DrumBeat: September 5, 2008

U.S. highway fund crushed by cutback in driving

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- An unprecedented decline in driving will deplete the federal Highway Trust Fund by the end of September prompting the government to ask Congress for an $8 billion emergency infusion Friday.

Gasoline sales are crucial to maintaining the nation's highway infrastructure. About 90% of the fund's total revenues comes from taxes on motor fuels, according to a July report from the Congressional Budget Office.

Without the additional money, the Department of Transportation will not be able to fully reimburse states for their highway investments. Already in September, department officials are projecting getting $4.4 billion in state requests but collecting only $2.7 billion in revenues.

Brazil May Have 70 Billion Barrels of Oil Near Tupi

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil has between 30 billion and 70 billion barrels of oil in its so-called pre-salt fields near the Tupi discovery off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, said Julio Bueno, the state's economic affairs secretary.

The oil estimate refers to fields previously discovered by Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, BG Group Plc and other companies in the Santos Basin, Bueno said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London.

``We think that in the areas that Petrobras and other companies have already discovered we have 30 billion to 70 billion,'' said Bueno, a former Petrobras executive. ``It's not an easy task to say how much you have, but it's a good amount to think about.''

OPEC's Kingdom Built On Sand

LONDON - As the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries prepares for its meeting on Tuesday to decide whether to cut supplies to the market, one member in particular will be feeling the pressure of oil's two-month tumble: Saudi Arabia.

Peak Oil and the Media (audio)

Why isn't mainstream media explaining oil decline, and it's impact on society? Vancouverpeakoil.org presents a panel of 5 journalists: Rex Weyler, Barbara Jaffe, Charlie Smith, Sara Robinson and Alex Smith. How to organize, use media, bypass the mainstream.

Australia: Fighting on empty

The Australian Defence Force consumes annually 125 million litres of diesel and 200 million litres of aviation fuel, according to government statistics. The strategy and capabilities of the ADF are dependent on oil and they are exposed to the same price fluctuations that are wreaking havoc on business and household budgets.

Considering the extensive lead time and lifespan for Defence capability acquisitions and the poor projections for oil, it is little surprise that there is a growing chorus of concern coming from within Defence ranks.

OPEC Oil Supply Cut Would Be `Wrong Step,' Says EU's Piebalgs

(Bloomberg) -- A supply cut by OPEC next week would be the ``wrong step'' because it would only temporarily boost crude prices, the European Union's Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said.

``If OPEC cuts supply perhaps there will be a rebound, but then it will come down sharply,'' Piebalgs said today in a Bloomberg interview at a conference in Cernobbio, Italy.

Rice says Libya is about more than oil

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Washington's rapprochement with OPEC member Libya is motived by more than just the U.S. need for oil, top U.S. diplomat Condoleezza Rice said on a historic visit to Tripoli on Friday.

Rice is making the first visit to the north African country by a U.S. secretary of state since 1953, a trip U.S. officials hope will end decades of enmity and violence five years after Libya gave up its weapons of mass destruction program in 2003.

Dirty Little Secret

The transformation of Sasol from a company with the most dubious of pasts into a company with the brightest of futures illuminates our can't-live-with-it, can't-live-without-it relationship to oil. The future well-being of the planet depends on our reduction of fossil-fuel emissions. On the other hand, the future well-being of much of humanity depends on our continued use of fossil fuels. The way companies like Sasol negotiate this dilemma will help determine the future for all of us.

LOOP restarts offshore operations after Gustav

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the only U.S. deepwater oil port supplying crude to about half of the nation's refining capacity, said on Friday it restarted offloading tankers in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.

"The LOOP infrastructure was not damaged by Hurricane Gustav which passed directly over the LOOP platform," the company said in a press release.

Texas refinery fire sends Valero shares lower

The San Antonio-based company said the fire occurred Thursday and it had taken down the cracker for repairs -- an outage that's expected to last for seven to 10 days.

As such, gasoline production will be reduced by about 80,000 barrels a day. Distillates output will be reduced by 7,500 barrels a day.

Exxon restarting Louisiana refineries after Gustav

"The Baton Rouge Refinery and Chalmette Refining began a safe and sequenced start-up process on 5 September," the company said in a press release. "It is anticipated that additional units will restart throughout the weekend as we work to bring the facilities back to normal operations."

Behind all the smiles at TNK-BP, another oil row looms

The real problem is the overall strategy. Will TNK-BP really be able to continue serving the interests of BP shareholders or must it now do something more expansive and potentially risky. It is unlikely that BP shareholders will welcome the idea that the Siberian oil pump is to be transformed into a new company with ventures all over the place and all manner of distractions. Big oil companies tend to come a cropper when “focus” is lost.

Oil prices, technology, and the cost of ignorance

Many opportunities exist to use a little understanding, a little technology, and a little capital to make a significant decrease in fuel consumption. But rest assured that these things will not happen.

Stepping Off the Gas

When it comes to fuel prices and energy independence, the watchword is 'no pain, no gain.'

Toyota looks to double Prius sales in Europe

Toyota, the world's second-largest carmaker, aims to double European sales of its Prius model as higher fuel costs and tighter rules on carbon dioxide emissions increase the gasoline-electric hybrid's appeal.

The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can't Have

Ford's Fiesta ECOnetic gets an astonishing 65 mpg, but the carmaker can't afford to sell it in the U.S.

Norfolk Southern Fights Virginia City on Ethanol Site

(Bloomberg) -- As the U.S. Congress pushes the use of ethanol to counter high gasoline prices, a city 10 miles from the Capitol in Washington is pushing back.

Residents of Alexandria, Virginia, are up in arms because Norfolk Southern Corp. built an ethanol-transfer station near their neighborhood, where the flammable fuel is unloaded from rail cars to trucks. The dispute reached a flashpoint in late July, when a fire broke out on tracks near the facility, 600 feet (183 meters) from an elementary school and $800,000 townhouses.

For Bicyclists, a Widening Patchwork World

While Northern Europe and Japan have figured out how to make bicycle commuting a safe, cheap alternative to driving, the United States, Canada, Australia and Britain have not. And the world's two most populous nations, China and India, are discarding bicycles in favor of cars. A rising middle class in both countries views cycling as an unhappy reminder of the recent past, when nearly everyone was poor.

Still, among the world's most developed countries, a reliable recipe has emerged for making cycling a mainstream means of getting to work.

Meet the urban sharecroppers

It was a small notice, in between the ads for childminding and English lessons. "Free gardening. I will cultivate an abundant vegetable plot for you in your garden and we will share the produce 50/50." Then a number.

When I got home I looked at my garden - unused, unloved, under wood chip. I looked at Google Earth. Almost half of the 3.1m households in London have a garden. Put together, they would occupy an area roughly the size of the Isle of Wight, and could insulate us against food price hikes and keep us all in fresh vegetables. Most are lawns or crazy paving.

City's flooded future

Between the 1-foot global sea-level rise, the addition of a high tide, the addition of a 2-foot storm surge plus the storm waves on top of it all and the entire Charleston Peninsula will be flooded. In fact with a 1-foot rise in sea level, even a small to moderate storm occurring at low tide will likely flood large parts of the city.

Cheap clothes, clean conscience

Last week, the House of Lords science committee criticised a culture of fast fashion for contributing to the growing amount of domestic waste in Britain. Textiles make up 3% of the 30m tonnes of waste collected from households by local authorities every year, and the committee accused retailers of encouraging consumers "to dispose of clothes which have only been worn a few times in favour of new, cheap garments which themselves will also go out of fashion and be discarded within a matter of months."

But with the average household's disposable income down £2,500 in the past 12 months - the first drop for 11 years - it is unlikely that shoppers are about to swap regular purchases from the lower end of the high street for expensive well-made and ethically sourced fashion.

Breakdowns spark National Grid crisis in power supply

The crumbling state of Britain’s electricity network was exposed yesterday when power station breakdowns caused the first energy shortage of the autumn.

National Grid was forced to call for more power from electricity generators after a series of unexpected breakdowns left the company with an insufficient safety cushion.

The company, which operates the electricity lines across Britain, requires a safety cushion of between 2,000 and 4,000 megawatts above peak demand. When it fell short yesterday, power suppliers were asked to bring all their available generating capacity online, including expensive oil-fired units.

The move came as Gordon Brown vowed to end the “dictatorship of oil” with a billion-pound plan to boost renewable energy supplies and make Britain more energy-efficient.

Warning after wave of tractor thefts

The Mutual used the release of the figures to remind farmers that with new and secondhand machinery values soaring because of global shortages they should be reviewing their valuations and updating their insurance policies.

Mr Price said thieves has also in the last year stolen more metal and fuel from farms in response to rising prices for both. Irrigation pipes, gates and even heavy-metal machinery had been taken.

Diesel thefts were up 30%. It had also seen a new phenomenon – an increasing number of thefts of central heating oil from rural homes.

Coal India May Import Fuel This Year for First Time

(Bloomberg) -- Coal India Ltd., the state-owned monopoly, may import the fuel this year for the first time to tide over a shortage of the commodity faced by power producers, Chairman Partha Bhattacharyya said.

``This is uncharted territory for us because we have never imported before,'' Bhattacharyya said today in New Delhi. The company may buy 4 million metric tons of coal from overseas after buyers confirm their orders, he said.

Gas-line gridlock slows removal of storm debris

Lengthy lines of motorists at gasoline stations are causing major congestion on Baton Rouge’s major streets, complicating city-parish storm debris-collection efforts in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.

...Newkirk said panic-stricken motorists are blocking major roadways and clogging major intersections to get gasoline in some of the worst-hit areas of East Baton Rouge. As a result, Newkirk said, his crews have been forced to focus debris pickup in the northern and eastern parts of the parish, which weren’t necessarily the worst hit but don’t have the traffic congestion plaguing other areas.

Petrol Panic: Fuel shortages stranded many Armenian motorists in August

The wartime situation in Georgia has shown just how heavily people in Armenia rely on goods imported from abroad for their vital day-to-day activities.

Idemitsu to cut Q4 fuel output, seals Mexico deal

TOKYO (Reuters) - Idemitsu Kosan Co, Japan's No. 3 oil refiner, will cut fourth-quarter crude refining by 14 percent and sealed its first term export deal in over four years to make up for falling fuel demand in the world's third-largest consumer.

Iran may Reciprocate Western Sanctions with Similar Move

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed sanctions by the world powers against his country as illegal, and said that Iran may impose sanctions against the world's predominant forces in response.

GM races to boost small-car output, plans extra shift in Ohio

DETROIT (MarketWatch) -- General Motors Corp., still struggling to meet demand for its most fuel-efficient vehicles, will soon start running weekend shifts at a compact-car factory in Lordstown, Ohio.

The auto maker said Thursday it is trying to lure enough workers to run a third shift at the plant on Saturday, in addition to two full shifts already slated for each weekend in September.

Nuclear revival needs constructors to deliver

LONDON (Reuters) - The world's nuclear industry is ready for a "nuclear renaissance", but it is up to the reactor builders to make it happen. Industry sources said that constructors must build reactors on schedule and within cost constraints.

Budget crunch requires schools to get creative

As many states begin the new school year, they face serious budget shortfalls. Just two months ago, states across the country had combined budget shortfalls of more than $40 billion. That is a staggering amount to say the least, especially since the cost of running schools is on the increase.

The cost of running buses and providing school lunches has seen the most significant increases for many school budgets, yet the districts are told to cut back. Nevada is not alone in its financial crisis. States such as Kentucky, Alabama and Rhode Island all face the same challenges during the upcoming school year.

Pay-as-you-drive plan good for wallets - and environment

When it comes to traffic reduction, California needs all the help it can get. And sometimes the only thing to finally get people out of their cars is to offer them cold, hard cash.

The proposal for a voluntary pay-as-you-drive insurance program for California drivers, being pushed by Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, might be one of the carrots that actually works. The draft proposal would let drivers have the option of buying auto insurance plans that are based on the number of miles they drive.

Aramco Confirms Having Brought 500,000-b/d Khursaniyah Field Onstream: The 500,000-b/d light crude Khursaniyah field has been confirmed by Saudi Aramco to be onstream, without further specification of whether its production supplied the bulk of July's production increase.

Significance The Khursaniyah field represents the largest single increment in Saudi production capacity coming onstream in years and lifts the Kingdom's overall production capacity to around 11.8 million b/d.

Implications Having originally been delayed since December 2007 because of global material shortages suffered in the construction of its associated gas-processing plant, early testing of the field began some months ago. The perceived failure of Saudi Arabia to react to rapid crude price increases in the first and second quarters of this year, not increasing production until July, did, however, raise the suspicion that early Khursaniyah production was used when the increases finally came.

Outlook Having brought the field onstream, Saudi Aramco's light crude production capacity has been significantly boosted and eventual future production cuts are more likely to affect its heavy oil production. If it should be revealed that Khursaniyah was used for the bulk of the recently added export volumes, Saudi Arabia's critics would continue to spread scepticism over whether its swing production capacity is real or not.

Despite higher fuel costs, retailers cut shipping rates

Over the past few years, retailers have increasingly discovered a powerful way to entice shoppers to buy during the crucial Christmas season: slash shipping costs.

Much higher fuel costs this season raised fears that free or cut-rate shipping would go the way of $2.50-a-gallon gas. But as retailers grapple with the shaky U.S. economy, many have calculated that they can't afford to put off shoppers with hefty shipping costs, even if it means eating higher fuel costs.

Random Oil

Oil prices seem to be in free-fall. After averaging a staggering $137 a barrel over the first week of July, they were down to $109 a barrel over the final week of August.

Where are prices going next? Who knows? Bearish talk about bubbles bursting and bullish talk about peak oil disguise the fact that the future direction of oil prices is unknown and unknowable. Neither investors nor politicians ought to be betting the economic house on any particular vision of "our energy future."

The World as We See It: 4 reasons why this may be the worst crisis since the 1930s – and 4 projections for what’s going to happen

The clear and present danger is that we are now using several times more oil than we are discovering. The world currently produces about 310 billion barrels of oil per decade. That amounts to about three times the current discovery rate of 100 billion barrels per decade.

According to the Peak Oil calculations, we have already used about half of the energy stored over the last 100 million years. Against that, we have a steady increase in demand emanating from population growth and economic development, especially in Asia. This, coupled with the dearth of major new discoveries, assures that energy markets will remain at high prices, for the foreseeable future. The current big drop from almost $150 to $110 has happened from a slowing economy and from some conservation at the extreme high gas pump prices, but the long term view is that the lack of reasonable alternative to petroleum argues for continued higher prices returning to the previous peak in the year ahead.

Economist on a mission

The chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute is trying to change people’s perception of the industry.

John Felmy said a recent industry survey of 1,500 people showed that some public impressions aren’t correct — such as where our country’s oil comes from — so the institute is embarking on an educational program.

“We learned after (hurricanes) Katrina and Rita that people don’t know much about the oil industry,” Felmy told the Independent Record’s editorial board on Wednesday. “We as an industry have done a bad job in the last 150 years in educating people, and we are an important part of their lives.

“Having (television characters) J.R. Ewing as a spokesperson is not really good, nor is Jed Clampett for that matter.”

Senator Mary Margaret Whipple's Richmond Report

Lead-off speaker at the Commission's first meeting last week was Dr. Robert L. Hirsch, author of the 2005 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy titled "Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management". In this report, Dr. Hirsch and co-author Roger Bezdak did not set a date for the peaking of oil production, but pointed out that starting to prepare in advance would reduce the impact but that waiting until the peak was upon us would lead to serious economic and societal problems.

In his presentation to the Commission, Dr. Hirsch introduced the concept of peak oil to members of the Commission and those attending the meeting. While I know this is not a new topic to readers of the News-Press, it is not familiar to many people so this background was necessary. Then Dr. Hirsch emphasized that a liquid fuels shortage, a consequence of peak oil, is real and already impacting both the United States and the world at large.

He believes that we need to do everything we can think of to address the problem, although he said that corn ethanol was a mistake as we really don't want fuel to compete with food. But all other forms of mitigation will be necessary in the near future. It was a serious, almost gloomy message, but one that the Commonwealth needs to respond to.

U.S. warship carries aid to Georgian port of Poti

POTI, Georgia (AP) — The flagship of the U.S. Navy's Mediterranean fleet anchored outside the key Georgian port of Poti on Friday, bringing in tons of humanitarian aid to a port still partially occupied by hundreds of Russian troops.

Although Russia has watched the arrival of the USS Mount Whitney and other U.S. ships in recent weeks with deep suspicion, a Foreign Ministry official said Russia does not plan any military action to the U.S. naval presence in the Black Sea.

Energy Independence and Prop 7

For our region, Santa Barbara County, weaning ourselves from fossil fuels on a net basis by 2030 will require more than doubling our expected electricity demand by 2030 — to have enough to electrify the transportation sector and natural gas sectors — and producing all that electricity from renewables. In other words, our county needs about a 200 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2030 to achieve our goal of weaning our region from fossil fuels. At the same time, we must dramatically increase the efficiency with which we use energy in all sectors.

Australia: Garnaut wants 10% emissions cut by 2020

The federal government's top climate adviser recommends Australia cut its emissions by 10 per cent by 2020, a target slammed by conservationists as "laughable".

California "water bank" in works amid drought

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's state government is forming a "water bank" to buy water for local water agencies at risk of shortages next year should a current drought persist, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Thursday.

Schwarzenegger in June declared the most populous U.S. state to officially be in drought and declared nine counties in its farm-rich Central Valley to be in a state of emergency because water supplies were so low after two years of below-average rainfall.

Oil's climb forced companies to become leaner

NEW YORK - Conventional wisdom had long held that some industries would collapse if oil topped $100 a barrel. As oil neared $150, sending costs higher for everything from jet fuel to plastic jars, the question was how many companies would succumb.

The surprising answer: Not many. Some have even thrived.

Companies have culled unprofitable products, cut production costs and passed along price increases. Airlines have laid off thousands of employees, dropped routes, sold planes and raised fares 20 percent in the last year — the fastest rate of increase in 15 years. Consumer product makers have shrunk everything from tubs of Smart Balance Buttery Spread to jugs of laundry detergent. Retailers from The Yankee Candle Co. Inc. to Target Corp. have passed on higher prices to consumers.

OPEC likely to trim oil supply as economy slows

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - Slower demand, an economic downturn and cheaper oil could convince OPEC it needs to trim supply unofficially, but the producer group is expected to leave public output targets unchanged when it meets next week.

Iran says $100 oil “appropriate”

TEHRAN — Iran's OPEC governor said an oil price of $100 (U.S.) per barrel was “appropriate” in current conditions, the Oil Ministry's news agency Shana reported on Friday.

The oil minister of the world's fourth-largest crude producer had said earlier in the week that $100 a barrel was the lowest appropriate price. Crude has tumbled from a record $147 in July and was trading on Friday at below $107.

OPEC Is Unlikely to Cut Production, Goldman's O'Neill Says

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC is unlikely to cut supply at next week's meeting in Vienna because of the hurricane season, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Economist Jim O'Neill said.

Oil operations resume, storms on the horizon

HOUSTON - Even as thousands of workers returned to their posts in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Gustav's mild blow, other storms traveling across the Atlantic Ocean served as a reminder that the heart of hurricane season is here.

Chevron says Pascagoula refinery ramping up

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chevron Corp said Friday its 330,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, was ramping up to normal rates after Hurricane Gustav.

"The refinery began returning to planned production rates on Thursday, Sept. 4, when the U.S. Coast Guard reopened the ship channel leading to the refinery," Chevron said in a press release.

Rising oil price could lead to China industrial restructuring

CHANGCHUN (Xinhua) -- Concerns of a surging oil price could mean the industrial restructuring and upgrading of China's industries, according to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) official here on Friday.

"The commodity price hike has severely impacted the Chinese economy, but it also happens at a good time as China is facing industry restructuring challenges," Li Yuefen, the UNCTAD Debt and Development Finance Branch head, said.

EU moves to loosen Russia's 'energy stranglehold'

EU, European Union, Gazprom. Energy Security, Oil, Gas European Commission officials are currently carrying out a feasibility study to examine the creation of gas stockpiles to prevent Russia using the threat of switching the lights out or turning off heating supplies to pressure the EU.

"There will be legislation along the lines of the Strategic Oil Stocks Directive in October or November," said an official.

BP's Russian defeat a market victory

In the middle of 17th century Paris, Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (that's the real one, not the 19th century stage character), wrote a fantasy about a voyage to the moon. He described several contrivances to get there, in addition to his own. One, which reportedly delivered the biblical prophet Elijah, involved a large magnetic ball and an iron chariot. To propel the latter into the sky, and thence to the orbit of the moon, the prophet tossed the ball into the air so that the magnetic force would draw the chariot after it. He was obliged to keep catching and tossing to sustain the upward momentum. When it was within gravitational range of the moon, the magnetic ball was tossed downward, and then upward again, to break the speed of the chariot's fall.

Russia isn't the moon. But BP has been trying a variant of the magnetic-ball-and-chariot to hang onto the 23% of its global oil reserves located there, 25% of its current oil production, and a comparable amount of its market capitalization. Rarely has so much value in global energy resource depended on such a theory of motion. Robert Dudley, chief executive of TNK-BP - the 50/50 joint venture BP has operated for five years with Fridman, Len Blavatnik and Victor Vekselberg - has also been using several quaint contrivances to defy the laws of gravity.

Palin’s pipeline exists — but only on paper

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A long-delayed natural gas pipeline championed by Gov. Sarah Palin that would carry supplies from Alaska to Canada and then to the lower 48 states exists in concept only and is years away from fruition.

US energy policy 'beholden' to oil multinationals

The most full-throated speech of the Democrat convention on energy came right before Clinton appeared on stage, when Schweitzer fired up the delegates by ripping into "petro-dictators" and multinational oil companies that he says US energy policy is beholden to.

No Hope for a Sensible Energy Policy

I have bad news for all those who think that the retirement of George W. Bush will somehow initiate a golden--or green--age in America. It won't. Just take a close look at the promises being made by the two men who have now been formally nominated as their parties' standard bearers in the fight to control the White House.

Crude Future: Economics dictates that we'll never run out of oil

Are we running out of oil? The question seems silly. “Yes” is the obvious answer.

Or is it?

That there is less oil in the ground today than there was yesterday is true. That there was less oil in the ground yesterday than there was in 1870 is also true. But “running out of oil” is not as much a question of physics as it is one of economics. And economics assures us that we will never run out of oil.

Norway surveys Troll field for carbon storage

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway has begun seismic surveys at its biggest North Sea oil and gas field, Troll, to determine whether carbon dioxide emissions could be stored there, energy officials said on Friday.

Troll is touted as one of three possible North Sea locations for storing carbon produced by gas-fired power plants in the coastal cities of Mongstad and Kaarstoe in a bid to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming.

Feds warn climate change could harm giant sequoias

VISALIA, Calif. - Federal researchers are warning that warming temperatures could soon cause California's giant sequoia trees to die off more quickly unless forest managers plan with an eye toward climate change and the impact of a longer, harsher wildfire season.

Experts offer scaled-back sea level rise forecast

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Worldwide sea levels may rise by about 2.6 to 6.6 feet by 2100 thanks to global warming, but dire predictions of larger increases seem unrealistic, U.S. scientists said on Thursday.

They examined scenarios for loss of ice from Greenland, Antarctica and the world's smaller glaciers and ice caps into the world's oceans, as well as ocean expansion simply due to rising water temperatures.

Their calculations yielded estimates for global sea level increases by the end of the century that are lower than many existing projections, but alarming nonetheless.

Asian soot, smog may boost global warming in US

WASHINGTON - Smog, soot and other particles like the kind often seen hanging over Beijing add to global warming and may raise summer temperatures in the American heartland by three degrees in about 50 years, says a new federal science report released Thursday.

These overlooked, shorter-term pollutants — mostly from burning wood and kerosene and from driving trucks and cars — cause more localized warming than once thought, the authors of the report say. They contend there should be a greater effort to attack this type of pollution for faster results.

"experts offer scaled-back sea level rise forecast"

Given that developments of the last years outpace even the worst case models 2.6 to 6.6 feet seems optimistic.

I've got a better authority:

Faster Rise In Sea Level Predicted From Melting Greenland Ice Sheet, Based On Lessons From Ice Age

ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2008) — If the lessons being learned by scientists about the demise of the last great North American ice sheet are correct, estimates of global sea level rise from a melting Greenland ice sheet may be seriously underestimated.

And I believe the article cited was put out to refute the
UW Madison one.

None of the models are keeping up with the melt.


While not questioning at all the idea that we are in for a noteworthy run of sea level rise, it seems to me that the article implies (but does not overtly state) that Greenland melting will raise sea level at the same rate as did the melting of a *much* larger ice mass -- and that I'm not buying. Working backward the periods of melting and (in a different comment) the start of the glaciation period are nice pieces of work, though.

Flashing back to the big picture though, 2 feet, 4 feet, or 6 in 100 years is a pretty shocking shift. The question is not *if* some ocean front real estate is reclaimed, but how much.

Gee, I wonder how fast sea levels are rising. The US Aqua satellite shows a small decline over the last two years.

I could not find a chart or graph on "US Aqua satellite". Do you have a link? I did find this from NASA, which seems to contradict your data.


The lowest part Washington D.C. is at sea level on the tidewater Potomac. They might be some of the first to notice if the ocean rises four feet.

The most recent ice age covered as far south as Maine with ice 1.5 - 3 miles thick. Greenland is the remnant of that ice sheet. Two miles of ice disappeared from Maine in about 11,000 years. That was a very fast global warming without the use of coal. During this ice age Europe was covred with boreal forests instead of oaks. A simple truth.


An earlier ice age epoch covered North America as far south as near the Indiana-Kentucky border. Carbon dioxide alone cannot account for interglacial warming or glacial cooling. There are many moving parts in the climate model.

Thanks for the same old generalities and - yes - even a lie/mistake. Two points if you can self-correct.


Can I play your game?

There used to be - gasp! - dinosaurs on the Antarctic continent!

What EVER could that mean??!!


The "larger size" version of that graph seems to end, I guess, somewhere around end of 2005, so it can't possibly address anything about the last couple of years. (If NASA publicists troubled themselves to read Tufte on chartjunk, the enlarged graph would have light gridlines instead of useless decoration and it would be easy to tell exactly what period it covers.) We need something more current.

What might be a current version (clearer and enlarged here) gives what one could construe, if one wished, as a leveling-off for the last two years. Given the substantial amount of noise, I think I wouldn't care to construe anything yet, but I suppose other people's mileage might vary.

What's unnerving is that even their conservative estimate is pretty horrifying.

And they admit they could be wrong:

"The real unknown right now is what we call the dynamic effect of ice not melting but just being pushed straight into the ocean," Pfeffer added, referring to pieces of ice breaking off from huge masses of ice such as glaciers and ice sheets and floating in the sea.

It's happened VERy abrupty in the past and it could well happen again! I don't know if the mechanisms are fully understood:


This event happened near the end of the last Ice Age, a period of de-glaciation that lasted from about 21,000 years ago to 12,000 years ago," Clark said. "The average sea level rise during that period was about eight millimeters per year. But during this meltwater pulse there was an extremely rapid disintegration of an ice sheet and sea levels rose much faster than average."

The amount of sea level rise that occurred during a single year of that period, Clark said, is more than the total sea level rise that has occurred in the past 100 years.

I'm going to do a bit more research and see how they got to the single year conclusion.


8mm per year = 3 feet (0.9 M) by 2100

Yes, but the pulse was within this 8mm per year period:


which led to a sea-level rise of ~20 meters in less than 500 years

Thats 40mm per year during the pulse (1A)

heres a good one: finding the source of meltwater pulse 1A


I think we're all wringing our hands needlessly, here. If we were to ring our coastlines with storm drains located, say, just above the current mean high tide, we could control sea level rise. This is the same principal that keeps my bathroom sink from overflowing.

Worry warts...

Stop spoiling my doom;-)

Hey, I like that idea. Put in the storm drains, route the seawater through your wastewater treatment plant, then pump it safely out to sea.

You really should indicate that you are trying to be sarcastic, otherwise people might get the impression that you are making a very idiotic suggestion ;-)

Let me demonstrate:

Instead of trying to build a 'space elevator', let's start with a 'space staircase'. Once we've built one of these, we can move onto a 'space escalator'.


Actually, that takes the fun out. Some of us get it without having to be prompted.

But as to your suggestion for the drain...

Who gets to clean the hair out of it?

... except bathroom sinks and storm drains drain to a lower water mark. When water levels rise because of ice-melt, then where are you going to find a lower water level that'll take all that tidal displacement?

Well, for California, there's Death Valley...

E. Swanson

To take things a little further lets put things in perspective here:

Sea level is currently at about its lowest level in about 250M Years:


Lets hope we don't return to those days as I suspect we would all be living somewhere around the Hymalias! (Slight exageration)

Also lets hope we don't dig up and burn as much oil as that economist hopes there is still in the ground! otherwise its goodbye New York, hello waterworld. (Great film).


Florida is on loan from the sea.

So was Atlantis!

But.. over the past 10 Millenia or so there have also been fairly large movements in sea level (not neccesarily abrupt) During the mid-holocene warm period circa 7000BP sea levels were up to 17m higher than they are now!


Stable sea-levels are identified at 17-13 m asl during 7,000-5,500 yrBP

at 11-9 m during 5,000-4,500 14C yr BP, and at < 6 m after 4,000 14C yr BP

The rapid regression occurring between 5,400 yBP (4,100 calib. yrBP) and 4,000 yBP (2,700 calib. yrBP) suggests that some glacial loading had removed around here before 5,400 yBP (4,100 calib. yrBP).

Basically we went from 17m asl (above sea level) to 6m bsl (below sea level) at 4000yBP That is a decrease or change in sea level of 7.6mm per year! In fact it is astounding that sea levels were 17m ABOVE what they are now, not so long ago: 5000BC!


oops, this study has it at 6m above current sea level!


The one above I think is talking about a relative sea level change from some datum that I don't know! The change in sea level is correct, just not the datum!


The amount that sea levels can change is mind blowing. At the lowest point in the last ice age sea level was 120m (meters not centimetres) below its current level. That was only 20,000 years ago.

If you look at the Global Warming Art http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level_png, it shows that sea levels have been very stable (2m change) for the last 5,000 years. This allowed us to establish settlements close to water without the need to periodically rebuild. I don't know if this has been researched, but I would guess that stable sea levels are critical to building the ports that allow trade to be established.

When people say that the climate has always been changing and that there is no need to worry now, they forget just how big the changes were compared to the tiny changes we have had during the entire existence of civilisation. Our current infrastructure was built using cheap energy. We have never experienced a mass migration of the infrastructure we use to support our existence, and I think we will find it very difficult in an era of scarce and expensive energy.

This allowed us to establish settlements close to water

I whole heartedly agree. It is no coincidence that the rise of man has been during our brief interglacial maximum which up till now has been relatively satble. So do we have a God given right to the continuance of that satble period knowing fine well it has not been the norm? (referring to earths flip-flops through glacial-interglacial periods where the glacial periods have been far longer than the interglacials - like that which we live in now)

Looking at the very long term, man is either going to flip earth into unstoppable warming (which may trigger some other response) or we dive back down into a glacial period [regardless or not if we have 1000yrs or 10000yrs of the current interglacial still to play out]. From where i'm standing the glacial periods don't look too cosy from a supporting 6.5BN people point of view! Either way we are fairly doomed unless we can geo-engineer ourselves a long interglacial - and I already pointed out yesterday what I thought of that!!


The estimates are what, maybe 30k neanderthals alive at any give time who lived during the last glaciation? First city to reach ~1 million population was Rome in 30 AD. After the collapse of the Roman empire, no other city equaled that population until London in the 1800s. As of 2003 there are more than 400 cities with at least one million population. 6.5 bn is an aberration.

"From where i'm standing the glacial periods don't look too cosy from a supporting 6.5BN people point of view!"

Assumeing that in 3500 AD (wild guess in fact most of my numbers are arbritrary) humanity is still around AND we have MASSIVE solar, geothermal, hydro etc. to equal the total energy used now but with 100% renuables. Another assumption is that at that point a new ice age ensues that lowers sea levels to 75? meters below the current level.

Given those two assumptions; humanity could certainly have a population of 6.5 billion in 3500 AD. This is far enough in the future that even a worst case scenerio of a dieoff to 250 miillion occurs by 2150 could be recovered from population wise. In good times human population will double in aprox 50 years unless there are artificial social methods to hold population stable. 250 million to 6.5 billion is only 4 1/2 doublings so ONLY around 2 centuries...

I don't know how to link; google undersea topographic maps NEAR continents and islands. 75 meter lowering of sea levels would add HUGE amounts of new land worldwide that could be farmed. Even 10 meters would add a nontrivial ammount which is obvious if youve swam near a coastline.

Not two cents...my nine cents;)

Ummm, forgot something.
The NEW land exposed from sea level lowering might just equal the new useless areas of glaciers. IMO a mile thick glacier is useless for most things except specialist scientists. I love science BTW;) My point is the useable land would be different and in different locations, however I doubt it would be superior to current conditions. I welcome a real scientist perspective on my oppinions;)

Well the land covered by Glaciers would be in the Northern and mountainous regions while the land exposed by a sea level drop would be across all climates and sedimentary soils. So no its not and equal exchange. Of course the arable belt would also shrink. Given the current positions of our continents with the large land masses near the north pole its a net loss but the effect itself i.e lower sea levels would be directly a gain.

Buuuut :)

More importantly Northern Africa and India along with Arabia would be wetter so this would offset some of the loss in Asia and North America. Same with the American Southwest it was much wetter during the glacial periods.

Soooo :)

Probably a net gain actually :)

Thanks Memmel!

IMO even an expert with a team and large budget would have to make a fair amount of reasoned guesses RE the effects of a serious Ice Age. It is probably just theory without short term usefullness IE I think an ice age in the next 5 centuries is reasonably unlikely.

Global Warming is another story; Canada & Russia would be big winners with Global Warming. With both there is a massive excess of potable water; even reducing rainfall by 60% in Canada & Russia they would have plenty for most uses. What I am curious about is what other countries would benefit from Global Warming. I expect if I'm alive in 2050 I will have witnessed firsthand the effects of Global Warming. Possible as I would be 77 then.

As previously posted on this topic recently, there was also a very fast melt of the Northern European Ice Sheet.

I hope to do a somewhat in-depth overview of the cryosphere changes going on soon... Anyone want to pay their own way here and babysit my 8mo. old Hurricane Conor for a day or two?



I've seen the report.

It goes along with that mastodon found with grass in it's mouth.

But the reverse.

Using period volcanic ashes, fossils, and ice cores.

"Now scientists believe they've pinpointed the exact time the northern hemisphere was plunged back into a deep freeze. Examining sediments preserved at the bottom of a remote lake in western Germany, they found that what's known as the Younger Dryas cold period took just a year to sweep across the continent, starting in the autumn, 12,679 years ago."


Now that's a scary thought. But, hey, don't worry! PO is the only REAL concern,... climate change ain't and can't gonna happen any time soon!

I'll gladly pay you on Friday for ten acres today....


An object lesson: During the Beijing Olympics the air here in Korea got nearly crystal clear. The only time that ever happens here, thanks to all the imported pollution and and dust from China (those of you inland from LA will understand this phenomenon), is just after a rain. The rest of the time there is a gray haze in the short, medium and long distances. The Haze was back within a few days after the Olympics ended.

Also, there was a study in So Cal back in the late '70's or early '80's that deduced the air quality in So Cal would be well below unhealthy levels after just three days of no cars on the road. That's right. They found 70% of smog in LA comes from car emissions.

Cleaning the air is that simple. (Though perhaps not easy.)

Point? We can change it. But we aren't. If we don't, don't be surprised if you find yourself either a Walking French Fry or Walking Human Popsicle in **possibly** very short order.


About that cars and clean air in days.

A report in NW AR, don't know by who, said that one benefit
of all the poultry being raised in the area is that the Ammonia
emitted chemically combines with auto exhaust in a benign way
to clear the air.

Have to look that one up though.


You also may be interested to know that after 9/11 the US atmosphere was discernibly cleaner nationwide due to the widescale grounding of planes here in USA.
Jets especially are gross polluters and their effects are enormous and often understated. In particular day/night temperature variations rapidly increased


The Ice Age Floods
Mentally multiply similar events occurring in Greenland, and across the other continents plus jokulhlaups, maybe also a volcanic caldera eruption under the Western Antarctic blowing an ice sheet larger than Mexico--> Google Bentley Subglacial Trench.


I posted a very detailed and weblinked text on this back when I first joined TOD--it was deleted for length. :(

It was deleted (and not by me) because the complaints started pouring in as soon as you posted it.

The comment section of someone else's blog is not the place to post a dissertation. It's basic netiquette. If you have that much to say, you should get your own blog, post it there, and link to it.

It just works much better that way. It's much easier to refer back to it later, share the link, etc. And of course, you then have complete control over your writing.

Leanan, as an editor, no head-bonking necessary, whatsoever.



I live in Holland, so it is of real concern. You had this link y'day how we Dutch would handle it (story is all over the media here)

I'm not confident about it. My guess is 3 feet would do us in, and I'm afraid this may already be the case in the 2020-2025 timeframe. As noted before land ice melt is accelerating exponentially.

.. and a good skit on the subject by Dominee Gremdaat (for Dutch speakers):


Given that there are ZERO papers anywhere stating sea level rise expectations of even 6.6 feet, the article is idiotic. There have been NO statements or research from any reliable scientist for a prediction that high. The closest is anecdotal comments by Hansen, but in the context he made the statements, saying he was saying "by 2100" is a little bit misleading.

Via Live Climate. Here ya go: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/how-much-will-sea-...

Now. *I* have made such statements, but even Hansen didn't phrase it that way. The problem with this article is that it says to the public, "Whew! No need to worry! Those silly scientists were exaggerating or just plain wrong!" when they were not. And, most won't pay attention to the fact that TWO METERS of sea level rise is devastating for any and all coastal cities. They will come away with, "They were wrong. Sea level rise isn't that big a problem."


First of all, like the 4 degree C climb we're on right now,

we won't notice the 3rd and 4th degrees because by then we'll
be living in the Stone Age.

Second: Scientists don't model 4 degree C rises for that reason.

All the models that predict more than a meter's rise use fossil fuel consumption at least an order of magnitude greater than the resources that appear to exist if you use the HL modeling that we all here buy for oil consumption. Scary results might be a good way to get attention but that does not make them realistic.

Further fossil fuel consumption is totally irrelevant to the total sea level rise, though it might effect the rate.

If the average temperature of Greenland is sufficient for the ice pack there to melt more than it gains, then sea levels will rise until something happens to reverse the melting or the ice sheet is gone. It is warm enough right now, no further oil consumption needed.

The speed of the rise will depend upon how fast the ice melts and whether/how much ice simply floats on the meltwater straight into the ocean to melt there. More CO2 might speed things up.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst, as always.

Further fossil fuel consumption is totally irrelevant to the total sea level rise


The speed of the rise will depend upon how fast the ice melts

Which will be influenced by how much the temperature rises. Which will be effected by how much CO2 is put in the air by burning fossil fuels.

The extent of the melting is not now known. If the trajectory of CO2 emissions peaks at around 460ppm as the HL of fossil fuels says it will according to Dave Rutledge at CalTech, then the temperature rise will max at about 1.6 Degrees C and then start to decline. The Greenland ice cape will not all melt from that.

I don't remember what Rutledge exactly claims, but from previous discussions here I do remember this: his assumptions are not very believable.[Edited to b nice.] I'm fairly sure, for example, his predictions do not include 6C for doubling of CO2 nor the releases of carbon and methane from permafrost and seafloor hydrates. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) Anything not including those - carbon in the permafrost is now calculated to be equal to 100% of the total carbon now in the atmosphere - is out of date, if not buffoonery. Perhaps he'll update his work. I'd suggest people not post it until he does.

Thawing Permafrost Likely To Boost Global Warming, New Assessment Concludes
The study, by Edward A. G. Schuur of the University of Florida and an international team of coauthors, more than doubles previous estimates of the amount of carbon stored in the permafrost: the new figure is equivalent to twice the total amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The authors conclude that releases of the gas from melting permafrost could amount to roughly half those resulting from global land-use change during this century.


...Warm and wet

Ed Dlugokencky, the scientist at Noaa's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) who collates and analyses data from atmospheric monitoring stations, agrees that the 2007 rise has a biological cause.

"We're pretty sure it's not biomass burning; and I think 2007 is probably down to wetland emissions," he said.

"In boreal regions it was warmer and wetter than usual, and microbes there produce methane faster at higher temperatures."

Dr Dlugokencky also suggested that the drastic reduction in summer sea ice around the Arctic between 2006 and 2007 could have increased release of methane from seawater into the atmosphere.

Gas ring. Image: PA

A further possibility is that the gas is being released in increasing amounts from permafrost as temperatures rise.

Researchers will be keeping a close eye on this year's data which will indicate whether 2007 was just a blip or the beginning of a sustained rise.

Methane concentrations had been more or less stable since about 1999 following years of rapid increases, with industrial reform in the former Soviet bloc, changes to rice farming methods and the capture of methane from landfill sites all contributing to the levelling off...

The amount of the gas held in oceanic hydrates is thought to be larger than the Earth's remaining reserves of natural gas.




As a note: your baseline researcher for climate change should not be an outlier. I suggest Hansen (though some likely consider his conclusions outliers) as he has been... um... what do you call it?.... Correct!


Rutledge does not include more recently discovered feedback loops as he uses the MAGICC climate model for this predictions.

MAGICC (used in the third IPCC assessment; http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/wigley/magicc/) includes some but no means all feedback mechanisms.

More here:
Peak Oil and Climate Change Q & A

This is a (fairly large) omission in his analysis, in my view.

The more recent version has been updated but I haven't examined whether it includes the pertinent feedback mechanisms. Perhaps someone else will chime in. Buffoonery is stronger language than I would use because I think that Rutledge is authentic in his commitment to advance the thinking in this area.

As a note: your baseline researcher for climate change should not be an outlier.

Rutledge is not a climate change researcher. He has made the best case I have seen for remaining fossil fuels.

I have not studied the climate models but I know that if they assume 13 times the coal that we can actually expect to consume then they have to be wrong.

Regarding outliers, it is possible for nearly everyone or for a big, respected faction to be wrong. Look at the debate on nuclear power.

If people can't understand Peak Oil, or discover the Export Land Model independently by simple logic, fat chance they will ever understand the complex infrastructure effects of a six-inch rise in sea level in many American cities and low-lying coastal areas. Heck, even I don't, which is why I once downloaded a long Federal planning report for the Gulf Region on that very subject. But my hard drive crashed and I can't recall where I obtained it.


My your hard drive live long and prosper.

Quick edit - it's no wonder your drive crashed - thats a 10MB PDF!!

Here is the summary:


Thank you.

Yeah, I remember it being pretty big. I have sworn to use only flash drives to store files from now on, so I hope I remember to grab this when I get home.

I wouldn't... flash drives are less reliable than hard drives.

Just make sure you have two or more independent copies of anything important. The more important, the more copies, and the more independent they should be...

It's simple: the world is a giant bathtub. More so where there are bays, inlets, etc. What happens when you slosh in the tub? What happens when you add water and slosh in the tub?


The Federal report was about very detailed (and expensive) effects like increased road repairs, conduit repairs, pipeline repairs, etc in Louisiana and Mississippi and Texas. You move that shoreline, and lots of property still inland gets affected. Bad news for the refineries.

A very slow gradual rise in sea level could be adapted to with some infrastructure improvements. What is more likely is melt water from the top of the ice cap falls through cracks and then lifts and lubricates the cap causing a sudden surge of ice into the ocean. All that ice flowing in to the sea in perhaps one summer would case a fast sea level rise and could be a global disaster. Hundreds of millions of people would need to move to higher ground over the course of a few months would create an extreme economic burden for every nation with ocean front property.

These are the very sort of un-understood dynamics that make the climate researchers throw caveats into their studies. Earthquakes triggering mass slides is another possible factor.
Research and time will tell.

I wonder where we can find World maps on-line that depict the new shorelines after sea level rises of 'only' 2.6-6.6 feet?

Hey all, dunno if this is germane to anyone, but here's my latest column in ESPN the Magazine, where I talk about oil prices and sports.

Nice article.
Did you notice the attendance at the recent marlins/Braves midday game? I think they call those midweek, midday games a "businessman special" or something. But only 1100 tickets or so got sold, and the stands only appeared to have about 600 "fans" actually there.

baseball holds a special place in energy economics (compared to football, or basketball) because of the large number of games.

The green lantern (slate.com) does some interesting articles trying to answer quesitons on environmental and energy issues. Heres an article about the hidden costs of all those fans driving to the stadium to watch pro sports.


Interesting. I never really thought about it that way.

However, a lot of MLB ballparks are in cities. People take the 4 train to Yankee Stadium and 7 train to Shea. You can drink all the beer you want at the stadium, without having to worry about who's driving home. (Even some of the players take the subway, because it's just easier.)

The minor league parks that feed the big league teams are another story. They are often in small cities without public transportation.

Between politics as usual and lack of "credit" it seems as if the Marlins may never make it to a "real" BB park in/near downtown Miami.

And, as Alan from BE has poiinted out, at least Miami mainly has the public trans to support such a stadium.


Yeah, but...

Can we re-route that steroid pipeline to ANWR? How many bpd of juice were they running through it?

Nice article Luke. Speaking of bike valets, when I was doing foreign study in Beijing in 1992, there were little fenced in and guarded bike lots near every major intersection. It cost a few pennies to park your bike in one.


Very good article. The impact of PO on sports/recreation is a subject worthy of continued study. What caught my attention was the sportsfisherman, whose boats guzzle fuel, going to Venezuela where fuel is only 12 cents per gallon to pursue their hobby.

We have a writer for a national magazine/website here? Like, REAL media, a.k.a., the formerly trusted media?


Perhaps I should start posting useful stuff...


In all seriousness (Yes, I pulled a Hunt Bros. and cornered the market), I have wondered out loud how long such enterprises as the NFL might last as things get more serious. I'm a Seahawks fan which means the gas bill is horrendous, but our owner is likely the richest in the sport, so...


Sports are very important to many people, and I think will weather the storm better than most things. Bread and Circus.

What I think you might see is new stadiums built in cities, rather than the exurbs, and as the author notes, the small-time leagues suffering.

If the feeder leagues and/or colleges suffer, so will the pro product... eventually. Hmmm... so how much crappy sport are Americans willing to put up with? (Says the guy who almost quit being a fan of sports altogether after the worst travesty in professional sports EVER...) (<--- Seahawks and Stealers fans will get this immediately. ANY NFL fan should get it immediately and most serious sports fans should get it immediately... and if this hint hasn't help you figure this out (SB XL) then you are not a sports fan or were very drunk for a very, very long period of time a few years back...)



Re: running pro sports as a hobby for the obscenely wealthy

The NFL forbids corporate ownership. Upside: corporations have no loyalty to their divisions but private owners are in it for the ego. Downside: which will collapse first, personal fortunes or corporations? Example: the Yankees as run by CBS, versus the Yankees as run by Steinbrenner.

Prediction: You may be priced out of your seat but the team won't go away. I expect it will be the only pro team in Seattle one day.

Thanks Luke. I've been awaiting just such an article for over a year. I believe we are just seeing the beginning of the cutbacks. Sports may be a pastime, but they are also a luxury. I noted you didn't mention items asociated with teams, like the bands, pep squads, flag girls, etc. At the junior and highschool level, I expect these to vansih from the visitor's buses, with colleges soon to follow. As you understand Peak Oil, you realize this is no temporary phenomenon. As you likely know the history of sport, you will know it was only the rich who could afford to perticipate. In a decade, we'll see drastic change; in fifty years, the sports page of a newspaper is going to be mighty thin.

I live in a nearly frontier-level population county. Nationally it ranks as having one of the oldest populations. Our town is poor, midwestern, and a baseball town. Everyone around knows this little town of 400 is a baseball town. We have two teams, the community shows up and they play on a lovingly tended field (two actually). They've been doing this longer than anyone can remember.

We'll show up to play on bike, then horses. In fact, next weekend I'll be at the Horsepower Field Days in a neighboring town. Play ball!

Nearly thirty years ago, I was reading a book of humorous science fiction short stories, and found one about the last Super Bowl (that might have been its title). For a story written before 1979, it was remarkable. It imagined that cable TV would evolve into an interactive gaming network, in which users could play each other or a central computer. The football game allowed players to choose any teams in its database. So people stopped going to the actual games, until the Green Bay Packers defeated the Hoboken Jets in front of a tiny crowd in New Jersey as the league went out of business.

So this author did a fantastic job on the technology forecast, but not the human nature analysis. Madden '09 is everything he could have imagined, but it is in no way hurting the actual NFL. People seem to need frequent refreshment of the behavior they wish to ape by seeing others do it live. They watch it on TV, then they play it, then they chat about it on the Internet, then they update their fantasy stats, then watch it again on Sportscenter, then begin the cycle again.

It hasn't even hurt live attendance, because NFL tickets have become a sort of special treat, the ultimate but infrequent reinforcement of the behavior. Tickets have gotten very expensive, but this has been offset by a vast increase in wealth among the upper-middle class combined with a growing infantalization of acceptable upper-middle class behavior.

Possible energy-caused scenarios:

1. Live gate collapses in an economic crunch, but we still do all the virtual stuff. The pro leagues retrench painfully but survive long-term.

2. The Roman scenario - the elites continue to pack the luxury boxes, while the proles drift off into different pursuits that destroy pro sports' future fan base.

3. Balkanization - while pro leagues grow in Russia, China, and other manufacturing centers, globalization collapses and keeps the American leagues from taking them over. Athletes become true mercenaries, chasing rubles and euros to the ends of the earth. The thinning of the talent pool for American teams erodes fan interest and both live gate and TV viewership decline.

A friend of mine insists that there is no good reason for every city to have a team in every sports league. So no league needs to have 30 teams. That sort of contraction would preserve much of what we like about sports and ensure prosperity for the surviving teams, because it simply is a return to pro sports circa 1946 and could be done with a 1946-level GNP. It might also mean a return to train travel instead of chartered jets. Hockey would retreat back to the NE/Midwest, football and baseball would stick to the biggest urban belts, and minor bus leagues would take up the slack in remote areas. We just have to come up with the cash to maintain current facilities for as long as Fenway and Wrigley have lasted.

I think it's the virtual stuff that may collapse, while the live stuff continues.

And it's the virtual stuff that really pays the bills. TV.

There's a growing push for "a la carte" pricing in cable. Liberals don't want to pay for Fox News, conservatives don't want pay for channels with sex and violence. Everyone's unhappy with the rising cable prices, and see "a la carte" pricing - paying for only the channels you want - as the answer.

The people who will really be hurt are the sports fans, IMO. Sports is the most expensive item on the menu. ESPN is the priciest channel, but only 1/5 of viewers watch it. Sports fans are being subsidized by everyone else. If sports fans have to pay their own way, many will bail.

And as the economy worsens, more and more people will decide cable TV is a luxury. Among my friends and acquaintances, a lot of people are talking about cutting back, and the phone bill, cable bill, and Internet provider are prime targets.

But live sports...I think that's something essentially human, and will continue no matter what. It may be like it was when the Negro League teams slept in farmers' barns as they traveled small town America, but sports will go on.

Thanks for the kind comments, everybody.
More than that, thanks for all the story ideas! It's nice to give something back to a site that's been so helpful to me.
I hadn't seen the Braves biz special, but that's right about baseball as an attendance barometer, and I think you'll be seeing a lot more empty seats in the corporate sections, especially in smaller markets, at least until banks and realtors give their seat privileges away to... Boone Pickens?
The one positive thing from sports development is linking it to mass transit, which some owners and municipalities are finally figuring out. The Giants/Jets stadium in NJ is getting a rail link to NJ transit, finally. Wish the train to Foxboro for Pats games ran more than once on game days, though.
One other thing that could be interesting, if as we all suspect, further shaking out is on the way. In Beijing, the govt actively kept venues from filling up, during a supposedly sold-out Olympics. There were plenty of empty seats. The speculation was the govt wanted to avoid big crowds, and the disruption they bring. Wondering if, as unrest develops with oil shocks, Western govts might try to curb big sports gatherings, as well. Because the masses can get unruly. (The Chinese govt had nothing on our political conventions in quelling dissent, btw.)
One final, sorta connected observation, from an earlier thread: China mistimed its air cleanup by about a week. Pollution was absolutely horrible the first six days or so, like nothing I've ever experienced, then was actually pleasant for most of the rest of the Games. Wonder if the people will start demanding the right to breathe easier, now that they've had a taste.

Hi Luke,

Do you know about the ASPO-USA conference? (speaking of reporting.)


"Liberals don't want to pay for Fox News, conservatives don't want pay for channels with sex and violence"

I'll buy the first part, but the latter is pure hogwash. Conservatives don't like watching sex and violence? Puuhhhhleeeease! Some fundamentalist religious types may try to *hide* the fact they like watching S&V, but do it anyway on the sly. Some of them also like to *participate* in S&V, as more than a few sex/church scandals over the last 100 years or so has established.

In all fairness he did say "pay for".

No Hope for a Sensible Energy Policy

Bah...I was hoping this one would be a decent criticism of Obama's and McCain's energy policies but nope, more neo-conservative slander. The guy is from a conservative think-tank. Here's a real gem:

Which leaves wind and solar. Neither is the favorite of many environmental groups. Wind machines spoil their views, as the Kennedys argue from their Hyannisport waterfront compound as they oppose offshore wind machines that they would, ugh, see from their windows and lawns.

What planet is this guy living on? What a moron. Wind and solar are the favorites of just about every environmental group I know of. The Kennedy's got the NIMBY syndrome once and forever now wind is "not the favorite of environmental groups". There's a lot of other polictical slander and outright fabrications in that article (e.g., Al Gore didn't "pursue" a Nobel Prize, they gave it to him without his asking, there's a big difference).

They pick on Kennedy as a convenient scapegoat, but Mitt Romney was a more outspoken critic of that particular wind project.

Alternative energy construction and maintenance may become an issue that starts to plant the seed that make Joe Sixpack understand that maybe, just maybe, it’s not the enviros that are the crazy ones but that idiot Rush (et al.) that they’ve been listening to for so long.

I was in western NY this past weekend – in an area where a big wind farm is going in. I saw a fair number of pick ups with window decals showing the outlines of wind turbines – I’m assuming the drivers worked for the company constructing the wind farm. I’m hoping that if these guys also happen to be Rush listeners and otherwise right leaning then when they hear or read another attack on alternative energy by the usual suspects (i.e. the neo-con “think” tanks) they at least pause for a moment and say to themselves “now wait a second… wind energy is paying my salary…”

A year or two ago in the communities near where the turbines are being constructed there were many signs on front lawns saying “No to Wind Power” but there are virtually none around any more. I wonder if the word is getting out that people are actually getting good paying jobs in the area working on these projects – this is a very powerful weapon in the propaganda war when these projects are occurring in areas desperately needing local jobs such as western NY.

Psst... alternative energy is labor-intensive... pass it on!

I don't understand why "labor-intensive" is such an epithet in our eyes. Labor doesn't suddenly vanish at Wall Street's whim the way capital does. It would be reassuring that many of my neighbors are making a living by operating and repairing simple machines that create my electricity.

The whole world, including countries like China that should have known better, fell in with the Wall Street model that declares labor the enemy of prosperity, and praises easily-stripped resources and fly-by-night capital as the only true path.

You're so modest 390. Of course you understand. Profit can only come at the expense of labor. Something about "surplus value...." Help me out.

Because as Greer would say, the "Myth of Progress" has told us that we are not supposed to do labor any more. That was the point of the last 50 years: to systematically remove labor from the human experience (at least from the USA human experience).

The argument can be made that labor is the only real capital.

If genius is only one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration (that latter term being a metaphore for labor) then genius can be seen to be mostly about actually doing work as well.

The biggest lie of our current "capitalist" system is that labor is not capital, but instead the network of corrupt cronies who conspire to "own" various chunks of the system are portrayed as capitalists.

Ah, well. And so it goes, as someone has said before.

McCain said again in his speech that "We should build 45 more nukes". Does anyone know what he is actually proposing? What does he mean by "we" should build?

We "should" do all sorts of things. Not very inspiring coming from the mouth of a presidential candidate. We should build more wind and solar, too, but not when people like him don't even support renewal of the tax credits for renewables. McCain acts like he hasn't been in D.C. for 26 years. Maybe if he would show up for a vote once in awhile it would help. No specifics from him on renewables other than we should have more solar,wind, etc. Shoulda, coulda, woulda doesn't get it. With all his additional tax cuts and increasing the defense budget, I don't see how he can say anything other than we should do things. More free lunch politics.

Obama is more specific and more supportive but I don't know where is going to get the money either. Maybe since oil has gone down, he could start by canceling those advertised rebates to individual tax payers.

Whoever ends the war faster gets the money faster.

Next we can start educating the winner on closing down US bases in 130 countries - talk about an energy footprint. I would just tell the American taxpayer to choose - domestic bases or foreign? Pork barrel will win that argument.

We should free up about $300 billion from war expenses all told, then we can argue over a division of the spoils with the advantage of actually having the spoils - rare in Washington.

Having that dividend, we might replace the income tax for the bottom 90% of earners with a carbon tax with big rebates to the poor. Neither party could stomach that, so there must be something to it.

tax and spend is a lot more responsible than borrow and waste.

Bringing the troops home and cutting the Pentagon budget by 25% would free up funds for Obama's energy plan.

"we" should say things that get us elected.

BP just lost Bigtime with TNK-BP:

per Leanan's post above ;}

1) They just lost half of 25% of their global reserves.

2) Anything that has BP and Conocophillips together, like say,
the alt to the Trans Canadian that Palin was pushing at the RNC,
you can now bet has Gazprom/Rosneft behind them as a not so silent partner.

"The trajectory of TNK-BP's share had been rising through much of the six-month conflict - but not from Dudley's or BP's magnetic pull. So long as the Moscow market judged that AAR stood the better chance of winning the contest for operational control of the company, TNK-BP became more valuable, and BP less so. A clever arbitrageur should have been betting on the widening spread between the two share prices. That in turn has meant that no one in the market believed what they were reading in the bulletins issued from St James Square to the dutiful FT.

That is to say, the Russian investment community has believed that TNK-BP will be worth more if BP loses its battle than if it wins.

And so it will be. By trying to fight Fridman behind the arras, Dudley, Hayward and Sutherland, at their own expense, are going to enrich their adversaries. By trying to play Medvedev and Chuichenko off against Putin and Sechin, they have substantially increased the likelihood that the IPO price for a 20% stake in TNK-BP will be considerably higher than Fridman's sale target, and that a Russian state company may enter the shareholding to assure firm Russian control of the oil reserves."


Half of their 25% of total reserves?

The MoU between BP and AAR allows for an initial public offering (IPO) of up to 20% of shares in TNK-BP's assets, to be issued in a year or two. This allows both sides to sell into the market, and it means two things - TNK-BP's share price goes up in anticipation; Gazprom and Rosneft, the two state Russian energy companies, will consider what they would like to do. The current freefloat is only 5%. A larger freefloat ought to lift the market cap of TNK-BP - another plus for the Russian shareholders, compared with the status quo ante. Predictably, TNK-BP's share price jumped 8% in Thursday's trading.

Since BP books TNK-BP's reserves in total, 20% would indicate that they lose a fifth of their booked reserves to the market.

BP lost, but it appears they still retain a substantial reserve value. Not that that matters if they keep playing russian politics poorly and being poor losers (assuming the tax payback story is 100% accurate)

I said 1/2 of 25%. That's 12.5.

fifth is 20.

I guess I was being conservative.

BP lost, but it appears they still retain a substantial reserve value.

So they have enough to buy out CHK's Fayetteville Shale.

but they still lost.

Oil and gas industry cautiously upbeat on Iceland

REYKJAVIK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Iceland's plans to offer its first oil and gas exploration licences in 2009 is meeting with cautious optimism from energy executives, even though technical challenges remain and production could be decades away.
At an exploration conference in the Icelandic capital this week, the remote Atlantic island published new seismic data suggesting oil and gas resources under its seabed and tried to gauge interest in an upcoming licensing round.
"This will be a technological challenge and will take quite some time until production begins... but I am more confident now that there is oil to be found," Kristinn Einarsson, oil search production manager at Iceland' energy authority, told Reuters.
Production could begin in the 2020s, said analysts, if further exploration is encouraging and the right technology is found to exploit oil and gas from the icy Arctic waters off Iceland, where about 100 exploration licences will be offered.

Hmmmmmmm. Iceland is a hotspot on the mid Atlantic ridge. I've been away from geology for a while, but I wouldn't expect to find oil in basaltic oceanic crust?

On the outer edges of their territorial waters is some possibilities AFAIK.


Everyone should read the article up top Crude Future: Economics dictates that we'll never run out of oil. The author offers two scenarios and compares them to the world’s possible oil supplies. The first has a mosquito sitting on a supply of blood the size of an Olympic swimming pool. The mosquito will never run out of blood. The second scenario has the mosquito sitting on a pea size supply of blood. The mosquito will soon run out of blood. The author then proposes a third scenario, perhaps the supply of blood for the mosquito is about the size of a beach ball. In this case, the author suggests: “She might pointlessly reduce her consumption to avoid a mythical “end of blood.” Then the author concludes with this astounding statement:

Again, I don’t know that we’re like the mosquito in scenario one — but no one knows that we’re not. A resource physically finite might be economically inexhaustible.

Get that, no one knows whether or not our oil reserves are so large that they are inexhaustible! No one knows! There might just be a hundred times as much oil to be found as commonly believed there to be. Virtually all our oil geologists are blooming idiots. They haven’t a frigging clue as to how much oil is under the ground.

The author of this brilliant article was: Donald J. Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University. Why do economists always assume that all other branches of science are as fuzzy and uncertain as economics? And why does this, according to economics, dictate that we will never run out of oil?

Ron Patterson

I think there is a fairly strong economic case to be made for never running out of oil.

i.e. prices rising leading to substitution or even economic collapse. If no wants to buy it (at the current price) there is stil some oil left. At some point in the future oil wells may stop producing because their is no economic infrastructure or demand to support their business, but there will still be some oil left.

However your quotes from that article seem absolute nonsense. Mosquitos in swimming pools indeed!

He doesn't argue it from a price and demand point of view. He just says that nobody knows how much - nor has an idea of approximately how much - (?recoverable?) oil there is.

And in that he is dead wrong!

Expanding on the suggestion that no one knows exactly how much oil is in the ground, we are forced to ask the question: what is known as to how much recoverable oil is left in the ground. Of course that also depends on the price of oil, the higher the price the more of the oil left in the ground can be economically recovered.

That being said we still need to ask ourselves what is known. Well, it is a little like what is known about the path of a hurricane. That is we not do know the exact path but we do know the approximate path the hurricane will take. And from that we can lay out “cone of uncertainty” as to the hurricane’s path. If it is in the Gulf of Mexico headed toward New Orleans we know there is a small chance that it will hit Galveston or Mobile and there is an even smaller chance that it will hit Corpus Christi or Fort Walton Beach. But we know that it will not hit San Francisco, Rio or the coast of France. It would be absolutely stupid to say that no one knows whether or not this very hurricane will destroy Paris. There is a limit to our ignorance, in this instance anyway.

Likewise we can develop a “cone of uncertainty” as to how much recoverable oil is left in the ground. The general consensus it that there is approximately one trillion barrels left. I think there is less because I believe OPEC reserves are vastly overstated, but that is another story. Anyway the cone of uncertainty extends from about 650 billion barrels on the low side to perhaps 1.5 trillion barrels of conventional oil on the high side.

The point is, that to say no one knows whether our oil reserves are so large that we may never run out of oil is something only an economist could believe.

Ron Patterson

We can actually say, with a very high degree of certainty, what the upper bound happens to be (overlooking the obvious physics/gravity issues and the atmospheric issues as well).

The maximum volume could be no larger than that contained by a slightly oblate spheroid that is approximately 7900 miles in diameter at the poles and 7920 at the equator. Since we have some certainty that the entire Earth is not made up of oil (or fossil fuels) the estimate would be considerably less.

If you want a really interesting exercise, ignore peaking characteristics, assume the entire planet is nothin but fossil fuels and extend the historical exponential growth rate (~2%) into the future. Question for the economist: under these circumstances, how many years before the entire planet is consumed (try it from the inside out and watch what happens in the last couple of doubling cycles)?

Oh, it gets better. At the energy release rate, averaged over the surface of the planet, what would the average surface temperature be? Hint: the surface of the Sun would be "cold" compared to the surface of the Earth.

As I believe Hubbert once said: the only people who have worse record in predictions than petroleum engineers and geologists are economists.

Question for the economist: under these circumstances, how many years before the entire planet is consumed

We use our last "oil" in year 2424.

Plus, I show CO2 @ 400,000 ppm. When I plug that in to my sophisticated climate model, it shows a very short skiing season.

Doooh! That durned exponential again!

I get CO2 @ almost 1,000,000 ppm. Gravity is also higher, since the planet now has several Earth masses. Our planet is now a ball of solid CO2 surrounded by liquid CO2 with a thick CO2 atmosphere above it.

We will run out of oxygen long before we've made even a dent on this oil ball.

Correct. But leaving aside that, at the rate of energy consumption that surface of the planet would be something on the order of 10,000 K. As mentioned above, short skiing season indeed. Funny thing that Stefan-Boltzmann Equation.

It's threads like this that give me hope that the world hasn't gone completely insane.

Yes - I know I am deluded.

The Earth could never reach 10,000K (assuming that the heat is released near the core, which would be the case when most of the Earth is a CO2 atmosphere with a small fossil fuel core remaining). There just isn't enough thermal energy to heat up the planet to that temperature. 2,000K is more realistic, though the heat would last for a very, very long time (thousands of years while it's gaseous, and millions or billions of years once it cools sufficiently to crystallize into a giant mass of dry ice).

The Stefan-Boltzmann equation describes the equilibrium. In this case, fossil fuels would only be burned at close to the peak rate for a decade or so right before they ran out, and the Earth has too much thermal inertia to reach anywhere close to an equilibrium in that timeframe.

GOOD JOB, Starship Trooper! Very clever thought experiment and what a great rhetorical device, "assume the entire planet is nothin but fossil fuels and extend the historical exponential growth rate (~2%) into the future...". Of course that 2% takes into account the building of the fossil fuel industry FROM SCRATCH. Alvin Toffler argued this point in his book, "The Third Wave" back in 1980 when he made the case that the end of the "industrial age" was already beginning in the 1950's, as the world "pipeline" of not only fossil fuels but also factory product would not die, but that it's growth would only slow from that point forward as a newer information based structure would begin to become the area of growth. I know people who pay well more for information services per year (phone, i-net, cable TV, sat radio, information services and consulting, etc.) than they pay for direct consumption of energy. The 2% growth rate in fossil fuel consumption is almost surely over. But the rhetorical device is still excellent!


Ron -

As I'm sure you're aware this sad state of affairs is directly derived from the fact that supposed “experts” – such as our economist friend here – have no concept of geology or science in general. Then they feed their “expert analyses” garbage to an equally ignorant and apathetic public. I don’t think one in a hundred is even aware that oil occurs only in certain formation and geologic structures. Way too complicated for them to wrap their brain around.

I see this all the time working in hydrogeology – people generally have no idea that there’s not just a gigantic lake or river of water flowing under their feet at all times (once you start mentioning porosity and fracture networks, well you instantly entered into eyes glazing over territory). It is simply astounding how many developers, government officials and citizens in general I’ve worked with that just cannot understand why you can’t just drill a hole anywhere and produce huge quantities of clean, ice cold water. And if you just drill a bit deeper – well, that’s where the oil lives…

I think there is a fairly strong economic case to be made for never running out of oil.

Given Ceteris Paribus, Mutatis Mutandis the same reasoning applies to all other products and services. We can therefore make strong economic case that we will never run out of anything, including economists.

This would lead a logical person to completely dismiss all pronouncements by economists on any matters of scarcity as clearly scarcity is a logical impossibilty within the economist's frame of reference.

Ode to the Economist majoring in Geology. It goes along the same lines as the argument over at realclimate recently about the geologists take on AGW - almost identical stances.

Just have to accept that these dudes have there head buried in books that aren't geology (or possibly even reality!) based.

I'm sure they can fire me up some 3rd order imaginary calculus for breakfast which makes them pretty smart in my book but I wouldn't trust one to cook eggs and bacon. (rather unfounded jibe, I admit!)


One might make a case that the beach ball is economically inexhaustible, but that may just mean that some oil will be left but won't be accessible from a financial standpoint. Shale oil maybe inexhaustible in the sense that it will never make economic sense to process it for oil.

Anyway, the beach ball argument seems like a non sequitur.

The analogy is dumb, anyway, because we are not just one mosquito, we are an expanding species with greater and greater demands for oil.

While we are at it, why don't we just assume that the oil within the continental U.S. is inexhaustible? And why do we have to expand our search and drilling to increasingly forbidding environments. The drillers obviously think that the easy stuff is gone.

Someone on TOD a while back had an analogy for oil fields using basketballs, tennis balls, and marbles I think.

Seemed to be a much better representation than this stupid beach ball and mosquito idea...

Thank you! Thank you! I couldn't have done it with out you! You love me. You really love me!
(And the crowd goes wild!) Thank you... thank you....

Since it's the only original thought I've posted here on TOD that gets quoted/mentioned, I'm considering having it put on my headstone: "Umm... we're not sure who this guy was, but we're pretty sure he thought up that basketball/baseball/marbles analogy for finding new oil fields."



ccpo -

Well, as I remember your description got a pretty positive response when you first presented it - you just need to market it better (or at least more aggressively) :)

Sorry I couldn't remember that it was you - and worse yet that I was too lazy to search for it again.

I was just kidding, of course. Fame isn't something I aspire to, and it was hardly worthy of anything more than the attention it got. I was just in a playful mood when I wrote my response to you. It is fun to see your ideas bandied about, though, when you don't usually experience that. As a teacher, you're always bandying about someone else's.

Apology not accepted as it was never needed. Save it for a better use.



I found the lead post on Sep 1 Drumbeat, about the Mayflower problem gave me a much better view on pricing of such resources as oil where the total amounts and locations of reserves are unknown. Then how pricing changes as more information on the reserves is collected. Then WHAM at the end. Well worth the read.

cfm in Gray, ME

I read the article.

If I were a geologist I would be- well, whatever. However, since I'm not a professional geologist...

I would respectfully recommend to Professor Boudreaux (if he reads this) to read Princeton University's Professor Emeritus Kenneth Deffeyes' two books... then see if he would like to modify his article... or explain why Deffeyes is off.


IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, can TOD invite this guy (Professor Boudreaux) to a guest post to explain where and how Deffeyes' explanations are 'flawed'?

I've spent 3 & 1/2 years seriously studying this topic of PO and I aways run into people who say that Deffeyes is off, but these people are totally incapable of backing up their arguement- no, maybe they can back it up, but they have never given me the courtesy of an explanation of something they say is "obvious."

This guy made a serious claim. I, for one, want to call him on it!

I'm sure we could. Just like you could invite the President to your kid's birthday party. I kinda doubt he'd accept, though.


Would you please invite him to a guest post?
Thank you.

Sincerely and respectfully,

P.S. If he doesn't accept the invitation then I won't take him seriously either.

I can't do that. I'm just the DrumBeat editor. Get Nate and PG on the case.

How do I go about doing that?

Their profiles with contact info are on the sidebar.

editors at theoildrum dot com


njhagens {at} gmail {.} com, theoildrum@gmail.com


the oil drum at gmail dot com

Bribe them.

Offer Nate a years worth of feed for his chickens. Offer to buy PG the next coupld of RadioHead CDs.

It would be nice to get people like this to do Key Post on the oildrum on a regular basis.

It seems many intelligent people in economics are grappling with the peak oil concept for the first time and they each tend to stumble on the same concepts in their learning curve. And then we slap our foreheads in frustration and groan as we hear the same old misconceptions.

We will likely have to explain the basics over and over and over again to each "econo-skeptic" until they get it for the rest of our lives.


You're probably right. He probably didn't get to look through all the references.


I apologize for going slightly off there. I will take a break, quiet down, then write up a proposal to Nate and PG.

Thanks for the contact info.

Look at the university where Boudreaux works, George Mason U.

It has long been known that this place is full of right-wing cretins.

I never really looked into it but you can google "right wing" and "george mason university"

One such site is:

Ignorant, I wouldn't get too worked up about Boudreaux. I know just a bit about the dept. at George Mason and they a libertarian/free market department there. Think Cato Institute and you'll know where they are coming from.

You'll no more convince them of your viewpoint than they will you. Time will sort this all out.

It's not about this one person, and it's not about a difference of viewpoints. For all the time I've looked into Deffeye's conclusions I haven't been able to find one thing that contradicts his general conclusions.... But people have told me repeatedly that Deffeyes is wrong WITHOUT PROVIDING ANY EVIDENCE. I'm just sick and tired of hearing this baseless conclusion being repeated over and over. I've heard it over dinner table conversations as well as university lecture halls. If someone knows something then show me the evidence. Show me the FACTS! I'd be happy to be in an energy abundant future... really happy.

Sure, time will sort it all out, but possibly at some future person's expense who'll wonder why we (collectively) sat around in denial and never bothered to start building an infrastructure they they might desperately need just to survive.

Yeah, I need to cool down.

Have a good weekend.

I just posted the same thing a bit upthread.

My personal anecdote is that I work with a graduate of that school George Mason, and he is the only active conservative I know of many other engineers. (I heard him the other morning fawn all over Sarah Palin, yikes)

yup -- the Cato Institute and the like seem to be shallow cover -- fig leaves, really, for Reaganesque phony free marketeers. The wealthy Dems and Repubs alike have drunk the "Manifest Destiny" koolaid and dump a pile of toxic libertarian slime on the rest of the planet.

Most people I know who spend their days in the corporatist world -- it matters not whether in private or public employ -- buy into the operative myth that we will buy our way into new technology that will save our sorry asses and the only thing sacred to us -- our precious personal comforts.

Sorry folks, but I've had it with the posing and posturing of folks who keep trotting out the same old sorry political, religious, and cultural nonsense about how we are going to make it all better now.

Yup, if we just buy enough windmills, solar panels, better ethanol plants, whatever. These are all lies that keep our war economy rolling a bit longer. Weapons manufacturers profit. Some energy producers profit also, as long as they align with the right war machine for their own region. Everyone places their bets and hedges their bets.

The kids protesting on the streets in St. Paul this past week know damn well we've traded their future for a pile of toxic shit we can enjoy for a short while before we hit the wall at a high rate of speed. Hell, we know it just as well. Let's all go read Slate and then Wired and then a dose of whatever makes you feel good.

We could be minutes or maybe a decade away from stubbing our collective toe on some military mistake, industrial accident, or more likely ecological blowback which will catch us by surprise.

This "full spectrum dominance" sought by the Republicrats in the USA and by those in power in other High Places around the world is sure to do us in now that we hurl bigger and more powerful weapons.

We have such big brains, but damn, we are using them to wage war on our own habitat and upon each other. Where the Hell does that get us?

I have children and I also know and care for their friends, but I have absolutely no hope that there is a future.

The campaign for US POTUS is repulsive and only serves to reinforce the truth that we would sooner Kill Off the next generation in Iraq, Iran, "Syriana," than to look at ourselves in the mirror with any honesty at all.

Meanwhile, we contiuue the wars on the poor and the planet with increasing fervor. We do not improve our environmental awareness each year. We pollute ever more each year, even as we pursue the Kill Off strategy with more fervor each year.

Big brains, stone age emotions, medieval self-understanding, god-like technology: this means unbridled overconsumption, ruthless competition to devour resources before the others get them, and so a drive to destroy rather than to create.

I was born and raised within the religious right. My sense is that the Christofascist American narrative will be the dominant myth for the USA until we do ourselves in. This myth simply contains to many elements useful for successful manipulation of the masses to be displaced. The Dems have betrayed any authentic alternative narrative, and so must try to outdo the Repubs at the religious game that the Repubs do poorly but just well enough to retain power.

If there is a God, He/She/They had only a few rules for the USA:

1. Here is the Creation. Let it share in Democracy. Do not rape, pillage, plunder, and kill it.

2. Here are the Native Americans. Learn from them and share the Creation with them. Do not lie, cheat, steal, pillage rape, plunder, and commit genocide.

3. Here are Black people (and some others). Do not enslave them. Rather, let them share in Democracy as equals. Do not rape, plunder, pillage, or terrorize these people. Do not oppress them in any way.

4. Here are women. Let them vote and be full and equal citizens of earth with men. They are not to be owned, oppressed, rapped, plundered, or oppressed.

We pretty much failed. Our radical experiment in democracy was not nearly radical enough. At least there was some authentic effort in that direction.

Now come the consequences for us and for other nations who have failed in their own ways. Who knows what will come after the Sixth Great Extinction we have participated in bringing about?

Right now I do not see any movement for positive change. I see fury among the young who are aware of the massive crime that has been perpetrated upon them in the name of God, Secular Humanism, Progress, or whatever. This fury will increase as more young people realise that we have left them with the most violent ands toxic world we could possibly make. There is no chance of making positive change.

Genocide and slavery are the heart of our economy and culture. That only ends one way. Again: big brain, stone age emotions, medieval self-understanding, godlike technology -- all focused on war. It only ends one way.

The other thing to bear is that academics tend to prioritise stuff based on importance and deadlines. Writing a 5000 word newspaper column that you're getting paid for and which you can stick into the folder you show to a promotions committee will get high priority. He might in principle be willing to do a post at a non-peer-reviewed, non-prestigious web-site which will nevertheless be archived for eternity (so any slip ups might stay around forever), but I wouldn't be surprised if it took at least a year and repeated prompting to get written even in the best case. (I'm not kidding. I've got "important to the career" stuff that's been languishing on priority list for at least a year.)

I'm not saying he's right, but you can't really infer that from a post not appearing here soon.

Hi Ignorant.

Some suggestions.

You'd probably have more luck if you post a comment - I notice they have this feature.

You could also write to him directly, and ask him your question. (Regular post or find his email from the U website.) If your letter is short (well, not too long) and respectful, you might get an answer.

You could also write up a great article yourself. This would consist of your own views - starting with a list of people who say Deffeyes is off, perhaps include a description of one of your casual conversations and how it drives you nuts. Then, simply rebut it. Perhaps the paper would run it.

I like Martin Payne's two articles (which used to be archived on www.energybulletin.net, though not easy to find last time I tried) about "why peak oil is not easy to understand" (or something like that).

Now that I'm thinking about it, it may be Boudreaux thinks he does explain why he believes Deffeyes' explanations are flawed. (Oh dear.) He may think that's what his whole analogy addresses. He actually makes several points that could use some specific answers. Anyway...

You could also send him some of the TOD posts on HL.

You could also write to Deffeyes, send him the reference, and see if he'd be willing to write a reply (to the paper) himself.

Just trying to be helpful.

Good points. And where does an economist get off thinking he can predict geology? (And why isn't this as laughable as when geologists try to predict economics?)

This is all old hat for most of us here, but it's true that for some resources you might maintain a relatively stable supply, like easily recyclable metals. One example is copper, the substitution of fiber optics for telephone wires limited copper use. Another is aluminum where you use five times less electricity recycling it than producing the original metal. And it's also true that for some resources you can maintain a more or less stable supply of reserve by going to lower-grade ore. E.g., iron is the fourth most common element in the earth's crust, so there's a lot of possibilities for what you might use as iron ore, some are better than others.

But those things aren't oil. You can't recycle that CO2 back into hydrocarbons by using less energy, I don't care how efficient your microbes or algae are. If you go to a lower-grade ore, in this case unconventional reserves, I don't care how wonderful your in situ retorting is, nothing is easier than drilling a hole in the ground and letting the oil come up. So you might get that oil out, but hey, I can get iron out of limestone too but it's not like I'm ever going to make money doing it.

As I see it, the one cornucopian argument left is that we're going to find a substitute for oil that will make it obsolete. But where is that substitute? It certainly isn't ethanol from corn. Solar is great but PVs are expensive. Wind should be used orders of magnitude more than it is, but there are a limited number of sites available ultimately (I don't know how much potential wind power there is out there, does anyone else?). In any case, both wind and solar aren't portable energy sources, we'd need to drive electric vehicles.

Good points. And where does an economist get off thinking he can predict geology? (And why isn't this as laughable as when geologists try to predict economics?)

I'd trust a geologist's economic predictions over an economist's geologic ones, but that may be my bias to hard sciences.

Is geology a hard science? :)


Just speaking for myself, of course, it was pretty hard for me when I was in college.

Acutally we tend to define it more as a "descriptive science". That way we can avoid a lot of the math and physics courses.

hahahaha! The descriptive science part is what I was thinking of when I was asking the question. Ultimately you can't turn back the clock and see what killed the dinosaurs. It makes it a challenge to test hypotheses. In chemistry or physics, you can make a theory that explains certain phenomena and then design a test for it to see if the theory predicts the actual response. We can't do that as well with the Earth, e.g., people would get ticked off if we injected a lot of water vapor into the magma chamber of a volcano just to see if that made the eruption more explosive.

We can't do that as well with the Earth,

Why not?

My theory is that homo sapiens will burn 98% of the recoverable FF and will make the planet inhospitable to current lifeforms.

You are testing the theory.

Let me know when you get some results, I gotta go start the car.


Just based upon my history investing in the stock market this geologist might change you trust in our economic abilities.

Heh, probably better than mine.

My main gripe is that economists seem to be allergic to the concept of measuring things, and then they go around speaking as if their thought experiments are reality when they don't even have a proper map yet.

Off course we will never "run out" of oil. Oil will NOT "run out". We can always resort to some sort of vegetable oil (I do get this is about black gold).

But it is not relevant, not even worth the discussion. PO is. But it can be pretty funny bashing economists, I admit.

I produce gas and oil everyday. The oil I remove with shampoo and soap during the shower... the gas- well- who knows where that drifts off to.


I don't know whether to thank you for posting the words of such fools or beg you to stop pouring salt into our collective wounds. And I agree with Dr. Donald...there will always be oil out there as far into the future as anyone would care to forecast. When the last person on earth departs the globe there will still be 175,000 bbl of oil leaking up from the seafloor off of Santa Barbara every year. Let's hope such an irrelevant fact doesn’t prevent the economist of the world from making their optomistic predictions.

This prof is the same boob who had an item in a drumbeat two-three weeks ago that was throughly debunked and ridiculed. Many of us questioned the validity of his PhD, and for good reason it appears.

He also gives the example of finding the pistachios in a room filled with nuts and shells. You find less and less nuts as you eat them and the shells increase. The author concludes that you leave the room before finding the last nut.

I assert that you die of starvation trying to find the last nut because you haven't planted any nut trees outside the room.

I don’t know that we’re like the mosquito in scenario one — but no one knows that we’re not.

I'm surprised more people aren't assessing this in terms of risk management. Compare to an analogous statement:

"I don't know I'll avoid cancer from my 3-pack-a-day habit - but no one knows that I won't."

While true, that's an utterly nonsensical approach to analyzing risk. It's true even if the bad outcome is 99.9% likely to occur, but in such a situation it would be insane to not plan for (or plan to avoid) that outcome.

Why do economists always assume that all other branches of science are as fuzzy and uncertain as economics?

The problem, as I see it, is not that he sees physical science as uncertain, but that he's simply not handling the uncertainty correctly.

It's true that we don't know exactly how much oil is in the ground - and it's even true that we might be wrong by quite a bit - but he's making two key errors in assessing that:

  1. He's acting as if we have zero knowledge.
    In reality, we have substantial knowledge, in the form of a probability distribution. If evidence says we have 2000+/-500 Bbbl, we can say quite a bit about how much oil is there.
  2. He's acting as if only certainties matter.
    In reality, Russian Roulette is an example of where uncertain possibilities matter a great deal. In the case of oil, a distribution like 2000+/-500Bbbl means the odds of having 10,000Bbbl are quite low, and it would be wise to plan for less.

He's essentially using the old "if it's not proven 100% I can ignore it" canard, which is simply nonsense.

But “running out of oil” is not as much a question of physics as it is one of economics. And economics assures us that we will never run out of oil.

Ron - thanks for calling attention to the article. I had a different take on the authors thesis however.

Imagine a room full of pistachio nuts. You love pistachios and can eat all that you wish as long as you throw each empty shell back into the room whenever you eat a nut. You might suppose that you’ll eventually devour all of the nuts in the room. Their number, after all, is finite.

But some thought reveals this conclusion to be, well, nutty. At the start it’s easy to find pistachio shells containing nuts. The more you eat, though, the more difficult it becomes to find uneaten nuts among the increasing number of empty shells. Eventually, it will not be worth the time and effort required to search amidst the empty shells for the relatively few remaining nuts. You’ll voluntarily leave uneaten pistachios in the room.

And so it is with oil.

I don't believe that he is refuting Peak Oil he is simply saying that as oil becomes more and more expensive to extract it will eventually become economically unfeasible to extract it, therefore we will have to leave the remaining oil in the ground because it won't be worth digging up.

Sounds about right to me but what do I know? When I got to the part where he was talking about mosquitoes sucking on balloons and beach balls I was getting a head ache.


Sounds about right to me but what do I know? When I got to the part where he was talking about mosquitoes sucking on balloons and beach balls I was getting a head ache.

Joe, too bad you stopped reading when your head started to ache. Had you kept reading you would have gotten to this part:

Again, I don’t know that we’re like the mosquito in scenario one — but no one knows that we’re not. A resource physically finite might be economically inexhaustible.

The mosquito in scenario one was the one where the mosquito was sucking on an olympic-size swimming pool of blood. In other words, finite in amount but nevertheless an inexhaustible supply. And he says no one knows that this is not the case!

Does that still sound about right to you Joe?

Ron Patterson

Yeah Ron I see what you mean. Another...economist. My sister is an economist and last X-mas we had a heated argument about what I see as an end to economic growth due to Peak Oil. My argument was very basic and hers was sophisticated making esoteric references to complex theoretical models.

I think I won the argument however because in the end she copped a plea:

"But if the economy stalls my IRA will never mature."

We are all inextricably tied to this unsustainable system and end of times is something most of us would prefer to ignore or deny as long as possible. "Never underestimate the power of denial."


Dear Ron and Pitt,

Thank you.

I wish you would write this up (together) as a guest post. These two points.


Because I've heard the same argument in conversation with extremely (highly) qualified, well-educated people - and not economists, either. People who have won prizes in science and are members of...the National Academies, for eg. (I'm not joking.)

I don't know what it is about this "No one knows!" (Or. "Hard to find good data." or "No one knows exactly.") etc. argument...maybe just the corner the mind can run to when emotionally overwhelmed.

The blood analogy is quite good. Except... I'd rather explain it like this:

Even you cut a person/animal's carotid artery and have the blood spurt out in fast pace, the person will never run out of blood. This is so, because the person will be dead and his heart will stop pumping long before the "last drop" of blood leaves his body.

So yeah, I agree, we will never run out of oil.

Greatest Transfer of Wealth?

I am confused. Could some one help me understand? I have seen and heard the Pickens Ads, and last night, the comments by Senator McCain. There seems to be this theme of "The GREATEST Transfer of WEALTH in HISTORY!!!" I don't get it. Where is this transfer occurring? In the US, when we import Oil, don't we pay for it? I assume that we pay the general going rate. So If one were to assume the value of a dollar is real, then for every dollar exchanged, don't we receive an equivalent value in some amount of oil? Don't we value that oil at least as much as we value the dollar we exchange for it? If this is an even exchange, how is it that Wealth is "TRANSFERRED"? It seems to me that this is an emotional argument to arose passion and distorted to appear that the equation is one sided, that this transfer is one way.

I could argue that in fact we are getting Oil for the exchange of a Fiat currency which has no fundamental intrinsic value other than a mutual agreement and trust in the Government. We are getting something real, physical and tangible for something less than real. This transfer of wealth seems to be a ponzi scheme which the US is winning, so what are we complaining about? Could someone kindly help me understand where I am wrong?



The burgeoning coffers of many OPEC countries and Russia are buying up corportate.........US and Europe.

Thanks for the response Marcos. And yet, with their new found "wealth", which they received by selling to us a product we wanted and valued as equivalent for their exchange, they now buy corporations or interests in corporations. The corporations or markets are selling shares for some value which they perceive to equivalent for the dollars they receive?. They sell and get paid don't they? Is it not an even transaction? I am still confused...

But now those corporations are partly owned by said "Evil" (British press quip!) Russians and ME who derive part of the profit for themselves.

Yes, we got value for our money. However, after we've burned the oil, it is gone. The Russians/Saudis/whomever still have our money (at least until it is gone too, from inflation or default).

Now, if we had used that oil to create wealth, then your point would be valid. However, burning that oil in an SUV while taking your kid to soccer practice isn't creating wealth. So in that case, I think it is fair to say we've transferred wealth. Even so, it is hard to escape the feeling that the problem isn't that wealth has been transferred, it is that wealth has been transferred to foreigners, and foreigners we don't much like to boot.

Yeah, but it's not the Saudi's fault that we pissed away the oil. Just like it's not our fault that they pissed away most of the money that we sent them for the oil.

We have both wasted the most valuable resource discovered in the last 150 years. We wasted it directly, they wasted it indirectly (they are beginning to catch up on the direct wasting).

The Saudi's found a keg of beer in their basement. We took a $50 bill, bought that keg of beer, and got wasted. The Saudi's took that $50 and went to a strip club. Now there will be a hangover for us, and an angry wife (their population) to deal with for the Saudis.

Great point Consumer. In an ideal world we should have cooperated more. We should have taken the keg to the strip club and gotten wasted with them. The world may end, but Boy we would have had a great time...

and now bambi* has all the loot.

is it any wonder that mogambo recently said "economy has strippers jockeying for pole position".

*bambi is a generic name for all strippers in all clubs everywhere. bambi is imaginary, but that doesnt mean that there havent been real bambi's in the past.

McCain would have been more accurate using Kunstler's "greatest misallocation of resources in human history" line. But then what would that make Arizona?

We exchange money for a commodity. The commodity gets used up immediately. The money can be stored. It's not an equal exchange in that sense. Also, it's not because they are making PROFIT of anywhere from 40% to 90%. For them, that's new wealth created in exchanging one item for a more valuable consideration. BUT, you'd have to figure in inflation, the economic gains of the oil in making things/allowing economic activity, etc. BUT, I really can't see us making 90% off the oil we import, so...


And the other way round, when the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia, UAE or Norway use those oildollars to buy assets in the US economy (bank stocks - good luck folks!), it is again seen as a transfer of wealth to these countries. The message is clear: whatever those foreigners do, buying or selling, it's always bad for us.

The message is clear: whatever those foreigners do, buying or selling, it's always bad for us.

Well, it is bad for future Americans. The owners of our economic assets (landlords, and factory owners etc.) will be overseas, and more concerned about profits than our wellbeing. Remember that song about gold in California, "All the gold in California, is in a bank in Beverly Hills in someone else's name". For 99.9% of people born in this country, that will be the reality of life. And if we want to carry picket signs to protest infront of the rich bastards home, we won't be able to take the bus, but instead will have to buy passage on a sailing ship to get there.

Having sent their fiat currency overseas to obtain oil the Americans now face the unwelcome prospect that they have to borrow back that same fiat currency in order to buy 60" LCD televisions and similar labour saving devices.

Even worse, they need borrow even more of their worthless fiat currency in order to fund the means to militarily antagonize the nasty, underhanded, godless sub-humans who engaged in this ponzi scheme in the first place.

Good point ej. Depends on how you define "wealth". Greatest exchange of currency in history for sure. But where does the wealth of the US reside? Is it in our currency or in our ability to utilize resources to produce a standard of living our folks expect if not demand out right? Without the oil imports what would be the residual “wealth” here in the US? Would we sit around that big pile of money we used to spend on imported oil and say “Boy…are we wealthy or what!!” as we sat there and stared at it? I think not. This portion of the thread brings to mind the recent complaints of a rap singer regarding the high cost of fuel for his $20 million private jet. Last year I worked in Equatorial Guinea, a small west African nation of 500,000 folks. About 99%+ of the population lives in absolute poverty despite the country selling billions of $’s of crude to the EU every week. They are seeing their only wealth, their natural resources, being exchanged with the EU and are receiving nothing in exchange. But several hundred EG of the ruling party are seeing billion’s of $’s going into their overseas accounts. We’re exchanging currency for a life style we demand. I obviously have little sympathy for winners like the rap star or others with such a slanted view.

Thanks for your comments, Rockman. I guess I am disturbed by the presentation or inferenc that we are getting nothing from the exchange. This "transfer of wealth" is a mutually agreed exchange. No one is putting a gun to our head and forcing us (although we may be doing that to them). We have in fact orchestrated our own dependency, and this is a situation of our own making. When we sell off pieces of us corporations, someone is receiving payment for that as these petro dollars flow back into the US of A. If we are just selling stuff off for hydrocarbon which we are then burning up to pollute the sky as we drive the hummer to the lake towing a camper or boat, we have voluntarily exchanged this for our lifestyle, as you point out. Obviously things need to be changed, but the fear mongering that we are facing "the greatest transfer of wealth in history" strikes me as disingenuous and intellectually dishonest.

I don't think many conservatives genuinely believe in the free market.

I think white supremacists will always seize on whatever "common-sense" proof they can find that whites are better than everyone else. That became our success at capitalism. Dark Age Euros simply claimed "our God is bigger than your God", but after that we had the cash and thus the guns to take whatever resources we wanted and bias the markets in our favor. Property and trade became the proof we were the master race. American conservatives long ago rolled up Free Enterprise, private property and tribal patriotism into one ideology: that American corporations are the living manifestation of our genetic and cultural supremacy and thus must march to world domination unless interfered with by dark-skinned socialism.

So you can see why any free-market transaction is a heavily-loaded ideological event. It must be "fair" according to white man's rules, but the white man must get the better of the transaction in the long run because he is smarter than the mud races. Yet now that America is the addled, self-destructive junkie and the Arab pushers seem to be getting further ahead (which is illusory), certain Americans are up in arms about the unfairness of it all. When our tribal elders, the corporations, are becoming part-owned by Asians and Slavs, who can we trust to defend our supremacy? Time for big government and bailouts to prevent that.

You can't apply reason to this thinking. We are better because we are better, or God said so, but we can't be dependent on the mud races for our lifestyle because we earned it with our superior intelligence and hard work.

Neoliberal "free market" capitalism actually means a market free of governmental restraints against market players enriching themselves by fraud and cheating. These restraints, enacted in the US after the Great Depression, were systematically dismantled under every president from Reagan onward. I am reading "The Shock Doctrine" right now, and it's an eye-opener.

We are in the midst of the greatest transfer of wealth. McCain and Obama would like you to think your money is going to the swarthy arabs and evil Russians, but that's not where it's going. It's largely the wealthy that are picking the pockets of everyone else.

The economy has polarized to the point where the wealthiest 10% now own 85% of the nation’s wealth. Never before have the bottom 90% been so highly indebted, so dependent on the wealthy. From their point of view, their power has exceeded that of any time in which economic statistics have been kept. [more at Chris Floyd]

The transfer is real. But it's not strictly oil money. It's housing money, pensions, health care, infrastructure and resources and commodities of every kind. Oil is only a piece of the picture.

cfm in Gray, ME

...we are getting Oil for the exchange of a Fiat currency which has no fundamental intrinsic value...

Excellent point ej. I believe that a majority of the readers on the Oil Drum have come to the realization that energy, particularly oil, has been the driver of our world economy for the last 100 years.

Technology has been intrinsically tied to the exploitation of this single resource. Those nations that exploited this resource early have seen their economies grow exponentially as a result. With the decline of affordable oil so will the economies of industrial nations.

Very simple really, but why is it so hard to understand?

"We will achieve energy Independence" McCain/Obama. As I watch this current election cycle "the bullshit is so deep you need a helicopter to fly above it".

Boondoggles to the Rescue.


We value the oil we buy. But then we burn it.
the wealth we transfer (the money) isnt burned.

In the long run the dollars we trade for oil will become less valuable while the oil left in the ground becomes more valuable. That is why I oppose the Drain America First plan so many politicians love.

CAIRO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Egypt and Ukraine are negotiating a gas-for-wheat trade deal, Egypt's state news agency said on Friday, quoting a Ukrainian diplomat.
"The governments of the two countries are negotiating now to reach a deal to exchange Ukrainian wheat for Egyptian natural gas which will be exported through a pipeline which passes through Syria and Turkey to the Balkans," MENA quoted Valerie Grygorash, head of Ukraine's trade delegation in Egypt, as saying.


Only a day ago DB had a report of Egypt unable to fulfill Israeli contracts due to a lack of supply.
The prior report did not mention that the lack of supply was due to trading the same supply to Ukraine for food.

Hello TODers,

The NHC five day forecast for Hurricane Ike doesn't look good for South Florida, but it may still be too early to draw a firm conclusion on this track. If the FL gas-stations can manually pedal-pump fuel during a blackout period, and the Floridians know about this option: it might reduce hoarding tendencies, price gouging, and the wasteful driving past ten or twenty gas stations to find the gas station that has electro-juice to power their pumps.


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

Florida gasoline stations along evacuation routes have to generator backup power. New law passed in 06:


The state also polls gasoline stations if a hurricane is approaching, to ensure that they are adequately supplied for evacuations.

Anyone who has not listened to Red Cavaney address the U.S. Energy Association 2008 Energy Supply Forum should take the time to do so.

Tons of info in the USGS presentation.

It's from july so appologise if it has already been posted but it is very good, somber, a bit optamistic IMO but the demand side stats are a real worry.


"The 2008 Energy Supply Forum examines ways to meet the nation's energy needs. Panelists, drawn from the government and private industry, discuss available oil, gas and coal resources and how domestic production can be increased. U.S. Energy Association hosts the forum."

P.S. Kind of makes you feel sorry for the Oil Industry LOL!

NHC: Hurricane Ike's path may take it into the Gulf by Wednesday.

It hit some shear and dropped off 25MPH to cat 3. Jeff reckons the shear will drop off and it will hit above average (28.5C) waters soon and re-intensify. I've not linked to his blog at weather underground as he hasn't updated since yesterday early and probably due an update any time now.

The NHC track looks like it takes Ike through the gap between Florida and Cuba straight into the Gulf. If it picks up speed as indicated then there wouldn't be much in the way of land to slow it down.

If that happens, you're standard of living will change.

The comparison is to the 1926 Miami Hurricane putting the final
coup de grace on the Florida Land boom.

Power lines/poles will be down from Lafayette to

We do not have the infrastructure to get that up
in days.

If that happens, you're standard of living will change.

Here we go again.....

"We" never left.

You keep coming back.

Because that's the only way any of us can "go again."

You can ignore NOLA all you want, but 700 000 still have no electricity.

And "we" never recovered from Katrina. And Gustav's damage to the grid
is at least as bad as Katrina's.

Right now every power truck in LA on loan from anywhere in the Mid Atlantic is
packing up and moving out.

Tomorrow, if Ike stays on it's NHC track, every truck from Alabama,
Georgia and Florida will be gone.

There aren't enough poles and wires to fix everything between Lafayette
to Long Island.

Those NHC tracks had better change and fast.

We can't do Empire without electricity.

BTW-How's your 201K?

We're not quite there yet but your point is well taken. At some point a major hurricane may knock out the power grid and it will never recover due to economic collapse, supply problems, etc. ushering in Olduvai.

No electricity expected at key oil facility for weeks
Friday, September 05, 2008

byr)[615]>From staff reports

Three days after Hurricane Gustav made landfall, more than 95 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil production is still shuttered and a key hub for the offshore petroleum industry remains without power.

Gustav slammed into Port Fourchon, a hub used by more than 60 companies to service Gulf rigs and platforms, before coming ashore in Cocodrie on Monday. Port Fourchon also houses the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, a facility that receives about 12 percent of the nation's oil imports.

Director Ted Falgout said Thursday that Port Fourchon may not be able to receive power for four to six weeks. He also said storm sediment and stones displaced from a jetty may leave one of the port's channels impassable for as long as a week.


Crude went down to $106.23

The US is now on Day 5 w/o NOLA oil/gas.

James ;}

Why dont you use buried cables? As soon as the ground allows easy digging 400 to about 40 kV cables win the life cycle cost comparision with wires on poles. If remember right the cost cross over is in about 20 years and that is less then 1/3 of the investments life lenght. Wires on poles is for rocky grunds or poor thirld world economies bootstrapping their industrialization.

The French Quarter and New Orleans East are all underground feeders (HV transmission still above ground). The local utility claims several times higher costs to maintain. (I remember fire in underground conduit to major hotel, out for several weeks, electrical wires laid on closed street).

Cosmetic improvements are hardly the highest priority for infrastructure investment.


Wage-earning Americans' income had already declined in the last decade, and we didn't even have a serious recession until now. The mere act of paying back our already overwhelming debts will lower our standard of living, which is why we put it off so long. So it's just a matter of how much worse nature can make things, like dumping the Dust Bowl on top of the Depression.

Ike threatens U.S. Gulf - U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hurricane Ike may be on course toward a potentially dangerous route into the oil-producing Gulf of Mexico, a U.S. emergency official said on Friday.

Looks really impressive now on funktop IR filter.

Models seem to be coming into agreement on bringing it into GOM.

They're evacuating the Keys. Ike is expected to have a killer storm surge.

Ya...the NHC site just added a bunch of new IR flavors...Rainbow is interesting.

Ike is getting it's eye back now. Watch out...they have it as a level 4 going into GOM.


Atlantic Floater 4


Visible Image - Loop
IR AVN Image - Loop
Shortwave IR Image - Loop
IR Dvorak* Image - Loop
IR Unenhanced Image - Loop
IR JSL Image - Loop
IR RGB Image - Loop
IR Funktop Image - Loop
IR Rainbow Image - Loop
Water Vapor Image - Loop

Yes, I like the rainbow as well. Funktop enhances the cloud top temperature range more (rainbow is, obviously enough, full spectrum IR) and is apparently named after Professor Funk who devised it and not because it looks like some kind of funky Yes album cover :-)

However if you're in the path of it, it doesn't look good anyway you look at it.

And people around here are all excited because we just had a 4.2 quake. First time in seven years in Cali, I've actually felt one. But five seconds of what is that, followed by no damage, is a far cry from these storms. My brother in law got to experience Ivan a few years back (medical personal stay with the patients in the hospital). They hid in the hallways as all the windows blew out.

Just an observation..

Yesterday ccpo posted these:

Thanks BTW - quite an interesting listen.

One "prediction" was that the day after Obama's speech the market wou;d drop "as planned". The DJIA did by about 170 points (if I checked correctly).

The DJIA is down about 600 points this week durign the RNC convention.

Is the Market voting?

Maybe "they" don't like either of them.


As predicted by Ilargi and others for some time, Fannie and Freddie bite the dust. AKA, How the US Debt Doubled/Tripled in a Day.

Government may soon back troubled mortgage giants

The headline is out of date and incorrect: they've been taken over and both heads fired.

No, this is not directly PO related, but the US debt really did just go up by a multiple or two, if I'm not mistaken. 80% of mortgages in the US are now owned by the US gov't. If that doesn't scare you, nothing ever will because you've got the mental capacity of a midge.

The connection, btw, is that this marks the beginning of the huge economic problems many have been anticipating for the Oct./Sept. time period. That means demand destruction on a big, big level is ahead. THAT means PO may slip way under the radar until we actually hit the undeniable downslope, by which time it will be far too late to do anything, and there will be no way to fund it if we try.

This just reinforces the above notions:

Elliott Wave 3 down commenced

Today is a watershed day -- an Elliott Wave 3 down commenced in the EUR/JPY
The monthly ongoing MSN Money chart of FXE, FXY, VTI, VEU, and EEB shows that now with today's failure of the Freddie, Fannie, and Financial Rally together with today's unwinding of the yen carry trade, that liquidity efforts of the Fed and the Bank of Japan have failed, and that stocks are going lower. (VTI, VEU, and EEB have failed as the carry trade unwinds)

...Now, today August 7, 2008, the EUR/JPY falling to 1.684, commences an Elliot Wave 3 Down in the unwinding of the Yen Carry Trade.

The Elliott Wave 3s are the most sweeping and dramatic of all waves: they create wealth on the way up and destroy wealth on the way down. The world's currency, bond and stock wealth will now be massively destroyed; and political, cultural and interpersonal chaos will grow exponentially.

Ilargi explains:

Unwinding of the Yen Carry Trade

That said, let’s go to number one, our hands-down gold medal winner for today’s News Story of the Day. Any idea? Been paying attention?

Our No.1 is the Unwinding of the Yen Carry Trade.

Yes, that may come as a bit of a surprise to you, it’s a mostly unknown competitor after all, which is no doubt largely due to its shyness. Allow me to explain.

The Bank of Japan has for years kept its key interest rate close to zero percent... everyone with substantial assets and investments to manage, has borrowed yen at the close to zero rate, and invested the money in other countries with -often much- higher interest rates.

That is what you call free money. This has been going on for more than ten years....

What makes this much more hurtful than you might think at first glance is that the borrowed yen were not just invested, they were used to leverage investment gambles 10, 20, 60 times.

...the yen gains vs other world currencies. And all the players have to leave the casino, if only because they fear that the Bank of Japan will raise interest rates to, for instance, 2%. That is still very low, you’d say, but then you realize that interest rates due on borrowed yen would go up 300% if it happened.

...The total amount of outstanding derivatives in the world economy has reached a guesstimated $800 trillion, about 15-20 times the annual world GDP. Much of it has been financed through the yen carry trade...

Trust me this once: It’s time to check your levees.

Oh, and in terms of collapse? Well, hang on...


Said by ccpo
... Fannie and Freddie bite the dust. AKA, How the US Debt Doubled/Tripled in a Day.
Government may soon back troubled mortgage giants

The article states that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee $5 trillion in mortgages while the U.S. Federal debt is currently $9.7 trillion. Even if all of the insured mortgages fail (highly unlikely), it would only increase the debt by 52%, a far cry from doubling or tripling. The idiots in the Executive Branch and Congress could probably find a way to turn 52% into 300%, but I expect this to cost tax payers around $1 trillion after the subprime and Alt-A loans fail. I am thinking 10% to 20% of mortgages will fail.

Concern has been growing that a government rescue of Fannie and Freddie could not only wipe out common stockholders, but also be costly for scores of investment, banking and insurance companies that hold billions of dollars in their preferred shares.

Paulson has been in contact in recent weeks with foreign governments that hold billions of dollars of Fannie and Freddie debt to reassure them that the United States recognizes the importance of the two companies.

The bailout is about protecting foreigners, who bought the mortgages, at the expense of shareholders and U.S. tax payers. Congress is desperate to keep borrowing with low interest rates. All the wrong decisions are being made.

The article states that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee $5 trillion in mortgages while the U.S. Federal debt is currently $9.7 trillion. Even if all of the insured mortgages fail (highly unlikely), it would only increase the debt by 52%, a far cry from doubling or tripling.

Yeah, I was going off of memory. Oops. That said, the number may still be right when you factor in wider issues... For example, these are just the mortgages. The interest on that debt will almost certainly run double or triple that...

If I run across what was nibbling at the back of my mind, I'll post.


The bailout is about protecting foreigners, who bought the mortgages, at the expense of shareholders and U.S. tax payers. Congress is desperate to keep borrowing with low interest rates. All the wrong decisions are being made.

Assuming you are right it would still make sense as an assurance to foreigners that it is safe to trade with USA and invest in USA and you need trade and investments.

A response to the "We'll never run out of oil" argument:

It is true, we will never run out of oil. And my truck will most likely never run out of gas. Because no matter what happens, I am most likely not going to drive it until it runs dry. Even if I'm broke and can't afford gas, I still won't drive it till it's empty. I will save the last little bit of gas for an absolute emergency. But even though there will still be gas in my tank, I will be able to say, honestly, that I "have no gas". How many times have you heard someone say they don't have gas, even though they surely do have at least a few gallons in their tank?! We all know why we say we have no gas when in fact we do!

I am sure the world will respond in a similar way as its energy tank nears empty. Gas will get more and more expensive until people only use it when the incredible amount of work that it can do will be put to good use.

Yeah. Who the "we" is twists the question.

The planet will never run out of oil. OK.

We humans won't have any oil to use in any significant quantity, so yeah, while "we" won't be out of oil technically, there just won't be volume enough for more than incidental use. Sort of like Maine shrimp - not a big enough and constant enough supply so no big market will carry it; therefore there is a glut locally. [Which is just fine for me.]

And "we" as individuals will certainly run out. Using your commonsense language, I'd argue that we are "running out" now. Saying "We'll never run out of oil" is nonsense. We will never run out of money, either. Yeesh.

cfm in Gray, ME

Today's www.AutoblogGreen.com has an article about Germany's plan to install 500 electric charging stations in Berlin for the new Smart EVs.

One of the TOD readers has e-mailed some of the TOD staff about getting a better handle on how much oil we can really recover from outer continental shelf (OCS). I think this is an important topic, that we should examine as best we can. This is what MMS is currently forecasting as technically recoverable on the OCS:

We have various reports, and know that the recent MMS reports are much more optimistic than the older ones. The Gulf of Mexico is the big area where MMS is expecting huge increases in production if additonal leasing is done-- amounts along the coasts are much smaller. I am wondering whether readers might have anything also to contribute which might show how optimistic current assessments are -- for example maps of what has been leased in the GOM, what is yet to be leased under current leasing plans GOM, and what new legislation would affect with respect to leasing in GOM. It seems like even comparing square miles in the three areas would point out the rediculousness of the recent forecasts.

Water depth may be another variable. If much of the yet-to-be leased is at problematic water depths, this could affect how economic recoveries are, whether or not oil is present.

This is a assessment brochure MMS put out in 2006. This is a related 2006 report to Congress. This is MMS's 1995 report, which is much more complete, and much less optimistic.

I have heard Matt Simmons say that he recommended long ago that a siesmic study of the OCS should at least be conducted. If that has never been done...how does the MMS come up with these numbers? I don't understand thier play-based methodology being the layman that I am. Won't the siesmic study need to be conducted to really understand what really may be there in the OCS?

I find this increase rather strange, in the 1995 assessment (MMS 1995) the USGS was clearly an outlier among other assessments (the chart below is for the Gulf of Mexico OCS only):

and now suddenly, the MMS agrees with the USGS.

It's due to an infectious disease--EPS (Election Proximity Syndrome)

While the lack of onshore production does not eliminate the possibility of offshore production, I would point out that there is minimal onshore production along the Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine, and California certainly has some commercial production, but you have to look at the entire Pacific Coast, from the SW corner of California to the NW corner of Washington State.

Then compare the GOM offshore production to the onshore Gulf Coast production.

Click on the four coastal regions on the following map, for onshore producing areas:


And a continuing reminder about Hubbert's original 1956 work. He found that a 50 Gb increase in projected Lower 48 recoverable reserves (from 150 Gb to 200 Gb) extended the projected peak by all of five years. As you know--but most people outside Peak Oil circles don't seem to know--it tends to be difficult to maintain an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base, but that is exactly what the conventional wisdom operating assumption is, i.e., the "solution" is to accelerate our rate of consumption of a finite resource base.

True WT. But then there isn't much onshore production along the Brazil coast or the rim of the N Sea. That's the great thing about O&G exploration: you can predict as little or as much reserves as you like. No one can prove you're wrong until they drill a bunch of holes.

And, yes, I still don't like exploration geologists...USGS or otherwise.

Of course "there isn't much" doesn't mean none. I believe that both Brazil and the UK have onshore oil production, and so far in the US the offshore production occurs where we have onshore production, but as I said, the absence of onshore coastal production does not necessarily preclude the possibility of offshore production, but it's certainly not encouraging.

i believe deffeyes has made mention of, a theory at least, that a hot spot (similar to a shield volcano) has been passed over by the na continent, resulting in a swath of high temp oil generating rock running from the arctic to the east coast of the us and canada that may have resulted in a lot of oil and gas entraped.

the developement of oil and gas on and offshore newfoundland and nova scotia offer some encouragement to the ocs.

but in reality, isnt the usgs estimate just a wag ?

The Center for Economic and Policy Research has produced a PDF paper Oil Drilling in Environmentally Sensitive Areas: The Role of the Media, which should be of some interest.

However, there is no empirical basis for believing that drilling in environmentally sensitive offshore zones would significantly affect gas prices. The U.S. Department of Energy’s
Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects that such drilling would add some 200,000 barrels of oil per day at peak production in about 20 years. This is about 0.2 percent of world production, and the EIA describes this as too small to have any significant effect on oil prices.

How did 51 percent of Americans come to believe the opposite, that this drilling would
significantly lower gasoline prices? This paper looks at the major media coverage of the
issues, and finds that this coverage played a substantial role in shaping public opinion. By
repeatedly reporting the false claims of drilling proponents, while giving little or no attention
to the available facts, the most important news media helped to convince the public of something that is not true, and thereby influenced the entire political climate around this issue.

Connected Dots

Peak Oil and Media

The failure of the media to educate the public about the basic facts of oil depletion allows pandering politicians to blame others for rising gas prices and focus attention on the distraction of where we should (or should not) be drilling for oil instead of how is our fossil fuel dependent society going to cope with the end of cheap oil.

The 2008 Presidential contest features two flavors of nonsense about energy from John McCain and Barack Obama - neither mention Peak Oil in their distracting sound bites about how much to drill in the US (a place that peaked nearly four decades ago). Even independent candidate Ralph Nader claims that more refineries need to be built to lower oil prices, although oil companies will not invest in facilities to process oil that does not exist (the only new refineries likely to be built in the US will be for "unconventional" oil from heavy "sour" oil, tar sands, coal to liquids and other gunk not otherwise usable in cars and trucks and planes).


Offshore Drilling on a Swift Boat: why geology is more important than the politics of blame

How low can we go...


Just the tip of the iceberg, wait until they see oil consumption a few years out...they better start taxing something like tires or roadside slurpies...you ain't seen nothin' yet...:-)


There was a glaring omission from the Bloomberg and CNN stories about the need for $8 Billion for the Highway Fund. The stories say expenditures are up because of increased costs and revenues are down because fewer gallons of gas are being sold. Given the headlines of stories why don't the reporters say how much revenue is down because of fewer sales? They call the drop off "precipitous"! Is it half a percent? ten percent? Wouldn't looking at this information re gas tax receipts be an excellent way to determine exactly how much driving has been reduced as a result of higher gas prices (rather than relying on credit card company news releases)? Is the hype about greatly reduced driving true?

As a class, reporters are either duplicitous or morons.

AmEcon - you are right. The drop in miles is a canard.

Taking numbers from the CNN article, the fund took in $38.8 billion in 2007, and it was stated that roughly 90% came from the gas tax. That means about $34.9 billion from the gas tax, and at $0.18 per gallon, about 194 billion gallons. Taking 14 mpg as an average, that is 2716 billion miles driven.

A drop of 53 billion miles driven (since last Nov, but that is close to the fiscal year for the fund, so I will use it as the full year amount) is around 2%


Adjusting for lower average mileage or other things, probably at most 4%. THIS IS NOT THE PROBLEM. A drop of 4% on last year's gas tax revenue is around $1.4 billion. If the $8 billion shortfall were due solely to less miles driven, it would have to be a drop of around 22%, or closer to 600 billion less miles driven rather than 53 billion....

The real crime is taking the fund with an $8 BILLION balance on Oct 1 2007, and then spending like drunken sailors so that the balance is ZERO mid-Sep 2008. Negligence of the first order. (edit: remove wrong number here)

Either cut back on the payouts, or double the gas tax.

If the infrastructure REALLY requires that much money, it is too expensive to maintain in its current form. What I want answered is why expenditures had to go up so much THIS year. It wasn't just because the bridge in MN that collapsed - unless that spawned a huge bridge repair program that is responsible for this year's spending....

It wasn't just because the bridge in MN that
collapsed - unless that spawned a huge bridge repair program that is responsible for this year's spending....

That could well be. IME, a catastrophic failure that results in fatalities means states immediately spend more money. They inspect all the bridges that may be similarly vulnerable, and this usually means hiring people and buying equipment. This is before any actual maintenance or repairs are done.

However, I suspect two other factors, which are more interesting. One, they were expecting an increase. So a decrease is kind of a double whammy. The population is growing, by about three million people a year. That's three million more people driving on the roads and paying taxes. So they expect more fuel tax revenue each year.

Instead, there was less. Maybe they should have expected it, but they didn't. They never do. Remember, budgets are political, and it's a lot easier to assume growth than to cut projects. And 4% is not insignificant. Think about what a 4% drop in your income would do to your family budget...especially if you were expecting a 3% raise instead.

The second factor is that the price of raw materials has skyrocketed. Asphalt, steel, etc., has tripled in price in some places. There are actual asphalt shortages. It's not like you can stop a project halfway through, just because the price of raw materials has jumped. Once you've ripped up the old pavement, you have put down the new, no matter how expensive it is.

That said, I think state budgets are headed for a disaster. They are spending their rainy day funds to avoid raising taxes, as well as borrowing against future income. If things aren't better next year (and I don't think they will be), they will be seriously screwed.

This is one reason I've not just rushed off to my post peak hidey hole besides wanting to pay cash and waiting for prices to drop. I also want to see which government is bankrupt. California is obviously DOA.

But I'm also concerned about state and local government it will take a year or two to see who is going to be responsible and who will/is not.

Expect a massive wave of defaults to come on local then state bonds in the very near future.

Regardless of how good a location looks from the geographical perspective I don't plan to try to live with a bankrupt local government or state for that matter.

Hi memmel,

Good points, as always.

re: "I don't plan to try to live with a bankrupt local government or state for that matter."

Qs - along the lines of:

1) The thing is - how can any local or state avoid bankruptcy?

2) Is it only a matter of time?

3) Can any of them avoid bankruptcy w/out addressing "peak oil"? (And who is going to tell them?)

4) How can any of them be responsible?

As of last year, the fund was projected to run out by 2009. Seems like it happened a few months earlier, at least in part due to low gasoline demand.

Abundance in Non conventional NG in the US is similar to the abundance of the sun. Both are abundant, but both are too costly do develop. Shale NG is a snowballsystem. You have to drill ever more to keep up with the hefty declines.

The latest COT NG chart reveals the Large Specs are really gunning for gas and are now way out on a limb having built up a massive short position. This is balanced by a now big Commercial long position. As we know from experience that the Commercials always end up walking off with the pie, and the Large Specs, who are usually incompetants working for institutions and are thus not accountable for their actions or rather their consequences, are invariably wrong, it is reasonable to deduce that gas is now close to a major reversal to the upside

Why are commercials this huge amount long NG? Because it is so abundant.

It is very likely that the record non-commercial short NG position is because some large institutional traders were reclassified from commercial to non-commercial earlier this year. This is explained in the July 18 special announcement from the CFTC. This was part of the whole "speculator" investigation. The commercial long position is actually smaller than has been typical for the past two years. I'm not sure what to think of the COT for NG now but I don't think it's really bullish.

So, does anyone want to take a swing on what next weeks TWIP will look like? I'll assume that lost GOM production and delayed crude imports will roughly be offset by decreased refinery utilization, so maybe crude stocks are flat or down a little. On the product side, however, is there any way we don't see 10MM+ decrease in product stocks?

If the pipelines run short, so people have to go without, then the inventory could be higher. It will be the consumer that is shortchanged, instead of inventory.

Doesn't really help--just shifts the problem over one.

Kunstler would love this article...


With homeowner in doghouse, bobcats move in

With real estate values plummeting and foreclosed homes sitting empty, a family of bobcats apparently decided the time was right to pounce. So last week, they slipped out of the parched foothills of Lake Elsinore and into a spacious, vacant home in well-groomed Tuscany Hills. Residents of the development got their first look Aug. 27 when the feline squatters -- at least two adults and three kittens -- lolled atop a wall outside the Spanish-style house. "They usually look for a food and water source, and there is an old koi pond in the backyard and that's where they are headed."

Asia imports coal
This is happening faster than earlier envisaged. If India, Indonesia, Vietnam and China all become coal importers how will the gap be filled? As South Africa's exports are in decline that basically leaves Australia and the US as the last remaining coal exporters. See also
which suggests a global slowdown due to shortages of coal not oil.

carbon trading watered down
Who'd a thunk? Note Gail the Actuary predicted this for the US. However Australia said 25-40% cuts by 2020 now it's 10% and that doesn't include the likely giveaways and exemptions.

If global emissions slow it will be due to recession and high priced fuels not deliberative action.

Just a reminder that the Energy Export Databrowser lets users display production/consumption export/import trends for coal as well as for oil & gas. These trends have some interesting stories to tell.

Who, for example, can tell me why Pakistan's consumption curve is shaped the way it is?

Romania is another example with an interesting story that is described well here.

One of the take home messages from examining these charts is that political factors (including revolution) can have a huge impact on the production and consumption of natural resources.

Happy Exploring!

-- Jon

In regards to the nuclear renaissance article:

China has increased its 2020 target for nuclear power to 70GW instead of 60GW

Plus the 2030 target is 250GW.

There will soon be
ten or more companies that can make large nuclear forgings

Japan Steel Works, Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Russia's OMZ Izhora facility already can make them.

Chinese firms Harbin Boiler Works, Dongfang Boiler Group and Shanghai Electric Group are preparing to enter the very large forgings market, and Larsen & Toubro in India is looking to export. France's Areva is installing larger forging capacity at Le Creusot. UK's Sheffield Forgemasters is considering upgrading capacity.

Westinghouse AP1000 module factories was completed in China and new plants will be going up all over the world.

Helping China to hits target of 100 AP1000 reactors by 2020 (built or being completed).

China's Sanmen AP1000 reactor project is running 67 days ahead of schedule

Nuclear power will probably be added faster than wind power but both will help displace coal and fossil fuels.

The expected nuclear reactor completions from now until 2013
3 more nuclear reactors are starting up in 2008
7 reactors in 2009 (5200MW)
7 reactors in 2010 (5200MW)
7 reactors in 2011 (6600MW)
9 reactors in 2012 (9075MW)
16 reactors in 2013 (17120 MW)
This includes Watts Bar 2, 1180 MWe reactor is expected to come on line in 2013

47+ GW added by 2013.
350+ TWh by 2013

The USA will be adding about 2 GW of power via uprates over the next 4 years.

MIT annular fuel technology can uprate existing reactors by 50%. Westinghouse is working on commercialization and this can be deployed before 2020.

Over 2008-10 EdF (France) plans to uprate five of its 900 MWe reactors by 3% [135Mwe, 1.1TWh/yr]. Then in 2007 EdF announced that the twenty 1300 MWe reactors would be uprated some 7% from 2015 [1820MWe], within existing licence limits, and adding about 15 TWh/yr to output.

Spain has a program to add 810 MWe (11%) to its nuclear capacity through upgrading its nine reactors by up to 13%.

New nuclear 200+ GW by 2020
1500+ TWh

The EU wind target for 2020 is 477 TWh/year. This is not based on committed projects as in the case of nuclear power but on hoped for build based on desired policy changes. Multiply this by 3 times to add possible USA, Canada, and China wind power and is 1430 TWh/year which is less than the 1500TWh for nuclear power. So nuclear power is on track based on existing projects to be adding more TWh than optimistic wind assumptions and targets by 2020.

MIT annular fuel technology can uprate existing reactors by 50%. Westinghouse is working on commercialization and this can be deployed before 2020

I have serious safety concerns about this tech and seriously doubt if it will ever be deployed.

Supercharge a reactor by providing external cooling but also interior cooling through a doughnut hole of several mm. Any obstruction of that doughnut invites meltdown.

Besides, the other parts of the reactor will have to be scrapped and new ones built. steam turbine, generators, pumps, transformers, bus bars, etc. etc.

Your optimistic schedule totally ignores the BAU of the nuke building industry of delays, cost overruns and canceled reactors.

Unlike nukes, wind can go from concept to generation in 30 months, so your "cut" about "proposed wind" is ill conceived. I truly hope that more wind than nuke is built, because I am sure that your projected schedule will not come on-line on time. There is no good reason that the USA could not install twice, or three times, as much wind as you propose.

Best Hopes for Safe, Economical Build Rates for Nukes and a Mad Rush for Wind,


The 477 Twh target for Europe in 2020 is by the European Wind Energy Conference. Not my projection, but what they hope to achieve if the breaks that they want happen.

The 2007 Global wind energy report (72 pages). It was published March 2008.

By 2020, the overall German onshore capacity could be at 45,000 MW, assuming an optimal use of sites and no general height restrictions for turbines [ie everything goes the wind industry way], with an additional 10,000MW offshore. This would account for about 25% of German electricity consumption, or about 150 TWh/year.

The American Wind Energy Association plan for 20% wind by 2030

The AWEA target for 2020 is 150 GW of installed wind power in the United States that would generate about 390 TWh if the wind association plan is adopted and followed. This would be up from 20GW of wind in the USA now that will generate 48 TWh.

If it is so easy to make more wind than why don't the wind energy associations in the USA and Europe think so in their high targets ?

Wind needs to have the turbine factories and the component factories built.

The wind targets I pulled from the various wind associations in europe and the united states. The caveats are from those associations. They think the levels can only be achieved if policy things go the way they have suggested. I am saying OK get the changes and hit the targets and they still end up less before including the Westinghouse uprate.

Reactors that use the annular fuel can operate at 700 °C—less than half of the 1800 °C required for conventional fuel. This takes the reactor temperature much farther away from the 2840 ° C at which meltdowns can occur. The temperature is so much lower because the doughnut shape enables heat to flow in two directions and the surface-area-to-volume ratio is about 60% higher.

Hejzlar says that utilities in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea have expressed interest in his design. I expect it to be implemented in Japan, South Korea and China first.



ANS > Publications > Journals > Nuclear Technology > Volume 160
Safety Analysis of High-Power-Density Annular Fuel for PWRs

Volume 160 · Number 1 · October 2007 · Pages 45-62
Technical Paper · Annular Fuel

Dandong Feng, Paolo Morra, Ramu Sundaram, Won-Jae Lee, Pradip Saha, Pavel Hejzlar, Mujid S. Kazimi

This paper assesses the performance of internally and externally cooled annular fuel in a four-loop pressurized water reactor during a variety of transients and accidents, namely, the loss of flow accident (LOFA), main steam line break (MSLB), large break loss of coolant accident (LBLOCA), and rod ejection accident (REA). The RELAP5 code was the primary vehicle for these analyses, although the VIPRE code was also used to calculate the minimum departure from nucleate boiling ratio (MDNBR) for LOFA and MSLB transients based on the RELAP5 results. It has been found that the MDNBR for the annular fuel at 150% power was higher than the MDNBR value for the reference solid fuel at 100% power for LOFA and MSLB. For LBLOCA analysis, the RELAP5-3D code was applied twice since the code has a constraint on the reflood model, which can be applied to only one cooling surface (either the inner channel or the outer channel). The analysis, with the reflood model applied to the outer channel, showed that using the standard size (100%) accumulator but with an increased (150%) safety injection flow rate, the peak cladding temperature (PCT) for the annular fuel at 150% power would be ~1200 K (927°C). This is ~150°C higher than the PCT for the solid fuel at 100% power but 277°C lower than the regulatory limit of 1204°C. When the reflood model is applied to the inner channel, the PCT would be limited to 1100 K (827°C), which is only 50°C higher than the PCT for the solid fuel at 100% power and 377°C lower than the regulatory limit of 1204°C. The calculated fuel temperatures and enthalpies during the REA have been found to be much smaller for the annular fuel, even at 150% power, compared to that for the solid fuel at 100% power. These analyses indicate that the new internally and externally cooled annular fuel can accommodate 50% power uprate in a PWR and still maintain adequate safety margins for a variety of transients and accidents including LOFA, MSLB, LBLOCA, and REA.

If you increase the energy density by 50% and then block one of the two cooling paths (the annular interior cooling) by a small flake, then the temperature in that fuel bundle would skyrocket and quite likely melt. A melted fuel bundle can then affect the neighboring fuel bundles (more blocking particles, jam control rods, etc.)

Your jargon filled analysis apparently assumed a total loos of coolant (and assumed scram) and reflood. I am assuming an unnoticed blockage of a single (or two) fuel bundles and continued normal operation as that fuel bundle melts and affects other fuel bundles.

Increase energy density by 50% and keep cooling the same (exterior only) WILL increase fuel bundle temperatures despite the wrong headed "analysis" you quote. Ask the question, get the wrong answer. Too much history of that in the nuke industry.

I am QUITE concerned about the safety of this one !

Plus much (most ?) of the entire nuclear power plant has to be scrapped and built new for a 50% uprate. For 25+ year old reactors ?

As for the Toshiba-Westinghouse projections, I remember the same projections circa early 1980s. Over 1/3rd (40%) of US electricity from identified nuke projects,. Canceled, canceled, canceled.

The AWEA is too conservative. The USA could install FAR more wind. Apply the same effort being app[lied to tar sands and 40% compounded annual growth slowing to 33% after a few years is possible and desirable. (unlike similar growth rates for nukes).

Best Hopes for safe, economical build rates for new nukes and a Rush for Wind,


The analysis was from a peer reviewed journal. The original data and analysis was from actual test reactor work at MIT. So you counter actual science with a speculated fear that you have which has nothing behind it. Find something or someone who will list this flake theory as something as a potential issue. The reactors are never not monitored. The deployment plan is to substitute some rods with the annular fuel cylinders. This also means that partial uprates can be performed. 2 to 50%. So whatever makes the most economic sense. The 25 year old reactors are going to be kept operating for 35 years to 60 year or more operating lives.

We will see if projects are canceled this time. So far the amount of projects are just increasing.

I do not mind more wind being installed, I just don't think it is going to happen. Unless there is a successful tech shift to kitegen wind systems. Lighter (more efficient with material), access stronger and more steady winds at higher altitude.

Where is the supply chain analysis of what has to happen to achieve the growth in wind that you are pulling out of your arse ? I am pointing to projects that are being built, government and corporate declared efforts, tens of millions or billions being spent. So you have nothing to substantiate your wind targets but hopes and wishes, while my nuclear projection has substance and facts and actual work which you try to dismiss with a speculated repeat of the 70's/80s. No justification

T Boone Pickens is spending $10 billion to have 4GW of wind going in 2014.

$300 billion is going into the oilsands, which if all projects proceed would deliver 6 million barrels of oil in 2027.


This EWEA (euro wind energy Association)document is only looking at getting about 50% growth from 2007 to 2010. It looks at the lagging supply chain and the dependence on production tax credits.

Blades increasing to provide 30GW per year in 2010.
Gearboxes - it can take several years to tool up and test for a new turbine design
large bearings
electric generators
forged items

Suppliers of parts complain that "manufacturers are shopping around and looking for the best price and then complaining that there is a shortage. We can't expand our business based on speculation". Many companies are building factories in China to meet Asian demand so that European factories can just supply Europe.

So the 40% growth for several years would mean a 1000% increase by 2015. Where is the expansion in factories and entry of new companies that is needed to make that happen ? 275% more by 2011 ?

40% growth for wind ?
2008 48
2009 67
2010 94
2011 132
2012 184
2013 258
2014 361
2015 506
2016 708
2017 992
2018 1388
2019 1944

In 2008, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas approved a plan to build transmission lines to carry up to 18,456 megawatts (MW) of wind power from West Texas and the Texas Panhandle to metropolitan areas of the state. The PUC estimates that the new lines will be in service within 4 or 5 years, at which point residential customers will be charged about $4 per month to pay off the cost of the transmission lines.


At the end of August 2008 the United States wind power installed nameplate capacity was 20,152 MW, which is enough to serve 5 million average households. $9 billion was invested in 5,329 megawatts of new U.S. wind power capacity in 2007, causing the total U.S. wind power capacity to increase by 46%.

There is the effort to get to 20% wind power by 2030.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will work with six leading wind turbine manufacturers over the next 2 years with an eye toward achieving 20% wind power in the United States by 2030. The DOE announced the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GE Energy, Siemens Power Generation, Vestas Wind Systems, Clipper Windpower, Suzlon Energy, and Gamesa Corporation. new transmission facilities under development throughout the country should allow the future development of at least another 200,000 megawatts [200GW] of wind power. Ten times now or 480 TWh. This will cost $300+ billion unless costs come down.

So how to make it happen by 2020 instead of 2030 ?
Who ?
Where ?
Supply chain ?
Transmission ?
Onshore/Offshore ?
So where are the expanded transmission line projects to match the higher wind levels in the outyears 2012-2020 ?

So where are the expanded transmission line projects to match the higher wind levels in the outyears 2012-2020 ?

Use Railroad ROWs (my TOD essay was echoed by BNSF President a couple of weeks later).


New USA nukes get the same tax incentives as wind (upper limit that has not been reached yet). No one will build an all new nuke in the USA without gov't subsidies. Wind just slows down (BAD !!) without incentives.

The new nukes listed (without a detailed review by ne) include non-financed projects without Board of Director (or equivalent) approval. A LOT of contingency planning and "national goals".

Yes, it was peer reviewed paper on the right answer to the wrong question. *SO* typical of nukes unfortunately.

Question: Four small rigid flakes obstruct four adjacent fuel rods in a single bundle. And the operator continues operation at full power. What happens ?

How to continue 40% to 33% annual growth in wind ? Enact INCREASING subsidies for the next 5 years and then continue them for seven more years at that high level with guarantees. None of this "Expire 12/31/08 and PROBABLY renew them sometime in February or March 2009".

Pay for incentives with increasing carbon taxes.

Let the market react. Unlike nukes, quality control is not ultra critical. Towers can be built out of lattice, tubular steel or concrete. I saw how Lufkin Industries ramped up pumpjack transmission production in late 1970s and Wind Turbine transmissions are comparable. 18 to 24 month delay from decision to production. The people that make gear cutters can expand production.

787 technology can be used to make lighter & stronger blades in large volume.

ALL new nukes are in prototype production or still in CAD drawings.

Wind turbines have a good production history with established designs (and yes, better on the drawing board/CAD design station).

Extend incentives to HC AC & HV DC lines and pumped storage (also good for nukes).

Nukes require VERY long lead times for EVERY thing, wind generally does not. Nukes have VERY limited supply chains, wind does not.

Nuke sites, nuke transmission lines are much more problematic than wind sites for wind transmission lines.

Best Hopes for eight new nukes completed in the USA by 2018, and ten times more GWh from new WTs than new nukes in 2018,


In my North American grid plans, I have a 90% non-GHG grid in "about" 30 years. 25% to 28% nukes, 50% to 52% wind. More new nukes are absolutely required. But they are the slow, secondary phase replacement for FF electircity.

BTW, Both Louisana nukes shut down with Gustav and they are discussing how to bring them back on-line now.


What do you project for solar (centralized thermal and distributed PV)?

7%. Concentrated solar only in USA SW and nearby areas in Mexico. Solar PV concentrated south of Tennessee-Kentucky line (except low cloud areas).

Solar PV in less than ideal locations (such as Louisiana) is not that economic. Yes, solar PV will get cheaper over time, but so can wind.

Solar PV peaks daily before demand peak, despite solar claims that they match. Reality is that they do not.

Geothermal is underrated (in the West). Using working fluids other than water (many commercial examples in last few years) allows lower grade sources to provide small plants. Extra capital can transform geothermal from base load to shoulder power (shut down from 11 PM to 6:30 AM for example).

Significant load reductions from solar hot water heating and process pre-heat.

At least 15 GW of new Canadian large hydro could be built in a dozen years. And several GW in small hydro in the USA.

Best Hopes,


Your opinion is listed.

Where is the bill that enacts your wind policy ?

Again I have a reference and actual work:


Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA)
- A RELAP5/MOD3.2 large LOCA model of 4-loop Westinghouse
plant was developed to handle both the different geometry and
the higher power components.
- LOCA analyses performed for 100% and 150% power.

Loss of Flow Accident and Main Steam Line Break [your flake issue is the loss of flow accident. All assessed and modeled]
- A RELAP5 model for MSLB and analyzed 100% and 150% case.
- A RELAP5/MOD3.2 model for LOFA and performed analyses at
100% and 150% in conjunction with VIPRE-01.

Increase dimensions (inner hole 8.6 mm, outer clad 15.4 mm)
will maintain hydraulic diameter

Annular fuel allows PWR power density to be raised by 50% within current safety limits The sintered fuel pellets appear viable with appropriate manufacturing- need lead tests Uprating is economic, depending on plant
remaining lifetime, with IRR from 20 to 27%

A Mixed Transition Core...
- yields comparable MDNBR to reference core.
- yields comparable pressure drop to reference core.
- may be allowed to raise core power by 7.5%.


2006 assessment of ultra uprate economics.
Market data suggests that in order to make the ultra-power uprate financially attractive to the utility, its cost has to be kept within the range of the following industry reference costs:
• $1200-$2200/kWe for new plant construction
• $600/kWe for Upgrade programs
• $600-$800/kWe for gas fired combined cycle plants

[New plant construction and all power generation costs are now higher, which changes the economic assessment]

The study concluded that:
• Power Ultra-Uprate 25%: Acceptable DNB margins were obtained without
replacing the pumps by increasing ΔT and lowering Thot
• Power Ultra-Uprate 50%: Sufficient DNB margin is obtained only if RCPs
are replaced and pump power is doubled

So where costs are in the $2000-6000/kWe for new plant construction increases the places where ultra uprates work economically. There are many places where medium uprates (25%) work and the 50% uprate work [economically, technical feasibility works everywhere] .

It defies common sense that one could increase energy density by 50%, continue normal operation (My guess is that loss of flow modeling includes a SCRAM) and fuel temperatures remain within existing parameters.

Was normal operation assumed ?

Was several adjacent fuel bundles blocked assumed ?

I do not have time to find just where nuke engineers went wrong (not that important, I assume that they did, see above), but I "am not buying it".

And operating nukes sell, on the open market, for less than the cost of your uprates. So why pay for a 50% uprate when one can buy 50% of an existing nuke for less ?

The Senate cannot pass an extension of existing wind tax credits (the same credits for new nukes are not at risk), where is political will for a Rush to Wind ? (and same for nukes).

Best Hopes for a Safe, Economical Build rate for nukes and A Rush for Wind,


I already said that the political will for a lot of nuclear power is in China, India, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, etc...

And that is where it is happening. the US will have some and will follow other countries. If McCain gets in then there will be more. Plus if prices for oil etc... went up then the US would react more.

If Hyperion Power Generation gets their uranium hydride reactor going in 2012-2013 which they appear likely to sell some Eastern European buyers and China gets its High Temperature reactor going 2013 then there will be some mass produced options for the US to get on board with. China will also lead with 100 AP1000 (most of which will have actaully be AP1600MW versions or bigger) by 2020 so that the US can buy later version with a lower price because of more learning curve.

"you not buying it". Good thing we do not have to run the world's projects by you for a "gut-check" opinion especially when you so quickly run out of science and just go on your beliefs. I addressed your concerns with hundreds of pages of research and experimental work and you have nothing now.

Best hopes for you to find facts and look at reality instead of your misguided gut.

$100Gb discovery coming?

Will a small tax be imposed on all paper transactions? Errr...how come there's no government sales tax on Wall Street transactions? Or, will ThePowersThatWriteOurLaws go on dodging such a distasteful act? Could pay for new wars and prisons and death ray R&D, but probably not enough for universal healthcare.

And btw, war can be viewed as the consequence of the "exclusion of others".

Dirty Little Secret posted upstream has me confused.

The future well-being of the planet depends on our reduction of fossil-fuel emissions. On the other hand, the future well-being of much of humanity depends on our continued use of fossil fuels.

Are these issues mutually exclusive?

Back in the early 60's The Ed Sullivan Show between big acts would send a plate juggler out. This guy would try and get as many plates spinning on thin poles as he could, all the time with this unnerving background music. I always looked forward to the moment when he reached Peak Plate and the whole thing came crashing down.

The author is implying that the health of the planet is nothing more than collateral damage while we attempt to keep all these economic plates spinning. Does this guy live on a different planet? Is healthy air and clean water nothing more than commodities?

We have outbreaks of E-Coli in the U.S. because water starved areas in Mexico use grey water to raise crops that are shipped across the border (a gift of global corporatism) so obese Americans can keep ourselves over-fed cheaply. First world citizens worry 3rd worlders might pose a threat to the continuation of BAU(they do) by cutting down rain forests and denuding environments in their desperation to feed themselves. We talk about cap and trade systems which are a distraction. How about a fair distribution of resources and humane population control? Is it morally preferable to allow Uncle Malthus to thin the populations of the worlds' poor rather than Nazi extermination camps?

"In 10 years, India and China will need 17 million bbl. a day, and that's more than Saudi Arabia's annual production," he says. "There's just a lot more coal reserves than oil reserves."

Due to the abundance of coal in nations such as China, South Africa and the U.S., economies will ramp up clean coal when the cheap availability of oil passes. Extrapolating into the future it is clear that we'll run out of oxygenated air to breathe and clean water to drink long before we run out of fuel to burn.

The sooner we reach Peak Plate the better. Rant Off!


Thought some of you folks would find this heartening.
This guy says he has no experience with tools or mechanics and he built this bike. He built it cheap, which appeals to me. Only lacks squirrel's tails on the handle bars IMO.


I have been following the development of hybrid / electric vehicles and a few developments caught my attention.

Firstly Citroen seem to be looking at a 4 wheel drive system with the rear wheels driven by electric and a diesel engine driving the front wheels. This set up looks to have good potential for converting existing front wheel drive vehicles by adding electric drive to the rear axle, or replacing the rear wheels with in wheel motors.


Mazda is going for a volt style electric with wankel engine range extender, with is pretty clever IMO as the wankel has good power to weight/size ratio and while it is thirsty when used as a main engine it is ideally suited to run at fixed high speed charging batteries and could eventually run on natural or bio gas.


Honda are launching a new version of the Insight with electric motor integrated into the ICE (IMA Integrated Motor Assist)

Also an idea of using natural gas mixed in with diesel engines using the diesel as a 'liquid spark plug' to combust the gas in the engine


I think there is a good synergy between plug in hybrids and distributed generation / CHP. The capacity of a countries car fleet is much greater than its power stations (1 million cars ~50GW) and if the waste heat which is currently rejected from cars can be used to heat water/ buildings then massive gains in efficiency can be made plus large cost savings.

I found a useful analogy on bio-fuels, imagine if your 200hp car was actually 200 horses, how much food would they eat!

1 car for every 2 people is 100 times as many horses as people. That's a lot of food and a lot of poop.

I have committed myself to biomimicry in an effort to
see if I can find an idea for energy. Many things have been engineered using this template of thought.
I dont mean just velcro either. A wise man supposedly once said "Theres nothing new under the sun". He was rumored to have a bunch of horses himself and had a horse poop problem,as you mentioned.
Nuke power wasn't invented by man...its was man mimicking nature, ditto electricity. I havent devoted as much time as I would like to the project, yet I can't get off the path with least resistance, which is
solar...where everything energy on this third piece of dust from ole Sol comes from.
Oddly enough, Sol was the name of the guy with the horses.
Could there exist a power in nature not yet observed?
Some matter unseen? Like what power takes one sock from a pair in the dryer and where do they go?

As far as we know, nuclear fission only exists on Earth. Nuclear reactors are not humans mimicking nature, since no natural process creates elements above number 92 (not even supernovas).

We do have a safe form of nuclear power and it has a 93 million mile evacuation zone. It rises every morning and sets every evening. It powers all of the life on Earth already.

Radionuclides and creatures using DNA are not compatible. A minor exception for critical medical needs (ie. x-rays) but those are not harmless, but they won't poison your great great great grandchildren.

Solar and wind power are great for powering a STABLE STATE society, not one based on exponential growth.

permatopia.com: Are you trying to pick nits? The sun is absolutely part of nature.

"As far as (WE) know, nuclear fission only exists on Earth.

You're attempt at grasping the nit failed and you don't get a cigar. Can I ask who (WE) is?

permatopia.com my original post still stands as true that man does not really invent as much as harness nature.
In youre attempt at rebuttal I urge you to wriggle and
sidestep in trying to extricate the nit. Please expain how the Sol isnt a part of nature as I described in my post "This third piece of dust from ole Sol"
I'am shaking my bottle of sunscreen in anger...just kidding.

MSNBC is reporting that the government will take over Fannie and Freddie.

Dang...you beat me...but here's a link:


Holy Jesus and Mary Jane...as my mother-in-law would say!!

What does this mean? For the markets, for the taxpayers, etc.?

Why does the government have to take over, instead of just providing capital like they said before?

Simple-- The government now owns your house.
Any questions?

Yeah. How can they own my house when I don't have one? Are they gonna give me one? ;-)

I was thinking more of the bigger picture. Someone posted this link a couple of months ago, wherein Denninger lays out the benefits and drawbacks of each option the feds had for dealing with Fannie and Freddie. Conservatorship was, in Denninger's opinion, the only option. But he warned that it would "have a fairly dramatic impact on funding costs, probably adding 300 basis points to the cost of a mortgage - in other words, 30 year money would immediately go to about 9%."

Is that really going to happen? Not going to be good for the housing market if it does.

I current rent also -))))
I don't want one.
Interesting times---

From up thread. Ilargi's been all over this... along with some others.



Why does the government have to take over, instead of just providing capital like they said before?

My quick take.

1. So that capital can be provided continually, without running that capital through the current corporate structure, such that the government becomes in effect the CEO.
2. To ensure the the senior preferred equity, which is owned by many regional banks and other nations, and which pays a dividend, is not affected when they destroy the common equity.
3. To destroy the common equity so that current shareholders cannot participate in the ownership of the new company, which is made possible by new capital from a new entity--the government.Just as it would be if this was a bankruptcy. Which it is.
4. So that the government then becomes the equity owner of the common stock--and theoretically--could spin these Agencies back out to the stock market in some years from now. Thus, in an ideal world, "getting paid" for having taken on all the risk.
5. To send a strong signal to other large credit market players that risk is now fully off the table wrt to Agency paper--including signals to foreign govts who own alot of this paper--such that these credit market players can reduce their own risk models wrt to their ownership of Agency paper, and thus are more free to go out and take on new risk.

I would remind that Bernanke's academic concentration was in the Credit Transmission System. While technically this is a deal with Treasury, Ben is involved.

It's a very bad day for the Deflationists, indeed.


including signals to foreign govts who own alot of this paper

I wondered if that was it. Maybe our Chinese overlords made it clear that something had to be done?

It's a very bad day for the Deflationists, indeed.

I don't think so. At least, not for peak oil deflationists. They expected this to happen. They just don't think it will work.

"Inflationists" don't think any of this will "work" except to eventually crumble the US dollar completely.

Back in 2000 there was a stock market bubble associated with the IT sector. This bubble was in the process of collapsing and the Greenspan response was to lower interest rates and make credit freely available (9/11 resulted in a further lowering of rates but the process was started prior to 9/11).

Generous credit and low rates meant that you could borrow and spend. And Americans did. Since credit was cheap you could buy the home of your dreams. Since everybody had access to credit everybody sought to buy the house of their dreams. This demand resulted in a run up in house prices.

There was a solution even for those who could not afford the house of their dreams. A recent change in US bankruptcy law made it harder for the consumer to file for bankruptcy and avoid debt repayment. Creditors felt they were now in a stronger position and became more willing to lend. Creditors also introduced new loan arrangements: no cash down, option ARMs, liar loans etc. There was also a new wrinkle in the lending game - the securitization of debt.

As a bank lending you money I would hold your mortgage. I was taking a risk in trusting you to repay the loan. Your loan sat on my books as an asset but also represented a potential liability. I pay a lot of attention to what is going on as I hold the credit risk.

With securitization I could sell your mortgage to a 3rd party. The loan moves off my books, I immediately obtain the proceeds of the loan, I no longer bear the credit risk and I have surplus capital that I can immediately lend to the next prospective homeowner in an endless cycle of credit expansion. If I make money with each loan, and the full credit risk is being transferred to a 3rd party, it is in my interest to loan as much as I can as fast as I can.

The bank that buys the mortgage from me would package it with hundreds of other mortgages and sell "slices" of that package to investors. This bank collected fees for its securitization activity and may, or may not, have kept certain tranches for its own account.

Other participants also generated income from fees: home assessors, mortgage service companies, credit analysts and bond rating agencies. Everybody was making money hand over fist, everybody was buying the house of their dreams, and everybody was transferring all the risks to somebody else. The US economy was being supported on a tidal wave of free money: the buck always stops somewhere else.

Those who already owned houses could trade up to an even bigger dream or they could cash out some portion of their home equity and travel, buy a new car, remodel the kitchen, send the kids to university, whatever. Since 2000 the US economy has been sustained by consumer spending. If you look at the increase in consumer spending, and the increase in credit, they are roughly equal; there was no increase in US real income during this period.

Greenspan's "solution" to an IT stockmarket bubble was to create an expansionary credit bubble the likes of which the world has never seen before. If you remember your history you will be aware of a certain "tulip mania" in Holland. People willingly borrowed and spent thousands on a single bulb and this went on until the entire mania collapsed and the cold shock of reality set in.

The US is now entering a similar cold shock and the reverberations are being felt around the world. We worry about Peak Oil; we will shortly witness a similar phenomenon in the credit markets.

Why will interest rates go to 9%? Because all those houses which were mortgaged or refinanced at high values now turn out to have market values which are considerably less. If I lend you $250,000 on an asset which is now worth $100,000 I have a big problem if you default on the loan. And you have every reason to default - why should you continue to pay $250,000 for a house if you can cross the street and buy the same house for $100,000 less? Multiply that $100,000 by all of the houses sold since 2002 and you sense the scope of the problem.

Who ends up holding the bag? You do. You have a choice. The government has stepped in and "rescued" Fanny and Freddy but somebody has to pay the difference between what was lent and the current market value of the assets. The taxpayer could pay this amount but this is unfair to those who rent and it also impairs the Government's financial position. The other alternative is to have all those who borrow pay an incremental amount with the proceeds being used to retire the debt. The outcome is that mortgage rates rise and those who can afford to borrow pay for their own shelter and for the bad (we could say irresponsible but I'm being polite) decisions of elected and appointed officials.

I don't know if rates will go to 9%. They may not. They may also go higher. We are looking at the destruction of credit. If credit is no longer available then it becomes scarce and scarcity is reflected in price. The price of credit is the interest you pay. Since the US is a debtor nation this means that you need to attract funds from elsewhere and high interest rates are they way this is done.

I think a lot of this has to do with EPS--Election Proximity Syndrome. They want to keep things patched together until after the election.

But is this really going to keep things patched together? If Denninger's right, and 30-year mortgages jump to 9%...that's not going to help in keeping things patched together. Conservatorship may be the right thing to do in the long run, but in the short run, it seems likely to freak out the voters. If they'd waited until after the election, what would have fallen apart that the voters would have noticed?

I agree that they would have liked to wait until post-elections to deal with this in such a public way, but perhaps things are more desperate than they have appeared in the MSM. The stock value of Fannie and Freddie have been taking a huge hit as of late.

For those that enjoy the wackos over at financialsense, here's an interesting read, if you ignore all the gold talk....

Achilles Heel, Shock Wave, Transformation


As the USEconomic recession has taken grip, capital gains tax revenues and payroll income tax revenues are way down. Almost no specific story supports the growth story told. Even the export trade will be tripped up by global slowdown. The USGovt federal budget deficit will be enormous, even without the nationalization demands. The collection of sectors seeking imminent bailouts in the nationalization theme include Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, General Motors and Ford, Wall Street banks, and some airlines. Add to that demand some staggering funding requirements for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (covering failed bank deposits) and the Pension Guarantee Fund (covering failed corporate pension funds), to raise strain to a crescendo. Did PIMCO actually hint they wanted a bailout too? Of course, never overlook the sacred military budget demands, never to be challenged or reduced, but always adding great USTBond supply.

"If Denninger's right, and 30-year mortgages jump to 9%..."

Remember the late 1970's when any young househunting couple would have KILLED for a 9% mortgage?


I feel like we are watching Peak Oil/Peak Credit The Movie--with the fast forward button on.

Any infusion of capital will be done quarter by quarter - bankruptcy by instalments?

And now the question going through everyone's mind that owns a home?

Who really owns my frickin' mortgage?

Guess we'll all find out soon enough.

The question in my mind is what happens to all the golden parachutes for those top execs? I'm sure they will still be honored. WTH: it's not their money.

It's been slo-mo for me: I've been waiting for this since last January. By this I mean something on the scale of an economic nuclear bomb. This is it, or nearly so. It is, without doubt, a Neutron Bomb: all the little people just got handed the debt of the rich while the rich are keeping their profits. The debt of the US was unsustainable before the FM/FM collapse; it is now nothing but a fantasy that it will ever be repaid. How can it possibly be? The debt of the two adds another 1.2 trillion or so to the US debt. What does that equal in future interest? I don't know. Don't really want to.

What I do know is, as discussed here today (yesterday), this sucks a good deal more life out of the body economic. Lending will tighten further. Money supply will fall further. As noted at TAE, the zero interest loans denominated in Yen are going to disappear.

It all started long ago, but now it becomes undeniable to all.

Welcome to The Perfect Storm.

May you survive interesting times.


"What does that equal in future interest? I don't know. Don't really want to."

Currently every man women and child is in hock approx
$30,000.00 for their fair share of the presently
$9 trillion dollar debt. Add another 1.2 trillion and
its rounded to about $33,000.00 and change.

Tack on intrest and make minimum monthly payments and
...well...its gonna be a generational thing. Two maybe

Better put this way...."Say someone is born today,
congrats CCPO its a girl!!!...have a cigar! She ain't
gonna be able to pay it back, maybe her child can though, if they all live with you forever" Aww aint she cute...must take after Mrs CCPO huh?

The one risk that GWB decisively eliminated was the risk of paying off the national debt.


Leanan: Exactly as I posted earlier in the week on a prior thread. These formerly quasi govermental institutions made private their profits and make public their risks and losses. I also posted yesterday how this is at the crux of the markets melt down. Credit by Americans being sold around the globe and the fiat banking system which as you aptly put in a prior post "Ponzi scheme".
I saw this comming as did every trader in every bond pit where-ever situate. You have good reason to be alarmed at this historic event as much or more so then the removal of the gold standard.

As an aside note...Iam starting to think this Totenilla (spelling?) has got something with their "Hug your bag of NPK" refrain. (POT) keeps going up like the Wizards balloon in OZ.


Hello TODers,

Well, this was a huge waste of time and diminishing resources, IMO:

Environmental and Water Management Leaders Meet to Examine the Future of Earth’s Water Supply
You would think that they would be screaming at max volume for O-NPK recycling [humanure, manures, and composting] as richly mulched topsoil is one of the best ways to conserve agri-water thru reduced evaporation.

Furthermore, the best way to make people realize the true value of potable water is to make them physically haul it. Cutting off home taps, then only providing localized supply points in each neighborhood will jumpstart huge conservation efforts. Picture people hauling just cooking and drinking water, with some extra for quick washcloth cleansing. Combine this with neighborhood solar baths & laundry facilities--now your talking about serious water use reduction.

The abolition of golf courses, swimming pools, car washes, garden fountains, etc, combined with outright removal of freshwater flush toilets to force the growth of humanure to leverage O-NPK recycling can cause enormous cost-savings in the parched areas of the developed world. Additionally, proper and safe O-NPK recycling is the best way to reduce the rate of price increase in I-NPK in a world going postPeak. Please see TOD archives as I have much discussed this before.

Just the same as the melting polar icecap: the depleting aquifers, shrinking glaciers, and river dams heading to low head are obvious to the casual observer. My deluded Asphalt Wonderland, and the other Southwestern and Mexican cities reliant upon the Colorado River and other watersheds are not adapting with sufficient speed for the coming reality of Overshoot pop. in an era of decreasing energy to distribute essential water. Such is life...

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

Bob - You're absolutely right but people are not yet prepared to "physically haul water". I can see my 75 year old mother collapsing down at the water hole.

If you want people to value something you have to make it expensive.

Consider gasoline use in the U.S. As soon as it got above $4 people started conserving. All of the good sense about conservation was a waste of time until people connected burning FF in cars with a sharp, throbbing pain in the wallet.


Hello TODers,

Why American Savers Have Drawn the Short Straw

...In a perfect world, the Fed's rate-cutting campaign would have shored up real estate and the stock market. Instead, investors have been running for inflationary cover in hard assets like crude oil, gold, and even fertilizer...
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today? Lots of farmers around the world cannot, thus they resort to suicide.

Hello TODers,

This is the first report I seen that discusses diminishing energy in FFs and I-NPK and the consequent effect upon agriculture:

...Independent research commissioned by the Soil Association and published this week shows that the production of organic combinable crops, such as wheat, barley and oil seed rape, could become more profitable compared to non-organic as the price of oil increases to $200 per barrel – predicted by a recent Chatham House report to happen in five to 10 years.

...The different impact of higher oil prices on organic and non-organic profits is mainly due to the high cost of artificial fertilisers – a fossil-fuel heavy industry – used in non-organic systems. As oil prices rise, the claimed economic efficiency of fossil fuel- and fertiliser-dependent industrial farming begins to decrease sharply.

...As oil inevitably becomes scarcer and costs more, economic forces will increasingly favour organic farming...
As posted before: IMO, moving 60-75% of the North American labor force into manual agriculture/permaculture will be the best path for optimal Overshoot decline and other specie protection. With the funding of road maintenance going broke [see Leanan's toplink]: IMO, AlanFBE's ideas plus SpiderWebRiding plus strategic reserves of bicycles and wheelbarrows maybe our best hope of preventing, or delaying as long as possible, the highly inefficient Nuahtl Tlameme backpacking scheme.


11th bank fails. Busy weekend for the money folks.

Anybody notice the fact that McCain's kid was on the audit committee until July?

Johnny goes way back with this stuff-the sheeple are more interested in Sarah's hairdo http://mccainkeatingfive.com/?p=1

Hello TODers,

Manure making a comeback

...“Some producers are hauling it up to 20 miles, where three years ago haulers wouldn’t go more than five miles,” he said.
As posted before: IMO, Alan's RR & TOD ideas plus pedaling SpiderWebRiders plus wheelbarrows for the last farm mile could easily push this dispersive O-NPK avg recycling radius well over 200 miles.

Hello TODers,

I wonder if the Israeli military has been reading my sulfur as a lifeblood posting series, then applying it to the Palestinians:

..The aluminum factory in Beit Iba, which employs 140 people, has been operating at 27 percent capacity, mainly because Israel banned the import of a key ingredient, sulfuric acid, said technical manager Jamal Daraghmeh...
As posted before: Asimovian Foundation planning for predictive collapse and directive decline would logically start by the imposition of strategic Elemental controls, and obviously Sulfur would be the primary starting Element as it is key to most industrial processes and the lynchpin to I-NPK beneficiation.

Sulfuric acid is used in leaching uranium from ore deposits. The increaed in-situ mining of uranium brought by the uranium commodity boom required sulfur.

totoneila: I cant speak for the Israeli IDF, but I read all your posts and am moved by your concern for all things that grow. Sad you havent a position of authority in ag on a global level. I glean your posts like I would glean a field of harvested spuds. Theres just so much there thats useful. Thanks for all your posts.
Iam not trying to tickle youre ears here..I mean this with sincerity. Thanks again.

Hello TODers,

'Hundreds' killed by Haiti storm
The Grim Reaper just doing his thing under the direction of natural Malthusian concepts despite global leaders being fully aware of how to prevent such tragedies for over two hundred years.

Meanwhile the Dominican Republic which shares the island of Hispaniola reported no loss of life after evacuating 7500.

If one goes to Google earth and compares the two countries the difference is striking. Haiti is nearly denuded of vegetation compared to the Dominican Republic. When hurricane rains hit Haiti the water is not slowed, but flash floods killing many. This is a man made disaster not a hurricane disaster.

Haitians continue to breed with abandon and destroy their environment. Those who think we should give them corn to eat instead of using it for ethanol so they can continue living as they do are promoting even larger loss of life. If this strategy were applied around the world, America would soon joint Haiti in its death throws.

Subsidizing Haitian type situations with gifts of food is madness IMO. It destroys the local food economy and encourages more of the same behavior that brought Haiti to the overshoot predicament it is in.

Watching die off will not be pleasant or easy. Many will feel sympathy and guilt as the innocent suffer the unavoidable consequences of the situation they were born into.

And there will be cries for action to help. But help will only make the situation worse in the longer term unless behavior change can be somehow forced which I doubt.

Regarding the Google Earth thing it is indeed striking, as you can look at the border regions and see it change dramatically on either side.

other than that i really don't know what the best curse of action is

"Global warming is settled science".....huh?

1410-1500 ? cold (Sporer minimum)
1510-1600 107 warm
1610-1700 61 cold (Maunder minimum)
1710-1800 114 warm
1810-1900 95 cold (Dalton minimum)
1910-2000 151 warm
2010-2100 ? cold?

maybe not......


I marked you up mate.

Solar observations indicate a colder period for the next couple of solar cycles ~20 years, time and measurement will tell.

The UK is not equipped to handle a series of really cold winters, electricity supplies are borderline now; the local paper has just announced the decommissioning of Wylfa Nuclear power station. I expect gas ( NG ) prices will become ... problematic.

Re/ the Leann post from CNN on he fact that the Federal Highway trust fund is out of money :
1. predictable
2. disgusting that our secretary of transportation fails to address the need to raise gas taxes
3. disgusting that politicians are trying to shift money from general budget to cover
4. CNN shows no integrity by failing to provide even a hint that a raised gas tax would be a better alternative.

This story almost makes me think we are doomed.....