Monday, August 29, 2005

Connect the Dots

There is a class five storm coming in. The morning will reveal how it treats those parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that are in the track of the eye. As the day progresses, the states to the north will probable see some pretty severe weather.

Earlier this month I posted a story about how Climate Change is making hurricanes more severe.

It won't do much good to study Climate Change today.

The oil production facilities in the gulf and in and around Louisianna will probably be shut down for a while. This will effect oil prices. They will probably go up. Unless, or course, the big traders decide to take the market the other way just to take the smaller traders with the long positions out.

There is a war and there has been a war in the Middle East for a good while now. Almost anyone with an ability to look between the lines of the official news pronouncements knows that it has to do with the resource that propels our economies. Its a resource that they have and we need.

This resource, although plentiful, is now about half used up. Even Chevron says it.

There are good people who want to stop this war. Many will even say that this war is for oil.

But they don't seem to have a plan to continue our present energy consumption patterns if we don't continue to secure these strategic resources.

We may be against Hurricanes, but we cannot stop them.

We can build higher dikes. We can build stronger homes. We can choose to not build so close to the sea. But we cannot stop them.

And if we want to put an end to this war, or any other war, and bring the troops home,

We must find a way to provide the energy, the food, the water, the housing, and the other basic human needs for all of the peoples of this earth.

If we want to stop war, we must change our views of ourselves, our worn out sense of nationalism, and all the archaic mind forms that divide us.

We must deal with the roots of war.

If we humans are at the midpoint of our oil resource,

And if the atmosphere is so full of carbon, our climate is changing,

we have but one choice.

Humankind must use the energy that we have been given.

And that energy is all around us.

Someday, every roof, every surface that sees light,

can become part of the solution.

We need an International Manhattan Project

to provide energy for all of earth's crew members

with the light of our days.

We can do this.

Through global cooperation,

not global competition.

We can do this,

nonviolently not violently.

There is a saying that humans will make the right decision,

once all the other alternatives have been exhausted.

They are.

We can do this.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peaceful words to peaceful music, right now on KMFA. Sounds Hegelian, a philosophy that equates the rational and the real.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

A Category 5 hurricane, the most severe type measured, Katrina has been heading directly to the east of the city of New Orleans. This would is a human catastrophe, since New Orleans sits in a bowl below sea level. Katrina is not only moving on New Orleans. It also is moving on the Port of Southern Louisiana. Were it to strike directly and furiously, Katrina would not only take a massive human toll, but also an enormous geopolitical one.

The Port of Southern Louisiana is the fifth-largest port in the world in terms of tonnage, and the largest port in the United States. The only global ports larger are Singapore, Rotterdam, Shanghai and Hong Kong. It is bigger than Houston, Chiba and Nagoya, Antwerp and New York/New Jersey. It is a key link in U.S. imports and exports and critical to the global economy.

The Port of Southern Louisiana stretches up and down the Mississippi River for about 50 miles, running north and south of New Orleans from St. James to St. Charles Parish. It is the key port for the export of grains to the rest of the world -- corn, soybeans, wheat and animal feed. Midwestern farmers and global consumers depend on those exports.

The United States imports crude oil, petrochemicals, steel, fertilizers and ores through the port. Fifteen percent of all U.S. exports by value go through the port. Nearly half of the exports go to Europe.

The Port of Southern Louisiana is a river port. It depends on the navigability of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi is notorious for changing its course, and in southern Louisiana -- indeed along much of its length -- levees both protect the land from its water and maintain its course and navigability. Dredging and other maintenance are constant and necessary to maintain its navigability. It is fragile.

If New Orleans is hit, the Port of Southern Louisiana, by definition, also will be hit. No one can predict the precise course of the storm or its consequences. However, if we speculate on worse-case scenarios the following consequences jump out:

The port might become in whole or part unusable if levees burst. If the damage to the river and port facilities could not be repaired within 30 days when the U.S. harvests are at their peak, the effect on global agricultural prices could be substantial. There are dozens of chemical plants on the river that would spew their toxic stuff into New Orleans and the area.

There is a large refinery at Belle Chasse. It is the only refinery that is seriously threatened by the storm, but if it were to be inundated, 250,000 barrels per day would go off line. Moreover, the threat of environmental danger would be substantial.

About 2 percent of world crude production and roughly 25 percent of U.S.-produced crude comes from the Gulf of Mexico and already is affected by Katrina. Platforms in the path of Katrina have been evacuated but others continue pumping. If this follows normal patterns, most production will be back on line within hours or days. However, if a Category 5 hurricane (of which there have only been three others in history) has a different effect, the damage could be longer lasting. Depending on the effect on the Port of Southern Louisiana, the ability to ship could be affected.

A narrow, two-lane highway that handles approximately 10,000 vehicles a day, is used for transport of cargo and petroleum products and provides port access for thousands of employees is threatened with closure. A closure of as long as two weeks could rapidly push gasoline prices higher.

At a time when oil prices are in the mid-60-dollar range and starting to hurt, the hurricane has an obvious effect. However, it must be borne in mind that the Mississippi remains a key American shipping route, particularly for the export and import of a variety of primary commodities from grain to oil, as well as steel and rubber.

Andrew Jackson fought hard to keep the British from taking New Orleans because he knew it was the main artery for U.S. trade with the world. He was right and its role has not changed since then.

Hurricane Andrew was similar. Global warming may not be the cause. Hurricanes operate in cycles. Typhoons in the Pacific have had sustained winds of 200 mph and they have been happening for quite some time. In WWII whole fleets were disrupted by weather.

6:41 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

good post CL, and thanks FM.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if I don't believe we will, you still made me feel better.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post is good. The information clear and simply presented - like those connect the dots pictures that I spent hours on as a kid.

We can get this is we are willing to set aside our addictions and as you have said, our archaic mind forms.

Thanks for continuing to present the big picture.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Step Back said...

Have you seen the Sept. 2005 Scientific American special on sustainable Earth? Amory Lovins has an article in there about energy "possibilities". Not sure how for real they are.

12:55 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

Amory is old colleague who generally gets it right. I'll read the story though. thanks for the turn on.

9:12 AM  

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