Drumbeat: June 22, 2013

Shale gas won't stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis

Two years ago, following the publication of the EIA April 2011 report a New York Times investigation obtained internal EIA communications showing how senior officials, including industry consultants and federal energy experts privately voiced scepticism about shale gas prospects.

One internal EIA document said oil companies had exaggerated "the appearance of shale gas well profitability" by highlighting performance only from the best wells, and using overly optimistic models for productivity projections over decades. The NYT reported that the EIA often "relies on research from outside consultants with ties to the industry."

The latest EIA shale gas estimates, contracted to ARI, is no exception. ARI, according to the NYT's 2011 article, has "major clients in the oil and gas industry" and the company's president, Vello Kuuskraa, is "a stockholder and board member of Southwestern Energy, an energy company heavily involved in drilling for gas in the Fayetteville shale formation in Arkansas."

Crude Falls to Two-Week Low as Dollar Rises on Fed

West Texas Intermediate crude fell to a two-week low as the dollar rose on expectations the Federal Reserve will trim its monthly bond purchases in September and on concern that China’s cash squeeze may curb its economic growth.

Prices capped the first weekly loss in three as the Dollar Index reached a two-week high. About 44 percent of economists in a Bloomberg survey June 19-20 saw the Fed tapering stimulus, compared with 27 percent June 4-5. China’s one-day repurchase rate touched a record yesterday, prompting speculation the central bank was forced to pump liquidity.

Bakken Boom Cutting West Coast Imports of Crude

The West Coast is bringing in record amounts of crude from the interior of the U.S., cutting the price of foreign supplies and heralding the end of some overseas imports by next year.

California, the world’s ninth-largest economy, shipped via rail more oil than ever in February from North Dakota’s Bakken formation, while Russian imports to the region slid to 713,000 barrels from a June 2012 record of 6.53 million. The premium for Russia’s East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil has retreated 60 percent against U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate since Feb. 20.

Energy Rigs in U.S. Decline by 12 to 1,759, Baker Hughes Reports

Oil and gas rigs in the U.S. fell by 12 this week to 1,759, according to Baker Hughes Inc.

Oil rigs slipped by eight to 1,405, data posted on Baker Hughes’ website show. The gas count decreased by four to 349, the Houston-based field-services company said.

Cheap gas, big rush

Central Ohio drivers quickly embraced sharply lower gasoline prices the past couple of days, waiting in line at some stations and using other measures to take advantage of the savings.

Dan Hupp popped open the back of his truck and started unloading more than a dozen plastic gas cans at a United Dairy Farmers store in Clintonville, where gas dropped to $3.299 a gallon yesterday.

The people in cars behind him didn’t look pleased about the extra wait while he filled them up, but Hupp didn’t care. He wanted to stock up as much as possible.“Buy 100 gallons, it’ll last you a few weeks,” said Hupp, who’s concerned about another sudden spike in prices. Gasoline prices started dropping on Thursday evening at stations across the state, sparking long lines and long waits for bargain fill-ups.

Indonesia raises fuel prices among world's lowest

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Fuel prices increased up to 44 percent across Indonesia early Saturday after the government reduced some of the costly subsidies that have kept pump prices in Southeast Asia's largest economy among the world's lowest.

Long lines of motorbikes and cars snaked around gas stations for hours late Friday as motorists waited to fill up their tanks with cheaper gas before the increase took effect after midnight. The government had ordered stations to stay open to accommodate the crush.

Jakarta Calm After Subsidized Fuel Prices Are Increased

The streets of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta were quiet today after the government raised fuel prices for the first time since 2008, compared with earlier this week when protests erupted across the country.

Details on fuel rationing smart card in Egypt to be revealed

Egypt's government will introduce on Saturday a smart card system to reduce the subsidies on fuel.

In July or August the smart card is supposed to take effect, the government announced in May, to ration subsidised fuel per car. Once the card owner depletes their subsidised fuel allotment they must pay market prices.

Republican lawmakers support petition against Connecticut gas tax hike

Four state Republican lawmakers are taking part in a petition signing campaign to head off the largest gas tax hike in Connecticut history.

State Sens. Joe Markley, Kevin Kelly and Art Linares, along with state Rep. Dave Rutigliano, will be at area gas stations Monday urging customers to sign a petition urging a delay or repeal of the tax, which is scheduled to take effect July 1. The tax increase would add about 4 cents per gallon to the 47 cents per gallon Connecticut charges for gasoline.

China Fuel Oil Imports Climb to Five-Year High on Iran Supplies

China’s fuel oil imports surged to the highest level in five years last month as the country boosted purchases from Iran, customs data show.

Imports of the residual fuel, used by power plants and so-called teapot oil refineries, rose 19 percent to 2.83 million tons from a month earlier, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s the most since May 2008. Shipments from Iran climbed to 526,203 tons in May, the highest since February 2004 when Bloomberg started tracking the data.

Bashir threatens again to stop oil exports from South Sudan

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Friday threatened again to stop oil flows across its border with arch-rival South Sudan unless the south stops supporting rebels operating across the shared frontier.

Norway and Russia agree to joint oil and gas exploration

Norway's Statoil and Russia's Rosneft have signed agreements that will result in their Joint Venture to explore offshore frontier areas in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the Barents Sea.

The companies have also concluded a Heads of Agreement to explore shale oil opportunities in the Samara region.

CNPC says buys Marathon's Angola oil fields for $1.52 bln

(Reuters) - China National Petroleum Corp has agreed to buy Marathon Oil Corp's Angolan offshore oil and gas field for $1.52 billion, the country's top oil and gas producer said, marking its second major acquisition in Africa.

Japan consortium, Gazprom to agree to build LNG plant -Nikkei

(Reuters) - A consortium led by Japanese trading house Itochu Corp is likely to agree as early as Saturday to build an LNG plant in Russia with Gazprom , the Nikkei newspaper reported, to meet Japan's growing energy needs.

Iran blocks cyberattack on oil ministry

Tehran: Iran says it has successfully blocked a cyberattack on a computer network for its oil sector.

A government agency in charge of fighting sabotage said on Saturday in its website, paydarymelli.ir, that the attack hit the networks of the Oil Ministry and the National Iranian Oil Company on Friday.

Iran Oil Ministry Denies Cyberattack

An Iranian oil ministry official on Saturday denied a report published by a government agency that it had successfully blocked a cyberattack on an oil sector computer network.

Ahmad Tavallaei, head of IT at the National Iranian Oil Company, said in comments posted on the oil ministry's website shana.ir that a technical problem, not a cyberattack, was the reason for a temporary shutdown of the network.

Ex-Enron CEO Skilling has 10 years lopped off sentence

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - A federal judge reduced the prison sentence of former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling by 10 years on Friday, closing the book on one of the most spectacular white-collar cases of the last two decades.

Peruvian ‘Jaguar people’ make urgent appeal to oil company shareholders

An Amazonian tribe has sent an urgent appeal to shareholders of Canadian-Colombian oil giant Pacific Rubiales to protect the lives of uncontacted Indians in Peru, whose survival is threatened by the company’s work on their land.

In an urgent video message Salomon Dunu, a member of the Matsés tribe, said, "Our uncontacted brothers live in the forest, we have heard them many times so we know they exist… Tell the world that the Matsés are firm in our position against the oil company. We do not want it on our land."

Pipeline opponents call on counties to take up cause

YORK — It remains to be seen if Polk County farmer Jim Carlson can make a difference in when, where or if the Keystone XL pipeline is built, but he's passing up a sizable chunk of easement money to communicate his opposition.

South Asian crude oil spillage spoiling Goa beaches

Panaji (IANS) South East Asian crude oil, dumped into the Arabian sea by reckless transcontinental ships, are spoiling Goa's beaches, a study by Indian marine scientists has revealed.

The study conducted by the National Institute of Oceanography has fingerprinted the crude, which repeatedly hits the Goan coastline during monsoon in form of sticky, oily tar-balls, and has traced it specifically as South East Asian Crude Oil (SEACO) and not from Bombay High, offshore oilfield located 160 km from Mumbai.

Fracking: Road to Energy Independence or Road to Ruin?

Some view fracking as a miracle technology that has reduced U.S. dependence on foreign oil and will transform the country from an oil importer to a net exporter. Others see it as a deal with the devil that will pollute the water we drink and the air we breathe.

Occupy Chevron Protesters’ Shale-Permit Claims Denied by Company

Chevron Corp. said it has necessary approvals to begin work on a shale-gas license in Poland after protesters opposed to land being fenced off occupied the site.

“Chevron respects the right of individuals to express their opinions within the law,” Grazyna Bukowska, a spokeswoman for the U.S. oil business’s Polish subsidiary, said by e-mail. “Our exploration program is progressing.”

'Gasland' director says sequel explosive

Movie sequels gotta have bigger and better explosions than the originals, and Josh Fox, the director of "Gasland Part II," said his new film easily tops that bar.

The "flaming faucet" moment in his sequel to 2010 Academy Award nominee "Gasland," which took a critical look at shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," features a garden hose that blazes like a flamethrower, plus other explosive scenes.

U.S. engineers to inspect possible leak at Hanford nuclear site

(CNN) -- U.S. inspectors are investigating a possible leak at the Hanford nuclear site after an elevated contamination reading was found in a leak detection pit, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday.

The elevated reading, however, doesn't pose an immediate public health threat, Inslee said.

Gone in 90 Seconds: Tesla's Battery-Swapping Magic

Musk presided over an event at Tesla’s Los Angeles design studio that he billed as a “title fight” between the Model S and gas-powered cars. In front of an audience of hundreds of Model S owners, Musk unveiled a new type of automated battery-swap system in which machines grab the flat battery pack from the bottom of the Model S and replace it with a brand-new, fully charged one. During a live demonstration, Tesla managed to perform a battery swap on a Model S in 1 minute and 33 seconds, and then a second Model S in 1 minute and 36 seconds. All the while, a Tesla employee was being filmed at a gas station as he refueled a 20-gallon tank in an Audi, taking more than 4 minutes to fill up the car. Musk insisted that Tesla had scoured the city for the fastest gas station to make the test fair.

Tax Programs to Finance Clean Energy Catch On

Over the years, as Rick Murphy helped expand his family’s auto business in Edina, Minn., outside Minneapolis, he wanted to install solar panels to cut the electricity bills, but the upfront cost was too high.

Then a developer, Blue Horizon Energy, made a proposal: Grandview Tire and Auto, using a new loan program, could borrow the $34,000 to install the system and pay it back over 10 years, but instead of making traditional loan payments, they would be made through his property taxes.

Now, with 117 panels on one of his five stores, he is saving $3,600 a year and bringing in new customers attracted to the company’s green image.

Cautious optimism at Intersolar renewables fair

A new market that is developing in Germany, however, is the private use of solar panels, which in turns reduces reliance on the electricity grid. For businesses and supermarkets which need a lot of energy every day, it is increasingly worthwhile to have solar panels on the roof, so they can obtain electricity more affordably than from a power company.

Palm oil firms blamed for Singapore smog

Singapore's smog index hit the critical 400 level on Friday, making it potentially life-threatening to the ill and elderly.

Forest fires in Indonesia, which have cloaked Singapore in record-breaking smog, are raging on palm oil plantations owned by Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean companies, environmental group Greenpeace says.

A Solution for a San Diego Cove’s Constant Odor: Bacteria

“Cormorants, gulls, pigeons, pelicans and other animals have fouled the area,” Mayor Bob Filner wrote last month in a memo, declaring a state of emergency. “Physical disease and discomfort may result to humans if emergency action is not taken.”

City officials believe they finally have a solution: guano-eating bacteria. And so, early each morning this week, workers lowered themselves onto the rocks with ropes and applied a solution made up of seven kinds of bacteria that digest animal feces.

Mackenzie River, the 'Amazon of North,' under threat

The Mackenzie River and its tributaries function like a gargantuan heat pump, pulling warm water north, and helping to cool the basin, whose ice, snow and permafrost play a crucial role in the global climate.

Flooding Kills Hundreds in Northern India

RUDRAPRAYAG, India — Flash floods and landslides unleashed by early monsoon rains have killed at least 560 people in northern India and left tens of thousands missing, officials said on Saturday, with the death toll expected to rise significantly.

Save the hills now

Hydel projects require constant blasting of hills to build dams and tunnels, disturbing the rock structure, which starts rolling down once the top soil is uprooted by rains. The muck fills the rivers and flows down with the water, intensifying the river's rage. Huge diversion of forest cover for these dams also reduces the capability of the local ecology to retain rainwater. And when bumper-to-bumper dams are built, the impact multiplies manifold.

Study: Gov’t losing billions on ‘inefficient’ tax subsidies that don’t curb climate change

As America's debt rises to unsustainable levels, the U.S. government is losing billions every year on energy tax subsidies that do little to combat climate change.

That's according to a tough report released this week by the National Research Council. The non-partisan academic report concluded that current tax policies are a "poor tool" for addressing climate change -- and a costly one.

Climate change like atom bomb

The planet has been building up temperatures at the rate of four Hiroshima bombs of heat every second, and it’s all our fault, say climate scientists.

Hurricane Katrina and superstorm Sandy are just two examples of how extreme weather will intensify, Australia’s Climate Action Summit has heard.

Munich Re, Rio Tinto Face Costs From Less Water, Warming

Corporations from Munich Re to Rio Tinto Group will bear rising costs from pressures on the Earth’s environment such as changes in the climate and water shortages, according to a United Nations Environment Program report.

Their success will increasingly hinge on the ability to adapt to a “rapidly” changing environment and to develop goods and services that help reduce the effect of climate change and are less reliant on water and harmful chemicals, the agency said today in a report released at Bloomberg’s London office.

Re: Details on fuel rationing smart card in Egypt to be revealed

While this plan is better than the present subsidy system, which costs the Egyptian government a considerable sum, it's still a subsidy. The details aren't available either, so one can't know how it will work. Perhaps this is a plan to slowly ween the public from the subsidy, bringing the price toward the world market price, now that Egypt is no longer an oil exporting nation.

The smart card system might later become the basis of a true rationing system, which is something which the US may need to implement, if there ever is a serious attempt to reduce CO2 emissions. Time (and oil) is running out, both for the Egyptians and the rest of the world...

E. Swanson

What is it with the human condition that people can't see a coming crises until it is upon them....you think evolution would have made us otherwise...maybe cheap easy energy has made us stooooopid.........

At the individual level, optimists are successful in the sense that there are important social benefits - they are more likely to gain leadership positions and form relationships that enable them to reproduce.

At the national and global level, we are left gambling that one or more panaceas really will save our hides. As problems become ever more complex, experts often become marginalized by the reality that a weak, but simple and understandable argument will often triumph over one that reflects the complexities of real issues, particularly if it involves painful choices.

W-smith that makes sense---helps me understand why I am treated like a pariah any time I mention peak anything...but if I talk sports and trivial issues no problem...
I tell people our political landscape has been reduced to the old Coke versus Pepsi ad wars not much substance in the ad just enough to influence a vote. Get out the vote may sound great but if you need that much convincing maybe you should not be voting..

More people are coming around but I would say it's still 1-5%. Back in the boom times it was 0-1%.

In the coming years expect it to rise to 5-10% and then grow from there. Serious change doesn't happen until it reaches around 20%.

"The psycology of negative outcomes". This is a facinating video; Kyle Bass focusses on Japan, but relates it to the current western economic condition and where it's bound to lead. Debt monetization, demographics ("more adult diapers were sold in Japan last year than childrens' diapers), much more. Bass says he's given up entirely on the US, Gives Japan about 18 months, predicts "real conflict" between China and Japan, puts Iceland's "recovery" in perspective.

Thanks to Steve at Economic Undertow for posting the video, and his commentary. The reality is that peoples' visions of their future depend on their not believing this stuff. When reality becomes apparent, everyone heads for the exits at once.

"The cracks are really beginning to show".

Watched this and I think he gets most of it and maybe won't say all of what he believes but what happens when his predictions come true? What he is talking about Leads to war and massive change...if Japan goes down we all go down...I don't understand all this talk of crash but " in my little world it will be BAU" No, I think you are wrong...energy...food everything will be drastically be affected and things that we thought were solid will be very weak and liquid...the world can still change on a dime.....for the worse and sometimes the better....but our realities will change in the near term....

I picked up that he did imply the possibility of war. At one point he said something about wishing it wasn't so, but "that's not how the world works". He also said that the tensions and hard feelings between Japan and China (seemingly over a 'handful of rocks' but actually over the undersea hydrocarbon resources around them) are very real and serious. And new, for the post-WWII era.

Brings back the question of what we can do about adapting to (or not) a continuing unwinding of global finance, ecological norms, political affectiveness, and general situational awareness within the population. It's clear to me that the vast majority of humans are utterly exposed to a collection of crumbling paradigms, and are simply not preparing for any real level of self-sufficiency or local resilience. Most are utterly dependent upon current hyper-complex systems to provide everything necessary for any level of survival that would be termed acceptable. These systems cannot continue in their current form. As Bass mentions, everything is pointing in one direction, and I beleive there will be some dramatic steps in that downslope. Bass also brings up that admitting to this is off the table, not only for those at the top, but for the population at large.

That virtually everything they've invested in, as individuals and as societies, is crumbling beneath them is unthinkable.

Yes I agree with you on this point very much; I am often shocked at people who say the system will crash but they think that pensions will continue and not be cut....I think that we in the U.S will have more time to prepare as other countries will fall first but is this a false assumption? When other countries crash how will it not effect the U.S at the same time? This time seems like the time right before WW2 but without plenty easy oil....and larger populations....We can prepare for self sufficiency but we will still need to work together with people of all skill levels....reminds me of the movie Defiance in which accountant skills weren't worth much...Bass believes that Japan has 18 months...how long do we have...

.Bass believes that Japan has 18 months...how long do we have...

I think it depends on what exactly he means by 'Japan'. If he means BAU Japan, and that truly collapses in 18 months from now, then I think that might be the falling domino that sets in motion a chain reaction that will take down the entire current global economy. So how quickly does a chain of dominoes fall? That's how long the US would have post Japanese collapse. Same for all the rest of the countries in the global system that means Europe, China and everyone else.

I think, the PIIGS collapsing might not be enough to bring down the whole system but if Japan goes that would be a pretty significant domino. At that point you better be holding physical assets such as farm land and lots of solar panels with tool sheds full of spare parts because depending on pensions, industrial agriculture and transport systems that depend on fossil fuels might become a tad iffy...

Best hopes that by that time Sail transport might be up and running again. Of course we'd also need a new global currency. Could be interesting.

BTW, Bass also clearly expressed that he has zero faith in the US. He explicitly stated that he has for all practical purposes given up on the people in Washington. He thinks they are living in a fantasy world.

To me, the real question is that even if these people saw the light, what would they bring to the table.

Could I hand them a chainsaw and tell then to fell the tree and buck it up? And, god forbid, I told them to use the 36" hand saw. Could they determine what's wrong with the well pump? Could I tell them to change the rear main seal on the generator? Could I put the pressure canner on the stove and tell them to can the venison (assuming they knew how to butcher a deer)? Would they even know what a pressure canner is?

From a rural/prepping perspective, we are a society of useless eaters. Sure, even the so-called self-sufficient people depend upon some aspects of society. But, society, in toto, has few skills that are translatable to a different paradigm.

And, don't get me going about the differences of philosophy of life.


I live near a small appalachian town. Happens that almost everybody I know could do all those things, and in fact, does do them.

They are going farther than that. Lots of activity around here on getting off fossil fuels. I attended a picnic this morning and made a remark about the need to kick carbon, and people came up to me and bragged about how much they had already done.

One guy is working passionately on a wood gasifier for his pickup, and was telling me how important it is for the demo to use his huge engine to really blast the thing down the road, otherwise, with that dinky little 4 banger I was suggesting, the wet-rag-weak image of gasifiers would persist.

I can't believe this place is so special as not to be a fairly good sample of small town folk all over.


I have nothing to say about city people.

In my small "town" (well, we do have a gas station and a post office) in rural NH, USA there are a lot of very competent people, in all the areas you mention. No, most people in the cities have none of those skills, but the skills are certainly there all over the place.

Some of these skills take a lifetime to hone, but many of them are eminently teachable. I think of working with draft horses. Draft horse people love to get together and share skills and teach and whatnot. If anyone wants to learn, they surely can. And it doesn't take a lifetime to get pretty good at it.

I live in what is now suburbia. But it was rural recently enough that a lot of people have those skills. Many houses still are not on town water, so you learn to deal with the well. When Irene and Sandy came through, people cleared the leaning and fallen trees and cut and stacked the wood themselves; they had to, or it would have been weeks before they got out of their driveways. A lot of people still heat with wood, and many who have oil heat have a wood stove as well, to save money.

IME, a lot of this comes with home ownership. If you're rich, you can hire people to do it all, but most people end up having to learn various hands-on skills because they can't afford to hire out everything.

The real question is how long could the eco system support all these people felling trees then bucking them up, or slaughtering deer and pressure canning it? The ecosystem has little in the way of defence against humans, and will be destroyed. Humans are biologically optimistic about the future, this means immediate wants are always satisfied no matter the long term costs.

I am often shocked at people who say the system will crash but they think that pensions will continue and not be cut

People can't think in terms of systems, it's a mental bias that we have. Was having a discussion on the same lines with two of my friends, they think that we will continue producing smartphones even in the absence of oil. What can I say.

I hope you lot aren't suggesting some kind of "Mad Max" scenario... ?!

That WOULD be depressing.

Cheers, Matt

Mad Max was just post-nuclear-war fiction on a sparsely populated continent...

As I recall, Mad Max was about the breakdown in civilization as the gasoline ran out, set in Australia. The movie appeared in 1979, but was begun earlier after the Arab/OPEC Oil Embargo. The second in the series was directly related to oil scarcity, beginning with a roving gang of thugs who were trying to steal the fuel produced by some folks at a small refinery. Neither had any reference to nuclear war. Perhaps you are thinking of "On the Beach"...

E. Swanson

One of those type films was the aftermath of an oil spill cleanup gone wrong.

Scientists developed a bacteria that ate the spilled oil, then were supposed to die out. But instead they found their way underground and ate all the worlds oil resources.

Haven't been able to find the name of that movie.

I think we can produce smartphones in the absence of oil. It will take a lot of effort and change but it can be done. I do think society will have to be scaled down, we need to stop reproducing so much, we need more public transport, we need to build much more efficient cars and homes, we will probably need nuclear despite the risks . . . but we could still manufacture smart phones even without oil. Between a combo of natural gas, solar, wind, geothermal, waves, tides, nuclear, hydro, and some coal, we could continue along. Again, there will need to be a lot of cutting back on inefficiency and waste but we could still build smartphones.

And some day, we will HAVE to do it.

Or else?

But we know there won't be 'an absence of oil', more expensive oil, yes, no growth economies, yes, but still a shed-load of oil.

So surely what we are heading for, are already in, is the restructuring of society and economies away from BAU as you describe. I frankly don't buy the back-to-the-hills doomerism of so many on this site. Great if that is your preferred lifestyle, but I see that combined with increased but less hydrocarbon intensive urbanism. More cycling, more Transit, and much, much more electricity powered smart communication and interaction. These changes are all observable.

The great challenge in all this is equality. The rich can decouple from hydrocarbon dependence now, because it is capital intensive; Teslas, PV arrays, etc. Much harder for the rest. Of course collective social action is what is needed, like aggressive investment in electric powered Transit, but you Americans will have to recover from your curious prejudices to achieve that (socialism!).

'The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones' - Keynes

The rich can actually decouple from hydrocarbons, in that they don't actually have to burn them, as long as there are plenty of other people burning them. How do you make tesla's, PV arrays etc without using FF's? So far it's unpossible.
It's like tesla's are the apex predator on the trophic ladder. The rich can live without FF's like a Lion can live without grass.

Well where I live the grid is supplied by 80% renewables and the other 20% by Natural gas. With a bit of work we can, and should get to 100%. Electricity demand is flat, all those LEDs and all that insulation is making a difference. But anyway, a few well capitalised folk are getting PV along with their EVs, so indeed the wealthy can go a long way without adding to our oil import bill, nor drawing down on the grid supply.

But this isn't an all society solution, and nor does it hold in much of North America (the focus of most online discussion) outside of the hydro fed north west I guess.

But still I see a transition underway and accelerating; renewables, Transit, vehicle miles driven dropping...

My pick is that this will continue as even with ELM as what matters is the oil supply/demand balance not just oil supply, and I think we are seeing perhaps more elasticity in oil demand than we thought was possible. Which is probably a result of the length of the plateaux. As oil use is inelastic over the short term but given time individuals and society can make not insignificant adjustment; either by choice or not.

How many picked the US demand plunge? But also in this sense the new US supply has been significant as it has softened the hit leading to: 1. More time to make adjustments but 2. A whole lot of delusional talk and PR about future supply....

But still what is really needed is active policy at all levels of government to incentivise the transition to renewables and the electron based new economy. Carbon Tax, fuel tax rises, investment in Transit, better urban form, renewable generation. An end to subsidies, direct and otherwise for the FF industry.... Good luck with that, I guess we're going to do it the harder way....

Electricity demand is flat, all those LEDs and all that insulation is making a difference.

Right on. I'm currently working with several jointly-owned auto dealerships to reduce their energy requirements. These dealerships consume between 600,000 and 800,000 kWh per year and roughly half or a bit more is lighting related. Five of these facilities were built within the last three to five years, so you would expect them to be reasonably energy-efficient. Sadly, that's not quite the case. On the plus side, I'm savings bags and bags of kWh and the average cost per kWh saved is extraordinary low. For example, I'm replacing 1,000-watt metal halide pole lamps (1,100-watts with ballast) with Philips 330-watt AllStarts and new pulse-start retrofit kits. The cost to retrofit these fixtures is a little over $200.00 per socket (materials + labour + electrical permit + man lift + lamp recycling). Fixture load drops by two-thirds and when you multiple this by 4,380 hours a year -- i.e., dusk to dawn operation -- you net 3,241 kWh per fixture, per year. One dealership alone has ninety-four of these heads.

The facility I'm reviewing now was built a year and a half ago and was fitted with these centre basket direct/indirect T5HO troffers that seem to be all the rage. Attractive, arguably, but fixture efficacy is horrendous. I'll likely replace these with another architectural-grade fixture that will cut this wattage by more than half, i.e., a CFI Skyway LP-A LED that consumes 53-watts as opposed to 117. Such a waste.

Sometimes the energy savings are modest, but the financial reward great. For example, I just shot-off the following e-mail to one of my clients moments ago. We'll only reduce the DHW portion of their load by an estimated 200 kWh a month, but this combined with their improved load factor will save them about $900.00 a year.

Hi [redacted],

As you may recall, the aforementioned school is served by a 60 gallon electric water heater located in the boiler room. To reduce your DHW costs, I might recommend the installation of a heat pump add-on such as the Nyle Geyser shown below. I have one in my home and it has cut our water heating costs by half.

This school is an 11M account which means that you pay for both demand and energy. Disabling the 4.5 kW elements on this tank and using only the Nyle to generate your domestic hot water would reduce coincident demand by 3.8 kW. At $9.92 per kW, per month, this would cut the demand portion of your bill by $453.35 per year. In addition, the first 200 kWh per kW, per month, would shift to NSP's lower cost second tier, and this would save you an additional $282.63 in energy related charges, for a net savings of $735.98. Please note that these savings pertain solely to your improved load factor; they do not reflect the corresponding reduction in energy requirements.

I estimate that your DHW tank consumes, on average, 12 kWh per day (more when school is in-session and less during the off-season). I calculate my Nyle's COP to be 2.0 at an average ambient air temperature of 16ºC. The operating environment for your DHW tank is considerably warmer -- I'm guessing that the average ambient air temperature during the heating season falls between 20 and 25ºC, although judging by our last visit it could very well be much higher. On that basis, your average COP should be closer to 2.2 or 2.3. If these numbers are more or less correct, this suggests a net savings of approximately 2,400 kWh per year. Assuming all of this energy is billed at the margin, you'll save a further $191.86 in energy charges. Take together, the monetary savings would be in excess of $900.00 per annum.

A heat pump add-on won't increase your school's heating costs as it would simply scavenge the excess, and otherwise wasted, heat generated by your heating plant. During the summer months, it would help to dehumidify this space, thereby reducing the risk of mould and mildew damage.

The installed cost of a Nyle heat pump would be be in the range of [redacted], plus HST, and if my estimate of 2,400 kWh/year in energy savings proves reasonable, ENSC's contribution towards this undertaking would likely fall between [redacted] and [redacted]. With your improved load factor and lower kWh usage, the simple payback, should you wish to go forward, would be less than one year.

These are preliminary, back-of-the-envelope numbers, but if it would be helpful to you, I would be pleased to provide you with a more refined assessment.


This school board operates one hundred and thirty-seven schools, many that are equipped with one or more electric water heaters that draw anywhere from 4.5 to 45 kW each. I'd love to start knocking these power hogs off the grid in rapid succession.


I'd love to start knocking these power hogs off the grid in rapid succession.

Hi Paul, Just curious how does NSP view endeavors such as yours? Are you considered friend or foe or not even on the radar?

In June 2009, NSP proposed a fixed charge to pay for conservation programs to raise $23M it could spend on reducing electricity demand.[16] According to Alan Richardson, VP of commercial operations, 80 million kilowatt-hours and 60,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent would be removed, and ordinary customers would see paybacks for the fixed fees within three years due to fuel savings alone. This proposal was rejected as a conflict of interest as NSP vends watts (see especially Town utilities section below), ENS was instituted in 2010 and became the dominant provider of conservation services.

For 2012 ENS claimed that it "helped Nova Scotians save $100 million in electricity costs. Energy savings totalled 141.8 million kilowatt hours, enough electricity to take 14,000 average homes off the grid" on expenditures of $43.7 million - a total cost under $0.31 per kilowatt hour for permanent savings that recur year over year. (the relative cost of electricity generated by different sources suggests that this figure is favourable to solar thermal construction, but the avoided emissions, transmission, distribution, billing and outage provision costs, plus averted shorts and fires, are not part of the calculation, so this underestimates the value of conservation measures. Also, the conservation savings recur forever, whereas generating plants eventually break down and no longer generate electricity.). The cash-on-cash return on investment province-wide is well over 100% for the entire history of Efficiency Nova Scotia.[17] This significantly exceeds the cash benefit promised by the NSP proposal while the watts saved are similar.
Source Wikipedia



Hey Fred,

I'm not sure. I know back in the days when NSP administered the Small Business Lighting Solutions programme that my counterparts at the utility were enthusiastic and tireless supporters. Now, with electricity demand falling off a cliff, I could see how NSP management might want to pullback or eliminate these types of initiatives altogether.

 photo NSP5-YearEnergySales_zps6fc7623b.jpg

To expand upon your quote, according to Efficiency Nova Scotia's 2012 Annual Report, "To date, energy efficiency programs have reduced the annual electricity load by 469 million kilowatt hours (kWh) or 4.3%. Without energy efficiency initiatives – which cost only $0.03 per kWh – we would have to generate 4.3% more electricity. This electricity would have come at a much higher delivered cost - on average $0.11 per kWh - and with the associated emissions".

My hope is that we can cut CO2(e) emissions at each of these dealerships by upwards of 250 or even 300 tonnes per annum.


you Americans will have to recover from your curious prejudices to achieve that (socialism!).

We can't call it that -anything with the S word in anathema! We'll have to come up with a doublethink work, which feels like absolute libertarianism -but in practice contains a big dose of communitarianism. Its gonna take someone smarter than I to come up (and market) that term/concept.

Weirdly viewed from abroad the US economy is full of all sorts of strange distortions, and despite the rhetoric and shibboleths is actually a heavily governed market. Just not in the right ways for the challenges of this age.

As I say above the key role for the state, and States, is to get those incentives sorted, and yes I agree, avoid all labels where possible!

I'm agreed. End of oil isn't the end. Not having oil would free us from a lot of foolishness. We'd still figure out how to still build good stuff, although materials and power sources would have to change. And our economic organization would almost certainly have to change to accommodate the huge changes.

We could but no one would because it would be an utter waste of energy. The number of people living when the age of oil ends completely would be far lesser than at the peak. You don't need a computer for managing the accounts of 50 people, a ledger is enough. I agree about the need of certain kinds of technology but I don't think we can make a guess at this point as to what they would be....

I found this beautiful comment at Archdruid which substantiates my point

Here's a graphic example. Assume that Donald Trump has a heart attack. He goes to the hospital, they do some quick imaging, find the blockages, shove stents into his blocked arteries, and in a week he'll be able to go back to browbeating Apprentices for another twenty years.

The reason they can do all this is that the mass market for flat-screen televisions and digital cameras has created mass-production facilities for all the components that go into the scanners; the mass market for precision-molded plastic parts has created the ability to produce stents at all; most importantly, the mass market for cardiologists created by insurance and Medicare has put a reasonably competent cardiologist on every street corner.

Fast-forward to a future where there are no mass markets for flat-screen televisions, plastic thingamajigs, or cardiologists, and guess what? Even if The Donald were ten times as wealthy as he is, or a hundred times as wealthy, that heart attack is going to kill him.

My tip of hat to the commentator .....Joseph Nemeth.

It depends on who has to pay the pension. If the U.S. government owes it, Helicopter Ben could always print the money to pay in devalued dollars.

This piece aired on CBC Radio's The Current this week...

The evolutionary power of Denial

Ajit Varki believes that to really understand how we reached the top of the evolutionary ladder you have to be in denial. He shares his theories on how Denial, Self-Deception and False Beliefs allowed human beings to surpass other species, to survive ... thrive and think.

Seems relevant...

Yep, it's part of what we are. True realists are an aberration. You actually have to be in denial to function in society.

Optimists do poor risk assessment and frequently place themselves in risky situations that go bad and need a responsible person to save them.

Written by sparky8:
What is it with the human condition that people can't see a coming crises until it is upon them....

Because Germany is making its electric generation renewable while other European countries are electrifying transportation, some can see problems ahead. In Egypt multiple mistakes have been made over the decades. Presumably the gasoline subsidy was applied to encourage growth. Using underpriced finite fossil fuels, Egypt grew it economy and population beyond its local carrying capacity. Now the crude oil production is in decline, exports are gone and there is no more revenue from exporting the oil to pay for the subsidy nor imported food. People do not want the subsidy to end because it diminishes their lifestyles. This is what happens when growth is spurred using a subsidy that must be maintained indefinitely. The government that initially applied the subsidy should have foreseen this outcome and spent the oil revenue differently.

There were people who proclaimed that an economy should not be grown using finite fossil fuels because one day those fuels would become scarce. They were ignored.

There are people that say continuous growth is not possible on a spherical earth.

Demonstrations in Indonesia, Brazil, India, all related to rising fuel/transportation costs. Google "protests rising fuel costs": Kenya, Jordan, UK....

The myth of Peak Oil.

The myth of Peak Oil.

Peak Oil is like a pebble that was tossed into a still pond, gone in a splash, but the ripples from it keep spreading in ever widening circles...

Peak Oil is like a pebble that was tossed into a still pond, gone in a splash, but the ripples from it keep spreading in ever widening circles...


Egypt, a peak of oil exports from them in the mid 90's to now being an importer of oil.
Mexico, exports now about half of what they were ten years ago
UK, also going from exporter to importer in the past ten years or so


Back when I just became aware of Peak Oil, I watched about six documentaries that came to my attention during various searches using Google and Youtube. They were:

An Inconvenient Truth
Crude, the Incredible Journey of Oil (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Crude Impact
A Crude Awakening, The Oil Crash
The End of Suburbia
Oil Smoke and Mirrors

They can all be found and watched by searching the internet. In all they represent about ten hours of viewing and I can't recall exactly where I saw the different clips but, somewhere in there, were clips about demonstrations etc. Pretty much exactly what we've seen playing out over the past few years only in extremely slow motion!

While checking on the availability of the documentaries, I discovered this one called:

The Future of Oil

produced by Stanford University that, I started watching but have had to break away from to finish this post and go out and earn a living.

Alan from the islands

The Future Of Oil is a great video, one of the best on the subject.

Details on fuel rationing smart card in Egypt to be revealed

"Egypt's government will introduce on Saturday a smart card system to reduce the subsidies on fuel."

Interesting method, we could do the same in the U.S. If the goal is to reduce imported oil and oil usage in general, people have to help out.

We already have a rationing system . . . we ration by price. We should just raise the price with taxes if we want to use less. But that is political death.

The problem with taxes is that there's little perceivable give with the take for most. A system that rerwards people who make desirable changes makes more sense to me. A carbon tax that pays those who've managed to reduce their consumption, while probably hard to implement may work better. Bribery often works better than punishment; positive reinforcement and all that.

Eagerly awaiting my check.

Eagerly awaiting my check.

I'm sure it has been signed by both Obama and his new Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz and it's already in the mail. You'll be getting it any day now...

And this is why James Hansen and others propose a revenue neutral feebate system. Raise taxes on gas and on gas-guzzler cars but return the money back to the people in the form of tax cuts elsewhere. Those that are efficient will be financially rewarded. Those that are inefficient will pay more.

That makes sense, but the usual suspects will scream "nannyism", "picking winners and losers" and "big government destroying the free market".

A carbon tax would spread the load and give incentives where needed. If we tax a 10 MPG SUV then give that money to people who buy 40 MPG hybrids, that balances it out nicely.

The reason it dosent work is a huge chunk of the US population drives beaters because it's the only thing they can afford.

Yes, I see a problem with the affluent and virtuous crafting programs that reward the already affluent and virtuous.
The non-affluent and non-virtuous already shoulder a disproportionate tax burden through various 'sin taxes' and lotteries and boy howdy are they resentful!
On the other hand, I think if it were coupled with a "cash for clunkers" feature to help economically marginal drivers get into some nicer, more socially responsible wheels then it could be a 'win-win'.

Well, they are going to have to adapt. It is better to raise taxes on gas now and get people changing their habits now and use that money for something good. Those people driving those beaters are going to pay higher gas prices whether it is from taxes added now or oil depletion later. If we raise the taxes on gas now, it will get us to change the way we do things. We'll build public transportation, we will not build so many low-density suburbs that are so reliant on oil, we'll be build efficient vehicles, etc.

To some degree, Europe is better prepared for more expensive oil because they always taxed gas highly and thus built high-density housing and bought efficient vehicles. The USA build a landscape dependent on low-price oil. We got slammed with high oil prices and our economy fell apart. It still isn't put back together. But instead of changing our ways, we instead went big into shale oil and oil sands. We've been given a reprieve with shale oil . . . but instead of wisely using this time to prepare for an oil scarce future, we are instead deluding ourselves with hype about 'energy independence'. Madness. What happens when the Red Queen prevents the shale oil fields from expanding and all the best sweet spots have been hit?

"Those that are efficient will be financially rewarded. Those that are inefficient will pay more."

And instead we get...


Written by speculawyer:
Those that are efficient will be financially rewarded. Those that are inefficient will pay more.

Those who are inefficient will be paid to continue their wasteful ways. Keep it simple, tax the fuel and use the revenue to repair the roads. Those who are efficient will be financially rewarded by paying less on fuel. These rebate schemes are a way for Greenies to steal from SUV owners and will always be viewed as such. It fails to address the revenue shortfall for maintaining the transportation infrastructure and divides the electorate to conquer by preventing anything from being done. It panders to the greed of Greenies.

We had some discussion of Hansen's Climate Stewardship Tax here, to provide some additional background and perspective.

Despite accounting for nearly 40 per cent of US natural gas production, shale gas production has "been on a plateau since December 2011 - 80 per cent of shale gas production comes from five plays", some of which are already in decline.

In this plot of procduction by source conventional production have been cut roughly in half the last ten years!

I would say the devils horns in the price plot kicked the natural the boom in more expensive shale gas.

RE: A Solution for a San Diego Cove’s Constant Odor: Bacteria

Surely a better solution would be to use the Guano as fertiliser. There must be some organic farmers who would be interested in putting it to good use.

It can't be gathered. It's on cliffs in an environmentally protected area.

Germs are part of the environment.
People('s noses) are part of the environment.
"Waste" ( a very POV concept) is part of the environment.

The whole concept of "environment" is so narrow minded / egocentric.


Rgds wp.

I like the Massey lectures. And I liked Wrights book - "A Short History of Probress" from 2004. Also a fan of Ms. Atwood.

It’s very late but not too late. We still have one last chance to get the future right.


From wikipedia, biased I am via L'Arche and Vanier.

1998 – Jean Vanier, Becoming Human
1999 – Robert Fulford, The Triumph of Narrative
2000 – Michael Ignatieff, The Rights Revolution
2001 – Janice Stein, The Cult of Efficiency
2002 – Margaret Visser, Beyond Fate
2003 – Thomas King, The Truth About Stories
2004 – Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress
2005 – Stephen Lewis, Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa
2006 – Margaret Somerville, The Ethical Imagination
2007 – Alberto Manguel, The City of Words
2008 – Margaret Atwood, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth
2009 – Wade Davis, The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World
2010 – Douglas Coupland, Player One: What is to Become of Us
2011 – Adam Gopnik, Winter: Five Windows on the Season[2]
2012 – Neil Turok, The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos[3]

Of course it's never too late when you're a species evolved to deny reality. Anything is possible, and there is always enough time.

Affordable Energy Efficiency for a Changing Climate

Passive House North 2013

September 27-28, Vancouver

Passive House North 2013 will open with presentations by two genuine superheros of superinsulation, and close with a discussion about how cities are leading the global effort to radically improve building energy efficiency in a changing climate. Between these inspiring bookends stand sessions devoted to the latest tools, techniques, technology and components that make the Passive House Standard the most affordable way to build almost anything, as well as a session devoted to complimentary strategies.
Click here to see the whole program.

Here's a taste of what's already been said about Passive House North 2013, which convenes September 27-28 in Vancouver:

"Ka-Pow! Harold Orr and Wolfgang Feist in the opening plenary. Two efficiency superheros on one stage."
- Bronwyn Barry

“The focus will be broad (e.g. not limited to single family houses) and this is PHantastic… this will be one of the highlights for the North American PH movement this year.”
- Mike Eliason

“The list of invited speakers is impressive: A veritable Who’s Who of the Passive House community.”
- Green Building Advisor

Up Top Mackenzie River, the 'Amazon of North,' under threat

I was expecting a rehash of the Rosenberg pdf which has been summarized via several sources recently, but not entirely. The Toronto Star article does cite the Rosenberg pdf, but also go back to another centuries old source.

Mackenzie finally made it to the Pacific coast, by way of the Peace, Fraser and Bella Coola Rivers, in 1793. His continental crossing beat the American Lewis and Clark expedition by a dozen years.

None of Mackenzies book are on Project Guttenberg Canda or Faded Page yet, however the 2 vols. of his journey is at PG-US


Shale gas won't stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis

The EIA is certainly bullish on shale gas. From the Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (5.4 MB pdf)

Don't shale/tight gas wells decline even more rapidly than tight oil wells? If so, there will have to me a lot more gas drilling than at present and higher prices for production to increase like on that graph.

There is quite large decline of conventional natural gas from around 2001 to 2011 and either it is because the other sources are cheaper to develop or the conventional are running out quite fast.

As can be seen in this plot of conventional natural gas production and shifted discovery the production is closing in on the shifted discovery. Either disvory increase like now or the production of conventional natural gas will continue to decline. Note the plot is for north America including Mexico and not just US.

I noticed that too - conventional looks BAD, and offshore declined significantly too. They did the usual BS thing, which was "we're going to draw a basically flat but wavy line so people don't notice". Shale and tight gas are more than making up for it, but if they do the same thing and then decline in the same (rather sharp) manner, it will be really bad.

It really makes for an eye opener if you pay attention to the real data more than the projection/fantasy. When tight and shale start dropping, it looks likely to be a severe and pretty sudden blow.

The high price of crude oil and the low price of natural gas since late 2008 has caused a large reduction in rigs drilling for natural gas in the U.S. The economics are dictating drilling for wet natural gas wells or oil wells with associated natural gas.

This is certainly true, but conventional NG was heading down before that -- the Chenier terminal was orginally intended for NG import, remember? Now with shale gas it'll export (for a while).

As with any resource, it's pointless to talk about recovery rates or percentages independent of market price. If we had "fair" NG prices of $12-$15 like EU and Japan, there would be more conventional and shale developed.

The EIA is certainly bullish on shale gas

The Captain is always bullish about his boat. His life depends on it.

And there's this gem, right in the article itself:

"The EIA actually does retrospective assessments of their forecasting and their track record is dismal... They admit that they overestimated natural gas production 66 per cent of the time and crude 59.6 per cent of the time in their March 2013 assessment for 2012."

The disconnect between fantasy and reality continues to baffle.

Why must everything go up? Is this some defect in the human mind, or in the industrial mind?

If population always rises, then it must go to infinity, which is impossible. If fossil fuel production always rises, it must go to infinity, which is impossible. If the prices of stocks, bonds, and houses always rise, then they must go to infinity, which is impossible.

So I think we fool ourselves by pretending that it's out in the future, right? That surely the peak is 50 or 100 years away and by that point we won't have to worry because we'll be dead and our grandchildren will pay off the debts through nuclear fusion and colonizing Mars?

It's always about the future, never about the present. It's never about making difficult choices now. Just put it off another day, week, month, year, decade, century.

That really is the modern way! We have completely fooled ourselves, humans haven't made any real progress since the enlightenment. Surely we are even more deluded than an illiterate medieval peasant, who at least accepted the finite terms of his life.

"Why must everything go up? Is this some defect in the human mind, or in the industrial mind?"

Every living organism on Earth expands its population until it hits the limits of its environoment. It's a basic property of life, nothing to do with being "human" let alone "industrial".

One of two petroleum coke piles removed from riverfront

CBC News Posted: Jun 20, 2013 10:29 PM ET

There's one less pile of petroleum coke being stored on the Detroit riverfront.

Nicholson Terminal and Dock Company, which manages operations at storage site southwest of the Ambassador Bridge, has reportedly decided to no longer accept pet coke on the site.

Calgary floods delay Conservative Party convention

By Susana Mas, CBC News, Posted: Jun 22, 2013 2:03 PM ET

The Conservative Party national policy convention which was scheduled to get underway in Calgary next Thursday has been postponed, as city officials warn Calgarians to stay away from the downtown core now engulfed by flood waters.

And just last year...

Tropical Storm Isaac postpones Republican convention in Florida

August 25, 2012|By Paul West, Washington Bureau

Republican Party officials decide to delay Mitt Romney's formal nomination in Tampa as Tropical Storm Isaac is forecast to become a hurricane.

Very curious.

Chris Burt at Wunderground has a good blog explaining the flooding in Calgary...

Massive Flooding in Calgary

Radar estimated precipitation totals for the 24-hour period ending 8 a.m. on Thursday June 20th when the bulk of the rainfall occurred.
Isolated amounts of over 200 mm (about 8”) are evident in the mountains southwest of Calgary. Environment Canada.

As a helpful reminder here's Dr. Jennifer Francis 15 minute presentation to the American Meteorological Society last year.

VIDEO: Does Arctic Amplification Fuel Extreme Weather in Mid-Latitudes?

From Leanan's originals above...

Munich Re, Rio Tinto Face Costs From Less Water, Warming

Re-insurers like Munich Re (one company that has been paying close attention to Climate Change) are going to have to dramatically increase what they charge for disaster coverage. Things are happening faster then I think even the likes of Munich Re anticipated.

When you increase the energy and the heat content of the atmosphere you also increase its capacity to hold water.
This shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone with even some very basic and rudimentary knowledge of physics.

JPL Airborne Sensor to Study 'Rivers in the Sky'

They're called atmospheric rivers - narrow regions in Earth's atmosphere that transport enormous amounts of water vapor across the Pacific or other regions. Aptly nicknamed "rivers in the sky," they can transport enough water vapor in one day, on average, to flood an area the size of Maryland 0.3 meters (1 foot) deep, or about seven times the average daily flow of water from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. The phenomenon was the subject of a recent major emergency preparedness scenario led by the U.S. Geological Survey, "ARkStorm," which focused on the possibility of a series of strong atmospheric rivers striking California - a scenario of flooding, wind and mudslides the USGS said could cause damages exceeding those of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

That's exactly what just happened over Alberta and a few weeks ago over central Europe. According to actual measurements we are adding the energy equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima nuclear bomb explosions to the atmosphere every single day. Guess what? It is causing CHANGE in the atmospheric dynamics. Call it what ever you want but it is very real!

Apparently Chicken Little fans were right all along. The sky is quite literally falling on us!

Its more complicated than more moisture/energy. If it were just increased atmospheric moisture and nothing else, we would only see 4% more rain. I.E. if in a given period of time location X could expect 10 .25inch rains, 4 1.00inch rains, and 1 2.00 inch rains, you'd expect 10 .26inch rains, 4 1.04inch rains, and one 2.08inch rains. The increase in big flood would be minimal. Instead we are seeing something like 5 .25inch rains, 3 1.00 inch rains, one 2.00 inch rain, and one 3.00 inch rains. It is the skewed of the distribution away from gentle rains and towards extreme events that is causing the havoc.
What seems to be happening (the science and models are struggling with it, but the hand waving explanations make sense):
(1) More moisture implies more latent energy for storms to tap -increasing their ability to tap moisture from further away. They don't become 4% wetter, but some multiple of this. Of course they also rob moisture from further away, so there are less storms overall, but more strong ones.
(2) The jet stream is becoming more erratic, allowing unusual conditions to setup and persist for longer, meaning periods of drought or heavy rain last longer.

With all due respect, "we" (meaning humanity) aren't adding any energy to the atmosphere. The same amount of sunlight falls on the Earth at the top of the atmosphere as previously. It's just that the outbound flow has been slowed a bit, as the extra insulation due to greenhouse gases imply higher surface temperature (on average) to move that energy back to deep space. OK, so a few tenths of a deg C are added to the oceans, what's to worry about? "We" can simply keep adding more solar blocking aerosols to the sky to keep the temperature under control. "They" are doing a great job of that in Asia these days.

Don't worry, be happy, else the drones will get you...:-)

E. Swanson

To be nit-picky, nuclear adds energy that was never sunlight, and fossil fuel use adds back energy that was sequestered eons ago. But of course these are small contributors to the overall thermal energy balance. As with any rate phenomena, integrating a small imbalance in energy rate over sufficient time can provide a large change in accumulated energy.

It will be interesting to see what undulations unfold as we shift through differing types of energy and pollution. Maybe it will be fast enough to enjoy on a human lifetime scale.

The smallest of all nits to pick, indeed. The thermal contribution of those sources is essentially cancelled out at the end of each day - radiated into space in long-wave form.

With all due respect, "we" (meaning humanity) aren't adding any energy to the atmosphere. The same amount of sunlight falls on the Earth at the top of the atmosphere as previously. It's just that the outbound flow has been slowed a bit, as the extra insulation due to greenhouse gases imply higher surface temperature (on average) to move that energy back to deep space.

Yes, that is technically correct. However it is due to our activities over the last couple of centuries that the energy is being trapped for a longer time in the atmosphere.

Tks, I'll be on the lookout for those drones >;-)

“Well you can’t attribute a single event to climate change.” But there is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.
Kevin Trenberth 2010


Canada's oil capital Calgary could be without power for months after floods

Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. said it had shut down and isolated a pipeline north of Cheecham, Alberta, after detecting a spill of some 750 barrels of light, synthetic crude oil.

The company said oil had been discovered on the ground at the site, about 42 miles southeast of Fort McMurray, and field personnel had been mobilized.

The company said it was still investigating the cause of the leak but said that it believed unusually heavy rain "may have resulted in ground movement" that impacted the pipeline. Enbridge said it had shut down all other Enbridge pipelines in the area.

From the article

Some communities received six months of their normal rainfall in fewer than two days.

Same here, monsoons raced ahead like a sports car and dumped their cargo en-masse.

Obama to Unveil Climate Plan on Tuesday

Get the beer and popcorn ready, this is going to be a good show. You can see the "trailer" HERE.

EDIT: Notice Prez. Obama's comments in the video:

“We’ll need scientists to design new fuels and farmers to grow them. We’ll need engineers to devise new sources of energy and businesses to make and sell them.”

But, Sir, engineers can't "devise new sources of energy", since that would violate the Laws of Physics, particularly, Thermodynamics. Engineers can only convert energy from some existing source into some useful product and those efforts always result in some loss of energy. Only the Big Dog up in the Sky can change the Laws of Physics and we haven't heard from Him lately...

E. Swanson

Get the beer and popcorn ready, this is going to be a good show.

After watching the trailer I'm going to need something a lot stronger than beer to be able to watch the rest of it... Sheesh! What bunch of yak dung!

Yep. I'm thinking it may be forehead-slappingly painful to watch.

I guess "low expectations" is a good thing...

“I think this is absolutely crazy,” Speaker John A. Boehner said earlier in the week...

The music reminds me a bit of "Tubular Bells" :-0

We do not need new sources of energy. We need to convert our electric generation to predominately wind and solar while converting our transportation system to run from electricity. Instead he is talking about pie-in-the-sky research which means he intends to make no progress.

I think he plans to use the EPA to make burning coal tougher. That in itself will generate a "s#@$storm" about a war on coal. Yet, he will allow us to simply export the coal (similar to how Australia bypasses it's carbon tax). So throwing a little bit of money at pie-in-the-sky you'll never have to make a sacrifice research, is just political lipstick on the pig. In order for executive orders to the EPA to be effective, the D's will have to retain the Whitehouse, otherwise those orders will be undone. Still if he manages to pull it off, the US won't be a complete pa-ria at climate talks, so there is actually quite a bit at stake.

And, the way I see people adopting solar, I think in a few years the population will be in front of the politicians on this issue.

The way to prevent carbon leakage is to say to the buyers of export coal the deal is that all your manufactured goods get carbon taxed on re-importation. For example slap a punitive 20% tax on everything made in China and India. If they say it was made with clean energy (despite importing US or Australian coal) let them hire lawyers to prove it.

Useful distinction between EPA CO2 benchmarks and carbon tax/c&t is that the latter is explicit pricing the former implicit. If Obama goes for portfolio CO2 standards then the various lobby groups will work out how many dollars or jobs it cost per unit, forgetting about the environmental cost.

Mostly the research thing is a way to (hopefully) divert resistance. But, there is a lot of improvements to these energy sources, both incremental and otherwise. A robust R&D program is a cost effective component of any energy transition.

Normally I don't wallow into the argument about carbon trading, and I still don't have a dog in that fight. Major releases likely from China.


"Climate change like atom bomb

The planet has been building up temperatures at the rate of four Hiroshima bombs of heat every second, and it’s all our fault, say climate scientists.

Hurricane Katrina and superstorm Sandy are just two examples of how extreme weather will intensify, Australia’s Climate Action Summit has heard."

This evidently comes from the increase of ocean heat content of between 0.6 and 0.7 W/m^2.
Nowhere for this excess power density to go so it diffuses downward in the ocean.


If this didn't exists the ocean temperature rise would equal the land temperature rise.