DrumBeat: September 11, 2007

Matt Simmons: Force All Oil Producers to Give Transparent Data

At the next meeting of the leaders of the world’s developed countries, a resolution should be passed requiring all oil producers – both state-owned and privately-held – to provide quarterly production data that have been independently verified.

So says Matthew Simmons, the energy investment banker who has railed in the past about how the failure of Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers to provide transparent production data has left the world in a lurch, unable to know whether it can maintain an adequate supply of oil in the face of burgeoning demand, especially from China and India. Such uncertainty has led to indecision about whether the world should invest the huge sums of money necessary to develop alternative transportation fuel sources.

Matt Simmons: Look to The Oceans for New Sources of Oil

While the power of ocean waves and currents increasingly is being counted as a source of non-polluting electrical generation, Matthew Simmons says the sea’s bounty doesn’t stop there.

Simmons, the Houston energy investment banker whose concerns about a sharp falloff in global oil production have made him one of the most recognized – and controversial – figures in energy, told EnergyTechStocks.com that the micro algae found in oceans has much higher oil content than either corn or palm oil, two of the world’s leading sources for ethanol and biodiesel, respectively.

Mass Transit: Separating Delusion from Reality

In a congressional hearing on September 5, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters noted that 40 percent of highway user fees collected from drivers are diverted for uses other than roads and bridges. Committee members correctly attributed that figure to Heritage Foundation research. Representative Peter DeFazio (D–OR) defended the diversion of highway funds, noting that half of the diverted money goes to transit programs intended to alleviate congestion and reduce road use. That intention, however, does not determine the results. Transit spending has failed to reduce traffic and wasted money that should have been spent on increasing road capacity.

Senate OKs $1 billion to repair bridges

The infusion of bridge repair funds would be paid for by tapping the dwindling reserves of the highway trust fund. Gasoline tax revenues are coming in below estimates and are unlikely to be able to fund highway programs at the levels set forth by the 2005 highway bill.

IBM's Billion-Dollar Energy Pledge Highlights Data Explosion Danger

this target, while admirable, also serves to highlight the sheer scale of the challenge the IT sector faces in trying to limit its environmental impact.

In terms of carbon emissions IBM is spending a $1bn a year to stand still. To simply ensure its data centers' emissions do not continue to rise as demand for computing capacity rises the company is having to embark on a massive infrastructure overhaul involving over 850 staff and countless new technologies.

Collecting Natural Gas Savings

Lynn Millsaps, owner of Loudon Speedwash Laundromats in Loudon, Tenn., decided to take a different route to decreasing utility usage. He took the knowledge he had of heating and air conditioning and a little elbow grease and came up with his own method of providing his dryers with preheated intake air.

Things have gone well. HIs greenhouse-like solar collector on the side of his coin laundry constructed mostly from materials from a standard building supply store, has customers talking.

The Philippines: EO declares 7 geothermal sites as economic zones

Fresh from the APEC meeting in Sydney, Australia, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed an Executive Order declaring the existing seven geothermal sites nationwide as areas of industrial economic zones.

India - N-Deal: The Power Play

Unless uninterrupted supply of gas comes to India very cheap or nuclear power plants are built in quick succession, India could well be the victim of the drag-down effect. Especially since the proposed hydroelectric projects have run into problems, with social and political issues preventing quick implementation.

Iraq to Privatize Electricity

Two of Iraq's many needs right now are more electricity and more investment. A law being drafted could satisfy both, paving the way for foreign and domestic private companies to build power plants, a step toward fully privatizing the electricity sector.

The State of Green

Here's a look at some alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and ethanol, and the challenges companies in those areas face.

India: IOC to limit petrol pumps to 550 this year

“In past three years, IOC and other public sector oil marketing firms had set up large number of petrol pumps, the growth being 85%. But with the companies making losses on fuel sale and private competition also decelerating, we have also decided to limit setting up of new petrol pumps,” said IOC Executive Director (Retail) A.M.K Sinha.

Colony of Antarctic penguins nears extinction

Today, the Adélies outnumber people in this icy patch of the world by 100 to 1. The ratio sounds impressive until Fraser notes that the penguin population has shrunk by 80 percent since he began studying it in 1974, and that he expects the knee-high birds to be extinct in eight years.

What's to blame? Fraser, president of the Polar Ocean Research Group, says global warming is part of the problem because it has made it harder for the penguins to forage and breed.

Solar-powered Antarctic climate base unveiled

A climate change research station is being shipped to Antarctica that builders say will be the world's first zero-emissions polar science station.

Robert L. Hirsch: Planning for the Mitigation of Maximum World Oil Production

A framework is needed for planning the mitigation of oil shortages created by world oil production reaching a maximum and going into decline. Some argue that normal market evolution will be adequate to avoid shortages. We assume that will not be the case.

...Considerations of oil shortages, as distinguished from simply considering oil price increases, necessitates dealing in an area in which there is no recent experience, since the world today is different from 1973 and 1979, when brief shortages occurred. We approach this challenge with the belief expressed in Oil Shockwave: “It only requires a relatively small amount of oil to be taken out of the system to have huge economic and security implications."

The Disinformation Society - Kunstler

One question that readers ask me often is why the mainstream media is doing such a poor job of reporting the nexus of the global energy emergency and the turmoil in global finance. I maintain my "allergy" to conspiracy theories. There isn't any clique of top-hatted Wall Street biggies with monocles joining with with gray-suited CIA-types to intimidate editors with tongs and electrodes. American culture has become self-dis-informing.

More refining needed to process Alberta output

U.S. refineries must be expanded to handle a rising tide of crude-oil imports from Alberta's tar sands, the world's second-biggest oil deposit, says John Hofmeister, Royal Dutch Shell PLC's U.S. chair.

Shell, Saudi Aramco, ConocoPhillips, BP PLC and Marathon Oil Corp. plan to spend a combined $15 billion (U.S.) to expand refineries from Michigan to Texas to process more low-grade oil from the tar sands.

Rebels Blow Up Pipelines in Mexico, Disrupting Service

For the third time in three months, saboteurs blew up several pipelines belonging to Mexico’s state oil monopoly, disrupting service to dozens of factories and briefly rattling financial markets, officials said, but not killing anyone.

Saudi-like oil monopoly 'ultimate goal' for Nigeria: minister

Nigeria's energy minister said on Monday that the Saudi Arabian state-owned oil monopoly Aramco was a model for his country's restructuring national oil producer.

Response to the Government’s consultative document “The Future of Nuclear Power”

Ever wondered if the clock was ticking regarding a secure electricity supply? Could new nuclear power stations actually increase carbon emissions? Could the looming shortage of uranium represent the biggest challenge to a nuclear renaissance? These are just a few of the questions answered by John Busby in his response to the Government’s consultative document “The Future of Nuclear Energy”.

Short on Labor, Farmers in U.S. Shift to Mexico

A sense of crisis prevails among American farmers who rely on immigrant laborers, more so since immigration legislation in the United States Senate failed in June and the authorities announced a crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants. An increasing number of farmers have been testing the alternative of raising crops across the border where there is a stable labor supply, growers and lawmakers in the United States and Mexico said.

Green fleets, fat profits on display at Frankfurt show

Opening the world's biggest car show with raft of optimistic reports on improved earnings and greater fuel efficiency, executives from carmakers around the world were bubbling with confidence about their greener fleets and fatter profits.

Toyota confident of saying ahead of hybrid pack: Watanabe

Toyota is confident of retaining its leading position in hybrid cars despite growing competition, the Japanese firm's chairman said Monday ahead of the International Motor Show (IAA) here.

If the number of hybrid cars grows it will be good for the environment, Katsuaki Watanabe told a press conference three days before the 62nd IAA opened to the public.

OPEC and Peak Oil: Global Warming Ain’t The Only Reason to Go Green

This week, News Editor Dan Shapley presents The Daily Green’s first look at Peak Oil. We’ve timed it to coincide with OPEC’s September meeting, where all manner of postulations about oil production and prices will fill our screens. We think that regardless of what the OPEC ministers decide about output, it’s time that the discussion about Peak Oil and its implications for this country’s economy, lifestyle as well as the climate debate goes mainstream. It’s far too important not be discussed around dinner tables nationwide as well as in the presidential debates of this election cycle.

Peak Oil Now? Airing Saudi Arabia’s Dirty Little Secret

When the OPEC cartel begins its meeting Sept. 11, some analysts expect Saudi Arabia’s dirty little secret will come out: It, and the world with it, has hit peak oil.

Oil, these analysts think, is running short — leaving a yawning gap between supply and demand that will eventually send the world economy into a tailspin and could even lead to war.

Saudi Arabia, the line of reasoning goes, will refuse to increase oil production not because it doesn’t want to — but because it can’t.

“If they actually do say they’re not increasing their supply for this that or the other reason, it would give a clue that it’s a problem,” said Gail Tverberg, who blogs as Gail The Actuary on The Oil Drum blog, a leading proponent of the Peak Oil theory.

OPEC considers modest oil output rise

OPEC was meeting on Tuesday to consider a modest rise in oil output proposed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states in a gesture to consumers worried by the economic impact of $77 oil and rapidly diminishing stocks.

But the plan to add 500,000 barrels per day of oil had yet to convince all OPEC ministers and discussions were continuing, a delegate said. Venezuela, Algeria and Libya said ahead of the talks they were not in support of increasing supplies.

Peak Oil: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It

Some analysts believe the world is at or near hitting peak oil — the point at which so much oil has been pumped that demand begins to outstrip supply, leaving a yawning and persistent gap.

In a nutshell, here’s why hitting peak oil is a concern...

Sinopec to import 60,000 tons of gasoline in September

Sinopec, China's biggest oil refiner, is planning to import 60,000 tons of gasoline in September to help meet domestic demand, said an official of the company on Tuesday.

Rosneft warns China over oil supply post 2010

State-controlled Rosneft, Russia's largest oil firm, said on Tuesday it will not renew its existing crude oil supply contract to China after 2010 unless China offers better terms.

Petro-Canada Bets Big on Oil Sands

Sam La Bell, vice president at Toronto-based Veritas Investment Research Corp., still has doubts about the oil sands project. In an August research note, he calls the recent cost estimates "a careful bit of subterfuge" to disguise borderline economics. The company didn't return calls for comment.

Oil and Corruption in Iraq Part II: Smuggling Thrives in Basra

Police and government officials are accused of taking a cut of the lucrative oil smuggling business run by clans and overseen by militia groups in the southern city of Basra.

Rival Shia groups have divided up control of the city's resources - including the country's only seaport as well as its largest oilfields - in a precarious power arrangement which could implode at any time. The warring militias control the illegal oil exports from Basra, the gateway to Iran and the Gulf states, and are reportedly linked to global networks.

Iraq Oil Min: Hunt Oil Deal with Kurd Government Illegal

Hunt Oil Co.'s agreement with Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region to explore for oil is illegal, Iraq's oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani said Monday, in his first public reaction to the deal announced over the weekend.

Big Houses Are Not Green: America's McMansion Problem

The recent mansion boom produced millions of energy-wasting homes with thousands of square feet that Americans don't need - not the behavior of a society that's thinking about a sustainable future.

Expert says climate change will spread global disease

Climate change will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on health with possibly one billion more people at risk from dengue fever within 80 years, an expert said Tuesday.

As Brazil's rain forest burns down, planet heats up

As vast tracts of rain forest are cleared, Brazil has become the world's fourth-largest producer of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, after the United States , China and Indonesia , according to the most recent data from the U.S.-based World Resources Institute .

And while about three-quarters of the greenhouse gases emitted around the world come from power plants, transportation and industrial activity, more than 70 percent of Brazil's emissions comes from deforestation.

A new Round-Up has been posted at TOD:Canada.

In her new book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein uses the example of public sector dismantling in both New Orleans and Iraq as an illustration of Milton Friedman's idea that crisis presents an opportunity to push a pre-existing agenda and achieve sweeping change. This is both an important point and a timely warning, as the developing international credit crunch is arguably approaching a critical phase. The inability to roll over short term commercial paper, often backed by dubious loans, is presenting an enormous challenge to a banking system short of cash. The coming economic upheaval could be sufficient to precipitate far-reaching socio-political changes on a global scale.

On the energy front, CIBC World Markets claims that Canada has 50-70% of the investable oil reserves in the world, for oil majors increasingly shut out of producing regions. However, those reserves suffer from a shortage of pipeline capacity for both inputs and output. Saskatchewan decides against 'clean coal' on cost grounds, but continues to maintain a low royalty, low tax regime for natural resources. In the meantime, the Canadian wind industry is being consolidated in fewer and fewer hands, and there is strong resistance to uranium mining in rural Ontario.

As for environmental news, Holland is developing a 200 year plan for climate change, but with the assumption that sea-levels will rise very little despite evidence of rapid change in Greenland's icesheets. There is considerable concern over the potential for warming to activate microbial oxidation of the organic matter of the arctic tundra, which could ignite a devastating spiral of positive feedback.

Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine

In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism's core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as "the shock doctrine". He observed that "only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change". When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the "tyranny of the status quo". A variation on Machiavelli's advice that "injuries" should be inflicted "all at once", this is one of Friedman's most lasting legacies....

....I started researching the free market's dependence on the power of shock four years ago, during the early days of the occupation of Iraq. I reported from Baghdad on Washington's failed attempts to follow "shock and awe" with shock therapy - mass privatisation, complete free trade, a 15% flat tax, a dramatically downsized government. Afterwards I travelled to Sri Lanka, several months after the devastating 2004 tsunami, and witnessed another version of the same manoeuvre: foreign investors and international lenders had teamed up to use the atmosphere of panic to hand the entire beautiful coastline over to entrepreneurs who quickly built large resorts, blocking hundreds of thousands of fishing people from rebuilding their villages. By the time Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was clear that this was now the preferred method of advancing corporate goals: using moments of collective trauma to engage in radical social and economic engineering.

It follows as a natural corollary that it behooves the followers of Friedman (and Machiavelli) to create such shocks, not just exploit them, when possible and it benefits them. Could that ever happen? Nah.

Rome, 475 AD.

"Within 19 months, with most of the city's poor residents still in exile, New Orleans' public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools."

This is about .01% of the net impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans because of Katrina. You could take any disaster and find some kind of profit or change from it that was economically advantageous to someone. The world isn't ever perfectly static except in the dreams of planners of command economies.

New Orleans is a City of Great Positives and Great Negatives.

Pre-Katrina, our Public Schools were a Great Negative (along with Crime & Summer Weather). Twice the citizens voted in "Reform" School Boards, and each turned into self serving grafters & grand standers.

Very few locals object to the mix of improving schools we have today.

A public elementary school 7 blocks from me may develop into the best public elementary school in the nation. All classes but English & Geography are taught in French by native French speakers (Supported by the Republic of France). The goal is for all students to be fluent in English & French, and with three years of Spanish and two years of a non-Latin alphabet language (Russian, Chinese, Japanese) by the time they enter 7th grade.

Students have a choice of the remaining public schools, public schools taken over by the State of Louisiana the year before Katrina for academic failure (the worst of the worst), a variety of charter schools and private schools (half pre-K). The Catholic schools are giving a number of "free rides" for displaced children returning.

Best Hopes for Better Education,


Here's one upon which I thought Alan Drake and/or Westexas might have some comments.

Gas Costs Spark High-Speed Rail Interest

Congress is considering a six-year Amtrak funding bill co-sponsored by 40 senators that would provide the first matching federal grants for rail projects. The measure proposes $100 million in first-year grants, paltry considering that California alone needs $40 billion for a mammoth bullet train project that would link San Francisco and Sacramento with Los Angeles and San Diego.

Some argue federal money would be better spent to research electric-powered cars and other cutting-edge travel alternatives, rather than the ribbons of steel that triggered America’s westward expansion in the 1800s.

“Solutions to our current problems have to be found, not imposed from previous centuries. High-speed rail is just a polished version of 19th century technology,” said William Garrison, co-author of “Tomorrow’s Transportation” and a retired civil engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

But supporters contend high-speed trains could be an important alternative, rivaling even air travel once home-to-airport travel times and delays cause by airport security measures are taken into account.

No mention of electric trains at all...what is the fascination?

Except for California's super train plan. They said they might carry 117 Million passengers by 2030, it could be built in as little as 15 years...at little math...so it would open in 2023-2025.

Alan, I think your ideas are one my greatest hopes...these lead times are frightening.

BTW, Alan have you ever thought of building an information website (promoting your ideas and yourself as a consultant)?

I ask because sometimes I come across decision makers and would love to point them somewhere to get started in electrification of transport.

Heck, I would even host it on our company servers if it would help. I just grabbed electricrailnow.com and electricrailnow.info for you.

Sorry for derailing the thread a bit. Alan's ideas are one of the major proactive things we can do(next to conservation).

Sorry for derailing the thread a bit

An excellent pun :-)

ATM, I would suggest


even though it does not cover all aspects.

There are some other sites.

Ohers have urged me as well, although I find writing painful & slow, several people say that I write well. I am looking at this.

I am not a fan of High Speed Rail in the USA. I prefer "semi-HSR" that can run passengers at 110-125 mph top speeds and light & medium density freight on the same tracks. I see freight as the higher priority.

I am active on stuff behind the scenes. Two long shots for 1,000+ mile railroad electrification programs in the works.

I am booked till ASPO-Houston, but let me think this over. I am preparing handouts for the conference ATM, and the T21 model using my ideas with Millennium Institute.

It has been a LOT of work to develop ideas from concepts to firm ideas. The hard #s from the T21 model will help a lot IMHO.

My two best papers are



Point them there.

Best Hopes,



Well, I got those domains anyways.

Maybe TOD could put together a compilation of electric rail discussions under them.

It is not a rejection, let me think about it.

I also think a broader subject, such as Peak Oil & Global Warming Mitigation may be more appropriate. Many of my concepts (a non-GHG North American grid for example) fall into that rubric.

Best Hopes,


Didn't mean to put you on the spot either. There here if you want em.

these lead times are frightening

Me Too !

The US federal funding process is designed to ration very limited funding by queue (waiting & paperwork).

OTOH, the French build their trams in 3 to 4 years time.

A new Mayor in Lyon promised two new tram lines with broad brush statements "from here to there" and "there to there".

Three years, five months later he cut ribbons on both.

Perhaps we need to import retired French bureaucrats !


You missed the link above...

Mass Transit: Separating Delusion from Reality

...whose author states that light rail may not be an answer.
Some quotes:

The massive diversion of highway money to transit did not reduce traffic congestion or road use. In every one of the nation’s urban areas with a population of more than one million (where more than 90 percent of transit ridership occurs), road use increased per capita and by no less than one-third. Even worse, peak-period traffic congestion rose by 250 percent.

Also takes exception to the fallacy of tax monies "earmarked" for specific venues:

"40 percent of highway user fees collected from drivers are diverted for uses other than roads and bridges."

The author clearly has a pro roads agenda but if light rail has such great potential and appeal, why aren't the ones mentioned more successful?
It says alot to me that people would rather be stuck in their cars in bumper to bumper, rush hour traffic than hop a train.

"..if light rail has such great potential and appeal, why aren't the ones mentioned more successful?"

Because they were being examined during this period of extremely cheap gasoline. We haven't had the compelling NEED to make our transportation more economical. Not only do we have the momentum of this illusion that cars give us 'freedom' (cut to bumper to bumper images, circling blocks umpteen times to find a spot, paying for fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.. ), but it was also being forcefully 'endorsed' by investments in roadway saturation and not transit saturation, both from government and industry. Yes, consumers made choices, but what choices were presented to them, what kind of public information helped form their priorities?

Those cities that have developed light rail at least have a degree of flexibility, whereas towns and cities that ripped up their tracks and terraformed exit ramps over/through old rail pathways will be facing anything from mighty bills to possibly extinction depending on how they can adapt to changed fuel-transport-food realities at the speed that the changes hit us.

Unfotunately there is not much flexibility in the light rail system itself since, as the article maintains, peoples workplaces are as far flung as their living arrangements.

Light rail would be best suited to locales where the centers of commerce are centrally located. I doubt many places in the USA can lay claim to that condition.

Asking society to reformulate its economic activity along a mass transit light rail while under the crushing auspices of Peak Oil seems a bit farfetched to me.

No, conservation is the key here, hybrid buses, rationing, rideshares and maybe even private industry will step up, GM is saying the Volt will be ready for road testing next year.

Like it or not we are stuck with an unbelievably large prior investment in the form of our road and highway system.

What makes sense is to leverage that investment by setting high CAFE requirements for every vehicle using that system, including long haul and commercial trucking which should be phased out in conjunction with expanding the heavy rail system for moving goods and materials.

Some may argue that Jeavons Paradox will offset any gains in fuel economy but that has yet to be tested in the face of declining resources.

"Light rail would be best suited to locales where the centers of commerce are centrally located. I doubt many places in the USA can lay claim to that condition

... Asking society to reformulate its economic activity along a mass transit light rail while under the crushing auspices of Peak Oil seems a bit farfetched to me."

And yet you still have to compare that to 'Asking society to continually MAINTAIN it's mammoth and capillary system of paved roadways and individual vehicles, and the resulting expenses of trucking ourselves and our supplies out to all these diffused points' .. while under the crushing auspices of Peak Oil. The original setup is what's farfetched. The amount of cheap energy we've had access to is outrageous, but now we're built around it as our central assumption. The volt may be great, but it still needs a terribly costly road system in place to do us much good.

Yes, we need massive conservation and road-based mass-transit options as ways to get by as we figure out how to live in a world with more modest energy availability, but we also need to be able to consider the big pills that must be swallowed. We need durable and efficient transit systems designed for the long view, and rail and light rail have proven themselves in this. It's not a silver bullet, but it is the most energy-efficient way to move things over land and must still play an essential role in a long-term investment to keep things moving. I believe in Transit-Oriented-Development, and structuring the communities around the most efficient forms of transportation, but this is a gradual shift at both ends. You add some trolley lines, some people can walk and bike to them, but there are still roads, buses and cars to cover the distance, as long as you can afford to.. Businesses that aren't near train lines may tend to move closer, lobby for spurs, set up shuttles.

We've got to make a very poorly designed country come back in line. Rail and Light rail will be an incentive for that, with a real capacity for delivering transit with reliably few calories. This is a huge country, and it's completely insane that we have any argument about the sense in using the most efficient and durable means to get around it. Take your bike to the train station.. I want an electric car, too, but I'm more than happy to plan for using the 21st century versions of these 19th century technologies for the lion's share of my transport needs. It's funny how that article quoted the academic (Stanford?) saying rail is a step backwards, and we need to go forward. Going from a less-efficient mode to a more efficient mode is going to save you fuel in either direction, forward or reverse. But of course, reverse is anathema in a country that is addicted to racing around in ever-faster circles..

Bob Fiske

Very well stated Bob Fiske !

Just to restate some obvious points. Almost all US cities (all ?) were once centrally located (remember "downtowns") and those bones still remain. The "Creative Destruction" of American economy and Urban Form will accelerate post-Peak Oil IMHO. We will NOT be frozen in whatever form we find ourselves in today.

Those offices and industries that are located non-sustainably will either relocate or stop. With reduced economic activity, some economic centers will be abandoned. Those office buildings 3 blocks from a rail station are unlikely to be abandoned.

The "market" will reform rapidly around rail when it is valued. Washington DC added a new station (New York Avenue) to an old line. A half dozen office buildings sprang up !

After two decades of minimal TOD around Miami's first elevated Rapid Rail. Miami voted to expand it greatly (to 103 miles). In 2004, I counted 15 of 23 construction cranes within 3 blocks of a Metro station.

Trees will not stop growing post-Peak Oil. Construction will slow but not stop. We could build twice as many homes with half the resources as we do today

I figure that a high efficiency 5-plex (2 story. 3 + 2 units, average 450 sq ft each, no parking except bicycles) would take about as much resources as the average 2,497 sq ft single family home in the USA with supporting sewers, streets, etc. and garage required for sprawl. The extra insulation, geothermal heat pump, expensive windows of the post-Peak construction could offset the energy required for the supporting infrastructure of the sprawl. Add some 3 story homes into the mix as well.

I have read that retail space/capita has expanded almost 10x since 1950. I can believe this. Shopping malls with a sea of parking and no transit will likely empty.

Buses are not a solution, except as short feeders to rail, due to their relatively high use of FF.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency !


Hopefully this gets to you, I've been away for a few days.

This is a huge country, and it's completely insane that we have any argument about the sense in using the most efficient and durable means to get around it.

When it comes to separating people from their cars, you have yet to see the insanity.
As much ingrained into JoeSixpacks non-negotiable right to unlimited amounts of cheap gas is his right to drive any type of vehicle he damn well pleases.
So unless you are advocating bringing this version of T.O.D. to being over at minimum the next 50 years or so you are badly overestimating Joe's ability to see the "sense" in your proposal.
No matter WHAT the reason, people will rebel at the loss of their private transportation.
It would take a HUGE propanganda effort to convince Americans otherwise.

Also missing in the publics mind about the coming scarcity is the appalling lack of leadership neccessary to take on the powerful vested interests aligned against rail (although the limits rail imposes on travel would be an appealing benefit to any future dictator "Your papers, please!").

The doomer in me scoffs at the notion "it was done in 1907, it can be done in 2007" attached to rail.
What was done a century ago was done while we were on the upslope of energy and materials production.
Previous societies that have peaked have rarely, if ever, entered the downslope in a peaceable, cooperative fashion.

So IMO you've got quite a bit arguing left to do.

The author, Wendell Cox (along with Rubin) are long time paid shills for the Road Lobby and I do not bother to read him anymore, due to his habitual use of half truths (use transit statistics from a year with a transit strike to show a declining trend in transit use is one example that comes to mind). Here we would call him a troll.

Transit SYSTEMS (see Washington DC for a system at least partially completed) are needed rather than isolated lines for a transformative impact.

Bus Rapid Transit routinely fails to meet predicted ridership goals, Light Rail routinely exceeds them (and most light rail systems are short of rolling stock because of federal rules, also suppressing ridership and causing excessive crowding).

Car traffic will be forever crowded till fuel issues force them off the road. Uncongested road space draws a crowd.

Vancouver BC has ZERO urban freeways and functions quite well. Hopefully other cities will follow their lead and dynamite existing freeways.

Portland OR is well along to building a partial system once the Green Line (under construction) is completed. East of the Willamette River they will have 4 lines, 1.5 lines + streetcar west of the River.

Portland has wisely kept from expanding freeways (and also encouraged TOD & established Urban Growth Boundaries) . I was told that commuters from Washington have 8 lane freeway in WA, 6 on bridge and in Portland till first exit to Light Rail Park & Ride, 4 lanes thereafter.

This is not calculated to make commuters from Washington sprawl happy. It is calculated to reduce commuting from a state w/o an income tax into a state w/o a sales tax and reduce overall road demand in Portland (paid for by Portland & Oregon).

Portland has benefited economically and environmentally from this reduced emphasis on auto travel. The Pearl is a TOD area that has grown from nothing with the streetcar. Portland has the highest % bicycling commuting in the nation 3.5%. Overall Portland has a reputation as a very livable community which helps economically.

No other American city can be said to have built a Light Rail SYSTEM since WW II and Portland needs several more lines before one can truly say that they have.

Best Hopes,


Preliminary plans years ago once called for linking the Gold & Green Lines in the SouthEast into a loop, This was cut as an economy measure. I think that it would add to the utility of the SYSTEM to add that back.

Until we are ready to accept low speed rail, we haven't really learned anything. I remember going through Spain on a steam powered mail train that stopped even where there weren't seemingly places and probably never exceeded 35 mph, and it was a wonderful experience. I'd often ride along the Spanish coast on a two car commuter train powered by a Chevrolet six; this is what we had before the me - fast generation.

Journeys are as important as destinations. I'll vote for low speed rail. Safe , efficient, quiet, accessible tech, and doable whenever we get over our current fixations.

Definitely agree...any rail build out would be good. But, I really think electric rail is the way to do...has always been so.

Too bad oil was so cheap that it was more expensive to put in electric line infrastructe than use diesel across the US and Canadian expanses...really a shame.

1970s...previous oil shock.

Too bad the shock didn't last long enough for them to follow thru.

Lincoln to Alliance? No wonder it got shot down. Give me a school bus and I could carry most of the people on that stretch - Nebraska highway 2 contends with Nevada 50 for the emptiest stretch of highway in the United States.

The North Platte starting point is also a head scratcher. Chicago Des Moines Omaha {other Nebraska cities ... all three} and then Denver is a sensible run.

Is there some logistics reason I don't know for those routes in my area? There isn't anything in the middle and mostly nothing on the ends for the two in Nebraska.

That triple track, very heavy duty stretch of rail (from memory) is designed to haul millions of tons of coal, not people.

Plus some corn & wheat.


Lincoln-Alliance-Gillette carries powder river basin coal east. Probably one of the busiest rail lines in the US, with the heaviest trains too.

North Platte west to Salt Lake is the UP main line and the original transcontinental railroad route. North Platte has one of the biggest rail yards in the world. Lots of plastic crap from China moving in containers to Wal Marts in the east.

Chicago Des Moines Omaha {other Nebraska cities ... all three} and then Denver is a sensible run.

How much traffic, either people or freight, do you anticipate you can generate along that route? If you're going past Denver, routes further north or south make more sense. Look at the history of east-west transport, starting from the wagon trains; all effectively bypassed Denver. Even I-70 was originally designed to end at Denver, and it took years of heavy-duty lobbying by Colorado politicians in order to get it extended.

Rail or road west from Denver provides for spectacular scenery and difficult engineering problems. The passes in Wyoming are, IIRC, at least 3,000 feet lower than anything in Colorado and with much gentler slopes running up to them.

The Moffat Tunnel changed that in 1928.


Unfortunately it is single track.

Best Hopes for Long Lived Infrastructure,



Sea ice extent continues to decline, and is now at 4.24 million square kilometers (1.63 million square miles), falling yet further below the previous record absolute minimum of 5.32 million square kilometers (2.05 million square miles) that occurred on September 20–21, 2005.


and Greenland too:



And Chile:

Rate of melting glaciers has doubled in ten years

Scientists from the Center of Scientific Studies of Valdivia (CECS) said this week that Chile’s glaciers are melting at twice the speed observed just ten years ago. The scientists, who recently participated in a specially called international forum on glaciers, also warned that this trend could have devastating ramifications due to current plans to construct hydroelectric dams around Chile.

And then you combine that with this Round-Up post today, and you have to wonder what shapes people's ideas.

The Netherlands are betting their very future, as well as untold billions of dollars, on the assumption that James Hansen is some 97% off with his prediction of sea level rises as high as 25 meters. And all the while the melting keeps on accelerating, and "experts" keep saying that surprises them.

That is not a normal bet. So what is it? Just desperate, or plain insane? Most gamblers who play double or nothing as a strategy, end up with nothing.

Netherlands has 200-year global warming plan

With two-thirds of the Dutch population living below sea level, the country's government sees the risk of rising seas caused by global warming as a matter of life and death. So it's taking a long term view of the problem - a two hundred-year view, to be exact. The Cabinet announced plans on Friday for a new commission to begin preparing water defences through the year 2200.

"We want to make sure that there's still a Netherlands a century from now," Tineke Huizinga, the country's top water official, told state broadcaster NOS. "We don't want to just let the water flow and all have to move to Germany."

"We agree that in this light, we have to reckon with extreme scenarios ... it's important to understand what level of (flooding) risk is acceptable."Dutch policymakers are counting on a rise in sea level of around 80 centimetres in the coming century regardless of the ongoing scientific debate on the causes and likely impact of global warming.


Desperation leading to insanity, is my guess.

Like the drunk looking for his keys under the lamp post, even though that's not where he lost them...

Exactly. They have likely read the bit in the IPCC report that says "this doesn't include either Greenland or Antarctica ice sheet melts because, frankly, we haven't a clue". However when each could yield 7m alone and your country is already bailing - well its best to hope for the best and buy that holiday home somewhere above the 200m altitude mark.

... yes, the light is much better there ;-)

One of my favorite metaphors of all time. That and Wittgenstein's Net.

James Hansen et al released Climate Change and Trace Gases PDF, Philiosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, in May 2007. That paper is based not on the usual computer modelling, but on research of historical ice cores etc. That should make people pause a little, I think.

George Monbiot put it this way:

The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century. Hansen’s paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn’t fit the data.

The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another.

When temperatures increased to 2-3 degrees above today’s level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59 centimetres [1.93 feet] but by 25 metres [82 feet]. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature.

If Hansen and his renowned team of collaborators are off by a full 90%, which looks like a daring assumption, when you consider their reputations, sea levels will still rise 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) this century, and the policies developed now by the Netherlands, New Orleans, London, New York and countless other spots around the world, will wash away with all else.

Moreover, the billions of dollars spent on levees, dikes and various forms of reinforcements will have been wasted. Those same billions could today be put to better use, by moving people away from the coastlines.

But, to get back to the Netherlands, they have nowhere to go. The country has one of the highest population densities in the world already, and will run out of space for real. Therefore, people would be forced to move abroad, and that is not exactly a political slogan that will get too many votes. Saying that you will work hard, and use lots of taxpayers' money, to ensure that all will be alright, is politically much more rewarding in the short term. Besides, which country would invite millions of Dutch refugees, even if they wanted to go?

Still, what a bet it is that they are making.

Moreover, the billions of dollars spent on levees, dikes and various forms of reinforcements will have been wasted. Those same billions could today be put to better use, by moving people away from the coastlines.

100% agreed.

But, to get back to the Netherlands, they have nowhere to go.

There's always floating cities.

Leaving aside catastrophe, I don't think the Dutch continuing to prudently build with a time frame that most certainly stretches from the next 6 months to the next 6 years to the next 6 decades is a 'waste.' Perhaps not an optimal allocation, but in the case of the Dutch, they have been making more land for centuries - they aren't simply going to write off such a long term investment because things could be worse than expected.

No opinion if they will have to abandon various aspects of what is currently the Netherlands at some point - but they are not thinking in Hollywood terms, they are dealing with concrete problems stretching beyond the life span of their grandchildren.

And in all fairness, preparation and coldly pragmatic calculation are a lot better than what America has been doing for the last decade. Throwing the world's biggest mortgage burning party, before the mortgage is paid off, is not the sort of behavior that wins respect and admiration - or contracts. I am fairly certain that the Dutch will make a fair bit of money exporting their skills to other countries confronted with the same rising ocean level. It remains beyond my ken to grasp what Americans will be doing that other people will value in a decade or two - and considering the number of realtors, mortgage brokers, appraisers, car salesmen, retail employees, construction workers likely to be available, it is not an idle question, as the rest of the world is extremely unlikely to keep supporting them to the standard they feel entitled to.

It remains beyond my ken to grasp what Americans will be doing that other people will value in a decade or two

Porn. The rest of the world will still want to watch American teenage girls. And hey, difficult to outsource to India, due to the different culture. DMCA, MPAA, DRM, and other acronyms make it apparent that the US is keenly aware of this.

Maybe sex tourism? The US will be like post-Communist Russia, only without its profitable oil industry.

I lived in The Netherlands for five years and have a Dutch wife. I was over there a couple of months ago, and we just established a second residence north of Amsterdam, within view of a functional 200 year-old windmill still pumping water through the dike. We’re about to close up our house here in Vermont and spend the next year or so (or longer) back in Holland.

The Dutch are extremely intelligent and pragmatic as a society. Not all Dutch people are necessarily intelligent or pragmatic as individuals of course (I know quite a few who are however), but as a society, they are able to anticipate and to act while we here in America seem to be stuck in a state of denial.

What did I see in July in Amsterdam? An ambitious new north-south underground rail system, being built right under the historic city center, that will link the southern reaches of greater Amsterdam with its northernmost reaches. Electrified trams are already the main source of transportation in the city. I kept thinking of Alan’s electrified rail concept – well here it is in action.

I also saw massive new wind turbines erected near existing power plants and along major road corridors. New man-made islands have sprung up in the harbor, and more are being built, with small ferries leaving from behind Central Station every few minutes (at least half the people on the ferries are on bicycles). That harbor is busier than it has been in years, and a new ferry terminal is to be built behind the station, connected to a new multi-modal transfer center for buses, trams, bikes, etc.

The Dutch already have the most advanced bicycle infrastructure I’ve ever seen, with separate bike paths with their own directional signs and traffic lights, and most people are in their street clothes or work clothes. Peak Oil is not a theory for the Dutch. When I mention it over there, they shrug and say, “Of course,” whereas in the States people look at me like I’m some kind of nut.

The most apparent, and er, uncomfortable change for me is going to be giving up my car for a bicycle. After spending seven years back in the States behind the wheel of my Subaru, getting back on the bike in July was quite an experience. On the good side, I’m sure I’m going to lose a few pounds, but (ouch!), I’ll wager that Americans are never going to willingly give up their cars for bikes.

Even if the sea continues to rise, the Dutch will keep working to keep it at bay. They have no other choice… there’s 15 million of them! They are a proud people, an accomplished people, pragmatic and willing to live with a lot less than Americas are accustomed to. Managing water and wind is among the things they do best. So I'll agree with expat. I wouldn’t count them out yet – not by a long shot.

Tempted to sell my farm in USA and move to Holland.
One of favorite books as kid, "The Tide in the Attic" about 1953 flood.
Those are some resourceful folks.

When much of your country is already below sea level you need to do what you can and hope for the best. Any volunteers to take the Dutch in?

Not us belgians, cause we are/will be packed as well.
And historically seen...:)

At least 105 people with Dutch passports live in just 2 municipalities on the coast of western norway according to this article (in norwegian). This count doesn't include any Dutchies that may have obtained citizenship, so it is likely that a lot more live there permanently. Having sporadically read local newspapers from this part of norway for the last couple of years I can remember reading several articles about some of these Dutch immigrants, and their feelings related to moving from one of the most crowded countries in the world to a sparsely populated region dominated by deep and long fjords with mountains between, and narrow bands of arable land along the fjords and in the bottom of the valleys that start where the fjords end and reach into the mountains. I wonder how many of them were influenced by the potential for rising sealevel when they made their decision?

So far they seem to have been well received, perhaps because many of the communities they have joined have been in decline for the last generation, and encouraging young people to move in is something most local politicians spend alot of time talking about.

And yet one has to give them credit for looking that far out. The fixation with the IPCC means that we basically look out to 2100, which is an arbitrary cutoff given that once released CO2 will live in the atmosphere for centuries. So we have people saying: but E. Antarctica is increasing in mass! (which is actually currently predicted though not for much beyond 2100) The IPCC predicts minimal sea level rise! The latter is because data cutoff was 2005 and we've found out a lot more since then, but even those predictions were only for the next century.

Just remember, the Dutch perception of 28 cm as generous is shaped by the noise voters & politicians get from climate change deniers - it is the home of Royal Dutch Shell. Though the noise is not as loud there as in the US, this is for-profit noise specifically designed to give people excuses for not changing their behavior. The tobacco industry has been running the prototype for this sort of manipulation. The mental climate is prevented from changing as quickly as the physical climate, making it impossible for a democracy to make policy that could save many lives decades from now.

I call it corporate murder in progress.

I noticed this note in the nsidc link:

"Please note that our daily sea ice images, derived from microwave measurements..."

No wonder the sea ice is melting, we're microwaving it! : )

The comment from the NSIDC notes that the Northwest Passage is still open, while the Northeast Passage is blocked by a small area of ice. In today's satellite image, it looks as if the Northeast Passage is almost open. Anyone have any data about the salinity of the GIN Seas these days? With all that sea-ice flowing thru the Fram Strait, one would expect to see a freshening of the GIN Seas as a result. That wouldn't be good for the THC sinking in the area, possibly leading to more sea-ice off the coast of Greenland as the winter freeze kicks in.

Could we be witnessing another Great Salinity Anomaly? I hope not, as a cold winter would give the denialist machine more manure for the dis-information campaign going into the 2008 elections. Most folks in the U.S. will have forgotten about this summer's record heat by election time.

E. Swanson

Anyone have any good links to really recent satellite shots of the Greenland glaciers?

The moulins are disturbing, as it appears it is the same mechanism that disintegrated the Larson B shelf in 2002.



Except that was an ice shelf, this is one of the world's largest glaciers.

A moulin forms when the ice is over land. You end up with a big pothole underneath, scoured out by the debris in the water. There were melt ponds on Larsen A/B but the mechanisms are different - the water going into those moulins is lubricating the bottom of the glacier and thusly making it easy for it to move.

Larsen A/B breakup was similar to the arctic ice pack's current behavior.

I understand the differences, but there are similarities too.

Moulins are essentially large melt water conduits dropping to the bedrock.

Meltwater ponds are essentially CREVASSES that are blocked usually and therefore fill up with water, then eventually give way, and the water falls thru.

In the case of the Larsen breakup, this is where structural failure occurred and cascaded.

So...I am just suggesting the mechanism may be similar for LARGE numbers of large moulins all over the glacier. (see image of the large number of melt pools)

However, it is why I have been looking for a good satellite shot recent, to see if you can see swiss cheese effect.

Oh, sorry - too much attention to detail on my part? Not trying to be difficult here, just wanting to squish any factual/conceptual errors that might influence the debate. We don't have a solid idea of what to do about the changes we face but I try to assist in ensuring there is accuracy surrounding things we do know.


To address Kunstler's no CT comments posted above.


The poster child for this is The New York Times. In their reporting on the world oil situation, they have consistently and uncritically swallowed the public relations handouts of Daniel Yergin's Cambridge Energy Research Group (CERA), a wholly-owned PR shop serving the oil industry. Laziness doesn't even explain this....

Bumbling sabotage of the facts or CT:

Invincible ignorance.

Ultimately, credit depends on legitimacy, and so does authority.

I'm happy to see Kunstler addressing "legitimacy". Yes, we have laws, but so much of what passes for legislation now is lacking legitimacy - a basis in reality - real, genuine, logical. Clear Skies, Healthy Forests, NOLA. I don't know a lot about other states, but much of the same goes on at the state level here in Maine. Privatization - a fancy name for appropriation and plunder by the political class via legislative means. [Maine State Pier, Plum Creek, the liquor deals, gambling, etc....]

Our free-market system depends on legitimacy, but it works to destroy the legitimacy on which it depends. The screw your neighbor/community is irrelevant concept embodied in "get ahead". Who are you "getting ahead" of? Where private gain has so taken over the legislative and political process, there is no more legitimacy and the whole society degenerates.

Much of what was once free in our environment is being turned into scarce commodities from which profit is to be extracted: water, carbon credits, genomes. And the "law" is being misused to do this; it is simply false to assert that our "representatives" are parcelling out the commons to private and corporate interests. They have no more right to do that here in US than the Iraqi legislators have to privatize the oil or electric grid; they are not representative.

That doesn't amount to a conspiracy theory - only a confluence of interests. Those that are running things are steering things their way. That they all believe in the various myths of the Chicago school is only their class myopia (training).

Real shortages are going to be very difficult for them to understand. Instead, they will be blamed on extremists, failure to adhere adequately to free-market policies, lack of market stability eg adequate tax subsidies, etc....

I'll not be surprised when the act of pointing out that there is a shortage becomes a terrorist act. Authority will be used to quash facts - not that that's anything new - look as the typical White House report. Those who want to keep shopping will have to subscribe to the party line.

cfm in Gray, ME

While the Founding Fathers believed that every republic was ultimately doomed, I think it is more accurate to say that every form of government is originally created to secure some sort of public good, but its rules are inevitably gamed by "new money". These free riders on the public good only understand one thing, the acquisition of everything, and they find ways to lobby or lawyer the rules to completely destroy the spirit of the constitution.

The problem is, once these types perverted representative democracy in America, America's power in turn allowed them to quickly infect all democracies, and even use its military force to spread their rigged "democracy" by violence - the final perversion. Basically, once people see how it can be done, they can't unlearn the behavior. We can't un-Rove or un-Fox ourselves back to innocence.

Representative democracy has been gamed to death, without hope of reform - rather like growth economics based on non-renewable resources.

"The problem is, once these types perverted representative democracy in America, America's power in turn allowed them to quickly infect all democracies, and even use its military force to spread their rigged "democracy" by violence - the final perversion. Basically, once people see how it can be done, they can't unlearn the behavior. We can't un-Rove or un-Fox ourselves back to innocence."

This almost sounds biological.

Yep. Although the appropraition of resourses/labour by the elite few has been going on probably well beyond the limits of our history books, the modern era began with the creation of legal entities. The coporatocracy will hinder beneficial change more than anything else...

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

re: Peak Oil Now?...

It's just one of my favorite things when someone says that Peak Oil "could even lead to war".

Ya think???

Another peak oil prediction that is already in the past tense.

Regardless of what announcement comes out of the OPEC meeting, Saudi Arabia's actions, at least for October, are pretty clear.

Based on production to date for 2007 and on the report of a shift of 500,000 bpd of liquids production to power plants and to desalination plants over the next two years, Saudi Arabia may show up to an 11% net export decline from 2006 to 2007--twice the 5.5% decline rate that we saw from 2005 to 2006.

As I have pointed out several times, the ELM--and actual case histories-- suggests that net export decline rates tend to accelerate with time.

Saudi Arabia keeps Oct crude supply steady

TOKYO: Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has told customers in Asia and Europe it will keep its crude supplies steady for October from September levels, backing expectations that an OPEC meeting on Tuesday will maintain supply curbs.

State oil firm Saudi Aramco informed buyers in monthly notices it would continue to supply Asian lifters with around 10 percent below their full contractual volume, as it has since April, industry sources in Japan and South Korea said on Monday.

It will also keep shipments steady to two European refiners, indicating the world’s largest producer is keeping a lid on supply. . .

. . . The International Energy Agency, which represents industrialized consumer nations, forecasts their crude oil stocks will fall to the bottom of the five-year average range by January, unless OPEC pumps more crude oil, and fast.

So it looks like Saudi Arabia is the one proposing the increase in oil production. What will our intrepid reporters at TOD do if they were to do so? Will Robert be vindicated? Find out...later this afternoon :P

Get back to me when Saudi Arabia's crude oil production for a calendar year exceeds 9.6 mbpd.

In any case, as I asked the other day, precisely what are you advocating? That we all acquire H2 Hummers and large suburban mortgages?

Whether a stated increase in quota's will turn into an actual increase in production still remains to be seen.
They have had roughly 3x drilling going on which says quite a lot.
...and of course global financial problems wouldn't be helped by soothing words on oil supply...
How is the search for your lime green Volvo with the peace sticker? Makes me smile every time I think about it, the perfect camouflage auto....lol...

"Cheap is the new chic."

WT -

Stumbled across the article below from PNAS touching on Iranian net exports while I was searching for what the National Academies have done regarding PO. Maybe you've seen it? Maybe it's already dated. Anyhow, may be more data points for the ELM.


The Iranian petroleum crisis and United States national security


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

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

Iran's consumption as a percentage of production was about 40%, in 2006--not too far from my ELM assumption.

From 2005 to 2006, their production declined by 2.1%, their consumption increased by 4.8%, resulting in a 6.4% decline in net exports.

Based on the preliminary HL plot, they are about 58% depleted.

The key is the production decline rate. If they average about 2.5% per year and if consumption increases at 5% per year, their net exports would be down to about 500,000 bpd in 10 years (versus 2.5 mbpd in 2006, an 80% decline).

If the decline rate is closer to 5% than 2.5%, they will probably cease to be a net exporter within 10 years.

Of the top five net exporters that showed a production decline from 2005 to 2006, Iran was in the middle of the net export declines, at 6.4%. Saudi Arabia was 5.5%, Norway, 7.8%.

Continuing question: Why isn't the prospect of a decline/crash in world net export capacity the #1 story in the world?

Well, it was just announced that OPEC will increase quotas by 500,000 barrels per day. The market said Ho-Hum to this news. It was explained on CNBC that OPEC is already producing over 1,000,000 barrels per day OVER its quota. So this is nothing but legitimizing some of the already over quota productio.

Right now oil prices are up 22 cents on the news. The new quotas go into effect in November. But don't look for any new production from anyone.

Ron Patterson

I'm not sure what you mean by this. I haven't read a news release yet and I don't know any details. But if the figure of 500,000 barrels that you quote is correct, I would expect Saudi Arabia will increase its production by 150,000 barrels per day in November.

Echelon, OPEC has just set a production target of 26.3 million barrels per day. That is .5 mbpd more than their former production target.

But OPEC has already been producing more than its official production target. In fact, 26.3 mbpd is approximately .4 mbpd less than they've actually been producing for the past several months.

Correct me if I’m wrong. But the attention paid to this particular OPEC meeting has been extreme. The IEA has been famously pushing for more output. According to reports and speculation over the last few days, Saudi Arabia was seen as pushing for an increase. It was suggested that Venezuela, Kuwait, and Iran were opposed to an increase.

If you read this website regularly, you know that Saudi’s ability to increase its production is in question. You would also know that since OPEC’s targeted cuts in November and February, the only really notable case among OPEC producers is Saudi Arabia. Most of the others had issues with their alloted quotas. Their production was either above or below, or they failed to meet their cuts. In the case of Indonesia, the country is in verifiable geologic decline and seems to have no control whatsoever over its production.

Saudi Arabia on the other hand reduced its production to its exact quota level after years of chronic overproduction and maintained it for what will be 9 months at the end of October.

Say what you will about actual total OPEC production versus the total quota level – but one thing is clear – Saudi Arabia is on target. My expectation of a 150,000 bpd increase in November is based on this. The last targeted cut was 500,000 bpd in February. Of this, Saudi’s share was 158,000 bpd (maintaining a constant 32.5% of the total OPEC quota). I would assume that from Saudi Arabia’s point of view a reversal of 500,000 bpd would look like a 158,000 in their production.

It would seem odd to me if the Saudis were pushing for an increase if they were either incapable of increasing their production or unwilling to. As for what we can expect from other members is another matter. However the statement that we shouldn’t expect any increases is not so important in regards to the other members, as it has been pointed out, those increases have already largely happened through cheating. The issue is really about what Saudi Arabia is capable of.

How about: "The issue is really about what Saudi Arabia is capable of maintaining"

It would seem odd to me if the Saudis were pushing for an increase if they were either incapable of increasing their production or unwilling to.

It's not clear that the Saudis were "pushing" for an increase. I believe that the announced minimal increase was nothing more than an empty gesture to placate those calling for a production increase. I doubt that the Saudis were actually "pushing" for it.

It has been said here before that you can tell when a Saudi oil exec is lying when his mouth is moving. The fact the there was an announcement of a 500,000 bpd increase is meaningless to me. We'll see if it comes to fruition in the next few months. (There may be an actual increase as announced, but it would come from countries such as Nigeria, not Saudi Arabia or other post-peak countries.)

You are right, it isn't clear. However if you dispense with that story you will have a much harder time explaining OPEC's actions today. Nobody wanted an increase, including the de facto leader, but they all agreed to one?

Would it come as a shock to you if Saudi Arabia wanted an increase, raised their production by 150,000 barrels in November and OPEC production was up about 500,000 barrels at the same time? Why is that such a hard concept to accept?

From recent history we know that OPEC cut production quotas by 1.7 mbpd and what was the problem? Not that they couldn't increase production, but that they couldn't DECREASE it to meet the target.

By the way, I can't find where this supposed already existing overproduction of 900,000 barrels is. Maybe I've done something wrong with the numbers, but the EIA has July production at 26.66 mbpd and the quota is 26.3 - or a 360,000 overproduction. Big difference. Tell me I'm wrong on that.

The one year increase in consumption from 2005 to 2006, by just the top five net oil exporters, was 386,000 bpd.

Because of the shortfall in natural gas production in Saudi Arabia, requiring a shift of liquids production to domestic consumption (plus things like 50% annual increases in foreign car sales in Russia), just the top five net oil exporters could easily show close to 700,000 bpd increase in consumption from 2006 to 2007.

I'm sorry, what does this have to do with OPEC's meeting today?

You are of course right, skyrocketing increases in domestic consumption in net petroleum exporting countries has nothing whatsoever to do with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Of course there is the little problem of some OPEC members like Indonesia becoming OFPEC members.

In any case, some might advance the radical suggestion that the only thing that counts from the point of view of importing countries is the volume of net petroleum exports.

The way I read this AP article...


OPEC is adding 500,000 barrels to it's current production, not to the existing quota.

Omar Farouk Ibrahim, spokesman for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said the increase would be based on the group's current production — meaning the 12-nation cartel was adding actual oil to the market.

That sound to me like an actual increase of 500,000 barrels beyond what they are currently producing. Which doesn't guarantee they can deliver of course, but they say they will.

Right. Bloomberg reported it differently in its initial report.

What is going on?

Traders were expecting no OPEC increase, yet they get this:

"The cartel's new output target is 27.2 million barrels a day, El-Badri said, meaning the cartel decided to "legitimize" oil it already was pumping before Tuesday under the old target of 25.8 million barrels a day."


Change course to increase, and agreeing their old target was bogus.

So traders this afternoon run UP the price. Bloomberg reports WTI going from $77.76 to $77.98 in the last 20 minutes.

Are they betting on low supplies, a new hurricane no one knows of, or is this amount of 500,000 barrels just too low?
Or is the three martini lunch back in vogue?

OPEC agrees to raise output by 500,000 barrels per day

OPEC countries have agreed to pump an extra 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the beginning of November, ministers said on Tuesday.

Ministers said the cartel's output target would rise by 1.4 million barrels per day in total to 27.2 million bpd, from its current level of 25.8 million bpd.

But this represents a real increase of 500,000 barrels per day from current levels because OPEC was already producing 900,000 bpd more than its output target, ministers said.

It doesn't say how the 500 kbpd is divied up among members - but the day of reckoning for Saudi is looming large.

Anyone want to bet against Saudi production rising from current levels before the end of the year?

Since they are still maintaining lower exports as of October, all they have left for 2007 is November and December.

On an annual basis for 2007, it's hard to see them above 8.7 mbpd (C+C), which would be about a 5.5% decline rate from 2006, versus about 4.2% from 2005 to 2006, which, combined with a rapid increase in consumption, suggests an acceleration in the net export decline rate, perhaps to double digits.

IMO, the key question is whether the Saudis will ever exceed 9.6 mbpd again for a calendar year. Obviously, my prediction is no.

In any case, my take on what is going is shown below. I think that OPEC wants to preserve the illusion that they have significant excess capacity.

Net Oil Exports and the “Iron Triangle” (July, 2007)

If one resides in the oil industry leg of the Iron Triangle, and if one has concluded that Peak Oil is upon us, or extremely close, does one say, "We cannot increase our production," and thereby encourage massive conservation and alternative energy efforts, or does one say "We choose not to increase production and/or we are temporarily unable to increase production for the following reasons (fill in the blank)?"

The latter course of action would tend to discourage emergency conservation efforts and alternative energy efforts, and it would encourage energy consumers to maintain their current lifestyles, perhaps by going further into debt to pay their energy bills, and it would in general have the net effect of maximizing the value of remaining reserves.

They've got the new mega project coming on. It was scheduled for December, now it looks like November. So they ought to get a temporary boost from that.

But I agree with Matt Simmons. If Saudi Arabia really has the capacity they claim, it ought to be no problem to allow independent verification.

By refusing to allow independent verification, they effectively prevent timely investment in alternatives and mitigation.

As you noted, net production declines don't proceed at a fixed decline rate per year.

Saudi Arabia--just like Texas after 1972--can and will continue to put new oil fields on line, which will cause fluctuations in production, in some cases resulting, again like Texas, in year over year increases in production.

However, I doubt that Saudi Arabia will ever again exceed 9.6 mbpd for a calendar year (C+C).

I would bet heavily that production will be 8.75 mbpd in November.

...the day of reckoning for Saudi is looming large.

We seem to be treating this as a binary question of whether Saudi Arabia can raise production, meaning they are not in decline, or they can't, meaning they are. It might not be that simple.

The Saudis were down about 1 million barrels a day from their peak. If they knew they are having trouble, they may have cut back more than necessary - to their current level. This would give them a reserve production capability above their current level but below their peak. It would preserve for some time their position as a swing producer. Then, if they have to add 150k barrels per day in November, they can do that and preserve their image as a swing producer for quite a bit longer. They can do all this even if they have passed their peak. If I was in their place assuming I understand their motivations, this is what I would do.

hi euan,

you realise you're feeding the very macho trend here to place a bet on everything? :-)

but it's a good question.. we haven’t got any recent news on expected Khursaniyah (AFK) project start-up. Earlier in the year Saudi Aramco had said it was not expected until “the end of 2007”. It’s an enormous project and given capacity constraints across the industry they’ll be doing very well to deliver significant production anytime soon. Maybe they think they can (unsustainably) squeeze something more out of an old field for a few months and then have AFK online to hold the new level for longer?

my guess, and it is only that, is that Saudi Aramco will not show an increase of a full 150,000 barrels per day in November and December this year, although they may show a smaller increase. When AFK reaches max production (first half of next year??) we may see some more significant increase for awhile.

or they could have another field (or part of a field) where the flood front is advancing perilously close to the producing wells and about to bring production down. all we can do is wait and watch..


It would be a hoot if they dropped their production by 500,000 bpd adhering to the new quota.

Indonesia has shown remarkable "restraint" in "electing" to produce below the OPEC quota, much like the 35 years of "voluntary" production cutbacks that we have seen in Texas.

Indonesia Production Versus OPEC Quota

Of course, technically Indonesia is now a member of OFPEC--Organization Of Formerly Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Indonesia's production is irrelevant in any discussion of OPEC's capacity or global production. They are a net importer.

Indonesia's production is irrelevant in any discussion of OPEC's capacity or global production. They are a net importer.

Yeah, they are "irrelevant," just like the UK.

Kind of funny how the Indonesia and UK net export declines were worse than what my Export Land Model (ELM) showed, eight and seven years to net importer status, versus nine years for the ELM.

I added up the net exports from three now "irrelevant" exporters--UK; Indonesia and Colombia--that were exporting about 2 mbpd in 1999. They are now importing 200,000 bpd.

I wonder what happens to world net export capacity when all the top net exporters become "irrelevant," like the UK, Indonesia and Colombia.

What I mean by irrelevant is that it is no more relevant than the 20 nations which produce more oil than it. Including the UK, which produces 700,000 barrels more than Indonesia on a daily basis.

Columbia? produces 500,000 barrels per day and is 28th in world production. And probably exports around 200,000 bpd. I really don't understand what you are talking about. Am I missing something?

The point is that the mathematical model--and real life case histories--indicate that: (1) net exports will decline much faster than overall production declines and (2) the net export decline will accelerate with time.

As I explicitly warned in January, 2006, we saw a worldwide net export decline from 2005 to 2006 (EIA data, Total Liquids). The top three net exporters that I focused on showed a 2.9% decline in net exports. As noted above, the model and the historical case histories indicate that the net export decline will accelerate with time.

For more information, do a Google search for Net Oil Exports.

Or, in the alternative, if you prefer to believe that we can have an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base, good luck.

I understand your concern about exports, but the actual numbers and case histories don't show that a total global export decline will accelerate with time. Exports have fallen from a peak in 2004 and 2005 but they are still above the level of 2001 and 2002. Historically exports are high. Both in terms of raw barrels and as a percentage of total global production. You are focusing on a dip in exports that has occurred before. The rate of decline is actually slower than the rate at which it has increased in the past.

There is nothing in the numbers that suggests the trend won't reverse (even if only temporarily). There is nothing in the numbers that says the pace of domestic consumption in these countries won't slow or even reverse. Germany and Japan are good examples. We've been over all this before. I'm not saying exports won't drop. I'm saying that there is no theory or evidence that says it has to occur in the manner you suggest.

Yes, we seem intent on burning everything on the rock on which we live as fast as possible. Gas prices will probably go up.

Dream on.


When I read the line posted by Stoneleigh in the first comment today, I thought of you, of course:

CIBC World Markets Examines Future Of Canadian Oil Sands

Depending on one's view of the investment climate in Kazakhstan and Nigeria, the economist noted, Canada represents anywhere from 50-70% of the investable oil reserves in the world.

That's serious numbers. Especially if you happen to own a large oil company and your reserves are dwindling. And really especially when you realize that this is not oil, but tar (sands), an industry up to its neck in uncertainties and nasty issues.

If they can't make that work, they'll end up trying to divvy up a mighty small pie, while ELM eats away at the rest of the meal.

Venezuela and China were trying to team up to build a 10 billion dollar project in the Orinoco Tar Sands. 60% Venezuela 40% China; at least until the facility is built and tested...

Nova Scotia wants a 10% stake in all future projects. That is better than 10% in projects currently underway.

The world was drawing down inventories a million barrels a day in August. What will happen when the winds of January blow down from the arctic, if we do not get a globally warm winter?

I read that Russia claimed to have a ten year stockpile of uranium. Mine production was slow in responding to high prices. If the goverments of the world will allow reprocessing of uranium the current production would be augmented with reprocessed spent fuel and growth in the industry might be better facilitated. Some treaty prevents reprocessing as it might be misused. If reprocessing were supervised by a multinational committee in some places where such processes were already in use, the uranium would last much longer and electrification of the world would move forward.

As far as US imports are concerned, doesn't the collapsing production of Mexico's Cantarell more than offset any promise of future OPEC increases?
Even if OPEC delivers on production increases (I don't think they will),, doesn't Mexico's decline trump it?

As Indonesia and UK become net importers, they now put extra demand "strain" on the remaining exporters. The ELM may start to accelerate rapidly. I don't know how well motivated the remaining exporters would be to invest into enhanced recoverery infrastructure just to suck themselves dry faster.

On top of all the other fine response, please remember they promised to pump more after Katrina too...


If they do, and we see it...you're right...Robert would be right.

I have no problem being wrong in this case.

But, still somehow, don't believe I will see it.

Here's hoping they can pump 12 MMBPD!!!

You know, Mr. Deffeyes once proudly proclaimed that he would 'take it' when referring to him being off by 5 months of the current peak in oil production. Since we all cheered him on, might I suggest that Robert also be allowed to 'take it' when KSA increases their production one month after summer ends?

Aside from that, one word sums of todays events:


Congrats Robert, you nailed it :P

Fight the temptation
Don't feed the trolls
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

So I take it you wont be the first one to congratulate Robert on being correct? :P

So you are infinitely skeptical of anything that shows BAU won't continue, but all OPEC and SA have to do is announce that they will increase production to almost as high as they are already producing, and you're foaming in excitement?

Hell, I'm convinced, this peak oil idea is a farce, I'm buyin' a Hummer.

Is that it? That's all it takes to convince you?

A good troll will try at least a little bit to conceal their agenda.

Did I ever say that I didn't believe in Peak Oil? No. I only said that everyone but Robert and Euan were essentially wrong on KSA, in that they clearly have spare capacity and aren't 'voluntarily' declining as WT likes to say.

You of course, have felt the need to put words in my mouth and label me a troll. I guess when the facts present to you go against your indoctrinated beliefs you feel the urge to lash out at those you perceive as different. That sounds a lot like something else...*starts with an R*

Republican? That's about the funniest thing I've ever heard. Isn't that your party, guy?

It wasn't so much "lashing out" as it was simple ridicule. The glee with which you jump on a statement from OPEC that they will increase production (on the day it is given no less), an organization which has little credibility with anyone who's been watching, combined with how quick you are to jump all over anything even mildly "doomer" is just too transparent. And once you become obvious and predictable, you've lost your troll effectiveness - after that it becomes really tedious.

The reality is that whether or not OPEC really can increase production a little bit is irrelevant - it was not the point of today's announcement. It was the announcement itself that was important, because now the press can go around and shout about how everything is OK and business can continue as usual.

Whether SA can actually eek out a higher production volume is also unimportant, because it only tweaks the inevitable results a little bit anyway, and from here on out actual production levels will be mostly dominated by above ground factors. Not everyone is interested in playing the "who called it closest" game.


What'd I say... fight the urge...
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

I hear your sig line and think of Tyrell's line..
'The candle that burns twice as brightly burns half as long, and you have burned so very brightly, Roy.'

Bob, I like that. Hey did you hear everyone talking today about OPEC increasing production, no OPEC not KSA, yeah, by 500000 bpd starting Nov 1. Yeah OPEC, not KSA. No no OPEC is not part of KSA, KSA is part of OPEC. Where's it going to come from? That remains to be seen.

Okay. One for you, along the lines of flame (metaphor for oil?). Who wrote the song that includes the two lines:

"New York City, you're a woman - cold hearted bitch, ought to be your name..."


"...still I'm drawn to you, like a moth to flame"

Thanks, Bob, for the space and opportunity.

Hi John;
Who is that, Joe Jackson?

Call me superstitious, but I'm glad it was 9/12 when you entered that quote. (I do like the quote, but I miss my city) I was weird all day and the day before.. 9/11 has usually been tough for my wife, who watched from another tower, up in midtown. We've since moved to Maine for entirely other reasons, but really (REALLY) love seeing our NYC friends.

OPEC.. yah. Not much to say. Just keep watching.. life seems like a bad screenplay sometimes, but in fact, it's a very, very good one.


Hi Bob,

Al Kooper (solo from his days with Blood, Sweat, and Tears). Written in 1969.

I hadn't though of the 9-11 connection. I'm empathetic with your wife's experience. No wonder you felt weird. Some experiences rewire your brain.

BTW, I needed to park some OPEC comments on the page right here, so I hope you didn't mind.

Maine is a great state. Good choice on the move.

From the "Matt Simmons: Look to The Oceans for New Sources of Oil" article:

Simmons acknowledged that any plan for large scale harvesting of micro algae likely would be strongly opposed by environmentalists. His blunt message to them: “Get over it. We’ve already destroyed the fish stock.”


“There’s still so much about the oceans to be discovered,” he said, including its potential to add to the world’s supply of oil.

That is interesting. On the one hand, he says "we've already destroyed the fish stock". On the other hand, he says "there's still so much about the oceans to be discovered".

The best quote, of course, is "Get over it".

I think those quotes define the general feelings of the human race in regards to oil and energy.

Simmons seems to be losing his cool. Demanding accountability from the Saudis? Where does he seem to think we have the right to know? It's their oil and their business. This Idea that the 'developed countries' have the right to rule the world is getting to be the biggest entitlement fantasy around.

As to harvesting algae....I suppose WE own the algae.

No, no - it's OUR oil, it just happens to be under their ground. You really must get with the program.

This commentary about "our" oil vs "their" land is pointless.

If you require insulin, you want to know that your supplier is going to have enough. Tomorrow, next week, next month. And your supplier keeps saying, "sure, friend, there's plenty, it's all good".

Then suddenly there isn't enough of the stuff you require for your way of life. And your supplier says "sorry, friend, but I don't owe you anything, it's my insulin, f*ck off".

Whether it's right or wrong, you're going to go kick his ass and take it by force.

It's all a chess game and SA/OPEC have maneuvered the perfect checkmate.


So you admit that you Americans are basically thieves?

James Gervais

Whether it's right or wrong, you're going to go kick his ass and take it by force.

And when the insulin is destroyed during the 'ass kicking'? How about if it got poisoned?

Then suddenly there isn't enough of the stuff you require for your way of life.

Be ye king or pauper - everyone gets to meet Grim the Reaper.

Why ya fighting it? Let the young turks come and use what you have left behind.

Yes, hmm. Everyone is mortal. So, yes, we are fighting to stay alive. But we are also at risk for losing not just life but a way of life. Something, at least in theory, our ancestors and forefathers fought for, something we would like to be able to give to our children.

If society is in a contract between the three interested parties of the living, the dead, and the unborn, we are not fulfilling the terms of that contract with any interested party except "me and mine".

This smacks of overwhelming complexity. No one is paying attention to everything relevant, because no-one is able to.

Significant observation recorded. Hope this comes up again and you can post earlier in the thread. 'course that assumes you are willing and the audience has ears.

Relax, it was sarcasm - I forgot to mark it as such.

What he really meant was, "Get over it. There's still so much about the oceans to be destroyed."...for a handsome profit. (i don't know if he really is handsome though!)

Farming goes vertical
Build a 21-story circular greenhouse, says Dickson Despommier, an environmental science professor at Columbia University, and it can be as productive as 588 acres of land - growing, say, 12 million heads of lettuce a year.

With the world's population expected to increase by 3 billion by 2050 - nearly all of it in cities - and with 80 percent of available farmland already in use, Despommier sees a burgeoning need for such buildings. So he talked to fellow academics at the University of California at Davis about using rooftop solar panels to power 24-hour grow lights and found NASA-like technology that would capture evaporating water for irrigation.

Columbia Prof. Goes Bonkers

I guess if you can get an artist to draw it, it must work, huh? Rooftop PV panels for powering grow lights? Recycling transpired water for irrigation? What does "NASA-like" mean"? All that's missing is the piped in music to keep the plants happy...and any connection with reality.

Those inventive New Yorkers just love their high rise buildings. Trouble is, plants need sunlight. Plants act like solar collectors and their growth depends on the amount of sunlight (preferably direct sunlight) which they can intercept with their leaves. A high rise as pictured isn't going to catch very much sunlight and there will be a shadow on the ground on the other side of the building. The amount of sunlight passing thru the walls won't be able to grow much food. Grow lights won't cut it either, given the losses from the PV collectors thru the batteries and lights. So, what are they going to do? Install 30 m diameter wind turbines on top of the tower!! The largest source of energy will be from recycling wastes from city restaurants and from their "crops" thru a methane digester.

From their website:

When the lighting conditions for a particular crop could not be found, an estimated value of 25 W/m2 was used because it was the baseline light requirement for many plants. This value corresponds to 2.32 W/ft2.

Well now, 25 W/m2 is rather low, given that the intensity of sunlight can be about 1000 W/m2 when it's high overhead and that's what grows crops now. The important question would be, how much food is produced at 25 W/m2 over the time they consider? Next, consider that they figure 3 weeks/crop! Wow, those GM plants sure can pop up out of that hydroponic gray water!!

There are lots of calculation here which give the appearance of accuracy, but I think these folks need to sharpen their pencil and try again.

E. Swanson

Your forgetting that the 1000 W/m2 is peak sunlight, or around 4-5 hours each day on a perfectly clear day. Now most days are not perfectly clear, and the rest of the days you wont get anywhere near the peak of solar isolation. But 25 W/m2 a day continuous output means that these plants get at least 600 W/m2, not even counting the rest of the 'ambient' sunlight that streams in during the day.

Now, they also mention that 25 W/m2 is the baseline for plant growth. I'm sure the final value would be much, much higher than that. If its 250 W/m2, thats more than enough, wouldn't you agree?

And when the sun is directly overhead the plants on the middle and lower floors are going to benefit from this how?

You seem to be ignorant of the fact that no portion of the lower 48 is close enough to equator to allow the sun to ever be directly over head.

Unless the Earth's axal inclination shifts far enough... Which could happen in a couple billion years (see long-period variations). Or the axial inclination is caused to be shifted because chimps-who-can-drive like to meddle with many, many things... ;o)


You seem to be missing the basic problem. Of course plants will grow under the lights. But where are they going to get even 25 watts/m^2 times 21 floors for 24 hours a day? Not from PV panels mounted on the roof. Not even close. First, the solar collecting area is less than the area of one floor (that sun angle oddity that you cite). Then there is the 15-20% efficiency of PV, the losses converting electricity to light, and then that thing called night. However...

Q. What you growin' under them lights, son?

A. Uh...lettuce, sheriff.

Partyguy, you have to be the most disingenuous person on this site. You’ll pick on details knowing full well that they don’t change the point made. “Overhead” is not an exact term and you know it. Even at a few degrees of angle strong sunlight does not reach very far into the floors of a high rise building. Ditto for the side of the building away from the sun. And during most periods of the year where the low angle light does penetrate it is practically worthless for any meaningful yields. It’s comments like yours that have driven anyone who has actual farming/extensive gardening experience from continued participation on this site. So go ahead, discuss your hair brained schemes from your cubicles, but don’t show up at my farm in the future looking for food.

Bruce - some people are nitpicking knuckleheads. Generally, this tells you a lot about the quality of their lives and their cognitive function.

I think the appropriate metric would be Whr/m2/day over the entire growing season for normal ag crops. One would need to do the correction for cosine effect due to latitude, time of day and seasonal change in zenith angle, etc. One would also need to adjust for whatever might be the difference in frequency distribution between natural sunlight and the artificial lighting from "grow" lights. For a rough guess, think of a day during June, where the average daily amount might be something near 600 W/m2 x 6 hrs per day = 2400 Whr/m2/day. That amount would appear to be a long way from 25 W/m2 x 24 = 600 Whr/m2/day.

I would hope that this sort of calculation was done, but I didn't see such in my quick reading of the web page. Maybe they have another report that lays all this out, but I really doubt that they can make this work without some serious energy input from some outside sources. This is not what I would call "sustainable agriculture".

E. Swanson

You have confused watts/meter^2 with watt-hours/meter^2. Specifically, you can't multiply 25 W/m2 by 24 hours to get 600 W/m2!

Your last paragraph makes no sense. While lettuce might grow at 25 W/m2 (maybe), it wouldn't grow much. Where does 250 W/m2 come from?

No, I can't agree with nonsense. I can't even disagree. All I can do is say, "Huh?"


All is aid was 25 W/m2 was the base figure used. It would be much higher in practice. I suggested that if the W/m2 were 10x as high all 24 hours, it would grow a decent crop. Guess thats just too complicated though 0_o

"Mommy, Mommy, look at the funny troll! Can I feed it?"

"No, son, it's better for you and the troll if you just leave it alone. Gee, he is sure funny, though..."

I'm sorry I fed the troll, everyone. I just wanted to give it a chance to not be a troll, hoping s/he was making an honest mistake.

Gee, he sure is funny, though...

Fantastic! No more worries about feeding the population - at least, so long as they enjoy eating lettuce.

In fact, couldn't we use the same greenhouses to grow micro algae, and harvest it for oil?

What a relief!

Now that food and energy are solved, let's move on to the next problem...

"Aw Mom, not lettuce AGAIN!?"

I'm gonna have to play my NIMBY card when we get to the cow and pig towers!

It's the Uranium LEED certification level they're after.

Like the amount of food you could produce in that thing could ever justify the contruction costs.

Prof. Despommier, without further adieu, let me introduce you to Mademoiselle Peak TopSoil.

To keep with a Dutch theme and long term planning - there was an article (Spiegel, I believe) about creating floating grow platforms, with an integrated approach - plants growing where light reached on the top decks, and animals like pigs, goats, and chicken below decks - thus providing fertilizer and using more of the plant material than merely what people would consume.

Much more practical, not really on any 'NASA-like' technology, and apparently on the edge of being at least cost neutral - if the practical ecological questions could be answered. Creating a functioning and robust integrated system is very, very hard.

We're saved!

An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water...

The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel. ...

The radio frequencies act to weaken the bonds between the elements that make up salt water, releasing the hydrogen, ...

"This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere," Roy said. "Seeing it burn gives me the chills."

Roy will meet this week with officials from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to try to obtain research funding. ...

Can't the media from la-la land stick to reporting on bimbos? That'll at least do no harm. Sigh.

So you're saying the radio takes more energy than the hydrogen burning releases, or what?

1. Energy is a state function
2. S = k ln W
3. S = 0 at 0K

Them's the ground rules.

Waffe7, he is saying it is a con. The man wants money for more research. Who would be stupid enough to give it to him?

And yes, it takes a lot more energy to break the bonds of hydrogen from oxygen in water than you get from burning that hydrogen, turning it back into water again. If you do not understand the laws of thermodynamics then you live in dreamland just like all the other perpetual motion believers.

Ron Patterson

I have no idea if it's a con but Dr Roy was not the one who reported the initial results. He just tried to duplicate what he considered to be an outlandish claim and was able to.

Dr Roy may well be a quack but he's a quack Emeritus at Penn State University.

I remember when someone claimed to have invented a revolutionary way to cool based on creating a system of cascading incremental airflows that created a thermodynamic cycle - a so-called Maisotsenko Cycle. And then some quacks from the National Renewable Energy Lab had the temerity to actually test one. They were so impressed that they installed a unit to cool their building.

If Dr. Roy can break the H2O bonds in seawater using less energy than is obtained by burning the subsequently liberated H2, he will have defeated the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. That would indeed be revolutionary. He may be Emeritus, but he's a cancer researcher, not a physicist or chemist.

Think it through, for goodness sake.

Rustum Roy is not a cancer researcher, but rather an emeritus professor of materials science at PSU. I recall that he was usually a thorn in the side of basic science researchers, referring to them as "welfare queens in white coats" to the press. Though, with a name like "Rustum", several scientists were quoted as being skeptical that such an individual actually existed.

The discoverer of the effect, John Kanzius, was in fact trying to cure cancer, but he has no specific education for that either.

In my opinion, this is a remarkable phenomenon with some potential uses. It is unfortunate that it is being viewed and promoted as a source of energy (which of course it isn't). I can't see it finding any use in transportation. I do think it might make a good moth death trap, though.


I don't think it necessarily violates the 2nd law. It's my understanding that the sodium in the water was heated up, which then burned, and which then broke some of the H2O bonds. The energy might thus have come ultimately from burning sodium - ie, if you throw some sodium into water, and it burns and splits some H2O, you wouldn't say that violates the 2nd law - you might ask, how much sodium do we have, and what becomes of it after we burn it?

Note, I'm making no claims about this one way or the other.

I don't know the mechanism by which the hydrogen is produced, but I can say that the sodium doesn't "burn". Sodium in seawater exists as sodium ions in solution. Making elemental sodium (which could "burn"--i.e. react with oxygen or water) requires energy input (as well as an electron source), just as making molecular or atomic hydrogen from water requires energy. What then is the role of the saltwater? Well, it conducts electricity much better than pure water.

In electrolysis of water to make hydrogen (and oxygen), a dissolved electrolyte (salt) is needed to make the process work. Otherwise, the voltage drop across the water is too high. But the key point is that water electrolysis occurs at a lower applied voltage than sodium reduction to metal--sodium doesn't plate out of solution. Thus, making sodium which subsequently burns in the (Kanzius) process would require even more initial energy input.

My admittedly limited understanding of the experiment is that it involved radio waves tuned an appropriate frequency to specifically target sodium, and thus the sodium was heated more specifically than anything else.

While I think that the physics and chemistry of this could be interesting (and may be what Roy was so excited about) that's entirely different from using this as an energy source. Keep in mind that the reason sodium metal burns in water is that the zero valent sodium metal desperately wants to get rid of an electron (sodium has extremely low electronegativity). Sodium in sodium chloride already has +1 oxidation state. I suppose you could try to reduce the sodium ion back to metal and then get the sodium/water reaction, but then you're back to the 2nd Law.

Chemical bonds represent energy. Breaking them to form elements that can be "burned" to release energy requires more energy than you will get from the "burning". It does not matter if there's some dance with sodium along the way, it DOES violate the 2nd law.

Sodium ion in salt water is not elemental sodium that you can burn. Otherwise, the oceans would be spontaneously bursting into flame.

Think it through.

like I said, it depends on what becomes of the sodium. If the end state of the reaction is the same as the beginning state, then yes, that would violate the 2nd law. If the end state is different and puts the sodium into some even less usable state, then it doesn't necessarily violate anything. But, I don't know what the end state of this reaction is.

Well, sodium would have to end up in an energetically lower state than the solvated Na+ ion in seawater. If there is such a beast, don't you think all the sodium in the ocean would have found it by now? If sodium is involved in the process, it just acts as a catalyst--not used up, and doesn't improve on the underlying thermodynamics.

Its not just water thats reacting, its the salt thats also reacting in the water. But I agree, doesn't sound possible.

"Seeing it burn gives me the chills"

Well now that doesn't seem like the desired effect...

"This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere,"

There should be a sort of Godwin's Rule for energy discussions. Whenever someone says that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the world (galaxy, universe, etc.) the discussion is over.

Yeah, it's right up there with "at current rates of consumption" - an immediate BS warning.

So is someone going to do the WIKIPEDIA entry for sgage rule - get there first, stamp your name on it man!
All these memories will be lost in time
like tears in rain

You know, I heard just exactly that while sitting in the hot springs cave at Indian Springs Resort in Idaho Springs, Colorado (world record, use of "springs" three times in a grammatically correct sentence). I checked the guy on it - what good is one unit of energy from hydrogen if it takes three units of coal to make, store, and transport it? He didn't have a good answer as to how ... and looked a little sad when I told him there wasn't a neat way to produce hydrogen without mastering fusion, which we have not done.

This looks like another opportunity to invest in something like "Steorn's Orbo Technology", just in case you missed that one.

I read the article, and was sorely disappointed in anything concrete I could use to verify his claims, as I have plenty of RF equipment around. I would have no trouble building whatever power converters I needed.

I felt they are being deliberately secretive because they do not want indies like me pointing out how many milliwatts of energy I am recovering from the flame while using kilowatts of RF.

Look how fast useful verifiable information gets released on the net these days. No sooner than the DVD folks come out with "unbreakable encryption", someone smarter than they figure it out and release it. Same with IPhone. And everything else.

Its not like this is a new phenomena. Its been around.

Google water hydrogen burn RF frequency Mhz and get thousands of hits. I have seen no demonstrations of anyone getting more energy out than one puts in. If high temperatures were the goal, why not just arc the electrical energy?

I am quite confident that when anything really significant gets discovered, the technical details will show up on techie sites like Slashdot so fast it will make your head spin. And it won't be marketing bluff either - it will be hard science which we can freely replicate and verify.

Anybody who is a true scientist knows what it takes to influence another scientist that he is onto something. That is NOT what I saw in the article. That was written for the technical ignoramus who clutches the checkbook.

I felt this article was written for those who would invest in an electric bike concept which used a tire dynamo to power the drive motor.

This looks like another opportunity to invest in something like "Steorn's Orbo Technology", just in case you missed that one.

Hey ! You got a link on that ?

I quit following Steorn, but last I knew there was no investment opportunity available.

My Google search only come up with year old articles, which generally were about the Economist ad expense.

in EM Theory

Random comments:

Matt Simmons: Force All Oil Producers to Give Transparent Data

What does Matt think the Pentagon is trying to do? Just that. But they also want to make sure they don't share the data with anyone else but them.

Kunstler: "I maintain my "allergy" to conspiracy theories. There isn't any clique of top-hatted Wall Street biggies with monocles joining with with gray-suited CIA-types to intimidate editors with tongs and electrodes."

What about waterboarding? Somebody has convinced the MSM to not mention that a whole slew of retired military people, and many, many others, including a former star wars chief and former high officials in several admins have come out on 9-11. BTW, David Ray Griffin and the 9-11 truth movement was just nomimated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Swedish wackos? Finally, Kunstler apparently believes the WTC towers and the Pentagon came down all by accident, no conspiracy, right? Get real.

Dave: Kunstler is an entertaining writer and a very good spokesperson alerting the public to the inherent changes coming because of global oil depletion. OTOH, he is an open and vocal supporter of pretty well the entire neocon agenda, so his "allergy" is almost unavoidable, IMO.

Brian and Dave, you both should get real. Of course Bin Laden conspired with other Al Qaeda radical Islamists on 9/11. Everyone with an ounce of sense knows that. But don't confuse that conspiracy with the stupid idea that Cheney controlled the whole damn thing with joysticks.

It is frigging obvious what Kunstler is talking about here. He is saying there is no grand conspiracy to hide the fact that the world's oil supply is about to go into terminal decline. He is saying that it is not a conspiracy, it is just utter stupidity.

Basically you have a choice, you can believe that there is a grand conspiracy by all the giant media companies to hide the fact of peak oil, or you can believe that they buy into the Daniel Yergin story.

You must understand that those who run the day to day media operations are just as dumb as the average Joe Sixpack. But some people have conspiracy on the brain. They believe that all the giant media companies, there are 55 of them, are all in cahoots to hide the fact of peak oil. And these people are not like the average Joe Sixpack at all, they are a whole lot dumber than Joe Sixpack.

Ron Patterson

If you think Kunstler is pro-neocon, you have not been reading him very closely.

Apuleius: Possibly.

I love this "nominated for Nobel" charade. Every year some kooks (not saying Griffin is one) are nominated for Nobel Peace Prize and their supporters fan out on the internet to propagate this as proof of their respectability.

Here are some people who can nominate:

    1. Members of national assemblies and governments of states
      Members of international courts
      University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
  • (http://nobelprize.org/nomination/peace/nominators.html)

    What, you've never heard a representative or a professor espouse some crazy notion?

    Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize has absolutely nothing to do with the validity or respectability of one's views.

    I believe that GWB has been nominated. What more can you say?

    Absolutely true.

    It is, of course, no proof against the validity of one's views either.

    "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
    Albert Einstein

    Westexas' declining exports theory getting more MSM attention http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/070911/to124.html?.v=1

    Again - as for the SGAGE rule of energy discussion above, he might want to take a few minutes and create a WIKIPEDIA entry for the Export Land Model - I just searched and there wasn't one.

    Wikipedia is a very widely used source and a good way to have someone point to a reference when discussing it.
    All these memories will be lost in time
    like tears in rain

    Well, I figured why ask others to do what I won't do myself... so I make no claims to being a good writer of this sort of thing, but I threw a stub up there for others to amend and add to:


    Good initial posting. I'm sure that will be a useful reference point.

    "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
    Albert Einstein

    I've never noodled with editing an entry...can you find some way of sticking this graphic in there (if there's no objection by Khebab and WT): http://farm1.static.flickr.com/97/240076673_494160e1a0.jpg

    It can be found on: http://graphoilogy.blogspot.com/

    and has been posted here at one point.

    Incentives Prove Powerful: Participation Rises In Efforts to Lower Electricity Usage

    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. That is especially the case in states that have made conservation a central pillar of energy policies aimed at controlling greenhouse-gas emissions and restraining energy costs. The success could result in an expansion of such programs in a time of tightening electricity supplies in some places, though an especially hot summer in coming years could provide a test.

    OPEC agrees to increase output by 500,000 barrels.

    Now we get to wait and see who increases production. My guess is that KSA will not change production but instead let Angola primarily fill that role, if it can.

    "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
    Into the Grey Zone

    My understanding is that Angola (and Iraq) operate outside the OPEC quota system. So I think the 500 kbd increase pertains to non-Angola, non-Iraq OPEC output.

    Since OPEC is already producing more than their assigned quotas they could simply sit at their current production output. Their statement claiming that they are raising production would then just be a means of placating world opinion.


    Gas rischio black out

    (in Italian)

    Fulvio Conti, CEO of ENEL (the Italian electric distribution company) warns: this winter we risk finding ourselves in cold and dark homes. Consumption of gas is steadily growing, while storage capacity has been reduced. The planned regasification terminals will reduce the physical risk of contingent lack of supply, but won't stop the rise of gas prices.

    Oil prices closed at an all time high. Prices closed at $78.23 a barrel. The previous high close was July 31 when it closed at $78.21.

    This was after OPEC promised to raise production by half a million barrels per day beginning November 1st.

    Ron Patterson

    Like I commented upthread, Is the 3 martini lunch back in vogue?

    Traders had thought OPEC would keep production the same, not raise it and admit ceiling was bogus in one breath. Or maybe they know something they're not letting out. Like 500,000 isn't enough, or the dollar isn't worth it.

    The U$S is falling like a rock.


    What I don't understand is the low gasoline price. It looks like the crack spread between WTI and gasoline is about $5 per barrel, while we have about 15 hours of gasoline supply in excess of the MOL.

    The cheap gas is absolutely astounding! Must be trying to get the Repubs re-elected in November! LOL. The cracks are so low I can't understand why they are running the refineries my guess is the anticipated slowdown in demand is causing the traders to keep the pressure on the RBOB and since in the shorterm that's the market they have to take it But I can also guess and would guess that the refiners hedged a bunch of crack when the nums looked good and are indifferent to the shorterm market but that will change...soon. Same goes for the natty producers that have been increasing production in spite of crappy market returns... although I am now hearing that Chesapeake and Talisman among others are calling off the production dogs by mothballing rigs and tying off production.

    There aren't any elections in November. You think they'll keep it up for 15 months?


    I haven`t escaped from reality. I have a daypass.

    Some comments from the press:

    From WSJ's Energy Roundup: OPEC? What OPEC?

    “The market is basically saying that the OPEC hike is just not going to be enough, with demand continuing to grow,” said Tom Bentz, an analyst and broker with BNP Paribas Futures in New York. Bentz said an expected cut in U.S. interest rates next week is being translated as good for crude oil demand.

    “This production increase could give oil markets the little bit of breathing space needed to keep keep them below $80 a barrel” ahead of the expected U.S. rate cut and U.S. inventories that are expected to fall in data this week, said Peter Beutel, president of trading advisory firm Cameron Hanover in New Canaan, Conn. “The market is still trying to figure out what this means, but I think it is ultimately bearish.”

    From MarketWatch:

    But Charles Perry, chairman of Perry Management said "just about everyone is skeptical of OPEC increasing their production very much" with many members near their peak production.

    From AP (via Forbes):

    NEW YORK - Oil prices rose to a new record settlement price Tuesday as traders turned their attention to a government inventory report expected to show tight supplies and shrugged off OPEC's decision to boost output.

    Even factoring in OPEC's decision to increase oil production by 500,000 barrels per day starting Nov. 1, "supplies are tight," said Addison Armstrong, an analyst at TFS Energy Futures LLC.

    When I agreed to do a Net Export paper for ASPO-USA, I told the ASPO guys that--in my opinion--declining net oil exports would not be news by October, but of course the "why" will be, and is, fiercely debated.

    What do u mean the "why" will be/is fiercely debated?

    "Voluntary" production cutbacks (and new fields coming on line) versus depletion related declines + increasing consumption.

    My point, which I have argued since January, 2006, is that the top net exports are collectively much more depleted than the world is overall, which, combined with the rapid increases in consumption, will--IMO--result in rapid net export declines.

    You may not have read upthread - but i think it might be worth your taking a few mins and updating a wikipedia page on Export Land Model, as it provides a reference point for people to link back to that is pretty widely used.

    I just threw up a pretty poor attempt at starting it - but I am sure you could make the necessary edits to get it up to speed, if you felt you had a few mins (otherwise I'll try to improve it a little): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_Land_Model

    After the ASPO paper comes out, you could just link to the paper.

    I think that you will find most of my net export stuff if you do a Google Search for Net Oil Exports.

    Oh i do - I know where to find your stuff - googling Export Land Model does a good job... but daft though it sounds, for some people, pointing them to Wikipedia helps
    All these memories will be lost in time
    like tears in rain

    Or maybe the traders can read...ie. IEA report stating that there will be a shortfall of MORE than a million barrels in 4Q...so, it is something...but NOT enough.

    Plus, show me the oil...and November 1st seems a little too late as well..but that's all they can do announcing today...so 'A' for effort.

    Unless the mean they won't start shipping extra until November 1st!?! I read it as they start shipping now...it arrives by November 1st?!

    Which is it?

    I guess we get to see how 'well supplied' the markets are for the next couple months. Or not.

    I've had three subcontractors who've worked for me call in the last few hours. All three are hands on technology guys for small to medium business and they say they're busy. The mood is as follows:

    Almost Dr. M., who got distracted at 75% completion on a computer science Ph.D. pretty much flat laughed at me when I told him where I'd moved and why. "I don't think its that dire."

    S. listened a bit, had a few questions, and then told me his father, who does land work in the pipeline industry in the west, has just purchased twenty acres with a farmhouse, stocked it with guns and eighteen months worth of food, and is now working on seed. Daddy is former special forces so maybe that isn't quite as an extreme reaction as it first sounds.

    T. was sure our homeboy, Warren Buffett, was going to do something. We talked about ARM resets and he ended up saying "Seven months? Twenty billion a month?" and then there was some silence. He has a house worth an honest $60k (decent two bedroom, Council Bluffs, Iowa) and owed $34k. They recently went and refinanced it to $40k because they wanted to get a new roof on before winter comes. The mortgage guy was all set to sign them up for the full "$77k value of the home" plus up to forty percent(!) over value for expansion. This was just a week before the whole credit thing made itself known.

    I might have been a year or so early in making the dash for the middle of nowhere, but nothing I see or hear makes me think this was the wrong move, and Mr. Not That Dire is the most skeptical of the bunch. The rest know its coming, coming soon, and landing hard when it hits. This jibes with half a dozen other conversations I've had with small business owners over the last few weeks - anyone who isn't dumb as a stump and glued to the tube knows the game is up ...

    A side article on yesterday's population/eugenic threads. No answers here, but it reeks.

    Many of World’s Poor Suffer in Pain

    "Six countries — the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Britain and Australia — consume 79 percent of the world’s morphine, according to a 2005 estimate. The poor and middle-income countries where 80 percent of the world’s people live consumed only about 6 percent."

    Article makes the point that as the usual causes of death from infection and disease are eliminated among the poor, many grow old now to die in pain from cancer.

    "About half the six million cancer deaths in the world last year were in poor countries, and most diagnoses were made late, when death was inevitable. But first, there was agony."

    Dieoff or no, such needless suffering should be eliminated. Our attitudes to narcotics are absurd.

    There are plenty of poppies growing in Afghanistan ...

    OPEC has just agreed to raise its collective quota by 500,000 bbl/day. All eyes will be watching Saudi Arabia; where will the new barrels come from? Note OPEC is currently pumping about 900K bbl/day over the collective quota; will this be real "new" barrels, or just a bookkeeping exercise?

    Dick Lawrence, ASPO-USA

    From the NY Times, 11-Sept-2007

    OPEC Agrees to Increase Oil Output

    [Edited by Leanan to remove long quote. Please don't quote entire articles. Especially when similar stories have already been posted multiple times to this thread.]

    OPEC's published quota for October 2006 is 28.0 mbpd. Cuts in November and February bring that to 26.3. Can somebody explain where the implied 26.7 figure comes from (27.2 minus 500,000)?

    I definitely think there is a 500,000 barrel mistake in this NYT article. Moe_Gamble above sees the same thing. OPEC is only overproducing by 400,000 barrels, not 900,000.

    The pdf download from their website specifically shows the cumulative quota to be 26.3 mbpd in note #45.


    Based on EIA Total Liquids data, Saudi Arabia showed a net export decline of 5.5% from 2005 to 2006.

    Based on production to date for 2007, and assuming a continued 5% plus underlying rate of increase in consumption, and based on a recent report about Saudi Arabia having to shift, over a two year period, 500,000 bpd of liquids production to domestic consumption because of a shortfall in natural gas production (which is why they are talking about importing coal), I estimate that Saudi Arabia may show a 10% plus decline in net exports from 2006 to 2007.


    Jeff Rubin continues to pay attention to the export situation:

    OPEC exports predicted to fall putting Canadian oil sands in global energy spotlight
    PR Newswire
    OPEC, Russia and Mexico export capacity to drop 2.5 million barrels a day by 2010
    September 11, 2007: 07:00 AM EST

    TORONTO, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - CIBC - Soaring rates of domestic oil consumption will reduce crude exports from OPEC, Russia and Mexico by 2.5 million barrels per day by the end of this decade, predicts a new CIBC World Markets study. Currently these countries account for roughly 60 per cent of global production. . .

    "Domestic demand growth of as much as five per cent per year in key oil producing countries is already beginning to cannibalize exports and will increasingly do so in the future as production plateaus or declines in many of these countries," says Jeff Rubin, Chief Economist at CIBC World Markets. "At current rates of domestic consumption growth in the Middle East, OPEC's future export capacity must be increasingly called into question. Similar trends of rising domestic consumption are now evident in Russia and Mexico as well. These trends are likely to result in a sharp escalation in world oil prices over the next few years."

    With exports from OPEC, Russia and Mexico expected to decline by seven per cent over the next three years, markets will seek greater reliance on higher cost unconventional deposits. CIBC World Markets expects that Canadian oil sands will surpass deep water wells as the single largest source of new oil exports by decade end. . .

    What's this sentence all about?

    Consuming nations, including the United States, have been urging OPEC producers to put more oil on the market, warning that the winter months would see a big jump in consumption that non-OPEC producers would not be able to meet.

    Kinda implies the non-OPEC countries have reached Peak Oil?

    Here's a question to the crowd, though I sort of have River in mind: how viable are motorcycles and/or scooters for primary transportation?

    For a while I needed a car for 40-mile commute, but looked long and hard into the possibility of using a motorcycle for the trip (it involved mostly highway miles). Problem is that it appeared that the costs of the bike, insurance, full-weather safety gear, etc. nearly matched the gas savings to the point where a small car made more sense.

    Now I'm much closer to work, but it's sort of countryish (by New England standards) and I wonder if a scooter or similar would make sense. Are there any forums that discuss motorcycles for practical applications?

    Just for some context, I've lived most of my adult life without a car, either in a city, in Central Europe, getting around on bike, or combinations thereof. I've had 10-mile one-way year-round commutes and use the excellent Schmidt Dynohub mentioned a few days back. I also recommend Nokian studded tires for winter use.


    Andy, riding a bike to work daily was the primary individual transportation for the Brits untill the 1970s and beyond. Probably the main reason that the Brits didnt switch to autos were their MOT Laws, that place much higher registration and insurance reqirements and fees on autos than on three or two wheeled vehicles. Since generations of Brits grew up riding motorcycles the practice became ingrained in their society and, of utmost importance, riders learned at a young age and on weekends many competed in local trials, hill climbs, road races, etc, so as a group they were/are good riders. Typically, a Brit workman would ride the bike to work on weekdays and on weekends would hook up the sidecar for family outings. Since motorcycles outnumbered autos the society was motorcycle trained and aware. I have used GB as an example but could have easily have used Japan, Indonesia, Phillipines, India, Spain, Germany, Poland, Belgum, et al.

    No such motorcycle aware society exists in the US and children here do not generally grow up with a dad that rides a bike to work on weekdays and takes the family on outings with a sidecar on weekends. Few US kids learn how to ride when they are young. Learning how to control a slide on a motorcycle is something best learned when young. Learning when one is still a fast healer is also important. I see a lot of people buy their first bike when in middle age but few of them are, or will ever be, competent riders.

    I am not fond of scooters because of their small wheel sizes and their high wind resistance on interstates or windy days. I had several when I was a youth and had some very bad wrecks on them because once they begin to slide they are very difficult to control. A motorcycle with its better steering geometry and larger diameter wheels is much easier to control and offers less wind resistance.

    Good weather gear is a lifetime investment and can be used for riding, sailing, fishing, hunting, etc. Even if I didnt ride I would own good foul weather gear. Dont buy the most expensive, dont buy the cheapest, $250 will set you up for life.

    The type of motorcycle one chooses to ride as a commuter should be based on the type of commute one has. If you have ANY interstate riding I would suggest nothing smaller than a 400cc bike and a 600cc would be better. There will be times when horse power will save your butt when brakes will not and vice versa. A good 400cc bike should get in the neighborhood of 65-80 mpg when ridden slightly above the speed limit, 600cc bikes generally should get about 60-70 mpg. If you decide on a bigger bike expect less mileage but more ride comfort and more predictability in ticklish situations. Big Harleys with soft Dunlops are a fine combination and you will still get 44-50 mpg. Something you didnt mention but is the most important thing on a motorcycle is tires. If you buy a used bike and the tires look brand new, push in on the rubber compound in the middle of the tire...if it feels hard, and I mean just a little hard, throw those tires away and buy the best and softest compound tires you can find. Remember, just because tires look 'like new' and have lots of tread doesnt mean they will stick to the road. STICKY is important. Soft, sticky tires will wear faster but they will save your butt in lots of situations. Actually, I am a tire fanatic about truck and auto tires as well. I buy the best tires that money can buy.

    There is another plus to motorcycles and that cannot really be calculated in dollars and cents...smiles per mile. Nothing beats a motorcycle for sheer enjoyment. A leisurely ride that gives you the opportunity to take in the scenery and see well in every direction cannot be compared to riding in a cage...even a 1968 GTO convertible...I had one of those too. BTW, watch out for those leaves in NE when they begin to fall and the rain gets them wet or they are hidden under a light, wet snow. They get real slippery. I have ridden to Alaska, all through Canada and the Western US, to Newfoundland through New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, to Mexico several times (but I would not do Mexico now) and sometimes have ridden in the rain for 20 days in a row. With the right gear it will not bother you...in fact when riding in very hot weather I hope that it does rain!

    When I lived in Md and commuted into DC every day I had three bikes and used them all. XS 1100 Yamaha shaft drive, 1968 Triumph Bonnie and a Harley Wide Glide. I found a $300 Yamaha snowmobile suite at a grage sale for $10. They all did well on a daily 76 mile round trip and they were all fun to ride but had very different personalities. The world would be a very boring place if all motorcycles and people were alike...wouldnt it?

    Exactly smiles per mile...I like it.

    I have a 88 honda hurricane 600cc. I'm in SoCal and ride

    anytime the possibility presents itself. I get an avg of

    45 mpg, but I confess to gunning it frequently :)

    Another benefit is lane splitting.

    IMO it depends a lot on the person, the type of use, weather, riders physical condition, etc.
    Here it gets extremely hot in summer so it's not for everyone and I don't see one riding a bike in snow in NE winter.

    I have been riding motorcycles of all types for over 45 years, and it is something you do for fun. The bike I use almost every day is a full size touring bike, but I have several others. Anything other then occasional use when I feel like it really isn't in the cards for these as they are more specialized. Riding anything less then a full size high powered bike in US cities puts you in a very defenseless position.

    I do keep a small Japanese car for all the occasions I need to transport light cargo like groceries.
    If you went to the store every few days you could transport them on the bike, but it defeats the purpose as it adds mileage and costs time.

    The most relevant point is that while the fuel mileage of the bike is about 45 mpg and the car 40 mpg, the operating and fixed costs of the bike are significantly higher then for the car. Tires are a notable high cost item on bikes, one tire costs as much as 4 car tires and they only last about 25% of the miles, and bikes have to be maintained more like aircraft as even minor mechanical failures can be risky. Insurance on the bikes is also higher.

    Of course one can get a junker Japanese bike for about 1K and ride it with minimum liability but then you need someone else to pay for your health insurance and make sure you are covered while on the bike.

    Bottom line? As much as I like bikes, if I can only have one vehicle then it would have to be the car, and as much as I like Harleys if I can only have one bike then it would be a GS type BMW.

    GS BMW??? You mean those contraptions that are supposed to be good on/off road vehicles but do neither very well???

    Just kidding Musashi, they are good bikes, I have ridden a couple of them. I have three very good friends that have beamers but only one has a GS. They all have multiple BMWs but they are mostly older models. I like the 90s and rode one once. It was the only beamer that won the Daytona 200...in 1976 I believe. I would like to find a Laverda Jota but chances are slim and prices are high...So many bikes, so little time.

    Yeah, I know. My everyday bike is a 02 Road Glide with over 100K miles and always had one Harley or another since 1968, but the GS is so ugly that it is interesting in the sense that riding it is like a FTW statement.
    I have an old R100 with more then 300K miles on it, still on the original engine, so when I found a wrecked GS for a song I couldn't help it. I use it mostly on semi improved desert roads as it is a little heavy for a dual purpose bike. I also have a old KLR650 I use mostly for going down to Mexico, the thing is worth about 3 bucks so if the want to take it it's no big deal.

    Sort of interested in the new Concours 14 but it seems hard to fix if something breaks on it and too much money. I'm done with sport bikes, the daughters made me sell the last one several years ago, they say it's the kids that are supposed to be bailed out. LOL.

    OPEC Press Conference Video

    I recommend everyone to listen to this, especially question period, starting at minute 8 and lasts for 10 minutes. OPEC Secretary General El-Badri answers the question.


    Some questions:

    Is there a price target?

    No, the market sets the price.

    New target and split for OPEC 10 (excl Iraq and Angola)?

    Target crude oil is 27,253 kbd


    Reverse OPEC meeting at Dec 2006, Abuja - Nigeria, decreases
    last column of

    Increases (kbd) effective 1 Nov 2007
    Algeria, 25
    Indonesia, 16
    Iran, 73
    Kuwait, 42
    Libya, 30
    Nigeria, 42
    Qatar, 15
    Saudi Arabia, 158
    UAE, 42
    Venezuela, 57

    (This would mean Saudi Arabia may be producing about 8.75 mbd effective 1 nov 2007)

    When will Angola quota be set?

    Start of 2008

    Security of demand?

    Concerned because OPEC wants to invest - $130b in current projects - unless we know demand we won't invest...

    Thanks Ace, Anxious to see how the increases by Indonesia, Chavezuela, and KSA materialize

    From watching that press conference it becomes more apparent that the 500k increase is pretty much a PR stunt to show the west that OPEC is concerned about the lives of Americans. They want to help the environment, and poverty and the economy. And all the members are in full agreement with the outcome of the conference. Excellent!


    All this does is put back what they took off the table effective Feb 1 2007, and it doesn't replace the 1.2 mbpd they took off the table Nov 1, 2006. So it's a good PR stunt for those who forgot about last year's voluntary cuts. But in response to the statement below, OPEC actually is producting 30 mbpd total: they just don't count Iraq in the quota because its production is too hit and miss nor Angola since it is too new. But the new quota is well short of the 28 mbpd the OPEC-10 was doing up until Nov '06.


    Does this mean that SA will actually full-fill their contracts to Asia now?

    I wonder where the 27,253 number came from. The previous quota was 26,300 and adding 500k back only gets to 26,800. Was he looking at actual output (July's numbers were 26669 and maybe August's numbers were 26,753) and just adding the added quota to that rather than adding it to the existing quota? It seems likely the 'quota' is still 26,800 but OPEC recognizes many countries are ignoring it so the quota increase will result in actual production of 27,253.

    Doom Now people should be feeling pretty gloomy tonight...

    But they will rationalize their pain...


    Really? You don't think this increase will only hasten the decline, when it comes?

    And come on now. 27.3 Mb/d? Don't you remember fondly those days, not so long ago, when OPEC was producing north of 30?

    Seems like some crowing over eggs that have not hatched yet! Still, they may be able to do it for a while, but IMHO it doesn't change the big picture much.

    I see this as mostly related to the world financial turmoil - intended to calm the markets - and as such it really doesn't have to mean anything in the end. If it did, it should be noticeable on the production charts in about 6mo., but it may well be swamped out by "above ground factors".

    On the contrary, "Doom Now" people have been pretty excited yesterday and today, because crude has hit new record highs.

    Traders don't believe OPEC, so why should the "peak now" folks believe them? Don't you remember all the promises OPEC made after Katrina, about raising production? It was all talk. This may be more of the same.

    I recommend the article Big Houses Are Not Green: America's McMansion Problem cited in the keypost. Interestingly, the WSJ just published a related article which should appear on the front page of Wednesday's print edition:

    Size of New Homes Starts Shrinking As Builders Battle Housing Slump

    The McMansion may be giving way to the McCottage.

    With the housing market in a slump and the mortgage market in disarray, the nation's home builders, eager to keep their sales from stalling, are putting up fewer supersize homes and offering smaller floor plans, aiming to tempt buyers by keeping prices low. If it continues, the strategy could reverse a decades-long trend toward bigger and more lavish residences.

    After builders reduce prices on their current inventories of unsold homes, the next step is to "start building to a new market. That new market is a lower price point at a smaller size.

    Hello TODers,

    Record fertilizer prices expected come spring

    USDA is forecasting record fertilizer expenses in 2007.

    Expenses are expected to rise 17 percent to $15.3 billion. The increase is attributed to the rising price of natural gas, more fertilizer being used and more demand for corn. USDA said fertilizer use should increase by 5 percent with use on corn up 9.5 percent.
    This fertilizer shortage is a growing worldwide problem as more and more farmers seek 'balanced soil vitality' to maximize harvest yields and avoid hitting a Liebig Minimum. Recall my earlier post whereby in 1914: potash hit $10,500/ton in inflation-adjusted 2007 USD$ before the discovery of the New Mexico mine.

    Peakoil & Peak Natgas will only make this worse as the Haber-Bosch process plus mining & processing rock into suitable NPK forms is very capital and energy intensive. Manures for organic methods can only be ERoEI-justified for relatively short distances before a negative net energy results.

    But humans will do whatever it takes, and pay any price to avoid starvation: our existence is truly dependent upon topsoil bio-vitality to optimize photosynthesis for harvest.

    Recall that before the advent of fossil fuels: Britain, in its desperation for soil minerals, would scrape guano from islands off Peru, then sail the load around South America, then back across the entire Atlantic Ocean to their homeports. Other Europeans scavenged graveyards, then ground these bones into dust for bone meal to spread across their lands.

    Many experts have documented the topsoil decline worldwide, and global grain reserves are headed towards dangerously low levels, yet it takes years of hard work, additional energy to spread soil amendments, and much more crop rotation to restore topsoil to peak mineral & biological condition.

    North Africa might soon become a critical military hotspot [a previous TODer had mentioned earlier that US Special Forces are already embedded]:

    Western Sahara: Struggle in the Sandbox

    The territory has some iron and especially phosphate deposits at Bou Craa. The latter are important but often overestimated. Morocco’s state-owned Office Cherifien des Phosphates/Royal Phosphates Office (OCP) is the world’s largest producer and exporter of phosphate rock. It controls two-thirds of world reserves, but only 10 percent of that is from Western Sahara, and the sector is capital, rather than labor, intensive.
    Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

    The Sound of the Other Shoe Dropping:

    Dollar At Record Low Against Euro

    I've been expecting this to happen. The Fed has been between a rock and a hard place. Even if they kept interest rates steady, the dollar would fall, because they really need to be raising rates to protect the dollar's value. We all know, of course, that the herd is now stampeding to cut interest rates to pull a few important people's chestnuts out of the fire. Thus, the dollar is now merrily on its way southbound.