DrumBeat: January 17, 2009

Recession drills deep into oil and gas: Industry in crisis

Job cuts have been the dominant theme in British business over the past three months. And the energy sector has been one of the most badly hit industries as a result of the volatile oil price.

At the end of October, BP chief executive Tony Hayward warned that "productivity and efficiency" drives would result in "materially higher" redundancies than the 5,000 the company had already announced. One former BP executive says there is anecdotal evidence that BP is pushing through an early retirement programme, citing five friends who have recently taken up the scheme. BP denies there is an emphasis on early retirement, but there is little doubt that oil and gas companies will in the short term replace few staff who leave in the next few months.

French aristocrats the Wendels forced to put North Sea assets on the block

THE Wendel family, one of France’s most prominent industrial dynasties – which once made cannons for Louis XIV – has put its North Sea oil company up for sale in a desperate bid to raise cash after debt-fuelled investments soured, threatening to make it one of the most high-profile casualties of the global financial crisis.

Wendel Investissement, the buyout firm controlled by the family, has quietly appointed Jefferies, the investment bank, to sell its oil company Oranje-Nassau for up to $750m (£509m). The sale would be one of the largest in the North Sea in recent years and provide a much-needed windfall for Wendel. The firm saw its credit rating slashed to “junk” status in October after the value of its biggest investments, including a 21% stake in the building-materials giant Saint-Gobain, plummeted.

EU Companies Propose Temporary Solution to Ukraine Gas Dispute

(Bloomberg) -- European energy companies, seeking a resumption in gas shipments via Ukraine, proposed a “temporary solution” to the crisis as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Yulia Timoshenko remained locked in talks in Moscow.

Wind Farm Off Cape Cod Clears Hurdle

BOSTON — A federal agency said Friday that the nation’s first offshore wind farm, proposed for the waters off Cape Cod, posed no serious environmental threat, bringing it a major step closer to fruition.

Homeowners and boaters on the cape, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, have fought the project for eight years, saying it would hurt wildlife, fishing and tourism and spoil the beauty of Nantucket Sound.

'Green' energy plan in Obama stimulus may be losing steam
Barack Obama portrays his stimulus plan as a quick jolt for the ailing economy and a "down payment" on his priorities as president. But those goals appear to be colliding in at least one key area: energy independence.

The stimulus package increasingly appears unlikely to include major investments in "green infrastructure" -- the wires and rails that could deliver renewable energy to Americans' homes and help end the nation's addiction to oil -- according to alternative-energy advocates who are discussing the plans with the Obama transition team.

It's a timing issue. The blueprints and, in many cases, the authority don't exist to lay miles of high-speed rail lines or to build a sprawling web of power lines to create a truly national electric grid.

ConocoPhillips plans to cut 4 percent of work force

ConocoPhillips on Friday unveiled plans to lay off 4 percent of its work force, illustrating that even the oil majors may not ride out a mean recession without taking some punches.

In other worrisome news, the company said it will cut capital spending by 12.6 percent and write down the value of various assets by $34 billion — including its minority stake in Russian oil company Lukoil — to gird itself for what economists increasingly expect to be a protracted downturn.

...Analysts said Friday’s revelations imply that Conoco­Phillips sees weakness in oil and gas prices as more than temporary given global economic struggles.

“It’s really a batten-down-the-hatches type of thing,” said Phil Weiss, an analyst with Argus Research. “It says a lot to me about what Conoco­Phillips thinks the environment’s going to look like for a while.”

Honda lays off all its temps in Japan

The auto industry meltdown is leading Honda to cut production and lay off temporary workers in Japan, although the carmaker is not announcing any new cuts in the United States.

Tokyo-based Honda draws a distinction between the release of temporary employees and its tradition of not laying off workers. The company says its no-layoff practice applies only to full-time employees.

OPEC may cut output again if prices fall - Algeria

ALGIERS (Reuters) - OPEC may consider reducing output again if oil prices fall, Algeria's energy and mines minister said on Saturday, adding that he expected a sharp decline in oil demand in the second quarter this year.

The minister, Chakib Khelil, said that prices would nevertheless stabilise in that quarter.

"Prices...would stabilise in the second quarter before they would increase in the third quarter," Khelil told reporters.

Mexico Looks to Play Catchup with Deepwater Oil Exploration

While the U.S. has spent two decades scouring the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico for oil, neighboring Mexico is just getting started.

Output from Mexico's traditional fields is in free fall, forcing state-run Petroleos Mexicanos to move into more difficult terrain in an effort to maintain its status as a major crude exporter.

Tanzania: Fuel traders now explain petrol crisis

The fuel crisis which hit the country last week could have been caused by diversion of routes by vessels to Mediterranean countries where prices were better, fuel dealers have said.

Indonesia Rejects Exxon Mobil's Natuna Gas Proposal

Indonesia has rejected a proposal by Exxon Mobil Corp to develop the giant Natuna D-Alpha gas field, since it believes the contract held by the U.S. oil major expired in 2005, the energy minister said on Friday.

The move, revolving around the dispute between Exxon Mobil and the government over the U.S. major's role in the project and over how to split the gas output, would further delay the project's start-up, but would not end Exxon's involvement, analysts said.

Wake up - tech can't solve energy crisis

"FUTURE Energy'' author Bill Paul appears to be one of those over-optimistic Americans who believe their current high-energy-consuming way of living can well be sustained by a technology revolution.

While Paul does give a detailed and factual analysis of the gloomy future for oil supply, his excessive enthusiasm for promising alternatives - biofuels and unconventional fossil fuels in particular - to oil is not as recommendable.

New-Model Wood Stoves Burn Cleaner

During the energy crisis in the 1970s, interest in heating with wood surged, particularly in regions where oil or electricity were primary heat sources.

Ten years later, as clouds of wood smoke hung over many New England towns and Western cities on winter days, wood stoves were considered major polluters, and many people stopped buying them.

But the newest editions burn much cleaner than your grandmother's stove, and that's rekindling consumer interest.

From east to west, a chain collapses

Across the scrap trade, prices have halved or worse in a matter of months. Each link in the chain is disintegrating, from factories to scrapyards to collectors such as Wu, 56, a former farmer who now plans to return to Hubei province.

Official media reported that four-fifths of China's recycling units had closed and that millions will eventually be left without employment.

Yes, there is life after oil

To say that this week's international auto show in Detroit marked a new beginning might be going too far, given the history of the industry. But at the very least it was a sign. A new direction taken. A light at the end of the tunnel. The carmakers' fresh lineup of electric and hybrid vehicles, and plenty of shiny promises of more to come, offered a glimmer of hope to a world stuck on oil. The message was simple. The future of clean energy is now. Viable alternatives to the combustion engine exist. We have liftoff.

Two questions: Why did it take so long? And if this is so, do we really have an energy crisis or is the problem elsewhere? With concerns over global warming and pending oil shortages growing, not to mention intense air, ground and water pollution on a local and international level, events such as the auto show have put a lie to the doomsday scenario that nothing can replace oil.

In other words, we have the technology to move toward a life without oil. What we don't appear to have is the political will.

‘Save oil or we’ll have too little of it’

BANGALORE: Emphasising the importance of conserving oil for the future, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) General Manager and state-level coordinator for oil industry, B Ashok, observed that the world would not run out of oil, but reserves could one day be so depleted that maintaining production would become impossible.

Congressman Steve Buyer's proposals

West Lafayette, IN - President-Elect Barack Obama will officially take office next week. But, Congress is already considering Obama's $825 billion dollar stimulus bill designed to jump-start the economy. Fourth District Congressman Steve Buyer's proposals involving energy and veterans are included in that bill, known as the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill."

Congressman Buyer said with the recent energy price spikes, a smart way to spend dollars is by addressing energy issues.

"It should help be a wake up call to our nation regarding peak oil. The leading geophysicists of the world say based on growth of populations and economies that the world should hit peak oil between 2037-2040. If we do not prepare for that event then geopolitically bad things begin to happen as nations begin to fight for scarce resources," said Buyer.

350 Billion Things To Worry About

We have 350 billion reasons for oil to bounce back a bit but is 350 billion going to be enough? Maybe we need 350 billion and one because we may have already spent it! Holy TARP! Bank bailouts and falling oil demand! I need some TARP and I need it bad. Oil tried to dig itself out of the deflationary hole it dug itself into as the stock market rebounded on the realization that the Senate was going to approve the release of the $350 billion in TARP funds. Yet today that boost might still be uncertain as weak demand fears and another bail out may have us all feel like we are in need of a bail out.

2nd Gen Biofuels are a Dangerous "Green" Bubble

A diverse alliance of organizations published an open letter today in the U.S. and internationally warning of the dangers of industrially produced biofuels (called agrofuels by critics). The letter explains why large-scale industrial production of transport fuels and other energy from plants such as corn, sugar cane, oilseeds, trees, grasses, or so-called agricultural and woodland waste threatens forests, biodiversity, food sovereignty, community-based land rights and will worsen climate change. With the new Obama Administration slated to take office Tuesday, the letter's originators warn that if Obama's "New Green Economy" runs on agrofuels it may trap the U.S. in a dangerous "Green Bubble" of unrealistic promises from an unsustainable industry.

Indications that the incoming Obama Administration may be ideologically wedded to continuing the agrofuel disaster are clear. President Obama's "New Green Deal" includes support for notoriously destructive agrofuel corporations, the creation of a pro-agribusiness cabinet that includes Tom Vilsack, Ken Salazar and Steven Chu, promotion of cellulosic fuel technologies, and references to increasing the Renewable Fuel Standard biofuel target. Additionally, Obama, a former Senator from a corn-growing state, has indicated that the already troubled U.S. ethanol industry will receive a financial boost soon, despite mounting evidence that the industry simply cannot meet the demand for fuel in any just or sustainable way.

Is the ultimate green fuel particle annihilation?

We should consider the annihilation of anti-matter and matter. Since 1995, CERN, the world's largest particle accelerator, has produced enough antimatter to light a light bulb for a few minutes. Antimatter is the most expensive substance — estimated future cost of $25 million per gram or 0.0022 pounds, but 2.2 pounds would produce energy equivalent to 345 million gallons of gasoline. An organization similar to NASA should be established for providing research and development.

Iran sees oil at around $40 in 2009 - Minister

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Oil Ministry anticipates a crude oil price of about $40 a barrel in 2009, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari was quoted as saying on Saturday, suggesting Tehran does not expect the market to rebound soon.

Nozari also said crude producers outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were not cooperating with the group in reducing output to restore stability, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Crude prices fall as storage space nears limit

NEW YORK – Burgeoning crude inventories pushed oil prices lower Friday with yet another major energy group predicting demand will fall again this year in a widening recession.

In its closely watched monthly survey, the Paris-based International Energy Agency cited "the relentless worsening of global economic conditions" as it reduced its global demand expectations by 1 million barrels, to 85.3 million barrels a day.

It would mark the first time in more than a quarter century that global demand fell in consecutive years.

Oil Tankers are a Banks Best Friend

Why does this contango exist? My theory is oil producing countries NEED money (budgets were based on $60, not $30 oil) so are willing to sell at whatever the current market price is. And speculators / arbitragers are willing to buy at this price knowing they can sell for a higher amount in the futures market and deliver that oil when / if necessary. This tells me that there is actually artificial demand even at these low prices (from those storing vs. those using the oil) and prices can / will go even lower once storage capacity is completely filled as the market becomes flooded with this stored oil.

Government issues draft offshore drilling plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A preliminary proposal was issued on Friday by the U.S. Minerals Management Service to hold oil and natural gas lease sales in coastal areas where drilling was, until recently, banned.

The draft plan proposes 31 energy exploration lease sales between 2010 and 2015 for areas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, including tracts along the East Coast and off the coasts of Alaska and California.

Byron King: The End Of The Oil Bust

The traditional energy industries need prices about $75 or so to keep up levels of investment in new projects that require several years to build out. That’s just to try and maintain current levels of fossil fuel output, which are declining in any event.

That is, world oil production has already peaked at about 86 million barrels per day. We were probably never going to change that overall fact of energy-life back with oil at $147. But we sure aren’t going to change it now that oil is selling at $37. It’s the Peak Oil argument.

U. S. needs Alberta's oil sands

Russia behaves like a goon toward its European energy customers; Saudi Arabia, Iran and others export terrorism; Nigeria is unstable and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez spews hatred. All of which means there is little choice for the United States and the world but to embrace, and possibly finance, Alberta's oil sands.

If Washington does not get it, then Japan, India, China, South Korea and other energy-starved nations will. They should be encouraged to finance the oil sands megaprojects that have been put on ice or axed because of the bank crisis and price collapse.

Pace of Oil, Gas Mergers to Increase ‘Very Soon,’ Waterous Says

(Bloomberg) -- Oil and gas industry mergers will probably pick up this year as producers struggling to finance expansion target rivals for growth, said Scotia Capital investment banker Adam Waterous.

“The transaction pace is going to be very strong, very soon,” Scotia Capital’s head of global investment banking said in an interview in Toronto. “The opportunity to be able to make acquisitions is much more compelling than it’s been prior to the credit crunch.”

ConocoPhillips may lay off 1,300 workers: A worldwide work force reduction is announced.

ConocoPhillips could lay off about 1,300 people this year under a planned 4 percent reduction in its worldwide work force that was announced Friday.

CEO Jim Mulva cited lower commodity prices and the crippled credit market for the Houston-based oil giant's cutback plan.

Raymond J. Learsy: With Bush Leaving Town Pity Poor Hugo And King Abdullah

With Bush leaving town the air is going out of the price of oil.

When back in Texas Bush will be hailed as the President who brought the oil patch $147 barrel oil through the willful sponsorship of policies conducive to high oil prices ranging from the mismanagement of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, cozying up to Saudi Arabia and OPEC, encouraging the Iraqi government to rejoin OPEC. By turning a blind eye to speculation and manipulation of oil trading on the commodities markets until Congress finally interceded. By permitting OPEC to collude in threatening to veto the NOPEC bill that would have passed in Congress.

Flying the Coal-Fired Skies

In the not-so-distant future, cars could run on electricity, power plants on wind and solar energy, and city buses on zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells. But airplanes? Those just might run on coal.

Yes, coal. The U.S. Air Force wants to create a synthetic-fuel industry that, unless something better comes along, will mine America’s massive coal supply (we have more than a quarter of the world’s known reserves) and turn it into enough jet fuel for half its domestic operations to run on a 50/50 blend of synthetic and regular fuel by 2016. By the Air Force’s logic, it has no choice. It uses more fuel than all the other branches of the military combined, burning through 2.5 billion gallons of the stuff in 2007 alone—10 percent of the total used by the entire domestic-aviation fuel market—at a cost of $5.6 billion. And although oil prices have dropped in recent months, no one expects the relief to last indefinitely.

Norwegians join push to ban oil exploration from fragile Arctic coasts

Oslo, Norway - Norwegian communities and conservationists today launched a campaign to ban oil exploration and development from parts of their Arctic coast, linking up with WWF-supported campaigns already underway in Alaska and Russia to protect vulnerable fisheries and communities.

The campaigns are supported by studies showing oil returns would be less than those provided in the long term through the protection and sustainable exploitation of resources.

Is combating climate change worth the cost?

So is preventing climate change worth that price, estimated by some to be as much as 1 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP)?

EPA: Climate change will have big effect on Md. coastal erosion

Climate change will produce a sharp increase in storm-related flooding and coastal erosion over the next century in Maryland and the rest of the mid-Atlantic coastal states, affecting both natural and human communities, the federal government said in a report released yesterday.

Rising sea levels threaten East Coast

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sea levels on the United States' mid-Atlantic coast are rising faster than the global average because of global warming, threatening the future of coastal communities, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday.

Coastal waters from New York to North Carolina have crept up by an average of 2.4 to 4.4 millimeters (0.09 to 0.17 inches) a year, compared with an average global increase of 1.7 millimeters (0.07 inches) a year, the EPA said in a report.

As a result, sea levels along the East Coast rose about a foot over the past century, the EPA's report, commissioned by the Climate Change Science Program, said.

The EPA focused on the mid-Atlantic region because it "will likely see the greatest impacts due to rising waters, coastal storms, and a high concentration of population along the coastline," the agency said.

Tibetan glacial shrink to cut water supply by 2050

Nearly 2 billion people in Asia, from coastal city dwellers to yak-herding nomads, will begin suffering water shortages in coming decades as global warming shrinks glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, experts said.

The plateau has more than 45,000 glaciers that build up during the snowy season and then drain to the major rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Brahmanputra and Mekong.

Temperatures in the plateau, which some scientists call the "Third Pole" for its massive glacial ice sheets, are rising twice as fast as other parts of the world, said Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, who has collected ice cores from glaciers around the world for decades.

Arctic warming pattern 'highly unusual': Report

A major U.S. government report on Arctic climate, prepared with input from eight Canadian scientists, has concluded that the recent rapid warming of polar temperatures and shrinking of multi-year Arctic sea ice are "highly unusual compared to events from previous thousands of years."

The findings, released on Friday, counter suggestions from some skeptics that such recent events as the opening of the Northwest Passage and collapse of ice shelves in the Canadian Arctic are predictable phenomena that could be explained as part of a natural climate cycle rather than being driven by elevated carbon emissions from human activity.

RE: Arctic warming pattern 'highly unusual': Report

Having not yet read the report, I think they are stating what should not be obvious. The rapid loss of Arctic Sea-ice in recent years is simply stunning.

Anybody out there got a link to the report?

E. Swanson

Links to the actual reports were posted yesterday, on top of the DrumBeat. They should be kinda near the top because I posted them late in the day. Three different reports came out on climate change issues, from various government agencies.

Thanks, I missed that. I guess the Shrub Guys are still trying to have the last word before their 8 years of efforts to waste the opportunity to do something about Global Warming is over.

The report is one of the U.S. Climate Change Science reports, - Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.2 (SAP 1.2): Past Climate Variability and Change in the Arctic and at High Latitudes. It's available on the CCSP site. Looks like more reading required on my part.

E. Swanson

I think global warming is a liberal plot to deny me my right to divine prosperity.
Not really, but under the current economic arrangement, with growth inherent for system survival, any actions are band aid approaches to a systemic problem.

The timing is interesting. Maybe they didn't dare publish them until Bush was on his way out.

The others are one on rising sea levels in the mid-Atlantic states (also picked up by the press), and one from the USGS about how small climate changes can trigger major ecosystem changes that can't be reversed.

Good point. When it comes to certain scientific issues (climate, stem cell research, birth control) ideology overrode all observation and data. This may have been information control.

Also note the release was Friday afternoon. Traditionally the time to announce something if you don't want anyone to notice.

Watch february's Jobs Report.

They're gonna throw in everything and the kitchen sink.


Time is running out. If Obama goes through with the Rubin-esque "bad bank" ploy, it will be too late. Vermont(and my Arkansas ;} looks better all the time.

From the Guardian:

America's biggest banks were battling to head off an investor rout ­following fears that their battered finances would need a further boost from the US government.

Bank of America saw its share price slump 20% at one point before closing down 18% at $8.32, while Citigroup dived 18% and closed down 15.5% at $3.83. The falls wiped out the gains the two banks had made since a faltering recovery began in November."

What you just saw yesterday was massive gov't intervention holding
up these markets. That's the only explanation.

Go look at these two charts of P&G and MetLife.

The Volume. I challenge anyone to tell me this isn't
wholesale intervention.





The Sequence of Global Insolvency Begins


Global Research, January 17, 2009

Interesting article today in the Spiegel Magazin (Germany):

“… ergab eine Umfrage unter den führenden deutschen Finanzkonzernen, dass die Bilanzen der Institute mit faulen Wertpapieren bis zu 300 Milliarden Euro belastet sind. Nur ein Viertel davon wurde bereits abgeschrieben.”

“… a survey among leading German financial companies shows that the institutions’ balance sheets are loaded with toxic papers (originating in US mortgage and student loans) extending up to 300 billion Euro. Only one quarter of that sum has been written off so far.”

I wonder how many cadavers are waiting in the basements of US financial institutions for being discovered. There sure is a strange smell in the air these days. Fighting insolvency now may be the smarter way rather than speeding up our runaway bailout-express.

Take manufacturing back home to the USA!


it's short covering.

I have this wierd feeling when I watch the talking heads on tv saying how the credit markets need to be restored and consumer confidence needs to be restored so they start using credit again. How many people get it that what America and the world needs now more than anything are sustainable jobs? If the consumers don't have jobs they are going to default on their loans and the people that used to depend on the consumers to buy their products or services are probably going to default as well.

Heard a clip of Dubya crowing about 52 unbroken months of job growth last night. Yeah but what kind of jobs? Seem to me that the whole American (world?) economy has been one giant ponzi scheme with a lot of wealth being created out of thin air. Here in Jamaica politicians have been proud to trumpet the growth of the financial sector when it was happening. I always thought that that growth was meaningless in the long term but it's very frustrating feeling that you are one of the few people who hold that opinion

Speaking from personal experience, the thing that encourages one to consume most is the assurance of income going into the foreseeable future. Once there is any doubt that ones income can be sustained there will be a tendency to save for that rainy day. Obama's stimulus plan sounds like it has elements that might help, things that will produce renewable energy or permanently reduce energy consumption like making government buildings more energy efficient. I guess this is a good time to quote westaxas' edict "Cut thy spending and get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy". Lets just hope that somehow the non-discretionary side of the economy can take up the slack!

Alan from the islands

"How many people get it that what America and the world needs now more than anything are sustainable jobs?"

I am beginning to think we should go the other way.

We are an Empire lets start truly acting like one.

Our military needs to step up the pace and channel the best of what the world has to offer back home to us.

We all quit our jobs, immigrants will to all our dirty work and we outsource the rest, because it will be a full time job just consuming everything.

Everyone is issued an unlimited FedCard and a Toga.

Red wine, Buggery, Lions, sounds great to me.

Get in touch with your Imperialness.

Sarcanol is all I gots.

Red wine, Buggery, Lions

Sounds like a follow-up album for the Pogues

Watch february's Jobs Report.

They're gonna throw in everything and the kitchen sink.


Time is running out. If Obama goes through with the Rubin-esque "bad bank" ploy, it will be too late. Vermont(and my Arkansas ;} looks better all the time.

It's difficult to project the future in much detail (specific events,people's responses,etc.). As always a lot of things can happen. I think you can say with certainly that oil production will be lower 10 years from now, but as far as stuff like this goes (and I will include much of JHK's stuff) I consider it to basically be historical fiction is reverse (if you will). Who's to know how people will respond? Maybe they will just act like sheep. I'm not saying that there is no value in speculation about such things, I'm just wondering of how much value they are to this discussion.

I notice more and more of what seems to me to be pretty extraneous material on this board. Sure, everything can be related to oil in some way but can we tighten it up a little? On many occasions I have wanted to talk about oil investing and other such things, but have held back for the most part because I have considered it OT. I guess my point is if someone is allowed to say "get your money out of the banks" etc. then shouldn't I have a right to say Halliburton is a good buy at $12.95? (which it was). It seems sometimes that there is a lot more leeway given if one takes a doomer perspective than there is in the other direction. I think the solution is to just narrow the discussion down a little more in the direction of talking about actual oil-related topics.


I notice more and more of what seems to me to be pretty extraneous material on this board. Sure, everything can be related to oil in some way but can we tighten it up a little?

Matt, actually I really enjoy the way the discussion broadens out. I think this is the natural result of a widening participation. "Tightening it up" might result in the loss of some real gems, such as totoneila's posts on npk. (If you haven't read those carefully, check 'em out.) Also, to save time you can use the search function, for example to look for info on investing, etc.


I do to some degree, but I think it has gone too far. I would hate to see the drum become a summary blog for the 1000 or so serious blogs out there that deal with the interrelated crises of our civilization.I started reading the drum during the big debates about Ghawar depletion and even as an outsider with limited knowledge of these areas I found the discussion to be fascinating. I can remember the first time I posted something how intimidated I was wondering whether I would sound like an idiot. I would post occasionally, but most of time I was content to just watch WestTX,Memmel,Robert et al have it out. There was a certain amount of policing of the board and I think this was healthy. It seems to be a bit of a free for all now. Even though I may find something interesting, I may not be interested in reading about it here and I feel like there has been a certain crowding out of the serious,focused talk about oil.

I think the difference is between the key posts and the DrumBeat. The comments in the key posts are policed, and off-topic comments are deleted. The DrumBeat has always been a bit freer. It's our equivalent of an open thread. If anything, it's more restricted now that it used to be.

We have not posted a lot of key posts focused on the technical side of oil production recently. Partly it's the holidays. Our contributors have jobs and families, and don't have as much time for TOD during that time of year. And traffic always falls during the holidays, so the contributors are reluctant to post their best work then, for fear that few will read it. Now that the holidays are behind us, we'll probably be getting back in gear. But partly, it's the low price of oil. There's just not as much interest in oil production now. And in the end, we bloggers are dependent on the MSM for our information. If they aren't interested, we're left without much to analyze and write about.

I agree with Chris. It's one think to say, "Peak Oil is the problem," and then only focus your posts and comments on oil related subjects. It's entirely different to understand why Peak Oil is a problem. The economic "growth imperative" stemming from our debt based, fractional reserve lending is really the key. That is the main driver that makes Peak Oil a problem. Its easy to say that we have to learn to live with less fossil fuels, but the economic ramifications of such a statement are at odds with our economy's prime directive (perpetual growth). The only way you'll ever change the economy to a sustainable model, is to have governmental support and leadership, which makes political discussions just as important. Global Warming, being a very real and imminent side effect of FF use, shouldn't be excluded either. It's fine to have pointed threads where all that is talked about is the subject at hand, but if you make the Drumbeat such a place, our focus here will become too myopic.



Fair points. I just think there is a balance. When we start getting into responses to events ie revolution,"the only good investments are ammo and booze." etc. I think you increase the range of acceptable content by an order of magnitude. I am in no way saying that these things are not true and I am somewhat of a doomer. It's just that we all know where to find this stuff. I think the site benefits if we stay within a degree or so of separation from actual energy talk.

The Arctic sea ice is close to sea level. It is the melting of the ice sheets remaining on Greenland and Antarctica that may be contributing to sea level rise that has been increasing for 20,000 years. According to Wiki we are still in a global cooling period, in non-global cooling periods there was no ice at the poles. The intense glaciations were pulses of intense freezing that covered North America with thick ice sheets down towards the border of Ohio and Kentucky and left many glacial landforms across New England, glacial lake remnants across the upper Midwest, a huge lake in Montana, higher levels of the Great Salt Lake in Utah etc. Europe had a more arctic type climate back then. Eastern Siberia was covered with a continental glacier There were seasonal rivers in the Sahara and a huge lake in the Sinai. There were glaciers on Mt. Lebanon and Mt. Hermon in the Mideast. None of this could be controlled by CO2 or SO2 emissions. The climate system could not be as simple as driven only by CO2 concentrations.


Your list of conditions may be correct, but the timing is the problem. The glaciers started accumulating about 3 million years ago, perhaps the result of the closure of the passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific at Panama. Over the past several hundred thousand years, glaciers have been the norm. That said, one must also understand that all of human civilization has developed since the beginning of the Holocene about 10,000 years ago. I agree that conditions such as that of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) some 21,000 years ago would make civilization as we know it in North America impossible.

Researchers who have simulated the beginning of the last glacial period some 120,000 years BP haven't provided a clear picture of the process which initiates initiates glaciation, as far as I know. One reason for this is the difficulty of modeling all the processes back then. One possible clue is that the previous warm period, the Eemian, may have been slightly WARMER than today as seen in the ice cores recovered from Greenland. Maybe you think it's OK for mankind to move back to Africa, India and South America till the next Warm Period. So, are you REALLY REALLY SURE it's OK to keep on warming the Earth, with more Business As Usual? If the ocean circulation is changing because of AGW, ARE YOU REALLY SURE that's OK TOO??

E. Swanson

The climate system could not be as simple as driven only by CO2 concentrations.

My God, what a simplistic and silly statement! Everyone knows there are many other things that drive climate change, like the earth's orbit around the sun. What we are now concerned with is what is driving THIS period of global warming.

In past periods of global warming, the slow warming caused changes in the earth's orbit or solar activity, was not enough to cause the dramatic warming that happened. What it did do was warm the earth up enough to trigger methane release and changes in the sea ice that caused a dramatic change in the earth’s reflectivity. That is, a small change triggers events that cause a much larger change.

What we are worried about right now is; will the current rise emissions of CO2 cause trigger events that will lead to irreversible global warming? And from the rate of sea arctic sea ice melting, I believe the answer is yes.

Ron Patterson

What it did do was warm the earth up enough to trigger methane release and changes in the sea ice that caused a dramatic change in the earth’s reflectivity.

My understanding is a bit different. Changes in albedo (a fancy term for reflectvity), are probably dominated by land (seasonal snow and glaciers). The partitioning of CO2 between ocean and atmosphere is temperature dependent, with colder water holding more dissolved CO2. But the general picture is right. Relatively small chnages due to orbital changes lead to slow changes in ice cover and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. These provide a positive feedback. I haven't seen any studies claiming methane hydrate releases are a primary driver of climate change. Although the possibility of a catastrophic release shouldn't be entirely dismissed.

A crude understanding of feedback can be understood as follows:
If process P starts with a single unit of change, and feedback generates x amount of change, we now have
a total change equal to 1+x. But that additional amount of change generates some more x*x, so we get 1+x +x*x.
If we carry this al the way through we get an infinite series. If x is less than one the series converges, and we have a stable system. In this case the final change is 1/(1-x). So if x is .5, we double the initial effect. Note if x is greater than one, we have a runaway effect, and end up with either a snowball earth, or an icefree planet. But in any case the time it takes the planet to generate each term of the power series is pretty long (probably a thousand to a few thousand years), as ice sheets take a long time to grow or melt, and deep ocean waters are also slow to respond.

To treat a single change as cause, is a mental shortcut. In some situations where the time scales are vastly different it can work with high accuracy. For instance water vapor is an important greenhouse gas. Water vapor responds to climate changes rapidly, reaching quasi-equilibrium with a new gloabl temperature within a week or two, so water vapor can be considered a feedback for any practical time period. The rapid feedback from water vapor roughly doubles the shortterm effect of CO2 (or anything else that perturbs the temperature). Many of the feedback effects are slow, such as changes to vegetation, and ice cover -particularly glaciers and ice sheets, and will gradually be realized over many centuries.

My understanding is a bit different. Changes in albedo (a fancy term for reflectvity), are probably dominated by land (seasonal snow and glaciers).

That is contrary to almost every article I have read on albedo in recent years. The vast majority of articles I have read state something like the following:

Satellites See a Double-Texas Sized Loss In Arctic Sea Ice

Sea ice decline is likely to affect future temperatures in the region. Because of its light appearance, ice reflects much of the sun's radiation back into space whereas dark ocean water absorbs more of the sun's energy. As ice melts, more exposed ocean water changes the Earth's albedo, or fraction of energy reflected away from the planet. This leads to increased absorption of energy that further warms the planet in what is called ice-albedo feedback.

Again, I read article after article making the case that it is the ocean under the missing sea ice that absorbes the sunlight, where the ice previously absorbed it, being a major factor in global warming.

I haven't seen any studies claiming methane hydrate releases are a primary driver of climate change.

Again, I have read many articles making exactly that claim. Just google it and you will come up with hundreds of articles speaking of the risk of sudden release of methane from hydrates.

Could Methane Trigger a Climate Doomsday Within a Human Lifespan?

Indeed, Larry Smith, an expert in permafrost, noted that permafrost temperatures are continuing to rise across the Northern Hemisphere. That led the UN to warn earlier this year that clathrates are a major climate wild card. Last month, Russian scientists presented evidence that the destabilization of hydrates is already occurring in the Arctic Ocean.

And this University of California study gives us a very scary picture.

Gas Escaping From Ocean Floor May Drive Global Warming

One hypothesis, called the "Clathrate Gun" hypothesis, developed by James Kennett, professor of geological sciences at UCSB, proposes that past shifts from glacial to interglacial periods were caused by a massive decomposition of the marine methane hydrate deposits.

Again, sea ice melting causes the sea to grow warmer because the sun's rays, previously reflected into space are now warming the ocean instead. And historically methane hydrates melting have been a major driver of global warming, and are likely to be the trigger that throws us into another long period of global warming and sea level rise.

The University of California, Santa Barbara article (URL above) is very, very good. I would advise anyone with doubts about the possibility of methane hydrates melting triggering more global warming to read it. Another quote from the article:

Remarkable and unexpected support for this idea occurred when divers and scientists from UC Santa Barbara observed and videotaped a massive blowout of methane from the ocean floor. It happened in an area of gas and oil seepage coming out of small volcanoes in the ocean floor of the Santa Barbara channel –– called Shane Seep –– near an area known as the Coal Oil Point seep field. The blowout sounded like a freight train, according to the divers.

Ron Patterson

From an old term paper of mine:

Related to these concerns about other sources of methane or other causes of warming are
questions about whether the proposed methane release can load the atmosphere with enough
methane or carbon dioxide to produce the warming. A good example of this problem is a major
obstacle to the “clathrate gun” hypothesis. One rationale for the “clathrate gun” hypothesis is that
the released methane still exists as air bubbles trapped in glacial ice, which can be correlated
with rapid oceanic methane release events (Kennett et al., 2000). However, de Garidel-Thoron et
al. (2004) note that the amplitude of methane in glacial records is about 200 ppb. Since methane
oxidizes to carbon dioxide after less than 25 a in the atmosphere (White, 2002), this would imply
that the rapid oceanic methane releases emit about 8 ppb/yr of methane, which quickly oxidizes
to about 8 ppb of carbon dioxide. Even assuming that the late Quaternary release events lasted
1000 years and all carbon dioxide thus created remained in the atmosphere, the total carbon
dioxide addition still would be about 8 ppm over a thousand years, making current anthopogenic
carbon dioxide production a much stronger (250X) potential climate driver than the “clathrate

You are making a grave error. Singling out the methane release alone, the literal release from the oceans, is simplistic and completely mis-characterizes the issue.

The problem of methane release in any quantity that helps raise temperatures is the positive feedback of additional sources then being exposed to melt. That is, methane release from the oceans feeds back through releases on land as permafrost melts.

Recent papers estimated double the amount of current atmospheric carbon locked in permafrost. How much of that needs to melt to have an important effect?

Factor that in, I might listen.


There was something a while ago in Realclimate which states that the albedo thing isn't as clear cut as people think. While ice reflects sunlight it also acts as a protective blanket, stopping heat loss from the water underneath. While open sea absorbs the sun, at very high latitudes the sun is low in the sky even in midsummer. so the heat absorbed is limited, and there may be heat loss through the open water. So the feedback may not be so alarming.

Bull. I guarantee you there was nothing on RC that stated what you have.

Link, please.

Well, that reference might have been to one of my posts on RC. I've tried to point out the fact that the albedo of water is high when the Sun is low in the horizon, as is true over the Arctic Ocean. Of course, at lower latitudes, the sun is high in the sky, thus the albedo IS very low, about 0.07 or less. At the North Pole, the Sun never rises above 23.5 degrees and only hits that elevation one day a year. But, it is above the horizon for 24 hours a day for a couple of months, thus to understand the problem, one must think of adding up add the energy absorbed by calculating the TOA insolation adjusted for the cosine effect, then subtract the losses while passing thru the air and multiply by the albedo. That's just for the direct beam, as some of the light is scattered downward and hits the surface with a diffuse angle. It's not as simple as one might think.

The sea-ice acts as an insulator, both to the incoming energy from the sun and the outgoing thermal energy from the water below. As the thickness increases in winter, the rate of flow of thermal energy is reduced, the result being a natural limit on the thickness. Recent change has produced more thin sea-ice on average, the result being more energy removed from the Arctic Ocean during Winter. In summer, with more rapid melt of sea-ice, more solar energy will reach the water. The formation of melt ponds on the surface results in reduced albedo and the absorbed solar energy would end up melting the ice from the surface. Some sunlight actually passes thru the ice into the water below. If the open water also produces more clouds, there would be less sunlight reaching the surface. More open water would result in more winter snow, which would insulate the sea-ice from the extreme cold above. It's not obvious how these flows would balance out over the annual cycle, that's why the models are so important, IMHO...

E. Swanson

I've tried to point out the fact that the albedo of water is high when the Sun is low in the horizon, as is true over the Arctic Ocean.

Another thing that further weakens the albedo effect over the polar ocean, is that that region tends to be cloudy during the summertime. In order for a photon reflected from the surface (by lightcolored ground/ice) to have a net effect on the earths heat balance, it must escape into space. If it is partly cloudy, there is a good change it will be reflected back down by a cloud. It is also reasonable to assume that most of the additional heat will be absorbed by the ocean system, probably by a slowing of the rate that cold arctic water sinks to the bottom. It might be a very long time before that additional heat affects the atmosphere.

Would you two like to explain to us all why the NSIDC reported surface water temps and air temps just above the surface were so high, if not for albedo?

Criminy... Don't let go of your common sense because you read a stat. Generally best to use both together.


I think you misread that, at best. There is an insulating effect, but that doesn't mean the heat just goes away. It means the ice--which is almost all one-year, very thin stuff anyway--will melt even more rapidly next year because the water under it has been kept relatively warm by rapid surface freeze last fall.

During the summer, the Arctic solar input is comparable to that in the tropics. 24 hour sun is a pretty powerful thing.

Please explain how it is that most of the oceans of the world are ice free year around and how the melting of polar ice would significantly affect ocean temperatures. If ice verses water were a major factor in global warming, we should have experienced run away warming long ago.

Especially since the angle of the sun's rays at the poles, even at its peak during summers, is relatively low compared to around the equator for example. This coupled with the fact that large areas of both poles are without sunlight for part of the year makes me very suspicious of the claimed warming effects of arctic ice melt.

I do not believe that the melting of arctic ice, if it ever happened, would be a significant factor in global warming since arctic water is a relatively low proportion of all the water in the ocean. And I have not seen reports of icebergs drifting near the equator which leads me so suspect that ocean currents are somewhat limited in their ability to homogenize ocean temperatures.

Ocean temperatures do affect climate because they affect weather as in the El Nino and La Nina cases in the Pacific. But these are cases where the ocean temperatures increase/fall in a specific area of the western Pacific while other areas of the Pacific remain about the same temperature.

Another example of isolated ocean temperature changes is the Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season. Just because one area of the ocean has a change in temperature does not mean that the whole ocean temperature changes or that the whole of world climate changes. It may be that the average temperature changes, but I doubt average temperatures are a valid indication of climate change.

There can be wide variations around the mean in a normal distribution without there being evidence that a permanent shift in the mean has occurred IMO. Climate can be highly variable and still be within its normal parameters especially if we consider geologic time.

Please explain how it is that most of the oceans of the world are ice free year around and how the melting of polar ice would significantly affect ocean temperatures.

God, you are one dishonest little something-or-other. Nothing he posted implied warming arctic water would significantly warm the "world's" oceans.

If ice verses water were a major factor in global warming, we should have experienced run away warming long ago.

How? The large melts have been in the last four years. What the hell is wrong with you?

Especially since the angle of the sun's rays at the poles, even at its peak during summers, is relatively low compared to around the equator for example.

Nice herring. Got more? God, I hate liars. Passionately.

I do not believe that the melting of arctic ice, if it ever happened, would be a significant factor in global warming since arctic water is a relatively low proportion of all the water in the ocean.And I have not seen reports of icebergs drifting near the equator which leads me so suspect that ocean currents are somewhat limited in their ability to homogenize ocean temperatures.

Another herring. Two, actually. Did none of your teachers bother teaching you logic? Your post - all your posts on this topic - is the equivalent of what a colleague here once observed about EFL students repeating things they don't understand. He called it barking words.

That is you. You are barking words on climate change.

Keep barking.

Can we pretty, pretty please, have the rating system back? I know it's down for maintenance but posters like "X" would be more efficiently handled with a rating response than by spending the time to refute each one of their illogical arguments that are repeated ad naseum. It's almost like his computer is a bot that searches TOD for certain keywords like "ethanol + ERoEI" and then randomly generates a stupid post with a mish mash of "you can't compare two differnt things" or "ERoEI uses faulty logic" etc. I've made my share of inaccurate posts with some of my financial information that I had wrong, but I've realized it was wrong and moved on. Trolls don't. X is never going to change. His whole existence is dependent upon the Ethanol "Industry" and you can't convince anyone of the truth when their livelihood requires that they not understand the truth. Even if he does understand it, his livelihood demands that he never admits the truth. There's a great example of this going on with Bernake and Paulson WRT the financial crisis.

This material (Financial Crisis, ERoEI, AGW) is not difficult to understand, as long as you can be truthful with yourself. If you're vested otherwise, you're past help.

So Here's me with my '-1' to X.


Ditto. We need a rating system, at least until I get my auto refutebot.

you know. no one is holding a gun to your head to pay attention to them. or to post a reply to them.
don't make the admins here jump through hoops and do extra work instead of you learning to use such skills. keep the rating system off, no need to turn this place in the cesspool that is slashdot.

That is contrary to almost every article I have read on albedo in recent years.

We may be discussing different events and time scales. I was describing the (natural) iceage cycle. Since the natural cycle is much slower, land ice with its much longer response time has time to catch up. Todays situation if different. Sea ice probably reaches equilibrium (if we quit emitting) in a couple of decades, so is proceeding rapidly, as the main pulse of anthropogenic climate change is coming far more rapidly than the glaciers, and ice sheets can respond. But thats not true for the sea ice. So yes, at the present time I will grant you that sea ice melt is dominating the current albedo changes.

The climate scientists, at least those at realclimate are not worried about the methane hydrates. They will contribute some extra methane, but it is not expected to be an overwhelming amount. The big warm up at the end of the last ice age, doesn't appear to have caused any major methane releases (although if the methane is released slowly over a time span longer than the roughly decadal lifespan of atmospheric methane, then the major effect of that would be it's contribution to atmospheric CO2.

In any case, I thought it neccesary to go into the natural iceage cycle, because denialists use it to claim, that since nature does this on its own, we aren't the cause. Or, the other one, the temperature changes preceeded the CO2 changes, therefore the later weren't the cause. (Which doesn't mean CO2 can't be the cause of climate change, at some point the distinction between driver, and feedback becomes semantic).

I agree that the folks over at realclimate don't seem to concerned about methane hydrates. I have tried to raise the issue a number of times and gotten no response. I don't quite see why, and your points don't really hold up, in my opinion. There are so many factors (known and unknown) that are different today than during the warm up at the end of the last ice age, I'm not sure the comparison is useful.

I would like to see studies that contradict any of the following on methane hydrates:

There is lots of it (some 10 trillion tons)

Much of that is in quite shallow water (it was, after all, from submerged tundra)

Much of it is just below freezing, so a slight increase could release it

It is already bubbling up in considerable quantities, 100+ times above background rates, according to recent Swedish and Russian studies.

Measured over time frames of a decade (when much of it is still in the atmosphere) rather than a century (by which time almost all of it is long gone) it is over 70 times more powerful than CO2 as a green house gas.

It seems to me that these add up to cause for concern, at least. But I'm happy to be corrected if any of these are way off, and I am perplexed that the realclimate folks remain unresponsive to my questions about it. It could be that they think it is too scary to contemplate, and that they assume for some reason that it is a low-probability outcome.

Add that methane concentrations, after a ten year break, are climbing. And not slowly.

Cioncident to the new discoveries of methane emissions? I think not.


Ron et al,

This seems as good a spot as any to interject a thought towards the subject of global that I’ve been developing for some time. This is a diverse group with strong opinions on either side of the issue so I look forward to any and all responses.

I have essentially lost all interest in the debate. Whether one view is correct or not, whether I fall into the pro or con group, whether the possibility of absolute poof supporting either side of the debate is eminent: none of these are relevant to me now. I have simply made the assumption that the truth falls closest to the worst case scenarios that have been offered. And given that “truth” how do I expect mankind’s behavior to change? Answer: in no significant manner what so ever. I base the conclusion on a very simple and current model: the historic utilization of hydrocarbon energy over the last 100 years or so. Those with the power usurped these resources at will. Eventually the ultimate power to do so lay if financial strength. Energy is deployed based upon the ability to pay for it and not the need. The simple statistic of the consumption of oil by the US vs. our much smaller percentage of the population proves that point. And this imbalance exists with the other industrialized nations but just to a lesser extent. Even the most efficient developed countries still consume considerably more then the poor countries on a per capita basis. We are all “sinners”…just some worse then others.

And what has been the net result of this imbalance? Billions subjected to minimal living standards. Just a WAG (but qualitatively valid IMO) but also the deaths of 10’s of millions from disease and malnutrition. Had the rich not been able to monopolize the dense energy commodities they might not have developed their occasionally robust economies. The “wealth” per se would have been more even shared. I see this as a direct parallel to the potential dangers of global warming. Should we expect the wealthy nations, if given absolute proof of the tremendous negative effects of global warming, to respond any differently then we see them respond today to similar imbalances in energy access? Europe imports several million bbls of oil from Equatorial Guinea every week while the 500,000 citizens, ruled by their cruel and uncaring dictator, slowly die from malnutrition and disease. Have we seen the "enlightened" Europeans protest this circumstance or do they just turn a blind eye and carry on BAU? Has the “civilized” world been unaware of all these imbalances? I think not…at least not by TPTB and those who support them (even if by neglect and ignorance). Has there been a stepwise change in the genetic moral code of mankind in the last few years that I missed.

The academic debate is interesting. But if those who wish to prevent their worst fears of global warming the debate will not center its actuality or negative effects IMO. The same folks that control our response to global warming also control our monopolization of energy resources. I see no one changing this rule. Why should I expect to see a different response to global warming. Those with wealth will adjust to the negative impact (or at least their egos will allow them to believe they can). More importantly, they see no immediate negative effect on their lives just as they see resource depletion being a problem for future generations. In fact, they see efforts to combat global warming potentially costing them a portion of their wealth/power. Those without the power will suffer as always.

Please feel free to offer any and all expectations in a change in human nature. But you better have a damn good story to change my expectations.

ROCKMAN and souperman2 join Jay Hanson's tribe. :-)

For what purpose Dryki?

Why? For the guns, gold, and gals 'cause thats all thats left after you go through the initiation process*.


*well there is canned goods and spam but that doesn't market as well.

Me, I am used to banging my head against the wall and continuing on so I will pass.

I forget what disorder that is???????

I believe you are correct. It is my very pessimism that drives me to chide others for aiming too low. I love Nate's work, of course, along with most others, but the idea of not pushing an agenda because "I know how politics works" is the exact equivalent of greenwashing. Call it poliwashing.

Since what you say is correct, imo, it makes no sense to even play the game in this particular instance in time. Typically? Perhaps. Now? No. This is why I don't even try to be polite to climate change denialists. What's the point? What is to be gained? Nothing. Because the stakes are just too big this time.

We face an all-or-nothing game. If we do not successfully define a minimum level of change needed and accept nothing less than that, we may as well just ride the wave as fast and far as it will take us, because at the end we're gonna be dashed on the rocks anyway.


This is what I am pushing in DC this month. Pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Like the lawyer that could argue the earth flat or round, I can argue economics, environment, national security or energy. It is all of a piece. BAU = disaster on ALL fronts, Renewable energy + Non-Oil Transportation = best mitigation on ALL fronts.

"Interesting responses" so far; I am implanting a "meme".

Best Hopes,


Wow, thanks rock, ccpo and afbe. It's thoughtful, articulate posts like these that keep me coming back to TOD.

"We face an all-or-nothing game. If we do not successfully define a minimum level of change needed and accept nothing less than that, we may as well just ride the wave as fast and far as it will take us, because at the end we're gonna be dashed on the rocks anyway."

This was particularly well-put and to the point.

So what is your latest, best estimate on what those minimum levels would be?

A conclusion also echoed by Jared Diamond in his "Collapse" book. He identified 12 or 13 major "problems" facing the globe and showed how just one of those "problems" could spell the end, therefore we've got to solve all of them perfectly for any chance of survival.

I also like Darwinian's honesty that we are but observers, powerless to stop the tide that TPTB have unleashed. Pretty apt description of the situation. If TPTB admitted that they see the same problems, they'd be out of power. It's not that we follow them around like lemmings, it's that we don't have any avenues of response that will make a difference.


Please feel free to offer any and all expectations in a change in human nature. But you better have a damn good story to change my expectations.

Rockman, if it could proven that civilization is about to crash and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to prevent it, would you rather know what is going to happen or would you rather be totally ignorant about the fact? For me, I would just like to know, and I would also reserve the right to discuss the situation. After all do we not occasionally discuss the fact of our impending death though there is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent its eventual happening?

I have said it, on this list, dozens of times; we are but observers! We are observing global warming and there is nothing we can do to stop it, regardless of what you may have heard. We are observing peak oil and the end of the oil age and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. We will observe the end of civilization as we know it and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. All anyone can do is improve their own individual chances of being among the survivors.

No, we cannot change human nature. That is why we can do nothing to prevent global warming or help civilization survive the end of the oil age. Human nature being what it is, the vast majority of people do not respond to warnings of impending disaster, only the actual event will get their attention.

And to Dryki, I was a member of Jay Hanson's team before I ever heard of Jay Hanson.

Ron Patterson

I reluctantly share your view that we are but observers & have little or no hope of averting disaster either from peak oil or climate change, but peak oil is the defining event of the next few years and therefore from a survival point of view should be our most immediate focus. I’m curious to know if you think we are headed towards a fast or slow crash?

Tremain, I agree with you that declining fossil energy production will be the club that brings down civilization and not climate change. Fast or slow crash? That depends on your definition of fast. I believe the crash has already started and will be complete before 2020. To my way of thinking that is pretty fast.

Ron Patterson

Wellllll, maybe.

Mega-projects about to come on line, and the outside possibility of a stable Iraq starting to pump at full capacity, combined with lowered demand could push peak down the road a few more years.

If the Arctic has another dramatic collapse in seas ice and goes totally (or even near-totally) ice free in the next couple summers, world climate will be dramatically affected in unpredictable (but certainly mostly disastrous) ways, especially in the northern hemisphere. This could happen this summer, but almost surely will happen in just the next few summers.

Think about an ice free summer Arctic Ocean.

Sun hitting it non-stop 24 hours a day, almost all of it being absorbed and heating the water. Lot's more water vapor which itself is a powerful greenhouse gas...Lots more melting of adjacent tundra releasing more methane and CO2...Lots more chances for melting clathrates bubbling up 10 trillion tons of methane, which itself is 100 times more powerful as a GHG than CO2.

What happens when what had been the airconditioner of the No. Hem. becomes a furnace? I don't. I don't want to know. But we are all about to.

Most of human civilization developed without the use of ffs. Up till 1900, human civ. developed in a world with CO2 concentrations well below 300 ppm. It is now about 380 ppm and rising rapidly.

I think the next very few years will see so many sh*t storms come down on us, from water depletion, PO, GW, desert oceans...that it will become quickly academic which is the primary cause. Of course most of what we do--wars, bailing out banks and car co.s, rapid build up of nukes...--will make thing much worse in the short and long terms.

Best wishes to all on the slide down.

"There is hope, but not for us." Kafka

What happens when what had been the airconditioner of the No. Hem. becomes a furnace?

Thats taking things way beyond physics. The arctic will still be a heat sink for the northern hemisphere. Just not as effective of a heat sink s now. And you need to extrapolate the extraordinary melting of the past four summers as an acceleration in order to get icefree that quickly. It might just be a large natural event imposed upon a slower secular rate of change. If it is the later, then the model predictions for the icefree state being at least fifty years out might be right. At this point we have no way of ascertaining the difference between those two quite different results.

Another less appreciated artic temperature albedo feedback is probably almost as important. That is the increase in vegetation on the surrounding land areas. Trees and brush are darker than grassland, and take much deeper snow to cover up. This speed of this feedback was largely missed in the climate models.

"Thats taking things way beyond physics. The arctic will still be a heat sink for the northern hemisphere. Just not as effective of a heat sink s now."

So you say, and perhaps I overstated a bit there. But when all the ice is gone, which, as you admit, could be in just a few years, the endothermic reaction of melting it will stop being a major heat sink there, and in it's place will be ever hotter surface water (relative to historic norms).

The fact that "physics" did not accurately predict the acceleration of the last four years tells me that there are feedbacks kicking in (including the interesting one you noted, but potentially others no one has yet considered) that we haven't been able to model yet and that things could move much faster than even the direst models are telling us.

Note that my post was in response to a claim that PO would be a greater and sooner threat than GW. My main point was that certain major effects of GW could hit much sooner and harder than some anticipate. But of course we can't know for sure.

Sorry I was perhaps a bit vague let me define what I mean by a fast & slow crash. I think of a slow crash as a slow unwinding of the clock as civilization goes into reverse and both living standards & infrastructure are broken down till we reach a point where are society resembles sometimes like 18th century Europe, a process that might take a decade or more before finally breaking down completely. A fast crash would be a rapid breakdown of society where the energy, food distribution networks & basic law & order fail completely & small groups of people are left to fend for themselves. In other words some thing like Orlov’s stage 4 collapse. This is something that could happen extremely rapidly once started. Perhaps I am a little bit more pessimistic in thinking the process might be complete by 2015, but I am of course making what preparations I can now (subject to my somewhat limited finances). Of course it is impossible to really no what level of stress any particular country can with stand before it fails. Zimbabwe Is a good example of this Hyperinflation, food & energy shortages & rampant cholera have all failed to bring the ruling government down so perhaps the near term future for Europe is more 1984 police state than Mad Max chaos.

Why do so manny regard "unwinding the clock" to be more likely then an adaptation to a new situation where the bulk of the fossil fuels are replaced with new consumption preferences, electricity from various sourcs and some biomass? I have no problem figuring out a plausible scenario for the country where I live and manny other regions seem to have favorable circumstances.

Hello Magnus Redin,

It depends on where you live that has a lot to do with one's outlook. Spend some time in my Asphalt Wonderland or Vegas to be shocked at the Thermo/Gene insanity. Hell, I can't even convince anyone to turn off their outside porchlights and landscaping light-fixtures on the night of a full moon, much less getting the city to turn off the streetlamps on these few nights.

I bet hardly anyone in these two cities has read Malthus, Dieoff.org, Erhlich's Population Bomb, Club of Rome's Limits to Growth, or viewed Bartlett's Exponential video. They would rather make even more Overshoot offspring and consume until..

..the mothers cry as their babies die...

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

You mean like what's happening right now? Do you have a problem figuring out a plausible scenario to feed all those unemployed people? When unemployment hits 50%, do you have a plausible scenario as to how to handle those starving masses and the riots? When total anarchy breaks out, what is your plausible scenario to quell the mobs?

I too can dream dreams but I have enough sense to know that dreams are not reality. We are deep into overshoot and only massive amounts of cheap energy has kept the masses employed and fed. And that cheap energy has now peaked and so have the jobs and food that was the result of it.

Ron Patterson

There is more resources available then what is needed to feed all people and there is a margin available in food thrown away, excess eating, resource inefficient meat and ethanol producton.

What is needed is a functioning economy for the "real economy", the businesses that do things that people need and a functioning government to organize a way for poor people to pay for food and if things realy would turn ugly rationing. But from my p.o.w. there is a very long way to fall before that happens.

So far I locally see a recession handled in a rational way while continuing future relevant investments such as handling global warming issues plus a global financial crash that clear out rotted parts of the "non-real" economy that is a large part of the regulation system for the real economy. This leaves assets unused for a while and locally i Sweden there has so far been very little destruction of real capital.

But if we then dont take a breather and then start doing things about unefficient resurce use, handling post peak oil, etc it will become ugly. The people falling into powerty or worse will probably be those withouth social cohesion, functioning government and market economy and thus unable to change and invest for the long term. It can be as scary as large parts of Africa in the 1900:s where there were resources but no funtioning institutions or leadership.


Knowledge is power Ron. I agree with the proposal that the discussion be pushed into the forefront of public attention as best as possible. I consider that a moral obligation. As I said, I now personally accept all the worst predictions as fact whether I believe all points of the debate. I had not noticed your "just an observer" qualification before. I get that 100% but also consider it a voluntary choice at some levels. I'm sure most got my point re: BAU by TPTB. I didn't push my other thought: BAU can be changed. It would take a monumental and far from painless effort. History shows us occasions when the few have successfully altered BAU but it has always taken more then talk or political action committees.

My personal approach to life's problems isn't important. But I consider our current set of little problems (resource depletion, financial meltdown, global warming and a gov't sliding into a seemingly exponential growth pattern) beyond repair by civil and obedient discussions. Given the lack of immediate negative effects I see insufficient motivation to push folks beyond verbal conflict. Global warming will unlikely have any impact on any at TOD today. If the negative effects well up quickly it will be up to the generations inplace at that time to consider actions beyond UN sponsored discussions. If it’s a progressive slow process it’s difficult to imagine any productive reaction. It would thus remain a problem for future generations.

Likewise, I never enter the debate as to whether Climate Change is man made or a natural process. My retort is that whatever, it has never happened with 7 billion people on the planet before. Any change from the optimum conditions that have allowed our population to increase so, will spell disaster for humanity.

Whatever the cause, Nature's response to it will be natural. Nature's response to the last warming episode in the 12/13th Centuries was what later became known as the "Little Ice Age", a period of wild fluctuations in the climate. My WAG is that the extremes are probably dictated by the degree of forcing behind the warming, so we may see even more extremes of just about everything. No even trend will make adaption near impossible, ruling out any efficient method of mitigation, thus leaving the less efficient and more costly method of all round resilience.

Resilience will require a great deal of resources, which will be the bottleneck, those without will not make it through. The dominating logic will be "it's better to fight for resources (either to retain or to take) than not, because to not fight will be certain death".

Hi Rock,

Thanks. No change, just a few (short) minutes...

I can offer one counter-story. "Human nature" is multi-faceted, and there is also some sex - (or to use the popular term), gender-related variations of same. Also, there have been actual discoveries and applications (perhaps neglected, OK) on the "soft side" (like, um, software)of human nature and human experience...that rival the technological discoveries. These would be in the fields of mediation, conflict resolution, and things like that. (www.newconversations.net, www.cnvc.org, etc.)

Yes, the powerful and wealthy, perhaps just as unwittingly, dictate. The counter-example to this are the thousands of organizations such as human rights organizations...

And, something that's interesting to me, also, is how many charitable orgs there are, say, in the US. It's astonishing, really. Of course, these people probably have no clue about what portion of their tax dollars is spent to make the lives of others miserable via weapons "sales" (gifts), etc. The point is, they take action and spend money to do what they believe helps others, and perhaps, or even probably, it often does.

The point is - it's a mixed bag, really. The "thermo/gene" overshoot - (I'd like to give attention to Bob Shaw but anyhow...) - there are ways to address it, too. If we're talking about the population side, that's one discussion; the consumption side per member, is another.

I've often wondered if every person who is convinced that nuclear war will occur would spend perhaps 10 minutes per week taking some positive action as suggested by the orgs and people who actually work quite hard to prevent it...oh well, just a thought. On that one.

Anyway, the story I used to tell is that we learned just enough to be able to deal with this.

I'm not saying it's a true story. I'm saying it's a narrative and might have some utility.

Rainsong - I think you're absolutely right. How does the deforestation in Amazonian rainforests affect the rainfall or relative humidity in Arkansas? The systems are so so complex that they defy modeling as well as human comprehension.

That being said there are a great many things that we can watch and predict with uncanny accuracy:

Habitat destruction through deforestation as well as conversion of forests to agricultural land
Invasive species interactions in natural systems
Population growth (human)
Pollution - air and water in particular
Over harvesting - particularly marine fisheries.

The above is from E.O. Wilson's acronym HIPPO. These are regarded as the primary drivers of the biodiversity crisis. The Earth is currently losing 3 to 4 species (spp) per hour. That is 300,000 times normal extinction rates and 30,000 times the rate of extinction of the Cretaceous extinction 65 million years ago. The frightening aspect to this phenomena is not the loss of charismatic species such as penguins and polar bears but the loss of keystone spp such as plants and microscopic animals that have been cleaning the water and the air for free.

At current loss rates we will have reduced extant spp by 50% by 2050. Welcome to the Late Quaternary Extinction. There is no controversy about the cause of this extinction however...no extraterrestrial meteors to blame. It is purely Anthropogenic.

Here's an interesting number:

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution the total weight of humans and their cattle was less than 1% of vertebrae spp on Earth. Today it is greater than 98%.


The Arctic sea ice is close to sea level.

Thanks for that startling comment.

It is the melting of the ice sheets remaining on Greenland and Antarctica that may be contributing to sea level rise

Really? Truly? Is it so?

that has been increasing for 20,000 years.

Irrelevant much?

According to Wiki


we are still in a global cooling period,


in non-global cooling periods there was no ice at the poles.

EVER? Sources? Lying is bad... don't lie...

The intense glaciations were pulses of intense freezing that covered North America with thick ice sheets down towards the border of Ohio and Kentucky and left many glacial landforms across New England, glacial lake remnants across the upper Midwest, a huge lake in Montana, higher levels of the Great Salt Lake in Utah etc.

And? Also, got sources? Also, causes? Also, irrelevant. Again.

Europe had a more arctic type climate back then.

Back when? Which glacial period are we discussing? Or year? Also, irrelevant.

Eastern Siberia was covered with a continental glacier There were seasonal rivers in the Sahara and a huge lake in the Sinai. There were glaciers on Mt. Lebanon and Mt. Hermon in the Mideast.

Again, when, exactly? Also, irrelevant.

None of this could be controlled by CO2 or SO2 emissions. The climate system could not be as simple as driven only by CO2 concentrations.

Straw man. No scientist or well-informed person I have ever read or listened to on the topic of climate change has ever claimed CO2 is the only driver.

Why lie? Lying is bad.

The climate system could not be as simple as driven only by CO2 concentrations.


Over 1 trillion giga bbls of heat thrown into the atmosphere

and then transferred into the oceans.

We won't have to worry about a meter rise in sea level.

The major currents like the Gulfstream will have altered/stopped
long before then.

Bifurcation has occurred. Tipping Point is passed.

The children who survive will remember.

Some Assembly Required.

When the arm chair paleo-climatologists tried to take over they did so without the required geology preequisite courses. Doing the research was inconvenient for them. They wanted to look back maybe a hundred years. There were archaeologists who did a better job of checking the climate over the past ten thousand years.

There have been manmade factors that might cause global cooling also. Fly ash and SO2 blocking out the sun. We do not have tables of so0lar radiation data going back millions of years either. The fact that the sun might not be constant eluded the dumfounded detectives who did not know that we were yet in a glacial period. There was a lecture at the Smithsonian Instiute some years ago by a physicist who was part of a team sent to investigate the thinning ice at the poles. He stated that there had been times when the poles were free of ice.

Wikipedia is a bit more accurate than some of the climate hysteria that has been published in the press by people who are not experts in paleoenvironmental studies, people who have not completed introductory paleontology, sedimentology or stratigraphy courses. What could be learned about climate from studying the fossil record?

I am not responsible for mcgowanmc's lack of preparation, nor for a researcher's inability to find sources.

If you're going to post a bunch of empty words, why start typing?

You're wrong. The science is so piled against you you should be ashamed. You must open your wallet, see 5 $1's and think you've got $50.

That's how delusional the anti-CC crap is. Just look at this red herring:

Wikipedia is a bit more accurate than some of the climate hysteria that has been published in the press

Who CARES what the press publishes? At least you didn't say Wiki is better than the published papers on ACC.

We keep asking for the science. Where is it?

In all my encounters with anti- arguments, I have yet to find one person among you that can generate an impressively formed argument.


Dear CCPO.
The situation in 2009 is not an ‘all or nothing’ situation for the planet. Far from it. To date there has been a year on year decline in temperatures from a peak in 1998-2000. There are a significant number of scientists, mostly Physicists and some Geologists and now some Meteorologists are finally speaking out against the more outrageous claims promulgated by the proponents of AGW. Furthermore, Mr Gore pointed out that the same people who claim that AGW doesn’t exist are often the same people who claim the trips to the moon were faked. It is unfortunate then that one of the last Astronauts to walk on the moon (a geologist) has declared himself a ‘denier’. The facts stand as they always did. The historical record shows temperature changes higher than we are experiencing at present (and in human history) and these highs and lows are natural to our world. Polar bears are not dying out; Cities are not drowning; The frequency and magnitude of Hurricanes is not increasing; North Polar Ice is rebounding; The Arctic is not going to be ice free any time soon and the Arctic Ice was less in the 1920s than it was last summer when an attempt to get as far north in free standing water failed miserably and early in comparison to attempts in the 1920s. The ‘consensus’ – a thing that applies only in an absence of true science is already crumbling. I think you will find a greater level of dissent developing with time as it becomes clear that the ‘models’ all failed to spot the recent cooling trend.

Proponents of AGW - (Lets stop calling it climate change since all know that the climate has always changed so it would be much better for AGW proponents to be a little bit more honest and stopped hiding behind this recent label) - and always hide behind some catastrophe that has been ‘modelled’ for some time in the future. Well where are these ‘catastrophes’? According to the models we should be warmer than we are now. It is time for this theory to predict specific events in time so that they can be confirmed – or not. It is 20 years since Hansen got his 15 minutes of fame and we are now in an unpredicted cooling trend.

At what point do we call time on the AGW proponents such as Gore, Hansen, Mann and Schmidt and call them the ‘deniers’? We live in the real world and not a world of failed models. (that have to be routinely updated and ‘calibrated’ when the facts arrive.). The Met Office predicted that the winter of 2008-2009 would be milder than usual. The Met Office predicted that 2007 , 2008 and now 2009 would be some of the warmest years on record – implying increasing temperatures and not a succession of falling temperatures with time , over a decade. This is hardly surprising: Any predictive model that signally fails to cope with Solar Ap and the Solar Cycle; Water Vapour and cloud genesis is not much better than Astrology.

Times up. You had your day in the Sun. Its time to get over it. AGW theory is emotive pseudo science. It’s a busted flush.

Maybe we need a separate TOD:Is GW real? This is getting really tiresome in the DB all the time.

I am tempted to dig out the Firefox addin "TODBan", to try and filter out these discussions....

TODBan used to work great, but I haven't found a version that works with the latest Firefox/Greasemonkey/TOD. If anyone comes up with such a thing, PLEASE let us know!

Failing that, at least the poster's name is at the top of the message, and you can act as your own TODBan. Takes discipline, but doable.

I just installed it, and it seems to be functioning. On this thread it blocked 5 comments (I don't remember if it was supposed to just block posts from those users, or whether it would also block children).

That being said, the install process wasn't easy. Let me try and clean it up a bit and figure out how to get it really working..

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Do let us know!

Trash science. Your absurdity has been exposed many times here, so you can stop now.

Cherry-picking an out-lier year and basing your whole argument on that is a good bit worse than ignorant or even insincere.

If the models failed, it was because they predicted that total Arctic ice melt couldn't happen till late this century at the earliest. It is now on track to melt within the next ten years.

The models have been inaccurate, but all in the opposite direction from what you imply.

It is almost certain that feedbacks have now kicked in that will lead to runaway global warming no matter what. This is partly due to the success of hacks like you confusing people into thinking gw was no big deal or a hoax. Well, congratulations, you and your ilk have helped delay effective action on averting gw, so basically you've won. I hope you feel really, really good about that.

The Met Office predicted that the winter of 2008-2009 would be milder than usual. The Met Office predicted that 2007 , 2008 and now 2009 would be some of the warmest years on record

No the Met Office did not predict a milder than usual winter - for a start they used percentages for below average, average, above average and a winter close to the long term average (as we're having) was right in the middle. They also stated that this winter would almost certainly be colder than last year right from the first winter projection.

The latest projection says

Winter 2008/9 forecast

Updated 22 December 2008
Forecast for the remainder of Winter 2008/9


UK mean temperatures are likely to be below average in January and nearer average in February.

Mean temperatures for other parts of Europe during the rest of winter are more likely to be near average, but near or above average in south-east Europe.

Precipitation for the remainder of winter is more likely to be average, or below average over much of Europe, including the UK. However, above-average precipitation is favoured over parts of south-eastern Europe.

Forecasts are expressed as variations from 1971-2000 averages.

And 2007 and 2008 were both in the world's top-10 warmest years on record according to the Met Office so they got that projection right as well.

2008 global temperature

In a preliminary report, released today on behalf of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the global mean temperature for 2008 is 14.3 °C, making it the tenth warmest year on a record that dates back to 1850.

Climate scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at University of East Anglia maintain the global climate record for the WMO. They say this figure is slightly down on earlier years this century partly because of the La Niña that developed in the Pacific Ocean during 2007.

La Niña events typically coincide with cooler global temperatures, and 2008 is slightly cooler than the norm under current climate conditions. Professor Phil Jones at the CRU said: "The most important component of year-to-year variability in global average temperatures is the phase and amplitude of equatorial sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific that lead to La Niña and El Niño events".

The ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1997. Global temperatures for 2000-2008 now stand almost 0.2 °C warmer than the average for the decade 1990–1999.

Click to see full-size on original page

But if global average temperatures don't return to a more obvious warming trend once significant
El Niño conditions develop then you can come back and yell for people to take another look but as of now I find nothing you say to be remotely persuasive.

The prediction for a milder than average winter in 2008-2009 was made on September the 25th 2008.

It has since been 'updated' in the light of actual facts.


No it wasn't the prediction. What is true is that unfortunately some moron at the Met Office Press Office released a "summary" of the forecast which did include the "likely to be milder" quote. However the actual percentages the professional forecasters gave in the initial forecast (on the Met Office website under "winter outlook" and not under "press release") were something like 30% chance colder than normal, 35% normal, 35% above normal and further explicitly pointed out there was no "clear signal". However said moron press officer decided percentages were too complicated for the summary release (they certainly were for him or her) and gave out a soundbite which was widely reported in the press as you recall. I remember this so well because I recall reading the press release at the time and being annoyed at the poor summary.

If you ignored the press release and read the actual Met Office first forecast you got the true Met Office winter outlook and as well as the percentages it did include the statement that this winter was likely to be colder than last.

Currently this winter so far is shaping up to be only slightly below normal taken as a whole. The fact we've had a few winters recently with temperatures very significantly above normal is what has fooled people. And statistically we are still likely to get the occasional winter much, much colder than this one over the next 10-20 years even with global warming.

Year on year decline in temperatures from a peak in 1998-2000? What do you mean? Do you mean that global temperatures have gone down every year since 1998 (or 2000)? If that's what you mean, I think you're wrong. Of course, go to a website like the National Climatic Data Center and put it in a post.

The situation in 2009 is not an ‘all or nothing’ situation for the planet. Far from it... There are a significant number of scientists, mostly Physicists and some Geologists and now some Meteorologists are finally speaking out against the more outrageous claims promulgated by the proponents of AGW.

Name-dropping - and you have no names worth discussing - does not equal science. Get it? Quit saying absurd, childish things. I note you didn't say "climate scientists." Gee, wonder why.

To date there has been a year on year decline in temperatures from a peak in 1998-2000.

That is a lie.

Etc., etc.

Damned fools, the lot of you.

Dear CCPO.
Name Dropping?

Try this name (World respected Physicist):


Try this name (Astronaut, Boy Scout and Geologist):


Another Physicist:


I could go on all day, but I have better things to do with my time. 2009 –mark it as the year the ’consensus’ breaks down.

One, a 20% chance of Climate chance being real (even *IF* it is primarily natural and only secondarily human caused) is more than enough risk to justify significant actions, such as a carbon tax that would triple the cost of coaled fired electricity.


We have only one atmosphere, we ALL depend upon it, and we are performing an uncontrolled chemistry experiment on it that will last for centuries/millennium (there is NO "turning back" with better information at a later date). Slowing down the rate of change in the chemistry experiment, instead of accelerating it, is merely prudence.


Your list of deniers is impressive is it's paucity (an ASTRONAUT is an expert !! They are pilots, NOT scientists !), The reality is that Climate Change is real and the consensus is overwhelming.

Best Hopes for Deniers Supporting Massive Efforts to reduce GHG "just in case" there are wrong (which they are),


Again, names aren't science. You already posted that idiot in the first link. If he's such hot stuff, how can he say such stupid-ass things? I torethrough his dumb-assery the first time you posted it. Rhetorical question. Answer? He doesn't do climate research. I'd be willing to bet he no longer does ANY research. Now, if you research his bank account, you might find something interesting.

The second is ALSO not a climate scientist and ALSO has cone NO RESEARCH. How can this fool say something so completely ingorant of scientific method? To wit :

‘Consensus,’ as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science.

And for chrissakes, Happer? Are you a complete dunce? Head of the Heartland Institute? ALSO, no science.

Are you attempting to refute via agreement? Are you going to post any science? Any at all? Or are you just going to keep posting the names of people who do not do any?

I repeat: damned fool.

I am not responsible for mcgowanmc's lack of preparation, nor for a researcher's inability to find sources.

You have zero empathy for me or my position so why should
I hold you responsible.

Keep on with your MEME of humans can't possibly change
anything for the worse. Because that's what it is,
a crutch, an excuse to continue with the greatest wealth disparity
up to and including the Senate of the Roman Imperium.

Just tell me that CO2 doesn't equal Heat.

Simple enough. Tick Tock.

1. The IPCC predictions are conservative.
2. The IPCC predictions do not take into account certain positive feedback loops that will accelerate climate change and its effects.
3. The actual, measured events have generally occurred much more quickly than predicted.

It doesn't matter now. Note we've found over $8.5 trillion dollars
in less than a year and 7 months in an attempt to save the current
extinct economic system.

With only a handful of bankers benefiting.

To make sure that we grow more. Absurd.

The Oil Drum: Europe | More Coal Equals More CO2
More Coal Equals More CO2. Posted by Chris Vernon on October 22, ...... As Lovelock points out if there were only a billion of us we could burn coal to our ...

To rainsong, my responsible one. ;}

Let our winger global cooling friends believe what they will. After all, the Earth does look flat, and a fridge is cold.
Survival is not nessassary. 99% of all species are extinct, as will be our global cooling friends (us also).


But I will not go gently into that good night.

385 ppi tipping point

I googled the above. 725 hits. The first two
pp had two links to AGW.

One, the Sierra Club no less!, had a question mark after.

The other George Hanson:

The disturbing conclusion, documented in a paper I have written with several of the world’s leading climate experts, is that the safe level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is no more than 350 ppm (parts per million) and it may be less. Carbon dioxide amount is already 385 ppm and rising about 2 ppm per year. Stunning corollary: the oft-stated goal to keep global warming less than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is a recipe for global disaster, not salvation.

Now, as then, I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99 percent.


So to summarize:

our observer perceives the future event as a series of 'bow waves' through the force of universe which increasingly lead back into the center of the event itself. This effect can be conceived of in much the same way as an atom (or any) bomb explodes. In the very first nano second of the explosion, the (totality) of the energy *has* been released, but it is still relatively small. Then as time progresses, the energy release expands until the human observer sees the famous landscape dominating mushroom cloud. But at first, the explosion event itself is small.

As someone who works on the DSM side of the equation, I greet this as good news:


Of course, the standard "devil-in-the-details" caveats do apply.

With respect to the lighting audits I've processed in just the first two weeks of this year, our potential energy savings stand at just over 420,000 kWh/year.


Is there a site that covers the technical end of what you do ?

I've got a general idea. Eor example in the case of multi-family apartments how one would evaluate the site.

Hi Robert,

Our focus is strictly lighting and, at that, small commercial and industrial clients only, i.e., a demand of 100 kW or less and no more than 300,000 kWh/year in energy usage. We have done some work with MURBs (multi-unit residential buildings), but there's a separate programme specifically targeting this market. For more info, see: http://www.ipoans.ns.ca/public/conserve_ns/rebates.asp

As I've said here many times before, I'm positively shocked by the huge amount of electricity wasted by inefficient lighting. I would love to share the many horror stories I routinely see out in the field, but this picture provides a clue:

Note that two rows of fixtures are located directly above racking and virtually all of the fixtures have been damaged by a fork lift or are in poor working condition. Needless to say, they can be removed as they serve no useful purpose.

And, of course, we see more than our fair share of code infractions, such as the let's just dangle this junction box in mid air:

I sometimes wonder why many the buildings we visit aren't a smouldering pile of ash.

BTW, how are things going for you on the job front? Any prospect on the horizon or have you already accepted a position?


My question was looking for ways to make me more valuable to an employer. Thanks for the link.

On the job hunting front ...

... Challenging.

I've just sent resumes to building/facilities management employers in the Omaha area. That sector and your work got my mind wandering into the possible nexus.

Regrettably, I can't offer much insight or practical advice in this area. They keep telling us of the importance of networking and that's certainly been a key factor with respect to my career (that, and a huge amount of good fortune). One piece of advice is to keep yourself up-to-date with industry trends by reading various trade journals related to your field of study (e.g., the December 2008 issue of Lighting Design and Application was devoted to industrial and warehouse lighting and contained a lot of useful information I can apply to my own job).

Also, how you project yourself to others is vitally important. When you approach a prospective employer or head into the interview room, the personal chemistry that you establish with the people across the table, no matter how subtle, is going to set the stage for everything else that follows; these folks are sizing you up on many levels and asking themselves whether you're the type of person they would enjoy working along side. If someone were to ask me for a job and this individual had all the credentials and technical skills required and were, technically speaking, the best qualified for the position, but something about their personality didn't seem quite right, I would be inclined to select the next person down on the list.

In any event, I wish you the very best of luck and trust you'll soon find the perfect job for you.



Please check out Metal Optics, my favorite supplier for the retrofits I have done.


I really like their computer formed reflectors (optimized per location). Aggressive technically (note new cold storage fluorescents).

Best Hopes,


Thanks, Alan, for the recommendation; the Metal Optics are terrific products. We use Jaftech, a Canadian supplier, almost exclusively (see: http://www.jaftech.com/). Great products at an unbeatable price and a company that's extremely responsive to our needs. For example, if we tell them we want two hundred and fifty, 6-lamp, 347-volt HIF fixtures equipped with Osram QHE ballasts and 3.5 metre wire leads, they'll have them shipped out the door and on the truck the next business day. They have never, ever disappointed us.

This is the body shop of a local car dealership where we had used them last month:

We replaced the 455-watt steelers, one-for-one, with these 222-watt Jaftechs, cutting the lighting load by more than half and more than doubling the amount of usuable light. The shop employees were literally kissing the ground on which we walked.


Is this the same warehouse? Did you also paint the inside? Wonderful improvement.


Thanks, Al. The first set of pictures is of a flooring retailer and the one directly above is the body shop of a car dealership that was undergoing renovations at the time we did this upgrade; the walls and ceiling were re-painted by the dealer and, without question, a good part of the improvement can be attributed to this.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a picture of this facility prior to our work, but most of our HID conversions start out looking pretty much like this (I'm currently working on a proposal for this warehouse and these fixtures had been recently group re-lamped, so it's not as bad as some others we've seen; if time permits, I'll dig through my collection and find a better example):

I should note that none of these pictures have been enhanced or altered in any fashion, so what you see is what you get.

Best hopes for better and more energy-efficient lighting.


I should note that none of these pictures have been enhanced or altered in any fashion

Although it is a cheaper way to lighten an area :-)

Wow, great job, UT! You just saved our programme sponsors a lot of trouble and expense.

Here's another part of the plant where they operate cutting tools and other heavy machinery. Our light meter readings were coming in at just FOUR foot candles (it should be between 60 and 70 FC).

Note the radiant heater that runs below two of these three rows -- another serious code violation.

I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of the mezzanine. Multiple continuous rows of 2-lamp F96T12 industrials suspended no more than four feet above the platform, illuminating a large area that is seldom used (you literally have to crawl under them to get to the stock as they never bothered to raise the chains). I nearly crapped my pants.

With the additional audits I've processed yesterday and so far today, we've moved our projected annual savings for the first eighteen days of this year to 504,688 kWh (165.8 kW demand reduction). The sad thing is that there are many thousands of businesses like this one that waste enormous amounts of electricity, and no matter how much we chip away at it, it's not nearly enough.


First bank failures of '09

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The financial crisis has claimed its first two banks in 2009 at an approximate cost to the FDIC of more than $200 million.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced Friday that the National Bank of Commerce in Berkeley, Ill., and Bank of Clark County in Vancouver, Wash., had been shuttered.

Bank of Clark County was the first bank in Washington state to fail since 1993.

But probably not the last...

Also, another Hedge Fund operator flees the US.

Florida Fund Manager Disappears as Clients Report Missing Money
Bloomberg - 10 hours ago
17 (Bloomberg) -- Arthur Nadel, a hedge-fund manager in Sarasota, Florida, has disappeared and clients are concerned they may have lost hundreds of millions ...

Guess where he went. ;}

Monthly figures for aviation fuel consumption are out for Dec.

Jet Fuel consumption

I am guessing that it is a combination of fewer flights, and substituting smaller equipment that is directly responsible for this drop.

Exports of coal out of an Australian port dropped 24% in Dec.


The coldest winter in decades has caused China to suspend its coal exports


The China story is from last year. Look at the date: January 2008.

Fishing for 'Ooh, it's so cold!' Stories?

That's a Fun game.. try these two..

Warm weather blamed for Alaskan accidents

A sudden influx of warmer weather in Anchorage caused nearly 100 accidents to occur in and around the Alaskan city, officials say.

Downtown ice sculpture project succumbs to warm weather

Ice sculptors had come to Anchorage to design various extravagant ice creations in the bitterly cold weather.

But the 40-degree weather lately put an early end to all the creations.

Chillin' in Maine,

.. and not to draw any unnecessary conclusions from it or any thing, from that 'Accidents' article..

Weather Service meteorologist Dan Samelson said conditions this year have been worsened by the fact such cold weather preceded the annual warm weather shift, the Daily News reported.

Wasn't there something about climate changes showing up as 'more extremes' .. I keep thinking that the term should not be 'Climate Change' or 'Global Warming'.. but Climate Chaos.

Or as I like to call it, Global Weirding.

Better would be:
global warming --> climate change --> weather chaos


Here is the title of this article:
"Not Green: Obama Inauguration Will Generate More than Half-Billion Pounds of CO2
Study that includes planes, trains, automobiles and even horses shows it would take an average American house 57,598 years to produce same carbon footprint."

If you think Obama will be a savior of the environment or lead us out of the end of the oil age, here is just one indication that he is another grandiose politician playing a gullible public.

"..just one indication that he is another grandiose politician playing a gullible public."

No, Henry, this is an indication that some people want to point fingers and cry Hypocrite instead of doing studies that will actually work on the problems.

Everything we do today will have 'carbon effluents' tied to them.. we're ALL in a system that was built yesterday.. this doesn't make people who are using energy to raise us out of this muck hypocrites.. Obama, for all his perceived taints as part of TPTB is at least openly addressing a great many of the challenges that have been swept out of sight for so many years now.

OTOH Obama has taken great pains to pretend and convince the sheeple that the epidemic levels of high level financial fraud in the USA do not exist. His Pollyanna, Kumbaya act is already wearing thin-Denninger is entirely correct when he states that nothing short of long jail terms will change a thing in this regard (and don't expect anything of the sort under this Puppet Presidency).

I thought a very simple very cheap inauguration was also in order: maybe something in the Oval Office which could be televised live. While people had parties at home. All the money saved could be used to provide meals for the unemployed or given to charities who collect clothes or provide beds for those without.

I asked my mom in FL why they weren't doing that. (When govts change hands here there is no party or anything). She said "because that would be DULL!" and laughed a bright harsh laugh. Americans like everything fancy, everything excessive, everything expensive. It is one reason I am glad not to live there anymore. Here I can commute to work on my 11 year old bicycle because not having a car is a really viable life choice, built into the thinking behind everything that is done. And my bicycle was built to last.

I heard Obama is having the White House redecorated too. Is this true? Why on earth are they bothering, when money is so tight?

I think it's unreasonable to expect Obama to forgo a fancy inauguration and redecorating the White House. It's traditional. And people would be very disappointed without it. People are coming from all over the country to witness a historic event. Some have planned it for years, long before it was known that Obama would even the next president.

No. Harping on about this is really unrealistic. First off, there are some things that are worth making some noise over, and one of those is a discouraged, disheartened public that wants to pin their hopes on a new direction, no matter how much some of you are already unwilling to consider that anything has changed, how much folks want to 'out-jaded' each other here.. that in fact, there are some, Significant changes taking place with this inauguration.

Second.. I don't know how the Bushes decorated, but I'd probably want to set things up with my own surroundings, too.

These are petty snarks. Please.

On one side of the coin I completely agree with you.

And then I think about how this is the person who will have to sell austerity to the nation. How this is the person who will be starting off his term dealing with an economic crisis affecting the lives of millions of his countrymen. And how this is the person who is spending $50 million to celebrate this inauguration and another goodly chunk of change likely exceeding the cost of my own home to renovate his for stylistic reasons. And although neither of these expenditures if redirected would make a bit of difference - I notice that despite whatever he has said about the direness of the current situation, he is not making even a symbolic gesture of solidarity with those who are hurting.

I get a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach and I think of bread and circuses. (Do I remember correctly? Was the Roman Empire declining at that point?)

My opinion, FWIW


Another in the chapters of "Ethanol will save us"


VeraSun to auction Janesville ethanol plant

Free Press Staff and Associated Press

Ethanol producer VeraSun Energy Corp. is putting seven of its ethanol plants, including the one in Janesville, up for auction as part of a debtor-in-possession agreement with lender Agstar Financial Services.

I noticed in the local paper Mankato Free Press Mankato Minnesota Page A8 (Not on their web site) the following info:


The Treasury Department said Friday it will provide a $1.5 Billion loan to Chrysler LLC's Financing arm, and the auto maker announced it will immediately use the money to offer zero-percent financing on several model and expand lending to car buyers with less than idea credit."

Chrysler sells a lot of cars to people that can not afford them using tax payer money. Chrysler then pays back the loans with the profits and then goes broke when the people who bought the new cars they can not afford default on the loans that Chrysler made using taxpayer dollars. Unless the taxpayers keep loaning money forever via the Treasury Department to keep Chrysler afloat.
Just thinking about it makes my head hurt.

Foreclosure Heat Map

From Chris Martenson's Daily Digest


Since one of the obvious advantages of many renewables is the ability to produce it onsite wouldn't the grid just be a waste in every aspect?
The next energy paradigm should be onsite or at least local production with no grid being ideal IMO.
Distributed not centralized. That seems to be the future direction of everything no?

"All of which means there is little choice for the United States and the world but to embrace, and possibly finance, Alberta's oil sands.
If Washington does not get it, then Japan, India, China, South Korea and other energy-starved nations will. They should be encouraged to finance the oil sands megaprojects that have been put on ice or axed because of the bank crisis and price collapse."

Although there is work towards Pacific pipelines, the Asian nations don't seem to be rushing this way. There is also some concern with their reliability as long-term customers, rather than in-and-out buyers.

The USA is really the only practical buyer because of the relative ease with which pipelines can be run south of the border through the Great Plains states and into central USA. Compare that with trying to run pipelines through the mountains of British Columbia. The Pacific gateway is the more expensive route to ship.

We get world price regardless of whether the bitumen goes south or west. Since oil is fungible, we can displace Arabian and Nigerian imports to the USA that will then go elsewhere, such as Asia.

Current expansion of the oilsands has been stalled because of the Panic of 2008, but when it resumes, it will be at a slower pace because of environmentalists. I would be surprised if we ship more than 2.5 mbpd by 2020, and that assumes a quick recovery. Until all those trillions of dollars of toxic paper have been purged from the system, the economy and oil prices will lag. I think 2009 will be a continual series of false hopes and bad news.

Hopefully, we environmentalists can stop it from ever being re-developed at all ;-}

Having lived at sea level for more than 40 years I have had a special interest in polar ice melt (the non floating part). Part of my community is actually below sea level, protected by pumps. On rare occasions ocean waves have entered my area but not in the past ten or so years. The possibility of an earthquake tsunami or super storm has worried me more than the possibility of a significant sea level rise. Then there is the question of post peak oil energy for the pumps. I have seen no obvious sea level change in this area but the sand does come and go. I posted some pictures at Alas Babylon of Malibu comparing the beach recently with the 40's. The moderator threatened to ban me. I am no expert on climate science. I do get a laugh over some of the postings of dogmatic non experts who seem to believe that the way to do science is to start with the answer!

See also:


I posted some pictures at AlasBabylon of Malibu comparing the beach recently with the 40's. The moderator threatened to ban me. I am no expert on climate science. I do get a laugh over some of the postings of dogmatic non experts who seem to believe that the way to do science is to start with the answer!

The moderator at AlasBabylon threatened to ban you! Wow! That would indeed be a tragedy. No more a bunch of misfits has ever been assembled than the crew at AlasBabylon. They all have all the answers. Everything is a conspiracy to those guys. That is a dogma you must accept if you wish to be part of that crew. And those who disagree with them are part of the conspiracy.

I was a charter subscriber to AlasBabylon. I left, voluntarily, after a few months and have never regretted it. I have far more important things to do than argue with dogmatist, like sailing, or reading a good book, or sleeping, or anything but arguing with that bunch of wingnuts.

But as I remember Robert, you and I had our differences as well, you believed that organic farming would feed the world and I disagreed. …Oh well….

Ron Patterson

I am certain that it was someone else posting on organic farming. I have never had such a belief. I don't post much on AB. At the present time it is inundated with near psychotic racist posts.

I do get a laugh over some of the postings of dogmatic non experts who seem to believe that the way to do science is to start with the answer!

That is because, presumably, you don't understand risk assessment. Nor do you understand, as you clearly stated with you disclaimer of not being an expert in climate science, that sea level rise is not something - at this point - that your eyes are going to tell you at a mainland beach. Of course, you know this. You know your statement is nonsense, so why do you even type it and post it? It's dishonest. Also, not only is SLR not equal at all parts of the globe, certain tides and such emphasize it at some places and not others. You know this, too.

Ignorance, particualarly feigned, is no excuse. Is it ethical to comment out of complete (supposed) ignorance as you are admittedly doing? Even worse, pretending to not be a denier when you are. We've seen it too many times before. (Do you all get the same training or something?)

As for you comment about us who do comment, your logic is flawed (but isn't it always, by definition, for deniers?). You scoff at us for having opinions and coming to conclusions (My GOD what an offense to look at overwhelming facts and come to conclusions!!!). To do so you must be confident that we cannot be right. Ergo, you are doing the same, and hypocritically so. For if there is any chance we can be right, we cannot be dismissed. Do you understand the underlying logic of risk assessment here?


So it turns out even the recycling business is predicated on continuous growth, too.

I've noticed that my city's Cardboard recycling drop=off is being emptied MUCH less often.

OK, I have a new version of TODBan that works with at least Firefox 2, Greasemonkey version 0.8.20080609.0, and the current theoildrum.com site.

You can get it from here.

As with the original version, it not only blocks banned users, but any responses to the banned users.

Nice work. Thank you. I can confirm that it also works with Firefox 3.0.5 on Ubuntu 8.10.

I would rather have comments by (and replies to) "banned" users collapsed rather than disappeared, so I made a small change to the copy installed on my machine. Let me know if you want a diff.

Cool - yeah, I would like diffs. You ought to be able to submit here.

Should this work with a Mac? Using a Mac OSX with Firefox 3.0.5 and greasemonkey enabled, I get no reaction using User Script Commands at Tools ?? Is it necessary to complete the New User Script form? If so, how?

Found this on another forum. It's from the Weekend Australian out today - and someone scanned it in.

Click image for full size version

Apologies, I've forgotten the html code for posting links. (Hint, maybe it should be handy on the comments posting page), so I'll have to do it the clumsy way. Some news from cleantech:

The first one is a new record photovoltaic efficiency from Franhofer, of 41.4%:
Normally, I don't consider a laboratory advance to be worth a post, but these fellows claim they can manufactur these, and are working with a concentrating PV manufacturer, those these babies just might actually make it to market.

The second one concerns zinc air batteries:
Here they claim zinc air packs two to three times the power density of litium ion, and they claim they should be cheaper to produce. So far the only commercial version is for hearing aides, so I think scaling up for vehiclular applications is a long ways off (if ever). No mention about how many recharges this tech should be capable of.

Zinc air is one use, then dispose. Perfectly fine for hearing aids.



For the most part, I enjoy your posts but you usually provide either references or credible text and context.

Can we all please learn, rather than just see you blow off another person's post?

Why is zinc air "one use"?

I find your dismissive air annoying, considering that E-O-S was not pontificating and was offering links.

If they are flawed, please tell us how and why.

Otherwise I suggest that you conserve your energies for more fruitful enterprises.


I can never make seense, much less agree, with any article that Raymond J. Learsy writes. He seems a bit of a populist, yet he never uses a depletion-related argument or acks peak oil. And he is huffPo's only regular energy blogger. They should find someone else.

Entertaining speculations on the linkage between oil price volatility and misbehavior by the financial industry his posted at:


Text from the post include:

"The non-linear regression trend in oil price volatility is isolated in Figure 4. From this it can be seen that volatility based on the calculation approximately doubled between yrs 2000 and 2004 and then approximately doubled again between 2004 and 2006. What happens next is an interesting question ? A clue to this might come from a smaller bump in volatility occurring during the 1990s (see Figure 4). Based on this pattern it is speculated that the current exponential rise will flatten as time proceeds and eventually becoming a second bump, albeit of higher amplitude than that occurring during the 1990s. After completion of the current bump, one imagines that a rise and fall in volatility has the prospect to occur over again. Cycling variance in oil price could be a stomach churning ride.