Drumbeat: July 26, 2013

Antitrust Probe Targets Halliburton’s Fracking Business

A federal antitrust probe into the $36 billion hydraulic fracturing market is increasing pressure on oilfield-service companies already reeling as skyrocketing competition cuts into their profit margins.

Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc. said this week the U.S. Justice Department is seeking documents for an antitrust investigation related to pressure-pumping services, which include hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Stephen Harris, a spokesman for Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield-services company, declined to say whether it has been contacted by investigators.

The investigation was met with widespread surprise among industry analysts and investors because it comes at a time when rising competition and falling prices have been the business’s biggest problem.

Halliburton pleads guilty to destroying Gulf spill evidence

(Reuters) - Halliburton Co has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Thursday.

The government said Halliburton's guilty plea is the third by a company over the spill and requires the world's second-largest oilfield services company to pay a maximum $200,000 statutory fine.

Halliburton Admits It Destroyed Gulf Spill Evidence, Pays 0.0007% of Revenue Fine

The maximum statutory fine for this apparent misdemeanour? $200,000! Or 0.0007% of expected revenues for 2013. Well, that'll teach 'em for sure - they won't be destroying evidence again, eh?

WTI Poised for Weekly Drop as China Cuts Manufacturing Capacity

West Texas Intermediate was poised for the first weekly drop in more than a month amid rising crude output in the U.S. and speculation that China’s plans to cut excess manufacturing capacity will curb fuel demand.

Futures fell as much as 0.9 percent, heading for a weekly loss of 3.1 percent. China ordered more than 1,400 companies in 19 industries to cut excess production capacity this year, part of efforts to shift toward slower, more-sustainable economic growth. U.S. oil output surged to a 22-year high while refiners cut processing, government data showed on July 24. Prices will extend their decline next week, a Bloomberg News survey of analysts predicted.

OPEC to Reduce Exports as Demand Passes Peak, Oil Movements Says

Crude shipments from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will decline from near their highest in a year as summer demand passes its peak, tanker-tracker Oil Movements said.

The group, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will cut exports by 410,000 barrels a day, or 1.7 percent, to 23.95 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Aug. 10, the researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

Gas price hike: Moily says govt can’t be timid

Defending the decision to double gas prices from next fiscal, oil minister M. Veerappa Moily Friday said the government cannot afford a “timid mindset” while taking policy decisions of national importance.

4 oil firms to cut fuel prices Saturday

Major oil firms Pilipinas Shell and Petron will roll back the prices of some of their fuel products on Saturday.

Russia August Primorsk Oil Exports to Reach Five-Year Low

Russia plans to ship less than 1 million barrels a day of Urals crude from the port of Primorsk for a third month, with shipments set to drop to the lowest in more than five years, a preliminary loading program showed.

Nigeria to Keep Crude Oil Exports Little Changed in September

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, will keep daily crude exports for September little changed from August, according to loading programs obtained by Bloomberg News covering 17 grades excluding Bonny Light.

South Sudan Cuts Back Oil Output, Braces for Shutdown

South Sudan made further reductions in oil output as it prepares to halt pipeline exports through neighboring Sudan amid conspiracy recriminations between the former foes.

Oil production from Africa’s newest country fell to 97,000 barrels a day from 200,000 barrels a day a week ago, Mawien Makol Arik, a foreign affairs ministry spokesman, said today by telephone from South Sudan’s capital Juba.

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Summer Review

It has been an interesting summer. In the midst of a deluge of “peak oil is dead” stories, crude prices surged upwards taking gasoline with them. Most “end of peak oil” stories talk mainly about the rapid growth in U.S. oil production in the last few years that has come from hydraulic fracturing of tight oil formations in North Dakota and Texas, without any context. Many assume open-ended growth that will soon spread around the world as more “shale” formations are discovered and attacked with the latest technology. A few acknowledge that even these wonderful formations will eventually run dry, but that is generally portrayed as so far down the road that we will have abundant oil for the foreseeable future.

Reports of Peak Oil’s death are somewhat premature

Due to a dearth of new content, the management decided to stop publishing new material after July 31, leaving the existing content as a permanent archive. Naturally this evoked chortles of mirth from the Wall Street Journal. Those dumb old gloom-n-doomers at The Oil Drum, they speculated, were suffering crippling depression from the North American fossil fuels boom in the Bakken shale and the Alberta tar sands. See, these displays of rugged ingenuity were sending Peak Oil theory the way of phlogiston.

Reports of the Death of Peak Oil Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

A week or so ago, there was a mini-flurry of blog posts announcing that peak oil was dead. Thanks to shale oil, tar sands, heavy oil, deepwater oil, and all the other kinds of oil that the peakists didn't know about, the world was now practically drowning in the stuff.

The whole thing was very strange for several reasons. First, the peak oil community not only knows about all those kinds of nonconventional oil, its forecasts have always included them in minute detail. The question isn't whether they exist, it's when production declines in existing mature fields will outpace the modest amounts of new oil we're getting from nonconventional sources and new drilling technologies. Second, the world isn't drowning in oil. There's no dispute that shale oil has ramped up over the past few years, but it's added only a couple of million barrels a day to worldwide production and it's likely to start declining pretty quickly (within five or ten years or so). It's really not that big a deal on a global scale. Third, peak oil has never been only about the exact date that production of oil hits its highest point. It's been about how long production will plateau; how steep the subsequent decline will be; how expensive it will be to extract nonconventional oil; and how much oil prices will spike up and down as demand bumps up permanently against supply limits.

Platts Energy Week: Gasoline Prices (video)

Platts News Director John Kingston explains the latest price developments, and their relationships to crude oil and fuel markets.

Why Not Everyone’s Happy to See the Bitumen Bubble Burst

The bitumen bubble — that much discussed and oft-lamented hindrance to Canada’s public finances — seems to have finally popped. North American oil prices, at least for the time being, are once again fetching around the same amount as world prices, after trading for nearly $25-a-barrel less earlier this year.

A return to strength for Canadian oil prices is certainly music to the ears of Alberta’s oil sands players, as well as those in the Bakken region of southeast Saskatchewan. But not everyone is hearing the same sweet sounds. The disappearance of the huge price disadvantage that has so burdened North American oil producers should ring a discordant note for environmentalists.

BG Profit Declines 3% on Lower Output From Kazakhstan, Egypt

BG Group Plc, the U.K.’s third-largest natural-gas producer, said earnings dropped 3 percent in the second quarter as output declined in Kazakhstan and Egypt.

Profit excluding disposals and one-time items slipped to $986 million from $1 billion a year earlier, the Reading, England-based company said today. That beat the $968.4 million average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Pemex in $3.87bn loss

Pemex has run up yet another large quarterly loss as the Mexican state-owned oil giant saw its revenues shrink further.

The Mexico City-based behemoth posted a net loss of 49 billion pesos ($3.87 billion) in the three months to the end of June, Reuters reported on Friday.

Repsol Seeks to Block Chevron Deal With YPF Through World Bank

Repsol SA is asking a World Bank panel to help prevent Argentina’s YPF SA from developing assets seized from the Spanish oil producer after Chevron Corp. agreed to invest $1.24 billion in a shale venture in the country.

TransCanada profit jumps on higher power prices in Alberta

(Reuters) - TransCanada Corp, Canada's No.2 pipeline operator, reported a 34 percent jump in second-quarter profit due to higher prices in its power-generation business.

The company also said it expects the Keystone XL pipeline to be in service about two years after receiving a presidential permit from the Obama administration.

Escalating Iraq violence tied to Syria civil war

Iraq has been shaken by its worst wave of violence in the last five years. The United Nations has warned that the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq and the civil war in neighboring Syria are merging into one conflict.

The outgoing UN envoy to Iraq has warned the Security Council that Syria's civil war has spilled over into Iraq, saying that "the battlefields are merging" into one conflict, which could destabilize the broader Middle East.

US plans to bring Iran oil exports down to zero

WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives will vote next week on legislation aimed at slashing Iran’s ability to export any oil.

With 360 co-sponsors in the 435-member body, the bill will pass, and is expected to be matched in the Senate after Congress’s August recess.

China Coal-Fired Economy Dying of Thirst as Mines Lack Water

At first glance, Daliuta in northern China appears to have a river running through it. A closer look reveals the stretch of water in the center is a pond, dammed at both ends. Beyond the barriers, the Wulanmulun’s bed is dry.

Daliuta in Shaanxi province sits on top of the world’s biggest underground coal mine, which requires millions of liters of water a day for extracting, washing and processing the fuel. The town is the epicenter of a looming collision between China’s increasingly scarce supplies of water and its plan to power economic growth with coal.

Sinopec Sued by Hong Kong Businessman for Imprisonment

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. was sued for $5.17 billion by a Hong Kong businessman who said company executives were involved in a plot that had him imprisoned for five years on trumped-up charges.

Keystone Prompts Congress to Let Lobbyist Write Letters

The letters commend the State Department for its “thorough and transparent” analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline and urge U.S. officials to approve the project as soon as possible.

At least a dozen state and federal Republican lawmakers wrote in support of the $5.3 billion project that would cross six U.S. states. In doing so, they often pointed to the same facts and the used the same language.

INFOGRAPHIC: Debunking Gasland Part II

As many of you know, we put together a comprehensive debunk of Gasland Part II shortly after the film premiered in New York City in April. Since then, we’ve continued to expose the fraud that forms of the core of both Gasland and Gasland Part II, as well as director Josh Fox’s insistence on repeating false and deceptive talking points about shale development.

But not everyone has the time to read through a 7,000-word blog post that details the laundry list of flaws with Gasland Part II. People are busy, they already know the movie is promoting a nonsensical agenda, but they also want something to digest quickly. What are they to do?

China feed in tariff price for nuclear energy will boost nuclear power in China while still providing globally competitive electricity prices

A price of RMB0.43 will be paid for each kilowatt-hour generated by new Chinese nuclear power plants, according to a ruling by the National Development and Reform Commission intended to incentivise construction. This equates to $70/MWh. Separately generators pay RMB0.0026/kWh ($4.2/MWh) for used fuel management. This it the cost of the nuclear power which EIA estimates at about $30-40 per MWh. This price to the suppliers is lower than the price of wind and energy feed in tariffs provided in European countries which can be several times higher to a little big higher (in the UK for large wind or hydro).

Californians Consider a Future Without a Nuclear Plant for a Neighbor

But after nearly half a century living with a radioactive neighbor, San Clemente is now adjusting to a future without the San Onofre nuclear power plant, whose proximity has long shaped life here in ways big and small.

Last month, Southern California Edison announced that the nuclear plant, which was closed in January 2012 when a problem with its new steam generators led to a small leak of radioactive steam, would shut down for good.

Many residents rejoiced at this news, but San Onofre’s closing raises some uncomfortable questions for nearby towns that had relied on it as a source of cheap energy and jobs.

Tepco chief admits PR fiasco over water info

Tokyo Electric Power Co. waited too long to announce that radioactive groundwater from Fukushima No. 1 is reaching the Pacific Ocean, President Naomi Hirose admitted Friday.

He said three top officials, including himself, will have their pay cut for the error.

To bolster energy grid, states weigh compact

Kansas is undoubtedly a windy state, but it is not yet the "Saudi Arabia of Wind" that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback wants it to be.

Kansas has more wind energy potential than any state except Texas, but eight states generate more total megawatts of wind power -- even as Brownback and his legislature have taken steps to boost Kansas's wind industry. A key problem: a lack of high-voltage electricity lines to connect the remote areas where turbines churn out power to the bustling regions that demand it.

Biofuel Makers Seek to Ease Mandates to Avert Congress

Makers of some renewable fuels are asking the federal government to ease quotas for use of their products in a bid to head off a congressional overhaul of a program that refiners say is driving up costs at the pump.

With production of fuels made from sources such as wood waste, algae or used cooking oils at a fraction of what was envisioned in a 2007 law, the Environmental Protection Agency needs to adjust requirements for use of biofuels in coming years, according to the Advanced Biofuels Association. The statute allows the EPA to modify the requirements, and prompt EPA action would quell refiners’ fears that there won’t be enough renewable fuel to meet the mandate, they say.

Can Methanol Break OPEC's Grip On World Wealth? (video)

Ambassador R. James Woolsey (former CIA director) thinks that car manufacturers should offer vehicles that run on methanol (5X cheaper than oil), to spur competition and spread the wealth.

Looking at Oil Palm’s Genome for Keys to Productivity

On Wednesday a team of Malaysian and American scientists published a pair of papers in Nature on the genome of this profoundly important tree. In its 34,802 genes, they have been able to reconstruct millions of years of its evolution. They hope to use that knowledge to grow better trees that can yield more oil — and possibly reduce the pressure on the world’s remaining rain forests.

Two Energy Futures: a fossil-free future can be just around the corner

The site compares two possible models of energy production and consumption for the year 2035. The first, 'Fossil-Fuelled Future', is the future the International Energy Agency forecasts we are currently heading for, if governments and fossil fuel companies follow through on their promises on energy and climate change. So this is not even the worst-case scenario – it’s the best that politicians and businesses are currently offering us. Needless to say, this scenario leads us to runaway climate change. The second, 'Cleaner Fairer Future', draws on extensive research including the latest Zero Carbon Britain report by the Centre for Alternative Technology. It shows that currently available renewable energy technologies can meet the energy needs of our growing global population in an equal and environmentally sensitive way.

'Carless People' wants half of EDSA for pedestrians, bikes

MANILA – Two groups composed of climate change advocates and lawyers are asking various government agencies to allot more space for commuters and pedestrians along EDSA.

The Climate Change Litigation Team and Filipino Lawyers for the Carless People of the Philippines said they will file cases against several agencies if the government fails to implement improvements on EDSA for the welfare of pedestrians and bike riders.

Michigan: More Money to Combat Asian Carp

A $50 million federal plan released Wednesday for keeping Asian carp from reaching the valuable fish populations of the Great Lakes calls for reinforcing electrical and other barriers and for field-testing other methods, including the use of water guns and hormonal fish love potions to lure carp for killing or capture.

Obama administration's $50M Asian carp plan doesn't separate waterways

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled a new, $50-million strategic plan to keep the invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. But several researchers reacted with skepticism, as it doesn’t include what they said is most needed — separating the lakes from the Mississippi River.

Baby Oysters In 'Death Race' With Acidifying Oceans

During the first two days of life, an oyster’s prime directive is to build a shell of calcium carbonate to protect itself against predators. To do this, it relies entirely on energy from its own egg, as it has not yet developed the ability to feed.

“They must build their first shell quickly on a limited amount of energy – and along with the shell comes the organ to capture external food more effectively,” said George Waldbusser, a marine ecologist at OSU who was lead author on the study. “It becomes a death race of sorts. Can the oyster build its shell quickly enough to allow its feeding mechanisms to develop before it runs out of energy from the egg?”

Reuters’s global warming about-face

Reuters has long been one of the most prolific producers of climate change journalism, leading The New York Times and the Guardian for most climate-centric articles in 2011. But a new assessment lends credence to recent claims that the newswire is pulling back its coverage after the addition of a global-warming skeptic to the company’s editorial management.

Trading Halt Shows UN Carbon System in Jeopardy

An unprecedented freeze in United Nations carbon trading is fanning speculation the five-year-old market designed to combat greenhouse-gas emissions in poor countries is in danger of becoming superfluous.

Glacier melting, monsoon rains responsible for Uttarakhand tragedy

Melting of glaciers coupled with monsoon rains, triggering overflow of rivers, were responsible for the Uttarakhand tragedy, a top official of the Ministry of Earth Sciences said on Friday.

"The flood was not only due to the rains but also because of melting of snow. Rainfall came almost two weeks early in the state. During that period, winter snow was already there. Now when the rain came, snow melted and flowed down along with the rains which increased the volume of water in rivers significantly," the Ministry secretary Shailesh Nayak said.

Global warming to cut snow water storage 56 percent in Oregon watershed

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new report projects that by the middle of this century there will be an average 56 percent drop in the amount of water stored in peak snowpack in the McKenzie River watershed of the Oregon Cascade Range - and that similar impacts may be found on low-elevation maritime snow packs around the world.

The findings by scientists at Oregon State University, which are based on a projected 3.6 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase, highlight the special risks facing many low-elevation, mountainous regions where snow often falls near the freezing point. In such areas, changing from snow to rain only requires a very modest rise in temperature.

Gazprom takes delivery of second LNG tanker to operate via Northern Sea Route

Moscow (Platts)- Russian gas giant Gazprom has taken delivery of the Yenisei River LNG tanker, the second tanker it is contracting from Greek LNG operator Dynagas which is able to operate via the Northern Sea Route, the company said in a statement Friday.

Polar Thaw Opens Shortcut for Russian Natural Gas

YURKHAROVSKOYE GAS FIELD, Russia — The polar ice cap is melting, and if executives at the Russian energy company Novatek feel guilty about profiting from that, they do not let it be known in public.

From this windswept shore on the Arctic Ocean, where Novatek owns enormous natural gas deposits, a stretch of thousands of miles of ice-free water leads to China. The company intends to ship the gas directly there.

I think the question now is how much time before the general public finds out the truth and how will they react? Will it be the stages of denial or will it be with outright aggression against weaker people. My guess is less than 4 years...Also can anyone give an update on the Eagle Ford shale development and Texas area in general..All I hear is talk about the Baaken.

I don't believe there will ever be an "Ah Ha!" moment at all. And which truth do you refer to anyway?

I expect the majority will never understand during the period when the events that make up the fall of our civilization play out. Only later will a narrative to explain it evolve, and whatever that is might be something surprising to those of us here on TOD watching now - except that will be long gone by then.

This is not an event, it is a journey - a long and difficult one.

I guess one can only hope that it is a long drawn out journey....that will make it easier on those of us living here now....but with the intrinsic nature of oil in our society I don't see how it can be long and drawn out...My gut tells me that as we have more crisis in the Middle East that the U.S after long drawn out occupations in other countries will start to become more isolationists; and so will other countries as well. It seems we have been at peak oil for some time and when are shale reserves start to fall; things will get very interesting. Don't you think that people will start to question $6.00 a gallon gas? I have spent time in other countries and no country talks about gas prices like the U.S....

I'm not sure long and drawn out will necessarily be easier for everyone. I don't think the effects will hit everyone everywhere at the same time or with the same impact. I think there will always be a variety of narratives available, even for $6 gasoline.

It is 40 years since the US peaked in oil production, and very few understand what happened. Most still cling to the official propaganda of an "Arab oil embargo" or other nonsense such as blaming the EPA/liberals/environmentalists. This time around will only be more chaotic and confused.

I am expecting a catabolic collapse which will include significant disruptions. No doubt some people at some times will get very upset, and they will find no avenues to solve the predicament they are in within the existing system. I do not expect the existing order to entirely fail at one dislocation, rather for it to be a continuum that lasts for generations as we shed complexity. It happens to be the backdrop to the time period in which we must live our lives, so we may as well do that the best we can.

At least in the near term, adaptation will be graceful, thanks to an idea from a true visionary.

My idea is to give every car and truck owner in the US a choice: either pay a quite hefty tax, or weld your doors shut and paint a Confederate flag on your hood. Michelle Obama should push this. There will be a 1 year warning before the law takes effect.

The South would become the leanest, most agile region of the country. Bicycle use would soar, particularly among drivers. Our public transport system would soon surpass Europe's. Our tax system would become more progressive, but it would be a choice. It will be quite entertaining to watch the stars exit the limos at the Oscars.

I don't know how to model the fuel savings this would cause, but it would be quite substantial, while preparing us to function during an oil supply shock.

Or 20 million Americans march on Washington DC burning the White House and halls of Congress to the ground.

The nation-state is a religion.

Succinctly put, it exists to fill the vacuum created by the destruction of traditional societies and support systems.

I think the question now is how much time before the general public finds out the truth and how will they react?

We humans, especially in the West, are insulated from both the natural world and reality by the System. Our interaction with both are through system interfaces that reside at all levels between us and the real world (even personal and intimate relationships are conducted via technological interfaces). Our perception and understanding of the real world are shaped by the interfaces we view it through (eg. the media, tv, internet, science, technology, politics, etc.).

When all our reference points are controlled by the System and we have no other choice than to accept what it is telling us, then 2+2 can actually equal 5.

We're important to the System, we have to be handled correctly to avoid us harming both ourselves and the System. Part of this process is that we are preconditioned to our present and future... there are no shocks, nothing is allowed to disturb the herd.

To answer your question, the public will find out the truth, but by then it will not matter. It will be simply accepted as part of BAU. Shit happens and we have an app to deal with it.

Don't under estimate the forces of BAU. Just look at Detroit. It declared bankruptcy last week and this week it announces plans to build a new Red Wings arena for $650 million ($450 million in new 30 year bonds). TPTB can keep BAU going for a long time. Some will loose. Some will win. It's all about who you are and how you play the game.

Hard to say isn't it. Only the financiers really appreciate that things go up and down all the time, nobody else does.

Consider the narrative we now have. The stock market is at all time highs. The media proclaims fracking and reduced demand has solved the oil problem. Unemployment has been falling. There are no widespread riots, revolutions, or starvation, except for brief flashes in hotspots. The Fed has everything under control through money creation. The Oil Drum shuts down. There is widespread depression amongst doomers, not because everything is falling apart, but because everything isn't, and we realize we are in for a very slow decline.

Now, if you were a financier, or a contrarian, wouldn't you look at the above, and think to yourself, oh my, the whole world has been tricked again - we are in for a rapid reversal just like 2001 and 2008 but this is going to be ten times worse.

It's possible that we are right in the eye of the hurricane, and that the coming years are going to be epic. That does remain a possibility.

I pretty much agree. Yes it is a possibility that we are in the eye of the hurricane and the whole system could collapse, but we have been here before and what we got was TPTB throwing everything they had at it. The only point I was trying to make is that TPTB will do anything and everything they can to minimize damage to BAU. Last time they focused on the financial system. Next time they could muster other forces outside of the financial system.

It's possible that we are right in the eye of the hurricane, and that the coming years are going to be epic. That does remain a possibility.

Looks like the hurricane, fueled by the winds of 'The Export Land Model', is really starting to gain strength in the Middle East right now... just wait till the full consequences of climate change are added to the brewing storm.

Cairo (CNN) -- Undaunted by dozens of deaths overnight and veiled threats against them by the military, supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy flooded the streets of Cairo again Saturday.

By noon, thousands had met in front of a mosque in the Nasr City neighborhood, a Morsy stronghold.

During the night, deadly violence had broken out there, as Morsy's supporters angrily demanded his return to power.

Elsewhere, throngs celebrated the military that deposed Morsy with fireworks and laser shows.

In my view this is a direct consequence of the Egyptian people having been promised an allotment of subsidized energy slaves in the form of oil and gasoline by their leaders. They now expect their leaders to deliver on that promise. Their leaders will not be able to do so...

Basically here's the chant in the street in a nut shell.



Head Texas Oil and Gas Regulator Questions Climate Change

Over 97 percent of climate change studies agree: the climate is changing, the world is warming and humans are the cause of it. But that does leave 3 percent of climate studies that are skeptical. And that sliver of skepticism is where Barry Smitherman, the head of Texas’ oil and gas drilling regulatory agency, has decided to plant his feet.

At a conference of utility commissioners in Colorado yesterday, Smitherman, chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas, and now a candidate for state Attorney General, took some time to trumpet his skepticism. ”Don’t be fooled — not everyone believes in global warming,” Smitherman tweeted from the conference.

“Given the incredibly high percentage of fossil fuels used to make electricity in America and given electricity’s fundamental role in powering our U.S. economy, we should be 100 percent certain about CO2’s role – or lack thereof – in ‘changing the climate’ before President Obama, by Presidential directive, dismantles our power generation fleet,” Smitherman said.

To buttress those claims, Smitherman turned to Dr. William Happer, a climate change skeptic and Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, a conservative think tank that has received funding from the oil and gas industry. Happer was the only scientist on a panel at the conference, moderated by Smitherman, called ‘The Myth of Carbon Pollution.’ A press release from the Railroad Commission called it a “key panel” and “well-attended.” (In an interesting bit of scheduling, a panel titled ‘Learning from the Regions: Cap and Trade, Carbon Tax, and the Way Forward‘ immediately preceded it.)

But Happer is not a climatologist, rather his specialty is physics — he’s a professor at Princeton, where he studies atoms and nuclei. He does not appear to have authored any peer-reviewed studies on climate change. And his claims have been refuted by many in the climate science community.

... play the faulty logic & propaganda game - take a drink for each different technique Smitherman uses.

He's running for office in Texas. So basically he has to adopt the Texas GOP dogma orthodoxy and call climate change a hoax created by those evil god-hating liberals.

The deniers I've run into my only reply is check out what the insurance industry is saying and your premiums are reflecting their real world data.The same folks think twinkies and burgers every meal are not the cause of high blood pressure and diabetes.Don't get me wrong I like them all only in moderation.

I think that is an excellent suggestion - feed the climate change skeptics twinkies and burgers at every meal. How long will it take?

Re: Reuters’s global warming about-face from DB ...

Reuters isn't the only one; see also Fourteen Propaganda Techniques Fox "News" Uses to Brainwash Americans

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

-Upton Sinclair

Give it time. From the EIA International Energy Outlook 2013 (Highlights) I linked to below:

Given current policies and regulations limiting fossil fuel use, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from about 31 billion metric tons in 2010 to 36 billion metric tons in 2020 and then to 45 billion metric tons in 2040, a 46-percent increase."

It won't be long before these folks will look like the idiotic sociopaths they really are. I'm keeping an accountability folder of stuff to bomb high profile deniers with someday, just because I can. Pitchfork-wielding serfs will need some direction in the not-too-distant future.

Study finds that hackers can attack oil, gas field sensors with radio transmitters

Researchers Lucas Apa and Carlos Mario Penagos of IOActive, a computer security firm, say they’ve found a host of software vulnerabilities in the sensors, which are used to monitor metrics such as temperature and pipeline pressure, that could be fatal if abused by an attacker.

Apa and Penagos are scheduled to give a presentation [Compromising Industrial Facilities From 40 Miles Away] next Thursday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas but gave IDG News Service a preview of their research. They can’t reveal many details due to the severity of the problems.

They tested various attacks against the sensors using a specific kind of radio antennae the sensors use to communicate with their home networks. They found it was possible to modify readings and disable sensors from up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) away. Since the attack isn’t conducted over the Internet, there’s no way to trace it, Penagos said.

In one scenario, the researchers concluded that by exploiting a memory corruption bug, all sensors could be disabled and a facility could be shut down.

"Since the attack isn’t conducted over the Internet, there’s no way to trace it"

And thus U-boat communication during WWII was unhampered by countermeasures. Triangulation is quick and easy; mounting a response would be the expensive part. Hmmm, higher prices for a pound of cure instead of an ounce of prevention, where have I seen that before?

Heat Wave continues in Siberia

The extraordinary and perhaps unprecedented heat wave continues in the central arctic region of Russia. Some locations have now endured 10 consecutive days above 30°C (86°F) [Normal: 10°C (51°F)]. Wildfires are erupting in the taiga forests (see more about this in the comments section following this blog). Norilsk maximum daily temperatures have cooled down a little, but yesterday (July 23rd) it enjoyed its warmest night so far with a low of 20.2°C (68.4°F).

Norilsk, with a population of 175,000, is located at 69° 20’N and 88° 6’E and is the most northerly city in the world with a population over 100,000.

... The prolonged heat wave is the result of an amazingly intense and prolonged heat dome that has centered itself over north central Siberia. The anomalous temperature heights are some 2-3 sigmas above normal.

Stronger Arctic cyclones rapidly chewing up weak sea ice

Arctic scientists are watching in awe this week as a raging summer cyclone tears up what could become a record amount of rotting northern sea ice. “We’re really watching this year with a lot of fascination,” said Matthew Asplin, an Arctic climatologist at the University of Manitoba.

“In 2009, we actually documented one of these events in which large, multiyear ice floes – Manhattan-sized – broke up in a matter of minutes,” Dr. Barber said.

related ... Second Storm

Latest Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly (reduced in size for TOD. Full resolution at link)

Click for full-size image

Much of those high latitude Arctic areas which show red are actually areas where there is no sea-ice compared to the earlier period over which the average is computed. Of course, now that the sea-ice is gone, the water can warm above the freezing point...

E. Swanson

If given a choice between Somebody who says "we have a problem but I have no solution or only a very unpalatable solution" or somebody who says "don't worry we have no problem" -whom are the majority of people going to listen to?

That seems to me is the failure of the "Peak Oil believers". While I admire folks like Ghung I just don't think his solution is the future that most people imagine for themselves. Like it or not humanity has become an urban animal. It can no longer go rural anymore than a dog can become a wolf.

I would submit that the problem is not "everything about Peak Oil has been said" but rather that very little has been said about what society will look like if we don't have access to FF. What has been said is generally alarmist and doomer. I think that the two energy futures site is what TOD should have evolved to. Unfortunately views at argue that civilization doesn't have to end post peak oil have generally been denounced as cornucopian.

The "going rural" is only a design issue if one is looking to self-capture photons to power electrical needs and capture photons via plants to become somehow food. There is a %age of coverage needed for photons -> liquid fuel as old man R. Diesel was pitching with his 'grow plants for oil, use oil in my engine' model. Cooking oil, alcohol via fermentation - all ways of capturing and converting photons.

"urban" is powered by external photons - some old as in coal and oil, some new as in food. Exactly how is the "urban" world going to get its photon import? And how is the "urban" world going to pay for that import?

Like it or not humanity has become an urban animal. It can no longer go rural anymore than a dog can become a wolf.

Nonsense. We're only about 50% urban now. And until very recently we've been primarily rural our entire evolutionary history.

And while 50% of us may be economically, culturally and locationally urban. I know of no evolutionary argument that we've evolved into homo urbanicus.

But there's an easier way to cut through all this. (1) Which one, rural or urban, would have a better chance of surviving a sudden, deep energy descent? (2) Can we re-learn rural skills? Well Boulding said if it exists, it's possible.

Maybe it's time to get cracking on reskilling?

while 50% of the human population is still rural- that statistic misses the fact that in the developed world it is 80% urban compared with 28% in the least developed part of the world.

Of the rural folks in the least developed part of the world they would like nothing more than to join the folks in the urban areas. The vast numbers of rural folks in the least developed part of the world haven't even joined the FF era. If that is what you are suggesting that we are headed for then you make my point. Not a lot of people are going to join you in that trip. I have seen their living conditions.

If you want people do something about peak oil it is going to be the folks in the developed world - who are primarily urban and their urban counter parts in the developing world who are the target audience.

A message that says "time get cracking on reskilling" is simply not going to get their attention. And is precisely my point. You want people to pay attention to Peak oil you have to provide an end vision that they can relate to.

Well, first off, the reskilling comment is for folks who do "get it." I thought that was obvious; sorry for my poor writing. I assume those who "get it" includes you and most of the folks reading TOD. I doubt we need reminding that it's time to get busy, but one never knows what else might be distracting us.

Second, I think you may be missing a big point I was trying to make. It's likely true that most people may not realize that biophysical reality is about to remind us that nature bats last. And, even if they do come to realize the new reality, most will not want to change their behavior. Behavioral inertia is an adaptive trait under many conditions, just not under those now emerging.

But soon people will be consuming less, ready or not, happy about it or not, reskilled and prepared or not. Urban and rural alike. The idea that we need to get get people to "join" in the energy descent (or that they'll never join, etc.) misses entirely the non-voluntary nature of what is unfolding.

There is another issue that may underlie your comments and is about the currently clueless urbanites. That is asking "what are the condition under which they would begin reskilling in advance of an involuntary descent."

Some contend that there are no such conditions, that people will never change their behavior, or that there is no level of change that can address what is unfolding. I lack such certainty about predicting exactly what will happen, how fast it will happen, and what behavior change is possible.

If it's a long descent, then there may be multiple opportunities for people to "get it" and start adapting. While I'm still looking for clear "signals," I'll also proceed as if the descent will be long and the repeated "steps down" will awaken the sleepwalkers. They'll be looking for some reskilling.

To wit, we have a community canning event Saturday with newbies and old-timers.

The thing I'm worried about (in respect of my fellow Joes and Janes) is the *kind* of re-skilling that may occur. Many (most?) of we urbanites work in buildings that produce, well, nothing of real value. For the (100's of?) millions, it'll be a huge ask to make any kind of shift and even if it were possible, what then? A shift to what? A whole bunch of do-it-yourselfers, who wouldn't have a clue, competing against each other for scraps of economy, coz competition will always trump community. Not to mention, the "school of common sense" is a small one; no place for the stubborn.

As it stands, most of us continue to pursue ridiculous goals, along ridiculous pathways, with ridiculous thinking and any kind of "descent" will only exacerbate the situation (folk will simply work harder at what they have). So my 2c for the kiddies... Get famous; there's still plenty on offer at the pointy end for sports stars and the like. :)

Cheers, Matt

The grandkids are coming up this morning for a canning party; we'll do some tomatoes and berry jam this weekend, and we'll likely take a trip this afternoon down to the GA Mountain Fair, just over the State line. When I was young, this fair was largely agriculturally driven: Livestock judging, pickle judging, plenty of produce for sale, even a greased pig chase. Now it's for tourists, with rides and lots of junk for sale, though some local crafts-people and artists do exibit their wares. There used to be mountain music; now it's mostly imported from everywhere else (like Anita Baker, big names from Nashville, etc.). Not much of a country mountain fair.

Perhaps, as things 'readjust', these fairs will revert back to their earlier state. They had a more useful purpose in the past, IMO.

Yes, they're a lot less "country" now. There's still livestock and 4H stuff, though. The horsepulls. And the "back to back" contest - shear a sheep, spin the wool, and knit a sweater as quickly as possible. (From the sheep's back to yours!)

We've got an old Grange in town that's trying to re-establish itself. More small-town focused than rural, but with community events like canning parties, re-skilling fairs (e.g., home crafts), lectures on peak oil of all things.

We've also got a food hub being started that is setting itself up with commercial kitchens (plural) that can be used by groups looking to preserve for winter.

Plus a "new farmer" incubator program (i.e., two years training with a mentor, access to land, equipment, hoop houses, financing). They graduated the first 4 couples last year, two couples stayed in town, bought land, started CSAs and work the local farmer's markets. So far they're scraping by. We volunteer and help out at their booth at the Saturday morning market. IMHO they need to start getting some grains in these markets; we have enough kale!

We have a HomeGrown Festival in early September: local food, music, crafts, and tools, and some food tasting contests (e.g., relish, heirloom tomatoes, salsa). But its nothing like the Mountain Fair you describe (even in its modern version).

People are trying things; and re-starting things that seemed dead just a decade ago (e.g., the Grange). Not a whole lot just yet, but a start maybe.

@ crazyv:

... very little has been said about what society will look like if we don't have access to FF ...

@ Georg -- errr-- Eric Blair, re: urban vs. rural existance

I have a photo from the mid 1930's on my wall of my grandfather on his Northern Alberta homestead driving a team of oxen pulling a large wagon overloaded with hay. He looks happy grinning under his handlebar moustache and fedora, like he just finished counting his blessings: a very productive farm and timber resource despite the drought that decade; a devoted wife who had a huge organic garden, and who ultimately lived to 96; seven healthy kids to help out and pass down the DNA; hundreds of neighbours sharing labour and pooling resources; an abundance of healthy local food. He and thousands of other pre-WWI settlers from Eastern Europe paid $10 in 1908 for each quarter section of land -- a great deal to a former Romanian-Ukrainian tenant farmer on land subdivided down to the nub over the centuries. His life was remarkably low in fossil fuels and money, but they thrived with only two connections to the world: the train, which stopped in the nearby town, and the mail. Globalization and supply-side wasn't even an itch in Freidman's father's groin.

When I read the odd comment of post-collapse armed camps right out of Doomsday Preppers and the Walking Dead, I laugh, and immediately remember my grandparents who cooperated and shared and built enormously rewarding relationships with their neighbours to survive. They lived in a time of plenty, most of it self-generated, and had no cause for blowing off their neighbour's heads.

A worldwide economic collapse triggered by fossil energy depletion and debt will probably revive local and individual self-suffiency and make people get out and meet the neighbours, much as was the model in homesteading days. Modern homesteads could arise in much smaller scales in people's urban backyards (or even public parks, for that matter, in multi-family zoned areas) when, if you look at the suburbs on Google Earth, they consist of tens or even hundreds of square km of open space in every metropolitan area in North America. Urban farmers can trade a portion of their produce for use of one's backyard and city water supply. Some Northern Saskatchewan urban farmers developed techniques to grow produce in verticle plastic tents or small greenhouses heated with light bulbs or wood stoves and get four or even five crops to the local farmer's market by the mid-May long weekend, which is the traditional time to plant outdoors after the frost. When you consider the minus 50 winter temps and darkness of Edmonton or Saskatoon, that is really something.

A middle class suburban neighbourhood with 1,000 homes has about 100,000 m2 (~25 ac) devoted to backyards. If half cultivated them as above, not a lot of cash will be exchanged, and surplus produce (and where they allow it, some livestock like chickens) could be trucked a short distance to local farmer's market (which will no doubt multiply after a major collapse) and be sold with modest markups, or bartered. With lots of compostable kitchen and yard waste, mulching, greenhouse techniques, and the short transport distances, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and fuel for local food production would not be as crucial as with with large industrial farms, which may well collapse en masse as, at least in Western Canada, their products are destined for export.

With collapse comes road space suddenly freed up as the ubiquitous single-occupant-car disappears. Roads often consume 40% of a city's land base and if even a quarter could be alleviated for other uses ... well, there are many ways this huge acreage could be used more productively than for just dead asphalt. Moreover, the vast majority of urban land under the road networks is publicly owned. It is a huge public land bank, an asset that could be repurposed for transit corridors, linear parks, urban farms, allotment gardens, housing, etc.

Mortgage defaults will happen here, but I believe to a fraction of the extent than with those that were piggybacked onto severely over-leveraged US financial institutions. In BC it is illegal for cities to run deficits -- a very smart thing -- and it would be very unusual to see one pull a Detroit. It could happen, and no doubt the senior levels of government will have to participate in rescuing certain cities, but so much of the urban inefficiencies that developed with cheap oil may have to be written off. In this light, I see a lot of pain for the distant exurbs trying to maintain public services and utilties, though they may benefit significantly from decentralized power (rooftop PVs, smaller district heat/power plants ...).

Self-sufficiency starts with the individual and with families, then with neighbourhoods. In the context of a collapse, it is better for one to bury their guns and instead bring a few surplus garden zucchinis, a carafe of homemade wine and a toolbelt over to their neighbour's and offer them an afternoon of labour in exchange for some spare 2x4s and advice on wiring a PV panel. The government won't likely be able to help at that level, but should, if wise enough, encourage self-motivation and local innovation and offer what it does have: In the case of cities, land; in the case of provincial and national governments in the reality of severe budgetary contraction, establish first priorities, like eliminate all unecessary subsidies to industry and devote what funds they can to food production and distribution at the local level, protection of vital elements like fresh water, the development of clean energy and R&D into efficiency efficiency, and help the least able to help themselves.

As far as I see it, the future has two main themes, centralisation of the core and decentralisation of the periphery. As collapse proceeds more and more people will find themselves in the periphery. Both systems are in competition with each other and mutually antagonistic as a shrinking resource base essentially makes it a zero sum game.

The boundaries will be chaotic, possibly violent and a crucible of innovation and necessity. In the core automation, systematization and centralisation will proceed at pace only held back by resource availability. The core will simply downsize to overcome resource limitations, ejecting millions into the periphery as a result (as is already happening).

The periphery will be more hybrid due to industrial and resource limitations. Both adopting old and new techniques to overcome the increasing threats to survival from the climate, resource limitations and the core. Anything and everything will be tried until adaptive techniques are distilled and applied widely (eg. open source).

This doesn't exclude anything you've said, just the picture is much bigger and the future will rhyme with, but not repeat the past. What works will be adopted, but the environment in which it will work is far more complicated than anything previously encountered. It has to work despite the negative interventions of the core, a destabilised climate, natural and competitive resource limitations and competing systems undermining each others efficacy. Competition creates winners, but even more losers (eg. an evolutionary bottleneck), not so much falling off a cliff as falling down a set of stairs. The lucky ones stop on a step before reaching the bottom.

Good description of what life could be like as FF get more expensive.

I too remember talk of what life for my grandparents was like in the 30's and before. A lot of folks were relative self sufficient. My father helped to pay the property tax by working on the local roads. They built with what they had including a large barn without using nails. Water was drawn by bucket from a hand dug rock lined well. Money was scarce, labor was not, so they made do without modern utilities and conveniences. What money they had was spent on important things such as tools, horse drawn implements, and cast iron stoves.

One possible future would be the modern version of our grandparents world by using our modern knowledge and technologies. Just reducing non productive use of FF could extend availability for generations. Adding in alternative energies for such things as communications, water systems, refrigeration, and lighting could still allow a fairly high standard of living.

Of course that world would look quite different than what we have now and I would not expect the transition to be easy. Living arrangements will need to change. Expectations, standards, and laws will need to change. And the financial system will need to reset. These are the things that will be very difficult if not impossible to change without a global civilization collapse.

"Like it or not humanity has become an urban animal. It can no longer go rural anymore than a dog can become a wolf."

Strange and clueless statements. There are still an awful lot of non-urban humans, so don't be so sweeping with your declarations of what "humanity" has become. For that matter, dogs can go feral faster than you would believe.

Now if you had said "urban humans have become urban animals", I would have agreed with you.

Next door to us in Jersey City was a useless little yapping beast we called the Underdog. One afternoon, however, we noticed that the Underdog, some sort of terrier, had escaped its quarters and joined a pack of six other dogs for a run down the street. Yeah, the little toy dogs probably don't have the stamina to go wild, but dogs are dogs in their own minds. They seem to care less for appearances than people do.

Note this is in the UK

The British survey was funded by Barclays Bank and done in collaboration with Farmers Weekly.

Only 15% of farmers polled said they would eat GMO food.

61% of the farmers said they’d grow GMO crops “if they had the opportunity.”

China, OPEC and the future of energy

Already guzzling more energy than the United States to feed its power-hungry manufacturing sector, China is expected to use twice as much energy as the United States by 2040.

This from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest International Energy Outlook, released Thursday.

The central theme, which hasn't changed much in the last several years, is that under current policy, the world will use a lot more energy and emit a lot more greenhouse gases by 2040, mostly thanks to its continued reliance on fossil fuels.

..."under current policy"? Reality has a way of affecting policy all on it's own. Everyone who expects that global energy use will (can) increase 56% by 2040, 80% of that being fossil fuels, raise your hand.


The International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) projects that world energy consumption will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040. Total world energy use rises from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2010 to 630 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and to 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040 (Figure 1). Much of the growth in energy consumption occurs in countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),2 known as non-OECD, where demand is driven by strong, long-term economic growth. Energy use in non-OECD countries increases by 90 percent; in OECD countries, the increase is 17 percent. The IEO2013 Reference case does not incorporate prospective legislation or policies that might affect energy markets.

Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world's fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing by 2.5 percent per year. However, fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through 2040. Natural gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the outlook. Global natural gas consumption increases by 1.7 percent per year. Increasing supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane support growth in projected worldwide natural gas use. Coal use grows faster than petroleum and other liquid fuel use until after 2030, mostly because of increases in China's consumption of coal and tepid growth in liquids demand attributed to slow growth in the OECD regions and high sustained oil prices....

That fits in with the principle of "The Long Thaw", (by David Archer) which was afternoon reading under the pine trees on my camping trip. He thinks we've put enough CO2 in the air to stop the next ice age in it's tracks. If the EIA is right (for once) then the ice age after that will be stopped too.

By the way, speaking to the question as to whether humans have become basically urban, the camp ground was practically deserted. It was in the National Forest, and as such out of range of cell phones and the internet. Most of the visitors while I was there were picnickers. Several of the camp sites had clear evidence of no one being in them this season.

The warming from CO2 would begin to fade after the fossil fuels were all gone. The atmospheric CO2 level would only prevent another Ice Age for a short period of time, in geological terms. Then too, there's the fact that the last Ice Age began at the end of the Eemian, when the Earth was a few degrees C warmer than now. That might have resulted in an atmosphere which could hold and move more water vapor, which could then have fallen as snow at high latitudes. An Ice Age starts when more snow falls in Winter than can melt during summer, the resulting positive snow/land albedo difference causing local cooling. This process might lead to a progressive increase in snow and ice cover over decades, ultimately producing the great ice sheets of the Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago.

Did Archer consider the potential for changes in the Thermohaline Circulation in his book? Most model studies have projected a shutdown as the result of freshening of the waters at which THC sinking now is found...

The reviews of Archer's book on AMAZON suggest that his book gives a rather good presentation of the problem. I ordered a copy to add to my collection of books to read...

E. Swanson

A recent paper looked at the return from a hothouse 97 million years ago (ten thousand years of 10GT per year from volcanoes), and concluded that the recovery time (due to erosion & carbonate formation) was only 300,000 years -four times faster than conventional wisdom. But thats still long enough to skip a few ice ages.

And I wonder, maybe its four times faster because erosion has amped up four times? Maybe its all droughts & megafloods?

Burgundy crop at risk after 90% of vineyards are battered by hail

France's Burgundy wine region has been hit by storms that have damaged as much as 90 per cent of vines in growing areas, including Pommard and Volnay.

The Cote de Beaune area from Meursault in Burgundy's south to Savigny-les-Beaune in the north suffered damage, Ms Mathiaud said. The region has France's most expensive wine real estate, with some grand cru properties fetching €3.8m (£3.3m) a hectare, according to Agriculture Ministry data.

… The weather damage will curb earnings for vintners, after hail pounded the area last year and drought cut production in 2011, Ms Mathiaud said.

OK, now this should get somebody's attention. If things are going to hell and a handbasket, I darn well better be able to drink.

Not a problem. Ethanol production scales down quite readily.

Hey Ghung,

I just sent you an email question at your yahoo email address re: solar water pumps and our particular problems.

For others, obviously this wouldn't be drought material, but we haven't had rain for over 30 days and we usually get 10 days of some percip in July. We have also had westerly gales 35 kt +, unending. 1 month? so far. (2 weeks normal in July, not much wind in Aug). I can't get out fishing as we have no protection on Johnstone Strait....big water and tides. Fire hazard should go to extreme in the next week, and this is usually late August stuff. We are still getting some recovery at night but the wind is really drying out the woods. Northern Vancouver Island does not get weather like this in July. We have a shallow well and I am crossing our fingers we don't run out. The river is still fresh, but in a few weeks the westerly and tides will bring in salt and seaweed so using that is not an option.

Anyway, at least it's sunny. Squash and cukes loving it. Tomatos should be good, too.


What! Why wasn't I told about this... heads are going to roll :)

Your farm has been hit too, Burgundy?

No, things are relatively uneventful where I am. Burgundy is quite large with a central ridge of high ground running through the centre (the Morvan or Mordor as I refer to it). Most of the bad stuff seems to occur on the East side of the Morvan.

Our crops suffer destruction by the more prosaic affects of global warming. This year its the unbelievable growth rate of everything other than what we're actually growing (which appears to be retarded by comparison). Even the trees have grown so much that it seems I'm now suddenly living in the middle of a forest.

I think one of the effects of climate change is the amount of energy within the overall ecosystem is increasing faster than we can ramp up our own energy usage to compensate. Weeds and trees are growing faster than we can compensate by applying more energy to remove them. Red Queen Syndrome, we have to run faster to stay where we are. I believe at some point we will have a EROEI problem, even at the basic level that a days labour will be insufficient to produce the equivalent food energy (without technological help).

I'm sure we can help you all out in Burgundy, our Pinot Noir is drinking very well as marginal cooler areas are getting longer ripening seasons:


Assuming that the European Union will allow our wine in to compete with the the local product with punitive tariffs? How confident are they in their own quality these days?

I'm sure we can help you all out in Burgundy, our Pinot Noir is drinking very well as marginal cooler areas are getting longer ripening seasons:


Assuming that the European Union will allow our wine in to compete with the the local product with punitive tariffs? How confident are they in their own quality these days?

After opening the door to California in 1976, things just haven't been the same.

Uh-oh. You don't want to upset these guys.

‘Militant’ winegrowers suspected in bomb attack

While no people were in the office during the explosion on Tuesday 16th July, the building is left with blown out windows, a collapsed ceiling and a damaged door. According to La Dépêche, the exterior walls of the office were spraypainted with the initials "CAV", a reference to the Comité d’Action Viticole, an action group for winegrowers.

The UK has gone from importing 28% of its fossil fuel needs to 43% in just 3 years:


Man oh man are they in trouble.

Spain imports nearly 100% of Oil and Gas, almost all the Coal it uses.
We are sinking like a stone
The Energy bill is impossible to pay, not on top of the debt and other things

I think that Spain is about five years more advanced down that path, and that the UK is catching up fast

Our government is the most corrupt in the West, more like a Banana Republic (all right, a banana kingdom) or an African country than an European country
Do you need proof? The Accountant of this Mafia, a man called Bárcenas, has been caught with more than 40 Million euros, in Switzerland and a gigantic lemon farm in Argentina all graft paid by corrupt businessmen. He had been paying the President, and Aznar before him, and to most politicians of the Right a monthly salary, on the black of course.

There is another factor, very likely another Civil War because Cataluña may declare UDI from the Spanish State very soon.
(the Catalans have their own corruption issues, too. Mas, the head of the local government can very easily go to jail soon. Not that he will stay there)
Of course the British and Scots are much more rational, honest and clever people and they won't go down that particular path of destruction.

Spain imports nearly 100% of Oil and Gas, almost all the Coal it uses.

Which is why Gamesa is a Spanish firm.

In retrospect the UK clearly made a long term mistake by being so dependent on external goods and energy, to a degree larger than that of other countries including even the US. They should have carefully managed the North Sea resources while building out wind and nuclear. Instead they went on a binge and allowed bankers in London to accumulate billions in mostly unearned wealth.

Well it can happen to the best of us, can't it. Can anybody think of anything the UK has to offer the world now?

It's possible that the UK and Japan, as island nations heavily dependent on imported energy, will be the first major countries to "go medieval" as JHK would put it.

Apparently (according to wiki) the equivalent value in 2004 was a mere 5%. So in less than 10 years they have gone from importing virtually none of their energy needs to importing a whopping 43%. Frightening.

The UK is now a 3-way energy loser. A poster child for the Export Land Model.

(Charts from Energy Export Databrowser.)

Can anybody think of anything the UK has to offer the world now

Dr Who.

Actually compared to how the US would have acted you did OK. At least the UK taxed gasoline so the north sea oil wasn't simply consumed by local SUVs. If the USA had such a bonanza, rather than export it (and you blokes got such a low price), we would have had a consumption party with really cheap fuel.

I knew there was a good reason I have been trying to avoid buying food products from China.

WSJ: China's Bad Earth
(Behind a paywall, but you might find it by doing a Google Search for: China’s Bad Earth)

Industrialization has turned much of the Chinese countryside into an environmental disaster zone, threatening not only the food supply but the legitimacy of the regime itself.

Estimates from state-affiliated researchers say that anywhere between 8% and 20% of China's arable land, some 25 to 60 million acres, may now be contaminated with heavy metals. A loss of even 5% could be disastrous, taking China below the "red line" of 296 million acres of arable land that are currently needed, according to the government, to feed the country's 1.35 billion people.

Rural China's toxic turn is largely a consequence of two trends, say environmental researchers: the expansion of polluting industries into remote areas a safe distance from population centers, and heavy use of chemical fertilizers to meet the country's mounting food needs. Both changes have been driven by the rapid pace of urbanization in a country that in 2012, for the first time in its long history, had more people living in cities than outside of them.

Yet the effort to keep urbanites comfortable and well-fed has also led to the poisoning of parts of the food chain, and some of the pollution is traveling back to the cities in a different—and for many, more frightening—guise. "Pollution can be displaced only to an extent. You can't put walls around it," says Judith Shapiro, the U.S.-based author of the recent book "China's Environmental Challenges." She is one of a number of researchers and environmental activists—including many in China—who warn that pollution poses an existential threat to the current regime. It is, she says, "perhaps the single most significant determinant of whether the Communist Party will maintain its legitimacy in coming years."

Of course food from the USA is pollution free.

Food security seems to be becoming a major problem throughout the world. The three main problems of pollution, groundwater depletion and climate change seem to be coming to a head at the same time. The problem here for China and other countries is that as they start to become food importers the overall supply of food has become increasingly unstable. I have been watching the food index on and off for a couple of years and I have noticed that prices seem to be on a general upwards trend which will make net food importers weep for the cost of food as poorer nations start becoming cut off from an increasingly unreliable international food market.

Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds
So where do farmers go from here? Well, Monsanto and its peers would like them to try out "next generation" herbicide-resistant seeds—that is, crops engineered to resist not just Roundup, but also other, more toxic herbicides, like 2,4-D and Dicamba. Trouble is, such an escalation in the chemical war on weeds will likely only lead to more prolific, and more super, superweeds, along with a sharp increase in herbicide use. That's the message of a peer-reviewed 2011 paper by a team of Penn State University researchers led by David A. Mortensen.

Trouble is, such an escalation in the chemical war on weeds will likely only lead to more prolific, and more super, superweeds, along with a sharp increase in herbicide use.

It's called evolution... too bad most Americans don't believe in it.

Nearly half of Americans believe God created mankind in a single day about 10,000 years ago, a literal interpretation of the Bible, according to a new survey that shows the view toward evolution in the United States hasn't changed in 30 years.

About 46 percent of people say creationism explains the origin of humans. Just 15 percent say humans evolved without the assistance of God, a Gallup poll finds.

Advantage, Monsanto!

Dang, I hadn't seen the latest on that one.


One wonders what the percentages are in North Carolina or Georgia. Some things never change...

E. Swanson

The Palmer amaranth ("super pigweed") was so bad last year, I planted a rye cover crop last fall and let the big garden go fallow this year. Much less pigweed this year, and, perhaps due to excessive rainfall (18" over normal, to date) the amaranth seeds don't seem to be ripening; look rotten. The bumper blackberry crop did the same thing, as few berries ripend. They went from big, red berries to stunted brown. Best hopes nature finds a solution.

Apparently it, or at least its relatives (lambsquarters?), are edible and nutritious (and was, and maybe still is, eaten by many natives and cultures all over) but with caution for eating too much of it due to its excessive nitrate absorption (and oxalates) or any of it in a deliberate fertilizer context and with a caution for livestock too.
Farming, or industrial farming, specifically, also seems to be having trouble with it insofar as it has become more resistant to (monocrop) pesticides.

Of course I shed oceans of tears about much of industry and fear that it doesn't get engulfed, a la poetic justice, in a sea of pigweed. Or Superduper pigweed, as the case may be. Let the good times roll.

Recipe idea to try with fish: Finely-chopped bedstraw and yellow wood sorrel. The bedstraw has a pleasant, almost maybe nutty flavor which should compliment both the fish and the crisp lemony quality of the wood sorrel.

I just transplanted a little sweetfern sapling, BTW. It isn't really a fern, grows wild around here, and ostensibly works, crushed and rubbed on skin, as a natural mosquito repellant among other uses, and I like the smell of its crushed leaves, which may also be dried and incensed for a potential area bug-repellant.

As the climate changes and the land becomes unsuitable for traditional crops, it becomes necessary to plant new crops better suited to the new climate.

But will the land be too poisonous for un-genetically modified crops?

I fear we are painting ourselves into a corner through hyper-specialisation, where the only things that will grow are super-crops and super-weeds, but the highly-bred super-crops won't be able to resist climate change.

Roundup-tolerant weed salad, anybody?

along with a sharp increase in herbicide use.

From Monsanto's standpoint, sounds like a dream come true. Cash registers ringing, ding, ding, ding.

German Heat Wave Zenith Set to Extend Power Price Rally

By Rachel Morison & Julia Mengewein - Bloomberg - Jul 26, 2013 5:13 AM ET

High temperatures forced EON SE, the nations’s largest utility, to cut output at its 846-megawatt gas-fired Irsching-5 plant by 100 megawatts today, Markus Nitschke, a company spokesman in Hanover, said by phone yesterday. Hotter weather expands air and gas, leading to lower combustion efficiency, he said.

EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG (EBK) cut output at three of its hard coal-fired plants by a total of 205 megawatts due to higher water temperatures in the Rhine River, Maria Dehmer, a spokeswoman for the company in Stuttgart, said in an e-mail yesterday.

All that PV is losing a little efficiency as well, though at least it isn't heating up the Rhine. Probably shading a few roofs...

The heat is on.

Less dense air would also affect wind turbine outputs.

Trading Halt Shows UN Carbon System in Jeopardy

Seems that carbon traders have flooded the market with cheap carbon credits. The EU now has all the 1.7 billion credits it needs until 2020. Meanwhile the scammers keep creating new credits but nobody is buying. The trouble is they are not really offsetting absolute CO2 reductions. For example if a developing country builds a less clunky Type B coal fired station instead of more clunky Type A they can sell the difference as a credit even though there are new emissions. Meanwhile the EU emitter who bought the credit no longer has to cut back. In money terms this could be one of the biggest scams around.

money terms ......... biggest scams around

You act as if it's a surprise, given the individuals concerned. When the finance community and politicians get together, they will almost always create a fraud based system that can be gamed to the detriment of everyone else. Its like getting into a game of 'follow the lady' - you should KNOW that some tricks or slight of hand will be involved to make sure you lose.

The only way a carbon trading system works is if someone like a trustworthy scientist is put in charge - and you'll know it's working by the screams of anguish from the 'players'.

Frankly, abiotic oil is more likely.

The moment Goldman Sachs piled into the Carbon Credit market, you should have realized it is a system to divert money from the real economy into the financial economy without benefiting the natural economy (using Greer's economic model).