Drumbeat: October 22, 2011

Half of North Sea oil remaining, says energy minister

About half of North Sea oil and gas reserves have yet to be extracted, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has claimed.

Mr Ewing said the amount left was beyond doubt, as he argued oil and gas would be a key element in the Scottish government's bid to "re-establish Scottish independence".

His remarks contrasted with a recent report by industry body Oil & Gas UK.

It suggested there could be as little as 14 billion barrels left.

This would mean Scotland has already exhausted almost three-quarters of its total reserves.

Population of world 'could grow to 15bn by 2100'

The United Nations will warn this week that the world's population could more than double to 15 billion by the end of this century, putting a catastrophic strain on the planet's resources unless urgent action is taken to curb growth rates, the Observer can reveal.

That figure is likely to shock many experts as it is far higher than many current estimates. A previous UN estimate had expected the world to have more than 10 billion people by 2100; currently, there are nearly 7 billion.

...Roger Martin, chairman of Population Matters, which campaigns on population control, said that the Earth was entering a dangerous new phase. "Our planet is approaching a perfect storm of population growth, climate change and peak oil," he said. "The planet is not actually sustaining 7 billion people."

Saudi Arabia Faces Succession Planning After Death of Crown Prince Sultan

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has died, setting in motion succession plans for the world’s largest oil exporter.

Prince Nayef, born in 1934, is the most likely candidate for the crown prince position. King Abdullah, who is 87, underwent surgery earlier this month to relieve back pain after traveling to the U.S. in November for three months of medical care.

Untested council key to orderly succession

The death of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Sultan puts the spotlight on an untested system of succession set up by King Abdullah in 2006 to ensure stability in the world's top oil exporter. With turmoil engulfing other Arab powers, Saudi Arabia's ageing leadership stands as a force of continuity at the head of a country that holds more than a fifth of the world's crude oil. "The stability of Saudi Arabia is more important than ever," said Turad Al-Amri, a political analyst in Saudi Arabia. "All the countries around it are crumbling. The balance of power is changing in the Middle East.

Iraq Oil Output Capacity Jumps To 2.950 Million B/D -Oil Minister

DEAD SEA, Jordan (Zawya Dow Jones)--Iraq's crude oil output capacity has jumped to a post-war record of 2.950 million barrels a day this month, the country's oil minister said Saturday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in the Dead Sea in Jordan, Abdul Kareem Luaiby said, however, exports remain at 2.2 million barrels a day because of ongoing limitations at the country's export facilities.

Radical Muslim sect in northeast Nigeria shoots, kills state-run TV cameraman

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Authorities in Nigeria say members of a radical Muslim sect in the northeast have shot dead a cameraman for the state-run television network after making a threat against journalists in the oil-rich country.

Diesel users facing fuel pinch

With harvest season for row crops right around the corner, farmers will be paying more for diesel fuel — where they can find it.

North Dakota, and most of the Upper Midwest for that matter, is in the midst of a diesel fuel shortage with no sign of relief, at least in the short term.

Mike Rud, executive director of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association, described the situation as “a huge shortage,” extending into Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.

“There’s just not enough product right now,” he said.

Sustainable energy not such a remote concept after all

We still have a long way to go in the ultimate quest for energy sustainability, but the prize may yet be within our reach.

Want to invest ethically? Look to your own backyard

Putting money into community projects could mean the local hydro-electric turbine or a stake in the village pub – and you could get a return on your cash too.

Who you gonna call? GrowthBusters!

The new documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth explores why our economy and footprint and population can't keep on expanding forever. It features green luminaries galore -- Jane Goodall, Paul Ehrlich, Lester Brown, Raj Patel, Bill McKibben, Hunter Lovins.

'Revenge of the Electric Car' goes corporate

Five years ago, the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car took the auto industry by storm. Now comes the sequel, Revenge of the Electric Car, and it is being embraced by the industry. The new film follows four companies' executives and their the development of their electric cars. They include General Motors' Bob Lutz and the Chevrolet Volt; Nissan's Carlos Ghosn and the electric Leaf; Tesla's Elon Musk and the creation of the electric roadster; and a startup firm headed by Greg Abbott in Culver City, Calif.

285 Indian girls shed 'unwanted' names

MUMBAI, India (AP) – More than 200 Indian girls whose names mean "unwanted" in Hindi chose new names Saturday for a fresh start in life.

A central Indian district held a renaming ceremony it hopes will give the girls new dignity and help fight widespread gender discrimination that gives India a skewed gender ratio, with far more boys than girls.

Expert Says Quakes in England May Be Tied to Gas Extraction

A British seismologist said Friday that two minor earthquakes in northwestern England “appeared to correlate closely” with the use of hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas from wells that has raised concerns about environmental and seismological risks in the United States.

The scientist, Brian Baptie, seismic project team leader with the British Geological Survey, said data from the two quakes near Blackpool — one of magnitude 2.3 on April 1, the other of magnitude 1.5 on May 27 — suggested the temblors arose from the same source. Cuadrilla Resources, a British energy company, was conducting hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations at a well nearby when the quakes occurred.

Saudi heir to throne dies in hospital

The heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz Al Saud, died abroad Saturday, the country's royal court said in a statement carried by state television. The death of the prince opens questions about the succession in the critical, oil-rich U.S. ally.

Oil Rises First Time in Three Days on European Deal Optimism

Crude oil rose for the first time in three days on hopes that European leaders will reach a deal to contain the region’s debt crisis.

Futures gained 1.6 percent as European finance ministers met in Brussels today to lay the groundwork for an Oct. 23 gathering of government leaders on a solution to the debt crisis. Oil also rose after McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) and Honeywell International Inc. (HON) reported profits that beat analyst estimates.

Gasoline Cargoes to U.S. Slide on High Prices at Pump, Weak Demand

Gasoline shipments from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean will decline during the next two weeks because of rising fuel prices and weaker demand in the U.S.

Twenty-seven tankers were booked or due to be chartered for loading in the two-week period, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of five shipbrokers, one owner and two traders yesterday. That’s a decline of 6.9 percent from last week.

Russia, Kazakhstan may cancel oil export duties within CIS free trade zone

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said Russia and Kazakhstan have agreed to cancel oil export duties for participants in a free trade zone being created within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Pricing transit gas via Ukraine at cost value 'unreasonable' - Gazprom

Russia's gas giant Gazprom believes it "unreasonable" to lower the cost of gas transiting Ukraine to its cost value, Gazprom's Vice-Deputy Valery Golubyev told journalists on Saturday.

Debunking 4 oil industry myths

Think high oil prices are good for global warming? Think we have reached peak oil, and Opec will have us over a barrel for ever? The U.K.-based Central For Global Energy Studies aims to dispel a few oil industry myths that many industry experts seem to take for granted:

The Great Green Energy Crack-Up

History — of the U.S., Europe, the U.K. and its former dominions — repeatedly shows that environmental protection is a luxury good. When per-capita income reaches some threshold, the citizenry tire of opaque air and sleazy waters, various agencies and permanent bureaucracies sprout, and, as long as times are good, regulation is good.

Puerto Rico’s Plan for Gas Pipeline Has Many Critics

“I like the peace and tranquillity after so much time spent working and sacrificing,” said Luis Rodriguez Cruz, 59, who bought his home, nestled in the center of the island, for $10,000 a few years ago, after a lifetime of factory work. “We came here for peace. Now we have to worry whether this thing will explode next to our house.”

With that, Mr. Rodriguez pointed to the red markings on a cement curb near his property, denoting the path of a proposed $450 million natural gas pipeline that will cross the mountains here. The pipeline, which has provoked demonstrations on the island and widespread opposition over environmental and safety concerns, would run 92 miles from Peñuelas in the south, across the mountains to the island’s northern coast, then east to San Juan.

Virginia: Nuclear Reactors Expected to Reopen Soon

The North Anna nuclear reactors in Mineral, the only ones shut down by the Aug. 23 earthquake on the East Coast, will probably be allowed to reopen within weeks, a senior official of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday. After a two-month, $21 million inspection, staff engineers told the commission at a two-hour briefing that the plant suffered only cosmetic damage.

After a Quake, 2 Yardsticks for Nuclear Inspectors

“The licensee has made a good case that the safe shutdown earthquake is not a good measure,’’ said George Apostolakis, one of the five commissioners. And the reports that the ground motion exceeded what the plant was designed to withstand “creates a problem with perceptions,’’ he said.

Commission staff members generally agreed, but some said they despaired of explaining the measure they would prefer, known as the “cumulative absolute velocity,” a single number that integrates both the force of the shaking and its duration.

Maryland Governor Wants Wind, Solar Power to Compete With Gas

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley asked utility regulators who are soliciting bids to build 1,500 megawatts of new power plants to evaluate renewable energy projects and not restrict the process to natural gas.

Solyndra Stiffed Lobbyist, Trying to Sway U.S.

Solyndra LLC, the solar-panel maker that collapsed after getting a U.S. loan guarantee, hired a Washington lobbying firm weeks before its bankruptcy in what may have been a last-ditch effort to sway U.S. lawmakers investigating the company.

The Glover Park Group LLC did $20,000 of work for Solyndra after registering as its lobbyist in July, according to documents filed yesterday. Solyndra never paid the firm, according to Joel Johnson, a Glover Park managing director.

Beacon’s Flywheel Power Storage System May Avoid Solyndra’s Fate

Beacon Power Corp. (BCON), a struggling energy storage company that’s received $43 million in backing from the U.S. program that supported the failed Solyndra LLC, may get a lifeline from a regulatory ruling.

Fisker, electric carmaker backed by $529 million U.S. loan, balks at Solyndra comparison

An electric car company backed by more than a half-billion dollars in Department of Energy loan guarantees has missed early manufacturing goals and has gradually pushed back plans for U.S. production and the creation of thousands of jobs.

Brazil’s Cheap Energy Stymies Cane Investments, Bradesco Says

Falling electricity prices in Brazil are hindering investments in new sugar-cane mills, an analyst at Banco Bradesco SA (BBDC4) said.

Ruling Backs Forest Service in Limiting Roads in the Wild

DENVER — More than a decade after the Clinton administration proposed cordoning off tens of millions of acres of public lands in the West from road development, setting off a ferocious debate about wilderness and human uses of the land, a federal appeals court in Denver upheld the government’s authority on Friday in a sweeping rejection of the opposition.

Are Dead Trees More Combustible Than Live Ones?

Mr. Jolly studied the Saddle Complex fire on the border of Montana and Idaho. In one day alone, the fire burned 17,000 acres. “For a year like this year, not in extreme drought, it’s really uncommon” for a fire to burn that much, he said. “It was equally as intense as a normal crown fire but happened under moderate conditions.”

“And crown fires happen faster than expected” in these largely dead forests, he added.

Bleak Prospects for Avoiding Dangerous Global Warming

The bad news just got worse: A new study finds that reining in greenhouse gas emissions in time to avert serious changes to Earth's climate will be at best extremely difficult. Current goals for reducing emissions fall far short of what would be needed to keep warming below dangerous levels, the study suggests. To succeed, we would most likely have to reverse the rise in emissions immediately and follow through with steep reductions through the century. Starting later would be far more expensive and require unproven technology.

Mexico posted their oil production numbers for September yesterday. Petroleum Statistics This data gives their "All Liquids" and "Crude Only" production. Their crude oil production was down 63 thousand barrels per day to 2,489,000 barrels per day, their lowest since their peak in 2004.

You will notice from the chart below that Mexico's production dropped pretty fast until mid 1009 and they have been on a relatively flat plateau since then. That was when Chicontepec came on line. The chart below is Crude + Condensate in thousands of barrels per day. Mexico produces an average of 40,000 barrels per day of condensate.

Mexico C C

Ron P.

I think that the plateu of mexican oil production is mostly due to the slowdown in the decline of the Cantarell oil field after 2009 and an increase in the Ku Malob Zaap which is the second largest oil field in Mexico. I don't have the production data for Chicontepec but even though it went on line in 2009 it is only producing 70 kbd.
Data from http://sie.energia.gob.mx

Looks like oil exports fell and hit a plateau at the same time that Mexican production stopped falling. I wonder how long this can hold out. I wonder what the production prospects for Ku-Maloob-Zap are; is that complex near peak?


Re: Bleak Prospects for Avoiding Dangerous Global Warming

In the article, Kerr further notes:

Strategies that are both plausible and likely to succeed call for emissions to peak this decade and start dropping right away. They should be well into decline by 2020 and far less than half of current emissions by 2050. Only three of the 193 scenarios examined would be very likely to keep the warming below the danger level, and all of those require heavy use of energy systems that actually remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. That would require, for example, both creating biofuels and storing the carbon dioxide from their combustion in the ground.

Kerr references a report in NATURE Climate Change, which is behind a pay wall. The report uses a 2 C increase in global temperature as their definition of a dangerous temperature increase. It would be interesting to know whether the emission scenarios studied included any of our favorite TOD Peak Oil projections...

E. Swanson

With the amount of difficulty solar and wind solutions are experiencing at the moment due to potential reduction in incentives, one can only project fossil fuel use to be replaced with burning of wood in many areas. Since deforestation is a major contributor to increased CO2 levels, I am not convinced that Peak Oil will help at all.

Add to that the push for "unconventional" fossil fuels such as tar sands and shales.

Possibly one area where Peak Oil will help is in the reduction of fossil fuel use in industrial agriculture, itself a large source of emissions.

The link below shows a pie chart with sources of emissions :-


56.6% from fossil fuel use, 17.3% from deforestation. (2004 IPCC report). Fossil fuel use may decline, but deforestation is likely to increase.

There used to be a great pie chart showing emissions from all sources - can't find it any more. I did run across this report, though :-


The "Fast Facts" card is interesting if you like tabular data :- (PDF Warning ! )


" ...deforestation is likely to increase. "

...but it doesn't have to be that way, at least not everywhere. We have several acres of hillside, formerly cow pasture, that I have let return to the trees. Until about 6 years ago this section was grazed/mowed but now is a fine stand of young poplars, some already 5-6 meters tall, and the deer love this section now. I will begin a bit of selective thinning this winter, using the nice, straight sapplings to roof a small pole barn for goats. The replanting occured naturally, requiring no inputs, unlike the former pasture.

Best hopes for allowing Nature to do her thing.

"it doesn't have to be that way"...

If people in general were willing to take the long view, I would agree with you. However, it can be observed that people en masse, apparently, can only take the immediate view.

We didn't have to be hanging by our fingernails off the edge of a climate precipice, but the short-term view would rather please shareholders by supporting their stock portfolios, instead of coming up with a workable environmental plan for the long term.

"Environmentalist" has become a pejorative term.

As of 1996, at least, a good majority (73%) of Americans considered themselves environmentalists, and a larger majority agreed with most positions held by most major environmental organizations.


I didn't find any current data on this in my very quick search. I wonder if rightwing smear and fear attacks have had the affect you imply.

I think it has been a recent development. I'd say probably the last 3-5 years.

"In 2008, a year after former US vice president Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace Prize, two-thirds of Americans were concerned about climate change.

The rate of concern among Americans has fallen steadily since then to 60 percent in 2009 and 52 percent last year." Article from March, 2011.


I think this is the case. I'm not sure what people think of Gallup here, but this release:


Indicates that Americans have become less worried about a variety of environmental issues. Part of the reason is that environmental conditions in the U.S. probably have gotten better over time (pollution of domestic surface water), but this itself is likely a product of both moving industrial production to other countries and relatively stable economic climate up until the late 2000's. Basically what I read out of this is that Americans ignore environmental problems outside their borders. Not a good sign going forward.

Two other factors--

>A very active and well funded gw disinformation campaign

>Large levels of unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure and other forms of economic misery

When you don't know if you will have a roof over your head or a meal to eat, larger, less absolutely immediately life threatening issues necessarily fade by comparison.

Americans, by and large, ignore everything outside their borders. Many don't even know where those borders are (think Canada is a state...). Nothing that I see in the US is a good sign going forward. Sorry, feeling cynical today...

Not all Americans. And I don't think Americans think that Canada is a state.

That said, I don't see a lot of good signs, either. OWS is one glimmer... just a glimmer...

No, not all Americans. But far too many. And according to this survey only 30% think Canada is a state. What Americans know of reality - be it the geology of peak oil, the geography of anywhere (or nowhere, per JHK), or just about anything beyond the latest pop star's shenanigans - is tragically little. More believe in creation than in evolution, for chrissakes... er, for crying out loud. We are a culture of magical, mythical thinking, or of Make Believe, as Derrick Jensen would put it.

We are not going to reason our way out of the multiple predicaments of peak oil, climate change, and overshoot in general.

Yes, just a glimmer...

It never occurred to me we need to teach who our neighbors are.

Today, at our Occupy Jax assembly, we started teach-ins. Two Phd's from local university explained how to successfully organize for change. One of the Phd's was from Yugoslavia and told some interesting stories about life in Belgrade.

We had the most incredible speaker today. An older silver-haired woman wrote a lengthy poem, called Let's Go To Mardi Gras, that took 10 minutes for her to recite. When talking about banksters she said,

They say they know of wizards.
To ensure parades abound.
Oh, they'll devise, derive and advertise.
Their business sense they will revise.
Voodoo magic.
Mumbo, jumbo, pork pie and gumbo.

Brit video: Occupy Jax Let's Go To Mardi Gras

We vacationed a few times in St Petersburg, Fa and when asked I said we are from Canada. Blank stare! So I said "Maple Leafs" Ah, yes, Toronto was the response.

(think Canada is a state...)

They are just trying to get the count back up to fifty, after losing one "so many think New Mexico is a foreign country. [Yes, I had people in other states reject my check, because they don't allow foreign IDs].

eh, we all know Canada is a province of the US

Yeah, and many Americans don't know that Mexico is part of North America.


Yes, my wife's one sister replied when we said we were moving to New Mexico "Do you need passports?"

She also said when we first moved to ND: "The state with the heads?"

Here and her hubby and children are classic Fox Noise low-information folks.

Errr... the state with the heads, Mt. Rushmore, is South Dakota, not North Dakota. Are you, or your wife, a member of the Tea Party? If so then you are excused for not knowing anything about geography. ;-)

Sir, you need to read a little slower. ; )

You are correct. Sorry about that. :-(

No worries!

My wife and children and I are pretty well versed in World geography...and...my wife's one sister and her hubby give me gas...


This european are familiar with all the names of US states, and could probably nail half of themon a blind map from a list. And I think I could set most of the names of American nations even without a list of the names present. This makes fun reading.

Hungry is a country?


Disrupted Nature is, of course, also doing her thing:

>Beetles and other diseases and disease vectors a spreading north, wiping out vast tracts of woodland

>Drought, heat and high winds are becoming more common in many places, increasing the chances and occurrence of mega-forest-fires.

>Oceans that once absorbed about half of the CO2 we put into the atmosphere are now becoming too warm themselves to absorb much more, so rather than only about half the 30+ billion tons of CO2 we spew into the air every year staying there, it will start approaching the full amount (not to mention that we also keep increasing the amount of CO2 spew).

>Soils of many types, but particularly tundra, are exuding their own CO2 and methane as they warm and dry out.

>Sea floor, particularly in the Arctic may be in the process of destabilizing and releasing vast quantities of methane into the system.


Also, iirc, woodlands in mid latitudes may not reduce GW as much as one would think, since the darker surface of tree bark decreases reflectivity in winter.

Our food supply chain has so many vulnerabilities it's hard to know which of them is likely to bite first.
But I fail to see how PO can "help" in this regard.

I am no fan of "industrial agriculture," which I would define as involving agri-chemicals, large mono-crop fields, limited crop varieties (increasingly genetically modified), with large volumes being exported & imported, etc. I certainly support the visionary efforts of people like Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Tim Lang, Raj Patel, Lester Brown, etc who argue for a more diverse, more broadly-based, more sustainable food system.

That said, farmers are especially well-positioned to appreciate the incredible energy-density of petroleum. When we look behind our tractors, the transformation of a few gallons of diesel into a field full of 5' round bales is visible and tangible (and done within hours by a single operator). This is work which 1,000 humans could not achieve in a week: collectively they could never compress the bales to that degree. I am so, so thankful for that fuel and for our tractor & machinery. Should anything interfere with this arrangement, I really would not know where to start.

A recent War College thesis provides an excellent analogy to describe the energy density (& real value) of oil:
“There are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil which contains about 1667 kilowatt-hours of energy. A gallon of gasoline energy content is about 33 kilowatt-hours. In perspective, 33 kilowatt-hours is the equivalent of a healthy male pedaling a stationary bike for 330 hours – if he can maintain 100 watts per hour.
If he pedals 40 hours per week, he will generate the same amount of energy as in one gallon of gasoline in about eight weeks. Pedaling 40 hours per week for just over eight years equates to 1667 kilowatt-hours of energy in a barrel of oil.
Now, if we attach a financial cost per hour to the pedaling, we begin to understand what is meant by “cheap” abundant fossil fuels. At the current $7.25 per hour minimum wage, the coast of pedaling 330 hours (energy in one gallon of gasoline) is $2,392.50; and pedaling 16,667 hours (energy in one barrel of oil) cost $120,835…. We have exploited this cheap abundant source of energy for over 150 years” (p. 3).

My point is that while we waste a great deal of fossil fuel in frivolous & unnecessary activities, farm machinery is surely one of the great applications of petroleum. I have no idea how we could possibly feed 7 billion people without affordable diesel (to say nothing of other pressing issues like water/glaciers/aquifers, phosphorus, loss of prime food-land, etc).

It is unconscionable (even bizarre) that neither USDA nor Agriculture Canada has undertaken research re. PO or even the more general issue of "the end of cheap fossil fuels." The threat to the future affordability of farm diesel and to our long-distance food supply chain is obvious, yet it continues to be ignored.

hmm trying to understand here, would you be pushing for banning the use of fossil fuels for non agriculture transport then?

No, I don't pretend to have solutions to this impending dilemma, nor am I recommending the banning of anything.
I was simply responding to the suggestion that PO would help us shift away from industrial ag and I wanted to make the point that the on-farm use of diesel fuel is exceptionally useful and should be a priority.
I also think that USDA and AgCanada need to get their best minds to address the implications of "the end of cheap of fossil fuels" to our food supply chain (both globally and domestically).

ah thanks for clearing that up. on a side note aren't the farmers pretty high up the food chain for fuel distribution in a 'emergency' anyway? bellow the military but above aviation and general use?

True, the agri-food sector is one of 10 or 12 "Essential Users" sectors on every plan for liquid fuel emergencies (LFE) that I've examined.
That said, almost all of these LFE/oil supply emergency plans and the relevant pieces of legislation are decades old (usually late 1970s or early 1980s). Most involve some sort of protocol for rationing (and other forms of government intervention) which have elements which would be very unworkable (usually for practical as well as legal reasons).

In almost all jurisdictions these older plans have been set aside and the primary (and perhaps only) government response measure which is now recommended is "full price pass-through." In other words, the plan now is for minimal government intervention, with no attempt to regulate prices or to ration. The private sector will provide the supply and the marketplace will do the rationing and keep consumption in line with the reduced supply.

However, when we examine the list of Essential Users, most of them are government agencies (military, first responders, etc) and large private sector enterprises (utilities, financial institutions, telecommunications, etc). These entities have some ability to up-front capital and ensure that their increased costs are recouped. Family farmers are different on both counts (at least here in Canada): many would struggle to up-front the cash to fill their diesel tank, and they may have little leverage to ensure that their increased costs will be recouped.

So yes, farmers are near the top of the priority list, but it is unclear whether or how that list might be implemented. An allocation of fuel won't do a farmer much good if he can't afford to pay for it.
This could be a very serious issue if bureaucratic confusion delays things at planting time or harvest time (though the latter should be less likely).... in Canada an entire growing season could be affected by a few weeks of dithering.

I don't get it. If farmers wouldn't get diesel, food would become scarce and then food prices would sky-rocket and then, I guess, farmers would get more money and easily be able to buy diesel. Is your argument that the farmers will suffer from a diesel price shock and go out of business or otherwise won't be able to recover before food prices rise?

Hi, Jeppen

I'm not sure I get it, either: there are many complexities, all of which points to the need for some work on our LFE plans. Other than Australia and UK, there has been no work that I'm aware of during the past decade (other than the recent shift away from those old plans to the current 'hands off'' approach). There has been no re-examination of our LFE plans or the relevant legislation in Canada, and in the USA there is only the vaguely guidelines of ESF-12 which hardly constitutes a plan IMHO.

One problem with planning for LFEs is that we have no recent experience to draw from (esp. re agri-food) other than the UK-2000 experience where a fuel supply problem quickly became a food supply problem as well.
Net farm income in Canada is at Depression-level for many sectors, esp. beef & hogs. Most family farms require someone working off-farm to keep it going, and the majority of family income is earned off-farm in many farm families. Furthermore, high fuel prices have a greater impact on rural residents (oil heating, longer distances to employment & supplies, lack of alternative transport options, etc).

The last time we filled our diesel tank it was over $1,000. But what if it went to $2,000? Farmers might not have that cash available, esp. at planting time. Plus they would not want to fill the tank at such a high price unless they feared that the price might increase further. On the other hand, fuel delivery guys won't want to waste fuel doing top-ups, etc, plus there would be the ongoing fear that there could be physical shortages.

Extremely high fuel prices and/or physical shortages would affect the local availability of food long before the impact of on-farm fuel shortages in most sectors (grain, livestock, dairying). The supply chain for vegetables would probably the first to be affected by on-farm fuel issues, whereas there would be a delayed effect for grain, though the impact could be far more serious if planting were curtailed or harvesting interfered with.

One thing that would be fairly certain is that there would be all sorts of stressors at work which could create all sorts of uncertainties. Such scenarios have been explored in a very sensible manner by David Korowicz at Feasta and then by the German military:

They point to the importance of financial markets but also note the hyper-responsiveness of markets to uncertainty, and the degree to which volatility and over-corrections could exacerbate (rather than ameliorate) a very difficult situation, leading to tipping points which could run away on us.
With 100% of us depending on the 2% who farm (plus imported food), there is little room for error. We also know that during times of uncertain supply or affordability, people tend to hoard (if they can up-front the cash), which further depletes supplies and escalates prices.
So I believe that the current 'hands-off government approach is a lazy one and is dangerous as well.

Ensuring the nation's food supply cannot be left entirely to market forces. Farmers are generally price-takers, and the food corporations invariably seem to do very well even as farmers endure very low net farm income (at least in several important sectors). If farmers could actually recoup their costs and a fair return on their labour & investment, then I think we'd see less need for off-farm employment and many more young people wanting to farm.

If family farmers have a very low net income, then I guess they can't compete very well. Either they are outcompeted by larger, more rationally run domestic farms, or by imports. This is not a problem for overall food supply, only for certain farmers that cling to old ways. Larger farms should easily be able to secure capital to pay higher diesel costs, since they'll be able to pass it on eventually.

I would say that the low number of farmers make stuff more robust, not less. If an industry employs few, it is easy to ramp with twice the workforce if necessary.

I find your judgment rather harsh.
Our 110 acre farm was one of Canada's "Century Farms" during our Centennial year (1967): in other words, it had been in the same family for 100 years. That family did OK.
We bought this farm in 1982 and had a commercial flock of sheep for almost 25 years. We were at 'more than maximum' insofar as we bought all of our grain and about 100 round bales (on top of our own 200 bales). We had 110 ewes giving us over 200 lambs, but the profit per lamb was about $50- $70. So despite our many hours of slogging in the mud & snow, warding off coyotes, etc, the most we could make would be about $15,000, clearly nowhere close to a viable family income.
In other words, a farm that served a family well for over a century (1840-1970) was not viable in the 80s & 90s, even when its operation was at more than max (importing feed, using adjacent farms, etc).

And you say that we couldn't compete very well?
We got the same as the other local sheep producers, no more and no less (on average). A fleece was worth about 80 cents but shearers charged $4 to take it off. When lambs went to the sales barn, what we received was entirely dependent on which buyers showed up and what they felt like paying that day.

The only sectors which provide a stable, living income our our supply managed sectors: dairy, chicken, turkey & eggs, where what the farmer receives is adjusted due to input costs. But supply management is continually under threat of being dismantled.

As for your final statement, farming is not an enterprise where we can easily double the workforce and solve the problem. The problem on many farms is not a lack of manpower (though there is the serious problem of the next generation not wanting to farm): most farms are highly mechanized, with diesel fuel providing the bulk of the energy.
Farmers are people who make productive use of farmland, and that requires some expertise in crop science, operating machinery, veterinary medicine, welding, etc. It is hard, dirty, smelly, often dangerous work which many people find unattractive, especially when the financial return is so low and the entry costs (land, buildings, equipment, livestock, fencing) are so high.
Some farmers encourage their kids to do anything BUT farm. I would argue that this IS a problem for overall food supply. We will need more farmers, not fewer, and a very different model for food production & distribution in the decades ahead.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to be harsh. I don't know that much about farming, really, but I do know something about economics. For instance, industries of different kinds tend not to differ that much in average profit levels. I gather that if farming is unattractive due to little profit and hard work, then the least profitable farmers should exit the sector and then supply would diminish and prices would rise, leaving more profit for those who stay.

In other words, a farm that served a family well for over a century (1840-1970) was not viable in the 80s & 90s, even when its operation was at more than max (importing feed, using adjacent farms, etc).

And you say that we couldn't compete very well?

So how do you explain that you weren't viable later, if not by increased competition?

For whatever reason, and although farm prices do go up and down, farmers tend to be price takers, not price makers. It's the middlemen... the ADM's and such that make prices.

There is no free market. The world does not operate on simple supply and demand. There are subsidies and buying powers and on and on.

I'm sure you've heard the one about the farmer who won the big lottery. He was asked what he would do with all that money.

He thought for a few seconds and said, "well, I guess I'll just keep farming until it runs out".


Then simplify and make it freer. Improve competition, remove subsidies.

That would be a great idea if we had a free market, a government that wasn't owned by big agribiz middlemen, and an even playing field.

You don't seem to have any idea as to how the real world works. It's all "free" and "competition". Remove subsidies? How would you do that? The politicians that implement the subsidies did it because they're on the friggin' payroll. Can you really be that naive?

Captive Cattle

One of clearest examples of corporate control over farm income is the use of 'captive cattle' by the large meat packers. By maintaining their own large herds of feedlot cattle, they can inject extra cattle into the market whenever the price rises, thus keeping prices low.
Of course, we'd never know that in the supermarkets, where beef prices are consistently high.

This paper (12 pgs) gives a concise explanation and a history of how long such things have been going on.
No wonder farmers never win....

I just pointed out the best way forward. How each country is going to do it is up to their respective citizens.

But I do think many too easily dismiss this path on the grounds that the economy isn't free and can't be made free.

I don't think that's possible with farming. Farming subsidies are certainly screwed up, and could be improved, but I can't see them being eliminated.

Most countries can't afford to let the free market rule when it comes to agriculture. It's not like making, say, toys. It takes too long for farmers to respond to supply and demand signals, and if there's not enough supply, your customers don't face disappointed children on Christmas morning; they starve to death. By the time you get next year's new crops in, your customers may be dead.

Excellent points, Leanan

The National Farmers Union in Canada was against Free Trade in general, but most specially in the agri-food sector. The NFU argued that free trade might be OK for toys, but we should be encouraging all nations (or at least all regions) to be reasonably self-sufficient in staple foods. It argued that open borders would subvert local food systems, which it did.

Your point about timing brings us back to the fuel supply issue. A major oil shock (for whatever reason) could quickly unsettle the North American population. Not only would tempers fray at the pumps, they would fray even more in the supermarkets, where the fuel price spike would cause a spike in food prices (as in 2008). The same policy of "full price pass-through" will certainly prevail, so low-income citizens will be deprived on several vital fronts.
If an oil shock were to disrupt manufacturing & commercial operations (as would be likely) and thus create further unemployment, then we could face unprecedented tensions, especially in our cities.

I cannot understand why DHS and Public Safety Canada are so inactive on this issue (of planning for oil shocks). There are some good ideas out there, but they are of little value if we don't examine them and adopt them.

I agree with you. Food is a very important thing and it isn't a good area to mess around with. I think that a lot of the problem is that people talk about market forces fixing problems without thinking about exactly how those market forces fix problems. If market forces price someone out of the iPhone market then they live without an iPhone, but if market forces price someone out of the food market they don't live at all. Some might think that this won't happen because needs will override other uses of resources, but I don't see any reason to believe that because society doesn't really need all of us. A lot of the things done in the world today are of questionable value, and if things become bad people can do without those things and maybe the people doing them as well. This seems to be the flip side to the benefits of automation.

I've always liked the phrase money is power because it seems true. Money is the power to control resources, and the people who have it will decide how resources are used during an emergency. I wonder if they will choose to use less, or if they will price the people on the bottom of society out of existence or at least into extreme poverty. Another interesting question is will people allow themselves to be priced out of existence or into extreme poverty, and if not what will they do to try and prevent it. As interesting as these questions are I would like to avoid finding out the answers to them. That is why I would like it if there was some kind of plan for dealing with what is coming.

Most countries can't afford to let the free market rule when it comes to agriculture. It's not like making, say, toys. It takes too long for farmers to respond to supply and demand signals, and if there's not enough supply, your customers don't face disappointed children on Christmas morning; they starve to death.

I disagree. Quite a high percentage of food goes to waste and this need not be. Also, quite a high percentage is overconsumed - America can probably cut calories by 20% and be healthier. And I believe farmers respond to supply and demand signals fast enough. Also, there is biofuels that could be cut and a global market that can make the average more stable.

Also, quite a high percentage is overconsumed - America can probably cut calories by 20% and be healthier.

But you know that's not how things work. If there's a shortage, we won't all cut back by 20%. Those can afford it will continue to consume all they want, while those who can't will suffer.

And I believe farmers respond to supply and demand signals fast enough.

The farmers might, but nature does not. Plants only grow so fast.

Biofuels are a relatively new kink. Farm subsidies go back much further than that, as do the problems that prompted them.

If there's a shortage, we won't all cut back by 20%.

Some people carry half a year's worth of energy in internal deposits as well. Often the poor, actually. All need not cut down 20%. Some can do more, some less. I've a hard time seeing food production will swing that much if you cut down on subsidies.

Those can afford it will continue to consume all they want, while those who can't will suffer.

Then likely no American will suffer.

The farmers might, but nature does not. Plants only grow so fast.

What if, in the event of food scarcity, some crops are diverted from animal feed to human feed? What if less food is thrown away?

Farm subsidies go back much further than that, as do the problems that prompted them.

Today, when food expenditures is such a very small part of household budgets, there is no need to subsidise, if there ever was. There will always be overproduction.

Most countries can't afford to let the free market rule when it comes to agriculture.

I am willing to risk it. In the current system,farmers get payed below 100% of actuall production costs. (Slightly above production costs, but not enough margin to feed their families). Farms shutdown every day because it is impossible to make a profit. What do we do when the last exporting country shut down the last exess capacity and we all "import". Sweden has already entered a permanent state of milk shortage (and we drink a lot, laktose intoleranse that is a normal state in most of the world is treated as a disesae here) and it keeps going.

This system does not work. I want another one.

What do we do when the last exporting country shut down the last exess capacity and we all "import".

My guess is "starve." Which is why it will never happen.

Farming is so vital, and so subject to natural disasters that are completely outside the farmers' control, that it can't be treated the same way we treat other industries. This problem goes back as far as agriculture. Remember the seven fat cows and seven thin cows. These days, we don't store years worth of grain (except maybe China). Instead, we have farm subsidies.

Farmer competition

I think that farmers compete just fine with other farmers. We are all aware of first-rate farmers who do everything right, are ahead of the curve, and produce top-quality results.
It's a bit ironic that (given that your local producers are also your local competitors at market times) there is such wonderful cooperation among many farmers.

Where farmers can't compete very effectively is with corporate agribusiness, hence the long tradition of farmer co-ops to obtain a bit of purchasing leverage on inputs and a bit of a say in the price that farmers receive for grain and other produce.
We expect BP to compete with Exxon, and Ford to compete with GM.
It is unreasonable to expect a farmer to compete effectively with Cargill or XL. There's a big difference between a near-monopoly and fair competition.

We have the same problem in Europe, and here in Sweden it is realy bad. When I was buying butter the other week there was non, and I was told by the guy in the store they bought every bit they got,but there is a milk shortage. The problemis that the buyers of agri products refuse to pay. For example it costs 1200 Swedish Kronor to raise a pig. The butcherys pay 1270. That is a little more than 5% profit. It is like that over the entire line. No free market economy. Farmers are depending entierly on subsedies or they would break. Buyers refuse to pay more than production costs. And every day at least one farmer somewhere in the country close the barn doors for good. Sweden is already a net importer of milk, and that is the agriproduct we are most suted to produce. And with a pop denisity of 20/KM2 (second lowest in the EU) we should be agri exporters.

When (not if) world food production start going down, we will not be able to feed ourself. And we are the one who have the natural resources to do that, it is entirely policical/structural.

That is a little more than 5% profit. It is like that over the entire line. No free market economy. Farmers are depending entierly on subsedies or they would break. Buyers refuse to pay more than production costs.

Buyers don't care about production costs. They care about not paying more than market prices. So there is a market economy, and Swedish agri business have a hard time competing. But of course this is all distorted by subsidies and we have a big problem in that country A feels the need to match country B's subsidies so that A's farms won't be outcompeted. That's what we should use WTO for.

It's OK, Jeppen,
I'm not taking your observations personally, and when I said "we couldn't compete" I don't mean just our family, I mean similar farm families across North America.
I don't have the exact stats handy, but I would guess that one-third of the population was engaged in farming in most countries until the early 20th century. In North America we are down to 2% and falling.

Under current circumstances, we have had to accept that our farm is no longer viable on a commercial basis, though it could certainly be a fairly self-sufficient operation (as it was under the previous family: they milked a few cows, sold a few others, kept a few pigs, etc).
Our island used to have over 100 farming families in the late 1800s. My wife's brother runs the last dairy operation on this island, where the milk truck used to pick up from 20 farms just a few decades ago.
Wolfe Island, which is much bigger, used to have enough dairy farms to supply a Kraft cheese factory until 30 years ago. The factory is gone and Wolfe Island is down to five dairymen (perhaps less... that was a few years ago).

If you were to drive through here (and upstate New York seems to be in the same boat) you would see idle, weed-infested farmland, empty & neglected barns, and worn-out farm machinery. For the few remaining farmers, almost every one of us works off-farm or our spouse does. That income is occasionally supplemented by selling lots for development (the waterfront lots were sold off decades ago in most cases).

Everyone rightfully decries the paving over of prime foodland, which we all know is nuts. But the only effective means to preserve the land is to enable farmers (and future generations) to make a decent living from it. Until that happens, there will be no stopping the sprawl.
These issues go far beyond our farm, this island or this province. Like oil depletion, they have a complex momentum of their own, headed in the wrong direction....


Whenever the topic of allocating fossil fuel resources based on need comes up, I always ask the question "Who is the Decider going to be?" In other words, who will figure out who gets how much of the allocation, and be prepared to enforce that decision, if necessary ?

To decide for an entire country implies government with the ability to make and enforce laws to do the allocating. With the current corporate control of politicians, who's to say corporations won't put their own needs above those of farmers and any other needs ?

It might turn out to be a contest between corporations - similar to the one we just experienced between large banks and large retailers over debit card fees, where the retailers won. But the banks aren't going to lose out because they make up the difference by charging their customers debit-card fees.

So, in the scramble for fossil fuel resources, maybe you'd see a battle amongst agribusiness, large manufacturing, shipping, mining, military contractors, for the largest allocation. At the expense of us poor grovelers on the street.

I don't see that ending well.

No quarrel on your first point.
The GAO did extensive work on the USA's Standby Gasoline Rationing Plan for two decades (1974-1994), which makes for some very interesting reading. The task of deciding who should get what, and then attempting to enforce same, is so monumental that the GAO at one point wondered whether such an undertaking is within the capability of any agency, which is entirely true.

However, the other option, for government to stand aside and allow the marketplace to allocate, raises other problems.
Again, I do not pretend to have solutions, although I do feel that I have a reasonably good awareness of the progressive work which has been done in Australia and in the UK during the past decade, and which at least points in a sensible direction.

Hello Rick,

Thanks for your posts; it's nice to have the first-hand examples.

I'm wondering if it's possible you might right an article for TOD on this topic? Outline what you have said in this discussion, w. refs. and what you see the major questions as being and what steps you suggest for CA and USA.

I'd like to see this, anyway.

Hi, Aniya
Thanks you for your interest and for your encouragement.

I can't see getting time to write an article in the near future, and I'm not sure what aspect you were thinking of.
This discussion began with a discussion about oil shocks, the vulnerability of farmers (and the larger food supply chain)and the need to consider this when planning for oil shocks (which isn't happening anyway).

Then we sort of moved into a more general discussion of farm economics/survival, subsidies vs free market, seasonal realities, etc.

I certainly could not cover it all.

As for emergency planning issues, there is some stuff already at Energy Bulletin under Authors (Rick Munroe) if that is of interest.

Hi Rick

Thanks for your reply.

1) I guess I was thinking first - specifically of this part, when you say:

"So yes, farmers are near the top of the priority list, but it is unclear whether or how that list might be implemented. An allocation of fuel won't do a farmer much good if he can't afford to pay for it."

What might be your idea for a better and/or more workable plan (of course, I'd like to see the US included) - or, your ideal plan?

I'll have to take a look at EB.

2) "...the need to consider this when planning for oil shocks (which isn't happening anyway)."

Do you mean the planning is not happening? Or, that we don't see the oil shocks happening? Do you think they will? That kind of leads back to the "allocation but can't pay" issue you bring up.

3) Do you think there's any way that the interested and affected parties - i.e., farmers themselves, or, farmers of a certain size outfit - might propose a plan?

My query might be a little vague. (Just that I do so enjoy eating. :)
And want everyone else to be able to, as well.)

So for the most part, the Iraq war is over with. All troops will be home by Christmas.

CBO says every person in this country owes $6,300 for this mess, yet oil companies are making huge amounts of money extracting oil from Iraq. So the US taxpayer just subsidized access to that oil for corporations? We aren't even getting a free full tank of gas out of the deal? The losers of course, are the Iraqi people. They have been used and abused, bombed and maimed and now are being robbed.

In the Middle East, Schlumberger said it recorded profits in Iraq despite political upheaval in the country. The company also said it will resume drilling activity in Libya in the fourth quarter, now that a civil war that broke out there earlier this year succeeded in toppling leader Moammar Gadhafi. The interruption in Libya cost Schlumberger one cent a share in third quarter earnings, Mr. Kibsgaard said.


Don't be too quick to assume the oil companies are going to make a mint in Iraq Daddylonglegs, the contractors haven't made a dime yet. And they are scheduled to get only a couple of dollars a barrel later. It will take them years just to break even... if they ever do. Also unless the peace is maintained they will all be out soon. I consider that an even bet at best.

And they are not being robbed. As I said the winning bidders only get a few bucks a barrel and then only if they produce oil. Iraq simply could not do this with their infrastructure because they simply do not have any. They simply could not do this without the contractors. All the OPEC nations use contractors so this is nothing new.

You are way out of line saying they are being robbed.

Ron P.

Ask the people of Iraq if they want foreign contractors taking out their oil, economics is secondary, this is prima facie the definition of robbery. Same with OPEC, let's dismiss the puppet dictators and see how many contractors still remain on the ground.

The people of Iraq made this deal. You seem to know absolutely nothing these contracts. First of all, every OPEC nation uses contractors. And if all puppet dictators were removed all OPEC nations would still use contractors! Hell, even Exxon, Shell, and all the the drillers use contractors such as Schlumberger. Iraq has always used contractors. If Iraq did not use contractors their production would simply decline down to nothing.

Here are the contractors. For all but the tiniest two fields the fee they will get is $2 or less per barrel. And only one US company has any piece of the action and on that contract they, Exxon, share half the expenses, and any profits if there ever are any, with Shell. Also notice that CNPC, (China), has a bigger piece than anyone else.

Edit: Sorry for the error but Occidental, of California, has one third on one small contract.

Field(s)	Plateau (mbd)	Co.	     Resv (gb)	Depletion Fee ($/b)	
Rumaila	         2.85	BP, CNPC	        17	6.1%	   $2.00
West Qurna Ph I	 2.33	Exxon, Shell	         8.7	9.8%	   $1.90
West Qurna Ph II 1.8	Lukoil, Statoil	        13	5.1%	   $1.15
Majnoon	         1.8	Shell, Petronas	        12.6	5.2%	   $1.39
Halfaya	         0.535	CNPC, Total, Petronas	4.1	4.8%	   $1.40
Zubair	         1.125	ENI, Kogas, Occidental	6.6	6.2%	   $2.00
Gharaf	         0.23	Petronas, Japex	        0.86	9.8%	   $1.49
Badra	         0.17	Gazprom, Petronas, 	0.8	7.8%	   $5.50
Al-Ahdab	 0.115	CNPC	                N/A	N/A	   $3
Qaiyarah	 0.12	Sonangol	        0.8	5.5%	   $5.00
Najmah	         0.11	Sonangol	        0.9	4.5%	   $6.00
Total	        11.185		               65.36		

The above chart is from Stuart Staniford's guest post on TOD, Iraq Could Delay Peak Oil a Decade

Ron P.

only one US company has any piece of the action

That would matter if it was 19th century, in today's age when have national boundaries ever hindered MNC's esp the Big Oil.

So all that 7 years of war was for nothing ? Governments are stupid but not that stupid. And now it's Libya, the trend is too obvious, I'd be happy if NATO had spent billions on 'spreading democracy' in resource poor countries but they don't do that.

Isn't the reduction of internal oil consumption one of the main goals?

As I understand the ELM, those countries which export oil will reach the point of zero exports sooner than the decline of the oil fields alone would suggest.

By destroying the economy and infrastructure of an oil exporting country, internal consumption is pushed down, allowing for 5, 10 or even 15 years of continued exports.


And consider these candidates for precedent:
Vietnam - same perps & m.o.
Nigeria - supposedly inter-ethno-religious conflict has hobbled development of large nation, just don't mention the succession of murderous Western-backed junta's that kept the oil flowing despite .?. or because of/thanks to the less privelidged lives of populace.
Indonesia - ditto.
Columbia - bit of both.

This casts a different light on the resource curse 'mystery'.

That leads to the question of how much time Iran still has left.

According to ELM projections of Iran I've seen on TOD, it has about 3 -4 years left before it becomes a net importer.
I'd say that any military action will happen before that happens.

According to ELM projections of Iran I've seen on TOD, it has about 3 -4 years left before it becomes a net importer.

In 3 to 4 years? I haven't seen that projection. It does the Export Land Model no justice when we say it predicts the end of exports for any nation way before any such thing is actually predicted. If we expect to keep our credibility we should not exaggerate what the ELM actually predicts.

Ron P.

How do you know? Your telling me that there aren't backdoor deals for dividing up $10 trillion worth of Iraqi oil? You really think that money will make it to the average Iraqi? Good luck on that thinking. Neither one of us can prove it, we'll have to come back to the issue in 20 years and see how everything worked out. I'll stick by my thinking, knowing how corporations work.

The military, the Iraqis and the US taxpayer were used and abused to secure profit for oil companies.

Maybe the oil should have been nationalized, like Saudi Arabia, Norway, Mexico, Venezuela?

"You really think that money will make it to the average Iraqi?"

Depending on how things work out, it's quite likely. Not a great example, but cashiers at Taco Joes (or where-ever) in North Dakota are making ~$15/hr, almost double that of other areas, one example of "a rising tide lifts all boats", though this isn't always the case.

Room for both points-of-view here.

Not a great example, but cashiers at Taco Joes (or where-ever) in North Dakota are making ~$15/hr, almost double that of other areas, one example of "a rising tide lifts all boats", though this isn't always the case.

I am going on a sort of rant here but the benefits largely go to the people who are already receiving the benefits, I have seen hundreds of such projects by MNC's in my country which are supposed to benefit the poor. Sometimes they do but in what proportion and at what cost.
I am sure a couple of Taco Bells and twice as many McDonald's will spring up wherever such a project begins, hell some poor folks might even get a job flipping burgers, but most of them become dispossessed serfs with an overall poorer quality of life. Maybe laws are better in your country but in the developing world MNC's wield enormous power over governments, projects which are meant to bring in rich profits ultimately begin no matter what the human cost.

See this link

The people in the photo are tribals who are resisting plans for a $12B steel plant, they are lying in 40C heat on baking sand so that construction cannot begin, these people are extremely poor and want a better life but are not stupid enough to believe that the construction of a steel plant will benefit them in the end. This is no conspiracy theory, simply because there are no stats for something doesn't mean it cannot be true.

It is no different when the company is Indian. Do the Tatas, Birlas, Reliance and Vedanta have a better track record? The problem is that the Indian middle class wants a western lifestyle in a country which is resource poor and overpopulated. "Development" comes at the expense of the poor and uneducated who have been left behind. But if you agree with those who oppose development you can never build another steel plant or dam or highway or open a bauxite mine. The country then stays poor and backward forever. When you are poor and backward you become a target for aggressive neighbors and other powerful nations. There are no easy answers.

But if you agree with those who oppose development you can never build another steel plant or dam or highway or open a bauxite mine. The country then stays poor and backward forever. When you are poor and backward you become a target for aggressive neighbors and other powerful nations. There are no easy answers.

Hopefully you can pick and choose projects, not just be agaisnt all. Also you can get concessions that will help the locals. [At least thats how its supposed to work]

Yes, but it is difficult in India because land is scarce. There are people everywhere. So when you build a highway, a steel factory or a dam or open a mine it adversely affects a lot of people. Where do you move them? How do you adequately compensate them when the government is broke? Another issue is that farmers don't necessarily want money when their land is taken to expand an expressway. Money is quickly spent and loses value with time. They want to be compensated with equally fertile land some where else.

Your telling me that there aren't backdoor deals for dividing up $10 trillion worth of Iraqi oil?

Backdoor deals with who? China? US companies only have a tiny fraction of the contracts. (Half of only one contract. See the chart I posted above.)

None of the bidders have any control over how much the average Iraqi citizen gets. How much do you get from BP's share of US oil in the Gulf of Mexico? What is the point of even bringing that up?

The military, the Iraqis and the US taxpayer were used and abused to secure profit for oil companies.

That is a crock of donkey doo. You think this was all done so some Chinese company, or French company, or some other foreign company could make a profit?

You are making claims that there was some kind of conspiracy dividing up $10 trillion worth of oil? And China, France, Angola, (Sonangol), Malaysia, (Petronas), and half a dozen other companies were in on this conspiracy? This is not a conspiracy theory web site daddylonglegs, though we do get the occasional wing nut conspiracy theory post. Yours is the first in a long time I think however.

Ron P.

While I don't believe in conspiracies I am convinced that the Iraq war was initiated by the Bush/Cheney clique to make the Iraqi oil more available. I'm sure it didn't matter to them who developed the resources. The obvious intent was to get Saddam out of the way to enable that. More, cheaper oil makes work for a vast array of industries that were the real constituents of that particular political faction.

A further aspect of the war planning was to reinforce the "don't mess with Texas (the US military/industrial complex)" world view.

Some of this you will find in the original AEI letter to Clinton when he was president. Much of it is obvious in the contempory statements of the plalyers.

You don't believe in conspiracies but you believe in this conspiracy. Surely you must realize the contradiction here. Bush and Cheney did it to make Iraqi oil more available. Now just why would they do that? What interest would they have in doing that? Neither Bush or Chaney were in the oil business at this time. And any conflict would obviously make Iraqi oil less available. Really guys, do you give any thought to these hare brain theories before you spout them out?

Iraqi oil has always been available on the world market. You simply cannot get oil more available than that.


Ron P.

Iraqi oil was only minimally available. The problem is we were trying to contain Iraq (remember sanctions, no fly zones, and oil-for-food programs that were becoming a source of embarassment). Those "containment" measures were not sustainable over the long haul. But, as long as they were in place oil production in Iraq was seriously constrained. There was also a sword of Damocles hanging over Kuwait, and to a lessor extent Saudi Arabia.

Then you had lots of reasons why forces like the Project for a New American Century were pushing for regime change or invasion. We were actively recruiting countries to join the coalition of the willing, by threatening that only corps from coalition countries need apply for reconstruction (and oil production) contracts. In essence, we were trying to bribe them with war spoils.

I don't think the oil companies were leading this however. My guess is that they were lukewarm at best about the enterprise. [Perhaps, because they had real experience with this part of the world, they had a more realistic assesment of the prospects] But, had it worked as envisaged, they would have been clear beneficiares.

Iraqi oil was only minimally available. The problem is we were trying to contain Iraq (remember sanctions, no fly zones, and oil-for-food programs that were becoming a source of embarassment).

Errr... Iraqi oil was on minimally available because of no fly zones and sanctions? So we went to war to eliminate these no fly zone and sanctions and make Iraqi oil more available?

Are you just trying to be funny Enemy? You should put at least one smiley face in there somewhere.

Ron P.

I think that the data supports that oil production was not at all reliable as long as Saddam was in charge. In addition, as stated above, Iraq was a de-stabilizing force in the area.

I guess we disagree on the definition of "conspiracy". I am not imagining that Bush was sneaking around with a bunch of oil company executives plotting invasion. That would be a conspiracy, I suppose. What they did was decide to go to war to "clean up" the area for what they thought was best for their peers. They knew they could not be honest about their reasons so they lied. Not only did they overestimate their capability, the underestimated the cost.

Before you get all snarky again go read the letter sent to then president Clinton by the American Enterprise Institute.

Usually I expect better of Darwinian.

Hell I never expect better of myself. That way I am never disappointed. ;-)

Ron P

It has been well documented (in memoes of talks with the UK government in the lead up to war), that whatever the real reason for invasion, WMD wasn't it. WMD were chosen as a plausible cover story for making the invasion legal at the UN, so that the UK could join in with a straight face. The decision to invade was made a good year before the invasion, the only question was if the UK would join in.

Outside of the US, the concensus view of just about everybody, was that the invasion of Iraq would not have happened if they were not a major oil producer. Ditto the bombing of Gadaffi.

They were both resource wars over oil.

The conspiracy theory I've heard that has some plausability to it is that Sadam was going Euro on the oil trade and that just had to be stopped. I leave it to other to debate how much it is worth.

daddy - You make some valid points but not quit on target elsewhere. Such as "Maybe the oil should have been nationalized, like Saudi Arabia, Norway, Mexico, Venezuela?" The Iraq oil industry was nationalized decades ago. All the oil production is owned by the govt. And all the oil is sold by the govt and all the payments for oil sold are delivered directly to the govt. And from those funds the govt pays the various contractors for services rendered.

OTOH there's will certainly be much corruption in the process IMHO. Just too much money involved. But the corruption will be done by the Iraq govt. "They" have absolute control over the process. I suspect one reason you see almost no US companies involved in the effort is our laws against corruption/bribes. I've seen a contract between Chinese company and an NOC that actually had "Bribery" as a line item. By doing so they could write it off. A common scam is who gets to buy the oil: a US or EU country might be willing to pay the current market price for a volume of Iraq oil, And China is willing to pay the same price. But they also slip $100,000 into a Swiss account belong to the Iraq administrator making the decision so the oil goes to them. So on paper the deal appears to be legitimate and fair to the Iraq people. Another common scam will be an Iraq selling a load of oil to a middleman below market value who the sells a the higher price and kicks back some $ to the Iraq official.

So bottom line: the vast majority of current/future Iraq oil revenue is going to the Iraq govt. How that revenue is distributed to the Iraq people is another matter. Consider the ongoing battle between the Kurds of N. Iraq and the govt over oil revenue.

knowing how corporations work.

The Iraqi occupation didn't go as anticipated/planned. So the military and commercial benefits for the corps are just not going to be realized to any significant extent. From the standpoint of corporation America, an investment gone (very) sour.

I'm not sure about that. All the companies that sold the bombs and other ordinance and infrastructure that the US bought made a nice profit. They may, at this point, not see much more opportunity for war profits going forward, and haven't sold as many bombs etc, recently. But some companies made quite a bit of money indeed on these wars and all those dead bodies and destroyed lives.

True. But, I remember right wing radio of the time. They promised/expected the country as a whole would turn a profit on the occupation (paid for with Iraqi oil). And there were expected to be billions of reconstruction contracts etc. So general engineering firms were supposed to benefit as well. Garteful Iraqi's were supposed to gladly give us sweetheart deals!

The feeling if Iraqis is that the Americans took advantage of them, that translates into a political neccessity to give most oil contracts to non American companies. So our attempt to create a bonanza for home based corporations backfired in this case.

Libya, will probably work out differently. We mostly did what we did in response to requests from the now successful revolutionaries. So rather than trying to avoid using coalition based corps, they will probably be favorably disposed towards them.

There is always a big difference between perception and reality. Arabs have tendency to blame everybody else for there own incompetence.I am surprise they haven't blamed the Jews yet.

I think you need to take a step back and think about what you just said.. because it sounds awfully similar to stuff not said to long ago here in the states. for example

There is always a big difference between perception and reality. Blacks have tendency to blame everybody else for there own incompetence.I am surprise they haven't blamed the whites yet.


There is always a big difference between perception and reality. native Americans have tendency to blame everybody else for there own incompetence.I am surprise they haven't blamed the blacks yet.

I Highly doubt it's because they are lazy and don't want to work, please read a history book or two and do some research. that area of the world has been purpsofully screwed over for well over 100 years simply because they by chance live above resources that other larger and more powerful nations need to survive.

Hey guys, let's not get into that game. Everyone has a tendency to blame someone else for their shortcomings. It's just human nature.

Ron P.

Yeah, Ron, it's all your fault ;-)

heh i was trying to point that out while also pointing out that yes these people have been getting the short end of the stick for a 'long' while due to the resources beneath their feet.

So our attempt to create a bonanza for home based corporations backfired in this case.

Errr... you think this whole Iraqi thing was to create a bonanza for home based corporations? If that's your conspiracy theory, I will not even bother to comment. Arguing with someone who believes that would be a total waste of time.

Ron P.

One of the reasons for going ahead with it. Of course we had our paranoia over nonexistant WMD as well. And desires for big projection of power lilitary bases. And decision makers had delusions about spreading democracy widely(which really meant capitalist style corporatism). Those weren't secret conspiracies, but were widely discussed/touted in the buildup to the invasion.

Just out of curiosity Ron, what do you think the whole Iraqi thing was about?

Read Oilman Sachs comments just a few posts below. That was what it was all about.

Ron P.

It was about oil. If there wasn't oil in ME then we wouldn't be there. Period. End of story.

If it was about spreading democracy, terrorism, or stopping WMDS, the US could have invaded other countries.

Cheney knew that oil was getting harder to produce -- there are quotes around about that and have been posted here multiple times. It may surprise you that the company he ran before becoming VP made the most money in Iraq.

It's no surprise that KBR Inc. (KBR, news, msgs), a division of Halliburton (HAL, news, msgs) during the years we examined, tops the first list, compiled by Eagle Eye, with $17.2 billion in Iraq-related war revenue for 2003-2006. KBR is one of the largest construction and energy field-service companies in the world. It has a long history of collaborating with the U.S. government on war-related construction.

I agree that citizens of the US are big losers. Not only was it a very costly war for the US, but an important supply of oil imports was mostly lost. Shortly before the last war was launched against Iraq with SH still in control, Iraq temporarily exported about 3,000,000 barrels per day - ironically with about 90% of that at the time going to the US. Now only about 500,000 bpd is sent to the US:


While the Iraqi people may not be big winners yet, it does look like they have now stand to greatly benefit from increasing oil output and high prices. Other 'winners' are the countries who now get the Iraq oil exports that used to go to the US.

Charles, you are one of my favorite posters, but I must correct your data here because you are a little off. Iraq peaked in 1979 at 3,447,000 barrels per day average. But that was the only year they ever produced over 3 million barrels per day. They dropped off sharply after that and down to 305,000 barrels per day in 1991 during Desert Storm. Then in 2000 they reached their second peak of 2,399,000 barrels per day. They will likely surpass that yearly average this year however. Their average for the first is seven months of this year is 2,568,000 bp/d.

In 2001 Iraq exported an average of 795,000 barrels per day to the US, their highest exports ever to the US. Go here: Total Energy, Petroleum and other liquids then click on "5.7 Petroleum Net Imports by Country of Origin, 1960–2010 PDF. (Only the PDF file gives the Iraqi data.)

Ron P.

"Iraq peaked in 1979 at 3,447,000 barrels per day average. .."

Just as a contextual aside:

1979 AD: Saddam Hussein forces Ba''athist president Al-Bakr into retirement and assumes the mantle of the presidency. As part of his initial rise to power, Saddam has twenty-one members of his own Regional Command Council executed as "traitors," including the deputy prime minister and other prominent government officials who stood in the way of his personal ambitions for power.

The Iran–Iraq War , also known as the Imposed War (جنگ تحمیلی, Jang-e-tahmīlī) and Holy Defense (دفاع مقدس, Defā'-e-moqqaddas) in Iran, Saddām's Qādisiyyah (قادسيّة صدّام, Qādisiyyat Ṣaddām) in Iraq, and the (First) Persian Gulf War, was an armed conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran, lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the longest conventional war of the twentieth century.[12][13][14] It was initially referred to in English as the "Persian Gulf War" prior to the "Gulf War" of 1990.

It seems the Iraqis have been kind of busy. One wonders what their current production would be had they been focused on more profitable ventures.

I hadn't heard about Saddam executing his Councilors. Nice comparison to Hitler's "night of the long knives" and Stalin's early purges of the revolultionaries.

Makes ya think hanging around with fanatical dictator types is a bad choice.

There is a film of it somewhere on the internet Saddam calling out there names and them being lead out of the meeting, if I remember correctly he is smoking a cigar as if nothing had happened. His son Udday was even worse. he beat his father's valet too death with a baseball bat and is reported to have raped the wife of a honeymoon couple and threw out of the window of the hotel they were staying

Iraq's 1979 Fascist Coup, Narrated by Christopher Hitchens

Saddam Purges Government

Hussein Home Movies

60 Minutes II releases some never-before-seen Hussein home movies [Uday torture Videos] that leave little doubt of the family's violent past. Dan Rather reports

Yes - I clearly remember seeing a video on a late-night BBC TV program shortly after the 2003 invasion.

It showed a political conference - Saddam looking pretty young - maybe early 70s - with the man sitting at a table on the stage, smoking a fat cigar. He announces that there are traitors within the gathered assembly, then the camera shifts to some hapless apparatchik within the audience, who is summarily dragged out by the security guards.....
...and Saddam snuffs out his cigar-butt as the unfortunate victim is taken out of the asembly-hall. The message is very clear.

I have to admit to a having a sneaking respect for Saddam, when confronted by this perfect piece of political theatre - dictators don';t do it any better than that.

Other Saddam-admirers - if they haven't already done so - should read the War Nerd's eulogy for him - kinda rings true for me
http://mideastmemo.blogspot.com/2007/01/saddam-died-beautiful-special-eu... .

Regards Chris

Uday also let torture his favvo football[*] team in a torture machine when they lost. He also regulary had local girls sent over to his place to be raped. They were later found dead in the Tigris.

I don't know if there is a physical hell, but I realy realy out of the depth of my heart hope there is one.

The kind of football where you kick with your foot, on a ball.

Tibetan Buddhists claim there are hot hell realms and cold hell realms and lots of 'em.


No need to win compliance by persuasion when terror will do.

I have sometimes wondered if "someone" handed Saddam the list of names...

It's useful not to fall into the trap of good/evil, black/white, right/wrong thinking which is so prevalent in America for some reason.

This is one of the contradictions that makes the country so interesting; our history is full of all sorts of power plays, cost/benefit calculations, moral relativism etc., and yet at the end of the day we still believe in false dichotomies.

Iraq was about many things. It's not hard to understand. It was about the following:

1) The 9/11 attacks, even though they likely originated with some smaller terrorist movements, gave cover to the U.S., and especially it's "neocons" to pursue a more expansive policy in the Middle East.
2) It gave the perfect opportunity for Bush the younger to complete the job that Bush the elder never did, and to completely remove Saddam Hussein from power, thereby eliminating that threat from the overall situation, and allowing Bush the younger to come into his own and cement his place in history.
3) There possibly were weapons of mass destruction. It was overplayed and ended up being a lie, but nonetheless it was plausible at the time.
4) Setting up forces and a friendly regime in Iraq, while also attempting to do the same in Afghanistan, is the perfect way to put pressure on Iran, which is the only genuine power in the M.E. capable of harming Israeli or U.S. interests.
5) And, last, but certainly not least, there's alot of untapped oil there.

If you try to separate any of these out, try to make it out to be one or the other, you are engaging in a form of denial.

American Empire serves its own interests, which is perfectly natural. It's not doing so in a particularly effective way, but it is what it is.

Iraq is a giant gamble that Bush and several others thought would work out. Is it working out? Likely not, based upon the financial costs involved.

Great post Oilman, I agree 100 percent with your conclusions. We need, on this list, a lot more people like you who do not think in the black or white, true or false, good or bad mode all the time. Nothing is ever that simple.

Ron P.

Iraq is a giant gamble that Bush and several others thought would work out. Is it working out? Likely not, based upon the financial costs involved.

The whole post sizes it up pretty good, however #3 is at best a stretch. It seems quite evident Bush jr. & Cheney did anything and everything they could to cheat the truth on centrifugal tubes (which they were told by the CIA were not the right specs for centrifuges), Mobile weapons labs (fertilizer manuf.), yellowcake from Niger (pure lie that shocked the CIA when it was presented to the American people), WMD shelf life (it was DOA because it had all expired and Powell knew this before going to the UN), Missle launching pads under Saddam's palaces (pure Bush jr. fantasy), and last but not least: Hans Blix's UN team finding no WMD on the ground before the war started and which Bush jr. conveniently chose to ignore.

The war in Iraq was an obvious case of a policy of going to war before seeking legitimate reasons (which never panned out).

In my view, it is one of the biggest mis-carriages of justice in world history that the Bush Admin. was never brought to trial for forcing that needless war.

The whole post sizes it up pretty good, however #3 is at best a stretch.

No, not a stretch at all. Bush and Cheney both actually believed there were weapons of mass destruction there. They were just so damn sure of it that they bet everything on it. But they both believed what they desperately desired to believe. Isn't that what just about what everyone does?

Ron P.

Bush and Cheney both actually believed there were weapons of mass destruction there.

Sorry Ron. Ordinarily I'm on the same wavelength with you on most analyses of our energy situation. But I have to call you on this one. There is no way you could know what was going on in Bush's and Cheney's heads. I admit they certainly acted like they truly believed it. But there are simply too many little incidents (e,g, Bush looking under furniture for WMD with that smirk on his face) in both of their stories to rule out the possibility that they had other, stronger motives for what they did.

I don't know what the truth is here. I do tend to believe that our overriding interest in the middle east because of its oil, and hence our government's on-going policies of involvement in these country's affairs is about our continuing access to the resource and not about political niceties, like helping bring democracies to the region. More likely, in my opinion, it is about bringing capitalism (hence the need for the appearance of democracy) that isn't as expensive as paying tribute to dictators for access.

I'll go further - they absolutely knew there were no WMD. Nor was there "yellowcake" from Niger. Nor did Iraq have anything whatsoever to do with 9/11.

They were hell bent on invading Iraq, and would do whatever it took to railroad the country into war. This was mostly Cheney's insanity, though W signed on willingly. I remember the times well - for thinking people, it was all an absurdity.

I'm not sure they were looking at the evidence dispassionately. It looks to me (and many others), that they had made up their minds that Saddam did have WMDs, and might let terorists have them, and bullheadedly refused to believe any evidence to the contrary. And the pressure on the intelligence gathers to support the foregone conclusion was pretty strong. The real job was selling the people on it. They used psychological techniques, things that are repeatedly shown together in close temporal vicinity over and over again get associated by our brain circuitry. So they kept talking up (9-11/mushroom cloud over NY, and Saddam). So by the time of the invasion 65% of the population "just knew" that Saddam had planned 9-11, and was going to blow up an American city with an a-bomb. Now, I suspect they didn't just do it because they were evil, they probably thought it was the right thing to do for the country.

Evil or not? I have pondered that. They certainly started a brutal war for economic and political power issues. I suppose at some level they thought it was beneficial to the country (their country!!)

In a way it doesn't matter if they were also lying to themselves. It was clear to just about anybody who was paying attention at the time that they were determined to start a war and that the WMD thing and the 911 thing were just not true. What they did was clearly evil.

The 9/11 attacks, even though they likely originated with some smaller terrorist movements, gave cover to the U.S., and especially it's "neocons" to pursue a more expansive policy in the Middle East.

Totally agree, neocons following through on a planed strategy for the Middle East. The US empire had its own plans for the region and in particular to do with containing Russia, but their strategy didn't include Iraq, that was a neocon idea. The neocon wackos obviously managed to collect enough fellow travelers from the oil men, intelligence services and industrial military complex to push their agenda past those showing better judgement (and we mustn't forget Israel and its lobby). Bush was just a front man that would do what he was told.

It was probably this horrible mix of ideology, energy concerns, predatory corporations and a hijacked global military strategy that caused the horrible Iraqi mess.

Under Obama the US global strategy is now back on track with Afghanistan and Pakistan the main focus (and Russian containment). The last vestiges of the Iraqi misadventure is being tidied up and the Bush administration's bogeymen erased. The blowback and damage to the US has been considerable.

I was with you up to the last paragraph. The problem is that among the 40 million Pashtun that straddle the Afghan-Pakistan border, justice must be served by revenge taken upon whoever harmed your kin no matter what it costs or how long it takes.

This will not end well. There is no substitute for leaving. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashtun_people

Well. We have been harming them with our drone attacks. If revenge must be taken, then leaving them alone won't stop them, although at least it won't compound the greivences. So then an obvious strategy is to double up (wipe them out entirely). But that is too horrible to contemplate in the modern world.

We probably wouldn't be leaving Iraq, if we had had our way. Iraq simply won't give our soldiers legal immunity from local laws. The military doesn't want its pesonnel subject to the laws of a country whose people are hostile (on the whole) to them, and which by dint of being a near warzone, will surely require some of those soldiers to shoot back. So the choice is to leave, or violate international norms by refusing to abide by will of the sovereign government of Iraq (i.e. violate any sort of UN mandate we had). The existing SOFA agreement was negotiated in 2007 (IIRC) and runs out at the end of 2011.

Merrill, I don't agree with the US's global strategy and will be happy to see it fail. I was just pointing out the system's view of what is happening. Of all empires the US seems to be a very weak one, probably because it coincides with the peaking of the West. Like the final stock market rally before a crash, it looks impressive, but structurally is weak with poor internals. In Pakistan against the Pashtun the US has essentially been reduced to terrorist hit and run tactics and like ETA or the IRA will probably fail to achieve anything.

I agree it will not end well, the Taliban, etc. are stronger now than they were 10 years ago, while the US is weaker. Could the US mount another invasion on the scale of Iraq? I think the US should leave the field while they still can or risk being forced into an existential fight to the death.

From my one political science class I got: With war there is only one question war now or war later. If you are going down and your enemy (China+Russia+Arabs) are going up then you have no choice, it is, war now!

Of course, why the US is so paranoid and views everybody as an enemy is a good question. Might be because of the way the US has treated everybody over the last 350 years (yes the official country is younger but the native Americans got screwed even before the official start).

Regarding the WMDs that never showed up, I wonder why no one ever connected the dots. Here are the dots:

Before Gulf War I Saddie had loads of WMDs. There was an estimation of the numbers, based on good data.

In the war, a sub section of these were used. Other was destroyed.

In the time between GWI and GWII, UN inspector found end destroyed even more WMDs.

But the numbers did not add up. Some WMDs were missing.

Then SH published his book "How I destucted all my WMDs". I remember that from the news. He had this large dome, documented how he destoyed all his WMDs. But no UN witnesses present.

When GWII was done, they had not found a single one.

Now, conecting the dots: We know Saddam Hussein was a WMD pervert. Would he destroy his beloved ones? Hardly think so. So my guess is he either shipped them to Syria, or had then digged down in a bunker somewhere in the deserts. They still exist somewhere out there.

I think they simply expired. Many experts said as much, before the war started. They had a very limited shelf life, and would not still be usable by the time we invaded.

Hope you are right.

All large corporations are global corporations they have no loyalty to any of their host nations. If global corporations are getting the oil from the war fought by the de facto global army then they got what they paid their representatives for.

Hi ed,

re: "If global corporations are getting the oil from the war fought by the de facto global army then they got what they paid their representatives for."

1. Exactly so.

Externalize the risks, which are only "risks" if one seriously ignores predictable deaths, trauma, and many "etc.s". Internalize the profits. While you can.

2. Unfortunately, the "citizen" (whether allowed the vote or no) is in the role of consumer: ignorant of the game, and is a driver of the game. (Literally the case in terms of the automobile-owning public, wherever they may reside, no pun intended.)

3. A horrendous situation - for the pitiful human species, inflicting such incredibly suffering upon itself without realizing points of cause-and-effect, i.e., points of leverage.

4. Are any of the players aware of the game itself? And if so, do they take any action on behalf of themselves or others?

That's my question of the day.

We know who knows - at least we know some of the names of those who know. (And knew all along, apparently.)


And the rest of us who know, and perhaps feel ultimately powerless. What about us? What do we do?

Second Q of the day.

Oh, well, time to plug www.oildepletion.wordpress.com, if Leanan is OK w. it.

Link up top:Debunking 4 Oil Industry Myths

Myth No. 1: Oil Isn’t Renewable
The general consensus is that oil is a finite resource and that it is an ‘increasing cost’ industry, states CGES analysts in a note.

“Also oil may not be finite, if Professor Gold is right and oil results from the transmutation of gas arising deep in the earth’s mantle and not from the decay and compression of organic matter in an anaerobic environment.

When anyone posts such nonsense it renews my opinion that the general consensus of opinion is almost always wrong. Then they post their second myth, the big one they say: We have reached peak oil. And as proof of this myth they tell us how much some OPEC nations have increased their reserves since the 70s and 80s. Oh well.

Ron P.

It's especially curious that even if one accepts their abiotic premise, they are saying that the mass of the earth is infinite.

And Peak Oilers are widely considered to be akin to space alien cultists.

I am reminded of a discussion I had with a Cornucopian, who claimed that no one was disputing that oil is finite, but then he asserted that Resource Pessimists had always been wrong and would always be wrong. I pointed out that his two statements seemed contradictory, cognitive dissonance at its finest, but I never got a response.

Actually, if you drill far enough into the Earth, instead of coming out in China, you reach the Singularity - which sucks oil in from an infinite series of parallel universes...

Actually, I almost spit my most recent gulp of iced tea all over my keyboard.

Thanks for a good laugh before I lay me down...


The Singularity doesn't like being made fun of.

It's coming. And it has no sense of humor.

Be careful what you snort at your tea party.


Law #4: A robot shall be “Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent” and shall do a good turn daily.

And the overall population of edible species of fish is expanding.

And the overall population of edible species of fish is expanding.

We did that with the trees in the great north woods (Wisconsin and thereabouts). Used to be white pines twenty or more feet in diameter. Now those same forests are a thicket of one to six inch diameter junk trees. The number of trees has gone up many fold (the standing biomass has not).

If we replace larger fishes, with single cells organisms (or merely tiny critters), the total number of critters will go up, not down.

Out of curiosity, can gas transmute into oil? And, even if it could, where does the gas come from and is it infinite?

two things...

1) re article: Debunking 4 oil industry myths

Where does this crap originate? The idea of mantle gas mutating into oil? And people believing it, or rather choosing to believe it? Have the editors no shame? To see such in the Financial Post has to make one question the validity of anything written. This is 'Cargo Cult' analysis and journalism at it's worst. I actually checked the date to see if it said "Aprils Fool".

2) And last weeks questions and posts re: teaching children about PO.

I screwed up my courage and sent out an email offering to all high school teachers in the district that I work. I simply used the lead-in of the 7 billionth person arriving this month and questioned the possibility of increasing wealth and improving lifestyle on a finite planet. (Including teacher's pensions!!) With a short synopsis of PO, links to TOD, Gail's, other sites for background info, as well as a reading list (Simmons et al).... I offered free presentations that would suit classes of science, planning, social studies, geography, history, etc.

I had two takers starting in December. Further to this I suggested collaboration for any teacher pursuing a masters in either sustainability, distributed learning, environmental science, etc....and also opened the door to collaboration for techies who wished to work on presentation formats/medium. It would make a great masters project.

In my school I have been acosted numerous times from all walks of life/subjects asking me about this? How do you tell folks you spend hours a day reading about and researching these subjects and not sound like a crackpot eccentric? I just say we don't watch much tv and live in the country. They usually know about our move away from town and our sustainability and farming goals and they connect the dots. In fact, many ask about coming out to see what we are doing? (I just draw them a map and say....anytime, anytime).

Dare to be a crackpot.

It is the stats and technical details that makes the difference. Due to Ron, east, rocky, and others the stats and details are at my fingertips and this raises the game up from opinion to truth. Regular folks don't have a clue about consumption rates, % of WTI vrs other sources, field decline, the Carter Doctrine....whatever. If you don't have the data all you have is opinion...and we all know there is way too much of that.

Todd gave me the idea. And Mike the Engineers post on the subject of oil economics. In a recent communication from Todd he discussed the need to develop transition and community before tshtf. Further to this, after a brush with cancer and surgery 6 weeks ago I was delighted to return to work and gratified to belong to a community that I care very much about. How can I work as a high school teacher and not, at the very least, offer to share what I believe is the truth? I know we are facing huge changes. Is it enough to share this with just family and man the barricades? Is it possible to share and not promote fear and disillusionment in young people? Of course it is. We need these kids to take hold of the problems and do their best....not be victims and casualties of change. We need engineers, leaders, scientists, and folks with heart to carry forward.

As a long-time carpenter, working and thinking sequentially is simply part of the package. It has lead me to plan for the following. Fine tune the presentations, retire earlier from formal job, volunteer workshops and presentations for teachers and students as 'the right thing to do', and remain linked to my community.

What I have been astounded at....amazed, is that folks you would never think had an inkling of the issues do in fact know that something is wrong with the entire Ponzi trajectory and know it has to change and will change. There is more concern out there than one would think.....and this is in realatively ok and chugging along Canada. I do a lot of listening.....in fact more listening than talking.



Thanks for the pat on the back. I sincerely appreciate it.


California becomes first state to adopt cap-and-trade program

When I discussed resource limits and population increase with my students last week, the thing that seemed to resonate the most with them was the example of Egypt from Gails blog post. Seeing the swift increase in Egypts population and ELM leading to a stop in exports of oil leading to the government being unable to continue to subsidize fuel and bread for its people leading to revolution, thats a pretty easy to understand and hard to deny example of limits. Having the pretty graphs to hand to illustrate the facts was extremely helpful.

Not suprisingly, I've had a lot more denial, refusal to really consider the facts, and hostile reactions from fellow staff members on the topic of limits than from the students. And their teachers...


Where are you an educator kinjikii?

I teach high school humanities classes in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Glad it was a helpful example to your students!

Expert Says Quakes in England May Be Tied to Gas Extraction

IIRC drilling for several thermal heating plants have been stopped for the same reason (eg. one in Switzerland?). It seems that as we try harder to find energy resources we also increase the risks we take with our environment. Climate change, oil slicks, nuclear pollution the anti just keeps on rising, each a grain of sand on the proverbial heap waiting for a catastrophic collapse to be triggered. Each disaster bigger than the last.

Burg - Forgive but a detailed explanation of why it's physically impossible for the frac'ng of a well to cause an earth quake is too complex. You're certainly free to take my word on it or not. Won’t hurt my feelings at all if no one does. Being a geologist for 36 years I’m very accustomed to folks thinking I’m wrong. LOL.

But there have been well documented cases of other oil field activities producing such reactions although they are rare (search “Rocky Mountain Arsenal”). Typically it has been due to injecting fluids (but many hundreds of thousands of bbls). Less common has been the production of fluids. But frac'ng a well can cause other problems: you can damage the casing in a nearby well (water or oil/NG). It can also pollute ground water if the frac is allowed to come up the well being frac'd. But for the same reason a frac can’t propagate up from depth through thousands of feet of the earth a frac job can’t DIRECTLY cause a pollution problem. That requires a humna being doing something stupid/illegal.

Fracking does break rock, change local stress distributions etc. Its is entirely within reason to expect some small local earthquakes might be triggered. But M 2.5's aren't even noticeable without sensitive equipment. My son just experienced a 4.0 in Berkeley -the epicenter was a mere 12 minute walk away. That is hundreds of times stronger than this frack-triggered event, and no-one in class was phased by it at all.

Microseismic work shows that every frac job studied to date does indeed cause an "earthquake". Calling these things "earthquakes" in an attempt to demonize the oil and gas industries means we should also demonize heavy trucking and railroad industries, as both of them also can cause "earthquakes" as anyone who has ever stood near one as it passed by can attest.

If the UK wants to be dependent on whomever they get their natural gas from, rather than securing domestic supplies, let them live and learn. You can't unteach stupid.

Calling these things "earthquakes" i[s] an attempt to demonize

Agreed. Its is part of (or can easily be incorprated into) a FUD campaign. And there is also a finite probablity of triggering a bigger quake, there are no absolutes when it comes to quakes. But technically, any sudden stress release in rock is an earthquake. Size matters. But not understanding that can lead to FUD.

I hate to be so persnickety, but I think you meant the students weren't fazed by the earthquake. I don't think it's possible to phase students, i.e., get their waveforms in the same phase.

Rock, I'll take your word for it. When an IRA bomb went off near my home many years ago it felt like and earthquake, scared the cat to death, I guess it would have registered as a small earthquake too.

Burg - Scary stuff...and not just for the cat LOL. One thing for Mother Earth to shake you up. Another matter when it's a fellow human being. A very different emotional response for sure. Tends to really p*ss you off. Been there...done that. Stays with you, eh?

Oh, please. Cry me a river of crocodile tears. How does one even go about detecting a 1.5 or 2.3 quake except with sensitive instruments? Hell, the wintertime Lake Mendota Icequakes, which usually pass unnoticed except by the university seismology department, can easily be more intense than a measly 2.3 - occasionally a LOT more. Some catastrophe indeed. Run for the hills.

Any excuse will do, when there are agendas involved.

Decent local seismic detectors can do that well. Close to the surface those two somethings might even be felt locally. Berkeley is experiencing a bunch of two something aftershocks (from the 4.0), and some are being felt. My son couldn't tell which of three things he left os potential aftershocks. (1) local construction activity. (2) weak aftershock. (3) His imagination. But that should tell you about how serious 2 somethings are!

Here is a link to news items illustrating the little noticed trend of Yergin/CERA's predictions for global production becoming increasingly pessimistic:


I just finished a rough draft of an essay on the topic, and I concluded it with, you guessed it, a discussion of Global Net Exports. The final couple of paragraphs follow:

Incidentally, we have seen a measurable decline of about three mbpd from 2005 to 2010 in the volume of GNE, even with a slow rate of increase, less than one percent per year, in Total Liquids production, and the following chart shows the gap between where we would have been in 2010 at the 2002 to 2005 rate of increase in GNE. A GNE rate of over 58 mbpd in 2010 would have been consistent with Yergin’s 2005 prediction, but the actual net export rate was less than 43 mbpd, a gap of about 16 mbpd.


Therefore, given Mr. Yergin’s current prediction for less than a one percent per year increase in Total Liquids production, which is roughly consistent with what we have seen from 2005 to 2010, it appears that Mr. Yergin--probably without realizing it--is effectively predicting a continued decline in Global Net Exports.

If one can’t rely on Daniel Yergin for soothing reassurances about the state of the global oil market, who you gonna call?

Utilities want you to go ductless
Heating: They tout incentives and savings on monthly bills as reasons to ditch baseboards

Utilities in the Pacific Northwest are using cash incentives to encourage homeowners with aging, inefficient baseboard and wall-mounted heaters to replace them with ductless heating and cooling systems.

Ductless systems can reduce homeowner heating bills by 25 percent to 50 percent, saving the region about 200 megawatts of electricity per year, enough to power more than 150,000 homes, according to the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, a nonprofit group that works with utilities to promote energy efficient products and services.

See: http://www.theolympian.com/2011/10/20/1844919/utilities-want-you-to-go-d...

We've been enjoying some unseasonably warm temperatures so far this month and so our space heating demands have been extremely modest. For the first twenty-two days of the month we've used a total of 6.8 kWh, or the equivalent of a 100-watt bulb burning an average of three hours a day. Total cost: $0.84.


and how many thousands is it to go through and take out those ducts then replace the old hvac system with a new one it's self 3-4k?
please stop assuming everyone has a 5-6 figure income or pension..

Homes with electric baseboard, wall heaters or radiant heating systems don't have ductwork and so there's nothing to rip out. In fact, you leave your current heating system in place but keep it turned off except for the odd time when backup heat is required. My installed cost is less than $2,000.00 per unit and my simple payback about two years.


that's still a hefty chunk of change there. 1/10 of many peoples income.. heck more then 1/10th of the income i had in my last job. you have to remember not everyone is earning a lot of money, the majority earn less then 40k a year with most in the 20k range and under. that's 9-10 dollars a hour, after all my bills and i wasn't even renting a apartment a decent while to save that amount. it's just another tech toy for the well off, better advice is the same one carter did, just tell them to turn off their hvac or turn it down and wear warmer clothes.

For someone of modest means the cost could very well prove prohibitive. One option is for utilities to provide low or no-cost financing to those requiring assistance. Spread the payments over 36 or 48 months so that the amount repaid each month is less than what the customer would save on their power bill.


We ran into precisely this duct problem with our HVAC renovation... I mentioned this in an old Fukushima thread back in March, but here is how we solved the problem for anyone who missed it/is interested. We are in the Hollywood Hills, and I have recorded temperatures of around 110 degrees indoors in our bedrooms and 120 degrees in our vehicles. Heating is less of an issue, but we do need heat probably 30-60 days/nights a year.

* Did asbestos abatement and cleaning of the old ducts-- less than a grand.
* Left the ducts where they are, sealed them up. This seems really counter-intuitive, but the old ducts are too small to meet code requirements anyway! We would have had to replace those for a zone system, and all the quotes we got were absurdly high.
* Installed giant attic fan/vent in the roof to vent hot air from the attic, and individual wall fans in the upstairs bedrooms to suck hot air into the attic. The wall fans can be controlled either by thermostat or manual off-on switches.
* Installed ceiling fans in each bedroom to provide a breeze and circulate air.
* Installed wall-unit conventional AC/heater combination units, with timers, in the bedrooms.

Sure, it cost some money, but the old heater was unusable, and we are now too old to live safely with no AC, which we did for ten years. (Kaiser, as you know, I have health problems of my own, though they have not bothered me much recently, knock on wood.) A zone system would have cost a bit more for installation, and a lot more in electric bills.

The benefit of this system is that even though the AC/heater units have a lower SEER than a zone system, we don't need to run the A/C that much anymore, and we only use A/C or heat in rooms that we are using. Zone HVAC systems seem to have maintenance problems... most of our neighbors need frequent service calls.

If I ever get a paying job again, I would really like to do the insulation. We will need SO little juice to run the system if that ever gets done.

I am SO glad I didn't let an HVAC contractor talk us into a zone/duct system. All the reps from the big companies told me I was crazy, that my design would never work, that no one would ever build it. I was really, really lucky to find a crackpot, semi-retired HVAC guy who worked independently, and just loved every minute of doing this job. The biggest problem was that he really loved doing this kind of custom work, and never wanted to finish the job, which I totally understand, I used to be the same way about writing songs or screenplays.

Jeez, Kaiser.. you've made your point, but still miss the counterpoint..

A lot of poor folks don't have much cash available, but are still spilling it out loyally to fill the tank and keep the meter spinning. They're PAYING for that expensive equipment, they're just not getting it.

Installment plans are pretty common for folks getting that next truck or paying off the house.. how about helping to figure out ways to teach people in desperate situations figure out HOW to leverage that monthly nut into investments that can help them steady down the ultimate outlay?

It's fine, be angry and call solar panels or ductless heatpumps 'toys', when pretty much everyone has a TV, Cable and all sorts of other video game garbage. Which are really the toys?

Hey, Bob, you Mainers surely have all the nice 'toys'...

Maine reflects solar industry's rapid growth

ARUNDEL -- On the lawn behind the Solar Market offices here, 144 solar-electric panels are mounted across a 100-foot long run of wooden racks. No surprise, really, to see a photovoltaic system outside a company that sells the hardware.

But this set-up is way larger than needed to run lights and appliances. And therein lies the surprise: These solar panels generated enough power last winter to supply nearly 70 percent of the building's warmth -- with electric heat.

The falling price of photovoltaic panels, along with the advent of special heat pumps and super insulation, are creating an opportunity in Maine that energy experts could hardly imagine a few years ago. Now some of the state's leading solar installers, including Solar Market, have begun installing so-called PV panels on homes and businesses to harvest sunshine for baseboard heaters.

See: http://www.kjonline.com/news/maine-reflects-solar-industrys-rapid-growth...

Time to wave that oil heat 'bye-bye'.


Dang.. that is surprising!

Well, I remember a few short seasons back when seeing you and LEDs together would have been unthinkable.

I hope I will be as reasonable and flexible when faced with new combinations and developments.. as we now arrive at a time of lots of recalculations.

I'm still working on the not-quite-superinsulation part for the moment, but have been poking my nose into the Ductless Links more and more as well..

My earnest and hopeful 300 watts of PV just got their aluminum framing, thanks to a retired Canoe Car-rack. (Forget buying off-the-shelf.. for me, I'll usually just take the shelf!)

Well, I remember a few short seasons back when seeing you and LEDs together would have been unthinkable.

You're right to take me to task on this one, Bob, but in my defence much has changed over the past few years. For one, although LED lamps are still quite expensive they have come down in cost and thus their affordability has improved greatly. At the same time, their technical performance keeps getting better and better with respect to light quality, service life, lumens per watt, and so on. Along with this, we now have a wide range of offerings from the "Big Three", i.e., GE, Osram Sylvania and Philips. That's important for a couple reasons; namely, these manufacturers provide published and credible specs as opposed to, well, who knows what and, secondly, their products are backed by strong warranties and a rock solid commitment to good customer satisfaction. In effect, you can now buy with full confidence. So whilst virtually all of the CFLs in our home have been replaced by LEDs and I use replacement LEDs almost exclusively in my professional work, I've always maintained and still maintain that unless you have a compelling reason to go LED you're better off sticking with a good quality CFL, at least for time time being.

I'm still working on the not-quite-superinsulation part for the moment, but have been poking my nose into the Ductless Links more and more as well..

I was looking at a real estate listing for a beautiful old home in the south-end of Halifax moments ago and it mentioned that the heating costs are $7,850.00 a year (http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11148223&PidKey=17...). Now imagine if fuel oil prices were to double (it's happened a couple of times already so it's not exactly out of the realm of possibilities). It just blows my mind. Our heating costs are closer to $400.00/year, perhaps less now that I've replaced the older of our two ductless units with another Sanyo.

Best of luck with the renovations.


that amuses me that you think that simply owning a tv doesn't make you poor. reminds me of a recent study on the changing face of the poor showing how many of them have fridges, tv's and microwaves.. and by doing so claiming they are not poor because they have them. what your saying here is someone who is barely making ends meet. having to spend a lot of money on a sub optimal transportation system(run down car with poor gas maillage most likely) as well as a low end rent apartment or still living at the family house. add yet another 'monthly installment' of something that while would be nice is 'not' needed for them to keep work, sane, and alive.

if you can't understand this then you were never poor. it's a big problem here that i have seen lately. 'oh look at this nice bit of tech that is more efficient then x and it only costs(insert a few thousand dollars here)' If money was not a objective restraint there are a lot of things people can do to dramatically decrease their energy usage. the problem is a lot of people don't have money to throw around. they are just getting by making the needed payments to keep the car to keep their job, a fridge and microwave at the very least to keep alive. and a tv with basic cable and or video games so they don't go insane from the stress such living causes. ANYTHING else will always to that person look like a expensive toy. nice to have but can't afford.

For a lot of people it's not there are not options for them to do the right thing and they want to, it's that there are none they can 'afford'.

please stop assuming everyone has a 5-6 figure income or pension..

It is my opinion that those who have the means and will to adapt, probably will.

Those that do not, will likely suffer, and some will perish.

Hasn't existence always been such a case?

Background from http://www.cablegatesearch.net Re: Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud after the death of his brother Crown Prince Sultan ... likely to be appointed Crown Prince (next in line to the Throne)

Seems like potential flash source for an 'Arab Spring' in KSA or division with Iraq. (The Eastern Province (EP) is where the oil is!)

Saudi Authorities Crack Down On Shia In Al-ahsa

... Saudi authorities have stepped up discriminatory actions against Shia citizens in the Eastern Province (EP) oasis of al-Ahsa over the past year.

Many of the same contacts who accuse Prince Badr of discrimination in al-Ahsa also view the Eastern Province Governor HRH Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Al Saud and his uncle the Interior Minister HRH Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as responsible for the problem. Some believe these two powerful princes tacitly support discriminatory practices in al-Ahsa and elsewhere in the Eastern Province (EP).

Others have even accused the princes of ordering local authorities, such as Prince Badr, to implement discriminatory policies themselves. In any case, as most of our contacts readily point out, neither of the princes have stepped in to end the discrimination.


Treasury Secretary Geithner Meets With King Abdullah Of Saudi Arabia

Geithner said the U.S. was working hard to reform our financial system. We have important responsibilities to the international system, and we take them seriously. He described plans to control the U.S. budget deficit and reiterated our commitment to a strong dollar.

King Abdullah stated this was "good news," because "we are so connected to the dollar, we can't leave it." Geithner said he was convinced the dollar would remain the principal reserve currency for some time to come, and this was good for both Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

The King confided that "many people tried to convince us to switch, but we insisted on staying with the dollar." Geithner expressed appreciation for the stabilizing role the Kingdom was playing vis-a-vis the dollar.


Terrorist and Iranian Missile Threats to Saudi Energy Facilities

... Townsend next raised recent threat information about Saudi energy facilities. Bandar noted that the Security Facilities Service aims to reach 35,000 personnel, with all military services contributing to it. Saudi National Security Advisor Prince Bandar bin Sultan said he was relatively confident in the Saudi Govt's ability to handle terrorist threats to the energy facilities by deploying more forces and building perimeters.

The more dangerous threat, in his view, is a SCUD missile launch from Iran, which could happen with short or no notice. The Iranians would target Saudi facilities at Ras Tanura and Jubail, also perhaps the US bases in Qatar and Bahrain, which would cause the Saudis to be involved as well, he said.

His concern was that tightening sanctions on Iran will cause Iran to up the ante, triggering an escalation leading to a missile launch. Given the possibility of this scenario, he speculated on the option of a pre-emptive strike. "I would rather be on the offensive since we are the target," he said, later adding that he meant a state of military readiness, not offensive action.

Bandar stressed that this sense of urgency came from King Abdallah, he was not freelancing. He added that he, Prince Muqrin and Prince Muhammad bin Nayef were getting together an "Iran to-do list."

"... we are so connected to the dollar, we can't leave it." ...

The King confided that "many people tried to convince us to switch, but we insisted on staying with the dollar."

..."many people"? One wonders who that would be...

China, Russia quit dollar

2010-11/24 China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

But, then again....

Russian PM Ends China Trip with No Gas Deal

Newsdesk 12 October 2011, 13:25 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin left China Wednesday after a visit that yielded $7 billion in trade pacts but no breakthrough on a long-delayed gas deal with the world's top energy consumer...

...Russia had accused China of underpaying it by tens of millions of dollars due to a tariff dispute, but Putin said the two sides had "agreed on crude oil prices", the report said.

Last stand for Russia in China gas talks

10/13/2011 — 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.

...it seems trading in dollars is complicated enough.

I think that the one stumbling block to the use of a different reserve currency (or basket of currencies) is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Although the Saudis have no quarrel with Russia and China; Iran, an observer at the SCO, is no friend. They would see no value in economically supporting their enemy, while at the same time harming their patron.

It's all Machiavellian - none of the current leaders in the ME should expect to die from old age. Maybe King Abdullah will be lucky.

Russia, Iran and Turkmenistan hold respectively the world's largest, second-largest and fourth-largest gas reserves. And China will be consumer par excellence in this century. The matter is of profound consequence to the US global strategy.

The Russia-China-Iran Energy Nexus

North Stream is not only proposed. It is built.

A better way to price the future takes hold

SHORT-TERM thinking is a criticism often levelled at corporations and banks by anti-capitalist protesters, and they may well be right. A lack of concern for the future is built mathematically into economic theory, and this carries through to the behaviour of companies and governments. ... So economics effectively ignores far-future events, even if they are world-shattering.

Exponential discounting's reign is an accident of history: early 20th-century economist Paul Samuelson introduced it as a simple solution but emphasised that it wasn't necessarily right. In fact real humans do not discount exponentially. Questionnaire studies show that the rate at which we discount resources with time decreases gradually, not exponentially: we behave as if resources do still have a value significantly greater than zero in the distant future

I don't think the extreme short term focus is necessarily a characteristic of capitalism. More likey an aspect of bank-driven globalization. The German "mittelstand" companies are certainly capitalistic but, not being public companies, are free to focus on the longer term and they do. Recent studies suggest they are the real strength of the German export market.


Another really good description of the relationship between short term business decisions and international banking is "One World, Ready or Not" by William Greider.

Short term thinking is a characteristic of certain cultures, and is probably more prevalent in the U.S. than in other first world countries.

Having said that, I am no fan of big corporations in the United Statea who wield enormous power due to their size and wealth which permits them to influence politicians both before and after elections. However, I don't think the problem is capital per se but the way that capital is used and abused, especially in the U.S.A. The kind of capitalism I opposed is that which argues that the people and the government have no place in determining how that capital is used.

Those on the right have a tendency to label those who want to exercise control over capitalists as socialists as if their is no middle ground. This is a political tactic which refuses to acknowledge that private corporations should not be permitted to have absolute control over our lives, our future, or our planet. Capitalism, on its own, is simply incapable of acting in the public good, or if so, if the public good just happens to be consistent with its needs to maximize profits. Any corporation that deviates from this model is doing so at great risk because it will find it difficult to compete with an unequal playing field.

The key you have identified is the way corporations are set up in this country. Failure to seriously consider other values besides profit in their decision making would make the directors liable for failure to properly exercise their fiduciary responsibilities. This is why there needs to be a movement to legislatively change corporate charters to actively consider other values.

And even the Queen is feeling a pinch...




What's the World coming to when a Queen can no longer afford to live like a Queen :)

Seems Carlos Slim managed to lose $11 billion since February too. Banks looking at a 60% haircut on Greek bonds, hedge funds getting slaughtered, Thailand floods costing $6 billion. Losses around the World must be immense on an ongoing basis and of course we never hear about the majority of them. I wonder what effect these losses are having on liquidity and the velocity of money?

60%? That's only the first round of haircuts. The final number will be 100%. The debts are not even servicable, let alone repayable. Default is the only possible outcome. The only question is when.

Club of Rome: 2011 International Conference on the Future of Energy

... If the transition to renewable energy aiming to substitute fossil and nuclear fuel gets societal support, if energy production is to become ecologically sound and emission-neutral, if access to energy for billions of people in developing countries is to be guaranteed, if energy efficiency and sufficiency is to be entrenched in life style and production, these will require profound changes in our economic patterns, approaches and decisionmaking processes.

Conference Agenda: http://www.clubofrome.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/The-Future-of-E...

also LTG Video: http://clubofrome.org/cms/?p=326

also From efficient water use to quitting fossil fuels – survey shows different approaches to resource efficiency across Europe

Their website says global reserves are still large, coal will last for "at least" 120 years, oil 42 years and gas 60 years.

Not what I was expecting from the Club of Rome.

As has been repeated here ad nauseum, it is not how long these energy sources will last that is the issue; is is the flow rate that is important. Oil will never run out, which is irrelevant.

How Oil and Corruption have Become so Closely Linked

As a new oil-fever gathers pace in Arctic countries such as Greenland the lesson from history is that where there is oil, corruption will quickly follow. Eifion Rees reports

Transparency International’s Corruptions Perceptions Index 2010 highlights the connection: Russia, the world’s largest producer and second largest exporter of oil, ranks 154 out of 178 countries for corruption. Its low standing spells trouble for the Russian Arctic, where oil-fever is increasing as sea ice recedes.

Cairn Energy counts cost of Greenland drilling

In its statement, Cairn said: "Following results of the three Greenland wells drilled this year, unsuccessful drilling costs total US $573m at 30 September 2011.

"These unsuccessful costs include the Alpha well carried over from last year and the Lady Franklin, Delta and Gamma wells from the 2011 exploration programme

... It added: "Cairn remains encouraged by the prospects and opportunities presented by exploration offshore Greenland.

Only 12 exploration wells have been drilled off Greenland since the 1970s

Six dry exploration wells off Greenland in the last couple of years. How is this going to affect the USGS estimate of 90 Gb for Arctic oil reserves?

Frugal – Depends on exactly what they found and if they share the data with the Survey. More important that if they found a reservoir of sufficient size is the oil generation history…or lack thereof. Decades ago a very expensive well was drill in federal waters of Alaska’s north coast by a consortium of oil companies. Worse than not finding commercial reserves, samples from the well indicated the region lacked the thermal history that would cause oil generation. And 30 years ago a company I was working for drilled a well off the southern coast of Alaska and discovered no source rocks.

Such finding could produce a significant change in estimates. OTOH years ago I read that the first MAJOR North Sea oil field was discovered on the 93rd well drilled in the basin. Such is the nature of oil/NG exploration. I've drilled in the Gulf Coast Basin for 36 years. No area on the face of the earth has the concentration of geologic and seismic control we have...no area is even a close second. And how accurate has been our exploration projections? Based on the hundreds of prospects I've seen drilled first hand at most 25% of the projected reserves have been found. So I'll let you guess how I feel about the Survey's predictions. That's so much a knock o their abilities. It's just really difficult to come up with an accurate answer.

ROCKMAN -- in a new area, wouldn't you drill an exploration well right in the middle of a possible reservoir to increase the probability of a strike. If I was an exploration company with several blocks to explore, I would drill a well in each block at the very spot most likely to yield a reservoir, i.e., right in the geographical centre of where I thought there was a reservoir. I'm sure that's what most drillers do? So doesn't six dry wells mean that six possible reservoirs don't exists or are not as extensive as you had hoped for.

Frugal – This will be a little tricky without a bunch of maps and cross sections so hang in there. Let’s take a very small area…20 miles on a side = 400 sq miles (250,000 acres). Offshore Greenland is hundreds of thousands of sq miles. Oil/NG reservoirs accumulate in only certain geologic conditions called “traps”. A major trap might cover 5,000 acres. Or 8 sq miles. By comparison I’m drilling 16,000’ holes for NG traps covering 100 acres.

Now switch from map view to vertical. Only certain types of rocks make good reservoirs. Also get too deep/hot and the potential for oil goes to zero. So our potential oil window goes from 3,000’ to 15,000’. A major oil reservoir would be 200’ thick. In that 12,000’ interval there might be 10 rock formations that thick.

I know nothing specific about the geologic structures around Greenland so some generalities. The number of potential trapping structures on our 250,000 acre model is 20. And traps don’t tend to line up vertically. So a well testing a trap at 5,000’ would miss a trap at 14,000’ so it would take at least 2 wells to test the potential at this one spot.

So to recap: we’re going to drill wells on 250,000 acres looking for 5,000 acre traps that can occur over a 12,000’ vertical section looking for potential reservoirs 200’ thick. So just a rough guess but there are 50 potential traps that will each require one well to test. Remember this is an 8 sq mile area. Now let’s look at a potential Greenland offshore play of 1,500 miles by 200 miles = 300,000 sq miles or 750 times as large as our model. So that would require over 30,000 wells to test all the potential traps.

And how many wells have they drilled? Has there really been a serious effort yet? LOL. It’s not really that insurmountable. We have geologic/seismic models and concepts we use to cull that number down considerably. But the culling process varies by the company. Shell Oil might generate 10 drill sites that ExxonMobil wouldn’t touch with a 10’ pole. Someone might discover a 3 billion bbl oil field offshore Greenland but it might take 20, 50 or 100 more wildcat wells. Or, at $150 million/well it might take as much as $5 trillion+.

How close is this model? I just drilled a 14,000’ well in S La. An area well known for hundreds of thousands of proven commercial reservoirs. This well tested around 15 potential traps in an area with proven oil/NG accumulations. And I found one commercial reservoir. And Greenland ain’t S. La. Not by a long shot. If it were easy gasoline would be selling for $0.25 per gallon and NG would be too cheap to meter. LOL.

ROCKMAN - Thanks for your very informative description of hydrocarbon traps. I gather this means that wildcat wells will be drilled into the Greenland continental shelf for decades to come, regardless of how many dry holes appear.

Frugal - All depends on the geochemical history they find. It's difficult for folks to appreciate given our long dependency of hydrocarbons but the conditions that lead to the generation and accmulation of oil/NG is not as common as many assume. That's why the little chips of shale they circulated out of those dry holes are worth 1,000 times their wieght in diamonds. If they show no history of oil generation over much of Greenland's offshore regions then the party will be over quickly. True for the rest of the Arctic.

ROCKMAN - One more question. What do you actually "see" on seismic surveys? Do you see (1) source rock, (2) traps, and/or (3) hydrocarbons?

Frugal - The primary benefit of seismic is to image the shape of the structures. Think of hills and valleys. Oil/NG tends to accumulate at the top of the hills (structural highs). Think of salad oil floating on top of water in a bottle. Sometimes these hills have faults cutting through them...imagine half a hill. This link will show you the basics:


In some areas the seismic can show direct indication of hydrocarbons. These “direct hydrocarbon indicators”, “amplitude anomalies” or “bright spots” are the core of my current exploration efforts. Typically work much better finding NG than oil. They’ve been a prime exploration tool for over 30 years especially in the offshore. A big boost in success rates. In the 80’s I hit 23 out of 25 wells in a shallow NG trend in Texas. The historic success rate using only well control was less than 15%. I was just one of just a handful to use the technique in this trend. Small companies didn’t buy seismic data and the reserves were too small for the big boys that did buy seismic.

Can’t do geochem (source rock evaluation) from seismic. Need pieces of the shale and some smart folks with sophisticated equipment to do that.

I saved this post for the future...for the next guy I run into who goes on about solar and wind and conservation efforts etc. being 'too expensive'.

The mindset of many U.S. citizens towards energy development costs, particularly wrt FF extraction, seems to mirror the mindset towards military spending...

...they regard both as the bedrock BAU way of things, to be supported at some gut patriotic unquestioning level, and talk of any other alternatives is hippie anti-American heresy.

It is also interesting to hear the deafening silence is the MSM about the Japanese nuclear incidents and their fallout. It seems that the existing nuclear fission industry is another techno-faith not to be questioned or even talked about, but accepted as the 'normal American' background way of things.

I guess it is hard to consider such things when the 'World' series is in play...

I think you have highlighted the problem with a lot of the thinking when new discoveries are hyped up. People look at them as a 250,000 acre, 200' deep lake of oil sitting at 14,000', like a big tank. What you have described, looking in 3 dimensions, sounds more like a thin scattering of small lenses containing dirty rock.


NAOM – “...thin scattering of small lenses containing dirty rock.” Outstanding. And sometimes not so dirty. But oil/NG reservoirs, even those old biggies like Ghawar, represent a very small percentage of the rock column...like way less than 1%. Even the “huge” new DW Brazil fields are contained in a very small volume of the offshore stratigraphic column. The reservoir rock is a very porous limestone. Just a 5,000 acre (a square about 2.5 miles on the side) with a 200’ think oil reservoir could recover 600 million bo. DW Brazil covers around 100 million acres. That 600 million bbl field would represent about 0.005% of the area. And then consider that reservoir is contained in a 200’ interval of a 15,000’ thick rock column. Or 1.3%. Or around 0.00006% of the total volume of DW Brazil rocks (if I got the decimal places correct).

And then add to the fact that perhaps as much as 99% of all the oil/NG ever generated may have leaked to the surface before it could accumulate in a trap. Commercial size oil/NG fields truly are a rare phenomenon.

If I had a 5 gallon bucket of reservoir rock about how much oil would that contain, typically - I realise there is huge variation in this? Would we be looking at a cup, a pint, a gallon?


NAOM - Let's use 1 cubic foot of rock...12" on a side. So 1,728 cubic inch volume. A very good rock porosity is 30%. So 518 ci of pore space. A good commercial oil reservoir will have 70% of the pores filled with oil and the balance water. This water isn’t mobile so it produces water free oil. So that’s 363 ci of oil in that cf of rock. An excellent primary oil recovery is 60% so 218 ci of oil is recovered. So around 12% of the trap volume is the oil that is eventually recovered. This would be towards the high end of possibilities. Many reservoir don’t do half this volume.

Reservoir volume is measured by average oil pay thickness x areal extent. So a 100’ thick oil reservoir covering 2000 acres is 200,000 acre-feet. A good recovery is 600 bbl/acre-foot. So 200,000 a-f X 600 bbl/ac-ft = 120 million bbl of URR oil.

Hope that gives you some sense of scale.


It is very useful to have real life numbers and scenarios described the way you do it. Thanks so much for taking the time to present your knowledge and experiences here! I have learned a lot...

2nded, this thread has been very helpful.


Those are pretty pricy exploration wells! How many more dry holes until they quit or go bankrupt?

The fact that each well cost well over $100M to drill is sobering. If one thinks about this for a moment, it brings into stark relief the foolishness of the idea that $2 gas is within our grasp if only more holes were drilled.

Mexico’s Drug War Bypassing Growers

EL BARRIL, Mexico — The Mexican government is allowing domestic marijuana and opium poppy production to climb to record levels, as soldiers who once cut and burned illegal crops here in the vast Sierra Madre mountains are being redeployed to cities to wage urban warfare against criminal gangs.

Since President Felipe Calderon ordered his troops into the streets in late 2006, the acreage dedicated to marijuana farming has nearly doubled in Mexico, according to technical reports by the U.S. government and United Nations, data provided by the Mexican military, and interviews with law enforcement agents and growers.

The acreage devoted to opium poppies has also soared, according to the U.S. State Department, making Mexico the second-leading heroin producer in the world, after Afghanistan.

Mexico: U.S. Accused of Dumping Criminals at Border

President Felipe Calderón of Mexico accused the United States on Thursday of dumping criminals at the border because it was cheaper than prosecuting them. He said the practice had fueled violence in Mexico’s border areas.

"The acreage devoted to opium poppies has also soared, according to the U.S. State Department, making Mexico the second-leading heroin producer in the world, after Afghanistan."

Great, so while we're fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq half way around the world, a new and very populous failed state has developed right on our border. (Of course, the US itself is well on its way to failedstatehood imho.)

Well, at least we didn't spend hundreds of billions of dollars helping Mexico to become a failed state. Not sure what your point is. Are you saying we should have invaded Mexico? To prevent them from becoming a failed state? Well, we have seen how good we are at performing that mission.

Not selling any position, just noting the irony.

And there are many things one can do (and avoid doing) other than invasion to help prevent the collapse of a nationstate.

Solution: air drop them into Mexico City.

Has a mexican president ever apologized for illegal immigration from their country into the US, or for the drugs coming across the border, or the costs associated with either? Not once that I can remember. However, their presidents do have a propensity to accuse the US whenever it suits them. How come our presidents never say something like, "Hey, shut up Felipe! Stop the drugs and illegal immigration into our country before you mouth off again." I guess it wouldn't be political, but it sure would be refreshing.

Stop producing the stuff because we cannot stop using it.

Yes really. The drug gangs are south of our border because we cannot control our demand for the stuff. And elements in the US make great profits selling weapons to the cartels. From their standpoint, it is our nearly insatiable damand (plus our war on drugs) that is causing immense harm to their societies.

It is up to the USA to control its borders.


America's Boomtown: North Dakota housing crunch

In the town of Williston, N.D., America's newest oil boomtown, more than 6,000 job seekers have come from every corner of the country looking for work. Yet, oil companies and other developers haven't been able to build housing units fast enough.

In the past year, only about 2,000 new housing units have been built, leaving many workers out in the cold.


U.S. Warns of ‘Imminent’ Threat of Terrorist Attack in Kenya

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Embassy in Kenya warned a terrorist attack may be imminent in the East African nation, six days after Kenyan soldiers entered neighboring Somalia to combat al-Qaeda-linked rebels.

The embassy received “credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate, such as malls and night clubs,” said a statement e-mailed by the State Department today.

as Paul Harvey would say 'and now for the rest of the story'

Kenya Says Western Nations Join Fight in Somalia, as U.S. Denies Role

Doctors slap down claim Chavez to die in 2 years

(Reuters) - Physicians treating Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez disputed on Saturday claims made by a former doctor of the socialist leader that he would die within two years from his undisclosed cancer.

"The President, from the standpoint of cancer has been diagnosed and treated early. Subject to the appropriate follow-up treatments, the current status is quite satisfactory with an excellent prognosis," Dr. Fidel Ramirez said in a televised midday press conference.

Chavez's health is the all-consuming issue for the South American OPEC member nation of 29 million people, one year ahead of a presidential election where he wants to be re-elected.

More dust storms expected as Texas drought lingers

The 90-year-old farmer looked out his window Monday and saw the sky darken as a rare 1.5-mile-tall, 250-mile-long dust cloud stretched across the rain-starved land and blotted out the sun.

"I didn't do anything — just thought back to the way it used to be," Debusk said, recalling the massive dust storms that overwhelmed the region in the 1930s. "That's the way they were."

Meteorologists say people living on Texas' parched plains could see more dust storms as a record drought tightens its grip across the Southwest. At least six sandstorms hit Phoenix this summer, with the most powerful striking on July 5 and measuring a mile high. But experts say another Dust Bowl is unlikely thanks to modern irrigation and farming techniques aimed at holding soil in place.

"The thing that is scary is this exact type of dust storm is the same type of dust storm from during the 30s," said Tom Gill, a geology professor at the University of Texas-El Paso who has studied dust storms for years.

I agree. One of my earliest childhood memories is being caught in a black duster near Amarillo during a Sunday afternoon drive. My father was forced to pull off the road and park. In the spring of 1948 I played a regional tennis tournament during a Lubbock sandstorm. We were the Amarillo High School Sandies, an appropriate name. Fortunately the dust particles were generally to large to reach the terminal bronchioles or alveoli thus were not likely to cause pneumoconiosis or other serious lung injury. In fact the local Amarillo journalist Gene Howe (aka The Tactless Texas) claimed that the dust made us strong and healthy. I had my doubts.

But experts say another Dust Bowl is unlikely thanks to modern irrigation and farming techniques aimed at holding soil in place.

Cognitive dissonance.

The situation did appear to be much improved during the latter half of the 20'th Century. Much of the improvement was attributed to the leadership of my neighbor Howard Finnell.

And the U.S. House and Senate are bound and determined to reverse the good work of your neighbor Howard Finnell

Massive dust storm shows importance of federal, state conservation programs

... “The massive dust storm that hit Lubbock, Texas, on October 17 ironically happened on the same day that the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees announced their willingness to reduce federal Farm Bill Programs, including Conservation programs, by over $23 billion as part of the effort to balance the federal budget,” Parker said. “While it’s true we all need to do our part to help put our fiscal house in order, this storm should show why these cuts can’t all come from conservation and why it’s important that we keep a focus on natural resource protection on working farm and ranch land unless we want to see a new Dust Bowl.”

Journalists keep close eye on Fukushima nuclear worker radiation exposure (Part 3)

Health ministry regulations stipulate that nuclear power station workers can be exposed to a maximum of 100 millisieverts over five years, and 50 millisieverts in a single year. However, in the case of an emergency such as a nuclear accident, they can be exposed to up to 100 millisieverts during work to bring the plant under control. In the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the ministry raised the upper limit to 250 millisieverts.

However, TEPCO was of the view that the conventional regulations do not apply to the work at the Fukushima plant, arguing that workers should not be deprived of employment for long periods. Because of this, the subcontractor omitted the levels of radiation workers were exposed to from their radiation management records.

Radiation exposure amounts and the results of regular medical exams are supposed to be stated clearly on each worker's radiation management record. If workers suffer from cancer in the future, there will be no proof of the causal relationship between their radiation exposure and the disease unless such data is included in their radiation management records, making them ineligible for workers' accident compensation benefits.

Leak at Pakistani nuclear plant, no radiation damage reported yet

Report: SRS worker OK after plutonium exposure


Q: What should we keep in mind when purchasing a dosimeter?

A: The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC) has purchased and tested nine out of the top 10 selling dosimeters available online, all priced at less than 100,000 yen per unit, and all of them turned out to be inaccurate. All the nine products were made in China.

Mideast power brokers call for "Marshall Plan" after unrest


That's an interesting article on the Arab Spring.

Prominent banker Ibrahim Dabdoub said the proposed "Arab Marshall Plan" could be funded by Gulf petrodollars and regional development banks, as there is little hope for major funding from Western nations dealing with their own economic trouble.

Their take on why the Arab Spring took place was the need for mo money to improve conditions and reduce unemployment. However, much to their chagrin the decadent West will not be able to flip the bill for their version of the Marshall Plan.

What I found fascinating about this was the sheer lack of willingness to acknowledge the manner in which the people of this region had been so roughly handled and ignored over the years as the cause of the uprisings. Their take on its cause is simply lack of funds. With that infusement of money, try a little humanity. You'll find it goes a long way to avoiding major uprisings.

Re: Brazil’s Cheap Energy Stymies Cane Investments, Bradesco Says

Interesting that at about $150/MWh (I assume that's a wholesale price), sales of cogenerated electricity provided about 15% of total revenue for Brazilian ethanol operations. And that a decrease to about $100/MWh has discouraged investors in new operations. Just as a reference point, the wholesale price in each of three big US ISOs averages under $50/MWh over the course of a year.

Apologies if this has already been posted, and thanks to eXpat over at POforums:

BP wins approval to resume drilling in Gulf of Mexico

BP has won approval to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, 18 months after a well blowout killed 11 workers and caused an environmental disaster.

Regulators approved plans for drilling to depths of up to 6,000ft about 200 miles off the coast of New Orleans.

US officials said in a statement: "Our review of BP's plan included verification of BP's compliance with the heightened standards."

The Gulf's Kaskida oilfield could contain up to 3bn barrels of crude.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said BP's exploration plan meets the stringent standards issued by the government after last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster, as well as the additional self-imposed standards that BP has taken.

In the months following the Deepwater affair, many analysts questioned whether BP had a future in the US.

Last week, there were reports in the US that BP would not be barred from participating in an upcoming offshore oil and gas lease sale.


How long till they do it again?

In the past, perhaps a bigger risk of large spills has been from Tankers, until Deep Water. Macondo spill, how many VLC's is that? Good thing the Rena is just a Container ship. Fishing for Containers could be quite a treasure hunt.

"A Liberian-flagged cargo ship is stuck 14 miles off the coast of New Zealand after it ran aground on a reef earlier this month. A crack from the deck to the waterline is clearly visible on the Rena, which has spilled about 350 tons of fuel oil into the sea. Maritime New Zealand, which is managing the emergency response, described the crack as a "substantial structural failure," warning that the stern may break away."
Indy Car Crash, now this: News Dispatches VIDEO: Cargo spills into the sea

Peak Cars?

An interesting article on "peak cars" was posted at the Globe this morning:

An equally interesting series of comments has been posted throughout the day (including various people's experiences in living car-less).

This is one of the more interesting articles I have read in a while.

Re: Half of North Sea oil remaining

Ahead of time, sorry Euan!

Predictions of North Sea oil are a strange one. As most here will realise, there never was much 'easy' oil in the North Sea, and what's left is very much not easy indeed - meaning the 4/5th number is probably closest to the mark.

Now the SNP need to push the idea that there's lots left, because they can leverage "keeping it for ourselves" to gain support from scots for independence. Thus you get their (non-serious) energy minister opining to the faithful.

Interesting thing is, Cameron needs that too. He wants independence to push the labour MPs out of Westminster and so make it easier for his party to win another term. Only, he needs to make sure most of the oil is gone, and that terms for what's left are secured such that the scots are left with the cleanup costs. Roll forward a few years and it's not difficult to see an independent scotland in the same position as ireland is now - which would enable them to be taken back into the union on good terms; thoughts of independence dashed.

Thus both sides want to talk up prospects. You'll know if it really is mostly dead by how much Cameron tries to engineer a swift exit for scotland.

It is all about Alex Salmond wanting to be called the first president.


Want to go to St. Petersburg, Russia? And you live in St. Petersburg, Florida. Future plans may include a trip by by train.

A neat idea but pure fantasy at the moment.

Fantasy? What with 4000 kms of track to be laid on one side, a 100 km. strait to be crossed at a low priced of $12 billion, another 2000 kms of track to be laid on the other, plus a heavy reinvestment in existing rolling stock, and the cooperation of three countries (Russia, America, and Canada), the enterprise should be a cakewalk. Put the Wall Street gurus and City brokers on it. They don't seem to have any trouble negotiating sweet deals. Bribe them with bonuses. Worked before.

What's a trillion dollars anyway? Easy come. Easy go.

And once again, The Bridge to Nowhere, rears its ugly Head. Hopefully, it will be killed before it Breeds again.

Such misguided effort by Humans. It's sooooooo, too late, already.


I have a cynical thought on trains vs roads in a collapse scenario:

With the fact that metals seem to get stolen when people get desperate and/or protections fail...

With rail, thieves can cripple an entire society by stealing rail track sections, and if not discovered, can cause huge damage to trains, passengers, and cargo that hit the de-railed spots.

With standard road paving, it seems there is not as much of a target for thieves, except for the metal in steel bridges.

When travellers in the UK, as in the Dale Farm eviction, move into an area many drain and manhole covers go missing. This has caused accidents as vehicles run into the. It happened to me but fortunately it was a small drain and I had enough inertia to get out. Night driving can get very hazardous and the alternative, welding covers in place, causes other issues.



Maybe they need to start using rebar-reinforced concrete plugs and drain grids instead of just using iron/steel like today.

Article out tonight stating the population of the world 'could grow to 15bn by 2100'. I assume they mean if unchecked by resource constraints and/or famine. -There is a peak oil mention in it.

Warning for Darwinian - The last paragraph will make you either laugh, cry, or go completely insane.


My dog's head just exploded.

Was it in the microwave, or were you wokking him?

"Humanity's long-term problem is not going to be too many children, but too few," said the institute's president, Steven Mosher.

It's very interesting the fear that somehow there won't be enough children. This is evident when countries talk about slightly dropping birth rates, like its a harbinger of bad things to come, of an impending point in time when humanity goes silent. No, the fact that birth rates for some countries have declined is a good thing.

This 15 billion estimate though is what I've always thought would happen, because countries like China and India continue to have increasing populations, and if they cannot stop then what country can? The world as a whole has always had increases in population from year to year. The fear of the population not increasing, is for some reason greater than the fear of what will happen if the population continues to rise without restraint.

Human beings are still governed by the lizard brain which pushes them to procreate. Asking humanity to level off its population is like asking people at that last stage of life when their bodies are falling apart to off themselves in spite of the overriding instinct to survive. It's just not going to happen.

Reading between the lines, what he is really saying is "who is going to do the work to support us pensioners" as in we're creating huge amounts of debt and we need the next generation of worker ants to pay it back!

Yes! We need a plethora of Ponzis to support today's system.

Personally, I'm hoping the whole banking system collapses and gets replaced by something that is capable of functioning in a steady state and eventually declining economy.

""something that is capable of functioning in a steady state and eventually declining economy.""

It already exists......


Anyone still in the mainstream banking system, deserves what is coming. Tangible Assets, is where the smart wealth moves to.


Yes, I am aware of the Bank of ND and agree that it should be used as a model for other countries to follow, in fact it may be the only option left.

Neither laughing or crying Fuser, this is just what I would expect from that crowd. This just confirms my belief that there will be no form of "worldwide" population control other than the one Mother Nature implements. And of course the world population will never reach those silly numbers. I don't believe it will ever reach 8 billion.

This week's Time Magazine has an article on the 7 billion milestone. They have these numbers:
It took all human history to reach 1 billion in 1804,
123 years to reach 2 billion in 1927,
32 years to reach 3 billion in 1959,
15 years to reach 4 billion in 1974,
13 years to reach 5 billion in 1987,
11 years to reach 6 billion in 1998,
13 years to reach 7 billion in 2011.
And it will take they say
14 years to reach 8 billion in 2025,
18 years to reach 9 billion in 2043.

I don't believe it. We will never reach 8 billion people. Collapse and die-off will come before 2025.

Ron P.

I don't believe it. We will never reach 8 billion people. Collapse and die-off will come before 2025.

Look at India and China regarding what minimal level of existence people are willing to put up with, and the less they have the less education received and the more children they procreate.

Unless a worldwide catastrophe occurs like runaway GW or nuclear war, the world will probably populate to the maximum density seen today in places like Pakistan, China and India. Even if every person is living on less than 1 buck a day in abject poverty, hideous squalor, open sewers, no infrastructure, humans are unable to do anything about population increases, so that is where we are headed. A muddy, barren landscape with 15 billion people climbing over each other for a scrap of food to get a woman pregnant and add to the family, then get up in the morning and sift through the garbage dump for a morsel of food to get a woman pregnant and have another child.

Unfortunately Humans, due to instinctual behavior, drive and religious fervor put having children first and their own and the worlds future 2nd. As long as procreating is 1st, then quality of life will always be 2nd and thus we all move in the direction of Pakistan.

Play with Gapminder and total fertility stats, and you'll see that you seem to be wrong.

A muddy, barren landscape with 15 billion people...

The reason this scene won't likely play out is that dirt poor people still need enough arable land and clean water to survive. Double the current population and you'd have to double today`s arable land and clean water supply, as well as substantially increase chemical fertilizer and other fossil fuel inputs. The extra arable land, fresh water, fisheries, fossil fuel, etc. needed to support the extra population doesn`t exist. That`s why I agree with Darwinian -- the Earth`s population cannot grow much higher than it`s now.

Last week "a group of scientists"[*] published a report claiming we could easily feed a couple of more billion people. Their solution? More fertilizer. Someone need to have a look at the supply side.

[*]Journalist seldom bother to qoute sources. They are, after all SCIENTISTS!

Population of world 'could grow to 15bn by 2100'
Nearly 7 billion people now inhabit planet but projections that number will double this century have shocked academics

Good for Mr. Martin, ton80! Paragraph four.


I was glad for that article. (As in glad that someone finally say what I have been thinking). I always thought those pop-growth prognosis was to low. For some reason they all asumea very convenient slowdown in pop growth (in absolute numbers) at about 2050, without giving any satisfying reason as to why.

Now I need to add that I don't think those numbers will be reached; climate change and water issues will set a limit to that long before. But I do believe in those birth numbers, meaning a lot of infant deaths in the future.

The reason for slowing down is not very strange. It's simply the trend. Most growth nowadays is due to population pyramids becoming population columns, not due to pyramid bases widening. I.e. total fertility rates are trending down to below 2. When pyramids have become columns, growth have stopped.

'As Libya cheers, questions over brutal Gadhafi death'

That's a news headline on Google news. Look at that headline. Does it seem like something is wrong? This is in my opinion why the world is dotted with leaders reckless with the wealth and health of the people of their country. Because usually no matter how brutal their regime, no matter how many people they have tortured and killed, they themselves are suppose to be handled with kid gloves.

When the world reaches a point where they stop having special handling instructions for despots, it will be good thing for everyone.

When the world reaches a point where they stop having special handling instructions for despots, it will be good thing for everyone.

Agree, it is difficult to feel for Mr. Gadhafi and his gang. A jackal thrown to the wolves is one less predator to worry about. Good riddance.

Human rights lawyers are often motivated by lofty ideals and keen sense of justice, and thankfully so, but like everybody else, they too look after their own interests first. Lamenting the mistreatment of tin pot dictators may feed this peculiar cottage industry, but a brute's dispatch is classic school yard justice - the bully getting his comeuppance. Rough and tumble, lethal and ugly yes, but still within the right and good.

Meanwhile the real Libyan torturer in chief Mouusa Koussa lives in luxury in Qatar. Strangely he was not detained after defecting initially to the UK early on in the uprising.

Nothing is strange if you have powerful friends and hold many secrets.

Documents Detail CIA, MI6 Relationship With Qaddafi

A cache of papers found at the [Libyan] intelligence headquarters dating from the time it was run by Moussa Koussa, who later became foreign minister and defected in March, showed Libya was handed Islamist opposition members as part of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme.

MI6 also provided extensive information to the Libyan authorities of opponents living in Britain.

The documents give details of how much further subsequent co-operation went between Libya and the West. They confirm that Abdulhakim Belhadj, now leader of the Tripoli Military Council under the rebel government, was flown by the CIA to Libya for interrogation and imprisonment in 2004

If Moussa Koussa is smart [and he is - in a sick sort of way], he has a trove of documents [poison pill] that will be released if he meets an 'untimely' demise.

This is also a reason why Qadaffi needed a bullet in the back of the ear.

I do not lament the end of Qaddafi, and it was bound to happen the way it did. But he did have his trial - his behavior in the last umpteen years.

It's just too bad that nobody dropped a net over this guy 30-odd years ago and got him proper psychiatric care - in my opinion he was clearly as psychotic as heck. Sure would have saved everyone a lot of grief, including himself.

Oh well.

I do not lament the end of Qaddafi, and it was bound to happen the way it did. But he did have his trial - his behavior in the last umpteen years.

Gaddafi and friends: in pictures

Agree, it is difficult to feel for Mr. Gadhafi and his gang. A jackal thrown to the wolves is one less predator to worry about. Good riddance.

Alright, Zadok the Priest - yes. If we can just get the other 6.999999999 billion to agree then it becomes a new world policy. Enjoy your Sunday.

The question is, where does it stop. If leaders can be hunted down and shot without trial in such cases, why not the same for, say Bush and Cheney, arguably responsible for the deaths of probably hundreds of thousands and the displacement of millions? I have no love lost for them, but I don't think the right response is hunting them down like animals (hell, I'm not even very wild about hunting down animals like animals '-)

How we deal with even (or especially) the worst among us speaks volumes about who we are. It is easy to ask that we deal fairly with people we sympathize with. But justice is a meaningless concept if we throw it out the window every time we encounter someone we decide is 'truly evil.'

If leaders can be hunted down and shot without trial in such cases, why not the same for, say Bush and Cheney, arguably responsible for the deaths of probably hundreds of thousands and the displacement of millions?

I include them too for their heinous crimes, as all leaders should be held accountable for their actions. When leaders of the world come to know they are not immune from a measured response, their behavior will alter positively.

"The question is, where does it stop. If leaders can be hunted down and shot without trial in such cases, why not the same for, say Bush and Cheney, arguably responsible for the deaths of probably hundreds of thousands and the displacement of millions?"

Indeed, where should the hunting down stop? With Bush and Cheney? How about Obama?
Let me know why/when there's a good stopping point.

"Let me know why/when there's a good stopping point."

We just need to look at the French Revolution for some historical clues.

War is hell. He fought to the end. He got caught up in it. He died.

I don't think we need to worry about the concept of justice being thrown out the window. Especially if we can get Bush and Cheney to the Hague ;-)

and Obama to the Hague.

Actually, Bush, Cheney, and Obama can all go the Hague. Bush and Cheney need to go to Leavenworth for treason - willfully lying the nation into war. Obama merely continued their ruinous wars.

Really, and Lybia?
Or, is it about numbers? With Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan, etc. in the cross hairs
I'm guessing some new highs in casualties loom for Obama and his succesors.
Ok, then how about votes? Or do only so-called democracies get a free pass on wanton slaughter?
Just asking.

No, massive civilian casualties are merely war crimes - heck, everybody does it. But lying the nation into a trillion dollar war, well, that's special. That's treason.

Treason? Lying, spending too much on a war, or the combo?
Jeez, and here I thought wars are always started by lies.
What a dunce am I.
Thanks, my rage is all gone.
But wait, you weren't being sarcastic were you?

Of course I was being sarcastic. I should have sprinkled some smileys around :-)

My rage is not all gone.

Media Matters outs Robert Bryce who in the past has been cited by a prominent TOD contributor in anti ethanol arguments.

Manhattan Institute Has Received Funding From The Koch Family Foundations. The Manhattan Institute has received over $1.3 million total from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation and the David H. Koch Foundation over the years, both of which are associated with Koch Industries, an oil, gas and chemical corporation. From 2001 to 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available), the Lambe Foundation gave The Manhattan Institute $200,000 annually. The Lambe Foundation's board of directors is "comprised entirely of Koch family members, senior Koch executives, and staff who serve Koch foundations," including the CEO of Koch Industries Charles G. Koch, according to Greenpeace. [Greenpeace, accessed 10/7/11]


Bryce Has Been Criticized For Questionable Data, Misleading Claims
Texas Tribune: "Bryce Relies On Skewed Research And Fuzzy Math." From an October 2010 review of Bryce's book:

In an author's note, Bryce writes that he "believe[s] in the relentless application of logic to our discourse on energy, power, and the future." He accuses others of ignoring "logic and common sense as well as hard facts and figures." Indeed, Power Hungry is loaded with charts, statistics and footnotes, but some of it doesn't wash. Bryce, for example, tries to prove that wind power consumes enormous amounts of land relative to nuclear power. He does so by including all the land on a typical wind farm rather than the actual footprint of a turbine, which is much smaller. By my calculation, his math is off by a factor of around 300.

Bryce relies on skewed research and fuzzy math as he tries to prove that wind farms do nothing to displace dirty-fuel power plants or reduce carbon emissions. As a grand example, he takes on Denmark's successful wind-power sector, asserting that it has had minimal effect on carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, the amount of CO2 produced by Denmark's electricity sector has dropped by nearly a quarter since 1990, even as the economy has grown.

Worse, Bryce lends aid and comfort to some tinfoil ideas. He cites something called "wind turbine syndrome"--the theory that low-frequency sounds from turbine blades make people sick. No matter that there is no peer-reviewed research documenting the effect. [Texas Observer, 10/14/10]

"wind turbine syndrome"--the theory that low-frequency sounds from turbine blades make people sick

holy cow. that's a pretty desperate grasp at a pretty feeble straw...

"Green building proves a real money spinner"

"From his office building in Rotterdam, Dutch property developer Coen van Oostrom (41) looks out over the River Maas. Along the banks there are several buildings which are entirely climate neutral. All of them were developed by him. He hopes to distribute these green offices all over the world.

Last month Coen van Oostrom was applauded by Bill Clinton. At the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, the former US president called him a catalyst for sustainable property development.

This recognition didn’t come out of the blue. In 2007, Van Oostrom’s company, OVG, committed itself to investing one billion US dollars in the development of sustainable properties – properties that use up to 60 percent less energy. The company reached this goal within three years."


This link can be found at http://www.tswi.org "The State We're In" on Netherlands Radio. Interesting broadcast.

More incredibly high readings more than 200km from Fukushima Daiichi.

Kashiwa hot spot linked to Fukushima

CHIBA — The science ministry said Sunday the high radiation detected on city-owned land in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, is emanating from cesium that was probably ejected by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant, contradicting earlier government claims.

...Earlier surveyors who dug deeper into the soil at the hot spot recorded higher levels of radiation, leading some experts to speculate that the contaminated soil came from elsewhere and might have been deliberately buried there.

But the ministry has confirmed that rain water is leaching out of the ditch and into the soil at the spot, ministry officials said at a new conference Sunday.

Up to 276,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram of soil was detected 30 cm below the surface of the hot spot Friday after an abnormal level of airborne radiation was found earlier in the week, the municipality said.

That's up to 18 million Bq/m2 in the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The air reading above the soil was 58 microsieverts per hour. Or 36 times the minimum caesium contamination level triggering evacuation at Chernobyl.

So, if someone stands in that exact spot for a month, he'll reach the maximum yearly radiation worker dosage of 50,000 microsieverts?

Jeppen you are just not getting it. Forget the simplistic external dose sieverts reading. It is the internal contamination that builds up inside you that will kill you. And please don't mention the brain-dead bananas comparison. Well unless your bananas are contaminated with radioactive caesium that is. Different radioactive elements concentrate at different points in the body and have vastly differing effects including targetting DNA itself in some cases.

And if you must stick with simplistic sieverts please note that entirely different limits need to be applied to young children.

I will post this again in the hope that you actually watch this as I mistakenly posted a broken link the last time.

PLEASE WATCH Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo. On July 27, he appeared as a witness to give testimony to the Committee on Welfare and Labor in Japan’s Lower House in the Diet.

With English subtitles at http://dotsub.com/view/970ac7d2-c282-4d67-a7c6-e8fb978ba12f

Incredibly angry, he accuses the Japanese government/TEPCO of total incompetence and a cover-up of the true scale and release of radiation and the damage internal exposure from the fall-out will do - especially to children.

NB the sound is out of synch but the translation is accurate - you can find edited versions elsewhere or check the transcript.

Forget the simplistic external dose sieverts reading. It is the internal contamination that builds up inside you that will kill you.

So, if they don't eat the buried soil, they're good?

And please don't mention the brain-dead bananas comparison. Well unless your bananas are contaminated with radioactive caesium that is. Different radioactive elements concentrate at different points in the body and have vastly differing effects including targetting DNA itself in some cases.

Is this more than weasely FUD? Or would you like to go on record claiming potassium, that is so important for brain and neuron function is, sievert for sievert, more benign than cesium?

And if you must stick with simplistic sieverts please note that entirely different limits need to be applied to young children.

Ah, "think of the children"?

Incredibly angry, he accuses the Japanese government/TEPCO of total incompetence and a cover-up of the true scale and release of radiation

I think it would require extreme competence to cover-up. Sorry, I don't believe in conspiracy theories, and I don't buy silly radiation scares.

Ah, "think of the children"?

Well obviously you don't.

Are you telling me that Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo, is lying in the video or did you not even bother to watch it? Cause you too much cognitive dissonance does it? Does your brain switch off when he talks about contamination building up in children's play-parks? Perhaps you think children play fully suited up like your radiation workers you keep quoting emergency exposure limits for, as if they apply here?

You haven't a clue about the ongoing catastrophe.

Yep, jep is a major denialist of the dangers of radiation and nukes in general.

Levels in the soil does not mean that they will stay there. People dig in the ground for all sorts of reasons. And, yes, children eat dirt all the time. But the greater danger is probably of these being blown around in dust and settling in people's lungs.

And sadly Jeppen is not alone. Maybe he even fancies this hot new holiday destination.

Moron of the year

Commentariat Soejima Tatsuhiko and religion expert (?) Nakaya Shinichi are planning to build “Hotel Radiation”.

According to them, the radiation level is very low in Fukushima, which is good for your health.

..The picture below is when the moron got into the 20km area and declare it is safe for some reason, but the Geiger counter shows “106.9 uSv/h“.

I hope this idiot will be alive until hotel radiation is finished.

Yep, jep is a major denialist of the dangers of radiation and nukes in general.

I consider myself a truth-seeking bean-counter.

Well obviously you don't.

Perhaps I do when it matters?

Are you telling me that Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo, is lying in the video or did you not even bother to watch it?

I did watch it. Lying about what? What specific point are you talking about? That children is more susceptible? I know they are, but they are not best served by panic either.

Does your brain switch off when he talks about contamination building up in children's play-parks?

No, I'm not very surprised contaminated rainwater concentrates here and there. I just don't think it is very alarming. If there are places to decontaminate, then decontaminate. If there are places that needs evacuation, then evacuate. But it is still very, very, very small parts of Japan that needs any of this.

You haven't a clue about the ongoing catastrophe.

Actually, I do, since we've had one that had very limited impact, in Chernobyl, and Fukushima is much milder.

Actually, I do, since we've had one that had very limited impact, in Chernobyl, and Fukushima is much milder.

Well I could take your word for that or I could listen to Yablokov et. al. who detail the Soviet initial cover-up of Chernobyl health effects (as a member of the USSR parliament and scientific adviser to Gorbachev and later Yeltsin, he has first hand knowledge) and then presents the results of post-Soviet Russian and other research into the true scale of the disaster.

You can see an interview with Yablokov here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-hHTFWXr90

I could mention the 80% rate of chronic childhood illness even today in some towns.

Recuperative Holidays

Doctors in Belarus say that this boosts the children’s immune systems for at least two years, helping them to resist, or recover from, serious illness.

In the summer, when the dust causes radiation levels to rise, it is important for as many children as possible to leave their contaminated homeland for a few weeks of fresh air and clean food.

It can also significantly reduce the amount of radioactive caesium which has built up in a child’s body

Each summer Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK) brings around 300 children to Britain for a recuperative holiday. It also organises holidays in clean parts of Belarus for children whose disabilities make it difficult for them to travel.

Many of the children brought to the UK are in remission from leukaemia or cancer. They are chosen by an organisation called Children in Trouble, which is run by parents of children with cancer.

Holidays abroad are vital for their children, particularly in their teens, when many fall ill for a second or third time, and the death rate is very high.

But I just mentioned children's health again so I guess you switched off.

I switch off because you are just citing very general claims, FUD, conspiracy theories and anti-radiation brochures along with some specifics that are meaningless without a broader context. Give me the epidemological studies regarding Chernobyl and prove to me that they are accepted in the academic mainstream.

Undertow, when you try to reason with certain kinds of people, you will find that they will just keep moving the goalpost, demanding more and more proof, footnotes, citations, etc. It is a classic rhetorical/debate ploy. You will never be able to supply the references that he requires, for the simple reason that he is not interested in facts or learning or the like. He will surely dismiss your latest reference for trumped up reason or another.

Well, how nice of you to dismiss my objections even before I utter them. I will utter them anyway, so feel free to dismiss them again.

Now, the first paper (published in ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, whatever that is) has a foreword that contains this passage: "apologists of nuclear power began a blackout on data concerning the actual amounts of radioactive emissions, the doses of radiation, and the increasing morbidity among the people that were affected. When it became impossible to hide the obvious increase in radiation-related diseases, attempts were made to explain it away as being a result of nationwide fear. At the same time some concepts of modern radiobiology were suddenly revised."

The second paper is made by the "German Affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)". It says this, for instance "In the aftermath of Chernobyl not only was there an increase in the incidence of stillbirths and malformations in Europe, but there was also a shift in the ratio of male and female embryos. Significantly fewer girls were born after 1986. A paper by Kristina Voigt, Hagen Scherb also showed that after 1968, in the aftermath of Chernobyl, around 800,000 fewer children were born in Europe than one might have expected. Scherb estimated that, as the paper did not cover all countries, the overall number of “missing” children after Chernobyl could be about one million. Similar effects were also observed following above-ground nuclear weapons tests."

I can't really take any of these papers seriously (and it's not that they can't spell "1986"). The passages I cite, in my eyes, make them reek of conspiracy theories, and you don't even try to make the case that they represent the academic mainstream.

Translation: "I don't like these conclusions. I will disregard them, and dismiss them as conspiracy theories".

And don't think we can agree. Let's just let people make up their minds regarding the passages I quoted. Some people will find them believable. Other people, like me, will find them unreasonable.

For laymen like us, the most reasonable option is to stick with the mainstream academic position. Yes, it might shift, but likely not very much.


Thing is if you go look at fertility rates, death rates etc in Belarus, Ukraine, USSR etc (World Bank Data) you see that after Chernobyl, fertility rate dropped markedly, death rates started to go up and even now the Belarus population is shrinking. Proportionately similar results also appear to be the case in other areas with proportionately high fallout. The "problem" of course is that the Soviet Union was collapsing about the same time and that clearly has a huge effect. But it is a fact that there are many millions less people alive now than would have been had fertility not dropped and mortality increased so losing a much smaller number of "1 million" missing births due to Chernobyl over decades over the whole of Europe is actually quite numerically possible. I am not saying I necessarily agree with it but, in context, it's not the huge number you think it is.

Here's a newer study by the same team Kristina Voigt, Hagen Scherb which you might (or might not) find more convincing.

Nuclear Radiation Affects Sex of Babies, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2011) — Ionizing radiation is not without danger to human populations. Indeed, exposure to nuclear radiation leads to an increase in male births relative to female births, according to a new study by Hagen Scherb and Kristina Voigt from the Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Their work shows that radiation from atomic bomb testing before the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, the Chernobyl accident, and from living near nuclear facilities, has had a long-term negative effect on the ratio of male to female human births (sex odds). The research is published in the June issue of Springer's journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

And the actual paper.

The human sex odds at birth after the atmospheric atomic bomb tests, after Chernobyl, and in the vicinity of nuclear facilities


Background, aim, and scope
Ever since the discovery of the mutagenic properties of ionizing radiation, the possibility of birth sex odds shifts in exposed human populations was considered in the scientific community. Positive evidence, however weak, was obtained after the atomic bombing of Japan. We previously investigated trends in the sex odds before and after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. In a pilot study, combined data from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, and Sweden between 1982 and 1992 showed a downward trend in the sex odds and a significant jump in 1987, the year immediately after Chernobyl. Moreover, a significant positive association of the sex odds between 1986 and 1991 with Chernobyl fallout at the district level in Germany was observed. Both of these findings, temporality (effect after exposure) and dose response association, yield evidence of causality. The primary aim of this study was to investigate longer time periods (1950–2007) in all of Europe and in the USA with emphasis on the global atmospheric atomic bomb test fallout and on the Chernobyl accident. To obtain further evidence, we also analyze sex odds data near nuclear facilities in Germany and Switzerland.

Full article PDF http://www.springerlink.com/content/w822527526045772/fulltext.pdf

And on your Yablokov quote, again please remember he is talking about the Soviet and immediate post-Soviet cover-up from his unique viewpoint of having been a de facto, reluctant part of the cover-up.

Is this more than weasely FUD? Or would you like to go on record claiming potassium, that is so important for brain and neuron function is, sievert for sievert, more benign than cesium?

Apologies for the delay as I couldn't find the table at first until I remembered the appendix.

This is the preliminary calculation of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (Yes I know they are "Green") for their estimated weighting factors for various isotopes at low dose internal exposure. Unfortunately they don't publish a potassium-40 value but earlier in the paper they do briefly refer to it as being a relatively low hazard isotope at typical body concentrations and publish UK official estimates for the contribution of K-40 from natural sources which show it contributing far less than 10% of a typical yearly background exposure based on UK official data.

In a video, if I recall, Chris Busby has stated that the fact the potassium is everywhere in the body is also partly why the risk is reduced. Single decay events occur widely dispersed throughout the body resulting in mostly repairable damage (and we've evolved with it of course). Other radioactive elements which concentrate more in particular areas of the body and/or cell structures (and evolution hasn't had to deal with damage from in the main) are far more problematic.

Anyway I am not presenting this as "gospel truth" and they have many critics but here's the table.

The full paper is at http://www.euradcom.org/2011/ecrr2010.pdf

Think what you like but here's the words of Professor Rudi H. Nussbaum on apparently widely conflcting data.


The Chernobyl Nuclear Catastrophe: Unacknowledged Health Detriment
Rudi H. Nussbaum
Department of Physics and Environmental Sciences, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon,


In the absence of scientifically convincing evidence rebutting such challenges to official assessments of the physical events and long-term human consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe, the Precautionary Principle in public health issues (Goldstein 1999; Kriebel et al.2001) requires that these unwelcome findings be no longer ignored in “state of knowledge” reviews (Brenner et al. 2003; National Research Council 2006), in “assessments of the health consequences” (Baverstock and Williams 2006), and in official radiation protection standards.

The Japanese government is most certainly not following the precautionary principle. They are running a long term, dirty bomb exposure study on their own citizens from conception onwards without informed consent.

The real trick is to ignore the radiation right now, since we're not seeing the health effects and the body count.. then to challenge them later when the illnesses start showing up, saying there's no proof that this illness was FROM the Fukushima Toxics, and then finally, to simply refuse the sufferers and the birth defects from any healthcare support, because 'we don't cover Preexisting Conditions'..

Bases Covered.

Nuclear Toxicity can be swept under the rug, Even if you Don't have a RUG! WooHoo!

Mag 7.2 earthquake in Turkey - USGS forecasts massive death toll



Alert level does not include impacts from earthquake-related hazards such as tsunamis, landslides, fires or liquefaction.

Earthquake Shaking Alert Level: RED
Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 at 10:41:21 UTC (13:41:21 local)Location: 38.6° N, 43.5° EDepth: 20kmEvent Id: USB0006BQCAlert Version: 2Created: 1 hour, 31 minutes after earthquake.

That's up to 10,000 - 100,000 deaths forecast as most likely by the USGS.

372,000 people in the city of Van estimated to have experienced Level 9 shaking. A further 29,000 at level 10 (highest the scale goes).

Warming could exceed safe levels in this lifetime


IMF, EU, European Central Bank “Troika” Greece Debt Sustainability Analysis October 21, 2011

This draft analysis by the so-called “troika” of the IMF, European Commission, and the European Central Bank was leaked to a number of media outlets. Almost none of the outlets chose to reproduce the full PDF of the document, except for a few Italian economics publications.

... The assessment shows that debt will remain high for the entire forecast horizon. While it would decline at a slow rate given heavy official support at low interest rates (through the EFSF as agreed at the July 21 Summit), this trajectory is not robust to a range of shocks.

... 3. Under these assumptions, Greece’s debt peaks at very high levels and would decline at a very slow rate pointing to the need for further debt relief to ensure sustainability. Debt (net of collateral required for PSI) would peak at 186 percent of GDP in 2013 and decline only to 152 percent of GDP by end-2020 and to 130 percent of GDP by end-2030.

Greece would not return to the market until 2021 under the market access assumptions used, and cumulatively official additional financing needs ... could amount to some €252 billion [$347 billion]from the present through to 2020.

$347 billion dollars / 11 million Greeks = Default

Isn't it obvious that the best option for Greece is to default on the lot? If they don't "reenter the market until 2021" how much worse/better would it be if they just defaulted on 100% and got on with fixing their economy?

You can get a lot of forgiveness in ten years.

Reentering the market in 2021 is predicated on evrything going right for the next 10 years; and, as they mentioned, it would be suceptible to shocks.

Can anyone think of a potential shock to the global economic system within the next 10 years?

U.S. rating likely to be downgraded again: Merrill

(Reuters) - The United States will likely suffer the loss of its triple-A credit rating from another major rating agency by the end of this year due to concerns over the deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasts.

The trigger would be a likely failure by Congress to agree on a credible long-term plan to cut the U.S. deficit, the bank said in a research note published on Friday.

"Hence, we expect at least one credit downgrade in late November or early December when the super committee crashes," he added.

Production of biofuel from forests will increase greenhouse emissions

The largest and most comprehensive study yet done on the effect of biofuel production from West Coast forests has concluded that an emphasis on bioenergy would increase carbon dioxide emissions from these forests at least 14 percent, if the efficiency of such operations is optimal.

A complete "life cycle analysis" outlines the various ways that wood products can be used and their influence on atmospheric carbon.

Bombings, beheadings? Stats show a peaceful world

In his new book, "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined," Pinker makes the case that a smarter, more educated world is becoming more peaceful in several statistically significant ways.

- The number of people killed in battle - calculated per 100,000 population - has dropped by 1,000-fold over the centuries as civilizations evolved. Before there were organized countries, battles killed on average more than 500 out of every 100,000 people. In 19th century France, it was 70. In the 20th century with two world wars and a few genocides, it was 60. Now battlefield deaths are down to three-tenths of a person per 100,000.

... "It is easy to forget how dangerous life used to be, how deeply brutality was once woven into the fabric of daily existence," Pinker writes in his book.

He examines body counts, rapes, sacrifice and slavery in the Bible, using an estimate of 1.2 million deaths detailed in the Old Testament. He describes forms of torture used in the Middle Ages and even notes the nastiness behind early day fairy tales, such as the evil queen's four gruesome methods for killing Snow White along with a desire to eat her lungs and liver.

Bethcha a little 'nuclear exchange' would skew his statistics

Good point about nukes.

But more broadly, we have turned from killing each other toward killing the planet and by extent our progeny.

And we have not yet adequately replaced these brutal forms of controlling our numbers with more benign forms of birth control, empowerment of women...

Pinker is generally a bright guy--I voted to nominate his book on language as the best work to popularize that topic in the annual meeting of the Linguistics Society of America a few years back.

But if he is taking Biblical figures for deaths at face value, he is not using very good methodology, to say the least. In the book of Esther alone, there are claims of huge slaughters of the enemies of the Jews in Persia that have now correlation to anything in the historical record.

Of course, if his point is that people not only practiced brutality but dreamed of ever greater slaughter, the point is well taken.

Well, in the end everybody has to die some way or another. This is not morbid; this is 100% fact, an inescapable truth of our existence on this planet.

If you don't die by war, then you'll die of famine or outbreak, or maybe heart disease, cancer, or you'll acquire dementia and finally succumb to a urinary tract infection or pneumonia after the doctors keep you on the vent for a couple of weeks.

It's a good thing that humans are learning not to massacre each other. Nature doesn't care though, and she'll do you in eventually.

Another factor that has resulted in the reduction in violence is the general rise in prosperity and productivity throughout the world. Ordinary folks live a life today that was only possible for the kings and noblemen just five hundred years ago. The only way to get super rich super fast in those days was to rob someone else, hence the violence.

If material prosperity goes down you can bet that this picture will change fast.

Crowded Earth: how many is too many?

... "From soaring food prices to the crippling effects of climate change, our economies are now confronting the reality of years of spending beyond our means,"

... "In 2030 there will be at least another billion people on the planet," Lalonde said.

"The question is, how do we boost food security and provide essential services to the billion poorest people but without using more water, land or energy?"

how do we boost food security and provide essential services to the billion poorest people but without using more water, land or energy?

We have answers to that question, but then we run into the more difficult question: how can we do all this without disturbing existing extreme hierarchies of wealth, status, and power?

We can't. Boosting food security and autarky, farming using far less water, land, and energy, all this requires land reform, relocalisation, polyculture vs monoculture, real food vs industrial feedstock, wresting control away from Enclosers and monopolists (large landholders, comprador elites, industrial agri-combines, etc).

It's not that we don't know what would work better. It's that doing things stupidly is more profitable (for some) than doing things intelligently. Within a very narrow definition of "smart" they are smart to do what makes the most money for them in the short term. Within a broader definition of "smart" (as in evolutionarily adaptive) they are a dead end -- not for the first time in human history.

It's not that we don't know what would work better. It's that doing things stupidly is more profitable (for some) than doing things intelligently. Within a very narrow definition of "smart" they are smart to do what makes the most money for them in the short term. Within a broader definition of "smart" (as in evolutionarily adaptive) they are a dead end


Never mind that there's an epidemic of obesity in America. The signature dish is the Quadruple Bypass — four half-pound burger patties topped with cheese, bacon and no lettuce (lettuce is for wimps). If you order it with the fries cooked in lard and the triple butterfat milkshake topped with a pat of real butter, you'll be getting 8,000 calories worth of food.

Anyone who walks into the Heart Attack Grill weighing in at more than 350 pounds gets to eat free of charge. Basso has been widely criticized for this policy, but he laughs it off. "Hey, we're all dysfunctional."

We're not going to make it as a species, are we?

Sounds like an American par excellence.

Doing anything, no matter how outlandish, to make a buck.

Nature Adds Water, and Everything Mushrooms

Mycophiles have spent the season in a sort of extended delirium. ... “It’s that kind of year that people will talk about in the future: ‘Remember 2011

Heavy rains help produce bounty of mushrooms in NE

"It was like a scene from 'Alice and Wonderland,'" said David Fischer, who wrote "Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America."

ACTIVE OUTDOORS: Wild mushrooms aren’t all bad

also http://ediblewildmushrooms.com/

I have to wonder what the minister is trying to do...
Half of North Sea oil remaining, says energy minister

We all know where that point is on the hubbert curve... From many perspectives this is the most terrifying moment.

For the North Sea we are WELL past that point.

NAOM - Thanks. A very rare view of the inside of EG from an outsider. Last reporter that tried was beaten and thrown on a plane back to Zurich. Nice documentation but still a long winded piece to make a simple point. And for those that take the time to read it and wonder why the Brits et al are making nice with this ruthless homicidal dictator (after just supporting the overthrow of one who wasn't quite as bad): half their oil goes the EU and the rest to the US. As long as the oil flows them folks don't need no human rights.

One of my fantasies is for the Chinese to swoop in, cut a deal, and start shipping all the oil home. I'm sure the rest ofthe west would suddenly want to bring democracy to the citizens of EG then.