Saturday, July 30, 2011

A shrinking economy

It has been a constant theme in these columns that the global oil supply is under real threat. The facts to confirm this are everywhere if one were interested in pursuing the topic. (Google “Peak Oil” and see what comes up). A clear indication of a shift in supply is that Saudi Arabia, while it increased its output by 700,000 barrels per day, has kept more of its oil at home to benefit its own citizens with air-conditioning and desalinization projects.

So how do we confront a shrinking economy at work and at home? Brutal assessments will be the order of the day. Even though the top 10 percent of the population will manage to keep luxury businesses going for a time, the economy must shift away from businesses that feed the public’s desires to those that address what people need to survive. Small enterprises will fare better. All businesses should start wondering whether their employees could get to work if they couldn’t afford to fill the gas tank. Is your business near a transit network? These are tough questions.

The U.S. economy is indeed shrinking

HT The Oil Drum

Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released revised figures for the Gross Domestic Product going all the way back to 2007, and they aren’t pretty. The recovery is a failure; the economy is lousy; and the official discourse is in deep, deep denial.
The Incredible Shrinking Economy: revisions to GDP since 2007 reveal bleak news

Juliet Schor: Plenitude from toddboyle on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Huntington Beach Councilmember Debbie Cook talk...

Huntington Beach Councilmember Debbie Cook talk...
Show: Etopia News Now

She is well informed!!

They just put solar over the city hall parking lot. Looks like car ports... but furnishes a significant portion the the facilities power.

Well done presentation!

Embarrassed for them

Monday, July 25, 2011

Climate Change Disclosure-George Carlin Saving our Planet

Monday, July 11, 2011

Piffissaq Nutaaq (new times)

ATANA is the childhood nickname for Alex Andersen who is the one man band/artist on this album. ATANA is based in greenland and works with upcoming artists at the label Ice Music ApS. ATANA is a big fan of U2, and has been inspired from a variety of different genres through his life.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Clean Energy Technology... it's a race we don't want to lose.

The global clean energy industry is set for a major crash. The reason is simple. Clean energy is still much more expensive and less reliable than coal or gas, and in an era of heightened budget austerity, the subsidies required to make clean energy artificially cheaper are becoming unsustainable.
The crash won't be limited to the United States. In many European countries, clean energy subsidies have become budget casualties as governments attempt to curb mounting deficits. Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic have all announced cuts to clean energy subsidies.

Such cuts are not universal, however. China, flush with cash, is bucking the trend, committing $760 billion over 10 years for clean energy projects. China is continuing to invest in low-carbon energy as a way of meeting its voracious energy demand, diversifying its electricity supply and alleviating some of the negative health consequences of its reliance on fossil energy.
If U.S. and European clean energy markets collapse while investment continues to ramp up in China, the short-term consequences will likely be a migration of much of the industry to Asia. As we wrote in our 2009 report, "Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant," this would have significant economic consequences for the United States, as the jobs, revenues and other benefits of clean tech growth accrue overseas.

The Coming Clean Tech Crash

I don't think the consequences will be short term. There's investment in infrastructure that will make it a "structural problem" to regain any foothold if we let China win this race.

How far would car ownership have gone without government paying for roads?

living in clouds

Friday, July 8, 2011

Peak oil and our economic system?

The neo-liberal global economic system is on its deathbed, and Israel may soon have to provide for all of its own food and fuel needs, instead of trading for them with other countries, says a senior Israel agronomist. Dr. Elaine Soloway of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura says that the main cause for the collapse of international markets and subsequent retooling of Israeli industry to produce almost all necessities locally will be the end of the age of cheap fossil fuels.

"The idea that everybody's going to produce specialties, and them fly them around all over the world, that's going to be history," Soloway insists. "Raising vegetables and shipping them to places that are up to their eyeballs in water doesn't make any sense. We are selling our water cheaply to the Dutch, who are drowning," she says, referring to the large amounts of water necessary to grow vegetables, which are then exported. "The Dutch have to put up greenhouses, and we have to stop selling them peppers."
Schutt struggles with his desire to warn others of the formidable challenges that he sees approaching on the event horizon. "Many times, when I try to talk to people about this, they will say to me, 'Oh, but Dave, they'll come up with a solution', this mysterious 'they'," says Schutt. "I have really really bad news for people who think that," he adds. "There's no solution, if the problem is, 'How do we maintain a financial system, a life that requires constant growth?'"

Preparing for the end of the world as we know it

HT The Oil Drum

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Earth's endangered Oceans

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg NCSE talk from John Bruno on Vimeo.
A talk by Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg on Climate Change Impacts on Ocean Ecosystems in the 21st Century from the 2011 NCSE conference in Washington, DC "Our Changing Oceans".

If you want to get scared and emotional about anything, let it be about what is happening to the oceans!

HT SeaMonster via twitter

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bad headline?

Here is the headline:

Fukushima: Radioactive cesium-137 found in Tokyo’s tap water

Here is what the story reports:

Cesium-137 registered at 0.14 becquerel per kilogram in Shinjuku ward on July 2 and none was discovered yesterday, compared with 0.21 becquerel on April 22, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health. No cesium-134 or iodine-131 was detected, the agency said on its website.
"This is unlikely to be the result of new radioactive materials being introduced" into the water supply, Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear engineering professor a Kyoto Univeristy, said today by telephone. That's "because no other elements were detected, especially the more sensitive iodine," he said.

Read the article

You be the judge. There will be many anti-nuclear zealots who panic over the headline and never read the story.

I don't want to minimize the risks to the Japanese due to radiation  coming from the horrific failure of safety systems at Fukushima, but let's be honest about it, let's put it in perspective. The death toll for the earthquake and tsunami stands at ~ 25K.

The economic costs are crushing. $200 billion and counting.

For Fukushima the death toll appears to stand at 2 workers, although that most certainly will rise.

Has the green movement lost its way?

Anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist, anti-flying: the green movement may have alienated more people than it has won over, and there are now calls for a new kind of environmentalism

Has the green movement lost its way?

I so agree! The same people who condemn the climate change deniers for ignoring science are just as guilty of ignoring science when it suits them.

I posted something similar recently: Big E, little e

Fabulous Peak Oil Presentation

Peak Oil by the Numbers (pdf)

Hugely entertaining and informative pdf presentation!

HT FMagyar (Oil Drum commenter)
Read the article and comments. An eye opener.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Climate change is the holocaust of our time

Are you keeping silent?

More Peak Oil

Miss labeled by the youtuber. Watch in order given here.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett
R-Maryland, 6th District

Peak Oil again

The end of cheap oil has got governments panicking to control prices rather than planning for a post-oil era. Tom Levitt reports
They say rising market prices reflect a falling confidence in the ability of key oil producing countries to increase production to meet the rising demand for oil from emerging nations like China (already the world's second largest oil consumer after the US) and India.

David Strahan, author of The Last Oil Shock, says while not definitive proof of peak oil, 'it shows doubts amongst countries about oil supplies and suggests we may be very close to peak oil'.
David Korowicz, from the environmental analysts Feasta, explains: 'Firstly, rising prices squeeze out less essential consumption leading to business closures and unemployment. Secondly, higher oil prices mean more money flows out of oil consuming countries into oil producers. Less money flowing around the economy means less money for businesses, and less money for people to service their debts. Growing defaults further destabilise banks and government debt loads. The Eurozone, the US, and the UK are all suffering under massive debts, rising oil (and food) prices could effectively push them over the edge.'

Peak oil is 'getting closer' but the world is not ready

This is so typical of Big Business thinking:
The assumed 1.5 point drag on growth from the $40 price hike balances various factors. The main impact would be on the consumer. Because gasoline is a necessity for many people -- they have no alternative to driving to work -- and since it's tough to quickly reduce the amount consumed by very much, funds allocated to it must come from somewhere else. And that somewhere else could be savings or money that otherwise would be spent on clothes, restaurant meals, movies or iPads [emphasis mine].

Get Ready for $150 Oil

or Food, housing and  other necessities?

The author concludes we don't need to worry about peak oil... also typical.

Opec Meeting Reveals Further Degeneration Of The MENA Region

Read more:
Upon exiting the most recent Opec summit, the visibly frustrated Saudi Oil Minister, Mr. Ali Naimi, proclaimed it to be “one of the worst meetings we have ever had.” In the lead up to the meeting, oil traders had come to believe that Opec would increase production quotas to cover the shortfall of light, sweet Libyan crude going into Europe’s peak demand season. This led traders to the conclusion that tight markets would loosen (relatively), and as a consequence, oil traders bid down the price for ‘paper barrels’ (oil futures) by a couple of dollars.

Bringing this argument full circle, while the most recent Opec meeting had little lasting impact on oil prices, the real story is found in the analysis above. A troubling truth is revealed by considering Mr. Al Naimi’s words and actions in the context of the ongoing MENA crisis. As an x-ray reveals asymptomatic osteoporosis, Mr. Naimi’s words and actions reveal just how fractured and fragile the Middle East has become, and by extension just how perilous our economic recovery remains.

Read more: The Oil Drum

Read the comments there too. Great great source of information!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Oil prices will go through the roof, he [Paul Gilding] said. Whether because of peak oil - the point at which it is not economic to extract - or because of a price on carbon, oil is only going to become more expensive. Our economy is run on oil so the knock-on effects are ubiquitous.

Food prices will soar, he said. Unable to feed their families there will be riots. Already, he said, this has been witnessed in the Middle East. Back in 2008, when food prices hit an all-time high, we saw riots, and again this year when food prices have matched those stratospheric records, we have seen uprisings around the globe. Thomas Friedman, writing in the New York Times has also made this comparison, most recently when reviewing Gilding's book.

And there will be stories in the news of natural disasters. A flood may hit, followed by a nasty cyclone. Maybe there'll be an unusually large hailstorm. Perhaps just a long, dusty drought.

None of these events could definitively be ascribed to climate change, but in sum, a picture starts to emerge.

Greek riots could provide a vision of the future

HT The Oil Drum

According to Kevin Steinberg, COO of the World Economic Forum, some event in the next few years will prevent "40 percent of the population in a major urban center from getting to work." For Steinberg, the important question is not so much how to prevent such events from happening, because they are inevitable. Instead, Steinberg tells Big Think that businesses and governments should focus on proactive approaches. To help global leaders prepare for disasters and coordinate their responses, Steinberg launched the Risk Response Network in Davos this year. He lays out his vision in this video:

After the Flood...What Happens Next?