DrumBeat: January 15, 2007

Michael T. Klare: Is Energo-fascism in Your Future?

Unlike Islamo-fascism, Energo-fascism will, in time, affect nearly every person on the planet. Either we will be compelled to participate in or finance foreign wars to secure vital supplies of energy, such as the current conflict in Iraq; or we will be at the mercy of those who control the energy spigot, like the customers of the Russian energy juggernaut Gazprom in Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia; or sooner or later we may find ourselves under constant state surveillance, lest we consume more than our allotted share of fuel or engage in illicit energy transactions. This is not simply some future dystopian nightmare, but a potentially all-encompassing reality whose basic features, largely unnoticed, are developing today.

Book review: Hell and High Water

Joseph Romm's Hell and High Water may be the most depressing book on global warming I've ever read.

He writes of a "Planetary Purgatory" [UPDATE - by the 22nd Century], where sea level rises 20 feet, many coastal cities are subject to such frequent hurricanes they are abandoned, and most of the Greenland ice mass melts. What are today considered heat waves become normal summers, with more and more forest and agricultural land lost to fire and drought.

Here's the really bad news: this is not what Romm is trying to avoid, but what he hopes to settle for.

EU defends leadership in 'world war' on climate change

'A war economy is needed' to reduce global warming emissions, according to the EU's environment chief who said new measures will be tabled 'shortly' to tackle car pollution and expand the carbon trading system.

Oil, The Elites, And The Commons

The preservation of secured sources of abundant energy has long been a priority of the American elites and their European counterparts. The Euro-Atlantic Community or "Axis" -- the First World -- has pursued similar policies for over 100 years, through either soft or hard power. The abundance of energy is the indispensable lubricant to run our economic engines. Until the 1970s, energy was cheap and plentiful, but in spite of a few ups and downs in the market, experts were forecasting the end of abundance. We were imperceptibly entering an era of energy scarcity. No sooner had the Soviet Union joined the dustbins of history did the Euro-Atlantic Axis take a strong stance to secure the energy realm of the future. It began with the first Gulf War and the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, and it led to the scenario that befuddles us now.

The US is not leaving Iraq

I represent the 5% of the world's population that require 25% of the world's oil to survive. I'm one of twenty people at a party, with 4 pies to be shared, and I claim one entire pie for myself.

From the Left and Right: It's time to get Political

Peak Oil, if you have never heard of it before, is a term meaning the point at which the global flow of oil supply, from the Earth's crust to the market, reaches it's maximum amount, and can thereafter only decrease. Because oil is the most fundamental resource to modern economies, the implications of it's supply beginning to decrease are so profound, that - from food supplies to financial markets - almost no aspect of your life would be untouched.

Texas report to maul BP management

BP management will be sharply criticised in a report to be published tomorrow by the former US secretary of state James Baker into the fire at its Texas City refinery two years ago which killed 15 workers and injured hundreds more.

Gazprom Free to Buy Up Russian Gas Producers

Gazprom is finally free to buy any Russian gas producing enterprises after it has succeeded in reversing the state competition watchdog’s regulation. There are now no obstacles for Gazprom to set up monopoly not only on exports but also on the whole gas production in Russia. Experts say that oil companies will remain the only alternative gas suppliers in Russia. Many of them, however, are already selling their gas business to Gazprom.

Kurt Cobb: Deluded

As long as Americans and their leaders believe that there is plenty of oil to be had; that getting access to it is really only a matter of applying military force and market principles; and that national security isn't inextricably bound up with the way we think about and use energy, the country will fall further and further behind in making an energy transition that is being forced upon us by the limits of fossil fuels themselves.

Wind Power on the Rise in South Korea

South Korean government announces new plan to increase renewable energy use from 2% to 9% by 2030.

EU Eyes Climate, Energy, Trade in New China Talks

The European Union will urge China to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions and cooperate on energy security next week when it launches negotiations on a broad new strategic partnership with Beijing.

China, Australia to set up work panel on clean coal

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Australian Prime Minister John Howard agreed here on Monday to set up a Sino-Australian clean coal work group in order to promote effective utilization of coal resources and tackle the global problem of climate changes.

Raymond J. Learsy: Saudi Arabia's Oil? Sovereign Resposibility Trumps Sovereign Rights!

The oil under Saudi Arabia's suzerainty is being made available to the world at large virtually without consideration as to need nor equity. Not only that, but Saudi Arabia breached their fiduciary trust and has delivered this vast and important resource into the grip of the larcenous OPEC cartel in order to extort the maximum possible lucre irrespective of the enormous economic distortion it creates, wresting the means to build Palaces and Yachts from the backs of the miserably poor in the Asian subcontinent, Africa, and throughout the world. Riches attained by adding no real value other than the serendipity of finding themselves with 'Sovereign Rights' over one of the world's key economic engines.

Surging toward the holy oil grail

Washington's successive divide-and-rule tactics - facilitating a possible genocide of Sunnis, contemplating a mass slaughter of Shi'ites, betting on a regional Sunni/Shi'ite war - never for a second lose sight of the riches of Iraqi. For Big Business, an Iraq eaten alive by Balkanization is the ideal environment for the triumph of Anglo-American petrocracy.

Cairn Energy resolves pipeline differences with Indian oil firm - Dispute had delayed production

U.S. denies British rumors on Bush climate change

A U.S. official on Sunday denied a British newspaper report that President George W. Bush was preparing to announce a dramatic policy shift on global warming in his State of the Union speech this month.

Americans have personal bonds with cars

When people talk about their strong feelings for their cars and trucks, they mention dependability, time spent maintaining them and the freedom that comes from cruising on the open road.

Connecting the Global Warming Dots

If thought of as a painting, the scientific picture of a growing and potentially calamitous human influence on the climate has moved from being abstract a century ago to impressionistic 30 years ago to pointillist today.

Gore: Japanese business can lead climate campaign

"The Japanese business community, because of the respect with which you are regarded, can have a powerful influence on the shaping of opinions within the U.S. business community," Gore told executives at the Keidanren (Japanese Business Federation).

Nigerian president calls for international action on climate change

"We have to do something about [Lake Chad] so that about 10 million people will not be out of water," Obasanjo warned.

Far flung tribes

Partly by accident I have been without a car for well over a year.

In the summer of 2005, about the same time Katrina was shutting down gulf production, I was stagnating in an office designing circuit protection equipment for the utility industry – a job that obviously wasn’t preparing me for things to come. As I described earlier, it was a bumpy road for me arriving at a functioning level of Peak Oil awareness.

Saudi Aramco: Khursaniyah oil project on track

State oil firm Saudi Aramco said the deadline for its Khursaniyah project to add 500,000 barrels per day of crude had not been pushed back and was originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2007. An Aramco spokesman said a June, 2007 deadline was for water-injection facilities and not for the whole project.

High-powered entrepreneur: Crisis of 2000 led Blue Point Energy founder to design generators that recycle their own heat

During the 2000 California energy crisis, most people just saw high electricity bills.

Guy Archbold saw daylight.

"To me, it was a glimpse of what the future would hold," he said.

East Asian Leaders To Vow To Promote Biofuels Amid Energy Crisis

Arctic Sea Ice decline in the 21st Century

Last month a paper I co-authored received considerable media attention. Headlines read "Experts warn North Pole will be 'ice free' by 2040", "The Big Melt: Loss of Sea Ice Snowballs", and "Arctic Clear for Summer Sailing by 2040: Models Predict Rapid Decline of Sea Ice''. The story also reached NPR, BBC, CBC, the Discovery channel, and Fox News, among others. Dr. Marika Holland, the first author of the paper, was inundated with media attention. About a dozen journalists contacted me too. I was impressed by the questions they posed -- questions that probably reflect what the public most wants to know. However, after giving lengthy interviews, I would read the resulting article and see my explanations boiled down to a few lines. In this essay, I'd like to explain the science in the paper and give my answers to the most often asked questions.

Scary article and very likely a true glimpse of the future....

Is Energo-fascism in Your Future?
The Global Energy Race and Its Consequences (Part 1)

By Michael T. Klare via TomDispatch.com


Unlike Islamo-fascism, Energo-fascism will, in time, affect nearly every person on the planet. Either we will be compelled to participate in or finance foreign wars to secure vital supplies of energy, such as the current conflict in Iraq; or we will be at the mercy of those who control the energy spigot, like the customers of the Russian energy juggernaut Gazprom in Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia; or sooner or later we may find ourselves under constant state surveillance, lest we consume more than our allotted share of fuel or engage in illicit energy transactions. This is not simply some future dystopian nightmare, but a potentially all-encompassing reality whose basic features, largely unnoticed, are developing today.

Yes, this article should be read carefully by all, who think that the US military quest for energy started with Bush and the neocons and will end with them.

It contains some dubious facts (like that Uranium will peak as soon as NG) but unfortunately I have to agree the basic premise that we are entering an era of increasingly totalitarian states, competing for the scarce energy resources. And judging from history this has nothing else to end with but a world-scale disaster...

LevinK...you are right that all this did not start with Bush II...and probably not the Carter Doctrine either...and both Republicans and Democrats have supported this agenda over the years...what is different about Bush II is how far, fast, and brazen he is willing to protect this agenda...this to me shows either the delusions of a madman or that there is serious reason to believe it is necessary at this time.

Neither reason to justify Bush II's behavior are appealing to me.

And furthermore, the link they give about Pentagon future scenerios, which is:


Should be read in totality - pure brain candy, and much of it is possible. Palm-sized "smart networking spying rocks"? Sure, no problem, easy to implement. Teeny spy mosquito-planes? I've always been skeptical but they're making good progress, hell the things are easier to make work than real planes, because of scaling laws. Robots? I "schpit" on robots, progress is uber-slow because it's hard to get stuff to run reliably in the physical sphere, but progress is being made. Best way to keep up with that stuff is to go to RoboNexus each year, for a nice view of the mechano-cornucopian view of the world and how modern middle class kids are being brought up to believe they have a right to energy-guzzling mechanical slaves.

Pray for Peak OIl.

Nice energy-facists link BTW.

Governments and businesses must act now against climate change, and the United States needs a bigger public debate about its risks, the chairman of the Lloyd's insurance market said.

Outcome - like how Fission civilian power needs the protection of government laws because no insurace firm would touch 'em (price-anderson), or how the RIAA (formed to MAINTAINING CONSISTENCY BETWEEN PITCH AND DEPTH OF AN LP AUDIO RECORDINGS. per http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070112/090306.shtml#comments) needs laws to protect its business model, there will be drafted a new set of laws where the government will give cover to the corps which become 'uninsurable' due to their conduct.

Re: Americans have personal bonds with cars

I've never understood this sentiment. I think it is a form of brainwashing. I don't feel free when I am trapped in a vehicle. I have to stop when the light says stop, go when it says go. I have to be on my guard constantly for danger. I'm at significant risk of serious injury or death. I wait in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Hiking in the woods or taking a walk along the beach- now that's what gives me a sense of freedom.

The freedom of a car is the ability to go just about anywhere, at any time, for any reason. If I wanted to, I could get in my car right now and be hundreds of miles away in very little time. That is a freedom, one new to the history of the world, and only available to a small fraction of the current world population.

While I hate many things about cars, they do give a power to the average person that even the greatest kings and wealthy men of 200 years ago couldn't even dream about. I think that is something pretty darn special.

Agreed. I've lived more of my life without owning a car than with, and there are times when I can still hardly believe the power and the freedom. No begging my parents to drive me someplace, or hitching a ride when they decide to go to town. No borrowing a car from a roommate or boyfriend. No arranging my schedule around the train or the bus. It makes spontaneous travel possible.

Don't forget that while this may be true in the US, in other places, that actually have public transport, it's a whole different story. Many Europeans travel faster by train than by car. It's not a general truth, that freedom, it's site specific.

Also, what the car gives you in freedom, it takes away from others. Like the freedom to breathe freah air, or to walk through a town or cross a road without having to avoid being killed, on a constant basis.

Cars have robbed children in many urban settings from just about any freedom they ever had. Can't move, can't breathe. Asthma and video games.

Don't forget that while this may be true in the US, in other places, that actually have public transport, it's a whole different story.

Not really. Cities like Boston and New York have excellent public transportation, and finding a place to park is often difficult and expensive. Yet...people still have cars, if they can afford them. It's not easy to do things like grocery shopping or taking the cat to the vet via the T. And if it's raining, you can forget about getting a cab.

Also, what the car gives you in freedom, it takes away from others.

Oh, I know that. My point is that there's good reason for people to love cars. They aren't going to give them up without a fight. And people who don't have cars have good reason to want to acquire them.

As a midwesterner, whenever I spend time in Boston or NYC, it always seems so much more beautiful, interesting and cosmopolitan than the drab car-oreinted midwest. I often think I'd be much happier in a more urban environment- came very close to moving to Portland OR. Just can't talk my wife into it. But you're probably right- after a few months the novelty would wear off and I'd miss my car even though I only put about 1000 miles a year on it.

I own a car in an eminently walkable neighborhood. I considered doing without one (feasible but not always convenient) before buying my 1982 Mercedes 240D. Evacuation was the deciding factor in favor of car ownership. I help neighbors without cars out once or twice a month.

The Key is NOT ownership but miles driven

I drive 150 to 180 miles/month and could reduce that to 30 to 75 miles/month. At 31 mpg city, this is sustainable deep into post-Peak Oil. I could drive a Hummer and still be more sustainable than many Prius drivers.

Best Hopes for less driving,


The single most important determinant of car use is car ownership.

Seven hundred Americans will die in road crashes this week. Over 52,000 will be injured. Many of these will never walk again.

Children in NA spend 95% of their time enclosed. The car is their mobile jail cell.

Quite the social experiment.

It's not easy to do things like grocery shopping or taking the cat to the vet via the T. And if it's raining, you can forget about getting a cab.

In Europe and Asia they have a fairly good answer to that too. It's called "mixed-mode" transportation. For routine trips, that don't require taking luggage (e.g. commuting) people generally take mass transit or simply walking. For all the rest - most people still have cars. They just don't drive then like here to everywhere.

As an european, the lack of any alternative to cars in US is simply killing me... consider for example how much it costs to recover if/when your car breaks down (and you can not afford 2 cars). Towing, rent-a-car, repairs... it can get you in the thousands. In my home city you would still have to repair your car eventually, but nothing will be pressing you and in the meantime you can be perfectly ok with a 5 euro weekly mass transit card (in Western Europe it is more pricy but no more than 20-30 euro AFAIK). An additional effect of this mode is that since the car is not that essential, servicing it is not such a financial burden - as happens to be with maintainance and repairs in the US.

Monthly transit pass prices I know of are San Francisco area: about $125 a month, I think allows bus, and light rail, maybe BART which is passenger train.

Honolulu: $45 a month, ride DaBus all you want.

Consider a place like Venice. They have road and rail connections to the main island, and water transport between the islands, but as far the day to day necessities, you carry the stuff and/or use a small wheeled carrier.

We had dinner one night at a fabulous restaurant, Al Covo (specializing in fresh, local food), which took me a couple of days to track down. The restaurant is owned by a Italian/American couple (he's from Italy; she's from the US). She heard me talking and came over and asked where I was from (Surprise: West Texas). She gave me a big hug and said she was from Lubbock Texas. (It turned out that I probably knew her brother, we probably played high school tennis at the same time.)

In any case, she said that she raised three kids in Venice. When we asked her how she did it, she showed us her biceps--lots of muscles, hauling kids and "stuff" around Venice for 20 years.

After she left to take care of other customers, I told a UK couple we were having dinner with that you cannot imagine two more radically different places than Lubbock, Texas and Venice, Italy.

In about three weeks in Italy, the only cars we were in were taxis on a handful of occasions. Otherwise, it was foot, bus or train. (That is the premise of the Untours program. They set it up so that you live as Europeans live.) But you can see how the Europeans only use about half as much energy per capita as Americans. We also ate like pigs and lost weight. It's amazing what walking miles per day does to your waistline (and what not walking miles per day does to your waistline).

Use your car to make a living for a while. Anything from truck driver to drug mule will depress your need for driving.

I actually drive very little. But it's awfully nice to have the option.

I did give serious consideration to going car-free, but came to the conclusion that it is simply not safe around here. Due to traffic, weather, and, er, socioeconomic factors.

Just that word choice - "car-free" - is significant. Didn't you hear? Having that car is freedom.

Type "carfree" into Google and find the carfree movement, they seem to have evolved on their own with no help from M. King Hubbert, which makes them to me even more admirable - oil regardless, they find the car-centeric culture unhealthy.

The difference between having a car and not for me is, with a car I can do things following a serial topology, while with a bike or scooter I'm stuck with a star topology. This is not to say I might not get rid of the Prius and its insurance and payments, and piece together a solution based on bicycle and scooter, a rented car or truck at times, and building a small "rickshaw" type thing to use walking to the post office with a load of shipping.

It's very hard to say..... the ease of hopping into the car and taking a trip here or there where I find and buy X for resale, pays for the car and then some. And while the Prius is trendy, it's also essentially a small station wagon, can carry mucho stuff and I plan some camping out in it this summer.

Mainly I am planning to get out of needing to own STUFF to make a living. I want to be a bum when I grow up.

Yea, I know you're right. Maybe I'm just still bitter about having grown up a cul-de-sac prisoner. Typical, ugly suburban neighborhood, with absolutely nothing for a kid without access to a car to do.
Absolutely nothing within walking distance- no store, no library, not even a park. My friends and I were so bored we resorted to petty vandalism as entertainment.

A car can whisk someone to a remote place unserved by other transport options, but the vast majority of car trips taken could easily be achieved by other means.

In my neighborhood in Chicago, most folks drive their cars 1 block to go shopping at the local supermarket. Once people have paid the enormous fixed costs of car ownership the incremental costs of using the car to do all these short trips are slight and thus folks use their cars in ways terribly inappropriate.

It is natural and healthy for us to use our own power to move ourselves about. People who never walk farther than the length of a parking lot and who will circle for minutes to find a parking spot closer to the door to avoid a 30 second walk from across the lot have not been empowered. They are enslaved.

dream on!

Pretty darn special, and pretty much ephemeral

I understand because that is how I used to feel growing up as a cul-de-sac kid in a rural/suburban area. The car was freedom, and so people revered their car. When we turned 16 the guy or girl with the car was the most popular, cause they determined who would not be trapped at home. I used to wax mine up every weekend practically. Now that I live somewhere where my favorite shops and restaurants and movie theatres and most importantly friends are all within walking distance, my car is just an appliance. Often an expense and a pain in the ass appliance. But, I still do like it for driving out to the mountains. Driving is still a lot of fun, cranking the tunes and speeding like a maniac, I love that. But its getting harder to "get out on the open road" these days since there are so many people out there with their own cars.

I grew up in a town where I was walking freely to school and basically from one end to the other without any problems. And now I understand how lucky I have been with that... The way kids are being locked home here and their eventual car dreams remind me of the joke for the guy who was hitting himself with a hummer. When asked "Why do you do that?", he responds: "Do you know what a joy it is when I stop?" :)

CNN interviewed John Walsh (a famous missing child advocate), in relation to the story about those two boys who were kidnapped and covered - one four days later, one four years later.

Walsh, who lost his own child to a pedophile, said that the way those boys were kidnapped is the latest trend among pedophiles. They go to rural areas. Because kids in rural areas tend to have long walks home from the bus stop, and there are a lot fewer cops there. He warned that parents should not let their children walk home from the bus stop if they could help it.

This is almost impossible to happen if the streets were full of people, walking around even in the very late hours.

But unfortunately the victums of pedophilia in Bulgaria seem to be increasing in recent years... and there was a time, we hardly knew what this is. The causes I find mostly in poorer police coverage and that a lot of known mentally ill people are simply released... no money for treatment.

A similar line of reasoning is used by parents that drive their children to school: "It's much too dangerous with all those cars on the road!"

Sadly, that's true. I walked to school by myself as a kid, and looking back, I was too young. At six years old, I really wasn't mature enough to deal with the heavy traffic in the area.

In third grade, one of my classmates was killed by a car, as she crossed the street in front of her own house, heading for the school bus stop.

My memories are of growing up in the 40s and 50s in a mid size city neighborhood. I lived on my bike--spent whole days on it, navigated to other parts of the city, to rural parks, to the zoo, the museum, library, tennis court--you get the idea. No one worried about kid-snatchers. No one questoned my independence. It was total freedom. Too bad kids today can't have that.

It is too bad. And it's the result of hysteria promoted by a sensationalistic media. There is no increasing trend of "stranger danger."

The analysis examined trends in the incidence of family abduction victims, runaways, and children classified as lost, injured, or otherwise missing from 1988 to 1999 with positive results. The analysis offered evidence of significant declines in incidence rates for children who experienced broad scope family abduction episodes and lost, injured, or otherwise missing episodes, as well as some evidence of declines in incidence rates for children who experienced broad scope runaway episodes and policy focal lost, injured, or otherwise missing episodes. The most important finding was the absence of increases in any of these problems.

-- National Estimates of Missing Children: Selected Trends, 1988-1999. US Department of Justice, Dec. 2004

I don't think it's so much "promoted by a sensationalist media" as the result of smaller family size. We have fewer children now, but we expect each one to live to adulthood. Hence child safety seats, bicycle helmets, etc., that generations of kids grew up without.

Children's birthday parties today rival the weddings of previous generations. I came across this article today, about parents who are trying to scale back.

The impulse to make a big deal of parties doesn't come out of the blue, says Karen Sternheimer, a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Southern California-Los Angeles.

Today's parents are more "emotionally invested" in their children, largely because of smaller families. Sternheimer says birthday parties in America didn't become popular until the early 20th century, when medical advances made it more likely for children to survive illnesses in infancy and childhood.

We don't have to worry so much about the big things, so we worry more about the little ones. Or unlikely ones.

90% and more of child abuse (fill it all in, all types, including murder) is, and always has been, implemented by family members or very closely associated persons.

‘Stranger danger’ has always been minor in comparison, and since say 1920 has sunk in the West, due to education/social services/medical networks; more stringent laws / policing / more efficient catching and jailing of offenders; parenting practices, that have become more invasive or controlling, or caring, that is in the eye of the beholder; less freedom for children. Social or cultural evolution, promoted the perception of children as beings that needed better nurturing and protection, who should be shielded from ‘evil’ adults. Economic development, smaller families, safer housing, individual transport, etc. all played a role.

Your comments make me think of Bill Bryson's latest book, about growing up in Des Moines in the 50's and 60's. It's a rather nostalgiac look back, of course. "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid", something like that. Not great, not bad.

some people are reported to have personal bonds with their Nike sneakers, and will kill for them.

I believe that people can be branded to anything -- you just need to push the right buttons.

A question for the oil men on this list.

What does this term mean? "Average Productivity Index (BOPD/PSI)"

The northern tip of Ghawar (Ain Dar) has an average productivity index of 141 while the southern tip (Haradh) has an average productivity index of 31. What is the significance of this vast difference in these two figures?


Ron Patterson

i know is shouldnt answer you because you have been such a butthead in the past, now that that is out of the way : the "psi" in the PI refers to pressure drawdown ( "average" reservoir pressure minus wellbore flowing pressure) PI is just a general representation of the productivity of the well, an indication of the permeability of the rock, fluid viscosity, thickness of the pay zone and completion efficiency. so PI is the production rate divided by the pressure drawdown. a concept originally proposed by d'arcy for analysing water wells. (and the unit for permeability is the darcy after d'arcy)

From Schlumberger: " A mathematical means of expressing the ability of a reservoir to deliver fluids to the wellbore. The PI is usually stated as the volume delivered per psi of drawdown at the sandface (bbl/psi)."

This really an engineering topic, but it is primarily related to permeability. The problem is that if you draw the pressure down too much around the wellbore--trying to achieve a high flow rate--the pressure in the vicinity of the wellbore may fall below the bubble point, allowing gas to come out of solution and start bypassing the oil. You also run the risk of pulling water into the column from the water leg, and gas into the oil column, from the gas cap, especially where the high permeability Super K zones are present in Ghawar.

The bottom line is that the ability of the reservoir in the Ghawar complex to deliver oil to the wellbore goes down as one goes from north to south.

On a macro basis, this is just another example of a physical world having physical limits.

Thanks a million WT, I suspected it meant something like that but was not sure. Haradh, as expected, will be a relatively smaller producer and is likely to water out much quicker than the much more prolific northern section of Ghawar. It seems there was a very good reason for Saudi to wait so long before developing it. That is other than it beeing much deeper into the empty quarter.

Ron Patterson

wt,you bring forth some interesting points, however you must recognize that the higher the permeability, the lower the drawdown at a given rate. so i dont see gas coming out of solution in the vicinity of the wellbore as a big problem at ghawar. the "super K" zones are not the problem per say , permeability anisotropy is the problem (take as a limiting example infinite permeability....... what you would have is a tank - a really high rate would be required to cone water in a tank, the drawdown then being a function of the fluid viscosity.

Breaking news - there is a refinery fire in Richmond CA at a Chevron refinery. No idea yet how serious it is....

It's probably safe to assume that OPEC will indeed hold an "emergency" meeting, though maybe not this week. But while the official reason is falling prices and more cuts, we should wonder what they will really talk about. Rumors of countries violating quota's are persistent by now, after all.

Could we see the beginning of truly serious rifts starting to break apart the organization?

Is Iran accusing KSA of aiding the US in trying to bring it down financially? Would Chavez and Ahmadinejad have been talking about it when they met over the wekend?

Oil prices trade around US$53 a barrel amid speculation about OPEC emergency meeting

"There has as yet been no official decision on holding an extraordinary OPEC meeting in the coming days," said Javad Yarjani, the head of OPEC affairs at the Iranian Oil Ministry.
The energy market has had a hard time maintaining rebounds lately, despite several factors that have given prices a boost in the past: High tensions in the Middle East, growing global energy demand, escalating violence in Nigeria and the possibility of another OPEC cut.

If OPEC announced another production cut - on top of the 1.2 million barrel-a-day reduction that began in November, and the 500,000 barrel-a-day cut set to begin Feb. 1 - analysts say oil prices would likely rise. Still, OPEC's previous cuts haven't been able to keep crude prices above US$60 a barrel for long, largely because many traders doubt that the cuts are fully enforced

Is this new? Picked up a link over at Green Car Congress:


Specifically, this year's report, in a 474K PDF:


I thought it was very interesting ... no spoilers.

Posted to the Jan. 11 DrumBeat.

It doesn't seem like anybody picked up on it. Maybe that Swiss Re(?) article wasn't block structured enough to attract the eye ;-).

The GCC intro is a little more attractive to the skimmer:


For what it's worth, I was interested in the phrase "globalization retrenchment" from the report and went looking. It is, from a skim of google hits, about (1) retrenchment of the welfare state in face of globalization, and/or (2) retrenchment from the process of trade liberalization itself. More on the latter here:


Via Energy Bulletin:

Joseph Romm's Hell and High Water may be the most depressing book on global warming I've ever read.

Hell and High WaterRomm fears worse "purgatory" scenarios than this, but even more, he fears "hell and high water," where we end up with sea level rises of 40 to 80 feet. This, along with mega-hurricanes, would require us to triage coastal cities, abandoning most of them. Inland agricultural areas would end up in a permanent state of drought; fire would be ubiquitous.

The culture of the car, so people who are 'looking forward' is dead. Looks like "the coast" is "toast"....if one looks forward.

A GEM would satisfy my needs (if not my wants), I can't have that either?


And many people can find housing far away from the coasts, with just loading docks on the (new) coasts. Or trucks/farm eq. powered by diesel.

I just saw a GEM e4, a taxicab, as I was walking home for lunch. It looks better in life than on the screen. This e4 was carrying four adults and had no trouble keeping up with Fed Hill traffic.

Last weekend, I saw my first Yaris, a two-door/hatchback, in Altoona. I thought it was noticeably smaller than the Echo. The owner said she wished she could get the four-door model she had seen in Italy.

It looks a bit like a Deux Chevoux. They were rather inefficient at ~18 HP and 50mpg. Very cute though.

I think the coast is toast. The news on global warming just gets worse and worse. Next month's Discover has an article warning that sea levels could rise 200 feet if the Antarctic ice melts (or just flows into the sea).

The top recurring theme in reports about climate change is the word "acceleration". Perhaps this is because scientists feel forced to be extra cautious, so as not to cry wolf, perhaps the computer models that all reports are based on are ineffective, or perhaps, linked to that, the issues are too complex for both scientists and computers to handle.

But you're right, it's always worse than previously announced. Maybe we can establish a rule of thumb for this. something along the lines of: If a report indicates a 25 feet sea-level rise in 100 years, that means a 50 feet rise in 50 years.

Double the effect, halve the time. Works remarkably well. Unfortunately.

A couple of weeks ago i did the calculation.

A rough approximation gave me 90 meters rise, given a constant sea area (which of course is a crude idealization). If your are into volume, it's all about Antarctica.

You got me thinking - a crude refinement of your estimate: if you assume an average shoreline grade of 30 degrees, then for each meter of rise you will get 2 meters of flood. So for a given volume of melt added to the oceans, will the depth rise by one-third, or 30m? Is there an expert here who can nail down this calculation for armchair nerd wannabees like me?

The avg shoreline is not that steep. One rule of thumb i kinda remember was that 1cm rise = 25m loss of shoreline; mainly 'cuz there is an erosion factor. To get the rise, u could say roughly 1C = 0.3m; but that does not work well. The amount of melt passes thresholds so u will get a lot as the arctic gives up it ice; then a pause at temp rises; then a gush when antarctic peninsula starts; and another for west antarctic. The east antarctic can never go 'cuz it's -35 down there. If it goes, we probably all fried by then. Methinx a 10C rise in avg global temp is req'd to melt the western antarctic (from memory).

We may not see it in any event. Believe it or not, there are certain feedbacks in play where too much GW actually brings on another ice age.

Here's some more info:
The players Size (approx) Speed (approx)
Sea Ice 0.4 cm years
Mountain Glaciers 10's cm decades
Thermal Expansion 20 cm per degree warming, per km of ocean warmed
West Antarctica 500 cm a few centuries
Greenland 500 cm several centuries
East Antarctica 7000 cm several centuries to millenia

As mentioned last week, the IPCC AR4 will be released in less than 30 days. Hopefully it will stop this silly talk by the doomsters. The 2001 report estimated 26cm rise in sea level by 2100. Altho AR4 is under embargo, the science underlaying it is not. The abstracts indicate that AR4 will show a 40cm rise in the 21st Century, 60cm in the 22nd Century & 70cm in the 23rd. That's about six feet over 300 years.

Condolences to the nihilists...

I just posted the following comment to the review on Gristmill:

Charcoal Fertilizer

I'm halfway through the book, and I've come to the conclusion that it's the very best general-interest GW book I've read so far. The tone is strong and uncompromising, but the book itself isn't depressing. What is depressing is watching the American administration stick its collective head in the sand (or somewhere more scatological, if you prefer).

My major concern is in the imminent convergence of Climate Change, Peak Oil and Food Scarcity. Researching those three aspects of the Global Problematique, keeping an eye out for ways they intersect and amplify each other, as well as how solutions to one may be incompatible with (or even prevent) solutions to the others - now that's depressing.

I'm even thinking of putting together a two-book package on this convergence to give to people who Need To Know. It would consist of Hell and High Water and Richard Heinberg's "The Party's Over" - one of the better general books on Peak Oil.

Anyhow, on to charcoal fertilizer. I recently had my eyes opened to the general subject of Terra Preta do Indio in the Amazon. This led me to the discovery of the commercialization of the idea by a company called Eprida, and also to the academic work of Johannes Lehmann.

This research points the way to a very low-level technology that has mind-boggling promise: it sequesters carbon, it enhances soil fertility, and it can produce biofuels - both directly by growing fuel crops and indirectly during the charcoal-making process. As a result it addresses in one mechanism the three main converging crises: liquid fuels, CO2 emissions and imminent food scarcity.

It's also one of the few mitigation proposals that might actually scale up enough to do some good. In fact the scalability seems to be extremely good, as reported in this article:

Claims for biochar's capacity to capture carbon sound almost audacious. Johannes Lehmann, soil scientist and author of Amazonian Dark Earths: Origin, Properties, Management, believes that a strategy combining biochar with biofuels could ultimately offset 9.5 billion tons of carbon per year-an amount equal to the total current fossil fuel emissions!

As a result, I'm convinced that this technology deserves mention, an possibly even pride of place, in analyses such as Dr. Romm's. I have yet to see it mentioned in any general-interest overview of the topic, and I believe this is an egregious oversight. It's certainly as doable as a million wind turbines, less technologically problematic than CO2 sequestration in old gas fields, and much more politically acceptable than 700 nukes.

I would appreciate any other links to this process or critiques of it. Looks good.

Start by Googling "Terra Preta". One very nice article is this one from Nature.

I posted lots of links on TOD months ago so you might want to do a search here first. It was part of a long discussion on Terra Preta.

Big Gav has an excellent compilation of links and articles in his post Black Earth.

My thanks to all.

My critique is that Eprida may be selling nothing more than a slow release fertilizer that has nothing to do with charcoal except as a carrier.

They don't show any data from replicated plots comparing, for example, IBDU, sulphur coated urea or any number of other slow release products. Nor, I might add, do they show whether it is temperature and moisture dependent.

Finally, they present no data on its impact the rhizosphere.

While I AM a believer in high carbon soils, I'm not a believer in Eprida at this point. As far as I'm concerned, it's still PR.

GG, i was wondering why some people around here want to grill in the front yard .......better to fertilized the front than the back , maximize curb appeal.

I remain convinced that a North American Terra Preta regime can be implemented as part of an overall biofuel production strategy. Fuels such as pyrolysis oils http://www.dynamotive.com and alcohols produced thermo-chemically are the main protagonists, however, I recently came across another biofuel variant that may also support such an initiative.

USSEC http://www.ussec.us is a biofuel company out of Louisiana. They currently claim to be able to make 5 gallons of biofuel from only 1 bushel of soybeans with a perfect 7-3-7 organic carbon-ash fertilizer as the by-product.

Now aside from the fact that the feedstock/conversion ratio is about 4 times greater than soy biodiesel, USSEC also claims that their fuel (produced for under $1/gallon) has an optimal BTU heating value, can be used in cold weather and burned in both diesel and gasoline engines at 100% and 50% blend respectively.

The corporate video is available here: http://www.ussec.us/research-20.html

Make of it what you will.

Richmond refinery fire prompts 'shelter in place' advisory

The California Highway Patrol received report that a fire had broken out at Chevron's Richmond Refinery at 841 Chevron Way around 5:25 a.m.

At 5:40 a.m. Richmond fire officials advised citizens to "shelter in place," according to a CHP dispatcher.

The dispatcher said residents reported that they could see evidence of the fire fifty feet into the air.

According to the dispatcher, there was a report of major fire and or explosions at 5:45 a.m.

CNN reports the fire is under control. One worker was injured.

I have a problem and maybe some of the folks on TOD could help me figure it out. For a number of years I’ve been complaining in on-line forums (mostly yahoo energyresources) about the huge discrepancy between the claimed ERoEI figures for solar PV and the actual cost of installing a residential system that would satisfy reasonably conservative requirements. In fact, on energyresources about a year ago, sometimes TOD poster Murray Duffin and engineer Ugo Bardi (both of whom I respect for their knowledge and number-crunching abilities) had an exchange wondering about the same thing but didn’t really conclude much except that the difference must lie in the fact that economies of scale and other, mostly economic, factors had not yet caught up with the physics of this way of producing energy.

For years I have read widely-cited studies such as Alsema and others which give a rosy picture of the PV net-energy picture, and yet, when I ask my local PV purveyor, or go online to a site such as Mr. Solar Grid-Tied Systems I get a completely different picture of the costs of PV energy.

I have been wrestling with this problem for a number of years and this is an attempt to come to grips with it in nice hard numerical terms that our friendly engineer and physicist list members can understand. I have run some numbers here and come up with some disconcerting results. So disconcerting that I’m asking for help in figuring out if either my basic assumptions are wrong or if I have goofed embarrassingly on the basic math (sort of a TOD ‘peer review’).

Going back to the online solar energy system (grid tied systems) site of Mr. Solar Grid-Tied Systems I can see get a good idea of the cost of what I would need for a given energy requirement (these costs and system parameters jive with what my local PV purveyor says).

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
The insolation map from the Mr. Solar site, reproduced here, is similar to and probably derived from those available from National Renewable Energy Laboratory .
Going straight to the center of the grid there is the convenient figure of 541 kWH/mo. I’ll use this as a reference for this calculation for several reasons.
1. My own requirements could be scaled pretty easily to fit this amount of energy usage.
2. This is, I believe, roughly half of the typical electrical energy usage for an American household and is, and a worthy goal, at least in the short term, to shoot for.
3. It’s right in the middle.

So, moving right along, we can select the system we need for the 541/kWH/mo output and find that it requires (among other things) 30 180 watt solar modules (rated 13% efficiency).

CE30180SB Clean Energy Grid Tied System
Price: $33,638.00
5,400 watt grid connected system
180 Watt Solar Module, 35.86 Vmp, 5.02 Imp, 62.01" x 32.52" x 1.81".
Spec. Sheet (PDF)

From this, I do the following calculations (I can hear my 8th grade math teacher whining “Be sure to show all your work!):

Module area = 2016.5652 in2 = ~1.3 m2
Modules needed = 30
Total Module area = 30modules x 1.3m2 /module = 39 m2
Yearly kWH output = 541kWH/mo x 12mo = 6492 kWH
Yearly kWH output per m2 = (6492kWH/m2 /yr)/39m2 = ~167 kWH/m2 /yr

From the Alsema paper referred to previously:
“As a matter of fact, in the present mc-Si high case the energy pay-back time is around eight years, even in the middle-good insolation conditions of 1700 kWh/m2/yr.”

In other words (or numbers)....
kWH/m2 /yr = 1700

Now, my figures come out to almost exactly an order of magnitude less than those used in the Alsema study. Have I slipped a decimal somewhere? I’ve run these calculations several times. Even the ideal case, in the same column, for insolation I come up with a figure of 212 kWh/m2 /yr, still 8 times less than the ‘middle-good’ case presented by Alsema.

My question is, have I goofed somewhere or have they goofed somewhere? Or, more likely, are unrealistic expectations being made of real world performance?

An order-of-magnitude difference is definitely a show-stopping difference in whether a given energy technology will work or not.

If my calculations and assumptions are correct, then I am even more convinced in the accuracy of Ted Trainer’s assertion that, even if the PV core part of the modules are free of charge, in energy or dollars, the balance-of-systems costs still make PV energy a loser in terms of the density of energy production needed to run an industrial society.

Also, if my calculations and assumptions are correct—i.e. that there are fundamental flaws in basic assumptions made about real-world performance of PV technology, the issue of PV energy viability is not likely to be one of waiting for ‘economies of scale’ to kick in to make it viable on a large scale. If it is a loser based on fundamental assumptions, tweaking the efficiencies involved in slicing silicon ingots or ramping up huge PV factories is not going to make a bit of difference.

I'm going to have to go with a typo. Most likely they meant 170.0 kWh/m2/yr, not 1700. Could you even get 1700 kWh/m2/yr at 100% efficiency?

If it was a typo, it was recreated throughout the document as well as on the graphs. IMO not very likely.

The Alsema report says "even in the middle-good insolation conditions of 1700 kWh/m2/yr."

1700 kwh is the solar insolation. 167kwh is your PV output. Apples to orranges. What you just discovered is that (assuming you also live in a 1700 kwth/m2/year solar insulation area) your real world PV efficiency is less than 10%. The differnce with the 13% rated efficiency can be explained with efficiency dropping in lower light conditions.

PV efficiency also drops with dust (very light to heavy), bird droppings, cloudy or hazy sky, shading from trees at some angles, etc.

Real world < Theory

Best Hopes,


I figured this out, but the presentation in the paper is very confusing and not at all straigtforward. They go back and forth between kilowatt-hours and megajoules for measurement and I can't see a way of taking the output figures and working backwards to get their assumptions.

Using similar methodology, for comparison sake, one could figure the payback time of an oil well producing 1000 bbl/day and probably come up with an ERoEI of 1000 or more. It makes sense to me only if one gets a relative picture of energy efficiencies of different systems. Also, this jives more closely with the ERoEI figures mentioned in sources like 'Beyond Oil' and Cutler Cleveland's various works. This indicates to me that PV would be as much as 2 orders of magnitude less productive than, say, crude oil in terms of Energy In vs Energy Out.

Figuring only in $$ if you take the expense of installing my representative system (~$30000) and amortize it for 30 years at 6% (system lifetime)you get payments of about $180/mo. Pretty steep for electricity that would cost me about $40/mo from the grid. On top of the $180/mo you would need to add the $12/mo grid connect charge (IMO this will rise sharply in the future) as a 'backup' part of the system. The grid-connect charge would be the equivalent of what would be spent on batteries in an off-grid system, although batteries would probably cost more.

For the PV system, just figuring in terms of $$ I'm looking at roughly $200/$40 = 5 times the expense for solar PV (actually not as bad as I though it might be, but still in the prohibitive range). Somehow, I just don't expect this to come down in price in future years. In fact, as fossil fuels get expensive and scarce, PV energy is likely to also get more expensive, given its dependence on fossil fuels for mining and manufacturing processes.

Bottom line is, the PV mavens definitely have the burden of proof for showing in real-world installations that PV can be viable. Just the back-of-envelope number crunching doesn't cut it.

FWIW, I claim no expertise on this subject, but will admit that I pinned my own hopes on solar in concern about dealing with the many hopelessnesses of PO/GW. I had my bubble burst when I was able to hear a solar technology talk by an academic electrical engineer with expertise in semi conductors and solar tell me that there "are just too many problems with it" and had a personal lack of optimism about it.

If you pick up batterries only you will also need to put up with reduced efficiency and with their replacement every several years. 48 hours backup = 36 kwth x 70$/kwth = $2520. If batterries last 10 years (unlikely) you would need to add 7.5K to the price tag., or $45/month.

It simply does not add up - even if the cost of PV installations come down by a factor of 5, you will still have to connect to the grid for a backup, or the batterries must come down in cost at least 5 times too. The personal PV mania is a good example of why we do the things that we do, the way we do - it's much easier and cost-effective to have a centralised generation and distribution. Much like we have a centralised water and sewage systems, road and rail networks etc. - and nobody is complaining about these.

Or you could factor expected price increases and/or breakdowns into the ROI equation and find that reliable electric power 10 years from now trumps the third-world grid scenario some of us foresee.

I think TPTB are more enthusiastic about centralized, mega-project type energy sources, since individuals living off grid with PV power are not contributing to their corporate bottom line.

As for the overall EROEI, it remains to be seen whether there will be Czochralski plants running off of PV power from their own product. I recall some talk of a "solar breeder" back in the '80s but it apparently never materialized. It would take a lot of panels to start one of those, and a lot of batteries too (you have to run your silicon refinery 24/7, not just in the daytime). And a large crew of folks with squeegees and buckets of soapy water to keep the array functioning.

It is unfortunately a technology which doesn't "scale" very well. A niche application. A silver BB. We'll still need big reliable sources of power like nuclear and hydro to run industry.

I think TPTB are more enthusiastic about centralized, mega-project type energy sources, since individuals living off grid with PV power are not contributing to their corporate bottom line.

Sorry but this is naive at best. If you think that paying $40K for a PV system and batterries produced in some huge, centralised factory somewhere in China is "not contributing to the corporate bottom line" I think you are in a great self-delusion. You simply choose to be a servant of another master, and actually pay him much more - just for the fake sense of "independance". Which will expire the moment you need to repair or replace your supposedly independant system.

Of course PV makes sense in remote areas, or where service unreliability outweights 5x-10x increase in costs.

Good point. Also, if anyone thinks in terms of being off-grid as being independent of industrial society, this is extremely naive. You are independent only as long as a component of the high-tech system breaks and replacement is needed from a very grid-dependent factory somewhere.

I can see the scenario that some third-world countries are in, of the intermittent availability of power on the grid, as being a justification for an off-grid, or on-grid with backup type system.

It was sort of a stream-of-consciousness thing. Later in my post I said we'd still need big, reliable sources of energy to refine silicon. Of course the same goes for steel, aluminum, glass, etc.

I don't think residential people with PV do it for cost savings, although I expect my system to last at least 25 yrs, meaning I have solar electricity on my roof to last though most or all of my retirement, completely paid for now. The cost doesn't tell us anything it's viability as an energy source from an EROEI perspective. The oil comparison doesn't work for me - you have the oil, burn it and it's gone forever. The panels will produce for decades and will be competing with oil and other energy sources as they will cost in 10, 20 or more years from now, not what they cost today in this period of illusion of abundance. If you think PV will become more expensive than oil for energy on a relative basis as time goes on, show me the calculations. You are the one challenging the viabiity of the tech. I would love to see good numbers too, but most analyses seem colored by the author's biases.

I have a 3.6kW PV system. I installed it a little over 6 years ago. Here's my take:

1)While it's all well and good to talk about panel efficiency, it's more important to talk about the real world efficiency. In my case, the maximum output of the panels is typically only 73% of their rated output. I do have a few haze-free and cloudless days when they will briefly hit their rated maximum. In other words, my typical maximum output is 2.6kW not 3.6kW.

2)A system's design is typically based upon maximum load anticipated not average usage. Mine was sized to run our well pump, not household usage.

3)A PV system's purpose can be more important to an owner than EROEI. In my case, I live in the boondocks and am the last one on the power line. We have frequent power outages and are always the last user to be repaired. I want an assured source of power. I do have back-up generators but what lead to installing the system was a power outage that lasted longer than my stored gas. In addition, the power was off in the town so no gas was available. We sort of got by with my old 77 watt PV system - we could pump some water from a storage tank and run the refigerator and freezer now and then.

Further, I justify an energy losing PV system (if that's indeed the case) by knowing I don't take vacations. I produce a lot of our food. I'm retired and don't commute. In other words, I figure I've saved whatever power the PV system took to make and install.

4)In my case, I'm not grid-tied but rather have a large battery bank (32- L-16 6volt batteries). I didn't grid-tie for a number of reasons: First, I was putting the system in because I couldn't depend upon the grid. Second, we would have lost our TOU meter and, once gone, would probably not ever be reinstalled. I think the TOU meter saves me as much as if I were grid tied. Lastly, I was tired of spending money. Without going into details, I would have had to install another line from the inverters to the power company's drop.

To date, I have actually used (I installed a separate watt-hr meter for the PV system) ~ 2MW hours or about 3,000kWhrs per year. The system itself has obviously produced more.

Thanks for the real-world perspective. I'm a little slow on the uptake on these things in technical terms (hence my not seeing the obvious reason for the 10x discrepancy). But once I have a chance to think things through, I can usually nail down a problem pretty thoroughly.

Your experience jives with what others have told me. Basically, a PV system has to be subsidized with other direct and indirect energy and $$ sources and is a good choice for certain situations where the convenience of electricity is worth the subsidy.

On a large-scale, from a purely economic payback perspective, I suspect that, given the trickle of a return from PV, it wouldn't fly from an investment standpoint. That is, few large scale investors would put in millions for a return of possibly only a percent or two per annum. This, along with the grid-penetration issues (now being faced by wind power in some places) doesn't bode well for PV as a large-scale fix.

... the claimed ERoEI figures for solar PV ...
I think it's hard to characterize the ROI for solar because it depends on how long the system lasts. If you assume it will be online for 30 years, you'll get a different result than you get if you want to recover your investment in 5 years. Crystalline silicon modules should last almost indefinitely give or take a hailstorm or tsunami. Commercial modules OTOH, tend to degrade somewhat over time from clouding of the solar window, for a variety of reasons. Thin-film solar may actually degrade at the semiconductor level — it takes less atom-level damage to degrade it because there are fewer semiconductor atoms in it. Then there's the question of whether we're going to be repairing modules or just throwing them away and manufacturing new ones; I'd guess it will take a while for people to get the idea, but repair businesses will be more important down the road IMO. YMMV.

Oh, and don't believe anything Khosla says. He has casually tossed off the lie that the EROEI of solar is only 10%, conflating the efficiency of a photoelectric cell with EROEI. Feh. How can someone so innumerate get so rich?

From Wikipedia:
The solar constant is close to 1370 watts per square meter. ... The midday insolation on clear days in temperate latitudes may be estimated as 1000 watts per square meter (angled toward the Sun). ... in Sunny locations is closer to 250 watts per square meter, taking into account the lower insolation in early morning and evening, and the presence of night.
I heart Wikipedia.

From this chart,

I get the following 'typical' value:
5 kWh/m2/day.

Multiplying by 365, that would be about 1825kWh/m2/year. But note that this is the insolation figure, and your PV module is only around 10% efficient in converting that to electric current. So you'll get about 182kWh/year out of a square meter of PV in Kansas, for example.

Use English, numbnuts; the word is love not heart; the heart is the organ in the middle of your body that pumps blood. Love is the name of that wonderful feeling, and the corresponding verb is to love.

USAns seem intent on destroying everything including the English language. My bad ????? My bad WHAT?

Or is it that you haven't matured past three years old?

ImSceptical, lighten up. No need to call people names. The "Heart" was obviously a reference to those bumper stickers that use a heart, (actually a valentine shaped heart) instead of the word love. People who then say "I heart this or that" are obviously referring to that symbol.

The symbol is obviously used incorrectly and people who use the term "I heart this or that" are simply pointing out the error and making light of it.

Again, people who use that term should not be called vile names.

Ron Patteson

If u wan2 undRst& tXt m$ges thN IMO u nEd a SMS DXNRE or no1 will think ur c%l. nuf Z.

hth, hand


The most efficient PV system I'm familiar with (in terms of energy/unit area) that's also the closest to mass production is the SunCube. It's a concentrating system with 2-axis tracking.

The website gives a formula for calculating electricity production: Average annual kWh/m2/day x 0.3 (SunCube kW) x 365.25 (days in a year). Plugging in 5 kWh/m2/day (approx. average for U.S.) gives 548 kWh/yr. The unit must be spaced slightly apart from other units; total area specified is 1.6 sq meters for each unit. 548/1.6 = 342 kWh/m2/yr.

The website provides an Excel calculator to play with (instructions here). By plugging in Canberra as the city closest to U.S. average, 5,400 KWh used annually, and $0.11 per KWh utility price of electricity, I get a 30-year financial payback time. Each penny that the utility electricity rate increases will decrease the payback time by 7 years.

The website also provides an Excel EROEI calculator for the system. EROEI is listed as 1:9.12 and time to energetic break-even is listed as 2.74 years.

I've looked at the Sun Cube and it looks interesting and promising. I have seen critiques of the concentrator technology, claiming that premature module burnout is still a problem. I'm going to keep an eye on these guys to see if they survive and, if they do, to see if they will be doing more distribution in the US. I don't want to be on the 'bleeding edge' for this technology and will wait and see how it works out.

Hello ET,

Obviously, Phoenix is dead center at the highest point of continental daily sunshine, but the Asphalt Wonderland is probably among the national leaders in FFs burned/capita. Denial runs really deep here--sad.

If they ever wanted to determine if PVs can have a positive ERoEI over the long haul: it would only make sense to build huge PV foundries in our desert, with the factory output going to offset the FF factory jumpstart as soon as possible with careful energy accounting. Makes a lot more sense that building golf courses, IMO.

Hailstorms and tornados are very infrequent here, so damage from these weather events will be minimal. I am unsure how much damage our duststorms might scratch the PV's surface, over time reducing their effectiveness, but I think it would be minimal if a hard coating is used on the top surface.

Bird poop and dust buildup would be the major concern because it rains so infrequently here. I think carbon-black and other industrial particles building up, along with the normal desert dust, would probably require washing/rinsing the panels once a week, but I have no facts to determine what would be the optimum tradeoff to maximize kwh/m2.

Arizona has lots of copper too. This would help reduce the embedded energy mileage to build all the electrical interconnects of PV rooftop installations plus giant standalone desert PV systems.

I think it would be an interesting, though very expensive experiment. If it cannot work in Phx on a long-term sustainable basis--then it probably won't work anywhere else on the planet.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Totonella, I can't believe that even you know so little about geography. The highest daily sunshine is going to be in Southern Mexico, unless the old definition of North America is used; it included Central America [you're old enough to have known this], and then it would be Costa Rica and Panama.

There is more to the world than the USA, althought USAns usually forget this inconvenient fact.


Did you happen to notice the image that ET posted showing the gradients of sunshine or whatever up the thread apiece?

I would assume since it appears to center on Ariz,,and likely near Phoenix that this is what Totonella was referring to. Note the location of the deepest color.

I have 9 X 160w panels on the roof and the output has been disappointing in even mildly cloudy weather. I've gone to extraordinary lengths without looking like a hippie weirdo to get my daily electricity use down to 6kwh or so and get a credit for any surplus. Then the utility charges a daily grid connection fee so no sucker gets an even break.

I'm trying to reconcile PV payback period with claimed EROEI. I think the latter is
(lifecycle output/embodied energy) while payback is time to recoup embodied energy, hence no fixed link between the two concepts.

I wanted to thank you for this post as it made me look at my own electric usage (a first). Over the past 13 months I've average 16-18kwh per day during the non-summer months and close to 30kwh per day in the summer. I'm sort of in awe of your ability, or even desire, to get down to 6kwh daily. Do you have a fridge? A hot water heater?

Here's some tips;
microwave cooking
woodfire cooking
wood heating
small tank hot water service (HWS)
turn down HWS thermostat to minimum
clockwork timer on HWS on 8 hours offpeak
'Navy' showers
lots of tub clothes washing, cold water
all CFS bulbs only ever 1 turned on
no appliances on standby
no resistive heating devices >600 watts
use hillside breezeway effect not A/C
store vegies in a cellar, not a freezer

There's maybe a few other things I forgot. Of course you need plenty of free firewood and to live on a hillside which means I'm vulnerable to wild fires. I think most people should be able to cut back 20% and still look neat.

Since I moved in with my girlfriend, my place is sitting empty. I went through and literally unplugged everything and turned the heat way down (gas hot water & heat), and my most recent electric bill was 128KWh, or about 4KWh/day. As best I can tell, virtually all of this is the fridge.

Why not unplug the fridge?

Hello all.
Life cycle assessment of a 3 kw PV system at south European latitudes give an energetical payback time for a PV system of 3-6 years. See page 15. figure 12. http://www.esu-services.ch/download/jungbluth-2005-LCA-PV-PIP.pdf .

For comparison, the insolation/ production values are found on page 7: Cit.
3.11 Operation of photovoltaic power plants
The average solar irradiation in Switzerland is about 1100kWh per m2 and year. The photovoltaic plants in operation in Switzerland show an average electricity production24 of 819kWh per kWp for the years 1992– 2000. Due to changing meteorological conditions the annual yields ranged between 770 and 880kWh per kWp. For the inventory of flat and slanted roof installations only the best 75% plants with an average production of 885kWh per kWp have been considered to disregard the less efficient facade installations. An average facade system with vertically oriented panels is calculated to produce 626kWh per kWp.


This is getting ridiculous. And1 reports an approxiamtely 4 times greater energy production than that previoulsy given by the majority of posters. How do we square these numbers?

Dear todblog
The devil is maybe in the detail :-)
The report I cited use real Swiss data. If you compare with the monthly data cited in the post below ( khaos3) you will get:
Swiss real life average from report 819 KWh per KW rated output per year. For a Swiss 1100 W latitude.

The sum of the monthly data cited (chaos3) gives 2763 kWh from a 2.28 kWh system= 1211 kWh per kW rated output per year. Possibly for a higher insolation latitude.
(Peakearl) cite 4200 kWh for a 2.970 W system = 1414 kWh/ kW rating/per year
So the data is hardly 4 times higher ?

Kind regards /And1

Hi ET,

I can give you some real world production numbers you may be able to extrapolate from. I live in southern Maine and have a Sanyo 2.28 kw system. The numbers are in KWH/Month from installation in 2006.

Feb 278
Mar 284
Apr 342
May 238
June 303
July 332
Aug 296
Sep 253
Oct 222
Nov 104
Dec 111

I get an afternoon shadow 45 days before and after 12/21 so Nov and Dec numbers are biased down. (working on removing the offending pine)
This is a grid tie system. Without the State and Federal rebates/benefits it would have just been an expensive toy. Even after rebates I had to assume rising electricity rates for this to be a worthwhile investment. I expect as the cost of energy goes up, absent a technological breakthrough, the cost of building the modules will rise in tandem.
The system is more efficient in cold weather but this is offset by a shorter day. Roof has a 30 degree tilt and faces due magnetic south which means it is about 18 degrees west of true south.

Real world:

18 panels (Schott) rated 165 watts
Sunny Boy inverter
Total production: about 8500 kWh over 2 years (over 4200/yr)
Location: Auburn CA, 30 miles NE from Sacramento
Roof slope 7.5 degrees: if I could angle the panels - which I think I will do in future, could almost doulble winter output

My cost after rebates: not quite 10,000. Did my own mounting.

China's exporters suffering due to currency rise

Chinese companies that supply U.S. retailers with billions of dollars worth of toys, furniture and other goods every year face a painful squeeze as the yuan rises, setting off a race to cut costs or find new products that Americans will pay more for.

If it becomes apparent that we can't maintain military control of key areas in the Middle East, I wonder how far the dollar will fall?

A link from Urban Survival:

Euro displaces dollar in bond markets
By David Oakley and Gillian Tett in London
Published: January 14 2007 22:08 | Last updated: January 14 2007 22:08

The euro has displaced the US dollar as the world’s pre-eminent currency in international bond markets, having outstripped the dollar-denominated market for the second year in a row.

The data consolidate news last month that the value of euro notes in circulation had overtaken the dollar for the first time. Outstanding debt issued in the euro was worth the equivalent of $4,836bn at the end of 2006 compared with $3,892bn for the dollar, according to International Capital Market Association data.

Outstanding euro-denominated debt accounts for 45 per cent of the global market, compared with 37 per cent for the dollar. New issuance last year accounted for 49 per cent of the global total.

That represents a startling turnabout from the pattern seen in recent decades, when the US bond market dwarfed its European rival: as recently as 2002, outstanding euro-denominated issuance represented just 27 per cent of the global pie, compared with 51 per cent for the dollar.

January marks the 60th month of this measured devaluation. It is based on macro economic metrics that continue to be negative and will bring the dollar down at least 10% further, as i mentioned last month. It won't be due to some baseless claim of geopolitical nonsense from the nihilist camps.

I just found this post over at RealClimate, thought I'd pass it on:

14. "Regarding the comments on the VERY warm winter in Scandanavia - my wife is a Finn. She is currently in Vaasa. Vaasa is not too far below the Arctic Circle. This morning, she called me to say that it is raining non-stop, the grass is green and, in the park yesterday, she saw tulips pushing up."

Comment by Jim O’Donnell — 8 Jan 2007 @


And I clearly remember reading a few years ago that GW is likely to cause more frequent ice storms.

We've got your ice storm here in Texas.

Ditto in Kansas City...started as rain on Friday, rain/sleet on Saturday, and then sleet/snow on Sunday...the storm has finally moved on east of us...poor St. Louis.

I slid down my lawn this morning to get the newspaper...the steps have about 1 1/2 inches of ice on them.

They just issued an "ice storm warning" for Hillsborough County, NH. Where I live. I expect to lose power, we always do.

So I called in to work. I never miss a day. And I could tell the boss was PO'd, and I'm not talkin' Peak Oil. Oh well...

Yes - and the rest of your missing weather is in Colorado. Come and get it!

No, really, you can keep it. I do appreciate the offer, though. I don't even want Phoenix weather at the moment, it's only 29 degrees! Not good for the snowbirds or their pet cacti...

Due to an unusually warm winter TV commentators here in Russia are trying to find analogies from the past. It turns out that in some years during the reign of Ivan the Terrible (16 century) cows graze on green pastures in January near Moscow, and in early 19 century there were years when snow doesn’t fall until mid January.

As they say, there is nothing new under the sun.
Maybe so-called global warming is not so certain after all.

Cheer up! Next year they will go back to Paleocene and it will show again that nothing abnormal is happening.

Exactly. Just as peak oil was taken seriously when prices were spiking, but now that they're lower, it's a "myth."

This article about Cantarell is old news but interesting nevertheless: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2007/01/02/PM200701024.html

See my comments over on the Peak Oil Update Thread. If Ghawar is in decline, all 14 of the super giant oil fields that are, or were, capable of producing one mbpd or more are in decline or crashing.

Does anybody know how real this new field is?

Washington's successive divide-and-rule tactics - facilitating a possible genocide of Sunnis, contemplating a mass slaughter of Shi'ites, betting on a regional Sunni/Shi'ite war - never for a second lose sight of the riches of Iraqi. For Big Business, an Iraq eaten alive by Balkanization is the ideal environment for the triumph of Anglo-American petrocracy.

That's preposterous ranting.

The USA never had any tactical or strategic plan for what has turned out: it was simply a gigantic blunder brought upon by cluelessness multiplied by ideological delusions, plus clever duplicity by Iranian intelligence operatives.

"Anglo-American petrocracy" in no way benefits from "Iraq eaten alive by Balkanization" or civil war.

Quite the opposite. A strongman-with-a-mustache-and-aggressive-police is usually the preferred reliable negotiating partner.

Doesn't the Multinational Oil Complex usually get accused of facilitating the oppression of ethnic and religious minorities by sucking up to powerful central regimes?

The USA never had any tactical or strategic plan for what has turned out: it was simply a gigantic blunder brought upon by cluelessness multiplied by ideological delusions, plus clever duplicity by Iranian intelligence operatives.

At first sight I would guess you have as much proof for this as for what you're attacking, whoever it is you're quoting. But maybe that's just because you forgot to mention the source for that proof.
Pray tell.

The 'proof' is fairly obvious.

There have been insider stories (Bob Woodward et al) about the inner workings of the present Administration w.r.t. Iraq.

None is compatible with the theory that the current chaos was cunningly planned and intended from the get go, nor has any backing document or ideology from pre-war or early-war planning been suggestive of this result as its preference.

As well as the obvious fact that it harms everybody involved, including those of their oil business compatriots.

Have you considered that the plan might be classified and thus an insider would be unable to reveal it in a book?

The Bush Administration seems to have a very heavy hand when it comes to classification.

I guess any sufficiently conspiratorial and comprehensive conspiracy theory is unfalsifiable, and until we start waterboarding Dick Cheney I guess we'll never really know The TRVTH.

But I proceed from even assuming major venality from the perpetrators: the current situation is so profoundly disadvantageous to them that it is illogical that it was intended by them.

What was in the PNAC documents is certainly the original intention---yes, that was some delusionary hope---but that which has transpired in reality isn't remotely like what they hoped for.

It's entirely the opposite---strengthening of fundamentalism, jihadism and universal anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment and a large degradation in US deterrence power, military capability, and diplomatic influence.

To me, the simplest and most obvious explanation is that the propagandists really did believe in the propaganda and policies which they were pushing, and the cock-up which resulted was predictable (and predicted) by the reality-based community, and dismissed as "defeatism" by the neocons.

I have no first hand insider knowlege, and I assume other respondents here do not, hence taking some clues from at least reasonably respectable journalists and former officials who did have verifiable insider access appears to be reasonable.

Iran, thanks perhaps to Ahmed Chalabi, appears to have come out much better and conspiracy theories that they intended to manipulate things (and were successful at it) would seem to have some merit on the surface.

The 'proof' is fairly obvious.

Well, not from what you write, it isn't. You keep hammering away at the opposite of what you apparently believe, instead of offering any proof. I'll have to guess you have none.

And I think Woodward is only proof of the fact that there is such a thing as a Woodward.

Just follow this simple procedure: go to the website of the Project for a New American Century [google PNAC] and read.

How do we know that Woodward is not providing disinformation? He certainly remained silent for three years while it has been clear to anyone that thinks that the strategy as announced wan't working. So why the book then?

It could be that you are the short-sighted in this case. The neocons are looking far beyond the current mess-up. They are looking ahead at the point of time where Iraq will be partitioned at several ethnically clean, but much weaker quasi-states. Each one relatively stable, and each one with american bases in it. And of course every one of them will have its own "strongman-with-a-mustache" who will be a little more than american puppet while displaying a TV-show democracy, american style. Just look what is left of former Iugoslavia... this is Iraq's future too.

That's just as delusionary as the original neocon plan of Saddam being quickly and smoothly replaced with a Jeffersonian democracy with a rigorously capitalistic economy; Switzerland with oil.

At best the Kurds will come out well----but they entered pre-war with strength on their own indigenous terms.

But pretty much most of the planet has an interest in and desire for reasonably stable and not-excessively-ethnically cleansing states. That's not at all shameful.

It's pretty unlikely to happen, though; in my opinion Shia Iraq will be a client state of Iran, and Sunni Iraq will be a seething Talibanized rump of suffering and terrorism, unloved by everybody, but convenient for jihadi propagandists, and a likely source of attacks against the Saudi Monarchy.

That's just as delusionary as the original neocon plan of Saddam being quickly and smoothly replaced with a Jeffersonian democracy with a rigorously capitalistic economy; Switzerland with oil.

The only delusionary thing here is that you believe there ever was such a plan. Remind me of one example of a country invaded by anyone, not just US, that had the goal and acheved prosperity as a result.

I know that the idea of current people in charge being just a random bunch of deluded idiots is bringing a comfortable peace of mind for most people. But it is also the most shallow trap of the parody of democracy we are currently in - the delusion that if we just elect someone else they will change the course. With the vested intersts behind the new ones essentially the same? Such a joke. Watch for the democrats making a phenomenal piruette around Iraq when they get to complete power.

The specifics of the quagmire that the US finds itself in were probably not anticipated. Muqtada Sadr and his militia were a wild card. Certainly, the US should have expected difficulties and this really is a failure of intelligence.

However, there has been a plan in place for some time, as a matter of foreign policy, to contain Russia and China and ensure access to the Caspian. This goes back to long before Bush.

There is a new map of the Middle East floating around which has been presented in NATO schools. Turkish officers, in particular, were offended when they saw it on the wall of a classroom during a course they were attending. Turkey becomes a much smaller place. So does Iran, and Pakistan for that matter. And then Saudi Arabia, um, well have a look.

If you haven't seen it before, it is interesting to look at the differences between the Recent Middle East and New Middle East.

Clicking on the maps will give you a larger view.

The author in the article you linked, Ralph Peters, is a retired US Army colonel who has appeared on TV and has written many articles, most of which espouse this presumptuous notion that the US can and should redraw the map of the Middle East by force. If he hasn't by now seen how well this concept has worked in Iraq over the last four years, than he is even more delusional than I had previously thought.

The problem the US has gotten itself into was definitely NOT a failure of intelligence. Rather, it was a failure of the Bush/Chaney/Rumsfeld cabal to heed any intelligence whatsoever that ran counter to their deluded notions of what the post-invasion Iraq was going to be like. The CIA, State Department, and many high-ranking military brass have predicted and have warned about the scenario in Iraq that is now playing out.

It now looks like the US is heading down that same road with regard to Iran. I think an argument could be made that many of TPTB in the US don't give a damn how bad a mess the Middle East is in as long as they can use the US military might to secure the vast oil reserves over the long haul. Or to put the concept a bit more bluntly, 'kick their ass and take their gas.'

Please note that I spelled "intelligence" with a lower case "i." :)

It should probably be written in subscript using a 6-point font as well.

If you look at from a purely capitalistic viewpoint it fits all the hallmarks of a good game of chess. Realistically, if a splinter group of the PNAC thought it was a good idea to lay down the law subtly but with the final end game of utilizing our nuclear superiority in the region while the Arab nations do not have the bomb, the time is now. The US and Israel look like wounded animals! Is that just feint?

If we strike hard we can control the situation in Middle East and the events. If no one has a nuclear arsenal and we have Musharraf, why not. Will China complain? Will Europe? And if you do not think it would be good to take their Gandhi - Moqtada Al Sadr.

Nuclear weaponry is the equivalent of a roadside bomb under the chessboard. Doesn't mean you win, it just means you got tired of playing (or are too stupid to play) and decided to blow it up instead.

It would seal the fate of the US as a pariah state. And yes, I think China would complain.

Of course, I don't really have a good answer; MAD only leads to a stalemate when there are 2 or 3 participants. When there are more, the game theory of MAD predicts conflagration.

"If we strike hard we can control the situation in Middle East and the events." I seriously doubt that statement. Anyway, it looks like the current strategy is JEL.

It is extremely ironic to see a map of the Middle East redrawn, all of these countries shifted around, new ones brought into existence, and yet, under the label for the West Bank is the parenthetical, "status undetermined." Sure, we can rearrange a large portion of the globe, but the West Bank.... dunno about that one.

Dunno if this hilarious video has already been posted here.

Anyway, here it is again. Enjoy.


It's called "Post Oil Man". And the author is without doubt a talented person.

I loved it, I loved it, I loved it! I sent the URL to my son in Saudi and told him this guy's "New Career in Life" will be the perfict occupation for him when he returnes to the states for good. He already makes his own booze and could have written the book "Distilling for Dummies".

Ron Patterson

Why distill your liquor? Wine and beer are much easier to make, and satisfy the basic requirements :-).

When I was in graduate school and on a limited budget, I tried my hand at making wine. To an extent you can control the alcohol content by adjusting the amount of sugar, and we got carried away and kept dumping in more and more into one batch. At the end, it all fermented out, but the stuff was positively lethal - IIRC, the alcohol was at about 12% or so.

Back in the '70s some buddies and I set up a still in one of their basements... we started with the Foxfire book but quickly diverged.

It was in the IN/KY/IL tristate area, so we went to a farm store and got 50 gallons of blackstrap molasses. People feed it to their pet horses up there. Fermented it in a nalgene drum one of 'em borrowed from work.

Since a couple of us had studied some chemistry, we put a fractionating column on top of our boiler. Fine-tuned the cooling stream to keep the top of it at 78° C and got pure azeotrope out of the condenser.

Ahh those were the days.

"Fine-tuned the cooling stream to keep the top of it at 78° C and got pure azeotrope out of the condenser."

Just think - nowadays you can get a 50 cents per gallon subsidy for that shit! :-)

LOL! I shoulda saved some of it. We drank it. Tasted like water and packed a punch.

Those were the days ...

Folk who open that same link later are just going to get some fat ass wiggled at them.

Try the below link instead (unless of course, you instead prefer the wiggling ass show):


How many KwH does he get on the bicycle gizmo?

Interesting. Short, sweet, funny...but is he warning people about peak oil, or making fun of peak oilers?

It's that ambiguity that makes it such a gem.

Since Oil CEO has been banned from this site, I'll have to tell you this, Asebius:

Post of the day.

Very well done!
As a homebrewer of beer, (yes, its easy!) I'll drink to that!

this video should open up everytime some new vistor comes to T.O.D.! or at least be available on the ad's at the left!

Well done!

What's the secret behind this James-W-Johnson guy?

Crazy. Just crazy man.

Why the obsession with PV? Even a solar trough gets 30% efficiency and is relaible and low tech. An area 100 miles by 100 miles would satisfy all the enrgy needs of the country and there is a lot more area than that on which to place solar thermal or solar stirling engines.

I've been meaning to ask this myself. Solar thermal seems hardly to get a mention on TOD. But from my admittedly limited knowledge of these things, there are at least a couple of solar thermal plants already up and running, and I guess the only reason there are not more is 'they cost too much' i.e. relative to coal with its 'feel free to costlessly pollute' card. Though they are not as large as conventional power plants, they still seem to work. And some parts of the world could surely do well with this, e.g. Australia, south-west US.

Come on, guys, it's not like we're talking a perpetual motion scheme. Or is it? Comments welcome.

I agree - I never understand why people spend so much time bashing old style solar PV when (1) solar thermal is far cheaper and less complex, (2) there are big advances coming through in PV - cf the 40% claimed efficiency factor for the new Boeing / Spectrolab technology and (3) CIGS thin film solar will also be far superior to old style PV on an EROEI basis.

Maybe its nice to have a strawman to thrash (actually it is nice - I love thrashing my pet strawmen)...

Solar thermal is TWO country miles behind the economic renewable sources of electricity.

A few biomass applications

R & D is good !


and encouraging for a future small speciality niche for solar thermal electricity generation. The bigger future for solar thermal may be as a source of process heat (distilling ethanol ?, increasing the FF in : FF out ratio).

Best Hopes,


I was just on the glen beck website, and found this:


very interesting! kinda sums things up!

then i found this at the glen beck website, though it's not about oil, it about Sandy Berger. Who was the National security advisor for former President Clinton. (future first husband?), a very interesting article via PDF files, about his shenanigans with respect to national secrets and his sentence of impropriety of losing his top secret clearance status until 2008, yet Dubya has not extended the sentence, but it expires just in time for the next presidential elections?
corruption is the key thought here!
why is it nobody pays attention to these things? why is it that this starts to sound like a mexican goverment/society? where everyone agrees the government is corrupt but no one does anything about it? Ask the mexicans, they will tell you the politicans are corrupt. They expect it, but should we?
I guess the point i am making is: the republicans and the democrats are one and the same. just different names/titles. which is not ok with me!

But Sandy Berger was stashing these documents to help prepare Clinton about "what did you know, and when did you know it?" becuz, this was just before the 9/11 commission's report.
So as Glen Beck said on his program, they are no different than each another, they are in bed with each other!


i just get frustrated! arrg!!!

Hello TODers,

HARARE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's biggest sewage plant has broken down, sending tonnes of raw effluent into a major river and polluting the water supply of the capital Harare, city authorities said on Monday.

Officials from the national water authority said half of the raw sewage from Harare -- a city of some 1.5 million -- was now discharged into a river that flows into the capital's main water reservoir, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority declined to comment further on the issue on Monday. But the Herald said the discharge of the untreated sewage was "posing a serious health hazard downstream."

Harare's sewage crisis is the latest symptom of an economic crisis which has left the country close to collapse and many key infrastructure facilities from roads to power plants badly in need of upgrade or repair.

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government threatened a fresh round of slum clearances, state media said on Tuesday, after new shanty towns sprang up despite a widely condemned 2005 demolition campaign.

The government's 2005 campaign, dubbed "Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order" was sharply criticised by human rights groups and the United Nations, which said over 700,000 people were left without homes, sources of livelihood or both.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?