But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

WARNING: Composting Increases Your Carbon Footprint!


We are slowly coming to face the fact that many trendy “green” things actually harm the environment, instead of helping it.

Unfortunately, some of us are not learning their lesson, and new “green” activities are being pushed that are just as lacking in forethought, just as harmful to the planet.

One perfect example of this is the new composting fetish:

It is actually better for the environment to throw away garbage, than to compost it, if you’re worried about greenhouse gases, instead of just wanting good, free fertilizer.

Composting Releases Greenhouse Gas

Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are the second through fourth most significant greenhouse gases, after water vapor.

The materials in a compost heap contain nitrogen and carbon, locked away from the atmosphere.

The act of composing specifically converts nitrogen into nitrous oxide, and carbon into prodigous amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. No actual environmental scientist will deny this. It’s just a fact of chemistry…the two links above are pro-composting, environmentalist organizations, yet they confirm this.

Just to be clear on this:

  • Water vapor is the main source of the natural greenhouse effect, causing about 50% of all heat retention, depending on local humidity. All scientists agree that nothing humans can do changes the overall amount of water vapor in our atmosphere.
  • Carbon Dioxide, CO2, is the next greatest source, producing about 20% of warming.
  • Methane, CH4, is 30 times more powerful, but there’s less in the atmosphere, so it contributes about 6%.
  • Nitrous Oxide, N2O, is THREE HUNDRED TIMES more powerful, but even rarer, producing about 2% of natural warming. The biggest impact we could have, if any, would be to produce more of this more powerful, less common gas.

To be clear, composting produces extremely high amounts of nitrous oxide, as well as large amounts of methane, and even under the best conditions, more CO2 than almost anything else, in your entire household.

Landfills Reduce Greenhouse Gases

On the other hand, if you were to throw those compostables away, they would probably end up in a land fill. Recently, environmental scientists have bothered to actually check, and have realized that, in fact, materials in landfills do not rot the way they normally would, because of the way they’re compacted together. The International Encyclopaedia of Environmental Laws,  pointing out that paper and corn don’t rot in landfills, asks why one should even bother substituting paper for plastic, or “biodegradable” corn bags.

Again, those are environmentalists saying these things.

Environmental scientist and Green advocate Bill Rothje says that you can find readable newspaper that has been in landfills for at least 30 years. That means the carbon in newspaper (which comprises 19% of all landfill space) can be retained in the landfill for decades…or released into the atmosphere by composting.

So, according to Environmental scientists, trash in landfills is removed from the carbon/nitrogen cycle, staying out of the atmosphere. A landfill is, in fact, a tremendous REDUCTION in our “carbon footprint”.

In fact, next time you’re thinking about “recycling” paper, remember that this requires more energy, fossil fuel, and chemicals than making new paper…and that if you just throw the paper away, you’re removing its carbon from the atmosphere for the long-term.

It Gets Worse

Some governments are using taxpayer dollars to force the production of “worm composting”. Yet nitrous oxide is an inevitable by-product of worm composting. Remember, this is about 300 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2.


Earthworm Jim farts Nitrous Oxide into his space suit, compost worms do it in our atmosphere

Meanwhile, not only do landfills produce mainly methane, not Nitrous Oxide, but nearly half of the methane they produce can be captures for use as green energy. Methane engines simply produce water vapor as a waste product.

Jim Frederickson, senior research fellow at Britain’s Open University, says “”We need to investigate all alternative systems for greenhouse potential.

“The emissions that come from these worms can actually be 290 times more potent than carbon dioxide and 20 times more potent than methane. In all environmental systems you get good points and bad points.”

The whole “composting” craze, from expensive plastic countertop bins to government-mandated worm farms, is just another example of people not caring what is ACTUALLY good for the environment, but pushing any ill-thought-out plan down our throats.

September 7, 2010 Posted by | environment, Politics, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

4th Year of Global Cooling, NOAA Says


I was reading over some discussion of the Climate Change Timeline, and realized that people are failing to notice the most important news it contains:

We are, according to NOAA, currently in our fourth year of global cooling.

This is even more significant than the 114 year cycle of taking each minor change in temperature and projecting ice ages or global warming four different times.

NOAA and NASA avoid actually saying this, because they have a lot invested in profiting from global warming…but their own data say the earth is cooling, and has been for years. I will show this below, using their own numbers, without any changes made to them. I just don’t cut it off the details in the middle of the decade, like they do. I’m too honest.

Why Stop Reporting Temperature Changes?

You’ve probably seen that scary chart they like to show, where the temperature climbs way to the top. It’s pretty much everywhere on their side.

Here’s NOAA’s copy:

Notice that NOAA is still stopping their chart in 2006, although they have had data up to 2008 for a long time

Notice that NOAA is still stopping their chart in 2006, although they have had data up to 2008 for a long time

Notice that its dates are very vague, and that it stops in the middle of this decade, with the very last temperature actually declining a bit. You may need to click it to see the large version.

The big problem with the chart, hidden by the vague dating, is that it ends in 2006. I have been unable to find a NOAA chart that actually includes the last two years of data.

This makes no sense, because they have data all the way up to the beginning of 2009, and have for a long time.

Here is the data that is used in that chart, on NOAA’s own site.

All you hear about, these days, is that each new year is “one of the ten warmest on record”. But that is a spin on their data…2006, 2007, and 2008 were each cooler than the year before. Why not mention this cooling trend?

The Coldest Year Since 2000

Here, on the left, is NOAA’s global mean temp for each of the past 10 years. They measure this in ten thousandths of one degree from the 100 year average:

In this chart, using NOAA Climatologist data with clearer formatting, you can see that we are in a four year cooling trend, right now. Also notice that this entire chart encompasses barely more than one half of one degree. Click to zoom in for fine detail.

In this chart, using NOAA Climatologist data with clearer formatting, you can see that we are in a four year cooling trend, right now. Also notice that this entire chart encompasses barely more than one half of one degree. Click to zoom in for fine detail.

1998 0.5969
1999 0.4198
2000 0.3885
2001 0.5188
2002 0.5738
2003 0.5811
2004 0.5409
2005 0.6128
2006 0.5599
2007 0.5459
2008 0.4793

Blue is cooling, red is warming.

Why do those who are profiting from the global warming industry describe 2008 as one of the ten warmest years on record, instead of as the coldest year since 2000?

You can also see this, if you zoom in, on the chart at the right.

By the way, the trendline added in black is calculated from their data as an 11 year moving average, which makes sense to use just in case the sun is actually influencing temperatures on our planet. It is therefore very slow to show a reversal in trend…see how it falls behind the change in every other case. Yet it’s now showing a cooling trend, at the far right.

With the numbers on the left, you can see it is not only growing cooler, each year since 2005, but that it cooled fastest in 2008. If we graphed this trend, 0, -529, -140, -646…the curve says we should be in an actual ice age by 2020 or so. I did that last bit in my head, but if you work it out formally, send me a copy.

The Next Ice Age?

Why do we hear about unusually warm local weather, but not unusually cold? The warming of the Arctic, but not the record ice of the antarctic? The melting of a glacier, but not the last two unusually cold summers in the US?

Why do we hear about unusually warm local weather, but not unusually cold? The warming of the Arctic, but not the record ice of the Antarctic? The melting of specific glaciers, but not the last two unusually cold years in the US? Unusually bad hurricane seasons, but not unusually mild ones?

By the way, don’t actually worry about that cooling trend, yet. Real scientists know that static analysis is worse than useless. You can’t just take any four data points and assume they will go on that way forever. If you do that, you end up looking as foolish as “we have 20 years until the end of civilization” crackpots Thomas Maltus and Paul Ehrlich.

On the other hand, EVERY time you have a reversal of three points in the same new direction, on the above chart, it turns out to be a reversal in the overall trend.

For example, 2005-2008 is a mirror image of 1909-1913, where the cooling had reached its peak, and the global mean was about to move toward warming.

And, overall, global cooling is worse for humanity and civilization than global warming.

Whether by coincidence or not, many failures of civilizations and economies have appeared to hinge around sudden cooling periods. There is no corresponding evidence of warming bringing down societies.

Regardless of what the actual temperature trend is, if anything, or what actually is causing it, the motivation of people who report every year the global temperature rises, but are silent every year it falls, seems worse than suspect.

These people are no more to be trusted than a tobacco scientist, and for the same reason.

September 11, 2009 Posted by | environment, Politics, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Cash for Clunkers Causes Pollution and Poverty


This was going to be an article about how the Obama administration’s “Cash for Clunkers” campaign is an assault on the poor — which it is, because it breaks the flow of newer used cars to poorer people — but, in gathering facts for it, I came to realize that another of the unintended consequences of this self-destructive law is that it, literally, will increase pollution.

Why?

Ultimately, both of these side-effects are caused by the bizarre, authority-obsessed requirement that the cars traded in be destroyed, not sold to owners of even older cars.

Cash for Clunkers Pollutes

This is because the older a car, the worse its gas mileage. Not only in general, but also because cars tend to perform worse as they age.

But Now You Know is getting GREAT mileage out of this picture of the wind-powered Aerius, that charges its own hybrid battery while driving, in defiance of the laws of thermodynamics

But Now You Know is getting GREAT mileage out of this picture of the wind-powered Aerius, that charges its own hybrid battery while driving, in defiance of the laws of thermodynamics

Cash for Clunkers only rewards people for buying new cars, not for simply buying any car that got better gas mileage, regardless of its age. And it destroys the cars traded in, regardless of their own gas mileage.

This means that only more-prosperous people, who can afford new cars, are able to use the C4C program. They are, therefore, often trading in relatively nice, fuel-efficient cars. Often, they are even buying cars only a couple of miles per gallon more efficient.

Meanwhile, what about the people with older cars, which are much less fuel efficient?

Simple: They are having the nicer, more efficient used cars they WOULD have bought destroyed. Leaving them in a pollutive car longer than if the C4C never happened in the first place.

Since the older the car, the more pollutive, this has the net effect of WORSE pollution, not better.

Someone buys a new car that gets two miles per gallon better. His used car is destroyed, instead of going to someone who owns an older car that gets TEN miles per gallon worse. The net result is an LOSS of 8 MPG.

Take this real-life example:

  • Dude A has a 16 MPG truck
  • Trades it in for an 18 MPG truck, Obama gives him $3500 to save 2 MPG
  • Dude B has a Chevrolet 1500, that gets 9 MPG
  • Dude B finds he cannot afford to buy to buy a 16 MPG truck, because prices have gone up so much.
  • He keeps his old truck.

Net result? The Obama plan gets credit for a whole 2 MPG increase, but actually produced a 7 MPG decrease.

“But this isn’t a good example”, some greenie shouts, “people were trading in SUVs for compact cars!”

While that would be a good example of the program increasing traffic deaths, it’s not actually true in this case.

This is because the initial stats claiming it were a contextual lie.

The actual numbers, in fact, show that the most people traded their vehicles in for SUVs and trucks.

But that’s not all…there is a large “carbon footprint” around manufacturing a new car. Statistically, it should be impossible for the above +2 MPG truck to save enough, in pollution, to make up for being built, over keeping the used truck. Same with non-carbon pollution, manufacturing versus microscopically worse gas mileage. Keeping an older car can actually reduce pollution.

Of course that wasn’t the original point of this article:

…and Causes Poverty

In their attack on consumer choice, the Obama administration attacked consumerism itself, which is a very politically-correct thing to do. But the fact is that consumerism makes our economy more efficient, and benefits the poor.

As the best-off consumers buy better things, items out of favor — whether used or just old models — become less expensive, allowing poorer people to buy progressively better stuff for the same prices.

In the case of cash for clunkers, the Obama administration broke this:

  • Nice used cars will now be in shorter supply, which will raise the relative prices of the remaining nice used cars.
  • This will make it harder for poorer people to afford to upgrade.
  • This will trickle all the way down to the very poorest, who will soon find that their ability to buy some minimal car AT ALL, is affected.
  • That can mean the difference between getting to a job, and getting out of poverty, or being trapped indefinitely.

So aside from the many other unintended consequences of this program, and there are many, the program has actually set the scene for poor people to have an even harder time affording cars, a vital tool for earning more money.

What’s more, most of the sales are ones that would have happened, anyway.

Didn’t Even Help

The net result of Cash for Clunkers will be more depressing effect on our economy. Government is often credited with the famous Reverse Midas Touch: Everything it touches turns to crap

The net result of Cash for Clunkers will be more depressing effect on our economy. Government is often credited with the famous Reverse Midas Touch: Everything it touches turns to crap

Speaking of poverty, the program did not actually stimulate car buying, to help the economy, especially did not help the American car companies (who did not deserve it, anyway), and did not even get those new buyers to save gas mileage!

Why?

Because most of the buying was just what economists call “front loading”; the choice to buy a car was simply moved ahead…once the plan ends, car purchasing will decline to an abnormal low from where it would have been, as most people who could have anticipated buying a car in the next year or two will have simply bought ahead, at taxpayer expense.

The net result, therefore, will be the same amount of economic activity, but crammed hastily into a shorter period of time, and with the economy-damaging side-effect of government spending having required government debt or taxpayer burden.

“Hasty” seems to be a government motto, of late.

Oh, and the “helping American car companies”? The people who took advantage of Cash for Clunkers mostly bought Japanese cars.

In all, these factors mean that even this most feel-good of big government programs, Cash for Clunkers, has had the overall effect of increasing pollution and harming the poor, by removing perfectly good, modern used cars from the road, trapping poorer people in much older cars, for longer…while either increasing pollution through manufacturing more new cars, or just causing future economic turmoil by using economy-depressing public finance to encourage people to simply buy their cars a few months early, all at one time.

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August 14, 2009 Posted by | Economy, environment, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

It’s OK if it Kills People


(caption: Standing by a compact car, crushed in a test against a mere mid-sized car: "The laws of physics can't be repealed. Even with modern safety features like multiple air bags, people in small, light cars are always at a disadvantage in crashes." -- Russ Rader, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

(caption: Standing by a minicar, crushed in a test against a mere mid-sized car: "The laws of physics can't be repealed. Even with modern safety features like multiple air bags, people in small, light cars are always at a disadvantage in crashes." -- Russ Rader, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (click picture to see video))

It’s bad enough that new gas mileage standards will cost the already-struggling US automakers at least $21,000,000,000 per year, which they will pass on to YOU, either in as consumers or taxpayers, but they also can TRIPLE the chance of your family dying in a car crash.

The new CAFE standards require automakers to have a much higher average gas mileage within a few years.  But since automakers can’t force people to buy smaller cars, this means they must stop making larger cars, in order to force the “average” bought to be more efficient.

GM, for example, is going to literally stop selling the Caprice, one of its most popular and longest-made cars, to regular people…because it’s large. It will only offer those to “fleet” buyers, like police, taxi, and limo companies. Each company will also make the cars it does offer smaller and lighter. You will have no choice but to buy these, if you want a new car.

And, of course, you will be forced to finance this change through your taxes, with the new Cash for Clunkers law, while Cap and Trade (if you let it pass) will cause more car shrinkage and insane tax burden on you than CAFE and Cash for Clunkers combined.

Forced Green = Death

(caption: You're three times as likely to die in a small vehicle than a large one)

(caption: You're three times more likely to die in a small vehicle than a large one)

Yet no expert seriously denies that smaller cars are far more dangerous than large cars. They may refuse to use those exact words, but crash test results like this are not just normal, but a question of physics.

When a car hits something, its size, weight, and the materials out of which it’s made decide how much harm will come to its passengers. This is true even when an immobile object like a fence or tree…but it’s most true when hitting a moveable object, like a deer or another vehicle. These factors determine how much of the energy goes to moving the object you hit, and how much to crushing your body.

Even if your car has a rigid steel frame (Smart cars) and crumple zones (European cars), the change in speed from hitting a heavier object will snap your body around and kill you.

So when Barak Obama and John McCain attempt to force through standards that will effectively ban the building of larger vehicles for families, they are condemning many people to death. But, they say, this is worthwhile in order to force greater fuel economy on regular people.

Efficiency is more important than human life.

In 2004, a study by Dynamic Research, Inc. found a a 20% change in the weight difference between two vehicles in a collision produced a 15% change in mortality. The motivation, of course, was to show that people needed to be forced to drive lighter vehicles; punish SUV owners by reducing the side of their vehicles…but a more rational way to look at it is that, since large vehicles (and deer, and trees) will not cease to exist, a 20% reduction in the weight of new cars means a 15% increase in the death of families riding in them.

Your Death: A Risk They’re Willing to Take

(caption: Barak will remain safe in his gas-hogging limosine)

(caption: Never fear; Barak will remain safe in his gas-hogging limosine)

Not only will there continue to be industrial vehicles, tractor-trailor rigs, and other necessary vehicles on the road to hit your shrinking family car, and not only will the deer you hit not be on a corrresponding diet, but bear in mind that the “fleet vehicles” the politicians use are effectively exempted. So Obama, McCain, government officials, and their loved ones will still be safe in their gigantic limosines, massive taxis, and ponderous police cars, to collide with and crush we mere mortals.

Statistically, you are twice as likely to die in a small car than a larger one, during a crash…THREE times as likely, if it’s a single-car crash. That’s right; you don’t have to hit an SUV to die from driving a small car: The more your car weighs, the more it can push back against the object it’s hitting, reducing the speed at which your body is jerked in an accident.

In fact, in a recent test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, smaller vehicles even proved doomsday devices in crash tests against mere mid-level vehicles. It’s not just that a smart car will kill you if it collides with an SUV, but even a normal sedan…and when the new laws are in effect, the normal sedans being made then will be death traps against one made today.

So if a Cap and Trade politician’s limosine crashes into your family car, a few years from now, you (not he) will be far more likely to die than today…but that’s ok, it’s a chance he’s willing to take.

The Mid-sized sedan is slowed moderately by the impact, but the minicar reverses direction in a fraction of the distance. Outcome: Sedan's driver; pissed off, smartcar's driver; dead

The Mid-sized sedan is slowed moderately by the impact, but the minicar reverses direction in a fraction of the distance. Outcome: Sedan's driver; pissed off, smartcar's driver; dead

July 20, 2009 Posted by | environment, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thank Liberalism for the SUV…again


(caption: You can't ban powerful vehicles, any more realistically than you can ban stupidity.)

(caption: You can't ban powerful vehicles, any more realistically than you can ban stupidity.)

 

Years ago, busybodies decided to violate the limits to the powers of the Federal government, by setting gas mileage standards (and many other harmful regulations) on automobiles.

As is always the case with the Law of Unintended Consequences, this actually produced the opposite of the intended results.

It created the green-hated SUV boom.

This is because there are legitimate uses for large engines, and large vehicles. You can’t just declare that everything has to get X miles per gallon. Obviously, trash trucks cannot. The tractor-trailer rigs that deliver most of our goods cannot. Vehicles that actually are needed to drive somewhere on the road and then go off-road to do work cannot. 

There are, in fact, many sporting or work activities that require the power or weight that make high gas mileage impossible.

So the bureaucrats were forced to create special exceptions…for example, a Sports-Utility Vehicle class.

But arrogant, ivory-tower civil rulers cannot anticipate all needs. OK, let’s face it, they are actually incompetent at anticipating the needs of real people. 

So it didn’t occur to them that regular families need large vehicles, for many reasons. Nor that the regulations on minivans would make them too underpowered and, well, ugly, for most people to find tolerable.

So, in fact, the typical family was faced with an artificial division between the “efficient” vehicles, and those even more powerful than they need.

They were, therefore, actually driven (no pun intended) to buying from the latter class. Stuck between feeble, dangerous, ugly cars with good mileage, and inefficient, powerful, good-looking ones, they chose the latter. As they should.

It’s the environmentalists’ own fault.

And now they’re at it again:

The Obama/Pelosi administration have announced a McCain-like plan to FORCE Americans to drive even weaker, uglier, more fuel-efficient cars. This will not only increase poverty, by hugely raising the price of cars and therefore pricing people out of transportation, but will surely have many other unintended consequences, in the long run. More automaker bankruptcy, as they’re forced to make cars we won’t buy? Even crazier automotive trends, as we try to find a way to get what we actually need, instead of what they want us to have?

Have fun finding out what they’ll be.

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Economy, environment, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Going Green is Bad for the Environment


green-evil-grey

Many of the wild claims made by Green lifestyle advocates are actually worse than doing nothing at all. They increase your carbon footprint, increase trash, and are generally bad for the planet, as well as harmful to people.

You may think you’re helping save the planet, or at least being a responsible member of society, if you recycle, avoid styrofoam, drive a hybrid, use electricity instead of fossil fuel, et cetera…

But, unfortunately, taking the advice of the “green living” trendies may actually do more harm than good.

“Green” environmentalism is chock-full of urban legends, inductive reasoning, and pseudoscience that end up harming the environment, as well as being directly bad for the people pushed to conform.

Here are some facts on the subject, gleaned from the Facebook group of the same name. JOIN Going Green is Bad for the Environment, if you want more info on the topic.

_______________________________

Government-mandated Recycling Pollutes

… (not the for-profit kind) is usually so inefficient that it produces more pollution than making new paper, glass, and plastic! 13 of the top Superfund hazardous waste sites were once recycling centers!

[1] New York Times: Recycling is Garbage

[2] http://Pen & Teller on Recycling

[3] Recycling Myths

[4] Not PC on Recycling

 

Biofuels Have Huge Carbon Footprint

…actually have a bigger carbon footprint than simply using fossil fuel, because they require the clearing of land for agriculture, AND the farmers use fossil fuels to run their farm equipment.

[5] New Scientist Magazone: Forget Biofuels, Burn Fossil Fuels and Plant Forests

[6] How Big is the Biofuel Carbon Footprint

[7] Carbon Footprint of Biofuels: Can We Shrink it Down to Size in Time?

[8] London Times: Biofuels Produce More Greenhouse Gas than Fossil Fuels 

Hybrid Cars are Worse than Normal Cars

…have batteries are so bad for the environment that you probably can’t drive one long enough to make up for the damage, before the battery goes bad and you need a new one, causing the problem all over again

[9] Prius Outdoes Humvee in Environmental Damage

Environmentalism Causes Forest Fires

Laws preventing the clearing of wood from “wild” areas, combined with efforts to prevent small forest fires, set up “tinderbox” situations, and are the reason the gigantic wildfires end up engulfing large areas

[10] Environmentalist Fires

Continue reading

April 2, 2009 Posted by | Economy, environment, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Why Oil and Gas Prices Are Falling


We all know that high gas/energy prices, driven by high oil prices, are a large part of what has crippled the US economy.

But what has caused that?

Oil prices are not set by oil companies, but by futures and commodities speculators, who bid on the oil at auctions. The companies have no more control over the price than someone selling with a regular auction on EBay.

The speculators decide what they are willing to pay, based on what they believe the future of oil to be.

How Prices Rose

In 1999, the monopolistic oil cartel OPEC started cutting production, specifically to help themselves and their allies get rich by driving up the price of oil. Speculators, naturally, started bidding more for oil, expecting there to be a shortage. It went from well under $20 per barrel to over $30.

Then George W Bush got elected.

People assumed, because wealthy oil barons in Texas and Saudi Arabia were largely responsible for financing him, that plentiful oil was in their future. This ignored history, of course, because plentiful oil is cheap, and cheap oil is bad for oil barons. The more expensive oil is, the better. It would have made more sense to expect Bush to do things that would drive up the price of oil.

Bush and Abdullah Saud

Bush holds hands with a member of the Saudi tyranny, top state sponsor of terrorism, and leader of the push to keep oil prices high

But they assumed it’d be plentiful, so they bid lower on it, and the price fell. It got almost back down to its natural, under-$20 price range.

But that was bad for Bush’s financiers.

In fact, there was a lot of loud public worry, among oil barons, about how the price of oil was returning to normal.

Then came September 11th, 2001. 

Afghanistan

After 9-11, there were many ways America could go. 

The way Bush chose to lead, was to first attack Afghanistan. He said this was because they were harboring bin Laden. He promised, though, that he was going to exhaust all diplomatic means, and only attack them as a last resort.

But before he attacked, the government of Afghanistan, a long-time US ally whom Bush had just recently sent, openly and on record, a great deal of grant money for their help, offered to turn over bin Laden for war crimes trial.

Bush ignored the offer, refusing even to discuss it with them. When they offered a second time, the US attacked the very next day.

Speculators saw this as a very bad sign for oil, because Afghanistan was closely aligned with many oil-producing countries, and they bid more for it, driving the price into the high $20 range, fifty percent higher than its natural price.

Iraq

Then Bush began threatening to attack Iraq. Now Afghanistan had at least some association with Al Qaeda…but Iraq, of course, was ruled by Al Qaeda’s #2 enemy after the US: Saddam Hussein.

Oil speculators found this pretty scary, and confusing. The price of oil rose to close to $40, more than twice its natural range.

Gradually, it declined, on the promise of cheap oil from Iraq, even though every government projection of conquering Iraq anticipated years of quagmire and turmoil, jeopardizing oil supplies for a long time to come. This is why his father had not done it.

(more after this K-rad graphic)

 

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

Sure enough, as time war on, the war got worse, and the speculators responded by bidding ever-higher for oil.

 

General Belligerence

What’s more, whenever the price was finally stabilizing a bit, the Bush administration would do something else that threatened the oil supply, like picking fights with Hugo Chavez, or threatening to attack Iran. Each time, investors were frightened, and the oil price climbed.

Eventually, this kind of belligerent foreign policy pattern pushed it up to $140 per barrel, over 700% above its natural price of just a few years earlier.

Sane Foreign Policy?

Then, in early 2008, it began to grow increasingly likely that Barak Obama would be the Democratic nominee. Unlike Hillary, he had always opposed this kind of foreign policy. Speculators began to weigh the possibility of a different foreign policy into their price bids.

Obama's Oil Price Rescue

As Obama's election grew more likely, oil buyers became reassured that oil supplies might be secure, and bid less, driving down prices.

As he clinched the nomination, and then began to dominate the polls versus McCain, the amount speculators were willing to pay steadily declined.

 

By the time he was elected, which had been seen as a probable for some time, they had built a peaceful foreign policy into the price, so that it was half its peak. 

The day after he was elected, the price fell dramatically. 

Now it remains in a holding pattern, a fraction of its peak just a year ago…waiting to see if Barak Obama is going to keep his promise of sane foreign policy. If he does, we could see oil falling down to its natural price, which by now is probably little more than $30 a barrel.

Ironically, sane foreign policy has an even greater impact on what the investors in oil are willing to pay, than Obama’s own position as a Liberal enemy of the energy needs of Americans.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Economy, International | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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