Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Modern World

Amid new plans by the POTUS to extend the execution date on your house mortgage by 30 days, and the senate's passing of sorely needed spy legislation that protects the companies that did the spying, a supreme court justice is bringing the torture debate to new highs.

Is torture torture?

Is torture protected by the constitutution?

Does the government have the right to torture to protect its right to torture?

Meanwhile, George Monbiot continues to torture the Brits making them look at reality.

"Now they might start sitting up. They wouldn't listen to the environmentalists or even the geologists.

Can governments ignore the capitalists?

A report published last week by Citibank, and so far unremarked on by the media, proposes "genuine difficulties" in increasing the production of crude oil, "particularly after 2012". Though 175 big drilling projects will start in the next four years, "the fear remains that most of this supply will be offset by high levels of decline".

The oil industry has scoffed at the notion that oil supplies might peak, but "recent evidence of failed production growth would tend to shift the burden of proof on to the producers", as they have been unable to respond to the massive rise in prices. "Total global liquid hydrocarbon production has essentially flatlined since mid 2005 at just north of 85m barrels per day."

The issue is complicated, as ever, by the refusal of the Opec cartel to raise production. What has changed, Citibank says, is that the non-Opec countries can no longer answer the price signal. Does this mean that oil production in these nations has already peaked? If so, what do our governments intend to do?

Nine months ago, I asked the British government to send me its assessments of global oil supply. The results astonished me: there weren't any.

Instead it relied exclusively on one external source: a book published by the International Energy Agency. The omission became stranger still when I read this book and discovered that it was a crude polemic, dismissing those who questioned future oil supplies as "doomsayers" without providing robust evidence to support its conclusions.

Though the members of Opec have a powerful interest in exaggerating their reserves in order to boost their quotas, the IEA relied on their own assessments of future supply.

Last week I tried again, and I received the same response: "The government agrees with IEA analysis that global oil (and gas) reserves are sufficient to sustain economic growth for the foreseeable future." Perhaps it hasn't noticed that the IEA is now backtracking.

The Financial Times says the agency "has admitted that it has been paying insufficient attention to supply bottlenecks as evidence mounts that oil is being discovered more slowly than once expected ... natural decline rates for discovered fields are a closely guarded secret in the oil industry, and the IEA is concerned that the data it currently holds is not accurate."

What if the data turns out to be wrong? What if Opec's stated reserves are a pack of lies?

What contingency plans has the government made? (clip)

none. .....................more

Meanwhile, in the good ole U.S. of A, Sec Bodman has done away with its weatherization program which, until a few days ago, the website of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Weatherization Program described as "this country's longest running, and perhaps most successful energy efficiency program" (click on "cached text")

And down south, Mexico's great oil field, Cantarell, is in serious decline.

Further down south, that crazy parachute officer with the red hat from Venezuela says he will punish the US just because Exxon is freesing 12 billion in Venzuelan assets in England in what PDVSA's president, characterized as an act of "judical terrorism".

A friend said today that the best thing we can do

is stay healthy and keep working.

Scalia wants to smack people around.

And tonight's Obama sweep will not be that significant.

Unless, of course, you are actually counting delegates.


cartoon courtesy of Tom Tomorrow

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