DrumBeat: August 27, 2008

US heating oil dealers clamp down on unpaid bills

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. heating oil dealers are using new software to weed out clients who may not pay their bills as Americans gear up for another winter of high fuel costs in the world's top consumer.

Heating oil dealers in New York City, Long Island, and Connecticut have turned to real-time information software provided by a consumer reporting agency that allows data-sharing to track delinquent clients -- a more common problem with the rise in prices.

"In many cases, delinquent oil bills don't get posted to the large credit-reporting agencies," said John Maniscalco, executive vice president of the New York Oil Heating Association. "Given the current situation of the industry where bills are large and consumers are getting shut off, they tend to jump from one company to another."

Mystery of Greenland's Ice Lingers as Sheet Shrinks

Scientists have cautioned that a warming planet could melt Greenland's vast ice sheet, a potentially catastrophic event that would raise sea levels and inundate coastal communities around the globe.

Yet while they puzzle over when and whether this might happen, they're also mystified over how the giant island formed so much ice in the first place. Greenland's ice sheet is the second largest in the world, behind only Antarctica.

Strangely, other parts of the globe at similar latitudes, including northern Canada and Siberia, don't have year-round patches of ice anywhere near as extensive or thick.

A new study finds that a mysterious drop in greenhouse gases around 3 million years ago allowed Greenland's ice to proliferate. The research could help with forecasts about the fate of the ice and the potential for rising seas.

Nexen Removes Some Workers From Gulf Platforms on Storm Threat

(Bloomberg) -- Nexen Inc., the Canadian producer that owns fields in the Gulf of Mexico, said it began removing some workers from oil and gas platforms as Tropical Storm Gustav may threaten the region.

Don't blame us for high gasoline prices, retailer group says

OTTAWA — Consumers feeling pain at the pumps got no relief Wednesday from Canadian gasoline producers and retailers, who brought a don't-blame-us message to a Commons committee investigating high energy prices.

MPs are studying how a barrel of crude oil could jump from about $70 (U.S.) to above $140 within a year, and what role speculators may have played in the rise.

Even "green" energy needs lower oil price

LONDON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As a lengthening economic slowdown bites, the antidote for the renewable energy sector may come as a surprise -- a lower oil price.

Government subsidies and record prices for competing fossil fuels have underpinned the alternative energy boom, but now they are now starting to work against the sector.

Energy Company Agrees to Disclose Global Warming Risks

ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that the power company, Xcel Energy, had agreed to disclose risks to investors from its stake in coal-burning power plants and any related liability from global warming, lawsuits and new regulations or laws.

Coal plants can significantly contribute to climate change, Mr. Cuomo said “and investors have the right to know all the associated risks.”

Report: Climate Shift Could Profoundly Alter Md. Shore

Climate change could profoundly alter Maryland in the next century, swallowing 200 square miles of low-lying land, making heat waves more deadly, and allowing Southern species to colonize its woodlands and the Chesapeake Bay, according to a new state report.

The "Climate Action Plan," released today by the state's Commission on Climate Change, says that "Maryland is poised in a very precarious position" if temperatures continue to warm. It says the state is particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise, because of its long, winding coastline.

Petrobras Finds Offshore Oil in Deep Water Campos Basin Field

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, found oil in an offshore well in the Campos Basin more than 6,800 meters (22,310 feet) below the ocean surface, the country's petroleum regulator said.

Peak oil and Mexico: The socioeconomic impacts of Cantarell’s decline

Reduced oil exports from Mexico will have far reaching implications. At the global level, an increasingly inelastic production chain will be drawn that much tighter. For the United States, a stable source of supply will be eroded to the detriment of both reliability and energy security.

As important as these consequences are, however, they pale in significance compared to the impact reduced oil production will have on the people of Mexico – a nation which has literally changed its socioeconomic profile with billions in revenues from oil exports. Record revenues pay for schools, roads, hospitals, and other important societal infrastructure.

Fuel costs reduce Air NZ's earnings

Spiralling fuel costs have lopped 24% off Air New Zealand's normalised earnings and the national carrier is predicting a potential transtasman "bloodbath" with increasing competition coming into the sector.

Plan seeks neighborhood leaders in capital city

MONTPELIER – Nearly 75 residents gathered Monday evening from 14 designated neighborhoods to figure out how to keep their neighbors safe and warm this winter.

The meeting was part of Montpelier's CAN! – Capital Area Neighborhoods, an emergency planning project to aid the city in responding to emergencies this upcoming winter season.

New bike commuters hit the classroom, then the road

The rush of new cyclists, created by high gas prices, is driving up demand for bike safety classes.

As Americans fill trains, frustration grows

Rising costs of traveling by air and car, brought on by record oil prices, drew a record 2.8 million people onto America's cash-strapped passenger railway network in July, the largest of any single month in Amtrak's 37-year history and up nearly 14 percent from a year earlier.

But as passenger numbers grow, so too are complaints of overcrowding and delays.

Former FirstEnergy engineer guilty on 3 of 5 counts

The four-member defense team claimed throughout the trial that Mr. Siemaszko was set up by the NRC, the Department of Justice, and the utility as a scapegoat for the near-catastrophe at the plant in Ottawa County.

Mr. Siemaszko's attorneys maintained he was trying to get Davis-Besse's old reactor head fixed in 2000.

Upon inspection in early April of 2002, the head was found in a near-ruptured state - the worst ever for an in-service U.S. nuclear reactor. Its dangerous condition was blamed on years of neglect and a massive cover-up.

Subsequent laboratory tests showed it was a statistical fluke that it held together. If it hadn't, deadly radioactive steam would have formed in containment for the first time since the half-core meltdown of Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island Unit 2 nuclear plant in 1979.

Richard Heinberg: GM Pines for Electric Car

In just two years we’ve gone from a film documentary called Who Killed the Electric Car? to an article in Canada’s Globe and Mail titled Who Revived the Electric Car?. This is a deliciously ironic turn of events.

Those of us who understand the perils of oil dependency have been advocating the electrification of transport for years: not only can an electric transport system access renewable sources of energy like solar and wind, but electric motors are far more efficient than internal combustion engines, so electric cars use less energy than gasoline-fed cars do—and emit less CO2 even if their power comes ultimately from a coal-fired generating plant.

Peak phosphorus: Quoted reserves vs. production history

By fitting a bell curve to historical phosphate production data, the best fit is obtained by assuming an ultimate recoverable resource of approximately 9 billion tonnes (of which about 6.3 billion tonnes have already been mined). This yields a peak in around 1990. Of course, the USGS claims an ultimate recoverable resource of some 24.3 billion tonnes (i.e. 18 billion remaining), however using this value yields a bell curve that is an inferior match to the historical data. A hypothesis is thus presented whereby phosphorus is considered in two broad forms: “easy” which is able to be mined quickly, but already peaked in 1990, and “hard” which has large remaining reserves and is yet to peak, but cannot be mined as quickly. (In reality there are probably many different forms ranging from very easy to very hard.) Just as with oil, estimates that lump all types of reserve in together will yield a theoretical peak that is high and distant, however the true system may involve periods of decline after exhausting easy-to-get reserves before other supplies come online to replace them. Ultimately we must develop a recyclable phosphorus supply if humans are to continue living on this planet.

Gustav May Rival Katrina as It Advances Toward Gulf of Mexico

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. oil and natural gas producers are beginning evacuations in the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Gustav, which may become the costliest hurricane since Katrina and Rita in 2005, heads toward the region.

``We could see 50 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production shut in,'' said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

Energy prices rose as the storm was forecast to regain hurricane strength on a track toward Louisiana and the offshore fields responsible for about a quarter of U.S. oil production and 15 percent of gas output.

Arctic sea ice melts to second worst on record

WASHINGTON - New satellite measurements show that crucial sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has plummeted to its second lowest level on record.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., announced Wednesday that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic is down to 2.03 million square miles. The lowest point on record is 1.65 million square miles set last September. With about three weeks left in the melt season, the record may fall, scientists say.

Pakistan: Protests against loadshedding go violent

TANK: The angry residents staged rallies at main bazaar here Tuesday and set on fire the Pesco office in protest against loadshedding, reducing all the records to ashes.

Sources said hundreds of residents took out a protest procession, marching through main bazaar, reached Pesco office.

Eyewitnesses said the angry protestors forced their entry into the Pesco office where they ransacked and burnt the furniture and official records. Policemen remained silent spectators and could not stop the protestors from destroying the furniture and records of Pesco office.

Mexico: The Winds of Revolt

Today, cracks are visible on the Mexican veneer. Violence is raging, as frustration from the lack of economic opportunities forces people to resort to narcotrafficking and kidnapping as a way to survive. So-called revolutionary groups are reappearing, blowing up pipelines and extorting businesses. In less than two years, Pemex will squeeze the last remaining oil out of Cantarell. This will be a body blow to the government’s fiscal accounts. The monopoly rents generated in telecommunications, media and cement may have produced some of the wealthiest men on the planet, but it saddled the economy with enormous costs and bottlenecks. The unwillingness of the victors of the Mexican Revolution to give quarter means that they will probably have to be dislodged by force. Unfortunately, the clock is running out. With less than two years to go until the 10th year of the new millennium, history suggests that another bloody revolution may be somewhere on the horizon.

Alabama Power asks regulators for major rate hike

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Alabama Power Co. has asked the Public Service Commission to raise rates for residential customers by 14.6 percent due to rising costs for coal and natural gas.

Olympic Torch Out; PetroChina Left With Pools Of Oil

The Olympic flame was extinguished on Sunday, leaving host nation China with a surfeit of fuel oil.

China’s nine-month spree importing refined petroleum products is likely to end in the fall, as the close of the Summer Games spells surplus inventories of gasoline and diesel. A slackening of demand in the world’s second-biggest oil consumer may help ease upward pressure on global oil prices.

U.S. Clears Way for Pemex Pipeline, El Paso Times Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, may receive a permit to extend a pipeline into the U.S. next month after the U.S. State Department issued an environmental study on the project, the El Paso Times reported.

The 100-Year Gap in Understanding

When I was in college I took a course on the great political philosophers. Soon I had them all lined up with their respective eras: Hobbes and the 18th-century monarchies, Locke and the American Revolution, Kant and 19th-century nation-states.

Then I chanced to see a timeline of their births and deaths. To my amazement, each had lived 100 years before I had placed him. The lesson seemed plain. It takes about 100 years for ideas to enter history.

It has been the same with nuclear power. The potential of nuclear energy was first formulated in 1905 in Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2. Most people know it by now. Mariah Carey even named her latest album after it. But its true significance has not yet been recognized.

SAfrica seeks firms to reprocess nuclear fuel

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa is seeking commercial contracts with foreign companies to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The country plans to expand its nuclear industry and diversify its energy mix as it battles a crippling power shortage which has hit key mining, smelting and manufacturing sectors, trimming growth in Africa's strongest economy.

Sims seeks increase in Metro bus fares

"Here in King County, just as our ridership is surging, higher fuel costs and lower tax revenues from a faltering economy are creating a growing deficit in our Metro budget," Sims said in a blog on his Web site, http://ronsims.wordpress.com/. "We must do all we can to keep our buses running and maintain our existing transit service."

Natural Farming Pioneer Fukuoka Masanobu Dies, 95 Years Old

Fukuoka Masanobu, Japan's great-grandfather of natural farming, has passed away on August 16. He became 95 years old. Many people are probably familiar with his books, that were translated to English, Spanish and many other languages. One-Straw Farming is perhaps the best known of Fukuoka-sensei's many works. In 1988 Fukuoka received the Deshikottam Award, India's most prestigious award, and the Philippines' Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. In 1997 he received the Earth Council Award, which honors politicians, businesspersons, scholars, and non-governmental organizations for their contributions to sustainable development.

Schweitzer Speech Energizes the Convention

Mark Warner was tonight's keynote speaker, but it was the raucous Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer who worked the crowd into a frenzy, delivering a kinetic speech about--of all things--energy policy.

It's hard to imagine anybody getting quite that fired up about energy policy in 2004.

Schweitzer's remarks (a prepared transcript of which is available on our site, conveniently) invoked John Kennedy's goal to put Americans on the moon. Energy is the challenge of the 21st century.

"We face a great new challenge, a world energy crisis that threatens our economy, our security, our climate and our way of life," Schweitzer began. The sort of line any politician might utter. But then Schweitzer took it personal, saying McCain's support for expanded drilling was an unrealistic solution even "if you drilled in all of Senator McCain's back yards, even the ones he doesn't know he has."

Kyrgyzstan sees slower growth, starts power cuts

BISHKEK, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan said on Wednesday its economy would slow next year and it would introduce electricity rationing to save energy for the coming winter.

The impoverished Central Asian nation relies on hydroelectric plants for its energy needs, but discharged too much water from its main reservoir last winter due to extreme cold. Its grain crops have suffered from drought.

Rush for oil reaches Britain's fields

At first glance Britain's green fields and ancient woodlands have little in common with deserts of Saudi Arabia or the Texas plains - but the oil deep beneath parts of the UK could be the next frontier in the bid to beat the energy crisis.

Saudi gas find confusion

Rumours have circulated for months that South Rub Al Khali (Srak), a Shell/Aramco gas exploration joint venture, may have found commercial quantities of gas in the vast undeveloped desert region while drilling its fourth exploratory well, named Kidan 6.

Shell said today the well is still being drilled and the company hopes to learn more when it is completed later this year.

But earlier today, a Reuters report citing industry sources said Srak had not discovered a new hydrocarbon system, but had merely reconfirmed a 30-year-old Aramco discovery.

Iran warns Israel it will retaliate for any military attack

Tehran - Iran on Wednesday once again warned Israel with retaliation in case of a military attack on its nuclear sites, Mehr news agency reported. It quoted the commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, as saying that if Israel endangered Iran's interests, the Islamic state would make the whole of Israeli territory "unsafe."

Feel The Heat: Behind the headlines, scientists warn that climate change is already hitting New Mexico

“A lot of people are concerned about sea level rise in coastal areas, which is obviously a very serious and legitimate concern, but I think that the kinds of problems we’re projecting here in New Mexico, in some ways are worse—and they are going to hit us faster,” Jim Norton, director of the Environment Protection Division within the New Mexico Environment Department, says.

Norton points to scientists’ projections that the southwestern United States will experience longer droughts. Longer droughts, combined with hotter temperatures, will cause greater evaporation—from soils and reservoirs—so the effects of the droughts will also be more severe. “You can argue,” he says, “that we’re going to get hit harder and faster than the coastal areas that get so much attention.”

We drive as we live

Did you know more people travel on Saturday at 1 p.m. than during typical rush hours? That only 16 percent of daily trips are to work? Where's everybody going? Given that Americans spend all the money they make, and bury their credit cards in debt to buy more things, "it should come as little surprise," Vanderbilt writes, "that much of our increase in driving stems from trips to the mall."

Perhaps most eye-opening is Vanderbilt's declaration that "the way we drive is responsible for a good part of our traffic problems." That's right, it's not what urban philosophers Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, James Howard Kunstler and, well, my brother and I, in our 1993 book, "Where the Road and the Sky Collide: America Through the Eyes of Its Drivers," have been saying all along -- we are burning in traffic hell for our greedy sins of rampant urban sprawl.

No, what's gumming up the highways are hideously self-absorbed drivers who weave in and out of lanes -- creating a chain reaction of people stepping on the brakes -- desperate to get to some utterly inane appointment for which they think they can't be late.

Oil prices climb above $117 on Hurricane Gustav

LONDON (AFP) - World oil prices rallied Wednesday on the back of concerns that Hurricane Gustav may head for the Gulf of Mexico where many US energy installations are located, analysts said.

The market was meanwhile on tenterhooks ahead of the traditional weekly update on US crude inventories.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, gained 1.41 dollars to 117.68 dollars per barrel in electronic deals, after Hurricane Gustav had slammed into Haiti on Tuesday.

Energy industry expected to begin Gulf of Mexico evacuations today

Evacuations of oil and gas rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to begin in earnest today in preparation for Hurricane Gustav.

Royal Dutch Shell began making arrangements on Tuesday to evacuate staff not essential to production or drilling operations.

Energy Price Prediction `More Difficult,' EIA's Caruso Says

(Bloomberg) -- Predicting energy prices is ``more difficult'' now because of the lack of sufficient information from emerging economies, the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

``No one could've predicted'' recent record energy prices, Guy Caruso, administrator of the agency, said today at a press conference in Washington sponsored by Platts. Caruso, 66, announced earlier this month that he will step down on Sept. 3 as head of the agency, which is the statistical arm of the Energy Department.

Russia coal exporters told to prioritise domestic supply

LONDON (Reuters) - Russian coal exporters were told by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov to prioritise domestic coal supply for the balance of this year over exports at a meeting held on August 7, coal industry sources said.

Russian power plants have extremely low stocks of coal and the lowest hydro reserves for decades.

There are not enough rail cars available to move domestic coal and coal for export so to avoid power cuts domestic coal supply must be given priority, exporters were told.

UK: MPs call for energy windfall tax

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing mounting pressure from Labour MPs for a one-off windfall tax on energy firms which have recorded huge profits.

More than 80, some of them ministerial aides, say the money should go towards helping poor families pay energy bills.

New Arguments For Offshore Drilling

The Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors plans to hold a symbolic vote today in favor of lifting the ban against offshore drilling.

Refreshingly, the Sups aren't repeating the abundantly false claim that offshore drilling will bring down the price of gas at the pump. Instead, they are interested in revenue and jobs new drilling sites could generate. While fears of peak oil are largely responsible for holding the American economy in the doldrums, the weakened economy increases political pressure to look for jobs, revenues—and the very oil many think we won't find.

Ex-BP CEO Browne: Oil Demand, Not Supply Will Peak Oil

STAVANGER -(Dow Jones)- The ex-chief executive of BP PLC John Browne said Tuesday that he expects falling oil demand to bring oil prices down, rather than an increase of supply.

Speaking at the Offshore Northern Seas conference in Stavanger Norway, Browne said: "Oil demand, not supply, will peak oil."

Saudi may face OPEC pressure to trim supply

LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, may come under pressure from within OPEC ranks to reduce supplies to prevent a further fall in crude prices when the group meets on Sept. 9.

While OPEC is unlikely to change its official supply target at the meeting in Vienna, it is pumping almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) more than the target largely because of an increase from Saudi Arabia.

ConocoPhillips to sell gas stations for $800 mln

NEW YORK (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips is expected to sell the remainder of its 600 company-owned gasoline stations to PetroSun West LLC for $800 million, according to a source familiar with the deal.

With the sale, ConocoPhillips, which operates the Phillips 66, Conoco and 76 brands in the United States and JET brand in Europe, would become the latest major oil company to exit the low-margin retail business that has been squeezed by surging prices at the pump that had topped $4 per gallon in the United States.

Oversupply of natural gas dulls luster of exploration and production companies

HOUSTON: Independent exploration and production companies have tantalizingly low valuations thanks to a commodity sell-off, but concerns about a supply glut of natural gas in the United States will likely limit near-term investor interest.

Exxon to pay out 75% of Valdez damages

SEATTLE — — Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to pay out 75 per cent of a $507.5-million (U.S.) damages ruling to settle the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported on Tuesday.

Gazprom Leads Surge in Russian Debt Risk to Five-Month High

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom led a jump in the cost of protecting Russian companies from default to the highest in almost five months on investor concern the country's military incursion in Georgia will trigger a rise in borrowing costs.

Credit-default swaps on the world's largest natural-gas producer increased 39 basis points to 263 this month, and Moscow-based oil-pipeline operator OAO Transneft rose 28.5 to 260, according to at CMA Datavision prices at 1:15 p.m. in London. Contracts on Russia's government debt climbed 34 to 136, the highest since April 2.

Gunmen kidnap Israeli in Nigerian oil city

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria - Gunmen kidnapped an Israeli expatriate from his residence in Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt, a security official in the restive Niger Delta region said on Wednesday. The security source, who asked not to be named, said the Israeli was abducted on Tuesday evening. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

More than 200 foreigners have been seized in the Niger Delta, the heart of the country's oil sector, since early 2006. Almost all have been released unharmed.

Canada to sell Obama, McCain on tar sands

DENVER–The Canadian government is embarking on an aggressive sales campaign with the White House candidates to counter the "dirty oil" label that U.S. environmentalists and some politicians are tagging on Canadian exports.

Dow's Liveris argues that innovation, not politics, can solve energy/climate crisis

Fifty percent of the fossil fuel used in the history of man "has been burned since 1985," said Randy Udall, of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil. "Historians are going to look back on this and call it the Big Bonfire."

Advocates for coal, natural gas and conservation all made cases that their commodities, or approaches, could provide the bridge to America's energy future. But Liveris championed an asset that he said Dow Chemical has capitalized on for decades.

"The price point of energy is going upwards, and staying upwards, so we have to put all resources into play," he said. "At Dow, the solution we provide is people. ... I know the innovation capability of this nation.

Putting on the Dog: Celebrating 25 years with Philly’s greenest restaurateur

“I believe very strongly that building sustainable local economies is about our survival in the age of climate change and peak oil, which will increasingly disrupt and weaken long distance supply lines. I’ve seen a huge increase in interest building local economies. People instinctively know that gaining local self-reliance by producing basic needs at home—especially food and energy—is important to our long term health and security."

Europe sets date when deaths overtake births: 7 years

BRUSSELS: Since its historic reunification almost two decades ago, Germany has been easily the European Union's most populous nation, with 20 million more inhabitants than its closest rival.

But by 2050 Britons, who both reproduce more and allow more immigration, are likely to outnumber Germans and within a further 10 years France, too, should have leapfrogged its eastern neighbor in the population rankings.

The findings come in an official EU study, released Tuesday, which concedes for the first time that Europeans will begin their long foreseen demographic decline in just seven years' time - the point at which deaths exceed births.

Boone Pickens Hits Bottom, Bounces Back, Rings Oil Alarm

Having established his credentials, Pickens moves on to his management tips -- ``help, don't hinder'' -- and a blunt summary of why we need to accept that the world is running out of oil.

``The Saudis claim they have 260 billion barrels in reserve,'' he writes. ``I don't believe them.''

U.S. wind power strangled by antiquated power grid

WASHINGTON: When the builders of the Maple Ridge Wind Farm spent $320 million to erect nearly 200 windmills in upstate New York, the idea was to get paid for producing electricity. But at times, regional electric lines have been so congested that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down even with a brisk wind blowing.

That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore's hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.

Japan firms to work on solar-powered ship

TOKYO: The race to go green has taken to the high seas with two Japanese companies saying they would begin work on the world's first ship to have propulsion engines partially powered by solar energy.

Japan's biggest shipping line Nippon Yusen KK and Nippon Oil Corp said solar panels capable of generating 40 kilowatts of electricity would be placed on top of a 60,000 tonne car carrier to be used by Toyota Motor Corp.

Former president warns of global warming

Speaking to a panel of other ex-world leaders, Clinton said the real issue is whether democracies can deliver after elections are over.

American and world leaders must return their focus to great challenges like global warming once their fascination with the U.S. presidential campaign ends, Clinton said.

Weather risk hedging seen boosting global economy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Insuring against weather-related calamity in this era of global warming might seem the work of bean counters and actuaries.

But a study by WeatherBill, an Internet firm offering weather-related risk cover for individuals, as well as companies and governments, says the global economy could expand by up to $258 billion if such contracts were more widely purchased.

The greatest failure of thought in human history

Earth is warming because humans, primarily in industrialized nations, suffer from systems blindness. We have failed to recognize the effects of our insatiable use of fossil fuels, massive resource consumption, and huge emission of waste, including greenhouse gasses, on the ecological and social systems we depend on for life. That blindness threatens all life forms today and in the future.

Overcoming systems blindness requires a shift to what can be called "sustainable thinking." A growing number of private and public organizations and everyday citizens have shown that it is possible to think sustainably. They use a four-step process: discover, dream, design, and act.


Since installing the latest version of Firefox the comment rating feature doesn't show anymore. Not that I used it much, but still.

SuperG removed it temporarily, because it wasn't working properly. He's working on fixing it.

Linked uptop:

``No one could've predicted'' recent record energy prices, Guy Caruso, administrator of the agency, said today at a press conference in Washington sponsored by Platts.

I guess Matt Simmons, among others, has been declared to be a non-person. Our contribution, from our (Khebab/Brown) top five net exporters paper:

Declining net oil exports will inevitably result, absent a severe decline in demand in importing countries, in continued rapid increases in oil prices, as oil importing countries furiously bid against each other for declining oil exports.

Interesting that major oil companies continue to bail out of retail gasoline stations, despite assertions by some, such as ExxonMobil, that oil production won't peak for decades to come:

"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

"The economy is doing great"

"There is no housing bubble"

"We'll spread peace and democracy"

Don't forget R-squared's + other TODer's earlier price bet either. IMO, both won their predictions at the $100 pricepoint Jan. 1st.

No one could have predicted that this administration would be a disaster. Oh, wait. Does not Caruso realize the irony and utter stupidity of his comment?

But look at what EIA's current predictions look like:

The agency currently forecasts oil prices will be between $120 and $130 a barrel for the rest of the year. According to the agency's annual energy outlook, prices will fall to a low of $57 a barrel in 2016 and then reach about $70 in 2030.

According to the agency's annual energy outlook, prices will fall to a low of $57 a barrel in 2016 and then reach about $70 in 2030.

That must be in the Saudi Arabia local market after the worldwide recession has stopped all trade. I think oil could easily see north of $1000/bbl before world trade falls apart.

Dinner for two at Wendys will cost $70 in 2030-at least your gas to drive there will be dirt cheap.

I think Wendy's business model breaks down around $10/sandwich?

$70 in 2030 is after they erase 8 zero's from the 100 billion dollar bill.

prices will fall to a low of $57 a barrel in 2016 and then reach about $70 in 2030

Any sensible person knows that the future is unknowable in detail. The EIA is just letting other sensible people know, for sure, that they have absolutely no idea what the future price will be. It's just their politically correct way of saying it since their paymaster politicians have asked them to make a prediction.

The question is, are the politicians sensible people?

I disagree-the EIA is making a loud public statement that they believe that oil will be so cheap in 2030 that any talk of oil supply is a total waste of time.

Actually: It will be $57.28634 on May 17th 2016.

This is pure craziness. Obviously oil is going to be $57.30 on the 16th... And 5 decimal places! Jesus. Even T. Boone Pickens only uses 4.

Seriously, I like Xeroid's take.

"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"


DVD: The Best of Baghdad Bob. Information Ministers Gone Wild!

Some more Gustav links...

New Orleans is preparing:

Jindal outlines tentative plan for Gustav evacuation

BATON ROUGE -- Gov. Bobby Jindal laid out the state's emergency preparedness plan this evening for the potential arrival of Hurricane Gustav, which he said could make landfall in Louisiana sometime early Tuesday.

Dow Jones uses the word "shortage":

Stresses caused by the oncoming hurricane were evident in the Gulf Coast market for immediate delivery of crude oil. Several blends of crude strengthened on fears that a shortage could arise if Gustav damages production platforms and pipeline transportation networks.

And Jeff Masters thinks we might have another Katrina on our hands, if Gustav passes over the loop eddy currently south of New Orleans.

I have loved New Orleans every time I have visited there, however I strongly suspect that portions of the city might have to be abandoned within the next 10 years. Being below sea-level, on the shore, and attempting to out-engineer nature when you're using the Corp of Engineers is a bit of a stretch in my book. I will likely earn the ire of Alan via this post, but I believe the resources that would be required to save New Orleans in the long run would be best spent elsewhere.

Please do not confuse my lack of empathy toward the STRUCTURES in the city as a lack of empathy for the PEOPLE in the structures. The people should be saved, no doubt. Maybe have the feds buy all of these foreclosed homes and permenantly relocate NOLA residents into them?

I think you're right. The people of the New Orleans are probably better off relocating...while the government still has the resources to pay for it. Like Stoneleigh used to say, if we're all going over the cliff anyway, there are advantages to jumping off first.

Many geologists are pushing for a "managed retreat from the coasts." I think a retreat is going to happen - managed or unmanaged. And not just on the Gulf Coast.

"The people of the New Orleans are probably better off relocating..."

OK. Here's the problem. NO can't be relocated.

35% of our oil/gas comes out of New Orleans.

Or this. New Orleans can be saved, by blowing a hole anywhere
in the South Levee of the MS River above New Orleans.

But then what would New Orleans exist for?


"I wouldn't trust the levees," Terrance said. "The government let us down before, I definitely wouldn't stay no more."

But the U.S. Corps of Engineers maintains that the system is different now than then.

"TIME magazine reports that the US Army Corps of Engineers' water structures in the Midwest are the primary reason that there are more 500-year floods occurring.

In the Midwest, as in New Orleans, water and flood structures built by the US Army Corps of Engineers are magnifying flooding.


The Corps' job is simple:

The MS River will be maintained where it is using all available resources.

Oil/gas removal will not be hindered in any way shape or form.

Same with grain/fertilizer barge movement.

The Port of New Orleans cannot be relocated. The city can be.

The Port can be sustained by a city of 50,000 people. Everyone else can clear the hell out.

That's the "put a levee down Claiborne Ave method."

Also all refineries.

BTW-the Port of New Orleans basically goes for 30 miles upriver.

Maybe we keep the French Quarter and Garden District theme park as well.

Maybe have the feds buy all of these foreclosed homes and permenantly relocate NOLA residents into them?

Are you serious? The Feds should take a private debt crisis and nationalize it so that the average tax payer can bear the burden? I feel empathy for the NOLA folks too, but please don't ask me to bail out them and the crooks that created the housing bubble.

It's funny-a while ago Jim Willie (who runs an investing newsletter) made a long list of who is going to be bailed out-it seemed rather far out at the time but he might have nailed it. Included was Detroit, the major airlines, along with the major banks and investment houses (for starters). Isn't the free market grand?

Does Jim Willie have any predictions or a rough time table for our hyperinflationary spiral?

I wonder if Greenspan's trial will be on TV.

It won't be hyperinflation, at least not at first - we get the mother of all deflations and it started last August.

Isn't the free market grand?

It's never a free market when the public foots the bill.

The thing is...they're going to be bailed out anyway.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are an egregious example. There are areas that were not supposed to be rebuilt, for environmental reasons. And it's not like it was poor people living there, either. They were wealthy people's summer homes. Fran wiped them out, and instead of doing what we said we were going to do, we bailed them out. Because it was such a terrible disaster.

And now instead of being dotted with one million dollar homes, it's dotted with two million dollar homes. Built in harm's way, because they know they'll be bailed out.

I say, bail them out if we must...but do not allow them to rebuild in harm's way.

Slidell, Pearlington, Bay St Louis, Pass Christian-
the Coast East of NO that got a 28 ft flood surge
are still waiting.

A Pic of how much land has turned to water in SE LA,
formerly guarding NO which now sits on the GOM>



Gustav to rival GOM.

The NHC had better be wrong.

Or crude should be $30 higher the BBL.

Your pic is three years old. Might want to try something more recent, no?


I would have to agree with you. Some portions of the city like the Lower Ninth Ward should have been allowed to become part of the lake after Katrina. From a tax dollar management perspective it would make more sense to build some planned communities on higher ground northwest of the city and use one of Alan's electrified trains to get workers into the city. The port is far too important to abandon but that doesn't mean we need to house 50,000 residents under water. My city of Grand Forks, ND was hammered by record flooding in 1997. The lowest and most flood prone land in the city was bought out by FEMA. Some 700 homes were removed and the land was turned into a park that is allowed to flood. That is 700 homes that will not be flooded and bailed out in the next event.

That is what happened in Hilo, Hawaii after two devastating tsunamis. The buildings were moved back from the waterfront, and now there are large parks and sports fields between downtown and the ocean. The parks are considered a memorial to those who lost their lives in the disasters.

Again. Look at this map.

you have to go 30 miles in any direction.

And Chemical Alley occupies everything to the West.

New Orleans must be moved, but it can't be moved.

Which is why all activities since Katrina have been so erratic.

The Corps, LSU, Society of Engineers all know that NO where it is
is doomed:

"“New Orleans continues to sink,” Edge says, “but determining how much the city is sinking is almost impossible because the survey monuments are sinking as well. New Orleans is going down so fast, surveyors can’t keep up with it. To accommodate the rate of relative sea-level rise, reference points have to be continually adjusted and protection measures designed accordingly.


"Large areas of the metro area that may have had minor street flooding before will now have 2 to 3 feet (0.7-0.9 metres) on top of that -- significant home flooding -- because of the Corps' failure to build adequate pumping capacity for this hurricane season," Louisiana Sen. David Vitter said in a statement after the Corps released the maps.

"Our whole recovery is at stake," the Republican lawmaker said.

The problem stems from the Corps' decision to close the entrances to city drainage canals with floodgates, which would keep out the storm surge that devastated the city during Katrina, when 80 percent of the city flooded.

But the Corps' plan also makes it harder to empty low-lying New Orleans of pooling rainwater, and critics say the Army needs to speed plans to add more pumps to compensate."


Moving New Orleans will destroy the culture. We do *NOT* want to be part of American Suburbia. That exists a mile from the Parish limits.

My hope was that LUCK could see us through to 2011, (originally 2010) when the US Army would finally deliver what they promised in 1967 (assuming no further malfeasance). Good Cat 3 direct hit protection, and glancing Cat 4 & 5 protection.

A day too early to worry yet.

Best Hopes,


AlanfromBigEasy -

Perhaps one way to save New Orleans would be to move it piece by piece to Dubai and turn it into a giant theme park, pehaps situated right next to their indoor ski resort. Wuddayathink?

New Orleans is the *LEAST* Islamic city in the USA (beating LV by a xxx hair),


I might have to agree with you on this Alan. We definitely have you when it comes to the sheer volume of debauchery, but the sin here is tainted by the domination of most political and social institutions by uptight conservative Mormons. Only in a very dysfunctional city would advertising like this:

be commonplace (on billboards, mobile billboards, handbills, magazines, newspapers etc) and yet prostitution remain illegal (even though it is legal in most other counties in the state). Go figure.

One area where we definitely have you "out sinned" by Islamic standards is in the consumption of alcohol. Taverns for locals here never close. 24/7/365 you can get drunk. The good news, you never have to worry about last call. The bad news, the likelihood of some drunk smashing into you at 9:00 AM is greatly increased!

I've never been to NO, but I've always wanted to go.

Best hopes for Gustav marking landfall somewhere that is above sea level.

Our bars only close when the next shift bartender does not show up (it happens). One stayed open all throughout Katrina, serving warm beer and free alcohol for cuts (we even had an abbreviated "Southern Decadence" parade while waiting for FEMA to show up). I suspect that LV keeps those displays behind closed doors.

We were the most gay friendly city in the USA before WW II, SF took that title from us after WW II (all discharged gay servicemen in the Pacific were dropped off in SF).

Las Vegas is commercial decadence, ours is natural, organic :-)


right next to their indoor ski resort. Wuddayathink?

I think there's no space left there. The Ski Dubai ski slope is in the middle of the biggest shopping mall in the Middle East called the Mall of The Emirates.


But, knowing the people in Dubai, I'm sure they would be very interested in your idea ... and in my experience Dubai is the least Islamic of the Middle Eastern states so NO should fit in well. (as an example an expat can get a licence to legally obtain alcohol) :-)

Buy one of the "geographically close" islands of The World.

Transport the French Quarter brick by brick.


Something might go missing in the translation though ...

With a :-)


Buy one of the "geographically close" islands of The World.

Buy one that is below sea level for true authenticity? ... I think that will happen automatically soon enough with rising sea levels, so you should be able to take your pick, be proactive, buy now to ensure your spot ... much of the 'infrastructure' Alan craves is already there eg: in my experience Dubai has plenty of 'female distractions' to suit all tastes, no need to go looking ... IMO it is a very strange place ... but beware, I know how they treat the slaves but I'm not sure about their treatment of gays, best to check before you buy! :-)

A *LICENSE* to buy alcohol !?!

The old joke is that the drinking age in New Orleans is when you are old enough to put money on the counter without help.

Women "working" for beads by flashing, Southern Decadence parade and so MUCH more !

And worst of all, one does not get social status in New Orleans with just money. A MAJOR culture clash with Dubai !


If I may boldly go where angels fear to tread...

Let me see if I got everybody right here:

The preservation of a 300 year old + city, a heritage gem among gems of Americana, is now reduced to dollar and cents calculations and short-term risk assessment?

The only value NO has is as a port??

For heaven's sake keep the port of New Orleans open, but ship everybody else somewhere else?

All this in a culture where suburbia built within the last twenty years is "not negotiable"?

What a pity?

Looks like the pre-fab, rootless, displaced, instant gratification, market obsessed America will continue to make wise choices.

The bean counters triumph once again.

I would say, "explain this one to your great grand-children" except their inheritance will be squandered long before they pick up grandpa's hummer.

No wonder there is no leftest element left in American politics... for that to happen there has to be a mindset that will move beyond seeing everything strictly in terms of a cost-benefit ratio.

I share Alan's hope that NO will be spared this time around. Maybe the only way to keep America from pawning a family jewel.

All this in a culture where suburbia built within the last twenty years is "not negotiable"?

The difference, of course, is that most of us here think suburbia is very much negotiable. Or if it's not negotiable, it's because it's freakin' doomed.

Maybe the only way to keep America from pawning a family jewel.

So you would not pawn a family jewel, even to keep your children from starving to death?

What if nothing you can do and no amount of money can possibly save the jewel?

Realize I'm preaching to the converted when I toss out a statement like: "suburbia is not negotiable." And... I know... these are Bush senior's words, not any of yours.

But it does capture a particular mindset that is rampant right now.

My main point is this: the United States is a very rich country. Sometimes I think the priorities are a little wacky.

The early French settlers built a lovely city on a swamp in a hurricane corridor and the rest, as they say, is history. Constant salvaging may not be a feasible or serious long term option, particularly if sea levels rise.

But I can't fathom where the US can build unsustainable "military bases" in the Iraqi desert and not redirect some attention to sustaining what has been around for 300+ years.

To me, this makes no sense.

My main point is this: the United States is a very rich country. Sometimes I think the priorities are a little wacky.

We know the priorities are wacky. The biggest misallocation of resources in human history, etc.

But I can't fathom where the US can build unsustainable "military bases" in the Iraqi desert and not redirect some attention to sustaining what has been around for 300+ years.

To me, this makes no sense.

But New Orleans got plenty of attention. They've gotten a lot of money for rebuilding.

And those of us here who don't think New Orleans can be saved, also think those military bases are an unsustainable waste of money.

If you truly believe that New Orleans is doomed, as many here do, then encouraging people to move there is downright evil. Those people are going to lose a lot of money, and maybe even their lives.

And those of us here who don't think New Orleans can be saved...

those darn frogs, keep wanting to put things in the wettest of places

My apologies to those of you who are French, couldn't resist:-)

On a serious note, I'll close with best wishes for everyone along the Gulf Coast. Hurricanes are disruptive and dangerous beasts.

Work's calling, have to scramble...

From this point will redirect to the informative stuff on the Gustav thread... good work folks.

They've gotten a lot of money for rebuilding.

If you mean "they" as politically connected R contributers, I would agree (only one GWB Cabinet Secretary caught with his hand in the till so far).

If you mean the cities, parishes and people of South Louisiana, I would disagree.

The French came in after Katrina and asked what was a critical priority that had to be done ASAP. "Fire protection in the flooded areas". The French said that they could not rebuild all 30+ fire houses, but they could do 5 in 30 days (one took 34 days). they later did two more.

Another half dozen have been rebuilt with private funds (I have attended a couple of benefits). FEMA is required by law to pay for rebuilding public infrastructure, but it took them 19 months to rebuild their first 7 firehouses and they are not yet done in New Orleans.

St. Bernard Parish finished their first rebuilt firehouse (out of 10) yesterday.

Many, many, many examples !!

Best Hopes for 5 more months !


Hi Alan and others,

This may be a silly question, but do they build stilt houses in NO? My uncle has a place in Key Largo on about 18 ft columns of rebar pounded down to the coral rock. He also has ballistic windows and doors rated to 165 mph winds. Total added cost to the house was about 300k. All of this I think is required now as part of the new 2004 Key building codes. His insurance rates 100' from the bay are lower than his former house 20 miles inland up in Fort Lauderdale, even though the insured value is quite a bit higher. I always hear about strengthening the levees and what not, but it seems like the 30 billion I hear batted around to upgrade the city would go a lot further in 300k increments to protect houses, and just excepting that flooding is going happen, rather than trying to flood proof the entire city and inviting catastrophic failures. I could almost see making the case that those people who are economically critical (port workers, etc) can get houses like this in a "company" neighborhood. If I had my way, the rest of the populace has the choice of either complying with code if they want to continue to enjoy the N.O. quality of life or to start looking for higher ground. Appreciate any insights, John O.

All new homes have to be a minimum of 3' above the street level AND above the 100 year flood plain (11' in some places).

The 3' "regardless" standard is unnecessary and prevents handicap accessible housing.

New building standards require (from memory) the ability to withstand Cat 4 winds. Usable shutters are better than "ballistic windows" and prettier too.

Traditionally, homes are elevated a couple of feet in New Orleans, slab build is *SO* Suburban ! But 3 feet is a bit awkward when not needed.


Interesting, thanks ABE. Course I guess one could always get the traditional apartment over a storefront. 12 ft up and a lot cheaper than stilts...

They move there because it allows them to collect federal handouts every time it rains. LOL.

But what happens when the feds can't afford it any more? Between the debt and peak oil, you can see that day coming.

What's going on in Florida is interesting. I love Florida, but man, is it ever doomed. People can't get their homes insured any more. So now the state is trying to do it. That's probably going to end up being a disaster.

Well, my position is not popular, but it is what it is.

No bail outs for anyone, whether NOLA, Fannie and Freddie, banks or shareholders.
There is much to be said for a quick collapse, it prevents further gaming of the system on the downside making it less expensive, and we can start rebuilding.

As long as people are bailed out and living in disaster prone areas remains repeatedly profitable, they will continue to do so and come up with excuses.

Let them assume the full risk personally if they like the place so much. Same with areas prone to fires or earthquakes.

The United States WAS a very rich country. It has squandered its resources and outsourced its expertise while impoverishing its people for the enrichment of a few with no loyalty to the country.

no amount of money can possibly save the jewel?

Simply redirect the silt deposited by the Mississippi River in the swamps around New Orleans. Two pilot projects (plus the 1930s Old River controlled diversion down the Atchafalaya). The first two are clear successes and too soon to tell for Barataria (early readings are good).

Rotterdam has 10,000 year flood protection and is up to 28' below sea level. New Orleans was promised 100 year flood protection in 1967/68, currently scheduled for 2011.

Hardly "no amount of money",


It's not "simply." That plan is actually better than Army Corps of Engineers' plan, and I'd be willing to sink some tax dollars into it.

But it also involves moving people away from the coast.

I think there's going to be an awful lot of that going on, and not just around New Orleans.

The State of Louisiana has pledged 100% of all new oil & gas offshore royalties to this plan (to rebuild the marshlands & barrier islands, primarily through diversion but also cypress tree planting and careful dumping of dredge spoils).


Does this 100 yr protection include sea level rise of between 1 and 5 meters? If not, it is short-sighted and a waste of resources.


Actually, my view of the modern world is that there's not enough (honest) cost benefit analysis going on. Instead people tend to be very "creative" in their minimisation of costs and maximisation of benefits for the thing they want to do, and maximising costs and minimising benefits of what they don't like.

For instance, people always really like historic, period accommodation providing they aren't the ones who actually have to live in it. On the other hand, the house you live in have no historic value stopping you making whatever changes you want to it.

With all due respect, Alan, the culture in New Orleans was also what engendered the development of NO's slums, whose murder rates made them nothing short of charnel houses.

IF NO goes, not everything about it will be missed.

Yeah, that, too. Sorry, but I don't buy Alan's claims of community. New Orleans is famous for its crime and corruption. And it scores low for "social capital." Perhaps that's not a perfect measure...but what happened in the aftermath of Katrina didn't look like community to me.

One man's treasure is another man's junk. Alan's love for the Big Easy is inspiring-OTOH it obviously isn't for everybody. During Katrina, some Canadian tourists were staying at a high end downtown hotel. Management rented a bus to transport them out of harms way. The bus was stopped by police and they were forced off the bus at gunpoint by NO's finest. They spent the night huddled together on the streets-needless to say it wasn't the best ad for the place in the local media.

I would rank New Orleans as having extremely high social capital.

As one measure, how else can we pull off Mardi Gras (The Greatest Free Show on Earth)year after year ? No corporate sponsors, no pay, just voluntary organizations ?

We have over 200 festivals/year, people know each other and all levels of society TALK to each other !

Post-Katrina the level of civic involvement is sky high.

No other city I have ever lived in has half the social capital of New Orleans.


Many of the current residents of Louisiana are descended from French colonists deported by the British starting about 1755.


The word "Cajun" is a deformation of the word "Acadian" (or "Acadien" in French). Many people in New Brunswick refer to themselves as Acadiens and they even have their own flag.

Several Lousiana performers come up to Quebec each year for the summer folk festivals and several Quebec artists perform regularly in Louisiana. Francophones are extremely sociable and they have the strongest community participation of any group that I know of.

I have never visited New Orleans, but it doesn't surprise me at all to hear that people love the place.

We have two local cuisines, Cajun and Creole. The Cajuns largely moved to the nearby countryside/swamps.

The French population in New Orleans came largely directly from France or from Haiti. The white French could go anywhere in the French Empire (many came to New Orleans) but the mixed blood (VERY unhealthy to stay in Haiti after the Revolution) could only come to New Orleans (more tolerant even then) as "Free People of Color".

The educated "black" Creole class expanded dramatically with the immigrants from Haiti (first book of poetry published in North America (including Mexico) was published by black Creoles in New Orleans). The Americans were *NOT* happy with this arrangement when they took over and this was part of the friction (two city governments for decades, one American, one Creole French).

We are a complex gumbo down here :-)

Best Hopes for Tolerance and Diversity,



Thanks for the history lesson. I didn't realize that there were so many people from Haiti.

FWIW, the Canadian head of state (as opposed to head of government) is a Haitian-born black woman.

Michaëlle Jean

Governor General of Canada


Speaking of our head-of-government, looks like Canadians will be heading to polls real soon:


Wonder what's coming down the pike when the PM is murmuring about going to the people early even while the Minister of Health Tony Clement is under pressure after the listeriosis outbreak.



This election may interest our American friends since the current Conservative government receives a key measure of its (popular and financial) support from energy rich Alberta. No doubt, more postings will be coming this way.

Moving New Orleans will destroy the culture.

It didn't the last time.

Hey Alan, I wonder if anyone in New Orleans would be up to be relocated in the Eastern Coast of Canada? You know Arcadia?

A long round trip back home??

Just some humor...

Been to NO a few times, and I loved it and the people.


You know Arcadia?

Arcadia is where spaced-out teeny-boppers with purple hair blast space aliens 24/7.

I think you meant Acadia

-- Peace

BTW, speaking as one who lives in the heartland of old Acadie we would welcome you Alan to eastern Canada.

A few choices to consider:

St. John's, Newfoundland, has to be one of the most unique, colourful (buildings & people), & charming cities of the New World.


The city has a welter of pubs. Water St. is well known for its drinking establishments. As a bonus, in survey after survey, Newfoundlanders rank as having the best sex lives of all Canadians. Might be something in the water or salty breeze. Then again, the winters tend to be brutally icy and snowy. For a person coming from NO, this could be too much of a climate shock. The Newfie version of the English language may take a stranger a while to master as well.

Moving on to my home province and the original home of Acadians, Nova Scotia, Halifax, the capital city, is a rustic seaport with a lingering old world navy and garrison town feel to it.

Added bonus: winters are more hospitable with climate similar to Boston.

For a real French flavour, may I suggest one of my favourite places in the whole wide world, Québec City:
This year they have just finished celebrating four hundred years. The coffee shops are great. May be difficult to live there if your French is a bit rusty... but the people have that joie de vie that surprises me every time I visit.

Finally, for a combined English/français cosmopolitan charm, there is Montréal, Canada's chief city until Toronto stole its thunder in the 1970s:
Winters, however, are frigid but the people are warm. And the ladies sure know how to dress!! They are very stylish indeed.

Alan, you seem to have the spotlight of attention these days.

Trust me, Canadians have a goodly dose of idiosyncracies to be sure, but you may just find that we have a place in our hearts for a wandering Kansas boy with a fondness for the Big Easy.


Then pay for it out of your own pocket rather then picking the taxpayers pocket every couple of years.

Detroit and NO are failed cities.

Your definition of success is the % of white Republicans.


The ones that call themselves Republicans these days are almost as much of a joke as the democRats.

Here in Europe we have Venice.

I would like to think that Venice is worth saving and that Europeans of every stripe would dip into their collective pockets to save Venice.

As you should with New Orleans.

There are such things as cultural identity and heritage.

And they make us what we are.

Of course, in the long run NO and Venice are lost.

Not through global warming or sea level rise (neither will stretch the imaginations of humans), but ultimately geology. Deltas are depocenters of massive amounts of sediment. Crustal warping will create a localised marine transgressions and sea levels will 'rise'.

But some effort, money and planning will fight it for a few years yet.

Ask the Dutch.

If ever you have caught a connecting flight in Schiphol, remember this:

In the 17th Cent., the Brits fought the Dutch in a Naval battle above Schiphol runway.

Oddly, I've found the Dutch much less in denial than Americans. IME, most of them readily admit that if Al Gore is right (or worse, proves optimistic), their country will be no more.

They seem to expect to move to neighboring countries if necessary.

They will have to become Germans...

And they hate the idea.

'Can I have my bike back?' will take on a new meaning.

Also, they will have to get used to splitting restaurant bills down to the exact penny.

tot morgen!

There are such things as cultural identity and heritage.

And they make us what we are.

Unfortunately not to too many Americans. All that matters to them is money and the things money can buy, or they think it can buy.


I'm as bleeding heart liberal as it gets. I don't know anyone more "left" than I. Literally. But this crap about culture really is too much. Like language, it changes. virtually nowhere in the semi-/developed world is any culture now extant that was extant even 100 years ago. Period. No language is now what it was then. Period. Even people are different: we are, by and large, taller, bigger, etc.

Change happens. For the cultural elitist this = $%$% happens. But that is an untenable position. What NOLA was 100 or 150 years ago is NOT what it is now. Period. Dollars to doughnuts you all shop at 7/11, supermarkets, homeplus... etc. You eat at McDonalds, KFC, TGIF... Yes, you;ve got some cultural history and influences that are unique to the US, even the world. But, that passing is as natural as any human passing. Change happens. Culture changes.

And the lifestyle described by you, Alan, is it shared by all? Can all engage in the upscale dining and dignified dinners you describe? No? Then what are they worth in the end?

Bah... I live in a culture that purports to be ancient, unique. I have heard, ad nauseum, that the culture must be maintained, so let's keep out/kick out them evil foreigners! I've heard when in Rome as a justification for immoral, unethical behavior. Yet, these same people... eat at McDonalds, KFC, TGIF... they shop at COSTCO... ...they watch TV and go to the malls to shop...

And this grand party, Alan, I'm sure is a blast. It is something I have always wanted to experience. To spend time in the bars, to hear the live jazz... you betcha... but the city coming together for a party? Nothing, in the end, but a party? Where is that great social capital to clean up the corruption, the killing? If you told me the social capital extended beyond the party, then you might get more empathy, or at least sympathy. but all you can show us is that you have wonderful dining, a great party every year, perhaps a bit more diversity and a bit more tolerance (though this is doubtful given the crime rate).

And what of demographics? The vast majority of those cast out by Katrina were the poor... and dark-skinned, no? What are the demographics now? Is this wonderful city still what it was, or is it a less-diverse place than before?

As stated elsewhere, if you wall off the city, which you MUST eventually do, is it really still NOLA? Without the bayous, the fishermen... etc.... is it really still NOLA, or is it just one big place waiting for the tourists to return each year?

In an ideal world, Alan, what useful uniqueness still survives in NOLA would be preserved. But in a world of sea level rise, minimum 2 degrees of warming, energy descent/transition... can we afford the indulgence? The automatic, knee-jerk response that we MUST save NOLA is short-sighted outside of a national and/or at least regional plan to save what is **needed** for future survival. I've no objection to saving NOLA within a greater context that makes sense, but without that? No.

Reconstituting the bayous and delta will only prolong the death/wall building.


When I read your piece, ccpo, it just dawned on me: the USA really is peopled by individualists whose minds don’t span to embrace the common good or commonwealth.

This is not meant as an insult; more akin to an epiphany.

A light has just gone on. Gated communities are not an anomaly, are they? Enron isn’t an aberration, is it?

For those of us who live outside the United States, an America without a New Orleans would be a seriously diminished place. We can no more envision that than a Europe without an Amsterdam or Venice, a Canada without a Vancouver or Charlottetown, an Australia without a Melbourne or Perth, a Japan without a Sopporo or Osaka. (incidentally, all coastal cities)

For Americans, it really is every man for himself, along with every city, every state, and every corporation. Sharing the load does not translate or compute the same way.

Many of you don’t -- and perhaps cannot -- see how peculiar, how very strangely peculiar, this is.

No wonder Katrina generated the internal visceral response that it did back in 2005.

Such fierce determination and self-reliance likely helped to make the US the swaggering giant on the world stage that it is.

But like with human beings, countries can have strengths that can mirror back as weaknesses.

Perchance ... yes, perchance... individualism is the US’s Achilles heal as well.

Please tell me I'm wrong.

When I read your piece, ccpo, it just dawned on me: the USA really is peopled by individualists whose minds don’t span to embrace the common good or commonwealth.

This is not meant as an insult; more akin to an epiphany.

It depends. As I generalized about NO because I was talking about a city, not Alan, perhaps you are generalizing about me? If my post gave you the impression I was talking about individualism, it must have been poorly written, indeed. I was speaking of the greater good as opposed to the good of only individuals, or even one city above all others.

As for Americans, yes, as a generalization, it is true.

Such fierce determination and self-reliance likely helped to make the US the swaggering giant on the world stage that it is.

But like with human beings, countries can have strengths that can mirror back as weaknesses.

Perchance ... yes, perchance... individualism is the US’s Achilles heal as well.

The memory or at least knowledge of pulling together in WWII is a bit of an assumed model of what Americans will always do. We have, like any people, pulled together when needed, but I think it a dangerous game to play to think we always will or that that alone can fix every problem. It makes us a bit lazy, I think, or at least inattentive.

So, yes, perhaps.


It is a very strong thread in the USA, but we are not completely uniform.

We did not note that EU & Japan seemed to value New Orleans more than Americans, Paris certainly helped more than DC.

Consumerism, more than individualism, is the core driver for many Americans. Individualism means self discipline and taking care of self, but also lending a helping hand to neighbors. Consumerism attacks anything that slows the accumulation of personal stuff.


You may be wrong, or you may not, but IMO you are making a big mistake conflating the opinions expressed here with those of Americans in general. (And I think ccpo said he was in Korea, anyway.)

What we have here are the politics of scarcity. For the first time since the New World was discovered, we're facing a zero-sum game. No one can gain unless someone else loses. At least, that is how many here at TOD see it. (This is most definitely not the case elsewhere, where the dream of constant growth and a rising tide lifting all boats continues.)

It's one thing to want to bring your antique piano and your grandmother's china on an ocean liner. But if the ship is sinking and everyone's piling into the lifeboats...it's not selfish or unreasonable to leave the piano behind. In fact, I'd say it's the opposite: it's selfish to try to save it.

No one can gain unless someone else loses.

Ah yes, consumerism.

Other social & economic choices have different results.


Yes, "consumerism," if consumerism means feeding people who are hungry, or providing medical care to sick children.

If we wanted to, the USA could cover those still not covered with 1% of so of the GDP.

That is a strawman today and for many years to come.

The resistance to greater social spending on infrastructure and other basic needs is because it would deprive people of consumer goods & services.


That is a strawman today and for many years to come.

Disagree. We as a nation are up to our ears in debt, and it's only going to get worse. Perhaps in a sudden and catastrophic way, though I hope not.

The resistance to greater social spending on infrastructure and other basic needs is because it would deprive people of consumer goods & services.

I'm all for spending on infrastructure. But it can't be built as if it is disposable, and as if there will always be money to repair/replace it in the future.

Peak oil means we are going to have to bow to the forces of climate change and rising sea levels, rather than trying to impose our will over the environment, as we have done traditionally. That means a retreat from the coast.

Light rail in Cincinnati? I'm all for it. In New Orleans? No.

(And I think ccpo said he was in Korea, anyway.)

What does it matter where I live?


Well, he said, "For those of us who live outside the United States, an America without a New Orleans would be a seriously diminished place."

I really think he's barking up the wrong tree, thinking it's where someone lives that determines their POV.

The difference is whether or not you think New Orleans is salvageable. Many do not, so it doesn't matter how much it costs or how valuable or unique it is.

As an example, the BBC did a program called The Lost City of New Orleans. It quotes scientists saying things like:

One lesson will reverberate around the world – humankind cannot take on mother nature and think it can win every time.

"For man as a species we have to respect mother nature," says Dr Penland. "We have to realise that there are boundaries that have been given to us that we have to respect and our technology cannot be 100% successful all of the time."


The future of this sinking city is further compounded by the effects of global warming with its attendant raised sea-levels and the potential for hurricanes of increased intensity.

"New Orleans' future is very hard to predict," said Professor Van Heerden. "The big unknown is global warming. If sea level rises come up by another metre in the next 50 to 60 years, if we see far more of these major hurricanes, we could well reach a point where we see we need to abandon these cities like New Orleans."

I've seen many other foreign articles basically saying that New Orleans is doomed, and Americans are idiots for building it there.

Thanks for the note. I probably could have figured that out myself except that he was, I'm fairly sure, not talking about expat Americans, but non-Americans. At least, that's how I took it.

If sea level rises come up by another metre in the next 50 to 60 years

Yup. And he's worried about only 1 meter. I'd say 1 meter this century would be darned flippin' lucky. Hopefully Alan will start factoring these things in.

I'm telling you, an island.

I need to get my brother to buy a bit of land in/near Baton Rouge for me. Beachfront by 2100. The New New Orleans. Hell, if they had any brains at all they would literally move NO up to East of Red Stick and be done with all the drama. They could move whatever historical buildings they considered vital to history and reconstruct everything else in the image of what is there now. Add in zoning laws to only allow new buildings that matched the old inside and out, and - viola!

How long did it take to build Brazilia?

Then again, I did mention regional action:

To make New Orleans safe to withstand a Category Five hurricane, his proposal is for a vast barrier system stretching from Mississippi all the way to Texas.

It could take 20 years to build but Van Heerden believes this is the only way to guarantee the safety of the city's people.

THAT makes some sense. NOLA only? A waste of time. Imagine, though, a wall hundreds of miles long and at least 35 ft above sea level at the top. 15 for sea level rise (minimum) and 20 for storm surge. When you consider what the depth below the land/sea level would have to be... That's a see-it-from-space structure...

But what are these places without their ocean fronts? Don't they become just another city? If so, then why bother? Just let people move out as they see fit.

How much CO2 would be created in the building of it? I'm not sure we can have our cake and eat it, too.


Yep, ccpo you did figure it out correctly. Specifically, I was referring to people who did not grow up red, white, and blue and pledging allegiance to the flag and all that jazz.

No offense intended for expats. Or for the fully stationary pats either! Just a few late night observations.

I'm on lunch break and doing a very quick check-in.

Also, my wife is arriving home from vacation and so my spare time at the keyboard may be more limited now that I'm no longer a bachelor.

Think you nailed it on the head earlier ccpo when you said this will be an ongoing discussion as more and more people face choices about where they are living.

I think, too, that it is helpful/insightful to have this discussion. Perhaps occurring around water coolers and coffee shops, but not likely to see this too many other places or in too many other medias.

One of the things I love about this site... and I have to admit I'm an addict... is that I learn something new every day on TOD. Top quality stuff folks.

My thanks to you all. You continue to wet my appetite. Cheers!

Dollars to doughnuts you all shop at 7/11, supermarkets, homeplus... etc. You eat at McDonalds, KFC, TGIF..

I will take my dollar.

No, we do not eat at KFC, McDonalds, TGIF (6 McDs, 2 KFCs and zero TGIFs in New Orleans AFAIK, tourists seek them out, frightened by the strange food we eat) New Orleans is almost unique in the USA for being a non-chain food city. If we want fast food, we buy a po-boy or muffulata at a corner grocery store.

No 7/11s and VERY few corner gas station/convenience stores (one local chain sells boudin, po-boys, etc, but 90+% of their stores are in the suburbs).

I make most of my groceries at Zara's, 2.5 blocks away. 2nd generation with 3rd working there. 5 places to buy food within 7 blocks (one is a WalMart). I do buy office supplies from an Office Deport 7 blocks away

Even the few chains here are required to build more architecturally compatible buildings.

Where is that great social capital to clean up the corruption, the killing?

We has a march against crime in January 2007, 1.4 years after Karina. 6,000 people (out of 200,000 or so then) walked on a Thursday noon for several miles from all parts of the city, demanding change. And some change did result and more is coming.

My ophthalmologist is mid-50s, head of a successful group practice, loves his work. Never thought about politics till Katrina. Ran, and won, for state Senate on a slogan of "People are dying and no one is talking about it".

The City has created and funded an Inspector General (tough guy, I think from New Jersey). Next election we get to vote a permanent 0.75% of the city budget to the Inspector General. This will make him immune to budgetary pressures.


One of the City Council members could be making $1.5 million/yr in Seattle or Miami, but chose to stay in New Orleans after Katrina for $40,000/yr (He was a very successful GM for the New Orleans Saints, he got fired for trying to keep the Saints in New Orleans).

What are the demographics now? Pre-K, 68% African-American, 2% Hispanic. Latest 62% African_American, 7% Hispanic. Asian steady at 2%-3%. But down 100,000 people.

New Orleans was tied with New York City before Katrina for fewest miles driven by residents. VERY different solutions but equivalent results. We are a living template for a post-Peak Oil USA.

New Orleans is the low energy transfer point for North America (detailed elsewhere).
More later.


Sorry, you don't get your dollar. The best you can say is you (NOLA) don't do the things I said as much as other cities, or just do them in different ways.

My point stands. Picking out small details to try to undermine the basic point wins you no points. NO is not what it was. The future will make certain that only becomes more true.

Demonstrate why the cost of saving NOLA is justified against the cost of saving other places, which may well save more places and more people as they may not need as intensive an effort as NOLA, given NOLA will literally need dikes some 10 to 15 higher than those already in place all the way around, becoming an island in the middle of the ocean.

I've no argument with an island city. I question whether the cost of saving NOLA can be balanced against the costs of saving other places.

NOTE: I don't think this is a question with an answer till there is a comprehensive study of the country's response to AGW.

More importantly, why is the supposed culture, which is itself a mirage, being changeable, so valuable? Where is the sustainable housing? The sustainable agriculture? The true communities of people who actually share their day-to-day lives, not just in passing at the local store or restaurant? I have a suspicion that the life lived by many in NO might eventually be seen as profligate and selfish. And this is in no way a support of current societies/cultures in the US. I see a very changed world in the future. It may well need to go well beyond even the community and social capital currently experienced by you there in NOLA.

That is, nothing is sacred when the world is burning, friend. The Rome of 2,000 years ago is gone. The England of Shakespeare. The pirates that helped build the mystique that NOLA still holds today... all gone. This is the way of things.


You move the goalposts and change conditions till you get your desired result.

I could try to meet your new conditions, but why try ?

Yes, all places change. But the historic continuity of New Orleans is dramatically higher than the rest of the USA. It has been said that we live our history. And there is an almost fanatical determination to preserve our culture post-K.

We also have the most established families (3+ generations) of any US city. Boston close. And the personal relationships are deeper than just meeting on the street, stores, etc. I think that there is value in strangers and acquaintances talking, but you have your pre-conceived assumptions and any explanation will not be accepted.

As for food, we have the best food in the world (Paris #2) and one of the strengths is the common food. And $20 lunches and $30 dinner specials are at many major restaurants during the summer. Not for everyone, but most can, and do, afford an occasional night out.

But you are determined not to be convinced, so why waste my time ?


You move the goalposts and change conditions till you get your desired result.

I could try to meet your new conditiosn, but why try ?

Please. Alan, you have yet to even attempt to answer my query: why should it be saved at the expense of others? And, this is a condition for you prior to any attempt to analyze the way forward for the US, as opposed to just NOLA. NOLA must be saved. There is no question for you.

All you have done thus far, is tell us what NOLA has. You have yet to quantify why it is more valuable to a future world than other places. When the land between NOLA and Baton Rouge is underwater, why would we be preserving NOLA? Even if that is a hundred years hence, or more, given the time needed to relocate whole cities, should we be wasting time on a city that cannot exist as it is now?

You say culture; I say that always changes. Not good enough. Be more specific. Give a value. Give a value with respect to opportunity costs. Give a value with respect to others having to bail you out when the next storm hits. Give a value with respect to the long term problem of sea level rise.

Yes, all places change. But the historic continuity of New Orleans is dramatically higher than the rest of the USA. It has been said that we live our history.

We also have the most established families (3+ generations) of any US city. Boston close.

As for food, we have the best food in the world (Paris #2) and one of the strengths is the common food. And $20 lunches and $30 dinner specials are at many major restaurants during the summer. Not for everyone, but most can, and do, afford an occasional night out.

Great! You ahve three generations! Beautiful. I support such a demographic. Pray tell, what are the percentages? Without percentages your point has no real meaning. But you know this. Even if it is large, why is it worth billions to preserve?

So, Alan, stop listing, start quantifying. You are acting as if you have answered me. You have not.

But you are determined not to be convinced, so why waste my time?

BS. This is your sentimentality talking. I stated clearly I would have no problem with NOLA being kept going if it were within the context of a wider plan and made sense. (I.e., wasn't a massive pork barrel.) Do you have a plan?

What drives my question is the future: sea levels, less a sudden flip to a mini-Ice Age or Younger Dryas-type event, are going higher. NOLA **will** be an island. You argue culture. I have asked already, what is that culture when NOLA is a walled-in island?

You have addressed exactly zero of my questions.

What interests me about this conversation is that it is likely a perfect model for the types of questions we face in the future, and your response is a perfect example of how residents of any particular locale are going to react when someone suggests their particular back yard can't be saved.

I understand your anger and defensiveness. I expect it. Now, can you get past it? If you can't, educated and informed as you are, then what hope for others to do so? How does this bode for the US?


What interests me about this conversation is that it is likely a perfect model for the types of questions we face in the future, and your response is a perfect example of how residents of any particular locale are going to react when someone suggests their particular back yard can't be saved.

Yes, I agree. This is very much on-topic.

I answered your specific questions about fighting corruption#, fighting crime and food in detail, among others. Which you ignored.

> Pray tell, what are the percentages?

Per planning sessions I attended post-K, slightly over 60% of the population had at least one grand-parent from New Orleans, over half with 4 grand-parents from New Orleans.

If I have time, I will address other questions tomorrow or later, but it is clear that you have never ending layers of negative questions.

And you have forgotten the points I made earlier, that New Orleans is the low energy transfer point for North America and we provide a template for human scale low energy use for the USA. Among others.

Your island analysis is spurious. Not supported by even a 3 m sea level rise if silt is used to build up surrounding areas.

I do know that, since you have ignored all the points I made before, you will continue to do so.


# According to local reports, no other US city has a legal requirement for a fixed budget for an Inspector General. In New Orleans it will be 0.75% of the general city budget. What more can reasonably be done ?

PS: My specific plan for the next 30 years for the USA has been submitted to a division of the Nat'l Academy of Engineering. fro peer review Co-authors Hans Herren, Ed Tennyson and Andrea Bassi. Plenty of #s, but I cannot disclose or discuss the paper before publication.

Let me state clearly I love your work here and am not in any way intending to pick a fight, but you are reacting as if I am. At least, it seems that way. Let me address a concern or two you raised:

I answered your specific questions about fighting corruption#, fighting crime and food in detail, among others. Which you ignored.

I didn't ignore them, I found them insignificant. Also, they have not been quantified relative to the value of NOLA over other places that would not be saved were NOLA saved.

Per planning sessions I attended post-K, slightly over 60% of the population had at least one grand-parent from New Orleans, over half with 4 grand-parents from New Orleans.

OK. Meaningless less comparisons with other cities of the US. I'm willing to note they may be significantly higher than most places (but I'd still like to see it demonstrated). Given that NOLA is generally considered a place to move from

the city having the largest rate of population loss since 2000

and not to, is this not at least partly an artifact of that? And what is the inherent value of these stats? Does it make a city safer (high crime rate)? More friendly (your anecdotal evidence would support this)? How does it break down demographically? (All the above is largely a quibble, but worth trying to quantify.)

And you have forgotten the points I made earlier, that New Orleans is the low energy transfer point for North America and we provide a template for human scale low energy use for the USA. Among others.

No, they were not significant. NOLA provides a template for low energy use? Perhaps we are using different scales. Unless NOLA's carbon footprint is negative, as required to reach 350 ppm of CO2, then it's just a slower road to annihilation. And not much slower at that, I'd wager. (And do be fair in answering by using pre-Katrina numbers. Any post-Katrina drop wasn't an intentional change.)

Frankly, I don't know what "low energy transfer point" means.

Your island analysis is spurious. Not supported by even a 3 m sea level rise if silt is used to build up surrounding areas.

Now you're starting to irritate. Spurious, my arse. You think 3m is the limit? I've got news for you. There are people who currently expect as much as 5 meters within this century. Let us hope they are full of CO2, but I'm leaning their way. Look at the Arctic. Last year was a fluke? Guess again. I stated pretty clearly on these forums what was likely to happen when you figured in the unexpected and decades-earlier-than-expected methane release in the Arctic. Do you not pay attention to the links posted here? I am already correct, and that was just a couple months ago.

The current sea ice is set to get very, very close to - or even meet or beat - last year within a few days or weeks. You must be aware the permafrost is melting up to 900 kilometers away because of the ice melting. I know you understand the feedback loop. I know you understand rapid climate change. Why, then, would you make such a boneheaded claim that what I said is spurious?

And your "if"... Alan, you don't let others get away with that. I'm not letting you. You got enough silt to fill in all the way from NOLA to Baton Rouge? Alan, the entire delta isn't that big.

You are not willing to entertain reality with regard to NOLA, Alan.

# According to local reports, no other US city has a legal requirement for a fixed budget for an Inspector General. In New Orleans it will be 0.75% of the general city budget.

OK. What does that mean?

What more can reasonably be done?

Glad you asked: 1. Get your carbon footprint into negative territory (the city). 2. Quantify why NOLA is worth saving at the expense of other places, again keeping in mind saving NOLA is almost certainly going to be more expensive and more difficult than saving some other places. 3. Address #2 in terms of climate change and energy descent.

PS: My specific plan for the next 30 years for the USA has been submitted to a division of the Nat'l Academy of Engineering. fro peer review Co-authors Hans Herren, Ed Tennyson and Andrea Bassi. Plenty of #s, but I cannot disclose or discuss the paper before publication.

How convenient for you! (I kid.) Seriously, that is unfortunate as this conversation has zero practical use without that. It doesn't diminish its usefulness as a mental exercise, however.

I thank you for the conversation thus far, Alan, for the reasons stated in an earlier post. I think this dialogue is necessary. Emphatically so. I hope it serves as a tool to focus our thinking on the issues and difficulties of telling people their lives in the places they love are now and forever over, and even more so on the difficulties of actually deciding who (not literally... I think...) gets tossed out of the lifeboat.


One quick note. New Orleans is likely to be cheaper than most coastal cities to save.

Why ?

River silt is quite cheap to redirect into swamps. A few billion, less if fewer studies are made.

Tomorrow or later (depedning upon Gustav).


This has been an interesting debate. I agree with Leanan that it brings up a great many topical points that will impact all of us in the future. For that reason these issues may be a good subject for a future keypost.

One quibble.

One key aspect of the debate is this question:
"Should the pockets of one group of Americans be used to maintain the lifestyle of another group of Americans?"

I think the question that Americans truly need to consider is this: "Will BRIC and the Gulf States be willing to invest their cash in future American infrastructure? Or will they find a set of alternate investments offering higher returns closer to home?"

I think the question that Americans truly need to consider is this: "Will BRIC and the Gulf States be willing to invest their cash in future American infrastructure? Or will they find a set of alternate investments offering higher returns closer to home?"

To be frank, I am so far past seeing the current paradigm as tenable that the point you raise is a non-issue for me. Even if it were technically tenable, it is in no way desirable. It is, however, worth considering for the short- and mid-term aspects of its influence on the financial sector of The Perfect Storm.


I look forward to a comprehensive response, which needs must be fairly long at this point. Your comment above illustrates this as it indicates you've not read thoroughly my responses and comments so far. If you had, you wouldn't bother mentioning the silt except as a short-term solution designed to do not much more than give people time to relocate.

Read all my responses, please, or we'll end up going in circles.

I understand fully about Gustave. Got a brother down there.

Not to mention my own little 8 mo. old hurricane. He's close to walking.... God help us...



I'd like to see more imaginative solutions - this is particularly neat:

Note not only that is floats, but the small size relative to typical American homes.
The real problem about the re-build in NO is surely that you may loose what you have re-built.
In an energy and finance constrained world, we should be a lot more imaginative.

A trade-off of house size for the cost of being resistant to flooding is surely the way to go.
Here in the UK it is mainly modern housing which is built to standard designs, regardless of location.
Houses a couple of hundred years old which are built on river banks etc are usually well-adapted, with stone floors so that when a flood looks likely you shift the furniture upstairs - the ones which flood regularly tend to keep less furniture downstairs - and when the flood subsides you just swill off the floor. Probably originally they did not bother with plaster on the walls.

It is modern flood insurance which has made people more cavalier about where and how they build.

Hi Gail the Actuary,

I went in and looked at the financials and other operational presentations prepared by the 10 largest domestic natural gas producers. Here's what I come up with:

   Company        2006     2007     Q1-2007     Q1-2008

Conocophillips    2.17     2.29       2.31        2.06
Anadarko          1.53     1.91       2.20        2.14
BP                2.38     2.17       2.16        2.15
Chevron           1.81     1.70       1.72        1.67
Devon             1.55     1.74       1.62        1.88
Chesapeake        1.44     1.80       1.56        2.06
ExxonMobil        1.63     1.47       1.51        1.31
Shell             1.16     1.13       1.16        1.11
Encana*           1.18     1.35       1.35        1.49
XTO               1.19     1.46       1.26        1.71
Total            16.04    17.02      16.85       17.58

*I couldn't find anything where Encana's Canadian
 production was separated from its U.S. production
 for Q1-2008, so I estimated it using ratios from
 previous years, assigning 40% of total gas production
 to U.S.

So in the same spirit of my comment a couple of days ago, I'll give two imaginary interpretations that explain what is going on in the world of natural gas, and you choose which one you think comes closer to reality:

The EIA released a new report today showing U.S. natural gas production increasing by 9% for the first quarter of this year compared to the same quater last year. The surging production is the result of highly successful new technologies that allow vast new gas reserves to be unlocked from tight reservoirs such as the Barnett Shale, a huge field that lies northwest of Dallas, Texas. As chairman and chief executive of Salvation Energy, I think I can speak for all Salvation employees when I express great pride in the role we have played in alieviating America's energy crisis. It's almost divine intervention. Right at the time oil prices are skyrocketing, we're struggling with the economy, we're concerned about global warming, and national security threats remain intense. We wake up and we've got this abundance of natural gas around us.

The increases in the price of natural gas cannot be explained by supply and demand fundamentals, but instead are caused by greedy speculators who manipulate the market and thus deprive consumers of the benefits of the bountiful new supplies of natural gas coming to the market.

--Delbert Choney, chairman and chief executive of Savior Energy, zillionaire, alpha male, proud follower of the philosophies of Dr. James Dobson, never read Mark Twain, never heard of Ambrose Bierce and thinks all those people with those Latin surnames should be sent back to Mexico


Taking a look at the financial statements of the 10 largest natural gas producers in the United States, we find their production for the first quarter of this year has increased by only 4% compared to the same quarter of last year. This compares to a 6% year-over-year increase from 2006 to 2007. The slowdown comes despite increased drilling activity. According to Baker Hughes, there were an average of 1723 rigs running in the first quater of 2007 and 1770 in the first quarter of 2008.

Demand for natural gas in the United States is on the upswing despite the recent run-up in prices. Prices rose to over $13 per MMbtu in July but have since fallen back to around $8 per MMbtu, still a 26% year-over-year increase over last year. Even at $13 per MMbtu natural gas is a bargain compared to oil-derived energy, so the demand for natual gas has remained strong. According to the EIA, natural gas consumption for the first quarter of this year increased by 3% compared to the same quarter last year.

Exacerbating the supply situation is the rapid decline in imports from Canada, which for the first five months of this year have fallen 21% compared to the same period last year.

--DownSouth, cynical old crank who posts his drivel on The Oil Drum, but nevertheless proud to be in the tradition of other bitter old skeptics like Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce and Cervantes

Natural gas prices are up about 10% in the last two days. That's a pretty big jump for a commodity that's having a glut. Is there some specific reason for the rise?

Not sure....gregor had a post a few days ago about the extreme short speculative interest in NG. It looks like short covering since today is the last trade for the contract and there isn't any specific news that I can see. Should have happened last week, but I think that's the cause.

I assume that you guys are joking.

They forgot about the big round swirly thing :-)

:-) Not trying to say there isn't likely to be an imminent shortage, just trying to examine trade mechanics and short-term market movements. I think Shargash was referring to the price spike compared to CL...which is also up thanks to the "giant swirly thing", but not nearly as much.

Not exactly. Oil is up about 3%. I figured the effect on natural gas would be somewhat less than oil, not 3x the size.

To quote my natural gas guy again, the difference between a glut and a shortage in natural gas markets is about 2%. It's just a heck of a lot easier to move crude oil around the world than it is to move natural gas, especially considering the low price of natural gas in the US, relative to the world spot price for LNG cargoes.

This is the chart from gregor's post a coupla days ago...Net COT positions:


Probably the biggest reason why natural gas prices responded more than the oil price is that the price of oil is a world market, while the US price of natural gas is the North American price, so a similar sized disruption on a smaller market will have a larger impact on price.

Fantastic work!

How was Q1-2007 derived versus 2007? I ask because Conoco has a larger Q1 value than 2007 value. Is that the estimate the company has for what yearly production will be? So in Q1 2007 they estimated they would produce 16.85 and ended up producing 17.02?

The figures I used are actual production, straight from annual reports for FY2006 and FY2007 and quarterly reports for Q1-2007 and Q2-2008. Whatever figures they reported were the figures I used.


Williams Companies had some really great research in a slide show that was part of the press conference accompanying the release of its Q1-2008 financials...


It not only has production and reserve comparisons for the top 20 domestic natural gas producers, but also some information on how the top 20 top producers' Production Cost and Finding and Developing Costs compare.

I know that you and I would prefer to see how the aforementioned have changed over time rather than the snapshot that Williams gives, but it nevertheless shows the kind of data contained in these companies' financial statements if someone has the time to grind the numbers.

Thanks for the link.

I notice in the footnotes to the report, it says it gets its data from "EvaluateEnergy.com". I notice in looking at the website that EvaluateEnergy.com has quite a few 2nd quarter 2008 statements up.

Thanks, that is a really great link. Here is one interesting fact:

Average Operating cost $1.59 per Mcf.
Average Find and Develop $2.89 per Mcf.
Total $4.48

That puts the cost per Mcf at almost exactly where the Canadian NG Industry was in 2004-2005 ($3.74-$5.01). That solidifies my view that the US is falling very fast in EROEI but is just behind Canada. Which is why production is falling there but not yet here. So right around 10-12 to 1 EROEI.

Yes, I need to dig into those quarterly statements.

DownSouth and Gail,

Please keep posting the numbers and debate. I read the numbers posted every day even if I am not commenting.

Thanks for all the hard work.

Thanks for all the hard work.

Ditto. This ongoing exchange has been a very informative.

Thanks for all your posts on NG. You should know that the multi-year poster on the CWEI Board, Robry, has also been struggling this year with EIA methadology changes for NG.

You may also be aware that among the three NG CEO Gurus, Mark Papa of EOG, Bob Simpson of XTO, And Aubrey McClendon of CHK, there is a robust disagreement about both the size the of resource base in the various Shale plays, and, the time and costs to extract it. McClendon is on the cornucopian side of the argument, with Simpson and Papa very dubious. (Simpson thinks McClendon has been irresponsible in his public remarks, and has started referring to him as a "hype artist." Papa has not resorted to invective, but has said that the Barnett will peak much sooner than expected). In short, there is a huge amount of disagreement in the entire NG community right now, from the CEOs to the research houses, and all the private investors in between (like myself). FWIW: I am lightly invested with CHK, and heavily invested with XTO.

The area that interests me right now are pipeline imports and exports of NG between the US, and Mexico and Canada. Here is a post from earlier this week on this subject.


Thanks for the links. As I understand it, Robry is concerned about the weekly NG storage estimates, because of a change in methodology. It seems like monthly numbers would not be affected, since they come directly from the various, and are fairly complete. Is this correct?

Hi. I don't understand completely what Robry's issues are, with new EIA sampling. I do know that he has been followed for years for his ability to gauge the NG build each week, and that this year he has been struggling a bit more. I'm not aware that he has voiced any revision of the monthly numbers. I do know there is widespread confusion among NG investors however on various investment boards about the supply-demand data this year, that many feel is not explained merely by the drop in LNG, issues with REX, and variability of the Independence pipeline. I have no strong views either way. I simply note the increased amount of uncertainty among those who are usually more certain.

Robry writes:

*** EIA METHODOLOGY CHANGES: Continuing to have difficulty with the EIA's methodology changes as the latest EIA report went back to the 2003/2005 type numbers, backing off of the newly-generated 2008 model (which outperformed the 2005 model the previous two weeks). The 2008 model was necessitated by the EIA's "Quiet" (They really snuck it in) change in methodology whereby the EIA increased their sampling (from 63 to 70 operators) and (if the 2008 model is correct) severely de-weighted salt-dome operators.

There is a great deal of uncertainty in my mind whether the old, new, or both EIA methadologies are in error, as there is a very stark difference between the two data sets that my own 2005 and 2008 models have chosen for themselves. Because of all this uncertainty, and the newness of the 2008 model, a much higher margin of error should be assumed on the storage, baseline, and evaluation models.

(I would still strongly urge everybody to email the EIA to respectfully ask that the details of this revision (along with its parrallel data set) be made public.)

Thanks for the information! I wound be interested in seeing second quarter 2008 information also, since that seems to be available as well (at least for some companies).

When I visited BP's Wamsutter operation, they talked about their level-load philosophy. In it, they contract for the number and type of rigs they want. They hire staff and contractors to go with the fixed number of rigs. Production only goes up if productivity of the rigs goes up. Long term, they may add rigs, but the idea is that it is hard to go up and down in staff and rigs. If you lay off engineers, they are likely to leave the industry for something more stable. If you want state of the art drilling rigs, you often need rigs specially built for your purpose. This requires a long-term lease, which locks the company into production capacity.

There are several natural gas only "growth" companies out there, that depend heavily on debt for financing. This debt is drying up, and the companies will have to use cash flow to finance their operations. Growth will necessarily need to be scaled back (as well as stock buy-backs, dividend increases, and other things investors like). I think the question is how soon this scale back in growth starts--has it started already, or as the EIA data suggests, not quite yet.

If you do a second iteration of this, could you subtotal the big oil companies separately from the primarily NG companies? Thanks!

Did you know more people travel on Saturday at 1 p.m. than during typical rush hours? That only 16 percent of daily trips are to work? Where's everybody going? Given that Americans spend all the money they make, and bury their credit cards in debt to buy more things, "it should come as little surprise," Vanderbilt writes, "that much of our increase in driving stems from trips to the mall."

I believe that a well organized shipping structure would be more beneficial than trips to the mall or any big box store for non-perishable goods. Unless I need something today, I order all of my non-perishable goods online and have them shipped to me. The $6 to $9 shipping is well worth it to me, as I save a combined 30 minutes to an hour of driving, which saves me time, but it also saves me $4 or $5 in gasoline, not to mention wear/tear on my vehicle and increased chance of being involved in a traffic collision. I don't get stressed out by the drive, the people on the roads, the fellow shoppers in the stores, nor the flunkies that check me out, or the Loss Prevention guys having their eyes locked on me because I'm wearing a big coat or a backpack.

In fact, I order so much online, I often forget what I've ordered, and by the time the package arrives, it's like a mini-Christmas. Ooh! What did I get this time? Oh! I forgot I ordered that because it was on backorder! (etc.)

If large quantities of people ordered online, I can imagine an organized distribution system being much more efficient than armies of people driving in a million different directions to get things from different stores.

In regards to the article stating that the way that certain drivers' actions affect the traffic conditions of the whole in a largely negative way, many studies have shown this to be a fact. A ripple of slowdown flows backward through the traffic. Self-serving behavior that is detrimental to those around them is pretty systemic of human behavior, and I don't see it changing any time soon unless we all have cars that drive themselves.

Here's video in which they recreate a traffic jam


Shopping is not about more efficient shipping structures; it is about going to the mall and wandering around until you see something you must have and buying it on the spot. Instant gratification is not available on the internet or through UPS. Shopping, as generally practiced in America, is an addiction; the temporary fix is only provided on site -- at the mall.

Having said that, I never go to the mall and combine any purchases I make in order to minimize travel miles and make judicious use of internet shopping.

The growth paradigm requires unlimited needs "satisfied" by continuous consumption and shopping, whether it be on site or through the internet. Unless we can construct an economic system that provides for basic needs without destroying the planet, we are doomed. But then species disappear every day.

I buy a lot of stuff on the net, too, and IME, it's even more of a trap than the mall. There's only so much stuff they can put in the mall. On the net, you see things you never knew existed. The increased temptation more than makes up for the slightly delayed gratification.

And it's only slightly delayed, what with many places offering next day delivery.

I agree with Leanan...the internet is way more dangerous that the mall. Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools is the devil.

Later computers come with a spray bottle and every time you purchase something on the internet, you get a small spray of Spice. Your eyes turn blue and you cannot see clearly more than three or four feet, i.e. the distance to your computer screen. It is a Bush thing.

In regards to the article stating that the way that certain drivers' actions affect the traffic conditions of the whole in a largely negative way, many studies have shown this to be a fact.

Seems a silly argument to me. The ripple effect only happens in the presence of congestion. Similar to the difficulties one encounters making left hand turn or entering road. Or putting more cars on the road in total. Traffic engineers usually fix such problems by adding more lights, lanes and bypasses. It's not how we drive; it's that we drive too much. Or that we drive at all.

Note as well how author frames that arguement as "personal responsibility" vs a "social responsibility". Another fruit from the tree of bad apples. It's time to realized the tree is sick.

cfm in Gray, ME

I don't believe the $6-$9 online shipping rate will persist much longer.
Diesel fuel costs have UPS and FedEx between a rock (revenue growth) and a hard place (profit), jeopardizing their incentives to the Amazons and other online giants of this sphere. That being said, Obama proposing the electrification/hybrid fueling of the USPS would go a long way to socializing delivery!
Nevertheless, what do you do with all those "green" packing peanuts, paper and bubble wrap?

Well, I'm not sure what everyone ELSE does with the packing peanuts, paper, and bubble-wrap, but I personally re-use it by removing the shipping labels from the boxes, and using them for when I ship out things. (I sell merchandise online.) For the average person, the cardboard can be recycled (downcycled?), the packing peanuts can be dissolved if they're those new corn starch based ones, and likely the bubble wrap needs to be replaced with an alternative, such as shredded kraft paper or the like.

No, it's not perfect, but if you must know, these cardboard boxes also exist when the retail store opens and unpacks the products they place on display. If you've ever unloaded a 40 ft trailer of product at a big box store, you'll know what I mean. :)

I don't believe the $6-$9 online shipping rate will persist much longer.

I've had two orders lately that were shipped across the US and back (CA>KY>CA)!

UPS is going to have to charge more, get new shipping software or go broke.


I hope that everyone realizes that there are more vehicles on the road during rush hour [if someone is trying to say otherwise, that is ridiculous by observation]. On Saturday more PEOPLE. Going to work for most is a one per car. The mall shopping on Saturday is mom, dad, and kids.

My wife does the grocery shopping and saves the receipts which I total for the month. Sometimes I've counted as many as 22 receipts, each one representing a trip to the store. Our nearest store is only a 4 mile trip but still it's hard to justify more than 4 trips a month. Fortunately, she now has an electric car, a GEM.

I go about every day, sometimes twice. A 2.5 block walk. No big deal :-)


Pressure and rhetoric still increasing on the Russia-Georgia conflict...

Russia-Georgia conflict raises Black Sea tensions

Ukraine said on Wednesday it wanted to discuss charging Russia more for the lease of a Black Sea naval base, a move that could aggravate regional tensions already enflamed by Moscow's conflict with Georgia.

As the U.S. Navy shipped in humanitarian supplies to Georgia, Russia said its navy was watching "the build-up of NATO forces in the Black Sea area" and had started taking measures to monitor their activity.


Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili urged the West to stand firm in upholding international law.

"Russia clearly intended this as a blatant challenge to world order. It's now up to all of us to roll Russian aggression back. If they get away with this, they will carry on ... they will also attack other countries in the neighborhood," he told Reuters in an interview.

Appearantly double standards apply when it comes to Kosovo vs. Ossetia/Abkazia.

"Why I had to recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions
By Dmitry Medvedev "


"Meanwhile, ignoring Russia’s warnings, western countries rushed to recognise Kosovo’s illegal declaration of independence from Serbia. We argued consistently that it would be impossible, after that, to tell the Abkhazians and Ossetians (and dozens of other groups around the world) that what was good for the Kosovo Albanians was not good for them"


As I said before, this is far from over.

BTW, Russian aggression? Now who started this mess in the first place?

Oh ya...I think the comments in the Western MSM are definitely trying to shape this as "We need to contain Russian aggression or they will take over the world".

This is escalating beyond the little skirmish in Georgia.

I find it hard to believe Mr. Saaskashvili invaded S-Ossetia without Western approval or backing. He was certainly aware of Russia's reaction.

So I can only see it as an opening play of the Great Game. It has now started and will only get worse. With all the sabre rattling over Iran I overlooked the potential of conflict in the Caucasus. The potential being that this could lead to WWIII. Who needs Iran to unleash the nukes if you can have some puppet provoke the Great Bear? Strategically a very good opening as oil shipments from the Gulf can continue.

"Great Game"? More likely the November US presidential election. McCain got a good boost.

The Pentagon recognizes the need to shape the "information space" that contains the battlefield.

With both Gulf War I and II there were reliable reports of Defense Dept contractors issuing information that supported US aims. The media utilized this information as it was "free" and running a newsroom is an expensive undertaking.

The US has a socialized banking system, socialized housing for the wealthy (see Leanan's comment on Outer Banks estates), and soon a socialized auto industry. Socialized news is just the next step.

How do you figure "next" step? It's been in place at LEAST since the advent of R. Murdoch. BTW, how is it everyone has forgotten so quickly that fast series of 8 major interruptions in two weeks to communication cables running through the Mediteranean? Also, bets that the pentagon planners have plans in place to isolate N American communications from the rest of the world in event serious "requirement"? (eg. start of serious new difficulties successfully provoked with Russia).

Interesting that WWII also started with a pair of conferences in Moscow (1 was France and Britain, 2 was Germany). Actulally continued right up to the day of invasion of Poland by Germany.

Hello TODers,

In the hope of averting the full-on ICBM Nuclear/Bioweapon Gift Exchange:

My thxs to AlanFBE, CCPO, and other responders to my offshore nuclear bomb question in yesterday's DB. IMO-->Impossible problem to retroactively armchair quarterback WWII.

But, is this applicable to the Baltic, or Black Sea, or the Hormuz Strait [the modern geo-political hotspots]? Consider:

Russia could show it seriousness to protect its sphere of influence by detonating a small tactical nuke in its offshore waters as a 'message to the West'. IMO, this is much better than nuking the Ukraine or Poland.

Same for Israel or the US exploding a nuke offshore of Iran to show how serious things are getting; the need for all parties to use diplomacy vs wholesale military action on land.

In the Grand Chessboard Game: a nuke detonation on land, by any party, is tantamount to moving the Queen across the squares to a high power position against an opposing King. Could a small, offshore, 'relatively harmless' nuke explosion be equivalent to a pawn or knight move to prod serious discussion of a peaceful solution? Or is this a breech of both diplomatic and military strategy; a bridge too far...

Could be a fascinating topic; turning a deadly 'bite' into a real serious 'bark'. Thxs for any replies.

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

Detonating any nuclear device would be a seriuos violation of International Law and several treaties. Any such move would be seen as Nuclear Terrorism par exelance. The Russians have simply paid NATO back for its actions in Kosovo, which Russia did say it would do at some future time. That time has now arrived. There's currently a previously scheduled meeting of the SCO now occuring in Dushanbe. I'm certain some sort of joint statement will be made from there shortly that addresses the issue.

Such a detonation carries the risk of an accompanying electromagnetic pulse. Today's commercial airlines flying in the area might just lose control, those $0.99 wristwatches might stop permanently, and television sets would become primarily livingroom ornaments.

totoneila -

Since you seem to be fond of chess analogies, in my opinion detonating a tactical nuke offshore to demonsrate that one really means business is NOT analogous to moving one's queen cross board to a threatening position against the opposing king.

Instead, it would be far more analogous to throwing a cup of coffee in your opponent's face and then daring him to do something about it. In a few seconds you will no longer be playing chess at all but rather rolling on the floor trying to beat the crap out of each other.

Chess is a closed system and exists in a well-delinated universe and operates under clearly stipulated rules. The real (political) world is more of an open system with ill-defined boundaries and virtually no rules.

Hello Joule and other responders,

"In a few seconds you will no longer be playing chess at all but rather rolling on the floor trying to beat the crap out of each other."

No doubt, but beating the crap out of each other is still much, much better than shotguns [ICBMs] at 3 paces. Two bloodied parties can still stop, then negotiate vs for two dead men--> more more discussion required.

This is a difficult topic, and an offshore detonation & EMP might bring down some planes and other bad effects--but isn't that still better than massive conventional armies going toe-to-toe wrecking everybody & everything for hundreds of miles, then one side rapidly going full-bore with on-land tactical or strategic nukes to further sift the dust to talcum powder?

BushCo and/or Israel claim they have the option for a pre-emptive attack. Will Russia soon make the same claim in its sphere of influence? Could an offshore explosion be another kind of interim barking before the dogfight to help force negotiation? I would think it is easier to remain calm if it was just seawater getting cooked versus a major city or an entire army wiped out.

Ideally, we hope diplomacy works before any fighting breaks out. I am just trying to see if there can be an additional interim step--call it moving a chesspiece just half a square, or a new Kobeyashi Star-Trek type solution. My feeble two cents.

EDIT: think of that commercial where the guys are fighting with water ballons instead of guns-->then imagine offshore explosions as the water ballons.

Totoneila: I always make a point of reading your 'feeble two cents'.



THERE are dreamers in Russia, too, but the man who leads that country, Vladimir Putin, is a realist, a calculating politician who plans years in advance. The terrible little war unfolding on the fringes of Europe is a story of the clash between Putin the ultra-realist and the dreamy Georgians, who have been exposed to Russia's vengeance thanks to some woolly thinking in the West.

A keen-eyed diplomat could have predicted last month - or precisely on 11 July - that war would break out in the Caucasus. Up to that date, many people believed that the newly-elected president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, would soften the harsh, anti-Western rhetoric of Putin, who had to resign in May after completing two terms, the maximum allowed.

Medvedev, a lawyer, promised to improve education, clean up corruption and make the courts operate more openly. Rather than wars, he declared that Russia needed a period of quiet to develop.

A bit more...

It is often said that Russia is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. But the story of Vladimir Putin is really quite simple. In 1997 he wrote a doctoral thesis on the need for greater state control over Russia's raw materials; his presidency ended with a campaign of harassment of the oil company BP, seemingly designed to force it to cede control of its Russian joint venture TNK-BP to Russian interests.

With luck, the only displays this New Year will be class 4 fireworks or above (slightly)...

... innocent birds happily flying in mid-air would burst into flames (as repeatedly happened during the Pacific A-bomb tests) ... (Quite a spine-chilling sight, or so I'm told.)

"innocent birds happily flying in mid-air would burst into flames"

Ooo, I made a Haikku poem! (Unintended.)



The 5-7-5 only works in Japanese because of the structure. You have to be more free with English. Minimalism is important, so keeping the 5-7-5 is good, but the feel and spirit of the style is more important. Descriptive, not narrative. A quite nice Haiku, actually.

innocent birds
happily flying in mid-air
would burst into flames

But to be more accurately Haiku, the interpretive elements need to go:

flying in mid-air
burst into flames

To get the why, if not written within a context that clearly can assume a nuclear explosion, one might need more:

birds flying
toward Nagasaki
burst into flames

birds flying in mid-air
mushroom rising on the horizon
burst into flames

Heh... been a long time since I dabbled in poetry. Thanks gents. And no offense at my liberties, I hope.


I realise that the west's MSM is calling Russia the aggressor. What has me confused is....America is sending war ships and military advisors to Russia and
placing all this war material on Russian door step.

Its not Russia sending an armada and flotilla to American door step.Is this a "War is peace" or "Debt
is wealth" or "Slavery is freedom" kind of thingy?

Doesnt Putin have martial arts training and Bush has
cheerleading experience? Will China loan America enough money to wage another war?

What would be the military objective of such a war? War cost a lot in terms of resources, human lives, and other non-tangible costs. What objective would be worth the cost in this case?

I'm not being sarcastic. I ask it as a legitimate military question.

What would be the military objective of such a war?

imo, the same military objective as the search for wmd's: the looting of the treasury.

There is no military objective. All naval NATO forces are sitting ducks in the Black Sea, just as US naval forces are in the Persian Gulf. The only objective is political and concerns the US election, as pointed out by many others over the past several days. Long ago it was appropo for US politicos to pull the tail of the British Lion to score pre-election points; the only difference now is the change in adversary, and the fact that nuclear war might be the end result if such tail-pulling escalated out-of-hand.

This could get really stupid (as opposed to just stupid)

Cold War tension rises as Putin talks of Black Sea confrontation

Russia has criticised the US for using naval ships to deliver aid to Georgia
Michael Evans, Defence Editor
A new Cold War between Russia and the West grew steadily closer today after the Kremlin gave a warning about “direct confrontation” between American and Russian warships in the Black Sea.


Yes, one warship ramming another could kick it all off.

Meanwhile, here in the UK we have a demented, idiotic little schoolboy swat in charge of foreign policy:


This slimy little prick has absolutely no clue about history, spheres of influence or the strategic concerns of great powers.

Despite his bought education, courtesy of his (slightly) famous daddy.

Dorme Bien.

It would be nice to think we wont end up as bit players in a radio-active ashtray passion play this autumn.

And Russia's response to Milliband...

Russia gives two fingers as it continues to stand up to the West

Russian media have made it clear what the country thinks of the West's response to the Georgian crisis.

One newspaper ran the headline 'Tak You!' above an image of a fist with its middle finger raised - a play on words that will be read as 'F**k You' by its millions of readers.

The Tvoi Den (Your Day) newspaper ran the headline today.

'You' is written in English, not Cyrillic, and 'Tak' is like a stronger version of 'serves you right' - and will be taken in this context as even stronger.

The strap below states: 'For the first time in many years Russia has clearly shown to the West that we're not going to live by its order.'

Oh! That makes me feel so much better putting Milliband at point ... knowing that we in the UK are rapidly running short on nat gas and that we are at the end of a very long pipe from Russia that could save us, for a while at least ... but even if we are best friends why would Russia lend us the money to burn their oil and gas? ... Dream on!

I realise that the west's MSM is calling Russia the aggressor. What has me confused is....America is sending war ships and military advisors to Russia and placing all this war material on Russian door step.

Looks like one of the would-be combatants blinked:

US cancels plan to send military ship to Poti

The United States has canceled plans to try to dock a military ship carrying humanitarian aid in the Georgian port of Poti, where Russian forces are posted on the outskirts, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said Wednesday.

The ship, the Coast Guard cutter Dallas, was to have come to the Black Sea port Wednesday morning. But embassy spokesman Stephen Guice said the vessel instead will dock in Batumi, a port well south of the zone of fighting in this month's war between Russia and Georgia.

Guice said he did not have information on why the plan was changed.

Is this an instance of sanity breaking out, or a new ploy in the ongoing chess match?

It doesn't matter where it docks as long as Joe Voter remembers that his White Hats are sending humanitarian aid after the Black Hats bombed civilians.

Would further south mean... closer to the pipeline?

Agreed. Joe Voter doesn't have a clue... nor, I think, does he want to. After all, how can events taking place all the way around the world affect him? To wit: "*Buuurb*, pass the beer, willya?...."

Your second point is extremely interesting, and brings up a point I hadn't thought about. Batumi is one of Georgia's main oil ports, and is a terminal for Azeri oil. It isn't part of the BTC, but is an important transit point for tankers. Who knows that a stop there for US military vessels means?

Yesterday the EIA released final revised data for June oil consumption (all liquids): 19.5 million barrels per day.

Compared to June 2007, consumption fell by almost 1.2 million barrels per day (5.6%).

The record for demand in the month of June was back in 2005: 21.2 million barrels per day. So current June demand was 1.7 mbpd or 7.7% less than the peak.

To find a June with comparable consumption to this year, you have to back to 2001. To find a June where less oil was consumed you have to go back to 1998.

Here's the big picture:


Exports are at 2004 levels, USA consumption at 2001 level-it looks like the USA is losing out on the bidding war.

I am looking for a "by product" summary, comparing Juno 07 vs. June 08 and I am having some difficulty.


Individual products can be compared by looking them up here....


For instance: Finished Motor Gasoline
June '07: 9.491 mbpd
June '08: 9.071 mbpd

delta: -4.4%

Distillate fuel oil (Diesel + Heating Oil) is down 9.5% comparing June 08 to June 07 (3,728,000 BPD in 2008; 4,114,000 BPD in 2007). It looks like folks aren't filling their heating oil tanks for winter yet. Earlier months don't drop off this much. The last supply was this low in June was 2002. EIA's graph:

Quote of the day:

Browne said: "Oil demand, not supply, will peak oil."

September 2009 : Oil at $250 per barrel

Browne said: "Told you so"

Oil demand, not supply, will peak oil

This is the normal official, blinkered, BP line. Browne is/will be correct, since the oil companies, in total, have sensibly not been prepared to invest enough to ensure a buffer of 10$ a barrel supply - if they had they would likely be out of business!

Browne was in business, and business in a free market economy must make a profit. So, he could also have said "lack of profitable oil supply will peak oil production".

Peak oil is not about the total reserves, which are likely thousands of times current daily use. Peak oil is about the lack of affordable/profitable reserves. It seems there is no more profitable $10 a barrel oil left for me to buy and maybe no $100 a barrel oil either.

But, there is a lot of very profitable $1 million a barrel oil that BP would like to sell me ... sadly for them, I don't want to pay the price ... stupid customer!

Re: We drive as we live

The good thing about this is that we have plenty of waste to trim from our lifestyle before fuel shortages become a matter of life and death.

Of course we seem disposed to make our supply of oil a matter of life and death (wars over the stuff) rather than give up our bad habits.

I think a recession will go a long way toward eliminating bad habits. Going to the mall to rack up credit card debt is not what people do when they're having trouble putting food on the table or gas in the tank.

Going to the mall to rack up credit card debt is not what people do when they're having trouble putting food on the table or gas in the tank.

Not true in too many cases. I managed an apartment complex with working class people. Over years I had to witness dozens of evictions with sometimes as little as a month after the loss of employment.

We would go into an apartment after an eviction and see big screen TV's, Playstations, DVD's and the like. Consumerism is a drug!


Japan fuels electric car revolution

Japan is preparing for the arrival of plug-in electric cars next year with plans to build hundreds of “quick recharge” power stations and other infrastructure to accommodate the vehicles.

Drivers in Japan will be the first in the world to be offered battery-powered cars by large automakers. The transport and power system upgrades, which are supported by the government, carmakers and electricity utilities, are designed to promote rapid adoption by easing concerns about the cars’ convenience and driving range.

Yasuo Fukuda, prime minister, wants half of new cars sold by 2020 to be powered by non-petrol sources. Japan pledged at the G8 summit this year to cut overall carbon dioxide emissions by 60-80 per cent by 2050.

An earlier link RE Tokyo charging stations for EVs.


....with the aim of expanding the number of stations to around 1,000 in three years or so.

In some ways, EV technology is deficient at this point (cost, range, power). But rapid rollout of infrastructure for charging won't be a problem. That's one of its strengths.

The cost of the vehicle should not really be and issue, as leasing the batteries is becoming the preferred model.
This means that if you are a moderately high mileage driver, then you can buy your car for around the same as an ICE, and leasing the batteries will cost you less than the petrol for it would have done.

For lower mileage drivers something along the lines of the projected plug-in Prius might be a better bet, as the less powerful batteries needed would reduce the cost premium - it will likely to able to go around 10 miles on battery only, at a battery cost of $2-4k.

Very low mileage people will likely to be better off sticking to a small ICE car, or perhaps buying some sort of electric golf cart.

Battery swapping technology is also being rolled out in Israel at least, and so the occasional long run would be fine.
It is possible that some deals will include ICE car hire for long runs.

Battery swapping is a very cool idea, although personally I don't want to swap batteries if I can in any way be held reliable for the state of the batteries upon my returning them. Battery tech has come a long way, but it still can be easy to "trash" a battery through abuse. The person that leaves a battery at 100% capacity all of the time, or the person who leaves the battery at 0% capacity for an extended period of time can destroy the service life of a battery considerably.

I'm not saying that it isn't a good idea or scenario, just pointing out my personal objections to why *I* would be averse to the idea.

Battery swapping seems to me like an interim step at best. Battery technology appears to be improving at around 8% a year and that might be improved if there were serious investments. In 7-10 years, capacity will no longer be an issue. The main issues now is rapid recharging. My guess is that that will be solved before EVs become widespread. Widespread fast charging at charge stations would require very significant grid upgrades but we are going to have to do that for many other reasons as well.

See the latest Wired 16.09


This explains Israel's - and soon to be Denmark's - roll out of infrastructure to support electric vehicles.

Still don't know where all the new electrons are going to come from though. (Don't get on my case about the apparent lack of understanding electrical energy propagation, it's just an expression).

Hello TODers,

Linked uptop: "Russia coal exporters told to prioritise domestic supply"

Guess Putin and most world leaders have not taken Alan Drake's advice to build a 'Strategic Reserve of Railcars'--so this is not good news for anyone. :(

Makes me wonder if Russian railcars normally used to haul potash, sulfur, urea, or phosphate rock are now being shifted over to help move domestic coal or crude to help keep the Russian economy moving. Recall the earlier link where an Eastern European country wanted to buy more raw phosphate from Russia, but instead, Russia told them they couldn't supply more. They had to go buy Morocco's phosphate to meet their need for an expanded supply.

Lastly, the article talked about shrinking Russian hydro-reserves. When you consider just how geographically big and vast Russia is: seems like more evidence of climate change to me.

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

Bob, there is a dispute between Russia and the Ukraine about railcars. Seems that Russia ships stuff by rail to a port in the Ukraine. Once the railcars are empty, the Ukrainians then use them for their own use before returning them to Russia late. Not surprisingly, Russia is getting rather upset about the Ukrainians temporary theft of their railcars which IIRC can account for a couple of thousand railcars.

Hello Burgundy,

Thxs for this info. The first thing that popped into my mind was poking a stick into a sleeping bear...

In the office at my job is a poster that says "Do something brave, then run like hell"
Above that phrase is a photo of a penguin with two cymbals ready to bang together right above a polar bear.

From the item on Canada "selling" the tar sands to the US public.

Tony Clement, chair of the Conservatives' cabinet committee on environment and energy security, will lead the discussion today that he says is part of a strategy to "re-engage" the U.S. on environment and energy security issues.

Clement happens to be the current Minister of Health. Canada is undergoing a Listeria outbreak due to tainted deli meat production. Out of 23 cases so far there have been 12 deaths.

The emerging back story is that the current government altered Canada's food inspection system without informing the public. To reduce costs food inspection was made the responsibility of the food processor. The processing plant from which the tainted food originated was the trial site for this new inspection system.

I don't think the American people really want to pay much attention to what Clement says. Given the nature and scope of the tainted food issue, and the likely death count, I don't think Clement will be representing Canadians in the future.

Interesting how revealing BOP's stance is... He doesn't really care about peak oil, is more concerned with how to reduce oil consumption regardless of supply. Those are really two very different positions, and BOP's doesn't belong on this site.

Dear lengould:

In the patch we have a name for folk like you.

After 20 weeks and 2 hours of participation I am glad to see you have finally stepped up to the plate and elected yourself as the self-appointed guardian of ideological purity on TOD.

If memory serves, the last dude who made that attempt was dismembered by Leanan. It weren't purty.


Interesting how revealing lengould's stance is... He really doesn't care about the sickness of a society that would have a Minister of Health who secretly sabotages public health by letting big business police its own safety and thus trim the budget for more tax cuts for... big business; then runs around pimping tar sands, an obvious environmental and health catastrophe that can still be averted.

That tells us that we will try to increase oil supplies regardless of the consequences, and that matters very much to this site.

Concerning the link up top: Russia coal exporters told to prioritise domestic supply

Well, as my aunt Minnie used to say, "I ain't one to say I told you so, but I did didn't I". ;-)

Russia has the world's second largest coal reserves, after the United States. China, India and Australia are numbers 3, 4, and 5. But coal prices are skyrocketing and domestic coal consumers in all countries are hurting, especially in Russia, China and India. India, long ago, became a net coal importer and China did also but only recently. Expect net coal exports to hit the zero point at or possibly before net oil exports to reach zero.

China urges more coal imports as shortage lingers. China, with the world's third largest reserves of coal, is trying desperately to import more coal. But net coal exports are drying up fast. Perhaps 150 nations of the world import virtually ALL their coal.

The Middle East generates the lions share of its electricity from natural gas. Six countries get over half their power from nuclear power plants. But the lions share of the rest of the world gets most or all its power from coal. And while the US, Russia, Australia and South Africa have enough coal to keep the power plants running for many years, the rest of the world does not. Peak coal, or more correctly "Peak Coal Exports" are set to be every bit as great a problem as Peak Oil.

Ron Patterson

I believe the Aussies are stepping up their export capacity. I expect to see China and India bid vigorously for it. The Aussies will be the major coal exporter for the forseable future, as they have lots of reserves and low domestic use. It will be interesting to see how the AGW movement affects this, if they will consider exports part of Australian emissions or China's problem.

The new Tata Ultra Mega plant in India is expected to use imported coal, mostly from Indonesia IIRC.

For those interested in world coal reserves can check out this Excel file; EIA World oil Reserves in Short Tons. But I find this html file much more interesting: World Coal Production, 1997-2006.

Notice that though China has less than half the coal reserves as the US, they produce over twice as much coal. And the African stats are alarming. South Africa produces 269 million tons per year, Zimbabwe 4 million tons and all the rest of Africa only 2 million tons. In other words, on the entire African continent only South Africa produces virtually any coal.

Ron Patterson

ELM in full action:

Vietnam is lessening the export of such fossil fuel as crude oil and coal to ensure sufficient supplies for oil refineries and energy thirsty industries like electricity and cement.

South Africa mulls coal export curb

A logical economist would conclude from these actions (taken by Russia and others) that the market price of crude oil and coal is currently far too low. Were the market price reasonable, exporting countries would not be taking actions to restrict exports. The actual economic value of these energy sources is currently understated, and these countries know it-without these energy sources other national industries suffer.

Like other EIA reserve data, those coal numbers are really suspect. The EIA needs to be politically correct. I think Dave Rutledge has the best numbers. He puts coal URR for the US and Canada at 141 (~60 US cumulative) vs 275 in reserves for EIA. That's about 80 vs 275 for remaining or 29%. That is why Rutledge shows all fossil fuels peaking in about 2019.

It would be interesting to see a HL based analysis of the top net coal exporters--predicting net exports out for a couple of decades. It would appear that exported volumes of oil, natural gas and coal aren't looking too good.

Check out my link. That's what Rutledge does. HL for coal by major producers.

Edit: OK, maybe not major exporters.

Since coal supplies and exports are so tight, wouldn’t that create more demand on oil?, some of that demand could be because of the utilities (such as in the GCC), but most importantly a lot of demand will come from privately owned diesel generators, I believe we are already seeing that in India, with the massive increase in diesel demand due to higher need for electric power generation, and I believe we will see more of that in China and worldwide going forward as coal supplies to generate electricity dwindle.

It is also worth mentioning that those who can afford a private power generator, usually don’t have an issue in paying a high price for diesel, because they usually use it either out of necessity such as: business, hospital..etc or well off individuals who would like the comfort of electricity 24h a day.


The limiting factor in the use of coal is the CO2 absorption capacity of the atmosphere. If we define the climate of 1970s as the optimum climate to support a population of 6 billion, then this capacity had already been exceeded in the 1980s.

Wait until the Arctic summer sea ice has disappeared by 2013 as predicted by Maslowski and then you will understand what I mean.

It is an untested assumption to believe nature will allow us to burn whatever coal we want to burn. We may very well get an abrupt climate change which will physically force us to abandon coal.

Quite a few people are saying it's bizarre to build new coal ports in Australia the same time as domestic cap-and-trade. So far the politicians are changing the subject.

As Saif Lalani recently stated:

Coal: This in my opinion is slightly more likely than oil to bring the system down. Here the effects of export-land model (courtesy Jeffery Brown) are even more pronounced. China consumes more than 2.5 billion short tons of coal per year. It recently turned a net importer (2008 projected). The world export market is tiny and is less than 12% of the world coal production. China's coal consumption is rising at a 12-15% compounded annual rate. China's coal production growth rate is slowing dramatically and will rise less than 5% this year. Putting these numbers together means that China will swallow all of the worlds exports in 2-4 years. Unless coal production can be ramped up dramatically elsewhere it is lights out everywhere.

It is not lights out everywhere. It is lights out in coal importing countries that rely on imported coal for power generation.

Actually, it is lights out in coal importing countries that don't have the foresight to move away from coal power generation before coal imports dry up.

I'm curious what "moving away" would look like? I mean nukes still aren't cheap and for much of the world if you even say you are interested in them the US threatens to start bombing

PV and wind are spotty, dependent on conditions and still expensive compared to coal - and pv especially certainly isn't a cheap easy-to-switch-to alternative for a nation

so with foresight, what would a nation who imports most of their electricity in the form of coal actually move to?

Hydroelectric is an option for many nations, energy efficiency is an option for all nations.


Love hydro, but aren't most of the easy ones already pretty built-out? and haven't we been hearing about problems (e.g. South America) with shrinking snowpack resulting in less flow into existing hydro projects?

And if 3 Gorges in an example of a modern large-scale project, I would say it isn't really that great of an alternative...

In N. America there is still a lot of undeveloped hydro electric sites in Canada. The current estimate published in the latest IEEE Canadian magazine is there is twice the existing installed capacity. (I can provide a summation once I get it back from my boss).

If we are fortunate, we could get 50% built. To service the continent properly, these sites should feed into long distance HVDC lines that connect to major U.S. substations.

This is one way to move off coal in the U.S.

Before others get all nationalistic on me, understand that I'm not a fan of selling off our resources or supporting the U.S. BAU. However, a half hour presentation will show quite clearly that the fates of both countries are shared by a common N. American grid, (and NG pipeline system for that matter). Furthermore, we are not selling off resources, water, or rivers - despite the rhetoric on this side of the border - because it's real, real hard to pick up a river generating system and export it south.

Now, if we can only get the transmission lines built, ... sigh...


Move away from coal before coal dries up? Just what would you suggest, nuclear? Do you suggest that India switch to nuclear power? The Indian government is dirt poor and cannot possibly build enough nuclear plants in time. And since the notorious Dabahol/Enron gas plant has turned into such a disaster everyone is staying away from India.

India is building one nuclear plant, started well before the Dabahol/Enron disaster. Ground was broke on the Kudankulam nuclear plant in 2001 and the first fuel rods are scheduled to be loaded this fall and will probably be fully on line in a couple of years. But that is just ONE plant. There is just no way India could build enough nuclear plants to replace their coal plants.

Coal plants are what exist right now. To switch to something else, nuclear or whatever, would take decades and cost trillions, trillions that poor countries simply do not have. I know, it rolls easy off the tongue, "just switch to something else" and everything will be hunky dory. But it is a lot easier said than done. Foresight is totally useless if you simply have neither the time nor the money to switch to anything.

Ron Patterson

I'm mostly thinking of Solar Thermal. Yes, coal plants are a little cheaper right now, but if you assume a high rate increase in the price of coal, all of a sudden they start to look expensive. Nuclear is probably too expensive to be a good large-scale solution.

Solar thermal is nice because you know the cost of fuel will not increase, so it's easier to plan your long-term investment. I would suggest that they do what Australia is doing, which is to build solar thermal plants and then export their coal. I think this will make them lots of money in the long-term (Yes, I know that Aussie has lots of land and very few people, unlike India).

The other big savings would be efficiency (the one thing that Ultra Mega does have going for it). The Indian grid sucks, and they waste a ton of power that way. Most of the new coal plants being built in China are grossly inefficient, and only make financial sense if you assume that the price of coal will stay constant.

So you are advocating a sunrise to sunset generation system? These systems will not be able to make the jump from experiment to reliable source of power.

The reality is that any thermal generation system has a system efficiency of approximately 30% due to the laws of thermodynamics. The reality is that power generators, governments and consumers have to pull their heads out of their rears and accept thermal plants in the middle of built up urban areas. The thermal energy in the turbine exhaust steam has to utilized for space heating and cooling. This would displace significant amounts of fossil fuel usage for space heating, cooling and domestic hot water. Our efforts would be better spent developing this type of system (80% efficiency is possible)

Nuclear is probably too expensive to be a good large-scale solution.

Nuclear is only expensive if you look at the short term and count all its externalities (safety, waste disposal) while you allow 30,000 death per year from coal and run away global warming.

France has an electrical system built on 80% nuclear and has the lowest electricity prices in Europe. That makes nuclear the low cost option BEFORE you properly cost coal's externalities.

Yes, we are going to have to spend tens to hundreds of trillions of dollars to build a new energy infrastructure over the next 40 years and it is going to be tough on the poorer countries. But the alternative is to starve in the dark. If we were more reasonable about nuclear waste and safety (say they would only need to be ten times as good as coal) the plants would cost less. When we start to build the several thousand reactors that the world needs, the unit costs will be relatively less as well.

Matt Simmons says the world is going to have to spend $100 trillion or so in the next 10-15 years just to manage the oil decline. The world GDP is about $60 trillion per year now. In 1944, the US spent 38% of GDP on the war effort. 38% of world GDP is about $23 trillion per year right now. We should be able to come up with a few trillions per year now to build the new energy infrastructure, which is going to have to have a heavy nuclear component. We should build as much wind and solar as their intermittency will allow, which is probably around 20-30%.

Say, you wouldn't work for/be heavily invested in the nuclear industry, would you?

Hundreds of trillions of dollars? We don't have that kind of cash! Several thousand reactors? Fueled with what, magic pixie dust?

We don't have a even a few trillions - it's all been drained away into wars on distant sands and other corporate welfare programs.

Say, you wouldn't work for/be heavily invested in the nuclear industry, would you?

No, I am a software guy working in health and human services. I have no investments. I just care about the world my kids will inherit.

Fueled with what, magic pixie dust?

There are at least millions of years of fission fuel. Check out Uranium Distribution

We don't have a even a few trillions

Get serious. The future of the world is at stake. If industry does not recognize the opportunity, then we might need to go on a world war footing. If they could do it in the 1940s, we can do it now.

"Get serious. The future of the world is at stake."

I am completely serious. The analogy to war footings and the 40's is absurd.

But in any case, what we really don't need is distractions like supposing we'll build thousands of reactors. This is nonsensical on many levels: financial, technological, logistical, fuel, siting, manpower.

"Millions of years of fission fuel" is, in fact, invoking magic pixie dust.

And hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe.

There are at least millions of years of fission fuel.

Could you put some numbers to this please? In particular, what energy output per day are you assuming in total (ie, for every single power station in the entire world that you would like there to be there in the future, what's the total power output). And what efficiency are you assuming in the generation process (ie, how many kilograms of uranium are required for 1 kWh)?

I'm not trying to dispute you at this point; I'm trying to figure out precisely what you believe so that I can try and check it.

"Could you put some numbers to this please?" Sure.

See Key Deffeyes in Scientific American. From the note at the bottom you will see that there are about one trillion tons of Uranium that "could be mined with an energy gain of 16 - 32" or greater (of 40 trillion in the crust). Each reactor consumes 200 tons / year. That's 1,000,000,000,000 / 200 = 5,000,000,000 reactor years. That's 5 billion / 403 reactors = 12 million years at current rates of consumption in once through light water reactors. Now multiply that by 4 to get Uranium + Thorium. Multiply the result of that by 20-30 for other fuel cycles that would get more of the 97% of total energy that is not consumed in the once through LWR.

At least millions of years is quite conservative.

You have to mine the ore, extract the U from the ore, enrich it to fuel quality, etc.

The U does not jump out of the ground and into your thousands of reactors.

Millions of years is quite nonsensical.

In fact, this in insanity.

Natural Uranium has at least 500,000 times the energy density of oil. Current power reactors measure EROEIs of 60-100 for all inputs.

What is "Natural Uranium"?

As far as your EROEI, how do you calculate that? All inputs? Nonsense. This is absurd.

Natural Uranium (eg unenriched) is 99.3% U-238 and .7% U-235.

When Uranium has 500,000 the energy density of oil (Wikipedia), why would you be surprised that power plants measure high EROEIs? Because anti nuclear activists say they do not?

You are delusional. See, you need to mine the uranium ore. You need to refine the uranium ore. You need to enrich it to reactor concentration. All of these things require a lot of energy. Then there's dealing with the wastes, etc.

You do not seem to know what you are talking about. You need to account for all of the above in your EROEI. It is nothing like what you are claiming.

Why would you believe that power plants measure such absurd EROEI's? Because pro nuclear activists say they do?

Because pro nuclear activists say they do?

I wrote that power plants have measured actual inputs.

You've carefully avoided relating about how much power you're expecting to be produced, and the searching the page suggests that this is the first occurrence of the number 403 on this page. Since France currently has 59 nuclear power plants I'm guessing you're talking about America only. So how much power would these 403 plants produce, and is this power level suitable for American power demands you envisage in, say, twenty years time?

From this I ought to be able to work out how many nuclear power plants you'd be envisaging for the entire world. (Since you responded so vociferously in our last exchange, I'm NOT talking about anyone subsidizing or using marxist resource allocation but on the assumption that least some substantial proportion of the rest of the world will be at least as hard-working, innovative and be earning the money to deploy into such projects.) I'll also see if I can find some more up to date and more conservative estimates of uranium availability than the 1980 link you posted.

I am envisioning a 19 fold increase in Nuclear power and a 158 fold increase in Wind and Solar by 2050. The paper is now in the third draft and it should be posted in a week or two.

FYI, The Dept of Energy study concluded that the USA can only build 8 new nukes in the next decade. I read it and concluded 6 or 7 is more realistic..

42 years is *FAR* too long to wait/plan.

Any plan over 30 years is worthless, the world changes too much.

Nukes are, IMO, a nice late, secondary effect, but too late, too llittle as a centerpiece of a 15-20 year plan (hopefully we have that long).


FYI, The Dept of Energy study concluded that the USA can only build 8 new nukes in the next decade.

Under existential crisis circumstances and not business as usual?

I cannot believe the DOE would be considering the circumstance likely to prevail. Maximum world effort? No expense spared?

I will take a while to get the program under way, unfortunately.

6, 7 or 8 new nukes in a decade is the maximum safe and economic build rate. Skilled labor is the limiting factor (and no, you cannot do a massive crash training program, etc. The existing nuke safety trainign regs set an upper limit). I would STRONGLY oppose any faster build !

There are much better options for our limited resources than a BAU solution like nukes anyway. If you can waste money of a redux of the 1980s (see dozens of nukes started but never completed, all others MASSIVE cost overruns, in the last Rush to nuke) then spend the money instead (whilst building 7 new nukes) on

1) Energy efficiency & conservation
1a) More insulation and better windows
1b) Solar and tankless hot water heaters
1c) High efficiency heat pumps

2) Non-Oil Transportation
2a) Electrified RRs
2b) Urban Rail
2c) Bicycles
2d) Walkable neighborhoods/TOD

3) Renewable generation
3a) Wind
3b) Hydroelectric (small in USA, 15 GW in Canada)
3c) Geotherma;
3d) Solar PV
3e) All Other

and HV DC and pumped storage to match generation to load.

Enough things to spend money on, that CAN BE BUILT FASTER THAN NUKES !

You are simply putting lots of effort down the wrong road.

Best Hopes for Your Efforts,


Nukes are the slow, secondary part of the solution that can help "fill the gaps" after the better solutions are implemented.

6, 7 or 8 new nukes in a decade is the maximum safe and economic build rate

Well that's not what you said that the DOE said. Before you said the DOE said in the NEXT DECADE. But presumably after you gear up and increase manufacturing capacity you can build many more. We can build more sooner if it is urgent, which it certainly is.

We are going to need 27 TW of electrical generation in 2050 and have fossil fuels for maybe two. The only energy sources on you list are wind and solar. My plan scales those by 158 fold. Yours would be close to three times that. And you plan is dominated by their intermittency

You really should consider some nuclear (your plan essentially eliminates it). In the several times you and I have discussed this, you have never provided any rational reason why we could not have a large nuclear build up other than your fears. The future of the world is at stake.

Louisiana is to host a nuclear production line, which would be capable of turning out 1-2 reactors per year when fully operational:

A lot of advantages from building in a controlled environment rather than on-site should be expected, together with better costs.

The US uses around 460GW or so of electricity on average.

Building twin 1.6GW reactors on the present 100 or so sites would give a generating capacity of 300GW. If used in conjunction with air-source heat pumps then much of the natural gas burn could also be displaced.

That is a lot of power to forgo.

We can build more sooner if it is urgent, which it certainly is

IMHO, wishful thinking, not supported by hard analysis. Only if society agrees to unsafe and uneconomic builds can we likely increase that rate for the first ten years.

After that start-up the numbers can increase substantially. By twenty years the numbers could be very large. But by then renewable, efficiency and conservation could be supplying well over 2/3rds of US electricity.

There is a place for nukes. Relatively small and late, but a place.


I am not sure what the substantial disagreement is.
You appear to agree that nuclear plants should be built as quickly as it is safe and economic to do so.

I'd also like to point out that above a certain level of penetration we don't really know how to integrate intermittent wind power, and that the cost of transmission lines from it's remote locations will be substantial - in that respect the locations of nuclear plants are much more convenient.
Environmental concerns about wind turbines are also more pronounced than some of its advocates would like to let on, however safe they may be for birds, they are a disaster for bats:
Wind farms cause thousands of bats to die from trauma - Times Online
I feel that the concerns of those who are particularly sensitive to the noise and disturbance of wind turbines should not be dismissed out of hand, either.

I don't want to exaggerate the difficulties with renewables, but if one has the position that we should develop all resources, then a theoretical assessment of what proportion of energy is supplied by what seems unnecessary.
It's surely worth pointing out though that the way we actually know how to provide base-load power without using fossil fuels is by nuclear energy, and that the difficulties of providing it with renewables are substantial.

Personally I have great hopes that Nanosolar's scheme to build 2-10MW municipal power plants will provide a lot of the power America needs, but that doesn't stop me thinking that Toshiba building a nuclear power plant production line is a great step forward.

Economics and the normal competition of engineering development should decide the power mix - for instance if annular fuel fulfils its promise that would greatly improve nuclear economics.

For much of the world, and in particular northern Europe, the range of options is much less than in the US.

We could build the reactors if people would get their collective heads out of their collective asses. It's quite simple, standardize a design, focus our engineering and production inputs, stop building SUV's and put those resources to work in this plan. Stop building new roadways, and put those inputs into the plan. This could provide the concrete (so to speak, since concrete is local).

Building the transmission lines could be a major problem though...

Better get Yucca Mountain going too...

The bigger problem is getting the public will behind a program such as this. And, as usual it would take a major event to turn the efforts to what is needed. This doesn't give me much comfort.

At times like this I get all ornery and unsociable with my feeling of "Lead, follow, or get the f_ck out of the way!" It can be done.

Yes, we are going to have to spend tens to hundreds of trillions of dollars to build a new energy infrastructure over the next 40 years and it is going to be tough on the poorer countries. But the alternative is to starve in the dark.

This is hilarious. It is like telling a flat broke homeless family that they must spend $1000 a month on rent and utilities or sleep in the street. Like they have a choice!

Sterling, ever hear of the saying, "You cannot get blood from a turnip?" Neither countries nor people can possibly spend money they do not have. Well, that is unless you can trick people into lending it to you with the promise that your grandchildren will pay it back. The US can currently do that but not many other nations. And the day is fast approaching when the US will no longer be able to do that either.

Ron Patterson

Neither countries nor people can possibly spend money they do not have.

Then how did we fund World War II?

Say we need to build 4,000 reactors for our new energy infrastructure. At $10 billion each (they current cost 6-8 for basically custom units), that's $40 trillion over 42 years.

World GDP is $60 trillion now on trend going to $350 T in 2050 (current dollars). My model says it goes to about 170 T in 2050. Very simply (60 + 170 / 2) * 42 years = $4,830 trillion of world GDP between now and 2050 in current US dollars. My 4,000 reactors would cost 40/4830 or .8% of world GDP during that period. Compare that to 38% for a really serious world war level of effort.

Even with your extremely rosy calculations, that's a trillion dollars a year.

Forget about it. There are quite a few other things going on.

Right. About $1 trillion / year. And excellent investment in saving the planet.

Also, remember that once you build a nuclear power plant, you can run it for 60-80 years with very low operating costs, because Uranium is cheap and plentiful. So you make a ton of money selling the electricity you generate. By 2050, the plants have all paid for themselves.

Great...when does it start??

Well, in the US we need new political leadership and we probably need to get past the oil peak which I expect for 2010. I do not think that we really get serious until about 2012.

I think the Oil Drum is a very important forum to figure it out. There is already a faction here that sees it as I do, I think. I think a lot of important opinion leaders come to this site to learn about these issues. I think what is said here is important.

The solution is electrical transportation powered by nuclear, wind and solar (NW&S). Transportation might be fueled by hydrogen or low grade hydrocarbons but the energy for these will come from NW&S. We should build wind and solar to the maximum extent that intermitency will allow and fill in the balance with nuclear.

If the oil plateau is fairly flat for a decade, it might take us quite a while to get going properly. On the other hand, there might be a sharper downturn. In that case it seems likely that we might have some world war scale mobilization with winners and losers and quite a bit of state involvement. I hope it does not take that branch.

World GDP is $60 trillion now on trend going to $350 T in 2050 (current dollars). My model says it goes to about 170 T in 2050.

Someone knocked me a few days back for saying that JD over at peakoildebunked.blogspot.com had a "loose relationship with reality." I said that because in a conversation with him it became clear that he thought it easy to get energy by deploying equipment into space to beam it down to us -- and that would solve all our problems and soon.

"Loose relationship with reality" doesn't quite capture what I meant. I was trying to find phrasing for the opposite of someone who has a "powerful relationship with reality," meaning that they can see clearly what is so with no narratives/stories/worldviews/contexts etc. getting in the way.

Kunstler, for instance, doesn't call himself a "realist" he calls himself an "actualist," which I thought was a very interesting way to get at what I'm looking for.

I bring this up Sterling only because your quote strikes me as demonstrating whatever is the opposite of "having a powerful relationship with reality."

That's because I think that having a powerful relationship with reality at this point in time means:

  • peak oil is happening now or very, very soon
  • the economy will decline in lockstep with oil availability
  • climate change is a phenomenon well-supported by scientific theory and observation
  • there are no gods/unicorns/holy ghosts/or what-have-you; when such things are posited, they are the result of the brilliantly creative human mind. As Bertrand Russell pointed out, since religions contradict each other, they can't all be right; it is, however, completely possible that they are all wrong.

I might replace his use of the word "wrong" with something more like "made up" or "invented" because it points more to what's actually happening.

In any case, "weak relationship with reality" may be the closest I can get to what I'm pointing to as long as it's clear that there is no sense of "crazy" involved.

Bring it on. Show me where I am wrong. It will help me refine my arguments.

Do you even see the irony in what you just said?

Well, if I am totally wrong, it would not help.

But I am looking for help in coming up with the best plan. My goal is what will work.

Then how did we fund World War II?

Sterling, we are not talking about us, we are talking about the world. WE sold bonds to fund WWII. Do you actually believe that Uganda could sell bonds to build nukes? How about Bangladesh? India cannot even fund new coal or gas plants. What does that tell you? Well, I suppose it does not tell you anything but it tells me a lot.

Your estimate of GDP is just silly. GDP will drop dramatically in the next decade due to declining oil production. And anyway individual countries build power plants, not the world.

Ron Patterson

I admit the developing world will be disadvantaged. I predict a big downturn. But since there is an obvious way to build an alternative energy infrastructure and we can do it in time, I think it will happen. Mankind has too much at stake. I, for one, am not giving up.

I admit the developing world will be disadvantaged. I predict a big downturn. . .I, for one, am not giving up.

Can you give me some reason that those "disadvantaged" might have for not giving up? Do you not think they will hear the "loud sucking sound" as all resources disappear into the maw of the wealthy west? Do you not think they will understand that the loss of their islands, shoreline, rainfall, agricultural viability, the loss of their lives, and the future of their children, might not have something to so with that "loud sucking sound" and the cloud of exhaust it produces? Do you not think that there will be someone who will emerge to provide leadership to this group of disadvantaged?

Gotta pay attention to the fact that the cream of NATO's special forces are having trouble dealing with some unruly disadvantaged Afghani sheepherders who do not seem to want to give up.

I think you need pay more attention to the way the world really works.

Can you give me some reason that those "disadvantaged" might have for not giving up?

The will to live is strong.

Look, I do not want this to happen. Unfortunately, some of the developing world, especially Africa, has seen its population grow far beyond what I think is its carrying capacity without plentiful fossil fuels. There may not be a way to save them. There may be no way to avoid a big die-off in some parts of the world. But the only proven way to halt population growth is development.

We need to do what we can do to save the world. It is really that stark. Some of us need to concentrate on designing and building. We cannot conserve our way out of this problem because pretty soon fossil fuels effectively go to near zero. What I am trying to do is come up with a viable grand strategy.

Sterling, do us all a favor and search the TOD archives on the topic. The first big problem you have is just making the containment units, which at present has a WORLD capacity of something like 4 a year, if memory serves. If it is more, it is certainly less than ten.

You gonna build thousands of plants, all with adequate water, in ten years?

You're dreaming.

Search the archives. Or just contact DaveMart. He used to say all the same things. He's modified his stance, for good reason.


You gonna build thousands of plants, all with adequate water, in ten years?

No, you have to build 2,000 - 4,000 in 42 years. That probably maxes out at 200/year completions towards the end. The current record is 29 one year in the eighties.

Regarding water, maybe we have to build most on the ocean or in places like Puget Sound where there are lots of channels. I envision sites with twenty or more reactors. One site in Japan today has seven.

The first big problem you have is just making the containment units

No, I think it is reactor vessels. We will clearly have to greatly expand our manufacturing capacity.

Dave and I have discussed that at some length and he has reviewed the article.

No, you have to build 2,000 - 4,000 in 42 years.

I tell you here and now, you don't HAVE 42 years. This is the same point DM kept ignoring... I he's reviewed your article, he must have raised this issue, backslid, or decided other technologies will bridge.

Don't count on that last.

If you think you have 42 years then you are either an AGW denier or don't understand the seriousness of the situation.

No, I think it is reactor vessels.

Yes, my flub.


Significant mitigation has to be under way by 2030. But in 2030 we still have greater fossil fuel consumption than we do today, assuming oil will peak by 2012, coal by 2024 and natural gas by 2029.

My plan assumes we cannot cut back on fossil fuel burning, beyond that caused by peaking, until after 2030. In the midst of such a gobal emergency, it would not be possible to get the political support to do so.

Oil consumption in the USA is currently at 2001 levels because the average American is tapped out-there is no way oil consumption in the USA will hit a new peak in 2012. Globally, as oil declines coal and NG consumption will explode-2024 and 2029 is totally unrealistic.

The reactor vessel issue is not critical. A number of other suppliers are opening production, from Areva in France to Russia to suppliers in Sheffield.
It is in any case not vital to use a single casting, as they can and have been built using more than one casting, and there are plenty of suppliers for those deigns.

I would agree that a build in time to seamlessly transition to a nuclear future is not possible in the time available, but this does not seem to me a good reason not to build as many as possible, and take whatever mitigation is on offer.

Whether nuclear fuel is available for a thousand years or millions also does not seem to me to be relevant to whether the fastest possible build should take place, as if we can keep a technological civilisation going we will certainly be far better placed than currently to build solar energy systems, geothermal energy etc in 50 years time than at present, where the technology is still very immature.

Concerns about safety in the context of peak oil awareness also seem to me misplaced, as we are probably looking at a die-off in the billions, many orders of magnitude more than any risk from nuclear power, even if we were still building Chernobyl-type reactors, which no-one is.
The argument about proliferation is based on the notion that the West has effective control of what the rest of the world does, and Georgia rubs our noses in the fact that we don't.
We can try to mitigate the fuel cycle and hopefully reduce risk at the margins a bit, but the notion that not building reactors in the west would somehow stop nations which want to getting nuclear weapons is absurd we don't have the power, any more than we were able to prevent Russia and China acquiring nuclear weapons.

Much of the rest of the debate that I have seen in this thread seems perhaps a bit too orientated to the US, and what decisions the US leadership make is frequently elided into what the world will be able to do.

Whilst the US is of course a major player it is by no means even the leading actor.
Whether we approve of their use or not the US has vast coal resources, and it seems to me likely that if they get stuck then coal plants will be built, and hang GW.
Most of the rest of the world does not have that option.

Estimates given on this site estimated that around 90 1 GW nuclear power stations or equivalent would need to be built a year to supply all the energy needed for the world.
Since modern plants are up to 1.6GW then the actual needed number is around 60 of the larger size, minus what is likely to be a not inconsiderable input from wind and solar.

China has recently built a production facility for nuclear plants in 11 months, one capable of turning out 1-2 nuclear plants a year.
They are ramping up to build another 9 production lines by 2020, beside their growing capability in pebble bed reactors.

IOW China alone is on course to be able to produce around a third of the needed number of reactors that the world as a whole will need by 2020.

Russia's plans are also far advanced to mass-produce reactors.

India is far along with it's thorium reactor designs.

France built it's current fleet of 59 reactors in 17 years, and there is no reason to suppose that when the energy crisis really hits and hence the political landscape in Europe changes that they would not be capable of doing a similar build for Europe as a whole, effectively transforming the power production landscape of Europe within 20 years.
This is besides other countries re-starting their production facilities.

Some concern has been expressed about materials for such a build.
Although there is obviously some sophisticated engineering, the quantity of materials used are not very different to coal plants. and China is turning out 1-2 of them a week.

If materials are viewed as a constraint, that is true in spades for renewables, which are far more materials intensive.
In fact though even a wind-turbine build in the States, for example, would only use a small fraction of available materials resources, so these concerns are not in fact realistic.

None of the above should be taken as an argument against both renewables and conservation, but at our current level of technology and population density they are incapable of keeping people alive on their own, and we know how to run a society largely based on nuclear energy, as France has been doing it for years.
Notions of an all renewable society are not based on experience, and are not at an advanced enough stage to even put together a coherent plan without making huge assumptions about unproven technology.
This in no way compares to the relatively small upgrades needed for nuclear engineering, based on many hundreds of operating years for existing reactors.

Regardless of what the US does, it seems clear that nuclear build worldwide will exceed the number needed to provide power within a few years.

This does not mean that there will not be a major energy crisis as preparation has been so poor.

If materials are viewed as a constraint, that is true in spades for renewables, which are far more materials intensive.

Not true.

Both aircraft and beer cans are made with aluminum. Nukes are made with aircraft grade materials, renewables only require "beer can" quality.

There are MANY more materials of the lower quality.


I addressed the issue of quality briefly by referring to the rather more sophisticated nature of a nuclear build.

The overall point about the mass of materials needed remains correct, and moreover I would doubt that the nacelles for wind turbines use low grade materials.

Do you have specific information that materials are likely to constrain nuclear build?

I would agree that a build in time to seamlessly transition to a nuclear future is not possible in the time available, but this does not seem to me a good reason not to build as many as possible, and take whatever mitigation is on offer.

But that's not what he's proposing, is it? Besides, when we can put solar and wind at every residence in the US for 500,000,000,000 (45 reactors/plants), or even much less, and in just a few years, why the hell would we exchange that for a couple thousand nukes 40 years from now?

The future is not nuclear. Not in my lifetime.

I'd suggest that you price up the installation of solar and a wind turbine together with storage for just one house and rework your figures - costs are readily available from suppliers.

As for the future not being nuclear, presumably you are making that prediction in reference to the US, as in many areas of the world the future is already being built, and it is nuclear.

Even for the US, your contention is perhaps doubtful, as Toshiba is building a production line for Westinghouse reactors just the same as the one in China, which will give a capacity for 1-2 reactors a year.
Personally it would seem difficult to accurately predict what the political decisions that will be made on nuclear power in the US will be, but it does seem that some of the impetus for opposition may be reduced as energy shortages bite.

Excellent wind resources ( for 400 foot high towers, not some dinky and expensive little thing on someone's roof which costs a fortune and produces very little power ), good solar resources in some areas, vast coal reserves and and a lot of natural gas available at far below world rates in any case means that the US has choices other places simply do not possess.

As I said, I have nothing against renewables wherever practical.
It seems odd though that when we are in a desperate fix regarding energy supplies so many are keen to discard an option which we know how to build and which works - presumably they do not find the challenge of transitioning from oil and fossil fuels challenging enough.

Well put.

Perhaps it is also worth noting that in Europe the chances of a more rapid nuclear build has been significantly enhanced by the Russian action in Georgia.

Much opposition to nuclear has been effective from a combination of causes, with the Greens being able to translate their opposition into effectively halting the build in many places due to significant support from the coal industry, which has been able to maintain it's lethal production by the support of the allegedly 'green'.
Also significant were the low fossil fuel prices.

The virtual demise of the European coal industry in most places and high oil prices remove two of the supports for effective opposition to nuclear power, and amongst the elite the realisation of the growing dependence on Russia seems likely to very rapidly move the elites position to one of solid support for nuclear energy.

The first interruption to power supplies, which may happen as soon as this winter, would seem likely to kill off much of the broader base of popular opposition to nuclear power, and the irreconcilable will be politically neutralised.

In the European part of the world the tide would seem to be running fast against the opponents of nuclear power.

In the European part of the world the tide would seem to be running fast against the opponents of nuclear power.

It is not so evident here in the US yet. Wind and solar are having a strong run right now because the Democrats and the MSM are scared politically to touch nuclear. But once people start to understand the limitations and implications of the intermittency of wind and solar and once they realize that there is a solution that does not include these problems but that it is only not considered for ideological reasons, I think there will be a big turn around here as well. People take for granted that a future grid will need to feature power on demand.

I'd suggest that you price up the installation of solar and a wind turbine together with storage for just one house and rework your figures - costs are readily available from suppliers.

Tsk, tsk, tsk... I thought you'd grown to understand that BAU is not sustainable? Paint me disappointed. The convert has backslid and again embraced his lowly beginnings...


In all seriousness, you well know I think Big Business can go screw itself. Big Business Green is more cow patties, different color. Since I have seen a 1kw windmill be built for a max of $1k, all inclusive, I can say safely and without reservation that you are very, very wrong.

Community solutions built by communities.

Let me say again, just because it is so fun to do so: Big Business can go screw itself. We can't just go green, we have to go green differently than we have gone dirty.

It seems odd though that when we are in a desperate fix regarding energy supplies so many are keen to discard an option which we know how to build and which works

Then you had to go and lie. Why the hell would you do that? Keen to discard? Are you out of your mind? Are you going to pretend the many previous conversations you've had here, and more specifically, we've had, just never happened?

Disagree? Fine. But don't lie.


I've got no idea why you choose to adopt that tone, and more specifically why you should accuse me of lying on such spurious grounds.

I certainly do not have perfect recall of all discussions that have happened on this board, and so may have inadvertently misrepresented you - but that is a far cry from lying.

My understanding is that you are opposed to nuclear power, and since that is one of the options for generating power then my comment about people seeking to reject that option applies to them, whether you are one of that number or not.

Reduced use affects the difference in costs between individual installations on houses and nuclear generation very little, since you could simply build less power stations and thus reduce the nuclear costs.

I can only assume that you have not taken the trouble to look up the costs for the systems you are proposing, as they are readily available.
Have you checked the likely output from a 1 kw wind turbine on a rooftop location?
Why do you not include battery costs, or do you propose to only use the power when it is windy?

Further discussion of such a wholly innumerate and ill-thought out proposition is fruitless,if you choose to delude yourself that these ideas have any connection to reality, that is your affair.

I do not intend to continue this discussion with you, since you have veered on to the grossly offensive.

You said:

Why do you not include battery costs

I had said:

Since I have seen a 1kw windmill be built for a max of $1k, all inclusive

so may have inadvertently misrepresented you - but that is a far cry from lying.

I am sure I remember even less of the who, what, where and when of conversations than you do, because I don't even try to track them, but I know your stance on nuclear well just because we butted heads so often and repetitiously. Benefit of the doubt given, but our interactions were pretty intense.

My understanding is that you are opposed to nuclear power

Your understanding is wrong, or at least incomplete. I personally oppose it. But, like abortion, which I personally oppose, I recognize it as different in the eyes of others. I am pro-choice. With nuclear it is more a matter of a necessary evil born of the practical reality that it might well be the only solution in some areas, so I fully expect it to be part of solutions. I do not advocate it as a permanent solution or an extensive one.

since that is one of the options for generating power then my comment about people seeking to reject that option applies to them, whether you are one of that number or not.

If you are going to toss out an out-of-context comment aimed at others, expect a reaction.

Further discussion of such a wholly innumerate and ill-thought out proposition is fruitless,if you choose to delude yourself that these ideas have any connection to reality, that is your affair.

Ah! So you DO see the light! Oh... you meant my community-based build-out? Dave, what could be more ridiculous than thousands of new nuclear sites in a time of declining financial stability, nearly evaporated credit, frighteningly rapid climate change, new cold war tensions, declining energy, a shortage of engineers and other personnel, Peak Everything...

But you call wiring your home with 12V and running it on renewable, home-built, micro-energy systems innumerate and ill-thought out? How strange that people are already doing it.

There are none so blind as those with an ideology to protect.

And don't go whining about rudeness when you kick it off with a generalization that is both BS and rude and based on your own faulty memory. This is an old pattern for you, Dave: kick sand in someone's face, act as if you were the one attacked, then whine about it.

Best Hopes for Changing Old Patterns,


Considering coal intense Asia produces 80% of the stuff (sans food and cars) we consume, I'd say it's:

More expensive 'stuff' and less of it, if coal/oil prices/availability constrain cheap production/logistics in Asia.

Production costs are just priced into the selling prices.

We the consumers pay the price.

I'm ready for that. Bring it on. We buy too much useless stuff anyway (on the average, us OECD citizens).

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 22, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.1 million barrels per day during the week ending August 22, up 300 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 87.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production rose last week, averaging about 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging nearly 4.4 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 10.0 million barrels per day last week, down 1.0 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 10.2 million barrels per day, 17 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged about 1.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 123 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.1 million barrels from the previous week. At 305.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels last week, and are below the lower boundary of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories remained unchanged, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels last week but remain below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

And here is what they were expecting:

A Reuters poll of analysts showed an average forecast for a 1 million-barrel rise in U.S. crude stocks and a 500,000 barrel build in distillates.

Gasoline inventories are projected to fall 2.9 million barrels, a fifth straight weekly decline, as refiners were seen drawing down inventories of summer-grade gasoline.

Price Elasticity of Demand
4 Week Averages 08 vs. 07 plus % YTD 08 vs. 07

Finished Motor Gasoline              9,441     9,597       -1.6%     -1.6%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel               1,576     1,693      -6.9%   -4.4%
Distillate Fuel Oil                  4,208     4,116       2.2%   -1.8%
Residual Fuel Oil                      586       738     -20.6%  -17.4%
Propane/Propylene                      943     1,006      -6.3%   -4.6%
Other Oils                           3,452     3,806      -9.3%   -7.4%

Total Products Supplied             20,207    20,956       -3.6%     -3.6%

Best Hopes for Being Able to do this Next Week,


Best Hopes for Being Able to do this Next Week,



What is your plan? Are you going to ride it out again? What is the public mood on being in the center of the bulls eye again?

I realize a lot can change in the next couple of days. Hope all goes well

I will officially start worrying about Gustav tomorrow morning.



I can offer what my father offered when I had an exam to write. He would charge 10 cents to do my worrying for me.

I take paypal but I think my price would be 50 cents...inflation, you know :-).

From the Schweitzer speech:

It will give you a tax credit if you buy a fuel-efficient car or truck, increase fuel-efficiency standards and put a million plug-in hybrids on the road.

Invest $150 billion over the next 10 years in clean, renewable energy technology. This will create up to 5 million new, green jobs and fuel long- term growth and prosperity. Senator Obama's plan will also invest in a modern transmission grid to deliver this new, clean electricity from wind turbines and solar panels to homes, offices and the batteries in America's new plug-in hybrid cars.

  • It's off by an order of magnitude in dollars - at least.
  • The typical Democratic emphasis on tax credits means it works first for the wealthy - violation of stewardship, preferential option for poor. Leaving aside that a million plug-in hybrids are the last thing we need - what, so wealthy people (the political class) can switch between gas and electric depending on what works for them. And leaving aside the road infrastructure.
  • Rail? Insulation? Conservation? Local food?
  • Improving the grid - wrong - we need local grids, not global electric markets. [Though in fairness, local grids could be termed an "improvement".]
  • We don't have ten years to waste.

It's all about MORE. Not LESS. Until I hear a politician use that four letter word, I know they are are clueless liars. Once again, whatever solutions the ruling elite propose will only make matters worse.

Of course, LESS means that rising tide don't rise and we'll have to address distribution. That would be the end of the neo-liberals and this sick Democratic party.

That horse is lame. Shoot it.

cfm in Gray, ME

In defense of Schweitzer, he did say that the neocon GOP old & faithful "drill MORE here and now" mantra, even with a $2 calculator does not = any solution. Obama has muttered about sacrifice and less; granted he needs to embolden this stance including rail transit systems (when in Denver, do as Denvers?) tomorrow night.

My position is that offshore drilling is indeed a solution. And, that the framing of the argument of drilling as "providing no price relief" is a false dilemma.

My position is that the value of OCS drilling is to create the capital necessary to devote entirely to light rail, commuter rail, and additions in solar and wind to the power grid. It will offer no price relief. But the false dilemma framing is to me an example of intellectual gridlock and political positioning.

I had a productive 1 hour conversation with Obama's energy team about 3 weeks ago, and made these points. My main point was that the situation with global oil supply trumps everything. I also said that even a "new and updated" version of a Windfall Profits Tax would cast a pall on the industry. I also said it was a token policy, and would not raise enough capital to accomplish any large project. (Disclosure: I am an Obama supporter but a somewhat agitated one, at this point. I think he and his energy team are totally blowing it, on various levels).

It's important, imo, to totally withdraw from the political dialectic of GOP saying drill, drill, drill and the DEMs saying "poking holes won't help" in order to keep a clear eye on the situation. I'm pretty confident either a McCain or Obama Presidency would offer myriad, spirit-crushing disappointments to those of us in the energy/oil community. I think of all sorts of policy atrocities may be forthcoming.


My position is that the value of OCS drilling is to create the capital necessary to devote entirely to light rail, commuter rail, and additions in solar and wind to the power grid.

I'm surprised you think the (E)RO(E)I by that time is going to make any return significant enough to make this anything like an efficient use of funds. Then, what about the timing? Do you see the two time frames as being in sync?

Not to mention seven generations and AGW...


But then Schweitzer took it personal, saying McCain's support for expanded drilling was an unrealistic solution even "if you drilled in all of Senator McCain's back yards, even the ones he doesn't know he has."

For the last 40 years we've been pushing harder and harder on the economic accelerator. There's nothing (short of a world-wide depression) that will stop us from going over the cliff just as fast as we can. The general population will remain clueless until the lines form at the gas stations and the politicians' hands are forced.

Understatement of the year award.

Guy Caruso, head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration -- "The agency's price forecasts are ``valuable as a tool'' to help model the effects of changes in the law, Caruso said. ``I wouldn't think it's that useful as a predictor in order to plan investments or things like that.'' "

So, anybody want to place a long bet on his prediction of "Oil at $57 in 2016 and $70 in 2030"?

I've been wondering about this for long myself.

Three hypotheses:

1) They just are completely delusional and believe the silly data they play with

2) They don't believe it anymore than you or me, it's just an extension of propaganda

3) That's the best they can muster between pressure to produce certain kind of results (or be replaced with a more 'optimistic' guy) AND by using too convoluted models, which are wrong for sure, but at least they are wrong really scientifically.

I don't really know anymore what to believe. I hope it's not (1), I'm more confident it isn't at least (2), but number 3 is equally scare option.

Still, in the end, I hope they're right.

I'd tend to guess 2) almost certainly. Maybe just me, tho'.

Also, not entirely clear on distinction between 2) and 3). Perhaps my choosing 2) is simply semantic differences between us.

Re: Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer's speech on energy policy:

That was nothing but BAU tinted green.



That was nothing but BAU tinted green.

...and a plug for coal-to-liquids. Schweitzer is a big fan of CTL. BAU, and not green, either...

The real doomers feel that eventually electricity will not be abundant enough to keep the grid going in many parts of the globe. This list of top electricity exporters is interesting-isn't #3 the hideout of choice for some Americans? http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene_ele_exp-energy-electricity-exports

Whoops. Paraguay just elected a leftist government. So one day Paraguayan-American George W. Bush and Paraguyan-American Dick Cheney will be leading a secessionist movement of their fellow Paraguyan-American billionaires to preserve their "Way of life". They get to keep the dams, of course.

BushCo and the neothugs have made major land purchases in Paraguay, as it has historically had conservative authoritarian puppet states with no extradition treaties, a ideal sanctuary for criminals like the Bush administration.
We will see how this election of a moderate theologian with liberation theology roots pans out.

The next time someone says all we need to do to get more hydrocarbons is drill elsewhere in Saudi Arabia, show them this link. One of the worlds premier explorers has now drilled four dry holes in the largest expanse of exploration acreage in the kingdom...

That whole story is quite bizarre. There was another update today, saying, well, maybe we did find something. But nobody's saying for sure.

Perhaps Nate. Shell is good at the game but two of the best discoveries I've been involved with in my 33 year career were drilled on acreage Shell walked away from. But that doesn't prove anything either: I may have more oil in my driveway then they'll ever find in the patch of ground in the KSA. But you can't completely discount potential because someone drilled a few dry holes. Remember: many, many wells were drilled in the H Sea by some premier exploration companies before the first big field was discovered. Likewise, just because there's that big chunk of ground under the North Pole it doesn't mean we'll find another Ghawar there.

And of course, size counts. We don't stop finding oil in post-peak regions, but we can't offset the declines from the older, larger oil fields. It would appear that the number of fields producing one mbpd or more of crude oil worldwide has gone from four in 2005 to two currently.

IEA is doing an interesting song and dance number

We know how Birol's tone has been changing to more grave during the past two years. The year 2011 has been flagged several times as the crunch year for the global oil supply.

Now Mr Tanaka of IEA is saying that:

  1. Spare capacity may ease a bit in the 2nd half and ease through 2009
  2. Thus, prices will may ease a bit, but remain high as they remain tied to fundamentals and namely tight spare capacity
  3. Furthere Tanak notes at the same time that spare capacity will remain tougher through 2013
  4. Further, there'll be even less spare capacity after 2013

So, things will ease, but then tighten. Prices to rise as spare capacity drops. Beyond 2013 things will develop even worse.

But no mention of 2011 anywhere to be found anymore!

Did some new oil mega-projects materialize and push the supply crunch two years into the future?

Or did the demand really drop so much that the new crunch year is now 2013, and not 2011 anymore?

Is anybody else having better luck at deciphering their encrypted transmissions?

I wish it were November already. That late year market report from IEA is surely going to be interesting.

Alan Drake (and TOD) on Treehugger...

It's Time to Electrify the Railroads

Over at the Oil Drum, Alan Drake lays out what should be done to develop a coherent program to reduce oil consumption, cut greenhouse gas emissions, fix the electrical grid and improve the speed and reliability of transport without using oil:

Meanwhile, over at LewRockwell.com, ol' Gary North has finally gone around the bend ... or maybe he just really is onto something. I posted about this on the DB when this story first popped up earlier this month and now it doesn't seem to be going away. If it is true, then the current fears concerning Georgia and Gustav in the GOM will pale in comparison.

Media Blackout: The Armada in the Gulf

Here is the basic story. Two aircraft carrier task forces, the Abraham Lincoln and the Peleliu, are already in the Persian Gulf. This is verifiable on the Websites of the carriers. A third task force, the Iwo Jima, was dispatched to the Gulf on August 22. This has been verified by a naval source. Two more – the Theodore Roosevelt and the Ronald Reagan – are said to be sailing to the Gulf, but I was unable to verify this from official sources. The Jerusalem Post reported this, as did at least one Egyptian newspaper cited by the Post. The Arab world is aware of all this. Western audiences are not.

We do know from naval sources that in July, the Theodore Roosevelt was involved in joint naval maneuvers with the French Navy. Think about this for a moment. When was the last time you read of joint naval operations between the United States Navy and the French Navy? In 2007, in the North Arabian Sea.

Third-party sources report that French ships, along with British ships, are accompanying the Theodore Roosevelt to the Gulf. This would indicate a joint military venture.


Why should this story not be front-page news? Two very good reasons are the fragility of the economy with oil under $130 a barrel, and what could happen if it goes to $400. Nobody wants to trigger bank runs. The existence of an armada of this size raises an obvious question: Against which nation in the Persian Gulf is such an armada to be used? The answer is obvious: Iran.

"Why should this story not be front-page news?"

A. It's bullshit.

B. It's too hot to handle.

Your choice.

I have been of the opinion that Bush's decision, out of the blue, to fill the SPR up to its maximum capacity by October, 2008 (a decision since rescinded at the insistence of Congress) signaled that something might be up for just before the election in November. I have also frequently quoted a French investment banker (whom I talked to at the last ASPO-USA conference) regarding his opinion that Western Europe supports the US led effort to control the flow of oil out of the Middle East--to the benefit of US and Western Europe and to the detriment of China. So, we shall see what happens.

A clarification. I believe that the Peleliu and Iwo Jima are amphibious assault ships. Here is a list of the aircraft carried by the Pelieu:

Aircraft carried: 6 x AV-8B Harrier attack planes, 4 x AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, 12 x CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, 9 x CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, 4 x UH-1N Huey helicopters.

True about the Marine contingent on the P and IJ. But these vessels also represent a significant pad for sea-launched cruise missles. Been done before. Not a prediction. Just a "hmmmmm".

The ships in an expeditionary strike group that carry helicopters and landing craft have no cruise missile dispensing duties. They'll typically have one Ticonderoga class AEGIS cruiser, one Arleigh Burke class AEGIS destroyer, and one Oliver Hazard Perry frigate. The cruiser and destroyer are definitely cruise missile dispensers and the frigate might be - I'm not so up on those and they've been changing equipment on them.

Details on the U.S. Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group contents can be found here:


C. It's routine.

Joint (international) naval manuevers are VERY routine. If you read the local newspapers of any navy town (i.e., Norfolk, VA or San Diego, CA) you'll get more news on global naval activity than you ever want (or need) to know.

It's not unusual for most maritime countries to have 2/3 of their fleet out at sea at one time or another.

This Armada must have an awful lot of oar & sail powered ships with it... I've been reading some version of this story over the past few weeks... must be traveling at 3 knots or so... they should have waited until they had more favorable trade winds before setting sail.


The British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which was reported to be part of the armada, is currently in its home base at Portsmouth.

Royal Navy fly-past scrapped because of Prince William stag party controversy

The ship will now spend six weeks in maintenance before sailing for a Nato exercise off the coast of Scotland.

Dont wait for the Royal Navy.


Cant afford the go-juice.

Lucas Electric strikes again.

Ah yes, Lucas, The Prince of Darkness.

Doesn't look like any sort of devious or mysterious ship build up.

The USS Peleliu (LHA) and USS Iwo Jima (LHD) are amphibious assault ships. Each carries 6 to 8 AV-8B Harrier attack jets and 25 to 30 helicopters. LHA's and LHD's are great for staring wars with relatively small, lightly armed countries like Grenada and Panama. Against Iran they would be less useful except against targets on or near the coast.

The Navy likes to have two large amphibious assault ships in the Persian Gulf region, or one in the Gulf and one in the eastern Mediterranean at all times. The ship in the Med will usually transit the Suez and spend some time in the Gulf region exercising with the other ship.

The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) has 85 to 90 aircraft, including 6 helos. It would be vastly preferred for making air strikes against Iran. The Lincoln left its home port (WA) in mid-March and is scheduled to return by mid-October. It needs to leave the Gulf region about now in order to return home on time.

The Reagan, another West Coast carrier, the the Lincoln's replacement. The Roosevelt is out of Norfolk and would be expected to spend a good deal of time in the far eastern Med and even to transit the Suez and spend some time in the Gulf region since the Navy likes to have two carriers either or both of those areas at all times.

Of course, the US could use a normal build up to provide extra striking power for an attack. But, these build ups happen 3 to 4 times a year so they are not unusual.

From a strategic point of view what would be scary would be the sudden withdrawal of US ships from the Persian Gulf to just out of range of Iranian missiles.

Or the movement of US / NATO ground forces in Pakistan / Afghanistan. Both locations are downwind from Iran.

If the reports of the Iranian upgrades to the Sunburn are correct there isn't any place in the gulf they can't touch. If they're going to surprise attack from the sea then it's definite - the base model of that missile can make it halfway across the widest part of the gulf.

Interesting posts (2) from NanoSolar, first describing km per sq. meter. of energy production land.

The second asserts (rails against?) a favortism of government interest in single, large power generation systems, as opposed to distributed small and medium power generation facilities (alernative). I thought people here might have a interesting reactions to this.

That chart in your first link makes little sense to me because what is the other energy source fueling the plug-in hybrid? Gasoline? And how much gasoline are you using? Also is miles annually or what? If it were all electric I could see the comparison, but they said the car was a plug-in hybrid electric. Being all electric would make better sense with what their CEO has to say as well.

"How come that biofuel does not really cut it? Electric cars are about four times more energy efficient than fuel based cars. This is because fuel engines mostly creates heat and thus wastes the majority of the energy units available. Combine this with biofuel plants not being very efficient solar energy harvesters relative to semiconductor based solar electricity, and the result is this huge difference."

I think the legend item "PV" meant photovoltaic electricity. They are touting that it takes less land to power an all electric car with solar cells (their product!) than bio-fuels.

But the car in the graphic is not an all electric car, it is a plug in hybrid therefore it could have another energy source besides the PV electric.

More importantly: Nanosolar just posted a pretty major announcement, a big equity partnership with electrical utilities AES and EDF.

I recall Nanosolar has had bad reviews around here, but this would seem to offer pretty clear indications that they really can roll out their thin-film stuff on a big scale (their two factories in California and Germany would have a combined output of around 1 Gw per year).

I will be happy when I can buy their panels and install them on my own house. Until that point in time, their tech doesn't help me at all.

Leanan posted a link to U.S. wind power strangled by antiquated power grid", published in the International Herald Tribune (the global issue of the New York Times.

It is pretty clear to me that these issues are not going to go away anytime soon. It is not only wind that the grid issues stop, it is also solar used to power the grid. States with low cost power don't want high voltage transmission lines, for fear they will lose the low price power they have. Excerpt:

The cost would be high - $60 billion or more - but in theory could be spread across many years and many millions of customers who would benefit from access to new power sources. However, in most states, rules used by public service commissions to evaluate transmission investments discourage multi-state projects of this sort. In some states with low electric rates, officials fear that new lines will simply export their cheap power and drive up prices.

Without a clear way of recovering the costs and earning a profit, and with little leadership on the issue from the federal government, no company or organization has offered to fight the political battles necessary to get such a transmission backbone built.

Props to you, Gail, for calling this one early. If the Dems are in power and show backbone on this issue to the extent of actually accomplishing something, I'll be surprised.

5 Reasons Buffet Will Invest in SAGD Oil Sands

The article outlines some of the environmental issues which are covered in the Deloitte report: Managing environmental risks in the oil sands

A company that can chew up as little of the environment as possible will incur less regulatory scrutiny and will curry good will from the public. The big three are water use, reclamation and greenhouse gases. Open-pit mines eat up 2-5 units of water for every unit of synthetic crude produced, whereas SAGD and other similar technologies recycle water, using 0.2 units for every unit of oil. If water use is curtailed in the near future, the open-pit mining operations will be in trouble.

Overall, I’d be looking for a SAGD or CSS project that’s developing some cutting edge geothermal technologies to extract it. Think of Nexen, Shell or CNRL.

Also there are some links to some recent thinking about the economics of using geothermal energy sources:

To tap extreme temperatures in the bedrock – somewhere between 150C to 200C – would require drilling five to eight kilometres deep. But many of the processes in the oil sands only require temperatures around 80C, meaning the job could be done at much shallower depths.

"We drill three- to four-kilometre wells in the foothills by the thousands," says Dunn. "It's not like we can't do this. The technology is there, it's available. It's not a cheap option, but when you're looking at it in terms of cost, time to build and energy compared to a nuclear plant, it looks attractive."

He told me in an interview that nuclear power doesn't sit well with his riding, which has a large Ukrainian community. For many, memories of Chernobyl are still vivid and the idea of putting reactors in the oil sands raises a stiff eyebrow. "A lot of people get pretty antsy about that," he says.

Silence on geothermal deafening

Alberta has 'long way to go' for geothermal energy

Oilsands Projects Maps

Projects Forecast Production

My guess is that a lot of work is quietly being done to develop good geothermal profiles for areas of interest.

I loved that item about Canada doing a pr job on oil from it's tar sands. As if when push comes to shove petrol hungry America is going to care if oil to drive their suv's is dirty or not. A choice between dirty oil and no oil, no contest.

Regarding the link concerning bicyclists finally taking safety courses...it's about time.

I thought I was going to embrace fewer vehicles and more bicyclists, but nearly everyone is riding on the wrong side of the road. I'm about to build a front guard on my bike, with spikes...and take the lane. It's amazingly dangerous and completely ignored.

I know that in many European cities cycling safety is mandatory training for children. American kids don't know the first thing about riding a bike, and they grow into adults that still don't know the first thing about riding a bike. If there hasn't been an uptick in car-bike accidents I'd be surprised.

Yeah, law breaking cyclists and pedestrians are killing car drivers at a record rate. :)
I'll start to worry about the dangerous cyclists on my (cycle) commute when a greater amount of yahoos on bikes try to kill me than yahoos in cars.

After a spate of articles in the local birdcage liner on the lack of bike lanes in my hometown, the comments from angry, hostile motorists have me firmly convinced that bicycling will NEVER catch on here...

I recently took a defensive driving class. It was taught by a man who was a state DOT engineer, and a town policeman.

He was notably hostile toward bikers and pedestrians. He said most times, it was the fault of the cyclist or the pedestrian when they got hit. His proposed solution was to crack down cyclists and pedestrians. He thinks cops should ticket them for violations as they would if they were motorists, and that that would make it safer.

Why should they be above the law?

If rules are enforced, then they should be enforced equally on all.

"Why should they be above the law?"

because their are not enough policemen to inforce a fraction of the laws already ?

Because they do not create a risk for others (unlike cars & SUVs). A bicycle doing a rolling stop at a stop sign should NOT be treated like a car doing the same. A full stop affects the bicyclist more.

The best solution would be to change the law and require bicycles to slow to 4 mph at all stop signs (so that they do not loss momentum & balance.

Because what they are doing is socially positive, unlike the many negatives of car & SUV driving.


Here in the UK bicyclists represent a substantial danger, as they ride, often at speed, on the pavements.
They could certainly do with licensing, registration and control.

Define "substantial danger"? How many injuries/deaths per year does the UK have in bicycle/pedestrian accidents?

How many auto/cyclist injuries or deaths per year?

How many pedestrian/auto injuries or deaths per year?

I think you might have to rethink the term "substantial danger".

I was defining it with common sense, as simply walking down the pavement I often have to take evasive action to avoid bikes, and the old have been injured and occasionally killed.

If you think it is acceptable to ride, often at speed, on the pavement, then our ideas are at variance.

It seems likely that you are not resident in the UK, as people who are are aware of how common and dangerous this is.

In the US, "pavement" is defined as "the paved surface of the thoroughfare", in which case, yes it is acceptable for bicycles to ride at speed and pedestrians should not be walking on it. If you are referring to what we call "sidewalks" than I agree, bicycles should not be ridden on them at any speed as it is more dangerous for the cyclist than riding in the roadway.

My comparison was meant to show that the chance of injury or death by auto/auto, auto/pedestrian, or an auto/cyclist accident is far more likely than injury or death by a pedestrian/cyclist accident. Of course, since "substantial danger" is a subjective term, you could define it any way you want. IMO your "common sense" definition seems a little extreme.

I was using 'substantial' in the4 sense of 'having substance', as the danger is very real, especially for the old, as is the anxiety they feel from the threat.

Of course more deaths are caused by cars, and I would favour a 20 mile per hour limit in built up areas, as opposed to the present 30 which is usual.

The unregulated use of bikes is a real inconvenience, and many ride with total disregard for others.

I think you would have to see what you call the sidewalks in our city centres to appreciate what is going on here.

I really couldn't give a stuff how dangerous it is for them to ride on the sidewalks, it is the pedestrians I am concerned with.
If they are on the sidewalk they should walk and push their bike, and they should be confiscated when ridden.

It sounds like riding like you are describing has been illegal for a long time.


Cycling on footways (a pavement at the side of a carriageway) is prohibited by Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888. This is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £30 under Section 51 and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.
Cyclists have no right to cycle on a footpath away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence.

Through actions like speeding, driving on footpaths, ignoring traffic signals, or jaywalking, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are all guilty of violating regulations.

The problem is, it is not enforced.

How do you practically apprehend a cyclist if you are on foot?
Registration and number plates should improve enforceabilty, although the police currently show no interest in attempting to enforce the law in this anyway - since we don't have to carry ID in the UK, how do you get the correct details to levy fines?

Well, I mostly ride a motorcycle, and idiot bicyclists are a very real danger, and a more unpredictable one then the brain dead cagers.

Rules are rules. If you want to argue who is affected more or who has more needs then move to N Korea, it's probably the only communist country left.

Why should they be above the law?

Who is that, the police? I think cops should aspire to set a good example by following all traffic laws and this would make things safer. When cops regularly violate speed limits, why should anyone else feel bad about doing it? How about some leadership by example?

Green energy needs low oil prices.

I think the transition period for low carbon energy is shrinking, more like the next 10 years rather than 50. To build nukes, wind farms, electric transport, desal plants, solar arrays and supergrids we need to set aside an uncomfortably large percentage of remaining fossil fuel energy. But as times get tougher there is less energy to spare for future investment. We need all the fossil fuel energy that's going just to keep the economy on hold. When there is only low carbon energy left that is not a lot to make cement and steel so we should get that sorted out now.

My fear is that when the panic sets in it may be too late if it isn't already.

Ethanol as Unsound Energy Policy

The USDA lowered its estimate of the U.S. 2008 corn harvest in late July:

New Corn Harvest Forecast

This harvest is predicted to be worse than last year's harvest. Corn stockpiles were lower in June 2008 than during the previous year June 2007.

Ethanol production consumed 2/3 of the mass of the corn used in the fermentation process. The remaining third was sometimes sold as cattle feed, though it was of a lower quality than corn feed as the sugar content was gone. The cost of these dregs was lower than the cost of corn feed as the quality was inferior to corn.

Farmers across the world were trying to rapidly expand corn production to take advantage of high prices. In Mexico agave farmers planted corn instead of the agave used to make tequila as tequila prices were low.

The EROEI of corn ethanol production was close to 1/1. There may be a small gain of energy in efficient ethanol operations, but it is sort of like a treadmill. It completes the loop, but then you are right back to where you started, having lost time and materials in the process. So small was the gain in energy from corn ethanol production that the conversion process itself was alleged to be a waste of time. Inefficient ethanol production scenarios exist and they yield no energy gain.

Ethanol Energy Inputs and Outputs


Give 'em Hell Harry

Sad to hear of Fukuoka-sans death.
I understand his revelation came to him during a sickness that nearly took his life.
While nothing so dramatic or inspirational occurred to me during my closest encounter with death, it was enough to change my life forever.
This is what gives me, doomer that I am, the sense that even in the darkest hour of peak oil, nuclear/biologic warfare, population overshoot and collapse that there will be something to guide us through.

Re: Fukuoka

What a shame. He will, should society survive, be a major reason that it does.

A great sadness for us all, but not a tragedy because of his writing and teaching.


At least Iraq is working on their rail system: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7584633.stm

Hello TODers,

Fertilizer: The Latest Chapter In The Changing Face Of Agriculture

Some Cornbelt farmers heard fertilizer dealers earlier this year ask for 2009 orders with a pre-payment requirement to guarantee delivery.

...Changes in the fertilizer industry have come at the macro-economic level, shaking out some companies that either could not keep up, or elected to change their business practices and reduce their retail level exposure. Those changes included global production issues, international exchange rates, and distribution challenges. The impact on production agriculture is that farmers may have to place orders a year in advance along with a pre-payment, and may be unable to get exactly what is needed.

Source: Illinois Ag Extension
I would expect this pre-payment requirement to be gradually extended to two or three years ahead of planting as we go further postPeak. Again, I stress the need for biosolar investors teaming up with the farmers, and Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK to help bridge the gap as we ramp O-NPK recycling too. Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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


who needs NPK if Fukuoka farming is practiced?

Rhetorical reply to your fine rhetorical question: Nobody?

But there is a wrinkle. I watched that Monsanto piece from the BBC last night. It seems the GMO seeds are already well dispersed in the environment for corn and soy. Monsanto has a near monopoly. It will be virtually impossible to get them out of the environment now. This is just one more feedback loop. It has famine written all over it.