Drumbeat: July 13, 2013

Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners

WASHINGTON — Bill Richardson often denigrated America’s power transmission network as a “third-world grid” when he was President Bill Clinton’s energy secretary, but the more current description of it is “balkanized,” with 500 separate owners. Marc L. Spitzer, a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said even that analogy was not harsh enough.

“To call the U.S. grid balkanized would insult the Macedonians,” he said.

When President Obama presented his plans last month for executive action that would cut emissions of greenhouse gases, one item on his list was strengthening the power grid. It was on the lists of President George W. Bush and Mr. Clinton, too. But for the most part, experts say the grid is not being changed, at least not on a scale big enough to make much difference.

WTI Crude Rises on Speculation U.S. Supplies to Drop

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed on speculation that U.S. inventories will keep declining after the largest two-week drop in at least three decades.

Futures advanced 1 percent today and 2.6 percent this week. Inventories slid 20.2 million barrels to 373.9 million in the two weeks ended July 5, the Energy Information Administration reported July 10. WTI has moved into backwardation, with futures closest to expiration more expensive than those for later delivery, removing the financial incentive to hold supplies. WTI also gained as corporate earnings topped analysts’ estimates.

“We’ve had a staggering two-week draw in crude inventories,” said Tom Finlon, the Jupiter, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics Group LLC. “Given the structure of the market, it looks like we’ll see another big draw.”

U.S. Energy Rigs Gain for Second Week, Baker Hughes Says

Oil and gas rigs in the U.S. rose for a second week, increasing by two to 1,759, according to Baker Hughes Inc.

Oil rigs were down four at 1,391, gas rigs advanced by seven to 362 and miscellaneous rigs slipped one to six, the Houston-based field services company said on its website. Gas rigs reached an 11-week high.

Oil Options Volatility Declines as Crude Futures Increase

Crude options volatility declined after underlying futures rose.

Implied volatility for at-the-money options expiring in September, a measure of expected price swings in futures and a gauge of options, was 21.78 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 3:40 p.m., down from 22.21 percent yesterday.

Increasing Oil Production in the U.S. Sparks Less OPEC Reliance

Oil production in the U.S. hit its highest level in over a decade, marking a move from dependence on countries overseas to energy independence.

Pro-Mursi Protesters Gather in Egypt Demanding His Return

Protesters against the Egyptian army’s removal of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi plan to maintain their sit-ins and rallies after a day when tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the capital.

While protest leaders such as Safwat Hegazy, an Islamic scholar and Muslim Brotherhood supporter, told crowds in the Nasr City neighborhood of Cairo yesterday that rallies wouldn’t end until Mursi is reinstated, the U.S. and Germany called for the ousted leader to be released from army custody.

Chinese bank resumes disbursement for Ghana gas project

ACCRA (Xinhua) -- The China Development Bank (CDB) has resumed disbursement of loan to SINOPEC for the development of Ghana's western gas infrastructure, Ghana National Gas Company Ltd (GNGCL) told Xinhua on Friday.

The payment done on Wednesday brought the total disbursement to 446.93 million U. S. dollars.

Scottish independence: UK ‘may snub Scots energy’

UK energy secretary Ed Davey has warned that if Scotland backs independence next year, the rest of the UK may buy energy from other countries such as Ireland, Denmark, Sweden or Iceland instead of choosing Scotland.

The UK’s Energy Secretary made an impassioned plea to keep the Union together, attacking those who “want to break up my family”.

But he added that rUK would not need Scotland for its energy needs.

Alberta sinking billions into pipeline plan to send oil east

CALGARY – Alberta is pumping billions into a plan to send oil to Canada’s eastern provinces. And it will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars more in annual fees to support a domestic refinery.

The apparent mismatch of a free-market touting province with deep conservative roots underwriting energy infrastructure has emerged as international scrutiny and political wrangling sideline pipelines and competition makes upgrading bitumen into refinery-ready oil uneconomic.

Loss, now anger, fuel a town forever changed

Lac-Megantic, Quebec (CNN) -- The runaway train stirred special sorrow for Daniel Poulin. The sister of his childhood baby sitter is gone. So is a golf buddy.

They are among the dozens of missing souls believed to have perished in a fiery derailment that tore a hole in the heart of this Canadian town on a languid Saturday morning just a week ago. The world shuddered as newscasts hammered home the possible cause of death. Many, it is believed, were vaporized.

"It's like 9/11," said Poulin, editor of a monthly newspaper here called MRG du Granit. "All they find will be ashes."

More oil than ever shipping by rail

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - With U.S. oil production booming and pipelines operating at full capacity, the amount of oil shipped by rail car surged in the first six months of the year -- jumping 48%.

And in light of rail's growing importance in bringing oil to market -- and the derailment and explosion of a train carrying oil in Canada earlier this week that killed at least 24 people -- the focus is now on safety.

TEPCO's plan to halt spread of radioactive water based on shaky theory

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has started taking measures to contain highly radioactive groundwater at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but its strategy is based on a theory that is disputed by industry experts.

TEPCO insists that recently detected radioactive substances originated during the early stages of the disaster in 2011, and it is setting up barriers near the area of the initial water leak problems.

However, even the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) says it is currently impossible to pinpoint where the latest leaks are coming from. Some say the leakage could be anywhere within the intricate system to cool the melted reactors and the underground maze of pipes at the plant site.

Netherlands to build world's largest network of EV fast-charging stations

By the end of 2015, residents of the Netherlands will be using the world's largest network of electric vehicle fast-chargers, with no charger further away than 50km from any of the country's inhabitants.

OK Looks to Methanol as Fuel for Denmark’s Future

OK, one of Denmark’s leading fuel distributors and the operator of 670 of the country’s 2,000 petrol filling stations, is to build a number of methanol filling stations in the country to support the demonstration of methanol–electric QBEAK vehicles.

The Danish government has stated that it wishes to phase out fossil fuels by 2050. As a major distributor of fossil fuels OK is keen to support a cleaner fuelling solution that can utilise its existing network of stations – methanol distribution allows for modification of existing liquid fuelling systems rather than the complete replacement or supplementation that is necessitated by gaseous hydrogen.

Regulators OK solar expansion for Georgia Power

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia Power must purchase more solar power for its energy system under a plan approved Thursday by state utility regulators, a move sought by solar developers and renewable energy proponents but denounced by a commissioner who argued it could raise costs.

Public Service Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald's plan calls for the Southern Co. subsidiary to add 525 megawatts of solar energy to its electrical grid, a plan backed by a group of solar developers and organizers of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. McDonald called for expanding the renewable energy source as a hedge against environmental rules that might force coal plants offline or future increases in the price of natural gas.

California solar installations jumped 26% in 2012

California had a banner year in solar installations in 2012, bringing the state 391 megawatts closer to its goal to install 3,000 megawatts by 2017.

According to a California Solar Initiative progress report by the Public Utilities Commission, those additions represent a 26% growth from 2011. The state is now equipped to produce 1,629 megawatts of solar energy across completed projects at nearly 168,000 sites -- enough to power 150,000 homes.

'Solar power cheaper than coal'

Solar is increasingly becoming one of the cheapest energy sources, even compared to large conventional power plants. Bernhard Beck, chief executive of solar power plant builder Belectric, sees a large market for growth.

Factbox - Offshore wind power subsidies

(Reuters) - The offshore wind power industry is holding back on further investment as it awaits news on policy moves by various European governments considering reining in their green subsidies.

Those who oppose subsidies say they inflate energy prices and undermine Europe's competitiveness. The industry, meanwhile, insists subsidies are essential in the early stages to attract the enormous upfront investment required for the infrastructure.

Miss. regulators approve energy efficiency rules

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi electric and natural gas utilities will soon be paying for their customers to cut energy use.

The state Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to adopt energy efficiency rules requiring all gas and electric companies with more than 25,000 customers to begin offering programs within six months.

After Rare Protest, China Cancels Plans for Uranium Plant

HONG KONG — One day after a rare public protest, Chinese authorities said Saturday that they were abandoning plans to construct a uranium processing plant in southeastern China, where residents raised concerns about its safety and potential environmental impact.

The decision not to proceed with the plant in Guangdong Province, less than 60 miles from Hong Kong, came after hundreds of people turned out on Friday and “took a walk” through the city of Jiangmen carrying banners showing their opposition to the proposed plant, which would have been capable of processing half the fuel needed for China’s nuclear power needs. Unsanctioned gatherings are banned in China, but participants said the police did not intervene to stop the protest.

In Caribbean, push to create no-take reserves

In St. Lucia, local fishermen strongly resisted when the government closed 35 percent of coral reef fishing grounds in the mid-1990s. For two years, the total catch was severely reduced. But within five years, the catch had soared, increasing by as much as 90 percent in some areas.

"We used to get threatened by fishermen, but now they have been asking for more reserves to be created because they have seen such big improvements," said St. Lucia's chief marine warden, Peter Butcher.

Acting globally

President Barack Obama has vowed to make an end run around Congress, if necessary, to achieve domestic global warming objectives he views as critical to the health and survival of the planet.

Using the Environmental Protection Agency and an array of presidential powers at his disposal, Obama believes he can take the steps he views as necessary to safeguard the planet's health on his own; Congress be damned, apparently.

No doubt, he can. But not without a war of words in Washington's halls of power that will echo around the world, and probably with troubling consequences.

Mexico’s Cities Not Ready for Climate Change

PROGRESO, Mexico (IPS) - Towns on Mexico’s Caribbean coast are behind schedule on the design and implementation of plans to face the challenges of climate change, in spite of the urgency of measures to reduce vulnerability.

The country’s 2012 General Law on Climate Change requires state and municipal governments to implement programmes addressing issues like greenhouse gas inventories and adaptation and mitigation policies.

Global warming “can be reversed”, scientists claim

Hi-tech new bio-energy plants could “reverse” global warming by pumping carbon dioxide into old gas wells - lowering temperatures by 0.6°C per century, according to a study.

There are already 16 projects around the world working on the technology - aiming to generate power for local homes by burning vegetation such as wood or straw and then burying the carbon dioxide it produces deep underground. “It’s like drilling for natural gas, but in reverse,” says Niclas Mattson of Chalmers University, Sweden, co-author of the study.

Reading Increasing Oil Production in the U.S. Sparks Less OPEC Reliance (The Daily Beast), above, there's this:

And that means the U.S. needs to import less oil—especially from OPEC countires. Numbers from the EIA report show that only 11 percent of the oil the U.S. used in March came from sources outside the U.S.

The citation link for this position says:

The U.S. met 89 percent of its own energy needs in March, the highest monthly rate since April 1986, EIA data show. Net imports of crude oil and petroleum products will fall to 5.7 million barrels a day by 2014, down from 12.5 million in 2005, the EIA said yesterday in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.
[fuelfix.com, July 11]

[bolds mine]

Conflating oil consumption with total energy use is, of course, misleading at best, though I call Liar, Liar, Pants on fire!

Are we sure we want to silence TOD?

BTW: The Beast article is open for comments. Anyone have an account there who can counter this idiocy?

The (automated) Drumbeat for Friday 12 July 2013


FYI we dont want to silence TOD. A small group of the TOD secret society (also known as "The Board") have chosen to silence it to further their mysterious agenda....or the dedicated volunteers of TOD have decided to go on a permanent break, depending on who you believe. You might need to know the secret handshake to get on "The Board" in order to change that decision otherwise youre SOL.

Umm, for some reason the 'inside joke' from the movie Argo keeps playing over and over in my mind.

I think we all know why TOD is going archival - a huge payout by ExxonMobil! Leanan is already shopping for a suitable property in Monaco, to go with her new 200 ft. yacht...


See, now THERE is a model for surviving the decline that makes sense - get filthy rich and invest in a sustainable bolt hole (not Monaco, the yacht).

"What good fortune for those in power that people do not think."
-- Adolf Hitler

Extending an offer, but tendering thanks first.

Like many, I have been a long-time reader of TOD and I received a fantastic education here. I am quite sorry to see it go because it was a fantastic, peerless, resource and because of the highly intelligent and thoughtful community gathered here.

As an operator of a website I know that it really has to be a full time job to be done well, and the TOD staff have impeccable standards. Kudos for managing it all these years on a volunteer basis. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And now the offer; The staff of Peak Prosperity dot com would be willing to stand up and host an oil drum like site to run new content, a drumbeat, and support comments. We have moderation in place, a good spam filter that works pretty well, and a very stable platform in which we have invested quite a lot over the years.

Our interests lie in advancing the general conversation about the ways in which humanity is leading an unsustainable existence, and we do this by linking energy, the economy and environment because none can be considered in isolation anymore. To have a deep conversation continuing to run on the energy front is very central to our mission and now that TOD is going away we are quite motivated to assist if possible.

Our standards for content, and the quality and tenor of on-line conversations are very high and I am confident that we could take our existing platform, spin off a chunk of it with the appropriate functions to support this community, and do it relatively rapidly and cheaply.

At any rate, there would be a lot of considerations to cover in some detail and before I go there, I'm here to test the waters to see what sort of interest there might be in this idea?


Ghung. My thought exactly. TOD was a site worth paying for which Chris obviously understands. My guess is that it would be a far different site as a pay site with a greatly diminished audience composed of accredited net worth types.

I've been a fan of Chris and his work, and certainly don't begrudge those folks trying to make a living. I also think that TOD's not-for-profit status has been a big contributor to it's clout. That said, as Joules mentioned below, this discussion probably belongs at the post created for this topic.


There is a dedicated post for this discussion:



Nice - thanks. I'll visit your site...

Hi Chris,

Funny, I clicked on your site this morning after perhaps a few years absent (still on your mailing list - early purchaser of your 3Es DVDs). I'm a one-site-visitor, not really having the time to snoop around, so will no doubt need a new home once TOD pulls up stumps. Will I return as a regular reader to CM dot com? Not sure yet; the TOD comments, both in number and quality, have spoilt me for the large part and they'll be hard to match.

But, you're still there Chris, battling away, so congrats on that! :)

Cheers, Matt Blain
Melbourne, Australia

Peak Oil and related toppics are bad news. I do not like the idea of a commercial initiative in spreading bad news. People tend to get addicted, in the first place, but in the second place such an initiative tends to exaggerate the bad news, in an effort to "keep the kettle hot". 'The USD is about to collapse within the next 9 months.' or 'Global unrest due to higher food prices will happen during the next winter.' That kind of things. Clients need to be kept motivated to pay for their enrollment.

Yeah, it is weird how much of business doom-preaching is. Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, etc. But years go by and nothing big really ever happens.

Yes it is all exaggerated....everything is fine and we will continue to find tons of oil every year and we can continue to grow populations and purple unicorns will be everywhere! The facts are the facts man! If you don't believe we are heading for a crash take each issue and break them down and show us why....I want to buy a giant SUV and believe the lies too, so please show us....

But Glenn Beck and Alex Jones don't talk about peak oil, population, or climate change. They think those are hoaxes. They are worried about Obama being a Muslim, false-flag attacks, and Agenda 21.

Population - only in the context of "they" want all of you dead and then trot out Georgia Guidestones and then parts of Agenda 21/some other UN program.

Oh I see...sorry maybe I misinterpreted your statement...yes the Glen Becks maybe a joke today...just as Hitler and Stalin were at the beginning... You start putting people in a vise though... and holy cow...I listened to Hitler's speeches recently and I was shocked! Like my History professor said if it happens in the States it won't be a little man with a funny mustache but maybe a John Wayne type character...The question is who will be the scapegoat...my worry is that it will be the liberal intellectuals.....

No. The tide will turn. It will be the conservatives. Hard to believe today, but there are some underlying societal currents going very deep. Conservatives will come under the cross hairs sometimes in the future. This is already set in motion.

Considering the idea sites with payed enrollment tend to exaggerate bad news, does not mean we (= mankind) do not face huge problems. We do face huge problems. But I believe societal collapse will take some generations, at least in some regions. In other regions (e.g. Syria) society goes down in only a coulpe of years. I believe regional differences are an underestimated aspect in predictions about the future. It are the weaker parts of the world that will go down the drain earlyer. Moreover the fall of the weaker regions gives the stronger regions extra time to continue BAU (or to adapt in the best case.) In the mean time MSM will point a myriad of reasons why the weaker parts are falling (e.g. sectarian violence), never to mention Peak Whatever.

Hurricane evacuation maps updated on East, Gulf coasts

What's different now? The new hurricane evacuation zones use information from a recently updated computer model the hurricane center developed that accounts for larger and slower-moving storms, according to New York's office of emergency management.

New York City's new evacuation zones, for instance, broaden the areas to be evacuated to include a total of 2.9 million people, 37% of the city's population, an increase from the 29% who were in the previous evacuation zones. "There are 600,000 people in an evacuation zone now that weren't before," says Christopher Miller of the city's office of emergency management.

Saudi Arabia 'targeting Iran and Israel with ballistic missiles'

Images analysed by experts at IHS Jane's Intelligence Review has revealed a hitherto undisclosed surface-to-surface missile base deep in the Saudi desert, with capabilities for hitting both countries.

Analysts who examined the photos spotted two launch pads with markings pointing north-west towards Tel Aviv and north-east towards Tehran. They are designed for Saudi Arabia's arsenal of lorry-launched DF 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton payload.

The base, believed to have been built within the last five years, gives an insight into Saudi strategic thinking at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf.

Climate change realism requires lifting veil of denial

The human psyche isn’t well-equipped, some researchers argue, to conceptualize and digest the catastrophic changes on the horizon. The overwhelming evidence that things are rapidly changing for the worse is, evidently, so painful it inspires enough feelings of guilt and fear that we unconsciously prop up some pretty effective defence mechanisms.

“There are emotions that are really disturbing that come up with climate change,” says University of Oregon sociology professor Kari Marie Norgaard, author of Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life, in a Skype interview with the Straight. “So I focus on three emotions: guilt, helplessness, and fear about the future. Psychological theory says that people don’t want to experience them. And we have all kinds of ways to normalize that.”

Collectively awakening to the projections of climate disruption is the first step to effectively tackling them, and it’s also what an emotionally secure and honest species should be fearless enough to do.

First, cheer 'em up. This little fantasy worked well.

Introductory remark- When I was asked to give a few words on carbon, I said, as I usually do, that I welcomed the opportunity, and then went off and forgot about it till this morning, when I realized that those few words weren't there yet. What to do? Maybe that new app would help, the one I just downloaded that gets emails from the future, so I checked it out and, thank goodness, there it was. Saved again thru no fault of my own!

FROM BABUSHKA COMMITTEE re club meeting 10 july, 2013) sent july 10, 2023.

"We have heard that you have been asked to give a short talk about possibilities of carbon reduction. We know you don’t know squat about this, so rather than have you say something silly, we have written the report for you, your mission is to read it verbatim and don’t you dare change a single word of it, or else. Remember, this is from we who have done it.

Right, we got off carbon totally, and in ten years, and in the process, we taught the world how do do it, in other words, we saved the planet---Thank you (after storm of applause has subsided)

How? a totally obvious and simple series of steps, but the essential element was the first one, just a few good people recognizing the absolute and immediate necessity, and then going ahead full steam to get it done.

They first wrote a compelling case for non- carbon living, emphasizing its necessity for the future, and its possibility, and the enormous rewards for doing it, not so much in money, as livability of our town and completion of our birth assignment to do the right thing.

This moved local investment capital from wall st to main st, and that, along with the super management team, emphasizing community spirit and FUN. got it done right quick.

details? Sure, here are some examples: first things first. from biggest to less big carbon users

Buildings, super insulation, heat pump heaters and coolers, knocked almost all of the carbon for very up front little cost (many thanks to all those otherwise unemployed local volunteers- tempted to the job by all that free food and music)- hugely profitable, profit shared with the rest of the effort. We had recognized that once we had applied the best insulation. by far the best method of heating and cooling was a solar electricity driven heat pump.
The same heat pump concept was used for hot water. its heat source being the exiting waste water when it’s warmer than the outside.

Food. Off imported stuff, especially beef. Local food, grown by us, here, by the best method we could find in that initial planning trip we made to study the world of best opportunity and practice.

Anything resembling waste food went into the community biogas generator, for a multitude of uses previously served- totally unnecessarily- by fraked gas

Transport. A hard one? Uses a lot of fossil fuel? No substitute? Baloney! We knew that cars and trucks can be driven by electric motors, a lot simpler and more reliable than gas guzzlers. Range? Easy. Standardize batteries, battery swap in 2 minutes or less, Needs coalelectricity? nonsense- PV was already cheaper than fossil fuel electricity, even when you didn’t count the true cost- the biosphere, and getting cheaper on a steep down slope as we learned how to do it better by the minute. The town PV fields, and roofs, supplied all of it, and more, at a tiny fraction of what the world outside was paying for petroleum.

BTW, the highest fraction of private car cost is the fact those 20K chunks of capital are sitting around doing absolutely nothing but taking up space and degrading in value for 85 % of the time. What sane shop manager would buy that? Especially when it’s so easy to arrange the same service by cooperative action that saves a very large fraction of capital, fuel, space and expense, not to mention lives.

Cost of all this? Not nearly as costly as destroying the planet, And not nearly as expensive, even in herenowMeonly economics, than that obese pickup trucks or floatboat sedans or transcontinental flights we didn’t buy instead.

And, loads more fun, and more feel-good, and great to look at and be part of.

Immediate returns, visible to all, helped a lot. The university had been contemplating switching from coal (imagine that! what a bunch of primitives!) to a natural gas cogenerator, but still using long pipes of steam for heat (one shudders to think of it) , when they realized how very much better heat pump PV heat was, and how quickly it could be installed, they did it, and were astounded at the quality and low cost of the result, not to mention the national fame they got from it.

The river. What a great recreational space, as well as heat source and sink. We turned it from just a ditch to something beautiful and enjoyable with nothing but a few brains for planning and all those volunteers from every church group in town - so many meters of river the responsibility of each church. Talk about one-upsmanship! And a huge amount of community fun.

And while we are at it, those fraking rigs, switched to digging ground source heat pump holes instead of fracks, have brought us far more heat and cool than all the natural gas they otherwise could possibly have produced.

So there. Say that, and if anybody says it’s impossible, tell em that we are sitting here looking at it done.

And being insufferably pleased with ourselves for having done it.

Now, go do it.

(And oh, by the way, if anybody asks what a babushka committee is, say it's the only sane way to govern a town, as anybody can see who bothers to think about it a minute.) "

Range? Easy. Standardize batteries, battery swap in 2 minutes or less,

How does one get coverage to the middle of, say, Kansas?

If humans make a room temp superconductor a new electric grid becomes an option and designs like the ruf http://ruf.dk/ become an option.
(7 mil a mile today VS
+ SR 18 widening in rural King County - about $24.5 million per mile.
+ US 12 widening south of Tri Cities - about $3.7 million per mile.
+ I-5 widening in Vancouver – about $20.2 million per mile.
+ I-90 truck climbing lanes east of Cle Elum and at Vantage – about $1 million per mile.
+ I-5 HOV lanes from Tukwila to Fife – about $7 million per mile.)

And while we are at it, those fraking rigs, switched to digging ground source heat pump holes instead of fracks, have brought us far more heat and cool than all the natural gas they otherwise could possibly have produced.

1) That is transferring the heat from the core, where that heat is what makes the core liquid and keeps the magnetosphere functioning.
2) That heat now becomes part of the atmosphere.

we are sitting here looking at it done.

The chief cause of problems is past solutions - Someone on TOD.

There also has to be a willingness for these "solutions" (TOD talking) for participants to step forward and participate. I could have spent a whole bunch of time on the above rebuttals (for my own growth AND the education of others) but really it is a shouting into the void.

Noone would deny that you can clearly spend just hours and hours 'rebutting' .. or just 'but, butting' Wimbi's offerings, because of course snark is an unlimited resource, as long as you don't have an interest in working productively to get the workable parts done. I'm really glad you held it back a bit.

So 'Replaceable Auto batteries are useless', because you have some expansive areas like Kansas where they will likely not be nearly enough to cover those distances? Is there a useful point there, or do you just like dropping in any 'yah, but' that occurs to you so that this 'consultation of doubting physicians' might just babble on indefinitely? Replacable battery packs and range extending trailers can work really well for vast numbers of situations.. making simple and light EV's have more options, but also remain modest in their design. Is there a reason why you need to just find somewhere thet they WON'T work well to imply that the idea is wrong? I would say from my experience in these conversations that a much mightier cause of problems than solutions is the word 'BUT', and people who insist on telling you shortsightedly why something 'oughtn't be done'.

It's fine to see what's wrong with the picture, but I think it's much more forward thinking to keep a clear eye on what's RIGHT within the picture, too, so you don't throw away all the good work and thinking with the bad. Friction for its own sake isn't a good way to preserve and use energy well.

Yeah, Bob, I wish I had a dollar for every 'yeah,but' I've gotten over the years about my wacky PV/off-grid setup. It's generally the same folks complaining about Obama increasing their electrical rates through limiting power plant emissions. I also think there's a tendency to blindly invalidate anyone who challenges the status quo and advocates change, especially those who've made change work in their own lives. It's an affront; taken as an implication that others are invested in the wrong things. There's also a tendency towards a "my size fits all" bias. A prime example is the gay marriage debate. No gay person has ever suggested that I should marry another man. I don't waste my time looking for reasons that they shouldn't.

I don't expect that PV will work for everyone, nor will EVs. So what?

I don't expect that PV will work for everyone, nor will EVs. So what?

Right! Just because PV or EVs won't do everything and anything, I'm not going to get rid of my PV, ElecTrak or cobbled together Electric Tiller!

Yeah, Bob, I wish I had a dollar for every 'yeah,but' I've gotten over the years about my wacky PV/off-grid setup. It's generally the same folks complaining about Obama increasing their electrical rates through limiting power plant emissions.

Yeah, it is like all the people who blame gas price increases on speculators, Obama, OPEC, etc. Well, people, if that is what you believe causes the price rises and you have no control over that then why do you allow yourself to remain subject to such price rises? Take some personal responsibility and reduce your gasoline dependence.

And changes you make don't have to be an all-out think like an off-grid solar system. There is a whole spectrum:
-Swap out your incandescents with LEDs and CFLs
-Replace your inefficient appliances with the most efficient ones
-Do a grid-tied PV system to offset some power usage
-Do a grid-tied PV system to offset all power usage
-Do an off-grid PV system and be completely free.

Same for gasoline.

Um, thanks for all the comment folks, anything better than nothing.

I have always remembered Clint Eastwood's reply to a bunch of savage criticism of one of his films-

"Hey, it was nothin' but a flick."

Truth is, I did it for fun, and the folks liked it, and afterwards some of them came up and asked if any of it could be done, and I told them they could come out to my place and see for themselves.

Is there a useful point there,

You could have continued reading and noticed the Ruf design and noted the 7 mil a mile for the "road" is similar in price to other roads. Might last longer then a 'regular' road too.

But feel free to use snark as an unlimited resource. Because rather than answer the HOW one gets coverage into low areas the TOD hived mind it goes for 'Replaceable Auto batteries are useless', fake 'quote' as goal post moving. And seem to have forgotten where I'd suggested battery swap.

what's RIGHT within the picture, too,

A modular design of transport thus allowing adding in a hot fuel cell to "burn" the gasoline straight into electrical power for the best fuel -> wheel well. Or where one can choose a different power plant. But as long as one is re-designing, why not electric wheelbarrows on a spiders web of steel rails?

If you're really trying to work with and just extend the possibilities that Wimbi was tossing out there, then couching your addition between the 'Kansas' and the 'Solutions are Problems' remarks makes it really hard to notice that you are doing so.

Is it really so hard to say, ".. And in those places where replacable batteries aren't going to cut it, here are some other ideas we could toss into the mix.." ?

Maybe you aren't noticing it, but a lot of your remarks seem insistent upon starting out with an 'Oh, yeah?' statement.. which makes it hard to build on the good ideas in the whole thread.. it's not always a tug of war.

PS, Maybe you know already, but that was a favorite line of Darwinian's, "The chief cause of problems is solutions.".. quoting Eric Sevareid. You and I sparred with him regularly on the brash and misapplied use of such concepts.

replacable batteries aren't going to cut it

The batteries are a problem, from a materials and production POV, but the bigger issue would be how one plans to get that energy density out to the rural areas.

Better Way couldn't make the battery swap idea work "now" - but the "future" version is hard to make work with the energy density needed.

Again, someone should explain how the electrical power is going to get to these rural locations to charge these swappable batteries. That 'majik' will work in-town...a place that will have some of the same problems.

Everybody here knows this! Wimbi knows it. There are places these things WON'T work, but also places where they could. He was pointing at projects that could be implemented to reduce carbon.. but he didn't say they would be ubiquitous or flawless.. after 7 years of making this sort of disclaimer, it's simply obstinate that you have to draw it out yet again.

He's not throwing 'Majik' out there. What are you throwing? I hope you wash your hands before you eat.

Rural places will be able to take advantage of PV, hydro and wind if they wanted a charging station, remember.. many people already charge car batteries from PV. ( But WHAT could they use for storage then..??)

..that still doesn't mean the Battery proposal is one that anyone here would put forward as a serious Cross-Country Road Trip solution, or a 'full-network' answer. Acting like it is, as I've been saying, is just looking for more arguments instead of more answers. THAT's the void, Eric.

Again, someone should explain how the electrical power is going to get to these rural locations to charge these swappable batteries.

[Jokuhl's wall of non answer deleted]

So then you are admitting that you are claiming there is an answer, but can't actually show the answer. Or ANY actual answer other than 'swap batteries'.

At least I put out a possible pathway that only asks for a mass produced room temperature superconductor to exist to then justify a replacement of the present grid structure and combine it with a guided roadway. Would the below superconductivity near 28 Celsius (83F, 301K) be better at 200 degrees so that it doesn't need active cooling for a railway - yes.


Even Alan's train dreams benefit from such a product - perhaps more government takings of land can happen along railways so that electricity + transport all use the same swath of land?

You don't use everything everywhere. Geothermal is great where the geothermal resources are not too deep. Solar is great in the South but no so great in Alaska.

In the real rural areas, batteries probably won't work so well although a few swappable stations on major roads could make it work. It will take industry standards and volume before that can be don't so until then they can stick to oil. But the real rural areas probably make up less than 10% of the population. Most people live in urban or suburban areas.

And in not-rural areas you still have the issue of a whole lotta electrial power is going to have to be delivered to the 'battery filling' stations.

Rural areas will be a 'tougher nut to crack' is all. Its why the rural electrification had to be kicked in the pants by the Federal Government back in the day.

And if future power, like present day food, is gathered in the rural areas and shipped into the cities - the electrical grid will have to get much, MUCH better.

it’s also what an emotionally secure and honest species should be fearless enough to do.

And in what far flung corner of the universe might one find such noble, rare and elusive creatures? Certainly none such exists anywhere within our solar system.

Take a Deep Breath, Celebrate CO2

Timothy Ferris's review of Philip Ball's "Curiosity" ("Virtuosos and Oddballs," Bookshelf, July 1) laments that "many people remain ignorant of what science is and how it works," and, as an example of this societal failing, states that "millions of citizens [are] sufficiently suspicious to imagine that anthropogenic global warming is a scientific hoax." All I can say to that is, "With good reason! Count me in."

What would you expect from a reader of the Wall Street Journal? Their nearly constant stream of climate change denial must have surely hit home with a few folks. Of course, the WSJ editors wouldn't think of cherry picking letters to the editor to match their propaganda spew. Gotta get rich as fast as possible, so we can move into a gated community and ignore the rest of humanity toiling in the real world's hell holes {/sarc}...

E. Swanson

Pasture,feedlot,stockyard all gated communities.

Putting People over Profits: The Fight Against Fracking

A joint University of Michigan/Muhlenberg College study reveals that only 49 percent of Pennsylvanians support shale gas extraction and 58 percent of all Pennsylvanians want the state to order “time out” until the health and environmental effects of fracking can be fully analyzed. That same study revealed that 60 percent of Pennsylvanians believe fracking poses a major risk to ground water resources, only 28 percent disagree; 12 percent have no opinion.

Petitions with more than 100,000 signatures requesting a moratorium were delivered to Gov. Tom Corbett in April. As is typical for the man who willingly accepted more than $1.8 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, it didn’t matter.

Surveillance Surge on the Border: Creating a Military-Industrial-Immigration Complex: How to Turn the U.S.-Mexican Border into a War Zone

… sometimes you just have to change the label on the package to suddenly find reality staring you in the face. Call it “immigration reform” and it looks like you’re dealing with enormous numbers of human beings in this country illegally. Think of it as “surveillance reform” and you’ll see that, as Miller points out, we’re using our borderlands and those undocumented migrants as an excuse to build, experiment with, and test out a new kind of surveillance state, drones included. And count on it, too: one of these days, maybe tomorrow, some version of that surveillance state will make it to your hometown, no matter how far you are from any border.

A pretty terrifying article, if you ask me. How have we fallen so far? I used to love TomDispatch, but it is so depressing.

How Much Is the US Government Spying On Americans?

Anyone Who Says the Government Only Spies On Potential Bad Guys Is WRONG

Even now – after all of the revelations by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers – spying apologists say that the reports are “exaggerated” or “overblown”, and that the government only spies on potential bad guys.

In reality, the government is spying on everyone’s digital and old-fashioned communications.

the government only spies on potential bad guys

And as the interpretation of "potential bad guy" gets broader and broader, more and more people look suspicious. After all nearly anyone could have some revelation someday, and then join a radical group. Better to have them on surveillance all along. This is how the security mentality works, the list of potential threats only grows.

I use to make the "astronomers telescope" analogy. Imagine you give a young astronomer a big telescope. The first thing he will say when he looks through it the first time is "wow!". The second thing he will say is "I want a bigger telescope".
Now give tools for spying on ordinary people and the license to use them to the security police. What do you think they will say?

"I want it all I want it all I want it all and I want it now."


Looks like you guys are going where we are right now. In my country the govt doesn't trust it's citizens at all, it's basically a continuation of colonial policies. It takes a year to get a simple HAM license, the intelligence bureau vets your resume and then you get your license. Any criticism of the structure is deemed subversion and charges can be slapped on you for the simplest of things.

Mary Schiavo's Twitter account has some tweets about the Dreamliner fire.

Originally she said it looked bad because the fire happened after the plane had been parked 8 hours. Then she said Boeing "lucked out this time" - the fire appeared to be closer to the galley than to the batteries. Apparently, the coffee pots in the galley are a common cause of airplane fires.

Looks like someone forgot to turn off the coffee pot;;;;;;

"been there done that, bought the new carafe"

Hearings set as firm moves forward with Utah oil shale development

The push to develop Utah’s oil shale resources steps into a new phase this month as an Estonian firm seeks permission to build a 19.5-mile utility corridor from its project area in eastern Uintah County to a power plant and an existing oil pipeline.

Estonia company wants to pull 2.6 billion barrels of oil from Utah

—An Estonia company that claims it has perfected turning oil shale (kerogen) into fuel oil during the past 30 years wants to mine rock from a remote region of the Uintah Basin, tapping 2.6 billion barrels of oil in the decades to come.

That staggering production, 50,000 barrels of oil per day, would represent one-third of Utah's liquid fuel consumption and is touted to emerge from a processing and refining plant that would put power back into the energy grid.

Oil shale foes, however, say the company has a poor track record in Estonia, a country that borders Russia, and they point to environmental threats on land and in the air in Utah, and question the drain that the operations could place on the West's scarce water resources.

Utah's oil shale is within the largest oil shale deposits in the world, located in the Green River Formation that also covers parts of Colorado and Wyoming.

The organic material preserved in the oil shale formed 50 million years ago is not oil, but rather a substance called kerogen that can either be heated at the surface, or underground. The result of heating is the production of crude oil and natural gas.

Estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey are the entire formation holds 3 trillion barrels of oil, of which nearly half would be recoverable. To put that in perspective, that is just about equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves.

In Utah, that number has been put at 1.4 trillion barrels.

According to a survey conducted by the RAND Corporation, the cost of producing a barrel of oil at a surface retorting complex in the United States (comprising a mine, retorting plant, upgrading plant, supporting utilities, and spent shale reclamation), would range between US$70–95 ($440–600/m 3 , adjusted to 2005 values). This estimate considers varying levels of kerogen quality and extraction efficiency. In order to run a profitable operation, the price of crude oil would need to remain above these levels. The analysis also discusses the expectation that processing costs would drop after the establishment of the complex. The hypothetical unit would see a cost reduction of 35–70% after producing its first 500 million barrels (79 ×10 6 m 3 ). Assuming an increase in output of 25 thousand barrels per day (4.0 ×10 3 m 3 /d) during each year after the start of commercial production, RAND predicts the costs would decline to $35–48 per barrel ($220–300/m 3 ) within 12 years. After achieving the milestone of 1 billion barrels (160 ×10 6 m 3 ), its costs would decline further to $30–40 per barrel ($190–250/m 3 ). [40][47] Some commentators compare the proposed American oil-shale industry to the Athabasca oil-sands industry (the latter enterprise generated over 1 million barrels (160,000 m 3 ) of oil per day in late 2007), stating that "the first-generation facility is the hardest, both technically and economically". [58][59]

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG414.pdf Oil Shale Development in the United States. Prospects and Policy Issues. Prepared for the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy


http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6336 Tech Talk: Using heat to refine kerogen from oil shale

Canada's 2nd Largest Fire on Record Spreading Smoke to Europe

A massive fire burning in northern Quebec is Canada's second largest fire since fire records began in 1959, according to the Canadian Forest Service. The fire was more than twice the size of Rhode Island on Tuesday--1,621,000 acres. Called the Eastmain fire, the near-record blaze was ignited by lightning on May 25, and was burning along a 100-km front near the east shore of James Bay by the village of Eastmain. At times, the fire spread at 19 mph (30 kph). The fire cut power to Montreal's subway system and to 10% of the population of Quebec (500,000 customers) on July 4, when smoke from the fire ionized the air by key hydroelectric power lines, causing a cascade failure.

Soot from the fire will probably end up on Greenland and lead to greater/faster melting.

Good, good, because, Greenland is trailing last year at the moment:


And, just now, a F-150 labored past, creaking under the load of four wayward shopping carts that had fled the Safeway up on 50th. Good to see that Carbon being put to good use, I guess.

Seraph - your updates and interesting links are one of the things I will miss most about Drumbeat. I find that many of the sites I do visit are news reflectors that I have found to be worthwhile, as I just don't have time to do first-person searching myself. Leanan's direct efforts on the Drumbeat and your additions serve that purpose well. Thank you!

Thanks for the encouragement, Twilight. Hope to be able to do it for a few more years - somewhere.

Seraph, Wherever you go I will follow.

Russians to deploy floating nuclear power plant

—The general director of one of Russia's largest shipbuilders, Aleksandr Voznesensky, has announced to reporters that a floating nuclear power plant is currently under construction at one of Russia's ship yards. He added that it will likely be ready for use by 2016. The Russians are calling it a "floating power" station, abbreviated to PEB. The vessel has been given the name Akademik Lomonosov.

Lomonosov noted that nuclear powered marine vessels have a proven safety record going back 50 years [... if you ignore those nuclear subs that went critical and sank]

Lomonosov said that plans are underway to build a fleet of the floating platforms to provide cities and towns across Russia with electricity for general use and more specifically for heating homes and businesses. The Akademik Lomonosov will be capable of generating 70 MW of electricity—enough to power a city of 200,000 people. He noted also that such vessels could also be used to power desalination plants, providing 240,000 cubic meters of fresh water daily.

Assuming that they are using the sea for their cooling system, I would guess that they won't have to worry about being frozen in the ice during the winters?
Anyone got a guess how much 25 or 50 of those things might put into the sea water in terms of BTUs and how that might affect the arctic ice in the winter?

I was struck by the fact that they have NO onboard propulsion system - they have to be towed everywhere. That worked so swell for Shell's drilling rig.

The arctic has cyclones with the equivalent magnitude of a Cat. 4 hurricane.

…what could go wrong?

"…what could go wrong?"

Rest assured, we are certainly going to find out...

Simplifies decommissioning at the end of their life. Just tow it to the middle of the ocean and sink it. Then claim it was an accident.

" [... if you ignore those nuclear subs that went critical and sank]"

Ahh, all nuclear subs go critical, as do all power reactors. Some research reactors are always subcritical.

This is one of those times that "“You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means” applies.

Prompt-criticality now, really is a bad thing.

The analysis is a little bit wrong.

At first you should check the accidents that happened: Chernobyl, Three mile islands and Fukushima the interesting part would be what had happened if these have been floating?

The second would be to check what accidents could happen on the floating than but on on solid ground.

The third would be to think about improvements to avoid catastrophic failures for both but this is further development.

Further destabilisation in the Middle East possible according to new report

'The Remaking of Syria, Iraq and the Wider Middle East' report suggests that important as events in Cairo are, they distract Western attention from the much bigger game being played out in Syria which significantly risks changing the Levant after a century of relative territorial stability. Professor Stansfield who is also an RUSI's senior associate fellow analysed the impact the Syrian civil war could have on the future of the Middle East state system across the Levant.

The report warns that ongoing conflict may prompt the fragmentation of the region's twentieth-century defined states. Professor Stansfield outlines how Lebanon, Jordan –and the interests of Israel and Turkey – could all be profoundly affected; but the most important casualty of the war is potentially Iraq, with inter-communal conflicts driven by deeply held and murderous sectarian hatreds that continue to stalk its political landscape today.

'There seems to be growing regional and international acceptance of the possibility of erasing the once-rarefied, externally imposed boundaries that have divided peoples as much as they have united them, with greater emphasis on the need for state structures to be tied more authentically to the peoples they encompass.'

I'm still really worried about Egypt. It is the most populous Arab country and it is a mess right now.

OK, the military deposed the lame yet most popular political party, the Muslim Brotherhood. What now? Aren't they just going to get voted in again? Maybe there is enough anger against them that some other coalition can win. But if that coalition wins, isn't that huge swath of Muslim Brotherhood supporters going to cause problems because they feel their government was stole from them? I'm sure most of them would just take it but it only takes a very small number to create a huge terrorism problem. :-(

Study: Agents like Snowden prone to irrational decision making

U.S. intelligence agents – like the embattled Edward Snowden – are more prone to irrational inconsistencies in decision making when compared to college students and post-college adults. That's according a new Cornell University study to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.

The study found intelligence agents exhibited larger biases on 30 gain-loss framing decisions, and were also more confident in those decisions. Thirty-six agents were recruited for the study from an anonymous federal agency, and were presented with scenarios ...

The results showed agents treated equivalent outcomes differently based on superficial wording. They were more willing than college students to take risks with human lives when outcomes were framed as losses.

These results shed light on the decision-making mechanisms of intelligence agents who identify and mitigate risks to national security, said Valerie Reyna, Cornell professor of human development and psychology, and lead author of the study. Like some other laboratory gambling tasks, framing effects have been shown to predict real-world behavior, Reyna added.

… so do bankers

Annoying example, pointing at Snowden, merely this quarter's Emmanuel Goldstein, instead perhaps of the members of the intel community that are hunting him at the moment... or the members of the intelligence committee who are calling out the hounds, but clearly have made their own calls about the suitability of this new mission creep in the degree of observing the American Public's privacy in order to supposedly protect it. Was snowden really ever a real intelligence agent? Maybe briefly before he worked for the Private firm?

It just seems like there are plenty of players (including bankers, yes) who could be usefully placed under this microscope to better purpose than to continue to berate and implicate the status of 'Public Enemy No 1'..

They got the title wrong.

Actually, Snowden is the exception to the rule. He allowed his conscience and morality guide his actions. He placed a value on human life and freedom.

Exactly. When you're surrounded by liars, thieves and sociopaths, any person behaving ethically looks abnormal or even batsh*t crazy.

Flying a kite for aerial wind power

… "With a 25 square metre sail like that we can produce enough energy to cover the needs of 40 households, with less [environmental] impact than a conventional windmill and at reduced costs," says Roland Schmehl at TU Delft.

Kite wind generation overcomes the problem of intermittent power, typical of conventional wind technologies, for one simple reason: the higher you go, the more constantly the wind blows. Airborne wind turbines provide a more stable energy flow, and they are much cheaper as they need less material than a wind turbine. Instead of a steel tower, you have a system that looks and works like a yo-yo.

Radioactivity found in Swiss lake near nuclear plant

Scientists have discovered a radioactive substance in sediment under a Swiss lake used for drinking water and situated near a nuclear plant, the Le Matin Dimanche weekly reported Sunday.

The plant is believed to have caused a spike in cesium 137 found in the sediment of Lake Biel and dating back to 2000 through the discharge of contaminated waste water into the Aar river that feeds into the lake, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) downstream, the weekly reported.

The Muehleberg plant, which came online in 1972, is 17 kilometres (11 miles) west of the Swiss capital Bern.

Australia to scrap carbon tax for trading scheme

Key greenhouse gas emitter Australia on Sunday announced it will scrap its carbon tax in favour of an emissions trading scheme that puts a limit on pollution from 2014, a year earlier than planned.

Bowen confirmed media reports that the fixed Aus$24.15 ($21.90) per tonne carbon tax would be dumped in favour of a floating price of between Aus$6 and Aus$10 per tonne from July 1, 2014, to ease cost of living pressures for families and help support the non-mining sectors of the economy.

With national elections later this year, Labor is hoping the change will see a drop in soaring electricity prices.

It is thought that electricity prices could drop 7.5% by scrapping the carbon tax, less if the tax is replaced by a Europe linked carbon trading scheme. However Australia is the OECD's highest per capita emitter and the world's biggest coal exporter. The EU cap and trade scheme is deeply flawed with excess free permits, dodgy carbon credits and weak cap reductions. Power prices have risen strongly in Australia due to increased transmission charges, the renewable energy quota and some say through ineffective competition. The carbon tax is just a minor component but provides an easy target for politicians.

Therefore by November at the latest one of the world's serious attempts at carbon pricing will come to an end. It looks as though the political process is incapable of solving the emissions problem. We will have to wait for Peak Everything and try to recover, unfortunately with many losers and a buggered climate.

It will be sad if they scrap their carbon tax. But that said, Australia is a massive continent of cognitive dissonance. What is the point of the carbon tax when they ship all that coal to China? Basically nothing but a way to feel a little less guilty I guess.

I'd like to make coal exports a two edged sword. The deal would be have the coal but all exports of finished goods get slapped with a punitive import tax of say 20%. If China then sources the coal from Africa or the US the import tax stays. If they insist the factory that made the goods was powered by hydro not coal let them argue the case at their expense. See also the views of Prof. Helm of Oxford Uni.

To put some numbers on it; Australia pop. 22m has been stuck on emissions of ~550 Mt of net CO2e for the last 20 years, one of which had carbon tax. Exports of thermal coal, coking coal and LNG probably cause emissions of ~800 Mt a year when burned overseas. Think of Australia as a flatulent chihuahua that can clear a room.

The carbon tax only came about because of the hung parliament following the 2010 election. To form government the Labor party needed support of a key green MP, the price paid was the carbon tax. The government had always preferred an ETS instead and indeed in about a years time the carbon tax was planned to revert to an (European linked) ETS anyway. So now its looks like possibly the shortest carbon tax in history.

Just to show how politically charged the whole issue is .....

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has dismissed an emissions trading scheme as a so-called market in an "invisible substance".

(ABC News)

Egypt wheat figures appear half baked

Bread - or rather figures accurately depicting how much of Egypt's food staple will be available this year - appears to be the latest victim of the country’s political crisis.

… according to experts, the government of recently ousted president Mohamed Morsi has repeatedly given false figures on how much of the commodity the world’s biggest wheat importer really has.

Late on Wednesday, a week after the military ousted Morsi and members of his government from power, former Minister of Supplies Bassem Ouda told Reuters news agency that the country’s wheat stock may run dry in two months.

According to Ouda, Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, has about 500,000 metric tons of wheat to meet the demands of 84 million people. World Bank figures for 2012 show the country is expected to consume about 18 million metric tons of wheat in 2013.

"Up till last year, local farmers could annually provide 2.5 million metric tons," Aboul-Dahab said. "So when the outgoing ministry said they will raise that to 4.5 million, it sounded hard to achieve, but perhaps manageable. But then they pushed the figure to 9.5 million metric tons, which was just ridiculously impossible.

… According to a recently released report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Egyptian government has forecasted wheat procurement at 4 to 5 million metric tons, which "appears unrealistic".

"A more realistic figure for procurement of Egyptian wheat is 3.0 to 3.2 million metric tons in 2013/2014," the report said.

With foreign debt piling up and no signs of an economic recovery, a request by Morsi during an April visit to Moscow, Russia for wheat supplies was turned down by President Vladimir Putin.

… Meanwhile, Egyptians are expressing more and more frustration at the prospect of bread shortages.

"Even bread is politicised? They [governments] politicised freedoms, rights, even religion, and they'll soon politicise the air we breathe and the water we drink," said Sanaa Abdel-Hamid, a housewife and mother of four as she walked away from the bakery with her bread supply.

"Even bread is politicised? They [governments] politicised freedoms, rights, even religion, and they'll soon politicise the air we breathe and the water we drink," said Sanaa Abdel-Hamid, a housewife and mother of four as she walked away from the bakery with her bread supply.

The don't politicize bread . . . they subsidize it. And they are low on money to do that. You've been getting below market-cost bread. For decades. They were able to afford that when they exported oil, exported lots of natural gas, and had lots of tourists. But Egypt no longer exports oil. The natural gas supply is dwindling. And the tourists have largely been scared away.

Models point to rapid sea-level rise from climate change

Sea levels could rise by 2.3 metres for each degree celsius that global temperatures increase and they will remain high for centuries to come, according to a new study by the leading climate research institute.

Anders Levermann said his study for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research was the first to examine evidence from climate history and combine it with computer simulations of contributing factors to long-term sea-level increases: thermal expansion of oceans, the melting of mountain glaciers and the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

Massive içe sheets melting at rate of 300 billion tons per year, climate satellite shows

5 Companies That Brought Down Peak Oil

Peak Oil is dead -- or at least the website dedicated to educating the world on the theory is, as the popular Oil Drum website will cease publishing new content at end of the month. The theory just doesn't seem to have much relevance these days, when North America is in the midst of a massive energy production boom. While we are a long way from celebrating Energy Independence Day, we've at least pushed back the date when Peak Oil will again become a major topic of conversation. With that as context, let's look at five of the companies that have made Peak Oil no longer relevant. …

I honestly get sick thinking about my grandkids future. Goebbels would be proud.

I still don't get it. Oil is $105/barrel and they think peak oil is dead? The quality of Motley fool articles has dropped massively. They are basically nothing but a bunch of random blog articles. Very low signal to noise ratio.

Alaska set for vote on oil-tax cut after lobby group submits petition

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Critics of an oil-industry tax cut handed a petition with 50,000 signatures to Alaska state officials on Saturday, more than enough to force a referendum that would overturn a new oil tax law.

Governor Sean Parnell, sponsor of the new tax, argued that steep cuts in oil taxes were needed to lure industry investment away from North Dakota and other booming oil-producing areas. He dubbed the bill the "More Alaska Production Act".

Opponents say the tax cuts are too steep, will cost the state $4.5 billion in lost revenues over five years, and do nothing to reverse North Slope production declines that they say are inevitable as the area's main oil fields age.

Silliness. Tax cuts don't create oil. Sure, they'll slightly reduce price at which the oil is economic to extract buy you are taking the loss. Why not just wait for oil prices to rise and the oil extractors will be ready to go when the price is right. They are just capitulating in a negotiation where they ultimately have the stronger hand.

Kuwait sends $200 million worth of oil to Egypt: newspaper

Kuwait has sent two oil tankers carrying crude and diesel worth $200 million to Egypt, a Kuwaiti newspaper said on Sunday, part of a $4 billion aid package pledged by the Gulf Arab state last week after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Kuwait last week joined other oil-producing Gulf states in pledging a massive aid package worth $12 billion to Egypt in a show of support after the army toppled the Muslim Brotherhood government. Most U.S.-allied Gulf monarchies regard the Brotherhood as a threat.

Hollande vows no shale gas exploration while he is president

President Francois Hollande said on Sunday that France would maintain its ban on the exploration for shale gas throughout his five-year term.

"As long as I am president, there were will be no exploration for shale gas," Hollande said during a Bastille Day interview with top television channels.

He said the fracking technique used to extract shale gas presented too many "risks to groundwater".

"We can see some consequences in the United States" from the technique, Hollande said.


Scientists have discovered a radioactive substance in sediment under a Swiss lake used for drinking water and situated near a nuclear plant [Muehleberg, 11 miles west of the nation's capital], the Le Matin Dimanche weekly reported Sunday. [...]

The plant is believed to have caused a spike in cesium 137 found in the sediment of Lake Biel and dating back to 2000 through the discharge of contaminated waste water [...]

No one ever told me that there were abnormally high concentrations in the lake,” Hans Stoekli, who served as Biel mayor from 1990 to 2010 [...]

If you don't test, you don't know...do ya?

[Apparently what happens in the ME is now and always has been "basically" about oil, so maybe this isn't too OT.]

For any who may have followed Riverbend's journal until she last posted from Syria, she has "surfaced" and posted a really good essay, in April, on the 10th anniversary of the Entry of the Americans Into Baghdad. (cue Wagner?) The archive of her journal postings is very interesting reading, for those who never did -- on-the-ground, semi-real-time reporting on what it was like to live in Baghdad between the invasion and when she and her family left for Syria in 2007, and one or two posts from Damascus about what being a refugee in Syria was like.


There is an entry at the Wiki about her, as well. She was only 23 when the U.S. invaded Baghdad.


Supporting Online Information for Peak oil demand. The role of fuel efficiency and alternative fuels in a global oil production decline Published in Environmental …
AR Brandt, A Millard-Ball, M Ganser - pangea.stanford.edu
9 days ago - This supplementary information document contains additional methods
discussion not included in the main paper. This includes additional Materials and Methods
(Sections S1-‐S12) sections, additional figures (Figures S1-‐S19), and additional tables,


This was discussed in Drumbeat a few days ago, but the main paper is behind a paywall--so someone might find this supplementary material useful.