Drumbeat: July 31, 2013

The Whole World Is Getting Richer, and That's Good News

This month the most accurate source for global data on the size of the world’s economies got a makeover. As a result, we have measures of economic growth and relative income across countries that are better than ever. These numbers suggest something surprising: a world of ubiquitously increasing wealth, where predictions of Malthusian traps and permanent poverty look increasingly archaic.

...The Penn Tables provide GDP data for both 1960 and 2010, providing a 50 year window to view global economic progress. It has been considerable. Looking at absolute GDP, no country anywhere in the world for which we have data is smaller today than it was in 1960. The countries that saw the size of their economies less than double since 1960 contain just 80 million people—a little more than 1 percent of the planet’s population. A further 1 billion people lived in countries where GDP climbed by somewhere between two- and fivefold. That leaves 4.9 billion people—the considerable majority of the planet—living in countries where GDP has increased more than fivefold over 50 years. Those countries include India, with an economy nearly 10 times larger than it was in 1960, Indonesia (13 times), China (17 times), and Thailand (22 times larger than in 1960).

WTI Set for Best Month Since August Before U.S. Oil Data

West Texas Intermediate headed for its strongest month since last August before the release of data forecast to show that crude inventories fell in the U.S., the world’s largest consumer of the commodity.

Futures gained as much as 0.6 percent and have advanced 7 percent this month. A government report today is forecast to show crude supplies slid by 2.45 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. The American Petroleum Institute said yesterday that stockpiles decreased by 740,000 barrels. Data on U.S. economic growth is also due today and the Federal Open Market Committee will end a two-day meeting.

“U.S. refinery activity is very high, which can explain the continued decline in crude stocks,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “But fuel demand is still lackluster, which means fuel stocks are still quite high and have risen of late.”

British Gas profits rise during winter chill

Consumer groups are urging British Gas to freeze energy bills this winter, after the company's owner Centrica reported a rise in profits following last winter's record-breaking chill.

Centrica reported a 9% increase in profits to £1.58bn for the first six months of the year for its entire business spanning power generation and supply.

Canada’s Economy Expands in May as Retail Offsets Oil

Canada’s gross domestic product grew for a fifth straight month in May, as resilient consumer spending offset declining output by oil and gas producers.

Operations at Libya's oil export terminals still suspended

(Reuters) - Operations at Libya's two main crude oil export terminals were still suspended on Wednesday due to strike action, trading and shipping sources said.

The Es Sider and Ras Lanuf ports in eastern Libya were shut down over the weekend when the strikes began, and loadings have stopped. Workers at the country's largest 220,000 barrel-per-day refinery at Ras Lanuf followed suit on Monday.

US shale revolution should keep Opec on its toes

While a current surge in US output is undeniable, many analysts are critical of the IEA's longer-term outlook. The boom in shale oil has so far concentrated on two formations, Bakken and Eagle Ford, and it is unclear if other reservoirs will be as prolific.

"You have certain success stories in the US, namely Bakken and to a lesser extent Eagle Ford, but these are the two most promising areas, and all the other areas are much less promising," says Alexander Pögl, an analyst at JBC Energy.

Even in the US, where vast amounts of data have accumulated from decades of conventional production, shale oil relies on drilling a large number of wells, which tend to deplete a lot quicker than wells pumping conventional crude.

Small firms, not big guns, drive US shale revolution

The US shale revolution was driven not by the oil industry's big guns, but by small, independent companies that pounced on the opportunity presented by high gas prices and innovative production techniques.

Smaller outfits often break new ground in the oil game, as they are more nimble and willing to take bigger risks. But as the price of natural gas came crashing down due to surging production, shale started to move into the mainstream and the oil majors started paying more attention.

Ireland sole refinery's continued operation "desirable"-minister

(Reuters) - The continued operation of Ireland's sole oil refinery on a commercial basis is "highly desirable" following a decision by owner Phillips 66 to put the plant up for sale, the country's energy minister said.

Publishing a report on the future of Ireland's oil refining on Tuesday, Pat Rabbitte said the presence of a refinery provided "flexibility" in the event of an oil supply disruption by avoiding a complete reliance on oil product imports.

Russia's Rosneft starts pumping additional crude volumes to China's CNPC

Moscow (Platts) - Russia's oil giant Rosneft Monday started pumping additional crude volumes to China's CNPC in line with the long-term supply deal the two companies signed in June, a representative of the Russian company said Wednesday.

Iran's top Asian clients slash further oil imports

Iran's top four oil clients have cut their imports from the Middle Eastern nation by more than a fifth in the first six months of the year, but are soon to face increased pressure from the United States to reduce shipments still further.

The cuts by China, India, Japan and South Korea point to the United States' and European Union's success in reducing Tehran's vital oil cash flows as they try to force Iran to halt a disputed nuclear programme. Oil shipments from Iran are down about 60 per cent on average compared to pre-sanction levels.

Iran grants Syria $3.6 billion credit facility to buy oil products

(Reuters) - Syrian authorities and Iran signed a deal this week to activate a $3.6 billion credit facility to buy oil products with long term payment terms, officials and bankers said on Wednesday.

The deal, which was agreed last May between the two allies and will allow Iran to acquire equity stakes in investments in Syria, was part of a package to extend Iranian aid to President Bashar al Assad's government, its main political ally.

Gas production to begin in Iran's South Pars

Gas production will start in two phases of the South Pars gas field in the near future, Head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Ahmad Qalebani said.

Iran launches gas-sweetening unit for delayed South Pars phases

Tehran (Platts) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad officially launched Wednesday commissioning of a gas sweetening unit for the delayed phases 15 and 16 of the giant offshore South Pars gas field, local news agencies reported.

Genel Sees Kurdish Oil Output Rising in 2014 on Pipeline Exports

Genel Energy Plc, the largest oil producer in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, expects output to rise once a pipeline to Turkey becomes available in the fourth quarter.

“There will be a substantial increase in production next year,” Chief Financial Officer Julian Metherell said today in an interview, without giving a specific forecast. “The pipeline is currently 15 kilometers short of the tie-in. We’re confident that we’ll have export capability through it, and that will allow us to utilize our capacity.”

Iraq headed for first annual oil output drop in three years

Iraq's oil revival is stalling, and unless momentum is regained, Baghdad will report an output decline for 2013, its first after two years of robust gains.

Shell Moves to Nigerian Offshore Fields Amid Onshore Woes

At Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s compound in the Nigerian city of Warri, the gate is locked, the grounds are empty and grass has overgrown since Europe’s biggest oil company closed its operations in March after more than 40 years.

After Warri saw some of the nation’s worst unrest in two decades, Shell has sold land-based fields that pumped about 400,000 barrels a day in the 1990s, valued at $1.2 billion a month at today’s crude prices, and is buying fields offshore.

Shell to sell at least four more Nigeria oil blocks - sources

(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell will sell at least four more oil blocks in Nigeria in its latest divestments from Africa's top oil exporter, three oil industry sources familiar with the deals said on Wednesday.

Shell calls for tougher sanctions against oil thieves in Nigeria

Lagos (Platts) - Shell said Wednesday that the Nigerian government needs to ensure oil thieves are prosecuted and sanctioned in order to tackle the growing problem effectively.

Divergent Views on Local Capacity for Oil Insurance

Insurance experts all agreed on an urgent need to develop capacity for the underwriting oil and gas risks locally, but they differ not only on how to grow the needed capacity but also on the level of improvement in local retention of the energy risks, Nnamdi Duru reports

Worried that the business community in the country is not gaining enough from oil and gas exploration activities across the country, the federal government in 2010 enacted the Nigeria Content Development Act, reserving various levels of participation in businesses emanating from the sector at different times.

Richard Heinberg: Why the Peak Oilers are still right

When the world oil price briefly shot up to nearly $150 per barrel in the summer of 2008, the global economy shuddered and swooned. Thus began the worst recession since the 1930s. Of course, other factors contributed to the crash — most notably, a bursting housing bubble in the United States and an unsustainable buildup of debt in nearly all the world’s industrial economies. But it’s clear that high oil prices added to financial fragility and the oil price spike of 2008 provided a sudden gust that helped bring down the house of cards. Peakists had been warning of the economy’s vulnerability to high oil prices for years; here was dramatic confirmation. Another point for my team.

Now we’ve arrived at the period 2008–2009; at that stage of the game, the score was Peakists 3, Cornucopians zip. Despite the fact that we Peakists had virtually no funding and limited media access, we were seriously in danger of winning the debate. The term peak oil went from being unknown, to being associated with conspiracy theorists, to being broadly familiar to those who followed energy issues.

The Cornucopians, however, were not about to throw in the towel. In fact, they were just shaking off the complacency that accompanied their status as reigning champs. And they were about to deploy a significant new game strategy.

3 Reasons Peak Oil Might Not Be Such A Big Deal

When the idea of peak oil is discussed, it’s traditionally been met with a mixture of shock, awe and terror. In case you haven’t noticed, most of the developed world is pretty addicted to oil. The idea that it could run out, probably within the next generation or two, doesn’t sit well with those who can’t imagine producing power or plastic any other way.

According to a recent study from Stanford University, however, our fear of peak oil might be a little premature. It assumes that consumption will continue to skyrocket until the very last drop is squeezed from the earth. Surprisingly, the study concludes that a variety of economic and societal factors will collide, forcing a switch to alternatives before that point.

Lower North Sea output dampens Talisman Energy outlook

(Reuters) - Talisman Energy Inc posted a surprise second-quarter loss and said it now expects full-year production to be at the lower end of its earlier forecast range due to a drop in output from its North Sea operations.

The company has whittled down its exposure to the North Sea operations, selling a 49 percent stake to China's Sinopec for $1.5 billion in December.

Canadian Oil Sands Q2 profits miss estimates, CEO Marcel Coutu to retire

CALGARY — Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., the largest partner in the massive Syncrude Canada Ltd. oilsands mine, posted second-quarter earnings Tuesday that missed analyst expectations, and announced the retirement of its CEO.

Profits during the quarter were $219 million, or 45 cents per share — well short of the 53 cents per share analysts had on average been expecting, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

Keyera, Kinder Morgan to build new crude-by-rail terminal in Edmonton

CALGARY — Keyera Corp. and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. have entered into a joint venture to build a new crude oil rail loading facility in Edmonton.

The facility, which will be called the Alberta Crude Terminal, will be able to load crude oil handled at Kinder Morgan’s Edmonton Terminal onto trains for delivery to North American refineries.

JPMorgan to Pay $410 Million in U.S. FERC Settlement

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay $410 million to settle U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allegations that the bank manipulated power markets, enriching itself at the expense of consumers in California and the Midwest from 2010 to 2012.

The bank agreed to pay a U.S. civil penalty of $285 million and return $125 million in ill-gotten profits to electricity ratepayers, according to a FERC order today. JPMorgan also agreed to give up claims to $262 million worth of disputed payments from California’s grid operator, the state authority said in a separate statement.

JPMorgan Energy Traders Spur Inquiries From Agencies

JPMorgan Chase & Co. energy traders who avoided individual penalties in a $410 million settlement with a federal regulator may face action by other agencies.

Federal and state agencies are free to pursue penalties against the bank’s employees if they choose, Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said today in an interview. He said the FERC would cooperate with other agencies, which he didn’t identify.

Lawyer Who Beat Chevron in Ecuador Faces Trial of His Own

For the last two decades Mr. Donziger has been battling the Chevron Corporation over an environmental disaster that happened in the jungles of Ecuador. Two years ago, he won an $18 billion case against the oil giant, the kind of victory that most lawyers can only dream of.

But Chevron has yet to pay a penny of the award, and has turned the tables on him. Now, he is defending himself against a Chevron lawsuit charging that he masterminded a conspiracy to extort and defraud the corporation. The trial is scheduled for October.

Dudley Says BP Gulf Spill Settlement Unlikely as Costs Rise

BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said it’s unlikely Europe’s second-biggest oil company will reach a settlement with the U.S. over the Gulf of Mexico disaster as provisions set aside to pay for the spill rose.

“It’s highly unlikely we are now going to enter into detailed settlement discussions,” Dudley told reporters in London today. “We’re digging in for the long term.”

Fight Over Plan for Natural Gas Port Off Long Island

The company, along with its supporters, argues that the deepwater import terminal, which would be called Port Ambrose, would lower heating costs by increasing supply and competition, create hundreds of construction-related jobs and generate millions of dollars in state and federal tax revenue.

But opponents say that the port would deepen the region’s reliance on fossil fuels and stall efforts to shift toward cleaner forms of energy, like wind and solar.

Pertamina Tanker Spills Oil in Molucca Sea

A tanker owned by state energy company Pertamina spilled thousands of tons of oil into the Molucca Sea after it got into trouble off Ternate, North Maluku on Wednesday.

Bagus Handoko, the firm’s distribution manager, told the state-run Antara news agency that the KM Patriot Andalan was anchored at the port of Ternate when high seas caused the connection between the oil store and the transfer pipe to rupture.

Quebec orders rail and oil firms to bear expenses of train crash clean up

The Quebec Government in Canada has ordered the rail and oil firms involved in the Lac Megantic train accident that killed 47 people earlier this month to bear the expenses of fixing the environmental damage caused.

Firms including Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, Montreal, Maine & Atlantique Canada Cie, World Fuel Services and Western Petroleum have been ordered to fund the clean up of the oil that spread along the town and nearby lakes and rivers.

Northern Colorado Energy Summit Take-Aways

Recently, I attended a Northern Colorado Energy Summit titled “Fueling the Future” in Loveland, Colorado, to find out more about fracking from the businesses working in Weld County, just to the East of my own Boulder County. We audience members, numbering around 300, were shown many statistics and graphs telling us how fracking has made the U.S. more energy secure, is improving the nation economically, is helping it meet CO2 emission reduction goals, and is driving domestic industrial growth.

Fracking can take place in 'desolate' north-east England, Tory peer says

Fracking should be carried out in the "desolate" north-east of England, a former Conservative energy adviser has said, prompting criticism and claims the remarks highlighted the party's "problem with the north".

South-east will have to accept fracking too, Michael Fallon says

The south-east will have to accept fracking for shale gas just as much as the north of England, Michael Fallon, the energy minister, has suggested.

TEPCO's N-plant delays cause for worry

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has so far been unable to locate the source of spreading contaminated groundwater at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, fueling concerns the radioactive contamination may spread into wider areas, even out of the plant’s port facilities.

As the configuration of underground tunnels of power cables and seawater pipes where the contaminated water is accumulating is complicated, implementing measures such as draining the water, will take a lot of time.

Tepco trying to keep radioactive water from reaching sea, but can it?

Tokyo Electric Power Co. only recently admitted radioactive water is flowing from its crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant into the Pacific.

Although Tepco is giving assurances that it is taking and planning steps to prevent more tainted groundwater from reaching the sea, it’s unclear how effective those efforts are, considering the difficulty of even pinpointing the problem.

Here are questions and answers regarding the tainted flow.

Ford to offer F-150 that runs on natural gas

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Ford Motor says it will start offering its versions of its best-selling F-150 full-size pickup that can run on liquefied natural gas.

The gas can be either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Ford says that the lower cost of natural gas -- about the equivalent of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline -- means that customers will be able to save money within 24 to 36 months of ownership, even though they will have to pay nearly $10,000 more for the option.

BMW's New Electric Car Is Just Like a Tesla, Only Much, Much Worse

The i3 is a big deal, or at least it was supposed to be, because it was designed from scratch to be an electric car, like Tesla’s Model S was—and because it’s a BMW, which implies that it’s well-built. It had been hailed, in fact, as BMW’s answer to the Model S. But it does not seem to be that.

OPEC Nations Seek Cash for $1.5 Billion Solar Shift: Arab Credit

Two of the largest oil producers are readying the Middle East’s first big push into renewable energy, planning solar-power plants that will need more than $1.5 billion in financing by the end of 2014.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the United Arab Emirates, fourth-biggest in the group, are seeking to add 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity, enough to electrify 200,000 homes. The forecast expansion, which includes Jordan, will require loans and export credits, said Vahid Fotuhi, president of the Dubai-based Emirates Solar Industry Association.

Europe’s Biggest Solar Projects Threatened by China Deal

Europe’s decision to curb imports of Chinese solar panels threatens to limit the biggest projects using the technology in the 28-nation bloc while having little impact on the manufacturers accused of dumping their products.

Trade Fight Over Solar Benefits a Bystander

The long-running trade conflicts over solar panels between China and the United States and Europe have sown dissatisfaction all around, leaving many manufacturers of solar materials complaining that the market is still unfair.

But one country not involved in the disputes has already benefited from them and, with Saturday’s agreement between China and the European Union, stands to benefit again: Taiwan.

US wind installations sink to zero in Q2

US wind growth has ground to a halt this year, with no new installations completed in the second quarter of 2013, figures from the American Wind Energy Association show.

The new figures are even worse than Q1's 1.6MW of new installations, effectively just one GE 1.6MW turbine.

Plan to Separate Food Waste Will Expand

Within the next year, New York is preparing to roll out an ambitious plan to get residents and businesses to separate their food waste from other trash — initially on a voluntary basis — as they do their paper, metal, glass and plastics.

But already, more than 180 cities and local governments in 18 states offer curbside pickup of food scraps. Now, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Monday the expansion of the city’s pilot program for food waste recycling, those communities may offer lessons to New York as it tries to catch up.

With Too Much Rain in the South, Too Little Produce on the Shelves

While the contiguous United States as a whole is about only 6 percent above its normal rainfall this year, Southern states are swamped. Through June, Georgia was 34 percent above normal, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. Both South Carolina and North Carolina were about 25 percent above normal. Alabama’s rainfall was up 22 percent.

The weather is a particular shock because more than two-thirds of the region was abnormally dry or suffering a drought last year.

Although the total cost to farmers has yet to be tallied, agricultural officials in several states in the Deep South predict severe losses this year that could be in the billions of dollars.

Breaking the Waves: Catlin Seaview Survey Digitizes the Endangered Oceans

Together with Google, a scientific expedition is exploring endangered coral reefs, producing baseline data about ocean health—and breathtaking panoramic images of the world below.

North Dakota gas flares equal to a million extra cars on road

The amount of gas flaring in North Dakota has more than doubled, propelling the US to join Russia, Nigeria and Iraq as one of the world’s top ten flaring countries.

Between May 2011 and May 2013, the volume of gas flared as a by-product from oil production in the Bakken formation in North Dakota grew 2.5 times, from approximately 106,000 to 266,000 Mcf per day.

It is an environmental disaster that is visible even from space.

Gina McCarthy says EPA aims to spark US economic growth

There is no dichotomy between the environment and the economy, Gina McCarthy told an audience at Harvard during her inaugural address as administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Climate scientists must not advocate particular policies

I became a climate scientist because I care about the environment, but we have a moral obligation to be impartial.

Stornoway Port Authority in Arctic hub plan

Stornoway Port Authority (SPA) has said an ice-free Arctic Ocean could lead to its harbour becoming a key destination for freighters.

Scientists have been reporting that the area of ocean covered by ice in summer and autumn has been falling.

Blue Tape Marks Climate Change Risks for Coastal Businesses

Scientists expect sea levels to rise between 8 inches and 6 feet by the end of this century, putting low-lying coastal businesses at risk. To make the threat of climate change clear to her customers, Bridges joined a campaign last week to mark where the high tide in 2100 would be if the worst of those scenarios comes true. A strip of sky-blue tape near the handle of her door indicates the spot. “Where I’m standing right now, the water would be up to my chest,” she says.

About 90 businesses so far have agreed to put tape, decals, or posters in shop windows. The campaign is part of a larger effort to draw attention to the risks that climate change poses to small businesses. “The tourism industry in our state is primarily a small business industry,” says Frank Knapp, president of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, which is recruiting businesses along with the American Sustainable Business Council. “There’s not much greater threat to our tourism industry than a destroyed coast.”

Lawsuit could hurt oil, gas industry

Last week, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed suit against 97 oil and gas companies seeking payment from them alleging that they are putting the New Orleans area at a greater risk of flooding by contributing to coastal erosion. This suit, like the 300 legacy lawsuits with over 1,500 companies that have been going on for 10 years now against oil and gas, are simply extortion via the legal system.

Governor Jindal is to be commended for calling these lawsuits what they really are. He said, “This is nothing but a windfall for a handful of trial lawyers. It boils down to trial lawyers who see dollar signs in their future and who are taking advantage of people who want to restore Louisiana’s coast. These trial lawyers are taking this action at the expense of our coast and thousands of hardworking Louisianians who help fuel America by working in the energy industry.”

As Public Opinion Shifts, Candidates Explicitly Run On Doing Something About Climate Change

Recent polling has shown that the public — and younger voters in particular — are increasingly turned off by candidates who deny climate science and plan to make it a voting issue. In key 2013 races, environmentalist candidates have proactively used the issue in campaign ads.

Eastern Australia experiences warmest July on record

CLIMATE change is kicking in and it's kicking in fast.

That's the experts' conclusion after a record-breaking July in which all five of Australia's eastern capitals had record high temperatures.

Some of the numbers are truly eye-popping.

Over 10 die of heatstroke in "hottest Shanghai summer"

SHANGHAI -- Over ten people in Shanghai have died of heatstroke in the east China city's unprecedented summer heat, local health officials said Tuesday.

The Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control &Prevention said the persisting high temperatures this summer have caused a spike in the number of heliosis patients in the city. But center officials declined to disclose the specific number of deaths.

Conn. warns of dire climate change consequences

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut environmental officials are warning of dire consequences from climate change that will affect agriculture, dams and levees, waterfront habitats and public health.

For example, sea level rise will leave Hammonasset Beach State Park, among Connecticut's most popular state parks, mostly inundated by sea water by the end of the century, according to a new report by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Most agriculture in Connecticut is likely to be "highly impacted" by climate change "and most of these potential impacts are negative," Monday's report said.

Oceans Rise With Every Liter of Fuel Burned, Study Warns

A new analysis released today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences includes these mind-numbing statistics:

• One single liter of petroleum gas burned may add 647 liters of sea volume.

• One ton of coal burned may add 164,000 gallons of sea volume.

"This is an extraordinary illustration of the sensitivity of the Earth system," writes Ben Strauss, director of Climate Central's Program on Sea Level Rise in a commentary in the journal.

Arctic methane catastrophe scenario is based on new empirical observations

Critics of new Nature paper on costs of Arctic warming ignore latest science on permafrost methane at everyone's peril.

Greenland And Antarctica ‘May Be Vulnerable To Rapid Ice Loss Through Catastrophic Disintegration’

Humanity faces 70 feet of sea level rise, possibly coming much sooner than has been expected if we continue with unrestricted carbon pollution. Two recent studies underscore our perilous situation.

Re: Climate scientists must not advocate particular policies

The conclusion of this commentary is that scientists must maintain a wall of separation from the social and political discussions of their findings. Trouble is, that leaves the psudo-scientific denialist camp with the upper hand in spreading their distortions into the political arena. The flood of disinformation about climate change is built around repeated claims from a few people with science backgrounds that misrepresent scientific facts, often via cherry picking those bits of data which support their political aims.

If the scientific community intentionally absents the field of politics in order to preserve the public's perception of objectivity, then the side with the loudest, most frequent presentation will win out in the political arena. As a result humanity's future becomes ever more difficult and the entire Earth is the ultimate loser...

E. Swanson

Reminds me of the line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ...

[Harvey has challenged Butch to fight for control of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang]

... Butch Cassidy: No, no, not yet. Not until me and Harvey get the rules straightened out.

Harvey Logan: Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!
[Butch immediately kicks Harvey in the groin]

Butch Cassidy: Well, if there aint' going to be any rules, let's get the fight started. Someone count. 1,2,3 go.

Sundance Kid: [quickly] 1,2,3, go!
[Butch knocks Harvey out]

The science community was sold/forced to swallow this ludicrous dogma as part of the Cold War. Professor Edwards seems ignorant of that data set.

Einstein, to name one rather suggestive example, advocated very specific policies all the time. Of course, description/analysis of existing facts is a different process than prescriptions for how to alter what exists, but to say there's no relationship between the two processes is to reduce science, which has always been about problem-solving, to just another form of subjectivity. It's back-door nihilism, in other words.

Meanwhile, there was Barry Commoner.

Normative Science

Scientific information is important in many policy debates in the Pacific Northwest (salmon; wildfire severity; human activities and climate; genetically modified organisms; water scarcity). Science is essential in such policy debates, but I am concerned that policy-biased science is increasingly common.

Science should be objective and based on the best information available. Too often, however, scientific information presented to the public and decision-makers is infused with hidden policy preferences. Such science is termed normative, and it is a corruption of the practice of good science.

I agree with the author, Prof. Robert T. Lackey. There's a line that should not be crossed. Decision-makers should be presented with the scientific facts they need to make their decisions, in particular the probable results of their decisions.

But scientists' opinions should not be massaged to influence the decision in the way the scientist wishes. "Stealth advocacy" is the term Prof Lackey uses to describe this process.

James Hansen is a poster child for this type of crusading scientist, emphasizing the science that bolster his vision of eco-doom. I'm not saying he's wrong to have done what he's done, but I think he has forfeited his credentials as a scientist. Now he's a lobbyist.

I sort of general terms I agree with you. On the specific area of climate change, which is crying out for substative policy decision to be made, it quickly became clear that no such decisions would ever be made (except the decision to defer one indefinitly), so a departure from that idea was needed.

In an ideal world, of course we would be able to cleanly and clearly separate the determination of facts (including statistical prdictions based on those fcats), from the determination of how to deal with those facts. The problem is that politicians just don't deal with scientific uncertainty well. In fact they do horribly in the face of uncertainty. So someone who has some real understanding of uncertainty, has to step into the process.

The trouble is that the so-called "decision makers" don't make their decisions based on facts, but on political considerations. Those considerations include the wishes of those who will be providing the funding for their next election campaign, as well as any other prospects for "economic improvement" via "other means". Given the anti-science attitudes prevalent in the US these days, making any headway presenting unpopular scientific facts is especially difficult.

Sometimes, the only way to get a message delivered is to present it in the most strident fashion. The military industrial community is very good at this, crying "national security" whenever it's time for budget writing. Any politician who advocates cutting the defense budget is branded as weak on security and will have a difficult campaign to win the next election. Hansen is running against the wind from the likes of Roy Spencer and Fred Singer, who have no scruples about distorting the science to promote the denialist camp's carefully orchestrated agenda. The result has been that one political party has an official stance against the use of scientific fact, as they included a statement to prohibit the EPA's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in their plank for the last Presidential election. You may not accept Hansen's message, but show us where he personally has distorted the scientific facts before you brand him a lobbyist...

E. Swanson

The trouble is that the so-called "decision makers" don't make their decisions based on facts, but on political considerations

Exactly. I can't believe that popular discourse still sounds like school textbooks. Policy makers are not interested in welfare, they are more interested in maintaining status quo.

You may not accept Hansen's message, but show us where he personally has distorted the scientific facts before you brand him a lobbyist

I respect Hansen and believe in AGW. It helps that many other scientists with no axe to grind are in broad agreement with him.

An equivalent to Hansen would be the diet doctors. Take Dr Ornish and Dr Atkins. They are/were both respected medical people who believe in their diets which are based on research and experience. Yet they say opposite things. How are we the public to choose between them? We know they have an agenda, to sell books etc, so we don't accept what they say uncritically.

I think the point that Prof Lackey was trying to make is that scientists must give the best advice they can but not try to influence choices, like a financial advisor shouldn't push policies to maximize his commission, but should enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances.

This only applies to scientists acting as scientists. As private citizens they have the same rights to promote causes as anyone else, but they should make it clear in what context they are speaking.

I don't get it. We hire doctors to diagnose what ails our bodies, then expect them to recommend a course of treatment.

We hire economists to evaluate the economy and recommend certain actions.

We hire mechanics to tell us what's wrong with the car, then expect them to repair it...

I could go on, but hiring climate scientists to figure out what is going on with climate, then expecting them to shut up is ludicrous. Of course, with all of the above, one can always get a second opinion if one doesn't like the prognosis, but eventually we decide on a course of action.

It seems to me it's the politicians that need to STFU.

But the doctors, and mechanics (not so much the economists) can be sued for malpractice if their diagnoses turn out to be wrong and cause harm. Even the economists can be discredited and left to teach in some backwater school or reduced to working at McDonalds.

What is our recourse when a climate scientist is proven wrong in say 50 years? If sea level is not 2 meters higher in 2100, and you based billions in spending on that prediction, then what? Do you do like the British did with Cromwell and dig up the body for a proper beheading?


"On 30 January 1661, (the 12th anniversary of the execution of Charles I), Cromwell's body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey, and was subjected to the ritual of a posthumous execution, as were the remains of Robert Blake, John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton."

Climate scientists are not exactly comparable to doctors or mechanics.

What is our recourse when a climate scientist is proven wrong in say 50 years? If sea level is not 2 meters higher in 2100, and you based billions in spending on that prediction, then what?


Good one. The accusation sounded as if climate scientists are asking us to jump off a cliff.

This might just reflect differences between the Brits and us.

The article, however, prompted some quite interesting discussions on Twitter. There was also an apparent split between those in the UK (Doug McNeall, Tamsin Edwards, Richard Tol) and those in the US (Peter Gleick, Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann). Those in the UK seemed to largely agree with the views expressed by Tamsin Edwards, while the US scientists seemed to quite strongly disagree. O. Bothe wrote what he called some random thoughts on advocacy that highlighted some of the subtleties of this issue and made me realise that this topic is probably much more nuanced than Tamsin’s article indicates.

Regarding: Greenland And Antarctica ‘May Be Vulnerable To Rapid Ice Loss Through Catastrophic Disintegration’

It occured to me sometime back that most are expecting continental ice loss to be a gradual process, but there's the possibility that, in some areas, it could unfold more like the way ice breakups occur on high latitude rivers. One day the ice seems solid, the next day all hell breaks loose. Of course, not all rivers break up on the same day... just a few weeks apart. Perhaps, one really warm year....

"One day the ice seems solid, the next day all hell breaks loose."

Reminds me of my mom's descriptions of beginnings of the spring ice melt on Lake Superior (she grew up in Superior, WI). Sometimes the first "explosion sounds" would come in the quiet of late might -- so loud they were, she said, that it made you jump and sent shivers down your spine. The violence was, indeed, like all hell breaking loose.

The Larsen B Ice Shelf disintegration is a good example.

Between January 31 2002 – March 7 2002 (5 weeks) the Larsen B sector collapsed and broke up, 3,250 km² (1250 sq miles) of ice 220 m (721 feet) thick disintegrated, meaning an ice shelf covering an area comparable in size to the US state of Rhode Island collapsed in a single season

The movie Chasing Ice had a series where a large chunk of a fiord glacier broke up. For something like 75minutes huge chunks of ice were bobbing up and down (these were hundreds of meters tall, and bobbing by hundreds of meters). All because several square miles cracked up and tried to readjust due to gravity.

This kind of sudden shift is seen through all sorts of different equilibrium. Whilst you can have pressure in the background building up: to a casual observer the change happens nearly instantly. Even in human societies change can happen overnight, for instance the fall of the Berlin Wall, Breakup of the Soviet Union, Arab Spring, whilst the pressure causing that change has been present for a number of years.

It seems that the latent heat of melting would have this kind of affect. The arctic ice caps could soak up an immense amount of heat before their temperature rose at all. Then, when enough heat was soaked up by the ice, the temperature would rise above the freezing point for possibly a huge expanse of the ice and things would start happening.

The word ice caps, means different things to different people. The older context, meant the big land based ice sheets, like Greenland. But a lot of writers confuse thick landbased glaciers and sea ice. The later is thin enough that the total heat required to melt it is only a tiny fraction of the current global imbalance. Most of the heat is going into heating ocean water. Consider this melting a meter of sea ice, takes the same amount of heat as raising 80 meters of sea water by 1C. But we are heating at least the top 800M of sea water. And the area of open sea water is many many times larger than the area of sea ice. The sea heat storage capacity is hundreds of times greater than the heat capacity of the floating ice.

"One day the ice seems solid, the next day all hell breaks loose."

As when ice dam holding back Lake Missoula let go.

There was a video of an ice collapse on You tube not long ago. The ice shelf didn't slowly thin down; it broke parallel to the face, and that section, now being taller than it was wide, flipped over. Since that section was no longer holding back the next section of ice to landward, that section broke off and flipped over. Then the next, and so on. It was quite the domino show.

So Greenland could go from a competent glacier/ice sheet to a slush pile in a similar manner and quite quickly. And with all that new surface area exposed, the melt rate would be much higher.

I think the scientists were talking about ice shelves, where the glacier flows into deep water. Most of GIS is grounded, so we are talking about a relatively small proportion of the ice sheet. I think mainly on the east side of the eastern mountains. This would of course start attracting land based ice to flow towards the newly vacant shelves, but that isn't something that happens in an instant.
Still we could be in for a shocker, if the melt plus calving rate increased dramatically.

The Greenland bedrock is shaped like a long narrow bowl with most of the ice cap atop a central valley. The most catastrophic scenario would see the outer rim braking off, say 15-20% of the total (WAG).

Robert Gordon - Is US economic growth over?

There was some discussion of that article four days ago.

Urban residents in Finland welcome densification

... Until now it has been widely assumed that most people crave more space and are likely to oppose an increase in housing density in their neighbourhood. However, the 1238 responses to the questionnaire suggest otherwise.

"The data showed that people are not interested in fleeing to less-dense areas from within Kuninkaankolmio, as they wish to live in areas corresponding with their current urban density in the future,"

Not surprisingly, location was the prime concern for most people when considering where to live. Easy access to transport links, green areas and services all featured highly on people's wish lists. The biggest and highest-density infill projects attracted the most interest, perhaps because they appeared big enough to meet many different needs.

this is funny. what is dense for some is sparse for others.
just look at the picture in the background of the page


yeah it looks pretty dense...

Based on some experience, I seem to prefer roughly 2 to 4 square blocks-dense from a (good/quality) business services standpoint, and a population of roughly 20 thousand. Or less blocks and population if the center of the town is one good road-strip with businesses on both sides and a few 'round-the-corners. Maybe some of us have our own secret towns or villages we've visited and loved, or an ideal/idyllic one in our heads.

Is it greener to travel by rail or car?

... Despite being a former rail worker, Kemp is clearly not your typical railway enthusiast. "I'm very suspicious of some people in the environmental movement who take this 'trains good, cars bad' attitude. It's an Animal Farm mentality of 'four legs good, two legs bad'." After all, electric trains are hardly green if powered from the grid by coal-fired plants.

...It is no longer inconceivable that motor vehicles could one day rival electric trains, notes Kemp. "Because trains last a lot longer, those that were built in the last five years are still going to be with us for the next 20 years. Even if you introduced a super efficient train tomorrow it would be a lot of time before most trains would be using that type of technology."

Technology is not the only factor undermining the standard argument made for rail travel. Recent studies by US researchers from the Universities of California and Arizona have found that too little attention is given to the auxiliary emissions generated by both rail and road infrastructure and supply chains.

Ford to offer F-150 that runs on natural gas

Ford Motor says it will start offering its versions of its best-selling F-150 full-size pickup that can run on liquefied natural gas.

The gas can be either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Ford says that the lower cost of natural gas -- about the equivalent of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline --

"...nearly $10,000 more for the option." Yikes!

It looks like the tank takes up two feet of a six foot bed, so you can't carry a 4X8 sheet of plywood or sheetrock, and forget about your ATV or dirt bike. The center of gravity will be moved to the rear when carrying any load too.
It may appeal to fleet operators but does Ford's claim of gasoline equivalent pricing include lower (20% less?) energy in CNG or LPG?

The tank arrangement looks like an afterthought or stop-gap. Perhaps they want it above the crumple/collision zone.

With gasoline at around $3.50/gal here and LPG @$2.25, there's still a savings incentive with LPG, though drivers may not like the loss of power, small though it may be. Some police departments in GA have had their cars converted to run both. Seems to be working for them.

I expect most fleet adopters will put in their own LPG and/or natgas fueling stations. May save more, until prices go up.

"...forget about your ATV or dirt bike."

Yeah, we need to forget about ICE toys, period. As for plywood, etc. I stack mine on the toolbox and raised tailgate. Makes it easier to strap down and unload. Bigger loads go on the trailer. We also pull an old restored Navy T-6 trailer behind the Subaru; haul all sorts of things. Looks kind of cute back there.

It is DOA, because you can't put dual 6" chrome pipes up through the bed so it looks like a Kenworth, and it won't make those cool loud diesel noises and pump out black smoke on acceleration. The intrusion into the cargo area is irrelevant, as like most automobile choices trucks are for posing (in this case the element of intimidation to make one feel more powerful), not for hauling.

Yep - you nailed... I get great satisfaction now goading those clowns into wasting a buck or two in gas between stoplights... Like shooting fish in a barrel - as the expression goes. Four bucks per gallon brings their anger to a head - five dollars per gallon buries them... Can't come soon enough.

LOL - I do the same sometimes, I can't help it. It costs me almost nothing in my 1500cc Hyundai, but I know how much fuel they use when they open it up.

Lately I have been observing people's behavior in vehicles - how they behave with respect to the particular "costume" they have chosen to wear, and what would be acceptable if one were not in a car and wearing a disguise. It is also interesting the reaction you get if you actually make eye contact with the driver - one is not supposed to do this!

The aggressive drivers in their power-projecting costumes/vehicles are mostly a male thing. They are actively involved in and aware of the interaction. They usually know they are cutting you off. Women drivers are equally aggressive in their driving actions, but often they are not mentally engaged at all, cutting other drivers off while multitasking (on the phone, etc). The outward results are similar, but the dynamic is different, and the vehicle choice is often different too - a big vehicle where they can feel comfortable, isolated, and safe to do other things while driving.

...like most automobile choices trucks are for posing (in this case the element of intimidation to make one feel more powerful), not for hauling.

How true.

I once pulled up at a red light behind an immaculately-polished, very large 3/4 ton 4x4 truck with oversized off-road tires, lots of chrome, and the obligatory headbanger music pounding away from the sound system. It was obviously never used off-road or for hauling anything except cases of beer in the air-conditioned cab. What stood out was a bandit bumper sticker obviously hastily glued to the tailgate (the glue ran and actually damaged the black paint) that said, BIG TRUCK / SMALL PENIS. Drivers following behind reacted predictably with gales of laughter, much to the consternation of the trucker who didn't seem to have a clue. This was 2008 just before the price at the pump spiked.

We own a rusty '93 VW Golf with a very useful roof rack, and I have hauled huge quantities of construction materials over the last eight years or so, mostly home renovation related. I developed a system of screwing, clamping, taping together and / or tying down the items, sometimes to plywood brackets I made which are secured to the underside of the rack. I've hauled a half-dozen sheets of plywood at a time, drywall, 2x dimensional lumber 12 at a time in varying lengths, pre-fab windows and doors, ladders, and even four 16-foot 6x6s once (now that was a challenge). I paid a bit more than $400 for the roof rack, and the trucker above probably spent $70K on his man toy, yet I can say with absolute assurance that I've hauled a lot more than he with orders of magnitude more efficiency. He stood out as an iconoclast, but there are also lots of contractors out there who drive never-used-for-haulin' F350s written off against taxes and company expense forms. There is also the occasional woman oddly driving a Hummer, which is probably used as nothing more than a man catcher.

This is obviously just one small example that illustrates what is wrong with our consumerist economy. All the traditional indexes are up while resources are "processed" (i.e. wasted) for thousands of posers with Neanderthal egos.

Then again, there are folks like me who actually need a pickup, haul stuff almost every day, and need the 4 wheel drive and ground clearance. The things I do with my truck would have destroyed your little vehicle in short order. Just sayin'.

Let's try to be a little less absolute. Some folks get many years of utility from their trucks without putting a lot of miles on them.

Certainly many people need trucks. But if you look in the empty beds of most trucks you'll see on the road, it is pretty clear that most truck buyers really don't need them. I'm sure they need the functionality of a truck occasionally but they would probably be much better off financially if they bought a normal car and then rented a truck for the few occasions that they really need them.

We are stuck with the over-hang of thinking from the 90s when MPG reall did not matter much since oil was $20/barrel. Oil is now over $100/barrel and it no longer makes sense to drive a beast of a vehicle unless you really need it (or have lots of money). Yet people are slow to adjust.

I also have a truck - a '94 F250 4x4 extended cab long bed with dual tanks and a 5.8L V8. It gets maybe 11mpg and has an 8800lb GVWR. It will haul 40 bales of hay and tow whatever I need. Yes, it is a luxury, but it doesn't cost me all that much because I rarely drive it and maintain it myself. Mostly it costs me time. It's not a toy, it is a piece of equipment.

If I were to drive it to work (not that this would be fun) I would pay an additional $10 for each trip. Naturally that only happens if I need to stop for something big on the way home - lumber, masonry supplies, what have you. Then the cost is simply a tax on top of what I'm buying. I try to hold off taking it until I accumulate enough to make the trip worthwhile.

One of the things to realize about rural living is that in previous times people did not survive in isolated nuclear family groups, nor did they try to maintain a job in the system that requires commuting. With these two handicaps, the energy of fossil fuels and some equipment that uses it are needed.

My situation is pretty much the same. I have a 1990 Dodge 3/4ton 4x4. It's a work truck that only leaves here when it has to. Because I'm in the mountains it's also the "get to the county road" truck in the winter. When we expect snow we park my wife's car on the county road (which is dirt and gravel) and chain up the truck. The county road usually gets plowed eventually so a car can get in and out. We always get snowed in for at least a week each year. The longest we've been snowed in has been three weeks and no truck had a chance of getting through the snow; we eventually brought in a bulldozer to clear the road.


FWIW, I have a 40 gallon tank. I hate filling that sucker!

While we are on the subject of trucks, I have just returned from a trip to the states, doing a two week course in my time off, and one thing I observed, that nobody/very few pick up trucks had any covers over the tray. Apart from the fact that they were all empty, but running at highway speeds with a closed tail gate and no cover will surely created a mile of unnecessary and excessive drag.

In Oz pretty much all pick ups/utes come with a cover, these days they are even hard and lockable. Meanwhile tray top pick ups with drop side, can just have the sides and tail gate removed if they are not required at the time.

Do the pick ups in the US have soft or, hard covers for there tray? Do thet come as standard when bought from the dealer or a high priced extra that nobody buys?

Yair . . . so true Toolpush.

A soft tonneau cover on my three litre diesel constantly gives me just over 11 kilometres a litre, without it just below.


I hate filling it too, but I try to keep both tanks filled - it is my reserve, and I have siphoned one for the generator in the past when the local station was also out of power.

I've done the same thing too. But I also store a lot of additional gas just in case. In the case of the truck, I actually try to fill it from my storage containers rather than taking it to town - a round trip is 30 miles or three gallons of gas or about $12 - whereas I can haul a container to refill it in my wife's car.


as like most automobile choices trucks are for posing

In my neck of the woods it's more like this:

Audi sales climb - Stewart credits 'aspirational' demand for luxury, sets sights on No. 1 slot

Stewart said Audi's premium appeal is also gaining traction locally because Jamaicans desire the brand as a symbol of mobility.

"Jamaica is an SUV market. Our top sellers are the Audi Q3 and the Audi Q5," he said.

"Audi sits in the premium segment. People see it as a very aspirational brand."....[snip]

Stewart says Audi is expected to be the number one seller in the premium segment by next year.

"Five years ago, Mercedes was number one; now they are number three," he said.

BMW has held steady as the top luxury brand in Jamaica.

The Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealerships, as well as Suzuki, are handled by Stewart's Automotive Group.

An article that is easily confuses when quoting Stewart. There are two dealerships, one the ATL Group, owned by Gordon "Butch" Stewart of Sandals Hotel Chain fame and run by his son that, handles Audi, VW, Jaguar, Land Rover/Range Rover and Honda. The other dealership is the Stewart's Automotive Group, owned by a different family of Stewarts but, there you have it, in a poor, third world country, in the throes of an IMF rescue plan, a newspaper article discussing which German luxury brand is number one!

I wrote a comment suggesting that it would be better for Jamaicans to be debating which German solar PV equipment maker is number one but, it obviously did not find favour with the mods.

Alan from the islands

I know of several people who have had thier trucks retrofitted for CNG, two of these are 2011 F-150's. They can swith between gas or CNG and the only outward visibility is the extra tank in the bed and the CNG sticker on the bumper. Most importantly though these retrofits only cost 4K-6K, they plan on a payback of less than 2 years.

Trucks do seem to be much easier to retrofit than cars simply because you normally have more space to work with under the hood and an easy place to mount the tank.

Controlling Contagion by Restricting Mobility

A new MIT study comparing contagion rates in two scenarios — with and without travel restrictions — shows that even moderate measures of mobility restriction would be effective in controlling contagion in densely populated areas with highly interconnected road and transit networks. The researchers called the difference between infection rates in the two scenarios the “price of anarchy,” a concept from game theory that’s frequently used as a metric in studies of the controlled use of transportation networks.

Previous research had shown that when individuals become aware of an epidemic, they travel not by taking the shortest route, but by taking the shortest route that avoids infected areas — even if they’re already infected — a strategy that exposes people in uninfected areas to disease. Such “selfish behavior,” as it’s called in game theory, is in direct opposition to the strategy of policymakers, who presumably would act in the benefit of the greater social good by routing infected individuals through areas where infection rates were already high.

The MIT study shows that the price of anarchy in some regions of the United States, such as along Interstate 95 in the Northeast, would be considerable. For a moderately contagious disease — one in which every infected person infects, on average, two others — restricting individuals to specific travel routes would decrease infection rates by as much as 50 percent.

“In an area with high connectivity, the outcome of action coordinated by officials is going to be better than selfish action

... there will be troops and road blocks

BPA exposure disrupts human egg maturation

As many as 20 percent of infertile couples in the United States have unexplained reasons for their infertility. Now, new research led by Catherine Racowsky, PhD, director of the Assisted Reproductive Technologies Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), shows that exposure to BPA (Bisphenol-A) could be a contributing factor as to why some infertile couples are having difficulty conceiving.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study that has shown that BPA (Bisphenol-A) has a direct effect on egg maturation in humans," said Dr. Racowsky. "Because exposure to BPA is so ubiquitous, patients and medical professionals should be aware that BPA may cause a significant disruption to the fundamentals of the human reproductive process and may play a role in unexplained infertility."

The Romans downfall was lead; ours maybe BPA

Actually, BPA should be encouraged. Yea infertility.

Sediment trapped behind dams makes them 'hot spots' for greenhouse gas emissions

They describe analysis of methane release from water impounded behind six small dams on a European river. "Our results suggest that sedimentation-driven methane emissions from dammed river hot spot sites can potentially increase global freshwater emissions by up to 7 percent," said the report. It noted that such emissions are likely to increase due to a boom in dam construction fostered by the quest for new energy sources and water shortages.

Inland waters transport and transform substantial amounts of carbon and account for 18% of global methane emissions.

Direct comparison of riverine and reservoir reaches, where sedimentation in the latter is increased due to trapping by dams, revealed that the reservoir reaches are the major source of methane emissions (0.23 mmol CH4 vs 19.7 mmol CH4, respectively) and that areal emission rates far exceed previous estimates for temperate reservoirs or rivers.

The organic matter settling out behind dams would have settled out once the river reached the sea and been decomposed by marine bacteria.

So I doubt that dams cause an increase in the global CH4 load. They just shift it about a bit.

The question is does the CH4 make it to the atmosphere, or is it dissolved, then slowly oxidized within the water? Depth of emission is probably very important. Also small isolated bubbles will probably not reach the surface, but concentrated streams of bubbles could.

I disagree, w/o going into a thread on reservoir limnology, see the primary effect from increased retention time leading to much higher primary and secondary production, raining into the sediments. Elevated nutrient levels from modern terrestrial runoff has a major role.

I hear about the 72 x impact compared with equal amounts of CO2, and wonder whether anyone else has noticed that when CH4 burns, it combines with 2, O2 molecules to form 1 CO2 and 2 H2O. It is a complex reaction, but it does create CO2, and this is also what happens when it oxidizes, even if it does not burn. So, whilst CO2 is less potent and lasts longer, CH4 may not last as long, but its by-products include CO2. To say that natural gas is better than oil or coal may be true (in much the way that Hitler was a better dictator than Stalin in terms of numbers of Jews murdered). That doesn't make it okay to keep burning it. Whether the CH4 makes it to the atmosphere, or its CO2 does, in 12 years it is all CO2, and still a greenhouse gas.

In my mind, there is not a whole lot to like about burning methane. The people who promote it are those who have some to sell ya. Or are part of the BAU crowd, some of whom think that it will save us from a low energy future, or is a "green alternative."



I hear you. Methane -assuming insignificant leakage produces maybe half the CO2 of a similar heat content of coal. So it was billed as a way to reduce emissions. But, thats only if it replaces coal. Clearly if we use it longterm, it is a disaster. And if we get significant leakage we could see a nearterm disaster.
Of greater worry, will abandoned frack jobs slowly leak methane over many decades? If this happens -and we have maybe a million wells, so we can't just go back a reseal them all, it could be a serious issue climatewise.

So environmentalists are no longer sold on NG as a bridge fuel. The latest rhetoric has it as a gangplank to a hotter world.

Cleaning solar panels often not worth the cost, engineers find

Researchers found panels that hadn't been cleaned, or rained on, for 145 days during a summer drought in California, lost only 7.4 percent of their efficiency. Overall, for a typical residential solar system of 5 kilowatts, washing panels halfway through the summer would translate into a mere $20 gain in electricity production until the summer drought ends—in about 2 ½ months. For larger commercial rooftop systems, the financial losses are bigger but still rarely enough to warrant the cost of washing the panels. On average, panels lost a little less than 0.05 percent of their overall efficiency per day.

Researchers also found that solar panels mounted at an angle of less than five degrees caused bigger losses in efficiency. That's because dirt slips off panels that are installed at a steeper angle.

But solar panels heavily soiled with bird droppings should be cleaned. That's because the droppings essentially block all sunlight and will not be washed away when it rains. Engineers also found that at a few sites, photovoltaic panels were dirty enough to warrant cleaning due to very specific and localized circumstances. For example, being directly next to and downwind of a highway, factory or agricultural field may generate enough dirt to warrant cleaning.

This has been my experience. I'll hose them down during pollen season if there has been no rain, and check for bird poop or a leaf. Otherwise, I generally wash them with soap and water once a year, maybe twice if I get the urge (most folks wash their cars far more often). PV panels stay quite clean with an occasional rainfall or snowfall.

The Mars rovers just needed the weak Martian breeze to get the dust off.

Not worth the cost? How much does it cost to take 10 minutes and hose down panels with a garden hose sprayer?

I'm proceeding slowly with my project but the conduit is in and the racks are almost up. I need to get someone to help me pull wires though, that is the one thing I can't do alone since it requires one person to pull and one person to feed the wires. After that, it is just throw up the microinverters and PV panels and it is done.

I think they're talking about utility scale installations.

As for pulling wire, I've been in situations where I was running back and forth; pull a few feet and run back to straighten out the other end :-0 I finally made a spooler, a frame from 2X4s with a piece of 1/2" pipe. Get spools free from an electrician or home store. It may be easier to hire a homeless guy or neighbor's kid. Hang in there ;-)

One other thing, if SL doesn't have a long enough snake, one thing electricians do is suck a "string" with a soft plug on the end through the conduit using a vacuum cleaner/shop vac to pull the wire. I've done this on a few of my electrical projects and it works great.


An old sock, or piece thereof, with a good loop of rebar tie wire or other durable wire clinched around it securely lasts essentially forever. I just leave it in my toolbox.

rack a tier sells a product that goes in the conduit that allows you to pull without skinning the wire. It is tough pulling wire by yourself..I have not used this product but plan to next time I have to pull a lot of wire by myself

here it is http://www.rack-a-tiers.com/product/187/Wire-Vortex-Wire-Pulling-Guide

What inverter did you use....I really like those new ones that you can get 1200 watts even when the grid is down...SMA....

Spec is using micro-inverters, Enphase I think. Going all in for grid-tie.

BTW, spec, I see the new M250 is out, up to 300 watts.

Yeah, I'm going to use the M215 from Enphase. The new M250 is nice but it costs twice as much as the M215 and would only add like 0.2% more power for the panels I'm using. But I like the fact that we are getting higher power panels & inverters. Prime PV roof space is precious if you want to power EVs and there are now set-back requirements that use up valuable area.

Our water is quite hard, I try to only wash (hose from a step ladder) when rain is falling or about to fall, as I figure longterm calcium deposits (or whatever it is that makes our water so crappy) might build up on the glass. So I will often leave the panels soiled, waiting for good cleaning weather to come along.

What's the Point of an Electricity Storage Mandate?

An aptly named picture – the “duck graph” – is captivating the California energy policy world. It depicts electricity demand net of projected renewable generation (“net load”) on a representative day in the not too distant future.

One point of concern is the duck’s long neck, representing a 14,000 MW swing in net load in a roughly one hour period from 5 to 6PM. Currently, the largest swing system operators typically have to deal with is less than half that size. Adding insult to injury, the duck graph swing is projected to happen in shoulder months like March or October, when total system load will be low.

See: http://theenergycollective.com/catherinewolfram/254951/what-s-point-elec...


The duck neck definitely reveals a big draw-back of solar PV . . . the inability to deliver power at the 5 to 7pm peak time. Draw-downs from hydro and delayed concentrating solar power can help during this time from a renewable perspective. But for now, it is probably mostly from costly natural gas peaker plants.

They also began studying incentives for dispatchable geothermal -to cover the peak.
Of course during summer, the PV stays on longer -they were discussing spring/fall when sunset is near 6PM.
I also imagine they are looking at incentives to increase demand management.

You probably got the notice EOS,

our local utility is offering a "Smart AC" electricity rate. Allow our utility (PG&E) the power to control your AC unit, and they will give you an ever so slight break on your electricity rates.

In the big picture, we are moving towards demand side management pretty quickly here in CA. TOU rates for all commercial accounts, smart meters, peak day pricing (enhanced TOU rates, mandatory), businesses that agree to shut down, etc. all steps towards outright utility control of demand.

I signed up for the smart AC a few years back. They gave me a $25bonus for signing up. You are supposed to be able to turn it off if you need to, however I wasn't home when they put it in, and the wife didn't take notes. Not so sure I like it. It has a green LED indicator, and I wouldn't be surprised if it consumes a watt or two 24/7.

A watt is too much power, nowadays micro controllers consume 4-5 mW in sleep mode and you can wake them up with a few hundred mV's on one of their input pins.

Fukushima clean-up turns toxic for Japan's Tepco


Workers have built more than 1,000 tanks to store the mixed water, which accumulates at the rate of an Olympic swimming pool each week.

With more than 85 percent of the 380,000 tonnes of storage capacity filled, Tepco has said it could run out of space.

The tanks are built from parts of disassembled old containers brought from defunct factories and put together with new parts, workers from the plant told Reuters. They say steel bolts in the tanks will corrode in a few years.

Tepco says it does not know how long the tanks will hold. It reckons it would need to more than double the current capacity over the next three years to contain all the water. It has no plan for after that.

... Industry experts are not impressed.

"You can't do temporary fixes in nuclear power," said Goto. "They say everything's fine until bad data comes out."

The writing is on the wall. Although they've been working hard to clean up water and store radioactive water, they just can't keep up. Eventually they are just going to do another big dump of radioactive water into the ocean. Either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Car-bicycle blend known as an ELF vehicle is making 1,200 mile trip along East Coast trail

The ELF, or "Organic Transit Vehicle," can go for 1,800 miles on the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. It does not require the insurance, repair and car maintenance costs of the average vehicle. Besides the cost of the occasional new tire, the ELF runs completely off what it costs to charge its battery.

Stewart bought the ELF from Durham-based Organic Transit, which sells them for a base price of $5,000. He said he wanted to avoid the almost $1,000 delivery charge, so he decided to fly down to pick up the bike in person and learn how to operate it before taking the long trip back home

also http://www.organictransit.com/press-and-reviews

East Germany’s Oil Rush Seen Yielding $27 Billion Windfall

Oil production in eastern Germany may provide the region with a 20.3 billion-euro ($27 billion) windfall during the next 25 years, according to a company with drilling concessions there.

Lower Lusatia, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Berlin, may have as many as 740 million barrels of oil in place in CEP concessions, the company said today at a press conference in Potsdam. The area’s projected 6.8 billion-euro windfall, or proceeds from drilling rigs, operating costs, royalties and taxes, is based on an extraction rate of 15 percent.

Switzerland Cannot Afford Not To Transition To Renewables

A new report published by the Swiss Energy Foundation has made it clear that Switzerland cannot afford not to transition to renewables by looking at the overall cost of not transitioning to renewables and lower consumption.

The study comes in the wake of German Environmental Minister Peter Altmaier’s assumption that transitioning to renewables would cost a trillion euros. Environmental think tank Green Budget Germany looked into the claim, and found that by subtracting costs that investments in renewables and energy efficiency offset — a step Minister Altmaier did not do — there were actually net benefits rather than net expenditures.

A Green Budget study also found that "subsidies for the fossil fuel and nuclear industries have been much larger than those for the renewables industry". Funny how that is generally ignored.

Boomers hit hardest by 'Great Recession'

A new study shows what many middle-aged Californians privately suspect: They are the first to lose their jobs and the health benefits that come with those jobs when hard times hit.

"Whether because mid-career workers are viewed as too expensive or because there is a deeper bias against older workers, the data suggests the axe is first to fall on the baby boom generation," said Shana Alex Lavarreda, lead author of the study and the center's director of health insurance studies.

Nothing new there:

29 U.S.C.
United States Code, 1996 Edition
Title 29 - LABOR
Sec. 621 - Congressional statement of findings and purpose
From the U.S. Government Printing Office,...

§621. Congressional statement of findings and purpose

(a) The Congress hereby finds and declares that—

(1) in the face of rising productivity and affluence, older workers find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment, and especially to regain employment when displaced from jobs;

(2) the setting of arbitrary age limits regardless of potential for job performance has become a common practice, and certain otherwise desirable practices may work to the disadvantage of older persons;

(3) the incidence of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment with resultant deterioration of skill, morale, and employer acceptability is, relative to the younger ages, high among older workers; their numbers are great and growing; and their employment problems grave;

(4) the existence in industries affecting commerce, of arbitrary discrimination in employment because of age, burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce.

(b) It is therefore the purpose of this chapter to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment....

(Pub. L. 90–202, §2, Dec. 15, 1967, 81 Stat. 602.)

The caveat:

Pub. L. 101–433, title I, §101, Oct. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 978, provided that: “The Congress finds that, as a result of the decision of the Supreme Court in Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio v. Betts, 109 S.Ct. 256 (1989), legislative action is necessary to restore the original congressional intent in passing and amending the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 621 et seq.), which was to prohibit discrimination against older workers in all employee benefits except when age-based reductions in employee benefit plans are justified by significant cost considerations.”

OPEC Nations Seek Cash for $1.5 Billion Solar Shift: Arab Credit

Two of the largest oil producers are readying the Middle East’s first big push into renewable energy, planning solar-power plants that will need more than $1.5 billion in financing by the end of 2014.

Uh . . . Big OPEC members need financing for $1.5Billion? Shouldn't that be pocket change for them?

Nope. Banks will stumble over themselves to give opec $ for more oil projects. Anything other then that will require hard cash.

And yet, as I stated in a comment to a news story in my local paper (linked to in a post to the previous drumbeat), there is some $2.1 billion US dollars worth of bids to generate 115 MW of electricity from renewable sources in Jamaica.

The total capacity for all the projects submitted was 874.48 MW close to the peak demand of the island, which unfortunately coincides with late evening rather than solar noon. Of course the fact that the electricity generated by solar PV is to be bought at 26 US cents per kWh, a little more than half the going retail rate helped to encourage bids for 770.5 MW of projects for solar PV here.

I guess the price of electricity in the Middle east doesn't give PV much wiggle room.

Alan from the islands

At $.26 Kwhour I suspect you could include battery storage for at least a few hours. A couple of solar farms in the US have PPAs for under $.10 KWhour.

This month the most accurate source for global data on the size of the world’s economies got a makeover. As a result, we have measures of economic growth and relative income across countries that are better than ever. These numbers suggest something surprising: a world of ubiquitously increasing wealth, where predictions of Malthusian traps and permanent poverty look increasingly archaic.

--nominal GDP numbers unadjusted for 53 years of inflation
--no accounting for the 4 billion people added to world population, which reduces per capita GDP
--no accounting for growing wealth inequality. If one guy's a billionaire, and 999 are flat broke, then we're all millionaires "on average"

Overall... nice right wing disinformation piece!

Just goes to show how useless GDP is.
If I used to grow my own vegies, and start to buy my vegies instead of growing them, GDP goes up. I still eat vegies, and am actually no richer, yet the FOOLS pretend that everyone is sooo much richer now. The insanity is almost annoying.


The latest report from the IEA is certainly worth a read


Governments have decided collectively that the world needs to limit the average global temperature increase to no more than 2°C and international negotiations are engaged to that end. Yet any resulting agreement will not emerge before 2015 and new legal obligations will not begin before 2020. Meanwhile, despite many countries taking new actions, the world is drifting further and further from the track it needs to follow.

The energy sector is the single largest source of climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions and limiting these is an essential focus of action. The World Energy Outlook has published detailed analysis of the energy contribution to climate change for many years. But, amid major international economic preoccupations, there are worrying signs that the issue of climate change has slipped down the policy agenda. This Special Report seeks to bring it right back on top by showing that the dilemma can be tackled at no net economic cost.

Executive Summary of the publication available in:

English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish

Any policy that forces people to radically change their behaviour is doomed to fail. Obviously if after 40 years of warnings, the consumption of fossil fuels continues to rise, we are not going to change. Pretty much what you see is what you get. If you actually look, global emissions are rising at a pretty fast clip, that's not going to change. Climate change will happen, adapt if you can. Capitalism at it's finest sink or swim.

This Special Report seeks to bring it right back on top by showing that the dilemma can be tackled at no net economic cost.

So basically, we need to start lying to you to get you to do something.

I think they mean, net cost of what it's going to cost to do something about it versus the the cost of the hell that is going to break/is breaking loose, if/because we don't do anything, in which case they might actually not be lying all that much..

Alan from the islands

Godspeed gentlemen. May your EROEI always be sufficient.


I just wanted to say thank you to everyone. I have been visiting the site since the big price spike in 07'. It has had a huge impact on my life and that of my family. You are all amazing, and I have so many regrets over not creating a profile and contributing. I will not ever make such a mistake again. I hope nobody minds, but I plan on emailing a few of you so that I can follow you to whatever new venues you decide to call home in the future.
I do not know how many of you have an interest in astronomy. I cannot help but to think of what sometimes happens when a star ends its life in a supernova event. The star dies, but the energy and material it ejects out into space causes perturbations in nearby interstellar clouds of hydrogen. These perturbations cause the clouds to coalesce into what will become bright new stars, stars that will shine their light into the depths of space. I hope against all hope that something similar happens here. I hope very much to see some bright new stars. :)

Scylla, In terms of following people to new venues you might join

Right now
http://peakoil.com/forums/ looks like the best possibility as it is a strong existing forum.

Thank you Leanan for all the information you have organized and presented over the years. It's been of great value to me and I hope you find another venue for continuing your collation of interesting articles.

If you do I would very much appreciate an email directing me to the new website.

Your level headed and fair minded cat herding here has been quite amazing to watch.

All the best!

Farewell Oil Drum, you will be sorely missed.

We still have another month, right?

Good night, sweet prince.

I've learned a ton here -- and many stories from Drumbeat (and its comments) showed up at apocadocs dot com. I personally learned the most during the Deepwater Horizon debacle, in which TOD was for me the key venue for understanding the mechanics, the engineering, the economics, the political theatre of oil exploration and extraction. Within a few weeks, I felt like I understood the backstory, not just the front....

And afterward, TOD remained a key venue for understanding the mechanics, the engineering, etc., of energy policy.

Good luck, godspeed, and the like -- wish the economics could have meant that TOD could sustain itself.

Thanks again --

ApocaDoc Michael, from apocadocs dot com, appreciative lurker, appreciative participant, appreciative reader.

Thank you All Missing TOD already!
Goodbye from the very dry "Wet Coast"

Another month to go mate, hang on.

I looked at the drumbeat I first commented on. Virtually nobody who posted back then still posts here.

It's a shame - and completely unnecessary - that TOD is coming to a halt but hey, that is how the cookie crumbles.
Some connections between seemingly unrelated datapoints were made but many more were not although they could have been, given time.

TOD was neither the beginning nor will it be the end so it's all good.


Methinks quite a few people seem to have missed this:

Live Until August 31st, Oil Drum Successors Discussion, and User Profiles

which concludes:

Finally, a clarification of the near-term progression (recession?) of the website: the original announcement of "The End of The Oil Drum" specified a July 31 date. However, there was some internal confusion about this, and given that many voices here wish to have some final words - plus the desire to further enable grass roots organization to take place over an appropriate time frame, the initial conversion of the website to a static archive will be postponed until the August 31. To this date the website will continue to function as before (including drumbeats). Moreover, a special article series will be published in the coming weeks by present and past contributors with the aim to capture some of the latest and greatest thoughts and insights on various energy topics.

After August 31, the user account policy will be as follows:

Users with accounts will be able to log in.
Users with accounts will be able to edit their profiles.
Users with accounts will be able to view other users' profiles.
Users will not be able to create an account.
Users will not be able to post comments after September 7 (7 days after 8/31).

This policy will be in effect indefinitely.

Thanks to all.

I started wondering, why all the goodbye's? We ain't dead yet folks. We've still got one month left!

Alan from the islands

I calculate 18 Drumbeats to go.

4 x Mondays and Wednesdays, 5 x Fridays and Saturdays.

Final Drumbeat: Saturday 31 August.


*wipes tear from eye*

So far none of the alternatives seem to be able to replicate the Drumbeat comments.

Probably none will, until TOD shuts down and forces the issue.

And yes, the last Drumbeat will be Aug. 31. Comments for it will remain open for 7 days after that, then the thread will automatically close.

According to reports from Weather Underground, Greenland experienced its hottest temperature ever recorded on July 30th, 2013. The new record, 78.6 degrees Fahrenheit, was measured at Maniistoq Mittarfia on the western coast of Greenland near Baffin Bay. The event occurred during a period of rapidly increasing Greenland melt as a high amplitude wave in the Jet Stream surged over Greenland, pulling warm air up from the south.

Meanwhile, the Artic ice cap has been anomalously stable the last few days:


The areal coverage of the cap was catching up to last year's record lows, but then leveled off. I know Seraph had posted links last week about an Artic cyclone that was supposed to degrade the ice cap; could this storm have broken up some ice, but spread it out, keeping area roughly constant?

Strange stuff going on up in the Arctic.

The area calculation used by UIUC has some problems, AIUI. The algorithm which analyzes the passive microwave data thinks that melt ponds are open water, thus when the melt ponds become large enough and start to drain, the ice surface below is exposed again this pushes the area calculation up a bit. Look at the sea-ice extent chart, which doesn't have the same characteristic as the UIUC chart:


E. Swanson

Californians committed to global warming fight, poll says

67 percent of all Californians favor California’s landmark law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

• 66 percent say that law in the future will either produce more jobs or won’t affect employment negatively.

• 81 percent say oil companies should produce cleaner fuels.

• 76 percent say power plants should be forced to cut emissions.

But Californians are not solidly green on every environmental issue, Baldassare said.

For example, only 51 percent oppose allowing more hydraulic mining to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations (only 35% favor it)

I wonder what their responses would be if these things were accompanied by specific sacrifices that would be required of the respondents?

For now fracking seems far away (Texas, North Dakota etc.). There are some experiments trying to see if they can squeeze oil out of the extensive (and thick) Monterrey shale. If they are sucessful, I imagine the issue will come onto the radar. Although, its mainly in already degraded parts of the central valley, far enough from any population centers....

Oil production at record levels.

Russia is the largest oil producer. USA oil production is up a little bit again. Oman oil production is down a little bit. Neither USA or the north sea are at there record levels.

Major increase the last years are from USA and mostly from reservoirs with high decline rates, this is a difference from before. Bakken have earlier been estimated at this site to have a cumulative negative cash flow so far. Prices are still high above $100 per barrel.


"Shell cited disappointing drilling results at its North American shale assets, which it said turned out to contain less oil than it had hoped..."


"Shell also dropped its target to produce four million barrels of oil and gas a day by either 2017 or 2018. The company, which produced about three million barrels of oil equivalent a day in the past quarter, will instead focus on financial targets, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said during an interview....."

That revision is no doubt linked to their shale properties disappointing, so here we have the biggest European Oilco and not some journalist or academic saying that future ambitious production targets are faulty, and wherever the boom comes from, it won't be from US shales. This results release really should be linked to every time some cornucopian blows his top on the wonder of shale energy.

Bakken so far had a negative cash flow. Either Shell are right about the economics or the operators in bakken are better at what they are doing.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard from the Telegraph does reasonable article on oil and energy... plus gives a fond farewell to The Oil Drum.

Commodity supercycle in rude health despite shale

As matters stand, peak cheap oil remains an incontrovertible fact. To Oil Drum, a fond farewell.

Exxon and Chevron Miss Out on U.S. Oil Boom

The U.S. is pumping more oil and natural gas than it has in decades, but the boom hasn't been enough to prop up the sagging output of America's two biggest energy producers, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.

The oil giants are spending unprecedented billions of dollars to find and extract petroleum, hunting in harder rocks, deeper underground and farther offshore.

Even so, Exxon and Chevron are tapping less oil and gas than they did even three years ago. As Exxon reports earnings Thursday and Chevron follows Friday, their quarterly results are expected to show that production growth remains elusive.

Well look at that . . . a MSM article that is not over-hyping shale oil.

Ministry pumps $50m to tackle drought

The Government says it has spent more than $50 million this year trucking water to drought-stricken areas across the island.

Ian Hayles, state minister in the water ministry, told The Gleaner yesterday that more money will be spent to continue water-trucking efforts.

"We are seeking funds now to start up a new set. We are looking at doing a first phase of $10 million to alleviate some of the problems out there," the minister said.

He told The Gleaner that the parishes of St Mary, St Ann, St Elizabeth, as well as sections of Clarendon and St Thomas are experiencing drought conditions.

Hayles said the shortage of potable water "will affect our (the water ministry's) internal budget in terms of what we had allocated for trucking of water this year".

He is encouraging citizens to start storing rainwater.

The National Water Commission (NWC) said since the beginning of the year, Jamaica has received less than 60 per cent of the rainfall it normally received by this time.

Hayles said some of the sources which the country has depended on over the years are no longer reliable because of human action.

"Our people keep on cutting down the watershed areas," he said, adding that people have constructed buildings close to the aquifers, which "pollutes the water to an extent where it's not suitable for consumption".

This is one area that is going to get much worse post peak. The water utility is already the largest single customer of the electricity utility because of all the pumping they have to do to pump water up hills on this hilly island. This situation has rendered them basically insolvent yet, nobody seems to think that, using renewable energy to pump water up to hilltop reservoirs is a sound idea!

To think that the name of this island supposedly stems from a word the natives they found here used to describe it, which translates to "the land of wood and water"!

Alan from the islands

JPS role in CNG deal limited to being customer

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) will have no role other than being the buyer of compressed natural gas (CNG) under an agreement with a consortium of foreign-based firms to supply the Bogue power plant in Montego Bay.

Under the preliminary agreement, the consortium, comprising Canadian-based Fueling Tech Incorporated (FTI) International Group, Virtual Solutions Inc of Dubai, and Red Rock Power Partners out of the United States, is expected to source and supply the natural gas, Candice Bryan, project manager, new generation at JPS, told Wednesday Business.

The tri-national partners will also develop the infrastructure as well as transport the natural gas, Bryan said in a brief interview Tuesday.

"We are just going to be an off-taker," said Bryan. "So the consortium will be responsible for sourcing the gas, to provide the infrastructure, to provide the ships, and JPS will just purchase the gas."

However, JPS has the option of rejecting the gas if the consortium fails to keep within the agreed pricing structure, that is, the gas cannot exceed 10 per cent of the price originally proposed.

The closing of the oildrum is doing enormous damage

The Oil Drum is closing down after eight years, giving up the long struggle to alert us all to "peak oil" and the dangers of an energy crunch. Readers have been drifting away. The theme has gone out of fashion, eclipsed by shale and fracking in the US.

Now also re-printed in Australia by the Sydney Morning Herald

....As matters stand, peak cheap oil remains an incontrovertible fact. To Oil Drum, a fond farewell.


It would have been the duty of the oildrum to show when shale oil will peak

But watch this from Australian electronics business man Dick Smith

10 bucks a litre

I wouldn't say we're giving up. It's just time to move on, and pursue the "long struggle" in different ways.

You could continue as drumbeat dot com

I could. So could you.

I've been doing this for seven years now. Maybe I want a break. Maybe it's someone else's turn. Maybe I've decided we've gone about as far as we can go with this, and it's time to try a new tack.

What new tack?

Much of the friction over the Drumbeat is because people have different ideas of what it's supposed to be. Those who see it as a sort of bar for peak oilers use it to socialize with like-minded folk, and get upset at not being allowed to drift too far off topic. Those who see it as more of college classroom or educational workshop get annoyed at all the social chit-chat.

TOD in its current format is not well-suited to either function. If it's a social hangout for peak oilers, move it to social media. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. That's where all the action is these days, and such platforms solve a lot of the problems TOD has struggled with. They have rigorous spam filters, ways to contact other members privately, and allow you to shape your online experience to suit. Don't like that guy who's nasty and abusive to anyone who dares suggest we might avoid imminent global collapse? Block him. He can still post, you just don't have to see it. Ditto the guy who keeps posting the same e-Cat links, or that person who posts 20 comments a day about various "technology will save us" articles. And if there are people who post things you really like, you can "follow" them not miss a post.

For those who see the Drumbeat as having a more serious educational purpose...the days are probably past when you could let anyone join and post whatever they want. If I were to do a successor to the Drumbeat as a standalone site, I'd probably do it like RealClimate, where every comment is moderated. The idea is to change the dynamic from "I'm entitled to post whatever I want" to "Only some comments are accepted; if I want mine posted it has to be good."

Anyways...the reason TOD is being mothballed is not because we've given up or lost interest. Nor is it because we need money, or are secretly fighting tooth and nail behind the scenes. We all get along fine, funding is not an issue, and we remain interested in energy issues and resource constraints. In fact, I would not be surprised if various staffers are involved in creating new energy sites in the future.

Hey, at least you got me to stop posting large graphic files! >;-)

For what it is worth, after a more than well deserved, break and rest, I'm sure that many of us here hope that we haven't seen or heard the last of you!

Thank you, for all that you have done.



That TV show by Dick Smith and the Australian ABC is fast moving and covers a lot of ground. Slight irony when he rebukes a family for owning four TVs when he made his fortune selling electronic gadgets. As he points out his collection of planes makes him one of the worst offenders when it comes to excessive use of oil. His main message is to think hard and act fast about fossil fuel replacement.