Houston ASPO Day 2 part 2

This is the last of the posts that deal with the content of the ASPO Conference last week in Houston. I will have my usual personal closing review tomorrow. As I hope you will gather, it was full of information and somewhat intense. And that did not include talking to folk in the breaks, which expanded a lot on what was being said in the papers. So if you want to think of this as the first commercial for next years meeting (which will be in California) then you’re right again. And just to remind you, the earlier posts were a report on the Workshop day, the first morning report, the rest of Thursday, and then Friday morning. A quick thanks to all, and it was more fun than I had even hoped to meet so many of the TOD folk, as well as so many others – thank you all, and of course, a much bigger thank you to the organizers for putting this on. The result, gentle folk, was well worth the effort.

We rejoin the meeting just as we sat down to lunch, and a talk by Houston Mayor Bill White who has the enviable distinction of having Matt Simmons as the Treasurer of his Campaign Committee. He acknowledged Matt as a prophet (with all that usually brings). He sees the current situation as one that comes down to a race between depletion and technology. It is not possible to give a political speech and create more oil fields. It is not possible by giving a political speech to create a hydrogen economy either immediately or in the practical future. It is not possible by giving a political speech to over-ride the laws of physics.

There are, however, two things that a Government can do. The coming peak in oil production will be preceded by a rise in price as oil, and thereafter gas becomes in greater demand with a reduced access to supply. Government can help in this case by raising the Fuel Economy Standards and providing incentives to encourage a lower usage of fuel. Bear in mind that the weight of a person is a small percentage of the weight of the vehicle that must be also moved, whenever one drives to work. If the power train was a cable carrying electric power to motors in the wheels of a car then it easier and a more efficient vehicle can be built that can include regenerative braking. Bear in mind that the decisions on how to go is influenced by consumer choice and taste, but this can be adjusted by control of standards, and we can control choice if there is a concerted effort, both nationally and internationally. He noted that at one time the US had (used ?) 40% of the world consumption of gas and diesel, we are now at 25% and on this path there is nothing but trouble ahead.

He suggests that it is time to look harder at the gains that can come from better use of modern technology. Houston is looking at making better use of flex-time and of encouraging folk to work from their homes. He cited the policy of Dell, who actively discourage some of their employees from coming to the office.

It is no longer an answer just to provide financial support to the poor who are having trouble paying their fuel bills. Houston has started to put energy efficient parts into old houses, to improve insulation and reduce energy costs. The program has reduced energy use by 20% in the test areas and is moving out into larger neighborhoods. (It costs around $900 per household). They are also working to encourage zero energy and zero water-use housing.

But they are finding that Inertia is not just a law in physics. There is a strong sentiment that “we just don’t do it that way,” that works against innovations, many of which don’t get adopted as a result.

This shouldn’t be taken as a diatribe against the oil industry. Which is as concerned as most about averting a spike in oil prices, since they realize that there will be a backlash that can generate a response that will impact them. Industry therefore is working to ameliorate the price rises as much as they can, since it is an industry that has often been vilified for actions over which it has no control.

After his presentation, and the end of lunch, the Government panel from before lunch returned to a question and answer session. It was pointed out that the will of the Congress, and all other politicians along the ladder, since they only respond when they see their constituents demanding action. So the audience (and you dear reader) are encouraged to first arrange a meeting with the legislator, or an aide. Then write a letter to the editor of your local paper, citing the meeting. But if you’re going look respectable, have a short piece of well-prepared paper (Debbie Cook handed an example out at the Saturday meeting) to illustrate the points (no more than one simple explicit graph on a page), and bring along an authoritative figure that can help lend credence and stature to your presentation. This will be particularly effective if you can tie it to some event related to energy that occurs, and you can expect that there will be one of these soon.

Senator Whipple urged that you stay away from emotive issues. (Discussing population for example is a rapid way for a legislator to find an ex- in their title). You must relate it to the issues that a constituent understands (such as the price of gas). Build on the issues that are important, or viewed as such by the press. In the last 2 weeks, for example, there have been ten stories on air quality in the LA Times. Recognize that we cannot change the culture that quickly and that the social benefits of any change must be explained (simply). And remember that governance is an interlocking structure in that while some things are done at the city level, others are related to state action and yet others are reacting to federal regulation. You need to understand, when making a presentation, what can be achieved at that level.

Remember that in the Congress, the Peak Oil Caucus has only 15 members. Because of a lack of knowledge about what is coming and what will work, the easiest path is to “provide more” and even though that might not be possible, a lot of the Congressional community do not know or accept that.

Sadly they did not get around to answering Euan’s question on whether Texas was self-sufficient in fertilizer.

Recalling the names of those who had been awarded the Hubbert Award in the past, the organizers then presented Charles Maxwell with the 2007 Hubbert Award.

The Afternoon session then formally began with a presentation, for 75 minutes, of Scenarios for Houston after Peak Oil, presented by Peter Bishop and Seth Itzkan. They began by quoting that “if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” Houston after Peak oil will not immediately be different to today, but as the impact is felt, and oil disappears, so it will change to a different place. Bear in mind that much of Houston business is tied to oil.

We are now going through the first stage of the S-curve of Disruptive Change – in the first (lower leg of the S) we are in the “no problem” bit; this is followed by the straight incline up the S – the “what is going on here?” phase, which is then followed as the curve tops over by the third “Whew, how did we survive that!” phase.

The talk is after the third phase, when we have turned to a form of life that people will like and be happy with, so it focuses on an ideal future. In this there must be some adaptive change (wearing coats in colder rooms), and Houston has to be sure it doesn’t become a New Bedford, or a Detroit, devastated as the main industry fades down the road. With Houston currently the 4th largest city in the country, and with 4.7 million people, and Texas using 12 Quads of energy (California comes next with 8 Quads) and used to being successful, at the same time Texans don’t believe in collective decisions, but rather the life of the individual. So all these had to be taken into account in developing a viable scenario for the future.

In this future they see a major role for solar, all transportation will be electric, with distance travel by rail. This will make society somewhat more static, the mouse will become the transportation unit, and clothing will adapt more to season. The greatest change however will be in building efficiency. They cited a number of examples (best found by looking at their presentation . (Note not all the presentations, including this one, are up yet, but as soon as ASPO has them they will be, so please be patient).

The designers they quoted include Forbes Eco-lofts a development in Chelsea, which is outside of Boston. They anticipate that wind turbines will be integrated into the design to provide power sufficient for building independence. They also included the the BedZed Community,, which is carbon neutral. By using 2-ft thick walls they were able to cut energy demand by 75%. The 145 kW power plant is powered by wood chips, and the waste water is treated naturally on site, and is heated by the power plant. It also has an electric car plug-in. They also discussed the concept of SkyZed where small wind turbines around a housing tower generate the necessary power. The third site is in Changsha, China , though one of the changes between the posted sites and the slides shown in the pictures is a change from conventional propeller wind turbines to “egg-beaters.” You’ll hate the journey, but enjoy the destination.

We then returned to the reality of today’s oil supply, with some opening remarks by Henry Groppe, who talked about the current situation and the tightness of current supply, with the implication, and need for, rationing in the future. (His slides are up as a pdf). He sees us having passed from the Era of Plenty, where the U.S. had control, and the Era of Transition, where OPEC had control, into the current Era of Scarcity and Price Rationing. He sees the imminent peak as being a point where price will ration demand. Last year, for example he accumulated Non-OPEC Crude at 28.9 mbd with Eastern European crude (sum 40.3 mbd) and OPEC crude (to 69 MBD) to which he added NGL to get 80.6 mbd with a small amount of other. He sees a slight further increase to about now, and then a decline in this total to 78 mbd by 2015. He tabulated deliveries, now at 84.1 mbd, again anticipating a decline to 81.8 mbd by 2015. He further anticipates that KSA has already peaked in production. We can however expect nothing much to happen, until those in the media catch on, at which point it will be Panic!!

He then introduced Charles Maxwell who made a series of remarks of his own before sitting down for a conversation between himself, Mr Groppe and T Boone Pickens. In his own remarks he noted that there are only three frontiers left to look for oil, the first is Deepwater, with 5% of the prospects looked at so far. However this is a very expensive venture that can only be accomplished by those with a lot of money (small independents are out), with rigs costing on the high side of $600,000 a day. The second is in commodities, with LNG being the prime candidate. The problem is getting it to the customer that needs it, at a price that they will be willing to afford. And the third location is the newly available geographic frontier, places we could not get to before, such as the FSU affiliate states.

The problem is that we no longer have any spare capacity to get us through the rough spots of Middle East production. The problem is the speed of the change that is coming. He feels that OPEC has made a mistake in the amount that they have released, and hopes that they have realized this and will release more oil in the coming months. The damage that is being done to the world economy will take time to fix, and without additional oil – well we just have to have it. Because of this rational response we can anticipate that oil will come back down to $70 to $75 a barrel. He noted that the current rise caught some of the oil companies by surprise and that Exxon, for example, cannot get a semi-submersible rig they need until 2016. If the correction is made within 6 months we can get through it, since we can pull capacity from stocks.

From that point onward the only route is through conservation, with CAFÉ standards and insulation standards being imposed to reduce demand. We are marching into the maw of the dragon with our flags flying and our heads up. Life is wonderf. . . .Chomp!!

Bear in mind that the Saudi’s have seen the graphs, and don’t want to produce too much, since, knowing what they have, they can, if they keep the price up, still make the money they need, while saving oil for their children. Though he thinks that the KSA can produce 12 – 15 mbd for generations. Nevertheless he is afraid, since there is no substitute fuel, that this will come out badly. LNG imports will only solve part of the problem. We will walk away from coal and not burn it, nuclear may be around, but it won’t help much. Prices will come faster and harder than expected, with the period from 2010 to 2016 that of our greatest vulnerability. We will need a lot of conservation and a lot of innovative new technology, but he thinks we will survive.

T Boone Pickens (TBP) then joined the other two and discussed his three favorite topics Oil and Gas, Water and the role of exercise. TBP noted that natural gas wells now decline very quickly and LNG cargoes are going to go “where the price is right.” Right now that is China, which has 4,000 NG buses in Beijing, and they don’t have much natural gas for them. (We’re having a duck dinner – you’re invited, bring a duck). While the world is currently oversupplied this will not last long, we may get through 2008, but things may well get tough by 2009, and will gradually transition to being a transportation fuel.

Unconventional gas is in its last hurrah! It is too hard to find, and what is being found is small. The price of LNG projects has doubled, and as he looks at prospects all he sees is that we are running out. The only thing that is therefore left to do is to kill demand with price rises. He thinks that the majors, buying back stock and so on, are giving the message to the market that they can’t grow. He sees end of the year demand at 88 mbpd, but supply only able to reach 85, price will reach $100 before it gets to $80. He turns out to be one of the largest owners of water (in the Ogallala Aquifer).

The proceedings for the day were then summarized by the second “mystery respondent,” which turned out to be our own Professor Goose! PG's summary hit some of the high points of the day, focusing on policy and social change. He noted that even though a lot of smart people are thinking about small portions of the problem, it is likely that policy progress/change will follow the path of a Punctuated Equilibrium Policy Model until a tipping point hits. Policies will bubble up from local and state policy innovations and mistakes until then. After the tipping point, top down solutions will be attempted by those in power.

He also made the point that problem in integrating the many approaches to the ideas and data surrounding the problems we face is a lot like squeezing sand; just as you think you have a grasp, it trickles away. This is a tough thing we face. PG concluded with the point that large scale social change requires a social movement, which he considers the communities behind "peak oil" and "climate change" to be. For us to address the problem, we need leadership and policy entrepreneurship. But most importantly, we need to get as many smart people as we can to keep having a discourse about the problem, challenge each other's assumptions and ideas, and hopefully learn from each other to change our paradigm.

This formally ended the conference, but in the evening there were two further presentations, dealing with the missing link, the impacts of fossil fuel peaking on Global Climate Change. The first presentation was by Dr Pushker Kharecha of NASA GIS. He spoke about the models that have been developed to predict, as a function of the growth in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, the consequent changes in climate. Due to recent studies they are lowering the critical temperatures at which they feel that irreversible changes can occur. Unfortunately the presentation was sufficiently fast and detailed that I could either follow the discussion or write, but not both, but I did note that they have now explained the failure of the Antarctic to warm as had been predicted, as being due to the hole in the ozone layer, so that it is still man-induced.

He was followed by Dave Rutledge of Caltech, who talked about the change in projected temperatures due to GHG emissions, in light of the future consumption of different forms of fossil fuel. He sees climate change as predominantly a coal problem. After looking at the rate at which the world is going through oil, it will not be around to contribute much, for that much longer. (Though he noted that the $10’s and $100’s of millions that have been spent running climate prediction models that are used to predict global temperature rise assume that supply will continue to meet demand all through this century, and that there are no constraints on carbon production).

He then looked at coal, in much the same way that he did when giving the guest post here at TOD. His data showed that coal use peaked in 1913, but he initially looked at Britain to see how one might model coal decline, and found that the predicted curves followed the decline models very well. He then broadened the study to the United States, and found that the production from Montana is likely to skew any existing model, and that coal production is still increasing, though the amount that will be mined is considerably less than the amount that is currently considered a reserve. He believes that, as a result, the current reserve estimate for the United States is about five times too high. (It doesn’t include coal sterilized by oil well penetration – you’re not allowed to mine near one, or the inter-seam rock thinning out, that would preclude working one or the other). As a result we are well through more than half of Eastern US coal.

Putting the whole thing together he sees the world URR at 435 Tboe (trillion barrels of oil equivalent) and that it will decline in carbon production by 2050. Using the coal and oil projections he then ran a model of anticipated temperature rise, based on the anticipated production of GHG, and came out with a predicted impact that was significantly less than that of any of the models used by the IPCC. More information on the talk can be found on his website.

There were also breakout sessions on Saturday for policy and media relations, but I didn't take notes, so feel free to describe them in the comments.

So, that was the conference, thank you for sticking with us this far, and again, for those of you that were there, please chip in with corrections and comments.


Thanks HO for these reports, they are very useful as well as very well written.


we thank you for taking the time to support us.

Regarding T. Boones comments, how does one 'own' water in the Oglala aquifer?

And just like oil and gas deplete, so do water and soil. That aquifer is a giant lake underground that has gradually depleted since it was harnessed during the dust bowl. Soil in that area used to have over 10 feet! of topsoil - now its down to 1 foot in many areas. I just finished a book - "The Worst Hard Time" about the american Dust Bowl in the 1930s - amazing weather events in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas panhandle not seen since..

But back to my question - can one 'buy' water rights as an individual in these areas??

surface water is owned by the state, ground water is owned (in TX) by the person who owns the property mineral rights style...at least that's how he said it.

That's correct, water rights can be severed just like oil and gas. However, in some areas there are water conservation districts that regulate the amount withrawn by from a given reservoir by the users and also the water quality in the aquifer recharge zone. Last year I worked quite a bit in Hudspeth County, Texas , about 70 to 100 mikles due east of El Paso. The city of El Paso would pay $3500 per acre for established water rights in the Victorio Peak-Bone Springs aquifer on the west flank of Guadalupe Mountain National Park, while the land surface sold for $50 to $300 dollars per acre with no rights except for a household well or a stock well. Anshutz was the company purchasing water rights out there too.
Bob Ebersole

I am not completely sure of the answer but I believe it is to do with surface rights, and the land holdings that he has. Water rights can go with that land, and it was my impression that this was what he was referring to, but I am willing to be corrected on this.

Fundamentally, it's related to private mineral ownership in Texas and the "Rule of Capture." Except for some specific groundwater district areas, a landowner can pump as much water as he wants, subject to the maximum capacity of the water well.

Also, the mineral estate and the surface estate can be severed. In other words, you can own the surface but not any of the mineral rights. I think that what Pickens did is to simply purchase all ground water rights underlying a large chunk of land over the aquifer.

In regard to "The Worst Hard Time," it is an excellent book. The suffering of the people that stayed in the Dust Bowl areas was almost beyond belief.

As I noted on Drumbeat, there were parts of Texas that were abandoned because of a lack of water in the Fifties.

BTW, note that the leading "solution" to the looming water crises in the US is to process brackish water and saltwater, presumably using reverse osmosis, which is of course hugely energy intensive.

I really enjoyed "The Worst Hard Time" too.

There's quite a problem with salinisation of crop land from using water from many aquifers, and a lot of the Ogalala is drained now past using for irrigation. Twenty or thirty years ago all the area in the Pecos River valley was irrigated for cotton and cantelope. Now its all reverted to pasture as the Ogalala goes dry. Bob Ebersole

Check out Charles Bowden's Killing the Hidden Waters.

I did inhale.

So, we are finding that the hole in the ozone layer is too small and meanwhile we need another one top side. Who knew.

I know this is not in keeping with current comments, but I just received a CITI Mastercard in the mail, not an offer but an actual credit card that I did not apply for. I can't tell you how pissed off I am. It appears that banks are desperate to keep the party going!

Thanks for this. There is no hyperlink associated with the word "presentation" above. Could this be corrected please?

The bank can't collect on a debt that you didn't apply for, so you may have just got a gift from the bank's treasurer.Bob Ebersole

Hi everyone,
Just read above that Groppe's slides are available as a PDF. Can anyone give me the link?

You get there through the ASPO site, and the presentations link was supposed to take you to:
and this lists the different presentations, from which you can pick the ones you want. I am not sure why the link doesn't work, as I get a chance I'll see if I can fix it (first try failed)


Heading Out,

It is a great opportunity to have both Kharecha and Rutledge in the same room. NASA GIS has done some models (taking off from Hansen's alternative scenario) that are more similar to Dave's model while Dave's use of the earlier estimate of what may constitute a dangerous carbon dioxide concentration could need so revision. Was there any back and forth on this?



Presumably Rutledge's model, just like the IPCC's, doesn't include any positive feedback effects such as the permafrost melting and sea ice thawing, both already underway and (in the permafrost case at least) in danger of creating runaway warming. Therefore I find it hard to give it much credence.

NASA GIS atlernative and Dave's model are both emissions scenarios that are substantially below BAU. Since emissions still appear to dominate the build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, one can justify taking this approach. An alternate and not very revealing approach is to ask how much feedback is happening now based on the atmospheric carbon dioxide record:

Mauna Loa measurements of the annual change in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (thin solid line) together with fossil fuel emissions (thick solid line) and various extrapolations. A linear extraoplation (short-dashed line) reaches dangerous climate change (450 ppm) near the year 2035 (where the line thickens). This and the exponential extrapolation (dot-dashed line) are fits minimizing Chi^2 in linear are log space respectively. The other two lines attempt to match these at the beginning and end of the measurements. They have the functional form of time to the power of time (triple-dot-dashed line) and a Gaussian (long-dashed line). The data point for 2007 is a guesstimate.

More on the plot here.

The way I see it, some pretty spectacular feedbacks are allowed by the data to be underway, but this is because the data are not very constraining. We do not understand fully where our extra emissions go or how negative feedbacks might behave. Can newly exposed Arctic waters absorb more carbon dioxide for example? Is there growing biological fecundity that is acting as an overall sink that is soaking up our accelerated emissions? But, the possibility of soon to be dominate positive feedbacks is a real worry even if we can't yet measure their effect in this manner.


"Can newly exposed Arctic waters absorb more carbon dioxide for example? Is there growing biological fecundity that is acting as an overall sink that is soaking up our accelerated emissions?"

This doesn't sound too good:


"Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise thanks to dirtier economies and a weakening in natural systems' ability to remove the greenhouse gas"

I agree that carbon sinks that have played a major role so far may be saturating. The two highlighted in your link, southern oceans and mid-latitude land plants are very important sinks. I expect that sources, such as tundra rot, could be overwhelming. Yet, the Mauna Loa data seem to hold their course just now while emissions jump. Part of the point of the figure is that a number of atmospheric build up scenarios could be consistent with the data. So, and apparent holding of course may not be all that meaningful. There is a possiblity of new sinks too. Northward expansion of boreal forests might go faster than anticipated just as Arctic sea ice loss has gone faster. To me, the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the pre-industrial level.


I forgot to say that US emissions of carbon dioxide were down 2.2% in 2006 coincident with the largest jump in electricity prices is 25 years. The price jump was a result of the transition to deregulation. While the market is not working yet to reduce electricity prices, it might be reducing emissions a little.


Not much, it tended to focus more on Dave Rutledge's work.

Sounds like Dave knew his audience better too. Thanks,


We've possibly come upon a architecture/energy conspiracy.

For business reasons, of course.


Mr Maxwells comment strikes me as a bit off..?

...Exxon, for example, cannot get a semi-submersible rig they need until 2016.

I am quite certain XOM can get a semi rig before 2016. geeesh, they could build one if they wanted..yes?

Not probably cost justifiable for the limited amount of use they probably plan for it.

But if they have a limited amount of use planned for it then why is it a problem?

Because the existing ones are all busy, and when they were evaluating prospects they relied on a base-price for oil of perhaps $30 a barrel. Now that it is evident that the price is going to stay at levels over twice that, some of their prospects become viable in deeper water. So now they go out to get a rig to drill a couple of test holes, and there aren't any available to rent for about 8 years or so. This is the downside of thinking that we are operating in a "business as usual" climate.

I attended a presentation in 2005 where the president of ExxonMobil Production (USA) showed a chart that suggested that the total worldwide URR for conventional + nonconventional liquids would be upwards of 8 trillion barrels, thus the following assertion:

"Contrary to the theory, oil production shows no signs of a peak... Oil is a finite resource, but because it is so incredibly large, a peak will not occur this year, next year, or for decades to come"

ExxonMobil Advertisement in New York Times, June 2, 2006

I attended the Session with Dr. Pushker Kharecha. The session was not easy to understand. This is a link to Dr. Kharecha's presentation.

From what I understood of the presentation, Pushker Kharecha and Jim Hansen had done some modeling with respect to what the climate change impact might be of burning various amounts of fossil fuels. The scenarios varied in terms of whether or not all of the coal that was available was burned. The amount and timing of oil production also varied. Kharecha and Hansen used a computer model that gave an approximation of the CO2 increase, and hence the temperature increase, arising from the various fossil fuel use scenarios.

Some comments on this approach:

1. The calculated increases in temperature were from now, not from some baseline period. Thus, a 1 degree centigrade change (which is is their maximum allowable amount) is from today, and thus higher than the 1 degree centigrade change you might see elsewhere.

2. The computer model does not consider feedback loops, so understates the change by some unknown amount. In general, the higher the indicated temperature change, the more likely it is to be understated.

3. The focus in the calculation was to keep the calculated CO2 below 450 ppm. It is currently 382 ppm. (This is clearly CO2, not CO2 equivalents, which I understand are at 455ppm already). If emissions could be kept to this level, the assumption was that warming could be kept to 1 degree centigrade above today's level, and amount of sea level rise to 5 to 6 meters.

4. Dr. Kharecha several times mentioned the melting arctic ice. If we are past a tipping point because of this, then whatever increase is calculated is unacceptably high. While he mentioned this, I do not think many in the audience really understood this.

5, In these calculations, it was my impression that they had used the EIA reserves for coal (based on the 1997 USGS survey) rather than the IPCC coal reserves, which was much higher. (I could be wrong on this- the presentation seems to indicated they used the IPCC coal reserve.)

With these assumption, the Business as Usual (BAU) scenario (burn oil and coal as long as it is available) generated too much heat - it would increase temperatures by more than 1 degree from today's level, and would very likely result in an unacceptably high increase in sea level. The increase in CO2 level would be less than what was forecast in the IPCC model, however, because they were using less fossil fuel.

Besides Business as Usual, they tested four other scenarios, with varying amounts of oil, but with coal emissions phased out by 2050. These were

-Coal Phase Out - Oil Peak at 2016
-Coal Phase Out - Oil Peak at 2037
-Coal Phase Out - No Oil Reserve Growth
-Coal Phase Out - Nehring Estimates (Peak 2020 to 2040)

With all of these, the model indicated that the increase in global temperatures from today's level (excluding feedback loops) would be less than 1 degree. If we are not near a tipping point, this level of warming might be acceptable. From this, they conclude that it is important to either phase out coal use or figure out how to do sequestration, because doing so seems to have a chance of keeping the temperature increase below 1 degree centigrade.

I still am concerned that with the arctic ice melting, we may already be at a tipping point, so the exercise may not be terribly helpful. Keeping the increase to less than 1 degree is not good enough in this case.


Thanks for these notes. Just to add that the sea level rise numbers in the slides are ultimate sea level rise and uncontroversial. The BAU model gives 15--35 meters. There is some controvesy over how quickly these changes will happen. Updated with beter data on the current rate of sea level rise, IPCC assumptions give about one meter of sea level rise this century under BAU going on gradually for centuries to come. Based on the citation given in the slides, BAU might give 5 meters this century and get close to 25 meters within 300 years. A similar time-scale might be expected for the lower rise in the lower emission models. So, one meter this century getting to 5 meters in 300 years. This means that deciding to build a skyscraper in Manhattan would rest upon the happy coincidence that both the IPCC assumptions about how long it would take to get to the ultimate sea level rise are correct and the reduced emissions scenario is what will happen both come to pass. If we say 50-50 for either, then you are about 3 chances in 4 that your skyscraper will not get enough rent to pay for itself before its foundations are ruined.