Sunday open thread

For your threading pleasure.
Tropical Depression 18, expected to become Hurricane Rita in about 36 hours, may reach Category 2 strength in 3 or 4 days.  It may become a threat to oil/gas production across the entire Gulf of Mexico - as it appears to have a path that will run from the Florida keys to the southern coast of Texas.

Expect GOM production to be shut in again in just another day or so, with repair crews leaving unfinished the damage left by Katrina.

If Rita goes anywhere near New Orleans, I expect that area to be evacuated again fairly quickly - due to very few usable roadways remaining to get people out.

Projected path:

For an interesting thread on the changing forecasts for this strenghtening storm, visit Hurricane Rita May Shut in GOM Again over at
Re: Hurricane Rita

There are two dangerous aspects to this storm.
  • It may not follow its expected trajectory due west but may turn northward (to the northwest)
  • High sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Gulf may strengthen the storm as it passes -- this happened with Katrina
Let's hope neither of these things happen.
Just musing, but if the weather weenies are correct and future conditions (due to global warming, human or otherwise) favor more numerous and stronger hurricanes into Gulf of Mexico, wouldnt that be a nasty scenario for US/World energy/social situation?

What if Rita, which I expect the mainstream media to get wind of Monday, blows into Corpus Christi as some are saying, as a CAT4?

The GOM shut in production would increase sizeably - I expect that is why oil futures are up in night session. But, more broadly, is this an externality that the world will have to deal with? warmer weather hurricanes disrupting our energy buffet? One bad one does not a trend make,but stay tuned...

I recall reading about a Department of Defense look at global warming from a security perspective. Dated now.

Love the web.. here's the links:

Full report:

This Defense Department study, obtained by the media in February 2004, looked at the impact of abrupt climate change on national security. Abrupt climate change is a worst-case scenario, which scientists consider a plausible, though uncertain, consequence of global warming. It draws heavily from a National Academy of Sciences report published in 2002 which said the likelihood of crossing a threshold that triggers abrupt climate change grows when the climate is pushed hardest by rapid loading of the atmosphere with heat-trapping pollution.

The authors of the report ordered by the Pentagon say that such a scenario could lead to global food and water shortages that would drive widespread migrations and border conflicts worldwide. While scientists believe this extreme scenario has a low probability, the serious economic, health, and environmental effects expected from mainstream mid-range global warming forecasts are much more certain and fully support prompt action to cut heat-trapping emissions. The very high consequences that would result from the scenarios reported to the Pentagon reinforce the importance of action now to reduce these emissions.

Households across Britain face power blackouts this winter following a severe weather warning from the Met Office. Forecasters are predicting unusually low temperatures and greater than average snowfall from December until the end of January and have sent out an official warning to utility firms.

Another interesting article at Bill Toten.  Rising Fuel Prices Spell the End of Flying.
AB linked to this article under "what the eye doesn't see", but it really seems like it fits better here, so I'll comment here.

Learsy's thesis is that if, hypothetically, a food OPEC were formed, everybody would come down on it like a ton of bricks. Correct. However, some sort of unclear logic eventually leads him to conclude that we ought to cope with the actual oil OPEC by cutting back on oil use by fiat: "We can no longer permit the unfettered consumption of oil. Our national honor and security depend on it."

So let's take his analogy seriously and alter the proposition to fit: "We can no longer permit the unfettered consumption of food. Our national honor and security depend on it."

Now, everybody who thinks most folks in the real world would meekly submit to an actually effective food OPEC for an indefinite time, please raise your hand.

And everybody who thinks an effective and persistent food OPEC would eventually lead to conflict, war, and ultimately the conquest of one or more of the withholding food producers, please raise your hand.

So I wonder what Learsy is trying to tell us?

The Iran issue seems to be heating up.

US Calls Nuclear Statement by Iranian President 'Very Aggressive'

Iran threatens to use oil as weapon

Unless somebody backs down in a hurry, it could be interesting watching the oil price tomorrow.

Prepare For Record-High Natural Gas Prices

I had a chance to speak with my neighbor and ask her how things were going in life. Just a pleasant little conversation.. During the conversation I ask her if she was aware that natural gas prices for her heating bills were going to be about 40-70% higher than last winter.. She said no.. That about floored me but then I wondered how many other people are just not aware of the price increase thats coming with this winter's heating bill and what a big surprise its going to be to them.

Many are not aware.

And today prices are up at insane levels. A new contract breakout in Natural Gas - price hasn't been this high in... perhaps ever.  And NEVER in the summer, before now.

CL - up 5.5+%
NG - up 10.5+%
Gasoline - up 11+%
Heating oil up 9%

and these are the gains just today. Clearly traders are deciding better to be long than do what they did pre Katrina.

Will it last... only the aftermath will tell...

Interview with Hugo Chavez in NY this week:

They're looking for oil. This is part of the crisis that is looming in the horizon. You should know that the U.S., I already said this, 5% of the world population lives in this country and you consume 25% of the energy. That this consumption is partially rational, I am convinced that the U.S. people will wake up to the reality of things. Yesterday morning, we were coming from the airport for instance, it was the traffic jam time, it was very packed in the highway coming from the airport here. I talked to the people in my car, looked outside, looked at the cars surrounding us. Out of a hundred cars, ninety-nine were occupied by a single person, the driver only. Cars occupying the highways, and burning fuel, how many gallons of fuel were burned yesterday morning, polluting the environment? That's the extreme of individualism.

Its too bad that common sense often gets painted as extremism. I suspect there is much about Chavez that I would not like and could not support, but he is right about this subject... we are an arrogant species, humans, by and large but no where more arrogant than in the civilized west where we have believed that technology and innovation can beat nature and common sense.