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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The next eco-battlefield

Light bulbs.

Already I can't get the regular kind at Costco.

Comments (27)

While Bush & McCain advocate repeal of the off-shore drilling moratorium and the Nucuular power plant moratorium, we learn that the panacea we thought was a no brainer is not without limitation. Ingenuity must tackle the mercury problem with these bulbs and Barrack must lead industry to develop a real panacea to replace Chinese technology. Can we do it??

This is wandering off topic a bit, but I'm beginning to think that the current run-up in gas and oil costs is the result of an elaborate ploy wherein the Cheney Administration and its oil industry cronies are forcing up prices now in the hopes of convincing Congress that we need to allow drilling in the North Slope and offshore. The oil folks know that they won't be able to weaken drilling restrictions if Barack Obama is elected president.

At my local store they're giving away a free Haz-Mat suit with a purchase of four light bulbs.


Bush & Cheney don't determine the price of oil, it's agreed upon between buyers and sellers.

The producer's cartel (aka OPEC) has a great deal more influence over oil production than Bush & Cheney: if you want to accuse anybody of manipulating the price, blame OPEC.

buyers and sellers

Oh my, indeed. We know who the buyers are: they is us. As for the sellers, they'd be the Bush/Cheney cronies you conveniently omitted from your lecture to Musician. Yes, indeed, as buyers we have the choice of agreeing to the price set by the cronies, or not. It's just that simple.

At 0:50 he asks where in the Constitution is the authority to regulate light bulbs? Easy! Next to the Article that gives the OK to ban top loading clothes washers, 5 gal per flush potties, and to set standards for shop towels. Sheesh.

Small potatoesw, read this from CUB:
"Energy Market Sees High Prices Across the Board

It's summer (almost) and the natural gas furnaces around Oregon have been idling (almost) as temperatures reach (almost) 70 degrees on a regular basis. Normally, Oregon's largest natural gas provider, NW Natural, would be purchasing gas to store for the winter. As stated by, "Utilities and large industrial consumers typically stockpile gas during the U.S. summer for use during the peak winter demand period." But across the nation, gas utilities are buying and storing less gas than normal, because the cost of natural gas is not at a normal level.

Everyone knows that the price of oil (recently at nearly $140/barrel) and the price of gasoline ($4 and up) have been rising quickly. But a look at the wholesale natural gas market shows how much the price of natural gas has also increased. One year ago, in June 2007, the price for natural gas was $7.30/mmBtu; today the price for that same volume of natural gas is $12.86. For historical perspective, here's a look at those and other recent years:

2008 (June) $12.86
2007 (June) $7.30
2006 (June) $5.79
2002 (June) $3.05
2001 (January) $9.61
2000 (June) $3.89
1999 (June) $2.13
As you can see, the upward pressure on natural gas prices over the last decade has been a clear pattern, increasing 600% since 1999, with an 80% leap just in the past 12 months. Unusual events provide bumps in the pattern; for example, in January 2001, the West Coast was reeling under the effects of the Western Power Crisis. That we are seeing natural gas prices significantly higher than those we saw at the height of the Power Crisis, that they are instead comparable to the prices we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina ($11.95 in October 2005), is something to sit up and take notice of.

We see two real issues which make us sit up and take notice: the lack of natural gas storage (down 15% percent from this time last year); and the concurrent rise in wholesale prices. The prices of the wholesale market have not yet made it into retail rates, but customers of NW Natural, Avista, Cascade, and other gas utilities will begin to see those higher fuel costs on their own bills this fall and winter.

Of course, natural gas is also a source for some electricity (four gas combustion plants operate in Oregon), and therefore also effects prices in the electricity wholesale market. So how's electricity doing now? Well, looking at the wholesale "day ahead" market, we see prices quite a bit higher than what we would expect for this time of year. Wholesale West Coast on-peak price is currently about $135.00/MWh. That is significantly more than we are seeing in our wholesale rates here in the Pacific Northwest, where spring runoff in combination with the hydropower system has kept the price per MWh down to $67.00, but even that is higher than normal for the NW in spring. Our prices will edge upward in July and August as the runoff ends. Again, for a historical comparison, this time with electricity prices (from the Mid-C trading hub):

2008 (June) $67.00
2007 (June) $55.98
2006 (June) $32.30
2001 (June) $87.00
2001 (May) $450.00
As you can see from the large fluctuations in 2001, the Western Power Crisis caused huge increases and volatility in the electricity wholesale market. For customers in California, who were sold a bill of goods called "deregulation," this meant terrible times in paying those electricity bills. CUB led the fight to keep Enron from deregulating the Oregon market, so we are not in danger of volatility quite that massive.

However... Energy prices are going up. They are going up in a big way and pretty much across the board: crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, and electricity. Customers need to be prepared so that when those increases from the wholesale market start to show up in their retail rates this fall and winter, they are not totally taken by surprise.

One way Oregon residential customers can insulate themselves (pun intended) from the effects of these cost increases is to call the Energy Trust of Oregon and set up an energy audit for their home. Energy audit providers get super-busy when a new rate increase goes into effect, or when it gets cold and their heating bill goes up. Now would be a great time for you to call to set up your audit, and beat the rush. Find out how you could improve your own energy efficiency, and what financial assistance and tax credits might be available to help make it possible.

The real beauty of the Energy Trust energy audits is that for every home or business which is able to improve energy efficiency, the demand on the energy system as a whole goes down, which reduces the price, and the environmental consequences of our energy use, for everyone.

CUB cannot keep energy prices from increasing. We can and will work to demand that utilities be mindful of the effect that these cost increases have on customers, and that utilities keep costs as low as possible by putting off any discretionary spending (such as the 130 new employees listed in PGE's current rate case). Just because utilities are monopolies does not mean they can disregard a basic tenet of good business: that the business owner try to lower some costs when other costs go up.

CUB will minimize the increases to the extent that we can, and we are asking our members to also do what they can to reduce their own energy usage. Energy costs overall are going up regardless. We would do well to make it as easy as ourselves as possible.

Thanks for reading CUB Online. Feel free to forward this message on to your lists.

Please visit our website:"

Oh my, I sure wish I had as much confidence as you do about the integrity and efficiency of the oil markets. But I don't. I have an MBA and am generally in favor of free markets, but I'm very suspicious this time. I don't have much confidence in the ability of our regulators to detect and defeat efforts to manipulate the commodity markets.

Time to stock up on light bulbs. Just like I did with Sudafed and spray paint.

Nobody complained about price fixing when real oil prices went DOWN for most of the 80's and 90's (excluding Operation Desert Storm).

I'm much more pissed off by our water/sewer rates than I am by energy prices.

I don't have much confidence in the ability of our regulators to detect and defeat efforts to manipulate the commodity markets.

How's this for an idea? Let's drill like crazy, but any new well is nationalized first.

Oddly, the Bush administration is pushing for relaxed restrictions on drilling at the same time they are buying up all the oil they can at the highest prices ever, on the taxpayers dime, and pumping it into the ground.

It's an odd mixed message, that we need to tap and use up our reserves as soon as possible at the same time we're filling up the strategic petroleum reserve no matter the cost.

in the hopes of convincing Congress that we need to allow drilling in the North Slope and offshore.

Why is that such a bad idea? Why shouldnt we use our own natural resources if we have them?

I think Bush & Co. are stock adding to the oil reserves in preparation for WWIII. Simply put, if Israel decides to hit Iran over their nuclear program watch out. That whole region will probably explode and draw everyone else into it.

Jack - are you sure you want the same people who mandate mercury-laden light bulbs to be in charge of oil drilling?

Drilling remains a necessary evil - let's let the experts do it for a profit, but give the EPA the muscle it needs to monitor closely every aspect of the process, armed with major penalties for any screwups.

I think the oil companies are trying to make as much money as possible before hybrid, all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles take over the market, or people stop driving, or before windfall profit taxes take a bite out of their profits, or all three. Most oil companies diversified into other areas of energy production and manufacturing years ago so they have other ways to make money. The government may be stockpiling oil but it will probably cost us less (we're paying, right?) in the next decade than the cost of replacing government vehicles which run on gasoline or other oil-based fuels with alternatives, which may be impractical or impossible. A solar-powered tank might be possible but alternative fuels or energy for jet fighters are not on the horizon.

"How's this for an idea? Let's drill like crazy, but any new well is nationalized first."

Jack, we essentially have that kind of set-up with our federal timberlands - the US owns the lands and allows the timber companies harvest the trees. What happens? The timber companies have so much clout that they have written many of the regulations that the Forest Service and other federal agencies must follow, and the timber companies manage to pay artifically low prices for the trees they harvest. The US taxpayers, who nominally "own" the federal timberlands, get ripped off.

The universal solution is vigilance - by an independent and aggressive press, by adequately funded and structured federal agencies, and by motivated citizens who take an interest in the functions and effectiveness of government. None of these qualities exists anymore.

I keep looking for signs that things will turn around, but I haven't seen any yet. Maybe Obama will be able to change us.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, BP, Chevron and others are in the process of negotiating no-bid contracts with Iraq's Oil Ministry to service Iraq's largest oil fields.

"Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back" by Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, June 19, 2008 (today).

I highly, highly doubt Obama or the dems in congress are going to try to do anything to lower gas prices. Isn't this what you guys wanted? Isn't this your catalyst for changing toward a high density, car-free, urban utopia? Go by streetcar! (sorry Jack, had to steal that :)

Nice work to Ted Poe: let's blame china for our problems, and forget our environment!

a crazy representative out here in Minnesota tried to argue that the mercury in CFLs are harmful, yet the concern about Mercury is a bit overblown:

"There is 200 times more mercury in each filling in Congresswoman Bachmann's teeth than there is in a compact fluorescent light bulb," said Julia Bovey, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council."

Why shouldnt we use our own natural resources if we have them?

you see, that's the problem. we go around acting as if we "have" them--that is, the entire planet is treated as a "resource" for our consumption, waiting on the shelf to be taken down and ground into something "useful."

which is, in the end, the root cause of most of our problems.

If we cease consuming hydrocarbons, we have to reduce energy consumption by more than 90% in the U.S. and roughly 70% worldwide. That would reduce food output considerably (fewer tractors, fertilizers, processors, and exports).

Granted, our Greenhouse Gas emissions would drop almost immediately, because much of the world's poor would die of starvation, while most middle class would perish in the northern latitudes during the first few winters.

Those who survive would likely migrate to more temperate climates (like your backyard, Ecohuman), and a Darwinian race for survival of the MOST AGGRESSIVE would be in full swing before you could harvest your winter squash.

Tell me that's not the future you're preparing for...Please?

Tell me that's not the future you're preparing for...Please?

a future where we consume far less?

if we want to live, it's the only future possible. it's going to make most people painfully uncomfortable, because they want Better Living Through Slightly Different Purchasing Decisions, not consuming far less.

and by the way, Third World poor consume very modest hydrocarbons to get their food. First World corporate mega-farming does most of the damage. we don't need to grow food that way; we never have.

The Third-World poor are receiving massive donations of grains, vegetable oils, and legumes produced by the mega-corporate farms that you revile.

Africa and much of Asia is HUGELY dependent on food donations and market price imports. To suggest otherwise is onlyt reveals you've spent precious little time researching the vast economies of scale and production achieved by "mega-farming".

If you want to go revolutionary on us, then focus your attention where it can make a difference: Randy Leonard's biofuels mandate. My vehicle's efficiency dropped 15% with 10% ethanol compared to gas bought in Vancouver. Plus the impact that ethanol has on food prices and fertilizer consumption: corn and canola are food, not fuel.

The Third-World poor are receiving massive donations of grains, vegetable oils, and legumes produced by the mega-corporate farms that you revile.

which supports my point.

Africa and much of Asia is HUGELY dependent on food donations and market price imports.

wrong, for too many reasons to list.

To suggest otherwise is onlyt reveals you've spent precious little time researching the vast economies of scale and production achieved by "mega-farming".

give me one source--just one--that explains how both Asia and Africa are "HUGELY" dependent on food donations. i'll even let you define what "HUGELY" means.

If you want to go revolutionary on us, then focus your attention where it can make a difference: Randy Leonard's biofuels mandate.

oh, I have. biofuels are one of the worst mistakes we've made so far.

if *you* want to go revolutionary on us, focus your attention on those "HUGE" food donations that require corporate megafarming.

dudes get with the program...led light bulbs use a quarter of the energy of compact fluorescents.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
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Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
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James Joyce - Dubliners
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William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
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Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
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In 2005: 149
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In 2003: 269

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