Monday, May 26, 2008

oil again-- a reply to my last post

hi everyone.
i thought i'd post this great reply to greg palast's article by glen anderson from olympia. he writes on a major issue regarding oil prices that greg left out--peak oil. i have no idea which factor is the major role but i'm sure both are playing big roles in what we spend for gas. moral of both articles is reduce your gas and other fossil fuel use drastically and start moving in another direction.

glen anderson wrote:

Usually I agree with what Greg Palast writes. This article unfairly singles out Obama for a problem that has persisted for many decades. Most of Palast’s article is about the decades-long problem, but he cites only minor parts of the root causes. He blames oil companies and politicians for artificially constricting supply. That’s only a tiny part of the problem.

Certainly U.S. imperialism is a major problem in the world. But Palast’s article blames U.S. imperialism and artificial constraints on supply for the entire problem of sharp oil price increases. His article – just like mainstream news media and mainstream politicians – ignore the real driving force: Peak Oil. A relatively few of us have been trying to publicize the Peak Oil crisis since 2004, but the public, politicians, and news media – and much of the progressive activist community – have avoided dealing with it. Now the crisis is upon us, and folks STILL are avoiding the real issue.

The harsh reality is that oil is a finite resource. Mother Nature spent hundreds of millions of years creating it underground. Industrial society has extracted half of that in only about 160 years. Any given oil well becomes less productive as it ages. At the aggregate level, the total of all the world’s oil wells have reached their peak productivity, and now they simply cannot pump as much as in previous years. Meanwhile, demand is still growing. The law of supply and demand forces prices up.

Oil production in the U.S. peaked in 1971 and has been declining since 1971. After a hundred years of exploration and extraction very little new oil and gas is being found anywhere in the world.. Global oil discoveries peaked in 1962 (40 billion barrels) and discoveries have been declining ever since 1962. Now we are at the 1910 level of oil discoveries (10 billion barrels). The oil companies are investing less in exploration because they KNOW very little is left to be discovered. The Republican Party’s proposal of using our tax dollars to subsidize oil companies’ exploration is wasteful. For many years the oil companies have known about the coming peak oil crisis and the vast increases in oil prices, so they would have invested money in exploration, but they didn’t because they KNOW hardly any oil is left to be discovered.

·The last major oil discovery was in 1976 – more than 30 years ago.

·More than 70% of the present supply of oil in the world was discovered before 1973.

·Today, for every barrel of oil discovered, the world consumes FOUR barrels. This is NOT sustainable!

We don’t “produce” oil. Mother Nature produced it. We just extract it from the ground. The Peak Oil crisis is a geological reality. Neither “the market” nor technology can fix it. There is only so much oil. Peak Oil is a geological reality. We can’t ignore it or wish it away, any more than we can ignore or wish away the global climate crisis.

The early ‘70s OPEC embargo was a temporary disruption based on a political controversy. The crisis we face now is different from the OPEC oil embargo. Peak Oil is a geological reality – a hard limit. We are somewhere near the peak now. We might have peaked in 2005 or 2006. Existing wells are pumping all they can, and practically no new sources exist (without counterproductive economic and environmental costs).

The harsh reality is that the world will have to get by on less and less oil every year – and at higher and higher prices. The Peak Oil crisis will affect EVERY aspect of modern society, economics, and lifestyle.

The U.S. government is already fighting wars for oil in Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia and – to some extent – in Venezuela. More oil wars are on the way.

The U.S. has been the world’s major user of oil, but other nations are industrializing rapidly.

▪On China’s east coast the sales of cars are increasing 80% per year.

▪Shanghai and some other Chinese cities have BANNED bicycles in order to make room for more cars.

▪China recently passed Japan as the world’s #2 oil importer.

Oil has been the cheapest and most convenient energy resource ever discovered by humans. For 200 years industrial nations became accustomed to a seemingly endless supply of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). The US in particular designed our industry, transportation, and many other aspects of our society around the assumptions that oil would always be available and cheap – and that growth is necessary and can go on forever.

Over the coming years, prices for gasoline and everything made from oil will spike. This will cause economies to crash.

Transportation of people and goods will become much more expensive. Large-scale agriculture (based on fertilizers and pesticides made with oil and natural gas) will stop being cost-effective, so global food production will decline. Some experts predict that hunger will kill billions of people in a few decades.

We’re importing more and more of our oil from other countries – especially countries that are politically unstable. Wars for oil will ravage the globe. Indeed, they’ve already started as the US tries to conquer Afghanistan to build a pipeline and tries to control the oil of Iraq, Colombia, and Venezuela. The U.S. foreign policy is very much bi-partisan. Both big political parties have shown they are willing to kill for oil.

The Peak Oil crisis will yank us out of our familiar world of energy growth and transplant us into a world of energy decline. We’ll enter uncharted territory. We’ll need to adjust our mental frame of reference to this new reality. We’ll need to rethink and redesign modern society. Government and the public have resisted the radical changes that are necessary.

Frankly, the odds are against us, but some solutions are possible – but only if we can generate the political will – and only if we start immediately!

We need to slash our oil consumption drastically, and we need to slash it immediately!

Most of the commonly offered painless solutions are not realistic.

For example, ethanol costs MORE than gasoline and causes MORE air pollution than gasoline. Making ethanol from corn is driving up the cost of corn and other grains for hungry people around the world. But even if we devoted the ENTIRE U.S. corn crop to ethanol, it would provide less than 6% of the U.S.’s oil needs. To make ethanol from sugar and other crops, Brazil is clear-cutting jungles and causing environmental damage and the loss of plants that consume CO2.

Frankly, there are NO good solutions.. NO solutions that are cheap or painless.

We need to slash our oil consumption drastically, and we need to slash it immediately!

The Peak Oil crisis requires a RADICAL change in the whole U.S. economy and way of life. Think on the scale of the massive changes during World War II.

The sooner we start, the sooner we can adapt to the new realities. We can’t fool Mother Nature. Either we deal with reality, or reality will deal with us!

Last September I conducted a workshop on Peak Oil that laid out the problems and engaged participants in generating practical solutions that we could start implementing at the local level. The workshop also addressed the feelings of fear, denial and powerlessness that prevent people and governments from confronting the Peak Oil crisis effectively. The workshop was very well received, and I’d be happy to conduct it again if people are interested.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

our gas prices are linked directly to war profiteering

below is a great article from an award winning journalist and new york times bestselling author. i highly respect his work. here's a brief intro to what he says here-- war in iraq = less oil = supply vs. demand = higher prices at the pump =more $$$ for big oil companies. obama and hillary both have plans to tax the profiteers.
ok i let greg palast fill you in on the details and remeber if you're not pissed off you're not paying attention!

Obama's Secret War Profiteering Tax
May 24, 2008 By Greg Palast

I can't make this up:
In a hotel room in Brussels, the chief executives of the world's top oil companies unrolled a huge map of the Middle East, drew a fat, red line around Iraq and signed their names to it.

The map, the red line, the secret signatures. It explains this war. It explains this week's rocketing of the price of oil to $134 a barrel.

It happened on July 31, 1928, but the bill came due now.

Barack Obama knows this. Or, just as important, those crafting his policies seem to know this. Same for Hillary Clinton's team. There could be nomore vital difference between the Republican and Democratic candidacies. And you won't learn a thing about it on the news from the Fox-holes.

Let me explain.

In 1928, oil company chieftains (from Anglo-Persian Oil, now BritishPetroleum, from Standard Oil, now Exxon, and their Continental counterparts) were faced with a crisis: falling prices due to rising supplies of oil; the same crisis faced by their successors during the Clinton years, when oil traded at $22 a barrel.

The solution then, as now: stop the flow of oil, squeeze the market, raise the price. The method: put a red line around Iraq and declare that virtually all the oil under its sands would remainthere, untapped. Their plan: choke supply, raise prices rise, boost profits. That was the program for 1928. For 2003. For 2008.

Again and again, year after year, the world price of oil has been boosted artificially by keeping a tight limit on Iraq'soil output.. Methods varied. The 1928 'Redline' agreement held, invarious forms, for over three decades. It was replaced in 1959 by quotas imposed by President Eisenhower. Then Saudi Arabia and OPEC kept Iraq, capable of producing over 6 million barrels a day, capped at half that, given an export quota equal to Iran's lower output.

In 1991, output was again limited, this time by a new red line: B-52 bombings by Bush Senior's air force. Then came the Oil Embargo followedby the 'Food for Oil' program. Not much food for them, not much oil forus.

In 2002, after Bush Junior took power, the top ten oil companies took in a nice $31 billion in profits. But then, a miracle fell from the sky. Or,more precisely, the 101st Airborne landed. Bush declared, 'Bring'm on!' and, as the dogs of war chewed up the world's second largest source of oil, crude doubled in two years to an astonishing $40 a barrel and those same oil companies saw their profits triple to $87 billion.

In response, Senators Obama and Clinton propose something wrongly called a'windfall' profits tax on oil. But oil industry profits didn't blow in on a breeze. It is war, not wind, that fills their coffers. The beastly leap in prices is nothing but war profiteering, hiking prices to take cruel advantage of oil fields shut by bullets and blood.

I wish to hell the Democrats would call their plan what it is: A warprofiteering tax. War is profitable business - if you're an oil man. But somehow, the public pays the price, at the pump and at the funerals, and the oil companies reap the benefits.

Indeed, the recent engorgement in oil prices and profits goes right back to Bush-McCain 'surge.' The Iraq government attack on a Basra militia was really nothing more than Baghdad's leaping into a gang war over control of Iraq's Southern oil fields and oil-loading docks. Moqtada al-Sadr's gangsters and the government-sponsored greedsters of SCIRI (the Supreme Council For Islamic Revolution In Iraq) are battling over an estimated $5 billion a year in oil shipment kickbacks, theft and protection fees.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the surge-backed civil warring has cut Iraq's exports by up to a million barrels a day. And that translates to slashing OPEC excess crude capacity by nearly half.

Result: ka-BOOM in oil prices and ka-ZOOM in oil profits. For 2007, Exxon recorded the highest annual profit, $40.6 billion, of any enterprise since the building of the pyramids. And that was BEFORE the war surge and price surge to over $100 a barrel.

It's been a good war for Exxon and friends. Since George Bush began to beat the war-drum for an invasion of Iraq, the value of Exxon's reserves has risen - are you ready for this? - by $2 trillion.

Obama's war profiteering tax, or 'oil windfall profits' tax, would equal just 20% of the industry's charges in excess of $80 a barrel. It's embarrassingly small actually, smaller than every windfall tax charged by every other nation. (Ecuador, for example, captures up to 99% of the higher earnings).

Nevertheless,oilman George W. Bush opposes it as does Bush's man McCain. SenatorMcCain admonishes us that the po' widdle oil companies need more than80% of their windfall so they can explore for more oil. When pigs fly, Senator. Last year, Exxon spent $36 billion of its $40 billion incomeon dividends and special payouts to stockholders in tax-free buy-backs.Even the Journal called Exxon's capital investment spending 'stingy.'

At today's prices Obama's windfall tax, teeny as it is, would bring innearly a billion dollars a day for the US Treasury. Clinton's plan is similar. Yet the press' entire discussion of gas prices is shifted towhether the government should knock some sales tax pennies off the oil companies' pillaging at the pump.

More important than even the Democrats' declaring that oil company profits are undeserved, is their implicit understanding that the profits are the spoils of war.

And that's another reason to tax the oil industry's ill-gotten gain. Vietnam showed us that foreign wars don't end when the invader can no longer fight, but when the invasion is no longer profitable.

Greg Palast is the author of, 'Trillion Dollar Babies,' on Iraq and oil, published in his New York Times bestseller, Armed Madhouse.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

weekly training log 5/19 to 5/25

run 5 of 7 days
run 2 big days this weekend
do some long downhill pounding

MON 5/19:
day of rest after a monster the day before

TUE 5/20:
alison and i ran nice and easy on chris and dave's wonderful trails in their yard. 3mi 0:40min

WED 5/21:
one beer turned into three real quick at the winthrop brewery!

THUR 5/22: ran an hour with dave and alison around the "yard".

FRI 5/23: short run before work 2 miles 20 minutes.

SAT 5/24: 27.4 miles 6000+ elevation gain up the twisp river trail and the slate and scatter creeks see alison's blog for the whole story. 7hrs

SUN 5/25: 8hrs 26 miles 6000+ ele gain up the wolf creek trail in the lake chelan sawtooth wilderness. i got to nearly the top of gardner mtn turned back at un named peak 8082 instead of making the traverse to the top.

MON 5/26 monday doesn't really count for this week but since it was memorial day weekend and every year i shoot for a huge weekend and i usally start my last minute cramming for hardrock in june i'm going to add it here. 11 hrs 30-33 miles and again 6000 ft of gain. this time i went up the pearrygin creek trail and ridge trail(alison ran with me until just before the peak) then i ran back towards the house on the blue buck trail(the coolest trail i've ran on


~60miles 16 hours
it was a great week and i definitely got all my goals

Sunday, May 18, 2008

we made it!!

we are now in winthrop! we got here last night just in time for the sunset. it was a beautiful evening and warm but not too hot. a lot of snow has melted since we were her two weeks ago and a lot of must have happened in the last few days since all of the rivers and creeks are swollen and in some cases running over their banks. i can't wait to see how high we can go now with out hitting snow on the trails. oh and the wildflowers, which were just getting going when were last here, are now in full force.

we'll spend the morning unloading the uhaul into our temporary storage shed. most of our stuff will wait in there for 2 weeks until we move into our place on june 1st. in the meantime we'll be staying with our winthrop guardian angels chris ballard and dave fulford.

it was hard to leave olympia. i was there for nearly six years which is the longest i've lived anywhere since leaving st mary's county where i spent my first 18 years. the people there had become like family. i hope they all come to visit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

weekly training log 5/12 to 5/18

run 5 of 7 days
~60 miles
have fun in oly before leaving!

MON 5/12
too busy to run

TUE 5/13
too busy to run

WED 5/14
too busy to run

THR 5/15
finally ran, legs felt like they hadn't ran in 4 days, and i went to the fish tale before hand and that upset my stomach while running but by the end of the run i felt great. 4.5 miles with the fabulous olympia trail running group! 0:35 the party afterwards at dave mora's house on the water was a ton o fun! and everyone was so nice... i'll you guys so you beeter come visit!

FRI 5/16 nope!

SAT 5/17 nope!

SUN 5/18
finally a chance to run! alison and i ran from chris and dave's and retraced the route i ran with the cannucks(chris and dave's to davis lake and then along the low ridges to sulivan pond) from there alison took the road back. i took the road further up past the upper trailhead for pearrygin creek to the paerrygin ridge trail head after about 45 mins i hit snow but i kept going another 15min before turning around somewhere near the peak side trail at about 6200ft. from there i headed back down ot the creek trail and ran that down to sulivan pond. it was getting late and i was beat so i just took the road back. the run ended up taking me 8.5 hours for 34 or 35 miles and i did the last 30mins or so in the dark. it was tough and hot and should stoped more often for water but i loved it! winthrop is too cool.

39 miles and 9 hours
totally wiffed on meeting my goals except the having fun part i was a great last week in oly and a great start to life in the north cascades

Friday, May 9, 2008

last weekend

first off last weekend was great! alison had to work until 5pm on friday so we didn't get to winthrop until 10:30 after everyone but chris had gone to bed. chris had stayed up to see us and to show us our luxuary accomadations for the weekend, the drive wore me out and i went straight to bed. in the morning we got to say hi to the canadians who were also staying with chris for the weekend, sally marcellus, rob lang, rob francen and mike ogrady before heading over to the twisp river pub to sign up for the 21.7 mile sunflower race. at the start i got to see some ultra/hash friends FC, maggot and english channel and other running friends like dan probst and hopefully new winthrop running buddy erik brooks. the race went well for me for the first 17 miles when the long down hill to the finish began. but i had ran the flats and uphills at such a fast pace just to stay in chase pack led by erik that when it came time to take advantage of my strenghs on the downhill i couldn't do it.(the first guy was way out in front so we were racing for second place) so instead of taking 2nd place i was passed twice in the last few miles to drop to 5th. oh well i tried hard and i don't think i'd do anything differently...well maybe road shoes would've been better than the inov-8s i was wearing-- there was lots of road and none of the trail was technical.

after the run was a nice awards ceremony(alison got a ribbon for 2nd in the 19 and under category(a misprint on the back of the ribbon) and i think nearly everyone won some thing in the random prize thing-- i got a nice biker bag. we met some new folks and then went home to clean up to go meet our new landlord and to checkout the place. it was nice and i wish i had pictures to show of it(i'll try to get some up sometime soon). but the place is a 2 bedroom cabin built by our landlord who added some artful iron work touches to the place like the creative loft railing and the lamp shades. there are animal trails leading right from the back yard up to official trails that are endless and there is a nice little river across the street in the front yard and planty of room for gardening.

after meeting with jerry who was super nice we met up with everone plus a few others at a campsite just outside of twisp before laving to go to a talk by an expert on development in rural communities. it was an interesting thought provoking talk followed by q&a. his arguement was that development and growth cannot be stoped and if you live in place that is growing then planning and cooperation with developers is the only way perserve the quailities that you cherish in yuor community. as one of the methow valleys newest residents i am sympathetic to this stance. i'd feel hypocritical if i were to move to a place and then shut the door behind me. it would be like if i got into hardrock and then lobbied for a change in the rules to keep my spot secure for further years while not allowing any new runners a chance to enter the race. so my approach must be one of comprimise, people can come to the methow but it should be on the terms of the people that live there and on the terms of the carrying capacity of the environment not one of isolationism or the opposite which all developers want, unchecked growth.

the next day i went on one of my favorite runs ever! the cannucks came to the methow to run all weekend to train for the swiss jura stage race this summer. they ran all three days they were there. i volunteered to formulate and guide the sunday run (monday they were going to run the rattler course with chris) it looked like there was still too much snow on a lot of the trails to be able to get the ~25 miles and ~5hours they were hoping for with out using some road and cross-country sections to connect some shorter low elevation trails but since their race would have a good deal of road they were fine with the plan. so at 9am we drove over to the pearrygin creek trail trailhead. we did a 10.4 mile loop from there using the gravel road that parralells the trail. the trail had quite a few down trees and it looked like fire crews had used part of the upper trail as a fire break but other than that it was a fun fast downhill run along the creek. from the loop we ran back to chris' mostly by following animals trails as we made our up and over four big hills/little mtns with the last and highest at 3750ft. there we watched as a handful of paragliders launched off the side of the mountain. we droped steeply down to the road to davis lake. at the lake we took a dip in the lake before making the last climb up and over the last mtn between the lake and chris and dave's house. the run was filled with great views to the south of the sawtooth range and the north cascades and it even had 4200ft of gain in just 20 miles and the feeling of freedom was awesome which came from being able to just run where ever we wanted thanks to the sparse vegetation. after the run were treated to soaking our legs in chris' chilly "pond" and smoothies and scrambled eggs! then alison hit road needing to be back home in time to get the house ready for alison's massage clients(as part of our preperations to move mid month alsion moved out of her studio at the begining of the month to sve money).

it was a great weekend and only made me more excited about our move coming in just 8 days!!!

weekly training log 5/5 to 5/11

recover from last weeks race
run 5 of 7 days
mileage ~60miles

MON 5/5
no running but i did bike to and from work

TUE 5/6
no running again but i biked to and from work

WED 5/7
i ran 6.5 miles in 0:53 mostly on roads

THUR 5/8
ran to and from the thur nite run from downtown. 9 miles 1:15

FRI 5/9
12 miles with alison in the cap forest wilderness 2:05

SAT 5/10
12 miles at wynoochee lake in the olympic forest ~3hr. there were tons of blown down trees, brush and washed out bridges. it's too bad this low elevation trail doesn'r get some maintenance b/c it would be a fantastic early season run and i took a short cut cutting out the upper 8 miles or so plus the humptulips trail and the s. fork of the skokomish aren't far away to make a a really big fun fun.

SUN 5/11
elwah river with alison and karen and george wiggins 24 miles ~5hr? this trail is in great shape and asbsoloutely no sign of snow, brush or down trees!!!

well i made all my goals and i felt real good-- my legs were a little tired by the end of the sunday run but other than that all is well. the elwah was the highlight of a real good last full week living in olympia. sat nite we went up to seattle for mike adams' surprise 40th b-day party, that was a blast! bring on the north cascades!!!!