DrumBeat: September 9, 2007

Saudi Aramco reports oil output decline of 1.7 percent in 2006

Saudi Aramco in its Annual Review 2006 said that last year the company's crude oil production declined by 1.7 percent, while exports declined by 3.1 percent, compared with the previous year.

North Sea drilling activity at highest level In 10 years

North Sea consultancy Hannon Westwood released today its ‘Special Report: 2005-2006 UKCS E&A Drilling Activity’ – an analysis of two years of UKCS well activity. The report covers 116 E&A well spuds in 2005-2006, and indicates that despite popular industry perceptions, UKCS E&A well activity has returned to levels not seen since before 1998.

Shell refinery in Argentina could reopen - official

The Argentine government could allow Royal Dutch Shell's sole refinery in Latin America to reopen next week if it approves a clean-up plan the company is expected to present in the coming days, a government official said on Saturday.

Hot Air Power

It is pretty well established that, even in the worst case scenario, all of the oil and gas wells in the world are not going to run dry tomorrow or next year or in the next 50 years. If the world does run out of oil, which may happen sometime in the far distant future, there will be a very slow decline over many years. As the supply gets tighter, fossil fuel prices will gradually increase and the alternative sources of energy will become more and more economically competitive. At that point, there will be no need for government subsidies, because they will become profitable on their own.

A competitive electricity market hasn't materialized; Ohio must decide what to do next

Gov. Ted Strickland deserves credit for trying to slow the state's alarming in crease in electricity rates. If he succeeds, Ohio could avoid the rate shock that has hit other states.

Illinois, for example, abandoned government regulation and went to market last January. This summer, its legislature cobbled together a $1 billion bailout to keep angry rate-payers from resorting to pitchforks.

Letting city cars idle is banned in Westland

Because they don't have money to burn in Westland, they don't have fuel to burn.

So, in a move to save money, Mayor William R. Wild has banned city employees from idling city vehicles for more than 5 minutes. It's all about the high cost of gasoline and diesel fuel.

State inaction on climate is a grave dereliction of duty

Government exists to achieve tasks individuals cannot tackle alone. On the environmental crisis, it has badly failed.

Oil Prices Fuel Wild Ride For Energy Stocks

Even swooning credit and stock markets can't overshadow $70-a-barrel crude prices or emerging markets that can't seem to consume enough oil. Only a global recession could modify the scenario.

US pays the price of relying on foes for oil

There is little likelihood that any of the major producers will permit the foreign investment they need to step up production sufficiently to make a significant dent in the current price of oil. The Saudi royal family doesn’t want to antagonise the bin-Ladenites by inviting American companies in, although it relies on the American military to keep it in power. Mexico won’t allow American capital in, but wants to ship unlimited numbers of its workers out to the United States. The Bush administration acquiesces.

A Legacy Bush Can Control

President Bush has his cabinet and staff busily writing far-reaching rules to keep his priorities on the environment, public lands, homeland security, health and safety in place long after the clock strikes midnight and his presidential limousine turns into a pumpkin.

Biofuel Emissions: A complex debate about 'cleaner'

Using biofuels releases fewer pollutants across many - but not every - category.

Hunting the holy grail of fusion

Over the years, fusion’s lure of limitless energy has tempted many more scientists and politicians into the same trap of wishful thinking. In 2002 one set of researchers announced that they had achieved bubble fusion, while in 1989 another group announced that they had achieved cold fusion. All have ended in retractions, recrimination and humiliation.

Globalization and Climate Change

This is where globalization has set up roadblocks. Mitigating climate change and achieving stabilization of greenhouse gas atmospheric concentrations — the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (U.N.F.C.C.C.) — will require deep reductions in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. This is possible only if developing countries have unrestricted access to clean energy technologies.

Upper Green River Valley: A View from Above (video)

This video illustrates some of the changes occurring in the Upper Green River Valley using the latest in satellite imagery, aerial photography, and Google Earth 3-d technology. Watch the video to get a first-hand look at the dramatic growth of gas and oil drilling in this ecologically important region, learn more about the impacts of this development on our public lands, and tour areas in the adjacent Wyoming Range where new drilling has recently been proposed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Mali’s Farmers Discover a Weed’s Potential Power

When Suleiman Diarra Banani’s brother said that the poisonous black seeds dropping from the seemingly worthless weed that had grown around his family farm for decades could be used to run a generator, or even a car, Mr. Banani did not believe him. When he suggested that they intersperse the plant, until now used as a natural fence between rows of their regular crops — edible millet, peanuts, corn and beans — he thought his older brother, Dadjo, was crazy.

Biodiesel hero

It's been described as the antidote that will save humanity from itself.

The manna to our hunger for fuel, the miracle pill to our ravenous appetite for energy -- a wonder shrub.

The Philippines: Zubiri urges sugarcane planters to produce for biofuels

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has urged businessmen to invest in bioethanol production to prepare for the drop in tariffs on imported sugar.

BP aims beyond petroleum in Wyoming

BP officially went "beyond petroleum" on Saturday with a $5 million donation to the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources, including $2 million to fund wind energy development.

No fear of uranium glut, says Paladin

PALADIN Resources says it does not expect an over supply of uranium to come on to the market, after the United States President George W Bush expressed his pro-nuclear stance this week.

Pakistan awaits Bushehr power plant

Secretary of Pakistan's Ministry of Science and Technology says Pakistan is anticipating the inauguration of Bushehr nuclear power plant.

...Pervez Butt said the Bushehr power plant will be the largest nuclear electricity producing center in the region and the Muslim world and that its existence is an honor for all Islamic nations.

Anti-hydrogen worry doesn't hold water

For every alternative fuel proposed, there are people looking for problems.

Governor not ready to raise state motor fuels tax

Skyrocketing construction costs are limiting South Dakota's ability to rebuild highways, but Gov. Mike Rounds says he's not ready to support raising the state motor fuel tax that pays part of the tab for road projects.

Supplying electricity needs isn't "Us vs. Them" . . .

The solutions to our looming energy crisis must be born of consensus, not conflict. The coalition was formed to help build the kind of consensus that leads to workable, common-ground solutions. A key goal is to help achieve the greenhouse-gas reduction goals put forth by Gov. Corzine and approved by the Legislature. And we have made it clear from the outset that we see the license extension of the Oyster Creek nuclear energy plant in Lacey as critical to the success of that goal.

Mexico 2008 Budget Plan Sees 3.5% GDP Growth In 2008

The ministry estimated that Pemex's export crude will average $54.60 a barrel in 2007, with Pemex exporting 1.73 million barrels a day out of total production of 3.14 million barrels a day. Pemex current crude production is about 3.16 million barrels a day.

Nepal: Fuel shortage could subside

The two-weeks-long fuel crisis is expected to drop from Sunday, according to officials of state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).

They expect the shortage to subside since the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) increased supplies on Friday and Saturday. That apart, the strike by drivers of fuel tankers has also ended.

Noose tightens in Burma

Burma's ruling junta on Sunday accused the opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi of being behind recent protests against fuel price hikes and warned that it will brook no more dissent in the country.

America in the Middle East: An Interview with James Woolsey

Kuwait and Algeria don’t really have in their hands—although they are members of OPEC—the leverage that Saudi Arabia does with its reserve capacity. People may be right that we’re reaching peak oil dependence in the Middle East and are moving toward heavier demand coming from India and China. The Saudis may not be able to affect the price of oil the way they were once able nor be able to destroy their competitors, but a lot of investors think they can, and so there’s a certain lack of willingness to criticize and deal straightforwardly with the Saudis on some things for some people. I think it will be easier for people in the government and outside who want to be very blunt with the Saudis about human rights and a number of other issues to be blunt once it’s clear that we’re beginning to move away from oil dependency.

OPEC president says oil supply sufficient

International oil markets have enough oil, but a lack of capacity to refine it was contributing to high prices, OPEC's president told reporters on Sunday.

Most OPEC members see no need for output rise

Iran’s OPEC governor said on Sunday most OPEC members believed there was no need to increase production when they meet this week in Vienna, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran admits hurt by high domestic oil consumption

High domestic consumption is harming Iran’s oil industry on top of international financial pressures linked to its nuclear programme, a top oil official was quoted as saying on Sunday.

‘The consumption of energy is very high, efficiency is low. There is no energy saving and consumption habits and low prices are harmful,’ Iran’s representative to OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said in an interview with the weekly magazine Shahrvand.

Iraq Halts Output At Key Southern Oil Field On Violence

Iraq has halted crude oil production at a key southern oil field as tribesmen prevented workers from going to work, a senior Iraqi oil official said Sunday.

"Crude oil production from Majnoon oil field has been suspended for more than four weeks," the official told Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from Basra.

Majnoon had a daily production of 50,000 barrels a day prior to its suspension, he said.

Shell could take nuclear option to mine oil from Canadian tar sands

Shell is considering using nuclear power to operate its controversial tar sands programme in Canada.

Tar sands extraction – mining oil from a mixture of sand or clay, water and very heavy crude oil – uses a huge amount of energy and water.

Life After Oil

Last week, Aberdeen could lay reasonable claim to be the oil capital of the world as it hosted 35,000 delegates at the Offshore conference. But, as North Sea stocks decline, the Granite City is looking to cover new ground.

Blame-aholic Gasbags

Nary a politician in the summer of '06 was even slightly unsure why gas prices were punching through the $3-a-gallon threshold: The culprit was predatory, price-gouging oil-company executives - who obviously golf regularly with Dick Cheney.

Oil crisis looms large: expert

Presenting the Prof. Chelikani Chiranjivi Endowment Lecture on the energy scenario and petroleum refining industry in India at Andhra University, Prof. Chopra said 44 oil producing nations meet 99 per cent of world’s oil requirement (like petrol, diesel etc.,) and 24 of these nations had already crossed their peak oil production. He pointed out that 90 per cent of transport operation was carried out using oil.

You’re going green ...or else

“Peak oil informs everything,” says Goldsmith. “People ought to know about that, but they don’t. When it’s going to peak or if it’s happened already I don’t know, but if oil ran out tomorrow we would be stuffed. We depend on it for everything.”

Peak-Oil Awareness And The Larger Community

If the imminence of oil depletion is regarded as a given, the next question is that of preparation and survival. Commonly the issue of survival is dealt with in terms of the small group: the family or the ad-hoc band (complete with camo gear and pump-action shotguns?). The feeling, apparently, is that the larger community would be useless, or even hostile, toward the more-prepared group. Yet others hope to deal with the issue in terms of a broader geographic base, perhaps even national or global. To what extent would such a large-scale approach be practical? Is it possible to deal with peak oil on a broad demographic scale?

APEC climate call is just hot air, say activists

Environmental experts dismissed an agreement from Asia Pacific leaders setting "aspirational" goals on climate change as an empty gesture that may actually undermine efforts to halt global warming.

we’re reaching peak oil dependence

And I thought James Woolsey understands peak oil? Is he a techno-utopian? Or is he blowing smoke?

What he is is an Israeli-firster who is fully on board the neocon train to give the entire Middle East a good makeover that will i) neutralize Israeli's enemies, and ii) give the US control of the region and its oil resources.

He's been campaigning in this manner for quite some time, and is part of the effort to grow support in the US for 'fixing' Iran.

The way things are going, the US and the Middle East may part ways rather sooner than expected. You cannot "control" such a vast region when you don't even know how to speak to the locals!

If the Russian were to let the Iraqis or the Afghanis get hold of few hundred Strelas or Iglas that would be the end of air-power to all intents and purposes. This is what happened to the Soviets/Russians when they were in Afganistan and the US donated their NATO equivalent, the Stinger

The fact that the Russians have not done so is the ultimate proof that they are bending over backwards to help the US - despite all the nonsense being written about Putin. He has it in his power to do all of that by making a simple phone call.

It is not a STRELA but there are reports of a Russian anti-armour grenade being introduced into Iraq.


I am also not convinced that KSA is firmly aligned with the USA. If you were the major producer of oil would you wish to see a major customer establish control over a competing producer, increase supply, and drive down the price? This would clearly injure KSA interests.

I doubt that the word 'firmly' can be used in any present geopolitical situation. (sarcasm alert) Sheesh, so much easier to just type 'lol', but so frowned upon...

If I was an Islamic state holding the world's largest known oil basin I think I would go to the U.S., my largest single customer, and hold a private meeting with Bush, a christian, (was that supposed to be capitalised?) and ask him to protect me from the infidel Chinese, who have a land route to him and the world's largest population from which to garner cannon fodder, er, foot soldiers.

So, the U.S. plants bases in Afghanistan, directly on that land route. Sure, the Chinese could walk right through that relatively small contingent, but then tactical nukes could be easily justified.

But wait, I have serious political and social problems at home, so let's ask the friendly U.S. to park some troops next door. Can't bring them into my own country, homies wouldn't like that, but next door works just as well.

Now let's cut shipments to the Far East by oh, say 11%,so we can continue to ship full volume to support our friends in the U.S. Hmm, going to have to raise the Far East price a bit too, they'll pay anything, hehe.

Battle Lines being drawn? All in slow motion...

so let's ask the friendly U.S. to park some troops next door.

KSA did not wish the US to engage in the Iraqi war and is not sympathetic to the US "troops next door." King Abdullah has referred to the US occupation of Iraq as being "illegal." (I would argue that both the occupation and the war leading to that occupation are illegal but let's just stay with the KSA perspective for the moment.) The proclaimed intent of Bush is to further the process of democratization in the Middle East. Given that most of these states are feudal kingdoms this intent must be of concern. I believe that to make the presumption of an alignment of interests between KSA and USA would be an error.

If TOD readers conclude that the US desires to control a major ME oil province do you think KSA is blind to the same interpretation? I do not see much to support the notion of "friendship" between KSA and USA.

So here I am ready to engage in the most serious Chess game of my life, for all the marbles.

I have studied books on Openings (a must to be at all competitive). I have studied strategy and tactics. I have studied combinations and traps. I have studied the use of tempo, a fine point many ignore. I have analyzed games by the masters.

'My 60 Memorable Games' by Bobby Fischer has become my bible.

The game begins, relatively boring for the first dozen moves or so, both parties know the book moves. This game has been studied for centuries. The body of work is extensive. But then one player makes a departure from the literature, he thinks he has discovered something enterprising that may catch his opponent off guard. He starts setting up.

He will not make a direct move that indicates his true desire. It would be quite easy for the opponent to counter if he figures out the goal too soon. So the departure move is a fake, to mislead only.

In one of the games in the above mentioned book, it becomes clear that Mr. Fischer made a move early on in a game who's real purpose did not become evident for ANOTHER 17 MOVES!!!

He went on to win the game and the championship series that it took place in handily.

By being devious. And thinking farther ahead than his competitor.

I would think at this point it would be obvious that if you take any utterance of any of the participants at face value, you might as well fold up your board and go home.

It must make the behind close doors meetings extremely interesting, to say the least. Yes, no one can trust anyone else.

Yes, Bush says this and he says that. What does he really mean? I don't know. Likewise the other players comments, I don't know what to believe and what not to believe. I only no for sure not to take at face value any single thing they say.

They are moves on the board and more probable than not, setup to provoke a particular response for sometime later in the game.

Friendship between US and KSA? I don't know about that one, but I can see a certain mutuality of interest at this point. There is no guarantee that this exist, no. Nor that if it does that this will continue later into the late middle game or end game.

But it does rather seem to fit so far.

All quite fascinating, eh?

I like the chess analogy you use. Remember, Putin is an excellent chess player. With all the big players right now there are really two games going on simultaneously...the over, above the board game and the covert, under the board game.

KSA - USA - Overtly, they are maintaining their agreements made years ago at the birth of the Petro Age. Covertly, I would not be surprised if KSA has been nurturing stronger ties with other ME and Asian countries in case their pals in the USA allow this country to fall apart. They will throw their weight behind the top dog when the time comes.

dragonfly -

As a hopeless 'patzer', I like your comparison to chess.

It's a good reminder that when these people say something, it may or may not be true, but you can be certain that what they say is always intended to further t their agenda.

Regarding the way that Russia and the US approach this mess, someone recently said that while the US is playing poker, the Russians are playing chess. I guess what's implied is that the former is full of bluster and bluff, while the latter coldly calculating many moves ahead.

I find the notion that George W. Bush can think 17 moves ahead to be totally ludricous. I doubt his ability to think one move ahead. The man is a blithering, criminally incompetent fool. The analogy is one that will find support, no doubt, in the conspiracy-minded community but not elsewhere.

And yet hes president...and your not. Oh the irony lolz!

Ein Gott, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer.

ET: If the guy is who you say he is, he has inexplicably managed to make an unprecendented amount of money for his cronies. What a mystery.

I find the notion that George W. Bush is actually in charge of the United States to be totally ludicrous.

The man is clearly a puppet, and barely fit enough for even that limited role.

Bush doesn't have to know a darn thing, even how to play the game. He just has to be able to parrot the words fed to him. Convincingly would be a nice plus, lol. Heck, have Bushie act weird just so no one takes him seriously. You can be sneaky right out in the open then.

Think Rand Corporation and the other think tanks that have been around for decades, buildings full of supercomputers gaming the situation full time, over and over. TPTB and their advisors jockeying for position, all with an ax to grind.

At this point, I don't think there is a single variable that could change that they haven't gamed to death already. If not they are incompetent and need to be replaced.

Chess is a beautiful, complex game, the Game of Kings. I actually was quite good at it at one time. Led my high school team to the Minnesota State Championship. Played 1st board every match (no one could take it away from me, and boy they tried, hehe) and never lost a single game in match or tournament play for 3 years. I was within 150 points or so of Master, probably would have made it in another year or so if I had continued playing tournaments.

This oil thing has even more variables, so fascinating, and I believe very apt analogies can be drawn from Chess.

When you see one of the players trumpeting to the press, what is he doing? Telling you the truth? Yea right...

No, he is saying something for a reason. He may be establishing a position for a move further into the game. He may be setting you up for a combination. He may be setting a trap for a player he doesn't like. You just don't know for sure. He may just be trying to take your eye off of something else, a distraction.

Like Chess, all you have is the pieces on the board for sure. Look at what your opponent does, not says. Analyze as objectively as possible. It is best if YOU move in such a way that he has to respond to you, thus dictating the flow of the game to your best advantage while you develop position. You can make an opponent's strategy meaningless if you beat him to the punch.

Use your pieces to their best advantage. Get your Rooks out of the corners and into the game, pair them up, use them, they are the most powerful pieces on the board next to the Queen. The US has a military machine that is unmatched at this point. You think they aren't going to use it?

However, don't look for the overt or obvious reasons behind moves. Be devious, like Fischer, look for the deeper possibilities. Misdirection can be extremely important, the longer you can fool your opponent, the less able he will be to respond effectively when he discerns the main threat.

The main real tool the Saudis have is production. Let's see what they say this week, and then wait to see if they really follow it up afterwards, lol. This time lag between words and action in this part of the game is tiresome, but can not forget what they say, have to see if their actions later are real.

Production increase? Don't bet on it, I don't think they can for more than a very short period, a few months at best maybe. What excuse will they have this time? Outside Opec projects coming online? Ethanol stealing volume from crude? Refining capacity bottlenecks? How about blaming it on the oil sands? Market well supplied?

Yea right to all of the above. Give us something new for the talking heads to cuss and discuss, please.

Or maybe, increase output a few hundred K bpd and trumpet to the world about how much spare capacity you have. Would not be at all surprised by this. Surely they have a little spare capacity left and this could give their mouthpieces in the MSM some real ammo to put the hurt on us POilers.

I would love to be on the inside in this game. I think I could maybe even contribute meaningfully if given access to all the facts. Without putting my Rooks in harms way. Sometimes the threat of a move can be better than the move itself.

In one of the games in the above mentioned book, it becomes clear that Mr. Fischer made a move early on in a game who's real purpose did not become evident for ANOTHER 17 MOVES!!!

I don't play these games because every move has implications down the line, and once you realize this, whatever charm the game has, will completely go away.


Ahh, but that's what makes it so interesting, the depth. This isn't a checkers game we have here folks. This is the real McCoy for all the marbles.

No actual depth, as these are all human-contrived rules. About as interesting as working permutations to no real end.

Think Rand Corporation and the other think tanks that have been around for decades, buildings full of supercomputers gaming the situation full time, over and over. TPTB and their advisors jockeying for position, all with an ax to grind.

I agree Relayer,

This is the point that I don't think everyone understands or under values it's meaningfulness.

I think we should suppose that they know extremely well that we are in the End Game of the Growth Paradigm strategy economic model. I think each of their endings resulted in a Collapse.

If that is true, then you would try to stear and position the ending process to your best advantage.

Look at today's events thru that lens, Not the "They are total idiots, Can't they see....." viewpoint.

Exactly, don't make the mistake to presume anyone involved here is stupid. They've made it to the top of the heap haven't they?

Boy I hope there is something waiting for us besides collapse, but you just don't bring your Rooks out too early in the game. They are vulnerable to being threatened by lesser pieces and may force you to make responses in undesirable ways. It could mean that we are closer to the endgame than we think.

I have the terrible feeling that lesser worldwide population is somehow in the cards.

Case in point...that big, fat rook sitting there in Iraq being swarmed by a bunch of pawns.

thanks for this chess analogy and the idea of bringing the rooks out early. I've long felt that Afghanistan and iraq were horrible tactical maneuvers, unless peak is right now. will the next rook come out in Africa? or can a bishop and knight handle that?
anyway thanks

I don't know how much you guys saw of your President's performance at the APEC taxpayer funded extravagansa, but he's not a very good parrot & at face value seems like a complete imbecile. He even referred to the event as "an Opec meeting".
Some whiz has probably put a bunch of his mis-takes on youtube i'll have a look.
Actually imbeciles can be cute & childish, psychologically inert fits him better.

...or the lens on the political left that is pissing me off right now for its naive stupidity: "Bush & Cheney are evil psychopaths that live to bathe in the blood of the innocent" or some riff on that basic line of thought. It's one of the things that switched me off to DailyKos and made it more of a once-every-now-and-again-Kos for me.

Isn't it just a LITTLE BIT possible that things are a LITTLE BIT more complicated and less manichaean than this? Isn't it just a LITTLE BIT likely that there is some sort of logical line of thought and reasoning behind the decisions of those in power today - whether you agree with the decisions, or the execution or think it's all wrong for so many reasons - rather than them just wanting to kill as many people as possible, with no rational reason behind any of their actions... drives me nuts.

One of the reasons I like the contributors on here - having an awareness of Peak Oil and the coming complications thereof helps people understand that there is more going on than the childish political reporting and debate in the US nowadays.
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Did you mean 'Machiavellian'?

But I agree that the conspiracy theorists on so many sites do little to advance rational discussion. I think Bush and Cheney have their own agenda and have little regard for the numbers of people who are killed as a result, but I don't think they desire to kill people. They are just extremely efficient at rationalizing the deaths and destruction (collateral damage in the war on terror that the terrorist started, necessary consequences of the need to spread 'democracy', or whatever).

What in the world are you guys talking about? As a country, as a society, what differentiates the USA? It is about getting the money, period. Has GWB successfully made a fortune for his cronies, Yes or No? Conspiracy theorists, desire to kill people? Why do you think GWB's father continues to work hard- to advance the general welfare of the planet? Open your eyes.

No, I mean Manichaean... completely different thing. Basically splitting the world into good and evil (and of course assuming oneself on the side of good).

I thought i'd post a dictionary or wikipedia link to the word for you - but even better I found this Wikipedia entry on Manichaean Paranoia.

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man


Thanks for the link; I always appreciate learning new things. And yes, that is a much more appropriate word for Bush and his camp.


Chess is a limited game. Computers are already getting up to speed in it. Life, however, more resembles the complexity of Go.

but the point stands - the canonical form of the problem is the same... ultimately it's a highly complex calculation... and by understanding the likely outcomes of one tree or other better than your opponent, and pushing them down that tree, is a great challenge...

so it's a good analogy for what's going on here...
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Very true. To start with, chess has fixed rules. Life is a bit more complicated than that surely!

There is, theoretically, no role for luck in chess - how different from the real world.

I read once that a Chinese Emperor sent a Persian Shah a chess set. The Persian returned a backgammon set with words to the effect of "this is more like it". I searched on Google but could not find a reference.

Oh yes, life is much more complicated now and then. This situation for instance.

But the logic and analogy does stand I believe. What one player does means much more than what he says, etc.

There is till some luck in Chess, sadly, the luck of which opponent you draw for a game in a tournament for instance.

But yes, that was one thing I liked about it, minimal chance involved. You start out equal, fixed rules, just you and the opponent. Who will come out on top?

If there were such a game it would probably prioritize efficency in energy use since that must gives more options to play successfully in any direction. Burning thru your stores ASAP withouth getting anything for it must be like avoiding making good deals, a way to bankruptcy.

Bravo Relayer, well said.

I would add that your words apply just as well to the Global Financial board game also.

Now let's cut shipments to the Far East by oh, say 11%,so we can continue to ship full volume to support our friends in the U.S. Hmm, going to have to raise the Far East price a bit too, they'll pay anything, hehe.


The price spread between WTI and Indonesian crude (which I believe is Minas) has widened from about $3 four weeks ago to about $8 now. Minas is now at about $84.50.

Regardless of whether it is because of "friendship" or fear, it does appear that something besides just price is directing the movement of crude oil.

But definite evidence that 'Export Land Theory' is in fact correct ... which is a bit of a worry!


It looks like we may find out in the fourth quarter if Saudi Arabia does have any excess capacity.

Opec may consider boosting production says report

VIENNA: Saudi Arabian sources have signalled that Opec may need to consider boosting oil output up to one million barrels per day at its meeting on Tuesday, Washington-based consultancy PFC Energy said in a report.

"PFC Energy understands that Saudi sources have been signalling that Opec need to consider a production increase of 500,000bpd to 1 million bpd at next week's ministerial meeting," PFC said in the report.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter, has not publicly stated its position ahead of the Opec meeting.

Oh the irony if they DO increase their production by 500k - 1mil bpd! It would effectively make the last 9 months of FACT entirely fiction. That would be like, what? The 15th time since 1989 this has happened?

And your point is that oil fields do not deplete, or perhaps Saudi Arabia is magically immune from the laws of physics?

In order to just match its average 2005 production, Saudi Arabia would have to average 10.6 mbpd (crude + condensate) for the last half of 2007--an increase of 2 mbpd over their average production for the first half of 2007.

Rounding off to the nearest 0.1 mbpd, the peak and initial decline for the prior swing producer, Texas, was as follows:

1972: 3.5 mbpd
1973: 3.4
1974: 3.4

Meanwhile, the Saudis are talking about importing coal, because of a shortfall in natural gas production. Because of this shortfall in natural gas production, they are looking at having to divert up to 500,000 bpd of liquids production over the next two years to power plants and desalination plants.

An alternative take on the Saudi comments is that they are trying to talk down oil prices.

No, my point is that speculation and partial data sets run rampant here. We have no first hand knowledge of what their fields or reserves are like, we can only speculate on what they are like based on third party potentially correct computer simulations. If KSA increases production, there is going to be a lot of very unpleasant foot-in-mouth syndrome rolling around TOD.

If KSA increases production, there is going to be a lot of very unpleasant foot-in-mouth syndrome rolling around TOD.

And, if KSA does not increase production? (in Q4 by 500k - 1mil bpd as you predicted above)?

Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish.

- Mark Twain, Notebook

If KSA increases production, there is going to be a lot of very unpleasant foot-in-mouth syndrome rolling around TOD.

Like Texas, Saudi Arabia will probably, at some point, show a year over year increase in production.

For example, Indonesia showed a slight production increase from from 1997 to 1998. It was just a blip on what has so far been a 4% per year decline rate since 1996, with a rapidly accelerating net export decline rate.

The question is, will Saudi Arabia ever exceed, on an annual basis, their average crude oil production of 9.6 mbpd that they had in 2005 (EIA, crude + condensate).

My bet is that the answer to the question is "no."

In any case, precisely what are you advocating? Why the constant cornucopian agenda?

I'm advocating an energy consumption tax, offset by abolishing the highly regressive Payroll Tax, and a crash Electrification of Transportation program.

The same is true of global warming, if you want to keep making excuses for doing nothing. So how do you feel about acting on a probability instead of a certainty? Strange how we were willing to spend trillions of dollars and the lives of over a hundred thousand of our troops and the lives of millions of foreigners who got in the way of our troops and pro-US dictators on the unquantifiable POSSIBILITY that Stalin and Mao had exactly the same global intentions as Adolph Hitler - yet when it comes time to deal with a threat that arises from the effects of economic growth on the natural environment (warming or depletion), absolute certainty is demanded before any action is taken. This even though it will take generations to clean up a mess the size of the entire planet.

Is this simply because of the caveman way that humans comprehend threats with an evil grinning face versus threats that are rooted in science? Or is it because our owners already know there's big trouble coming and intend to cover it up until it's so bad that they can suddenly pull a 180 and tell us that we have no choice but to accept martial law - with plenty of government contracts for them? And will certain posters at The Oil Drum suddenly reverse position like Fox News on Larry Craig and proclaim, "Of course we must stop Peak Oil and Global Warming now - by exterminating 4/5ths of the world's non-American population!" Hey - I'm not speculating any more than you did about the Reds during the Cold War.

S390, I fear your comments will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes as some people like PartyGuy are wired not for intelligence but for knee-jerk reactions.

We should maybe remember that OPEC is already pumping at 900'000 mbpd IIRC over their target quota, so it could very well ends up that they lift the quota without any change in the real output..

Looking at a map of the middle east, it appears that having US troops in Iraq would make a good buffer between Iran and KSA -- and KSA does not want Iran to become too powerful. And please note, US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq means Iran has US troops on two fronts.

Something to think about, yes?


Your observations are good, and it is a tribute to our propaganda system that we see any controversy in these observations at all.

Nobody who looks back at WWII takes Japanese claims of "spreading democracy" to Manchuria at face value. Everyone knows this is base propaganda without even thinking.

I just pulled together (for the ASPO-USA paper) the production, consumption and net export numbers for Indonesia, and they bear a remarkable resemblance to the Export Land Model (ELM), primarily since consumption was close to 50% of production, at their peak in 1996.

In any case, they went from peak production, in 1996, to a net importer, in 2004 (in eight years).

The decline rate in net exports from 1996 to 2003 was about 30% per year, but as the ELM suggested, the decline rate in net exports accelerated with time, although they did show a one year increase from 1997 to 1998, because of a slight increase in production and a decline in consumption.

The year over year changes in net exports were as follows

1996: Peak Production
1997: -16%
1998: +7%
1999: -16%
2000: -20%
2001: -32%
2002: -50%
2003: -73%
2004: Net Importer

This is what my simplistic ELM suggested, to-wit, that the decline rate in net exports will accelerate with time.

Export Land Model:


Here's some on the ground news related to your ELM on Indonesia and Malaysia.

The organization that I'm with owns several private power plants in the country. Since 2001 the gov't has gradually lifted their the light fuel oil subsidy for power plants and currently the price is close to market. I believe this correlates with the fact that the country has to import more fuel oil in place of depleting local production. Consequently, we're gradually switching to natural gas and heavy fuel which is cheaper source of fuel.

Not surprisingly recent news reports from Indonesia indicate the the gov't is starting to explore nuclear option for electricity generation.

On the natural gas front here's a Business Times report from today, 10 Sep 07 : "Neighbouring countries like Indonoesian and Malaysia which have been selling the natural gas to Singapore have indicated that they May Need More Gas for Domestic Use. Senoko Power (in Singapore), whose pioneer 15-year gas contract with Malaysia expires in mid-2008, has been in negotiations to extend the deal, but there has been No Word so far whether such an extension has been agreed".


WT, since Indonesia no longer has any crude to export, who is buying the Indonesian crude? And why would someone pay a $8 premium over WTI or Brent crude?

It seems that the Saudis want it that way for that part of the world. Is that Iraq thing working a bit maybe?

What are the other possibilities?

who is buying the Indonesian crude?

I think we in Hawaii get ours from there....

Has Woolsey ever used the term 'peak oil' before?

If not, this is a big deal even if the context is wonky.

It bears repeating, folks, that you never take what officials (or ex-officials) say at face value. Instead you track how the spin changes.

At some point, they will put a spin on the term 'peak oil' and Woolsey has just shown how easily it can be done:

'peak oil dependence in the middle east'

I'm not sure if Woolsey has actually used the term, Peak Oil, before, but he has frequently discussed energy issues, usually in the context of 'energy security' which, as I've said before, is a euphemism for the crude but far more accurate term, "Kick their ass and take their gas."

I strongly question his real movtives and suspect that he is less concerned with oil and more concerned with drumming up support to 'do something' about Iran, which he continually tries to paint as a growing mortal threat to the US and Israel. In my view, he is but another cheerleader for the neocon agenda in the Middle East.

Just to add some perspective, Peak oil dependence is certainly possible. The Hirsch report makes that abundantly clear.

The OPEC "the problem isn't supply, its refinery capacity" argument is getting a little old. After all, it you look at the global refinery utilisation numbers its been essentially flat for many years, even going down recently.

If it really were a refinery capacity issue then you would have expected to see a variation in this graph. Now maybe its that the refineries can't deal with the types of oil being produced by OPEC, but if there were no problems in producing more, that could be fixed by delivering a matching type of oil?

OPEC is going to need another story soon.

OPEC still has the 'weak dollar' excuse it has used for about 18 months now and is starting to use the 'credit crunch will cause a recession which will lower demand' argument. That one may last a while.

I agree completely. This last May was a perfect case in point. And the media bought it hook, line and sinker...

So your saying that the reason the US cant get above 92% refinery utilization this year is because we have TOO much refining capacity?

And the Cupie Doll goes to... PartyGuy!!!

You do realize that your graph shows a fairly steady decline in refinery utilization for the US since 1997, right?

Well, well, well - 'the company's crude oil production declined by 1.7 percent, while exports declined by 3.1 percent, compared with the previous year.'

Certainly nothing supporting a high price in the market place, is there?

And no reason to believe that the export land model applies to both an offshore country like the UK, or an on-shore powerhouse like KSA, is there?

And the emphasis on gas is certainly interesting - seems as if even the Saudis are waking up to the environmental benefits of gas, while doing their part to decrease the nasty emissions created by burning oil, especially in automobiles.

'The company estimates that by the end of 2009 its crude oil production capability will reach 12 million b/d, "if market conditions warrant it". '

I am going to go out on a limb here (sort of like my predicting a mysterious price spike roughly 30-45 days after Gonu) - market conditions in 2009 will not warrant a 'capability' of 12 million b/d, regardless of the price of oil, either in dollars, yen, or gold.

And now to go out on a real limb, regarding this - 'Saudi Aramco said that its slate of mega-projects would enable it to maintain spare production capacity of 1.5-2 million b/d above forecast production....' That 1.5-2 million b/d capacity will always be available to the Saudis, the same way that the shimmering on the horizon is the water of an oasis, and not merely more hot air hovering over barren sands.

I live in El Paso, Texas, and yesterday had a rather informative discussion with a fairly high-level employee of our local public utility, El Paso Electric.

One of the things we discussed was wind power. Texas is considered one of the better locations in the USA for exploiting wind, and has a number of wind projects going. Unfortunately, according to my source, good wind sights seem to be limited to certain areas of the state. El Paso Electric has just two wind towers, which were erected on a ridge in a position that should have given them maximum exposure to the wind. The company's experience so far has been either they get too much wind, or not enough, most of the time. We have a definite windy season (March and April) where it's so windy you can hardly stay outdoors, but most the time the wind is light or non-existent. And during the hot summer when electricity demand is at its highest, we have little wind. The lack of steady, dependable wind has cooled any enthusiasm that El Paso Electric had for wind power, and the company has no further plans to pursue these projects.

My source did say there was a program to use manure and other agricultural waste from local cattle farms to produce methane. That will probably work, but it should be noted that this part of Texas is mostly desert and there is not a whole lot of ranching going on. There are a few big dairy farms along the Rio Grande River, but not much else.

El Paso Electric depends mostly on natural gas for producing electricity, though they get some from coal. The company also has part ownership of a nuclear power plant near Phoenix, Arizona. Although Phoenix is several hundred miles away, the power is sent to El Paso via high-voltage transmission lines, with a fair bit wasted along the way.

El Paso is a border town, just across the river from the city of Juarez, Mexico. My friend says we share some power with Juarez - it's mostly power being sent from the US side to Mexico, rather than the other way. Juarez has a population of 2 million (3 times El Paso's) and is growing fast. The US military has plans to bring in 10s of thousands of new troops in the next few years and station them at El Paso's Fort Bliss. This will contribute significantly to population growth. Just to the north of us is Las Cruces, the fastest growing city in New Mexico. All this population growth is anticipated to contribute to significant new electricity demand.

It should be noted that electricity rates here in El Paso are already very high. And what is the company's solution to rising costs? They want to outsource everything. They already outsourced the payroll department, and plan to outsource IT and customer service soon. My friend wasn't sure just where they'll outsource to, but probably India.

All things considered, I am not exactly optimistic about the future of El Paso's electricity supply, or the economic basis of this community. I probably should get myself out of here, but am still undecided about the best place to go. A nice barely-inhabited tropical island sounds good - anybody know of one for sale cheap?

Fortunately, at age 55 I don't worry all that much about my future.

Patiently waiting for the apocalypse,

Well, you are relatively close to what now has to be THE biggest wind farm in the U.S. Drive East on I10 and eventually you will reach an area where it follows along the base of a bluff on the North side of the road. I think it begins around mile marker 156 or so, but can't remember for sure now.

Notice along the top of the bluff you can see a row of very nice size wind turbines. Now and then you can see a bit farther back and see the 2nd and 3rd rows. 15 miles later every now and then you can see a bit farther back and woah, you can see 6 and even 8 rows in places. The one time I drove along this stretch recently, early August, 2006, they were just about all turning steadily.

These turbines continue for at least 25 miles!

Someone in Texas has been getting serious about wind power, lol. Reportedly, Pickens and some other oil money are major investors. The major problem they are encountering is transmission capability. Sadly, the best locations for generation are not conveniently located near the end users.

I would imagine that El Paso would be in range once they get the transmission system up to snuff.

Do some checking into it, I would love to keep as up to date on this issue as possible. I only check this site on weekends however, so will likely miss posts during the week, sigh. It's a work thing.

Additionally, someone in Canada is putting in some seriously large wind towers also. I have seen large numbers of props going up through Michigan and crossing into Ontario at Sarnia. They then continue on East along the 402 to points unknown. Easily the largest props I have seen so far being transported 1 per truck on over length flat beds. Must be something like 150 feet long. The base attachment point diameter is about the same size as the tractor!

Wind power is getting some serious dollar attention, but so far back-pedaled by the media. Mustn't alarm the masses I guess.

Wind energy is rockin' in the northwest corner of Iowa. If you go straight north from Odebolt (intersection of 39 & 175) instead of going a few miles east to pick up 71 north there are platoons of turbines lining the fields as far as the eye can see to each side of the county road.



I fooled a bit with Google maps and the images do not show the turbines. I think the resolution is good enough, so their stuff is several years old?

El Paso is outside the electrical island of Texas (most of it) ERCOT.

As are Beaumont and most of the northern Panhandle of Texas.

El Paso will have to go to New Mexico for wind power (or HV DC lines).


The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

Where in the world is 30 North, 101 West? I did get my orienteering Merit badge, but that was some time ago.


Since I have a map of Texas on my wall, it appears to be windfarms in West Texas.

Actually it is very close to Iran

OOPs, typo, Iraan



Iraan, Texas--been there.

I believe that it's named for Ira and Ann Yates, on whose land I believe that the Yates Field was found.

Interesting description of the efforts to get the remaining oil out of the field:

Interesting, so are those wind-generators or oil rigs on the Google image?

Does that statement from the El Paso Electric guy sound like Baghdad Bob to anyone else? I wonder...

I think he also said nuclear was cheaper than wind, think the jury is still out on that one. Can the west provide CSP to the middle east.


"Britain's biggest banks could be forced to cough up as much as £70bn over the next 10 days, as the credit crisis that has seized the global financial system sparks a fresh wave of chaos."

"Almost 20 per cent of the short-term money market loans issued by European banks are due to mature between September 11 and September 19. Senior bankers fear that they will have to refinance almost all of these debts with funds from their own coffers, putting a further strain on bank balance sheets"

If your hat hasnt been reposessed you might want to hang on to it !!

I was out for a few hours and just got home, so sorry I didn't post a response sooner.

About the "Baghdad Bob" comment - my friend at El Paso Electric isn't a "spokesman," and was only answering some questions I had about the company. It was a private conversation, so not meant for public consumption. Anyway, he was just relating the company's position on wind power, but I think he was being honest. In El Paso itself, we get tremendous winds in springtime but not much the rest of the year. Now, just a little further east in Texas, it's a different story, but that's beyond El Paso Electric's grid.

My friend was VERY pissed off about the outsourcing. I don't think that's because his job is personally threatened, though I suppose that could be in the back of his mind. He felt that it was very shortsighted and unnecessary. Sure, the company will save some bucks at first, and the CEO will pay himself a big bonus, but at the end of the day exporting jobs simply undermines the local community's economic base. This, of course, is happening all over the USA, but in the case of El Paso Electric - which has local monopoly - it seems doubly stupid since they face no real competition and thus don't need to shed jobs in order to "compete". I can understand why Ford or Hewlett-Packard would feel the need to cut expenses to the bone, buy why would a public utility do that?

Hi Ozone,

Thanks for telling us.

Re: "...why would a public utility do that?"

Is anyone protesting or complaining - or even writing it up in the paper?

Has your friend thought of attempting to get some press coverage about it?

Something I'm curious about. Presumably such a move cuts expenses, as you say. I'm wondering, though - what about the electric/utility bill? While "telecommuting" may save salaries, surely it must make the electric bill higher?

Just a thought.


Could you elaborate on this statement?

"The US military has plans to bring in 10s of thousands of new troops in the next few years and station them at El Paso's Fort Bliss. "

While it's pure speculation on my part, could it be that our government is
expecting to use these troops when Mexico comes apart at the seams?

Air force special forces (SOAR) is being relocated to Cannon, AFB, near Clovis, New Mexico. Its a town of 30,000 with plenty of prairie ready to be converted to camp space for those awaiting a bus south ...

Must we assume that we plan on mass exportations every time an army unit relocates?

If we're piling up assets closer and closer to the Mexican border ... maybe :-)

I had to Google a little for the details about the Fort Bliss expansion. The Pentagon has decided to transform Fort Bliss into a heavy armor training post. As part of this transformation about 11,500 new troops from the U.S. 1st Armored Division (currently stationed in Germany) will be moved to Fort Bliss, as well as units from Fort Sill and Fort Hood. An estimated 15,918 military jobs and 384 civilian jobs should be transferred to Fort Bliss, bringing the total number of troops stationed at Fort Bliss under this alignment to a total of 23,000 by 2011. The relocation will begin in 2008, and there is a lot of construction going on at Fort Bliss - you can see it from the freeway.


SCT and Ozone,
Thanks for the info.

The company's experience so far has been either they get too much wind...

Perhaps I don't know as much about wind power as I thought, but isn't it impossible to have 'too much wind' for a commercial wind turbine? (With the obvious exception of a hurricane or other infrequent event) The commercial turbines are actively controlled and can rotate so that their blades are slightly off axis to the wind. This will reduce the cross-sectional area that is available for catching the wind and slow the turbine. A very simple program could modulate this off axis feathering so that the top wind speed of the turbine is only limited by the strength of the pylon. Did the power companies in Texas cut too many corners or am I simply misinformed?

isn't it impossible to have 'too much wind' for a commercial wind turbine? (With the obvious exception of a hurricane or other infrequent event)

That's a very good question, and I'm sorry to say I don't know. I'll have to ask him what he meant by that comment next time I see him. We don't get hurricanes or even tornados in El Paso. The spring wind is ferocious here, but it should be possible to keep a wind turbine in working order.

As for private wind turbines (not owned by El Paso Electric), I only recall seeing one, a small unit next to somebody's house - it's actually just across the border in New Mexico. One of theses days I should go knock on the door and ask how it's working out for them. I've driven by on some days and seen it spinning furiously, at other times not moving at all. The house is up on a mountain pass, relatively well-positioned to take advantage of wind.

"isn't it impossible to have 'too much wind' for a commercial wind turbine?"

Might refer to the setup of the WT...with most, they're designed to take advantage of moderate wind and the generator and blades are optimized for that load. So if you have "too much wind" all you wind up doing is feathering the turbine (turning it out of the wind) to keep from overloading it, so you're losing all of the extra power you could potentially be generating.

Designed to Fail may well describe those two WTs.

So El Paso Electric would not be bothered.


Report: Greenland ice change means trouble

Mini earthquakes and glacier acceleration on the Greenland ice cap are signs climate change is speeding up, scientists said.

The quakes are caused by giant chunks of ice breaking off the rock they have been frozen to for hundreds of years...

Though small in magnitude, the earthquakes bolster concerns that the entire ice shelf could collapse, causing a catastrophic change in sea levels worldwide.


Given the changes, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's current prediction sea levels will rise eight to 24 inches this century may be too low, scientists at the meeting said. Some estimate the seas may rise by more than two meters.

Man, the news just keeps getting better and better on the climate change front... o_O

It seems that the feedback loops are bigger than originally estimated in the models.

This could mean that the entire ice shelf is now sitting on fluid, thereby removing the friction and ice-bond that has been holding the ice shelf to Greenland.

I think their revised estimates of more than 2 meters is still conservative, since, if this is happening to Greenland, it might also be happening to the ice sheets that hold 70% of the fresh water on Earth.

The real question, in my opinion, is: if everyone everywhere decided to put 100% effort into trying to stop the ice melt, could we really do anything? My guess is: not really (other than moving to higher ground and away from coasts).

The ice has melted in the past, and sea levels have been hundreds of meters higher than at present. But humans like to think that things will always be like they are today (or even better!). Alas.

This has been covered ad nauseum over at http://realclimate.org so this is the executive summary on atmospheric CO2 levels.

The Vostok ice cores cover 400k years and they closely correlate with the larger (650k years?) Concordia cores.

CO2 and global temperature have moved in lockstep between 180ppm and 280ppm four times in the 400k year sample period. The graph is a bit spiky in places but its pretty much a sine wave - a nice, smooth, rolling change.

Humans began changing this in earnest around 1750 and have pushed CO2 to 383ppm in two hundred fifty years. Let me restate that - our species has caused an atmospheric chemistry change to move at 400x its normal rate and we've moved the number far outside what the norm has been for at least the last million years.

Conservation has been pitched in terms of somehow stopping the changes that are coming. This is as nonsensical as sending two field mice with a piece of chewing gum to stop a hundred car freight on a 6% grade. Sure, the train has just barely begun moving, the gum is sticky, and the mice are motivated, but that train is going exactly where it damn well pleases.

No one, politicians excepted, can look at these numbers and not come to the conclusion that any conservation efforts going forward are purely about blunting the die off from peak oil. Even if all humans dropped dead tomorrow right after tea the CO2 emissions are going to continue for a while as the peat bogs in the arctic melt and decay.

That die off won't happen and we prefer our own survival today to the stability of the biosphere in which we evolved, so we're going to keep exhuming carbon until it chokes us. Some say we're headed back to climate conditions like the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (tropical storms in the arctic!). We've disrupted the stately 100k year CO2 cycle and a speedy collapse of the Greenland sheet (9% of all grounded ice) would correlate nicely with the breakup of Larsen A, Larsen B, Jakobshavn, and the recent arctic ice pack disintegration.

I have one point to make, and one question:

Historically we are still at very low CO2 levels: Over the last 600M years CO2 has fluctuated between 200ppm and 7000 ppm depending on which proxy is used:


Question (relates to above): Where the ice ends in the greenland cores ie K-years ago must mark the point where Greenland was last ice free. Of all the studies I have read I have never seen any mention of time on how deep (far back in time) the core extends telling us how old Greenlands ice is. So is this fact (date) known and if so what do the various CO2 proxies read as ppm at this date?
In layman terms what I am asking is what was the CO2 PPM that 'coincided' with an ice free Greenland.

I realise the situation is far more complex than this due to different position of landmasses, sea currents, solar o/p etc....but I still think it is an interesting question.


To answer my own question 130,000 - 110,000 years ago was when it roughly started to form at 280 ppm of CO2.

We are now at 380PPM. Alright, I concede, we are screwed! Make sure your kids buy property 7m above sea level. On a more positive note, it's completely melted plenty of times in the past - and that was without SUV's and air travel. Just the odd vocanic burb and dino fart.


The fact that we might have had 7,000ppm CO2 some time since animals began to evolve is a factoid, but not an interesting one.

The 180ppm - 280ppm 100k year cycle has been running for the last forty or fifty thousand generations of humans and our predecessors. This defines what is "normal" for us.

There is a lot of talk on http://realclimate.org about ice cores, a lot of talk about Greenland ice, but I've never seen a time study based on ice cores taken there. No time now, but I'm going to go looking for that one ...

Correlations and the resulting positive feedback loops are both fascinating and frightening. And it seems at least from my reading that we don't understand them well especially with complex systems like the arctic or the economy/oil. I hope that the coming generations will learn more about this subject since in my opinion its why our current civilization will fail. Not only from the direct effects of positive feedback but probably more important our ignorance both willful and real of the subject. These processes are the intrinsic reason that growth is limited and complex systems even if they have infinite energy are forced to work within finite bounds.

To see this even though the earth has been absorbing solar energy for billions of years the biosphere is finite and forced to work in cycles. If you consider the total amount of solar energy absorbed by the earth for billions of years its effectively infinite. The amount actually stored as reduced carbon is surprisingly small. Almost all the energy is returned to space I guess generally as thermal emission.

So the complex driven system tends towards equilibrium points and cascading positive feedback loops when its moved away from a equilibrium point it either returns to the current point or moves to another stable configuration. So a infinite energy source coupled with time and elements results in a system that oscillates around equilibrium and further it stores little of the incident energy. The steady energy source actually causes the system to limit how much it stores. This lack of buffer actually seems important for making the system sensitive to changes. If you think about it you would have expected given life that much larger reserves of reduced carbon would have formed.

Anyway :)

We gain about 4.1 watts/M^2 due to increased CO2 and methane from the baseline 1750 number. We lose about 2.0 watts/M^2 due to sulfate aerosols, mostly from sulfur in diesel. The world dimmed a bit from 1940 to 1970 due to this input, then we started using cleaner fuel and the trend reverse. That last factoid is a favorite amongst the Rush Limbaugh (fat pervert) listening climate change deniers :-)

Feedback loops - Mother natures way of playing several moves ahead of us parasitic humans.

The real question, in my opinion, is: if everyone everywhere decided to put 100% effort into trying to stop the ice melt, could we really do anything? My guess is: not really (other than moving to higher ground and away from coasts).

I think the consensus is that IF we stop burning carbon right now, never cut down another tree or mow our grass again, and start seeding the southern pacific with mineral micronutrients, the climate might start to turn around in 50 years or so. So basically, we're talking about a major dieoff of many many species, humans included.

But in the meantime, I'm staying away from the coast and looking for a cooler climate than Texas, thanks.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

When the sea level rises, I won't have as far to drive to the beach. This should reduce my dependence on foreign oil and cut down my CO2 emissions.
Problems solved,,backed to fantasy football

Here's a couple of lengthier articles about this.

The Guardian story the UPI story was based on:

Scientists fear ice caps melting faster than predicted

The Greenland ice cap is melting so quickly that it is triggering earthquakes as pieces of ice several cubic kilometres in size break off.

Scientists monitoring events this summer say the acceleration could be catastrophic in terms of sea-level rise and make predictions this February by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change far too low.

And a story from the Oregonian:

Greenland ice melt shocks scientists

It is the acceleration that stuns scientists. Greenland's glaciers are adding up to 58 trillion gallons of water a year to the oceans, more than twice as much as a decade ago and enough to supply more than 250 cities the size of Los Angeles, NASA research shows.

That's particularly unsettling because elaborate climate models that scientists use to estimate the effects of global warming did not foresee it. Scientists themselves never imagined Greenland's ice, which holds enough water to raise sea levels 23 feet and sits in position to influence Northwest weather, would move so quickly.

"The overriding mind-set was that it would take many centuries to change in any significant way," said Robert Bindschadler, a leading ice researcher and chief scientist at NASA's Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory. "The whole community was astonished at how rapidly these really large glaciers are accelerating."

In the immortal words of Bill Cosby..."How long can you tread water?"

Thanks for the links, Leanan. Two interesting things from these articles:

From the Guardian article:

The glacier is now moving at 15km a year into the sea although in surges it moves even faster. He measured one surge at 5km in 90 minutes - an extraordinary event.

5km in 90 minutes. I'd agree that is extraordinary and hope it does not become ordinary.

From the Oregonian article:

Greenland, about three times the size of Texas, strongly affects the world's climate.


That ice is also shrinking faster than models predicted, setting off a rush by nearby nations to claim rights to possible oil reserves below.

A thought experiment:

Let's assume that Greenland has as much oil, per square kilometer, as Texas. So, in our imaginary world, Greenland has three times the amount of oil as Texas. URR for Texas is 60-90Gb?

Could this mean that Greenland - potentially - has 180-270Gb (i.e. another SA)? Of course, it could also be much less than that.

And what of the Arctic? Antarctica? This is assuming enough ice melt to make drilling and production feasible.

That's a lot more potential CO2 in the atmosphere, even if there is only 50Gb in Greenland, and food for much more denial and business as usual.

The glacier is now moving at 15km a year into the sea although in surges it moves even faster. He measured one surge at 5km in 90 minutes - an extraordinary event.

Christ! Wonder if there is any part of the Greenland ice sheet that could achieve that kind of speed and be large enough to cause a tsunami as it slid into the sea? I guess that could put the IPCC forecast for a 10 nanometre rise in 500 years or whatever their "expert" opinion was underwater. Like London getting a 7 metre rise in 10 minutes. OK! I'm being a drop melodramatic, but you get the drift.

I was really hoping that Europe wasn't going to be plunged into a cooler climatic condition (let alone deep water) due to Greenland doing something dramatic. But given this summer's weather and the news from the Arctic, I won't be holding my breath. Wonder what kind of weather Europe will get this winter?

Sorry for the watery puns, couldn't help it :)

This link takes you to a global map which allows you to see the effect of a 23 ft (7m) rise in sea level. Since storm surge can add a few metres you may wish to look at higer numbers as well.


Alan - I think you may need to invest in a larger pair of hip waders and perhaps a pair of stilts.

Forget the waders...

He had flown over the Ilulissat glacier and "seen gigantic holes in it through which swirling masses of melt water were falling. I first looked at this glacier in the 1960s and there were no holes. These so-called moulins, 10 to 15 metres across, have opened up all over the place. There are hundreds of them."

He said ice-penetrating radar showed that this melt water was pouring through to the bottom of the glacier creating a lake 500 metres deep which was causing the glacier "to float on land. These melt-water rivers are lubricating the glacier, like applying oil to a surface and causing it to slide into the sea. It is causing a massive acceleration which could be catastrophic."

Scientists know that seas rose as fast as a foot a decade -- some 10 times faster than today -- when the climate warmed in the past at the rate it is now. Greenland probably contributed much of that.

"You don't need to melt much of Greenland to have a pretty big effect," said Christina Hulbe, a professor at Portland State University who specializes in the behavior of glaciers. "The fact that it's already happening faster than people thought possible -- that's reason to be concerned."

We need floating cities.

We have the tools to deal with that, uniquely among the coastal cities.

A new Dust Bowl should give us much more raw material to deal with unfortunately.

The current levees on the Mississippi River are designed (from memory) for water over 21 feet above MSL during spring floods.

In extremis, divert a significant fraction of the Mississippi River through a reworked but existing Bonne Carre spillway and fill in Lake Ponchartrain.

I have done some rough calcs for 1.5m sea rise, which I considered the maximum credible in the planning time frame (say 50 to 60 years).

Greenland glaciers will thin, but not disappear entirely. And these alarming figures are not generically true, but isolated observations on one edge.

Iceland is MUCH warmer than Greenland and they still have glaciers.

And if I leave New Orleans, I will try and leave the United States and leave y'all to your problems.

Best Hops,


Hi Alan,

Every time you say that last line...(shriek.) Please don't. I mean, go if you have to - (I respect your decision-making, of course) - it's just...

You deserve a fuller explanation. When I have time., got some hot ones in the fire ATM :-)


Boy, I hope that 52 trillion gallon figure is a WAG. If not, that's 52 CUBIC MILES of fresh water being added to the ocean. Bye, bye, thermohaline circulation.

The jatropha spot looks promising. I'm making my work commute this weekend (Las Vegas to Iowa/Minnesota border) and it looks to me like the entire stretch from the I-15/I-70 exchange to the Colorado border is jatropha grade land.

Is anything being done with this stuff here? How invasive is it? Maybe we'll see a corn/soy/jatropha rotation in the Midwest ...

I'm wondering if jatropha is going to turn out to be another switchgrass. A lot of "weeds" end up being fairly difficult to grow in monoculture.

In particularly, I've been struck by the differing reports on the needs of jatropha. Some say it can be grown in poor soils, some say high quality soil is required.

If it's anything like this Jatropha:
It will grow almost anywhere and is pretty hardy (but doens't tolerate freezes well). I've got one in my backyard that produces abundant walnut sized green seeds that sprout where they fall. A friend of mine grows many of them in pots. Not aware that the sap from this one can be used for anything more than a stain creator though.

Growing it in a pot or scattered in the wild is a different matter from growing it in a monoculture, as a real crop.

A good example of this is hemp. Supporters like to claim that it doesn't need fertilizer or pesticides, etc. But if you grow it in monoculture, you create a heaven for its pests, and all of a sudden, you do need pesticides.

As ever, it's scaling up that's the problem.

What pests? Other than deer, rabbits, pigs, and bi-pedal carbon units (with and without helicopters), not many pests. Fungus, mildew, maybe. Not insects, even grasshoppers. And, don't need to worry about the 2 legged varmits cuz it won't get them high.
No,I don't; I learned it from friends and neighbors.

Insects will eat it. Weeds and rats can also be a problem. There's a reason why those Mexican drug cartels cart in pesticides into remote areas of national parks, even though it has to be carried in on the backs of peasants.

The thing is, you won't see this problem until it's grown as a monoculture. Think about it. Does it make sense that any plant would require man-made chemicals in order to grow? All our crops were weeds once, that grew like, well, weeds.

What's created the problem is the way we grow them. As an example, it's possible here in the northeast to grow corn in your backyard without chemicals. There are farms that grow it, but not enough so that it's a monoculture.

You can't do this in Kansas, though. Surrounded by acres and acres of corn on all sides, it's a corn pest heaven. Corn planted in a backyard without chemical protection is soon devoured by pests.

That is what I mean when I say scaling up is the problem. I suspect jatropha grown as the main crop will prove to be a more difficult proposition that jatropha grown as fencing or wind barriers. Especially after a few years, when the pests have a chance to settle in. And crop rotation is not really an option for jatropha, since it's a tree.

"Weeds and rats can also be a problem."

It is, but I have a prescription for Shift Work Dysomnia.

Forgot to mention rodents.

The pests most likely to attack indoor marijuana plants are aphids, fungus gnats, mites, thrips and whiteflies. Outdoor plants are subject to hungry rabbits, deer, rodents, caterpillars, slugs and snails as well as insects. Organic growers have an arsenal of beneficial insects to choose from. Here are some of the pests and their controls:

So grow outdoors.

Move over, switchgrass: there are some new grasses in town gunning for your biofuel crown. Researchers at the University of Northern Iowa's Tallgrass Prairie Center (TPC) are looking at ways to use the state's mixed prairie plantings as a source of renewable energy — as biomass to produce ethanol or to burn for electricity. "When you hear about biomass, you usually hear only about switchgrass, but we're looking at using prairie plants including wildflowers," said Dave Williams, manager of TPC's Prairie Institute.
A study conducted this past year by David Tilman, an ecology professor at the University of Minnesota, had demonstrated the potential for polycultures of multiple grass, prairie and wildflower species to serve as an alternative to switchgrass in producing ethanol. Tilman and his colleagues found that, in addition to producing more than twice the biomass than single-species planting (not less than 238% more than switchgrass), multiple-species plantations restored biodiversity, grew on degraded land and — perhaps most importantly — could be carbon negative. Biofuels derived from this source could also store up to 51% more energy per acre than corn.

In that case, have everyone bag their grass clippings and send garbage trucks around and collect it. How much in the way of grass clippings are produced nationwide in a given summer?

Jatropha (Jatropha curcas) is a tropical plant and would not survive in the temperate areas of the US. It's not particularly invasive--it's a shrub--nor is it a nitrogen-fixer like legumes, so although it will grow on poor soils and "marginal" lands, the yield of the plant in such soils is commensurately lower as well. It has gotten loose in Western Australia and is banned there since it does outcompete native plants. Some projects in India have faltered since farmers are finding it costs more to harvest and transport the seeds to a processor than they are being paid. As with any biomass, the same transport constraints exist in energetic terms as well.

Peak oil and the individual. I've been thinking about how peak oil will effect people. Since peak oil is a broad economic/commodities concept its interesting to consider how it will filter down to individual effects. The reason I think this is important is that it will eventually take the political will of the masses to consider the societal changes needed to deal with peak oil and all the other issues caused by the end of the infinite growth economy.

Certainly shortages will have a immediate effect but so far these seem to result in blaming the governments for not ensuring enough oil not that their might not be enough oil. So I think although shortages are a eye opener in general it may be some time before people actually accept that its peak oil behind the shortages. I had initially expected shortages to galvanize action to handle peak oil but now I think they will only cause fragmentation and finger pointing.

The next effect seems to be this slow squeeze as the oil supplies drop the economies slow down and economic levels drop to what they where in the past. So the global economy will in general drop back to economic levels seen in past decades. The difference is this time the distribution of money or wealth is different with a weighted to oil producers and the population has grown significantly. Also a lot of other resources are now depleted and we have global warming. Thus we will see in general a larger number of people forced into poverty and thence into abject poverty and finally starvation.

The surprising conclusion for me is that the world may not wake up to peak oil for quite some time similar to global warming I think the peak oil problem can be successfully obfuscated and hidden until we are well past the point that we can leverage our current technology to transform our economies ala the electric rail proposal. Using the response to global warming as and example I expect we will not see the sort of enlightenment event concerning peak oil that many of use expected including myself.

Instead we will see increasing decay and failure sometimes sudden sometimes slow. Some sort of global recognition of the failure of infinite growth probably will not happen.
Instead in general we will probably see regional collapse deglobalization and the sad part of course is vast shanty towns of poor develop world wide that will starve when the wealthy abandon a city.

Some sort of global recognition of the failure of infinite growth probably will not happen.

This is the key.

In my opinion, an awareness and acceptance of peak oil cannot happen until there is an awareness and acceptance of the ultimate futility of infinite growth.

An awareness and acceptance of the ultimate futility of infinite growth cannot happen until there is an awareness and acceptance of limited population.

The human race will never accept limited population. Animals do not accept limits on their ability to pass down their genes. It is "hard coded" into the genome.

Limited population will be forced on the human race. This will force an end to unlimited growth.

I agree with your postulation. I would also add that there will be more bloodshed than shanty towns (i.e. more will die violently than from starvation).

I'm inclined to agree. Even when peak oil is undeniable, people will be sitting around waiting for the free market to kick in. And if it doesn't, they'll trot out the usual excuse: too much government meddling not letting the free market work.

Couldn't agree more. Never in history did resource depletion become common knowledge among the perpetrators. Similarly, never in history did a conquering people pay reparations to those they successfully conquered.

You can't rally an army with the cry "powerdown!" because each soldier is in it to "power up!" to a higher rank, bigger salary, spoils of war, etc.

Well, if people want to get really depressed, they should check out Jay Hanson's current effort:


There are several TODers that post there and some from the Yahoo Energy Resources forum plus some I don't "know.". I just lurk.

I know Jay drives some people crazy but it is hard to discount what is being put forward.


Jay Hanson poses some thought provoking questions:
1. What is money?
2. What is economics?
3. What is politics?
4. What does the human brain do?

But then unlike this more democratic blog (TOD), Jay goes on to force his one-person's notions onto everyone else (What about my position is it that you don't understand?). I like the TOD format where everyone gets to post their ideas (no matter how silly). You get a wider array of ideas.

None of this chatter is going to change the facts on the ground, but it does give you better insight into what is going on. You can be one of the more sober passengers on the Titanic if that is any consolation.

Some players have become aware of PO and have already taken steps to reduce oil usage. Bin Laden comes to mind because of his insistance that all infidel fighters get out of the holy places and that the Saudi family stop wasting oil revenues on hundreds of Saudi princes buying mansions, yachts, etc. Saudi per capita income has dropped drastically in the past few years, from about $26,000 per year to about $6,000 per year. Meanwhile each Saudi royal receives a stipend of $500,000 per year plus many other perks. Saudi Arabia has a very large population of poor unemployed youth and few 'western style' distractions are permitted them. The current Saudi brew might be the mechanisim which will lead the Saudi youth to recognize PO and its effect on thier lives, which could lead to a questioning of legitimacy for the Saudi royal family and consequent civil unrest. Any unrest in the KSA that interrupts oil shipments will soon make even the densest citizen of the most poorly educated country aware of PO. Point being, PO awareness might come not from 'a slow western awareness' but from civil unrest in one or more oil exporting countries.

Grid disruption is another problem that might come into play for our 'leaders' and this could quickly lead to PO awareness and tons of 'off message' rumors spreading through the population. Once manipulation of the masses through media is lost, if the electrical and communication grids crash (if you dont like the term think 'political leadership' or 'staying on message.'), it might be difficult to reestablish control. Without 'Rush', Fox, CNN, etc., and other such media thought control mechanisims many people will be left to think for themselves. Since many people have little experience thinking for themselves some will be terrified, some will be confused, and there is little way of knowing what these people might do.

There are many ways for PO awareness to happen world wide or in localities...Sometimes, we need to think out of the box.

Are you serious? Your suggesting that Bin Laden is a PO 'freedom fighter' trying his best to get us off our oil fix? We have DEFINITELY gone off the deep end here...

While I wouldn't exactly call bin Laden a "freedom fighter," it's pretty obvious that the fundamentalist Muslims do want to sabotage oil production which (they feel) unfairly benefits the West rather than Muslim countries. That's why they blow up pipelines. And it probably isn't farfetched to say that the (mostly uneducated) Muslim public is more peak oil aware than the FOX News "educated" American public.

I always wondered how the use of oil sits with highly religious people, it is literally past life that has been stored. And we burn a cubic mile every year, in memory of the past

It's probably almost all plant life.

Most community colleges offer reading comprehension courses and the tuition/texts are quite reasonable. I feel sure there is one in a community near you.


The content of your message implies that he is very unlikely to understand it.


Won't matter. The rest of us do. ;)

Some players have become aware of PO and have already taken steps to reduce oil usage. Bin Laden comes to mind because of his insistance that all infidel fighters get out of the holy places and that the Saudi family stop wasting oil revenues on hundreds of Saudi princes buying mansions, yachts, etc.

You cant be serious!!! LOL Everything else after he said is automatically tuned out by any logical person!!

lolz the problem with the world is that the stupid are cocksure lolz and the intelligent full of doubt lolz

Most intelligent people here don't tune things out, until repetition reveals that a single poster continually fails to bring meaningful content to a discussion in favor of lolz.

Maybe your continual guffaws belie some deep-seated insecurity regarding our situation.

Or maybe you just really don't care about the situation to actually think about the ramifications of your suggestions.

Most people lost in the wilderness die of shame. They get caught up in, "poor me, how is this my fault, what did I do to deserve this", rather than doing the one thing that can save their life: thinking.

Thinking is among the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it.

And the diversions just keep getting better.

Siemens, Microsoft develop car products

Microsoft and Siemens will join forces to develop in-car entertainment and navigation products that should make it easier for consumers to connect devices such mobile phones and music players.

The two companies said on Friday the first Siemens products based on Microsoft software should go into production in 2009.

The market for automotive infotainment products is set to grow to about $54-billion by 2012 from $38-billion currently, according to research group iSuppli.

The rise of portable media players and content downloadable from the Internet is forcing carmakers and their suppliers to rethink their offerings, which have until recently centered on standalone audio systems.

Bread and circuses (the more things change ...) Think what it did for Rome!


Rebuttal to the Post-Journal article: "Hot Air Power," referred to above:

Dear Editor,

Daniel McLaughlin demonstrates a classic misunderstanding when he says that "all of the oil and gas wells in the world are not going to run dry tomorrow or next year or in the next 50 years."

True, we will be pumping oil for a long time. But what is probably already true is that supply no longer meets demand, nor will it ever be capable of meeting demand again. This is the "Peak Oil" theory that McLaughlin seems to be unfamiliar with.

He also decries the "heavy subsidies" for alternative energy sources, while conveniently ignoring the past, ongoing, and increasing subsidies for fossil energy production. Guess who pays for the cheapest gas in the industrialized world? Yes, you do, through accounting gimmicks like "depletion allowances" and "exploration tax credits." (I don't directly pay for these because I don't directly use gasoline.) The oil and gas industry has been subsidized at least ten times the federal, state, and local money spent on renewables. When McLaughlin writes, "Your tax dollars have not made American companies competitive, but they have made wind researchers wealthy," he is remiss in not including oil companies as beneficiaries of tax largess.

McLaughlin is not even conversant with energy technology terminology: he writes that "a wind farm can produce 5 kilowatts per acre," which to anyone who has taken high school physics, is non-sensical. A single wind turbine can produce hundreds of kilowatts. A kilowatt is a unit of power, not energy. I suspect what he might have meant was "kilowatt-hours per day," but we'll never really know, because he doesn't understand this stuff well enough to write about it -- either that, or he's too sloppy to at least use the right words.

Finally, McLaughlin doesn't seem to understand that, on a very basic level, energy is not priced in dollars (which have no real value), but in energy itself. This "extraction efficiency" or "energy return on energy invested (ERoEI)" is a fundamental cause of the coming energy decline. In the 1950's, one barrel of oil's worth of energy could extract one hundred barrels of oil -- a return on energy investment of 10,000%. By the 1990's, that ratio had gone down to as little as 1:10. We have taken all the "low hanging fruit," and the energy we extract in the future is going to be increasingly dear, in terms of energy required to extract it.

One barrel of oil equivalent of energy invested will make only about 5-10 barrels of oil equivalent of wind energy, yet McLauglin claims it is "certain" that "if an energy source... was economically feasible, it would have been in production long before now." When you can get oil or coal by spending less energy than it takes to get wind power, there is little incentive for wind, without some government help.

But when the energy price of energy becomes too high, no amount of money is going to help. I agree with McLaughlin that ethanol is a boondoggle -- the research of David Pimentel, of Cornell University, indicates that each barrel of oil's worth of energy invested in producing ethanol results in only 0.85 barrels of oil's worth of energy output. Ethanol actually takes more energy to produce than it contains, digging us into energy-debt ever faster.

Put another way, you're in space, in a space-suit stuffed with thousand-dollar bills, and eight minutes of air -- how much will you have to spend for an additional two minutes of air? Just as money and air are not equivalent, neither are money and energy, although McLaughlin treats them as though they were.

As the ERoEI of common energy sources approaches 1:1, look for inflation to rear its ugly head again, as the government madly prints more money in a vain attempt to extract the last bits of ancient sunlight. Or we could slash the existing subsidies to fossil energy that McLaughlin conveniently ignores, and use modest subsidies toward renewable energy, so that neither we, nor future generations, will suffer an energy crash.

:::: Jan Steinman, EcoReality Communication Steward: http://www.EcoReality.org
:::: 160 Sharp Road, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2P6, Canada 250.537.2024

:::: Jan Steinman, Communication Steward, EcoReality http://www.EcoReality.org ::::

Hi Bytesmiths;

Here was the email I just posted to their editorial department. I hope I got the technical claims accurate and in perspective, though I tried to keep it short and publishable.

His misinformation in that short piece was prodigious.. I couldn't leave it without responding, tho' I hope other TODers who have other ways of expressing their objection will try a stab at it. I don't have enough experience with what they (papers) do and don't like to see in an OpEd or letter to the Editor..

Bob Fiske

"Dan McLaughlin's 'Hot Air Power' ( 9/9/07 ) makes an unsubstantiated claim that it's "It is pretty well established that, even in the worst case scenario, all of the oil and gas wells in the world are not going to run dry tomorrow or next year or in the next 50 years." I think this is a dangerous promise to imply for your readers. While 'Run Dry' may be technically correct, since we cannot get all of the oil out of the ground in any given well, the amount of effort being expended today to get the same Crude that used to come squirting out of these wells practically for free is one of the reasons that Oil prices are at least four to five times what they were around 2000. We may find another supergiant field out there, though even the deepwater Gulf of Mexico fields will be VERY challenging to access for any number of weather, water and metallurgical reasons, especially at the flow-rates that our gas-guzzling culture is accustomed to. Whether it's from Washington or from the hills, however, it is a pretty good bet that there will be wind blowing, and if we want to keep our wheels turning we'd better tap into the sources that are going to be there when Saudi Arabia finally admits that it can no longer pretend to be a swing-producer. Windpower has become cost competitive, and may edge out the flammable sources as they get harder to procure, while I agree that the unquestioned subsidies for Ethanol production are putting good money after bad, and danderously linking our fuel-supply to our water supply, our food supply, compounded with the vagaries of the weather. A very dangerous perch. "

Robert R Fiske
Portland, Maine

McLaughlin is not even conversant with energy technology terminology: he writes that "a wind farm can produce 5 kilowatts per acre," which to anyone who has taken high school physics, is non-sensical.

I think you are being too nitpicky here.

As someone who is considering installing solar PV on my roof, I can assure you that power density in watts per square foot is highly relevant and will dictate whether a PV installation makes sense for me as well as what technology I should use. If square footage is abundant, then thin-film technology is an option; if not, then higher efficiency panels are a better choice. True, power density may be less relevant for wind farms and/or the author may have misspoke, but I don't think it's useful to chastise an author for such a mistake. Incidentally, the 5 kW/acre figure quoted by the author may have come from this source: Wind farms in the US produce power at the average rate of about 1.2 watts per square meter (about 5000 watts per acre).

In general I think it's counterproductive to jump all over someone when they confuse power with energy. First of all, people do it all the time, even knowledgable people. Second, power consumption and energy consumption are related by a constant and as such the terms can be interchanged even though it offends our technical sensibilities. For example, the energy consumed by an appliance in 1 year is related to its average power consumption by the constant 8766, assuming 365.25 days per year. So specifying a 500 kWh/year refrigerator is the same as specifying a refrigerator that consumes an average of 57 watts. Sometimes one form is more useful than the other but both convey the same information. What is usually incorrect is to specify an energy consumption figure without also specifying the time period.

I agree that energy density would be a concern with issues such as ones limited rooftop area, but McLaughlin's reference, if it is in fact accurate, is largely misleading, since turbines can be implemented in dual-use lands, such as between farm fields, and additionally in areas which are of almost no use or suffer no particular degradation from the presence of these towers.

The insinuation behind using that figure is that Windpower is a waste of land, and an inefficient one at that, which we can see is not the experience of those who have installed commercial windpower and continue to expand capacity. While there are subsidies, I don't see that he has made a convincing case that wind is not actually proving itself in the marketplace, yet is an important enough alternative supply to actually justify the support of energy subsidies. So his remarks seem entirely misplaced and misleading to readers who would try to envision this seemingly meager distribution of power.

Bob Fiske

The #1 story in reddit.com this hour:

Osama Video May Have Been Forged

I read the "Hot Air Power" piece. Then I lost control and sent an email to the author, McLauglin. With fools like this loose in the newspapers we are doomed.


Couple of WSJ pieces that should appear in Monday's print edition:

Wary of a Slowdown, OPEC Is Unlikely to Lift Output

VIENNA -- A decade ago, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries gathered in Indonesia just as the Asian financial crisis was gathering steam. Despite fears of global contagion, cartel heavyweight Saudi Arabia pushed through a huge increase in the group's output ceiling.

The world's oil sheiks remain haunted by what followed.

Just as that extra oil hit the world's refineries, the global economy did indeed catch Asia's cold. Oil demand grew far less than expected, and crude-oil prices plummeted by some 50% in the following months, to around $10 a barrel.

Now, amid concerns the U.S. subprime credit crunch could likewise brake growth, there is little chance OPEC will risk the same mistake again.

The article goes on to say that OPEC pumped nearly 27 million barrels per day last month, exceeding its quota by 1.1 mbd.

Next article:

Programs rewarding less electricity use are surging

As summer enters its final phase, programs that push for, and increasingly reward, reduced electricity use by companies and other users are showing results.

Utilities and grid operators are reporting a surge in participation in programs that encourage customers to turn off inessential equipment, shift schedules or take other steps toward greater energy efficiency.

[The article goes on to say that OPEC pumped nearly 27 million barrels per day last month, exceeding its quota by 1.1 mbd.]

Since the WSJ article is for subscription, I couldn't access it. Was it talking about July production? The OPEC website only has its Market Indicators Report out for July and its August Monthly Oil Market Report only gives production data through July. However, based on those reports, OPEC (not including Iraq and Angola which are not subject to the quota) produced 26,669 mbpd in July (26,569 according to the MOMR). However, the quota for the OPEC 10 is 26,300, so they are not producing 1.1 mbd more than quota. All of OPEC (i.e. including Iraq and Angola) produced 30,380 mbpd in July.

The new AMD chip BARCELONA touts some greenness in it's consumption habits.. Doesn't say how much less power, but it seems to be a sales factor..


"One attraction is power consumption, a key factor in many computer rooms. Barcelona has a series of power-saving features and uses an older, more power-efficient style of memory chips than Intel's Xeon.

"AMD, I would say, is greener than Intel, and that benefits us," said Nicolas Keller, .."

Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain

September 10, 2007
Denise Gellene, LA Times
Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.

In a simple experiment being reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information.

snip...Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

Would have been curious to see if this correlates with a duality of the PO brain versus the money-grows-on-trees-and-SA-reserves-will-last-70-years brain.

Thanks for the link.
I had seen the story and then lost it.

There definitely is a hardwired difference between how a PO-aware brain works and how a Market-driven brain works.

When I see an SUV barreling down the street, I don't think,

"Oh good, Detroit is regaining market share."

Iraq seeks oil output of six million bpd within decade

"Some 50 discovered fields await developers," he said, adding that Iraq aims to intensify exploration to increase its proven reserves from the current 115 billion barrels to 160 billion.

Doesn't that imply several non-giant sized fields?

Increase of reserves? More Giants?

"American or British or any other troops have never been protecting our oilfields or installations... We have our own protection."

Riiiiight. Orwell would be proud. Doublethink is spreading fast :)