Daily Digest

Daily Digest - July 26

Monday, July 26, 2010, 10:54 AM
  • Blame Games
  • Fed Would Act if Needed, Chairman Says
  • Big Questions Need Answering After Stress Tests
  • LBMA Closes Off Public Access To Key Bullion Bank Trading Data
  • The Death of Paper Money
  • Budget Forecasts Hold Fast
  • Goldman Threatened With Audit
  • Deflation Defies Expectations — and Solutions

Economy

Blame Games (jdargis)

If businesses aren’t hiring or investing, in other words, it’s because they don’t need to: they have enough workers and factories to meet the demand for their products. And there are few signs that this is going to change any time soon: consumer demand remains weak, economic indicators—inflation rates, consumer confidence, the stock market, bond rates—aren’t forecasting a quick return to boom times, and, just last week, the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, told Congress that the state of the U.S. economy was “unusually uncertain.”

Fed Would Act if Needed, Chairman Says (jdargis)

The chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, who had described the nation’s economic outlook as “unusually uncertain” in presenting the Fed’s semiannual monetary policy report to Congress on Wednesday, was somewhat more explicit about his thinking in the second day of testimony.

Big Questions Need Answering After Stress Tests (SolidSwede)

"No stress tests could, in principle, achieve that result," Lewis said. "Such tests only take account of what the erstwhile US Defense Secretary, Mr. Rumsfeld, used to call the 'known unknowns.' What usually causes damage, however, are the 'unknown unknowns,'" Lewis said.

LBMA Closes Off Public Access To Key Bullion Bank Trading Data (pinecarr)

Is something (abnormally) fishy in the state of precious metals manipulation? GATA's Adrian Douglas (recently famous for facilitating the emergence of whistleblower Andrew Maguire) seems to think so, after his observation that the LBMA has decided to block "access to statistics relating to the trading activities of its member bullion banks. This information has been available to the public since 1997 but as of this week it is available only to LBMA members."

The Death of Paper Money (pinecarr)

As it happens, another book from the 1970s entitled "When Money Dies: the Nightmare of The Weimar Hyper-Inflation" has just been reprinted. Written by former Tory MEP Adam Fergusson -- endorsed by Warren Buffett as a must-read -- it is a vivid account drawn from the diaries of those who lived through the turmoil in Germany, Austria, and Hungary as the empires were broken up.

Budget Forecasts Hold Fast (pinecarr)

Treasury and Finance officials have adjusted the budget surplus upward but otherwise kept their predictions unchanged in their pre-election update.

They now expect a budget surplus of $3.5 billion in 2012-13, slightly larger than the $3.1 billion announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan in his economic update on July 14.

Goldman Threatened With Audit (pinecarr)

Goldman Sachs is facing a threat by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to bring in outside accountants to comb through the bank’s systems for data on its derivatives business, the panel’s chairman has said.

The commission will not back down from demands for information Goldman’s executives have maintained they do not track, Phil Angelides told the Financial Times.”

Deflation Defies Expectations — and Solutions (Rector)

Deflation is usually associated with a Great Depression-like drop in demand. Consumer prices, incomes and asset prices fall. Interest rates go to zero, as low as they can go. As prices and incomes fall, the cost to borrowers of servicing debt does not, sucking life out of the economy and pushing prices down further. A bad situation, in short, gets worse.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

30 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - July 26

"Pennsylvania school districts got some breathing room in their budgets on Friday by having their contribution rate to employees' pension system cut by a third.

The Public School Employees' Retirement System voted 12-2 to cut the employers' contribution rate that taxpayers pay to 5.64 percent of payroll, which will lower this year's cost by $349 million."

"While taxpayers will pay less, the pension system's liabilities still have to be paid. Rep. Glen Grell, R-Hampden Twp., one of the two pension board members casting "no" votes, said the lower payments into the system will force PSERS to liquidate $400 million in current investments to pay current benefits.

The pension system is financed by the taxpayer contributions, investment earnings and mandatory payroll contributions for employees. The employees' contribution this year is expected to total $992 million.

Despite what seems would be welcome news, Harrisburg School District Business Administrator Jeff Bader said the move might buy districts temporary relief but exacerbates a much larger pension funding problem that looms starting in 2012, when taxpayers' contribution rates are anticipated to spike.

"We are actually going to be funding less of the retirement system as a result of the rollback, so it buys one year but mortgages the future years," Bader said."

..........................1A) Mary Young: Pension crisis case of deja vu

"In case you've forgotten, the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System deficit is $15.7 billion. The State Employees Retirement System deficit is $5.3 billion.

That's right. We're talking $21 billion.

Dreyfuss said that when someone retires, the money needed to pay the retiree should be in the pension plan. It's not.

The state House of Representatives has proposed solving the crisis by stretching out repayment of the deficits over 30 years.

The proposal, HB 2497, passed the House last month in a 192-6 vote. (Rep. Sam Rohrer, a Robeson Township Republican, was one of the six.) It's now before the Senate Finance Committee."

"Frustrated by Albany's backlog of unpaid bills, cash-strapped local governments around New York are threatening to suspend their Medicaid payments to the state.

Last week, an upstate county announced that it was freezing Medicaid payments to Albany. The move, which was closely watched by other county leaders, may be the start of a broader revolt, as the consequences of the state's chronic cash shortage trickle down to the local level.

On Tuesday, county officials across the state are planning to hold a meeting to discuss whether to stage a more widespread protest that could potentially deprive Albany of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursement from other county governments owed money by the state.

While tensions between Albany and local governments are a regular occurrence, budgetary pressures have rarely led to such extreme measures.

Facing a $9 billion deficit and operating for most of the year without a budget, the Paterson administration has delayed billions of dollars in school aid, suspended contracts and taken other severe steps to keep enough cash flowing.

The fiscal turmoil has complicated the budgets of local governments, which have to worry about balancing their own books and maintaining their credit ratings, while delivering social welfare services and other programs mandated by the state."

"The recent layoff of 80 police officers in Oakland could be the harbinger of things to come as government officials find that public employee pension deals made when the stock market was booming are helping bust their budgets today.

"It's regrettable, but we had no choice," said City Council President Jane Brunner of the layoffs that were Oakland's response to a growing public pension crisis.

Forced to make a $30.5 million budget cut - Brunner said that's more than the city's discretionary spending - Oakland had asked police officers to pay 9 percent of their salaries toward their pensions and accept a later retirement age for new hires."

Oakland not alone

"This is not unique to Oakland," said Ron Cottingham, president of the Police Officers Research Association of California. "Stockton is having this happen. So is Sacramento."

"David Crane, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's special adviser for jobs and economic development, called the pension crisis "the largest single financial issue facing state and local governments."

The problem traces its roots to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.

Back then, soaring stock prices swelled the value of pension funds to the point where many state and local agencies were able to reduce or eliminate their annual benefit payments - using Wall Street gains to offer public employees a perk that appeared to have little or no cost to taxpayers.

"Everybody was raising benefits without thinking of the long term," said Kil Huh, director of research for the Pew Center on the States, which recently surveyed this nationwide problem.

California started down the path of more generous public employee pensions in 1999 when state lawmakers passed SB400.

The law permitted state public safety officials to retire earlier and at higher pay than was previously the case. Comparable benefits soon spread to local police officers and firefighters and eventually became the norm for most public employees.

But when stocks crashed during the current recession, so did the portfolios of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, largest of the state's pension repositories."

"The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t want to trim Social Security benefits to ease the federal deficit.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a conference in Las Vegas that she has no interest in raising the retirement age to decrease the cost of Social Security to the federal budget.

“To change Social Security in order to balance the budget, they aren’t the same thing in my view,” the California Democrat told the Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas, according to CBS News. “When you talk about reducing the deficit and Social Security, you’re talking about apples and oranges.”

Changing the benefits paid by the Social Security Administration could significantly affect the financial planning for millions of boomers and older Americans who count on Social Security payments as part of their financial plan. This year marks the first year in which Social Security payments have exceeded the money taken in from younger workers."

"Chinese banks are facing serious default risks on more than Rmb1,550bn ($228bn) in loans they have lent to local governments across the country, according to senior Chinese officials.

In a preliminary self-assessment carried out at the request of China’s banking regulator, the country’s commercial banks have identified about one-fifth of the Rmb7,700bn lent to local government financing vehicles, which are mostly used to fund regional infrastructure projects."

 

"The federal budget deficit, which hit a record $1.4 trillion last year, will exceed that figure this year and again in 2011, the White House predicted Friday"

"(Reuters) - Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rebounded strongly in June from the prior month's record low, government data showed on Monday, driving the number of houses on the market to their lowest level in nearly 42 years.

The Commerce Department said sales jumped 23.6 percent to a 330,000 unit annual rate from a downwardly revised 267,000 units in May. The sales pace last month was still the second lowest since records started in 1963. "

  • Other news and headlines:
 
 

Ex-CIA chief: Strike on Iran seems more likely now

The Death of Paper Money  (By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)...(also posted above in the DD by Pinecarr)

CEBS Says German Banks Hid Debt Details: FT

Bank Stress Tests Aren't `Rigorous Enough,' Oppenheimer's Bernstein Says

South Korea Frontloads 61% Of Controllable Budget In 1st Half

Bulgaria On EU Excessive Deficit Watch

Geithner Says U.S. Employers `Very Cautious,' Job Growth Not Fast Enough

Moody's, S&P threaten Hungary with rating downgrade

India May Raise Rates as Higher Prices Spark Protests

State Receivership to Save California Public Pensions?: Full Disclosure Network® Report

County's poured drink tax ruined businesses, bar owners say (Allegheny County)

Cost of bank bailout may push borrowing to above 20% of GDP this year (Ireland)

Amid Strikes, IMF Inspects Greek Finances

New Jersey still underfunding its pension system

Jury Volunteer Stirs Up a Pension Fund Tempest (SF)

Repairs tab may top $32B (Hawaii)

Many Bay Area homeowners in real estate limbo (California)

Empty accounts cloud public pension system (China)

Bogdan's picture
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Peak Oil

Hi all,

After reading about Peak Oil and the alternatives (wind, solar power) I'm wondering, is it really impossible to replace oil with electricity generated by wind farms and solar panels? Yes, I agree, there will be some difficult years ahead (5? 10?), but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

Bogdan.

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Re: Peak Oil

The 'death of paper money' concerns me. I am unwilling to spend big at the moment because I fear deflation. But if we have a Weimar Republic style economy ahead of us, my money will become worthless. What does one do???

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Re: Peak Oil
Bogdan wrote:

Hi all,

After reading about Peak Oil and the alternatives (wind, solar power) I'm wondering, is it really impossible to replace oil with electricity generated by wind farms and solar panels? Yes, I agree, there will be some difficult years ahead (5? 10?), but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

Bogdan.

I'm on vacation, but when I get back I'll dig though my spreadsheet. There was an interview podcast done on FSN or King or alike that had a guy on who had a blog that carefully addressed these issues. It was pretty stunning to find out how many panels and how many resources and how much oil it would take.

A wind turbine takes about 2 tons of rare earth. Solar take a lot of silver.

While I know we need to shift - I'm convinced the transition is going to be "interesting".

V's picture
V
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Re: Peak Oil

Bogdan 

The short answer is no. The long answer is no.

Damnthematrix has posted numerous times abut the fact that we are at peak everything. Which means there are not  enough resources to construct the wind farms necessary to meet present electrical needs let alone projecting those needs out for any length of time. As a matter of fact just two days ago he emailed me a feew facts and figures on the subject.

There is a thread about the stages of awareness one of which is bargaining. This is the stage that people think wind and solar will save us are at.

We have lived a privileged life that would have been the envy of kings a hundred years ago. It is time to bid it a fond farewell and learn to live better with less.

V

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Re: Daily Digest - July 26

Bogdan

I second what V said, but would add that we don't really know how fast things will fall apart.  And, obviously, the more we prepare, the less wrenching the transition will be.  The one constant I keep in mind is, as CM says, the next 20 years will be very different than the last 20 years.  Further, as someone else has said, I suspect that things will change slowly, then all at once.  We don't know when the 'all at once' will happen, so preparation is vital. 

Of course, we could all be wrong and things might just go on more or less like what we're used to, but the chances of that happening are vanishingly small.  Being ready as far in advance as possible is why I'm a member of this site.  I think our "faithful scout" Chris gives me the best chance of seeing changes coming down the road.

Quote:

...but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

Most definitely.  The transition away from oil may be the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. (at least for those of us in the so-called developed world)  The bushmen of the Kalahari and the Yamamato may not notice, but we will.

Doug

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Re: Peak Oil
Bogdan wrote:

but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

IMHO- no, if we put our minds together....but that is a mighty big IF.  Unless there was some singular catastrophic event that literally put the end of oil in sight, there will still be some bozo yelling "drill baby drill" right to the last drop.  Cuba had such an event with the fall of the USSR, coupled with trade embargos, and for once, people worked together, and became stronger and leaner as a result (though I'm sure it wasn't easy).

The end of motorized personal transportation is going to be the hardest transition, I think.  Not that it's so necessary, but that there isn't a lot of transitional choices- yes there are hybrids, but even with mass production, I think it will still be expensive.  Until we get the proper infrastructures prepped, many jobs, deliveries, products, etc will grind to a halt.

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Re: Peak Oil
Bogdan wrote:

Hi all,

After reading about Peak Oil and the alternatives (wind, solar power) I'm wondering, is it really impossible to replace oil with electricity generated by wind farms and solar panels? Yes, I agree, there will be some difficult years ahead (5? 10?), but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

Bogdan.

Follow this link:  http://lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/

 

 

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Re: Peak Oil
Bogdan wrote:

Hi all,

After reading about Peak Oil and the alternatives (wind, solar power) I'm wondering, is it really impossible to replace oil with electricity generated by wind farms and solar panels? Yes, I agree, there will be some difficult years ahead (5? 10?), but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

Bogdan.

This is my layman's answer (I'm just a reader of news, not an expert) but there are some interesting possibilities that got me thinking...

Declining/slowly disappearing/so-long-as-there-are-major-spare-parts: Wind farms and solar panels can generate electricity, but the problem is transfer to storage for use at a later time - when there is no wind or at night or in a vehicle. Storage usually means batteries - chemicals and minerals (like rare earth elements) that are expensive, require factory infrastructure, often must be imported, and will get used up over time and present a hazardous materials disposal issue. Large scale wind-, solar-, and hydro-electric require infrastructure, would not be as oil-dependent, but in a civilizational decline may after some time run down.

More renewable/sustainable/personal means include: using wind power to compress air in tanks - either portable or in underground concrete bunkers. Compressed air can run small vehicles and can power machinery including kitchen gadgets like blenders, washing machines, sewing machines power tools (the Amish do that). You can use windmills to draw water from wells, Persian windcatchers for cooling (ancient technology), passive solar (Morse/Trombe walls for heat, water or stone heat sinks, solar water heating, solar/ammonia refrigeration), ice blocks saved during winter, packed with sawdust and straw in an ice house that will last through summer, methane from manure/composting for gas/heat, etc.

Poet

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Re: Daily Digest - July 26

http://blogs.ft.com/martin-wolf-exchange/2010/07/25/the-political-genius...

The political genius of supply-side economics

July 25, 2010 4:18p

The future of fiscal policy was intensely debated in the FT last week. In this Exchange, I want to examine what is going on in the US and, in particular, what is going on inside the Republican party. This matters for the US and, because the US remains the world’s most important economy, it also matters greatly for the world.

My reading of contemporary Republican thinking is that there is no chance of any attempt to arrest adverse long-term fiscal trends should they return to power. Moreover, since the Republicans have no interest in doing anything sensible, the Democrats will gain nothing from trying to do much either. That is the lesson Democrats have to draw from the Clinton era’s successful frugality, which merely gave George W. Bush the opportunity to make massive (irresponsible and unsustainable) tax cuts. In practice, then, nothing will be done.

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Re: Peak Oil
Bogdan wrote:

Hi all,

After reading about Peak Oil and the alternatives (wind, solar power) I'm wondering, is it really impossible to replace oil with electricity generated by wind farms and solar panels? Yes, I agree, there will be some difficult years ahead (5? 10?), but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

Bogdan.

This is a simple question which has a very long answer. You can find all the details to this issue in "The Party's over" by Richard Heinberg, or in "The Long Emergency" By Kunstler

TS

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Re: Peak Oil

Poet 

With all due respect the use of compressed air utilizes  material which at the present time requires resources which are produced with fossil fuels. air tanks ....made of steel, concrete .....huge amount of fossil fuel. On a small scale with a small population a small percentage of what you describe is possible though not probable. We are near 7 billion people and the resources are dwindling exponentially. Another thing to consider is that there are a great many things made from fossil fuels that will become more expensive and scarcer

I think it would be beneficial for folks to get out of the bargaining stage as quickly as possible.

 

Doug

WOW We agree on something. I'll drink to that.

Dave S

Great link. Thanks

This is from Mike Ruppert's news;etter Frpm The  Wilderness.

"Renewable energy works very nicely within sustainable systems, but not within a suicide-economy of exponential growth and over-consumption."

V

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Re: Daily Digest - July 26
Quote:

Doug

WOW We agree on something. I'll drink to that.

V

I suspect we agree on more than emerges in these forums.

Bottoms up!

Doug

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Re: Peak Oil
V wrote:

Poet 

With all due respect the use of compressed air utilizes  material which at the present time requires resources which are produced with fossil fuels. air tanks ....made of steel, concrete .....huge amount of fossil fuel. On a small scale with a small population a small percentage of what you describe is possible though not probable. We are near 7 billion people and the resources are dwindling exponentially. Another thing to consider is that there are a great many things made from fossil fuels that will become more expensive and scarcer

I think it would be beneficial for folks to get out of the bargaining stage as quickly as possible.

Doug

Doug:

I know what you mean by the bargaining stage. However, I think concrete and some amount of steel (if it has to be recycled from a landfill) will still be doable for a time long after actual power plants and transmission lines decay. People have ingenuity and mechanical aptitude. It won't be on a massive scale, but for those who have the crafting skills and the foundries/forges. (I still have a 20-year-old solar scientific calculator that works.)

Aside from that, Persian windcatchers, solar water heaters, windmills to draw water or grind grain, and Trombe walls are old technology. That's renewable and sustainable.

Poet

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Re: Daily Digest - July 26

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Re: Daily Digest - July 26

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Archdruid Report, Anyone?

 

About once a week, John Michael Greer, a.k.a. the Archdruid, posts an interesting thought-provoking essay on peak oil and post peak-oil. I did a search and I noticed a few references but I noticed it's not in the Daily Digest.

I don't know if it's verboten to mention Greer work here, but if not, I would like to point them out to newer readers and to those of us who may not get a chance to catch up with his writings once in a while. He has an interesting way of putting high-level thoughts together for digestion.

Archdruid Report
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/.

One of his recent quotes: "...the vast majority of people today simply do not want to hear how difficult their future is going to be. It doesn’t matter how good your evidence is or how well you make your case, most of your listeners will simply look uncomfortable and change the subject."

Some essays I found interesting:

How Relocalization Worked
"When civilizations come unglued, in turn, all these indirect subsidies for economic centralization go away. Roads are no longer maintained, harbors silt up, bandits infest the countryside, migrant nations invade and carve out chunks of territory for their own, and so on. Centralization stops being profitable, because the indirect subsidies that make it profitable aren’t there any more."
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2009/11/how-relocalization-worked...

The Human Ecology of Collapse
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2009/12/human-ecology-of-collapse...

Becoming A Third World Country
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/02/becoming-third-world-coun...

Why Factories Aren't Efficient
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-factories-arent-effic...

The Costs of Complexity
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/04/costs-of-complexity.html

The World After Abundance
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/05/world-after-abundance.html

Poet

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Re: Archdruid Report, Anyone?
Poet wrote:

About once a week, John Michael Greer, a.k.a. the Archdruid, posts an interesting thought-provoking essay on peak oil and post peak-oil. I did a search and I noticed a few references but I noticed it's not in the Daily Digest.

This looks to be an excellent blog.  I read with interest his defense of the guild system and will look through the others when I can.  Thanks very much, Poet.   

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Re: Daily Digest - July 26

We have been hearing a lot about the state pension plans being inderfunded, but what about the pension plans for the federal employees?

From a paper entitled "Analyttical Perspectives, Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2009,"

on page 345  -  "Pay-asy-you-go financing was replaced in the 1980s by full or partial advabnce funding for some of the larger trust funds.  In 1984, a new system was set up to finance military retirement benefits on a full accrual basis.  In 1986, full accrual funding of retirement benefits was mandated for federal civilian employees hired after Dec. 31, 1983.    Since many years will pass between the time when benefits are earned and when they are paid, the tryst funds will accumulate sUbstantial balances over time.  These balances are available to finance futire benefit payments and other trust fund expenditures, BUT ONLY IN A BOOKKEEPING SENSE.   THESE FUNDS ARE NOT SET UP TO BE PENSION FUNDS , LIKE THE FUNDS OF PRIVATE PENSION PLAN S.   THE HOLDINGS OF THE TRUST FUNDS ARE NOT ASSETS THAT CAN BE DRAWN DOWN IN THE FUTURE TO FUND BENEFITS.    iNSTEAD, THEY ARE CLAIMS OMN THE TREASURY.    WHEN TRUST FUND HOLDINGS ARE REDEEMED TO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF BENEFITS, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY WILL HAVE TO FINANCE THE  EXPENDITURE IN THE SAME WAY AS ANY OTHER FEDERAL EXPENDITURE:  BY USING THEN CURRENT RECEIPTS, BY BORROWING FROM THE PUBLIC, OR BY REDUCUING BENEFITS OR OTHER EXPENDITURES."

Go To:  http://www.gpoaccess.gov/USbudget/fy09/pdf/spec.pdf.

Don Levit

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Re: Peak Oil
Bogdan wrote:

Hi all,

After reading about Peak Oil and the alternatives (wind, solar power) I'm wondering, is it really impossible to replace oil with electricity generated by wind farms and solar panels? Yes, I agree, there will be some difficult years ahead (5? 10?), but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

Bogdan.

Firstly.......  ALL the alternatives are made with fossil fuels, oil being a critical one.

Secondly, as we went UP the hubbert curve, we had more and more energy to do stuff with, at an ever cheaper cost.  On the way DOWN the Hubbert Peak, everything reverses......  we will have less and less energy, at ever greater cost, but we still have the monumental infrastructure built on the upside to be maintained, while at the same time we need to build an entirely new one, that costs more, and requires more energy to build......

I don't know about you, but it's a no brainer. It ain't gonna happen!

Mike

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Re: Daily Digest - July 26

Engineers race to design world's biggest offshore wind turbines

British firm to design mammoth offshore wind turbines with 275m wingspan that produce three times power of standard models

• Interactive: The race to build bigger turbines

10MW Aerogenerator X offshore turbine design The revolutionary 10MW Aerogenerator X, a new breed of mammoth offshore wind turbine in development by British firm Arup. Illustration: Wind Power Limited and Grimshaw

British, American and Norwegian engineers are in a race to design and build the holy grail of wind turbines – giant, 10MW offshore machines twice the size and power of anything seen before – that could transform the global energy market because of their economies of scale.

Today, a revolutionary British design that mimics a spinning sycamore leaf and which was inspired by floating oil platform technology, entered the race. Leading engineering firm Arup is to work with an academic consortium backed by blue-chip companies including Rolls Royce, Shell and BP to create detailed designs for the "Aerogenerator", a machine that rotates on its axis and would stretch nearly 275m from blade tip to tip. It is thought that the first machines will be built in 2013-14 following two years of testing.

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Re: Peak Oil

No, At least not a current energy consumption.Solar and Wind do not provide base load generation. That is they don't provide power 7/24/365. In order for Solar and Wind power to meet demand 7/24/365, Often you may hear that a wind turbine can produce 3 MW of power. Well that the maximum power it can produce. If the wind blows too soft or even too hard the turbine can't produce it full power. Often a wind turbines average output is around 15% to 20%. The same also applies to Solar panels, which don't produce at full power if its cloud or even if they get dirty. An all Solar Panel system will probaby require a 1/3 to 1/2 of the population working with squggies just to keep all of the solar panels clean.

We would need to build 5 to 8 times demand load and the storage systems need to store energy that will be consumed when production falls below demand. Solar and Wind also consume more resources for maintance/operation. A single Coal power plant can produce 1600 Megawatts. It takes a lot of solar panels or wind turbines to match that output. They are dispersed over a large area and require many more parts and infrastructure to connect them to the grid (More cabling more voltage regulators, more switching equipment, more monitoring equipment, etc).  The best analogy I can think of the at the momemt, is that wind and solar power is like a field of ball bears and a coal\nuclear plant is a set of roller skates. While it takes some effort and skill to move on a pair of roller skates it is far far harder to move on a field of ball bearings.

For motorized transportion there is a lack of infrastruture to support it. We spent 140 years building infrastructure to support an oil based economy. It would take at least 20 to 30 years to replace it (if everyone pitched in). The cost of converting all vehicles to electricity would be an astronomical cost. Considering that the world needs to invest about $100 Trillion to support our existing Oil production and infrastructure. over the next 10 to 15 years just to stay in place. Converting to solar and wind would be 20 to 50 times more expensive. Our electrical grid can barely mean current demand. The amount of energy consumed for transport is enormous. We also lack the battery storage technology to make it effective. It takes a lot of energy to mine\refine the raw materials used to manufacture advanced batteries. There is also a lack of critical elements (Lithium and rare earth elements) that are economically recoverable.Not enough to supply millions of vehicles required to sustain the current system. Mining Lithium and rare earth metals also creates an enormous amount of pollution.

Third we lack the land and water resources need to put all of the equipment in place. We need large manmade lakes for energy storage with a significant gravity energy potential to address the intermittement energy production from solar and wind, and all of the this land is already been developed, either to supply water for major population centers or for agraculture. Already people are suing the gov't and companies for putting up wind farms and installing new high power lines. Its the NIMBY (Not in my back Yard) problem. Even if we  were able to solve the technical and politicial problems we still face the big problem of them all. Lack of money to make it happen. Virtually every industrialize country has an aging population that has been promised retirrment entitlements. In the US, entitlement now consume about 55% of the federal budget and it rising fast as the huge title wave of baby boomers are now headed for retirement. In less than 20 years the boomers will consume more than 100% of the federal budget, no matter what the gov't does to raise taxes. This is true in many European countries, and in Japan and Korea.

Your best option in my opinion is not to rely on society pulling through. Start make your own Peak oil mitigation plan by traveling down the road of self reliance. Aquire the tools, land, infrastructure and resources to be able to support yourself and your family. You have two choices; Gamble that something miraculous happens that prevents the great train reck that society has choosen, or choose get off the track of dependance on society  meeting your basic needs.

 

 

 

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taxed2death
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 24 2010
Posts: 22
Re: Peak Oil

techguy,

I can't agree more.Even in a world without scarce resources,it would be an advantage need less.The best thing I do for my neighbors is to show them how productive and self sufficient I can be with less.Some people who witness this stop critisizing,and maybe will pass on the ideas to the next person.We can make a change in our own towns a little at a time.

 

When indoor plumbing was introduced in our area I heard an amusing story about an old timer who refused to install a toilet."who ever heard of sh**ing in their own house!",he said. A deep thought indeed.

Vanityfox451's picture
Vanityfox451
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 1636
Re: Peak Oil
ToucanSanctuary wrote:
Bogdan wrote:

Hi all,

After reading about Peak Oil and the alternatives (wind, solar power) I'm wondering, is it really impossible to replace oil with electricity generated by wind farms and solar panels? Yes, I agree, there will be some difficult years ahead (5? 10?), but is it that difficult to switch to electricity?

Bogdan.

This is a simple question which has a very long answer. You can find all the details to this issue in "The Party's over" by Richard Heinberg, or in "The Long Emergency" By Kunstler TS

Below are links to both books, readable online ...

The Party's Over - Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies ~ by Richard Heinberg

The Long Emergency - SURVIVING the End of Oil ~ by James Howard Kunstler

~ VF ~

Vanityfox451's picture
Vanityfox451
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 1636
CM.com Important Films, Books or Internet Pages Thread Compiled

This is a list of all readable online books that have been posted so far on the Important films, books or internet pages thread at cm.com. Clicking on any book will lead you instantly to its location, description, and any film companioning it :-

A)

The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy ~ by Douglas Adams

B)

The Everything and Nothing ~ by Meher Baba

Games People Play ~ by Eric Berne

The Coming Generational Storm by Kotlikoff and Burns

The King James Version of the Holy Bible

The Web of Debt ~ by Ellen Hodgson Brown, J.D.

The Best Way to Rob A Bank Is To Own One ~ by William Kurt Black

Propaganda ~ by Edward L. Bernays

Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization ~ by Lester R. Brown

C)

How To Win Friends And Influence People ~ by Dale Carnegie

Oil Crisis ~ by Colin Cambell

The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy: Achieving Energy Independence ~ by Daniel D. Chiras

Silent Spring ~ by Rachel Carson

D)

The Selfish Gene ~ by Richard Dawkins

The God Delusion ~ by Richard Dawkins

The Origin of Species ~ by Charles Darwin

The Brothers Karamazov ~ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Idiot ~ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Notes from the Underground - by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

E)

The Dhammapada ~ Translated by Eknath Easwaran

F)

No More Free Markets or Free Beer ~ by Burton W. Folsom, Jr

Ecodefense: A Field Guide To Monkey wrenching ~ by Dave Foreman

Man's Search for Meaning ~ by Victor Frankl

G)

Dumbing Us Down ~ by John Taylor Gatto

Weapons of Mass Instruction ~ by John Taylor Gatto

H)

Economics in One Lesson ~ by Henry Hazlitt

Siddhartha ~ by Hermann Hesse

Island ~ by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World ~ by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World Revisited ~ by Aldous Huxley

The Road to Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek

A Brief History of Time ~ by Stephen Hawking

Catch 22 - by Joseph Heller

Power Down ~ Richard Heinberg

The Party's Over - Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies ~ by Richard Heinberg

The Trial of Henry Kissinger- Christopher Hitchens

The Transition Handbook - by Rob Hopkins

J)

The Sorrows of Empire ~ by Chalmers A Johnson

Free Lunch by David Cay Johnston

K)

The Long Emergency - SURVIVING the End of Oil ~ by James Howard Kunstler

World Made By Hand ~ by James Howard Kunstler

The General Theory of Employment, Interest & Money ~ by John Maynard Keynes

No Logo ~ by Naomi Klein

An Agorist Primer ~ by Samuel Edward Konkin

M)

Human Action ~ by Ludwig von Mises

On Truth: The Tyranny of Illusion ~ by Stefan Molyneux

Universally Preferable Behavior ~ by Stefan Molyneux

The Life You Were Born To Live ~ by Dan Millman

The Road ~ by Cormac McCarthy

N)

Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent ~ by Andrew Nikiforuk

O)

1984 ~ by George Orwell

Animal Farm ~ by George Orwell

P)

The God of the Machine ~ by Isabel Paterson

Confessions of an Economic Hitman ~ by John Perkins

Q)

The Evolution of Civilizations ~ by Carroll Quigley

Tragedy & Hope ~ by Carroll Quigley

R)

Atlas Shrugged ~ by Ayn Rand

The Virtue of Selfishness ~ by Ayn Rand

All Quiet on the Western Front ~ by Erich Maria Remarque

All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education ~ by Sir Ken Robinson

S)

Twilight in the Desert by Matthew Simmons

Of Mice & Men ~ by John Steinbeck

The Grapes Of Wrath ~ by John Steinbeck

Cosmos ~ by Carl Sagan

T)

The Secret Life of Nature ~ by Peter Tompkins

Under Milk Wood - A Play for Voices ~ by Dylan Thomas

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas ~ by Hunter S Thompson

The Collapse of Complex Societies ~ by Joseph A. Tainter

Tao Te Ching ~ by Lao Tzu

W)

The Great Plains ~ by Walter Prescott Webb

The Great Frontier ~ by Walter Prescott Webb

Empire Of Debt by Bill Bonner & Addison Wiggin

Prometheus Rising ~ by Robert Anton Wilson

Financial Reckoning Day ~ by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin

~ VF ~

TNdancer's picture
TNdancer
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 20 2008
Posts: 127
Re: Peak Oil
TechGuy wrote:

i

 

Your best option in my opinion is not to rely on society pulling through. Start make your own Peak oil mitigation plan by traveling down the road of self reliance. Aquire the tools, land, infrastructure and resources to be able to support yourself and your family. You have two choices; Gamble that something miraculous happens that prevents the great train reck that society has choosen, or choose get off the track of dependance on society  meeting your basic needs.

 

 

THERE is the real answer, though most aren't willing to accept it.

yoshhash's picture
yoshhash
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 20 2008
Posts: 271
Re: Peak Oil
Poet wrote:

...but the problem is transfer to storage for use at a later time - when there is no wind or at night or in a vehicle. Storage usually means batteries - chemicals and minerals (like rare earth elements) that are expensive, require factory infrastructure, often must be imported, and will get used up over time and present a hazardous materials disposal issue. Large scale wind-, solar-, and hydro-electric require infrastructure, would not be as oil-dependent, but in a civilizational decline may after some time run down.

Poet

To be clear,  I think reduction (consumption, waste, etc) is and always will be the best policy- and I am not fond of most geo-engineering schemes.  However, I am a strong advocate of using what we already have. 

A smart grid can act as a massive energy storage:  we have countless hot water tanks, refrigerators, holding tanks and buildings, each which do not necessarily need to keep temperatures (or volume or height, etc) at exactly where they are.  By increasing or decreasing these amounts when energy is abundant (sunny or windy days, if we had a surplus) or vice versa, the potential for storage would be unprecedented.  You do not have to build tanks or towers from scratch.

Remember also that every hour, enough solar energy falls on Earth to serve the planet for the year.  (This I admit is hearsay- often quoted but never with scientific backup.  However, I have spent several months trying to find arguments disproving it- somebody please speak up if I am wrong on this)

 

debu's picture
debu
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 17 2009
Posts: 233
Re: Archdruid Report, Anyone?

Don't be put off by the "Archdruid" part of the Archdruid Report.  John Michael Greer is absolutely essential reading for all at this site as he  offers important complementary analysis of, and actionable advice regarding the 3E predicament that CM writes about. 

Do have a look.  Greer has a first-rate mind, is well-read and writes beautifully.  The comments can be good, too.

Thank goodness for the interweb.

Southerner's picture
Southerner
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 7 2009
Posts: 36
Re: Daily Digest - July 26

VF451, Hat tip to you for condensing the available books off of the important books/videos thread.  I love to learn and there are several which I have not read.  Merci Beaucoup!  The generosity of members of this site is incredible...

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