DrumBeat: October 20, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 10/20/06 at 9:20 AM EDT]

OPEC cuts output by more than expected

Reduction of 1.2 million barrels a day is first in more than two years

DOHA, Qatar - Oil cartel OPEC decided to cut production by a greater-than-expected 1.2 million barrels a day on Friday, and some members indicated it was open to further cuts.

Mr. Pombo’s Map

The processes for extracting oil shale are still hugely expensive — which is fortunate, because the potential environmental costs are staggering. You can pump oil from oil shale by heating the underground formations, with untold effect on groundwater. Or you can dig it all up, cart it away and heat it somewhere else, scarring vast tracts of the West.

None of this has stopped Congressman Richard Pombo of California — champion of the idea that we can drill our way to energy independence — from throwing yet another economic bone to the energy sector. In a little-noticed provision of the much- reviled Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act — which the House passed in June and the Senate will take up when Congress returns — Mr. Pombo lowered the royalty rate for oil shale from 12.5 percent to 1 percent. Should the day arrive when the price of shale oil becomes competitive, this could turn out to be an extraordinary giveaway of federal revenue (most oil shale lies under federal land) and a huge incentive to wreak environmental damage.

Falling US fuel prices ease fears of recession

Climate Change Is Real, but How Bad It Will Be and How Fast It Will Happen Is Still Open to Debate

It also bears repeating that 50 percent of the contribution a car makes toward global warming occurs during its manufacture and the extraction of its raw materials. Better mileage or a different fuel source isn’t going to change that, nor does ethanol significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and may actually increase a few other pollutants.

Has Diesel Grown on the United States?

Evangelicals Ally With Democrats on Environment: Religious leaders hope the global-warming campaign sends a message to the GOP.

More energy policy gridlock seen in next Congress

If Democrats gain control of one or both houses of the U.S. Congress, they will likely face continued energy policy gridlock, industry lobbyists and congressional experts say.

Prop. 87 fuels high octane fight on oil production tax

Russia Rattles Asia With Attack on Shell's Sakhalin-2

The attack on Shell is more about OAO Gazprom's attempt to get a piece of the project than protecting wildlife, analysts say. The move has angered Asian nations banking on Sakhalin to help meet their growing energy needs. Sakhalin, just 25 miles north of Japan, contains the equivalent of 45 billion barrels of oil, equal to the North Sea's reserves, Shell estimates.

British wildlife head north as planet warms

Indian protests threaten northern Peru oil output

Peru Indians armed with bows, arrows and rifles continued to block oil production at Argentine crude producer Pluspetrol on Thursday as the government warned of fuel shortages in the jungle region.

Pluspetrol shut down its 50,000 barrel-per-day oil output in Peru's northern jungle on Tuesday after Achuar Indians took over four oil wells, complaining that crude production is damaging the environment.

Danish PM: EU must become less dependent on imported energy

'Save us from the fires of Shell,' say Irish gas protestors

Mayo, Ireland - For over two weeks the site of a planned gas terminal in north-west Ireland has been the scene of tense early- morning standoffs between police and prayer-chanting protestors.

Skills shortage hits oil sector

A skills shortage is jeopardising the future of the oil and gas industry, according to a new report.

Companies learning how to power down

A Holiday Inn in Sarasota can serve as an inspiration to businesses everywhere trying to cut costs. It recently reduced its energy bill by $3,000 a year by adding a reflective roof.

Water scarcity seen dampening case for biofuel

Water scarcity harms the case for using food crops to make biofuels, a leading environmental author and journalist said on Thursday.

"The downside of growing food for fuel is water," said Fred Pearce, author of the book "When the Rivers Run Dry".

[Update by Leanan on 10/20/06 at 9:41 AM EDT]

Green chimney could save the planet

A new power plant chimney that converts greenhouse gases into helpful substances could have a huge impact on global warming.
More of the rebuilding after a disaster:
On "Climate change is real, but how bad it will be and how fast it will happen ...": all of our climate models have large uncertainties. Furthermore, the system is nonlinear and aspects of climate may be chaotic, and many climate interactions are poorly understood and many more poorly characterized. Having said that, by far the largest uncertainty in all the climate models is the human response. How we deal with the situation is key. In a way this is encouraging: if the models have any skill at all, it means we have significant control over the situation, and that our decisions matter. OTOH, it means taking responsibility, and that's a tough demand.
¿May be chaotic? ¿May be? That is the understatement of the month. A million gnus in the savannah are chaotic, but they are like the Bolshoi Moscow ballet company compared to the weather.

So, noone can tell you with certainty what the weather will do, or how it will react to some event. Science can only tell you generalities and probablities. It is always like that, but in this case more so. But you ignore what the scientists say at you own peril.

Climate, not weather. There's a fair amount of discussion on just how chaotic the climate system is, and on what sort of timescale.
And one issue that is underestimated in the IPCC models of 2001 report is in my opinion the rise in sea levels. The figures below are from The Future Oceans - Warming Up, Rising High, Turning Sour; WBGU 2006

The measured sea level rise is above the predictions of the IPCC models.

Yes, sea levels are rising a lot faster than the models predicted even a year ago.  

I think we are going to have to retreat from the coasts.  Something to keep in mind, before spending billions of dollars on new infrastructure (new transmission lines, banks of wind turbines, new rail lines, etc).  

James Lovelock, in "The Revenge of Gaia," says that atmospheric conditions now seem to him to be equivalent to those in the Eocene period, and his prediction is for temperatures 5 degrees centigrade warmer than it is now. If he is correct (his forecasts are gloomier than most), based on your graph, we may be looking at 75m or 80m rise in sea levels. Since the relationship looks linear, we may expect a considerable rise in sea level well before we get to +5 degrees.
Should the day arrive when the price of shale oil becomes competitive, this could turn out to be an extraordinary giveaway of federal revenue (most oil shale lies under federal land) and a huge incentive to wreak environmental damage.

Tragedy of the commons.  

Maybe as the cities become uninhabitable we could railroad the refugees to the shale deposits - and give each refugee a pup-tent, shovel and maybe a couple bic lighters to heat the shale...


I used to think that environmental rules would be thrown out the window as soon as the energy crisis really started to bite.  Example: Bush suspending EPA rules on gasoline after Katrina.  

But stories like the ones about the protesters in Ireland and South America make me wonder.  The people who are paying the price for environmental destruction are often not the ones benefitting from the resources extracted.  Maybe the locals will end up helping avert the Tragedy of the Commons.

Though anything that can be extracted by an individual or small group, such as firewood from a forest, is probably doomed.

Generally, in the US environmental regulations aren't blatently thrown out the window. Rather, when powerful economic/political interests are unhappy with certain environmental initiatives, their lobbyists get to work in Washington, and if successful, proposed regulations are re-written, diluted, delayed, and shot through with exceptions favorable to certain groups. This happened all across the board when Reagen took over from Carter, and I see it all the time on the local level.

While local protests can make a lot of noise, cause a lot of bad publicity, and delay things, in the long run the fundamental principle that 'money talks' usually wins out.

The promulgation and enforcement of environmental regulations on a national scale is a very complex, tedious, and highly political process.  The fact the much of the oil shale is on federal lands does not give the locals much clout.

Based on over 30 years in the environmental consulting field, I can say with great confidence that  if we start having serious trouble meeting US consumer's demand for fuel, those oil shale projects are going to be completed come hell or high water.


Wouldn't you think the protests might evaporate when it threatens to be permanently dark out, and people get cold and hungry and thirsty?

Protests may last only as long as at least some of the basic needs are still provided for. It's hard to imagine people waving banners on a freezing empty stomach. They'd be much more likely to go scrambling for food and water. And anything that burns to keep them lit and warm.

In that sense the protests can be regarded mainly as a luxury. In a well fed human, reason may be the driver, but in a hungry person, the reptilian prevails.

I wonder.  When I lived in Peru, there were many Indian tribes that lived with minimal contact with "civilization."  I wouldn't count on them starving or freezing any time soon.
Oh, I absolutely agree. Whatever shape or form the coming crisis may have, it'll be worst for those who face the most dramatic changes. And that's not those who go in to it with a "primitive" lifestyle.

Though for them climate changes and other kinds of pollution may be tough, "we" will have all that and then some. Though, don't forget, Africa, Asia and South America, where life is most basic, have been our chemical and nuclear waste dumps for decades, and the Peru tribes may find their water starts killing people.

But since you mentioned Ireland as well, I got to thinking what I thought. Bangla Desh and the Niger Delta have seen large protests as well, in various ways. ANd undoubtedly, much more in on the way.

Leanan:  would enjoy comparing notes on Peru, where I lived for two years and which I visit regularly.  Please email privately (go to my TOD user info).
 we are dynosaurs  
"In a well fed human, reason may be the driver, but in a hungry person, the reptilian prevails."

I'm not so sure of your police-work there, Norm.  I think the well-fed in our society can show a remarkable amount of social disinterest and a preference towards 'protecting what you've got', while in hard times, I see people (and myself) more inclined to offer and to ask for support.  Your example jumped to the extreme of people already desperately starving, of course, but unlike a mass of drowning people who'll be dunking each other to keep air in their lungs, I don't see starving societies operating on that same purely solo death-match.


i thought norm was the husband    and the questionable police work was done by the 1st deputy on the scene of the crime who misinterpreted the  dealer licence plate
I'm just glad someone got the reference.  Years since I saw it.
its a really funny and trajic movie  i must have watched it about 6 times so far     and since it is getting  close to the long winter here in the midwest of a   maybe it is time to rent it again      
Don't know if you saw my note to Robert Rapier the other day, but if you haven't seen it, check out "Local Hero".  Really good 'winter evening' movie, any time of year.

"Firness will be the petrochemical capital of the free world!"

Great soundtrack by Mark Knopfler


I think whether Leanan is correct or not depends to a considerable extent on how ruthlessly authoritarian governments become in coming decades.  
I always tend to question the assumption that we will cut down forests and such when PO hits. I suspect that there will be localized damage, but not widespread and massive like some imagine. Why? Three reasons really:

-Most people don't have fireplaces these days. Firewood doesn't do you any good if you don't have a place to burn it. Sure, you can always do so outside, but do you want to be the one huddling around a campfire in a New York winter?

-Cities don't have forests (save a few parks and random trees) and that is where most people live. The vast majority of our population is clustered in a few urban centers.

-To get firewood in the city you have to either have it brought to you, or go get it yourself. There might be a few people bringing firewood into sell, but by the time this becomes necessary I suspect that fuel will be lacking as well, so whoever the merchant was would have to find an alternative means (horse and buggy). Otherwise, the city folk would have to go get it themselves. Without gas, they'd have to walk. How far is it to the nearest forest from most of our cities? What are the odds a group of tired, hungry, and cold people could go back and forth enough to cause damage? Or even get there at all, if they were leaving from, say New York City.

I always tend to question the assumption that we will cut down forests and such when PO hits.

It's already happening.

These stories are from last winter.  The URLs don't work any more, alas.

ANCHORAGE - Cutting your own firewood is once again fashionable in Interior Alaska, where residents are firing up their chain saws in hopes of slashing home heating bills this winter.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources this fall expanded its cut-your-own firewood program to open up more state land in the Interior for people willing to work for $5 a cord.

And from India:

Kiari (Himachal Pradesh): Environmentalists in Himachal Pradesh are claiming that the rampant cutting of trees for firewood is irreversibly depleting the state's forest cover.

Despite a Supreme Court ruling, the illegal cutting of trees in the forest rich Himachal Pradesh continues unabated.

Experts say if unchecked, it will create a serious ecological imbalance in the region.

Nearly 90 percent population of the hilly state makes a living on farming and in the absence of any other viable alternative to firewood, is forced to cut trees.

Thanks to the ever-increasing price of essential fuels like cooking gas and kerosene, nearly 70 percent of the village population uses fuel wood for cooking.

Environmentalists say the villagers use at least three million tonnes of wood for their daily needs causing ecological imbalance.

And over at PeakOil.com, there are people bragging about how they ignore the law and take firewood from national forests near their homes.  They argue that this is more "sustainable" than driving to where the law allows them to take wood.

A lot of houses still have fireplaces.  And a lot of people are installing wood stoves.  

The population is at least three times what it was when we last depended on wood for fuel.  And we deforested a lot of land then.  Even if only a fraction of us convert to wood, we can do a lot of damage.


In my mind I see this happening the farther north you get as NG prices skyrocket in the future.  What do you see as stopping this from happening?  For me it's going to happen as each individual is forced to make his/her decision; damned the collective results.

What do you see as stopping this from happening?

Global warming making it so warm you don't need to heat your house?

You'd still need to cook, of course.  A food scientist I spoke with last year said the reason there are so many raw dishes in Japanese cuisine was because of the scarcity of firewood.

I plan on moving north several degrees Lat.
I am reminded of the scene in Dr. Zhavago(?) where Omar is stealing wood from a fence, and a Guard(his step brother ironically)  says,

"One person stealing wood is pathetic,  a million stealing wood is chaos".

I think the movie Dr. Zhavago will have some scenes in common with the future of many countries.

Firewood?  Sh|t,  people will be burning plastic toys, and everything else for heat.  Polution or no polution.

They will also steal everything that is not nailed down.

Maslow's "heirarchy of needs" will be taught in realtime up close and personal to people who never knew what "going without"  is/was.

Please, install solar hot water wherever possible.  This is one of the least expensive ways to get energy for heat.  I did some research into this area and space heating can requires 5 times more BTUs than domestic hot water - so heating your house using solar hot water is one way to help.
Do plastic toys even burn?  I think trying to burn plastic toys would be an incredibly futile way of trying to heat your home.  
Where forests are managed for wood production, using wood for home heating is not a big deal because about 25% of the wood is not suitable for high value wood products.  These residues can sometimes be used for pulp or electrical generation, but these products barely pay their way out of the woods, and using the residues for woodstoves is often the best economic use.  I get wood from the forest service for $5/cord.  My distant cousin in Germany buys wood in the forest for about $60 per cord and is still happy to get it.  

Russian government to call for action on stalled Royal Dutch Shell project

Sakhalin-2 saga

Russia's upper house of parliament will discuss the Royal Dutch Shell-led Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project today and call for government actions over the venture. Sakhalin-2 has come under pressure over ecological and technical compliance from Russia's environmental agency.

 Analysts say this is part of a broader Kremlin strategy to gain control over the lucrative project. Russian Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev, who will inspect Sakhalin-2 next week, has said Russia is particularly upset by the doubling of costs at the project to US$20-billion, which will delay when the country gets its profit oil from the production sharing deal.

The Sakhalin-2 group, which also includes Japan's Mitsui and Mitsubishi, argues that it is not different from other big projects and its costs rose due to higher steel prices and the weaker dollar.

Perhaps we should have a little more discussion by a few of the more astute Chemical Eng types, on how low sulfur diesel is affecting NG consumption, and to what degree.
We made the conversion earlier this year by installing a new unit to produce ULSD. I can't be too specific, but it definitely increases NG consumption. Other side-effects are the conversion of some desirable components into undesirable fuel gas, thus lowering the diesel yields.
Prop. 87 fuels high octane fight on oil production tax

Good story. Some excerpts:

Proposition 87, however, aspires to affect the international oil market, so a look at California state politics is not the end of the story. Gal Luft is co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, but he spoke to The Journal on his own behalf as an energy expert. Luft said the real question is whether Proposition 87 can actually accomplish its objectives, given the economics of oil and what its cost would be on a global scale.

"I think the goal of a 25 percent reduction in [petroleum] consumption in California within 10 years is completely unachievable," Luft told The Journal. "There's no way, period." Luft scoffed at the billions of dollars allocated in Proposition 87 for research into alternative fuels.

"We have the technology today to move beyond oil. You need a deployment of existing technologies," Luft said.

Even some of the more practical portions of Proposition 87 don't go far enough for Luft. Though the measure would subsidize retrofitting public agency vehicles to run on an ethanol-gas fuel mixture, Luft said that it is aiming to fix the wrong problem.

"Their proposition does not have a clear idea of where the [ethanol] fuel will come from," he argued.

Luft worries that a research-heavy approach like Proposition 87 would focus on experimental "cellulosic" ethanol from biomass, rather than more tried-and-tested solutions.

Luft's final point was geopolitical. "All these [Western] companies, Exxon and Chevron and BP and Shell, all of them together are about 8 percent to 9 percent of the world's oil market," he noted.

If Proposition 87 does weaken U.S. oil companies like Exxon Mobil, said Luft, that plays into the hands of the state-owned giants like Saudi Aramco.


Debt holds U.S. troops back from overseas duty

Thousands of U.S. troops are being barred from overseas duty because they are so deep in debt they are considered security risks, according to an Associated Press review of military records.

The number of troops held back has climbed dramatically in the past few years. And while they appear to represent a very small percentage of all U.S. military personnel, the increase is occurring at a time when the armed forces are stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We are seeing an alarming trend in degrading financial health," said Navy Capt. Mark D. Patton, commanding officer at San Diego's Naval Base Point Loma.

In the past 6 years household debt has gone from 65% of GDP to 93% of GDP - an amazing, unsustainable acceleration considering that previously it took 13 years for debt to go from 55% to 65% (1987-2000).

At the same time (2000-06) wage and salary income has gone from 50% of GDP to 46%.

No wonder even soldiers are not allowed to "flee" from the chains of debt...

Voter Malaise in Michigan

They are especially hard-hit because of the auto industry's troubles.

Fisherman have been out in droves, enjoying the tail end of a prolonged Indian summer. Then came last week's early snow. The sportsmen quickly packed up their Orvis rods and headed home, mostly downstate. But the locals? Most stayed on the water, however cold. For them it's less about fun than home economics. They have to stock their freezers for the winter.

Few Americans, especially those who live in cities, appreciate the degree to which we are still a society of hunter-gatherers. Visit Michigan's north woods after the leaves turn, and you see it. You also begin to understand the political change that's hit Michigan--and other bellwether states--and why polls are showing that the Republican Party is in trouble.

...It isn't merely a war gone wrong that makes people mad. Nor is it the latest sex and corruption scandals, or the widespread impression that Republican leaders are covering up. Michigan's sense of malaise goes deeper, even beyond worries about jobs and the local economy. No, the real sticking point is at once broader and more amorphous. Two of three voters think that Michigan and the country are on a wrong course. Increasingly, they feel the nation's leaders are out of touch with the problems and needs of ordinary people, especially those whose livelihoods depend on such things as the whimsy of the salmon run. As that fisherman in the swamp told it, "They just don't give a damn."

All this is a bit hard to judge from the polls, since incumbent Democrats look set to win in November. But it can be glimpsed, perhaps, in the way Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has pulled away from her challenger, conservative Republican Dick DeVos, son of the billionaire founder of Amway. From a dead heat in August, the latest surveys show Granholm now up by 8 to 17 points. A Detroit woman, explaining her choice in the Free Press, described the GOP candidate as a "selfish millionaire" cut from the same cloth as George W. Bush. Much for the first time this year, I heard similar sentiments Up North.

Yes, there's been a weather change in northern Michigan. It's coming elsewhere in the country, too.

I wonder about this weather change.  It looks like the dems are going to do well in this election, but I don't sense much actual enthusiasm for the democratic party.  The dems are going to win without having any sort of a platform they are running on other than disillusionment with the republicans.  It seems to me like the republicans are having a nervous breakdown, the marriage made in hell between the religious right and the fiscal conservatives is cracking up.  The dems had their own breakdown in the 90s when Clinton dropped the dems traditional protectionist and union base to embrace free trade and corporations.  It seems to me that there is a real oppurtunity for either a new party or a major transformation of one of the existing parties.  A Sustainability party, I think, would capture those features of the traditional conservatives and traditional democrats that are being ignored currently and leading to lots of people feeling like there is no party that supports their views.
I think there are a substantial number of Americans who don't feel represented by either party.  Third parties have arisen in the past.  If successful, they end up killing one of the other two parties.

In particular, those who feel strongly about the labor movement and those who oppose immigration have been left behind by both parties.  Immigration may be the issue to run on, for a third party candidate.  As long as they weren't a racist nutburger.  (See Buchanan, Pat.)

I agree that Buchanan's a nut, but it is his paleo-cons who are most furious at Bush and co and have been waging a fierce war against Bush and the neo-cons since the beginning.  Buchanan is also one of the last politicians who has the guts to criticize corporations as both parties have basically sold their souls to them.  I think that it is his brand of "anti-all-things-big" (big government and big business) that could find expression in re-localization and lend support to Sustainability from the right--as long as being fiscally conservative can be re-branded as being pro-sustainability, as long as pro small business could be re-branded as relocalization, as long as anti-big central government could be re-branded as pro-localization .
Cynus: Might be time to give the term "fiscal conservative" a rest. From rampant "defense" and "security" spending to pork-barrel galore, to setting the USA on a literal road to bankruptcy through current account and fiscal deficits, Republicans circa 2006 may be many things, but "fiscally conservative" is definitely not one of them.  
Exactly.  But the old guard conservatives are furious at the current batch over how insane they have been with spending.  That gives an opening to those looking to split the republican party over this issue.  If the democrats had any brains they would drive a truck through that opening, but they are too hapless to take advantage of the opportunities they are given.
It's like I told my fiance' last night.  It's the lesser of two evils in most of the races.  There generally aren't solid people, just different shades of the same gray suits.
It's the choice between

The Gambinos and the Genevieves.

Both are orginized crime families,  which one do you want to pay your protection money to?

Try to get a 3rd party on the ballot.  BOTH families(I mean parties) have worked VERY well together to kill any new families, I mean ensure that NO new 3rd party candidate will make it on the ballot in enough states to threaten them.

Spot on.  Which is why I would like to vote for a third party or even a fake character, but pragmatically I will give me vote to a dem to at least deadlock this president.
the dems dont cant or wont drive a truck through the opening because they are complicate  money and politics   whatever it takes to get elected    voting is over-rated    hire a lobbyist
What are you talking about?  Democrats have been talking up fiscal restraint and balancing the budget.  Kerry even talked about it in 2004.  I'm not saying the Democratic party has done a good job in standing up for anything much in recent years, but don't criticize them for what they are already doing.  
Bush ran on a "compassionate conservative" platform originally(00).  Where did fiscal conservation come in, since the definition of a conservative last I knew, was fiscal responsibility anyway.  Instead of a double negative, we've got a double positive, so that would make him negative, right? :)
"I simply don't understand why these people don't just eat cake...."

But seriously, debt load is a much bigger problem than ever before.

Household debt service now takes up on average 14% of disposable personal income - the highest since such data has been compiled (1980). It was at 10.75% just 10 years ago...And keep in mind that interest rates were at record lows until very recently.

By comparison, personal fuel expense is still only 4% of disposable income, though up from 2.5% five years ago..

The effects of Peak Debt are being felt right now, it seems.


Interesting numbers.

Do you have links for them?

Data available at


You can produce charts, etc in this site and ...it's free!

I only skimmed some stuff but this is like an econ halfway holy grail.  What is half of a holy grail anyway?
There are all kinds of neat things you can do with economagic. According to the web site, the seasonally adjusted new private housing starts were as following by month in 2006 (in thousands):

 2006 01  2265.
 2006 02  2132.
 2006 03  1972.
 2006 04  1832.
 2006 05  1953.
 2006 06  1833.
 2006 07  1772.
 2006 08  1665.

Which of the data sets shown on Economagic did you use for your debt comparison?
The debt service ratio is right on the first,main page under

Federal Reserve
  --Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios.

The Household debt to GDP you have to construct by dividing the series of Household sector (within the Total Credit Market Debt  Owed heading)by GDP in current dollars.

Be sure to turn on Advanced Features so that you can save series onto the personal workspace so that you can manipulate them.

Look at this too, if you like housing data:

Run a series of houses for sale, divide by population, i.e. get the numbers of houses currently for sale per person and then graph it. The "overhang" of unsold homes has just zoomed in the past few years.

In the past 5 years it has gone from 1.0 house per 1.000 people to 1.90 - and the pace is straight up, almost vertical. In just the last 12 mos. the ratio has gone from 1.45 to 1.90...the housing bubble is far from over.

Fun with statistics...

An economic bubble is usually considered an irrational, unustainable rise in prices.  At the end of any bubble, inventories (houses for sale) go way up as people rush to get out.  That process corresponds transparently to prices lowering, ending the bubble.  The housing market tends to be much slower in recovering from a bubble than other assets - people patiently don't want to settle for a lower price, and so a housing glut remains on the market for years afterward.  We hardly built any houses in the Great Depression - it took the giant postwar baby boom and VA projects to start the wheels turning again on housing construction.

I should note that most of the job growth we keep hearing about that brought us out of the last market downturn is indirectly or directly in housing construction.

Thanks! Actuaries think that playing with numbers is fun!
are you acquainted with warren schmidt ?

Is this the other half of that grail?.

Or half of that half?! Half that? Lots of fun in any case, and lots of data.

Welcome to the economics of political funding.

Something tells me Hillary will be doing just fine.

Good image. Can we get a source on this? is it that opensecrets.org? I wish it was laid out more as a comparison with totals. Anyway could you do a summary of the race?

Demis vs. Repugs. I mean Stand-for-Nothings vs. Child-Molesters.

Let me give you an example.In Massachusetts we have an Awesomely Rich, Smart, Goodlooking, Black, Democrat Lawyer who made a career freeing Cop-Killers and Denying he gave them money vs. an Awesomely Rich, Goodlooking, White, Republican, Toady-to-the-last- scumwad- who-is- now-running-for-President.

Moral of this lesson. If you want to win an election. If you want to be a politician. It doesn't matter if you are black or white. It doesn't matter if you rape kids in your spare time or if you serve tea to Martha Stewart. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you are smart or a complete airhead.

The only thing that matters is that you can speak. Being awesomely rich and fairly goodlooking have their benefits. The only real advantage is speaking. You are just a mouthpiece. You are owned. That's why you have the money. Duh.

The American people still don't get this. Duh. But it's another story why. Maybe next time.

Since when did Democrats start standing for protecting your children? Since Mark Foley. That's when. You people vote for these assholes. Time and again. When are you going to grow up?

The only requirement is that you can speak. And the American people will buy every word we give you to say to them.

I always say follow the money.  To get to the bottom of most things, simply follow that money.
Well, there's a new way to keep from being sent to war: rack up the credit card debt.

All men and women of draftable age take note. If they try to get you and you can't get out because of health, Don't ask don't tell (counterfited or not), you can always take out the credit cards and go shopping!

Wouldnt it be easier to just say you're gay?  I've often had discussions over this following the beginning of this oil war.  
Running up credit card debt might be a way to stay out of combat zones if you're already in the military, though.  
Anyone know what happens when guys get over there and declare that they are in fact homosexual?  I just think it's similar to the whole, shoot yourself in the foot Vietnam get out card, only it's less painful - but then again you couldn't claim disability.  Trade offs.

Buy a Hummer (on credit), get out of Iraq free!

And to think that before people had to say they were gay and get a dishonorable discharge.

This link was posted last night by rtz. As excerpt is shown below. Any chance there is something to it?

Pressurized Oxy-fuel System has no Pollutants and Captures CO2

ThermoEnergy Corporation  (OTCBB:TMEN - News) is developing a pressurized oxy-fuel approach known as the ThermoEnergy Integrated Power System (TIPS) which is a process designed to produce energy (electricity, steam) from coal, with integral carbon capture as liquid CO2 and near zero air emissions. Pressurized oxy-fuel technology addresses two major issues affecting the future use of the country's coal resource. These are:

  1. Economic capture of criteria and toxic pollutants (such as mercury) from the diverse power and steam generators needed, and

  2. Economic capture of CO2 from the larger power and steam generators used by utilities and large industrial facilities.

Once it is commercially deployed, TIPS will revolutionize the way the world generates energy from hydrocarbons. Based on reliable oxy-fuel chemistry, TIPS departs from the traditional oxy-fuel approach by pressurizing the entire combustion system.

The energy cost of separating air and pressurizing the oxygen is roughly 20% of the total energy contained in the coal.

From a physical chemistry standpoint, it makes sense. That is, the reaction of coal with oxygen should still produce energy even with the extra effort of collecting all the byproducts. The engineering sounds like quite a challenge, but perhaps it can be done.

Scalability is another thing to question — if you have a perfect lab prototype that extracts energy from coal and collects all the byproducts, but it's made of solid platinum, they probably aren't going to build another Sikeston plant to that design.

Seems to me I saw a (guess)timate on an old TOD thread that it would cost 40% of the total energy to collect everything, but that system was based on air (80% N2 + 20% O2) and using conventional scrubbers to clear the CO2 from the flue gas.

Regular old coal gasification processes use more or less pure oxygen, so nothing new there.  Since you are producing gas molecules from solid, lower pressures usually favor the reaction.  So there may be something to it, but it sounds a lot like regular old gasification.
Funny story from the Houston Chronicle:

Taking Credit, or Not, for Pump Price Slide

Oct. 20--WASHINGTON -- Oil company executives have been cringing at the poll results, economists all but screaming.

Nearly a third of all Americans believe the oil industry, in cahoots with the White House, is orchestrating the recent drop in energy prices to help Republicans in November.

So there was groaning again on Thursday when House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., issued a news release that was headlined: "Gas prices continue to fall during a Republican majority."

"Oh, that just fuels it," Jim Glassman, senior economist for JP Morgan Chase in New York, said with a laugh. "That will just reinforce suspicions. ... Leave well enough alone, for God's sake."

Hastert's assertion comes just days after a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that nearly as many Americans believe the drop in prices is all a plot as those who contend -- as economists insist -- the price decline has been caused by market forces.

Glassman doesn't think voters really believe the oil conspiracy theory.

"I think they know better," Glassman said.

"It's just kind of fun to talk about in political terms. I think people understand what's going on," he said.

The headline on Hastert's news release is certainly true. Gasoline prices, indeed, have dropped of late; the GOP is in control of Congress. And the statement makes no other overt connection between those two facts.

Instead, Hastert says simply, "Today's tumbling gas prices are giving Americans relief at the pump, and it's giving them more money to spend on their families."

Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean denies any suggestion his boss might be helping to perpetuate a myth.

"Gosh no," Bonjean said. "If we had the ability to control gasoline prices, we would have had them low all year long. They'd be low forever."

Bonjean credits energy legislation pushed through by Republicans for the easing of the pain at the pump.

Opponents point out that energy prices hit their highs while Republicans have been in control.

"Only the Republicans would celebrate gas prices that cost 50 percent more today than when President Bush took office," said Jennifer Crider, a spokesman for Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

In his statement, Hastert did wonder whether Pelosi might just have a "secret plan" to raise fuel prices if her party takes control of Congress.

After all, he said, she had voted for tax increases in the past.

Crider responded: "The plan is to lower the cost of gas, to roll back the tax giveaways to Big Oil and invest that in alternative energy and efficiency."

Corn is an extremely water intensive crop. A study conducted by professors at the University of California at Berkley and Cornell University concludes that 8,360 gallons of water are needed per equivalent gallon of gasoline in the form of ethanol from corn. The same study observes that the US consumes some 140 billion gallons of gasoline annually. Thus, six times the amount of water used for agriculture and all other purposes would be needed in order for ethanol to replace gasoline.

It would be some time before ethanol production could approach such a level, however, concerns over strains on the nation's water supply, due to ethanol production, have already arisen. For example, earlier this year, city officials in Champaign and Urbana Illinois voiced reservations over a proposed ethanol plant that would use about 2 million gallons of water per day, drawn from the same aquifer that supplies both cities. Illinois is the number two ethanol producing state behind Iowa.

This concern highlights the fact that prolonged depletion of the Country's major aquifers has already been occurring for some time.

Emil Bailey, A Dangerous Mix of Oil and Water (www.financialsense.com)

OPEC Exports to Slide in Month to Nov. 4, Oil Movements Says

OPEC's shipments of crude oil will fall 2.2 percent in the month to Nov. 4 from the preceding four weeks as the group makes good on its pledge to cut back production, consulting company Oil Movements said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will load 24.5 million barrels a day onto tankers, down from 25 million barrels a day in the four weeks ended Oct. 7, the Halifax, England-based company said in a report yesterday. Shipments will be 2 percent lower than a year earlier.

I'm really sorry for having to high jack this thread, but Go Cardinals!  All time classic game last night!
I didn't have a dog in the fight, my Yanks having washed out in the first round, but I enjoyed the game as a baseball fan.  

And what unlikely heroes.  Endy Chavez?  Yadier Molina?  

And now Jeff Weaver may pitch Game 1 of the World Series.  The End Times are upon us, for sure.

After the Newsweek piece Leanan found above about how bad things are in Michigan, you root for the Cardinals?  The only thing folks in Michigan have to be positive about is the Tigers' suprise chance for the Series.  The papers around here are 90% misery and 10% Tigers.  The Tigers get the headlines for obvious reasons.  

I normally think sports is an utter waste of time, but I'd just as soon have the hometeam win for a change.  Go Tigers!

The Cards are the underdogs, though.  Anything can happen in baseball, but the talent gap between the AL and the NL is so wide that, IMO, the Tigers are a virtual lock.  The last two World Series were swept by the AL, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens again this year.
No this won't happen. The baseball gods told me last night that we had the best team in baseball in 04, got swept by the cursed team in particulary embarassing fashion and now that we've struck back at the best team in baseball it's time for the Tigers to go down.

Oh and Kjmclark....Detroit kicks our ass at hockey every year so you've got to pick the battles, yeh know?

The baseball gods told me last night that we had the best team in baseball in 04, got swept by the cursed team in particulary embarassing fashion and now that we've struck back at the best team in baseball it's time for the Tigers to go down.

Did they also tell you that they're filling up the oil wells wih abiotic oil, so we can continue to pay grown men millions of dollars to play a kids' game?   ;-)

No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. :)
I would like to remind TOD:Canada readers to check out our version of the Drumbeat (The Round-Up). The latest edition has just been posted.
10.4% is not excessive. Just so you know.

China credits central controls as growth slows to 10.4% from 11.3%

China's annual growth slowed a little in the third quarter to 10.4 %, but the world's fourth-largest economy is still firmly on course to log a fourth consecutive year of double-digit expansion.

The slowdown, from 11.3% in the second quarter, followed a concerted campaign by Beijing to prevent a credit-fuelled investment boom from turning into a bust that could saddle the nation's banks with fresh bad loans.

"Excessive economic growth has been basically brought under control. This data shows that the tightening policies adopted by the central government have been timely and effective," Li Xiaochao, chief spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, told a news conference yesterday.

But the third-quarter's annual growth rate was still the second strongest since the fourth quarter of 2003 and Mr. Li said the economy was likely to keep up the momentum in the fourth quarter.

Gross domestic product in the first nine months grew 10.7% from a year earlier, faster than any other major economy.

JPMorgan responded by raising its forecast for 2006 GDP growth to 10.6% from 10.0% and for 2007 to 9.5% from 9.0%.

Anyone want to comment on this campaign?

Don't Let Exxon Decide Our Energy Future

In October 2005, Sec. Bodman contacted ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond and asked the National Petroleum Council (NPC), which Mr. Raymond Chairs, to do a study called the Global Oil and Gas Study. The study is to provide the administration with recommendations on the long-term direction of energy policy, from now until 2025.

At first glance, the study appears to be an investigation into peak-oil claims and policy responses. But in fact the scope is much larger. According to DOE, the NPC study is to provide the administration with policy options that assess "the potential contribution of conservation, efficiency, alternative energy sources, and technology advances" and determine "the potential long term impact of alternative energies that are plentiful, affordable, reliable and transportable." The DOE argues that the NPC is "well qualified to provide a balanced and informed perspective on strategies and action affecting the energy future for both the U.S. and for every country on earth." Yet, precursory research shows that the NPC has little experience doing studies that go beyond the self-interested viewpoint of the oil and gas industry to the interests of the nation and its national security.

This was the body set up after the congressional PO hearings last year to investigate PO.  The fact that it is headed be Lee Raymond is a travesty.  I think Yergin is on the board as well.  As far as I can see no, actual petroleum geologists are on it.  It's going to be a repeat of the 2000 USGS findings.
I've read that the US General Accounting Office is doing a study related to Peak Oil, which is due out in November 2006. I would expect it to be reasonably balanced. Maybe having it out first will help.

I shared this sentiment with you for all of 5 seconds before I realized that this is the same organization that has declared Fannie Mae's book so clusterfucked, that they can't audit them and yet Wall Street cheers on and the people of this country kept watching Survivor.  It will benefit those who are already informed, but not much more.

Maybe you're right though and this is the report where Congress and the people wake up. However, when our own energy dept plays the devils advocate, it makes people wonder who is really right, the accountants or the geologists?

DEBKAfile reports: The American Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group joins US build-up opposite Iran

Tuesday, Oct. 17, the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group steamed into the Persian Gulf to join the US naval, air and marine concentration piling up opposite Iran's shores. It consists of the amphibious transport dock USS Nashville, the guided-missile destroyers USS Cole and USS Bulkeley, the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, the attack submarine USS Albuquerque, and the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island.

The Iwo Jima group is now cruising 60 km from Kuwait off Iran's coast. As DEBKAfile and DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported exclusively two weeks ago, three US naval task forces will be in place opposite Iran in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea by October 21. The other two are the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and the USS Enterprise Strike Group.


IMO, the fact that these two/three groups are there together doesn't supprise me. I imagine that one or more of these groups will be rotating out of the area soon.

Other than that the Iranians are probably thinking to themselves "Woohoo, that's a lot of money and steal floating around out there. Let the Americans spend all they want." In short they probably aren't too impressed with America's display of sea power.

Has anyone seen Iran mention their presence? They know they are there. They may not care.

In yet another example of TOD being ahead of the game, I pointed this out for Drummers 17 days prior: http://www.theoildrum.com/comments/2006/10/2/181717/450/223#223
Thanks Syntec...I didn't want to drop the story...I keep seeing more about it.

And now there is this little coincidental meeting...

Top commander in D.C. for talks amid Iraq concerns


I also think that it's odd that with all the stated OPEC production cuts that crude price closed down at $56.82.  

If all the above pans out and a new military campaign begins before 11/2 elections, the ever decreasing price of crude now will cause the resulting spike then to be lower than it could have been.

It feels to me like market massaging in anticipation of a spike, but, as I have stated before, I am more paranoid than most.

Go ahead SAT...cut into me.

Hey I agree.  People don't seem to realize that ESG5 is a contingent of 6000 men (Navy & Marines) all on its own.

If take and hold Khuzestan is the objective, then fast landing LCACS are tip of the sword.

Since oil started dropping 2 mos. ago, the price for the spot month NYMEX futures (let's say December 2006) has dropped $23/bbl (80-57=23), but the further out contracts have not moved nearly as much. December 2007, also a very active contract, has gone down just $13/bbl (80-67).

Any clues?

Beats the heck out of me.  Oil prices are down again today:

Oil tumbles despite OPEC cut

OPEC cuts oil output - revenue goes down.
Markets drive down prices - OPEC revenue goes down.
OPEC cuts more output - revenue goes down more.
Markets drive down prices more - OPEC revenue goes down even more.

OPEC throws in the towel and pumps like mad in effort to get revenues up before citizens revolt.
Chavez gets voted out in 7 weeks without oil money to dole out to his electorate.

Beechdriver: How about crude prices begin a dramatic advance once the earlier of 2 events happens: A: Nov elections B: attack on Iran.
Actually I should have finished my thoughts:

OPEC floods market with oil - gas goes back down to $1.50 (or less). Consumers rush to car dealers and buy lots of SUVs. GM & Ford are saved - hire back laid off workers.

BTW - in my area of country - N-NE exurb of Atlanta, I am suddenly seeing a LOT of new SUVs with the dealer tags. Even $2.00 gas gets consumer buying again.

To answer your questions:
A. Elections may not mean anything if BIG market movers are playing around - they don't care who is in congress - they can a Demo or Repub any day of the week. Remember that GM is a component of DOW30.
B. Not sure about attack on Iran - if it does happen it will be Israel that does it. Iran's oil may not matter if they cut it off - there is so much out there right now.

Should proof read a liitle better:

they can BUY a Demo or Repub any day of the week.

just heard on local news today in Houston, truck and SUV sales are projected to surge due to falling gas prices.
See? Guess everyone still thinks this was a temporary spike in prices, just like the 70's and early 80's.
I'd like to see the sales report for sept/oct 06 on this next month.  
this was a temporary spike in prices, just like the 70's and early 80's.

Those who learn from the past, oft' fail to learn from the future.

Buy farther out.
Hellasious: IMHO, the pre-election manipulation is centred on the near-term futures price for crude, along with gasoline futures (near-term). The MSM only reports the near term price for crude.By the way, have you noticed that NG has jumped 65% off the bottom in less than a month?  
And just two weeks ago I remember reading that some producers were shutting down since they had all the gas in storage that they could handle.  Let this be a reminder how fast things can change.
Does anyone have a time-set of forward curves? Or a chart of the 1-12 mo. spread over time? Say, over the past few months?

There was a large spread between spot and longer forwards even a while back, but I don't remember if it was this large.

Thks much

Dont have a chart but I have been tracking the forward month -dec 2010 spread.
LAst year in june it was around +20 that iis the forward month traded at a $20 premium to Dec 2010. Right now its -9. In August this year the spread was +10.
Thks vm. I managed to get a chart of the spot-12mos out spread. I even have it going back several years. As you have said, the spread has collapsed back into contango in a major way. Thks agn.
Here are some charts I have made showing the forward price structure of crude oil. I made these just by grabbing the prices from ino.com and pasting them into Excel, then charting. My skillz in this area are not too strong so I apologize for the poor production values! These are the only charts I have because I have only occasionally made the effort to capture this data, and I don't have access to historical data.

You will notice the most obvious fact is that the curves all have roughly the same shape. I don't know if it has always been like this or if it is a new phenomenon. The one thing I have observed is that long-term prices seem to lag behind near-term ones. When prices are going up, near prices are higher than the far futures. When prices are falling, near prices are lower than the futures. I think that explains some aspects of the shape.

What I don't understand is why there is this persistant structure of a rise to a peak a year or two in the future, followed by a steady fall. I can't see what market dynamics would produce this as a consistent pattern through all the ups and downs.

Here is the most recent, October 20, 2006:

Here is April 26, 2006:

Here is March 23, 2006:

This is typical of the recent past, but not the more distant one.  It used to be that nearly all future prices were lower, almost regardless of the spot price, obviously encouraging refiners to carry minimum stocks.  The sea change to higher future prices are what has encouraged US refiners to increase stock levels.  However, oecd stocks are at a ten year low - and down one days coverage from last year per EIA - in spite of high US stocks, so the rest of the OECD has not been responding to higher future prices; imo this is because they are waiting for the dollar to fall, an option not available to US refiners.

Imo, overall low stocks, increasing china demand by consumers plus their spr, and reduced opec output will result in sharply higher prices in the near term unless chris' expected new supplies materialize soon.

Since oil started dropping 2 mos. ago, the price for the spot month NYMEX futures (let's say December 2006) has dropped $23/bbl (80-57=23), but the further out contracts have not moved nearly as much.

As I mentioned in my posting just above, it seems to be a general pattern that the distant futures prices move similarly but less than the near-term prices. This makes sense, in a way: whatever information moved the price today, it might have a similar effect on our expectations for long-term prices, but there are a lot of other things that can happen between now and then, so the effect should be less for long-term futures.

When, as today, we are in a falling price pattern, distant futures will be higher than current prices; but when prices are going up as they were a few months ago, long-term futures tend to be lower than short-term. In effect, long-term futures act like a moving average of near-term prices, so that their changes lag behind current prices. I posted some charts above of the price structure that illustrate this phenomenon.

Thank you all for the charts and the valuable comments.

Commodity futures prices are commonly higher than spot the further out you go into the future (contango), in order to account for storage, insurance, etc. For agri commoditites the crop cycle is a factor, too. This should have been the case with oil, as well - but it wasn't (until recently). Futures prices were lower than spot and the vurve was downward sloping, i.e. the further out you wnr the cheaper the prices. This is known as backwardation and is uncommon.

I believe there were two reasons for backwardation:

  1. Traders figured that as high spot prices induced more production supply would eventually increase and prices drop in the future.

  2. High prices would cut demand in the future.

As we now know, both of those events have come to pass.

The market is now in contango, with an unusually wide price spread between spot and 12mos out (almost -$10) - the widest in at least 4 years. This can be interpreted as low oil demand now, but recovery pretty soon.

What do you guys think?

Lower production in 12 months.

"An action plan to cut Europe's energy consumption by 20% before 2020 has been outlined by the European Commission."

And we were worried:

Despite Popular Belief, The World Is Not Running Out Of Oil, Scientist Says

If you think the world is on the verge of running out of oil or other mineral resources, you've been taken in by the foremost of seven myths about resource geology, according to a University of Washington economic geologist.
WTF?  Economic Geologist...what an oxymoron if I ever did hear one.
I guess that would be a geologist who believes that if you show up at the cashier's counter with enough money, god actually does put more oil in the ground.  ;-)
Leanan: The funniest line Dick's nephew said was the good news/bad news one: Good news: We will never run out of oil (contrary to popular belief) Bad news: It might cost $100 US a GALLON. There might be some demand destruction at that price.
Its sort of correct.

We have enough nuclear fuel to make the time horizon unimportant for discussion.

And theres this technology developed in the 30's and more fine tuned by Sasol that converts syngas (CO + H2) to just about any fuel you want. We usually talk about this with coal liquefaction or gas to liquids plays, where its a proven technology, though capital intensive.

Show up with a little more money for some more nuclear reactors and you can do lime burning of limestone to drive off CO2, and then mix the CO2 with steam and engage in high temperature electrolysis. The output is very high purity CO and H2 on one side, which can be fed into all the old CTL and GTL plants that ran out of coal and natural gas a long time ago.

Eventually the quicklime left over either gets used in cement manufacture or just reverts to limestone as it sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere. Either way its carbon neutral. So, yeah, we'll allways have 'oil' or at liquid hydrocarbon fuels, but they might be hellishly expensive.

I wonder if the Green Chimney cited in the heading uses some variant of 'lime water'. The article says a carbonated solid residue would be buried as a carbon sink. It didn't say how the mysterious CO2 absorber was created without using much energy. This is the trouble with drawing a dotted line around a system; you can omit parts that are inconvenient.If this is wrong the green chimney guy should say what his CO2 absorber is.
In the inset it says that the final product is calcium carbonate, so the added reactant would be CaO, easily made from ... burning calcium carbonate. I think I like the Green Fuel approach better -- they're leveraging solar power, and scrubbing NOx while they're at it.
'When are we going to run out of oil.' The correct response is, 'Never,'" said Eric Cheney.

When are people going to wise up to this play on words?

I've got an old motor oil container in the garage. It's got a couple of drops at the bottom. If I keep it forever, I'll never "run out of oil". Sheesh.

Say goodbye to the Taurus, Ford's '80s savior

After 21 years and nearly 7 million cars, Ford  is giving up on its iconic car

I fell in love with the Taurus the minute I set eyes on it.  It was such a revolutionary design, at the time.  I didn't care for the re-design they did in the mid-'90s, though.  It looked like so many other cars.  And there was less interior room.

The aerodynamic Taurus was born partly in response to the energy crisis of the '70s.  It died because Ford turned its attentions to trucks and SUVs instead of cars.  The Taurus is still Ford's best-selling car, but they're killing it anyway.

I bought an 87 wagon, fabulous car for its day. Replaced it with a 92 wagon, not much improvement. Switched to japanese.  But, taurus remains their best product imo... not optimistic with big 3 future.
FYI to diesel engine users re the new ultra low  sulphur diesel.
  I have an older vw &  several return lines started leaking at the same time. In replacing them the injector parts place said they are hopping to get replacement pumps ,injectors,etc. as many are failing due to the loss of lubrication in the new diesel. They recommended an additive from now on. Hope  it didn't damage the pump.
  Complexity #@%$!!!
  BTW :Congrats to TOD. I can no longer even scan every thread.
I recommend "SuphurLube" - a natural organic fuel additive. The price has recently dropped as well, due to excess sulphur being available on the market
??? So you're going to add sulfur to ULSD which is ULSD because it has too much sulfur in the first place? If your "older VW" isn't TOO old you ought to consider biodiesel instead. Even 2% bio will more than make up for the lost lubricity.
I was kidding of course...
Heh heh ...

The spectre of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees

Mass movements of people across the world are likely to be one of the most dramatic effects of climate change in the coming century, a study suggests.

The report, from the aid agency Tearfund, raises the spectre of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees and says the main reason will be the effects of climate - from droughts and water shortages, from flooding and storm surges and from sea-level rise.

The study, "Feeling the Heat", says there are already an estimated 25 million environmental refugees, and this figure is likely to soar as rain patterns continue to change, floods and storms become more frequent and rising tides start to inundate low-lying countries such as Bangladesh or some of the Pacific islands.

The report cites examples of where water problems are already causing a mass exodus or movement of people. They include:

  • Poor crop yields are forcing more and more Mexicans to risk death by illegally fleeing to the US.

  • One in five Brazilians born in the arid north-east of the country are moving to avoid drought.

  • The spread of the Gobi desert, at a rate of 4,000 square miles a year, is forcing the populations of three provinces in China to abandon their homes.

  • In Nigeria, 1,350 sq miles of land is turning to desert each year. Farmers and herdsmen are being forced to move to the cities.

  • The population of Tuvalu, a group of eight Pacific islands north-east of Australia, is already being evacuated; nearly 3,000 Tuvalans have left so far.
Drought in NE Brazil is a recurring, endemic cycle related to El Nino in eastern Pacific, sending periodic waves of refugees south and west.  I'm not saying the problem is not intensifying, just that to say that in this case the problem of environmental refugees isn't recent.
In view of current climate science, it's hard to not wonder how many functioning braincells are at work in the heads of these planners.

When Canada's Ontario province resolved to close its 5 coal plants a while ago, someone noted it might not have that much effect, since the fumes of 421 US coal plants reach Ontario.

154 new US coal-fired power plants, 1 "clean"

Thanks to the high prices of oil and natural gas, the electricity industry is turning back to coal, America's oldest and most abundant fossil fuel, to drive a new generation of power plants. The upshot is that even as politicians take the threat of global warming more seriously, the problem may get much worse.

Utilities are proposing to build 154 coal-fired power plants in the next 25 years, according to "Coal's Resurgence in Electric Power Generation," a recent Department of Energy report.

Most of those new plants would use conventional coal-burning technology, which would increase carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. coal plants by more than 50 percent by 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration, the analytic division of the Energy Department. A traditional coal plant produces three to four times more CO2 - a potent "greenhouse gas" that traps the sun's heat and helps raise the Earth's temperature - than comes from a modern plant that uses natural gas as its fuel.

Operators of 66 of the proposed coal-fired plants plan to adopt more efficient, advanced technologies - such as turning coal into a gas before burning it - that produce less CO2 and other pollutants, said Erik Shuster, an analyst at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, W.Va.

But the rest would continue to use a 50-year-old technology that burns pulverized coal to create steam. The exhaust going up the stack contains 12 percent to 18 percent carbon dioxide.
Only one power company, Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Corp., is planning to capture part of the carbon and store it before it enters the atmosphere.