Translation

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shale Fracking Is a “Ponzi Scheme” … “This Decade’s Version of The Dotcom Bubble” … “A Lot In Common With the Subprime Mortgage Market Just Before It Melted Down”

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Washington's Blog | Sep 19, 2014

A Losing Bet 

In 2011, the New York Times wrote:
“Money is pouring in” from investors even though shale gas is “inherently unprofitable,” an analyst from PNC Wealth Management, an investment company,  wrote to a contractor in a February e-mail. “Reminds you of dot-coms.”

“The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work,” an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company,  wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 28, 2009.

***

“And now these corporate giants are having an Enron moment,” a retired geologist from a major oil and gas company  wrote in a February e-mail about other companies invested in shale gas.

***

Deborah Rogers, a member of the advisory committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, [and a]  former stockbroker with Merrill Lynch … showed that wells were petering out faster than expected.

“These wells are depleting so quickly that the operators are in an expensive game of ‘catch-up,’ ” Ms. Rogers wrote in an e-mail on Nov. 17, 2009, to a petroleum geologist in Houston, who wrote back that he agreed.

***

A review of more than 9,000 wells, using data from 2003 to 2009, shows that — based on widely used industry assumptions about the market price of gas and the cost of drilling and operating a well — less than 10 percent of the wells had recouped their estimated costs by the time they were seven years old.

***

“Looks like crap,” the Schlumberger official wrote about the well’s performance, according to the regulator, “but operator will flip it based on ‘potential’ and make some money on it.”
In 2012, the New York Times pointed out:
The gas rush has … been a money loser so far for many of the gas exploration companies and their tens of thousands of investors.

***

Although the bankers made a lot of money
from the deal making and a handful of energy companies made fortunes by exiting at the market’s peak, most of the industry has been bloodied — forced to sell assets, take huge write-offs and shift as many drill rigs as possible from gas exploration to oil, whose price has held up much better.

***

Now the gas companies are committed to spending far more to produce gas than they can earn selling it. Their stock prices and debt ratings have been hammered.
Rolling Stone reported the same year:
Fracking, it turns out, is about producing cheap energy the same way the mortgage crisis was about helping realize the dreams of middle-class homeowners. For Chesapeake, the primary profit in fracking comes not from selling the gas itself, but from buying and flipping the land that contains the gas. The company is now the largest leaseholder in the United States, owning the drilling rights to some 15 million acres – an area more than twice the size of Maryland. McClendon [the CEO of fracking giant Chesapeake] has financed this land grab with junk bonds and complex partnerships and future production deals, creating a highly leveraged, deeply indebted company that has more in common with Enron than ExxonMobil. As McClendon put it in a conference call with Wall Street analysts a few years ago, “I can assure you that buying leases for x and selling them for 5x or 10x is a lot more profitable than trying to produce gas at $5 or $6 per million cubic feet.”

According to Arthur Berman, a respected energy consultant in Texas who has spent years studying the industry, Chesapeake and its lesser competitors resemble a Ponzi scheme, overhyping the promise of shale gas in an effort to recoup their huge investments in leases and drilling. When the wells don’t pay off, the firms wind up scrambling to mask their financial troubles with convoluted off-book accounting methods. “This is an industry that is caught in the grip of magical thinking,” Berman says. “In fact, when you look at the level of debt some of these companies are carrying, and the questionable value of their gas reserves, there is a lot in common with the subprime mortgage market just before it melted down.

***

In February, Chesapeake announced that, because of low gas prices, its revenues will fall $3.5 billion short of its expenses this year.
Jim Quinn noted last year:
Royal Dutch Shell is one of the biggest corporations in the world, with financial resources greater than 99% of all the organizations on earth. Their CEO [Peter  Voser] probably knows a little bit more about oil exploration than the Wall Street systers and CNBC bimbos. His company has poured $24 billion into shale exploration in the U.S. It has been a huge failure. They have already written off $2.1 billion. They are trying to sell huge swaths of land in the Eagle Ford area. They are losing money in the shale oil and gas business. If Shell can’t make it profitable, who can?
Bloomberg noted in February:
Independent producers will spend $1.50 drilling this year for every dollar they get back.
Oil Price reported in March:
Shell’s new boss, Ben van Beurden, said bets on U.S. shale plays haven’t worked out for his company.

***

“Some of our exploration bets have simply not worked out,” Shell’s Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said. It was bad management policy to commit close to $80 billion in capital on its North American portfolio and still lose money. Now, he said, it’s time to cut the loss and slash exploration and production investments by 20 percent for 2014.

***

Shell’s problems say more about the difficulties of shale exploration than they do about the company itself.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out in April:
These newly public companies are spending more than they make ….
Bloomberg wrote in May:
Shale debt has almost doubled over the last four years while revenue has gained just 5.6 percent, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of 61 shale drillers. A dozen of those wildcatters are spending at least 10 percent of their sales on interest compared with Exxon Mobil Corp.’s 0.1 percent.

“The list of companies that are financially stressed is considerable,” said Benjamin Dell, managing partner of Kimmeridge Energy, a New York-based alternative asset manager focused on energy. “Not everyone is going to survive. We’ve seen it before.”

***

In a measure of the shale industry’s financial burden, debt hit $163.6 billion in the first quarter, according to company records compiled by Bloomberg on 61 exploration and production companies that target oil and natural gas trapped in deep underground layers of rock.

***

Drillers are caught in a bind.
They must keep borrowing to pay for exploration needed to offset the steep production declines typical of shale wells. At the same time, investors have been pushing companies to cut back. Spending tumbled at 26 of the 61 firms examined. For companies that can’t afford to keep drilling, less oil coming out means less money coming in, accelerating the financial tailspin.

***

“Interest expenses are rising,” said Virendra Chauhan, an oil analyst with Energy Aspects in London. “The risk for shale producers is that because of the production decline rates, you constantly have elevated capital expenditures.”
And Tim Morgan – former global head of research at Tullett Prebon – explained last month at the Telegraph:
We now have more than enough data to know what has really happened in America.

***

If a huge number of wells come on stream in a short time, you get a lot of initial production. This is exactly what has happened in the US.

The key word here, though, is “initial”. The big snag with shale wells is that output falls away very quickly indeed after production begins. Compared with “normal” oil and gas wells, where output typically decreases by 7pc-10pc annually, rates of decline for shale wells are dramatically worse. It is by no means unusual for production from each well to fall by 60pc or more in the first 12 months of operations alone.

Faced with such rates of decline, the only way to keep production rates up (and to keep investors on side) is to drill yet more wells. This puts operators on a “drilling treadmill”, which should worry local residents just as much as investors. Net cash flow from US shale has been negative year after year, and some of the industry’s biggest names have already walked away.

The seemingly inevitable outcome for the US shale industry is that, once investors wise up, and once the drilling sweet spots have been used, production will slump, probably peaking in 2017-18 and falling precipitously after that. The US is already littered with wells that have been abandoned, often without the site being cleaned up.

Meanwhile, recoverable reserves estimates for the Monterey shale – supposedly the biggest shale liquids play in the US – have been revised downwards by 96pc. [Background and here; and see this.]  In Poland, drilling 30-40 wells has so far produced virtually no worthwhile production.

In the future, shale will be recognised as this decade’s version of the dotcom bubble
. In the shorter term, it’s a counsel of despair as an energy supply squeeze draws ever nearer.

Clean Water as An Impediment to Corporate Profits

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Counter Punch | Sep 19, 2014 | Pete Dolack

The Attack on El Salvador's Water

An Australian mining company insists its “right” to a guaranteed profit is superior to the right of El Salvador to clean drinking water  — and an unappealable World Bank secret tribunal will decide if that is so.

Drinking water is the underdog here. It might be thought that Salvadorans ought to have the right to decide on a question as fundamental as their source of water, but that is not so. It will be up to a secret tribunal controlled by corporate lawyers. And as an added bit of irony, the hearing began on El Salvador’s Independence Day, September 15. Formal independence, and actual independence, alas, are not the same thing.

The case, officially known as Pac Rim Cayman LLC v. Republic of El Salvador, pits the Australian gold-mining company OceanaGold Corporation against the government of El Salvador. OceanaGold is asking for an award of $301 million because the Salvadoran government won’t give it a permit to open a gold mine that would poison a critical source of drinking water on which millions depend.

OceanaGold — or, more specifically, its Pacific Rim subsidiary, which it bought in November 2013 — has spent only a small fraction of the $301 million. That sum isn’t an attempt to recover an investment; it represents the amount of profits the corporation alleges it would have pocketed but for El Salvador’s refusal to give the company a permit. (El Salvador has had a moratorium on new mining permits since 2008.)

So here we have an increasingly common scenario under “investor-state dispute mechanisms” — environmental laws designed to safeguard human and animal health are challenged as barriers to corporate profit. Not simply to recover an investment that didn’t pan out, but supposed future profits that a company claims it would have earned. Should El Salvador prevail, it would still have lost because it will spend large sums of money to defend this case, money that could have been used for the welfare of its people.

An added insult in this case is that it is being heard not under one of the “free trade” agreements that elevate corporations to the level of (or above) a country, but under an El Salvador law passed by the former Right-wing government that has been since reversed. Pacific Rim originally sued El Salvador under the Central American Free Trade Agreement, but the case was dismissed because Canada, where Pacific Rim had been based before its acquisition by OceanaGold, is not a party to CAFTA. But the tribunal allowed the suit to be re-filed under an El Salvador law that granted corporations the same right to sue in secret tribunals ordinarily found only in “free trade” agreements.

Lawyers for corporations sit in judgment

The tribunal judging El Salvador is known as the International Centre for the Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID) — an arm of the World Bank. Neither the public nor the press are allowed to witness ICSID hearings and there is no appeal to its decisions. Under the “investor-state dispute mechanism,” governments legally bind themselves to settle “disputes” with “investors” in the secret tribunals. Cases are decided by a panel of three judges selected from a roster. The judges are appointed to the roster by the national governments that have signed on to ICSID.

Because ICSID, similar to other arbitration panels, does not have rules against conflicts of interest, most of the judges are corporate lawyers who specialize in representing corporations in these types of disputes. To provide just one example, one of New Zealand’s selected judges is David A.R. Williams, who is currently representing Philip Morris in its suit seeking to force Australia to overturn its tobacco regulations, which were ruled legal by Australia’s High Court.

The three judges in this week’s hearing are V.V. Veeder of Britain, Brigitte Stern of France and Guido Santiago Tawil of Argentina. Mr. Veeder and Mr. Tawil are veteran corporate lawyers; the former has carefully omitted any mention of who his clients are in his CV, while the latter’s bio page boasts he has assisted in the privatization of Argentina’s assets while representing corporations in several industries. To put that in some perspective, an austerity program was imposed in the early 1990s in conjunction with selling off state enterprises at below-market prices. This fire sale yielded $23 billion, but the proceeds went to pay foreign debt mostly accumulated by the military dictatorship — after completing these sales, Argentina’s foreign debt had actually grown.

The third member of the tribunal, Ms. Stern, is an academic regularly called on to arbitrate investor-state disputes. One of her previous rulings awarded Occidental Petroleum Corporation $2.3 billion against Ecuador because Ecuador had canceled an Occidental contract over a dispute in which the tribunal agreed that Ecuadoran law had been violated. The oil company was in the wrong but was given a windfall anyway!

Among the precedents these three ICSID judges will consider are separate rulings ordering Canada to reverse bans on PCBs and on the gasoline additive MMT, both dangerous to human health, because the bans hurt corporate investments.

Didn’t meet its obligations, but so what

The former Right-wing Arena government of El Salvador in 1999 passed a law enabling “investors” to sue the country in ICSID, thereby circumventing the local judiciary, as part of its effort to encourage foreign investment. A subsequent Right-wing government yielded to public pressure in 2008 by issuing the mining-permit moratorium, and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) administrations of Mauricio Funes (elected in 2009) and Salvador Sanchez Ceren (elected in 2014) have kept the moratorium in place.

In addition to the general moratorium, the Salvadoran government cites not only environmental and health concerns specific to the mine, but also says Pacific Rim has failed to meet its legal obligations nor has it secured more than a small fraction of the local permissions it must have to develop the land it seeks to mine. Some observers fear that a ruling in favor of OceanaGold could lead to violence in a country in which 70,000 were killed in a civil war a generation ago. Luke Danielson, a researcher with the Sustainable Development Studies Group, told the Inter Press Service news agency:
“This mining project was re-opening a lot of the wounds that existed during the civil war, and telling a country that they have to provoke a civil conflict in order to satisfy investors is very troublesome.”
Local communities are shut out of arbitration forums like ICSID, but it is community organizing that is responsible for the, so far, successful pushback against environmentally destructive mining. The National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining, or “La Mesa,” is an organization of civil society groups that has led the opposition to OceanaGold. Several corporations have prospected in El Salvador’s inland highlands areas since the Right-wing Arena government passed the law allowing investors to sue in ICSID.

A now closed mine in the area, on the San Sebastian River, operated by the U.S. company Commerce Group, left behind water too dangerous to touch, never mind drink. The El Salvador Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources tested the river and found cyanide levels nine times above the maximum allowable limit and iron levels more than 1,000 times the maximum allowable limit. So polluted is the river that it runs yellow, orange or red at times.

Mining for gold is a process that uses large amounts of dangerous chemicals in the extraction. A National Geographic blogger, Vladimir Pacheco, writing about OceanaGold’s proposed mine, reports:
“The cyanide-leach processes at the company’s El Dorado mine will use approximately 900,000 liters of water a day. In comparison, it would take 30 years for an average Salvadoran family to use that amount of water. … Will water needed for the project aggravate the already perilous state of water access in the country? A study by the Ministry of Environment found that only two percent of the rivers contain water that can be made fit for human consumption, or used for irrigation or recreational activities and in another study the Global Water Partnership warns that water supply in El Salvador is hovering on the threshold of 1,700 cubic metres of water per person per year, the upper limit for the definition of water stress.”
Fighting back but at a cost

La Mesa has continued its struggle against mining and for the ability to decide its own pattern of development despite the violence that often seems to accompany mining. Three anti-mining activists were murdered in a six-month span in 2009. A report on Salvadoran activistspublished last year by Common Frontiers, a Canadian coalition, said:
“The fact that the government of El Salvador stopped issuing mining permits to companies was a real boost for their movement but at the same time it brought a significant shift in Pacific Rim’s tactics towards them. The company is accused of utilizing kidnapping, intimidation and even murder against community members opposed to the mining project.”
OceanaGold, which now owns Pacific Rim, did not address these charges in its glossy Fact Book 2014, but did have this to say:
“We have a staunch commitment to making sure our operations enrich, empower and improve the lives of our stakeholders, by creating a positive, long-lasting legacy that respects human rights and delivers enduring benefits and opportunities beyond the life cycle of our operations.” [page 28]
The Philippines Commission on Human Rights might beg to differ. In 2011, the commission recommended that the Filipino government revoke OceanaGold’s license to operate because of “alleged violation of the rights of the indigenous people of Barangay Didipio in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya,” including forced evictions. (The license was not revoked, and the mine is operating.)

La Mesa calls OceanaGold’s suit “a “direct attack against the sovereignty and legitimate right of the Salvadoran population to reject an industry that is a threat to our lives.”

This history is not likely to be under consideration by the ICSID tribunal. It is not known when it will hand down a decision, although it is likely to be at least several months. Two fundamental questions that can’t be avoided are: Does a community have the right to make decisions on its own development? Do multi-national corporations have the right to a guaranteed profit without regard to the cost imposed on communities?

That such questions must be asked — and that “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second are increasingly common answers — is emblematic of dictatorship, not democracy.

Pete Dolack writes the Systemic Disorder blog. He has been an activist with several groups.

Why detoxification is so important, and how to do it right

© Natural News
Natural News | Sep 19, 2014 | Kali Sinclair

To many, the word detox is just one of today's buzzwords--not a means to gain health. Others think of detoxing as a form of starvation. Nothing could be further from the truth--not if you do it right.

We live in a world filled with chemicals. They are in our water, in our air, and in nearly everything we touch. Too many of us bathe and shampoo with products laced with chemicals, then use chemical laden products to shave, to smell good, to soften our skin, to treat our blemishes, and more. Our skin soaks up these chemicals every day.

We pick up parasites from our food and our surroundings that take up residence in our bodies. Our bodies store mercury, lead, and other heavy metals.

All of these foreign materials tax our body's resources and interfere with optimum health. The purpose of a detox is to cleanse the body of these foreign substances along with accumulated waste in order to optimize healthy bodily functions and healing.

We've been taught to regard our brain as the center of our universe. It would be more accurate to give this place of honor to our gut. If our gut is not working well, we do not assimilate vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates or proteins. The focus of a detox is to clean up the gut first, and follow with cleaning out the storage bins (stored fat), the organs, the blood and the lymph.

Cleaning out the gut involves moving out debris while giving the body maximum nutrition that does not require the digestive system to do a lot of work. At the same time, we want to fill our gut with prebiotics, probiotics, and easy to digest foods. This is the reason detox plans ask you to eliminate animal protein (or most animal protein) during a detox. It is hard to digest.

Out with the bad, in with the good

For an optimum detox, we want to ensure our body is not overtaxed or over burdened during the process. This means focusing on easily digested foods and drinking copious amounts of clean water.

Excellent supplement formulas for cleaning out the intestinal tract will move out old waste along with parasites and other substances.

Smoothies, made with vegetables and high qaulity nutritional powders are an excellent means to flood the body with nutrients while allowing the digestive tract to rest.

Prebiotic foods (raw, organic vegetables!) help the good bacteria in the gut to thrive while probiotics also help increase their numbers.

How to help your body successfully detox 

Many toxins are stored in the fat. As they are released into our bloodstream, our bodies deal with a new burden. Therefore, we must give the body a lot of fluids to help it dispose of these toxins. Spring water with lemon juice, cranberry juice, and cayenne powder sipped throughout the day is an excellent addition to your cleanse.

Hot and cold hydrotherapy gets the blood throughout the tissues. This simple, age old therapy is a huge aid to the body during detoxification. And last, but not least, we must get the lymph moving and cleaned out. Movement is a necessity, but you should take it easy during a detox and restrict your exercise to walking and rebounding. Both will help your lymph move. A lymphatic massage will also be a great aid.

Detoxing a minimum of twice a year is suggested. Whether you embark n a 3-day cleanse or go all out and cleanse for 2 weeks, your body will be grateful.

Detox with nutrition. You can make your own multivitamin/mineral powder here. Also check out How to Cure Candida and How to Kill Candida for intestinal health, which should be done with a detox. See the first two sources for more on detoxifying and check out Hot and Cold Hydrotherapy.

Sources:

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

http://www.healingthebody.ca

http://truthwiki.org

http://www.naturalnews.com

About the author:
Kali Sinclair is a copywriter for Green Lifestyle Market, and a lead editor for Organic Lifestyle Magazine. Kali was very sick with autoimmune disease and realized that conventional medicine was not working for her. She has been restoring her health by natural means and is interested in topics including natural health, environmental issues, and human rights.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Scientist vs. Organic Advocate Debate GMO Safety

Breaking the Set | Sep 18, 2014

Abby Martin features a debate on GMOs between Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director of the Organic Consumers Association and Dr. Kevin Folta, a Professor of Horticultural Sciences at the University of Florida, covering everything from the safety of GM food to whether there should be mandatory GMO labelling.

Brushing Your Teeth With Plastic? Dentists Say Microbeads Bad News

(Image: Thegreenj / Creative Commons)
Common Dreams | Sep 18, 2014 | Sarah Lazare

The non-degradable "beads," already criticized for the pollution they spread to waterways, face new scrutiny

The small pieces of plastic known as "microbeads" found in some facial scrubs and body wash have recently garnered scrutiny, and a ban in the state of Illinois, for the pollution they send into waterways. But dentists warn that similar tiny plastic beads can also be found in major toothpaste brands, posing threats to dental health.

Among those making the warning is hygienist Trish Walraven, who sounded the alarm on these beads in a blog post in March. "I’ve been seeing these blue particles flush out of patients’ gums for several months now. So has the co-hygienist in our office. So have many dental hygienists throughout the United States and Canada who have consulted with each other and realized that we have a major concern on our hands," she wrote.

This week numerous dentists told media outlets around the country they share this concern. Kentucky dentist Dr. Brian Moore told a Tulsa news station this week, "If [the microbead] was left in there, it could potentially cause some gingival irritation," adding, "Any time you have any foreign body in the pocket around the tooth, it's a breeding ground for bacteria."

Dentist Justin Phillip, speaking to a Phoenix station, issued a similar warning, explaining that when plastic beads get trapped in gums they can attract bacteria and put people at greater risk for gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Dr. Loyd Dowd, with Tyler Dental Care, told a Texas news station on Wednesday, "For a long time I've noticed the little tiny speckles and I thought it was just some type of coloration they put in there. Our dental hygienist says that she takes them out from around people's teeth all the time."

However, the American Dental Association released a statement this week stating it has no intention of removing its seal of approval from the products because "[a]t this time, clinically relevant dental health studies do not indicate that the Seal should be removed from toothpastes that contain polyethylene microbeads."

But environmental groups say that, whatever the health impacts on humans, these microbeads do not biodegrade, and when they are washed down the drain, they pose a threat to waterways and the animals that live in them.

According to Crest, which uses the plastic beads in numerous products, they serve no purpose other than adding color to the paste. In a statement to a Phoenix news outlet, Crest claimed that, in response to concerns, it will phase the microbeads from its products, with the goal of completely removing them by 2016.

War on Multiple Fronts and No Talk of Peace - Gerald Celente Offers His Take

NextNewsNetwork | Sep 18, 2014

The world is in a very crucial point in history right now. It seems like everywhere you look, countries are on the verge of splitting apart, going to war or at the very least, economic collapse. Russia and Ukraine. Syria and Iraq. Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Even the United Kingdom could cut ties with Scotland. Public distrust here in America is at an all-time high. The future is always uncertain, but right now, it’s extremely volatile.

Every once in a while, we like to reach out to Gerald Celente and ask him to make a few bold predictions on topics all over the place. From foreign policy, the economy, even the weather, Gerald is a well-known Trends Forecaster. There’s nothing he likes more than a bold prediction. He’s not afraid of controversy either, we always know he’ll say what’s on his mind. He’s provocative. He really gets the people going.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Number Of Volcanic Eruptions Is Increasing And That Could Lead To An Extremely Cold Winter


Economic Collapse Blog | Sep 16, 2014 | Michael Snyder

The number of volcanoes that are erupting continues to rise, and scientists cannot seem to explain why this is happening.  In 2013, we witnessed the most volcanic eruptions worldwide that we have ever seen in a single year, and this increased activity has carried over into 2014.  In recent months, we have seen major volcanoes roar to life in Russia, Peru, Hawaii, Reunion Island, Indonesia, and all over Alaska.  It is highly unusual for so many volcanoes to all be erupting at the same time.  According to Volcano Discovery, a whopping 34 volcanoes are erupting around the globe right now.  This is sending a massive amount of dust and ash into the upper atmosphere, and it may explain why many parts of the planet are experiencing strangely cold weather at the moment.  If this trend continues, we could potentially be facing years of crop failures and widespread famines all over the world.

And what we have witnessed already may just be the beginning.  There are several more very large volcanoes around the globe that scientists are extremely concerned about right now.

For example, just check out what is going on in the Philippines...
Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay was placed on "Alert Level 3" on Monday evening, September 15, after showing signs of "relatively high unrest," the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.

In a bulletin issued at 10:00 pm, PHIVOLCS observed 39 rockfall events from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm on September 15, symptoms of the build-up of magma at the summit dome. At least 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded, indicating magma intrusion or volcanic gas activity.

PHIVOLCS-DOST raised the alert status of Mayon Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 which is equivalent to a "Critical Alert" in the agency's 5-level alert system. This means that the volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest, magma is at the crater, and that an eruption is possible within weeks.
But of even greater concern is Bardarbunga.  It is the largest volcano system in Iceland, and a major eruption could potentially be absolutely catastrophic...
This time the threat of an eruption – potentially even more powerful than the one in 2010 – is posed by Bardarbunga, the biggest of Iceland's 30 or so volcanic systems. Located roughly at the country's centre, the volcano's 10-kilometre caldera lies several hundred metres beneath Vatnajokull, Europe's largest glacier by volume.

Scientists are taking the latest rumblings seriously: roughly 8000 years ago, after all, the volcanic leviathan let rip with the largest eruption of the past 10,000 years.

"It is very difficult to predict exactly what will happen with an eruption," says Monash University vulcanologist Professor Ray Cas, who is president of the International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth.
Scientists tell us that over the last 10,000 years Bardarbunga has produced "more lava than any other volcano on the planet."

If we witness a full scale eruption at Bardarbunga, the cancellation of a few thousand flights may be the smallest of our concerns.

The truth is that we might be looking at the coldest winter that any of us have ever seen in the northern hemisphere.

But don't just take my word for it.  The following is from a British newspaper article entitled "Icelandic volcano could trigger Britain's coldest winter EVER this year"...
Depending on the force of the explosion, minute particles thrust beyond the earth’s atmosphere can trigger DECADES of chaotic weather patterns.

Tiny pieces of debris act as billions of shields reflecting the sun’s light away from earth meaning winter temperatures could plunge LOWER THAN EVER before while summer will be devoid of sunshine.

The first effect could be a bitterly cold winter to arrive in weeks with thermometers plunging into minus figures and not rising long before next summer.
If this did happen, there is nothing that we could do to change it.

We would just have to deal with it.

This is a kind of "climate change" that everyone can agree on.  It is well known that volcanic eruptions can substantially lower global temperatures.  In fact, some global warming theorists are already blaming increased volcanic activity for why temperatures have not been rising in recent years...
“In the last decade, the amount of volcanic aerosol in the stratosphere has increased, so more sunlight is being reflected back into space,” said lead author Benjamin Santer, climate scientist at Laurence Livermore National Laboratory, in a press release. “This has created a natural cooling of the planet and has partly offset the increase in surface and atmospheric temperatures due to human influence.”
But if Bardarbunga fully erupts, we could be looking at something a lot worse than a little "global cooling".
We could potentially be facing winters that never seem to end.

It has happened before in recorded history many times.  The following list comes from Wikipedia
The effects of volcanic eruptions on recent winters are modest in scale, but historically have been significant.

Most recently, the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo, a stratovolcano in the Philippines, cooled global temperatures for about 2–3 years.

In 1883, the explosion of Krakatoa (Krakatau) created volcanic winter-like conditions. The four years following the explosion were unusually cold, and the winter of 1887-1888 included powerful blizzards.  Record snowfalls were recorded worldwide.

The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a stratovolcano in Indonesia, occasioned mid-summer frosts in New York State and June snowfalls in New England and Newfoundland and Labrador in what came to be known as the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816.

A paper written by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from Iceland, where the eruption of Laki volcano had released enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide, resulting in the death of much of the island’s livestock and a catastrophic famine which killed a quarter of the Icelandic population. Northern hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 1 °C in the year following the Laki eruption.

In 1600, the Huaynaputina in Peru erupted. Tree ring studies show that 1601 was cold. Russia had its worst famine in 1601-1603. From 1600 to 1602, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia had exceptionally cold winters. The wine harvest was late in 1601 in France, and in Peru and Germany, wine production collapsed. Peach trees bloomed late in China, and Lake Suwa in Japan froze early.
The possibility of volcanic eruptions substantially cooling our weather is the biggest "climate threat" that we are facing by far.

Without warm summers and plenty of sunshine, our crops will not succeed.

And global food supplies are already stretched to the limit.  Just this week we learned that one out of every nine people in the world does not have enough food to eat.

What would happen if global food production was cut by 10 or 20 percent for a few years?

So keep an eye on Bardarbunga and the other major volcanoes around the planet that are rumbling right now.

They may just play a major role in our immediate future.

The REAL Reason Britain is Freaking Out About Scottish Independence

Washington's Blog | Sep 17, 2014

© OilofScotland.org
Oil 

David Cameron and the British media have been freaking out about the potential Scottish independence.

They’ve blathered on about “history”, “common defense” and other red herrings.

But it’s really all about oil …

Specifically, if Scotland becomes independent, it gets to keep 90% of the revenues from its huge oil reserves.

The New York Times reports:
Scottish nationalists have long argued that being governed from London has deprived their country of its fair share of the wealth from Britain’s oil and natural gas fields, which mostly lie in North Sea waters off their shores.

“It’s Scotland’s oil” was the rallying cry in the 1970s that helped raise the profile of the Scottish Nationalist Party, which now leads the country and is pushing for a vote to secede in the referendum on Thursday. Alex Salmond, the politician leading the separatist movement, has pointed to North Sea energy as the treasure that would help finance an independent Scotland — ensuring that the country could continue the generous public spending, including free university tuition, that he is promising voters.
Al Jazeera notes:
Massive oil reserves in the North Sea are at the heart of the Scottish independence debate. Many are questioning whether the reserves are just for Scotland or if the rest of the United Kingodm should continue to benefit from their profits.
NBC writes:
The ‘Yes’ campaign … says Scots should have total control of their own affairs and that revenue from Scotland’s offshore oil fields would sustain the country’s economy
In addition, as Max Keiser explained:
(1) The UK can now borrow cheaply using the giant Scottish oil reserves as collateral
(2) If Scotland leaves, the collateral (oil reserves) is no longer available
(3) So the cost of borrowing money for Britain skyrockets
Scotland’s North Sea oil reserves are slowing running out, and so oil won’t be such a valuable resource forever.

But for now, it is still invaluable (especially as collateral for British borrowing) … and the key to Britain’s panic over potential Scottish independence.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hurricane Odile could bring catastrophic flooding from Tucson to Albuquerque NM in U.S. Southwest


Signs of the Times | Sep 16, 2014

Odile will unload tremendous rainfall over a large part of the Southwest United States that will run off the mountains and into the desert valleys and plains through the end of the week.

According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "There is the potential for devastating, catastrophic and historic flooding in this scenario."

The heaviest rainfall will hit the Southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico where a general 3 to 6 inches will fall, but local amounts of 10 inches or more are possible on the slopes of the mountains. Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour can occur.

There is a significant risk to lives and property in the region.

"Not only will flash and urban flooding occur in this case, but there is the potential for major river flooding," Clark said.

This is the type of threat that can cause water to sweep through normally dry stream beds, called arroyos, and into villages, towns and major cities rapidly. Major roads can be damaged and some bridges along secondary roads could be swept away. Mudslides and dust storms can block roads in a few locations.

Read more..

The Weather Channel is losing viewers to global warming and other pointless programming

Watts Up With That | Sep 13, 2014 | Anthony Watts

Bloomberg reports that ratings are down 20% over three years, and with the sort of programming they continue with, such as this lame “forecast from 2050″ with Sam Champion and go-to storm chaser guy Jim Cantore, where in a CGI based forecast, he laments rising sea levels while standing in fake water.

Here is the fake forecast video, sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (part of the U.N.):



It doesn’t look like their ratings and viewers will rebound any time soon, much like global warming itself, which is now in an extended pause that may last as long as 30 years.

Bloomberg reports:
DirecTV dropped the Weather Channel for about three months earlier this year after failing to come to an agreement about how much the network should be paid in affiliate fees. The Weather Channel agreed to cut back on its reality programming to include more local weather updates when DirecTV agreed to a new deal in April.


DirecTV, with 20 million subscribers, had pushed for a reduction of more than 20 percent in the fees it pays the Weather Channel, which had asked for an increase of 1 cent a month per subscriber.

The Weather Channel, based in Atlanta, averaged 13 cents a month per subscriber in 2013 and in 2012, according to estimates from researcher SNL Kagan. It averaged 214,000 daily viewers in 2013, down from 264,000 in 2011, according to data provided by Nielsen.
Maybe “Fat guys in the Woods” (yes that is really a TWC show) will save them:



Bloomberg also mentions that “the companies that own The Weather Channel—including Bain Capital, Blackstone, and NBC Universal—appear to be in the beginning stages of talks to sell the Atlanta-based weather behemoth”.

The billion dollar question is: who would buy it? NBCUniversal bought TWC in 2008 for about $3.5 billion. They’d be lucky to get half of that today in a sale, and any potential buyer would be even luckier to see any profit from it after the sale. Maybe Al Jazerra?