Monday, March 29, 2010

Some Things Never Change

A Bomber Jacket Doesn't Cover the Blood

Just as Bush II landed on an aircraft carrier in safe waters, clad in a ludicrous fighter pilot costume, Barak Obama just happened to stop by to visit our occupying horde in Afghanistan. Wearing a crisp new sporty bomber jacket, with the Air Force One logo in place of unnamed aerial killers, Obama assured his carefully posed minions, "We face a determined enemy. But we also know this: The United States of America does not quit once it starts on something."

Nothing changes when it comes to war. A white-haired old man said it best, many years ago:

"Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
- Mark Twain, "Chronicle of Young Satan"

Oil Production Lags Further Behind

Falkland Islands oil disappoints for Desire Petroleum

One more bump on the road to Peak Oil.

This is how Peak Oil works. There's oil down there, somewhere, but getting to it and producing it is not possible within economic and energy constraints. It would take more energy to produce the oil than can be derived from it.

Oil companies have always explored non-productive wells and fields. It is this ratio of non-productive to productive oil exploration that defines Peak Oil.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The First Coward Sneaks into Afghanistan…

Obama Makes Surprise Visit To Afghanistan

…and out before first light.

In an amazing display of comic cowardice, the President of the United States snuck into Afghanistan under cover of darkness, with the curtains drawn on the windows of Air Force One. After of few hours of midnight secrecy with Puppet in Chief Karzai and his Komic Kabinett, Obama left before the cold grey light of dawn, winging his way back to safety in Fortress America.

The CEO of America, Inc. paid a visit to one of his wholly owned subsidiaries in the Middle East. The world is safe for hypocrisy.

The Light Begins to Dawn

Leaders at Closed-Door UK Meeting on “Inevitable” Peak Oil Crisis Weigh Possible Solutions to Energy Scarcity

At least in the UK, officials are coming to the realization that the End of the Age of Oil is close at hand.

It's been a long time coming, dragging an energy intensive world, kicking and screaming, into the bright light of reality, leaving great furrows in the petroleum based carpet. As long as there's money to be made, the myth continues. When profits are threatened, Peak Oil becomes a reality.

This is the real threat to our optimistically declared civilization, not some vapid global warming at some nebulous time in the future. Peak Oil is very real, its very near and it will spell the veritable end to the economic and social status quo.

Think recession is bad now? Wait till gasoline is $7 to $10 a gallon. How much will bananas cost in North Dakota in February? How much will shirts in Wall-Mart cost, shipped two or three times around the world? How will the consumer society continue when the price of every commodity follows the price of gasoline needed to manufacture and ship it to market?

The change is starting now in the Localism movement ( Those who see the inevitable are beginning to work out a vision for the future with less energy, and how to get from here to there.

Avoid the rush! Jump out of your energy consumption muscle car now and join us on the muscle powered Localism Band Wagon! Your children will be glad you did.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez

It's important to remember, every year on March 24, the night the Exxon Valdez was driven on the rocks of Bligh Reef, a weapon of mass destruction turned loose on the life of Prince William Sound.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was no accident. It was the result of years of political maneuvering, abrogation of responsibility by state and federal agencies, thousands of dollars of bribes in the form of "political contributions" to those responsible for the safety of the tanker lanes leading out of the Alyeska Marine Terminal Facility across Valdez Arm from the sleepy town bearing its name.

Not much has changed sine 1989. Nine hundred foot long tankers still travel back and forth across the roughest seas in the world, laden with toxic crude. Though there is more spill clean-up equipment in Prince William Sound nowadays, a spill in a winter storm could still result in an entire cargo of oil released into the Sound, and nothing could be done about it.

If anything, it's worse now. The corporate oligarchy is in full control, enforcing with vigor its totalitarian capitalist hegemony over the people of the United States, and most of the rest of the world. Corporations are secure in their legal personhood, the insurance industry has a new law, bought and paid for, mandating citizens of the United States to buy their products, under penalty of the law. Oil is $82 a gallon and climbing, slowly working to a new spike as the economy "improves."

Back in 1989, we were shocked that such a thing could happen, dismayed that the careful systems of control promised by Alyeska could break down so severely, outraged that Alyeska took so long to deploy what little spill equipment they had on hand.

We were so naive.

Now we know it was just business as usual, minimize costs, increase profits, just what anyone would suspect a respectable corporate citizen to do.

And still the oil seeps into the sands of Prince William Sound, through the veins and the genes of the animals and plant that still manage to live in their only home.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's the Law, Don

In a misinformed editorial in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Don Miller, Sentinel Editor, completely missed the point of the recent California Coastal Commission decision regarding the City of Santa Cruz's application to build a paved bicycle route through critical habitat for an endangered species, the Santa Cruz tarplant, Holocarpha macradenia.

The editorial is incorrect in several respects. The City of Santa Cruz did not argue that "paving two trails" in Arana Gulch "would be the greater good, publicly and environmentally." Rather, the City proposed a transportation project in an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area, which is not allowed under the California Coastal Act.

It doesn’t matter that the City worked on the flawed plan for over 15 years. It doesn’t matter that the inadequate alternatives proposed in the Arana Gulch Draft Master Plan Environmental Impact Report were defended in court. It doesn’t matter that a recently proposed alternative route is not considered "safe and accessible" by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. The Broadway-Brommer bicycle route with paved trails and two bridges across critical habitat for the tarplant, is simply illegal under state law.

What matters is that the City has for years failed to manage Arana Gulch, resulting in eroding paths, illegal campers and endangered species. This is no excuse for the California Coastal Commission to bail them out by approving an illegal project.

The City of Santa Cruz should do the right thing, finally: manage Arana Gulch for the tarplant and all other species, and look elsewhere for their transportation project.

Friends of the Inyo

Friends of the Inyo is an excellent example of people organizing to care for a local treasure. Support them at:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Basic Methodology Supporting Global Warming is Wrong

This article (ignore the cuteness at the beginning) Tamino vs random walk clearly explains that the basic methodology of global warming science, practiced by the IPCC, is wrong.

The premise of global warming modeling is the assumption that global climate models fail to account for all of the variation in surface temperature caused by natural forces, therefore, whatever is left over must be human caused.

Here's how it's done: Pre-industrial global average temperature is defined as "Normal" and plotted in a straight line through time. Temperature variations caused by natural forces are considered "random" and are rejected from the model, leaving the signal from human caused climate influence.

There are two fatal errors in this assumption:

1) "Normal" global average temperature is not linear through time. Variation is the norm and has been normal throughout the history of the Earth, in patterns that are predictable in the long term. Comparing present average global temperatures as variations from a lineal, short term norm presents a false picture of overall climate variation and its causes.

2) Natural climate change patterns appear random, but are predictable in the long term. When global climate records are cut off arbitrarily at 1850, this rich resource of climate data is thrown out, along with all other data considered "random." Thus, the "signal" left over when the "random noise" is discarded is mistakenly assumed to be the human contribution to atmospheric forcing. What's left is an artificially isolated "trend" that gives a false impression of warming.

As demonstrated in this graph of global temperature variation from 1980 (click to enlarge), extrapolated to 2100, patterns of past temperature fluctuations predict dramatically cooling temperatures over the next 90 years.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peak Oil Is Closer Than You Think

Kuwaiti Scientists Say Peak Oil Will Arrive in 2014

Coming sooner than even the most pessimistic (optimistic?) proponents, a new non-linear analysis of world oil reserves demonstrates Peak Oil arrival by 2014.

This doesn't mean we'll all be walking in 4 years, as good an idea as that is, but we can expect gasoline prices to rocket skyward very soon. This will, of course, reduce demand, again, and ease the situation, for a while.

There's no turning back now. With China demanding oil at an ever increasing rate, Peak Oil is coming at us down a well greased slope.

Time to start building the barn out back!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coastal Commission votes unanimously to continue decision on Arana Gulch Master Plan!

In a stunning upset for the City of Santa Cruz, the California Coastal Commission voted tonight to continue the decision on the application by the City for approval of their paved bicycle routes through the Arana Gulch greenbelt.

Commissioner Mark Stone made the motion, saying, "We would like to give this project another shot and look to see if there is any alternative that satisfies the Commission."

Stone and a majority of other Commissioners indicated they would vote against the project as proposed because they believed it was clearly a transportation project made to look like a conservation plan.

The Commissioners directed the City to consider alternatives to the Broadway Brommer transportation project through the Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area that would significantly impact the endangered Santa Cruz tarplant.

Look for details and developments at the Friends of Arana Gulch website.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Year's Best Climate Pun

Anthony Watts sets the standard with the title of his blog post: Paleo-clamatology.

Clever Canuck limnologists have figured out how to analyze growth rings in clam shells for oxygen isotopes tied to water temperature. Graphed out on a 2500 year scale, the results show the typical signatures of the Roman Warming Period, the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age.

Not that anyone in this room is surprised. It's just nice to see it confirmed in an independent data set.

Maybe this will encourage some of the MWP deniers to, ooh, clam up!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Baffle Them with B-S

In an article from the Herald Scotland, Fresh Evidence Global Warming Is Man-Made, absolutely no evidence is provided to support the hyperbolic headline. Nor is the alleged "review" article cited, so we can't go see for ourselves this astounding evidence of an impending man-made catastrophe.

As it turns out, there is no evidence, no fingerprint, no smoking gun.

There are, however, computer models that have been molded, tweaked, fiddled with and poked about until, if this bit of media fluff is to be believed, they bear some vague resemblance to external climate reality.

And yet, even if the model does parallel some observations (not all observations), it's still only an interpretation on the part of the UK Met Office that this comprises a "fingerprint" of human influence.

When one has only a hammer for a tool, everything resembles a nail.