Energy Policy Issue Rankings and Bush's Presidential Approval Numbers

I found a very interesting poll by Pew yesterday, (hat tip: Payton Chung over at Gristmill) that I thought I should bring you.

Pew was doing a piece on the impacts of An Inconvenient Truth on the global warming attitudes--a major focus of the poll, but there's some things to chew on in there regarding energy policy attitudes as well. I discuss some of the findings and implications under the fold.

Once you skip down past the global warming focused questions in the Pew Report, you get down to issue rankings (ranked percentages of people ranking those issues as "very" important).

The difference between the global warming issue importance and the energy policy issue importance surprised me a bit. I suppose that it probably shouldn't with gas prices so high, but I thought the two would be more closely ranked than they are.

Global warming is the least important (19th) issue among self-identified Republicans (23%), while energy policy is the tenth most important issue (56%).

Global warming is only the 13th most important issue among self-identified Democrats (56%), while energy policy is the tenth most important issue (66%).

For energy policy, there isn't much of a partisan pattern, which is a little surprising--or should it be?

Among independents though, global warming is the 13th most important issue (49%), while energy policy is the seventh most important issue (67%). I found that interesting as well.

The first thing this tells me there's more political hay to be made amongst swing voters with regard to energy policy than partisans. Of course, that doesn't always mean doing the right thing; it means appearing to do something.

The issues that politicians will be addressing, with the Republicans attempting to maintain their majorities in both houses of Congress and Democrats attempting to make gains, are going to be the issues that Independents--the folks who are less likely to vote along party lines and whose preferences/behavior are more malleable--think are important, which after you get past the "big three" that are always present (education, health care, and the economy), means a focus on terrorism, Iraq, and Social Security. Energy policy might get a little play, especially if there is a oil price spike, etc., but it won't be a major focus unless world events get even worse, at least not with politicians seeing this data.

Remember, as I have said many times, politicians are rational and pragmatic, they do whatever they can to keep their job. That means they watch these polls and put out the biggest fires, hoping that the little fires don't grow and catch them off-guard. Energy policy could be the fuel for one of those fires. (Yeesh, did I just say that? Heh.)

Next up, further down in the report, when we look at Bush job approval on certain issue areas, the numbers are more closely tied together between the climate change and energy policy issues. On global warming and energy policy, Bush received a 26% approval rating, while receiving a 56% disapproval rating on energy policy (44% on global warming).

(What I would like to see is a study on how much people parse these issues. How many people think of climate change and energy policy as inherently tied together?)

Sure, there's no doubt a lot of these approval numbers are tied to increasing gas prices (which to the Bush administration seems to mean increasing supply by whatever means possible, even if that means growing more corn or pushing fuel cells even harder).

However, it seems to me, and I am going to do some digging on this, that the salience of energy policy is increasing--not really going out a limb there, am I? (though I am efforting some data to back that up, see below). While it doesn't mean people are learning about peak oil per se, it does mean that they are thinking about where they get their energy more and more.

The numbers on energy compiled at Polling Report (I'll work on putting a plot of these together over time--but the questions are asked so differently by the organizations, it's tough to do a valid time series comparison) would seem to indicate an increased salience as well, but it's a tough conclusion to draw from the data.

So, anyway, that's enough for now. Enjoy!

Since we're discussing politics here, thought I would point out that the University of Iowa's political futures market opened again last month. These markets tend to be very accurate, better than polls, especially far out from the elections.



We may be looking at another 2 years of GOP rule.

I use these in my classes PS.  The data are indeed quite good.  They have a wonderful time series of event driven data all the way back to 1988 or some such, that, if I ever get the time, I am going to play with like a geek on crack.
I think it's also very important to note that the House is the most likely to change hands.  If I were betting on it right now, I'd agree with the odds of 3:2 that it won't turn-over.  Way too many seats with non-competitive races.  
thanks in no small part to Delay style completely bogus gerrymandering of the districts...
while I would agree with that to a point, it's important to note that the Constitution puts the power to redraw districts in the hands of state legislatures.  Republicans control a lot of state legislatures.  Ergo, if you want the districts to be drawn in your favor, win elections.  Democrats in the states where they have control of the state  legislatures are just as bad about drawing districts in their favor as Republicans though.

There's a great book on the history and technology of gerrymandering by Mark Monmonier called Bushmanders and Bullwinkles.  Quite good.

Exactly. Gerrymandering is a real cancer on our body politic -- there was a book out last year (forgot the name) that basically argued that the polarization we're seeing in America isn't reflected in the poll data -- thus suggesting gerrymandering is what's causing it.

I think a real argument can be made that the US House of Representatives, as an institution, has simply ceased working as it is supposed to. The House was supposed to be the body most representative of the people because it was theoretically 'closer' to them -- but the gerrymandered districts means the median voter that is in effect represented by legislators in these gerrymandered districts are far more partisan than voters as a whole.

Don't blame the Republicans for this because gerrymandering has been going on since the beginning of the United States. The problem is in how we create districts, not who creates them. Either party can and will (and has the historical record to prove it) manipulate the existing system to their own ends. Fixing the problem is not just throwing the Republicans out and letting the Democrats gerrymander their way instead. Fixing the problem means changing the flaws in the system of how districts are drawn.
I believe you're referring to Fiorina's Culture War book.  It's an interesting read, but it's been discussed by a lot of people.

Here's an interesting piece here that addresses it:

That's the book. Thanks for the link that provides a nice rebuttal -- that polarization has been increasing since 1970 is a strong counter-argument to be sure.

However, I don't think one can argue either-or positions here -- clearly the US political system is a complex system with numerous feedback loops. No doubt the increasing polarization that began in the 1970s has led to partisan redistricting which is causing additional polarization.  

Gerrymandering is a traditional practice with Chicago and the political machine. Too bad you can't take a political machine and get it to make useful machanical work. If you could, the Daley Machine alone could power the whole electrical grid including electrified rail and trolley buses!
The question of whether or not we are "ruled" by Republicans for the next two years will not be decided by the voters.  Our elections are clearly rigged.  It's probably because the Republicans have the system in place to pull it off.  The "decision" about who will run Congress after November may simply be a question of whose operatives are the best. Or is it all decided in corporate boardrooms?
And, anyway, who cares??  Senators and Comgressman don't even read the bills they pass into law.  And after the laws are passed, they are changed anyway (huh?).  And it has been proven that we now have secret laws - pretty tough to obey a secret law, isn't it?  As a citizen - not a comsumer, a citizen, dammit! - I demand the right to see all legislation before it is voted on so I can give my gov't representative my opinion.  However, this is not possible.

Has it always been this way?  Maybe.  Probably.

The only decisions voters make is "R" or "D". (David Putty: "Gotta support the team")

Sadly, I will not be voting this November...

I'm disgusted with the dismal leadership our politicians provide also. I think writing in a candidate will be a better way to communicate  disgust with politicians of both parties than not voting at all though.
I think I'll write my sons name in,,he's only 5 but he says whats on his mind and is not shy to voice an unpopular opinion.
ie. (as he went up the stairs to bed the other night)Mom,,your butt's big

Was he telling the truth?

no,,her butt is perfect..
Was she looking over your shoulder as you typed that ;)
Yeah,,but she's gone now..  the kid calls it like he sees it
Same here, disgusted with the leadership in congress and senate, they seem to be interested in keeping their position than choosing the "right thing " to do.

Suggest everyone watch the special on George Washington, The Warrior on the History channel. He did it right. he hated the job, and was glad to leave. and never returned to public service!

I for one will VOTE, and i will vote any and every incumbent OUT!
As i am reminded that our soldiers fight for our right to participate in a democratic election.  

The congressional THUGS who sang God Bless America after 9/11 on TV are the same thugs who can't seem to deal with any important issues. And are selling us down the river with immigration? The Senate is no better, maybe worse! They are all out of touch with the common man!

Suddenly, gay marriage, steroids and flag burning are more important than immigration and energy? I don't think so. I will VOTE!
I encourage every one else to VOTE, as long as you VOTE!


You forgot Abortion. If only we could abort our whole system and start afresh. Wait... Peak Oil IS going to abort the system! Along with the proverbial bath water.
In my opinion, a vote for a Democrat or a Republican is a wasted vote.  I vote my conscience and my principles, and have voted Green for many years.  The California Green Party has 59 Greens holding local office.  We have a full slate running for statewide offices, including Peter Camejo for governor.  Don't waste your vote.  Vote Peace.  Vote Green.
I'm pretty disgusted too. The last election (Y2K4)was such that I purposely grabbed a GOP ballot in the primary and wrote in Osama bin Laden for president! In previous cases I wrote myself in where both candidates for an office were repugnant. I would love to be able to type in this:

C:\ format /s political_system

Better watch it, Max.  The government is listening...
as i recall, in Brazil they were so disgusted with their choices for president, they wtote in Monkey!
The Pew polls have had a tarnished history of either being "push" polls or asking leading questions to obtain politically newsworthy results.  I always look deeper into the polling  specifics before attributing any merit to polls.

That said, energy does seem to of active interest to many of the electorate.  I think people are realizing that it is time for decisions and actions.  Voters do take their responsiblities seriously most of the time.

Politicans have to differentiate themselves from their competitors in elections.  A politician who has voted against ANWR, against offshore drilling, and against nuclear power will be criticized by opponents.  What were once "nice to have" positions will probably be examined with a more critical eye by voters since energy policy is increasingly a both a pocketbook and a national security issue.

People realize that the Mideast would be a lot less important if we have other energy sources.  The Iraq War may not have been "all about the oil," but high energy prices and short supply empower people who wish us harm for religous reasons.

The pushback is NIMBYism.  Voters affected by local energy projects will have to make a decision as to what's more important - local issues or national ones.  At some point in an energy crisis, the NIMBYs lose anyway.

What will continue is "pie from the sky" promises - who can spend more of your money on solar and wind.  Any smart politican will keep promising but make sure the REAL energy keeps flowing.  Let Gray Davis be an example for Arnold and others.

If by REAL energy you mean fossil fuels, then thanks for kissing our butts goodbye.

Like the heat?

(If I am wrong about your meaning, sorry, and please clarify.)

"Pie in the sky".. sure, but that shouldn't read Solar and Wind..  They already work.  It'll just be a 'hard job' to install a signifigant amount.  Fusion could better be called 'PITS', or maybe Fuel Cells, Ethanol and Tar Sands, until they can actually prove themselves to be economically viable, technically feasible, or expandable to the degree we will need.

Someone mentioned the extreme envirom. disruptions of putting in all that solar and wind.. you don't need to clear forests to do it.  It should be roofing material, by and large, where it is closest to the consumption anyway, and so is the least affected by line-losses.  Wind can share space between planted fields across much of the country, and also be near at hand to  a hungry energy consumer, the farmers.  I wonder what options are out there for Electric Tractors?  I know there are small ones.

Electric tractors and combines? That idea gets me to conjure up images of wires hung across fields and the tractors with trolleys to get the electricity. Doable yes, but not exactly pretty-looking! :) As the windmill turns in the wind, the farmer drives the trolley combine underneath it.
Battery operated tractors seem feasible, but they would need a quick charge battery.  Not an easy engineering challenge though !  And might reduce farmer productivity by half.

Combines are time critical.  The best use of bio-fuels and remaining crude oil/tar sands might be to bring in the harvest !

Farmer productivity/2 = 2 * farmers to get the same work done

Those are jobs created, where's the problem? ;)

'Quick Charge Batteries'

Not necessarily. There could be a quick-change battery instead, where charging spots at the base of a turbine would be readily accessible to the fields.  Think of the batteries used in warehouse forklifts, etc..  I seem to recall that Tractors actually depend on their weight to give them traction, too.

There are certainly other vehicles and pieces of stationary equipment that would be able to use the current as well.  Not being a farmer (and I suspect I'm not alone in that), those who are could tell us more..

Of course, it might be possible to design some fields to be longer and somewhat narrower, with tracks along both sides, and the work once done by a variety of specialised tractors would be handled with a gantry-crane approach.  That movement should reduce the energy requirement by huge amounts, not having great wheels fighting through soft soils.. (Electrified Farming Rail systems.. got a ring to it, doesn't it?) Could also be oriented in a radial setup, like the Irrigation Wheels, perhaps..  Tools get attached out at the circumference, work the field like a record player..

Certainly some tasks are essential to be done with more portable, convenient fuels.  We have the opportunity to examine which can be reevaluated and revised.

Bob Fiske

What makes you think ANWR drilling is some sort of winning issue?  People who voted against drilling (usually Democrats) have been criticized by Republicans for years.  I really don't see ANWR and off shore oil drilling offering any sort of major political advantage.  Nuclear is still an issue that is a major political liability.  

I also don't see what the advantage of it outside of politics is either.  You can vote to drill in ANWR, off shore, build more nuclear plants, and in the end our energy policy still is pure shit.  Just drilling holes is not going to solve our problem.  Frankly, the argument can be made that our problems are so big that whether or not we drill in ANWR is entirely inconsequential.  

In any case, the road forward can't consist of more drilling.  That is a dead end alley.  Maybe if we plow forward stubbornly we can drive along for a few more blocks, but in the end we're going to run out of road and right into a brick wall.  Sooner or later, we have to turn off onto snother street if we want to achieve any sort of long term solution to this problem.  If wind and solar are just pie in the sky, then we'd better come up with some way to change that, or find some more viable alternatives quickly, because vainly drilling for more "REAL energy" is just not going to cut it.  

Two new paths.

Electrify our freight railroads amd force (via free market & gov't incentives) frieght off 18 wheelers and onto railroads.

Finance new Urban Rail like we did the Interstate Highways.  90% matching. No $ limit for for any decent project.  Build, build, build !!!

Of those disapproving of Bush's handling of global warming, only 52% say there's solid evidence for it and of those, 30% say it's due to natural patterns. Yet there is no explanation in the scientific community attributing the warming to natural variability. None, nada, zippo. Of the 20% approving, 37% of these people attribute the phenomenon to natural patterns.

So, we must ask ourselves where these people got this idea. One idea that the ExxonMobil propaganda effort has put out is that the world's climate is rebounding from the cooling of the "Little Ice Age". This explanation has no credibility among the scientists. Yet, I doubt that most of those citing natural variability have ever heard of it.

I wonder what good it does to tell me this. In fact, all it does is have a depressing affect on mood for those who know something. I wonder what they think at Pew Climate. Nice try, Al.

This depressed me too.

I suppose a strategy might be to link climate change and energy issues to what people do care about:  economy, terrorism, health sex, etc.

I've said for a number of years that it is not the technical aspects of the problems facing us that will defeat us. No, it will instead be the sociological and psychological aspects that bring us down. This poll is more evidence of that. Maybe now you understand why I don't worry about saving the world- it doesn't want to be saved. Just save whatever small piece you can for yourself and those around you.
These poll results, such as they are, reflect just how far scientists and academics have fallen in 'who counts' in the realm of American policy discourse. Academics used to be fairly respected -- but the construction of an entire alternative 'academy' in the form of right-wing think tanks has really undermined their credibility. Scholars need to wake up to see just how marginalized they've become in the political process.
When, as an academic, you teach a class, there are faces turned towards you, listening to each word, scribbling notes.  They read the books you assign, study hard, take tests you create.  This provides one with the sense that education changes people's minds.  For those who participate it probably does, but reaching the "masses" who are distracted by the media and their personal dramas seems like a quixotic mission, doesn't it?
Most of my college professors were die-hard liberals (Democrats) who injected their political viewpoints in the course lecture. I put very little faith in academics as they are not living in the real world where you and I operate on a daily basis. Only guest lecturers (i.e. businessmen, scientists in the field, etc.) are worth listening to as they have experience in their fields.
I hear this criticism a lot, but I don't see it as terribly valid. Academics are specialists in their particular field of study.

As for their depends where you go, but there are comparable institutions that are overwhelmingly conservative republican -- military officers or business elites, for instance.

I think you find differences in the hard sciences like physics, chemistry, and also agronomy and genetics. You find plenty of conservatives in those areas, although not necessarily creationist neocon types.
Because a business man's experience is somehow more relevant to everyone's life than an academic's?  It may be more relevant if you're running a business.  For the rest, there are many professions where you are technically "in business", but where the actual experience of the job has almost nothing to do with "business" at all.  I wouldn't say a businessman has much relevant knowledge about anything besides business, and even then maybe only the narrow business niche that he's in.  

Choosing to listen to businessmen over academics says more about your own personal biases than it does about the quality of information offered by either businessmen or academics.  Choosing to listen to someone because they say what you want to hear does not make them more credible.  Now, maybe I'm unfairly singling out businessmen as you mentioned scientists in the field as well.  

I guess, what it comes down to in my opinion, is most people live in a world of their own construction.  Few people are fully in touch with what's going on beyond their own tiny little sphere.  In the end you have to look at the facts yourself and come to your own conclusion about the broader picture.  I wouldn't necessarily say a businessman or scientist in the field can offer you valid information beyond that of his own tiny world either.  

most people live in a world of their own construction.

EVERYBODY live in a world of his/her own construction!
This is the very definition of individuality, assuming that there a "one and only" reality is the path to disaster!
Here I don't mean that there are not ultimate "hard facts" which are compelling to anybody but that the value of events and so called "facts" is entirely dependent of one's own idiosyncrasies even more than on one's apparent interests.

In the end you have to look at the facts yourself and come to your own conclusion about the broader picture.

That's sounds hollow to me, I guess everybody is doing this already.
May be you are just frustrated (as I am too...) that not so many are close to your own opinions.

Most of the enginering profs I had as an undergraduate had industrial experience and overall I would say there was a bit of a lean to the left among them.  

FWIW, my introduction to peak oil was from a self professed conservative physics prof. back in the late 80's.  He did not call it peak oil, and he presentation on the topic was a bit unrefined compared to what I've read since then, but the gist was that exponential growth that our society is built on cannot continue.

I wonder how many of those 30% who believe that GW is part of a natural cycle also believe the universe was created on Oct 23, 4004 BC?
You say:
Remember, as I have said many times, politicians are rational and pragmatic, they do whatever they can to keep their job.

However, if you check the dictionary definition of the word "rational," you see that you have misspoken. Politicians are the poster children for the irrational.

rational |?ra sh ?nl; ?ra sh n?l| adjective 1 based on or in accordance with reason or logic : I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation. * (of a person) able to think clearly, sensibly, and logically : Andrea's upset--she's not being very rational. See note at sensible . * endowed with the capacity to reason : man is a rational being.

If a politician were to be "rational," they would comport their arguments in agreement with logical, clear, and sensible thoughts, but they clearly don't. Otherwise, we would protect the environment, provide universal healthcare, be riding around on bicycles to the local light rail system in a population controlled world where all nations got together to "rationally" discuss the future of the species. Last time I checked, we and the politicians were still hitting ourselves on our respective heads with a hammer thinking we were doing great things.

No politicians are expedient, short-sighted, self-interested, liars, cheats, egomaniacal, shilling, toadying, and somewhat ingratiating, but they are not, with few exceptions, "rational."

heh.  a fair point.  how about "they behave rationally in their cause for maintaining their employment..."

obfuscation has always been a part of politics, both parties are guilty.

Coming to an election near you.

I think it could be a big hit with the 'citizens' , (sorry consumers).

No doubt it will catch on over here as well.

Yeah! Score another point for The Onion, a SATIRICAL publication!
How about "Scratch and Sniff"  (I thought that's what it said at first...)

If they all smell like poop, we'll know not to vote for them!

If the politicians were serious about get out the vote propaganda then the state would give away free lottery tickets when votes are cast. It would get more poor people to the polls but then there is a certain political party which doesn't want the poor, especially the black poor, to vote.
Given that something like 98% of congresspeople get re-elected, you'd think they'd have some confidence in taking a few political risks.
  Your definition of rationality/irrarionality with politicians holds true only if acting in the public's interest is their primary motive. Since their real objective is personal power and wealth in the vast majority, politician's behaviour is emminently rational, just venial and shortsighted.
You forgot skirtchasing drunks.
From time to time I've seen articles pointing out that Bush's approval ratings and national gasoline prices move in almost perfect symmetry - one goes up and the other goes down. Or in other words, the sum of the two is constant. I'd like to see an up to date graph which shows whether this has remained true since the election.

that would be an interesting graph.

ask and ye shall receive (click for full size):

and here's another one here that's the last three years only.
Thanks, PG. This graph is really cheering me up. I've got my bearings again and feel fulfilled now that I truly understand the universe of American popular opinion.  

I think you can substitue the words "gas prices" for "energy policy" in the Pew poll, because that's the limit of what the majority understand and care about regarding energy.  An energy policy is just a means to reduce gas prices.
The more I look at it the more amazed I get!  I never could figure out why hi approval rating was what it was - but the correlation here is astounding.  After July of 2003 it's not about anything but gas prices.
that's why he's not changing his policy direction either.  hasn't softened one bit, because he thinks it's all due to energy prices as opposed to folks actually disagreeing over the war, etc.
How do we know what Bush thinks, or why he does what he does?  This is the same man who recently suggested to Putin that he should emulate Iraq's democracy.  Anyone watching the news lately would have realized that making such a suggestion would be considered rather foolish.  I have a hard time finding much rational basis for many of Bush's decisions.  There's no point trying to make sense out of something that inherently does not make sense.  
In the 2000 campaign and very early in his presidentcy Bush eschewed "nation building" (also, I think it was his first State of the Union speech, he said that the US should show more humility in it's dealings with other nations ?).

As things developed, Bush got his nation to build.  he put in the thinsg that he (and his advisors) thought were essential to create a state that would destabilize the anti-American nations around them (hopefully this new state would just reform in SA).  The pieces selected in DC are not quite fitting together and working right; but he KNOWS that with a bit more work & time that they will !

And it is such an obviously good design that everyone else should do the same.

I thought his suggestion to Putin and his reply (Just you wait & see !) were extremely revealing of his mindset.  No question that it will work if we just "stay the course" !

And when "Pres. 2009" withdraws US troops, Bush will blame him for the failure in Iraq.

Altogether too much certainity.

What a bunch of over simplified nonsense.  How can you say whether people are unhappy with gas prices, or unhappy with the war in Iraq when they are both joined at the hip.  Instability in the middle east helps contribute to more expensive petroleum.  So, what are people reacting to, gas prices, or unhappiness with the war, etc?  It's like the chicken and the egg, which one is causing which?  
I think you are probably correct - the two variables plotted are driven by lots of other things.  It's too over simplified.
Wow. I wish I could get certain kinds of physical systems to correlate this well with control variables...
The wording of the questions made answering the polls difficult if you are a believer in GW or PO as most questions seemed to relate to price of gasoline. Since most of us think that the price of gasoline should be higher, then we get lumped in with the 'no problem' folks.
My friends seem to fall into two groups -
  1. those like myself, who are environmentally aware, consider GW to be the biggest problem with PO a close second and without solving those two problems not much else matters.
  2. those very religious conservatives who see as most important those faith-based issues such as abortion, gay marriage, prayer in school, creationism vs evolution, etc. and, while they are aware of global warming, it is low on their radar screen compared to these issues.
This may be just because I live in the south, but I am not sure that there aren't plenty of people just like them in other parts of the country. We have a festival called Riverbend in Chattanooga which has musical performances from all genre on several stages for 10 nights in the summer. The low attendance night (Tuesday) they made Christian night with all Christian music and no alcohol permitted. This night has one of the biggest attendances of all now. There was recently a program on Revelations and the Apocalypse at the biggest auditorium and it drew a full house.
Yesterday I went back up into the mountains to visit various cousins who still live pretty close to traditional 'hillbilly' ways. All of them have beautiful well-tended gardens just like they have had all their adult lives. Most of their gardens were suffering from the heat even if they were able to water them from local water sources. Even one cousin's muscadine vineyard was suffering.(For those who do not know, the muscadine is a native wild grape) Most are life-long Republicans and God-fearing Babtists, but they are starting to believe in GW. They are well-adapted to surviving PO but if the climate changes abruptly enough to disrupt the growing of traditional crops then none of us may survive.
[those like myself, who are environmentally aware, consider GW to be the biggest problem with PO a close second ]

The problem with GW is there is no viable solution, either local or global.  There are so many positive feedback loops in place now or soon to be contributing to putting CO2 and methane into the atmosphere that even if we humans decreased CO2 emissions to zero, GW is going to happen.  And we can't even stop the acceleration of emissions, much less get a reduction, much less get to zero.  So while we recognize GW will probably kill more people and other species than PO, isn't it better to focus on PO because that will probably be the most immediate massive problem, and we can do some things to mitigate that damage (at least on a local basis)?

I'm out in the granola-crunching Bay Area in California and most people are either the religious conservative types you speak of, or some variety of The Great American Cornucopian, of which there are many.

I've found very very few Peak Oil types, and as for global warming, the working-class people who are out in the heat seem to be most amenable to the thought - they're out in the weather and generlally have been for years and know this is one HOT bastard of a summer, and if they think about it, last winter was very wet but didn't get as cold as normal.

My experience too. Those who don't read Financial Times or pay any attention to any sort of "opinion leader" are very much aware of GW. The hyper-educated hyper-indoctrinated have endless cause to disbelieve the evidence of their own senses.
This points to the fallacy that we can just save our little patch of land and let the rest of the world go to hell. We are the rest of the world. That is what is debilitating and depressing about global warming.  You can't sequester your little part of the world from the rest of the planet.  This is what makes it a problem the magnitude of which has never been dealt  with my human kind.

What are we waiting for?  

Those who are close to nature or rely on nature are the most acutely aware of the problem, of course. To these people, nature matters and can't be shut off and forgotten with automobiles, computers, and air conditioning.

This whole fundamentalist phenomenon is not helping, but, I guess, even some of the evangelicals are beginning to catch on to global warming as something that won't be fixed by God, but will need man to take action.

Unfortunately, scientific projections of temperature mean nothing.  Now that we are finally noticing and feeling the additional heat as real in our lives, it is probably too late. We should have started dealing with this 25 years ago. But it takes a special human being to take scientific data, make it real, and act on it.  We did that with ozone to a certain extent, but GW is just too overwhelming for our tiny brains to deal with.

Re: Opinions about Energy Policy

My first attempt at Haiku.

Approaching the cliff
They walk blindfolded until
Their feet walk on air

Take that, Bashō!

Nice haiku, Dave.

I was starting to feel a bit optimistic until I read this thread.

Nothing like a little dose of reality to remind me that we are indeed intent upon committing ecocide while deluding ourselves with a strong dose of intentional ignorance.

Ah, well, I sure do not control outcomes, only the thoughts, words, and deeds that I seem to choose.

I'd best get back outside, before I become even further depressed.  Once I get too far down the road of despair, I'm not much good to anyone.

Even a moment of joy in the present is worth something, even if the future appears to be brutal torture ended with painful death, eh?

Intentional ignorance rules in the USA.  The core of our culture appears to be rape, which is enabled by massive doses of seduction and manipulation.  

Ah, well, even if extinction is next, there have been moments of love, peace, and joy along the way.

After spending some time working in the yard and around the house, I feel a bit better.  Funny how that works.

The information from the PEW folks really threw me by confirming that what is my "worst case scenario" is playing out in terms of "intentional ignorance" deepening and being cultivated by the political duopoly in the USA.

The political PTB are concerned with issues only insofar as they can be spun to immediate political advantage, and then the issues are simply dropped.

Here's a good quote from Buckminster Fuller that captures my mood:

"Either man is obsolete or war is. War is the ultimate tool of politics. Political leaders look out only for their own side. Politicians are always realistically maneuvering for the next election. They are obsolete as fundamental problem-solvers." -- R. Buckminster Fuller

Virgins fill oil lamps--
They are not shocked at the cost:
Neighbors' kids in crates.
My new woman just told me:

"You have to choose, Me or The Oil Drum."

Cheezus, I do not drink much, I do not gamble, I am 100% faithful and plus I'm generous and . . . .

See ya later oilagators.

Dear Don,

Don't leave us.  I appreciate all that you say.  

I'm always sharing the idea that we DON'T live in a binary (either/or, Ones and Zeroes) universe.  You CAN have it all!

Fellow TOD's - What can Don do??

I do not drink much

You may want to change that, Don, because PO probably also means peak beer ...


Don, I thought you got your 8 hour a day TOD fix while your lady was at work. Don't leave us! :)
I guess Don need his fix on weekends too, conflict!

Back Monday. Also can jump quick onto TOD when a certain person is taking an hour to make herself even more beautiful in the bathroom.
We'll make it work, don't worry.
I just got a little hint of this.
off the subject here a little-- I strongly believe the world is at or near peak oil, have read the Long Emergency, Twilight In The Desert etc. I need some advice from my fellow enlightened pessimists out there.
What career fields are a wise choice for someone about 30  about now, given the coming changes; or would it even be prudent to take out a lot of student loans at this point to finance education today that may prove useless tommorrow? Ive always been skeptical of borrowing anyway-- even more so now after reading comments on here. Finally, what about the military?
Career Fields: geology
Lots of Student Loans: no. Go to community college for your G.E.'s then transfer to a public university. In the business world, no one cares if you spent $100K on a private university education.
Military: only join for patriotic reasons - you love the US; you are willing to die for the country; you absolutely trust the judgement of your Commander-In-Chief and of Congress to do what is right for their soldiers. If you want to join just for money, you will be very unhappy and maybe even dead.

Good luck!
The trouble I have with colleges is they don't teach what we WILL need to know. Colleges are still focused on skills of the past like computer science and macroeconomics. We need to know hydroponics as a way of conserving water and soil. We need to know how to build windfarms and solar heating and cooling. We need to know how to repair IGBT pulse width modulators and rewinding induction motors. We need to know how to build and operate desalination systems and how to extract water from the atmosphere. We need to know how to build and operate Fischer-Tropsch and other BTL technologies. Where are the community colleges teaching what will be needed 10 or 15 years down the road.
Education is never useless.
Military service is immoral.
Learn things, help creatures, don't harm creatures. This will build better karma that will aid you in whatever is to come.


Republican here. My co-worker (Democrat) got into a heated argument with me today regarding "An Inconvenient Truth" and how this supposed "global warming" is going to destroy the earth for his children. I then asked him why he drives an SUV if he's so worried about "global warming." His response is that it's the auto-markers fault for making SUVs and he doesn't have a choice to buy something else. ??? This nonsense is coming from someone yelling at me about ignoring "global warming."

For the record, there is no such thing as "global warming." There are weather cycles, that is all. 30 years ago, the scare tactic was global cooling.

Everyone should listen to these 2 podcasts: IS GLOBAL WARMING JUST HOT AIR? and Other Voices: Evelyn Garriss, Editor, Browning Newsletter.

If you want people to take Peak Oil seriously, then you need to drop the unfounded and false claims of "global warming" and stick with science (Hubbert's Peak).
I hate to bust your complacency bubble, but the evidence for unprecedented warming is striking in the Arctic. Some geophysicists at our university have returned from Greenland field work with striking data showing a huge surge in micro-quakes on the ice cap. And there are large moulins and standing water everywhere, weeks earlier than usual. This is a big positive feedback (lower albedo <-> melting, and quakes indicating major sub-surface crevassing and ice/rock contact slippage). This is just one story of many. Look into it instead of cherry-picking "GW debunking" sites and you'll find out why essentially every climatologist who works on this subject is very concerned.

Now that the site is back online

you will find that if you add up all the subregions the real ice loss is 1 million square km more then whats presented in the total at the top and we still have 3 more months of melting.

I think they are not updating the total correctly.

If its true were loosing 1 million km2 per year on average then we will be ice free in 6 years in the artic.

Not 100

Before you write another word, please actually read some science.
First, your friend is an idiot.  What that has to do with most of us, I have no idea.

Second. You need to do a lot more research on warming. Start with  There you will see the socalled debunkers debunked.

Third. I only wish you were correct.

Being an old lady, I can remember the 'Global Cooling' scenario. As was pointed out in another thread yesterday, many scientists were already discussing GW in the 60s, but at that time most coal plants were spewing out vast quantities of particulate matter and the opacity of the atmosphere caused some scientists to speculate about a global cooling effect. However the particulate matter in the air was also causing lung problems in some areas so the Clean Air Act was passed  leading to greatly reduced particulate matter in the atmosphere and destroying the global cooling fears. Before you debunk GW based on a couple of web sites, you should review the history of environmental problems and regulation in the US.
Yes, there is a cooling effect of aerosols and recently scientists have discovered that this is greater than they previously thought.  Look up "global dimming."

However, this is not enough to override the warming going on, and aeorsols have short life spans in the atmosphere, some days, whereas co2 lasts a many decades.  

I am a biologist who has worked with climatologists on research projects and they are not ignorant alarmists.  All fellow scientists I have met are basically in it because they want to know the truth.  Discovery and knowledge is their passion.  Everyone I know who's a research scientist could be making a lot more money if that's what they cared about.  IQs are high, work ethic outstanding.  

On the other hand...Nearly all the anti-climate change work is a deliberate PR campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry, especially Exxon Mobil and Peabody Coal.  

See the work of Ross Gelbspan for more about this.  If you don't believe in GW, you have been dupped by the same folks who told you smoking wasn't all that bad for you.  These are PR firms working, honestly.  They even hire people to go onto blog sites and listserves to feed doubt.  A friend of mine met someone with that job!

How's that for a conspiracy theory.  Now go ahead and punish me ;)

[quote]These are PR firms working, honestly.  They even hire people to go onto blog sites and listserves to feed doubt.A friend of mine met someone with that job!

That's incredibly cynical -- I don't doubt it at all.

"Viral marketing" is the placement of people with products (in this case ideas or opinions) to inlfuence others.

Q: Why is Bush ignoring the overwhelming evidence of climate change from the Arctic and the Antarctic?

A: Because Bush doesn't make decisions based on poles.


Take a broader, holistic, view on the environment:

Even a 30 year cycle will mean that the coastal areas, that were build up during the last 30-40 years are now in danger. do we need to spend resources to re-build?

The desert states in the SW may become untenable unless the population lives as if they ARE in a desert. There is not enough flow in the colorado to satisfy everyone.

The mid-west may have drought, so plan your agriculture accordingly.

Etc. etc.

Other topic: anyone know any thing about Kilimanjaro in the mythology of the people who live around it? Is there a story or record when the mountain was last ice free?

I assume that saying you're a Republican, you mean to convey that you are a political and social conservative. Fine.

The heart of conservatism is to conserve things that are worthwhile and good. Yet: Bush made no serious calls for energy conservation. The current plan is to drill for every drop of oil, in every wilderness. Conservatism has lead (in a way I cannot fathom) to fiscal profligacy: Reagan began, and GW Bush will finish, the job of spending the US into near-bankruptcy.

Ignoring the climate change issue, which you clearly don't accept: wouldn't the conservative approach be to burn less fossil fuel, and conserve more? It would give better air quality, reduce costs for industry and individuals, and leave more for our children.

I've never understood how conservatism, with some rich traditions and roots, has become so perverted.

Screeeeeeeeech! Warning!


Adult Content!

With all due respect to Prof. Goose(I know he will forgive me), I will attempt to hijack this thread. We already have 60 posts and I'm just trying to seed tomorrow.

If I used Kofi Annan Eats Babies as a line, would you pay attention?

I have been spending(paying) all my attention on the "conflict." Oil is at $74.

We'll talk about oil when it is relevant. Until then I'll be following discussion led by Jack Greene and Step Back.

I just watched Larry King interview Kofi Annan. He was accusing Israel of war crimes yesterday. Today he is saying we should not lose sight of the "original sin" in this case, which is the abduction of Israeli soldiers. What an asshole. Is it any wonder that I believe reports that he eats babies?

I like my pre-born chickens sunny side up. I like baby cattle with tomato sauce and parmagian cheese.
Nobody has ever been able to disprove my theory that Kofi eats babies. Noboby. Ever. Does that mean my theory is true? Take it on a philosophical level. Take it on other levels. Some of the people that will actually try to disprove this theory will tell you, without blinking an eye, that there is a big fucking magnet under the Bermuda Triangle. Who's the shithead? Spare me.
I've been in the Desert in recent days struggling with myself.

This is the best I have to come up with. Warning. Warning - from this point on spelling is not an issue with me.

Oil CEO's list of people to listen to(If you are not on this list you can appeal for attention - APPEAL - I will listen to you, I probably only forgot you in the first place)

So anyway, my list of who to pay attention to(these are in no order).

My list will only include intelligent, clued-in people. Nutcases and fanatics will be excluded. So get your shit together.

step back

Grey Zone
Jack Greene
Prof Goose

*joule gets spot number 4. Yes, number 4. This is MY List. So here's the sub-text. Joule has done what I consider an excellent job. I completely disagree with him. Completely. I'm just not going to ignore his talent. And he will hold this spot until he is unseated. Don't ever accuse me of partisanship or "you fill in the blanks."

I dont know if blog software registers joule at number 4. He gets number four, between step back and Grey Zone.

I knew this was a super-bad idea. I'd always forget someone and have to add them in. Roger Conner - "That's It - I'm Out."
Great stuff! I suggest that only people on Oil CEO's list be allowed to post. Unapproved editors should be dismissed immediately.  When we devolve to "Long Emergency World," unapproved people should be denied food and hydration as well.
Haha. Good one. Rick's one of the smarter people here. He was just feeling embarrassed for me. No need. Let me fail on my own, Rick. I need no help. There is in fact a method to the madness. Keep on rockin' in the free world. I'm all about free speech. Or, as the Clash say, "as long as you're not actually dumb enough to actually try it."
Nobody's got a monopoly on grey matter --not even Grey Zone (much as he tries). I try to listen to everybody's point of view. Keep up the good work everybody, especially you lurkers who watch but don't share your thoughts. Come on in. The water is tepid and not yet boiling. (Rivet) --that was a frog's croak :-)
Oh, I frigging hate myself. I can never do this right.

There are obviously many other people to be payed attention to. My whole intent originally was to give everybody an equal and fair break.

Warning - I am balancing order with who is more important with who is who. So if I hate you, but you write alot, you appear. If I hate hate you, but you write well, you appear more. I hate you, and you're writing sucks, you will appear very little.

I hate you with a passion - strangely, you get more attention - so Shut The Fuck Up(STFU) -You get much more than you deserve.

Tate - I like you,you're just new. Settle down. You're totally likeable. So much potential. Don't blow it.

Cherenkov - all positions are open to him. He knows this. He continues to gamble. I'd like to convince him otherwise.

Continued soon. All next...on Larry King Live.

Replying to many comments of you above

super-bad idea

Noooo, it's not bad, it's worse than bad, it's silly!
Just noise, no more content than spam.
Who cares about your ratings?

Those are called flares. They're meant to draw your fire, so I  can re-direct and destroy your position. Welcome to the machine.
I decided to post this without editing:

Oh, my.  July has been an interesting one in the Holy Land, hasn't it?

Jack Greene probably has the best posts here regarding the current conflict in the Middle-East.  He certainly has opinions and favorites, yet he does not conceal them. This makes him honest. All writers are propagandists. For others to ignore this and accusing him of cheerleading is hypocritical. As well as bell wrong from several other angles.

I started reading a response from Step Back the other day. It started with,"I usually agree with you, but..." Forgive me, but I stopped reading right there. I'll let others disagree with me, but not you, my man.  I knew what was coming. I'll go back and read the post sometime soon maybe.

We've got to stay focused.

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

8:22 AM       Beirut
6:22 AM       London
1:22 AM       Washington

The latest news is that Israel is "supposedly" massing what  I guess are considered "infantry" on the Lebanese border. Advanced militaries such as the one Israel possesses don't really utilize infantry in quite the way that they have been used historically, so this is somewhat of a misnomer.

Numbers and Reporting
Amanpour, who should know better by now annouces battalion"s"of troops already inside the border. "Over a thousand soldiers."  A single battalion is over a thousand troops. Maybe someone can school me on Israeli unit numbers. I'd like that, it would spare me from havng to look it up. Yesterday MSNBC was running a crawler claiming IDF dropped a "23-ton bomb" on Hezbollah bunker in Beirut. They ran that crawler for a while, even after other sources were saying "23 tons of bombs."  I'm not claiming one thing or another. I'm not saying what the numbers are. I'm just saying there are clearly massive and major discrepancies with the numbers, depending on where you get you information.  The public in general and most of the world, including many people here are also clearly unaware of the discrepancies and therefore have no real ability to decipher various levels of truth and reality.

Two days ago, I felt it was a forgone conclusion that the IDF was going to launch a ground invasion of Southern Lebanon in between 7 and 14 days. I came up with this Wild Ass Guess from everything I had taken in regarding the "crisis" (which, by the way, is no crisis to me - as student of the Mid-East, it is clear that this "stuff" happens on a regular basis. This isn't World War III.)

The news media. And I repeat - "The News Media"- then did a complete 180 and said it would happen tonight(last night). Then immediately(when it didn't) fell into the role of asking questions like - "Is Israel wary?" of interviewees whom they specifically brought on knowing they would say yes. I'll blame Tucker Carlson for initiating "Groud Assault Tonight" talk. Although it may have started elsewhere, since Tucker is an annoying twit who obviously only crossed the Atlantic because he couldn't hold down what he would call a real job. Gonna hafta get rid of the hippie hairdo, sweetie, if you're gonna play with the Big-Boys like Hemmer and Cooper. But make sure you wear a helmet at all times. You don't wanna end up like that guy from ABC.

I think it's funny that most of the best war reporters are women who grew up in Africa, South America, and the MidEast , but the best paid ones are men who probably live in Connecticut most of the year. Funny? Sad. I was talking about the people in front of the camera. There are a ton of men (and some women) who are much more talented, excellent in fact - and get paid much less. They are writers or they stand behind the camera most of the time. Hemingway comes to mind. My favorite is Max Hastings. Hats off to all of you.

Note to Anderson Cooper. Didn't you cover  Iraq 2003 (Iraqi Freedom) from the Studio? Didn't you start off cutting up lines for Aaron Brown so he wouldn't fall asleep? What ever happened to Mr. Brown? Wasn't Bill Hemmer(now at Fox) riding in the Bradley back then?

Should I turn on the TV to see if there are any "developments?" Oh, just for a sec. Forgive me.

The Art of Warfare

In the modern era, there are only two countries which may be considered masters of the Art of Warfare. Israel and the United States. I personally rank Israel best. Wecan debate that some other time. Britain would of course be the only third contender. Russia, the only other possible entry in this discussion, can really only be showcased as a supplier of weapons,  rather than a fighter. Their only foray into war-fighting post-WWII is is being massacred by Afghanis and massacring Chechens.

I've been rather fascinated by the news cycle. The "news" seems to be perfectly timed for East Coast consumption. Between, say, 8 AM and 8 PM, in the Middle-East, there doesn't seem to be anything either interesting or relevant. The news doesn't seem to start until about 6 pm in the Middles East, which gives plenty of time for it to be analysed and digested by Western outlets.

New York Times has an interesting graphic on their site. Most of the reporters and organizations covering the story seem to be fairly clueless about actual military affairs so it is always a treat to get some semi-up-to-date information on techical details. For it is this information that is actually so important in interpretting what is reall going on. Or coming to some reasonable assessment.

Missiles and Rockets. Expose
Katyusha Russia/Germany

Ground Campaign

Israeli Special Forces will rule the day. Their coordination, firepower, communications, and experience are simply too good. Which brings us to the Nasrallah Death Watch.

History vs. Recent Reporting

Nasrallah Death Watch

Wake Up - Hezbollah is a Glorified Mafia.
After what happened in Lebanon, it was an easy mark for them.

I just saw what looked like an 8-year old girl, obviously supported by her parents saying she liked when whoever "killed" Israelis. My sisters are all older than 25.  My parents would have been disgusted by any talk of killing anybody. This girl was talking about killing civilians. Her parents had been preparing her since birth for a life that might involve occupation as a suicide bomber. Step Back. Remember when we had that little chuckle about the "Matrix." This shit is real. Israeli girls may be painting "From Nazareth" on artillery shells. That would be an isolated incident, and when other elements of Israeli society get ahold of that story, the practice will be stopped. This is different from the organized, condoned images and practices that have been coming from Hezbollah and like-minded parts of the Aran/Muslim world for decades. Unabashed, unstopped.

CNN  is running an old "Inside Hezbollah" from a few years ago(?). Either that or Nasrallah hadn't adjusted his "Just For Men"(Beards Edition). He was saying U.S. wasn't target. Let's see how long he sticks with that line.

Oil CEO's recommendations for the week:

Movie: Syriana
Book: The Persian Puzzle

Intelligence Dominance

If you look at this fight so far you see that Israel dominates the intelligence game. It knows much more about its enemy than its enemy knows about it, and it is able to convince its enemy of this.

Cease Fire - Cease Fire, To Re -Load

Condoleeza Rice to go to the Mid-East. Already calls for Bush to send someone else - Like Colin Powell. Reason given is she is a woman. I have problems with Condi. I back her here. I also back Bush Whitehouse and Bolton at the UN. Just so we know where I stand.

You're standing on quicksand, like BCR.  Even Britain is now backing away from the disproportionate collective punishment being meted out by Israel, which also happens to be a war-crime as defined by the Geneva conventions. Also applies to BCR and their actions in Iraq.

BTW, read Sun Tsu's Art Of War, and you will learn the many ways that the U.S. is far from a "master of war".

What I,m really interested in is whether Jack Greene, Stepback and Oil CEO have been tested for psycopathy.
IMO, lumping Step Back in with those two is unreasonable. Invariably his posts are worth reading.
I've been tested. Several times. The results usually come out positive. Brian has been tested as well. In his case the results have consistently determined that he is retarded. I remain skeptical and hopeful. I think there may actually be some useful brain activity. More comparisons with monkeys on crack will be necessary, however.
Whatever it means, this "psycopathy" stuff, the meter read off the scale for me. :-P
The table "Global Warming a low priority" illustrates the Republican's maladjusted sense of priority.  How rational is ranking "Flag Burning" as a "very important issue" ahead of energy policy?

Republicans excel at driving ideological issues - which in my opinion includes the so-called "War On Terror" - while paying lip service or actively opposing bread and butter issues like healthcare, education, and jobs that are of concern to an overwhelming majority of citizens.

Also note that Democrats and Independents are more concerned about budget deficits than the supposedly financially "conservative" Republicans.


Politics has become a marketing competition.

Both parties promise a Disneyesque consumer haven to the voters, and portray themselves as protectors against those bogeymen out there who are Evil, while we are Good.

We are entitled to an endless, effortless stream of consumer goods and energy at WallMart prices.

The bottom line is that the politics of distraction and disinfotainment ensure that no change is possible.

Imagine the Garden of Eden, The New Jerusalem, and the "Paradise Casino-Golf Resort" all rolled into one.  People live in McMansions with huge garages and two sacred SUVs in each garage.  Somewhere far away is a terrible land filled with Evildoers, under whom sits a huge supply of oil to which we, the good people of Paradise, are entitled.  We are so noble as we defend the oil from the Evildoers and bring it to Paradise, where we know what to do with it.

No political party in the USA dares to challenge the paradigm of American Paradise.

The best marketer wins the election.  Escept when they don't.  Then the voting machines and the Supreme Court may help out a bit.