Drumbeat: July 10, 2013

OPEC Sees U.S. Shale Boom Eroding Demand for 2014 Crude

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast the world will need less of its crude next year, even as global oil demand growth rebounds to its strongest pace since 2010, amid competing supply sources.

Demand for OPEC’s crude will slip by 300,000 barrels a day next year to 29.6 million a day next year, or about 2.6 percent less than the 12-member group is pumping now, the organization said in its first set of forecasts for 2014. The need for OPEC’s crude will diminish even as global oil demand growth recovers to 1 million barrels a day in 2014, from 800,000 a day this year, amid rising output in the U.S. (DOETCRUD) and Canada.

“The strong growth trend seen in 2013 is expected to continue in 2014” for production from outside OPEC, the organization’s Vienna-based secretariat said in its monthly market report today.

‘Peak oil’ website to close its doors

With news of record-breaking North American oil and gas production seemingly every day, maybe it just got too hard to maintain a site devoted to the notion that the world’s oil production was at or near a peak.

Peak oil’s death has been greatly exaggerated: Fans of the the Oil Drum website are blaming the success of fracking for its demise. Not so fast.

As for the frac-slays-TOD theory, that is certainly expected given the way this has been portrayed by most in the media: technological advances overcoming depletion. Closer to reality is that, while there have been some advances, it is mostly that continued high prices made the application of pre-existing technology worth the financial risk of drilling expensive, rapidly depleting wells on land that one must pay royalties on in addition. We have had some recent posts indicating that well performance has been getting worse instead of better, so even at current prices, the future is uncertain. At the same time, US consumption is still down from what it was prior to 2008, and the net result is a lot of feel-good myths about imminent US energy independence.

But although this has played a role in the decline of page views on TOD, I don’t think it really factored into our decision. With blog fatigue setting in, maybe we are just too weary to swat it all down — or have decided that it’s not overly critical to do so. Many of us are looking instead beyond immediate supply issues and are becoming more interested by the overall relationship between economies and more expensive energy, including environmental limitations.

A place where the peak oil crowd gathered is no more

The @PlattsOil feed consistently ranked second in the oil category, for whatever that was worth. It was always a harmless time-waster to check and see how we were doing. And how we were doing was that from our #2 perch we were always looking up at the Twitter feed of The Oil Drum, which was the primary website for a dialogue on Peak Oil.

And now The Oil Drum is closing up shop.

Let's Talk About Oil

Given its role in touching nearly every aspect of life across the globe and given the higher and volatile prices over the past half-decade, oil supply has been an incessant topic of conversation for much of our recent memory. Yet the tone of the conversation has dramatically pivoted recently from arguments about whether peak oil or sky-high oil prices could spur a global economic meltdown (anyone remember 2008?) to the shifting energy balance as a result of rapidly growing oil production from North America.

Iran’s LNG Dreams Vanish as U.S. Shale Gas Looms

Iran’s ambition to exploit the world’s biggest natural gas reserves, stymied for years by U.S. sanctions, faces an even sterner test as rising global output and the North American shale boom threaten to erode prices.

The Persian Gulf state would need a decade to build planned export capacity of at least 40 million metric tons a year of liquefied natural gas even if unfettered by economic curbs over its nuclear program, say analysts including Tony Regan at Tri-Zen International Pte. A surge in U.S., Canadian and Australian gas from shale deposits may depress prices for new LNG projects by 35 percent, according to Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Canada, reducing Iran’s potential profit from selling the fuel.

WTI Advances to 14-Month High as U.S. Crude Supply Drop

West Texas Intermediate jumped to its highest level in 14 months on speculation that shrinking U.S. crude stockpiles indicate increased demand in the world’s biggest oil consumer.

Futures climbed as much as 1.3 percent in New York to the strongest level since May 3, 2012. Crude inventories fell by 9 million barrels last week, said a person with knowledge of data from the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute. A government report today may show that supplies dropped by 3.2 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. U.S. refiners typically boost output to meet peak motor-fuel consumption during the U.S. summer driving season.

“That was the second straight week of huge draws in U.S. crude inventories,” said Amrita Sen, an analyst at Energy Aspects in London. “Continued large inventory draws in the U.S. are fueling further optimism about the U.S. economy, and reflect that production there is starting to flat-line.”

U.S. Natural Gas Declines for Second Day on Cool Weather

Natural gas futures declined for a second day in New York as meteorologists predicted cooler weather that may limit demand for the power-plant fuel.

Gas for August delivery fell as much as 0.7 percent to $3.631 per million British thermal units in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $3.637 at 2:11 p.m. in Singapore. The contract dropped 2.3 percent yesterday.

Algeria's oil demand on the rise, creating some shortages: source

Algiers (Platts) - Oil demand in Algeria has risen very strongly over the last few weeks, creating some shortages in parts of the country, a source at Naftal, the country's main fuel distributor, said Wednesday.

China Exports Unexpectedly Drop With Imports in Economy Drag

China’s exports and imports unexpectedly declined in June, underscoring the severity of the slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy as Premier Li Keqiang reins in credit growth.

Overseas shipments fell 3.1 percent from a year earlier, the most since the global financial crisis, data from the General Administration of Customs showed in Beijing today, compared with the median estimate of a 3.7 percent gain in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports dropped 0.7 percent, while the median projection was for a 6 percent increase.

OPEC Says Commodity Supercycle Waning, Little Upside

The commodity market's "supercycle" of strong growth is waning, OPEC said on Wednesday, with commodity prices currently in transition mode to slower growth rates.

OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) joined a chorus of analysts who have been warning for several months that the era of high prices for commodities is ending.

Energy Minister to announce results of gas price subsidy talks with Russia

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenia continues negotiations with Russia over gas price subsidizing, Energy Minister said promising to announce the results of talks in a few days.

Aramco refinery start faces 6-12 month delay

Saudi Aramco's oil refinery in Jizan will be delayed by 6-12 months because work on associated infrastructure is behind schedule and the contract to build a plant to supply it with power has not been awarded yet, three industry sources said.

"The infrastructure is not ready... they will try to catch up with the plan but I think it will be delayed by more than six months," one source familiar with the project's progress said.

Shell Names Refining Chief Van Beurden to Succeed CEO Voser

Royal Dutch Shell Plc unexpectedly named refining boss Ben van Beurden to succeed Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser as Europe’s largest oil company looks to manage rising capital spending.

Van Beurden, who will take over in the New Year, has led the company’s downstream unit, which refines crude and sells products to consumers, since January and was previously head of the chemicals business. When Voser announced his retirement in May, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry and U.S. head Marvin Odum were seen as front runners for the top job.

Egypt Appoints New Premier Amid Rifts Over Mursi Removal

Egypt’s interim premier will begin talks on forming a cabinet that will have to heal political rifts and revive a crumbling economy if it’s to end the crisis that engulfed the nation following the ouster of Mohamed Mursi.

The appointment as prime minister yesterday of Hazem El-Beblawi, who headed the finance ministry during part of the transitional period after the 2011 removal of Hosni Mubarak, will bolster President Adly Mansour as he confronts growing violence since Mursi’s removal, upheaval that culminated in the killing on July 8 of dozens of the Islamist’s supporters by the army. Nobel Laureate and anti-Mursi leader Mohamed ElBaradei was named vice president for foreign relations.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood rejects Cabinet offer

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood will not take part in an interim Cabinet to replace the administration of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a spokesman for the group said Wednesday, spurning an offer from the new prime minister to form a broad-based government to shepherd the country through a transition period.

New Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, who was appointed by the interim president on Tuesday, is holding consultations on a Cabinet that will face the difficult task of guiding the deeply divided country through what promises to be a rocky transition period following the military's toppling of Morsi last week. In what is seen as an attempt at reconciliation, el-Beblawi has said he will offer the Brotherhood, which helped propel Morsi to the presidency, posts in his transitional government.

Egypt orders arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leader

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's prosecutor general has ordered the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader and nine others for allegedly instigating violence that left more than 50 Brotherhood supporters dead in clashes with the military this week.

The general prosecutor's office said in a statement Wednesday that it issued arrest warrants for the general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, as well as his deputy and strongman, Mahmoud Ezzat. Eight other leading Islamists also were ordered to be taken into custody.

Egypt's new leaders get boost from wealthy Gulf

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's new leaders have won $8 billion in promises of aid from wealthy Gulf Arab allies in moves aimed at stabilizing a political transition less than a week after the army deposed the country's Islamist president.

Also on Tuesday, the interim president named a new prime minister and Egyptian armed forces warned political factions that "maneuvering" must not hold up the military's ambitious fast-track timetable for new elections next year.

Egypt defies Samsung unit's rise in the region

"Because of the revolution in Egypt we are worried if we can proceed on schedule," said Seung Deuk Kang, the senior vice president of Samsung's power plant business. "Nobody can control it."

In Pakistan, army adamant on fighting the other Taliban

KALAM, Pakistan (Reuters) - In the past few years, Pakistan's Swat valley has been occupied by Islamic insurgents, undergone a bruising counter-offensive by the army and then flooded by waters that washed away acres of fruit orchards and steeply terraced fields.

In October last year, the valley which lies about 250 km (155 miles) north of the capital Islamabad was again in the global spotlight when Islamic gunmen shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

Now, as villagers try to piece together shattered lives, the military is coming under pressure to talk peace with the Taliban, a ruthless Pakistani offshoot of the Islamic radical movement of the same name in neighboring Afghanistan.

Russian official: Snowden accepts Venezuelan offer

MOSCOW (AP) — NSA leaker Edward Snowden accepted Venezuela's offer of political asylum, according to a posting Tuesday on the Twitter account of a Russian lawmaker with close ties to the Kremlin. However, the tweet disappeared a few minutes later.

It was not possible to immediately reach Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee who has acted as an unofficial point-man for the Kremlin on the Snowden affair.

Quebec Police Probe Crime, Negligence as Rail CEO Arrives

Police are investigating potential criminal acts or negligence in Canada’s worst rail disaster in 27 years as the head of the company that owned the train is due to arrive in the stricken town.

The death toll from the explosion that tore through the downtown of Lac-Megantic, Quebec was raised to 15 from 13 yesterday and about 35 are still missing, Surete du Quebec provincial police Chief Inspector Michel Forget told reporters yesterday.

North Dakota Oil Transport Risk Revealed in Quebec Blast

On a typical day in North Dakota prairie towns like Williston, Dickinson and Beulah, trains with 100 tank cars line up to be loaded with oil destined for markets to the east, west, and south.

In total, about 675,000 barrels of crude leave daily on as many as 10 trains from North Dakota, now the second largest oil-producing state after Texas. That’s due to the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that has rendered accessible petroleum once too costly to procure.

Natural gas well leaking in Gulf off the La. coast

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Natural gas leaked Tuesday from an old, non-producing well at an oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico about 75 miles off the Louisiana coast after a crew working to plug the well lost control of it, the Coast Guard said.

A crew of five was working to plug the old well permanently when saltwater and a small amount of natural gas and the light oil and water mixture called condensate began escaping Monday, according to a statement from Talos Energy LLC President Timothy S. Duncan.

"In an abundance of caution, we decided to evacuate the platform and mobilize our spill response team," the statement from the Houston-based company said. The crew got off safely.

Japan atomic watchdog suspects Fukushima ocean leak

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan's nuclear watchdog said Wednesday the crippled Fukushima reactors are very likely leaking highly radioactive substances into the Pacific Ocean.

Members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority voiced frustration at Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), which has failed to identify the source and the cause of spiking readings of radioactive materials in groundwater.

"It is strongly suspected that highly concentrated contaminated waste water has leaked to the ground and has spread to the sea," the authority said in its written review of TEPCO's recent announcements.

Japan casts a nervous glance at nuclear

The government says it has made crucial adjustments, but many wonder if enough has really changed.

It’s time for cities to ditch the car – IEA report

Drawing on research in 30 cities, the report suggests that investing in efficient transport schemes could save $70 trillion in spending on vehicles, fuel and infrastructure up to 2050.

Specifically it calls on governments to adopt what it calls an ‘avoid, shift and improve’ philosophy, reducing unnecessary travel in cars, lubricating movement across cities and investing in better trains and buses.

“As the share of the world’s population living in cities grows to nearly 70% by 2050 and energy consumption for transport in cities is expected to double, the need for efficient, affordable, safe and high-capacity transport solutions will become more acute,” said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven in a statement.

Agenda: A 100% renewable electricity-powered Scotland by 2020 is possible.

When the Scottish Government set itself the target of generating 100% of the country's electricity from renewables by 2020 many people scoffed.

That goal is only six years away. Is it reachable?

Tidal energy could power half of Scotland

The world’s best site for tidal power, the Pentland firth, could provide half of Scotland‘s electricity, according to the first robust estimate of its potential.

The tidal streams, which surge through the firth at five metres per second, could bring large amounts of renewable energy in reach within a decade if enough government support is available, said the Oxford University engineer behind the new study.

Records set to be smashed as Germany’s solar output soars

Last weekend Germany recorded 23.9GW of electricity generated from solar power according to manufacturer SMA Solar, enough to power 2.3 million homes.

The country’s previous record of 22GW was set in May, in what is rapidly proving to be a stellar year for solar power capacity in the country.

Attitudes on Crops Are Modifying

AUSTIN, Texas — On the subject of genetically modified foods, the United States and Europe could hardly be farther apart. U.S. grocery stores are well stocked with genetically modified cereals and other products, while Europeans have found ways to keep them off the shelves.

But recently, a few fissures have appeared on both sides of the Atlantic.

Droughts could hit food production in England in 2020s, report warns

Droughts could devastate food production in the England by the 2020s, according to a report from the government's official climate change advisers. Without action, increasingly hot and dry summers may mean farmers will face shortfalls of 50% of the water they currently use to grow crops. The report, from the climate change committee (CCC), also warns that current farming practices may be allowing the country's richest soils to be washed or blown away.

The future risks to England's food supply are becoming more apparent, with MPs warningthis month that the government's failure to protect the most valuable farmland from flooding "poses a long-term risk to the security of UK food production" and food experts cautioning that crop yields are reaching their maximum biological limits. Extreme recent weather – the wettest recorded autumn followed by the coldest spring in half a century – cut wheat yields by one third, leading to the import of 2.5m tonnes of wheat, the same amount that is usually exported.

"If we don't start acting now we will be in serious trouble," said Lord John Krebs, who led the CCC report. "We already rely on food imports to a significant extent." About 40% of the UK's food is imported.

Clash Looms on Obama Nominees as Reid Plans to Push Votes

U.S. Senate Democratic leaders may force a showdown with Republicans as early as next week to end delays in confirming President Barack Obama’s nominees for Labor secretary, chief environmental regulator and other agencies.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could package votes on the Labor and Environmental Protection Agency selections along with Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and picks for the National Labor Relations Board, said Adam Jentleson, a Reid spokesman. Reid may file a motion within days to force the votes next week and let lawmakers then act on the nominations, he said yesterday.

Great Barrier Reef's condition declined from moderate to poor in 2011

An alarming set of reports on the condition of the Great Barrier Reef published on Wednesday say its overall condition in 2011 declined from moderate to poor, and highlights that reef-wide coral cover has declined by 50% since 1985.

Toronto flooding gives city a double whammy: Hume

Compared with what’s happening in other cities during this, Canada’s annus horribilis, Toronto got off pretty easily Monday night.

But as the unprecedented storm made clear, we face a double whammy of disaster: Not only is the city’s aging infrastructure unable to cope with the load, but that load has grown heavier because of climate change.

Where Streets Flood With the Tide, a Debate Over City Aid

The Broad Channel project offers a preview of the infrastructure outlays that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is envisioning as part of a new $20 billion plan to protect the city’s 520 miles of coast over the next decade from rising sea levels.

But the project also raises fundamental questions about whether, in an era of extreme weather, the government should come to the aid of neighborhoods that are trying to fend off inevitably rising waters.

Stop Protecting Unsafe Homes From Wildfires

Three months ago, I refreshed my firefighting skills in a class created by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. I spent most of my week alone in front of a computer, clicking through various lessons that have been digitized since the last time I took the course more than 10 years ago.

One new lesson explained what to do if I encountered a meth lab. Another went over how to identify hazardous waste and chemicals if I happened to stumble upon an illegal dump. I could only shake my head. The last time I worked on a fire line such hazards were far from my mind.

But these are the least of the changes complicating the job for today’s firefighters, who suffered the worst U.S. wildfire disaster in 80 years last week, when 19 died in Yarnell, Arizona.

When I last trained to fight wildfires, climate change was far from most firefighters’ minds. Today, it’s hard to find a veteran firefighter who hasn’t seen firsthand the warming and drying of the nation’s forests and how that’s increasing the intensity and frequency of fires.

Use the Arizona fire tragedy as a wake-up call

We need to tell politicians that climate change is real and we need measures to limit emissions.

Weeping at funerals and collecting donations for disaster victims does not qualify as a plan.

We are wasting money trying to fight climate change instead of adapting to it

If in recent years Ontario had spent billions of dollars bringing electricity system infrastructure in Toronto up to higher standards, instead of sinking billions into wind and solar farms off in the countryside, maybe the Greater Toronto Area electricity system would not have been as shaken by this week’s flood events.

The contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise will continue to increase

New research has shown surface ice melt will be the dominant process controlling ice-loss from Greenland. As outlet glaciers retreat inland the other process, iceberg production, remains important but will not grow as rapidly.

The Greenland ice sheet is often considered an important potential contributor to future global sea-level rise over the next century or longer. In total, it contains an amount of ice that would lead to a rise of global sea level by more than seven metres, if completely melted.

James Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming

The world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a "different, practically uninhabitable planet" by triggering a "low-end runaway greenhouse effect." This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world's best known climate scientist.

Leanan on July 8, 2013 - 8:47pm in Drumbeat:

"I believe Rembrandt is going to post another thread tomorrow or the next day, extending the date we mothball the site to Aug. 31. (That was actually the original date; somehow, there was some confusion and July 31 was announced instead.)

The new thread will be a place where you can discuss setting up new forum(s). We will not choose the winner. We on staff won't endorse any site over any other."

What's happening with respect to this proposed thread?

Haven't heard anything more about it, but I'd guess it will probably be posted some time this week. Maybe as soon as today.

The plan is for staff and contributors to each write a goodbye post, as it were, on what they've learned in their time at TOD, or about their view of the energy situation now, and that will be our "content" for August. (I will also keep doing the Drumbeats until Aug. 31. Comments will be closed seven days after that.)

I'd thank all those involved in producing an informative and leading site on the subject of energy, as an internet voice for proper discussion of Peak Oil, among other subjects.

The closing of TOD sends the wrong message, to those who seek to deny Peak Oil. So I would urge those who control the site to do everything they can to ensure its continuation as a live and active site (ie not an archive).

I believe it is the Board's duty to pass the flag onto others, including the software/structure and content, if they can no longer carry on with the excellent work, as long as the remit for any new people is to continue 'Discussions about energy and our future' with the message on Peak Oil at its core.

I understand 'burnout' and the desire to maintain standards of contributions, but if the current staff and contributors cannot continue I urge a sustained effort to find volunteers/staff/contributors to continue the good work, so that others can take over the site.

I understand the feelings of those who have put in the hours for site construction and maintenance, that it is their baby, and their fears that if others were involved TOD might decline in quality, or change in emphasis, but to close the site, or make it archive only, would be the greater of two evils.

I hope that volunteers with the technical knowledge and resources can be found, that the financial resources can be found, and the Board will keep things going until new technical and administrative arrangements can be made for a seamless transfer of responsibility for the running of TOD.

If this can be promised I will happily make a donation. Best wishes.

as the price of crude rises .. this site will seen a lot of renewed interest. We have had a lull in prices since the global recession.

Looks great, but hard to read. Perhaps you could fix the word wrap problem, so the hard returns are replaced by soft returns?

E. Swanson

So I signed up for theplanetbeat. After several years of following Leanan and her great collection of links every day, it will take a while before I become comfortable with this new format. And if someone knows of another good feed, please get the word out.

Personally, I want to thank Leanan and all the others at The Oil Drum for the tremendous effort put forth over a long, long time collecting the important information about many things, and for a fine job of monitoring the responses and keeping things in line. I know there are others helping behind the scenes, and my thanks go to them as well. My collection of articles and webpages spans over ten years, and it has all been the basis for one book and a number of articles.

But I understand the tiring efforts that goes in to doing such a service. The Oil Drum will be missed. I think we are leaving a time when people were really concerned about the future and entering a time of complacency. The problems of peak oil and peak resources are still with us, and problems of climate change and population overshoot will just get worse. It may be delayed, but the crash will come, and only a few will have learned to cope with what is ahead.

You folks did your best to help mankind understand. You can be proud.

Sam Penny, the Prudent RVer


Had been wondering if you were still around the site, Sam.

Good to see your name! Hoping we all meet up on/in the next one..


But if Joules Burn is right, the long-run “truth” of peak oil is currently being obscured by a short-term unsustainable boost in production. And if that’s the case, one could argue that, now, more than ever, we need voices disputing the new complacency while we still have time to move more aggressively to renewable sources of energy before we hit the real crunch.

From Peak oil’s death has been greatly exaggerated, above.

Considering the $billions being spent to shout down the reality of peak oil, and resource depletion in general, perhaps it's best to seek a quiet place to contemplate one's own future. It's not like they weren't warned.

Agreed, perhaps our new hangout post oildrum can contemplate solutions, either individual or societal, as well as the problems.

Agreed. I think it's time for that, really, and has been for awhile.

I'd guess that that would require more than one "new hangout," though. Otherwise, you just can't get past the basics. Should I buy a farm in the boondocks and learn to grow my own food? Move to the city on a mass transit line and work for green causes? Or get a degree in petroleum geology or nuclear engineering? IME, it's difficult if not impossible for one site to support all those views of the future.

I agree, Leanan. Plus, I think if one googles around they will find that many, many relevant websites already exist.

I too agree. So many ways to respond... Yet, as community organizer Pat Murphy puts it, "we" need to “make a lot of mistakes quickly.”

We need a plurality of experiments, not pre-picking the one right solution. I think that we should treat all of the emerging ideas, plans, policies and procedures as hypotheses in constant need of testing.

But I also think that the individual "we" needs to pick one experiment and stick with it (what's the permaculture notion? Something like Blame no one, expect no help, and do something).

And we need the mutual respect to hear-out someone's experience with an alternative that we ourselves did not or would not have chosen. This latter is what TOD had in bushels (sad to be using the past tense).

The Automatic Earth is a good site... mostly focuses on economics.

Zerohedge sometimes is okay, though it tends to be radically doomer.

The blogroll to the left is a good start! TOD has never jealously guarded its patrons!


I've registered the domain "CampfireCommons" and a couple of others, though I'm not sure where I'll go with it. Personally, the timing of this thing kind of sucks. Besides having other commitments in the next month or two (timewise and financially) I shattered a molar last Wed. and can't get into the dentist until next Tuesday,, so, meantime, I'm PWI. I'm generally quite pain tolerant, but DAYUM!


In addition to the painkillers you are undoubtedly gulping down, get yourself some clove oil and apply directly onto the affected tooth. The particular chemotherapy regime I had as part of my cancer treatment really attacked my teeth from the inside, they almost dissolved and dentistry was out of the question because of infection risk, but the clove oil saved my sanity.

Thanks, Pat. My wife's going to pick some up on her way home. I'll see if it helps.

"Agreed, perhaps our new hangout post oildrum can contemplate solutions, either individual or societal, as well as the problems."

It is really important that any discussion forum be NEW. I've posted, moderated and lurked on prep, back to the land and doomer forums for over ten years. My reason for saying the forum should be new is everything that former TOD people are going to bring up or want to discuss was likely discussed on existing forums years and years ago.

Although old forum members will try to be helpful, it doesn't add anything to their experience and, if their are a lot of newbies, they may just say the heck with it and stop posting. Just think how often new TOD members wanted to ask questions about "old" stuff or discuss things that had been beaten to death years ago.


Good point.

Telling people pointedly that they need to read ALL the old posts before they are allowed to bring something up is likely to result in them (a) not reading those old posts and (b) never returning.

Rockman (and a few others) always had a gentle way of welcoming newcomers with old questions. Not read enough of his new postings over at PO.com to know if he's found the same tone works there.

My point is that there are already (and have been for years) excellent forums and websites in abundance with discussion and how-to for gardening, homesteading, permaculture, PV, etc., etc., etc., you name it. No need to reinvent those wheels.

IMO, no other site did what TOD did the way it did it. When it goes archival at the end of August, I will have been a member for exactly 7 years - I joined up and made my first post on September 1, 2006. I have read and commented here ever since, and I will surely miss it. Yes, I do have "a life", but this was a little bit of it...

So I will take this opportunity to add my thanks to Leanan and crew, and all the regulars over the years who made this a superior online community.

Good luck, everyone!

If you want to hook a fish (preferrably, all their mates as well), they have to be "thereabouts" beneath your boat, a little hungry and perhaps slightly aware of any bait that may be on offer. Unless you have a big net of course; but that's just damn preaching.

From my POV, 47yo with three teenagers, I'm fairly happy with my basic understanding of the global issues tipping toward my middle-class existence and agree there's not a lot of "new" out there (my own particular hook was the doco, "A Crude Awakening", which lead me to this site where after several months of argument and denial, my lightening bolt finally arrived in the form of the Al Bartlett lecture on compounding growth. Really, from then on, everything else has merely been detail).

For me, it's onwards to a simpler life. Trouble is, I'm still making money and the wife's still spending it! ;)

Cheers, Matt

No kidding! Al Bartlett was the first time in my life I ever experienced nausea after watching a video, and I'd already been in the know to some extent before then.


To me this is an example of the non-physical limitations that prevent societies from reacting in the ways that scientists and analytical people expect and consider to be obvious. Peak oil will happen regardless of what anyone thinks, and the way people are (not) reacting is perfectly typical. Yes, something wicked this way comes, but just because a few see it and shout about it does not mean that society can or will listen or do anything about it.

If it seems like the things we do are not having the results we expect, then it's worth considering that perhaps there were some additional constraints we did not allow for. From that it follows that one should try to understand what those are. I see these are the whole range of social & emotional human issues that the technical don't like to get involved in.

Those that understand it can try to use the knowledge of what is happening, combined with an understanding of how our society is and is not capable of responding on a wider level, to do something useful. That means not just contemplating one's own future, but beyond that, as this will be playing out far longer than any of us will be around.

On that note, I'm hoping new sites set up in response to TOD's closure will allow for much more robust input from and discussion among social and behavioral science types. There was some good stuff, like Nate Hagens' several posts, but it was very intermittent. So much more could be done.


The process of behavior change is anything but obvious; it's non-rational, adaptive, episodic, at times frustratingly slow and then, in a flash, what could never happen just did. A complex system, with emergent properties, some of which have not yet emerged. It would be prudent to not bet against it just because it disappointed you in the past, or you have trouble finding a precedent.

That change will happen regardless of what people think about the coming energy descent might have unexpected yet fascinating psychological features.

1. Behavioral simplification – When growth was all but guaranteed we could safely ignore the biophysical foundation of society. Later, as limits were first anticipated and then became apparent, we cunningly avoided dramatic behavioral and institutional change. The ability to avoid the needed deep-seated change will soon end. We may in turn struggle with, then rebel against, profoundly simplifying our lives but in the end biophysical reality will allow us no other choice. Dismal as this sounds, it may make the transition that much easier. It does this, in part, by unburdening the few practitioners and early adopters from the need to persuade and motivate the majority. The new circumstances will focus everyone’s attention and, in doing so, drive the societal transition process. The motivational process at work here combines the new reality with our innate self-interest. The result is a self-motivated process of behavior change. Practitioners and early adopters will still have a vital role to play, but more as resources for, rather than initiators of, behavior change.

2. Prefamiliarization – Nonetheless, there are ways to intervene so that things turn out, as Heinberg has put it, better than they would otherwise be. Some people advocate that we hasten the process of simplification. But haste would likely instill panic and chaos. Another way to ease the transition along is to help people to become comfortable, ahead of events, with the harder times ahead. This psychological process, called pre-familiarization, is possible because of the way the mind interfaces with the environment. It turns out that the major barrier to our changing behavior is not the inertia of the status quo but, rather, our familiarity bias. People are not limited by the circumstances they find themselves in but rather by their mental model of the situation. This is hopeful since mental models can be altered. We can come to deeply know the not yet present, thus helping us to feel at home in a life not yet inhabited.

3. Embedded benefits – Aldo Leopold, known for the land ethic, also wrote about a much less appreciated conservation aesthetic. This notion focused on satisfaction derived from the hidden riches of living lightly. The coming transition will require of us new competencies, creative ecological footprint reduction and new ways of interacting. Fortunately, empirical research shows that we find the related pursuit of competence, frugality and participation to be intrinsically satisfying. Thus, the transition that we must undertake in order to thrive may be rife with embedded benefits. People may come to pursue a radically simplified life not because it is necessary (although it certainly will be that) but because it is unexpectedly fulfilling (i.e., a notion that Alexander crafts wonderfully in his new book Entropia.

People may come to pursue a radically simplified life not because it is necessary (although it certainly will be that) but because it is unexpectedly fulfilling (i.e., a notion that Alexander crafts wonderfully in his new book Entropia.

While *some* people may find living simply in an environmentally sustainable way fulfilling, I can assure you they are NOT in the majority. Most of my fellow Americans --even the supposedly "enlightened" liberal hippie iconoclasts I live among in NCAL-- will only move to a low consumption de-complexified lifestyle devoid of shiny new gadgets, cars, "labor saving" luxuries, junk food, and 24/7 electronic media immersion because they are FORCED to. Let's not forget that TOD readers =/= everyone.

Fair enough.

Probably should have been written to follow the first item more closely. That is "people will be forced by biophysical reality to live simply, ready or not, willing or not. But they may come to realize simplicity can be unexpectedly fulfilling due to its embedded benefits."

"I'll buy that for dollar!" ;-)

I have lurked here for years, one of my drinking games is to make a bet on the first mention of BAU, Force, or genocide by other means. It all come down to we know best, we are better, smarter and in due time you will thank us for killing you. This death-seeking attitude doesn't win audience. I miss RockMan, RR and friends, folks with an ability to tell you that no, The Gulf of Mexico is Not Going to Burn, yes, oil is going to get more expensive and for god sakes stop whining.

That said, I do appreciate the obvious hard work that goes/went into this site and most especially the key-posts of yore.

Cheap advice.
If you want to Doom out and hit the farm, do it now, hell why wait? If you want to do it, do it now and stop boring us with your Plans, just go.
Don't attempt to make me go with you.

There, 6 years of venting saved up.
Catch yawl on the flip-flop.

Been there, done that, just remember, don't come knocking on our door(s) when TSHTF, you (and your drinking buddies) might find a distinctly unpleasant response. Be a good sport, keep your life where your mouth is, stick around to the bitter end, then go down with the ship. Whee, venting sure is fun {/sarc}...

E. Swanson

Perhaps you're right.

But I wouldn't paint with too broad a brush here; It's all about how you interpret the word "force." Forced by others or forced by circumstances.

If you accept limits-to-growth (and some timeframe), then people will be consuming less.

That said, the biophysical reality is inevitable, but our response to that reality is not. We should exercise our options before they run out.

Man, it is so annoying to see these stories touting the closing of the TOD as some confirmation that peak oil is dead.

Yeah, how about you look at the price of oil?
Oil 105.59 +2.06 +1.99%

Sure looks like a glut to me! /sarcasm :-/

The "Tod closing = no peak oil" meme will be hard to fight. OTOH, this is what we will expect. The interests which want to deny PO are relentless, and well financed. They have staying power, and part of their schtick is to tell the same lies over and over and over until people are worn down and start to believe them.

Another reason I was so disappointed that TOD quit. But, enough has been said about that already.

We'll all find new spots and no doubt encounter one another wherever we land. Happy hunting and thanks for the many interesting comments!


Oil 106.22

Again . . . I think it is a bit odd that WTI has cruised right up to $106 and no one is talking about it. Perhaps they are too embarrassed to admit it considering that they just spent the last 6 months spewing out shale oil cornucopia stories and 'Energy Independent USA' stories?

I guess it could drop down quickly. No one knows. But it might also stay pretty high if Egypt remains unstable.

Well, they'll be forced to start talking about it when the gas prices shoot up because the people will notice that.

Actually being reflexively contrarian - TOD shutting down is probably reflective that PO is around the corner. Sort of like Businessweek declaring the death of equities just before the biggest bull market in history.

In reading TOD over the years - it seems to me that both Cornucopians and many on TODers had one thing in common. Neither could imagine a world and civilization without FF. All that believers in PO had to offer was doom and gloom. Unfortunately hope and delusion beats doom and gloom.

I firmly believe that our current BAU can't continue- but that doesn't mean that the alternative is some kind of Mad Max world. I do believe that it is possible to imagine a world with much lower levels of FF use (perhaps even working towards their complete elimination) that doesn't entail us all going back to the 14th century and "living of the land". IMO this has been the biggest short coming of the PO believers- we just haven't been able to provide a hopeful alternative- a different but not necessarily worse civilization. If folks are offered the choice between "don't worry be happy" or "life as you know it is going to come to an end" I know which one they will pick.

Indeed. Especially when it is quite evident that nothing is going to instantly collapse.

Change happens slowly . . . and that is exactly why it is so easy to go into denial about it. And right now, we are having a very odd denial. People are observing a phenomenon that is supported by peak oil and interpreting it as proof that peak oil doesn't exist! Specifically, we are having a shale oil boom that has increased domestic production thus fooling many into thinking that peak oil is dead . . . yet the shale oil boom is actually CAUSED BY peak oil which has raised prices up to level that allows fracking for shale oil to be cost effective.

I'm sure we'll have some other type of 'oil' resource become cost effective at $200/barrel too! It is the oil price that matters, not the local production statistics. As a consumer, I don't care if they produce 20M barrels or 200M barrels . . . what matters to me is what it costs me.

Energy costs in BC...BC Hydro and outlandish wood prices

Proposed 30% rate increases over the next few years due to profit siphoning by Govt. to balance books, plus deferred capital financing to keep debts for new projects and upgrades off the books, thus providing more short-term profits to siphon off.

"I think that BC Hydro is an entity that has become so large and so complex, and frankly I think we (government) have come to depend on its dividends so heavily that we have perhaps not held their feet to the fire as much as we should," he said.

People with resistance heating and no sense of conservation will really feel this as winter unfolds. BCers are really energy users due to historically cheap prices.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Expect+hydro+rate+increases+energy+minister+...

Firewood: We live in a rural logging valley with a small townsite of approx 300 people, and a valley population of small farms and acreages of approx 1,000 more. All of us pretty much heat with wood, exclusively. We can get it close by from logging debris piles, from our own standing timber, or from the dryland sort. We used to be able to cut on the sort until some townsite idiot showed up one day in shorts and sandals to buck wood. And that was the end of that. I purchase huge truckloads (semi-sized dump truck load) of what gets rejected by the scalers....approx 12 cord load for $350. Last year it was $300. We just divvy it up among three of us. Species...doug and balsam fir, hemlock, and yellow cedar. This is old growth wood chunks 18"-48" in diameter up to 12 feet long. This year the load was so good I asked for another as soon as possible, mainly because I believe this logging cycle is soon to be over, (although judging by some of the new pickups I see amny think it will continue forever). While we have to cut and spit it, the wood is 200 metres from the wood sheds and we all have splitters, etc. It is fun. Anyway, our cost works out to $30.00/cord and we need 4-5 cords to heat our house each year. We do not use any supplemental heat source. In other words, we heat our home for 150/yr plus $10.00 for gas and a chainsaw file.

Victoria wood prices: $350/cord with $25 delivery fee.
Courtenay: $300/cord
Campbell River $160/cord logging truck $700-900 (alder)

In short, home heating costs are rising all the time, and even what has traditionally been cheap as borscht areas for firewood will pay close to $1,000 per year for heating expenses. A logging truck load (2 years heat) will still cost almost $500 for a years heating, plus you need a big yard to dump it in and have to face the wrath of your neighbours as you cut it up.

I would be curious as to what others do for wood, particularly in NE USA where wood heat is also very common.

One other thing, even in Campbell River (pop. 35,000) there is a movement to ban wood heat by new arrivals. For me it is hard to imagine as this city was built by logging/mining/fishing, but now seems to be a haven for retirees who want a view....and no wood smoke. It is one reason why we moved away.


I heat with wood (northern Minnesota). I don't have access to getting my own but buy 8 foot hardwood from out of work loggers for 70 a cord. Block it myself and rent a splitter for 50 a day. At current prices, natural gas would cost me 1800, give or take, a yr. I burn 4-5 cord so save a good bit.

Hey Zeke

Where in Minnesota are you located? I used to fly into Ely and Crane lake everyday back in the mid 70's.

My Dad's side is from Braham down by Cambridge.

Plus, have you noticed a big change in winter temps over the last 10 years?


Hey Paulo, I'm from MN, Minneapolis area. The changes in winter temps have been significant. We still have had cold temps, but not as long. The tree line is moving further north so that conifers which prefer colder climates are not growing as far south.

I heat almost exclusively with wood. I dismantled the old oil fired system a few years ago, so I have no back up but a few electric space heaters. We have two newer wood stoves with secondary combustion systems that are very efficient.

I take the deadfall from our 30acres. With the storms we've had the last few years the woods have taken quite a beating and we lost many of our largest oaks. I buck it all with a chainsaw and split by hand. I'm going to be picking up an old GE electric tractor to use for hauling the wood cart, and plan on setting up a solar charger for it. Gathering wood is something I really enjoy (except for hauling it), but it is very time consuming and seriously cuts into the time available for other projects. It also requires a fair amount of physical conditioning, and some knowledge and skill to maintain and use the tools.

I have some areas that were planted as pine woods, but between the invasive vines and hurricane Sandy they have been destroyed. Once I get them cleared I plan on planting them with black locust to try out coppicing.

I purchased a truck load of 40 ft green birch logs for $1700. I burn 2-1/2 to 3 cords a year for heating and cooking. I am a minimalist in housing; my cabins are small and easy to heat. My life style was traditional here in Fairbanks until the arrival of the oil boom.
One cabin is on 25 acres of permafrost covered with black spruce climax forest. I used to log an acre a year for fire wood and to promote new growth. I have a 28 yo Kubota tractor for hauling out wood. I have a Farmi pto winch for dragging big logs but never use it, just cut the trees into short lengths and carry them to the wood pile on pallet forks on the tractor.

After removing trees I compact the organic layer by driving a bulldozer over it. A few years later willows are returning, along with birch and a few aspen and poplar trees, a few feet tall at present but growing rapidly. The moose will love it.


Here in South Central Illinois I usually pay $40 for a full sized pickup full of hardwood stacked loosely 1 1/2 feet over the top of the bed (oak, hickory, sugar maple, and locust). I have my own plot of woods, but I do not cut trees for firewood unless they are diseased or need to be removed to permit growth of other desirable trees. Presently I’m establishing a stand of black locust for firewood as it has a very good heat rating, grows fast, and coppices well. I’m also starting osage orange trees for that same purpose. Osange burns unbelievably hot but sparks a lot.


Nice to see Ireland in 6th place, wind regularly supplies up to 50% of electricity demand with absolutely no grid issues whatsoever.

There can be life after hydrocarbons LOL

Those who smile at Oil Drum's 'death' and declare peak oil as dead, have not been following news around the world. Prices are up even though Europa is in recession, WTI higher than in a long time, WTI vs Brent is almost equal in price, China is peaking as we speak, Russia is peaking, Malaysia, Brasil and Denmark are becoming importers, North Sea is soon as a whole an importer, Australia now imports close to 50% of its oil, OPEC will probably not be able to rise production much more, the US shale oil will peak before 2020, Golf of Mexico will peak before 2020... Whos gonna save us? Shale in CHina, Russia, rest of the world? Iraq and Canada cant increase forever. The next ten years will be very interesting. We've already seen how Egypt and Syria has handled decline. Not too well.

I was thinking last night - we've long lamented the fact that the MSM typically quoted the cheaper WTI price when the more expensive Brent price was more applicable to the average American consumer and gas prices. Will we now be doing the opposite and lament the fact that the MSM is quoting the more expensive WTI price when really the cheaper Brent price is what's more important?

This assumes of course that WTI starts exceeding Brent, and that all this happens before TOD shuts down though.

It also seems like whenever there's a big surge in oil prices like this that there ends up being some big market shakeup and the price then nosedives pretty quickly. Wonder if that'll happen again?

WTI is now exactly 2 dollars under Brent, and I'm pretty sure that the benchmark will surpass Brent as more and more of the North American market is filled with expensive unconventional oil. Remember that tar sands have been sold at a discount this far, but that will change soon. If WTI goes to $110 it will be the most expensive in 5 years.

Intresting figures, given the recent reduction in crude consumption and increase in domestic production the USA spend approx half a billion USD less per day on oil imports.

Didn't Brent and WTI usually cost the same some 3 years ago? From what I've heard the price of WTI was lower due to logistical reasons and that is was more or less forced to sell at a lower price. But who knows I might be wrong here.

The WTI used to be higher as American conventional oil had a better and lighter quality than the North Sea Brent. Then the WTI went lower. Why, I'm not so sure, but I read and article that states the same as you said, that logistical problems led the oil to be priced lower, that includes both Canadian oil sands and US shale oil. Now that the rail and pipe system is on track (no pun intended), the price goes up again. I'm betting it will go even higher as the unconventional oil is more expensive and will take over from the declining conventional crude.

I have been scratching my head for a couple of months wondering how ethanol plants are using so much corn. I never figured it would take them this long to have issues since it has always been sourced regionally and some areas produced very little corn last year. It looks like the next three months should be interesting for the major corn industries.

US grain buyers face record premiums, final sting from 2012 drought

At the trading floor in Chicago, corn futures have tumbled 16 percent since hitting a record last August, with nearby September corn settling on Tuesday at $5.51-3/4 per bushel. New-crop December dipped below $5 a bushel last week for the first time in 2-1/2 years.

However in Iowa, long the king of corn-growing states, a major processor owned by Cargill Inc was willing to pay $7 or more for bushels delivered this week. The price difference this month between existing grain and grain to be harvested later was the widest ever.

The corn "basis" in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a record-high $1.75 above futures, according to Reuters data, up sevenfold from 25 cents above futures a year ago.

The record gap reflects the clash between tight short-term supplies and expectations that U.S. farmers this year will harvest the largest corn and soy crops ever.

The record gap reflects the clash between tight short-term supplies and expectations that U.S. farmers this year will harvest the largest corn and soy crops ever.

So is this likely to happen?

It looks good for Iowa and parts of Illinois, at least.


Good coverage of overall impact of weather on crops in the above.


No, not likely to have ideal weather and the 10-year trend is towards decreasing yields. However, it will be much better than last year unless some really crazy heatwaves cover the Corn Belt during the first half of August. Whatever happens, I think ethanol will eat up the corn, keep supplies tight, and prices on a long-term upward trend.

Renewable fuel standard costs reach record levels: corn-ethanol RINs at $1.18 per RIN

In past years, corn-ethanol RINs were very inexpensive and traded at less than $0.01 per RIN. Corn-ethanol RINs remained inexpensive due to relatively low production costs and ease of blending ethanol into gasoline. Prices for these RINs steadily skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2013, however, to slightly more than $1.00 per RIN. Since March prices dropped slightly and traded generally between $0.60 and $0.90 per RIN, but prices have rallied in July to $1.18 per RIN.

Insult to injury...

People who left their cars in a flooded lot got tickets. They knew they weren't supposed to park overnight, but the flooding meant they couldn't start their cars or get tow trucks.

The next day, they not only found their cars totaled by the flooding, they found parking tickets on the windshields.

I laugh at the indignities of life. The bureaucrats, hard at work apply common sense to all situations they come across.

So it goes...

That is just too rich. I wonder if they wore waders to ticket the cars?

To be fair...it sounds like the water receded, leaving the cops who came by later unaware that the lot had been flooded.

Aww, and here I was picturing Lovely Rita the Meter Maid in waders. True dedication to the job!

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts it was this guy. Looks like the same neighborhood.

He zips around in a Toronto police ticket mobile, whipping in and out at lightning speed to lay down the law with every bright yellow, you’ve-been-caught slip.

He roams downtown’s northwest neighbourhoods, hitting the hot-spots — coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants — at the hot times — morning coffee run, lunch hour, afternoon drive-home — to maximize ticket distribution.

He is Zulfiqar Khimani, Toronto’s top parking enforcement officer.

According to data obtained by the Toronto Star, Khimani has issued more tickets than any other parking enforcement officer over the last five years. The hard figures:

• 97,265 tickets issued between January 2008 and August 2012.

• An average of 59 tickets a day, mostly to vehicles in Forest Hill and North Toronto neighbourhoods.

• A total of $3,922,725 in fines for drivers....

Look at the photo. The cars in the lot are STILL in deep water.


I think that's a "before" photo. Looks like his son took it when he went to pick up his dad that evening.

When Rivers went out Tuesday at about 7:30 a.m. he saw that the lot had drained and he’d been left with the $105 ticket.

Notice there's no ticket on the car in the photo.

I'm not a Gaia believer but between the Alberta flooding, the train tanker explosion, and Toronto flooding, it seems mother Earth is trying to resist continued tar sands oil production. ;-)

I hope the Canadians withstand these onslaughts . . . and reflect upon them.

It's not just Canada
Mudslide in western China buries about 30

BEIJING (AP) -- Flooding in western China, the worst in 50 years for some areas, triggered a landslide Wednesday that buried about 30 people, trapped hundreds in a highway tunnel and destroyed a high-profile memorial to a devastating 2008 earthquake.

That's right. The worst in 50 years. Oddly I've been hearing this term too many times lately, worst in 100 years, worst in 50 years. Might have to do something with us dumping unlimited amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The worst in 50 years. Oddly I've been hearing this term too many times lately, worst in 100 years, worst in 50 years.

I'd like to see some objective statistics on this. It sure seems like I'm hearing that a lot but I don't want to be a victim of confirmation bias.

Yes there is a stat for that

From Link above
Toronto flooding gives city a double whammy: Hume

Indeed, a report released just last week by the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization provides some interesting reading. Here are some of its findings:

“Most parts of the globe had above-normal precipitation. The eastern USA, northern and eastern Canada, and many parts of Europe and central Asia were particularly wet.”

“The largest number of national records for 24-hour extreme precipitation events, as reported in the WMO survey, occurred over the past two decades, 1991–2010.”

“According to the WMO survey, floods were the most frequently experienced extreme event over the course of the decade. While climate scientists believe that it is not yet possible to attribute individual extremes to climate change, they increasingly conclude that many recent events would have occurred in a different way — or would not have occurred at all — in the absence of climate change.”

Hansen et al have a paper on this

Typhoon Soulik, a cat 4 yesterday , inbound Taiwan forcast as a cat 3 on Saturday AM ,China a cat 2 Saturday PM:

Iran oil exports down 36% in June from May due to port congestion in China:

Iran oil exports to Japan double dispite sanctions:

On the end of The Oil Drum.
I've been a lurker for the past 8 or 9 years and have even posted on a long forgotten user name. I don't think that "peak oil" has died. I think that climate change has changed the context of "peak oil". We have gone from how are we going to survive with oil (and carbon) supplies dwindling too fast to how are we going to survive with oil (and carbon) supplies dwindling not fast enough.

Agreed - as I've said before, peak oil is all that gives me hope, albeit a very slim one.

"... oil (and carbon) supplies dwindling not fast enough" is already baked into a pretty big, complex cake. This is why I've been focussed on mitgating my (our) own exposure/circumstances as much as one can hope to do. Whichever direction one decides to go, I think it's best to get on with it with a sense of purpose. One's response on the ground says more about one's determination to foment change; adds credence to one's claims that we must change. Only time will tell if it actually did any good, or not.

Whichever direction one decides to go, I think it's best to get on with it with a sense of purpose. One's response on the ground says more about one's determination to foment change; adds credence to one's claims that we must change. Only time will tell if it actually did any good, or not.

I couldn't agree more! That's why we left "the good life" in South Beach and moved back onto my old family farm. We've been spending all spring and summer getting the out buildings fixed up, the equipment back in good working order, etc etc. All the while still working my home based consulting biz to pay the bills. It's exhausting at times, but as they say, actions speak louder than words.

I too have been here since near the beginning, lurking in the shadows. This site has changed my life as well. I live 2 miles from work vs. 20, have the CFLs, bicycle instead of drive, and blah blah blah.

I don't know where else to go now. Many of the other sites were to ...... diverse, non-informed, alarmist, maybe all of the above. TOD was informative, mature, and smart. I will miss her.....

I'm hoping that at least some of the people here who are doing things will move to another site and continue to post about them. I really enjoy and get a lot from the posts from Ghung, wimbi, jokhul, HereinHalifax and the others like them. I've put a picture of my garden and electric tiller on the theplanetbeat.com site, as I get more done, I'll make more posts. I had a lot set up and then moved across the country from Auburn, Alabama to Northern California near Yreka.

I've got a solar powered pump in the well.

>> "TOD was informative, mature, and smart."

That's what makes the difference.
Intelligent, evidence based, factual discussion/debate.

I have given up on a few other forums because often its just the same argumentative rubbish repeated over and over again by the same people driven mainly by political ideology.

I hope that at least a core group of TOD members move to the same new site (wherever that may be). I think too much fragmentation may cause a loss of discussion momentum resulting in withering interest and eventually the fragmented new sites would risk die off as well.

I hope that at least a core group of TOD members move to the same new site (wherever that may be). I think too much fragmentation may cause a loss of discussion momentum resulting in withering interest and eventually the fragmented new sites would risk die off as well.

This is what I hope too. I can just see people hanging out here until it stops, and then everything collapsing. Sound familiar? Something about getting our act together 30-40 years ago? At least there's one site up and Ghung has a yahoo site to gather together. Let's not wait until the end! That's why I'm already on both of the places I mentioned.

I looked again at peakoil.com, It's worse than it was a while ago, no manners and a bunch of nuts chewing each other out. Well, except for Rockman and a select few others.

I follow a number of comment sites, and over the years the Drumbeat at TOD has reliably been the best informed, and most level headed, and least prone to conspiracy diversions of them all.

Stanford researchers say 'peak oil' concerns should ease

Should concerns about "peak oil" focus on demand for oil rather than dwindling supplies of it? Yes, according to a new analysis. Limits to consumption by the wealthy, better fuel efficiency and lower priced alternative fuels should begin driving down demand for oil around 2035. That's good news overall, but policymakers should pay attention to the mix of substitutes that will replace conventional oil.

"There is an overabundance of concern about oil depletion and not enough attention focused on the substitutes for conventional oil and other possibilities for reducing our dependence on oil," said study co-author Adam Brandt, assistant professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford's School of Earth Sciences.

The study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, describes a variety of mechanisms that could cause society's need for oil to begin declining by 2035. Several earlier studies have suggested that passenger land travel has already plateaued in industrialized countries and is no longer hitched to economic growth. Passenger land travel now accounts for about half of the global transportation energy demand.

Study: Peak Oil Demand: The Role of Fuel Efficiency and Alternative Fuels in a Global Oil Production Decline

That graph is pure fantasy.

No doubt. It is a shame that fantasy wins over reality as evidenced by this site closing. It is a perfect example of human stupidity. A shale oil boom that consists of thousands of expensive, low producing, rapidly declining, water table polluting wells being frantically drilled to replace old low cost high production conventional wells. Does it really take a genius to see what is going on here. We need this site now more than ever.

Interesting how politics must play into academia.
I have seen some of the work of Prof. Brandt in the past. He seemed diligent in his modeling efforts and in trying to characterize the Hubbert-based depletion models.

Now he is working with the more senior Prof. Gorelick, who wrote a cornucopian book on oil in 2009, called "Oil Panic and the Global Crisis" ($54.58 from Amazon)

To give a taste of how little original research that Gorelick has actually performed and how much he relies on other cornucopians, consider the passage wherein he references geology professor Larry Cathless. On page 128, Gorelick quotes Cathles as saying that we may find as much as "1 trillion barrels of oil and gas in just a portion of the gulf oil sediments".

I found the original statement by Cathles here:

Cathles and his team estimate that in a study area of about 9,600 square miles off the coast of Louisiana, source rocks a dozen kilometers down have generated as much as 184 billion tons of oil and gas — about 1,000 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent. "That's 30 percent more than we humans have consumed over the entire petroleum era," Cathles says. "And that's just this one little postage stamp area; if this is going on worldwide, then there's a lot of hydrocarbons venting out."

Now you know why these numbers get inflated.

Last, consider this bullet point coming from Gorelick:

- The world has never run out of any significant globally traded, non-renewable Earth resource.

There you have it, proof by assertion. Pretty sad, considering it is coming out of Stanford University.

I think it I'd the same author as the one who wrote the rote I on tar sands article here on tod a couple of weeks ago.
Rgds wp

- The world has never run out of any significant globally traded, non-renewable Earth resource

Passenger pigeon?

But those could be called a renewable resource and we still ran out because we wouldn't allow them to renew!

Neither were they really globally traded. So technically he's absolutely right, i'm wrong and everything is fine ;)

So what is the basic theory here? Is it that "Don't worry . . . people will be too poor to afford to drive or fly so everything is gonna be fine."? That is kinda what is playing out in Egypt and it doesn't looks so great to me.

I can only see the abstract but I think this is too flip regarding the difficulties in growing total supply over the last decade. The title suggests a focus on the demand side: "The Role of Fuel Efficiency and Alternative Fuels in a Global Oil Production Decline" but the analysis is really very supply-heavy, "Alternative Fuels" should appear first on that list.

Just reading the graph, they are saying we'll go from 90 mboe/day today to something greater than 130 mboe/day by around the 2030s. We're going to grow supply 40 mboe/day, net of decline. Really??

I don't think even the much-discussed Leonardo Maugeri is that bullish on total supply. Stanford has rolled out essentially another BAU-driven unconstrained supply scenario, with a hat tip to the demand impacts.

Happy days are (very nearly now, just around the corner, wait for it....) here again!

"We've seen explosive growth in car ownership in countries such as China," said co-author Adam Millard-Ball, an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Department at UC-Santa Cruz. "However, those cars will be more efficient than those of the past, and travel demand will eventually saturate as it has in rich countries such as the United States."

AS previously mentioned, those cars are being sold to new drivers, that is, people who aren't already driving cars. Thus, the increased number of cars represents a real increase in total "demand", which must be supplied if those cars are to be driven. There's potential for a large incresae in the number of cars in China, given their large population. And, does his accounting include India or other developing nations? Not to forget the fact that world population is still increasing, thus creating new drivers in addition to those who already want to drive.

Without reading the report (it's behind a paywall), one wonders whether they included electric cars in their projections. I noticed that the lead author has written several other reports, on oil shale and tar sands...

E. Swanson

And one thing about these new drivers . . . for them, the current price of gas is just "the price of gas". US and European drivers have become a bit turned off because they remember much cheaper gas prices and thus they are cutting back on driving and getting more efficient cars. But these new drives won't be slowed by the current prices because these are the only gas prices they've ever known.

So then the price doesn't actually matter, it's the perception of the price that is important?

Price clearly matters . . . you can't buy more than you can afford. But perception and your history matters as well.

Oh, price matters. Especially if you earn less than $2 a day, like over half the world's population. Nothing more fun than having to make the Hobson's choice between food, rent or gas.

That was my point - the cost of energy is a real limit, and the parameters that allowed the industrial revolution to succeed have now changed. There are certainly perception issues and social limitations on top of that, but the cost of energy is a real limitation.

One thing that the graph doesn't show is 'net' energy. If you leave out EROEI then any fantasy can become true.

I think you are right.

It is most likely a kind of model that says (1) demand flattens in the West (which is the big revelation) (2) demand grows like crazy in the East/developed world (3) we know the reserves exist, so we presume the resulting production can meet global demand. QED, and presto!

Andy Revkin from NYT weighs in on the Stanford Peak Oil study ...

More Signs of ‘Peak Us’ in New Study of ‘Peak Oil Demand’

Back in 2010, I asked this question: “Which Comes First – Peak Everything or Peak Us?” My focus was whether humans could use the gift of foresight to curb resource appetites in ways that would avoid having the peak imposed on us by shortages or human-induced environmental shifts like climate disruption.

There are growing signs the answer is yes. First came work pointing to “peak travel.” Then I wrote about a study foreseeing “peak farmland” — an end to the need to keep pressing into untrammeled ecosystems to expand agriculture.

Now comes this fascinating paper in Environmental Science & Technology: “Peak Oil Demand: The Role of Fuel Efficiency and Alternative Fuels in a Global Oil Production Decline.” I asked the lead author, Adam R. Brandt of Stanford University, to write an “abstract for the common man” and he kindly complied. Here it is, with a followup question and answer: ...

also Stanford Study data ...

IDES model documentation [PDF]
IDES model version 1.0 [XLSM]

A question to those who've got some experience with PV/solar thermal. Any suggestions for designing a house for solar in an area that gets a fair bit of snow (knee deep is not uncommon)? My thinking was keep entrances off of the south (equator) side, and have a fairly steep pitch, to allow snow to slide off and thump to the ground. Can this work with eavestroughs? Any good design resources out there you can recommend?

(While I'm asking, if you were building a house, are there any features would you insist on from a durability/sustainablity standpoint? For example, especially given recent events, I would say a high and dry basement is a big one for me.)

When I built my solar heated house, I opted for a south wall system. Space heating represents a large fraction of the energy use in a house, especially at high latitudes or other colder climates in the NH. One advantage for a south wall thermal system is that the snow cover reflects sunlight into the collectors, adding as much as half to the energy collected. Of course, one must be aware of the potential snow depth, keeping the bottom of the collectors above that level on most days. Designing a house with super insulation and high R-Value windows makes a big difference, since this cuts the amount of energy required compared to a standard code built house. Passive design ie another option...

E. Swanson

Perhaps there are a few articles in Homepower magazine that might give solutions/ideas.

Mount PV panels vertically unless you want to brush them off after every snowfall. Around here (in Fairbanks) we worry more about making the most of scanty winter sunlight than about maximizing power in summer with 24 hr daylight. On a two story house one good place for PV panels seems to be on the side of the house under the eaves. Other folks mount panels above the edge of the roof where snow cannot accumulate in front of them. If this philosophy seems extreme it is because we Alaskans have adapted to life far north of the banana belt.

Google for the cold climate housing research center for more ideas about shelter in the cold.


A good friend of mine did something like this, with a South-facing window wall on two floors with the garage and entry on the West side. But he has a deck on the south side and does spend some time clearing it. The passive heating from the window wall is quite impressive. It's a grid-tie system. During the day he powers a ground-sourced heat pump to warm the house as high as it will go (typically 80-83F on a sunny day) and then turns off the heat when solar input falls. By morning it's down to the mid 60's and a little heat is applied to warm up. Since most of the heating comes directly from local solar, electric bills for heating & cooling are minimal.

The GSHP was quite expensive, the solar panels (I think 27 panels so around 5KW) have micro-inverters, so there wasn't any large inverter required. In our (now-moderating) New England winters, I believe he said the GSHP gives about 4X the energy equivalent of resistive baseboard heating.

I am not quite sure what you mean by solar thermal. Do you mean solar hot water or passive solar heating of the house? By your description about the steep pitch of the roof, I think you mean PV and solar hot water because one does not use skylights nor a glass roof for passive solar.

For PV panels with frames, the frame has a lip around the parameter of the PV panel that projects above and holds the glass down. This lip anchors snow and holds it on the PV panel until the weight of the snow is sufficient to make it slide off. When snow is melting, it slides to the lower edge and gets caught on the lip. Snow also sticks on PV panels. Framed PV panels must be pointing nearly horizontally to make the snow slide off. If you point it in a fixed direction at the horizon, then your power output in the summer will be low because the direction is not optimal.

When it snows during the day, PV panels are often warm enough to melt the snowflakes as they land on the surface. When it snows during the night, the snow accumulates but you are not losing any power at night. The snow will need to be cleaned off in the morning.

To deal with snow:

1. Get frameless laminates because they do not have a lip to anchor snow.

2. Put the PV panels on a tracking mount because they will automatically point at the horizon at sunrise and sunset causing the snow to slide off.

3. Consider cleaning snow off PV panels to be another chore when shoveling snow in the morning. Put the PV panels on a roof where you can stand on the ground and reach them with a squeegee attached to the end of a long pole. If you remove the snow from the lower row of PV panels, then, when the sun shines, the snow on the upper row will melt and slide off. Thin layers of snow on the PV panels do not matter because they will melt quickly when the sun shines on them.

4. Put the PV panels on a ground mount where it is easy to walk up to them and wipe the snow off with your hand. PV panels are more likely to be stolen from a ground mount than a roof mount.

5. Put the PV panels on a mount that is manually tiltable in elevation. The optimal direction for winter is to point them near the horizon which helps to make the snow slide off. You will be able to point them in optimal directions for the other seasons.

Thanks for this. I was thinking of helping some people in Minnesota with a PV system.

You have a couple terms jumbled, but some good suggestions too.

You want your panels set vertical not horizontal, tho' I think that's clear enough from what you described, yet I have panels at just 45 and they almost never will hold any snow, and that almost never holds very far into a sunny day. The slight lip from the frame doesn't really shelf much.

An approach one might consider for the occasional heavy, sticky snowload could be to put heat strips along the bottom areas of the array and switch them on to get the snowload sliding, as many Arrays would be far out of reach for most tools.

I guess I missed his questions about thermal.. but I don't know why you feel that Glazed Roofing or Skylights couldn't be part of a Passive Solar design. They surely can be and are, while they may also be de-emphasized to keep from getting too much in the Summer.. but that is design and location dependent.

Solar design is indeed location dependent. Pedestrian may offer more info, especially latitude and average insolation. If possible, I would build trackers, or at least ground mounts adjustable for elevation. In some ways, roof mounts are a poor choice; too inaccessible, too hot in the summer... unless your home needs the shade from PV in the summer. Fixed mounts should be mounted at an angle roughly equal to one's latitude, except, perhaps, at higher latitudes that need the production in winter more.

My home-built trackers have a manual switch that lets me drive them to their east/west stops. Tilt and roll trackers go nearly vertical at their stops so the snow just slides off, sometimes with a little help. And, yes, the snow usually melts off quickly. Since my mounts track back to the east at night, very little snow accumulates. It's also easy to adjust the elevation steeper for winter.

As I've posted many times, I'm a big fan of passive solar thermal and lots of thermal mass. South-facing glazing and concrete floors remain one of the best investments I've ever made. Hydro-radiant floors allow heat to be moved around when needed, and with lower PV costs, adding resistance heaters to thermal mass is an option; dump excess PV production into floors or walls.

Site evaluation and passive solar implementation should be mandatory for new all structures where heating loads are a factor, IMO. Thermal storage would be on my list as well. It won't work everywhere, but few things do.

...oh, and insulate, insulate, insulate.

Durability is all about moisture control,inside and out; Good roofs & flashing, air tight construction, and mechanical ventilation are the essentials.

Since you seem to be in the beginning stages, the following are essential reading: Building Science Corporation www.greenbuildingadvisor.com www.buildinggreen.com www.builditsolar.com Home Energy magazine Home Power magazine

Good luck


The subject about making housing sustainable and durable is something I've thought about a lot and have been working at for years, both in my own house and in a small apartment building I used to own. Here are some things I have learned:

  • Avoid vinyl, where possible. Vinyl windows and siding will eventually deteriorate due to UV.
  • Where you have to use PVC pipe, such as the exhaust and inlet for a high efficiency furnace, be sure it is painted. This is again due to UV.
  • I decided to avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. It is expensive and has to be replaced from time to time. It is oil-based, so it will become even more expensive in the future.
  • Avoid cheap plumbing fixtures. I asked 3 plumbers what they would install and they all told me the same brand. Commercial grade would be even better, but it can be expensive.
  • For living rooms, bedrooms, etc., I have oak floors (the real stuff, not laminate) in my house which I have coated with polyurethane and area rugs. It's a lot cheaper to replace a rug or two than a whole carpet.
  • I like 12 x 12 commercial grade vinyl tiles in the kitchen. They are very durable and if needed just a small section can be replaced. If you choose your colors carefully and put on a good coat of wax, you can minimize the appearance of the joints between the tiles.
  • Use solid wood interior doors -- don't use hollow core ones. They are too easily damaged.
  • I went up a grade for door locks from the normal ones you get at a "big box." I bought them at a locksmith's. I had had trouble with the normal locks failing in one manner or another.
  • Avoid the ordinary "chip board" or OSB if you can. It is too prone to water damage. I understand there is an greatly improved version that is highly resistant to water, but I have no experience with it.
  • Be sure to insulate any hot water pipes that will be covered up with drywall before they are covered.
  • Don't run any ductwork in an unheated space, no matter how well insulated, if you can avoid it.
  • This may be just me being a little paranoid, but I do not yet trust plastic water piping. I use copper. I spray painted the exposed portions in the basement with glossy white paint so that it LOOKS like plastic, just in case some copper thief gets in.
  • I need to do some more research into foundations. I've seen a lot of cracked foundations around here and I question if the code is stringent enough -- maybe thicker and wider footers?

Hope this helps.

Some of these things we have done in our house. A lot of the old builder-grade carpet is gone - replaced with hardwood or ceramic tile. That's one thing I notice when I am in the tropics - lots of ceramic tile, and little to no carpet. Easy to clean, no mold/mildew problems, never needs another coat of urethane, and isn't bothered by UV.

I'm at 55N, we have about 1 m of snow on the ground in winter. I started building this house 2 years ago.

Roofing: A tin roof will slide, most others (cedar, asphalt) generally don't. So ensure your entrances are protected. Even a single story high roof can bury or kill a person.

Eavestroughs: I collect roof water for drinking, tin is about the only tasty option here, and I use snow stops to store the water on the roof all winter - see above. The gutters are below the plane of the roof so any snow that does slide or creep goes over, but water runs in.

Earth tube: The HRV uses a 50 m buried pipe to 'condition' intake air to about 10 degrees all year. There is about 150 tones of thermal mass here that warms the winter air (down to -33) and cools the summer air (up to 33) so our house is ~20C all year.

Annualized Heat Storage: A solar thermal (vacuum tube) panel heats our domestic water, once that is up to 35-40C excess heat is dumped into the foundation - hydronic pipes under 4 feet of gravel. This 150 tons of mass should reduce our heating season requirements. We turned our 'winter' heat off in March & now have about 20C saved, with all summer to get some serious heat to see if this works!

Passivehaus level of insulation - R40 in the walls, staggered 2x4 studs on 24" centres with a total wall thickness of 12". R100 in the ceiling, all blown-in cellulose. All the non-living space is on the north side - garage (for bikes & Skis), entrance, laundry, bathrooms & bedroom. so that wall is heated less.

Passive solar: South facing windows are about 9% of our floor area. I ordered certified windows from Europe under duress - I cannot believe that N.AMerican manufacturers are not capable of matching performance. North windows are about 1 m2, just so we can see out.

LED's - we put in LED pot lights (at a $15 cost over incandescent) & bulbs where fluorescent tubes did not fit in. If I turn on every light in the house I can pull almost 500 watts.

Still, all these things are getting more press than 2 years ago, especially if you live in civilization.


Stanford climate scientist addresses misconceptions about climate change

"Politically, 2C might be a useful target to rally the global community around," said Chris Field, the director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford. "But the concept of a safe threshold is a myth and tends to distract attention from evidence that we are already seeing widespread and consequential impacts of climate change."

"People tend to ask, 'When will the average conditions cross a threshold that results in climate change?' But that's not really relevant. People and ecosystems can adapt to the average conditions, but where things fall apart is in the extremes. We experience damages from climate mainly at the extremes, and it's the extremes that can result in disasters.

"We want to be sure that we don't fall into the trap of delaying action based on the hope that a few more years of research will provide scientific clarity.

Shifting Winds in the Climate Change Debate

Policy-makers have recognized that the notion the world will reduce greenhouse gas emissions anytime soon is unlikely, according to Dow. “We’re clearly moving toward an approach of adapting to new conditions and managing risks,” she said.

“Is it possible to protect everything we value through adaptation? The answer likely appears to be no,” Dow said. “We expect that, in some situations, risks will push people to give up many things that they value very highly. Or many things we value highly will be placed at unacceptable risks.”

In a commentary in Nature Climate Change, she and an international team of colleagues argue that “we need to both develop a clearer understanding of the limits of adaptation and anticipate the debates we’ll encounter when people are confronted with major changes to their lifestyles.”

The scientists are trying to move the public debate toward addressing climate change as a risk management issue, but with a broad perspective. “We need to fully embrace the concept of risk,” Dow said. “There’s an actuarial kind of risk that insurance companies use – household damage in dollars from a hundred-year flood, for example – but the whole history of risk management, scientifically and intellectually, recognizes that the public definition of what’s an ‘acceptable’ or ‘tolerable’ or ‘intolerable’ risk is much broader than property loss.”

"Policy-makers have recognized that the notion the world will reduce greenhouse gas emissions anytime soon is unlikely, according to Dow. “We’re clearly moving toward an approach of adapting to new conditions and managing risks,” she said."

Reality is even worse in two ways. Not only are we not decreasing emissions, we're not even keeping them from increasing. So we're going to see an increasing amount of climate change, not just a leveling off at some point. That's where those people who say "well, we'll just have to adapt" are missing an important point.

It's one thing to adapt to a changed but now stabilized climate, but it's a whole different ball of wax to be continually adapting to a constantly changing climate. I don't see that as remotely possible.

Oh, I think it's pretty easy to adapt when you simply abandon those who are affected.

Starvation due to CC? Well then die? Town burnt down due to forest fire, guess you stay homeless. Town drowned by flood? Same.

The market will respond wonderfully to CC. If you can't pay to survive and adapt, you will suffer a degraded life and / or die.

Not much in the way of adaptation, but those who can stay out ahead of the curve will have adapted just fine. Everyone else, eh, not so much...

Coastal Power Plant Records Reveal Decline in Key Southern California Fishes

Recent research documents a dramatic, 40-year drop in a number of key fish species and a change in their community structure, according to a new study led by Eric Miller of MBC Applied Environmental Sciences (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and John McGowan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

The bulk average of fish from the early power plant recordings (1972-1983) declined by 78 percent compared with more recent years (1990-2010). ... The decline centers on so-called "forage" fishes, small species such as sardines and anchovies that live close to shore and are consumed by larger predatory fish, seabirds, and marine mammals.

"Recent data collected since this analysis was completed do not change the outlook—the relatively long-term decline continues and likely contributes to the current, acute malnutrition and mortalities in California sea lions."

"The data from four of the five power plants agree with one another, so it has to be a large-scale phenomenon, something other than the individual power plants," McGowan said.

Huge iceberg breaks away from the Pine Island glacier in the Antarctic

On 8 July 2013 a huge area of the ice shelf broke away from the Pine Island glacier, the longest and fastest flowing glacier in the Antarctic, and is now floating in the Amundsen Sea in the form of a very large iceberg.

Scientists from the American space agency NASA discovered the first crack in the glacier tongue on 14 October 2011 when flying over the area. At that time it was some 24 kilometres long and 50 metres wide. "As a result of these cracks, one giant iceberg broke away from the glacier tongue. It measures 720 square kilometres and is therefore almost as large as the city of Hamburg", ...

As a result of these cracks, one giant iceberg broke away from the glacier tongue. It measures 720 square kilometres and is therefore almost as large as the city of Hamburg"

Wow. Someone should plant a flag on it and declare their own nation . . . that will last for a few months at least.

Wow. Someone should plant a flag on it and declare their own nation . . . that will last for a few months at least.

How about Bullwinkle's "Moosylvania"


Maybe to distinguish these new super bergs we should begin calling them "iceburgs"?

What ever happened to the one that was floating along the East Coast of America a while back? That one was a monster as well... about the size of Manhattan Island IIRC.


Hamburg ain't a metric unit.

Libya Oil Output Slides as Power Cuts Mix With Protests

Since the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, Libya’s oil industry has become the target of violent attacks and civil protests. The latest challenge is a lack of electricity.

Production dropped 16 percent to 1.13 million barrels a day last month, the lowest since January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The decline is partly because power shortages are disrupting the pumps that lift oil from beneath the ground, said Abdel Jalil Mayuf, a spokesman for state-run Arabian Gulf Oil Co., which pumps crude in eastern Libya.

To ensure electricity supply, Libya signed a deal with London-based contractor APR Energy Plc (APR) to provide 450 megawatts of power through mobile generators, the largest ever single contract for temporary power supply.

“Stop-gap solutions are unlikely to be enough,” John Hamilton, a director at U.K.-based consultant Cross-Border Information, said in an interview in Tripoli. “Power generation and a major upgrading of power lines crossing hundreds of miles of desert are essential to keep production at existing levels.”

Weekly Petroleum Status Report

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 5, 2013

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 16.1 million barrels per day during the week
ending July 5, 2013, 28 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average.
Refineries operated at 92.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline
production increased last week, averaging 9.6 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel
production increased last week, averaging over 5.0 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.5 million barrels per day last week, up by 118
thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil
imports averaged over 7.9 million barrels per day, 1.1 million barrels per day below the
same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished
gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 493 thousand barrels per
day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 81 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve) decreased by 9.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 373.9 million
barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are near the upper limit of the average range for this
time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.6 million barrels last week
and are well above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories
increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel
inventories increased by 3.0 million barrels last week and are near the lower limit of the
average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.0
million barrels last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Total commercial
petroleum inventories decreased by 7.2 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged about 19.3 million
barrels per day, up by 1.6 percent from the same period last year. Over the last four
weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 9.1 million barrels per day, up by 2.5
percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged about
4.1 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 12.3 percent from the same
period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 2.9 percent higher over the last four weeks
compared to the same four-week period last year.

What's up with the big drawdowns lately?

Jet fuel product supplied is 2.9 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

The market seems equally surprised by the drop in supplies to motorists. I fear to tread in speculation, so before I do it I will label it as such. During the Vietnam War the shifting of products from gasoline to Jet A was an early signal of a renewed bombing campaign (Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh Trail, wherever Nixon's ire was focused that week).

We may be fueling up planes, preliminary I would presume to moving more carriers to the Middle East. Pure speculation on my part.

Imports have fallen by the same amount as the stocks. Why the media hasn't put together the two is beyond me and I cannot find any news out of Alberta but I am guessing that the oil isn't flowing so well from there as of last week.

Took some searching but I found this latest article on June 26th that put together the pieces correctly. I would expect WTI to collapse pretty quickly but I guess sinkholes are opening up around Fort McMurray so who knows what is going on with the pipelines.

Enbridge line shutdowns sap output as U.S. crude gains on Europe

Restricted pipeline flows to the U.S., dependent on Canada for 25 percent of oil imports, are buoying U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude to the highest level against European counterpart North Sea Brent in almost 30 months. A prolonged outage would support a further narrowing of the WTI-Brent gap, already forecast to shrink to $5 a barrel this year as new conduits bring Canadian and U.S. shale oil to the Gulf Coast.

“It’s still unclear how long they’re going to be completely down,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, said by telephone yesterday. “Every additional day that Enbridge Canada is down supports the WTI price.”

Flooding causing infrastructure problems: RMWB

As the water from flooding in June recedes, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo says more new, unforeseen problems are revealing themselves.

Henry Hunter, the municipality’s director of public infrastructure, says crews are discovering new sinkholes, including one on Confederation Way.

“It’s basically as result of the flooding that we had previously,” Hunter said.

“As the water recedes, it scours away this subsurface. We see sinkholes, and sometimes the water main breaks.

“There will probably other sinkholes that become evident as the ground dries out and as we get into the summer.”

Canada monitoring pipelines after June floods

Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Energy said last week most of its pipeline systems tied to oil operations have returned to service, but at lower operating capacity

'Wwoofing' Teaches Urbanites Countryside Ways

Making the switch from urban life to rural bliss is not easy.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) began as a fad in 1970s England but is now growing in rural France where organic farmers greet a new wave of acolytes changing the face of the sustainable exchange movement.

Wwoofing, which has existed in France for at least 20 years, gives urban dwellers the chance to try their hand at earthy pursuits such as vegetable cultivation, cheese-making and sustainable construction.

Farmers offer their "wwoofers" a bed and board in exchange for their labour.

In 2008, France played host to 3,700 wwoofers, but just four years later this had grown to 10,000 amateur farmers, their ranks drawn from France and abroad.

... Wonder if any of our French TODsters (burgundy?) need any wwoofers?

A bunch of my students have Wwoof'ed over the years. Almost all feel the reskilling is worth the pain. Although one said she never wanted to work that hard for her food ever again.

Two things that came out of a Skype call/meeting I arranged with these students are how pre-familiarization with local food systems works a whole lot better when you include a get-your-hands-dirty component. We knew this but it was nice that they got the idea too. And how the "vacation-on-a-working-farm" ecotourism idea is a joke; all it pre-familiarizes you with is how to be pampered in the presence of local honey, lavender soap and mint-tea-at-4 -- an unhelpful mix of consumerism, BAU and farming.

Seraph, sorry didn't see your comment until now. Yes, it's something I've been meaning to do... when I get organised enough that is. I work on my land, but also do work for others (building work, garden maintenance, tree removal, etc.) and forestry work too. The outcome being that it would be difficult to organise and oversee others when my own schedule is so uncertain and I wouldn't always be available.

I have been wwoofing this april in Italy. Actually, I think most countries have some local wwoof organization you can contact. It's also a good way to meet the locals, learn the language etc.. I'm planning on doing it again this fall.

I couldn't think of a better way to reskill towards farming. By the way, it's not all work you do. If you work well when you have to, you can have a lot of time free to do whatever else you want to.

ARTICLE: "James Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming"

"The world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a "different, practically uninhabitable planet" by triggering a "low-end runaway greenhouse effect." This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world's best known climate scientist."
Dr. James Hansen

The Bakken play and American fracking are only the tip of what Dr. Hansen knows is coming: ARTICLE: http://grandemotte.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/whats-bigger-than-the-bakken/
"Bazhenov is in a different league. It’s BIG. Sanford Bernstein estimate that it covers 2.3 million square kilometres (570 million acres). That’s about the size of Texas and GoM combined. And that makes it about 80 times larger than the Bakken."

The above is extracted from Forbes, which then goes on to point out no less than 25 other unconventional oil plays. But you ain't seen nothin' yet...ARTICLE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21752441 One Japanese technician was recently quoted as saying we are at the stage of development on methane hydrates as the U.S. was at on fracking about 3 years ago! The volume of natural gas available to development is essentially the volume of the Caribbean Sea (!)

The release of carbon will be unbelievable, far greater than currently imagined as acceptable if your goal is planetary survival. One group called www.350.org says that most data (much based on Hansen's work) sees 350 parts per million of carbon in atmosphere is most the Earth will take without increased warming, and no one knows the "tipping points at which the permafrost will release its carbon. It is now becoming obvious that will race past the 350ppm number, and probably reach 1600 to 2000ppm by mid century. Hansen seems to understand that we will never, as a species suffer a hydrocarbon energy shortage...we will have long been extinct by then, and have taken most of the species on this doomed burnt cinder with us.
Roger Conner (for those looking for the now cutting edge of energy and global warming issues go to www.350.org

May 10, 2013:

For the first time, NOAA's Mauna Loa observatory recorded an average daily CO2 concentration above 400 parts per million. Globally, we're not yet at annual averages above 400, but this is indeed an important milestone. We've created 400.350.org to reflect on what this means, and talk about what we're doing to cool the planet.


James Hansen has a paper coming out soon about how fossil fuels could trigger runaway global warming. He may well be right, we just don't know -- it will depend on how much of the remaining low-quality, hard to get at fossil fuels we will manage to burn. Coal is overwhelmingly the worst of the fuels left, so it's good news that some scientists believe we're at or near peak coal.

Other high greenhouse gas emitting sources, such as methane hydrates (http://energyskeptic.com/category/energy/methane-hydrates/), shale oil (http://energyskeptic.com/2011/shale/), and large-scale exploitation of the tar sands (http://energyskeptic.com/2011/oilsands-also-known-as-tarsands/) is unlikely to ever provide much if any fuel. Since this is a liquid fuels crisis with 97% of our transportation dependent on oil, and all "alternative" energies are dependent on oil for their manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance, electric power generation is not a remedy to this situation.

That doesn't mean there won't be climate change, rising oceans, and possibly a runaway greenhouse effect in the future, but because we're more or less at peak oil, natural gas, and coal, the future extinction rate might not be as bad as the 90-95% Permian extinction, though we're likely to cause at least a 20% extinction rate (if we haven't already) from having taken over most of the prime habitats on the planet to grow food, extract timber from (rain)forests, and the other 9 boundaries we're crossing (http://energyskeptic.com/2011/9-planetery-boundaries/).

Much of the fossil fuel resources are likely to remain in the ground due to growing wars and social unrest, and it's not clear to me that we could ever get back to the same scale or level of extraction if enough time elapses for reasons explained at energyskeptic but too long to digress to here.

The evidence for peak coal

Tad Patzek, a professor at the University of Texas, Austin wrote that under the 40 different U.S. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios, 36 of the 40 scenarios predicted future carbon production and CO2 emissions at today’s rate of coal production. Credible forecasts of coal production, by contrast, predict a 50 percent reduction over the next 50 years.

“Most of the IPCC scenario writers accepted the common myth of 200–400 years of coal supply, and now their “eternal” (100 years plus) growth of carbon dioxide emissions in turn is a part of the commonly accepted social myth,” says Patzek.

“The IPCC carbon estimates, which are used by all major decision makers, are based on economic and policy considerations that appear to be unconstrained by geophysics,” says Patzek. “The value of our approach is that it provides a reality check on the magnitude of carbon emissions.

Below are excerpts and references from this paper: Richard Heinberg and David Fridley. 18 November 2010. The end of cheap coal. Nature, vol 468 p 367-9.

New forecasts suggest that coal reserves will run out faster than many believe. Energy policies relying on cheap coal have no future.

We believe that it is unlikely that world energy supplies can continue to meet projected demand beyond 2020.

A spate of recent studies (1–5) suggests that available, useful coal may be less abundant than has been assumed — indeed that the peak of world coal production may be only years away. One pessimistic study (1) concluded that global energy derived from coal could peak as early as 2011.

In terms of energy output, US coal production peaked in the late 1990s (volume continued to increase, but the coal was of lower energy content).

Resources are exaggerated

A lot of coal is so difficult to get at it will probably remain in the ground. Much of China’s coal, over 90%, is from mines as much as 1,000 meters deep. We strongly suspect that the current reserves figures are too optimistic.

One way to estimate future production is to look at past production trends. This method was pioneered by geophysicist King Hubbert. Applying Hubbert analysis to coal, Chinese academics Tao and Li (7) forecast that China’s production will peak and begin to decline long as early as 2025. A forecast (3) by the Energy Watch Group, used a lower reserves figure of 114.5 billion tonnes to forecast a peak of production in 2015, with a rapid production decline commencing in 2020. During and after the period when production peaks, resource quality will dwindle and mining costs will rise, pushing up coal prices.

Coal consumption is accelerating fast, notably in China. This renders meaningless reserves-lifetime figures calculated on the basis of flat demand. A 2009 report from China’s Energy Research Institute forecast that coal demand would rise by 700 million to 1 billion tonnes by 2020, reducing the reserves lifetime to about 33 years. If coal demand grows in step with projected Chinese economic growth, the reserves lifetime would drop to just 19 years (10).


1. Patzek T. W. and Croft, G., “A Global Coal Production Forecast with Multi-Hubbert Cycle Analysis,” Energy, doi:10.1016/j.energy.2010.02.009, 35; pp 3109-3122, 2010.

2. Mohr, s. H. & Evans, G. M. Forecasting coal production until 2100. Fuel 88, 2059–2067 (2009).

3. Zittel, W. & schindler, J. March 2007. Coal: Resources and Future Production. Energy Watch Group, Paper no. 1/07 (2007); http://go.nature.com/jngfsa

4. Rutledge, D. Hubbert’s Peak, The Coal Question, and Climate Change (2007): available at http://rutledge.caltech.edu

5. Höök, M., Zittel, W., schindler, J. & Aleklett, K. Global Coal production outlooks based on a logistic model. Fuel 89, 3546–3558 (2010).

6. 2010 Survey of Energy Resources (World energy Council, 2010); available at http://go.nature.com/hde5r7

7. Tao, Z. & li, M. What is the Limit of Chinese Coal Supplies: A STELLA model of Hubbert Peak. Energy Pol. 35, 3145–3154 (2007).

8. Campbell, C. J. & Laherrère, J. H. the end of Cheap oil. Scientific American (March 1998).

9. Energy Information Administration. Annual Energy Outlook 1998 (Doe/eia, 1997).

10. 2050 China Energy and CO2 Emissions Report (in Chinese) (science Press, 2009).

11. Luppens, J. a. et al. Assessment of Coal Geology, Resources, and Reserves in the Gillette Coalfield, Powder River Basin, Wyoming. open-File report 2008-1202 (usGs, 2008).

12. Coal Reserves of the Matewan Quadrangle, Kentucky — A Coal Recoverability Study. us bureau of Mines Circular 9355 (USGS, 2003).

13. Strategic Analysis of the Global Status of Carbon Capture and Storage. (Global CCs institute, 2009).


Ward, K. October 13, 2012. Coal's decline forewarned Minable seams running out, experts say. West Virginia Gazette.

Alice Friedemann in Oakland, CA

Some anecdotal evidence for Peak Coal is the problems experienced in developing Queensland's Galilee Coal basin. A partnership of Indian firm GVK and the recently privatised Aurizon f.k.a. Queensland Rail wants to spend $6 bn building a new 500 km rail line and to expand an existing coal port. The economics look bad but Indian interests say they need the coal whatever the cost.

Elsewhere in Australia dairy farms are being bulldozed and horse studs undermined by coal mining. Not a sign that shallow good quality coal is abundant. It'd be nice to review this on TOD a year from now.

Back at the beginning of the IPCC process, there was a problem with modeling future temperature increases with time. The IPCC developed a set of emission profiles so that the various modeling groups might use the same emission profiles, thus allowing comparisons between the responses of those models. As more has been learned, other problems, such as methane emission rates, have appeared.

While it may be that the accessible coal reserves will turn out to be less than projected back in 1992, we have since learned that there are other sources of CO2 emissions, such as tar sands and soil carbon and methane locked in permafrost. In the end, the problem is the sum of all emissions, not just those from coal, since the CO2 levels are expected to remain elevated for centuries, once the CO2 is in the atmosphere...

E. Swanson

Saw a reveiw of a paper about sequestration from bio carbon power. If the world does this at maximum scale -it can gradually drawdown the CO2. They estimated cooling of .6C per century -so three centuries to undo 2C of warming. (But we are on a path for 5C or more, so this method of putting it back might take several hundred years).

Looks like IBM's Watson wasn't just for Jeopardy ...

The 'Gist Mill' Spy Program also here

"Without a significant advancement in the ability to anticipate and identify precursers to change, or a capacity to counter, mitigate or respond to such an event, the US is vulnerable to social network-catalyzed attack on it's interests."

Jeez... seems this could work both ways. Imagine:

"With a significant advancement in the ability to anticipate and identify precursers to change, the US now has the capacity to catalyze artificially-induced attacks on others' interests."

... like redirecting the mob to someone else's embassy in Bengazi at the last minute? Manufacturing dissent in near real-time?

the US is vulnerable to social network-catalyzed attack on it's interests.


How about http://www.buycott.com/ and a boycott VS American firms over drones, NSA, whatever.

With a hand-held adviser of what to buy/not buy - how many people need to opt to not buy to worry the producers of consumer products?

I wonder if a movement to unplug could get traction? Turn on, tune in, drop out?

Unplug? How long before you simply can't opt out? Super computers, RFID, DNA, and...

Scanning your kid's eyeballs at school:

Kids lose their school IDs but they don't often lose their eyeballs.

That's one of the reasons why a growing number of schools are replacing traditional identification cards with iris scanners. By the fall, several schools -- ranging from elementary schools to colleges -- will be rolling out various iris scanning security methods....

..."It's sort of like a brave new world; the new technology is sort of scary," said Page Bowden, a parent of a student at Winthrop University's on-campus nursery school. "But when you stop to actually think about it, and think about the level of security that [it] affords you as a parent and your children, it's worth it."

Minority Report, anyone? Watchout for the spiders dude. They're here to keep you safe :-0

The Blinkspot scanner syncs with a mobile app that parents can use to see where their child is. Every time a child boards or exits the bus, his parent gets an email or text with the child's photograph, a Google map where they boarded or exited the bus, as well as the time and date.

Ghung, it seems like an over-kill, but maybe some parents want that constant information.

It doesn't seem like an over-kill. It IS an overkill. The article talks about replacing 'traditional' ID with this technology. I'm here to tell you that I went through my entire K-12 schooling with no ID whatsoever.

I know times have changed, but perhaps if this technology is a felt need by parents, the problem is much, much deeper. A problem for which technology is not the answer.

It's the new normal. If I know everything about you then I can trust you, otherwise I can't. The problem is it is impossible to know everything about a person, so no one can ever be trusted. As far as the System goes, everyone is the enemy unless they can be verified as working for the System and even they must be watched carefully.

Because the System needs anything and everything on everyone and rewards those that feed it data, there's plenty of response from State, business and individuals. I've been upgrading a 10 year old computer to make it useful again, which requires various upgrades in the process. The resulting mass of attempts to legally install adware and spyware was stagering, even from trusted names (eg. Microsoft and Firefox for examples).

I think one of the signitures of collapse is the failure of trust. We're rapidly approaching the point where we can no longer trust institutions, businesses or individuals.

"I think one of the signitures of collapse is the failure of trust."

I think that's a very good point. That, and (closely related to your point) there seems to be no commonality of interest. There seems to be no 'we', no 'us' any more. Maybe it was an illusion, but when I was growing up it seemed otherwise. I sometimes think I might just be getting old...

" ...some parents want that constant information."

I'm sure they do. Questions:


Who else wants it?

How will it be misused?

How far will this go?

When will biometrics be mandatory for all.

How did we become so frightened?

The school buses (the ones they want to make sure your kid got on) don't even have seatbelts in most cases. And god forbid that kids should actually need to learn to remember stuff, like their IDs. Security? School shootings/crime are often done by students who would have access anyway.

Maybe it's just me. I walked to/from school or rode my bike beginning in the 1st grade; read 1984 (first time) in the 4th grade. Got an A on the book report.

My wife is a nurse at a large hospital and she says, by contrast, they have virtually squat for security. They get some crazy people through there, some of whom have made threats. Seems like we over-react in some cases, under-react in others.


[snark]Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to just have your kids chipped like we do with dogs and cats? [/snark]

In yesterday's Drumbeat there was discussion of the train carrying crude oil which exploded and destroyed much of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. There was the question of whether or not crude can explode.
Another theory has been published: that the train crashed into 4 railroad cars carrying liquid propane and these exploded:

Firm building oil pipeline without public input

JACKSON COUNTY -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitted Plains Southcap to build a crude-oil pipeline from the Mobile area to the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery without public input.

The project involves 41 miles of pipe, 24 inches in diameter, going into the ground to carry crude oil from the Ten Mile terminal, a holding area near Semmes, Ala., to the refinery.

In all, one estimation says trenches for the pipeline will plow through more than 120 areas of wetlands and cross 22 streams, according to the Corps of Engineers. ... putting Mobile's drinking water at risk is a "very, very important issue."

Nothing surprises me ever about how bidness is done in Mobile and Jackson counties.

Exclusive: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists

Documents reveal US money trail to Egyptian groups that pressed for president's removal.

Documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley show the US channeled funding through a State Department programme to promote democracy in the Middle East region. This programme vigorously supported activists and politicians who have fomented unrest in Egypt, after autocratic president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February 2011.

The State Department's programme, dubbed by US officials as a "democracy assistance" initiative, is part of a wider Obama administration effort to try to stop the retreat of pro-Washington secularists, and to win back influence in Arab Spring countries that saw the rise of Islamists, who largely oppose US interests in the Middle East.

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, and public records reveal Washington's "democracy assistance" may have violated Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funding.

It may also have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers' money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments.

... old habits are hard to break. See 1953 Iranian coup d'état

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, and public records reveal Washington's "democracy assistance" may have violated Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funding.

It may also have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers' money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments.

None of this "rule of law" stuff is of any concern to Americans. We were just informed that the NSA spends as much time and resources spying on law abiding Americans as they do spying on everyone else, and it scarcely raised an eyebrow over here. In fact, most Americans (and the corporate media) have labelled the whistleblower (and journalists he collaborated with) a "traitor" deserving of the harshest possible punishment.

Who cares about nascent Egyptian laws, or supposedly democratic elections in Egypt? Maybe it'll end up like Lebanon, as a nice proxy war zone. Really, who wants a nation run by fundamentalist Islamists?

Why do we worry about pesky laws from years ago? It's not like every feel-good law hasn't been subverted already. Like the Bill of Rights, for example.

Lest we draw it too narrowly, I don't think we want nations run by Fundamentalist Jews, Hindis, Buddhists or Christians, either.

It seems that in this context, the term is understood to mean 'Those who are proud to be the most narrow and inflexible that they can be..'

Hopefully the sarcanol came through in my post. I think for a comfortable society, ext3emism of ANY sort, including liberal, anarchist, or whatever, should be avoided. However, Islamic fundamentalists seem to have the strongest proclivity for violence, and thus would be at the top of the list to avoid. A nutjob libertarian survivalist can go hideout in Idaho and be a threat to almost nobody, while a nutjob Taliban who sees it as a duty to kill female teachers and girl students is a threat to all. I'd just as soon deal with crack-heads and meth labs....

I wouldn't worry that they will be shooting new seis in ANWR anytime soon.

From what I've been told by people who know, the proposal is a legal counter ploy by the State to a proposed management plan by the USFWS. The 1980 legislation expanding ANWR included language that oil and gas potential of the 1002 area has to be considered in managing the area. However, the USFWS has proposed a long term management plan that totally ignores any possible future oil development. The Alaska state government is concerned that if that management plan is adopted, it would confer de-facto permanent wilderness status to the 1002 area, and could permanently preclude any future chance of oil development. I'm a geo, not a lawyer, but as I understand it, the State by making this proposal will force the Interior Department to formally reject it, which in turn sets the State up to litigate the USFWS's proposed long term management plan.

Just one more episode in the never ending ANWR soap opera.

Well, for those into EVs, I'm happy to report that the EV price war continues to rage on.

Nissan opened their American factory and introduced a new base model at $28.8K. Fiat then said the Fiat 500e would be available for a $199 lease, GM then said their Spark EV would be $27,495 or $199/month lease, Honda was then forced to cut their lease from $389/month down to $249/month.

And now Ford slashed the price of their Ford Focus Electric down 10% down to $35K.

I suspect that pretty much everyone of these vehicles is a money-loser but probably around break-even for the ones that are being built in quantity like the Leaf.

BMW will be fully introducing their i3 at the end of the month and it uses a new drivetrain system that hasn't been seen before. In the CARB system, it is being called a BEVx . . . a battery electric vehicle with extender. It can be purchased as a pure EV or for around $2K more, you can get a small little 2 cylinder engine that will charge it up. The full details are not known but after the battery is depleted, the little ICE fires up and you can drive it with the gas engine. But I think the performance is degraded and it has a small tank so you can only go another 80 to 100 miles. So it is not like the Volt which is a full hybrid. It is more like a pure EV with portable generator.

My viewpoint is that the BMW you describe IS AN OPTIMAL HYBRID and that the Chevy Volt's engine (149 hp) and the Ford Focus Electric engine (143 hp) are too large. Performance, as in 0-60 mph time, is a measure of power to weight ratio and power is the rate of energy consumption. The more power available to the driver, the lower the real world MPG is likely to be.

Then, there's the Chevy Spark:

Get ready for takeoff

Spark EV features an innovative electric propulsion system drive unit paired with a lithium-ion battery. Without the traditional transmission, torque has nowhere to go except directly to the tires and the road. This is why Spark EV achieves 0 to 60 mph in under 7.6 seconds. With 400 lbs.-ft of torque, the connection is direct: head, right foot, power, pavement. Tuned specifically for its electric propulsion system, Spark EV puts power in all the right places at the moment it’s needed for a sporty and responsive ride. Fun fact: this mini car is best-in-class when it comes to torque, generating more than the Ferrari 458 Italia and Porsche Carrera S. And Spark EV features a turning radius of 33.8 feet, which beats out the Mini Cooper, so parallel parking in the city is seamless and simple.

Gotta love that GM marketing department...

E. Swanson

It's only good if you can break loose those tires and make 'em smoke!!!!! /sarc


"My viewpoint is that the BMW you describe IS AN OPTIMAL HYBRID..."

That is my take on it as well - what I advocate for the Volt. If you can't drive normally with the engine in the i3 (apparently a 600cc twin) - you're doing something horribly wrong.

AC Propulsion, makers of the T-zero which was creaming exotics before Telsa, made a genset trailer called the "Long Ranger" from a 500cc motorcycle engine that would allow the Rav4 EV to roam the highways for as long as it had gas to burn.

This male bovine feces of the i3 aux engine not being capable of propelling the car normally is just a lack of understanding of the flow of power during driving, or BMW fouling up royally (which I tend to doubt).


Nissan opened their American factory and introduced a new base model at $28.8K. Fiat then said the Fiat 500e would be available for a $199 lease, GM then said their Spark EV would be $27,495 or $199/month lease, Honda was then forced to cut their lease from $389/month down to $249/month.

For anyone who's leasing a standard ICE car they are likely paying about $200/mo now...plus paying an extra $100 (35mpg) to $175 (20mpg) per month in gasoline costs based on $3.50/gal and 12,000 mi/year lease agreement. An electric car driven the same distance at a consumption of 300 Wh/mi and rate of $0.12/kWhr will cost around $36/mo to charge - a savings of $64/mo - $139/mo...an average savings of $1,218 per year.

Trivia: Tesla was started by people who saw the T-Zero and decided they needed to make a business out of it.

That little ICE will probably power i3 relatively well . . . but if the vehicle is full of people going at freeway speeds and trying to go up a hill . . . it will certainly struggle and slow down. But on a flat road and even at high speeds, it should be fine as long is it can drawn down a little power from the battery now & then during acceleration.

And you are dead on correct with those EV cost numbers. With those $199/month leases, EVs are a great move for anyone stuck driving a gas guzzler on commute. Park the gas guzzler and get yourself a nice quiet new EV for your commute. Drive the gas guzzler to the beach on weekends. And if you really want to full on . . . throw some PV panels on your roof and lock in cheap electricity to power EVs for the next 25+ years.

I owned an early version of the Honda Civic hybrid with a straight shift tranny for about a week. On the freeway, it worked quite well, keeping up with the traffic, even on hills, while delivering close to 50 MPG. However, I live in the mountains and occasionally must drive up a long grade from the flat lands. When I drove it up the grade once, I found that I drained the battery and then had to downshift to maintain speed. Honda's CVT might have handled this situation well, but the relatively small motor had a hard time pushing the car up the steep grade. With a bit larger battery, this situation might not have been such a problem, which I would expect to apply to the BMW i3, where the motor is not intended for full power use...

E. Swanson

@Dog: Chevy Spark link is broken.

Green Car Congress has more details on the BMW i3:

More details on BMW’s i3; electric and connected (Green Car Congress)

Range extender. If desired, the BMW i3 is also available with a range-extender engine, which maintains the charge of the lithium-ion battery at a constant level while on the move as soon as it dips below a certain value.
The 650cc two-cylinder gasoline engine, which is mounted immediately adjacent to the electric motor above the rear axle, develops 34 hp/25 kW. Specifying the range extender has no effect on luggage capacity: the 2.4 gallon (nine liter) fuel tank is located in the front section of the car.
The combustion engine drives a generator to that produces electricity. It is brought into play as required, responding optimally to match the load and running extremely efficiently. Driving in ECO PRO mode or ECO PRO+ mode can increase the range of the BMW i3, in each case by up to approximately 12%. If the range extender is specified, the BMW i3 will be able to travel more than 60 miles (100 km) further before refueling. The BMW i3 is first currently produced battery-electric car to offer the option of a range extender engine used exclusively to generate electric power.

But nothing about the price.
Probably more than the Volt, but less than the Tesla.

While in Germany at the first early pre-production drives of the hotly anticipated BMW i3, BMW people finally hinted at a price ballpark. Numbers being tossed around by pundits have actually been pretty close to what BMW is discussing internally - between $35,000 and just over $40,000. We have been assured now that the base price, should one choose to buy and not lease in the Euro zone, is just over 35,000 euro, with some big taxes included in that price. In the US, the starting price for the fully EV plug-in version should be $34,500 or right thereabouts. In addition to new pricing, we've also gotten our best-yet look at the i3, with the freshly uncovered spy shots you see here.


By what I've heard, the pricing is in the low 40s and the $7500 brings the price down to the $35K level. So much cheaper than a Tesla but more expensive than the Leaf, Fiat 500e, Spark EV, Ford Focus EV, Honda Fit EV, etc.

I am very intrigued by the small little range extender ICE though. It is a very interesting concept. A problem with the Volt is that the engine it has is overkill . . . Chevy needs to build something with this architecture.


It looks like they're sneaking in some "Driver-less-Car Lite" equipment.

I have a hard time believing that the hybrid version will only get 30mpg - might be BMW low-balling to keep expectations in check but I guess time will tell. According to other specs it looks like it will be somewhere around 220Wh/mi - but I think that's the euro test cycle which also gives the Leaf an erroneously more efficient number. I'd like to know more about the specific dimensions of the engine but I can't imagine it getting worse than 40mpg with an electrical consumption of 220 Wh/mi and should do better than that.

"For regulatory reasons in California, BMW has a strong incentive to keep the distance in range-extending mode lower than the battery-only range."


What I also find interesting about it is that they describe it as a skate design with a body-on-rolling-gear platform...which means they have the potential to use the same skate, but put a different body on it to suit different designs or markets.

Yeah, CARB worked with BMW and created a new classification for this new design . . . BEVx:

It qualifies for the HOV lane sticker in the pure electric category and they can use BEVx cars to get 50% of their ZEV credits.

What I also find interesting about it is that they describe it as a skate design with a body-on-rolling-gear platform...which means they have the potential to use the same skate, but put a different body on it to suit different designs or markets.

And that is great to hear because so many people that look at the i3 call it ugly.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That sounds like a mess. I can see the merit in designating a certain threshold of EV only miles so that it's likely to see a certain large percentage of its time in EV mode versus that of gasoline mode - but restricting when the engine comes on (so that it probably can't be used properly) - and limiting the gasoline mileage to at or below the EV range - screwed the pooch there. This is likely create mutants that no one will want to buy (or will be rapidly hacked by the aftermarket).

Well they could go ahead and change those things as you suggest . . . but then it should no longer qualify for the white HOV lane sticker for EVs. With such a car, someone who hates EVs could buy it and never plug it in yet ride the HOV lane.

It's certainly a possibility that it could happen, but what's the probability of that happening? It's like the ongoing debate of "welfare queens" - just because a handful of people are going to game the system doesn't mean the system should be distorted to the point of being useless.

Tha Platts blog site 'The Barrel' says about The Oil Drum- 'it still was pretty much an intellectual hangout for the Peak Oil crowd'. As an avid reader of the posts in The Oil Drum, I feel that Platt's remark is over simplified. The Oil Drum is more than a mere 'hangout for the peak oil crowd'! It provides wide coverage of articles on oil&gas market as well as environment related issues. Hope it continues its good work beyond the deadline already announced.

Agreed. It's not just the discussions, it's the links to other interesting articles and sites provided by Leanan and commenters that I find valuable.

TOD is an intelligence hub. The NSA of oil, if you like.

EDIT: Woohoo! Post No 1,001 after 4 years and 40 weeks.

It is the associative thinking -- steam-of-consciousness conversations. And the mix of right brain and left brain thinking is good. I even see a lizard brain thought now and then. Actually, it's just that there's a lot of thinking going on, and reported upon--which I find stimulating and very refreshing.

Speaking of the lizard brain, this is a very interesting take on "the markets" and the future.

Why the Dow Will Hit 5000 Before 20,000


Another data point on supplements...

Fish oils may raise prostate cancer risks, study confirms

Everyone knows that fish oil is good for you, right? It’s a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are marketed to reduce the risk of just about everything from heart disease to Alzheimer’s.

But a startling study shows men who have the highest levels of these compounds – the kinds found in fish but not in vegetable sources -- have a higher risk of prostate cancer. Men with the very highest levels had a 71 percent higher risk of high-grade prostate cancer – the kind most likely to spread and kill, they report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

It might be a sign that popping a pill is not only possibly a waste of money – it might be downright dangerous. And eating fish too often might be, also.

Sometimes I think you can't win when it comes to eating healthily.

The wise counsel of today will inevitably be overthrown and exposed as positively dangerous tomorrow.

This particularly hit home because I saw the doctor yesterday about a skin thing, and he strongly hinted at my age it was time for a rectal exam. I put him off. I consider myself healthy because I eat a lot of fish. Not salmon, I can't afford it, but canned pilchards. They can the whole fish minus heads and tails so you are getting all the oil and the organ meat as well. In fact, that's on the menu tonight.

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn.

Yeah, we've always eaten whatever is in season or pleases our palate. Fish, meat, fruits and veggies, nuts, bread/grains; being the omnivores humans have always been. Last night was a cheese souffle (our own free-range chickens' eggs), a garden salad (spinach, lettuce, arugula - salad rocket, edamame, tomatoes, all home grown), and a piece of apple/raspberry pie (local apples and raspberries picked fresh from our bramble patch).

The only dietary change we've made in the last few years is a big smoothie in the morning; whatever's available in the fridge - veggies, berries, fruits, nuts, legumes/seeds, live culture yogurt. I've even snuck in some dandelion, grape leaves and fern fiddles. My wife ordered one of those 'Bullet' things and we grind up stuff and toss it down. Keeps one 'regular'.

Cracking the human dietary code seems too tedious; fruitless (PTP). That said, common sense tells me to cut back on salt and sugar. Oh well... [takes another bite of his hamburger]

That article (and principal investigator) may be a bit misleading. The prostate cancer incidence was correlated to blood levels not some kind-of dietary recall measure. Were they eating farm-raised salmon? The PI waives his hand at mercury but I am sure there are many other toxins in fish. The Japanese have a diet high in fish oil.

John Hopkins - Prostate Cancer

Epidemiological evidence points to environment, and specifically dietary factors, as a culprit in the initiation of prostate cancer. Japanese men living in Japan enjoy very low rates of the disease, says Kimmel Cancer Center director and clinician-scientist William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. However, if these same men move to the U.S. and adopt a western diet, over time their prostate cancer rate equals those of American men.

The other thing that bothers me about the research is they were using data from another study. This is not scientific but more of the method I like to call "going fishing" which happens when they can't find anything else interesting to report. There is always a certain risk in statistics that the finding is actually in error and that risk increases greatly when you start fishing.

And a topic apparently not addressed in the study was total mortality risk versus Omega-3 blood levels. For a recent Harvard study on this topic search for: Higher blood omega-3s associated with lower risk of premature death among older adults

And from a 2010 study:

Search for: Fish consumption and prostate cancer risk: a review and meta-analysis (November, 2010)

Our analyses provide no strong evidence of a protective association of fish consumption with prostate cancer incidence but showed a significant 63% reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality.

Borrowed data, no source identified, against all other studies.
Your conclusion is the only one a critical thinking individual could take.
There seems to be, along with energy independence for the US, a Jihad against vitamin and nutritional supplements by the current elite regulators.

And this blog has a very reasonable possible explanation for high Omega-3 blood levels versus high prostate cancer rates, versus the total mortality numbers:

Does fish oil cause prostate cancer? Whether it does or not, the most recent study is not suited to answer this.
Search for: examine.com + fish oil and your prostate

Stating "fish oil causes cancer" due to this study would be a mistake, as it is a case-cohort study (conducted at one time point only), and a temporal relationship is not made. While unlikely, with the data available, it could also be possible to state "prostate cancer causes a higher n3 concentration in the blood."

The temporal aspect is important, since fish oil supplementation can drastically change serum levels of omega-3s in the blood. It is quite common for people diagnosed with prostate cancer to supplement with fish oil, as it is commonly touted to be cancer-protective (which would mean that prostate cancer precedes fish oil supplementation). A previous study using persons from SELECT using a design that could assess this temporal relationship found no relation (either protective or harmful) with prostate cancer incidence.

And here in Westworld nothing could pos-able-ee go rong.

A synthetic yeast with man-made chromosomes could eventually be used as a platform for making new kinds of biological materials, such as antibiotics or vaccines, while human artificial chromosomes could be used to introduce healthy copies of genes into the diseased organs or tissues of people with genetic illnesses, scientists said.

And here in Westworld nothing could pos-able-ee go rong.

Creating Knockout mice is a tried and true research technology and is perfectly safe. You are just replacing a tiny portion of a mouse gene with a modified strand of DNA. If something should go wrong it would only be the mouse that suffers. This isn't like a genetically modified strand of Monsanto wheat the is spread by the wind to a neighboring farm... For one thing, a lab mouse, with or without human chromosomes can't survive outside a lab.

As for a synthetic yeast with man made chromosomes, it would probably still be smarter than us >;-)

For one thing, a lab mouse, with or without human chromosomes can't survive outside a lab..

There should an island or 2 that such a statement could be tested with.

Climate Change, Migration and Security: Best-Practice Policy and Operational Options for Mexico

This Whitehall Report assesses the impact these environmental changes could have on migration in Mexico. Using high-resolution atmospheric and demographic data, it develops a comprehensive econometric model to determine the likely outcomes of climate-induced migration in Mexico.

Competition over key resources such as water, food, land and energy may arise in places of origin and host areas that are also vulnerable to overcrowding, leading to resource scarcity, heightened tension and, potentially, local conflicts. Without predictive local integration plans, the growth of urban slums may occur. Potential competition between farmers, the energy sector and other industries such as mining and commerce may also arise over key resources like water and energy that are critical to production and manufacturing processes.

In 2003, a widely cited report predicted that due to environmental degradation, the US will have to strengthen its border controls to ‘hold back unwanted starving immigration from the Caribbean islands, Mexico and South America’. See also Environment as a Peace Policy

In our examination of the complex interactions between climate change and security, three conclusions emerged. Firstly, climate change will impact people’s ability to meet their basic needs, especially those whose livelihoods depend on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture and fishing. Secondly, climate changes will not affect everyone equally, and this has the potential to exacerbate social divisions and tensions. Thirdly, climate change will compound existing challenges around governance and institutional capacity – increasing demand for disaster response and recovery, and the implementation of adaptive measures.

Possible more fuel to the fire for the protests here in Cusco. Bread prices jumped from 20 cents (7 U.S cents) a roll to 30 cents a roll. Admittedly that was the smallest price jump that could have occurred as there aren't any coins smaller than 10 cents but a 50% jump in price will have a big effect, especially on the poor.

Drivers, get ready for a gas price spike

Gas guzzlers, be warned: You're in for a whopper of a price jump at the pump.

Prices of oil and gasoline futures have increased sharply in July, according to Gasbuddy.com chief oil analyst Tom Kloza. And these prices will inevitably be passed on to consumers in the coming weeks.

The price of unleaded gasoline could jump by at least 25 cents per gallon in August, said oil trader Dan Dicker, author of "Oil's Endless Bid."

The Market Futures Databrowser displays the evolution of the NYMEX futures chain for crude oil:

You can see how the August 13 Futures contract (CLU13) has evolved from the lo $90's three months ago to yesterday's close near $106. For comparison, here is what the futures chain looked like on April 11'th, three months ago.

Back in April, economic growth in the US was not yet certain and Egypt had not yet fallen into crisis mode. Near term futures prices trade on the news cycle and can swing all over the place while the December 2014 contract has remained very stable. It is interesting, though that the front month contract is reaching the levels of previous highs in 2011 and 2012.

I wonder how folks will explain expensive gasoline given the current "death of peak oil" meme.


Most folks don't "explain", they blame; Obama and speculators seem like the most likely scapegoats in this case.

Yeah, I read various comments sections after financial stories on oil. The biggest boogeymen blamed (even though they largely don't deserve it) are:
1) Speculators - still don't understand how they think speculators can magically ratchet up prices all the time. It is also very ironic that they whine about speculators since these commenters are generally 'free market' people . . . who are calling for market controls if they want to reign in speculators.
2) Obama - Often with inaccurate quotes assigned to him. And if you point out that oil production has increased more during the Obama administration than at any time in the last 40 years, they'll say "Well that's all on private land where he can't stop them!" Of course, if he was really the evil oil-hating dictator, couldn't he use his EPA thugs to stop them? And do they expect the drillers to drill dry holes on public land because the private land is where the in vogue shale oil currently resides.
3) OPEC - Which is kinda odd since they are all pumping full tilt except for Saudi Arabia. And much of the excess capacity from Saudi Arabia may just be extra heavy crude that few can refine.
4) Tree-hugger environmentalists that prevent drilling. Well, at least this one has some truth to it in that drilling is largely banned off the east & west coasts and in ANWR. Of course the oil from drilling these areas would not come on line for years and would probably not be a quantity to largely change things.

People are addicted to oil so they need a boogeyman to blame when prices rise. Admitting that it is just supply & demand is too painful to believe . . . especially if you just bought a new vehicle that will require oil to operate over the next 20 years. Most of them have bought into the 'USA energy independence' hype. Many think oil would be $20/barrel if we just reigned in those speculators, Obama, and the tree-huggers.

Denial is strong.

"Denial Delusion is strong[er]."

But the simple lack of the key resource the society was built upon is stronger than all. It may not make anyone believe it, but their belief (or lack) is irrelevant.

Their belief is irrelevant to whether the resource will be scarce, but their beliefs are central to the steps taken to prepare, and the reactions to scarcity. Invade Iraq, anybody?

I suspect if more people believed in peak oil they would then clamor to invade more countries. I don't see much evidence to support the idea that if people only understood the facts and data that they will respond in a rational way - or in a way that analytical people expect anyway.

Nah. Only idiots like Donald Trump might suggest that. Even if one wanted to be evil and try to steal resources with violence in that manner, it just doesn't work. The Pentagon has wargamed it. You just can't cost-effectively protect drilling rigs, drilling crews, thousands of miles of pipelines, loading ports, and tankers. It is cheaper to buy it from whoever the local authorities are.

I think people are reacting in a rational way given that they do not look forward into the future.

Of course it doesn't work, but that is irrelevant. When faced with a resource limit any fantasy that involves continuing to use that resource won't work. If there were a wider acceptance of peak oil the public demand would not be overtly for war, but merely for maintaining what we have for as long as possible and any way that was pursued would be acceptable. I would say the latter is already the case - the fuel must come from the pump, and the price must be less than $4. Whatever must be done to make that happen is OK.

One of the characteristics of Hubbert's graphs is that they are based on what has been used before - what is available is a consequence of past usage. With social limits what can be achieved is also restricted by past history - deprogramming ourselves from the things we've been taught and the ways we see the world takes willingness and a lot of effort on the part of those who must change. You can just give people some graphs and get them to understand what they don't want to grasp, and then if you do get them to see the problem you cannot assume the response will make sense outside of their programming.

Trying to get the masses to accept peak oil and energy/resource limits runs smack into conflict with the primary myths and memes of our society. If the lack of one resource can be such a problem, then what about human ingenuity, optimism and that can-do attitude? What about endless progress and technology? What about American exceptionalism and our obvious superiority, or for that matter our future among the stars? The idea of limitations is unacceptable, and incompatible with our programming.

Oh that is o.k because according to MSM we all have cars that get 60 miles to the gallon and we don't use as much gas as we used to....

There has been considerable improvement. Thirty + years ago I had two full size vehicles that got 10 mpg or less. This poor showing was in part due to engineering problems adjusting to smog regulations including the elimination of tetra-ethel lead.

Canada train disaster: Blast missing 'probably dead'

Canadian police have said 30 people still missing since Saturday's train disaster in a Quebec town are "most probably dead".

Twenty bodies have already been found after a runaway train carrying oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic.

The train operator's boss blamed a Canadian driver for the accident, saying he had probably failed to set a series of hand brakes.

30 years ago there would likely have been a Brakeman whose primary job would have been to ensure the manual hand brakes were set. Cost cutting Efficiency measures....

No worries. They will try to fix it with another high tech gizmo maybe some GPS + Camera + Supercomputer combination.

The latest I have heard is that there is some question as to the appropriate number of handbrakes that should have been set. The engineer claims that he set handbrakes on 11 cars (I imagine that investigators are looking at the cars to see if this is true), as that was what he was told was required. I would note that when they found the locomotives, it was clear that the handbrakes had been set there.

But I have seen others suggest that in the U.S. and with various class 1 railroads, the number of handbrakes that one would set on such a grade is quite a bit more. From the Bangor Daily News:

At least three independent railroad industry experts contacted by Reuters said they would have opted to apply at least 20 brakes and as many as 30 on a similar heavy train parked at a grade of 1.2 percent, which is the slope of the track where the runaway train had been parked.
. . .
MMA has said its handbrake policy was adopted from safety guidelines set by a much larger railroad, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
. . .
An online copy of Canadian Pacific’s General Operating Instructions said at least nine handbrakes must be set on a parked train of 70 to 79 cars, but additional brakes “may be required” if the train is parked on a grade.

It may well be that the engineer applied the correct number as per company policy, but in fact the number was insufficient if the airbrakes were released. Some companies have a policy that the engineer must *test* the train by releasing the airbrakes to make sure that the number of handbrakes set is sufficient, but I don't know what MMA's policy is.

This is one glaring issue with single-person train crews - setting and releasing 30 handbrakes is a lot of work for one person.

The case for $70 oil

Oil prices may be surging above $100 a barrel now, but in the next few years they could be averaging closer to $70.

There's an old adage in the oil industry: The best cure for high prices is high prices. Soaring prices lead to new investment, bringing new supplies to market. And that's exactly what's been happening since crude prices went off to the races nearly a decade ago.

Myers Jaffe, executive director of energy and sustainability at University of California, Davis, wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

"Oil prices did collapse in the 1980s, following huge investments made in the 1970s in response to that era's high prices. Jaffe argues the collapse would have already happened, were it not for the easy monetary policies that's kept cash cheap and easily accessible for investors over the last few years."

She thinks oil in the $50 to $70 range will be the new norm in three to five years, and even sees $30 a barrel if the market over-corrects


Whoa, I think I'm way too old to smoke what she's smoking... and I gotta wonder what else she's seeing?

Oh never mind, this explains it, seems her source of income directly depends on her not understanding.

Jaffe’s research focuses on oil geopolitics, strategic energy policy including energy science policy, and energy economics. Jaffe was formerly senior editor and Middle East analyst for Petroleum Intelligence Weekly.

If the price of oil ever dropped to $50/bbl, all of those shale operations would come to a screeching halt.

"Oil prices did collapse in the 1980s, following huge investments made in the 1970s in response to that era's high prices. Jaffe argues the collapse would have already happened, were it not for the easy monetary policies that's kept cash cheap and easily accessible for investors over the last few years."

Did anyone else notice the contradiction here? I would have thought that cheap cash would have encouraged investment in production capacity. Or is she implying that speculators are sitting on stashes of oil?

It is a completely nonsensical contradiction. Yeah, there would have been all this investment if it wasn't for this massive pile of near-zero-interest money being easily available to investors. Wait . . . what?!?!

BTW, looking at her thinking, it is pure economist-think. If there is a demand then investment will magically satisfy that demand. But she is being nearly completely blind to the changing dynamics. To her credit, at least she's recognized that the $25 to $35 oil is gone. But she doesn't seem to realize that the current oil requires more than $50/barrel to get the marginal barrel, that increased demand from population growth always pushes demand higher, that increased demand from developing countries that are industrializing always pushes demand higher, and that the $60 to $80 oil itself will start running thin and thus pushing us to $90 to $110 oil.

Back in 2000, she thought the $20 to $30 oil would last for 2 more decades. Now she thinks the $50 to $70 oil will last for another couple decades. The market seems to disagree.

The best cure for high prices is high prices. Soaring prices lead to new investment, bringing new supplies to market. And that's exactly what's been happening since crude prices went off to the races nearly a decade ago.

So the cure was applied . . . and has apparently failed. Perhaps the problem is a big bigger than you realize?

"It would be a mistake to assume that the oil price euphoria of 2007-2008 will not, at some point, be followed by a long-term adjustment similar to the 1980s oil price collapse," Amy Myers Jaffe,

Ahh. Cornucopian queen that was dead wrong. The one who in early 2000 predicted that the problem of the 2000s would be oil that is too cheap!

Oil prices have been flirting recently with $25-$30 per barrel, levels almost reminiscent of the oil shocks of the 1970s. Rising energy prices have been accompanied by the usual hysteria about dwindling supplies and potentially dangerous transfers of wealth, tempting policymakers to consider ways of dealing with a coming oil crisis. But contrary to much received wisdom, the energy problem looming in the early 21st century is neither skyrocketing prices nor shortages that herald the beginning of the end of the oil age. Instead, the danger is precisely the opposite; long-term trends point to a prolonged oil surplus and low oil prices over the next two decades.

Paradoxically, this scenario of plenty could destabilize oil-producing states, especially those in the ellipse stretching from the Persian Gulf to Russia. And although the economies of the United States and oil-importing developing nations would by and large benefit, the backfire of low oil prices could undermine U.S. policy assumptions and imperil U.S. interests.

Both the popular and the elite media -- from Parade asking "Could It Happen Again?" to Scientific American, no less, proclaiming "The End of Cheap Oil" -- are peppered with forecasts of gloom and doom about energy security. But the "sky-is-falling" school of oil forecasting has been systematically wrong for more than a generation. In its dramatic 1972 "Limits to Growth" report, the group of prominent experts known as the Club of Rome wrote that only 550 billion barrels of oil remained and that they would run out by 1990. In fact, the world consumed 600 billion barrels of oil between 1970 and 1990, and there are today more than a trillion barrels of proven reserves (recoverable at current prices under current conditions). This figure is likely to continue rising even as global consumption exceeds the current 73 million barrels a day. Indeed, the International Energy Agency says that there are 2.3 trillion barrels in ultimate recoverable reserves, and if unconventional sources such as tar sands and shale are included, the number may well be greater than 4 trillion barrels...


Sorry Amy . . . you'll never live that one down. You were COMPLETELY DEAD WRONG.


And wouldn't you think that after a cycle or two of being completely and utterly wrong, an analyst would feel some scintilla of an obligation to acknowledge the past error, discuss what unforeseen events or misconceptions led to the poor predictive outcome, and how those findings inform any new forward-looking guidance?

Case in point: The CERA 2006 study that predicted global oil production at 110 Mbbls/day around .... now. We're at 91 Mbbls/day now, a paltry amount higher than in 2008. Along comes the Brandt/Stanford study and lo and behold, the upshot of which is: same result as the CERA study, pushed back 10 years. In the case of Stanford you would think they would want to do two things (1) what factors invalidated CERA's prediction (2) where does this 'new' study add value? what differentiates it?

I'd have more respect for cornucopians if they could give some quarter to what has actually transpired rather than simply repeating the same talking points waiting for events to (randomly) vindicate them.

Those optimists who dismiss peak oil do so on the basis of mostly weak arguments not based on data. Many optimists claim that predictions of peak oil which were not correct invalidate "peak oil theory." However, they don't hold themselves to the same standard and even try to explain why the optimistic predictions were not correct. I'm not sure if either camp has produced great predictions. The question in my mind is whose predictions have been closest to reality. So far, if price is any indicator, peak oil proponents have been more accurate than not. The optimist predictions of great increases in oil production have not manifested in an environment of rising prices. Many peak oil proponents expected declines in production by 2005-2012. Some predicted later peak 2012-2020. Even if predictions are wrong, many oil pessimists will try to explain the errors in their predictions. Prediction is very difficult, but I would take optimists more seriously if they explained their errors as vehemently as they attack the errors of pessimists.

In my mind it is the nexus between peak oil and climate change which is most threatening because while renewables remain a small, but growing percentage of power production, climate change continues apace requiring more energy to keep societies stable, more energy to facilitate agricultural production. As the price of oil rises, the cheaper, more available resources are coal and natural gas. The pronouncements about how many years of natural gas are available is predicated upon current rates of consumption. The rates of natural gas consumption could rise dramatically as oil supplies tighten, leading to depletion. Peak oil provides real constraints on the options available to societies to minimize climate change. Even if peak oil does not play out in a fast collapse scenario, but unfolds as a long, slow decline over 30-50 years, we will need relatively cheap alternatives to coal and oil if we are going to avoid catastrophic climate change. Without economic incentives, it appears that most nations will not act to reduce carbon emissions.

As prices of all sources of energy rise, there will be economic incentives to increase energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is likely a necessary but insufficient response to minimize climate change. Reduction in overall consumption may occur due to increasing poverty. There is very little data that I've seen that suggests we have lots of reasons to be optimistic about energy for the next 100 years. Peak oil has already had the impact on climate change via the emergence of dirtier fuels. Biofuels are more likely a drain on resources than a net benefit. Only dramatic change of some kind could change the emerging picture. Optimists hope for innovation and innovation has occurred, but I have little hope that innovation will change physical laws or dramatically alter the energy mix in a short enough time frame to minimize climate change.

She thinks oil in the $50 to $70 range will be the new norm in three to five years, and even sees $30 a barrel if the market over-corrects.

Ghung, the prediction of lower prices quoted in the article seems hard to believe. I think many of us would be happy with $100 going forward considering the effects of higher population on demand.

How do I order those $30 barrels?

Oh, I can see a dip to the $30s as possible if we have another 2008 financial meltdown.

But the sustained range of $50 to $70? Ridiculous. Wouldn't that make the current shale oil unprofitable? Either she's paid to give such over optimistic views or she's a loopy 'true believer'. I believe the former . . . she gets money from conservative think tanks. It is a purchased viewpoint. Keep those suckers addicted.

At 70 a barrel a lot of non-conventional extraction goes offline, supply drops and price rises. The price right now is no accident. What I do find fascinating though is the mantra of speculation causing high prices seems to have dissipated.

I couldn't find it on the site, Bardi's:
The shale gas revolution: is it already over?


The production of natural gas in the US has not been increasing for about two years. Fitted with a Gaussian function, it shows a peak in the second half of 2012 and, from then on, a tendency to decline.

Gas was $2 less than 2 years ago. Almost all rigs have moved to oil - like down a 1000 on gas. All the new gas is either associated with oil or coming along to hold production leases.

Of COURSE there will be a drop in production -- there is a glut! All peaks are a direct function of price as well as reservoirs.

Climate Change Will Cause More Energy Breakdowns, U.S. Warns

WASHINGTON — The nation’s entire energy system is vulnerable to increasingly severe and costly weather events driven by climate change, according to a report from the Department of Energy.

The blackouts and other energy disruptions of Hurricane Sandy were just a foretaste, the report says. Every corner of the country’s energy infrastructure — oil wells, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants — will be stressed in coming years by more intense storms, rising seas, higher temperatures and more frequent droughts.

“We don’t have a robust energy system, and the costs are significant,” said Jonathan Pershing, the deputy assistant secretary of energy for climate change policy and technology, who oversaw production of the report. “The cost today is measured in the billions. Over the coming decades, it will be in the trillions. You can’t just put your head in the sand anymore.”

Report: U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather

The report also stresses that utilities and other energy companies will likely need to take many adaptation steps regardless — even if humans do succeed in curbing emissions and slow the pace of global warming. That’s because some of the expected impacts of climate change are already locked in for the years ahead, based on the greenhouse gases we’ve already put into the atmosphere.

• Climate change impacts are expected to vary regionally, but vulnerabilities in one region may have broader implications due to the interconnected nature of energy systems.

• Vulnerabilities of interdependent sectors, such as oil and gas production and electricity generation sectors, may compound one another and lead to cascading impacts.

• The pace, scale, and scope of combined public and private efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience of the energy sector will need to increase given the magnitude of the challenge.

Natural-gas-powered buses usher new era for KC transit

The agency on Wednesday put two new natural-gas powered buses into service and announced plans to eventually replace its entire fleet of 300 buses, which mostly use diesel, with natural-gas vehicles.

An additional 23 natural-gas buses have already been ordered and the entire fleet will be replaced over 12 to 14 years as the current buses wear out. Five hybrid-electric buses now in use will also be replaced.

A natural-gas bus costs $40,000 more than a diesel-powered bus, but it is expected to save the ATA about $100,000 over its life.

The new buses that made their debuts Wednesday cost $420,000 each, with the federal government paying 80 percent of the price. Federal funds pay a similar subsidy for all transit buses regardless of the fuel used.

Distant Quakes Trigger Tremors at US Waste-Injection Sites, Says Study

Large earthquakes from distant parts of the globe are setting off tremors around waste-fluid injection wells in the central United States, says a new study. Furthermore, such triggering of minor quakes by distant events could be precursors to larger events at sites where pressure from waste injection has pushed faults close to failure, say researchers.

Among the sites covered: a set of injection wells near Prague, Okla., where the study says a huge earthquake in Chile on Feb. 27, 2010 triggered a mid-size quake less than a day later, followed by months of smaller tremors. This culminated in probably the largest quake yet associated with waste injection, a magnitude 5.7 event which shook Prague on Nov. 6, 2011. Earthquakes off Japan in 2011, and Sumatra in 2012, similarly set off mid-size tremors around injection wells in western Texas and southern Colorado, says the study. The paper appears this week in the leading journal Science, along with a series of other articles on how humans may be influencing earthquakes.

"The fluids are driving the faults to their tipping point," said lead author Nicholas van der Elst, a postdoctoral researcher at Columba University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "The remote triggering by big earthquakes is an indication the area is critically stressed."

Geothermal power facility induces earthquakes, study finds

An analysis of earthquakes in the area around the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in southern California has found a strong correlation between seismic activity and operations for production of geothermal power, which involve pumping water into and out of an underground reservoir.

"We found a good correlation between seismicity and net extraction," Brodsky said. "The correlation was even better when we used a combination of all the information we had on fluid injection and net extraction. The seismicity is clearly tracking the changes in fluid volume in the ground."

The vast majority of the induced earthquakes are small ... the nearby San Andreas fault, however, is capable of unleashing extremely destructive earthquakes of at least magnitude 8, Brodsky said. The location of the geothermal field at the southern end of the San Andreas fault is cause for concern due to the possibility of inducing a damaging earthquake.

The 1st 2 are normal TOD talking points with #3 getting mentioned on occasion.

The Death of the American Streetcar
The 99-MPG Car

Deep oceans warming at an alarming rate

Despite mixed signals from warming ocean surface waters, a new re-analysis of data from the depths suggests dramatic warming of the deep sea is under way because of anthropogenic climate change. The scientists report that the deep seas are taking in more heat than expected, which is taking some of the warming off the Earth’s surface, but it will not do so forever.

I've been watching a debate play out in our neighbor state, Georgia, regarding their Public Service Commision's plan to require Georgia Power (Southern Company subsidary) to buy/produce 1% (yes, a whopping one percent) of their electricity from solar. The Koch Brothers ("Carpetbaggers" by definition down here) have been waging a campaign against this proposal for some time, via their front group "Americans For Prosperity". An example of their tactics:

In an email to supporters, Georgia director for Americans for Prosperity Virginia Galloway wrote, "What if I told you something you're not even hearing about in the news is about to raise your electricity bill by more than 40 percent and reduce the reliability of every appliance and electronics gadget in your home? That's what will happen when your Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) votes on July 11th if you don't take action today!"

AFP made a similar claim on Twitter.


Americans For Prosperity spokesman Joel Aaron said at the hearing:

Renewable energy mandates cause, uh, the historical data suggests, cause costs for ratepayers to skyrocket.

[transcibed from WSBTV Atlanta tonight; no video available]

Georgia PSC Commisioner Stan Wise:

Solar energy too new to count on,, feelgood energy policy. "You do not know the ramifications. What I fear you are about to do is imprudent and irresponsible".

More of the Americans For Prosperity campaign here:

The Truth About Your Electric Bill - By Joel Aaron

The measure was approved today by a commision vote of 4 to 1. The first of 500 MW is expected to come online in 2015.

With efforts to "tax" Carbon - when the electric rates jump for Coal, will they also jump for anyone who has been paying 100% for "renewable energy" on their electric bills?

This is incredible!!!
Arizona Public Service has proposed an approximately 60% electric rate increase for anyone installing solar PV systems on their homes or property!!

There is also a negative add campaign against PV solar systems now showing in Arizona!! A lobbiest with ties to APS is apparently paying for the Internet adds!!

APS is presenting this proposed increase to the Arizona Corperation Commission for approval this coming Thursday. This story was just broadcast on Phoenix TV news (channel 12 - NBC).


APS will submit a plan July 12 at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) that, if adopted, will foster a sustainable, fair and broad-based solar energy future for Arizona.

With as much sunshine as we enjoy in Arizona, we believe solar power can and should have a bright and long future in our state. We see a future of rapidly increasing adoption of solar power, where individual customers can “go solar” by putting solar panels on their homes and businesses.

Our responsibility is to make sure the electricity grid is in place to support that goal. Today’s rooftop solar customers benefit from a reliable grid at all times – at night, in the rain, or when it is so hot they need more power to run their air conditioners. These solar customers also use the grid to sell power back into the system when they have excess. The grid helps ensure that they have the power they need, whenever they need it.

As more people install solar on their homes, it becomes more important that everyone who uses the grid helps cover the cost of keeping it operating at all times. Under current rules, rooftop solar customers benefit from a reliable grid, but pay little to nothing for their use of it.

After a series of public meetings, we are submitting a recommendation to the Arizona Corporation Commission that would update the current rules so that future rooftop solar customers get compensated at a fair price for the power they generate, and also pay a fair price for their use of the grid...

What's a grid? :-0



What's a grid? :-0

A grid is a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines or bars spaced out at regular intervals, forming squares or rectangles >;-)

Oh... little boxes. That's all you needed to say; little boxes that help people think they're safe.

For the record, I think that grid-tied solar PV people probably should pay a small fixed fee for grid upkeep. Of course, when that happens, they should also remove the restrictions that some places have where they say no more that 5% of households can get PV systems.

Someone needs to write a counter-point to the above statement that goes something like this:

The PV consumer union will submit a plan at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) that, if adopted, will foster a sustainable, fair and broad-based solar energy future for Arizona.

With as much sunshine as we enjoy in Arizona, we believe solar power can and must have a bright and long future in our state. We see a future of rapidly increasing adoption of solar power, where individual customers can “go solar” by putting solar panels on their homes and businesses.

Our solar PV systems generate large amounts of excess electricity during peak usage hours that is
provided to other customers on the grid. The local utility sells this power to our neighbors at
peak daytime rates. Thus, our solar PV systems allow the utility to forego investments in costly
'peaker plants'. At night, we draw power from the grid when the utility has excess generation capacity.
Thus, we help the utilities by providing electricity to the utility at the time when they most need it
and receive the highest payments from the customers that use the electricity we provide. We later receive electricity at night when the utility has excess generating capacity. This situation is a win-win for both sides.

As more people install solar on their homes, it becomes more important that everyone who uses the grid helps cover the cost of keeping it operating at all times. Under current rules, utilities benefit from
receiving PV electricity when they most need it and return electricity when then have excess without
paying for the difference in value of peak daytime electricity and off-peak night-time electricity.

Of course the rub is that 7pm peak wherein the solar systems are pretty much producing nothing and everyone wants electricity. That is a problem that someone needs to solve.

"That is a problem that someone needs to solve."

Put a few kW on a west-facing roof, or use trackers. We're still producing nicely at 7 pm on many summer days.

There is already a fixed fee for grid tie, at least on my utility bill, of $8 a month. If that is not enough to cover grid maintenance then it could be increased.

Grid costs and generation costs should be decoupled, there is no need to subsidize one from the other and mixing them obscures their true costs.

Arizona Public Service has proposed an approximately 60% electric rate increase for anyone installing solar PV systems on their homes or property!!

Whiskey! Tango! Foxtrot! So what happened to the idea of a free market, eh?

It would really be amusing if people in Arizona started to install off grid systems en masse...

The proposal seems like a measure born of desperation.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win!

Actually, from a gridweenie point of view, this may seem fair and was to be expected. Early adopters were getting a fairly generous deal, using the grid as a battery for little or no cost. Current customers' contracts will be grandfathered in for 20 years, and they are giving new customers who want to install rooftop PV until October 15th to get their applications in (and be grandfathered under the current rules for 20 years). The only crappy part I can see is that future PV producers will only be paid a wholesale rate for kWh pushed to the grid. Payback time will be much longer, it seems. I haven't seen the current contract, so I don't know the details, but I have a friend in AZ who's been making out like a bandit. I'll see if I can get in touch. They are planning to increase upfront incentives for folks to install PV, but the grid-tied party won't be what it was. Betcha a lot of fence sitters will be scrambling to get their apps filed.


Of course, some of you know where I stand. I don't need no stinkin' power company. Just trying to be a realist here.

p.s.... and Fred I don't care if they laugh at me. They can't even come on my property; really pisses'em off.

I wonder how they are doing it. For instance, my electric bill has a base charge of 44 cents a day for the service connection. The power delivered is a separate charge above that, err, below that on the bill.

Increasing such a charge, or starting one if there is not one, might well be a fair way to redistribute the cost of the grid considering the fact some customers are now using much less power, or even selling more to the utility then they buy on net over the year.

The devil is in the details, as the saying goes.

For instance, my electric bill has a base charge of 44 cents a day for the service connection

And because charges like this have backing in law and are less than $20 - how does one establish standing to sue the rat bastards?

All I can find is at http://azenergyfuture.com/ , but I don't see any hard numbers. Then again, I'm pretty mellow; treating a toothache (aka: odontalgia) until my dentist gets back from Bermuda or someplace. Maybe you'll have an easier time.

I don't feel too guilty. Even Greer admitted to blogging on bourbon this week ;-)

IIRC the tv news report stated that the average PV user paid $93 a month and the proposed increase would raise their monthly bill to $157!!!

Got batteries?

'Got a BullSwitch?' is what I was thinking. (Same thing as batteries, really).. since what really must chafe and terrify the utility owners is the point you made above. Can't touch this!

People will eventually get the whiff of possibility with that Array, and suddenly, enough guff from APS and people start to notice that they actually CAN disconnect and work out the details without some Board of Trustees and a monthly contract to toss random, irritating numbers at them any more.

The writing is clearly on the wall.. it's just that most of us, most of the time still hardly believe it's really truly true..

I live in California and drive an EV like 3 days a week and my bill pretty rarely hits $100/month. How do PV users have $93/month bills? I guess they crank that AC non-stop in Arizona? (and/or have tiny PV systems?) Man, I could never live there. I hate the heat.

Have you tried the stuff for baby teething? It contains a local anaesthetic in the Lidocaine family and you paint it on your gums.


First, TOD is (was) one of my favored sites. Second, Leanan's roundups kicked butt on all previous news roundups in human history. I never comment, yet I'm a little bit sick about this farewell, but fare thee well to Leanan et al. It's been a eye-opener. Thank you all for your tremendous work.

It's been a few months since I visited TOD. This is a very surprising turn of events, but ultimately it makes sense.

I was here for three years of indispensable intellectual growth. The discussions I saw here were primarily responsible for changing my worldview from a dazed-and-confused college junior to a 23-year-old who feels like he's been in the world for a hundred thousand years. So much data, wisdom from those far older than me, and history to draw countless stories and parallels from.

I think this dynamic may have been in fact what now draws TOD to an end. There are only so many new stories to tell, right? Once you've been around for a hundred thousand years, you've pretty much heard it all. And if you've been open enough to integrate those stories into yourself, then all there is to do afterwards is to live out there, and not in here. That's largely the reason why I decided to move on from TOD and other online communities I visited during my "real" education in the past three years, and towards the newly-unearthed goals I have in my life I absolutely must work towards, or at least die trying before the end, whether that is due to some Peak-derived cataclysm or old age.

While some others here may lament the "death" of TOD, I salute its retirement. I am glad that its state will be preserved with everything that has ever happened here, so that I may revisit it whenever I'd like to get a refresher on one of many subjects, and so that I may continue to point others to it as an information source should the need arise.

I'd like to recognize members whose contributions through full-on articles or comments have given me so much knowledge, wisdom, and even entertainment over the past three years:

Stuart Staniford
Gail Tverberg
Gail the Actuary
eric blair
Rune Likvern

among many others...

It feels like we are all leaving for the West, like the elves, Frodo, and Gandalf did in Lord of the Rings. Middle Earth was saved, but not for us. The current period, for whatever reason and length, is the dominion of men, who above all else desire power. Those of us who value other things should see it fit to depart to greener shores instead of dwindling and lingering.

It was a good run, and perhaps I'll yet meet you all again in other communities.

I blush to be mentioned amongst such illustrious company, even in 19th place :/