Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Weekly Roundup – Words of Whipple

Ethanol and Peak Food by Tom Whipple
Finally we have the big question. As America is going through 500 million gallons of motor fuel per day, how much of this can safely be replaced by sharing our food with our fuel tanks?
A few days after the Post story, the answer came with a thundering crash when Canada 's National Union of Farmers issued a report on the world grain situation. The first sentence says it all: "The world is now eating more food than farmers grow, pushing global grain stocks to their lowest level in 30 years".
If the first sentence didn't get your attention, the second one says: "Rising population, water shortages, climate change, and growing costs of fossil fuel-based fertilizers point to a calamitous shortfall in the world's supplies in the near future."

Last week, I posted from an article describing the “grain gap”, which lacked references. The erstwhile and consistant editor Tom Whipple comes through again, with a carefully written editorial on peak oil that, as usually, pulls no punches. We may choose. Corn for our gullets, or corn for our lifestyles.

Venezuela Seeks to Cut Oil Output
Of course, most delegates to the Thursday meeting are expected to nod politely to Venezuela's calls for output cuts that could drive prices even higher, while doing the opposite by reaping all they can from the current bonanza of high prices. The oil minister of the United Arab Emirates rejected talk on Monday of a possible cut in the cartel's output quotas of 28 million barrels a day.

This article – and paragraph - is almost incomprehensible without a bit of “peak knowledge.” Simply start with the fact that oil output will drop in Venezuela, because over time, oil depletion happens. Then, watch prices go up. Industrial society is denominated in energy, not dollars or euros or yen. Consumers around the world are beginning to figure this out, even as New York Times reporters are confused.

The dollar's evil twin

...I learned that "Currently, the world is drowning in dollars, even a small movement could trigger a massive recession in the United States." I also learned that "There's no prospect of the US running a trade surplus anytime soon. Bush has savaged the manufacturing sector, outsourcing over 3 million jobs and shutting down plants across the country. . . . Currently, the national debt is a whopping $8.4 trillion with an equally harrowing $800 billion trade deficit."

I put all these facts into my brain, stirred them up and added a few more facts that I stole off of Google. "America's total national income is approximately $2,100 billion a year but our debt is approximately $8 TRILLION." That means that we taxpayers are only making enough salary to pay off less than one percent of our debt. And yet our economy hasn't crashed? What does THAT mean?

Read this. It is right on. The bunnies approve. I've switched my currencies already, I now pay all debts with chocolate coins wrapped in foil.

Environmentalists Urge Global Ban on Fishing Trawlers
Bottom trawling involves dragging huge, heavy nets along the sea floor. Large metal plates and rubber wheels attached to these nets move along the bottom and crush nearly everything in their path, says Greenpeace. "All evidence indicates that deep water lifeforms are very slow to recover from such damage, taking decades to hundreds of years--if they recover at all," the group says on its Web site.

Maybe them opposable thumbs didn’t work out as well as they could have. Hell, if I were a fish right now, I'm thinking the feet were a mistake...


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