DrumBeat: February 2, 2007

Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climate report fails to highlight extent of global warming, Flannery says

Professor Tim Flannery says the report's findings are conservative and the real impact of global warming will be felt much sooner.

"The actual trajectory we've seen in the arctic over the last two years if you follow that, that implies that the arctic ice cap will be gone in the next five to 15 years," he said.

"This is an ice cap that's been around for 3 million years."

Global warming obstructionism

Word from participants who shall remain nameless is that China has taken the lead in global warming obstructionism in 2007.

China Warns of Disasters from Warming Tibet Plateau

Chinese scientists have warned that rising temperatures on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau will melt glaciers, dry up major Chinese rivers and trigger more droughts, sandstorms and desertification, state media reported on Thursday.

Oil giant primes the biofuel pump with $500 million

Oil giant BP will give $500 million to a partnership led by UC Berkeley to develop new biofuels and reduce environmental harm caused by the use of fossil fuels, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and company officials announced Thursday.

Fuel Economy Has Backers; Details to Come

President Bush has surprised skeptics by proposing dramatically tougher fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. Starting in 2010, gas mileage would have to improve by 4 percent each year — in most cases, that's a one-mile-per-gallon increase every year.

Siemens sells clean technology to U.S.

The project will allegedly be one of the cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power plants in the United States. Longview Power LLC, a subsidiary of GenPower, is purchasing the equipment from the German power company. The order from Siemens is worth $405 million.

In Love With the Lusty Wind

Today, peak oil and global warming are beginning to change the economics of power generation and the world is looking to these pioneers for solutions.

Top Energy Scientists Agree, Bush Wrong on Alternative Fuels

"...witnesses from three of America’s premier energy research institutions cast grave doubt on the feasibility of reaching President Bush’s State of the Union goal of manufacturing 35 billion gallons a year of alternative fuels by 2017."

Telecommuting as energy saver

Cutting out that round-trip commute to the office - which averages about 23 miles - can save nearly $1,000 a year in gasoline and avoid putting more than 6,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Food Fight: peak oil and food security radio - Several episodes, including "100 Million Farmers," "Until you change the way money works, you change nothing," "What will we eat as the oil runs out?", "Peak oil and permaculture in Cuba," "Biogas and Dream Farms," and "The Salvation of Suburbia."

Bolivia Suspends 14 Contracts Signed with Foreign Oil Firms

The Bolivian government suspended 14 oil contracts signed between state-run oil company YPFB and foreign oil firms, saying that the foreign sides violated state rules of presentation and legalization for their businesses, according to news reaching here on Wednesday.

China faces pressure achieving energy-saving goal

China is under great pressure and facing many challenges if it hopes to achieve its goal of cutting by 20 percent the amount of energy it uses to produce a unit of GDP, according to a official of the State Council research center.

Putin Gives Blessing to Russia-Ukraine Gas Integration

Russian President Putin confirmed Thursday that Ukraine may gain access to Russian gas fields in exchange for a stake in the Ukrainian gas transit system. Ukrainian energy officials have offered Gazprom three plans to bring this idea to life, Kommersant’s sources report. Russia favors the option under which will let a joint venture buy the Ukrainian gas transit assets. Kyiv is willing to say “yes” in exchange for access to Russian natural resources with the guaranteed supply of up to 50 billion cu. meters of gas annually.

Switzerland: Cash drain hits renewable energy drive

Families seeking to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy face an increasingly desperate struggle for financial aid because of budget cuts.

CO2 Cloud Hangs Over European Carmakers

The earnings drag from stepped-up spending to curtail greenhouse gases and the sales impact from higher prices for almost all new cars would provide a double whammy that analysts agree has not been priced into the market.

Weekly Offshore Rig Review: Mess in the Med: Cyprus Gets Serious About Oil & Gas

As the eastern Mediterranean has become a more and more attractive region for hydrocarbon exploration, the Greek Cypriot government has made some important moves towards establishing oil and gas exploration within the waters surrounding the island nation, which have thrust the tiny nation into the international spotlight in recent weeks.

Nigeria: PHCN alerts on power rationing

The Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) yesterday alerted the nation of an impending mass power rationing, saying its generation capacity had slumped by 50 per cent.

Iran Formally Offers 17 Oil Blocks to Investors

Iran formally offered 17 onshore and offshore oil blocks for development at conference in Vienna that attracted many non-U.S. international oil companies despite rising international pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.

Russia: Oil Output Disappoints

The Industry and Energy Ministry said Thursday that it had cut its oil output growth forecast for 2007 to 2.1 percent from the 2.5 percent it had expected earlier.

The ministry said Russian crude oil production would rise to 490 million tons from the 480 million tons produced last year, when the growth rate was the same 2.1 percent. Oil output growth has slowed to 2.7 percent in 2005 following big spikes in previous years, including a 9 percent growth in 2004 and a record 11 percent in 2003.

Chavez Expects to Have Control of Oil Ventures By May

Venezuela intends to take control of "no less than 60 percent" of four heavy-crude-oil joint ventures in the country's eastern Orinoco Belt by May 1, President Hugo Chavez said.

Alternative Energy Boom Has Its Limits

There are significant limits that alternative energy will face that may not be given full consideration today in the headlong rush of politicians promising change, activists demanding change and investors speculating on change. If it were all that easy, you might expect major energy companies to have taken a bigger bite by now.

Apache CEO: Reducing North American Exploration Budget by $600M

Apache Corp. (APA) will reduce its 2007 exploration and development spending in North America by $600 million, with further cuts possible if costs don't keep pace with falling gas prices, Chief Executive G. Steven Farris said Thursday.

Putin Says Russia May Consider Forming a 'Gas OPEC'

Russia, which has the world's largest natural-gas reserves, will consider coordinating policy with other major producers of the fuel, such as Iran, President Vladimir Putin said today.

Group opens 'terror-free' gas station

Claiming U.S. dollars used to purchase gasoline made from Middle East oil funds terrorism, a group called the Terror-Free Oil Initiative opened the nation's first "terror-free" gas station.

The Coral Springs, Fla.-based group opened its first station Thursday in west Omaha, seeking to sell only gas that originates from countries that do not support terrorism and from oil companies that don't do business in the Middle East.

Nigeria Oil Workers' Unions Threaten Strike Over Violence

The two main Nigerian oil workers' unions on Thursday threatened a strike next week to protest against rising violence in the country's petroleum-producing southern region.

Warming to worsen droughts, floods, storms this century: UN panel

UN scientists have delivered their starkest warning yet about global warming, saying fossil fuel pollution would raise temperatures this century, worsen floods, droughts and hurricanes, melt polar sea ice and damage the climate system for a thousand years to come.

In its first assessment in six years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dealt a crippling blow Friday to the shrinking body of opinion that claims higher temperatures in past decades have been driven by natural, not man-made, causes.

France Tells U.S. to Sign Climate Pacts or Face Tax

President Jacques Chirac has demanded that the United States sign both the Kyoto climate protocol and a future agreement that will take effect when the Kyoto accord runs out in 2012.

...He warned that if the United States did not sign the agreements, a carbon tax across Europe on imports from nations that have not signed the Kyoto treaty could be imposed to try to force compliance. The European Union is the largest export market for American goods.

How You Can Fight Global Warming

How climate change hits India's poor

People like Bashunto Janna. He is 81 now and says he has not got long to live.

His family used to farm 85 acres on the vanished island of Lochachara. Now they have one acre in a village for displaced people on a nearby island, which itself is under threat from the waves.

You have been made dictator of the world. Your policies are going to be implemented without question. What new energy policies do you enact? Let’s restrict this to energy, as this could really get way off topic otherwise.

Here is what I do (with respect to the U.S.) I go on TV and just have a frank conversation with the public. I hit on both Global Warming and Peak Oil, explaining that we have to find other energy solutions because 1). Peak Oil is going to force us to; and 2). Global Warming is strongly suggesting that we do it ASAP. I go on to explain that there are no magic technological solutions waiting in the wings to save us. We aren’t going to go to the filling station and fill up on E85 or hydrogen. At least not any time soon. Sacrifice is required. I explain some of the possible scenarios if we don’t begin to sacrifice now. We either plan it now, or it hits us later without providing any parachutes for the fall.

The problem, I would explain, is that fossil fuels are simply too cheap. We use them too casually. We must stop doing this. We have to stop and really think about our fossil fuel usage. So, starting today, the tax on fossil fuels will be increased by $3/(barrel of oil equivalent) per month for at least the next 3 years, at which time this tax will be reviewed. The tax will apply to crude oil, natural gas, coal, tar sands, shale oil, etc. All fossil fuels. This tax increase is only $0.0714 per gallon per month, and a tax credit will be provided for those making less than $50,000 a year (because I am a benevolent dictator). The tax credit in each year will be high enough to offset the impact on the average consumer’s life. However, given that you know prices are going to be increasing, there is a tremendous incentive to begin conserving. Our ultimate objective is sustainability.

The money raised from this tax will be funneled into public transportation, alternative fuel research, conservation incentives, and the development of walkable communities. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of scientists and engineers from the appropriate disciplines in academia and industry. Suggestions from the public are welcome, and will be considered based on technical merit. (No cars that run on water, though).

So, that’s the cornerstone of my energy policy. Do you have other suggestions? Alternatives to this? Or do you believe the market will provide, and such steps are unnecessary?

Encourage behavior you want more of and discourage what you don't want: public transportation becomes heavily subsidized, moving to no charge eventually; all non-emergency business close on Sundays (like the good ole days); increase air travel tax; turn yards into vegetable gardens; subsidize bicycles; remove the tax break for families who bear more than 2 kids and any family with more than 2 now who have more; tax meat...

It's almost as if you people think that peak oil is some kind of voluntary politically progressive phenomenon. Oil production will be 50% less globally in 17 years at a 4% annual decline rate.

The best thing that could happen right now, for the U.S at least, would be for most of the world to experience a re-birth in old-school maoism. China used so much less energy when they were true communists. Mugabe and Chavez are a good start.

Where do you get the 4% decline figure? Out of the money tree?


* Global annual decline rate: 4% - 6% / year?

So 4% is actually on the optimistic side.
Calculation is ln(.50)/ln(.96) =~ 17 for 6% ln(.50)/ln(.94) = 11.2 years. This is assuming we are past peak of course.

My, you are good, aren't you. Did somebody teach you about logarithms recently? Since quantities aren't logarithmic, the calculation you provided is nonsense.

Since quantities aren't logarithmic, the calculation you provided is nonsense.

Your objection makes no sense, a fact which is easy to see if you just plug his numbers back in:

4% decline for 17 years = (0.96)^17 = 0.499587 = 50% less

Tag him for basing the calculation on a wild-ass guess, sure, but the calculation itself is correct.

Hi abelard,

I appreciate your point: "Oil production will be 50% less globally in 17 years at a 4% annual decline rate."

The rates are quite dramatic, no matter what they are, really (it seems to me). That said, I'd characterize the attempt here ("thought-experiment") as more like an effort to see what ideas and plans might be put forth, using "voluntary", and perhaps even "politically progressive" as part of the cultural components of dealing with the hard geologic facts.

In terms of China:
"The plan is generally agreed to have failed in its intentions, leading to millions of deaths plus widespread economic dislocation, and is widely regarded both in and out of China as an unmitigated policy disaster."

I like everything. I would add education in conserving. Teach people how to conserve. What helps and what does not help.

Question: Would the tax apply to electicity generated by fossil fuels?


Question: Would the tax apply to electicity generated by fossil fuels?

Yes. Coal-generated electricity is a major contributor to Global Warming, and coal mining isn't exactly environmentally benign.

Don't forget Natural Gas generated electricty.


more thoughts... remove all business tax breaks for vehicles that are not used for business (like doctors driving Lincoln Navigators); raise the CAFE standards on all vehicles; tax production of vehicles that do not meet CAFE standards and tax the buyer (if for a legit business -like construction- allow tax exemption); heavily subsidize residential solar panels; put a moratorium on higher education building construction and road constuction (not road repair)

I think the simplest solution is to remove the subsidies for roads.
If the full cost of road building was passed on to the driver it would have a impact.

Next the now private road maintainers could easily charge by weight for travel on the roads since heavier cars cause more damage. Note this would put a quick end to shipping via truck also which is a good thing.

Finally the only tax needed is a environmental carbon tax so you pay for the co2 you produce this can be easily applied as a heavy fuel tax. Of course this also means environment taxes on metal etc used to manufacture the car so the bigger the car the tax.
It could and should be progressive.

Thus the government is doing what it should which is protecting the commons i.e the environment while the auto industry is thrown to the free market.

This sort of taxing scheme could also be applied to all waste. A progressive tax on large private homes and a heavy environmental taxes on non-renewable energy generation.

So basically if governments make maintaining the commons of which the environment is a big part we can and will change. The approach is simply to ensure you pay your fair share for consumption.

As long as consumption and environmental degradation is subsidized we will never do the right thing.

As far as taxing multiple children goes realistic and effective methods of birth control are readily available male contraceptives are close. The answer here is being frank about
the need to curb unwanted pregnancies. And along side this raise the educational and economic level of the population. Almost all advanced economies move to negative growth rates over time naturally so draconian measure are probably not needed.

For example my parents had three children one died and one will probably never have children. I have three children but as you can see the chances are that we will remain below the replacement rate since my brother has no children.

You can of course extend this over larger groups the important point is that the overall population needs to trend negative for years to come. Simple improvements to the quality of life result in this overall trend.

Finally you can't crash a population with draconian laws as China will find out I'm sure.
A over abundance of retiree's is a major strain on and economy. Japans economy is basically dead now because of the demographics the US is going the same way. Balance is the key.

This mean we need to work out ways to deal with a large population for the foreseeable future. Generally this means reducing the environmental impact of each individual.

The first step I see is requiring all private land to be productive or it reverts back to public land. This means it must be farmed or leased to someone who farms it.

Farming itself should be environmentally sound and could consist of simply using the land as a renewable wood lot or renewable harvesting of a intrinsic resource of the land like say edible wild mushrooms. As long as you show good stewardship an that the land produces enough to pay its taxes you get to keep it. Buildings would be heavily taxed and considered part of the land.

Townships would get a fixed amount of land to build on based on the ability of the surrounding land to support the inhabitants and the quality of the land used to site the town. Next they also have and added burden of supporting larger towns this can be done by
taxing larger towns and sending the revenue out to the supporting villages.

The whole idea is to encourage correct demographics which is villages built on the poorest soils with reasonable sized towns scattered at a much lower density.

Finally these towns should be linked with electric rail powered by renewable energy sources. Internally electric trolleys can be used if needed. A solar/wind powered train is basically free after fixed costs. You can line the rail track with solar panels and gain far more energy than required to run the trains if the the population densities are
correct. And you can use mixed freight/commuter trains. So generally you will be running enough trains carrying goods that and additional car for the small number of passengers
is not prohibitive.

And last but not least we can eliminate the 9-5 job cycle for many and move to distributed robotic/expert factories for goods production. So technology can readily remove the need for the twice daily mass migration of people. Functional teleconferencing
and other communication methods can eliminate a lot of travel. We still have a need to meet people face to face just for human bonding if for nothing else but personal meetings can be called for the real reason we meet which is we need the physical interaction.

Finally the end goal is to determine how to maintain a productive renewable society. Every year the solar energy falling on the earth is enormous if we use a small part of this energy to increase the quality of life for everyone I think we will find that as we adopt this approach and the population decreases we will eventually reach a high standard of living for all. Its not a closed system but we have to become wise stewards of our photons. The reason I went through the whole scenario is I think its critical that society start working from where they want to be in 50-100 years and work backwards.

By getting a consensus on how we want and must live its trivial to accept changes we need to make to achieve those goals. Until we convert ourselves into such a long thinking culture I think you will find any measures designed to achieve this goal will be subverted. So I have little hope in band-aids unless I see a dramatic change in the way people think.

Don't ever forget the other stable culture is one where the king owns everything and the serfs live in misery. Its easy to go back to a king/slave culture. I question if we ever really escaped it. I think oil just allowed fat and happy slaves and a few more kings.

For example my parents had three children one died and one will probably never have children. I have three children but as you can see the chances are that we will remain below the replacement rate since my brother has no children.

I like how you've managed to justify indulging yourself in three children in you own mind. The population is way too large and draconian measures are needed to avert a die off. What would it have taken to persuade you to stop at zero or one?

I did not mention that I also had a child die.

So fuck off.

My sincerest condolences, memmel. Don't feel like you have to justify your children. The guy who has one child isn't better than you because he made this decision. Children are a precious resource. And while population size is a problem, the children that we do have should be cherished, protected, and not criticized because they were born.

I have 3 children myself. The last two were both conceived while my wife was on birth control. Now that I have them, I can't imagine not having my two (birth control) boys.

Thanks Robert...

I did not mean to be rude and maybe I should explain a bit.

Our first child died at a few months of age while I was living in Vietnam.
The hell I went throught trying to get her out of the country to treatment is unimaginable plus the experience of living for weeks in a rat infested third world hospital is something I think most people can't imagine.

I wash her feeding syringe so many times that the numbers wore off. And even though I could pay for more they simply did not have them.

Watching a baby die every night of a disease that is easily cured in the US is hard to live with.

I just want to say that I do understand deeply why people have so many children in the third world and I understand their pain when they lose them. I've lived with them through the experience.

Few people have and they truly have no idea which in one sense is good.

But on the other hand I feel that the entire world and our civilization is facing a crisis that requires us i.e. the entire human population to put aside our differences and opinions and work towards a better stable renewable civilization.

This means UNDERSTANDING why people have children and providing the safety net needed for people to feel comfortable with one or two children. And respecting the few that choose more for whatever reason.

I feel I do understand I have seen very few people put any effort into grappling the third worlds problems.

The will soon be ours or do you think a fence will stop millions of hungry Mexicans ?

I did not mean to be rude and maybe I should explain a bit.

No need to apologize for that.

Watching a baby die every night of a disease that is easily cured in the US is hard to live with.

I had two close calls with my own. My youngest nearly choked to death in my arms from congestion when he was 3 weeks old. I will never forget the feeling I had when I thought I was losing him. But we got him to the ER in time. Then, I saw my daughter run over (completely over) by a 750 pound snowmobile 2 years ago. Again, I thought I lost her and once again endured a feeling I don't wish on my worst enemy. Amazingly, the snowmobile just crushed her into the snow and she was bruised up.

These events have made me much, much more empathetic. I can't stand to see a child suffer, and my heart goes out to those who have lost children, or are suffering through a serious illness with a child.

I would not suggest for a minute that children are in some way "at fault" for being born, or that they should not be loved and cherished by their parents. You have my sympathy for the death of your child.

That being said; Every day there are an additional 1/4 million humans being added to the global population, which has doubled in my lifetime.

About 1/3 of all the humans who have ever lived are alive and walking around on the Earth right now.

In my opinion this is madness if we hope to survive as anything like a coherent culture.

Assign what value statements you wish to this.

Every day there are an additional 1/4 million humans being added to the global population, which has doubled in my lifetime. About 1/3 of all the humans who have ever lived are alive and walking around on the Earth right now.

It is also true that the world population is no longer growing exponentially. The rate of population growth is slowing and has been for some time (growth peaked in percentage terms at +2.19% in 1963, and in absolute terms at +87.8 million in 1989, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Some here have argued that this is what happens in the last few generations of a species in overshoot, and others have argued that this is part of the normal course of demographic transition. If the latter is the case, world population is projected to max out at 9-10 billion people, then start to decline, sometime in the second half of this century.

Why is the population too large? We aren't short of crops now or even close.

Hi m,

I like your "no new roads" as the first up. And, just skimming below, I'm so sorry about your daughter. I'm touched you'd share this with us.

First, just a quick Q:
"Finally the only tax needed is a environmental carbon tax so you pay for the co2 you produce this can be easily applied as a heavy fuel tax. Of course this also means environment taxes on metal etc used to manufacture the car so the bigger the car the tax."

Could you possibly fill this in a bit more for me? How does this work? Who is taxed (exactly)? What about overseas manufacturing? Does this also amount to a tax on imports?

Don't you understand that what you're suggesting would be considered evil socialism by many, many powerful and not-so-powerful people in the United States? You're not just suggesting a change in policy, but in effect mandating a change in culture and in Americans' basic identity as a people.

You might as well be King George trying to tax tea, because rebellion is what you'll get.

Change the culture and the politics and the policy will follow. Don't, and, well, it'll be more of the same.

You're not just suggesting a change in policy, but in effect mandating a change in culture and in Americans' basic identity as a people.

Which is the reason for the frank talk. I want to be sure that they understand that such changes are coming, like it or not. I am giving them warning and allowing them time to prepare themselves. The hurricane is building offshore, and I am enacting mandatory evacuation procedures.

You might as well be King George trying to tax tea, because rebellion is what you'll get.

Given that I am dictator, the rebellion will be crushed. Besides, I think most people can be reasonable once they fully understand the consequences. You will never have everyone on board, but then again when has any policy pleased everyone?

I guess my point is that I think you are greatly underestimating the power of culture to replicate itself and its preferences. 'Reason' of the type you propose is exactly the reason that was used to argue against things like slavery in the years before the Civil War. Clearly it is unreasonable for a liberal culture to buy and sell people like animals, yet, for centuries, that is exactly what Americans did.

I'm not suggesting a civil war is coming, but cultural identity, especially when tied up with material self-interest, are things people will fight for when push comes to shove. Our leaders have referred to the American Way of Life as 'Blessed' and 'Non-negotiable.' It would be foolish not to take those statements in any other way than very, very seriously.

You're asking for a revolution. Don't be surprised at the counter-revolutionary backlash when the status quo really starts to come under pressure.

This tax increase is only $0.0714 per gallon per month

By the way, just to be clear that tax would be incremented by this amount every month. In other words, at the end of 3 years, the total tax will have increased by $2.57/gallon. That will influence behaviors, in my opinion.

Robert, if you give a tax credit that offsets the impact, then people still have enough money to just pay the increased costs, and in addition you have nothing left to funnel into alternatives. So, how much of total fuel usage is by those making $50,000 or less ? In the US, and in the world. That percentage is key to understanding whether there would be a significant reduction in useage and whether you would have much left over for alternatives.

Robert, if you give a tax credit that offsets the impact, then people still have enough money to just pay the increased costs, and in addition you have nothing left to funnel into alternatives.

First, they might have enough to pay it, but now they incentives to conserve. So they aren't likely to just use their credit to pay the increased gas costs. Conserving will put money in their pockets. Second, by giving little or no incentive to those making more than $50,000/year, you are still generating a lot of money. Those are the people that use disproportionately the most energy. Finally, I wouldn't give the tax credit forever. Only long enough to ease the pain of increasing gas prices.

And taking this line of thought a little futher .... you are covering the costs to those making under $50k/yr, and I would bet that your plan would have little impact on the useage of those making over say $150k/yr. So your reduction needs to come from those making between $50k and $150k/yr .... how much of the total energy is used by those people ? And by what percentage do you think they would reduce ?

Hi R,

I like the idea of doing an analysis according to income groups. It makes me wonder...
When you write:
"...how much of the total energy is used by those people ?

In a sense, it seems would could track percentage of energy use as a simple function of money spent. On the other hand, this may not be so straightforward

Cut the defense budget to about 10% of the current levels and take the extra money and start buying american made windmills, solar cells, hybrid cars, bicycles, and trolley systems. No purchases (of anthing) from foreign countries unless they implement wage, energy efficiency, environmental, human right and retirement/welfare programs that meet certain set levels.

Significantly increase foreign aid for birth control, education, sustainable farming and human rights.

Buy all coal and natural gas powered power plants from owners and replace with nuclear plants.

go back to a non-fiat monetary system.

eliminate income tax and fund the government entirely on estate taxes, heavily biased to large estates. Eliminate all methods of transfering wealth without taxes.

universal single payer health care with maximum overhead costs of 5%.

Set a national goal to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels by the year 2057, with a 50 reduction in the next 20 years.

"Cut the defense budget to about 10% of the current levels and take the extra money and start buying american made windmills, solar cells, hybrid cars, bicycles, and trolley systems."

America makes none of these succesfully and with high quality. I tried to find alternative energy stocks in the US to invest in... not one company is worth it. The Europeans and Asians have the way better products.


yes, but if we stop making things to kill people, I think that we can start making things that are actually of use to the human race.

Plus if we get rid of the burden of wasting half our health care dollars, and eliminate the ability to import items made with slave labor, I bet american industry will have no problem making high quality cost competetive products.

eliminate income tax and fund the government entirely on estate taxes, heavily biased to large estates. Eliminate all methods of transfering wealth without taxes.

If you eliminate Income taxes you just pass your wealth to your children using this vehicle. I form my LLC, hire my children, and pay them very well.

As dictator I would establish an energy and efficiency production authority to coordinate the following.
I would have engineers design a standardized thorium-floride reactor along with creating an accelerator driven reactor to handle the waste generated by uranium reactors.
I would have engineers design a standardized F-T system for biomass to liquid fuels. Kudzu, native grasses, and algae would be the feedstocks according to location.
I would use Government owned land to create algae farms.
I would use idled auto factories for the manufacture of wind turbines and turn the Great Plains and other similar areas into huge wind farms.
I would put water turbines in the Gulf Stream and other ocean currents where practical.
I would build a 500kv dc grid over the entire world as envisioned by Bucky Fuller.
As renewable energy capacity grows I would first close the coal mines and then the oil fields and finally the nat gas fields.
I would halt the construction of skyscrapers and as much as possible move housing, businesses, and industry underground. The savings in energy for heating and cooling would be enormous.
I would ban the manufacture of incandiscent light bulbs and look for more energy efficient alternatives for TVs and computer monitors.
I would bring back the street cars lines in our cities and rebuild the intercity rail network. There would be separate rail lines for passengers with their electric cars and for heavy freight.

I would have engineers design a standardized thorium-floride reactor along with creating an accelerator driven reactor to handle the waste generated by uranium reactors.

Great, but accelerator driven systems suck in every possible way, and most obvious is cost. Do you have any idea how much the accelerator would cost alone? The cost for the marginal benifit of avoiding some criticality issues is much better addressed by simply having safety systems that manage criticality excursions in safe, cost effective ways such as excess cooling systems and freeze plugs for draining the liquid fuel into critically dampened dump tanks. This would almost never happen anyways.

See the problem with fast reactors really is lack of control of reactivity flux. Most of the reactivity flux in a thermal reactor is from delayed neutrons and so your reactivity changes on the order of minutes, so you can adjust the control rods easily in time. In a fast reactor reactivity changes on the order of milliseconds because most of the neutrons are 'prompt.' So in a fast reactor you can get a reactivity spike and go on a criticality excursion... what this means is you'll get a heat and neutron flash before doppler broadening and negative temperature coefficients slow down the reaction.

Its an engineering challenge. If a reactor isn't designed to manage such excursions you can have a fuel meltdown in a solid fuel reactor and damage to the reactor vessel. In a liquid chloride reactor you can just design the vessel to withstand neutron flashes and temperature spikes... and the fuel cant melt any more than it allready is. If everything goes really wrong and the reactor continues on its criticality excursion, a metal plug with a low melting point in the floor of the reactor vessel melts (because it was designed to) and the fuel drains into dump tanks until the tech can figure out what went wrong.

A critical liquid-chloride reactor can manage all the goals of actinide burning at a cost similar to liquid fluoride reactors.


I would halt the construction of skyscrapers and as much as possible move housing, businesses, and industry underground. The savings in energy for heating and cooling would be enormous.
I would ban the manufacture of incandiscent light bulbs and look for more energy efficient alternatives for TVs and computer monitors.

These social engineering ideas are far from being an obvious solution to real problems. We have enough nuclear fuel so that we might just as well build another power plant than worry about conserving every last erg.

The accellerator driven reactor concept may turn out to be relatively expensive but the world may only need a small number for the primary purpose of transmutation of plutonium, uranium, and other long half-life isotopes into stable and short half-life isotopes.
The history of high cost nukes is the result of each plant being a customised design. A standardised design of a pebble-bed or Thorium-floride reactor would be quite less costly if built in the hundreds. By co-locating industries that could use the turbine exhaust as process heat, such as ethanol plants, then the use of other fuels for those purposes is eliminated.

How about a mandatory 4 day work week? The goal would be to try to reduce energy usage by getting everyone to stay home and not drive anywhere. This would be a huge cultural challange. People would be tempted to drive to the mall or go somewhere by car. You would have to convince people that they should use that extra day to plan to make the 4 working days as productive as 5. Actually, i think being as productive in 4 days as 5 is a challange that Americans can handle and would want to take on.

RR. I would modify your approach by allocating carbon credits to each adult citizen based upon an overall cap to be reduced each year in accordance with a plan to eventually reduce our carbon emissions by 80%. If this were combined with a tax, there would be a double incentive to conserve. Those who used less than their carbon quota could make money by selling their excess credits. Those who used in excess of their quota would incur additional costs because they would have to buy additional credits.

Potentially, a carbon credit system could subsitute in part or in full for a tax rebate system.

Another reason I favor an energy quota system is due to the uncertaintly of the effects of a tax/rebate system. As others have suggested, some people will take into account the fact that they are going to be "made whole" by tax rebates or reductions intended to make up for the higher energy or gas taxes.

One of the difficulties with any scheme, whether it be quota or taxes is the short to medium term inelasticity of energy demand. For those who live in energy inefficient homes far from work or shopping, they will have difficulty cutting their energy use without significant investments involving home retrofitting, new cars, moving, etc. and, therefore, will be significantly impacted, especially if they have a low or moderate income.
Arguably, they should have gotten the message long ago. In any event, as a matter of public policy, these people should be forewarned by starting with small tax increases and/or relative liberal energy credits, and then increasing the rate of increase over time.

Very well said. So far the public is waiting for leadership from the government. That won't happen until it is made clear to them that they'll be thrown come next election for failing to provide said leadership. What the public needs to do is take some responsibility -- this is a democracy, after all, and that's our job. But we can only do that if we're sufficiently well informed. We really do need to demand that the gov't engage us in open and transparent conversation unencumbered by back-room lobbyist access. But in the end, we need to realize that while scientists can provide data and government (ideally) leadership, in the end it will be our actions that determine hoe painful the future is going to be.

This is a repost from another thread, but its part of what I would do.

I think you misunderstand what I am trying to get at. Let me be a little more elaborate on what I was thinking. Contrary to what many might say, there is more then enough uranium and thorium to allow us to produce most if not all of our electricity via nuclear fission. The current breakdown in energy generation in the US is:

18% Nuclear
15% Hydro
2% Wind and Solar
5% Oil
14% Natural GAs
46% Coal

From my understanding, Coal and Nuclear are considered 'base load' energy producers, as they can not be turned off and on quickly enough to meet rising and falling energy demand. Instead we use oil, gas and hydro with a dash of renewable energy generation to meet peak load.

As per these limitations, its hard to have more then 50% nuclear energy generation unless you have a viable way to either store the energy, or export the energy to other countries. France does the latter, but no one does the former.

Hydrogen of course is extremely difficult to store for long durations, and very difficult to transport from one location to another for on site use, such as in transportation. But it seems to me that people have largely ignored one option.

What I'm suggesting, or at least asking questions about, is what is preventing the US, aside from political opposition, from increasing our nuclear energy generation ratio to around 60%, and using the excessive energy generation for hydrogen production from electrolysis. The hydrogen could be stored in large containers at night time when not needed, and used in hydrogen fired power plants during the day to meet peak load, as opposed to using NG.

Any excessive hydrogen generation could be processed into ammonia for fertilizers and for upgrading very heavy hydrocarbon deposits for limited oil use in earth moving equipment or transportation. Granted, such a schemed would reduce the already extremely high EROEI of nuclear from 100+ to 1 to perhaps 33% less, as energy is obviously lost in creating and storing hydrogen than can be produced by using hydrogen in a gas fired plant.

The benefits of such a setup are numerous:

1. As I already mentioned, the hydrogen can be used for a variety of critical fields.
2. We would not require a complete retooling of our infrastructure to store energy, unlike other proposals to have giant molten salt flats or huge caverns of latent wind energy, or even pumped water storage in a mountain hold.
3. It would replace most, if not all of our electrical carbon pollution in the long term.
4. We could build both nuclear and hydrogen fired gas plants at the same site, eliminating much of the transportation costs.

Assuming such a plan were put into place, I could easily see a setup like this:

60% Nuclear
15% Hydro
25% Hydrogen Gas
+10% Hydrogen 'storage' and 'upgrading'

In short, to me it seems to be a win-win situation for all. But that brings me back to my original question:

Assuming this setup in which hydrogen generation is obviously not a problem, what are the technical limitations to using hydrogen instead of natural gas in a gas fired power plant?


Now, in addition to this, I would mandate that all new vehicles produced would be hybrids, followed by plug in hybrids and eventually full EVs. This transition would take 5-10 years until every new vehicle produced is an EV. I would also ban incandescent light bulb sales from the beginning, and set up a new building code that requires one light switch operated power outlet to be placed in every room in the house. Think of all the 'phantom load' energy we would save :P

Hothgor wrote:

The current breakdown in energy generation in the US is:

18% Nuclear
15% Hydro
2% Wind and Solar
5% Oil
14% Natural GAs
46% Coal

Hothgor, I need a URL for those above figures. They looked strange to me, especially the "Hydro" figure. So I checked several places on the web and they all varied somewhat but all were pretty close nevertheless. They all put Hydro at between 6 and 7 percent, coal at around 50%, and Natural Gas at around 20%. The following is typical of several sites I found including the EIA.


Fuel Mix
In 2005, 49.7 percent of our nation's electricity was generated from coal. Nuclear energy produced 19.3 percent. Natural gas supplied 18.7 percent. Hydropower provided 6.5 percent of the supply. Fuel oil provided 3.0 percent of the generation mix. Biomass produced 1.6 percent, while other renewable resources, such as geothermal, solar, and wind, provided 1.3 percent of the supply.

The EIA figures can be found here:
If you click on "1.1 Energy Source: Total - All Sectors" it will bring up this page:

Or you can get it in Excel if you wish. I did and found that from 1992 to 2006, electrical power generated by oil dropped from from 3.06 percent to 1.09 percent.

In that same 14 year period electricity generated by Natural Gas went from 13 percent to over 20 percent. Coal dropped about 3.5 percent from 52.5 to about 49 percent, Nuclear remained about the same and Hydro dropped from about 8 percent to about 7 percent.

Ron Patterson

OK, you want to change from 18% nuclear to 60% - great. You know the average construction time for nuclear power stations right now? It's 16 (sixteen) years!
And in these sixteen years - you know how many of your existing nuclear plants are to be decommissioned? The average estimed life span of a nuke plant is 30 years.

Now go and start calculating how many new nuke plants you'd have to finish each year, mister dictator. (And after all, the final storage of the waste isn't clear at all. There is not a single ultimate disposal place in the world at this time.)

You know the average construction time for nuclear power stations right now? It's 16 (sixteen) years!

Bullshit makes the flowers grow, one by one, row by row.

And in these sixteen years - you know how many of your existing nuclear plants are to be decommissioned? The average estimed life span of a nuke plant is 30 years.

Wow the lies are thick today. Nuclear reactor lifespan is 40-60 years, and plant lifetime is indefinate. You can allways replace the reactor and build another in its place conserving many of the onsite infrastructure.

(And after all, the final storage of the waste isn't clear at all. There is not a single ultimate disposal place in the world at this time.)

This presumes that one is needed. It isn't. Store it in concrete casks for the next couple of centuries and by then we will either have better disposal options, a market for it, or civilization will have collapsed and no one is around to care anyways.

Wow the lies are thick today. Nuclear reactor lifespan is 40-60 years

Why don't you name one of these? Please name a reactor that's up & running and was built in 1947.

He's a dictator - he can bypass the typical approval process, environmental studies and what not and just start building. And then he can allocate all the resources he needs to do it. I am sure if he was supreme dictator of the world he could get a nuclear plant built quicker then 16 years.

Incidently China builds them for 5-6 years. But Japan builds them also for 5-6 years and they are not dictatorship. Obviously it's not only dependent on the form of government - maybe the quality of policies and the presence of NIMBYsm plays bigger role.

Of course the 16 years number was totally killing... people tend to make up all kinds of stupid statements when they want to prove their preconceptions. Even the way out of projected timeline Darlington NPP, which was stopped and delayed by various governments for no less than five times took 12 years to build - from 1981 to 1993. Not even close enough to that 16 years "average".

Of course the 16 years number was totally killing... people tend to make up all kinds of stupid statements when they want to prove their preconceptions.

People sometimes do think about the total time it needs to actually build a nuclear reactor.
Only in a few cases that is 5-6 years - and this is only the period of visible construction.
Add planning, site development etc, and you can easily get 10+ years - if everything works well.

The Darlington reactor blocks had a construction time of 8-9 years, as you can easily see from your posted link. Now you don't want to tell me workers just dropped in and started digging in 1981, will you? Indeed I assume that there was a considerable planning phase before that, and you wouldn't want to build a nuke reactor without planning ..

Currently there are 20 semi-finished reactors with a "construction" time of more than 20 years in the world. Some of them periodically show up in the list of the WNA - sometimes disappear and then show up again. And that's 20 of 28 total (Dec. 2006)!

And as of the life span of a reactor, there are a few of them round the world with a life time of only a few months (f.e. Muelheim-Kaerlich in Germany, 100 days total.)
Here are life times of all german reactors that have been shut down until now:

  • Greifswald/Lubmin: 1973-1990 (17 years)
  • Gundremmingen, Block A: 1966-1977 (11 y)
  • Hamm-Uentrop: 1985-1988 (3 y)
  • Kahl/Main: 1961-1985 (24 y)
  • Lingen: 1968-1979 (11 y)
  • Muelheim-Kaerlich: 1986-1988 (100 days of operation)
  • Obrigheim: 1968-2005 (37 y)
  • Stade: 1972-2003 (31 y)
  • Wuergassen: 1971-1994 (23 y)

The average of that is 17.5 years. Reactors mainly for research purposes (Karlsuhe, Juelich) not included.

The average age of all eleven active german reactors (ranging from 22 to 40 years) currently is 29.01 years. All of them are scheduled for shutdown/decommissioning until 2030.

I like the impulse behind this thought experiment (my partner and I have "if I ruled the world" conversations often). I offer only the following modifications/suggestions:

1. It needs to be global -- the problems facing our neighbors to the south (Cantarell crashing, storms, food shortages, refugees from their southern border) prove problems won't respect borders so solutions mustn't either. An equitable allocation of food and resources globally is the only long term solution, along with a massive reduction in population. Specifically, the dictator of the world would need to:

a) Set population targets --I don't recall specifics of carrying capacity but a target like 900 million by 2200 using contraception is probably ideal. Thoughts on this (and the nonviolent ways of achieving it) are welcome of course.

b) Price true costs of items -- not just the hydrocarbon component, which a carbon tax begins to approximate.

For example, according to reports from the UN and U of Chicago industrialized animal agriculture contributes 18% of global warming emissions, the largest fraction -- even larger than transportation. A mechanism (probably a tax) to capture the costs of production previously externalized is a must. My goal would be a local, low-carbon, essentially vegetarian diet. Education on nutrition, support for localization, and a mandate for locally-derived solutions (to match cultural, ecological and financial constraints) would be key.

c) Create a new class of crimes against humanity -- crimes against the environment. Corporate heads of polluting companies and their politician toadies would be held responsible and corporations could receive the death penalty (though people wouldn't). Run it as part of the International Criminal Court.

I like the impulse behind this thought experiment (my partner and I have "if I ruled the world" conversations often).

I think it is important to have these kinds of unrestrained conversations. First come the ideal solutions, and then we work within the political constraints to come up with something that might have a chance of actually being implemented. But at the end of the day, hopefully it has been more than just mental masturbation.

That's the problem: when you get down to what is politically acceptable you end up with no changes. That's why none of this stuff ever sees the light of day in congress.

Speaking of masturbation, it should be encouraged. It's good for the planet.

Hi Robert,

I'm glad to see this topic, and hope it's continued in future days, (esp. as I'm out of time for today). Just one "technical" Q:

"So, starting today, the tax on fossil fuels will be increased by $3/(barrel of oil equivalent) per month for at least the next 3 years..."

Just so I'm clear...how and upon whom (exactly) would this tax be imposed? On the companies who do the importing? So, the oil is taxed coming into this country? (And including that which is produced in US?) In other words, a tax on imports? Any chance you could get into more specifics on the actors?

I recall previously your mention that removing oil co. subsidies wouldn't amount to much (relatively speaking)...how would that compare to this increase tax?

Just so I'm clear...how and upon whom (exactly) would this tax be imposed? On the companies who do the importing? So, the oil is taxed coming into this country? (And including that which is produced in US?) In other words, a tax on imports? Any chance you could get into more specifics on the actors?

Yes, I would impose it upon all imports, as well as domestically produced oil. There are similar taxes in place for various national and state lands, so I don't think it would be difficult to administer.

I recall previously your mention that removing oil co. subsidies wouldn't amount to much (relatively speaking)...how would that compare to this increase tax?

Night and day. Removing direct subsidies would amount to a couple of cents a gallon. I would increase gas taxes by over triple that, and then increment that every month for at least 3 years.


This tax increase is only $0.0714 per gallon per month

For context, this corresponds to about $2.50/gal after the 3 years, which would raise the price of gas in the US to about $4.50/gal, or 25% less than most Europeans pay currently. So it's certainly doable.

OIL 70 PER BBL GOLD 700/OZ BETWEEN EASTER/PASSOVER AND THE 4TH OF JULY!WHY? The U N have 'decided'that they will not be spraying the poppy fields this year for fears of 'waterway contamination'.Looks like warin' futures have legs this season and a lot of American, British and Middle Eastern kids wont.

why is it that broadly speaking, human kind continues to overlook its latent propensity to hoard and gather [the c21 hunter gatherer]and ultimately 'own'. We have collectively decided that 'WE OWN GLOBAL WARMING'It's become a catch cry so loud at the political/prolitaria coal face that it makes it easy to imagine the likes of even Georgey Orwell rolling in his grave and shouting 'ITS 36!' Every dolphin feeding coral kissing tree hugging carbon dioxide respiring charity starts at home philosiphising oxegen thief has drawn the shallowest of conclusions from almost infinitessimal data availiable.[not that Iam a psalm 8er] But in our typically selfish myopia,it could be easilly argued, that we cant see the 'trees for the forrest' whilst simultaniously refusing to see the forrest for the tree that is living directly in front of us.It would be fair to say that our chapter of the human race started its pathway to the top of the food chain [and ownership perception]some 70,000 years ago [not even a jiffy on the cosmic and global calenders]when our self slaking self interested mitacondrial dna in the form of a small hungry african sub tribe walked out of the horn of africa into yemen and colonised the coastal rims of globe.Now in the scheme of all things including global warming and its more life threatening obverse phenominon GLOBAL COOLING,this treck that ultimately gave rise to us could be considered as THAT TREE GROWING IN FRONT OF US. That tree grew because of or latent propensity to evolve. Not just because we hunt and hoard and gather and protect what we perceive as 'our stuff' but because of that most wonderful of human traits ,the ability to 'ADAPT AND OVERCOME' or to be the devils'devil's advocate,buying on 'rumour' and selling on 'fact' or simply 'makin hay while the sun shines'.If there was a cosmic 'titles' office we couldnt possibly prove ownership unless we could post a case for squatters rites,but lets think for a moment about some of the other trees that havent been put into the equation ,and what made that tribe leave its comfort zone in the first place.[Or was it the secnd or third place]Yeah! the food dried up as the ice caps grew as the earth cooled as the atmosphere dryed as the global dynamics sine waved another chapter goodbye.Now its fair to say 'CONTINENTAL DRIFT IS STABLE[+OR MINUS A GONDWANA OR 2];POLARITY IS ROCK STEADY[+OR MINUS A HEMISPERE OR SO] SOL's THERMOSTATE IS UNWAVING [+ OR MINUS A K OR 2] THE OCEAN's DATUM IS FIXED[+OR MINUS 500meters OR MORE] ARABLE LAND IS PREDICABLE[+ OR MINUS AN ION OR SO ,AND GLOBAL TEMPERATURES,well in georgey's book the difference between 1948 and 1984 is 36.and the pendulum swings only when excited .LETS NOT GET TOO EXCITED.STAY TUNED FOR'CHINA EXCITES THE PENDULUM BUT ONLY EXASORBATES THE INEVITABLE.Remember the STONE AGE didnt end because they ran out of stones and from a a totally selfish perspective the weather is better where I am so its another tribe that will need to adapt and overome....REMEMBER THINGS STAY THE SAME FOR ABOUT A JIFFY AND THERES AT LEAST A HUNDRED OF THEM TO PICK ON EVERY SECOND.Thanx4takin1

YES I TALK TO MYSELF[no i don't,?,YES U DO!!]Did anyone happen to hear the TREASURER of INDIA'S comments when asked about his country's obligation to biospheric excitement[im sick of that inaccurate GLOBAL WARMING label someone tell me the crust is cooling or the cosmos is contracting causing the core to heat up and I'll cool down. He basically implied 'let those who caused the problem fixit' Sort of like Billy Connolly in THE MAN WHO SUED GOD .


Record numbers of people go bust

The number of people who were declared insolvent in England and Wales rose to a new record of 107,000 last year.

And, in addition, to Robert's comment (first off on this thread) —

The IPCC messed up. See Even Before Its Release, World Climate Report Is Criticized as Too Optimistic.

In Paris today the panel will issue its fourth assessment, and people familiar with its deliberations say it will moderate its gloom on sea level rise, lowering its worst-case estimate.

In theory that is good news, because rising seas bring erosion and flooding to coastal areas. But a lower estimate has not been uniformly cheered.

In letters to and conversations with panel members, and in scientific journals, several climate experts said the estimate was almost certainly wrong because the panel was leaving out a growing body of data on melting glaciers and inland ice sheets, which are major contributors to sea level rise.

Those experts say that unless the finding is modified, the panel — widely cited as an authoritative voice on climate change — risks condemning itself to irrelevance.

See Stuart's Greenland, or why you might care about ice physics. Here's the main IPCC finding.
On sea levels, the report projects rises of 7-23 inches by the end of the century. An additional 3.9-7.8 inches are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.
And this —
Other experts said the panel might have missed some important new developments, because it set a December 2005 cutoff date for submission of scientific papers and other data.

Since then, researchers have reported that Greenland’s ice sheet is melting faster than had been thought, that Antarctica is feeding more melt water into the oceans than had been predicted and that the melting of glaciers around the world is accelerating rapidly.

Sigh. There's nothing as effective as a complex bureaucracy in messing up a scientific finding. The ice sheets will continue to deteriorate and, all the while, people will say that sea level may rise as little as 7 inches in the 21st century. I will not be alive to see it, but I'll bet anybody right now that 1 to 2 metres is closer to the truth, given both thermal expansion and melting ice.

That projected rise of as little as 7 inches is saying that sea level will rise no more in the 21st century than it did in the 20th. Does anyone believe that? Anyone at all?
I cannot imagine the discussions as those lines of the report were negotiated.

If Tim Flannery is correct and the arctic ice cap will be melted in 5 to 15 years, IIRC this equates to a 20 foot rise in sea levels. We will also lose the refective quality of all this ice, so warming increases further.

If Flannery is correct, I wonder how soon large parts of the Antarctic ice cap start sliding off, as well?

I wonder how soon large parts of the Antarctic ice cap start sliding off, as well?

I think they already are.

YEP have a read of my paragraph at the very bottom of this page.

Re: IIRC this equates to a 20 foot rise in sea levels

Sorry, Gail, I don't think you recall correctly. We would get 7 meters, or 23 feet, of sea level rise with the loss of the entire Greenland ice sheet. That's not what Flannery is referring to. He's talking about a (perhaps) seasonal loss of all ice overlaying the Arctic Ocean, the loss of which would not raise sea level at all. However, the warming Arctic, and resulting positive feedback (greater albedo) from that ice loss would have effects on other land areas at high northern latitudes, including Greenland.

Sorry, I meant lesser albedo, which means enhanced ability for the surface (now water, not ice) to absorb solar radiation.

This whole IPCC thing has me a bit rattled. Here it is, they had a chance to connect with a knock-out punch and what did they do? They pulled their punches, instead, especially on sea level. I'll have to see what the actual report says about Arctic warming.

The 21 pp summary for policy makers is at ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf.
Amazingly dry, too dense for any politician to read, astonishingly cautious tentative etc
You're right. Most disappointing.

Thanks, Dave and RalphW for the correction. I was confusing the arctic ice cap with Greenland.

Does Flannery have any estimate with respect to the timing of the melting of Greenland ice? How about other scientists? How do tipping points fit into this?

I assume by tipping point here you mean a climate surprise.

A climate surprise is defined by the IPCC as a rapid, non-linear response of the climatic system to anthropogenic climate forcing (global warming). Climate surprises are low-probability, high-consequence extreme events, such as a collapse of the "conveyor belt" thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean or rapid deglaciation of polar ice sheets. Because the global climate is made up of a number of complex subsystems which interact in complex and chaotic ways, climate change may lead to relatively few changes up to a tipping point, beyond which the system may tip into a new equilibrium.
As for Greenland, there was a paper a few years back by a climate scientist named Gregory — see Greenland ice cap 'doomed to meltdown'. Nobody knows, really. To lose the whole ice sheet would take centuries. But, what if we lost 25% of it by 2100? Due to a climate surprise!

Dave et al, the purpose of IPCC AR4 is to weed out the junk science out there and give policy makers best efforts data. As i mentioned last nite, the balanced energy and fossil fuel scenario (A1B) forecasts a 35cm rise in sea level by 2100. There will be continued rise due to "unrealized or committed" warming of 55cm by 2300. And more. This is based on a temp rise of 2.8C by 2100.

If the temp continues to rise over 3.3C (from y2k levels) and sustains itself there for one millenium, we will lose Greenland. That process will take another thousand years and result in the oft quoted 700cm.

In summary, that's about 800cm over two thousand one hundred years. That is 4mm/yr compard to the current 3.5mm/yr (and the 2mm/yr of the 20th Century. But again, it doesn't reach critical mass and start for a thousand years. The full report will include some other forcings that may take that worst case figure to 5 or 6mm/yr. The alarmism at TOD is completely unsubstantiated by any real science.

I think you're confusing the the permanent arctic sea ice, which is
melting rapidly, but does not affect sea levels dramatically, and the
Greenland ice cap, which indeed would raise sea levels 20 feet if it melted
entirely. This is a much slower process, as it is miles thick in parts,
and I have yet to see a timescale less than centuries for this, even allowing
for rapid acceleration of glacial melting that has been observed in the
last few years. Of course it might be faster...

New data suggests that we don't understand the physics behind melting Greenland and Antarctic ice very well and that this melting is accelerating:

In the past, the climate change panel didn't figure there would be large melt of ice in west Antarctica and Greenland this century and didn't factor it into the predictions. Those forecasts were based only on the sea level rise from melting glaciers (which are different from ice sheets) and the physical expansion of water as it warms.

But in 2002, Antarctica's 1,255-square-mile Larsen B ice shelf broke off and disappeared in just 35 days. And recent NASA data shows that Greenland is losing 53 cubic miles of ice each year _ twice the rate it was losing in 1996.


If Tim Flannery is correct it will not matter that sea level rises come along in a decade or three. Any sea level rise on the order of metres is going to take some time.
Total loss - heck even a 50% loss of arctic ice cover - will throw all planetary weather systems so far out of whack other problems will recede.No ice at the pole, no stable weather patterns, crop failure.
If Flannery is right we are SOL.

Flannery is referring to the ice cap on the Arctic Ocean, not the Greenland Ice Cap.

Just to put this in perspective: the IPCC is a panel, which is a fancy term for committee. This committee consists of scientists, economists, and policy workers. Everyone has to sign off on it, nearly all with reservations.

Many scientists are indeed unhappy with AR4, thinking its conclusions are too conservative. Just as they were with TAR. Just as they were with SAR (the 1st AR was before my time, maybe they were with that one too). If it makes you all feel any better the scientists have been mostly right -- things are happening to a greater degree and more quickly than projected in TAR. Me, I'm guessing AR4 will provide a lower bound.

To add to the perspective, the cut-off date for submissions to the IPCC for inclusion in AR4 was back in 2005. Evidence of accelerated ablation of the Greenland ice cap came fairly recently and missed the cut-off.

All of the reports have been consrvative. I waded through all of the second and all of its associated reports and I thought the evidence was pretty clear and that the summary understated the extent of the problem.


From Chevron release:

"A shortage of offshore drilling rigs forced the company to halt work in September on the $3 billion Jack prospect, part of a 200-mile (322-kilometer) swath of crude beneath the Gulf of Mexico that may be bigger than Alaska's Prudhoe Bay field."

reported on Bloomberg: www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aMutQBjmgEkk&refer=home

Yes, Chevron can't work on more appraisal wells. This was announced back in September.

A shortage of offshore drilling rigs forced the company to halt work in September on the $3 billion Jack prospect, part of a 200-mile (322-kilometer) swath of crude beneath the Gulf of Mexico that may be bigger than Alaska's Prudhoe Bay field.
Let me rewrite this passage.
A shortage of offshore drilling rigs forced the company to halt work in September on the $3 billion Jack prospect, part of a 200-mile (322-kilometer) swath of crude beneath the Gulf of Mexico that may only have recoverable reserves of 3 billion barrels of oil, less than 1/2 of America's yearly consumption, and which may never be produced at all.
How's that? Sound better?

Here's the solution to rising sea levels. Pity the poor schmucks who wasted their money on oceanside real estate. The really cool people are going for ocean real estate. ;-)

Ocean real estate: The next boom?

As Earth gets increasingly crowded and polluted, some 225 million square miles or prime real estate representing 71 percent of the planet's surface is largely unused. It's remarkable considering the oceans promise plenty of living space, fresh seafood, entertainment, and desalinized water. Surely, technology can make this happen.

I have my eye on a little bit of real estate in the interior of Antarctica. It's under ice right now, but if I am patient enough.....

You really do need the picture, Leanan.

Poseidon Undersea Resort
Accessible by elevator and nestled in the chrystal clear cerulean waters [!] of a 5,000-acre Fijian lagoon, Poseidon Underseas Resort is the world's first sea-floor resort and the only place where you can spend the night 40 feet underwater in incomparable luxury.

Great picture.

Recline in comfort in your undersea cocoon while the masses above froth, pitch, and die in their own shit.

"Recline in comfort"...

No! Can we please get this right? The correct term is not "comfort", it is "incomparable luxury"!


"Surely, technology can make this happen."

Of course it can! Technology can make anything happen! What are people worried about? All Praise Technology!

PS - Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe!

PPS - Why, there's a virtually unlimited supply of everything on the Moon (asteroid belt/seafloor/whatever)

Gotta mention the unfolding devestation in Florida. An hour ago the death toll from those storms was 2, it's now up to 14! Check out CNN. The reports are just coming in, and the storms aren't over yet.

It makes me crazy when Chad Meyers, CNN weather guy, blames it all on El Nino. Partly, sure, but... Of course I'd bet he'd love to say (((globalwarming))) (whisper), but it's forbidden during regular broadcasts.

Another idiot. In November, i posted that el nino would prevent oil and gas spikes due to continental warming, bring frigid temps in yukon and siberia and lotsa tornadoes. What is your frickin problem? Do u really try being this stupid?


Dear Dictator,

1) What's your plan to deal with North American N.G.?

2) Are you going to stop corn ethanol?

3) What is your position on developing oil sands?

So Tim Flannery thinks the Arctic ice cap could disappear in as little as 5 years? Wow! I fear he may be right. This will be a huge boost to feedback mechanisms, sunlight reflected back into space by ice and snow is Earth's air conditioner. I don't think the HVAC folks can fix this one!

Not to mention a real bummer for the polar bears. :-(

The report is alarming, IMO, precisely because it's "science by committee," where politics are likely as important as science. And it's still rather hair-raising:

On sea levels, the report projects rises of 7-23 inches by the end of the century. An additional 3.9-7.8 inches are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

That's about 80 cm, boys and girls. And that estimate might be soft-pedaling the problem?! o_O

80 cm is within the range of the 2001 IPCC TAR, they did not change the estimate upwards at all based on alarming new results from Greenland and W. Antarctica.

Many scientists doing that work on the ice sheets think this is a problem, which I pointed out above.

The research shows that between 1993 and 2006, sea levels rose by 3.3mm a year on average, while the 2001 IPCC report had predicted an annual rise of less than 2mm.

This is right at the upper limit of the uncertainty in the IPCC's predictions due to very little data on how ice on land will respond to warming and how fast it will melt. If the climate follows this upper sea level prediction we will experience an 88cm rise in sea levels by the end of the century - much higher than the 14 - 43cm [?] rise predicted under the IPCC's most likely climate scenario.

This 88 cm must be a linear extrapolation of the rate of increase seen in the last 13 years of data. Who here thinks that the rate of melt of the major ice sheets will follow this linear trend between now and the year 2100?

From Sea-level won’t threaten the Netherlands.

The UN’s climate panel (IPCC) said in the report presented in Paris that sea-level will rise 18 to 59 centimetres by 2100. That is a narrower margin than it reported in its last report in 2001. At that time the UN forecast a rise of 9 to 88 centimetres
This misleading quote does not even take into account the "possible" extra rise (+21 cm) from melting ice sheets. So, the media damage caused by this bogus IPCC estimate is already apparent.

Then there's this, from this month's Discover:

Butterfly effect breaks up the world's biggest iceberg

The largest icebergs usually hug the Antarctic coast for decades before wandering into deep ocean water, where they melt and fall to pieces. To listen for clues about how such icebergs eventually break apart, geophysicists Douglas MacAyeal of the University of Chicago and Emile Okal of Northwestern University planted seismographs on the surface of iceberg B15A, a 71-mile-long block of ice with the distinction of being the world's largest free-floating object. Their recording turned up the sounds of the iceberg being battered to bits against the Antarctic shore over a couple days in October 2005. The big surprise came when the researchers tracked down the origin of that battering.

By measuring ocean swells of different wavelengths, the duo traced the destructive turbulence to a storm in the Gulf of Alaska that, a few days earlier, had kicked up 40-foot-high seas. Like the proverbial butterfly that flapped its wings in Beijing and caused a hurricane halfway around the world, the Alaskan storm's waves spread out across the Pacific Ocean and broke apart an iceberg more than 8,000 miles away. "It was jaw dropping," says MacAyeal.

If global warming leads to an increase in monster storms, MacAyeal adds, then the entire Antarctic ice skirt could be in jeopardy: Larger sea swells could pulverize its huge icebergs and floating ice shelves. The ice skirt plays a critical role in keeping the land-based Antarctic ice cap in place. Destroy the floating ice and the ice cap (which holds enough water to raise sea levels by 200 feet) would collapse unimpeded into the sea.

No, I don't think it's going to be linear. I think it's going to go all pear-shaped, as they say across the pond.

And if large chunks of ice sitting on land suddenly crash/slide into the ocean, seems that this would create waves. Big ones.

These ice sheets don't just melt at the edges. Meltwater ponds develop all over the top of the ice sheets, and this water drills straight down through the ice, two or three miles thick in places, until it hits the land underneath. So the melting is going on internally as well as on the surface. This is rendering these recently-solid continent-sized blocks of ice into the icy equivalent of swiss cheese. Even when the surface freezes over again in the winter, the melting below the surface has to continue - inside the glacier the temperature is barely below 32 degrees due to the insulating properties of ice. And the water lubricating the ice/land boundary means that these ice sheets are not firmly attached to the land surface like we'd prefer, they are floating there, and like a kid on a slip'n'slide, poised to slide downhill.
The collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002 was a perfect example of the results of these meltwater ponds. This entire phenomenon was not even guessed at until that collapse was observed. That was an ice shelf sitting on water, and it collapsed into relatively small pieces. And, of course, it had no way to create tsunamis or create sudden sea level rises because it was already displacing water. But I fear a major breakup on land is likely to create larger chunks which could create large tsunamis. And what would really suck - if it did happen once, it would have to happen again. and again. and again.

I'll freely admit that I don't see much concern about this possibility, even in Climate Change circles. I can't believe that I'm the only one who has thought of this, though, because as I've mentioned before, I can't really be that smart, I'm too poor. But I do see some references to the liklihood that the Climate Scientists only relay some of their concerns publicly. Al Gore mentions this somewhere. Scientists do have to protect their reputations, and, yes of course, their funding (scientists eat too), so going public with their more dramatic concerns can be dangerous business. What I need is a bar somewhere where Climate Scientists hang out, I'll buy a couple of rounds and we'll talk some turkey! ((and what the hell does that mean anyway??))

Remember the post-911 "Personal Parachutes" for high-rise dwellers? Maybe a boat would be a better idea...

I saw eleven year olds on tv talking about climate change that know more than u. Please stop posting this drivel.


Only a total retard uses upper band stats to prove a point. It polarizes the debate by inviting other camps to use the lower band. Welcome to the lunatic fringe, Leanan. Your negative value add these past three weeks in the lead up to AR4 are disgusting.

But that's your agenda, right. U knew from press releases of the underlying science that your doomster scenario was f*cked with the Release of the UN report.

The idiots that have tried to hijack this site will bombard us with hundreds of fringe articles to keep their apolalypse hopes alive ... but it will all be in vain. You have been outed today by the U.N.

You, Frauddy, are a mental midget. You don't possess the wit to determine the membership of the lunatic fringe.

Only the fooled and fools assume the UN prognostications represent the scientific consensus. This part of the report was produced by bureaucrats serving politicians.

oh great, another know nothing blathering idiot.

Moo! (Third in a row/thread. Gosh, how I like smell of a smoking troll in a morning/evening:)
(If this would be a Bullshit Bingo, I would stand up and say Bullshit:)

As of Groundhog Day, 2007
(Crude Oil = Crude + Condensate, EIA Data)

Since the (so far) peak of world crude oil production in May, 2005, the world has consumed about 44 Gb of crude oil.

This is close to the entire recoverable oil reserves in four Prudhoe Bay fields (Prudhoe Bay is the largest oil field in North America, and one of the 93% to 100% of super giants now in decline).

Since May, 2005, based on Deffeyes' HL plot, we have consumed more than 4% of all remaining recoverable conventional crude oil reserves.

In Defense of the American Consumer
One could argue that American consumers think that they are reacting rationally to higher food and energy prices, by borrowing to maintain their standard of living. After all, aren't the "experts" assuring us that we have ample energy supplies?

Yergin, ExxonMobil, Peter Huber, et al, all assure us that we don't have to worry about Peak Oil for decades to come. Huber says that we will continue to increase our energy consumption rate--essentially forever.

So, given the overwhelming message that Americans are getting from the "experts," I suspect that the prevailing thought is why go to the expense and hassle of downsizing your home and commute, when higher food and energy prices are just temporary?

A note from thehousingbubbleblog.com:

“About 12.5 percent of riskier mortgages nationwide were delinquent by last fall. Nearly 1 million homeowners nationwide either lost their homes or missed monthly payments from July to September, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.”

Thank you, Jeffrey. I appreciate the connections.

RR, benevolent dictator, may I suggest you consider a "cap and trade" scheme as an alternative to a carbon tax? In particular, cap and share seeks to cap CO2 emissions (reducing them annually) and distributing the allocations as a tradeable share certificate to everybody.

Jim Puplava is an investment consultant whose Web site (Financial Sense) is very Peak Oil aware. Jim himself claims to have read 70-80 books on PO (I didn't know there were so many!). His recent Web radio broadcast A Day in a Life Without Oil (transcript here) is perhaps one of his more comprehensive statements Peak Oil and its potential impacts both short- and long- term.

He starts off with his view of the centrality of oil in virtually all aspects of our way of life:

John: ...What would a day without oil be like?

Jim: Well, John, when you think of oil the first thing that probably comes to your mind is the gas you put in your car, the jet fuel that they put on the airplane or the diesel fuel they put on the big ships or consume. And to some extent that's true. 90% of the transportation system in this country – car, rail, plane, ships – runs on oil or natural gas. So when we think of oil or energy, that 90% for transportation is the first thing that comes to mind. But I think most people are less aware that 95% of all the goods and services that you see in our economy are based on petroleum. And further more, even more vital to our health, 95% of food production comes from oil.

Those 95%'s are striking. After elaborating this theme, giving equally dire numbers on projected supply / demand, and taking our current leaders to task for misguided and underinformed thinking, he ends with his investment prognosis:

So John, as we get further into the year by March and Spring, I think you're going to start seeing a panic in the market. And I see three things happening in the first half of the year: number one, economic growth begins to come down considerably. We may be seeing economic growths well below 2%. You start to see a continuation of the slide in real estate and that has serious consequences for the banking system, especially sub prime lenders. Thirdly, I think you have a major correction in the capital markets (meaning the stock market). And I think the combination of those three events, a slowing economy, a slowing real estate market that begins to look more like a financial crisis, and thirdly, a crisis in the financial markets reflected in lower stock prices. Those three events combined sets the stage for the Fed to lower interest rates as we get into the second half. And I think when they do, they'll be doing it more in a panic mode than they will because they would have stayed the course of high interest rates too long. There's just no way that they can raise interest rates. If they do that, this Congress is going to have Bernanke's head on a plate.

He also singles out the hedge funds (with risk typically leveraged 50 times from investment) as creating a huge and little understood vulnerability to global finance.

I've been reading the Financial Sense Web site for some time now and believe that both the man and the site have some important things to say.

I've been following Jim Puplava and Financial Sense Online for about a year and half. I have never been exposed before to such an intelligent, broad, geo-political aware investor ever. I have the up most respect for him. I would actually border on saying that he is "brilliant". My mind has been opened up and my understanding of the world has increased by leaps and bounds. Jim holds no punches and will tell you how he sees it.

During the past year and half, his “road-map” of the immediate (6-12 months) and intermediate future (12-18 months) has followed damn near exactly as he predicted.

I absolutely detest financial advisors; but if I was going to have my money managed by anyone, it would be Jim. I just wish his net worth and minimum investment requirements were not so high.

My big beef with Puplava is that he discounts global warming entirely-- and won't even consider the possibility of it happening. He is smart-- but to completely discount all of science on this is a huge blind spot for him. It makes me wonder what else he is missing, when he talks about things that I do not know so much about.

Here are a couple of pics of the orange snow in Russia:


Yuck! A Slurpee machine gone wild...

Probably Snow algae. Looks alot like the Chamydomonas I've seen on springtime Rocky Mtn snowfields.


Yep, bet that's it! Interesting phenomenon, never heard of such a thing. Odd that something like this is presented as a big mystery when the answer is so easily available. Even here:


May be more to it than snow algae. It sure looked like it in that first link's photographs, and with the ads for Russian girls, I didn't think much for the veracity of the site.

Now it seeems the bbc is commnenting on something different-smelly, and a yellow tinge falling from the sky. Snow algae that I know are red/orange and grow on the snow pack, somehow remaining on the surface of the snow field as the pack beneath recedes.


Today's quotes:
June 2007 5963
December 2007 6220
December 2008 6330
December 2009 6355
December 2010 6310
December 2011 6234
December 2012 6300

Hello TODers,

Cruise ship spilled fuel off Antarctic island

This is pure wasted energy, pure stupidity! Since Antarctica is basically owned by many countries: they should have no problem banning tourists from Antarctica. This environment is too pristine and too important for this kind of crap. The risks to passengers and rescuers alike is too high to allow this to continue. My two cents is if you want to 'experience' Antarctica: buy a photo book of this continent, then look at the photos while standing outside in a blizzard in sub-zero weather in Bismarck, ND [or is it SD?].

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

Hi Bob,
Yeah, isn't it ironic. If you truly love the wilderness, the best thing you can do is to stay out of it.

The people who go on these cruises don't love the wilderness, they only love their own vanity.

I have been to Antarctica, once. It was for a research project and the most amazing thing I have seen in my life. I would love to see it again, but I will NEVER go there to satisfy my curiosity. Once you see how pristine the continent is, and how fragile, there should be a moral voice inside you telling you to stay away. I have that voice. I know that I don't belong there. Nobody does.

Tourist visits to South Pole station started in the last half of the 80's. Only for the well-to-do. Cruise ship would take them to various stops on the Antarctic Peninsula. At the southernmost stop a few (who had paid big bucks) would climb aboard a DeHaviland Twin Otter or similar and fly to SP. I remember having to get a Navy LC-130 to SP to medevac a 60+ year old tourist, with a known cardiovascular condition. IIRC he had collapsed while coming back up the snowy ramp inside the old dome to get out. SP is 9300 feet above sea level, but with atmosphere being thinner at the poles the equivalent altitude can approach 10K ft. We had to launch an alert bird, fly 3 hours to SP, three hours back, then change crews for 8 hour flight to Christchurch, NZ. Needless hazarding of flight crew and plane, and waste of fuel. We sent him a bill, got an earful from his congressman.

Used to get "congressionals," ie, notes from congress critters, about things we did/did not do in Antarctica. Also they would forward us requests for assistance from constituents. Got one complaining about American tourists not being allowed to shop for souvenirs at the the small "store" (about 8x10) at South Pole after a group was told they were not allowed to buy unlimited quantities of the small number of "South Pole" t-shirts carried there (intended for sale to researches, assistants and station staff).

Researchers can take up to 5 years to get their projects proposed, reviewed, approved, funded and scheduled. They normally have a very limited time slot "on the ice" to get their work done. I still hear from some I knew back when, and they are complaining more and more about their research efforts on the ice being interrupted either directly by tourists or by the side effects of research stations having to deal with tourists.

As a teenager in the 70's I used to do a lot of backapacking in the High Sierra wilderness in California. At the time, there were few people who ventured up there and you didn't need a permit. Now it's very crowded in the wilderness areas and permits are required. Perhaps it should be further regulated to keep the human imprint at a minimum.

I spent 3 weeks in Tierra del Fuego/Ushuaia, Argentina during Dec 2003 and Jan 2004 (visiting wife's relatives). My nephew's girlfriend had gotten a job working on a small tour ship taking tourists to Antarctica. It is quite a business. The Drake passage is quite rough. There is also, from what I am told, an Antarctic Marathon now. It satisfies the whims of those who want to be able to say that they have actually run a marathon on each continent. Go figure.

Vigilante farmer faces charges

A 74-year-old man is facing more serious charges than the thief he caught. He chased a young man, who was in a car with a woman and three-year-old child, at speeds up 70 mph, then held them at gunpoint until police arrived.

The man admitted to stealing $5 worth of gasoline. There is no local police force, and criminals often get away before the cops arrive from the next town over.

From the article:

Sheriff Mike Ammend said people can’t take the law into their own hands, and that the [74-year-old man's] actions were “an invitation to a shootout. There’s so many things that could have gone wrong here.”

"Invitation to a shoot-out."
It's quotes like that that raise bemused eyebrows among foreigners like myself. The cop readily makes the assumption both parties are likely to be armed!

The cop readily makes the assumption both parties are likely to be armed!

A very reasonable assumption. Criminals are often armed here in the U.S. That being the case, people usually don't chase them unless they are armed as well.

For sure, the cop knows what he's talking about.

And we do have the rare gunfight in Toronto, too. (Drugs and gang related)

But the general reaction here, if a victim pulled a gun in a case of petty theft, would be "My god, man, are you nuts? you are going to hurt somebody with that thing."

I can't see a cop saying, "You're going to cause a gunfight!". But, a cop might correct me, on that.

Well, as they say: You knew it was inevitable but now it's official.

America is addicted to imported biofuels.
(sorry for the bold, I'm not feeling self-restrained today)

From the WSJ
Meanwhile, Imports are Rising ($$$)

Even as the U.S. looks to ethanol as a way to wean itself off foreign petroleum supplies, imports of the biofuel are soaring.

Despite a sharp tariff levied on most ethanol shipped from abroad, importers are finding they can compete with domestic ethanol on price. Some foreign suppliers, especially Brazil, also can provide ethanol more easily in some cases because of shipping bottlenecks in some areas of the U.S.

The surge in imports has yet to cause political backlash because U.S. ethanol supplies haven't caught up with demand. But tensions could arise this year as production at a slew of new domestic ethanol plants threatens to outstrip demand. Already, Corn Belt farmers who supply ethanol plants have taken to calling Brazil, the top foreign supplier of ethanol to the U.S., the "Saudi Arabia" of ethanol. "Why should we be trading dependency on one energy source for dependency on another?" asks Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for the U.S. ethanol industry.

The chart shows that imports last year grew much faster than domestic production. Up by more than 400% over the previous year.

Total imports not a huge deal at this point (maybe 12% - from eyeballing the chart), but we know where that leads.

"Why should we be trading dependency on one energy source for dependency on another?"

Because Brazilians don't want to kill us, and if they get richer, it will be better for us. It's pretty obvious, right?

Sheesh, the corn ethanolers already have a huge subsidy.

They don't want to really be subjected the economics of EREOI which of course strongly favors Brazilian sugar over corn.

For sure.

But, at the same time, if it got to the point where a significant amount of liquid energy came from Brazil, the US very conceivabley might have to involve itself in the politics of that country to ensure stable supply.

And, that's when people start hating your ass.

I'm by no means anti-American, but I did get mildly cranky when I read this article:


And I thought our government's reply was good. I hope it's more than air.

But, the truth is, you guys are energy gluttons. You ate your own lunch, you are grabbing at other people's lunches.

In a civil world, you would be made to stand in the corner.

(Leave us alone while we gobble our lunch, then we'll rampage with you. :)

I've recently installed a small application on my PC called "Local Cooling" that makes an energy diagnostic of your computer (screen, hard drive, etc.). You can then customize the application to help reduce your electricity consumption. At first, I was afraid of spamware or spyware but the application is crystal clean according to processlibrary.com. More details on my blog:

Fight Global Warming From Your Computer

I you do create an account, specify that your are in the "Peak Oil" group in your profile so that it may appear in the top 100 team on the front page.

Note: Don't forget, If you think it's worth it then hit reddit on my page :).

I tried installing that, when someone posted the link last year. Didn't work. Gave me some kind of error message, then blew up. (Had to reboot my computer.)

I suppose I could have tried to troubleshoot it, but near as I can tell, it doesn't do anything you can't do on your own. I guess most people just never bother adjusting their power settings.

They have a new version since, so far It's working fine for me. I agree that it's not rocket science, it makes just people more aware I guess.

these programs do nothing but change settings already available to you. do a little research and you can set it yourself without the bloat of a extra program running in the background. something a xp machine needs much less of.
of course if your so concerned about power usage. switch to linux. it's less bloated code helps :P

That is cool! Sadly, works only on Windows XP it seems and my office computer has Win2k...

I am running the lowest power settings that are compatible with our backup scheme. I wonder if this tool could do better?

You have been made dictator of the world. Your policies are going to be implemented without question. What new energy policies do you enact?

Let’s restrict this to energy, as this could really get way off topic otherwise.

- Energy, that is its availability and use, is tied to people and their actions; the flat earth pov that stipulates that ‘energy’ is a sort of puzzle to be solved on its own, is amenable to manipulations and compensations, e.g. hydrogen cells will drive SUVs, Iraq oil will finally flow, ethanol from sugar cane will be fine, snake oil can illuminate designer lamps, and palm oil is way cool - is narrow.

In 1950, the people of France did not kill or pray to get pineapples :) That said:

Gvmt measures:

A ban on new building of any kind whatsoever, but small subsidies for ‘green’ improvements on existing ones, and help for ‘doubling up’. A complete review of territorial policy, taking transport into account but leaving that pretty much alone in the short term, except for rationalization (eg. trucking, rail, bikes, etc.) and once again doubling up...Decent unemployment pay for some eg. in the building trades (...). Tax money spent on overhaul of water pipes, roads, etc.

Tax on imports (textiles, toys, tee vees and so on.) Publicity (aid..) for all ‘local’ food, machine, etc., production. Mild to begin with.

Heavy tax, penalties, if it can be done (the bureaucracy is getting out of hand!) on ‘waste’ - Swimming pools, golf courses, ornamentals, vanity crap, etc.

There it is:

......How can ppl in the OECD, thinking of the US in particular, be told, because of energy considerations, you cannot, even if you are rich, buy virgin land; cannot build a new home; cannot buy a new-built one; cannot have more than one car, and it must emits less than x CO2 per km; your children must be schooled locally; you can employ a maid only by housing her and paying her a very good salary; your garden can only use X water per month.

So, your pile of money is useless.

That cuts to the heart of a ‘capitalist’ economy. And that is what has to be faced.

While I am up and lit up:

All the lights be turned off at night, curfew, from 22 oo to 6 00.


A ban on new building of any kind whatsoever ...

Drat, laid off again!

As we have all been jabbering away...crude is sneaking back up to $60 again.

Crude Oil Jumps on Increased Fuel Demand, OPEC Production Cuts


Crude oil surged to the highest close this year in New York on speculation that inventories will drop because of strengthening fuel demand in the U.S. and OPEC's production cuts.

Thank God this is due to just fuel demand and OPEC cuts and not something drastic like Cantarell crashing!!

A drop of 500 kbpd! again!

Can Mr. Rapier can tell us at what price level he expects his secret Canadian suppliers and Saudi Arabia to ramp up production?

As I have said numerous times, it isn't just price. Inventory levels can't be high and climbing as they have been, or there's no place to put the oil. Even if oil was $150/bbl right now, the recent trends in inventories will tell you that higher production isn't in the cards for a while.

I would add, after having read the article:

OPEC shipments of crude oil will decline 0.16 percent in the month ending Feb. 17 as the group continues to implement a production cut agreed last year, consulting company Oil Movements said. The group will load 24.5 million barrels a day onto tankers in the period, down from 24.54 million barrels in the four weeks ended Jan. 20, the Halifax, England-based consultant said.

Emphasis mine. It wasn't like this was out of the clear blue sky. That's down 40,000 bpd from the previous month. I don't expect that to turn until inventories stop rising.

I am not sure what inventories you think are rising. The IEA predicts OECD oil/product inventories will drop about 200 million barrels in the six month period starting with the fourth quarter of 2006 through the first quarter of 2007. There is no reason for me to think they are incorrect based on current use and production – especially sharp drops in total OPEC production actually starting way back in September 2006.

Granted US inventories have not fallen in the month of January, but that is more than 100% due to the fact tankers arriving last December were not off-loaded until January. Otherwise the unmistakable trend in the US that started the first week of October 2006 would be down.

Also, many Mideast oil producers cut allocations mostly to the Far East and not the US in January/February. Let's see how well US inventories hold up in March when a much bigger OPEC cut is made.

I am not sure what inventories you think are rising.

U.S. inventories, for over a year now, have been well above their historical levels. They started to fall back toward normal in November, but then lately they have started to climb again. So, for the U.S., the market is still adequately supplied despite the cuts.

The OECD is similarly setting on record inventories. See the graph Khebab posted in the Matt Simmons thread:


If OECD inventories fell by 200 million barrels, they would still be high.

I disagree. A 200 million plus barrel drop by the end of March and we will have less days of supply than last year.

This is direct from the IEA site:

OECD total industry oil stocks continued to decline in November, falling by 33 mb as product draws offset a modest crude oil stock build. Provisional data suggest the trend continued in December. While total OECD stocks are 41 mb higher than one year ago at 2,712 mb, forward demand cover fell by one day from October to 54 days.

OECD Inventory Position at End-November and Revisions to Preliminary Data

OECD total industry stocks stood at 2,712 mb at the end of November, a fall of 33 mb from October and 41 mb higher year-on-year. This year-on-year increase is higher than last month’s report, when the difference was 33 mb. Total product stocks rose 12 mb on the year, while crude levels were 37 mb higher. On a regional basis, total North American stocks are 14 mb over 2005 equivalents; European levels are 5 mb higher, while total Pacific oil stocks are 21 mb up on the year.

Granted US inventories have not fallen in the month of January, but that is more than 100% due to the fact tankers arriving last December were not off-loaded until January. Otherwise the unmistakable trend in the US that started the first week of October 2006 would be down.

In ONE port, in ONE city, in ONE terminal, oil shipments were delayed for 1 week by fog. This happened in December. Are you honestly trying to suggest that this small backlog, which was compensated for 2 days later, has somehow influenced January's numbers?

I'm more than 100% sure your just blowing hot air and are just jumping on the bandwagon.

Well then you better talk to the EIA and tell them to stop blowing hot air! They said inventories in the week ending January 12 were increased by almost 7 million due to December imports:

U.S. crude imports rose by 1.5 million barrels, the EIA said, well up on the 550,000-barrel increase expected. EIA analyst Doug MacIntyre said the increase in imports was likely in response to fog-induced delays to shipping in Texas at the end of 2006.

1/18/07 Oster Dow Jones 20:56:16


My comments over on the Simmons thread:

Two comments:

(1) We probably want to look at commercial crude oil stocks relative to consumption. Note that crude oil consumption is up by about 8% since just 1997. Also, I think that the graph includes SPR stocks.

On a Days Supply basis, US commercial crude oil stocks have fallen by 19% from January, 1987 to January, 2007 (average of first four weeks in both cases), from 25.9 days to 20.9 days.

(2) We have only seen, through October, a slight (1% more or less) drop in crude + condensate production. Which areas are likely to see forced conservation, areas where per capita income is measured in hundreds of dollars per year, or areas like the OECD countries, where per capita income is much higher?

In other words, OECD stocks are remaining adequate because of forced conservation in poorer countries. However, IMO the forced conservation is moving "up the food chain."

I noted, on the open thread, that since May, 2005 the world has consumed about 44 Gb of crude + condensate, which is equivalent to about four Prudhoe Bay Fields. Based on Deffeyes' HL plot we have consumed more than 4% of our total remaining conventional recoverable crude + condensate reserves, just since May, 2005.


Published on 18 Nov 2006 by Wall St Journal. Archived on 23 Nov 2006.
As Fuel Prices Soar, A Country Unravels
by Chip Cummins

Conakry, Guinea

While robust economies like America and China are withstanding the shock, the poorest countries aren't. Increasingly they can't afford to slake their citizens' thirst for petroleum -- breeding another form of energy insecurity. The pressure threatens to undermine economies and sow domestic strife, further unsettling shaky regions and presenting fresh worries for policy makers in the West.

Oil's up $1.90 so far, over $59. And gasoline is up almost a nickel today! I guess the summer driving season is starting early this year...

We gonna be back over $60 next week? Place your bets, lady and gentlemen.

Looks like the KSA might have to open the taps soon. Then we'll find out whether or not they're already open!

I don't know if anyone else has commented on this, but several weeks ago CNN ran a story called "Iran: Oil profits could dry up by 2015". It was picked up by the AP and described how Irans oil depletion was going to cause a financial and energy crisis domestically in Iran, and how they well may be looking for alternatives like nuclear energy.


Strangely enough it has been taken down from the CNN site and I had a hard time finding a copy of it anywhere else as well. I'm sure it's just coincidence, but it's a pretty good one!



I do recall reading about it. The primary source for the news items was a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences called

The Iranian petroleum crisis and United States national security (PDF)

The paper is by Roger Stern, a researcher at Johns Hopkins. He does manage to get in a dig at peak oil at the end of the abstract:

Energy subsidies, hostility to foreign investment, and inefficiencies of its state-planned economy underlie Iran’s problem, which has no relation to ‘‘peak oil.’’

He also shows that the export decline rate is greater that the depletion rate (decline rate?) because of domestic demand growth. This is in support of (but not proof of) WT's ExportLand theory:

We define Iran’s export decline rate (edr) as its summed rates of depletion and domestic demand growth, which we find equals 10–12%.


Even if a relatively optimistic schedule of future capacity addition is met, the ratio of 2011 to 2006 exports will be only 0.40–0.52. A more probable scenario is that, absent some change in Irani policy, this ratio will be 0.33–0.46 with exports declining to zero by 2014–2015.

NPR also interviewed Roger Stern on its Morning Edition show:


DVDs of the Boston ASPO-USA Conference are now available .
Please visit the ASPO-USA Website at: www.aspousa.org

The set consists of 9 DVDs covering the complete 2-day conference including Q&As. They have been edited to show PowerPoint slides integrated into the speeches from the original presentations, so text and graphics are easy to read. (Note that the preview on the website does not show the integrated PowerPoint slides) .

Cost for the complete set is $75.00 + $7.95 shipping & handling for the 9 DVD set. They come in 2 DVD cases and are shipped immediately via priority mail.

I recently posted this text on the Agricultue meets Soil Association topic but since its becoming dated I elected to also post it here.
The reason I am posting it is that I have seen many references to corn taking some much(enormous,huge,,whatever) amount of nitrogen.

This is the post.

On another thread in another topic I spoke of crop uptake and if all the ones talking about how much nitrogen corn required knew what the values were. No one responded so I got out my UofK pamphlet that I used when involved in soil sampling and I am going to post the 'crop nutrient removal values' below. At least those who almost scream about corn and nitrogen will then have to treat it with some reality.

Fact is that done right corn takes away less nutrients than other crops(on a bushel vs bushel basis and is close to a wash with the rest. Here then are the values.
NOTE: Crop uptake values are not to be mistaken for crop nutrient removal values. In the first the update counts ALL the harvested plants, stalks,leaves etc. Since that is usually not how row crop farming is performed most use the latter. Because with the exception of corn harvested for sileage all the rest less the corn kernels are left on the ground and therefore offset much of the nitrogen that would be required in the case of silage.

Crop yield unit n p2o5 k2o
lb/yield unit

Corn for grain bu 0.70 0.40 0.35
Silage corn ton 7.50 3.50 8.00
Wheat grain bu 1.20 0.50 0.30
Sorghum grain(milo) bu 0.95 0.41 0.30
Soybean grain bu 3.00 0.70 1.10
Rye grain bu 1.16 0.33 0.32
Oats grain bu 0.62 0.25 0.19

Note that soybean fix nitrogen enough that if well-nodulated do not
usually require nitrogen applications.

If corn is preceded by a winter legume crop then less nitrogen is required before planting. Even less is required depending on when applied. Soil slopes and other factors can come into play.

Since corn yields higher bu/acre than soybeans or wheat then more nitrogen is required but relative to the bu the values are correct.
Corn produces copiously. Well managed land can yield 200 bu/ac if a good growing season. Nitrogen taken by the crop must be replaced or legumes sown. Still the ground must be fertile for corn to make a good yield.

Hand waving and anecdotal comments are useless and mislead many into
repeating the same statements over and over until it seems to become accepted as fact.

The data entered is from the Univ of Ky,,College of Agriculture
Published 2005

You people want to know about the upstream oil business?

Look at some real, trustworthy remarks from a real insider here


Thanks for the tip, Dave. Very informative.

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

This will probably get buried in the thread but.... isn't it ironic that the major flaw in the IPCC report is likely something that the "world's largest oil companies" don't want mentioned? That is Peak Oil and it's lack of mention (as I have been given to believe) in the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES)???

Flannery says: "the arctic ice cap will be gone in the next five to 15 years"

Can anybody here explain to me, what the consequences of this "dramatic" development could be???

The Arctic ice cap shielded all the eskimo villages on the seashore from the winter rough seas. Now they are all being washed away. Polar bears will go extinct. The icecap, in the summer, reflected a lot of the sun's rays back into space. Now the sea will just absorbe them, speeding up global warming.

That is three, but there will be many more.

Ron Patterson

Theres a lump of ice in the antartic that historiclly falls into the Weddell sea every couple of 100k years or so . Is overdue for another collapse ,its cracking off as we speak according to the news reports we get down here in the land of oz.Its ken'huge.Last time it went for a swim it raised the bath water 7 metres.A big lump floated past new zealand last month and everyone thought very little of really,Ide be more worried about the super volconoe periodocity in yellowstone if I was a septic tank but!!50k yrs overdue?

Thats the nature of living on such a dynamic planet ,not that we have a choice in the matter yet. But riddle me this,,, When we colonise mars will we pick candidates from earth the were the best global warmers? Darwinianly speaking its not superior intellect but rather an ability to adapt that ensures at least survival and at most proliferati.on