DrumBeat: January 10, 2009

Toyota unveiling electric concept car in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Saturday it is confirming plans to have an all-electric vehicle on U.S. roads by 2012 by introducing an ultra-compact battery-powered concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Toyota calls the FT-EV, based on the ultra-compact iQ model on sale in Japan, an "urban dweller" with a range of 50 miles. Although there's no guarantee it will go into production in its current form, it illustrates the company's product strategies.

"Last summer's $4-a-gallon gasoline was no anomaly," said Irv Miller, vice president of Toyota Motor Sales USA. "It was a brief glimpse of our future. We must address the inevitability of peak oil by developing vehicles powered by alternatives to liquid-oil fuel."

Oil giant comes in from the cold

Exxon funded global warming denial for years. Yesterday, in an astonishing U-turn, it called for the imposition of green taxes.

UAE less affected by oil’s fall ‘than other producers’

The United Arab Emirates will be “less afflicted” than other oil producers by falling prices due to its economic diversification, and the credit crisis won’t halt infrastructure spending, the UAE’s ambassador to the US said.

“We’re well on our way to making sure that price fluctuations, whether they’re big or small, do not affect the overall economic livelihood of the UAE,” Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba said in a Bloomberg News interview in New York.

IPIC delays Pakistan refinery plan; reviews Fujairah project

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi government-owned International Petroleum Investment Company has delayed plans to set up a refinery in Pakistan and is reviewing its Fujairah refinery project, its CEO said yesterday.

Farmers scramble for profits as grain boom ends

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American farmers are in a bind this year -- land, fuel and seed costs are up but crop prices are down sharply after a three-year, ethanol-fueled boom, say leaders of the largest U.S. farm group.

"We're looking for less net farm income ... The only question is how much less," said Bob Stallman, president of the 6 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation, in an interview ahead of the group's annual convention.

Russia, EU sign gas transit control protocol-2

MOSCOW REGION (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the European Union have signed a protocol to set up an international commission to control the transit of Russian natural gas through Ukraine.

The document was signed by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, energy giant Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller as well as Martin Riman, the industry and trade minister of the Czech Republic, which is holding the rotating presidency in the EU.

High gas bill imperils 'eternal' flame

BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. - An "eternal" flame at Bullhead City's new veterans memorial park that only lasted until city officials received a $961 gas bill has been re-lit following complaints by veterans groups.

The Medal of Honor Memorial at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Park alongside the Colorado River was lit on Veterans Day in November. When the bill arrived in late December, city officials were stunned.

Floods to become commonplace by 2080

Flooding on a scale that devastated parts of England last year is set to become a common event across the UK in the next 75 years, new research has shown.

A study by Dr Hayley Fowler, of Newcastle University, predicts that severe storms – the likes of which currently occur every five to 25 years across the UK – will become more common and more severe in a matter of decades.

The Great Squeeze: Surviving the Human Project

The Great Squeeze picks up where the documentary Energy Crossroads left off. This new film explores our current ecological and economic crisis stemming from our dependence on cheap and abundant energy; turning fossil fuels into a double-edged sword. Although our actions have lifted our civilization to new heights, it has come at a tremendous price.

With the help of specialists in anthropology, economics and biology, the film demonstrates that there are recurring patterns in history of self-destructive and shortsighted behaviors that parallel our modern times. Today, with 6 billion people and growing, those patterns are no longer isolated and are affecting the entire globe.

We are now at a point where humanity's demands for natural resources far exceed the earth's capacity to sustain us. The extraction and the use of those resources in the past two centuries have changed our climate and ecosystems so significantly, that a new geological era had to be created.

Our current paradigm must change. We will have to accept the new reality; the human economy is part of nature and not the other way around. We are faced with great challenges. But unlike the rest of the living world, we have the unique ability to adapt and decide our fate and the fate of most of the biosphere, for better or worse, in order to survive the human project.

The Great Squeeze features: economist Lester Brown, founder of The Earth Policy Institute, Richard Heinberg, world renowned Peak Oil expert, Edward O. Wilson, legendary biologist, Alexandra Cousteau, leading advocate for marine ecosystems, author Howard Kunstler, paleoclimatologist Jim White and many more.

Mexico fishermen resume Pacific oil port blockade

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Fishermen protesting rising diesel prices resumed a blockade of Mexico's Salina Cruz marine oil terminal, a major refined products distribution point on the southwest coast, state oil company Pemex said on Friday.

Nepal: Jute mill workers warn to launch more stringent protest

Industrial workers along the Sunsari-Morang corridor Friday issued warning they would unleash more stringent protest beginning Sunday if the government continued to remain lackadaisical towards their demand to resume 500 closed factories situated there.

Some 500 factories based in the Sunsari-Morang corridor halted their operations due to paralysing power outage, industrial strike and Jogbani blockade.

Nearly 800 schools of Kyrgyzstan on 2-month vacation because of electricity deficit

BISHKEK (Itar-Tass) -- Nearly 800 schools of Kyrgyzstan will have a two-month vacation because of the ongoing electric power crisis, a source at the Kyrgyz Education and Science Ministry told Itar-Tass on Friday.

He said that would apply only to schools heated with electricity. Such schools will have classes until the middle of June. The rest of Kyrgyz schools will resume classes as usual. It was planned initially to extend the vacation at 1,300 schools, but many of them managed to switch to alternative fuel.

Exxon may pump up assets as valuations fall

AMSTERDAM: ExxoN Mobil, the world’s largest oil company, may embark upon an acquisition spree this year and snap up assets at “extremely cheap prices” to boost production growth, Sanford C Bernstein & Co said.

“Such a scenario could be on the game-changing scale last seen with the wave of mergers in the late 1990s, when the low oil price also put a lot of oil companies under duress,” Neil McMahon, a London-based Bernstein analyst, said in a note on Friday.

Ga. fines 9 gas stations, probes 200 over gouging

ATLANTA - Georgia regulators have fined nine gas stations so far and continue to investigate nearly 200 others over consumer complaints of price gouging when Hurricanes Gustav and Ike made fuel scarce last September.

Some of the stations have to refund money to customers who can prove with a receipt they bought gas during the price spike, while others have to pay up to $5,000 in fines to the state.

Don't expect $4 gas anytime soon

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gasoline prices have surged some 10% over the past week but don't expect the $4-a-gallon record highs of last summer anytime soon.

RMI Introduces New Oil Imports Map

Breaking our dependence on fossil fuels isn't only a solution for halting our climate changing emissions, it's also about gaining energy independence and being cautious about when we reach peak oil.

The Rocky Mountain Institute has created a new oil map web tool that intricately illustrates this concept. RMI partnered with Google to create a visual representation of how much oil the U.S. has imported, from where, and how much we have spent during every month since 1973.

Global warming will be a killer for agriculture, UW scientists say

When searing heat waves blasted Western Europe in 2003, more than 50,000 people perished and harvests of corn, wheat and fruit fell by up to a third.

Imagine those temperatures being the norm over much of the world, and you'll have an idea of what the future is likely to hold for agriculture — and humanity, says a new report from scientists at the University of Washington and Stanford University.

"I'm not worried about Greenland sliding into the sea. I'm not worried about sea levels going up," said UW atmospheric-sciences professor David Battisti. Those changes will take several hundred years to unfold, he said, but the effects on agriculture will begin showing up within the next several decades.

Does the country need a big gas tax?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- To save the planet and move away from imported fuel, some say a big energy tax is the best way to go.

If the nation is going to develop fuel alternatives that will clean the air, limit global warming and make it energy independent, making fossil fuels more expensive is essential, supporters say.

Otherwise, fossil fuels are just too cheap to let alternatives emerge on a big scale.

And many say that with gas and oil prices currently so low, it's the ideal time to push through a hefty tax. Besides, they say eventually we're going to be paying more for our energy, so it is important to stimulate the development of alternatives now before an energy crisis strikes.

Ecuador Suspends Output of Foreign Oil Firms to Comply with OPEC Cuts

The Ecuadorian government has decided to suspend oil production by Italy's Agip and France's Perenco, both of which operate in the Amazon region, to comply with new OPEC cuts.

Cuba Produced 4MM Tons of Oil and Gas in 2008

State-owned Cubapetroleo produced the equivalent of more than 4 million tons of oil and accompanying gas in 2008, up 1.3 percent over the previous year, state television said.

Uganda: Load-shedding to resume, says Eskom

The country will face load- shedding if the recent fuel crisis continues, the power generating company has said. The recent fuel problems in the country affected electricity generation at Kiira and Nalubaale power stations.

Rep. Steve Buyer Backs Stimulus With Energy

As President-elect Obama prepares an economic stimulus bill to address the current challenges facing the American people, U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer believes there is an opportunity to strengthen our country’s energy portfolio and bolster the American energy industry. Congressman Steve Buyer today sent a letter to President-elect Obama asking him to include funding in the stimulus to invest in American-made energy and America’s energy infrastructure (Howey Politics Indiana). “America must take steps to prepare for peak oil-when the world’s supply of crude oil peaks in volume, invest in American-made energy, and improve our energy infrastructure. I communicated these concerns to President-elect Obama in my second letter to him outlining proposals to the economic stimulus package,” said Buyer.

Parker: Demand drives energy costs up

Public Service Commissioner Susan Parker sees an energy crisis in the future of our state and country if something isn’t done to prepare for that possibility.

One main reason is that the price of creating energy has increased tremendously over the last few years. The demand for coal and natural gas, which are two large producers of energy, has skyrocketed.

FACTBOX-What is a smart grid?

(Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday said an economic stimulus package should include building a new electricity "smart grid."

"Smart grid" describes a more efficient, cost-saving method of moving electricity along major long-distance transmission lines to local distribution power lines and disparate end-users in homes, businesses and schools.

Tidal power gets a boost from propeller and wind turbine techonology

Propellers on ships have been tried and tested for centuries in the rough and unforgiving environment of the sea: now this long-proven technology will be used in reverse to harness clean energy from the UK's powerful tides.

Cellulosic ethanol output could "explode"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ethanol production from wood chips, grass and other plant material could "explode" by 2012 if a commercialized facility to produce the second generation of biofuels is successful, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said on Thursday.

Schafer told reporters that he expected that by January 20 USDA will award a loan guarantee to Range Fuels, based in Colorado, to build a commercial-size plant capable of producing 100 million gallons of ethanol annually from woodchips.

The age of oil is ending

Matt Simmons, chairman and CEO of Simmons and Company International, which is a private energy investment banker based in Texas, said he believes the world's oil reserves have already peaked and we are on the downward slide.

"I think basically we are now in the early days of a very serious pending scarcity of oil and natural gas," he said. "Because we don't know we are, we are not putting any clamps on demand."

Simmons has been studying world oil production and reserves for decades. His company helps finance exploration and production.

He predicted - accurately as it turned out - that the North Sea fields would peak between 1998 and 2000. Now he has turned his attention to Mexico, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, warning that their fields also have hit the downward slide.

"All the major oil fields of the world have peaked and we are going to see soon some precipitous collapses," he said.

Volume of reserves often overstated

Calculating oil reserves is not an exact science and too often reality disappoints.

It depends not only on the nature of the well but also on the management of its production over time.

The “Cheap Oil Era” is Ending Soon…

Oil prices have fallen 70% since hitting a record $147.27 a barrel in July, which means in just five months, crude has given up all the price gains it made in the past four years.

After such a wrenching plunge, many analysts believe the outlook for the “black gold” remains bleak - and in the short term it certainly is. In the long run, however, dwindling supplies, resurgent demand, and a lack of investment will cause crude oil to double, triple, or even quintuple in price over the next few years.

Russian Gas Flows Still Halted Amid Monitoring Delays

(Bloomberg) -- Russian natural-gas shipments through Ukraine to Europe were suspended for a fourth day amid delays in signing an agreement to deploy international monitors.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who holds the European Union’s presidency, met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at his residence outside Moscow to seek a resumption of gas supplies, Russian state-run broadcaster Vesti- 24 reported.

Bulgaria shivers through gas cutoff

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Frigid Bulgarians scrambled to keep warm Saturday in the wake of a shutoff of natural gas supplies from the Russian utility Gazprom, observers said.

Rise of Russia's political fortune

In recent years, Russia has enjoyed unforeseen riches as a result of a huge rise in revenues from oil and gas exports. The BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow reports on what this wealth has done to the country, and what it means for its future.

Iran, Russia agree to swap gas

TEHRAN - Tehran and Moscow has reached an initial agreement to swap gas, Iranian Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari revealed here on Friday.

The minister said negotiations are underway to reach a final deal.

"The two sides are continuing their negotiations," Nozari told the Mehr News Agency on Friday.

Based on the agreement Iran will receive gas from Russia in the north and will export the same amount for Russia in the Persian Gulf.

CHINA OIL DATA: 2008 Crude Oil Imports +9.6% - Source

BEIJING -(Dow Jones)- China imported 178.88 million tons of crude oil in 2008, equivalent to an average 3.59 million barrels a day, 9.6% more than in 2007, a person familiar with the data told Dow Jones Newswires on Saturday.

China also imported 38.85 million tons of refined oil products in 2008, up 15% on previous year levels, the person said.

Oil-sector strike in India ends

NEW DELHI - About 55,000 white-collar workers at state-run oil companies called off a three-day strike late yesterday, the petroleum minister said, after causing a severe fuel shortage in India.

Algeria says has implemented OPEC oil cut

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria has cut oil production in line with OPEC policy aimed at propping up sagging prices, the north African country's energy and mines minister said on Saturday, according to the official APS news agency.

"Algeria has put into effect the reduction of its production in conformity with the quota that it has been assigned by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries," the agency quoted the minister, Chakib Khelil, as saying.

Venezuela: Drilling stops in 17 oilfields

The last cut in the oil production undertaken by Venezuela, in accordance with an agreement at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has made 17 drill rigs in west and east Venezuela to come to a standstill, reported oil-sector labor agents.

Based on the news given by trade union leader Froilán Barrios, only in Boscán field, western Zulia state, a total of 14 rigs have shut down since the last week of December.

Sprott to unwind moly fund

Investment guru Eric Sprott is as negative as almost anyone when it comes to the global economy. And that led him to yesterday's announcement that he is unwinding his molybdenum fund.

Mr. Sprott launched the Sprott Molybdenum Participation Corp. in early 2007 to give investors a unique, publicly-traded vehicle invested exclusively in the silvery-white metal and the companies mining it.

At the time, it seemed like a good idea as the molybdenum (or moly) market was red-hot. Moly is used in high-quality steels with applications in the energy industry. That made it an ideal place for long-term energy bulls like Mr. Sprott, a big believer in the "Peak Oil" thesis.

But in early November, the wheels suddenly came off. After holding around US$33 a pound for more than a year, the moly price collapsed almost overnight to US$10 as the reality of the global recession started to kick in.

Saudi Supertanker Freed by Somali Pirates, Owner Says

(Bloomberg) -- The Saudi Arabian oil supertanker Sirius Star, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in November in the Indian Ocean, has been released, its owner said.

All crewmembers are safe and in good health, state-owned Vela International Ltd. said today in an e-mailed statement. The Sirius Star contains 2 million barrels of crude oil.

5 Somali pirates drown with ransom share

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Five of the Somali pirates who released a hijacked oil-laden Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a reported $3 million ransom after their small boat capsized, a pirate and port town resident said Saturday.

Utah Student Who Disrupted Oil Bids Says He Can Pay for Tracts

(Bloomberg) -- Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old economics student, went into a federal government auction last month with a bidding paddle and an idea.

Seeking to disrupt an auction for drilling on more than 150,000 acres of federal land in Utah, he wound up bidding on and winning more than $1.7 million in leases. Companies at the auction included Kerr-McGee, a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the second-largest independent U.S. oil producer.

Almost a month after the Dec. 19 auction in Salt Lake City, DeChristopher, who attends the University of Utah, is collecting online donations to pay for the leases. He said today he has the initial $45,000 payment and believes that raising the total $1.7 million cost is “feasible.”

Albuquerque Police Abandon Use of E-85

The City of Albuquerque is quietly abandoning part of its push for a greener Albuquerque after finding that E-85 powered vehicles are not all they are cracked up to be.

The city found they cost more to run and to keep running.

Carbon footprint of Britons for few days 'bigger than annual footprints of poorest'

The average Briton already has already caused more carbon emissions in 2009 than a person in the poorest countries will create all year, anti-poverty campaigners claim.

Carbon market value up 84% in 2008 – analyst

Environmental Finance, 8 January 2009 - The carbon market was worth $118 billion last year, up 84% year-on-year, according to a report by analysis firm New Carbon Finance (NCF).

But the growth rate this year is set to be slower, with the London-based firm predicting that the market's value, based on transactions, will be $150 billion in 2009, up 27% on 2008.

Harvard’s "Hippo" Jet Heads to Pole to Test CO2 Level

(Bloomberg) -- Harvard University is flying a specially equipped jet between the North Pole and South Pole to test the atmosphere for variations in global-warming gases, aiming to improve computer models for predicting climate change.

'Climate fix' ship sets sail with plan to dump iron

The largest and to date the most comprehensive experiment to soak up greenhouse-gas emissions by artificially fertilising the oceans set sail from South Africa earlier this week.

The ambitious geoengineering expedition has caused a stir among some campaigning groups, but has the scientific backing of the UK, German, and Indian governments, as well as the International Maritime Organisation.

A second leadership shift on House energy committee signals quick action on climate change

WASHINGTON - A liberal Massachusetts Democrat will take over a House subcommittee that will play a major role in drafting legislation on global warming and other environmental issues.

Rep. Edward Markey, known for his tough stances on environmental issues, will replace Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat who has been friendly to the coal industry. Boucher had chaired the panel eight years.

Sea Level to Rise 1 Meter in 100 Years

Researchers from England, Finland, and the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, publishing in the prodigious journal Climate Dynamics, say that, by looking back in history and analyzing correlations between periods of warming and the level of the sea, they've found that water levels can vary very fast within the relatively-limited time frame of a century.

University of Copenhagen Niels Bohr Institute Center for Ice and Climate geophysicist Aslak Grinsted explains that “Instead of making calculations based on what one believes will happen with the melting of the ice sheets, we have made calculations based on what has actually happened in the past. We have looked at the direct relationship between the global temperature and the sea level 2000 years into the past.”

I think maybe the change agent's teflon suit will be more impressive than Reagan's version. His Godfather Robert Rubin has to leave Citi while the Ponzi scheme lawsuit proceeds and the MSM still sells the story that he should be entrusted with the guidance of the USA economy.

I think you are right about the teflon.

On the other hand, "the economy" is largely an illusion anyway. People's basic needs are really rather simple, and were provided by "primitive" cultures for millenia before the rise of "modern civilization". The wizards who learned their trade at Gilgamesh's court are still spinning their webs of deception. You have to admit, I submit, it has been fun for those of us who prospered from their schemes.

What would be the alternative? Turn things over to Naomi Klein? That would be interesting, to say the least. But highly improbable.

Good place for a nitpick.. The Economy is not an illusion.. it is symbolic, which is a huge difference. The 'Market Decides' is a better concept to label an 'Illusion'. It might still be important.. and could even be true, but it

Those basic human needs, and the exchanges that get food into those billions of mouths are both real, and they 'are' the economy, or a chunk of it. The labor behind it is real, the contract is real, the property is real. Just because it 'essentially doesn't exist', and even if it isn't on the Gold Standard any more.. it is more like a 'Positive Charge' on a battery.. which just means the absence of electrons.. but without it, the current stops moving.

That is a rather large nit you are picking! Certainly all those people are real, and the do (or did) go to work every day. But I would argue that an awful lot of them (us) are (were) weaving magical cloth for the Emporor.

I won't argue about what is "really" going on. Only that we have become accustomed to what is turning out to be a lot of illusion and pretend wealth. And in the relatively near future, real wealth will once again get in balance with available energy, available food and available water.

I hope it isn't as bloody as some of the doomers here believe it will be. Maybe Obama is really the Magic Negro who can pull it all off, and maybe all those recycled Wall Street wizards will spin a tale we can all believe.

It was a large Nit.. I don't deny it.

To parse what you originally said, then, is that 'a lot of that Wealth is the illusion'. As you basically say, we'll soon discover what the economy is actually comprised of.. but the whole economy is not illusory, just certain magical outgrowths of it..

According to one old saw, "Ecology IS the Economy" (variant on Jane Jacobs "Ecology is the Economy of Nature." I suppose)

Last Night David Brancaccio, the host of PBS’s program NOW, presented something on television that was earth shaking in its audacity. He had the nerve to present actual science to the American public:


NOW presented Jacqueline Savitz, a Marine Scientist and Senior Campaign Director of the Climate and Pollution Campaigns for Oceana,a global ocean conservation group. For the benefit of viewers she created a very simple model to illustrate what the loss of Sea Ice will do to the temperature of the Oceans.

In the experiment she took a large beaker of water with ice and placed it on a hot plate and stirred it mechanically to simulate the circulation of the Oceans. Each time the temperature rose 1 degree they made a time record and graphed it. The temperature over the first half of the experiment rose very slowly until the point where the ice was gone and then it shot up dramatically over a short time.

Her stark warning was: With the disappearance of sea ice that’s what will happen to our oceans and the implications are terrifying.

“The Oceans are so vast and the climate system is such a massive thing that it’s difficult to imagine that human activities could ever alter it. It’s like looking at a massive boulder and how implausible it would be to move that boulder by simply pushing on it. But that is what is happening: We’ve managed to move the boulder and now it’s starting to roll on it’s own.

Scientists now predict with a great degree of certainty that unless we switch to a clean energy economy, climate change will result in increased severity and intensity of storms, melting sea ice, rising sea level, changes in food production and drinking water availability and importantly, the acidification of our oceans and a mass extinction of corals.

I guess we should have that seafood dinner while we still can!


People have never been able to control or change the climate or weather.
Examples - past ice ages, floods, storms, heat waves, droughts.
Another example - volcanos, earthquakes, and land changes have a drastic effect on the climate - i.e. Krakatoa, that cannot be matched by people. Mountains, deserts and seas have come and gone over time - Sahara region. There are many other reasons for climate change that people cannot control or stop. Thinking that we have control is a false idea.

People are able to adjust to climate change or we would not still be here today.
Switching to clean energy is still good for us because of pollution and health concerns,
but to expect to change the climate is not realistic. More deaths are caused by pollution than any other human controlled process. We can adjust to climate change, but not to dirty air that we breathe.


We, that being the overall global biosphere, has survived some remarkable things. However, shellfish are not so adaptable to acidic oceans. The will find their shells dissolving as they are formed. Accordingly, the earlier statement is correct, that we should have that seafood dinner while we can, but we better do it quickly if we want shrimp, lobsster, or any other shellfish. There is a greater emphasis if you are eating seafood from oceans in the southern hemisphere since the acidification is higher there, although still seasonal.

Nowhere seems to be unaware of the fact that every established scientific body in the world has acknowledged the reality of anthropogenic (man-made) climate change.

If he has some information or analysis that these bodies have missed, he should share it with us (and with many others.) Otherwise, his off the cuff opinions are a good bit worse than useless.

Nowhere is not unaware of the scientific bodies. However, science of the future will prove that human impact on the climate is very small compared to many other factors. Humans being alive and breathing oxygen is an impact, but we have to breathe to live. Even if we reduce CO2 by some imagination, there is still a greater chance that some other event will occur to change the climate. What I am saying is that humans do not have any real significant amount of control over the climate. All of our atomic weapons could not even equal one volcano or one large meteor in terms of impact. We cannot fix the climate issues. The talk about lowering CO2 is just a way for someone to make more money on new equipment and new technology. Pollution (micro particles in air)in general is a larger impact on people than climate change anyway.

Thank you for that science. Your outstanding citations of study after study supporting your claims were impressive. The logic rock-steady and impervious to argument.

We are moved.


Nowhere, meet a scientist.
Maybe you should tell HIM what his great miscalculations are..

James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941 in Denison, Iowa) heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies[1] in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Earth Sciences Division.[2] He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue, and his continuing advocacy of action to limit the impacts of climate change. He has been a critic of both the Clinton and current Bush Administration's stances on climate change.[3]

Hansen was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of Dr. James Van Allen at the University of Iowa. He obtained a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics with highest distinction in 1963, an M.S. in Astronomy in 1965 and a Ph.D. in Physics, in 1967, all three degrees from the University of Iowa. He participated in the NASA graduate traineeship from 1962 to 1966 and, at the same time, between 1965 and 1966, he was a visiting student at the Institute of Astrophysics at the University of Kyoto and in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Tokyo.


If you think my call to authority is misplaced, and Hansen's creds don't give his argument more weight than yours.. please do tell me why.

And understand, I don't think his diplomas mean he's absolutely right, just that it's worth paying close attention to what he says, and then to check with a few thousand other climatologists to see if there's anything to be concerned about, anything that we ought to start doing to see if we can gird against the repercussions of our earlier actions..

Straight from scientist Hansen -

"When temperatures increased to 2-3 degrees above today’s level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59 centimetres but by 25 metres. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature."[30]

It should be noted that Hansen stresses the uncertainties around these predictions:"

So if it happened 3.5 million years ago, then what made it happen at that time? It was not human emmissions. We cannot explain everything, and cannot fix everything. Hansen said we have had this problem before, and I am sure we will have it again no matter what people are doing. Humans may cause CO2 to rise, but there are so many other ways that climate change can occur. To say that one way out of thousands is the "one" is simple arrogance. Do you really think that the World will stop burning coal any time soon? Not until it runs out, and then the CO2 from coal burning will go back down. That change could result in an ice age????? But that does not mean that thousands of other changes will not still result in another climate change in the future. Sometimes the greatest scientists are wrong. An 80 year life is not enough time to gather all the facts about climate change over thousands of years. To think that people can actually control the climate is absurd. We cannot regulate the Galaxy, Sun, Moon, Stars, inner Earth, Asteroids, Comets, etc, all of which are factors. Some people actually think that this is the only time our climate has changed. One thing is clear - "We do not know the future of the earth."

Whew, what a relief! There are uncertainties. So let's keep doing our gigantic uncontrolled experiment!

Welcome to the Ohsh1tocene.

I really like your "science of the future" bit. It sound kind of like Bush saying that historians of the future will find him to be the best president ever.

I think I'll use that one, if you don't mind, the next time someone complains about second hand smoke I will declare: "Science Of The Future will find that second hand smoke is the healthiest thing you can breath!" I'm sure that will take care of any concerns.

Do you think that we haven't burned up a trillion barrels of oil since it was first used, and greater quantities of coal?

Do you think these activities didn't generate hundreds of billions of tons of CO2?

Do you think CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas (a fact established over 100 years ago)?

Do you think CO2 levels haven't risen by over 30%, from 280 ppm to 380 ppm since the 1800 when we started burning all those fossil fuels?

What parts of this don't you get?

It sounds as though you have made up your mind without seriously contending with any of the data.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

That a comet could hit the earth (an extremely low probability event in our lifetimes, in any case, and one almost completely out of our control) is completely irrelevant to the question of whether gw is real or dangerous. So please don't bring up such red herrings.

Thank you for that science. Your outstanding citations of study after study supporting your claims were impressive. The logic rock-steady and impervious to argument.

We are moved.


sneer. sneer.

You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, I think.

If there are compelling counterarguments, please present them. I'm all ears and eyes

All these problems seem trivial compared to the risk of a hypernova from Eta Carinae; a neighboring star in the Milky Way Galaxy:


There may be other more immediate concerns. Yellowstone had 11 more quakes yesterday. Full moon tonight about 10 PM EST. I hope I don't get to say "I told you so"...

E. Swanson

Notice there are apparently no known faults under the lake where the previous swarm was, and that these new quakes were in a faulted area? Looks to me like the movement propagating as opposed to a new signal of danger.


The moon is at perigee tonight. I was hoping to photograph it, since it's supposed to look bloody huge, but it looks like a blizzard is going to get in the way.

More likely cellulosic ethanol will collapse without massive funding from tax reciepts; with an Obama tax cut promised and first generation ethanol failing after massive subsidies from taxpayers. All this as the dollar sinks relative to the yen and European banks try to cope with failed U.S. mortgages on their balance sheets.

The earth is a temporal thing in an explosive universe.

Firewood for sale $200 a cord, more if you want it delivered long distance. It is solid cellulosic heating fuel. Requires no crusher or hydrocarbon powered still. Legal and contributing to the GDP and Federal treasury without government subsidies. Instead of bankruptcies, tax receipts. Instead of investors losing all their money, good solid returns. Green energy. No acetalaldehyde and formaldehyde ethanol fume pollution in the parking garages of D.C...

How many windmills will a trillion dollars buy?

thats not even a concern. if it explodes tomorrow we won't know for 7,500 years. we don't even know if it exploded 7,499 years ago next week. it's one of those neat things that are of little concern because even when it does happen there is nothing we can do.

Eta Car, is less worisome than Yellowstone. Eta Car, is pretty far away, and it would require one of the strongest gamma ray bursts, to be oriented just right to cause us any real damage. Even then, it would be a damaged ozone layer, not the direct effects that we would have to deal with. And it will hit the southern hemisphere much worse than the northern (where it never breaks the horizon north of the tropics). In any case, most likely it would be an ordinary supernova, quite an event, but not a death star for us. And even then, it might be a million years before it blows.

And your half truths aren't quite lies, but the result is still disinformation. To be sure, humans have been very adaptable. Some were even able to survive the Ice Ages. But, civilization is an entirely different matter, having only been around for about 10,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age. The present world population is an entirely new situation compared with the few millions of years of previous human adaptability.

The climate of the past 8,000 years has varied little, with global temperature variations of only a few degrees C over rather short periods, often the result of volcanoes or slight changes in solar output, as you mention. But what we are doing to the environment is much greater than anything previously seen by civilized humanity. While it's unlikely that all humanity will die as a result, it's also unlikely that the population levels we now have will be able to continue. This will be especially so as the oil peaks out and other less favorable energy sources are tapped to replace it.

What you are missing is the fact that we ARE changing climate, it's just that what we are doing is not a planned change. That is to say, our activities are "out of control". The problem is, it looks like our lack of control is going to have serious negative impacts, which will move the Earth's climate away from the wonderful "Goldie Locks" climate enjoyed for the past 8,000 years or so.

But I do agree that it's likely that we won't be able to CONTROL climate because we won't be able to CONTROL ourselves. Human greed and ignorance appears to be boundless...

E. Swanson

Had any arguments been put forward, I might have. As I said, thanks for the science.

Tell me, how many mass murderers are caught with honey? How many torturers? How many Skillings, Keatings, Cheneys? You may pretend the sneer is not deserved, but never forget you are fooling only yourselves. Sui-genocide is all you are accomplishing. Do not expect praise or gentlemanly exchanges for either knowingly or unknowingly engaging in actions I consider to be crimes against humanity.

But, since you asked, here's a treat to go with your sneer. Both are free. Since you are impervious to intelligent scientific inquiry, I'm sure you will survive reading the following, but please do be careful: Cognitive dissonance may ensue.


Jeers (<-- No down arrows, so... )

The IPCC report, for all of its shortcomings and less than complete reporting of the absolute severity of Climate Change Undeniably caused by negotiations to get unanimous approval of all member nations, including of course the United States of America), did report very accurately on the acidification of the oceans. Do you need the reference to that or can you google it yourself?

Human beings have survived the weather, obviously, that has occurred while there have been human beings. Not a very useful observation, however, if the weather reverts to a level with much higher temperatures than have been experienced during the existence of homo sapiens. Further, there is a huge difference between survival and a tolerable, prosperous, comfortable, happy human existence.

True, humans have never experienced the warmth that is headed our way, but our species did evolve during the period of greatest climate swings in earth's history.


Our evolutionary history has made us supremely adaptable, the ultimate noxious weed.

As has been pointed out way too many times for anyone to zone on, I will repeat here for clarity:

1. It is not the amount of change, it is the time frame.

2. It is not survival of the species (necessarily), but of civilization.


"volcanos...have a drastic effect on the climate - i.e. Krakatoa, that cannot be matched by people."

If you are speaking of CO2 your comment is false. Human generated CO2 emissions dwarf those of volcanic activity. Aerosols, on the other hand do create "short term" cooling.


There is no doubt that volcanic eruptions add CO2 to the atmosphere, but compared to the quantity produced by human activities, their impact is virtually trivial: volcanic eruptions produce about 110 million tons of CO2 each year, whereas human activities contribute almost 10,000 times that quantity.

Now, I am no climate change expert but I am firmly in the "humans are screwing the pooch" camp. In recent weeks, I encounter the same ole, same ole, same ole skeptic arguments day after day after day, the root of many(not all)can be traced back to ExxonMobile and the American Petroleum Institute. This link is most enlightening as many skeptical papers can be traced back to some very interesting people and organizations:


It goes back (in part) to this "1998 Action Plan" describing how to create uncertainty a la tobacco companies "smoking doesn't cause cancer" campaigns:


Anyone can find thousands of pages of legitimate peer reviewed studies on line, the VAST majority recognize AGW/climate change as "very likely" to have some nasty consequences.

But the skeptics are keeping the debate going with absurd and irrelevant comments like yours. This will insure that nothing significant will be done.

Power down and circle the wagons.

Some entertaining weekend listening. Neil Degrasse Tyson goes a long way to making science cool. Talks about carbon molecule, global warming, and, oh yeah, this little thing about an asteroid that is coming to earth in 2029.


"Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about Death By Black Hole And Other Cosmic Quandaries"

"...but if this asteroid hits it would create a tsunami beyond measure. No, we can actually measure it, but beyond anything you would ever seen that would make the Indonesian Tsunami look like the tides just rolling in."

Hello Soup,

Great link as Tyson is a humorous, fascinating, and riveting speaker--Thxs, I much enjoyed the video.

I also enjoyed Leanan's toplink: "The age of oil is ending"
..Simmons called the price of oil absurdly low: "Let's say you and five fat friends run out of gas and you see a guy coming down the street riding a donkey and pulling an old messy cart and you say, 'Hey pull over here. Can you take me and my five fat friends a couple of miles for 22 cents,' which is what that much gas will get you. And the guy's going to flip you the bird. 'Are you stupid?' "

Oil prices, Simmons said, have to skyrocket to have an impact on demand.

Thanks for that link. Always enjoyed listening to Dr. Tyson.

Thanks for the link.

I have always found listening to and reading things by physicists to make the most sense in terms of scientific understanding - I think because they are often concerned with both the hard science and the philosophy of scientific pursuit. In an age of corporate science, physicists tend to be the most reasonable voices of "science" around.

The NSIDC has reported temperatures as much as nine degrees above normal this past summer and fall in some areas, particularly the west near Alaska, if memory serves. This is very much related to the latent heat of fusion from the water giving up its heat to the atmosphere. This very strongly indicates the effect of albedo. With so much of the ice melted away, an awful lot of sunlight (80% vs. 20% for ice) got absorbed into the oceans.

Of course, my pet theory since summer has been that the additional methane in and just above the water is pushing this along nicely.

Expect very thin ice built this winter. If we get perfect conditions again, like this past summer, then melt should be similar to this summer is my (un)educated guess. Maybe slightly less melt if winds keep the ice in the Arctic Ocean. But if unfavorable conditions come along, then the latent heat in the water from last summer will combine for a new record, or very nearly so.

I think most lay people, and a lot scientists, are underestimating how much heat is building up in the water.


I think most lay people, and a lot scientists, are underestimating how much heat is building up in the water.

ccpo - I think you're right. Most people seem to be oblivious. The people I know are regular people who have careers and families with the stress and strains of normal life. They are not inclined to contemplate Peak Oil or Climate Change. For the most part they see my views as "extreme". If I bring up a startling fact or trend that might interrupt their BAU they simply dismiss it with: "Well it doesn't seem like there is much we can do about that anyway." It is really a marginalizing experience when people dismiss you as "extreme".

But last year I decided to do something about it. In an effort to understand the Science I enrolled at a local college in Environmental Science. I live in coastal San Diego and I had the pleasure of local field trips to reserves and marshes as well as Ocean Environments. Besides gaining invaluable knowledge I also discovered groups that were not only aware of the impending ecological catastrophes but were actively doing things about it.

I now contribute my time and energy to environmental restoration projects such as the San Elijo Reserve. ( http://www.sanelijo.org/ )

I have in essence found my tribe which frees me from my compulsion to Rant. These people understand that the worlds' ecosystems are collapsing. They believe that through the action of saving core habitat areas that once the human systems collapse these precious Reserves might be able to re-seed the world.

Best Wishes for finding your tribe.


I have in essence found my tribe which frees me from my compulsion to Rant.

I'm offended! I don't rant! I apply two-by-fours upside the head! There's a difference!



I'm offended! I don't rant!

ccpo - I apologize if you thought that I was directing my personal compulsion to rant in re: to you or your posts. When I read the Oil Drum I actually look for well-constructed Rants.

This is a place where it should be safe to rant (intelligently).



Hi Joe,

That takes me back a ways. I spent my teen years in that area, living in Olivenhain and going on Manchester Ave practically every day to school in Torrey Pines or at UCSD. The map of San Elijo is stunning - when I was there, none of that "Lomas Santa Fe" existed, there being absolutely nothing East of 5 near Solana Beach or Del Mar. When you came over the hill northbound there was nothing but wetlands on either side of 5 and now it looks like - ugh - Suburbia, the kind of stuff Kunstler loves to write about.

I'm so sorry to see what overdevelopment has done to that beautiful area. We used to pull off the road and watch the sea birds there. Now, from Google Earth, I can't even find the places I lived - houses we built with our own hands in the 70's. I suspect they were torn down when they got to be too "old" - which means about 15-20 years old in that neck of the woods.

BTW - I don't think there's anything wrong with the occasional rant - yours or ccpo or anyone else's. Keep it up and good luck learning as much as you can about the science.


I used to surf North County in the 60's. Very quiet place. Nothing but Flower Growers, Avocados, and Marijuana Smugglers, along with the surfers. Now it is a suburban wasteland.
Bland and corporate strip malls.

"This is very much related to the latent heat of fusion from the water giving up its heat to the atmosphere."

huh ? you will need to 'splain that one or 'splain that it is a joke.

water gives up heat in melting the ice, so if anything, water would absorb heat from the air.

old man winter is about to whack the us in the head with some of that latent not-heat.

This one of the worst comparisons of things that are different that I can recall. And to have the nerve to call it science boggles the mind. Things that are different can not be compared, added, subtracted, multiplied or divided. If they are anyway the result is silly nonsense.

Heating a beaker of water on a hot plate is in no way the same as the way the sun heats the ocean. It is highly unlikely that the ocean currents are in anyway comparable to currents in a beaker of water. And inferences from one can not be applied to the other with any validity.

A more valid test, although still highly questionable due to ocean currents, would be to put the beaker of water with an ocean proportional amount of ice in it out in the sun just as it is going down so as to catch the effect of the night. It would still not be valid since the proportions of beaker depth to ocean depth are so far off.

Any scientific comparison must be between two things that are very much alike for any valid conclusions to be reached. This is the trap that so many who think they are scientific thinkers often fall into. Logic matters. Just because data can be collected and extropolated does not mean it is valid or scientific.

If the logic behind the experiment is false all the data and mathematical calculations are false even if they are done high accuracy.

The beaker with ice in it test tells us nothing about what would happen if all the ice melted in the ocean. It is a false analogy. And it is not science.

Oh, for chrissakes! It was a teaching tool to demonstrate a basic principle to people with zero ability to understand the underlying science. From a teaching perspective, there was NOTHING wrong with her demonstration. She was not "doing" science! Have you never entered a classroom?

The beaker with ice in it test tells us nothing about what would happen if all the ice melted in the ocean. It is a false analogy. And it is not science.

You are absolutely wrong. An ice-free Arctic absolutely will heat up faster sans ice. That was her point.

You people have no shame.


For once, I tend to side with Mr. "x".

While it's tempting to assume that the decline in Arctic sea-ice is entirely due to AGW and the ocean/ice/albedo differences, I do not know that this has been proven. There is another line of thinking which suggests that the extra melting is due to inflows of warmer waters which then melt the sea-ice from below. And, the difference in albedo between summer sea-ice with melt ponds and the waters of the Arctic Ocean is not as large as you have mentioned. Melt ponds have an albedo in the visible range which is close to water and the albedo of the water is high due to the large zenith angle of the incident solar rays. Both values would be similar for indirect light scattered by the atmosphere or by clouds and aerosols, but the scattered light does not represent as much energy as the direct beam. Once the melt ponds form, the surface albedo drops considerably. In the infrared, both ice and water are good absorbers, AIUI, so the increased down welling IR due to the CO2 increase may be a factor as well.

E. Swanson

While it's tempting to assume that the decline in Arctic sea-ice is entirely due to AGW and the ocean/ice/albedo differences

I am not sure who you are talking to. I didn't say it is. I don't know anyone who has said that. Did this lady? I don't know. If she did, and she's knowledgeable, then, again, she was almost certainly speaking colloquially. Is it necessary to point out the obvious? You well know the entire AGW problem is often denied based on the simple facts of the role of water vapor. Need we add a disclaimer at every mention of CO2? No. It's treated as a given. So is albedo.

I do not know that this has been proven.

This is very strange coming from you. What is? E=MC2 was only "proven" this year, fer cryin' out loud. What's your point? You know better than to make such a pointless statement!

There is another line of thinking which suggests that the extra melting is due to inflows of warmer waters which then melt the sea-ice from below.

As well as changes in Arctic wind patterns. And storms play a role. And methane. What's your point? You don't seriously mean to imply that open water does not retain heat from summer, do you?

And, the difference in albedo between summer sea-ice with melt ponds and the waters of the Arctic Ocean is not as large as you have mentioned.

Well, that's what the scientists say, so... Maybe I read that from Serreze? RealClimate?

I didn't mention ponds. I stated what is, so far as I know, a fact: ice = 80, water = 20. Melt ponds? I bow to your superior knowledge. You'll have to come up with a surface area for melt ponds for it to mean anything, tho. But, really, does it matter? Similar to my question above, is there no ice in the Arctic in summer? Is there no differential? Do you mean to suggest ice vs. no ice = no difference in water and air temps?

Say it ain't so, cause I'd have to call you crazy.

You are missing the point. I was defending the use of the analogy in the context it was used. The scientific specifics are actually not important for the occasion. Besides, you've said nothing to show it was inappropriate. Zero ice WILL equal higher water and air temps. Period. Already does. I don't care what's provable; I care what's true. I have no more doubt about this than I had last summer when the first report out of Alaska about methane bubbling up out of lakes led me to conclude there would follow reports of methane bubbling up in other areas of the Arctic and that methane concentrations would show a rise.

'Twas right then, am right now. I'm not a scientist: I don't need to be able to prove it before I can say it. Logic suffices till proof (years from now) confirms.

Can you imagine having had to wait till this year to use relativity 'cause it wasn't proven?!?!?!?!

Albedo makes no difference... (shakes head from side to side) you two be funny.


The demonstration was not especially relevant to AGW. What was demonstrated was the latent heat of ice. What was the point? Are we to think that once the sea-ice melts to zero at the end of one year's melt season that there will never be any more sea-ice and the temperature of the Arctic ocean will rapidly increase? But, in winter, when there is no solar energy reaching the Arctic, the sea-ice will reform. Sea-ice acts also an insulator, which limits the thickness of the ice by slowing the rate of freezing of the water below, once the ice forms. Even though the minimum summer extent has fallen rapidly, the maximum extent has remained about the same. Thickness appears to be decreasing, but the measurements are difficult to collect and tend to be local, thus it's not clear what's happening. So, again, what does that demonstration say about all this? Not much, IMHO.

E. Swanson

"All models are wrong...some are useful"...saying I've heard in the modeling & simulation world (feel free to find the attribution yerself if you are so inclined).

When I read the beaker/ice/heating-from-below 'demo' I had a reaction similar to Black Dog's and x's. This highly simplistic model is so far from reality in so many respects that I would be loath to wave my 'Dr. Science' wand and say 'tah dah, AGW effects for your viewing pleasure, wrt the North polar sea, QED" to my audience/class.

I have for several years held a provisional judgment that human emissions of certain gases have been changing the global climate from what otherwise would have been the case. However, that judgment doesn't blind me to the many significant deltas the beaker/ice/heater model has wrt to reality.

I bright child of ten would be able to point out the numerous disparities. If this were a school science fair project (with the objective of 'proving' something about the Arctic Ocean isolation/sea ice/sea temp situation) I would provide robust helpful feedback, but the sponsor certainly would not progress to all-city!

Here's hoping for better models and teaching tools!

"There exist systems of sufficient complexity such that the only predictive model of that system is the system itself".

I can't seem to remember the name of the scientist who said this - I heard it on the radio, and it stuck with me. I think he was a geologist.

This became my motto (i.e., excuse) back in the 80's when I was having problems modeling some very complex plant physiological processes. I believe it to be true.

That's one reason why when people talk about geo-"engineering" I get chills of terror down my spine.

That ship has departed.

See above:

'Climate fix' ship sets sail with plan to dump iron.

I thought they had already done some iron experiments with null results. I think this is another rather limited experiment - I don't think it will go anywhere.

Now, when they feel like they want to scale these things up, who decides it's OK? The UN? Do corporations just do it for profit? I don't think much thought has been given to that yet.

I predict that it won't work in any useful fashion. The eutrophied slime outcome seems most likely to me. That or the iron just sinks and nothing happens. We'll see.

Yeah, I know its just a small scale test...for now. Your question about who decides is very relevant. Whoever has the motive and opportunity most likely.

And what about moral hazard? If we think we can "fix" it why bother trying to stop it? I found this TED talk very interesting. I posted this once before here:


I get chills of terror down my spine.

I know that feeling well. The danger from well meaning scientists is bad enough, but the garbage that is propagated by the media is even worse.

Last night on Discovery they were investigating the use of diffusion lenses above the earth to reduce insolation. Many billions of them.

The scheme involved launching them using an electromagnetic coil gun. A small prototype was built, consisting of a coil/barrel assembly and several capacitor banks. The narrator excitedly explained that the stored energy was enough to power 5000 homes for a year.

Later, the operator mentioned that the discharge was 10,000 joules in 1 millisecond. The "enough energy to..." analogy is so hopelessly flawed that I won't bother to pull it apart, but it has become painfully obvious to me that true science shows are few and far between. The director and/or staff clearly don't have an effing clue what they are talking about and apparently don't give a damn. This type of crap is pervasive, such as "enough concrete to build a wall from A to B" Apparently dimensions are irrelevant. It's just fodder for the 500 channel universe.

Critical thinking is a lost art and "back of the envelope" calculations are equally rare. God knows what idiotic schemes are going to be foisted on the dumbass public in the coming years.

Sorry for the rant, but it really, really pisses me off.

Oh, and BTW, there was never any mention about how to get rid of the lenses, if necessary.

Sometimes I think people blind themselves to simple common sense.

Are we to think that once the sea-ice melts to zero at the end of one year's melt season that there will never be any more sea-ice and the temperature of the Arctic ocean will rapidly increase? Blah, blah, blah...

Is that an issue anyone is raising? No. You are attempting to make her demonstration look silly by attributing to it something that the context of the general conversation on sea ice doesn't include. It's unfair and a bit dishonest.

BTW, re: albedo, from NSIDC:

Arctic sea ice keeps the polar regions cool and helps moderate global climate. Sea ice has a bright surface, so 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes it is reflected back into space. As sea ice melts in the summer, it exposes the dark ocean surface. Instead of reflecting 80 percent of the sunlight, the ocean absorbs 90 percent of the sunlight. The oceans heat up, and Arctic temperatures rise further.

Thickness appears to be decreasing, but the measurements are difficult to collect and tend to be local, thus it's not clear what's happening.

That statement is ludicrous.



Note this only goes to '07, which is way out of date, even with such a short time frame:

People, seriously: albedo makes a difference. Less ice, more heat. Someday, maybe all gone in summer. This is not only widely known, it is also widely anticipated. What, really, are you guys on about? She wasn't talking to scientists.

This is truly absurd.


I can't help it that the NSIDC statement about sea-ice albedo is incorrect. I've tried to bring this issue out for discussion for more than 16 years. BTW, I DO have references. Here's a photo from the SHEBA Experiment. The image of the sun is rather bright. Notice how dark the sea-ice appears, as the camera lens is stopped down.

SHEBA Sea-Ice 1

As for thickness, one must realize that the early measurements were taken from a few submarine cruses which did not sample the entire Arctic Ocean nor did they sample at the same time of the year and your new data from satellite is experimental with only a few years data available...

E. Swanson

It's NOT incorrect! You are just being picky as all get out. In both the case of the video and the NSIDC quote, you are treating their comments as if made in a scientific journal, rather than making general statements to the public.

It is you who is in error.

As for thickness, one must realize that the early measurements were taken from a few submarine cruses

Criminy... what is your hangup with the ice? In just the "few" (30!) years they've been measuring, the changes have been massive. Just five to ten years ago there was a large percentage of multi-year ice. Very, very little of it is left. I posted the links. Did you bother looking at them?

Here's another:

There is strong evidence that reductions in sea ice extent have been accompanied by substantial thinning. There is growing recognition that once the ice thins sufficiently, it will become sensitive to a "kick" from natural climate variations that, through feedback mechanisms such as ocean warming in ice free regions due to solar radiation, result in rapid loss of the remaining summer ice cover.

You'll forgive me if I trust Serreze's view over your view.


I trust the data, which indicates that the albedo of water at high zenith angle (low elevation angle) can exceed 20% to as much as 30%. The photograph is a "graphic" demonstration of this truth, which was also found in measurements made more than 30 years ago. Other data shows that the albedo of sea-ice drops rather sharply once melting begins and ponds form on the surface. During the middle of the melt season, when it's warmest and the sun is highest above, the average albedo drops below 50%. The quote you offered from the NSIDC presents an incorrect comparison of the albedo of ocean and sea-ice. I agree that there has been a rapid decline in minimum sea-ice extent, which would result in more thin first-year ice and less multi-year ice. The decline in thickness of that multi-year ice is less startling. Sorry, but I think you've misplaced your trust...

E. Swanson

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of our conversation. I am not arguing the science, you are. I am arguing you being very, very picky and applying standards to others' comments. Do you not understand this?

Look, we are on the same page on this issue, and the hair-splitting on the science is pointless. I am simply trying to encourage objective commentary. Were you responding to a paper, your critiques would undoubtedly be excellent, but you are not. Serreze knows a hell of a lot more about the ice than you do, I'd imagine. And I do not mean that impolitely, just realistically. I find it hard to believe he hasn't considered the difference in reflection between water and ice. I find it a bit silly you assume he doesn't know this.

Intent is everything in communicating. The two people you critique were not communicating what you are complaining about.

Lighten up.


It IS science.

The energy going into the system is absorbed/used up/some other term in the conversion of the solid ice to liquid water. The solid ice 'prevents' the water from heating much over 0 degrees C, because the ice acts as a heat sink, absorbing that excess heat.

The same thing is seen at boiling point, even in a closed system; a pressure cooker with only water will remain at 100 degrees C for some time until all the water is vapourised (into steam) at which point the temperature will continue to rise.

This is why fatty dishes microwaved strongly will damage the plastic tupperware, but watery casseroles or soups will not, as the temperature can't rise as much.

In the case of oceans with abundant ice, the ice will melt, over time, holding the water temperature by absorbing available thermal energy. Once the ice is gone, the temperature can be thought to be 'released', and will bounce upwards.

Does it make sense now? Sure, the currents are different, and the salt makes the ice melt a bit faster, and so on and so on but these are minor effects as coefficients, and don't affect the overriding thermodynamic principles at all.

This is YEAR 8 science, for thirteen year old children, by the way.

Re: 'Climate fix' ship sets sail with plan to dump iron

Although it is a limiting micronutrient in the South Pacific, there is no scarcity of iron on earth's surface. The reason for the lack of it in ocean water is that it tends to form insoluble iron hydroxide, which simply sinks to the bottom. I wish these folks luck with their ferrous sulfate project, but it seems doubtful that they can actually alter the ocean's chemistry enough to make a difference.

And if they succeed in keeping iron suspended in the water, I hope they don't just get a eutrophicated zone of biological slime that rots and emits methane. :(

And if they succeed in keeping iron suspended in the water, I hope they don't just get a eutrophicated zone of biological slime that rots and emits methane.

Thats why this one was "blessed" by the scientists. The scale is small enough that not much damage could be done, and the data may start to answer those questions. Even if this concept works as hoped, it will probably take decades of gradual scaleups, and data gathering analysis, to determine that it is in fact safe. Hopefully, this will get the more uncontrolled types, who simply want to make bucks from carbon credits from trying it on a large scale, before we know how it might backfire.

In any case, human activity ha greatly increased the flux of dust, and riverborne sediment into the oceans. This measures in the billions of tons per year. This will deposit far more iron (and other nutrients) into the ocean than any deliberate geo-engineering will do. The geo-engineering to really fear is the inadvertant type, that is a mere byproduct of some other human activity.

Like I was saying, I wish them luck. We probably should have tried this experiment a decade or two ago. If it works, it'll create coalbeds on the sea floor or something like that...

As for the carbon credits, I think the policy wonks need to work on something better, and quickly. Near as I can tell cap-and-trade is like the medieval system of indulgences, money paid to the Church to atone for sins, which does not in fact reduce the incidence of said sins.

We probably should have tried this experiment a decade or two ago.

Quite a while back a half tom experiment was run. It did result in a rapid greening of a small part of the ocean. But the real issues, will the carbon sink to the bottom, or will it decompose near the surface, to be re-emitted to the atmosphere being the most obvious were not answered. A secondary issue, if Iron is the rate limiting ingredient, will adding iron simply mean that the critters will use up the next most critical ingredient, so that long term little increase in productivity occurs. This test is several tons, about an order of magnitude larger than the original experiment. I would be surprised if it is large enough to get good enough data to properly answer the important questions.

I'm not sure how much on board the scientific community is with this experiment. They probably felt that they had to approve something, in order to co-opt the more gungho elements. In any case, if we ever got this going it would be a climate BB -not a solver bullet. Probably only absorbing CO2 at a small fraction of our current rate of emissions. Just like energy, climate solutions will be a collection of BB's, not a magic silver bullet.

Near as I can tell cap-and-trade is like the medieval system of indulgences.

If it actually results in less CO2 in the atmosphere, then it is better than indulgences. If all it does is slow our consumption of fossil fuels, but we still burn them all, only over a slightly longer timescale, than it will have done no good. That is my opinion about proposing gasoline taxes, or CAFE standards, because of global warming. Were gonna pump and burn all the producable oil in short order anyway! (for a properly qualified meaning of producable).

What a crock of El Torro poop! Sea ice is growing in total.

No doubt it is, it's January. We need to compare September 15ths over next few years to see what comes to pass or not pass.


This year we had passage near the Siberian coast, last year through the Canadian Archipelago.

Try using 2 Sept 1st's and then 2 Oct 1 st's then try a few different years on the same dates.

But Sir,
this cannot be true:


He said it on German TV in December 2008 . And this man never,ever lies. And, after Hansen and Mann, he is the greatest living empirical scientist alive. All we have to do now is wait until December the 13th 2013.

Personally, I don't much care what Mr. Gore said, since he is a politician, not a scientist. I suspect that he was referring to the rapid decline in minimum sea-ice extent, shown here in the red curve.

The other curves were produced by various computer models, most of which suggest that there will be a much slower rate of decline. Note also that this data presents the average for September, which will be greater than the actual minimum, which might tend to occur in October as things progress.

E. Swanson

Dear Black Dog,
Mr. Gore said that the Arctic Ocean will be free of Ice (I presume later summer only) by 2013. What is important about this predictive statement is that we now have a predicted and observable result and a predicted time. Personally I would be happy to give him an error of +2 years before I ask him to return his medal and oscar - since Climatology is not a precise science.

The fact remains he made a statement of predicted effect in time.He has nailed his colours to his mast,(or perhaps made himself a hostage to fortune). I should imagine many Scientists who advocate AGW will have groaned when this statement was made as the gravy train now has a timetable.

Mr. Gore said that the Arctic Ocean will be free of Ice (I presume later summer only) by 2013.

I do believe this is a flat out lie. Care to prove your quote?


BTW, I agree with B-D: wth does Gore have to do with the science being done wrt ACC? Your stance is so weak you have to pretend Gore is a climate scientist?

He's saying minimum sea ice extent in 2013 will be 0 KM^2. What's so unbelievable about that? Personally, my money's on 2018, but 2013 is certainly plausible.

He's saying minimum sea ice extent in 2013 will be 0 KM^2

That would only be valid if the past four years is indicative of a tipping point having been crossed. Few climate scientists would be willing to climb out on that limb. Official forcasts still place the first icefree summer several decades off. So I think it is true that in this case Al has taken on the least supported extreme scenario. It is plausible, but unlikely.

Gatewaypundit is not your basic objective site. I think I'm going to go get that Yugo SKS I've had my eye on. Can't wait for the nice Chinese model.

Gatewaypundit on same page cites Michael Asher who wins 2008 "Most reckless extrapolation of short term trends" from Real Climate:


Gatewaypundit quotes Joseph D'Aleo, AGW skeptic, associated with Frasier Institute See:

Exxon Secrets http://www.exxonsecrets.org/maps.php

MS Savitz is trying to find a way to explain conservation of energy and the thermal properties of matter (liquid and solid in this case) and phase changes... to a general public who either do not care or need more training in the very basics of critical thinking in order to appreciate the subtleties of Earth climate changes and the human perturbations thereupon.

The problem, as Eric has alluded, is that sea ice is such a complex system... and while governed by rather straightforward physics the complexity makes for a very difficult overall problem.

So we get the usual deniers (e.g., jbunt) chiming in with quips based only on their internal emotional state and not with any care for the greater truth and the actual data and science.

It is a testament to the overall poor skills in science and critical reasoning among our citizens (who are likely average or better than average compared to the whole population on Earth) that such straightforward issues get so easily obscured by political/social noise.

That is one of the reasons why I believe that little will be done wrt AGW... it is just too hard of a sell, unless mitigation efforts can somehow be tied to other, more obvious, causes.

But then again even a lot of poor people understand the benefits of phase changes. If your heat gets turned off, then fill up your bathtub with water and the room temperature will tend to at last stay above freezing as the bathtub turns to ice.

Always room for some practical advice :)

An odd juxtaposition yesterday. There was one of those programs on the Discovery channel - "Colossal Construction", about the construction of a new theme park in Myrtle Beach called "Hard Rock Park". As far as I can tell, this is a brand new documentary..

And then this:

Hard Rock Park Falls on Deaf Ears

It took seven years and $400 million to build it. And it took five months for Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to post dismal attendance, blow through its line of credit, rack up insurmountable debt, close its gates, and declare bankruptcy. Amazingly, a December auction yielded no bidders--even at the bargain-basement asking price of $35 million. Now, the hard-up Hard Rock is seeking permission to file for Chapter 7 and liquidate its assets. The giant Les Paul guitar, the Zippo-toting Statue of Liberty, the Led Zeppelin coaster, and all of the park's other items may be sold piece by piece. Frankly, the whole saga dumbfounds me.

If you want to get a glimpse of how something that seemed so right could go so horribly wrong, tune in this Friday, January 9 at 8 p.m. to Colossal Construction: Hard Rock Park on Discovery's Science Channel. It's sure to be a surreal program. According to the cable network's synopsis, it seems the show will focus on whether construction delays would prevent the innovative park from opening on time. As it turns out, that was the least of the doomed park's problems.

It was odd watching the program showing these steel workers busting their tails to build this theme park, knowing that the thing didn't even last a year. No mention of the BK during the program however.

And the implosion of discretionary side of the economy continues (of course, the non-discretionary isn't doing so hot either, but certainly better than the discretionary side).

BTW, some interesting numbers from the current Barron's Roundtable (a look back at 2008 and a look forward for 2009, by a group of investment professionals). As one would expect, the year over year returns on their 2008 investments picks has been "less than stellar." Even Marc Faber did poorly, at least on his investment recommendations. I'm not sure how to quantify his currency trades.


It looks to me that there is an error in Faber's chart. He shorted China and Ships and it looks like he was right but the chart shows his returns on those trades as negative.

His currency trades were spot on. Made a lot of money. In fact short British pound long yen was probably the best trade in the major currency market.

So did the soundtrack use

'Rust Never Sleeps' , or 'Rock and Roll will Never die' ?

This guy is predicting that what happened to subprime will happen to prime mortgages this year:

2009 – Year of Unemployment, Foreclosures, Bankruptcies and the Vicious-Cycling “PRIME-Bomb!”

He thinks even if this is a normal recession, unemployment will continue to increase for another two years.

This bout of unemployment will prove to be a vexing situation to address as no amount of “shovel ready” work projects will help those who have never lifted a shovel.

We are now firmly a nation of service workers with 42% of all private non-farm jobs seated in “Information”, “Financial Activities”, “Professional Business Services” and “Education and Health Services”.

We will see in 2009 that a large and growing percentage of the population of highly specialized college educated professionals will require significant retraining in order to successfully reenter the workforce.

it might be related..
i work in a mail order pharmacy, on the paperwork we stuff into every order there is box for the plan name. i have been seeing more and more orders with that box empty and the full price charged on the last page. I think i might be the only one in the place that thinks. 'this can't go on for much longer'

Obama and jobs

First it was create 3 million new jobs.

The it was create or save 3 million jobs.

Now it create or save 4 million jobs 90% in the PRIVATE sector.

Shouldn't we - ahem - be more relieved?

Obama: Plan Could Create or Save 4 Million Jobs

President-elect Barack Obama said Saturday an analysis of his stimulus proposals shows that between 3 million and 4 million U.S. jobs could be saved or created by 2010, nearly 90 percent of them in the private sector.


My aunt and uncle had religion in a big way and my uncle had visions of things to come. Before I went to Vietnam they drove a long way to Tempe AZ from Indiana (bless them for that). My aunt told me that Uncle George had seen something very bad happen to me in the next year in Vietnam but they stopped at the Prayer Tower and asked that they pray for me. I’m sure they left a considerable donation to help the Tower.

As luck would happen I returned not much worse for the wear. I was a FAC flying O-1 and O-2 and got lots of holes in my little airplane(s) but none in me. The Tower worked so I am here. Had I got killed, Uncle George would have been right on.

Now what has this to do with Obama’s plan? It is similar in that he will ask for everything and will get most of what he wants, at least until the honeymoon is over. If the stimulus works and jobs are created and all goes well it is because of his plan but if it falls on it’s a$$ then it is because congress (read bad Republicans blocking congress) didn’t give him everything he wanted. MSM will make the most of either situation. No one will say luck (the fates) had anything to do with it either way.

About above threads about peak oil: not one of the articles even considered a negative black swan. Murphy is alive and well in the Peak Oil so if something really bad happens and the shelves are bare in a couple weeks, what preps have you made? I guess I’ll keep asking this question. I know that a few of you will answer "I'm about ready" … while the rest of you have been setting around talking (typing) rather than preparing.

Hope for the best … plan for the worst. Good luck to all.

So you might say 'Pray, but verify' (ie, prepare) I could live with that.

I'm agnostic, but I don't think it'll do any harm at all to remind folks that it's getting colder in a lot of Eastern European homes. Give a thought to those folks, and then to the rest of us..


Once Russia restarts shipments, it will take up to three days for Russian gas to reach European consumers, the EU said. Supplies to at least 20 nations have been affected.

'First they shut off the gas, and I did nothing..'

I thought the story above about Albuquerque abandoning E-85 was interesting. According to the article, the problem was that they cost more to run and keep running.

The fact that E-85 cost more than regular gasoline as a fuel (even with its subsidy) isn't too surprising.

What studies have been done on auto maintenance with E-85? We know ethanol is very corrosive. Supposedly autos that have been fixed to use this have been adapted to deal with the corrosive nature of the fuel. Is the Albuquerque story a special case, or should we expect auto maintenance to be costly when E-85 is used?

It ought to be possible to find Swedish statistics. I only know that you have to change the oil oil oil filters more often like every 15000 km.

That doesn't sound terribly often - 15,000 km = 9,321 miles. I would be interested in the statistics if someone runs across them.

Gail, with the type of engines the Albuquerque Police are, at present, using (high displacement, low compression) E85 would probably need to be priced at least 20% to 25% less than unleaded to be economical. Several areas achieved that before the crash in oil prices. Now, there's no way E85 is a "good deal." That is the beauty of flexfuel engines. When Gasoline is high you can burn more ethanol; when gasoline prices are low you just burn more gasoline.

The fuel pump issue is interesting. This hasn't come up (been reported) as a problem in other areas (police, or civlian.) Possibly, the combination of high load, low rpm, high altitude is having some sort of effect. Remember, a low density fuel like ethanol in a low compression engine will require more work from the fuel pump. How altitude would play into this I have no idea. But, my gut says it does.


One of the selling points of ethanol was that it would work in largely unmodified gasoline engines. Take that away and you could just as easily propose switching to other low cost fuels, say, natural gas or diesel.

Here's another instance of a problem.

"Snowmobilers Have Trouble With Ethanol Gas"


Don in Maine

check engine light on my jeep came on; stalling at idle & then as suspected i drained a couple gals. of the clear ethanol out my large storage tank. i give. no more storing gas; switched where i could to diesels.

ABQ used to use E10 at all pumps in the winter to mitigate air pollution effects exacerbated by the typical inversion weather patterns in the valley. This still may be the case, I'll have to look for the stickers on the pump that I remember the first time I lived here a few years ago. The pollution from the coal power plants to our west doesn't help the ABQ pollution situation at all. Highly variable...some days one can see the sickly grren haze, and some days it is nice and clear. Used to have burn bans for fireplaces on certain days due to inversions...haven't seen those lately, but I don't watch much TV anymore.

Ethanol is a losing proposition, IMO, due to poor EROEI and agricultural/pollution runoff opportunity costs...maybe if someone can grow algae in giant vertical tubes here in the SW deserts and can efficiently convert this to biofuels then we may have a useful part of our future energy stream.

Most of ABQ's bus fleet is CNG...I have not yet heard about any Mx problems with them similar to what Alan has reported from NOLA.

Here's to highly fuel-efficient ICE vehicles, as well as hybrids and pure EVs, and mass transit, to achieve cleaner air as well as reduce our imported (and all) oil use for combustion.

Hi Gail, have a look at this vintage Bloomberg article from May 2008.

Ethanol Vehicles for Post Office Burn More Gas, Get Fewer Miles


The U.S. Postal Service purchased more than 30,000 ethanol-capable trucks and minivans from 1999 to 2005, making it the biggest American buyer of alternative-fuel vehicles. Gasoline consumption jumped by more than 1.5 million gallons as a result.

... ``You're getting fewer miles per gallon, and it's costing us more,'' Walt O'Tormey, the Postal Service's Washington-based vice president of engineering, said in an interview. The agency may buy electric vehicles instead, he said.

Sorry kdolliso it's not my intention to be rude.

Sometimes folks get Rude and Reality confused.

Some more from US Postal Service at Page 18 in this
PDF document : http://www.govenergy.com/2007/pdfs/strategy/Rios_Strategy_track_S8.pdf
This info is linked to via that above Bloomberg-article.

E85 Decreased overall fuel efficiency of 29%
The price must be at least 30% less than gasoline to be a cost-effective

Frankly. I've never perceived the impression of E85 being this bad before(!) Where was I when this was told ?

Some useful numbers from your link..

An “average” LLV
– Is driven 16 miles/day,
about 5,000 miles annually.
– Is in service 5 - 6 hours a
day, 302 days a year
– Gets 10.4 MPG
– Is 16 -17 years old
(oldest - 20, newest - 13)
– Is probably on its second
engine, and 3rd or 4th

Given the 'Immediate Efficiency' (no engine warmup as with ICE) and long working life of electric motors, it seems these Local trucks would be ideally suited for Electric Operation. The California test vehicles were continuing to wait for battery numbers to come in. It would be good to see what their engine and tranny replacement numbers are as well. Oil Changes, Emissions tests, Muffler and CatConverter replacements...

When I first glanced at your post, I was thinking it said "fuel" consumption rose by more than 1.5 million gallons, but once I looked at it more closely, I realized it was gasoline consumption increased by more than 1.5 million gallons. These low mileage flex fuel vehicles are a real problem! I believe that car companies can still take credit for the supposed lower gasoline usage of flex fuel vehicles when computing their average gas mileage.

Paal, from your Postal Service Article:

The trucks, derived from Ford Motor Co.'s Explorer sport- utility vehicle, had bigger engines than Jeeps from the former Chrysler Corp. they replaced. A Postal Service study found the new vehicles got as much as 29 percent fewer miles to the gallon. Mail carriers used the corn-based fuel in just 1,000 of them because there weren't enough places to buy it.

Paal, this throws a different light on it, doesn't it? Basically, they used a lot more gas because they bought vehicles with bigger engines. Oh, and the 1,000 that used e85 got worse mileage.

Anyway, I can't think of a much worse way of getting gas mileage than using ford explorers to deliver the mail, e85, or no.

what is your overall point kdolliso ?

I know that you love your ethanol, but I'm not able to stretch out far enough in order to recieve your message, it's too weak.
There is nothing, IMO, in what you write here that puts E85 in any better light. 1000 Mail carrier is quite a test base for the Post, is't it ? It's enough to run the calculator to see where i goes all in all , no ?

Well, Paal, the point is: They bought 30,000 vehicles With Larger Engines. Those 30,000 Vehicles got Up To 29% less mileage than the older Jeep vehicles with smaller engines.

3% of those new vehicles ran for awhile on E85. No figures were given as to what Their Mileage Was.

It's not, "what's My point?" It's "What's the point of the Article?" We know that big old fuel-inefficient, low compression engines get worse mileage on e85 than gasoline in stop-and-go driving. But, this article didn't advance our knowledge a single whit.

Ahh kdolliso, YOU are good , very good. What's the name of your lobby ? Is it straight foreward : THE ETHANOL LOBBY ?

For some reasom YOU skipped completely my reply here, just a few "skips" upthread ::::
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4956#comment-458337 , let me copy-cat myself :

E85 Decreased overall fuel efficiency of 29% (regardless of big , small engine)
The price must be at least 30% less than gasoline to be a cost-effective

You play around with no "milage mentioned" , I'd say precentage is much easier to understand. It's easy to understand for all human beings.

kdolliso ! Q: Is the price of a gallon of E85 30% cheaper than that of a gallon of gasoline, in the US ? In my country it's say 10% difference only.

You see if NOT, the US Postal Service will never afford to use it, at least that is what they say.

No need for ad homs, Paal. I've stated many times on this forum that I'm a retired insurance salesman with no ties to ethanol, biofuels, agriculture, or retailing. I'm just interested in the future wellbeing of my family.

Mileage/efficiency depends entirely on the type of engine used. A big old honking, low-compression V-8 engaged in cold-start, stop and go driving will get lousy gas mileage on ethanol (e85.) A smaller, more efficient engine might see losses in the 10% range. A high performance engine will achieve Higher efficiency with ethanol than gasoline. The average new car sold in the U.S. today probably needs a 15% to 20% price break to make it worthwhile.

When gasoline was over $4.00 many places had spreads of 30%, or more. Today, 5% to 10% is good. Again, the beauty of a flexfuel engine is you get to take advantage of the current situation. If gas is high, you use ethanol. If gas is cheap, you use gas. What could be better than that?

ad homs ? I guess that one is in the eye of the beholder. You could easily pass as an ethanol-lobbyist, you are aware of that, no?

This conversation never crossed the reality concerning how much embedded fossil- and electric energy that was lost to society due to ethanolproduction in general. But that is discussed enough around here.

No need for ad homs, Paal. I've stated many times on this forum that I'm a retired insurance salesman with no ties to ethanol, biofuels, agriculture, or retailing.

Ah! Well, there you go! He just never adjusted back to being an honest man!


I kid. Just couldn't resist.


Gail, here's an interesting thread on E85vehicles.com regarding this story. These are good people, with quite a lot of experience burning e85. Several of them are of the "performance-oriented" variety.


It seems the Ford Crown Victoria has had some fuel pump issues (especially police cruisers, it seems.) Also, Albuquerque, due to only one supplier I think, has about the worst e85 prices in the nation. As I said, that's the beauty of the "flex"fuels. If one fuel is too high you use the Other fuel.

NOTE: These pricing problems aren't across the board. Many owners of smaller, higher compression engines still find it economic to use e85 in some areas. It also depends a lot on the Type of driving you do. Moderate highway speed driving yields the best mileage. Stop, and start, with lots of "cold" starts (or, very high speed highway) yields the worst.

Paal, I would never accuse someone of being "rude" simply for stating a fact, or belief. I'm sure my definition of rude is the same as yours. Now, you go bothering my dog, and we're going to have to talk. :)

The story says the problem is the GM fuel pump.
There are millions of ethanol cars in Brazil. Your suspicions are downright silly.

That was a "Comment" thread. A commentor threw that out there. He later in the thread did his "oops."

They are Ford Crown Victoria Police Cruisers, and the fuel pumps are by Bosch.

There are approx. 7 Billion flex fuel cars in the U.S. (probably a little over a million actually running e85.) When you start getting reports of a specific problem (fuel pumps) from a small sub-set of those autos (Crown Victoria Police Cruisers you probably want to look at the sub-set before you go blaming the fuel. The interesting observation was that the Crown Vics were having fuel pump problems on ALL fuels.

We know ethanol is very corrosive.

Correct, however I can't imagine that is the basis of the increased maintenance costs they mention.

As someone who lived and worked in Brazil in the early days of the implementation of 100% ethanol as an automotive fuel I can attest to the fact that this was indeed a major problem. However my 1983 (purchased new) Volkswagen Fox lasted many years and a couple of 100 Kms on the odometer, it was not more expensive to maintain than any other comparable vehicle at the time. The corrosion issue had been pretty much licked by then. Disclaimer, I have never owned an E85 vehicle so I don't know if there are special maintenance costs or not.

The guys at the chain saw shop tell me it's not so good for my saw. Good for their work, they admit.

Gail, the Oil Companies have been putting ethanol in their "Premium" grade gasolines for a long time. It helped them achieve the Octane level needed for the higher-performance engines.

That's why you have the disclaimer in your owner's guide to the fact that higher octane gasoline might lead to lesser gas mileage in engines designed for 87 Octane.

BTW, that article referred to a study that examined the ramifications of the government's CAFE Credit for flexfuel vehicles. The question was, did this lead the manufacturers to produce more "Low" Mileage vehicles. Using the "worst case" scenario they figured (due to the fact that there was so little e85 available) that the program might have led to the U.S. using 1.5 Million Gallons more gasoline. I gotta admit, that's possible. Of course, that was several years, ago. Things are quite a bit differrent, today.

Saudi Arabia has announced another ten percent cut in output for February.


Even Angola without an OPEC quota announced cuts to output to oil companies working there.

The situation seems critical and a return to higher oil prices might be inevitable as U.S. demand has surged since September in spite of the worse year of job losses since 1945.


That may be the most significant news out of the KSA I've seen yet. For those who didn't bother to read rain's link assuming it was just another potetial hollow threat to reduce quotas might want to see the details. The KSA is actually breaking existing delivery contracts in place for Feb delivery. This might not be the first time this has been done but I've never seen such an admission before. IMO this seems to be a rather drastic move to immediately put a floor on oil prices.

It will be very interesting to see if Mexico cuts production or tries to ride what ever sort of price boost that may be coming as a result of other OPEC production cuts.

They do that all the time. (And this link was posted yesterday.)

When they did it before the price crash, many assumed that it meant they didn't have the production to fulfill their contractual obligations. Some suspected they were taking oil from Asian customers in order to provide it to us.

But this is something they've been doing for years. I assume their contracts must be written to allow it, since traders and refiners in Asia seem to expect and accept it.

As Leanan noted, they have done it before--basically put buyers on allocation. IMO, the most memorable quote from one of the Saudis in early 2006 was that they could not find buyers for all of their oil, "Even their light, sweet oil."

I expect that a combination of voluntary + involuntary export reductions will drive the price back up from current levels, and I don't think it's an absolute given that 2009 oil prices will average below the 2008 average price. I did think it was interesting that a recent CNBC oil price poll had zero respondents thinking that oil prices would go above $75 in 2009 (see the Barron's Roundtable results for an interesting track record by the best and brightest on Wall Street).

Our middle case is that top five net oil exporters, by the end of 2018 (10 years from now), will have shipped about 80% of their post-2005 cumulative net oil exports.

Regarding Mexico, their 2004 net oil exports were 1.9 mbpd. I estimate that they were down to about 1.0 mbpd in 2008. My "optimistic" scenario, assuming some decline in domestic demand, is that their remaining net oil exports look about like this:

2009: 750,000 bpd
2010: 500,000
2011: 250,000
2012: zero

Based on this scenario, Mexico, through 2008, has shipped about 80% of their post-2004 cumulative net oil exports. As I told Nate the other day, I plead guilty to being focused on the net oil export issue. What is surprising to me is that the whole world is not focused on this issue.

Your middle case scenario has Mexico ceasing to be an oil exporter by 2012. What is your worst case for Mexico? I seem to recall (sorry no link) that Matt Simmons predicts this happening as early as late 2009.

I'm assuming some decline in domestic consumption, but my "optimistic" outlook for Mexican net oil exports has their post-2004 cumulative net oil exports about 90% depleted at the end of this year. Matt says 100%. Not much of a difference.

Mexico is following the same net export trajectory as our Export Land Model, as Indonesia and as the UK--final production peak to zero net oil exports in less than 10 years. Common connection: they were all consuming about half of their production at final peak.

That is the only real difference (besides the volume of oil) between the top five net oil exporters and the the three real life examples I cited. The top five at their (IMO) final collective production peak in 2005 were, in aggregate, consuming less of their production than the UK, Indonesia and Mexico at their respective final peaks, so it takes a little longer for the top five to collectively approach zero net oil exports (our middle case being 26 years, from 2005).

Meanwhile, we are planning to vastly increase our national debt in order to try to jump start the auto centric suburban way of life.

From July through November (Dec#s out in 2 weeks), Mexican Oil Consumption was down 10.92% while Oil Production was only down 3.07%. I expect consumption will continue to drop faster than production will for a while longer. Unfortunately this respite will avert many eyes from what is an inevitable long term result of zero exports.

You also need to track imports, which appear to be up at 11%/year, through November, over the 2007 rate:


My assumption is that Mexico's annual consumption in 2008 is flat, relative to 2007, and then declining. In any case, as you noted, the rate of change in consumption just changes the slope of the net export decline.

BTW, here is their long term (EIA) consumption graph:


Their 10 year rate of increase in consumption has been +1.3%/year.

If we assume 3.0 mbpd total liquids production for December, and if we assume flat annual consumption, the data look like this:


Production: 3.50 mbpd
Consumption: 2.12
Net Exports: 1.38


Production: 3.16 (-10.2%/year)
Consumption: 2.12 (no change)
Net Exports: 1.04 (-28%/year)

That's cherrypicking. At issue is since oil peaked (in production and price - in July) Here are the numbers for Mexico (now adding in imports as you suggested):

July 3,157
August 3,122
September 3,080
October 3,120
November 3,060 (down 3.07%)

July 1,914.4
August 1,828.4
September 1,737.6
October 1,787.1
November 1,705.6 (down 10.92%)

Once you include the sharp reduction in imports over same period (at link you posted) crude exports from Mexico are increasing at least for now.

July 1,377
August 1,416
September 1,060
October 1,434
November 1,501 (exports increased 9.01%)

As long as credit crisis holds, this pattern will continue until depletion catches up. We can all make guesses when that will be. I don't take issue with your ultimate conclusion, I post these numbers to show that it is not so simple as 'exporting countries will peak and decline while their internal consumption rises. period.' Since oil peaked, demand is the dominant theme - so perhaps someone will now cherry pick some data and come up with a 'Net export increase' model..;-)

And our difference is? As I have said several times, I am assuming flat annual consumption for 2008, with declining consumption in 2009.

There is probably a mistake somewhere in trying to figure out consumption. The EIA shows consumption of 2.12 mbpd for 2007, which I can't get to from trying to combine the Pemex refined product sales (1.82 mbpd) and imports for 2007 (0.5 mbpd).

In any case, the Pemex 2007 domestic sales number was 1.82 mbpd, and 2008, through November, is 1.83 mbpd.

BTW, my "cherrypicking" is the same approach that the EIA uses--calculating net exports on an annual basis.

Oaky, here we go. If we calculate net product imports and add it to Pemex consumption, we get very close to the EIA number. For 2007 it would be 2.14 mbpd and for 2008, through November, it would be 2.2 mbpd.

In any case, I think that there is almost no chance that 2009 declining consumption will fully offset the decline in production, leading to my estimate for 2009 net exports of about 0.75 mbpd versus about 1.0 mbpd for 2008. As I said up the thread, this "optimistic" scenario shows Mexico's post-2004 cumulative net exports 90% depleted at the end of 2009.

Another edit: if you add net November imports to November product sales, you get about 2.0 mbpd in November, 2008 consumption, versus 3.1 mbpd in total liquids production, leaving 1.1 mbpd in net exports for November, versus 1.4 mbpd for 2007 (annual average, EIA).

The US is not alone:

SHANGHAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) - China's passenger car sales resumed growing in December after falling the previous month, rising 8.1 percent, an industry group said on Friday, bolstered by lower fuel prices and government steps to boost the market.


The funny thing is that we have a situation where OPEC and the oil industry is sharply curtailing investments & supply, while governments around the world are going on overdrive to jump start demand, if this is not a recipe for a major jump in oil prices, I am not sure what is.


Like "Thelma & Louise" we are pushing the gas pedal to the floorboard as we head for the edge of the cliff.

Hello WT,

As always, I avidly read your [ELM & ELP] based postings, but I don't always comment, but please keep flogging this dog. Some of the best TOD debates for our enlightenment are when you/R-squared, or you/Nate, or you/cornucopian-TODer bring new viewpoints to enlarge this discussion.

Regarding [ELM & ELP], have you or Khebab given any thought as to when an I-NPK exporter may decide that it is the better choice to imitate the Saudis; ie, to keep the I-fertilizer flowrate strictly local for future generations? I sure hope Obama, and the Pentagon & USDA are considering this possibilty in their war-game simulations.

For example: The US is 44% import reliant upon [N]itrogen alone. Russia/Ukraine deciding not to export ammonia & urea would cause an immediate 21% import reduction tonnage to the US. Trinidad, an immediate 55% reduction, which would be much worse [source: USGS Nitrogen 2008 PDF].

Thus, if Russia/Ukraine/Europe ever come to blows: it is guaranteed that the pipelines/infrastructure will be hit as in Georgia/Ossetia-->not to mention bad effects in their continent, but our food prices would skyrocket as ammonia & urea head into Unobtainium here in the US.

Even a Black Swan, such as an unforseen new volcano/major earthquake in the Strait of Bosphorus area, would have far-ranging US effects if the Black Sea suddenly went non-meromictic like a super-giant Lake Nyos.

Even worse, imagine China/Russia/Venezuela navies blowing up the Trinidad infrastructure, and/or some coup/terrorist/pirate action taking these islands hostage like the Somalia Supertanker. We here in the US would probably have to go immediately to full-on O-NPK recycling everywhere to try and offset this N-loss as you just can't march into your local Wal-Mart to buy off-the-shelf quantities of Haber-Bosch factories.

Another Black Swan scenario would be a mud volcano [so common in Trinidad and Tobago that it's a tourist attraction] that quickly releases most of the gas reserves they are currently tapping:

Off shore mud volcanoes while not common in Trinidad are not unusual. The most well known of the off shore mud volcanoes is at Chatam in South Trinidad. The top of the volcano periodically rises above the water to form an offshore island but is eroded by the waves. The first recorded instance was in 1911, when an island emerged amid an explosion and flames, rising about 12 feet above sea level. In 1928, an island again emerged, accompanied by gas explosions, and disappeared within a few weeks. The largest version of the recurring island appeared in 1964, when a 10.5-acre land mass formed over several days, ultimately rising 25 feet above sea level. On May 11 2001 the volcano again created a new island about a mile and a half offshore, in the Columbus Channel. In November 2002 the island off Chatam reappeared but by March 2003 the mud volcano was almost totally eroded below sea level.
Reminds me of the sand-blow volcano videos in KSA where natgas suddenly escapes through a new rock fracture.

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

I can't speak for Khebab, but I'll leave the fertilizer work to you (I am already suffering from NOE-OCD, Net Oil Export Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). BTW, any progress on setting up your own blog, or signing on as a contributor? You would be a natural as a contributor to Sharon's blog.

Hello WT,

Thxs for responding. I don't have the skills nor time to be anything more than your typical TOD poster. I encourage the TODer who set up a blog for me to continue to cut & paste as he sees fit [with proper attribution], just as I told Bart@EB to freely poach my text whenever he seems to think it merits a wider audience. But, as mentioned before: I really would like to see some new TopTODer come along to steal my thunder by really moving this discussion up to the next level with cool charts and sound engineering analysis. :)

I try my best not to induce reader's MEGO, but it is difficult to avoid when discussing arcana such as DAP benefication, H-B Mfg, recovered sulfur, or apatite ore concentrations. I easily admit that hugging a Prius through a decreasing radius curve is much sexier to the average TODer than hugging a bag of steer manure or a bag of MOP. That is why I generally try to post near the bottom of DBs and keyposts.

Regarding postPeak I-NPK flowrates: I am still hoping the UN FAO, POT, IFA, USDA, CIA, and other orgs start generating realistic, exhaustive scenarios with declining net energy, ELM, and FF projections included to make and/or mine, and then globally move the I-NPK, plus what ramping of O-NPK is attainable.

They can afford the proprietary I-NPK and sulfur reports, they have much better contacts than me [I have only Google], they have armies of statisticians-->they could easily make detailed I-NPK postPeak projection graphs, charts, and text that qualitatively surpass the best FF-topic efforts of Ace, Khebab, Stuart Staniford, Euan, Gail, et al.

Maybe these orgs won't for national security reasons [which, IMO, is just another worrisome sign]. Recall that in many of the USGS weblinks: data is still suppressed by the US Census Bureau, and the reports are increasingly moving to just annually, instead of monthly updates.

WT -- I understand about the allocation system but if I read the link correctly they've cancelled previously commited allocations. Have you and Leanan seen them do that before? It sounded almost like a panic move to me.

They do it all the time. The cuts are not unusual and were expected.

The thing that's noteworthy is the cuts are larger than expected. The Saudis are now below their quota.

I know that they previously cut deliveries to levels below previously contracted for volumes (which seems to contradict their statements about not being able to find buyers for all of their oil, but I digress).

In any case, it would appear that the Saudis are determined to drive the price back up. I think that it is within the realm of possibility that the current decline in oil prices may not even show up on an annual graph--because of voluntary + involuntary export reductions.

Seven of the top 10 net oil exporters showed lower net oil exports in 2007, versus 2005: Saudi Arabia; Norway; Iran; Kuwait; Mexico; Venezuela & Nigeria. Three showed increases: Russia; UAE & Algeria. Of those three, it would appear that Russian production is now in decline, and we expect the Russian decline in net oil exports to probably be pretty sharp. Even Saudi Arabia, which showed an increase in 2008 net exports, versus 2007, will be well below their 2005 rate.

Watch the trailer to the documentary "The Great Squeeze." You will immediately think, "Wait, didn't I see this before?"

The answer is "Yes." It's called "The End of Suburbia."

These doc filmmakers have no imagination. This one comes hot on the tails of "Blind Spot." (About a dog with a cane led by a human guide? No, yet another rehash of EOS.)

I think we've reached "peak film." This is one "decline rate" to wish for.

Using lack of an imagination as a guideline, I think that Hollywood reached peak film decades ago.

I guess the independent/alternative film industry is only now catching up.

nopeak - Have you seen F.L.O.W or The Unforeseen or Up The Yangtze? Each deals with the issue of water and they all cover a lot of the same ground, and they all came out in the last couple of years.

Do you believe that the redundancy of these films make them less vital?


I was really disappointed by FLOW. It was all over the place, and was basically just saying "corporations are bad".

Corporations are sociopaths by nature and organization (see The Corporation a educational and entertaining film about the history and nature of corporations).
That said, they are not the problem. Corporation just make capital more efficient, and are a evolution of the capitalist model.
-- I think you know where I'm going with this-------

Another documentary called "Fuel"

While I was not for the TARP and still am not, none the less I think I may be in love with Elizabeth Warren.

Link courtesy of TAE.

Elizabeth Warren On TARP Oversight, CNN


ptoemmes - I have a 25,000 gal swimming pool with 24,000 gal of water in it. You put in 1,000 gal to fill it up. I allow 1,000 thirsty people to take a gallon each out. How much of your 1,000 gal is gone? And, prove it! That is why the banks are reluctant to say how they are spending the TARP money. Is it FIFO (first in first out - so nothing) or LIFO (last in first out - so all) or an average - so 40? As to the mortgage/foreclosure crises: So far it has been the greatest transfer of wealth from the wealthy to the unfortunate (over $1 trillion) in the history of mankind. These people are/were underwater by an average of $100,000 each, which has been forgiven as they "walked away." Now they are living in much less costly accommodations (relatives, rentals, lower cost houses, etc.). Not only have their balance sheets been restored to a positive, so has their cash flow. The "rich" (and stupid) investors have eaten the $1 trillion in losses. And, do not claim that the government bailed them out. Just look at the investment losses in the value of the bank stocks and the investment bank stocks - well over $1 trillion. And do not tell me that a low income janitor is going to pay for it. His income is not taxed now, will never be taxed in the future, and will receive a grater "tax rebate" check from the government than he ever has in the past.

You are describing a black hole, which is why none of this money should have been doled out in the first place. If we stipulate that the money is simply not traceable in any meaningful way, then we should find something else to do with the money, including keeping it in the treasury. One problem is that there is no evidence that loans have increased subsequent to the bailout. Since the primary purpose of this injection of money is to get money flowing through the economy, the bailout has failed. Since it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell what has happened to this money, we cannot conclude that this program is beneficial to the overall economy.

Walking away from loans is at least reducing the liabilities of some people. This is just one of the risks of lending to people who can not afford loans. I hardly feel sorry for those, rich or not, who participated in this clearly bogus scheme. Doing loans the old fashioned way, with people who can afford them, would have resulted in less losses.

I don't know about the poor janitor; I don't even know about the people who pay taxes, as this ponzi scheme we call the deficit seems to have no end. If, when, this whole house of cards comes tumbling down, I think most of us will pay,whether or not the payment is in taxes.

Somehow I think that those who 'walked away' have suffered immediate and long-term damage to their abilities to receive any further credit. And yes, moving into to smaller, crappier, older, digs in more run-down, crime-ridden neighborhoods with inferior schools must be a reward in itself! And going on bended knee to beg to live with relatives you may not get along with 100% of the time and giving up your mastery of your own little castle must be exquisite. Losing all the Realtor fees, closing costs, sunk mortgage payments, and money poured into home maintenance and improvements in your foreclosed house makes for some knee-slapping good memories to tell.

I know people who are in the $120-$250K/yr income range who are salivating to go get some great deals on super-grand king cab long-bed dualie pickemup trucks, and who are continuing their quests to replace all their perfectly good kitchen appliances with stainless steel-faced models purely for the aesthetic of it. These folks aren't even what I consider 'rich', just riding secure on military retirements and living well off of military contract work in their second career...so don't try to get us to shed tears for the real rich fat-cats....pu-lease!

I think it is perfectly fair that a min-wage janitor or renta-cop or whomever who has to work two jobs a day to make the rent and groceries doesn't pay any federal income tax, and in fact sometimes may receive a 'rebate'. It's called progressive taxation, and it has been the U.S. way for quite some time. It is egalitarian. We have plenty of regressive taxes (sales, gas, telephone, etc) to keep the little people busy scrambling for dimes and nickels to pay the Man.

A lot of folks out there aren't their brothers' keepers...they will be happy only when the last person who can't afford membership dues in the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, can't afford to roll their Escalades up to the thousand-person mega-churches to pray for republican politicians, and who can't afford to live in the gated golf communities (real nice use of water in the desert)is shipped out to die in squalor in some shantytown in the desert, over the visual horizon. We did it to the Native Americans, but at least we gave them land, which they are now wisely using to sell tax-less gasoline, cigarettes, and seats at the slot machines, craps tables, and concerts to get a piece of our action. If their is any justice, they will build scads of wind farms and solar generation facilities and make even more money off of us...it is the least we can do to atone for decimating their societies and taking their lands (and polluting them to boot).

End of Rant.

And yes, moving into to smaller, crappier, older, digs in more run-down, crime-ridden neighborhoods with inferior schools must be a reward in itself!

Actually, the people who are intentionally walking away are not necessarily moving to bad neighborhoods. They may just be moving next door. If you owe $400,000 on your house, and the identical home next door is selling for $200,000, it makes financial sense to walk away.

The trick is to arrange to buy your new house before you default on the old one. Your credit will be trashed for several years, but financially, you'll probably be better off than you would paying off the first house, as Mish, Denninger, etc., have pointed out.

"Actually, the people who are intentionally walking away are not necessarily moving to bad neighborhoods. They may just be moving next door. If you owe $400,000 on your house, and the identical home next door is selling for $200,000, it makes financial sense to walk away."

I wonder how common this really is. Yes, financially, it would be the logical thing to do. But I'm willing to bet that what more often happens is that people hang on and hang on, getting futher behind on their bills, until it's too late to even qualify to buy a lower-priced house.


"We have plenty of regressive taxes (sales, gas, telephone, etc) to keep the little people busy scrambling for dimes and nickels to pay the Man."

i think you left out the most regressive of all fica and medicare.

Wealthy to the unfortunate

Then you bring in the low income janitor. I bet the class of people being bailed out contains very few janitors relative to the middle and upper classes being susidized. Which then brings me back to the question of how "unfortunate" this bailout is for them. Ayuh.

Let the rich eat the next ten or 100 trillion. It's them that sucked it out of the planet.

cfm in very white Gray, ME

When science uses bad logic or leaves it out, this is what can happen:


The witch reminds me of ethanol and the treatment it gets at TOD.

FYI Not worth clinking the link. (since the ratings are down)

People really do need to stop with the Monty Python clips. It's annoying and doesn't help the conversation (and I say this as a MP fan).

Regarding the lead-in newstory on the header..

"Farmers will scramble....etc"

I stopped on my way from town at my neighbors house to chat. In fact I spoke of and we discussed the very subject of Farmers and the upcoming year....I had not even turned on my laptop and cruised to TOD as yet so I hadn't read today's DB.

He owns about 1,000 acres much of it under rowcrop cultivation...a three crop two year rotation of beans,corn and wheat but mostl he doesn't do much wheat.

I opined to him about the input costs and upcoming year and we chatted about the pros and cons of the situation.

My thoughts to him was that it didn't really matter if input costs were beyond the ability to make the same crop as always SINCE...

a BIG since the farmers are in the 'cat bird seat' regarding agriculture...And if they skipped enough N,P,K and lime to keep the inputs more commensurate with the yield possibilities AND since the years yields would increase the futures and spot markets that say the price of soybeans doubled? Then getting only 'half' a harvest sans N,P,K inputs then they would make the same profits or close to it.

So less inputs equate to less yields equate to market price increases equate to the same bottomline for the farmers.

Ok...its not a scientific study. Its not couched in academia terminology. Its grassroots,back of the pocket calculations and suppositions....Howsomeever this is the way many farmers operate..taking a look ahead, back of the envelope calculations of a simple variety....Hey many are not using spread sheets but they do have a farm channel dish and a monitor in their offices show them streaming market prices as well as forecasted weather. They are not dummies.

So IMO its might be a wash. However the down side of this is....a whole lot of people in the world might be without food....but again...not a lot of farmers are into "We are the breadbasket of the world"...or lets make sure the Zimbabweans have enough to eat.

Fact is they are more concerned with their own families food first and last and foremost. They don't sit around the coffee shops here in the flyover digressing sadly about the food supply in other countries. Its about more local news or at the most maybe what happened in the Dakotas last year....some of them are very active on internet forums but again....what are they going to do...and whine about input costs...etc.

Just my take as a farmer,retired, living in farm country and working each spring and fall in the ag world , up close and personal, as it were.

Airdale-to sorta take it away from the constant drone about energy into the real world of FOOD. A place where its really 'make it or break it' and screw with your crops and you can go belly up right smart like.

Hi Airdale:

Thanks for the change of perspective.

"Fact is they are more concerned with their own families food first and last and foremost."

Farmer Export Model ... not so much left for export.

The same thing will happen when people around are hungry and you have a family to feed from your garden. Only then, it will probably get real ugly in a hurry.

Since we have less than a half acre (1600 sq meters)in garden we will be hard pressed to feed more than our immediate family even with some purchases (trades for woodworking).

Hi Lynford,

So your a woodworker? So am I but not too much of late since my workshop is unheated. But when all my shop equipment went bye-bye with the equipment auction I had about 5 yrs ago I have slowly been replacing it. At auctions mostly.

Got me a nice Delta 10" contractors table saw. Got a 12 inch Craftsman Industrial radial arm saw.

Last auction I picked up a very heavy Sears floor drill press that is likely circa 1970s..Then purchased a new Grizzly 14" bandsaw. For 50 bucks a guy down the road parted with a 60 or 70s model 6" jointer. Already had a Makita 12" portable planer and many other powered hand tools.

So I have been busy collecting barn wood, downed red cedar trunks,lots of oak and sassafras and so on for this spring and summer workshop activity.

I think woodworking is a good profession to have for the upcoming events. Mabye we will have to go back to hand tools. But folks will need chairs and other furniture..perhaps busted out of green hickory.

I see the upcoming years as a chance to put my Yaesu FT-990 and assorted 2 meter stuff to work as I bring back my code skills from the dustbins. Get a vertical Hustler 5 band trap vertical up and a long wire as well.

Luck to you,

"Change of perspective"..

Well I think I have heard all the arguements above about as much as I can stand in one sitting so I skip over most of the debates about such scenarios.

One believes this and another believes that and someone else goes on a rant....yada yada...but I forget that many here are Newbies to TOD and have to rehash it over and over.

My take is 'what the heck are we going to do about it' besides talk it to death.

I think TOD has realized that Peak has happened in many areas and so they are morphing to some degree. Yet we have not really got down to the nitty gritty part of debating real down in the dirt tactics of survival of those peaking events.

When we do then I will once more try to make posts that are of more challenging activities...but advancing age makes me worry less and less.

Next fall I will have a huge pile of split firewood. Lots more canned vegetables. My root cellar finished and then I can fool with my ham rigs, bend some iron and work some wood. I will likely be posting less and less as events spiral down and down and down.

Its not looking too good for the Light Sport Aircraft I was going to build from Quad Cities. The Challenger in long wing version with a 17 gal tank and takeoff strip in my field. But...well so it goes. Maybe yes and maybe no. Thats one reason I sorta hope for a slower dropoff than what I had been thinking of in the past.

Airdale-did I get that right with the BT? Forgot the ending..so I the break...76's then I think is still the CB lingo. Which btw I picked up a brand new Galaxy DX959..highly modable

but advancing age makes me worry less and less.

LOL ! I'm only 55 and that very thought went through my head just today.

I am interviewing in Manhattan KS Tuesday for a job in my new HVAC/R career and have a call to return to a proprietor in Platte SD Monday about my resume.

With all the reading I do, lots of it on TOD, it's still not clear what to do. My major asset at this point seem to be mobility.

I do a lot of gut checks ;)

Ha, can I get a 10:36? Flat chested beaver with a beer belly. Got my Cobra sidebander, that is wide open to slide. SSB is the way to go. I expect not many here know what that means. Got a good sized Beam, so I can swing the house around. Home built, pvc pipe and copper wire.

You have to give these kids a chance airdale, they mean well, and it really does take some time. Get a few of them to shit in a hole in the ground at 10 below, and be actually hungry and their perspective will change. Like I told Nate, when I'm here at TOD I chuckle a lot, not demeaning at all, just entertaining to watch the process work out. Some of the threads are so ego filled, that's the only thing they see. An argument here changes nothing.. If you think you've won, all you've done is stroke your ego, hear me Nate? Nothing changes. Debate the phases of the moon, they will be the same well after you are long gone. BTW nice full moon tonite, got the coyotes all excited. The informational posts are great, something I missed, as a compendium TOD can't be beat. Can't surf everything but the group here does. I appreciate that.

I get some hope, reading here, not as far along as I would hope, I agree with you but much better than anything else.
Sharon's blog is another light in the darkness, she will end up helping many people. This is a very good thing. She has a wonderful way with words and very good info.

First thing, secure your water supply, you die quickly without water, shelter depending on where you are, shelter from the elements. Up here we have a wind chill of 10 below, exposed skin freezes quickly, there are other places where you could be naked year round. Keeping the body warm is high on the priority list. Work with what you have. Food, the trucks are going to stop running, you have to deal with that and plan on it. Listen to Sharon.

How do you get food, when the trucks stop. Even if you still have a job, and most likely you don't.
She will save you.

So you collect, and buy food at the store, what happens when your check doesn't clear and the store is closed? See some giddy people here, laid off means vacation. Lots of fun, no work but still getting $$, what do you do when that stops?

Don in Maine

How can I find internet forums that deal with current farming issues? Would like to find some to see the farmers are planning for this year.


The world is really changing and would be very very different in years to come.

The corrupt people in govts around the world no longer want to let the golden goose live, they want to kill it now and take whatever bounty they can get because they know the goose would not be laying golden eggs anymore. People like Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke are so naked and crude in their greed to grab whatever they can from the wealth of world as long as the system is running that they don't care that even a layman can smell the fish. Its not just these two people, its all corrupt people in all govts on the planet. Look at what Mugabe is doing. Look at what Zardari is doing. It seems to me that these people really and strongly believe in their hearts that the show is going to end soon, that the capitalist world has no future, that they want to loot it when its there. Any economist can tell you that the whole idea of capitalism is based upon growth. Lenders lend now hoping to get something extra on their money in future. Once there is no growth in energy there would soon be no growth in economy credit crisis or not. Once there is no growth in economy there is no capitalism. Bank of England never decreased its interest rate below 2% in its entire 315 years history until now.

If you have noticed recent events of earth quakes and volcano eruptions you may have found that there is a significant rise in these geological activities since a decade or two. There must be an explanation for this. Is it a major aligning of planets triggering changes in magnetic field of earth which in turn is triggering the earth quakes and volcano eruptions? What is going on?

I am living in this house since 1983 when I was 3 years old. None in my family ever found it necessary to have a geyser to get hot water for bath. We used to use the cold water directly and it was ok. Its only last year that it got so cold that we had to fix a geyser and this year is even worse. Things are certainly not ok. People of karachi never had to acquire warm clothes because we never needed that but now you can't really survive these nights without a really warm jacket and a thick blanket. Do climate change has a relation with geological activities? I don't think so.

Seems like we are facing 4 problems at the same time:

(i) Credit Crisis
(ii) Peak Energy
(iii) Magnetic Shift
(iv) Climate Change

Thanks for writing, Wisdom.

Yeah, a lot of problems all at once alright. Do you get much Sun in Karachi? I keep wondering whether you can develop some Solar Batch-Heaters for warm/hot washing water? These would be like simple Solar Ovens, could be made from wood, cardboard.. mirrors or metal foil to reflect into a glass-covered enclosure. I don't know if that's where you're at, or whether it would be a problem for other reasons, but it would be one more thing to do against the cold that doesn't need Electric or Fuel.

Here's a couple links for instructions..

and simple window- air heaters..
(the ones I'm building have shiny cover-doors on them to concentrate more sun, and then shade them on HOT days..

Thinking about you and your country a lot lately.

Hang in there, and good luck!


Hi Wisdom,

Regarding climate. Here in West Kentucky one day its in the 60s,like yesterday and the next day its in the 20's ,like right now and in a few days back to 60s'and it keeps cycling like that, over and over.

Last night moths were flying in the door and circling my reading lamps. Right now at the same exact time (7:30 PM CDT) they are likely laying dead on the ground or back in their hiding places.

Yesterday some of those imported Asian Ladybugs were on the move..now back to the hive....

Its weird and I think its taking a massive toll on some species. Particularly bird life. Maybe a lot of things reacting that our scientist can only see in the rear view mirror but us here in the outback notice them all the time.

Being close to nature one sees obvious signs and changes. Science of course must get grants,etc and then long long periods of observation and experiements etcetera...yada yada doo.

So I wear long thermal underwear,sleep under an electric blanket sometimes, keep a wood fire when needed and ride my motorcycle on the good warm days of midwinter in the midwest.

The 'times they are achaingin'. That is what I see and its all empirical...no science. Just looking and feeling.

Airdale-your post struck a chord with me

Someone posted a link to this earlier, but it was behind a paywall. I, um, liberated it. (It's just a letter to the editor of Nature, not an article. Hopefully Dr. Philippe won't mind.)

Western prosperity is based on resources that are running out

I think the "degrowth" is underway...

borrowing a quote from our own JoulesBurn:

"degrowth is preceded first by denial, and then by default"

A sign of the times.

Today a buddy of mine went to an auction down south of here.

It was a huge estate. A 7000 plus sq ft McMansion with 11+ acres. In the house they guy had about 10 million invested.

He was retired,had sold his company,moved to another of his four houses and set this up for auction.

What price did the hammer fall on? Half a million.
A $15,000 one of a kind shotgun went for $1,xxx on the block.

Amazing yet...reality sets in slowly..

Airdale-I skipped that auction...I have been to far too many this year already. Already seen the elephant. Got some real nice bargains.

PS. If my pension holds out and SS keeps coming,then I am ok.
If the pension goes then most of our corporations will already be dead. If SS goes the guv will already be dead. My son will be out of a job and ...well I will still be working the dirt in my garden.....and the credit card people can ..well do whatever...matters not to me..."hard peas"....as they say.

TODers might be interested in 2 articles in today's NYT. One is called "Daddy's Home and a Bit Lost"---about all the unemployed former Wall St execs now staying home all day. The guy in the article (his name is Scott Berry) refuses to look for any job except as another executive "lunch eater" (to borrow D. Orlov's great phrase). He spends his time at the gym, or on the internet, and won't even clean the house while his wife is at work. How about getting some goats to lok after and get some milk or cheese? How about setting up an orchard for fruit? No way---they're not giving up their two cars, their clothes from Ralph Laren, these people need to READ TOD!!!

And if you need MORE proof that ELP works, look at the 2nd article "At the Old Navy Yard, Niche Manufacturers Weather the Recession". In Brooklyn furniture makers, etc (producers) are doing OK because they're nimble and can cut costs easily, also produce what is needed and change as the market directs.

BIG QUESTION: Why won't the ex-Wall Street exec. become a producer? Because working with one's hands supposedly forces one out of the ranks of the elite? (Who cares, I mean really...) Or because he has no skills? (He could try and learn).

"Daddy's Home" highlights everything that is wrong with America. Women eager to leave their husbands as soon as the gravy train dries up, people clinging to extravagant lifestyles, never considering that they could do so much with less.

How does the phrase go - pride proceedeth the fall?

BIG QUESTION: Why won't the ex-Wall Street exec. become a producer? Because working with one's hands supposedly forces one out of the ranks of the elite? (Who cares, I mean really...) Or because he has no skills? (He could try and learn).

I had been reading TOD etc since 2006 and in dec 07 I invested in farming and kept it funding for 1 year but now after running out of money that I had I found that for ordinary people like me having a farm is really not an option. There are too many high level games of price manipulations of fertilizers, pesticides, crops etc that we non-experts cannot make a profit.

We also don't have money to buy enough farm land which can sustain our families even if we throw in our house (for whatever price it can get in this recession). I think what we the working class can do is to learn skills that people really need.

One of these skills is weaving. Its amazing how a simple piece of thread can be made into clothes. People would certainly be needing hand-weaved clothes and believe me it would require a lot of working hands once we get rid of automatic machines. My calculations show that an average worker can weave 2 square meter clothes in one hour and it would take another hour to clean the cotton, to make thread out of it, to dye the weaved clothes, to sew it and to finally wash it, meaning 1 square meter per hour. It takes in my country 6 square meter clothes to make a suit for an average adult. I don't know how many suits per person per year would be in demand but I guess a minimum of 6. Considering that at maximum 40% of people can work rest being kids and old and on average a person takes 10% off-days, 36% of people work. Considering once we not have electricity we can only work 6 hours per day and the above facts I think 5% to 10% people would be needed as weavers, sewers etc.

This year my plan is to learn weaving, wood works and sewing. I m also thinking about trying to learn driving and to buy my first (and probably last) car to know how it feels like owning a car before its too late (i.e. fuel get too expensive).

Oh my, weaving were among the very first things that got mechanized in the industrial revolution.
Do at least get some 19 century machines and find a niche were you do something unique.

Woodworking and sewing are from my pow better ideas.

Hello TODers,

This link seems to be a pretty good Phosphorus roundup:

Volatility is outlook for phosphorus in 2009

Demand for phosphorus fertilizer is expected to increase slightly for 2009 globally, with the U.S. likely to have a slight drop in use in the coming crop year.

One of the most commonly used fertilizers in the Southeast is diammonium phosphate (DAP), commonly referred to as 18-46-0, cost $249 per ton in 2003. Last spring it cost $751 per ton and some economists forecast its cost to move to $1,000 per ton in 2009.

The worldwide economic crisis has put a question mark beside that projection, leaving most farmers in a wait-and-see mode for DAP and MAP (monoammonium phosphate)...

..Over 75 percent of the world’s phosphate supply is mined in North Africa and Russia. In 2007 just over 300 million tons of phosphate rock was mined worldwide. In 2009, phosphate rock mining is expected to dip below 300 million tons.
To give you an idea of what phosphorus was actually farm applied in 2007 after the various beneficiation levels of the raw rock [11-page PDF]:

40.1 million tons of activated, soluble chemical P2O5 [2007 estimated consumption]

300-->40! Perhaps it is now easier to visualize the giant mud settling ponds and mountains of phosphogypsum residue in Florida, Morocco, Russia, etc.

So hopefully these facts help make it clear that it takes A LOT OF ENERGY to mine, then remove the non-desired mud/sand/clay and toxic Elements [selenium, cadmium, radium, uranium, etc] towards making the diverse range of finished, custom I-NPK products. Generally, recall that there is approx. five tons of phosphogypsum produced for every ton of phosphoric acid product produced, thus the 300:40 ratio starts to make sense when you also include the mud washed out in the first processing phase.

Also, as part of this beneficiation enrichment process, it takes A LOT OF SULFUR to make many types of I-NPK [mostly for processing raw phosphate rock into superphosphated DAP,MAP,TSP]:

2007 global sulfur production = 65 million tons
Roughly 65% of this 65, or approx, 42-45 million tons went towards phosphate rock processing. Recall from prior weblinks that producing of a ton of finished DAP requires close to 500 lbs of ammonia and about 800 lbs of sulfur.

I hope this helps further illustrate prior weblinks that equate the energy-embedded equivalent of 3-5 gasoline gallons per 40-50 lb bag of I-NPK.

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

I myself experienced price of DAP (which I used in my wheat and cotton crops of 2007) tripling and staying there. This is one reason I lost so much money in my little farm adventure.

I don't think running out of fertilizers is really an issue. We can always recycle what we have grown in past. Easiest way is to get it in whatever form (excretions etc) it is in now, burn it and you get your NPK back. Mining for fertilizers is really a luxury that is there only as long as we have fossil fuels. Once this anomaly is gone we are back to the normal business of recycling crops of last year.

This was really not an option for me btw because I didn't own the land and because buying NPK from market is still the cheapest option (economically, not ecologically). Its like as long as fossil fuels are readily available you would not be replacing your car with horse.

"burn it and you get your NPK back"

Wisdom. One quibble, when you burn your crop residues you may get P and K back, but the N is lost to the atmosphere.

I wish you well in your endeavors and hope you get the opportunity to have a car and drive it really fast :)

Thats right, you may not get your N back. You have to have cover crops for that.

Yes, I agree. From my readings, better to cut it and let it lie where it falls.


Doerr Offers Clues on Battery Investment


But, the publication says, Mr. Doerr also mentioned a new “stealth mode” lithium-ion battery maker. He says the unnamed start-up “creates stable, durable lithium ion batteries with higher effective storage capacity” that can power electric vehicles “twice as far, and eventually three times as far, to over 100 miles before recharging.”

U.S. reportedly refused Israeli plea to raid Iran -
Instead, Bush authorizes covert action to strike Tehran's nuclear efforts.


I knew they were planning to do something......
Now that it is public knowledge, they will have to change their methods.

Iran is now supporting Hamas in Gaza with new rockets. Obama will have to deal with it now.
If Iran completes their nuke, this could lead to armageddon!

Below a link to a must-read from Uppsala Global Energy Systems group. A paper recently accepted for publication in Natural Resources Research. It´s an analysis of 300 giant onshore and offshore fields.


Thank you. Great link. Maybe we can get one of our contributors to do a key post about it.

On the right track with a depletion rate approach. The authors see a characteristic depletion rate value at peak production for a range of fields. The variance of this value is relatively small.

I could easily do a post on it. The only problem is that one of their references is to something called "The Maximum Depletion Rate Model". This article appears to be in the process of publication and doesn't appear on a Google search.


I agree with WHT: by far the best (most logical) statistical analysis I've seen yet. They do a great job of breaking out the geopolitical factors as well as the field discovery timing. IMO perhaps the most significant contribution is the generality that new technology, unlike the savior some see, actually leads to an acceleration of post-peak decline and may well enhance the negative effects of PO. They offer Cantarell Fld as great example of this phenomenon and also show it’s potential effect on Ghawar Fld.

Great numbers but can make most eyes glaze over. Some of the clever folks here could certainly refine it to more readily digestible text.