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June 10, 2005

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A few questions:

MB, why are you making such a faulty assumption? You know, assuming the size of an oil barrel is going to stay constant? I see no reason to assume that the Saudis can't pump 12.5 million barrels a day for the next five decades unless "the sky is falling"-types like you hold to outdated ideas of what constitutes a barrel.

Second, has anyone thought about coal-burning cars? After all, we have more coal than oil, and think of all the jobs created by having to employ someone to shovel coal into your car engine while you drive around.

Third, and more seriously, does anyone have a link(s) on oil production in Iraq, how it's compared to estimates, and whether there's been any updated assessments of Iraqi oil reserves compared to what was thought prior to our invasion?

Have you ever seen al-Jubeir and Bagdad Bob in the same place? Seriously, because I think they may be the same person.

No, seriously, at what point do these guys think their lies will begin to be transparent? I mean, they're telling bigger doozies than the communists were in the 1970s (at least what I've seen as the norm in Czechoslovakia at the time). And everyone KNEW they were blatant lies. And then the whole thing came crumbling down. And while our press may be gasping for breath, we DO have access to more alternative media sources than folks under communism.

Persian Golf:
Look at the emblem on the lectern: I know they're supposed to be scimitars, but they kinda look like golf clubs.

Somebody is thinking about coal-burning cars, in a fashion. He's one of the Democratic Party's darlings du jour, Brian Schweitzer, who is backing coal-to-oil technology pioneered by the Nazis and still used in an updated form by South African Coal, Oil, and Gas Corporation in South Africa.

Serves me right for being a smartass, to find out that my bad hypothetical idea is actually being pushed by a Dem.

What I found interesting about that article is that the state owns the coal reserves as a tradeoff with the Clinton administration over not putting a gold mine in Yellowstone.

There are some strange things with federal land policy.

When the Economist and Exxon Mobil start talking about peak oil, you know we've got to be close. We passed peak oil in this country in 1970, almost exactly as predicted by M. King Hubbert, who coined the term in the late 1950s. The Exxon Mobil document which Kevin Drum printed in his first post on peak oil had the non-OPEC world peaking in 2010, and from then on, all increases have to come from OPEC countries.

The big OPEC reserves are in Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Kuwait. As you and Kevin point out, overproduction or sloppy production can contaminate a field and contribute to earlier peaking than would otherwise be the case. Kevin's conclusion was that the Saudis are probably mistaken or misspeaking about the extent of their reserves.

So it's like global warming--does BushCo believe its own hype? Do they think technology will somehow bail everyone out in time? Do they just figure they will be ok because of their wealth and devil take the hindmost? Or do they just not think?

Kevin also concludes that we'll get a fairly easy transition by altering our energy policies. Could be. But it won't happen in this Administration. Unfortunately, since Jimmy Carter's flawed but at least future-oriented policy started in 1977, we haven't had a single Administration that "gets it." A quarter-century mostly wasted (although some good new technologies have advanced - particularly super-efficient wind turbines and micro-gas turbines). Right now, when inflation is taken into account, the federal budget allocates one-fourth as much money for R&D into renewables as Carter's did in 1980. We ought to be spending four times as much as he did.

Energy policy: another reason to bemoan the SCUSA intervention in the election on behalf of Bush over Gore. I suspect that Gore would have "gotten it."

Yes, that was the weakest part of Kevin's series. It's like global warming. In the abstract, there are plenty of things we could do to ease the painful trtansition. But this Admin doesn't see it as a problem, so it adopts policies that make things worse.

We should have a contest to name one area where Bush's policies are actually making things better. And marginally better than doing nothing doesn't count. Really better.

So far I can't think of anything.

He didn't fuck up Ukraine. And he hasn't fucked up the Balkans, either.

And Christie Todd Whitman's hush deal to dredge the Hudson.

Honestly, I think Bush has followed the right policy to shore up the petroleum reserves. Sure, he's doing it at what looks like top dollar NOW. But it won't be top dollar for long. And, even though I believe that any war we fight under his watch will be wrong, I do believe the possibility of a just war exists.

The US war machine takes an obscene amount of petroleum to run. So, on the off chance we don't destroy the world before the world tries to destroy us, it'll be nice to have some gas in the tank if we need it.

But that's not a whole policy. Plus, for Bush, it had the salutary effect of making his friends rich.

What Prince Abdullah, said Wednesday:

“The world is more likely to run out of uses for oil than Saudi Arabia is going to run out of oil.”

What he was thinking:

"The world is likely to run out of uses for Saudi Arabia when Saudi Arabia runs out of oil."

These guys are spending a fair amount of time trying to figure the Saudis out:


The more I read them I'm convinced that the optimistic view is that we have 5 years.

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