Drumbeat: June 24, 2013

Supreme Court could consider suit to block sales of high-ethanol gas blend

The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's chief lobbying group, has asked the Supreme Court to block sales of E15. The court could decide as soon as Monday whether to hear the ethanol case, which combines similar requests by groups representing refiners and car manufacturers.

Putting fuel with up to 15 percent ethanol into older cars and trucks "could leave millions of consumers with broken down cars and high repair bills," said Bob Greco, a senior API official who has met with the White House on ethanol issues.

The ethanol industry counters that there have been no documented cases of engine breakdowns caused by the high-ethanol blend since limited sales of E15 began last year.

"This is another example of oil companies unnecessarily scaring people, and it's just flat-out wrong," said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol industry group.

Brent Trades Near Three-Week Low on China Growth Concern

Brent crude traded near its lowest level in three weeks after slipping below $100 a barrel amid speculation that a cash crunch may restrain economic growth in China, the world’s largest energy user.

Brent was little changed, having slumped 4.7 percent last week, the biggest loss since April. The People’s Bank of China said the nation should fine-tune its policies as a cash squeeze in the banking system risks exacerbating an economic slowdown. The U.S. and 10 other countries pledged June 22 to increase support for rebel forces in Syria. Hedge funds and other large speculators increased their net-long position on West Texas Intermediate crude last week.

US Gas Prices See Modest Dip as Driving Season Begins

The average price of gasoline in the United States dipped over the past two weeks thanks to large falls in Midwestern states, coupled with cheaper crude oil, and prices should remain stable or even lower in the weeks ahead, a survey issued on Sunday showed.

Gasoline cost $3.5969 a gallon on average, according to the Lundberg Survey of about 2,500 retail stations taken on June 21. That is 4.16 cents a gallon cheaper than the last survey on June 7, but still 11.89 cents more than a year ago.

U.S. Natural Gas Declines for Third Day on Inventory Increase

Natural gas futures declined for a third day in New York after supplies gained more than forecast.

Gas for July delivery slid as much as 1.2 percent to $3.725 per million British thermal units in electronic trading today on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $3.757 at 12:24 p.m. Singapore time.

Trican Profit to Surge as Fracking Glut Wanes

Trican Well Service Ltd. and Calfrac Well Services Ltd., Canada’s largest frackers, are seen as the biggest beneficiaries from a rebound in oilfield work during the next year after a glut of equipment sapped profits.

The Canadian market for hydraulic fracturing, a technique that pumps water, sand and chemicals underground to break oil and gas from rock, is expected to lead the U.S. in a recovery, PI Financial said. Trican and Calfrac are forecast to more than double adjusted earnings per share next year, compared with expected growth of 27 percent or less for the largest U.S. fracking providers, Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Iraq Northern oil exports on hold since Friday -shippers

Exports of crude oil from northern Kirkuk oil fields have been on hold for the last three days due to an explosion at a key pipeline in Iraq, two Middle East shipping agents said Monday.

South Korea pledges 15 pct cut to Iran oil imports-sources

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has pledged to the United States that it will cut imports of Iranian crude by 15 percent in the next six months to secure its next waiver to U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear programme, two sources told Reuters.

U.S. and European measures aimed at curbing Iran's oil shipments and depriving Tehran of its main source of funds drove crude exports to the lowest in decades in May. The curbs have cost Iran billions of dollars in lost revenue and Washington is now seeking to cut Iran's exports further via tighter sanctions.

U.S. sees cuts in India's Iran oil imports as 'important step' - Kerry

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The United States sees India's reductions in imports of oil from Iran as an "important step" in bringing pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme, Secretary of State John Kerry said.

"We are appreciative that India has worked hard to reduce its dependency on Iranian oil and that has been an important step," Kerry said at a press conference with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in New Delhi.

Enbridge grapples with pipeline shutdown, weekend spill in northern Alberta

Enbridge Inc. is working to contain and clean up a weekend spill of synthetic crude into a wetland area and small lake in northern Alberta.

Enbridge also shut other pipelines in the area as a precaution, including the Athabasca and Waupisoo pipelines.

The release of crude comes as Alberta grapples with major flooding, including in the city of Calgary where Enbridge has its head office.

Korea, Saudi Arabia seek nuclear energy cooperation

South Korea and Saudi Arabia sought to boost their cooperation in nuclear energy Monday in a meeting attended by their energy ministers.

“The nuclear technology advanced by South Korea will be of a great help to Saudi Arabia in its project to build nuclear power plants,” Seoul’s Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick said, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

French Support for Nuclear Power Rises Ahead of Law, Poll Shows

French public support for nuclear power is rising ahead of recommendations on a new energy policy law for the country, as fears about its dangers fade.

Some 36 percent of people surveyed said they favored France’s use of nuclear power with only 14 percent saying they opposed it, an Ifop poll released today for the newspaper Ouest France showed. That compares with 32 percent in favor of nuclear power and 20 percent opposed in July 2011.

Solar power still better than nuclear in the fight against climate change

I concede I've lost the £100 bet, but it's a folly to put faith in costly reactors to cut emissions.

Nereus Raises $100 Million for India Clean Energy Fund

Nereus Capital Management LLC said it raised as much as $100 million from Northern Lights Capital Group LLC and the U.S. Agency for International Development for its India clean energy fund.

Northern Lights will contribute $100 million to Nereus Capital’s India Alternative Energy Fund, which includes a $40 million credit guarantee from USAID, Nereus Managing Director Jonathan Winer said in an e-mail.

K Road Cancels Plans for 294-Megawatt California Solar Project

K Road Power LLC, a closely held renewable energy developer backed by Barclays Plc (BARC)’s investment-banking unit, canceled plans to build a 294-megawatt solar power plant in southern California.

K Road intends to surrender to regulators a 2010 permit for its Calico project and has withdrawn its request to amend the original design for the site, the New York-based company said today in a filing with the California Energy Commission. “Due to changed market conditions, we will not be able to move this project forward, either as licensed or as proposed to be amended,” it said.

For Solazyme, a Side Trip on the Way to Clean Fuel

A company wants to turn algae into energy. But first it has to make money, so it is developing other products from its algae-derived oils.

Malaysia Imposes Emergency in Haze Areas; Singapore Improves

Malaysia declared a state of emergency in some areas after air pollution from illegal burning of forests and peat lands in Indonesia reached hazardous levels, while Singapore breathed easier as winds shifted direction.

Prime Minister Najib Razak signed a declaration for Muar and Ledang districts in the southern Johor state with immediate effect after the Air Pollution Index readings reached more than 750, according to a statement today by G. Palanivel, minister for natural resources and environment. Any level above 300 is considered hazardous. Johor borders Singapore.

Power outages in Calgary could last for months after floods

(Reuters) - Power outages in the Canadian oil capital of Calgary could last for weeks or even months, city authorities said on Sunday, as record breaking flood waters moved downstream to threaten smaller communities in southeastern Alberta.

Alberta Floods Spread as Water Subsides in Oil Hub of Calgary

The worst flooding in Alberta’s history spread to new parts of the province as water levels began to subside in Calgary and other southern Alberta cities hit this weekend by rain-swollen rivers.

Evacuation orders were issued to towns north and east of Calgary, with a flood-warning zone stretching some 250 miles (402 kilometers) north from the Montana border. About 10,000 people evacuated Medicine Hat as Canadian military forces sandbagged the city in preparation for the arrival of the surging waters flowing from the Rocky Mountains that inundated cities to the west.

Flood Toll Reaches 1,000 in India as Thousands More Await Rescue

NEW DELHI — Flash floods and landslides in northern India have killed at least 1,000 people in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in the past week, an official said Saturday, and with thousands missing or stranded the toll was expected to rise.

The official, Vijay Bahuguna, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, confirmed the latest toll in a meeting with reporters. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told the Indian news media on Saturday that 40,000 people were still stranded, and he described the floods as a “national crisis.”

China's Coal Conundrum

“It is very unlikely that demand for thermal coal in China will peak before 2030,” said William Durbin, the Beijing-based president of global markets with Wood Mackenzie, an energy research and consulting firm, in a statement accompanying the release of a new report entitled “China: The Illusion of Peak Coal.”

“Despite efforts to limit coal consumption and seek alternative fuel options, China’s strong appetite for thermal coal will lead to a doubling of demand by 2030,” the report concludes. Coal consumption in China, bolstered by a period of rampant construction of coal-fired plants that has only recently slowed, must rise to feed China’s explosive demand for power, which will nearly triple to 15,000 TWh by 2030.

Kerry Prods India to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

NEW DELHI — Secretary of State John Kerry urged India on Sunday to begin to address climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases even as it attempts to bring electricity to tens of millions of its citizens now living without it.

Rising sea temperatures call for new insurance models: Geneva Association report

In some high-risk areas, ocean warming and climate change threaten the insurability of catastrophe risk. This is one of the conclusions of a research report issued today by the climate risks and insurance working group of international insurance think-tank, The Geneva Association

“There is new, robust evidence that the global oceans have warmed significantly,” said John Fitzpatrick, secretary-general of The Geneva Association. “Given that energy from the ocean is a key driver of extreme events, ocean warming has effectively caused a shift towards a ‘new normal’ for a number of insurance relevant hazards. This shift is quasi irreversible—even if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions completely stop tomorrow, oceanic temperatures will continue to rise.”

Not much meat in this article but it was the same thought I was thinking last week after reading a story about the fall in Chinese oil imports.

Why the Oil States will bankrupt US shale oil if prices fall below $70

Chinese crude oil stockpiles are at the highest in six months, with refinery maintenance being used to hide falling demand for oil products. China’s 83 biggest refineries closed 2.2 million tons of crude-processing capacity for maintenance in May, that’s more than an average of about 1.4 million a month in 2012.

Thirdly, think back to the 2007-8 global economic crisis and oil fell from $147 a barrel to $33. What if last week’s global stock market rout is the start of a new downtrend? Where will oil prices end up this time?

Re: Supreme Court could consider suit to block sales of high-ethanol gas blend from DB ... the court has decided ...

Court Nixes Appeal Over Added Ethanol in Gasoline

The Supreme Court has rejected challenges to Environmental Protection Agency decisions allowing an increase in ethanol content in gasoline.

The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that dismissed challenges by trade associations—representing the oil industry, food producers, restaurants and others—to EPA decisions allowing a gasoline blend of up to 15 percent ethanol.

An interesting development, and a simple reaffirmation of existing laws. SCOTUS cannot look into the administrative decision itself, or the basis for that decision, only into the law granting power to make administrative determinations.

As always, politics favors supporting governmental agency powers. After all, when the "out" party becomes the "in" party, they will want to be able to control just as much as their loyal opposition did.


Yup. The E85 regulation is crazy, but the court's decision is correct. The EPA does have the power to make these kinds of rules, even if they're stupid.

Since we're talking about automotive fuel primarily shouldn't the car manufacturers have a position on this issue? They're the ones who are going to have to deal with any warranty claims.

They do: other articles mention that they're one of the groups opposing the EPA's decision.

To quote Shakespeare- "full of sound and fury signifying nothing". Given all the uncertainty regarding the safety of E-15 - how many gas station owners are going to be concerned about the number of car owners who are going to voluntarily put in E-15 in their cars? My guess pretty high and given the investment in setting up a E-15 distribution system most of them will probably pass on taking the risk. Now if the blending targets in the 2007 law were increased that would be one thing- but the chances of that happening pretty slim. Until that happens E-15 is a non issue.

"In some high-risk areas, ocean warming and climate change threaten the insurability of catastrophe risk."

Yes, and those insurance premiums is going to come from....under-employed, in-debt consumers who are facing rising prices in everything they need.

Given the realities of either hurricanes or tornadoes completely destroying crops and infrastructure in the SW US how does this not negatively affect the general wealth of an entire area, insurance or not.

After the flood of 96', houses here were required to be built above 100 yr flood events to get Federal money. I suspect something similar will be required of those living in tornado and hurricane country. Still, in a declining economy this will be out of reach for many.

Ocean warming is completely different in character than land warming. Because of the huge heat capacity of the ocean, we can see large temperature increases on land but only a fraction of that is reflected in increased sea surface temperatures.

The recent research results are also showing that the ocean has been increasing its heat uptake as late. Exactly why this is happening isn't obvious, but it looks like this has the effect of slowing down the surface temperature rise. It is in fact appearing as a more and more efficient heat sink.

It could be less evaporation due to higher humidity. According to research lead by Watanabe, the climate models are showing this higher ocean uptake as well.

The oceans are a heat sink.
I live near the Pacific Ocean and it moderates local temps and provides "night and morning low clouds and fog". But when ocean temps rise or fall there can be El Nino and La Nina effects.
There's a thermal low pressure area east of San Diego during the summer months that draws the cool and moist air inland.

"There's a thermal low pressure area east of San Diego during the summer months that draws the cool and moist air inland."

There sure is. I lived in San Diego (good ol' Ocean Beach!) for several years in the 80's. Night and morning low clouds and fog, indeed. As the saying goes, San Diego doesn't have weather - it has climate. ;-)

But in 1983, there was a major El Nino. it was very strange - warm waters, strange fishes and other marine life, and huge surf. The promoters of the Jose Quervo surfing competition were well pleased that year! The OB pier had to close more than once due to the wave height.

I wonder what OB is like these days - haven't been there in 25 years...

Hi sgage
You'd feel right at home in today's OB, still tolerant, independent and bohemian.
lookup The OB Rag.


"You'd feel right at home in today's OB, still tolerant, independent and bohemian."

I felt right at home in OB from the moment I first visited my brother there in 1973. Spent a fair amount of time there through the 70's on various road trips, and finally got a job in SD and moved to OB, on Naragansett just down from the cliffs. Some of the best years of my life...

I don't know how large a proportion this is,but some water heat up by the surface, then sink down to the bottom of the sea, heating up the ecosystems there too. There are no place safe from global warming.

Unless its very salty, warm water can't make it into the deep ocean, as it is less dense than cold bottom water. Instead I think we have a decrease in the formation of the cold bottom water, which I think means the conveyor belt slows.

Wich is even worse...

Re: K Road Cancels Plans for 294-Megawatt California Solar Project

K Road in 2010 bought the project near Barstow from Tessera Solar and intended to switch the design from solar-thermal systems to conventional photovoltaic panels. The company in December told regulators it was addressing “transmission issues” at the site that may impact the timing of the project and its interconnection agreement.

Maybe they should have kept the original plan, using thermal instead of PV. With thermal, they might have included storage, thus allowing some load following and shifting the load until later in the day, to follow the evening peak. One can't say more without additional information and the K Road site doesn't offer much information. K Road has one operational site, according to their web page.

Perhaps this is a great opportunity for some other company (with money) to enter the solar power industry. Hey Google buddy, can you spare a dime? We've got great plans, but no funds...

E. Swanson

I think this story really highlights the dramatic price drop of PV panels. They've dropped so far, so fast that it is very difficult to rationalize solar thermal plants when solar PV plants are so much less expensive.

Solar thermal would be able to spread out the load a bit but doesn't obviate the need for a transmission line in the first place though. And if you are going to pull the the permits, they might as well put in big conductors such they could expand the plant later if desired.

One wonders if this about face isn't more related to overall economic projections and uncertainty and/or projected decline in demand. Are more of these large, long-term investments (especially in low-liquidity infrastructure) being viewed as bad bets?

Well California has a pretty aggressive renewable portfolio standard that must be met. So some of these new solar installations may replace existing fossil fuel plants that will be taken off-line or run only as peaker plants.

Barstow, California is located on a major railroad line, an Interstate highway and is close to a electric transmission line. So, access for construction equipment and materials is there, and the grid.... It (something) will be built.

Spanish Downturn A Disaster For Green Energy

Spain's wind turbine manufacturers are laying off workers and farmers who installed solar panels are facing ruin as austerity policies afflict the long-coddled green energy sector.

State subsidies to clean energy producers have already fallen by between 12 and 40 percent on average in recent years, industry analysts say. They could fall by another 10-20 percent in a new energy sector reform expected mid-July, according to the Spanish media.

"In the wind turbine industry alone we have lost 20,000 jobs and in the solar energy sector it's probably more," ...

... The wind turbine association AEE has launched a campaign to highlight the unknown victims of the new austerity regime: people who put their savings into solar panels counting on the subsidies to make them profitable and, for example, to help finance their retirement.

"There are 55,000 individuals, small savers, many farmers and breeders, professionals, families and small businesses who simply believed what the state told them, which was to invest in solar energy," Martinez-Aroca said.

The consequences are far reaching. "The solar energy sector's debt to banks is now 20 billion euros," Martinez-Aroca said.

Spain's banks are hardly in a state to withstand the blow; they have already had to take more than 41 billion euros from a European credit line to recapitalise balance sheets laden with bad loans since a 2008 property market crash.

As a fellow European from a country, Ireland, which never embraced large Feed In Tariff's and yet still built a strong and resilient wind industry, the Spanish experience is evidence that a too generous support mechanism can be a recipe for disaster, especially when the support mechanism is not being paid for by the electricity customer.

A country with the amount of guaranteed annual sunshine such as Spain should not have needed extra generous incentives.

What that newspaper article does not mention is that many of Europe's largest utilities and pension funds were attracted to invest in Spanish solar. I understand that these larger players have threatened to bring legal proceedings for breach of contract all the way to the European Court of Justice if necessary, I wonder will they consider the plight of the smaller investors in their legal fight.

Meanwhile Spain is now planning to bring more coal stations back online to counter the threat of the possible bankruptcy of many renewable installations. You couldn't make it up !!!

The austerity regime in Europe has gone too far in any case and I predict that it will be swiftly dispatched as soon as the German elections are concluded next year.

This is all a knockon effect of Greece. Greece really was a case of government spending out of control (plus can't collect taxes), so the other peripheral countries that got into trouble were automatically assumed to be guilty of the same transgression. If fact in Spain and Ireland, it was huge private sector borrowing -much foreign. But, the Austerity clobbers the ordinary Joes.

Spain and Ireland had very low government debt in relation to GDP.
Their problem was they both foolishly promoted the US suburban sprawl private development model which came crashing down after the 2008 crash and $147 per barrel oil prices. Then instead of letting the banksters collapse as everywhere except possibly Iceland, the Spanish and Irish governments bailed out the private investors and the banks and thus took on the private debts.

Spain falling for the whole suburban sprawl/ highways to nowhere scam is particularly sad as having visited many times when my brother lived there on and off for many years I noted they already had a Green Transit mode in place....

The actual Spanish tradition was villages on a hillside where people lived and fields below and much Transit and High speed rail in the cities.


I agree, especially in regard to Ireland, especially about the bank bailout, although new evidence emerged over the weekend that the bankers basically pulled a con trick on the government.

The period from 2008-2010 was pretty horrendous with perhaps 25% of all jobs disappearing and most of the population finding their homes in negative equity along with serious paycuts and tax increases for those who still had a job. It was a huge shock to the system, but in a strange way it confirmed for me that life will go on despite calamity striking, most people just put the head down and continued their lives, disappointed but resilient.

I had a conversation with a senior rural based politician on how to best to deal with the now dispersed rural population living miles from the nearest towns in a world of increasing energy costs over the next few years, they are well within the range of electric cars he said and Ireland has ample renewables, this from a relatively conservative politician was a little shocking for me but his next sentence blew me away, people have to start pulling together and forming co-operatives for such as things as food and energy, this by itself will help create jobs closer to home.

So all is not lost, but it will take time.

Has anyone seen any info on the new BMW electric car due to be launched in a few months. It might not be up to US tastes but its perfect for Europe.


Ireland would be better off to return to bicycles which used to be legendary! Electric bikes perhaps in the 21st century version...


Bicycles have certainly made a comeback in the cities since the 2008 crash but distances in rural Ireland are still realitively big and the roads could not by any stretch of the imagination be considered straight.

I live in Dublin and cycling to work has become very popular, even in the winter for some brave souls.

Although I do recall my parents talking about cycling 30 miles or more to attend so called local events.

Interestingly as part of our Aran Islands project this year we are trialing PV to charge some electric bikes in the local bicycle hire shop.

There was an old BBC show set in Ireland called "Ballykissangel" and the people would often be either walking on the roads or puttering along on bikes. I always wondered how people would get along with those steeply geared single-speed bicycles and it's the same way I started out on a cheap mountain bike when mountain biking...the hike-bike. If flat enough or downhill - on the bike...too steep, get off and start pushing. There was another one called "All Creatures Great and Small" - the vet had an automobile, but many others did not - again, a lot of walking and bicycles.

Basic data from the Car Magazine article:

an aluminium chassis housing the batteries and rear-mounted, 170bhp electric motor is paired with a carbonfibre bodyshell

When the i3 goes on sale in November, the standard electric i3 will cost around €40,000 [$52,500] ... a range extender hybrid version for an extra €3000. This employs a 35bhp two-cylinder motorbike engine to act as on-board generator

It weighs 1250kg – significantly lighter than the 1567kg Nissan Leaf

Although a minimum range of 80 miles may sound marginal, it should suffice for nine out of ten customers. European drivers typically drive 64 miles per day, stopping 33 times; Americans travel 39 miles stopping 97 times, and the Chinese average 26 miles and 228 stops. In all three cases, the car is left parked for roughly 22 hours per day, which should provide ample time to plug her in. While a full 100% charge takes between three and six hours, the available fast charging kit will restore 80% of the energy in only 60 minutes.

people need to lose this idea that they don't collect taxes in greece. they collect a lot of taxes in greece. tax 'evasion' comes in two flavors: one flavor is the small potatoes stuff like paying the plumber or handyman under the table, and in the high rollers category of politically connected people moving six, seven, eight, nine, digits around in a massive brew of corruption.
In the first case, we're talking laughably small sums, since nobody has money, these kind of jobs are very cheap now, and people only have absolutely essential work done... and even then a lot of it is done on IOUs. These 'tax evaders' are people who might see a total income of less than a thousand bucks a month. The prices in the supermarket haven't come down, the price of fuel or heat or electricity haven't come down (and greece has the highest petrol tax in europe), and two 'one time' property taxes in one year, and then once again every year since, taking on the order of 1-2% of the value of the property every year (even though they keep calling it a 'special extraordinary one time tax') certainly doesnt get any cheaper each year either. how much more tax could possibly be collected from these people before they starve? retail sales have crashed, people only buy essentials, the general state of anything requiring maintenance or investment has been on 'absolute minimum' for several years and everything is getting quite shabby now, and unemployment is in the neighborhood of 30%. How much more tax can you squeeze out of these people?
There is indeed a '1%' in greece, probably closer to .1%, who are in the other category. politically connected, or even in government themselves (either politicians or bureacrats), flush with corrupt cash, much of it funneled through the state to begin with, and there is never going to be a way to get these people to pay any tax (let's not even go into the moral issue of is it even right to pay taxes into a corrupt machine like that)..

the 'tax evasion' cry is a miserable insult to the majority of the people in the country who are struggling to survive on pretty much third world incomes. Home ownership is pretty common in greece and that is the _number one_ thing the politicians and state-worshippers haven't yet totally exhausted- they have been taxing the living hell out of peoples homes knowing that they will sell everything they can at any price they can get, to keep their homes... once you lose your home, when there's no chance of finding a way to pay rent, what do you do?

There's some incentive in recent years for greek politicians to shout 'tax evasion'- it helps keep the sales pitch for a better future for greek govt bonds going... 'we can increase tax revenues next year' as a promise of politicians to bondholders or bondbuyers and the troika.. and on the other hand it is the justification for confiscating anything people still have left.

In the bigger picture, this is part of what a collapse looks like. The bigger more powerful entities devour anything they can to postpone the inevitable.

In the eyes of Anglo American financiers, whose job it is to push dollar denominated debt onto the world, everybody who is outside of their club is chattel. And you can say anything that you want about chattel, because they don't count. This attitude comes from 200 years of being on top without a serious challenge or threat.

This time the threat is coming from nature itself, and it will be all encompassing and will wipe out the dollar system and with it will go the Anglo American banking privilege. Still, they will resist and in doing so will attempt to enslave the world.

Politicians in Greece and around the world are of course bought off, and will never abandon their positions without violent revolution from the middle class.

That's basically what's going on. The Anglo American financial class versus the global middle class. It's possible the world will burn as nobody wins.

It looks like a pressure cooker all around. No give this time. Burn? I think it will explode.

Two DB's ago I published my email address with the intention of swapping war stories and advice on the subject of towns and communities coming together and attempting to either lessen their dependence on FF or even go the whole hog and make FF entirely optional in their communities.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the response. I received emails from all parts of the globe and intend to reply in depth to everyone as time permits. Perhaps we might set up an email network to encourage and advise each other in the longer term.

Perhaps the transition has really begun and from the ground up, I will repeat my email just once more if anyone else has an interest in finding out more on this topic or joining in the fun.

pat gill energy info (all one word witout spaces) at gmail dot com

Pat, you asked about our local low carbon initiative, here is a very brief summary of the plan


Write clear convincing justification, including science, economics and local benefits

Take plan to potential investors to move capital from wall st. to main st. here

Fund initial projects most immediately profitable- energy retrofit, microgrid

Use any local labor for above, pay in local currency, make sure it’s FUN to be there.

Search for, or do development to get:
-storage/high efficiency home appliances
-biogas generators for vehicles, producing carbon for soil conditioning
-other low carbon devices for use, sale and profit.

Keep eyes open for any similar efforts toward low carbon living.

We are working on it. Lots of enthusiasm. A fundamental criterion- has to be obviously beneficial and lots of get together fun, free potlucks, etc. Forging community.

Comments welcome, also web contacts.

Thanks wimbi,

It is the possible advantages of the sharing of the different experiences that inspired me to give out my email address and many TODsters have been in touch already, patience please folks I will respond soon.

Wimbi has some good advice above and my own experience has been that once you do the fundamentals, map out the resources available locally, do at least the rudimentary feasibility studies, the first real hurdle to be crossed is finding the initial funding for the first project or two, often the very reason that communities are open to the idea of taking energy and economic affairs into their own hands is because they are economically challenged.

I went on National radio in Ireland about 15 months ago to discuss the idea of local energy co-ops and within hours I was contacted by a community with a very challenging project, I already have a post in the moderation queue because I inserted a link but please google Aran Islands Energy Independence 2022 for a flavour of this project and to see the general plan of attack we have devised. The Silicon Republic article is possibly the easiest to read.

Last year we done the first two demonstration Negawatt projects in some of the prominent public buildings with financial help from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland with matching funds coming from the buildings owners, with the result that this year over 40% of the homeowners on the islands have applied for help in improving the energy efficiency of their homes, we are currently trying to source funding for this effort and in addition we are planning to buy the local small wind farm, conduct an academic study on the feasibility of solar, both PV and solar thermal, at this latitude, demonstrate heat pumps for space heating and make a start on a smart grid trial planned for next year.

The islands also host an electric car trial project.

Our project partners already include a prestigious scientific institute, some technology providers, local businesses and we have already received letters of support for next years program from the national grid operator and the local municipal authority.

Not bad for starters and a years work.

Another co-operative was formed in a different part of the country in a prime windfarming area, altogether approx 5000 acres are now in the control of the co-op. They plan to build a series of large wind projects, perhaps in conjunction with established commercial operators, but have also pledged to lease plots to other co-operatives perhaps in cities where it would be impractical to build wind turbines.

Thanks again to the TODsters who have emailed me, lets make the fun happen.

Pat and wimbi, I've added my email address request to Pat.

If you could provide some numbers on the scale of your undertakings it'd help me in conceptualizing what we're looking at here in Grayslake, IL. Our pop. is around 21,000. From what I can find, it looks like the Aran Islands (3 of them, if I read that correctly) has a population of about 1,300. I don't know what number of people are impacted by the other projects you mention, but to know would help.

The pack of locals I'm involved with is gradually uncovering existing groups and initiatives related to sustainability and energy. Another meeting tomorrow night. It's really still just getting off the ground. Part of the problem of scale is it can be just plain difficult to find out about existing initiatives, if for no other reason than to avoid reinventing the wheel. And to also avoid going to the same groups looking for funding.

However, the level of interest is growing. Slowly, but it's growing.

Er, wait a minute. I thought we we're supposed to want growth ;)

And to also avoid going to the same groups looking for funding.

Which groups would they be? Consumers?

Upthread you posted about capitalism and government.

If the funding isn't coming from "market activity", where is it coming from?

My post downstream, and my posts past, do not say I am opposed to government. Neither am I opposed to business/capitalism. What I think has a tremendous potential for mischief is the combination of the two:

It is the combination of business and government, wrapped in reserve banking, that is the problem. [Emphasis added]

Others might simply say it is wise to keep money out of politics. I take a bit more nuanced approach, but also advocate we grabble with the current money/politics nexus we have. I've advocated for a Constitutional Amendment to essentially provide Congress with the right to regulate campaign cash. I've posted on this before. I don't know it has much chance of passage, but there are organized efforts to do this. I agree with them.

So far as our local situation, I don't get to be the dictator. If there are government/public funds available, and our groups avail themselves of them, I'm not opposed. I think government can do good things, but I'm just really leery of it, given that nexus. I'm sure we will also be looking at non-profits (something empowered by government action) and venture capital (private action), should it be available.

Government action can often get things right, but when capital/corporate influence weaves it's way into the mix it's not uncommon for the mischief to unfold. But I don't think this is because the capital/corporate structure itself is bad. On it's own, with other competitive enterprises, and private property defensible, I think it quite frequently does good things too. But when it obtains force of law by influencing government I think both are compromised, and badly so. Mix in the powerful role of central, reserve banking, and it is an acidic witch's brew, IMO.

Man-Made Particles Affect Hurricane Frequency, Study Finds

Researchers from the UK Met Office created weather simulations covering the period 1860 to 2050. They found that tropical storms were much less frequent during periods when emissions of man-made aerosols increased over the North Atlantic.

"Increases in anthropogenic emissions (particularly of aerosols) through most of the last century is found to have reduced hurricane activity," co-author Ben Booth told AFP. "The cooling impact of man-emitted aerosols may have had a more important regional impact on climate than we previous appreciated."

Conversely, the study found that measures since the 1980s to tackle pollution and improve air quality reduced levels of aerosols — have in turn ramped up hurricane activity.

"The clean-up of industrial aerosols in the last 20 years, while being beneficial for human health and linked to a recovery of African Sahel rains since the 1980s droughts, may have contributed to increases in Atlantic hurricane activity,"

You win some, you lose some.

I didn't see it mentioned that our friend George Mobus (Question Everything) is on the the current Kunstlercast dot com. He seems to be questioning the idea of catabolic collapse; says that there's a lot of tension built up in our systems, mentions 'triggers'. Most of the systems thinkers I know (including myself) agree with this assessment.

Care to explain further? Link?

Go to the Clusterf**K Nation link under the TOD Blogs listing. Then click on the Podcast link within the blog.
The current podcast is the one Ghung is referring to... Enjoy.



Just a note: The TOD link to Kunstlers blog is outdated; now just Kunstler.com

You can start with George's Blog, and for a different perspective predicting similar outcomes I posted this link Saturday. Search for anything recent regarding China's credit bubble (Shanghai Composite lost 5.3% today), or Japan's hopeless situation (second and third largest national economies)...

See Heading Out's post on TOD this weekend regarding social upheaval in many oil producing nations, or check out recent demonstrations in supposedly more stable nations (Turkey, Brazil), mostly related to rising transportation costs or governments/corporations infringing on what are considered 'commons'.

Failed/failing states: Tunisia, Lybia, Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, Somalia, Greece, Sudan/S. Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, much of the rest of central Africa, Pakistan (nuclear weapons, anyone?). India's demographic/population/ecological/energy nightmare....

I could keep going, throw in a little continuing global ecological decline and resource depletion at an unprecidented rate, but I have to go feed the chickens.

I would include Mexico on the list of failing states. Hence the perceived need for a big fence.

Actually Ghung, the examples you give are exactly what catabolic collapse looks like.

Failed/failing states: Tunisia, Lybia, Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, Somalia, Greece, Sudan/S. Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, much of the rest of central Africa, Pakistan (nuclear weapons, anyone?). India's demographic/population/ecological/energy nightmare....

That is a scary list. I think Libya and Iraq have decent prospects but only because they have lots of oil to sell. The rest of those places do seem to be in bad shape or on a decline.

Many of those places could do a lot better if they reduced population growth and replaced much of the local superstition with real education. But sadly, I don't think that is going to happen.

I am going to get relatives in Syria. They want to leave,but can't, since they would be "traitors" and those left behind will be punished. They are christians, so when (not if) the islamists win, they will be punished hard. Maybe even a masacre.

I never expected the situation to become personal to me.

Did I read this right, that you are going to Syria?

"I will get" means my girlfriends mother is from Syria, the father from Lebanon. So when we marry, I will "get" relatives there.

Having large parts of your to-be relatives there sucks...

If it's love, it's worth it.

If it's not love, get out while you can.


This sounds horrific. Best hopes for getting them out of the insane situation...

Take care, JW.

Indeed, very best of luck to and your family!

Wow! Good luck to you sir and godspeed!

We always want "fail soft" systems. Everything breaks eventually, but systems that break by ramping down in response to overload are preferable to abrupt state transitions or systems that spill off into chaos in response to disturbance.

One of my fields of inquiry, a while back, was voice telephony. We want fail soft there. As the traffic builds on Mother's Day, we want bad service for a while before we get collapse. Then we have an opportunity to do something about the bad service: route calls through Cleveland, ration mother-calling suburbanites with time delays, whatever.

Networks that just give a little puke and squeak and freeze up are much scarier to deal with. The whole thing just stops working. The main trunks overload. The voice system uses load shedding (noop, can't call Aurora right now) when that happens. We have decades of experience with load shedding in telephony and in the electrical grid. The great crash of 2008 is the first time I remember national leadership focusing on developing the same crash responses for the financial system.

Networks can become chaotic instead of freezing. Networks that spiral off into chaos are annoying and expensive when it's telephony and the French Revolution when it's a society. I actually saw it induced in a private network because one piece of call routing equipment was programmed to become one-way only at certain traffic levels. This was a design feature that must have seemed reasonable at the time, but unfortunately other pieces of transmission equipment were programmed to do different things in response to heavy traffic. The result was a system that spontaneously developed internal feedback loops and bounced around with parts of it working sporadically. Then it froze up, after driving the users nuts.

BTW there seems to be a lot of evidence converging from multiple sources that Japan is indeed in dire economic straits. Perhaps Kuntsler is correct in suggesting that Japan could be the first industrialized nation to go 'Medieval'.

Edit: The US economy on the other hand is doing just fine... OH JOY!

Based on the outpouring of nostalgia sparked by its demise, Hostess is expecting a blockbuster return next month for Twinkies and other sugary treats, such as CupCakes and Donettes. The company says the cakes will taste the same but that the boxes will now bear the tag line "The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever."

Maybe going medieval might just do Americans a bit of good.

There is such this weird glee that seems to come from people saying things like "Japan go medieval". No. Instead, Japan powers forward by embracing Negawatts with a huge transition to LEDs that helped lighten their electric load and a new surge of solar and wind from generous feed-in tariff.

They've certainly been dealt many blows from neighbors undercutting their manufacturing costs, a crippling Tsunami, missed opportunities in digital electronics, etc. But they are pushing through those difficulties and moving forward. No medieval in their future.

I agree, the Japanese economic czars may have made a mistake in the 90's but the response of the Japanese nation pulling together to counter the double whammy of a serious and destructive tsunami and the parallel shuttering of a third of their electricity supply has been inspirational to watch. Societal straighjackets such as wearing ties in the office in warm weather were cast aside overnight.

Negawatts are a very powerful tool being used at present by people throughout the world as a response to higher energy prices and in most cases Negawatts are cheaper than Megawatts.

Perhaps Pi can weigh in at some point; not sure she shares your optimism. Meanwhile, listen to my second link, above; Kyle Bass' presentation to the Altegris SIC investment conference for a major hedge fund manager's perspective on Japan (restart video from the beginning and pay close attention to what he says about "The psycology of negative outcomes", especially as it may relate to your comment).

Bass' comments on Japan's demographics are also important, IMO (Hint: Japan sold more adult diapers last year than it did baby diapers).

Think systems...

This is a good talk. Very informative about Japan. It was a shame the camera did not show all his slides.

Very interesting discussion about China's new reluctance to buy Japanese goods because of their fighting over some islands with hydrocarbon reserves.

Strange not a single mention of Fukushima though.

There is such this weird glee that seems to come from people saying things like "Japan go medieval".

Medieval just means in the middle or in between. Another way to look at is to be between states or in transition.

To be clear there is no glee from me about this. I also think of going Japan 'going medieval' as more of an economic paradigm shift towards much less complexity. I don't view that as being all bad nor do I think they will be using ox carts in the near future to transport their wares to market. It's just more of a necessary reset to the new economic reality of having less available energy.

During the medieval period, humanity adapted and managed to plod along, even managing some genuine progress. The Japanese have been around for a while, barring massive human die off on a global scale due to some major catastrophe, I expect they will continue with some form of civilization for a while yet.

When I went there in 2002 I had a great time, things could be different now.

But if you pay attention to trends, Japan's been going medieval for awhile. Their housing and stock prices and electronics and car industries peaked a long time ago.

But still things just move on in some form. More evidence of the long emergency.

You are awfully confident of that. Japan is a nation with precious few natural resources, and their economy depends on exporting technology products to other nations - primarily automobiles that require oil to run. Those other nations are broke due to rising energy costs thanks to peak oil, and Japan is facing stiff competition from other countries such as China and South Korea.

Add to that the ongoing Fukushima catastrophe that will ultimately cost them a good deal of their agricultural land area and fisheries (once they face up to it), as well as an enormous price in terms of health care and social problems.

I'm not anticipating that Japan will go medieval any time soon, but I don't quite see that Japan has embraced renewables or negawatts in 2012 at least. Their use of renewables increased only 9% in 2012, and comprised less than 2% of their total energy consumption. While this is not chopped liver, it pales in comparison to Spain's renewables increase of 18% (now 10% of total energy consumption), Italy's increase of 30% (now 7% of total energy consumption) or even the UK's increase of 27% (now 4% of total energy consumption.)

As to negawatts, Japan's overall drop in total energy consumption was less than 1%, compared to Italy's drop of 4.4%, Portugal's drop of 6.1%, Denmark's drop of 7.6%, or even the US drop of 2.8%. Even more troubling, Japan's use of coal increased by nearly 6% in 2012, and their ability to produce their own power other than by burning imported fossil fuels was roughly a third of what it was three years ago. They are in a tough situation any way you look at it.

They are putting in more PV than the US. The biggest groth market for the industry. And the US will probably install 4GW this year, so the bar isn't all that low anymore. It seems like it took them a couple of years to ramp up.

According to BP's 2013 world energy book, megawatts of installed PV in 2012 for major PV-installing countries went like this (high to low)

Germany -- 7604
China -- 5000
US -- 3346
Italy -- 3438
Japan -- 2000
France -- 1032
Australia -- 1000
Greece -- 912
Bulgaria -- 767
India -- 695
UK -- 679

Per capita installed PV capacity in 2012 (megawatts per 100,000 population)
Bulgaria -- 105
Germany -- 95
Greece -- 84
Denmark -- 67
Italy -- 58
Belgium -- 53
Australia -- 43
Austria -- 28
Switzerland -- 25
France -- 16
Japan -- 16
Czech Republic -- 11
UK -- 11
US -- 11
China -- 4

As long as I'm diving into the numbers (and computing things on a per capita basis) some of the results are pretty interesting:

Total cumulative PV installed through 2012 (megawatts)

Germany -- 32643
Italy -- 16241
China -- 8300
US -- 7312
Japan -- 6914
Spain -- 4537
France -- 3692
Belgium -- 2650
Australia -- 2408
Czech Republic -- 2072
UK -- 1655
Greece 1536
India -- 1176
South Korea -- 1064
Bulgaria -- 908
Canada -- 827

total installed PV through 2012 per capita (megawatts/100,000 pop)

Germany -- 406
Italy -- 273
Belgium -- 238
Czech Republic -- 197
Greece -- 142
Bulgaria -- 125
Australia -- 104
Spain -- 96
Denmark -- 70
France -- 56
Japan -- 54
Switzerland -- 51
Austria -- 50
Israel -- 31
UK -- 26
Canada -- 24
US -- 23
South Korea -- 21
Portugal -- 20

If Japan adds 4000 megawatts this year, it'll put them at 86 installed capacity per capita. If the US adds 4000, it'll put us at 36. Germany installed in one year (2012) more PV capacity than the US has installed cumulatively.

Hmm.. Megawatts/100,000=kW/100=10w/person, so Germany has ~4kW per person , USA 230w/person? Just shy of a standard PV panel per person. I lived off grid with 5-55w modules in 1990. My pup "Kilo's" dog house has a new 300W utility panel to shade the South side + run fans and Raychem floor wire with mass for wintertime. A powerful and happy 300 watt dog.

No, it looks like I messed up on my per capita units by an order of ten. It should be megawatts per million. When I do the division correctly, Germany has 406 watts of PV installed per person, not 4.06 kilowatts, and the US has installed 23 watts per person, not 230. Many apologies.

Yeah, that wasn't sounding right. 4.06kw is a typical residential PV array. That would mean a residential home sized array for every person in Germany.

Yeah, that's what tipped me off that I'd botched it.

Makes no shift to the position of the countries in the list: still very interesting. Bulgaria??? Anyway: thanks for diving into the numbers.

Indeed, that would be quite a lot
1 kW installed capacity produces around 800 to 1,000 kWh per year over here in Germany, depending on location. Most of the capacity was installed in the southern parts where 1,000 kWh per kW are not uncommon.

The US would probably have 50% higher production per kW. The Middle East can expect about 2,000 to 2,500 kWh.

Energy production in 2012 for entire Germany:

gross total energy production: 13,645 PJ
total pv: 101 PJ
total solar: 22 PJ
total wind: 166 PJ
total water: 76 PJ (could roughly be doubled, than it's maxed out)
total biomass: 967 PJ (largely corn to biogas and wood stoves)

There's still a long way to go for solar and wind. Biomass and water are mostly maxed out.

And don't forget: Per capita energy use in the US is about double than Germany. And the population is about 3.8x as large... I'm always amazed that so few people in the US realize what a great business opportunity this will be.

Your 13645 PJ is the primary energy demand of Germany in 2011. This is a misleading number as it includes heating of buildings, production losses of conventional power plants, demand of transportation....

The approach is of course to minimize heat demand in buildings, which contributes the highest percentage of the primary energy demand, with better insulation and to replace conventional cars by EVs.

It is even completely out of question to replace the current final energy demand (~8000 PJ) of Germany with renewables. We have to reduce our demand. The bright spot is that reducing demand is easa with available technology.

12 people to fight over every 250 watt panel here in the USA. Got a way to go till 12 panels/head.

300W? That's a pretty big doghouse.

I'll post a pic when it's final. Perhaps a market. 300w panels now common. MAGE 300PL (USA) or Trina (China with Taiwan or US cells) just under 990 x 1980mm. Same width as a 250 w panel - just "taller". 72 cells perfect for 24V charging with a low cost controller. We typically deploy a sealed Phocos 500w CIS-MPPT since it logs production and consumption for months and harvests every last watt hour daily - bout 1.3 kWh here at 30 degrees Lat. Here is image of ONE 300W panel lighting a Zipline Tower with hundreds of super high eff LEDS for 4 hours/night with watt-hours to spare. http://www.micropower.us/ZIPLIGHT1/dsc02763.htm

The chart helps one understand why the market demand growth has been so dismal of late. Most of the big players were EU. Spain, Italy, and Greece are all under a huge austerity squeeze. German PV installation has been flat for a couple of years now. I think it is a deliberate policy to cap the rate of uptake, in order to let the grid catch up. With so many of the big early adopters, missing on two or three cylinders, its going to take a while for the second tier countries to take up the slack.

China's 2013 target is 10GW. And they have more than that in excess PV capacity -so the glut will continue.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who noticed this. Nor Germany's significant increase in hard and soft coal use. Nor the article upthread about what has happened to Spain's renewables industries and jobs.

The costs are still a very significant issue. The FITs seem to skew the markets pretty badly, e.g. cost of electricity to industry vs consumer in Germany.

We somehow need to get the renewables to a more cost-effective point from the short-term view. Very short term view. Getting rid of the various hard and soft subsidies the fossils receive would go a long way, but we have a government-business complex here in the U.S. that makes it tough. Mebbe the Japanese can see a way through that, but their government-business nexus, and most of the world's, is modeled on the U.S.

Tricky business, that.

I understand there is a lot of energy investment required upfront for renewable power. With an EROEI of 10:1 and a life expectancy of 30years a renewable power station needs 3 years of average energy output invested upfront.
For the world to transition to renewables 100% would require 100% of all current FF energy output to be invested in renewable power for the next three years. That's just unpossible, since society would have to function without any energy for 3 years. I would say we could maybe, possibly but not very likely invest 10% of current energy consumption into renewables which means it would just take 30 years. IF we started to day. That's not happening, but a minimum period for a renewable future seems to be 30 years.
That doesn't take into account the need for equality, to get the rest of the world up to a US level of energy consumption per capita would require a fourfold increase in energy production, AT current population levels. So for an equal society, it's gonna take over 100 years to get there. Population is still projected to hit 9.6 billion by 2050, a mere 36.5 years away.

Cost is a part of the picture, but you can finance the cost, which changes the price, so far there is no financing available that allows us to borrow energy from the future, and pay it back with interest. Japan, without any significant energy of it's own, to invest is actually going to really struggle to get the 'energy return.'

You're touching on areas I've grappled with for some time now, and which my past posts have at least mentioned in passing. How quickly, and how much material, will it take to build out renewables to a sufficient level. I don't have the answer to that. Your numbers look reasonable, but I'm sure they could be challenged by some here - mostly because just about everything gets challenged here. That's why there's a here here ;)

Every time I think I've got some conceptual handle on a way things might work out some new thing pops up, or I remind myself of some old thing I'd conveniently gone into denial about (the climate impact delay caused by the thermal properties of the oceans being one I ranted about a couple of DBs ago, and mentioned by others independently recently). It's an exercise in frustration.

So far as the population and energy consumption go, I suppose I've got some vague hope we can turn the exponential function problem to a down slope rather than an up one. Taomom cites energy use decreases of a few percent here and there in this DB. If we could keep that up over time we could see doubling times that are actually beneficial rather than insane. Population is increasing at a decreasing rate, but I doubt we'll see the curve bend downwards too soon there. Still, if we can ramp down energy and focus on quality and durability, and see a drive away from a gonzo consumer society to a more moderate one, one knows?

I suppose anything is possible. He said, having watched the investment/hedge fund guru I think it was Ghung recommended the other day. Jeez. Well, that problem is at least entirely of human creation, isn't itself real, in the sense our money is not tied to anything physical, and it doesn't consume much energy (other than the data centers those geniuses run their looney algorithms on). So mebbe we can figure out how to actually fix it. Mebbe Japan will precipitate us finally taking that bull by the horns. Mebbe it'll be what finally wakes us up to the fact we need a steady-state economy, and all the paradigms that will require we create.

Who knows. I think I'll have some Scotch now. ;)

We use 'we' alot here, often when there is none. Anytime there is even a perception of a created surplus, someone finds a way of exploiting it. Even when we are in deficit, there are those who will create a fiat surplus, profit from it and stick society with the bill. If "we' could purge our societies of socioapthy, psychopathy and greed, then 'we' stand a chance of solving some of these problems, adapting to predicaments. Problem is, the sociopaths have the clear advantage, and the majority of the rest is apathetic for the most part.

Some comments here nickle and dime renewable solutions while giving BAU a pass. As I've said before, I've never worried about payback from our PV systems; not financially. It just seemed like the right thing to do (for a number of reasons). I'll keep my inner sociopath in check for when the pitchforks come out, for a time when society's apathy turns to anger. Meanwhile, I'll seek to be more reliant on what I consider much less corruptable systems.

It isn't the top-down solutions that I don't trust; it's their potential for exploitation; a virtual certainty in today's world. A personal investment in far less corruptable systems seems like a bargain. Starve the beasts, one garden, one PV system, one footstep at a time.


One of the poorest counties in Tennessee (not far from me) is going to manufacture electricity on its schools' rooftops. Given that we get about two days of sunshine for every three of clouds and rain (this year, especially), I wonder how good an idea this is. It will cost them more to use the solar electricity than to sell it, apparently, so they will continue buying their electricity while selling the PV power. Seems a bit odd to me. But.... They see this as income for the school district, which has has struggled for years to keep its buses running and even its doors open. I can't help but wonder whether some fast-talkers have "sold" them this idea, and I wonder about the financing and who is going to really "profit" from this. Am I just too "skeptical" these days, seeing the shadows of evil "financial services" sociopaths around every corner?

Not what I know the most about.

1. What percentages of production occur when it is cloudy, rain, etc.?

2. Is partial production still positive, neutral or negative?

There might be positive benefits that are not economic. The first decent sized wind generator (for the time) in Winnebago County, Iowa was done at a school. There was student involvement in getting wind readings, setting up spreadsheets and analysis of costs and benefits, research into models available, etc. etc. From what I heard, it was quite empowering to those students involved and also to those less involved.

There has to be some economic value to empowering youth to research and co-partner in development of an energy system, if only for researching a new niche. We have to give our children some hope and dreams for the future. If it is worthwhile to spend money for research facilities (like the SEFOR breeder reactor in Arkansas) etc., etc., etc. - I postulate that it might be worthwhile to try test cases involving our youth in real world activities and not playing video games. We do expend money for social values for our youth, baseball, drama, music and debate clubs. That should also be part of the debate and considerations of the merits and demerits of school programs like the above proposed.

The other thing that springs to mind is the restrictions on local development of solar and wind by some (very powerful politically) power companies that have vested themselves into nuclear and or other traditional developments. Southern Company, especially in southern Georgia springs to my mind. Reading in between the lines of the drumbeat article on a school in southern Georgia doing a similar project - to me it appeared to be the only way possible to do an end run around Southern Energy's subsidiary Georgia Power heavy handed policies. Who is the regional utility and what have they done with PV and wind is a question that should be asked.

Today is the first day of tomorrow. This day represents entities coming together to work toward a common goal and to break the ice for solar in Georgia. I am proud to be here in Dublin today.”

from another source.Google it. Speaker is Lauren “Bubba” McDonald.

From a user post by raxormon to the June 21 drumbeat


Granted, my example of an example in Iowa from over a decade ago is wind and the up top is about solar pv, the skills and dreams we give our children give benefits we need to survive that can cross generations.




Maybe they get a "bargain" price on purchasing electricity, and a premium price for selling "green" electricity -and perhaps some tax breaks? Perhaps if they consumed the juice, they'd lose those (artificial) benefits?

This is termed "Buy All, Sell All" and is generally to take advantage of green energy credits (at a premium), as you note.

My college is considering doing this as a money-making proposition as well. The profit is made not on the power itself, but on renewable energy credits that are generated, which can be sold for much more than the power is worth.

The dollars and cents depend on the vagaries of state and federal law: I don't know if it works in Kentucky, but it's a definite win here in Massachusetts.

When I installed my PV system in 2009, the renewable energy credits in PA were around $300 a MW. Now they are $20 if you are lucky enough to sell them. NJ's were up around $700 and also down quite low. There has been so much PV installed relative to the mandates that the REC market is overwhelmed. It will take a few years to have them gain some value if PV installs are slow.

Anyone considering solar should consider the variability of the REC market. It's not a slam dunk.

The $15 monthly electric bills sure are nice. That's PP&L base price...their customer charge went went up around $5 this year and I bet will go up in future years more and more.

"A personal investment in far less corruptable systems seems like a bargain. Starve the beasts, one garden, one PV system, one footstep at a time."

You are a poet sir. If ever you follow Rock, Ron, & the rest, please leave a 'forwarding address'. And if you ever find yourself in Baja Arizona, you have a place to stay & chat (it's a long bike ride from your neck of the woods though; I don't ever expect to find myself that far afield again).


Gosh,, thanks Desert. I hope to get back to the Southwest in the next couple of years. My wife has never been there and would like to go before it's too late. Also, I, for one, would never jump ship without letting the community know. I feel we owe each other at least that small bit of respect.

This is in the list of reasons why I like EVs. It nips at the heels of the oil industry which has for so long manipulated nations across the globe. Some may say that it instead empowers coal - but that's what PV is for.

I admit to using "we" here along with everyone else. It just seems natural, I guess, but it is also indicative of a fundamental perspective. "We" are the people. In a democracy, "we" ought to be able to do something about the sociopaths, the psychopaths, and the greedy. And I think "we" can.

Will we? I have no idea. In my long years of ruminating on the ills of humanity I've determined I would like individuals to make as many of the decisions about their lives as they can. I happen to think a free market, capitalism, private property, commodity money, and peace are the best ways to allow the individual to do this. I try very hard to distinguish between what we have now, and what those terms all mean to me.

We don't have free markets. We have controlled markets. Frequently controlled by the sociopaths. We don't have capitalism, we have crony capitalism. Again, dominated by the psychopaths. We don't have the protection of private property, we have the protection of private property if you happen to be one of the sociopaths in charge. We don't have commodity money, we have fiat paper, which can be inflated at will to destroy the savings of those who have worked hard to accumulate it. And we certainly don't have peace. We have, instead, endless war, of one form or another.

I don't think it wise to believe government can solve all these ills, because we've allowed government to be taken over by these psychopaths. This has been facilitated by that fiat money, and by our unwillingness, individually and collectively, to insist the money be both sound, and not be allowed to influence law. See my note on the Constitution, above.

So far as awaiting the collapse, I fear the collapse more than I fear a great many things. For with the population levels we have, as the winnowing process begins, and the selection process takes hold, those who will seek me out, and you out, will not be the neighbors we know, or easygoing city folk, or even a lazy welfare recipient.

No. The folk who will come after us will be selected for cunning, strength, agility, stealth, and ruthlessness. They will have risen to the top against millions of their competitors. You will not see them coming. You will not know they are there. You will never know what hit you. You will simply be no more.

"We" should work as diligently as possible to avoid that dystopian future. If "we" fail, might I suggest you keep your last shell for yourself?

Your use of 10:1 as fixed in time is questionable. I think modern wind and PV does a lot better than that. But, we will need other things to integrate it -like longer transmission, more storage etc., so maybe not.
But 30 years is in the ballpark for other reasons anyway.

The minimum time to transition the world to 100% renewable energy while keeping the system running is 40 years because any less time would require shutting exiting power stations or wells before they are worn out which would encounter tremendous resistance from investors and owners.

A large amount of energy is needed to construct power plants, explore for fossil fuels and drill wells. 10% to 20% of the energy in gasoline is used to refine and transport it to market. Coal and natural gas are 33% and 40% efficient when generating electricity while PV and wind are essentially 100% because the sunlight and wind are free. While the old energy sources are diminished the input energy needed for them is eliminated. Lighting and refrigeration are becoming more energy efficient. What is the ERoEI on taking a scrap piece of cardboard, cutting it to size, taping aluminum foil to it and inserting it between the window screen and glass to keep sunlight out of the window during summer? Or the ERoEI of an awning or appropriately placed tree? An air conditioner is probably the least efficient way of dealing with heat. A conversion to renewables would likely be accompanied by improvements in efficiency. A simple analysis based on ERoEI is insufficient to encompass all of these variables.

I think the Japanese are actually pretty resilent. They aren't likely to turn on each other in response to an external shock, but rather pull together.

They will be fine, there's too much pessimism on Japan. After seeing the calm lines in front of grocery stores in the aftermath of the Tsunami I am convinced that they will pull through anything. Can't say the same thing for the rest of us.

Japan will do better than many places with more obvious advantages. Social cooperation is hugely important in a crisis, and Japan has more of it than anywhere I've visited or lived. They also have other important strengths. Engineering talent in Japan is wide and deep. Infrastructure is generally well built and should last a long time, in relative terms. Japan can function on much less power than is currently used. Witness the recent shutting down of their entire nuclear power industry. And although there would be a real price in comfort (and health for the frail) much of Japan is livable without any substantial heating or cooling. The inverted pyramid of Japanese demographics lends itself to stability, and long-term sustainability. Much better, though not without its challenges, than an exploding population of young people. The elderly of Japan give a calm and intelligent vibe to the country. They know an awful lot, and are more of an asset than sometimes people realize.

The very high levels of government debt are arguably more of a social problem than a existential threat. The vast majority is help by Japanese citizens, and ultra low interest rates makes the carrying cost (what in the end matters most) manageable. Foreign debt matters more, in many ways. That's what brings the ever helpful folks from the IMF to your door.

"Social cooperation is hugely important in a crisis, and Japan has more of it than anywhere I've visited or lived."

Since no one is coming out and identifying the elephant in this room here it is: Japan is racially homogenous. In times of crisis that makes things monumentally easier.

The only thing holding Japan together is money printing on a scale double that of the US.

So, I guess that means would could double our debt from where it is now and we'd be no worse off than the Japanese are right now?

I don't think that would be a good idea but it kinda shows that the people screaming about debt destroying us are a bit off base.

The Japanese debt is mostly held by the people of Japan in postal savings accounts. So it is the people owing themselves. For the US a lot is foreign or corporate owned, so its not as friendly. But, yes, as long as interest rates are low, interest payments on government debt are quite manageable. At current interest rates it would make sense for the government to borrow (print?) and build assets that provide a return on capital greater than the interest rate. [Which doesn't mean giving the money away -or spending it on military adventures]

National debt is often dismissed by saying a nation "owes it to itself", but that's not helpful. Japan's still got to pay what it owes: if it doesn't, all those postal savings accounts become worthless, and millions of elderly Japanese retirees go hungry.

Cynically speaking, if you're planning to forfeit a national debt, make sure it's a debt you owe to some other country. Preferably one with a terrible army.

Japan's still got to pay what it owes: if it doesn't, all those postal savings accounts become worthless, and millions of elderly Japanese retirees go hungry.

No. The elderly Japanese retirees go hungry only if they all try to withdraw money quickly and you stop paying them. Much of the debt is held by very wealthy people and thus represents excess wealth, not critical needs.

Countries don't often default on national debt (although it does happen) but instead they have inflation which then makes the debt payments easier.

I will have to wait until later to watch the podcast; meanwhile I remain ambivalent about catabolic collapse. I thought Greer made a good case for it in last week's Archdruid Report. Quite a cogent discussion there.

Perhaps wishful thinking though. I will see what GM said that makes Kunstler deem him as more doomerish that he himself claims to be.


I listened to a few of KunstlerCast's episodes in succession and Mobus' was one of them. I suspect that you can still have fractal collapse in an orca-fin kind of way. Fractals are funny things and 3D geo programs apparently use them to render cliffs for example.

Explosion of Super Greenhouse Gases Expected Over Next Decade

China and India are expected to release vast amounts of the chemical hydroflourocarbon-23 (HFC-23) into the atmosphere, causing global greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket, according to a new report launched today by the Environmental Investigation Agency. HFC-23, a by-product in the production of a chemical (HCFC-22) primarily used in air conditioning and refrigeration, is 14,800 times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide (CO2).

EIA investigators have discovered that many Chinese and Indian facilities, despite having destruction technology readily available, are releasing or threatening to emit the by-product unless they receive additional financing to dispose of the chemicals. Plants that produce HCFC-22 in other developing countries could also do the same. If this happens, it would cause the release of more than two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e ) into the atmosphere by 2020, more than one-quarter of China’s annual CO2 emissions.

Destruction of HFC-23 is extremely cheap, however refrigerant companies have made billions of dollars in windfall profits from the sale of carbon credits, maximized through manipulation of HCFC-22 and HFC-23 production levels. In response, the European Emissions Trading Scheme – the world’s largest carbon market – banned the trade of HFC-23 credits as of May 1, 2013. Other carbon markets have followed suit, resulting in the collapse of the HFC-23 credit market.

2013 Report: TWO BILLION TONNE CLIMATE BOMB: How to Defuse the HFC-23 Problem 1.2MB pdf

An extreme case is Gujarat Fluorochemicals Limited (GFL), India’s largest HCFC producer, that reported revenues from CERs of about US$175 million (about €134 million) in the financial year 2012, compared to revenues from refrigerant sales of only US$14.4 million (approximately €11 million). Therefore, in 2012, a staggering 93.4% of GFL revenues from the fluorochemical business were as a result of selling HFC-23 carbon credits, with just 6.6% of the revenues from the sale of the refrigerants themselves.

from 2011 analysis: China’s greenhouse gas vent threat in bid to extort billions

In a shocking attempt to blackmail the international community, Xie Fei, revenue management director at the China Clean Development Mechanism Fund, threatened: “If there’s no trading of [HFC-23] credits, they’ll stop incinerating the gases” and vent them directly into the atmosphere. In an interview with Bloomberg News, given at the Carbon Forum Asia in Singapore last week, Xei Fei claimed he spoke for “almost all the big Chinese producers of HFCs” who “can’t bear the cost” and maintain that “they’ll lose competitiveness”.

China’s claim belies the fact that HFC-23 can be destroyed for just €0.17 per CO2e tonne. The destruction of one CO2e tonne generates one Certified Emission Reduction (CER) under the CDM, which historically has been sold on carbon markets at an average price of €12 — 70 times the actual cost of destroying HFC-23.

You know . . . they basically sound like James Bond (or Austin Powers) villains. If you don't pay me 1 billion dollars, I'll destroy the atmosphere! Muhahahaha!

They're just selling their product for the highest price that the market will bear...

Now I officially give up.

Welcome to the "Oh Hell, they are that insane" club.

You may like to revise and refine your plans in the understand of what our future trajectory looks like.

Spiralling into the ground with the spiral cut out.


Therefore, in 2012, a staggering 93.4% of GFL revenues from the fluorochemical business were as a result of selling HFC-23 carbon credits, with just 6.6% of the revenues from the sale of the refrigerants themselves.

So then they are not really a refrigerant manufacturer, they are a tertiary economy financial abstraction. How different from the rest of the industrial manufacturers is that really? Sounds kind of like building houses during the mortgage bubble - the houses were irrelevant.

I'm not sure about the threat though - would their corporation even exist anymore on just the 6.6% part?

It is a really blatant example of what our entire industrial society represents - so much of it is simply financial tricks of no real benefit and with much negative effect.

Honestly, the problem here is not that the chemical companies are evil. Well, they are, but they're developing-world chemical companies, what do you expect? When the fox finds a gap in the henhouse fence and eats all the chickens, don't blame the fox.

The EU's carbon credit system is broken: it creates hideous perverse incentives, and their efforts to regulate it just create even more perverse incentive. Don't get me wrong, it's a worthy goal, but the basic problem is that paying someone to do something good is very different than paying someone to *not* do something bad: the two shouldn't be valued on the same market.

For all of human history, we've used both the carrot and the stick. If you try to encourage good behavior with just carrots and no sticks, you run out of carrots.

The capitalist/industrial/debt-based financial system is broken: it creates hideous perverse incentives, and our efforts to save it just create even more perverse incentives.

Honestly, how can one look at what our first world companies are doing and claim that somehow it's a developing-world issue?

" When the fox finds a gap in the henhouse fence and eats all the chickens, don't blame the fox."

No, I blame the idiots who didn't design a proper fence. But the governments are in collusion with the foxes.

we must never expect corporations to do the right thing. They are sociopathic entities. Something needs to change wrt corporate law.

And the discussion goes on.

I would maintain corporations, capitalism, and business are not inherently sociopathic. On their own, in a competitive environment where property rights are defensible and there is real risk of profit and loss, greed would be checked by fear.

It is the combination of business and government, wrapped in reserve banking, that is the problem. These incentives were not created by a free market. They are government programs! Government programs unduly influenced by the very business interests which benefitted from the government program! The government element gives them force of law, which trumps the market every time.

This is a classic case. The chemical manufacturers would be making the chemicals and destroying the waste product (or better still using it for something else through additional processing, which would in turn generate more profit). One class action suit against a manufacturer, based on strict liability, would have provided the incentive to deal with the waste.

Instead, in the interest of doing the right thing, governmental programs have created an incentive to, well, hold the government hostage!

Separate commerce and state!

I know, I know. Tilting at windmills again.

I would maintain corporations, capitalism, and business are not inherently sociopathic.

The movie "The Corporation" uses cited research. Please feel free to watch, look at the research and see if you have some answers there.

On their own, in a competitive environment where property rights are defensible and there is real risk of profit and loss

But that is not the world we exist in, is it?

It is the combination of business and government, wrapped in reserve banking, that is the problem.

You do not touch on the court system - the place where "rights are defensible". What is your plan on keeping the Judges and people in court honest?

Very well!

The movie "The Corporation" uses cited research. Please feel free to watch, look at the research and see if you have some answers there.

Haven't seen the movie. Did a quick look at the Wikipedia article, but before I delve in on it in particular I'll see if I can't get a copy to watch. Mebbe Netflix, which frequently has good documentaries. The article looks to provide some significant fodder for discussion from the libertarian point of view, but again, I have to watch it.

But that is not the world we exist in, is it?

Correct, it is not. Much of the discussion here focuses on the fact the world needs to change. Exactly how, well, that's the debate, now isn't it?

You do not touch on the court system - the place where "rights are defensible". What is your plan on keeping the Judges and people in court honest?

The current court system is part of the government-commerce nexus I advocate be separated. Their honesty and independence have been compromised by the same collusive force which has compromised the legislative and executive.


It is very easy to say that government should not be involved in commerce, but the reason government is involved is because perfectly competitive capitalism only exists in Econ 101. The capitalist economy is not a self regulating system. In fact, the strong belief of many people that everything would be better if the government was less involved is what led to a roll back of banking regulation in the eighties and eventually led to the crash of 2008.

Then there is the myth that if businesses had to worry about "real losses", they would behave, how did that work out in the Great depression?
Not very well.



Comments appreciated. Just real quick, I think there is a narrative here which you have not yet tapped into, but which you might find, well, interesting, at any rate.

The Myth of the Free Market Cartel

It's quite short, just a bit over five minutes. Just some food for thought. Murray Rothbard is probably my favorite modern day historian/philosopher. Used to teach out of UNLV.

This is obviously just an introduction to this overall narrative. This was not what I was taught, in either high school or college. I've since delved into his research, and have yet to find serious flaws in his historiography. Obviously his economics doesn't jive well with modern day thought, so if you refer to Samuelson for your Econ 101 (or Krugman, or DeLong), this might not sit too well, but it all might still be worth at least five minutes or so.


Shame on India and China for this form of blackmail and shame on those Western companies that bought the bogus carbon credits. As for the carbon trading middle men they are just parasites. Countries regarded as 'developing' or Kyoto Annex II can sell these credits. In my opinion Afghanistan is a developing country not China. It seriously calls into question the genuine-ness of claims to introduce carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes in China and India. Maybe it is all a smokescreen to play the West for suckers.

Carbon credits based on emissions less-than-otherwise are a recipe for fraud. Simply inflate the 'otherwise' entitlement and you inflate the credit. Apart from refrigerant gases another example is methane flaring. Burn the gas instead of venting it and you get a credit to sell to say a cement works. The system should really work so the cheapest option is re-injection underground, not flaring. My guess if the use of carbon credits in the last decade was audited against tough criteria it could turn out to be one of the biggest scams of all time.

This is why I favor carbon taxes instead of cap & trade systems. Although I believe that theoretically a cap & trade system would be better, there is just too much room for manipulation and fraud in them. This is an example. And some group claiming they are planting trees in South America to offset carbon . . . how do you know if they are really doing it?

Any time you set up a complicated trading regime, there will be someone to manipulate it through fraud.

I was thinking the same thing, that carbon taxes remove a lot of the legal framework and potential fraud associated with cap & trade. But not all of it.

In theory, taxing this situation is easy: declare a CO2 equivalence for emitting HFC-23, and when the coolant gas is sold, assess a tax based on the amount of HFC-23 that was emitted during manufacture.

But who's going to assess the tax? This stuff isn't being imported into the US or EU: it's being made in China and India for Chinese and Indian consumers. So far these nations have not been champing at the bit for regulations that limit their own growth.

But suppose some developing nations could be cajoled into setting up a carbon tax system. Say I'm a carbon tax assessor in Thailand, and a shipment of ten tons of Chinese HCFC-22 arrives on the dock. How much carbon tax do I charge? Well, I dunno. How much HFC-23 was produced at the factory as a by-product? Was that stuff destroyed, or vented into the atmosphere? Can I be sure the factory staff aren't lying to me about destroying it?

In the end, I face the same problems of fraud and verification that I would with a cap-and-trade system, with the additional disadvantage that the developed world can't offer incentives to the developing world to reduce emissions. There's no carrot, only a stick, and it's a voluntary stick.

IEA sees growth of natural gas in power generation slowing over next 5 years

... While the report foresees the share of gas in the global primary energy mix rising and while total gas demand is expected to rise to nearly 4,000 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2018 from 3,427 bcm in 2012, gas faces challenges in all the major geographic regions. In the United States, in the absence of policy constraints on coal-fired plants, recovering gas prices will prompt coal to regain some of its share of the power market, putting US greenhouse-gas emissions from the power sector back on a growing track. Europe sees only a weak and partial recovery due to the Eurozone crisis and low carbon prices. Gas exports from the Middle East decline amid runaway domestic demand growth – especially in the power sector.

Enbridge says Alberta oil lines still shut after spill

Major oil Canadian pipelines that move almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of Alberta oil sands crude, much of it bound for the United States, remained shut on Monday after a spill on a smaller line was discovered on the weekend, a spokesman for operator Enbridge Inc said.

The 345,000 bpd Athabasca pipeline, which carries dilbit blended crude to the Hardisty terminal in Alberta, and the Waupiso line, which can carry up to 600,000 bpd depending on crude viscosity, to Edmonton, Alberta, were both shut. An Enbridge spokesman said on Monday he was unable to give a timetable for resuming flows.

In Moving US Oil, 'Flexible' Rail Bests Pipelines

When shipping crude across the country, it's a common assumption that pipelines are quicker and more efficient than ground transport. Energy market experts, however, say the reverse is true: Rail moves crude at a faster pace than pipelines.

"Pipeline is the cheapest way" to transport oil, Charles Blanchard, fossil fuels analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a recent interview. However, "there's another argument that says rail is more flexible," which is important for the shale market, because shale formation output tends to drop off quickly. Those producers need to move their oil now, while their wells are still pumping big volume.

I've been reading this site for a good while now, and consider myself well up to date and convinced about our current energy predicament. Considering the rare gathering on this site of a large number of well-informed and thoughtful people, I would really very much appreciate your thoughts on my question. What formation would you suggest to a young person (such as me? -- 20 y.o.), knowing he's particularly able with computers, besides engineering?

Currently being in this situation, I find myself contemplating a formation in IT, since that's my main area of interest and skill. But I can't convince myself this would be a good decision, based on all the information I read about our economic reality. Such skills might be in high demand now, but what's its practical value?

I live in a country (Belgium) which is still faring quite well, and might be a candidate for a slower collapse. Besides studying, which would be my main occupation, I do intend on developing more practical skills (currently keeping bees, fixing bicycles, keeping a vegetable garden and really volunteering for any kind of practical work I can find).

Hi pantarei, I have a son roughly your age who is very good in math and science and also with everything related to computers. I suggested to him that he would probably do well in any engineering course of his choice. I don't see the need for IT skills disappearing anytime soon either. I think your plan for developing practical skills in all the areas you mention, an excellent idea as well. Sounds like you are on the right track already. The only thing I'd suggest is try to keep your options open and be ready for change. Right now making predictions is very difficult, especially about the future... >;-)

If I could rewind about 10 years and do a reboot of my degree..."Mechatronics."

Others here will probably disagree...but if you really love IT, it's probably as good a field as any.

Stuart Staniford, who was one of the most influential writers here TOD in its earlier days, is very much peak oil aware, and has multiple degrees and could basically work in any field he wants. He chose to work for FireEye, an Internet security company. He currently has his own blog here, where he writes about both peak oil and cybersecurity.

From things he's said in his posts...he thinks we have not yet reached "peak social control," and that peak oil will mean more government monitoring and control. Looking pretty prophetic after that NSA stuff.

Agreed. IT can teach one to think systemically, especially if one doesn't over-specialize. It also forces one to constantly re-educate one's self.

I suggest having other vocations or hobbies not related to one's primary field. Learn to weld or do pottery/art, gunsmithing perhaps, or volunteer for emergency medical stuff.

Avoid over-specialization. Have a "Plan B" passion.

FMagyar / Leanan >>
What would you recommend pantarei - if he basically wrote all the same thoughtful comment - but substituted one sentence namely that :: "he is from Greece and all his older friends very skilled in IT were unemployed on the 5th year - ongoing "? (knowing that 60+ % this age group is out of work)

A : Move to Belgium ?

My take is it is almost impossible to advice anyone anything these days- apart from watch all "Doomsday Peppers" and pick your "favorite method" when finished / snark

Hey paal,

To be fair he did say he was in Belgium. My own son is in Florida. BTW, if you read to the bottom of my comment this is how it ends:

The only thing I'd suggest is try to keep your options open and be ready for change. Right now making predictions is very difficult, especially about the future... >;-)

That advice should work for my friends and relatives in Europe, my son in the US and even myself currently down in Sao Paulo Brazil. For the record I myself was laid off in 2008 and have had to keep reinventing myself over and over again ever since. Some of my friends and peers haven't been able to that. Being flexible and able to think critically and logically hasn't hurt me yet...



FMagyar / Leanan >>
I'm not sure you recognized it- but I made a whole new scenario in placing "him" in Greece - instead of Belgium - where a completely different framework is in play - obvious for all to see : spiraling down on all measures. "Go ahead with IT in Greece" , I dont know ... what about get "an apprentice job on a farm" instead ?

If the southern European economic disease is infectious and spreading - its not that far to Belgium after all

paal, I got it that you created a whole new scenario by placing him in Greece. I also think that everywhere in the world is heading towards that scenario at an accelerating rate.

I could still certainly imagine a scenario where relatively unsophisticated computer technology coupled with hydroponic and aquaponic additions to a full permaculture agricultural ecosystem could use some IT savvy help. I think we will need local smart farms, so learning how to farm, understanding physics, chemistry, biology, math, electronics, plumbing, systems thinking etc... will still be useful. Just saying.

I'm also betting that as the paradigm changes we will be allocating resources away from those industries that don't add real value. Manufacturing computer chips makes a lot more sense than a lot of other things we waste energy on. I'm going to bet that Greece is going to continue using computers. The word Hydroponics comes from Greek!

Granted we could all be dead soon too.



My advice would be the same. Though I might add, "Don't go into debt for this."

"Though I might add, "Don't go into debt for this."

For someone, starting from zero, wishing to get into IT (from the US or with a US-like educational system) right now - what appears to be the least-cost and most viable system right now is to get a basic (2 year) Associates Degree in something IT related, and then pick up Certifications in the specific field (like CompTIA certs or Microsoft, Cisco, etc). The certifications can be done by self-study while working.

I don't know anything about Belgium, but in much of Europe it appears college is free, just like elementary school here. Though I'd guess you have to qualify somehow.

Nothing lasts forever but some things can take more than a lifetime... I'd say any possible collapse will take many decades to play out, certainly much longer than my personal planning horizon. I wouldn't be letting such eventuality influence my current decisions, if I were you I'd choose whatever I feel will be best for me currently. Then even if things totally change we people are quite adaptive animals, much more than we think we are I believe. For example my home country went through an economic collapse and I know a number of people that totally changed fields - engineers, doctors even lawyers becoming sales people, economists, farmers etc... happens all the time, nothing so special about it.

Of the replies so far I lean towards this one. I too was laid off, from an aerospace firm in in the early 1990's. With the Cold War over seems we didn't need all those weapon systems. (Well, it seemed that way back then, anyway).

I had worked as a process and procedure writer, documenting various business and technical systems, when the axe fell. I'd started to dabble in computers, did some additional training (formal and self. Mostly self ;), and wound up employed at a payroll company, installing, maintaining, and supporting both a particular piece of payroll software and the various systems at the branch.

Switched (this time voluntarily) to a software development firm, where again, I do the systems administration, but nearly everyday on some different type of system. Windows? Fine, today is Windows. Linux? Fine, today is Linux. WordPress, MySQL, Apache, and some persnickity PHP? Fine, we'll work on those today. What? Windows - again! (Grrrr). Fine, Windows again.

The point is adaptability and resilience, a common theme here. I would expect you will go through more than one profession in your lifetime, as others have pointed out. I'm 51, and can easily see having to switch again. If necessary, fine, I'm on it. You should be too. Maximize your flexibility.

Now, what was that I was saying to myself about electrical wiring, PV, insulation, and chalking the other day? Oh yeah. Insulation and chalking sound cheaper for now. None of the blasted things sound particularly easy. Then again, nothing ever is :D

I totally agree and I think with your experience you could diversify even further from your field if needed... I think market economy and large corporations tend to put too much value in narrow specialization. But that's only typical corporate short term thinking, things change and some things change very quickly... I'd say flexibility is probably the only skill worth investing in the long run, everything else will likely be gone in the long run.

Are you sure about this? Maybe now things happen twice as fast....maybe you will be smack dab in the middle of collapse...hard to say... We all want nice peaceful easy slow collapse but unfortunately that is not how they tend to go...countries are already showing independence from the U.S.,look at how embarrassing the whole snowden thing is...It is every country for themselves and the hell with the rest.

Some strong arguments have been made that western society has been undergoing collapse for decades. The US has been losing ground on many fronts, but we compensate in ways we often don't see in real time; call it growth. Is this a normal process; constantly 'fixing' things we shouldn't have broken in the first place?

As for the Snowden thing, I think the National security issue most are missing is that we (our government, actually) has done a fine job of burning whatever social capital and support we may have had left in the west. I was reading some of the comments from articles in the UK and EU which said exactly that. One Guardian article (yesterday) had a long thread of comments where vitually everyone was in agreement; the US has moved too far into an Orwellian state. We wear our hypocracy as a badge of honor. Not so funny that, coming from folks in the UK.

Of course I can't be sure about anything... But trying to think in historical terms I, just like Ghung tend to think that the West and US in particular have been already in decline for decades now, at least since the 1970s. This is 4 decades, already two generations witnessing the slow erosion of the fundamentals our society has been built upon. The process is so gradual and subtle that it is impossible for the casual observer within to call it "collapse", more over it is periodically obscured by a few "good years" now and then.
Personally I don't expect anything to interrupt this pattern in the observable future, I just don't see any particular reason why should it. I do understand peoples desire for a quick change, and how this makes catastrophic thinking attractive, but IMO it is in the nature of the processes involved to develop in a glacial pace. That's not to say there is nothing to worry about - more to the contrary, the slow speed things are developing is making it further impossible to proactively change course.

I think of I.T. as being like writing or publishing. It gets used everywhere. One smart strategy might be to focus less on the very generic aspects like installing printer drivers etc., and more on specific domains. You can use I.T. as a ticket to get into a variety of domains that might be quite valuable in the future... of course, an ability to predict the future is always useful! But for example take a look at "smart agriculture".


with a minor in SCADA security.

I am an old geezer and haven't much time left, but I have an immortality concept to the effect that the next ones in line are actually just another variant of me, so I or equivalent just keep a'going. which means I should be doing what I (they) would want done

So, I think of you as myself at 20. Wow! what an opportunity. So here's what I would do (which I sort of did in fact do, but without any thinking about it)

Follow what you like. Learn as much as you can about the basics of it. Don't get too specialized ( what use is detail on how to make a rocket nozzle when rockets have gone out of style?)

Take a look around and ask- what is it that really needs to be done? (My own answer is- anything that gets us a non-cooked planet) and then do it, within your own range of talents and inclinations. This is guaranteed to keep you busy, as well as pleased with yourself.

Keep it simple. Lots of really good things to do are almost trivially simple, but people don't do them because they haven't noticed the opportunity. The really good stuff I have done always elicited the response "damn, that's obvious, why didn't I do it!"

And, most important- don't put too much weight on advice like this-from anybody- think for yourself.

I'm 23 y/o and graduated with a B.Sc. in computer science/informatics last spring and have been working for 1.5 yearz in Aug. My gross salary is increasing by 16% from July 1st. The number of employees in the division where I work has increased 20% in the last year. I know this can't be kept up for long. Lose a few big contracts and 100s will go on unemployment benefits (66% of last year's gross pay for a year at most). IT is useful if one can get hired by the .gov or .mil in some sort of indispensable position, so make a go at that. That's my plan.

As many others have said, prepare to be flexible and change what you do.

When I was your age, I was in my final year of a degree in geology and geophysics, which has served me reasonably well as a career for many years.

But I had also developed many other, unrelated, skills by the time I was thirty. I was a proficient carpenter, and could use and maintain most hand and power tools safely, I could repair most problems with automobiles, including engine overhauls (I think my high point was replacing the clutch on a Landrover, singlehanded, in the middle of the Simpson Desert), I could operate a bulldozer, weld metal (oxy or electric), repair shoes and boots, build or repair fences (wood and wire), cook, wash clothes, darn socks, sail a boat (including one 1200 mile voyage alone in a 30ft sloop). By the time I was forty I could also build and program computers.

The point is to make sure you develop skills and knowledge over many different areas throughout your life.

As for the best field to get into now? I'd guess medicine. But not a specialty that requires a lot of high tech equipment. Primary care physicians will always be in demand, and while your patients may not have much money when the economy collapses, they will pay with whatever they do have. Which might be the food you need to put on the table.

Impressive list Ird! As they say "specialization is for insects"

76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck

Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.

Not much wiggle room for most in a system designed to suck every last penny from your pocket. Whatever the market will bear....

76% are living paycheck to paycheck, 22% can't make it that far. The rest are doing okay.


The rest are doing okay.

Actually 50% of the rest are doing okay, because the remainder are doing really really well!

More like 95% of the rest are doing okay, the remaining 5% = 0.1% are doing really great, with 385% increase in earnings since 1970 to 2008!



So 27% are actually living paycheck to paycheck... not 76%.

I don't have over 6 months worth of expenses in my account because when I did I used the money to pay down more of the mortgage. I do have 3 months though.

General F.Y.I.

Skype with care – Microsoft is reading everything you write


Are Renewable Goals Realistic?

Many green energy advocates have latched onto a report released by NREL on March 26, 2013 that concludes that 80% of U.S. Electrical generation could come from renewables in 2050 based upon the use of technologies that are available today.

Best hopes for renewable energy in 2050.

Solazyme keeps spamming me with job offers and then refusing to answer my calls. Nuts to them, I say.


In a new book Rich Food, Poor Food, authors Mira and Jason Calton provide a list of what they term “Banned Bad Boys” – ingredients commonly used in up to 80% of all American convenience food that have been banned by other countries, with information about which countries banned each substance and why

Calgary's Manhattan Moment

I only hope my city's nightmare is the climate change wake-up Alberta, and Canada, needs.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, Today, TheTyee.ca

My city, a vibrant place that often transcends the province's narcissistic oil culture, has had a Manhattan moment.

We thought we were big and powerful and beyond humbling just like New York. But as every true cowboy knows, Mother Nature invariably has the last word.

And so Calgarians are now living a chronicle foretold by climate scientists.

Many [who] once worked at federal agencies that the nation's federal government ruthlessly axed in an ideological assault on science and reason.

-- snip --

So here's what happened in the semi-arid Bow River basin (four per cent of Alberta) and it was largely predicted by climate scientists and water experts: An "extreme" weather event fell upon us like some Texas belly washer, and left tens of thousands homeless. Damage will total in the billions.

The speed and scale of the event "stunned" Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a climate change skeptic, and it mortified Premier Alison Redford, whose deficit plagued government hasn't budgeted for disasters, let alone the future. (One 2011 report catalogued Alberta's reticence on the issue this way: "Leadership on climate change adaptation from senior levels in all departments is weak.")

In case your wondering where all that water came from that led to the flooding in Europe, then the Himalayas, and the latest event in Alberta...

A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream: what it is, how it works and how it is responding to enhanced Arctic warming

Posted on 22 May 2013 by John Mason, Skeptical Science

Barely a week goes by these days in the Northern Hemisphere without the jet stream being mentioned in the news, but rarely do such news items explain in detail what it is and why it is important. As a severe weather photographer this past 10+ years, an activity which requires successful DIY forecasting, I've had to develop an appreciation into what makes it tick. This post, then, is a start-from-scratch primer...


Climate Desk Live 06/06/13: The Alarming Science Behind Climate Change’s Increasingly Wild Weather

Stu Ostro is a senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel, and was a longtime climate change skeptic—until the devastating 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, when he started documenting hundreds of cases of extreme and unusual weather and the patterns associated with them, and became convinced that something is very off about the atmosphere.

Jennifer Francis is a top climate researcher focused on the Arctic, whose work has drawn dramatic attention in the context of the very warm U.S. winter of 2012 (and attendant droughts and wildfires), the Russian heat wave and Pakistan floods of 2010, and other extreme weather events.

Both are now leading voices in diagnosing the wild weather that the world has seen of late—most recently, an intense winter in the UK that threatens to last throughout April.

For Ostro and Francis, the explanation for what we’re seeing is simple. More heat in the Earth’s system due to global warming is felt everywhere, and that includes the massive-scale patterns of atmospheric circulation that give us our weather.

Stu Ostro's slide presentation has a unique perspective. The warming produced by combusting hydrocarbons has added about 25 meters to the geopotential height. The line of equal pressure or isobar is now 25 meters higher than it was before.

Ostro claims this has significant effects on the weather in addition to long term warming.

More on the Geneva Association report...

Warming oceans make parts of world ‘uninsurable’, say insurers

By Alistair Gray and Pilita Clark in London, Financial Times

Insurers have issued a rare warning that the speed at which the oceans are warming is threatening their ability to sell affordable policies in a growing number of places around the world.

Parts of the UK and the US state of Florida were already facing “a risk environment that is uninsurable”, said the global insurance industry trade body, the Geneva Association.

Greetings, TODers,

Wondering about this: our County Board of Supervisors is about to give final approval to a NG drilling operation on a local utility-owned site (currently a "storage field"), the idea being to extract the NG and then have more storage capacity. Three rounds of EIRS, and they're set to go.

I spent my time (during this process) addressing the topic (traffic) that will effect me personally (and my fellow cyclists, as well), in the sense that I figured the project would be approved and I thought I'd like to increase the odds of surviving the construction phase. So...now I'm thinking of bringing up a "bigger picture" issue, just for the heck of it. If the segue is convincing - who knows - it just might work.

My question is this: would anyone have any ideas for tying the issue of "peak" and "limits" - and "preparation" - to this proposal? And, could you please share a link (if you have it handy) or good summary article on the NG picture? And...a specific thing to ask them to do?

My favorite (if you recall) is to ask the National Academy of Sciences to look at the impacts - (and no, they have not done this) - of the decline in global oil supplies. Any State legislature can set this in motion, and the County could ask the State to. (See our tired old petition: www.oildepletion.wordpress.com).

Now...I realize many of y'all don't like my favorite and also it's specific to oil, not NG.

So...my question is: would you have any suggestions for me?


Here's a new article with a link to an early release of Obama's proposals for dealing with climate change.

Obama’s Ambitious Global Warming Action Plan

HERE's a LINK to the 21 page description, which is a PDF hosted on Google. Happy reading...

E. Swanson

Thorium - Historical attempts in a conventional nuclear reactor.

The patented fuel Thor Energy consists of 90 percent thorium and 10 percent plutonium, and thus differs clearly from today's conventional uranium fuel.
The Company tests other mixtures, including thorium and uranium, to reveal test results that may be of interest to more customers.
The goal is to verify that the fuel can be used in the current nuclear reactors.

Article via Google translate/a>

good luck to them

Reminder: Obama gives his climate speech at 2:00 PM US-EDT. It'll be interesting to see if markets react.

Update: Speaking now.

Now, there was a rousing speech. I'm all primed to go out and buttonhole my Congress Critter and tell her that we need to do something about Climate Change. The is, if she would show up in these parts again. Lately, she has been doing telephone call in "town meetings", where I'm sure I would have no trouble making my case, though the "OFF" button would surely be pushed about 5 seconds after I started talking about AGW. Nap time!..:-)

E. Swanson

Trying to decipher his Keystone Pipeline comments. They sounded like they meant nothing. ~It only should be approved if there is no additional carbon emissions . . . well of course accepting & burning that oil means additional carbon emissions. But if you don't build the pipeline then someone else will burn it (or you'll get via railroads), so it is no 'additional' carbon emissions.

I still think they are approving it.

Joe Romm thinks it was almost a promise NOT to allow it. The argument that someone else will use the oil appears wrong. If they can't get the oil (bitumen) to market cheaply enough, they won't invest the billions needed to produce more of it. And the second choice through Western Canada looks likely to be blocked. So the lack of a pipeline is throttling further investment.

HERE's a YouTube link to the speech, for those who missed it...

E. Swanson

Kind of disappointing, all the things he proposed will make a difference and in sum the economies of scale that could result from the proposals may well lead to the Post Carbon economy that we urgently need, but I mostly came away feeling that what was proposed was little more than a more energy efficient "business as usual" (admittedly with more renewables).

He didn't convey the urgency and pace of carbon emission reductions needed to stay below the 2 decree Celsius limit that he agreed to in Copenhagen. A limit as it is that puts us in dangerous territory, yet just keeping under 2 degrees is only little more than a possibility now. As a reminder here's Kevin Anderson's presentation outlining how dramatically we have to reduce emissions to stay under two degrees.

A line of Obama's, at 55:39 of the speech, did catch my attention, one word in particular.

"We need to invest, divest and remind folks that there is no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth."

Far better than I expected. But I think the national news skipped it, so few will have seen it. The programs are mostly already in place. The EPA regs I read were about to be forced on Obama anyway. Once the supremes said CO2 is a pollutant -by law the EPA has to regulate it, and a suit was supposedly going to be started to force his hand.

Changing the export/import bank to be less coal friendly, I think that is new. If the example can spread to the world bank, that would definitely be a plus.

But, if it can inspire the potential activists in the younger generation -that could prove to be priceless.

The weather channel had about five minutes on it. Other than showing a republican response tweet, it was positive. We can hope it can be used to get the ball rolling....

I liked..

"We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat earth society. Putting your head in the sand may make you feel safer, but it won't protect you from the coming storm."

At this point, I don't think he's got to point to policy solutions. This is like alcoholism, where the first and key step is simply admitting that you have a problem, and HAVE to deal with it somehow.

Greetings, Bob,

Actually, IMVHO, it seems "the problem" is stating that there's no contradiction between the environment and economic growth.

It's growth itself which has limits...that we're reaching/have reached/are in "overshoot" with respect to...

Anyway, there I was further up asking for advice on if it's possible to introduce any nice peak oil and or "peak FF" proposals as long as NG is on the local govs' agenda...

and no replies. (Sigh.)

At least not yet. :)

Could Oil-Fed Enrollment Boom Lead To Bust At U.S. Colleges?

The oil and gas industry is known for its boom-bust cycles, and it’s not just in prices or profits. As a surge in domestic drilling drives demand for engineers, some academics are urging caution as universities ramp up their petroleum engineering programs.

The shale drilling boom is often touted as a panacea for high unemployment, an economic engine that will create millions of jobs. Those who lived through past booms, though, worry that the wave of hiring could end badly for professionals if universities continue to open their doors to anyone who wants to catch that wave.

Schools that allow enrollment to swell unabated are likely to be churning out graduates who can’t find jobs when the current boom levels off. Ultimately, the schools will face sharp enrollment declines that mirror the current surge, Hill and Holditch warned. That’s what happened to many petroleum engineering programs during the bust of the late 1980s.

... the shale boom has its limits. Even if the technology can be exported to develop more reserves globally, it’s not clear international shale plays will create more jobs for U.S. graduates. Many foreign countries require foreign oil companies to hire local graduates.

U.S. FTC Said to Open Probe of Oil Price-Fixing After EU

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission opened a formal investigation into how prices of crude oil and petroleum-derived products are set, mirroring a European Union inquiry, two people familiar with the matter said.

... Platts’s Dated Brent crude assessment is based on the price of trades, bids and offers on four grades of North Sea crude and related contracts. Platts gathers information from traders through e-mails, phone calls, instant messages and Platts electronic system, called the eWindow. Then the company calculates the day’s price as of 4:30 p.m. London time

Platts also publishes thousands of daily assessments across multiple commodities, which are used to price gasoline, diesel, biofuels, natural gas, electricity and petrochemicals. The suspected violations are related to Platts’s price assessments for crude, refined products and biofuels, and may have been going on since 2002, Statoil said in a May 14 statement.

Separately, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is reviewing complaints of bogus bids and offers in the West Texas Intermediate crude-oil market, a practice known as “spoofing,” according to Bart Chilton, a commissioner.

Big Oil's Big Lies About Alternative Energy

... You wouldn't know it from their advertising, but the world's major oil companies have either entirely divested from alternative energy or significantly reduced their investments in favor of doubling down on ever-more risky and destructive sources of oil and natural gas.

Using very generous estimates, BP holds the oil industry record for the highest percentage of expenditures committed to alternatives, with just 6 percent of its overall expenditures in 2011, right before it started selling off its solar operations. Chevron and Shell run a distant second with highs of 2.5 percent; none of the others have ever even cracked 1 percent.

In 2010, Chevron launched its "We Agree" public relations campaign, with ads announcing "It's time oil companies get behind the development of renewable energy," that still run today. Yet Chevron's alternative investments have been falling as a proportion of its total expenditures, not rising, for years: From 2.5 percent of overall expenditures in 2008, alternative energy dropped to 2.3 percent in 2010 and 1.5 percent in 2012.

... why bother putting real investments in alternatives at all, when polished ad campaigns have already convinced the public that the companies are still "green"?

Blame Canada: Greedy for oil money, the country is turning into a rogue petrostate

Harper, elected in 2006, is risking his country’s political and ecological security by exploiting what Foreign Policy calls “the world’s most volatile resource.” Mining operations in Alberta have already generated 6 billion barrels of toxic sludge, enough to flood Washington, D.C., and an area of forest six times the size of New York City could be excavated if approved projects proceed. Meanwhile, a secret document leaked to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last fall reveals a sinister foreign-policy strategy: “To succeed [in becoming an energy superpower] we will need to pursue political relationships in tandem with economic interests even where political interests or values may not align.” [i.e. sell our souls]

Great work complementing the DrumBeat with these articles. Glad to see you've persisted in posting links despite the spam filter that has driven away other veterans.

Question related to this article: Have you (or anyone else) come across any more recent articles about the effect of the flooding on the tailings ponds?

I read this article, which is now 2 weeks old:

and the ERCB report (PDF), which doesn't say too much except companies aren't complying with their own plans:

Seems like the images and human element of flooding in Calgary have overtaken this story, but breaches from the tailings ponds could have enormous ecological repercussions.

I keep on the look out also and haven't seen anything yet.


Luckily for Manitoba Power and the oil sands areas tailing ponds the Calgary floods will go to Hudson Bay via the Saskatchewan River, Cedar Lake, Lake Winnipeg etc.


Stray Gases Found in Water Wells near Shale Gas Sites

Homeowners living within one kilometer of shale gas wells appear to be at higher risk of having their drinking water contaminated by stray gases, according to a new Duke University-led study.

Methane concentrations were six times higher and ethane concentrations were 23 times higher at homes within a kilometer of a shale gas well. Propane was detected in 10 samples, all of them from homes within a kilometer of drilling.

"The methane, ethane and propane data, and new evidence from hydrocarbon and helium isotopes, all suggest that drilling has affected some homeowners' water," said Robert B. Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "In a minority of cases, the gas even looks Marcellus-like, probably caused by faulty well construction."

The ethane and propane contamination data are "new and hard to refute," Jackson stressed. "There is no biological source of ethane and propane in the region and Marcellus gas is high in both, and higher in concentration than the Upper Devonian gas found in-between."

The effect could as well be because they are drilling in areas with largest likelihood to hit gas.

Clearing Up Confusion on Future of Colorado River Flows

"The Colorado River is kind of ground zero for drying in the southwestern U.S.," said co-author Dennis Lettenmaier, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering. "We hope this paper sheds some light on how to interpret results from the new generation of climate models, and why there's an expectation that there will be a range of values, even when analyzing output from the same models."

In the past five years, scientific studies estimated declines of future flows ranging from 6 percent to 45 percent by 2050.

While the paper does not determine a new estimate for future flows, it provides context for evaluating the current numbers. The 6 percent reduction estimate, for example, did not include some of the fourth-generation climate model runs that tend to predict a dryer West. And the 45 percent decrease estimate relied on models with a coarse spatial resolution that could not capture the effects of topography in the headwater regions. The analysis thus supports more moderate estimates of changes in future flows.

Report: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00228.1

UW urban planners hold symposium on future of bicycles on city streets

"We wanted to try and answer the question - What would it take to make our city the most bicycle friendly in the next 10 to 15 years," says Don Miller, a University of Washington Professor of Urban Design and Planning.

They will look at what other countries have done to successfully integrate bikes and open the floor to new ideas such as lower speed limits on neighborhood streets and separating cars from bicycles in the city.

Experts will also see a special presentation on cargo bikes and a simulation about how these types of bicycles can be vital following a disaster.

Symposium: http://faculty.washington.edu/abassok/bikeurb/resources/schedule.html

Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines

Diluted bitumen has no greater likelihood of accidental pipeline release than other crude oils, says a new report from the National Research Council.

The committee that wrote the report found that diluted bitumen has physical and chemical properties within the range of other crude oils and that no aspect of its transportation by pipeline would make it more likely than other crude oils to cause an accidental release. The committee was not asked to address whether the consequences of a diluted bitumen release differ from those of other crude oils.

TRB Special Report 311: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines

Extraordinary events tonight in Australia is which Prime Minister Julia Gillard was toppled by her predecessor Kevin Rudd. The leadership challenge was motivated by poor opinion polls and in truth Ms Gillard has a schoolmarmish style. Back in 2007 (a hot El Nino year) Rudd was elected as PM on key promises one of which was emissions reduction. Subsequently at the Copenhagen climate conference Obama handed the microphone to Rudd in which he spoke of climate change as a great moral issue of our time.

Maybe not because again following opinion polls Rudd pulled the anti-emissions legislation. Gillard and others were irate about this among other issues and in 2010 deposed Rudd. In July last year carbon tax was set at $23 per tonne of CO2, supposedly rising to $24.15 on July 1st next week. In 2015 a cap and trade scheme was supposed to see the CO2 price float. Who knows what happens next. The opposition parties have promised to try and repeal the carbon tax after the election still scheduled for September 14. Trouble they will have to take back income tax cuts and welfare increases paid for by the carbon tax revenue. The renewable energy target may also be watered down. Australian energy policy is in freefall right now.

in truth Ms Gillard has a schoolmarmish style

Can't say for Ms. Gillard, but similar criticisms are used against most female politicians in the U.S. In my opinion, it has less to do with the politician's personality, and more to do with sexism. (When a man bluntly states his view on a situation, it's called leadership. When a woman does it, it's called "preachy", "shrill", or "schoolmarmish".)