December 27, 2012

gas-station-chuck-staleyAnother wet early-morn here on California’s northern coast and it appears it’s storming all over the US — back east, seven people have been killed, including two little children, as big winter-generated weather chaos churns through the region.
And this is only the start to the cold season.

In the overpowering ring of ugly in the news cycle lately — mass killings, dumb-ass gun-control bullshit, deadly weather and the crazed “fiscal cliff” political shenanigans, and so forth — I haven’t had much time to reflect on this planet’s most-pressing concern, oil.
Odd how crude and horrible this element, which not only fuels our current civilization, but in the end will just might kill us all.

(Illustration found here).

Crude oil prices are apparently hinged to US political craziness, i.e., the so-called “fiscal cliff” — from Bloomberg:

Brent for February settlement fell 31 cents to $110.76 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 11:15 a.m. local time.
The volume was 37 percent less than the 100-day average.
Prices yesterday gained $2.27, or 2.1 percent, to settle at $111.07, the highest close since Nov. 30.
West Texas Intermediate for February delivery was at $91.12 a barrel, up 14 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The volume traded for all contracts was 25 percent below the 100-day average. Futures advanced $2.37 to $90.98 yesterday.
The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $19.69 to WTI.

Oil is curved to even the slightest whimper of expectation: Lisa Finstrom of Citi Furutes and OTC Clearing stated, “Hopes for progress have been fueled by President Obama’s early return from his family vacation in Hawaii.”
However, the entire process is pure, 100 percent bullshit.
Just how f*cked the situation, this a statement from John ‘The Boner‘ Boehner’s “leadership team” (HA!) on the circus-go-round of these talks:

“If the Senate will not approve and send them to the president to be signed into law in their current form, they must be amended and returned to the House,” the leadership statement said.
“Once this has occurred, the House will then consider whether to accept the bills as amended, or to send them back to the Senate with additional amendments.
The House will take this action on whatever the Senate can pass, but the Senate first must act.”

Your fault, not mine, we’re outta here!

Nonsense conducted by assholes.
Meanwhile, on the ground, or on the road as our vehicles attest, US pump prices are still low right now, but are way-subject to change on short notice.
Yesterday, I put another $20 worth of gas in the old Jeep at $3.79 a gallon, the lowest it’s been in a long, long time.
Northern California has always carried the highest pump prices in the state — in the Los Angeles-Long Beach region the average pump price this morning was $3.59, down 21 cents from $3.80 a month ago but up a penny from $3.58 a year earlier.
Fuel for death.
In the nowadays everybody is responsible, even me in visiting my local Union 76 station, all of us without thinking about it are creating a scenario of no escape — climate change quickly coming because of all that burning of fossil fuels.
There is really no way to stop the advance of the heat and as the globe warms, the real-bad shit will start to hit the fan — some spatterings of grease spots already via Hurricane Sandy and that horrifying, never-ending drought in the US mid-section — and even the guise of “peak oil,” the big-barn burner just a couple of years ago, won’t matter.
Even among the knowing, there’s much pessimism — Ugo Bardi, who teaches chemistry at Italy’s University of Florence, looks beyond peak oil and fossil fuels to the damage wrought.
In an essay earlier this month, Bardi explains:

So, step by step, I went full circle.
If, at the beginning, I was more worried about depletion than about climate, now it is the reverse.
Not that I stopped worrying about peak oil, I know very well that we are in deep trouble with the availability not just of oil, but of all mineral resources.
But the recent events; the melting of the polar ice cap, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires and all the rest clearly show that the climate problem is taking a speed and a size that was totally unexpected just a few years ago.
Climate change is a gigantic problem: it dwarfs peak oil in all respects.
We know that humans have lived for thousands of years without using fossil fuels, but they never lived in a world where the atmosphere contained more than 400 parts per million of CO2 — as we are going to have to.
We don’t even know if it will be possible for humans to survive in such a world.
Right now, peak oil is not solving the problem of climate change — it is worsening it because it is forcing the industry to use progressively dirtier resources, from tar sands to coal.
Maybe in the future we’ll see a decline in the use of all hydrocarbons and, as a consequence on the emissions of greenhouse gases.
But, if we continue along this path, peak oil will be just a blip in the path to catastrophe.

And that catastrophe is coming quick — just this week it was reported temperatures in West Antarctica is rapidly rising faster than previously known and the whole region’s ice is melting twice as fast as was earlier figured.
Pump it up!
Grease it down!

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