be offset by the increase of carbon emissions by developing nations like China and India, the EPA would tie our economy in knots and advantage our global competitors while realizing no global environmental benefits in the process.

Of course, there would be no environmental "benefit" (in economic terms) as he apparently will completely ignore the potential damage which may result from changing the climate, a typical trick in the risk/benefit calculation game. He does claim that he wants to level the field, removing all subsidies, but there are no specifics given on that one...

E. Swanson

I will take another step important to economic growth: I will stop the EPA’s draconian measures related to the regulation of greenhouse gases.

What "Draconian" measures is he talking about? As far as I know, they haven't done a thing. Is he talking about CAFE standards?

spec - Yep...caught it on NPR driving home. Same old tired R BS. Remember way back when I was hoping (against all odds of course) that Good Hair might take a PO slant to his pitch. I almost considered trying to contact some of his handlers but I decided my time would be better spent sorting my sock draw. Apparently I was correct.

Ya know being a conservative is getting tougher every day. I think this would be a good night for a double B&B on the rocks. Maybe two.

C'mon. This is standard operating procedure (SOP). Oh, those Dems are preventing us from saving the world with their evil hippie regulations! Reality doesn't matter any more. They'll make up anything thing they can in order to try to get power.

Well, you don't have to be lonely, Rock. It's getting tougher on this side, too. There must be a common thread somewhere..?

James Thurber put it into context with his fable about a 'Fairly Intelligent Fly'

"There's no safety in numbers, or in anything else!"

joker - Exactly. As long as the R's and D's can keep folks picking one side or the other nothing can change. Many of our problems remain unsolved not by one party or the other being in power but by the "pick us because the other guys are worse" logic. Thus the focus will never be on the "right" people to elect but on electing those who slap us around with the correct buzz words.

I'll grant I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box re: politics but decades ago I recognized this scam. And today it seems so blatantly obvious I don't understand why it works better than ever. I suppose it just boils down to folks being ruled by their emotions to the complete dismissal of common sense. Just pick the issue: abortion, global warming, welfare, terrorism, etc. Just like a good sleight of hand magician: keep them looking at the wrong hand and you can do any damn thing with the other one. And until that changes significantly I will proudly wear my doomer hat. LOL

You have to pick one of the other candidates who doesn't really have a hope of winning, and it wouldn't have to be someone you agree with completely. The so-called top-tier candidates will never utter a word. Of the bunch on the Republican side, Huntsman seems the most likely to get peak oil.

Yeah, Huntsman seems to be the one most interested in data and science. I loved his tweet

TAPPER: These comments from Governor Perry prompted you to Tweet, quote: "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy." Were you just being cheeky or do you think there's a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?

HUNTSMAN: I think there's a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party – the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science – Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.
The Republican Party has to remember that we're drawing from traditions that go back as far as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, President Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush. And we've got a lot of traditions to draw upon. But I can't remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a – a party that – that was antithetical to science. I'm not sure that's good for our future and it's not a winning formula.

Of course that makes him unelectable in the GOP primary. :-/


"Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling revolutionised the natural gas market, unlocking huge quantities of previous unrecoverable reserves trapped in tight rock formations. The question is whether they are about to do the same for oil -- unlocking billions of barrels of crude"

Not anything new in this piece but it did strike me as another effort (intentional or not) to help folks hang on to their BAU day dream. FYI: the biggest oil play in the nation over 20 years ago was developed using frac'd horizontal well bores in the Austin Chalk...essentially a fractured carbonate "shale" made of calcium carbonate minerals instead of clay minerals. But identical reservoir dynamics as the red hot Eagle Ford play going on in Texas right now.

So no...we have not suddenly developed a new technology to produce more oil. What we have is an old technology being applied to long known oil reservoirs that are now viable thanks to the surge in oil price. In essence these "new plays" are a symptom PO and not a salvation. BTW: I completed my first Eagle Ford well about 25 years ago. Not much to brag about...the then current price of oil barely justified the effort.

"In essence these "new plays" are a symptom PO and not a salvation."

Well said, Rockman.

My odds of "Making a Difference" just doubled !

I just got a call from a VERY influential "lobbyist" who has already gotten access for my idea to one of the two or three most influential people in transportation.

Sit down next week. He thinks it will sell.

All pro bono publico - via my good friend Ed Tennyson :-)

Sorry, details some time in the future :-)

Best Hopes !!!


Go Alan!

Alan, best of hope to you.

We look forward to hearing all about it.

Awesome! Good luck!

If so, you'll be making a difference where the rubber meets the road. Go Alan!


"Where the steel rolls over the steel" ?

Thanks !


Oh, we can wax poetic...

"Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car.
Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score.
Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor.
And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel.
Mothers with their babes asleep,
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel"

Leanne, hope I'm okay quoting lyrics here... fair use and all...

As I'm sure you know, Alan, that would be Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans." Seemed appropriate!

You can quote lyrics as long as it's a brief excerpt, not the entire song.

Unless you're sure it's now in the public domain. Then you can quote the whole thing. But have a thought for bandwidth, and remember lyrics tend to be rather boring if people don't know the song.

*clap clap*

Now if your proposal allows for the taking of public monies for massive private gain - it'll get approved by the 'public leaders'.

"Don't tax you, don't tax me, let's tax that guy behind the tree"

Sen. Russell Long

The revenue source is "the guy behind the tree".

Ds and Rs can support my concept - although perhaps for different reasons.

More later - when I can post publicly.

Best Hopes !


PS: It is private money for massive private gain - and it should reduce the federal budget deficit.

Suerte, go for it:)



Can't wait for the details!

Congrats and best wishes meantime!



Best hopes indeed - good luck. It doesn't matter if it's the Rs or the Ds. or public or private money. Those are not real things anyway, there is only the wealth of nature and the labor of man, and what a society does with it. If we can build out rail it will be a huge advantage for those in the future.

Can we ask the Nobel guys to take back Barack's peace prize?

US President Barack Obama has said he is sending about 100 US soldiers to Uganda to help regional forces battle the notorious Lord's Resistance Army.


It would be ironic if a Nobel Peace Prize holder started WW3.

My belief is that Africa will be the battleground of WW3 as the superpower resource wars intensify. As there is no indigenous superpower in Africa it is viewed as up for grabs. China is already well established there peacefully so far, the US intention to militarise and unintentionally destabilise the area can only lead to conflict that pulls in China.

So what is it in Uganda that the US wants, resources, strategic military bases, launch platform into the Congo, make it safe for corporations, what?

I agree with that assessment, PO and Peak Commodities will first manifest itself as currency wars then trade wars then resource wars and finally real wars.

Africa is witnessing another scramble...it's begun already and my own country is partly involved in it

wi - your thoughts certainly have history supporting it. It also gives me the opportunity to once again toss out "MADOR"...Mutually Assured Distribution Of Resources. Just like the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) of the nuclear cold war. Just as then it would be mutually destructive for powerful nations to suffer severe damage themselves in any effort to "beat" their opponent. Africa has always seemed to be the most likely region for this to manifest itself first. International oils have been developing oil/NG resources there for decades with China trying to play catch up quickly the last 10 years.

So why Uganda now? I'll let everyone answer that themselves. But I'll offer another county's history as a comparison. Equatorial Guinea... neighbor to Nigeria on the west coast. Won independence from Spain in the 80's. Been controlled by 2 dictators since then with the lastest a well documented homicidal maniac. Thanks to offshore oil development EG is one of the richest countries on the planet on a per capita basis. But the vast majority live in severe poverty. But you won’t see any in-country reporting of these facts: a while back the current El Presidente amended the constitution to allow him to execute anyone he chooses without a trial. But that does make sense sine the president is in direction communication with God and since God doesn’t have a problem with it why should anyone else?

So why no US/EU/NATO/UN forces landing on the beaches and saving these folks? Easiest war we could ever fight: EG has no military to speak of. The police enforce their brutal control with the edge of machete. The citizens could be saved without a single shot being fired. The world would fully support such an effort. So why Uganda and not EG?

Virtually all of EG’s oil is split between the US and EU. I think it’s safe to assume no actions would be taken as long as this situation remains unchanged. But for how long? El Presidente (or if he’s replaced by an assassin’s bullet as he replaced his uncle, the first president) can change the rules anytime he wants. If China makes him an offer he can’t refuse he can simply hand over 100% of the oil production to them. At that point the US/EU might decide the folks in EG need saving. But EG is a small island nation and it would take only a few thousand Chinese boots on the ground and a few warships to thwart any such efforts. Whose navy will try to stop an oil tanker escorted by a Chinese warhip? There would certainly be a lot of political outrage but who will shoot the first Chinese trooper on the ground that has been invited in by the EG govt? Likewise if western govt’s get boots on the ground in Uganda and secures oil flow would China throw their troops up against them?

Thus the mutually assured distribution of oil. But distributed to whom? Obviously the countries with the boots on the ground. At first it might be the west vs. China. But as PO worsens the US might cut the EU out of the party. And why not…for fear of going toe to toe against the great armies of the EU? Send Preditor drones over Madrid?It will probably be more than a few years before that develops but the Uganda move seems to be an initial move in that direction IMHO.

I really don't understand how anybody can attribute the increase in the price of oil to speculation -- but I just don't understand crazy. From the Fed Bank in Dallas:

Did Speculation Drive Oil Prices? Market Fundamentals Suggest Otherwise

Activity in the futures market increased appreciably in the past decade, as did the number of noncommercial traders. This rise was coincident with the rise in oil prices, leading some to hypothesize that speculation—rather than market fundamentals—drove the price of oil.

The tripling of oil prices from early 2007 to mid-2008 is consistent with several market fundamentals, including increased demand from emerging markets, low elasticities of demand and reduced OPEC excess capacity. The behavior of inventories was also consistent with the reality of a tight market, not with a story of speculation-driven hoarding, whether we look at inventories above ground, below ground or floating at sea. Hence, evidence from the physical market for oil, similar to that from the futures market, is consistent with oil-market fundamentals leading to increasing oil prices before the global recession.

It could be as simple as changing fundamentals drew in more traders, much like a new sunken ship draws in more fish. If the market had been swamped with huge new supply driving down price, the opposite may have occurred with less traders.

Maybe the question should be; How fast do the number of traders change with changing opportunities in commodity markets?

WTF is a "funda-mental"?

I thought it was "headwinds" that change the course of our free-drifting ship of finance.

Head-winds: Definition: Gusts of hot air that swirl inside an empty mind

Secretary Clinton Remarks on Role of Thermodynamics in Foreign Policy

Around the world, [thermodynamics] are changing political realities ...

Dream on. The word is "economics".
Hillary has found a new religion.

Blog Reviews: Secretary Clinton Remarks on Role of [Thermodynamics] in Foreign Policy are:

1. Brilliant! --Leslie Gelb
2. Suspenseful! --Still-1-Hill
3. Unofficial Transcript --Yogi Bear Park News