DrumBeat: July 2, 2009

Hurricanes May Increase in Gulf as El Nino Shifts in Pacific

(Bloomberg) -- A shift of warming patterns in the Pacific Ocean may mean more seasons of increased hurricane activity in the Atlantic and more storms entering the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico, according to a study in the journal Science.

The warming of Pacific waters -- a phenomenon called El Nino -- has been moving toward the central Pacific, meaning more storms will form in the Gulf and Caribbean, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology said in the study. Traditionally, when the eastern Pacific warms up, hurricane activity in the Atlantic falls.

Number of active oil rigs up by 11

HOUSTON (AP) -- The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States rose by 11 this week to 928, the third consecutive week for an uptick after months of declines.

Of the rigs running nationwide, 688 were exploring for natural gas and 229 for oil, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Thursday. Eleven were listed as miscellaneous. The report was released a day early because of the July Fourth holiday.

4th pipeline bombing in northeastern B.C.

A fourth explosion has occurred at an EnCana Corporation natural gas facility in northeastern B.C, just east of Dawson Creek.

RCMP said EnCana gas line workers discovered a partially destroyed metering shed on Sunday at a wellhead near the community of Tomslake.

Investigators said the damage was the result of what appeared to be a deliberate attack similar to three other blasts that occurred at Encana operations in October.

Mexico’s Credit Rating Will Be Cut in Third Quarter, Loser Says

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s credit rating will be cut in the third quarter as the government struggles to muster congressional support for legislation that would ease the nation’s dependence on oil revenue, said Claudio Loser, a former International Monetary Fund Western Hemisphere director,

ANALYSIS - In China, India, higher fuel prices not yet high enough

NEW DELHI/BEIJING (Reuters) - At some point, the theory goes, Chinese and Indian consumers will begin to feel the pain of rising fuel costs, adjusting their habits to use less gasoline, just as motorists from Japan to America have done.

But even after a pair of surprise prices hikes this week, taking Chinese pump rates to their highest ever and elevating the cost of gasoline well above relatively cheap American petrol, officials and analysts are agreed: we're not there yet.

The economic expansion of the world's two most populous nations underpins the base case for medium-term oil bulls who believe $70 a barrel is only the beginning, but the question of demand "elasticity" -- whether fuel use contracts in the face of higher prices -- could call those forecasts into question.

Russia's new oil export route forces hard choices

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is not producing enough oil to fill a new $4 billion pipeline to the Baltic, which is meant to cut reliance on export routes via neighbouring states, without making hard choices about flows through other outlets.

Diverting exports from other routes would risk losing market share to rival OPEC producers or harming ties with key energy partner Germany.

Gazprom's Recent Deals Should Be a Red Flag to the Rest of Europe

Presumably the wily Azeri president Ilham Aliyev is well aware of Gazprom’s practices, and is watching Gazprom’s heavy-handedness with Turkmenistan carefully. So why would he deal with this devil? Perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part, but what would make sense is that Aliyev is losing patience with European dithering over Nabucco. By showing a willingness to deal with Gazprom, he is sending a shot across the bow of the EUnuchs, letting them know with actions rather than words that they need to move sooner rather than later or Nabucco is going to turn into a, well, pipe dream.

Will the Europeans get it through their thick skulls? I highly doubt it. They are so divided–with Russia and Gazprom merrily promoting and exploiting those divisions–that they will be mightily pressed to get their act together soon. If they don’t, Azerbaijan may figure that it has no real alternative but Gazprom. And what a pity that would be.

Phil Flynn: Life Liberty and Oil!

How can you have prices rise when demand is so bad? There were no fireworks on the demand side as the EIA reported that total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 18.4 million barrels per day, down by 5.8 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged nearly 9.2 million barrels per day, up by 0.9 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel demand has averaged about 3.4 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 9.4 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel demand is 13.2 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year. It is the less than spectacular supply and demand numbers, especially compared to a year ago, that leads market critics to say the market is out of whack with the fundamental realities.

How Institutions Manipulate the Price of Oil

A recent article shows the chart to the left which demonstrates the correlation between crude oil prices and the size of the passive long-only institutional investor.

Obama energy policy to cost taxpayers

President Obama has targeted oil, natural gas and coal - all carbon fuels - for higher taxation, an energy expert told a Tulsa luncheon on the eve of the “cap and trade” vote last week in the U.S. House.

Bob Tippee, editor of the Oil & Gas Journal, told a meeting of the Energy Advocates that Obama wants to adopt the “California view.”

Obama’s policy would cost the oil and gas industry at least $50 billion a year.

Mexican Oil Revenues Fall 10% Despite Hedging

Mexico's oil-export tax revenues totaled 363.58 billion pesos ($27.34 billion) between January and May, 10.3 percent less than in the same period of last year, officials said.

That drop occurred even though the Mexican government -- acting last summer when oil prices were widely predicted to fall from a record high of $140 a barrel -- hedged the price of crude exports at $70 a barrel for all of 2009.

Energy Minister urges talks over North Sea tax breaks

New Energy Minister Lord Hunt called last night for more dialogue between the offshore oil and gas industry and the Treasury over the tax breaks needed to maximise the extraction of North Sea resources.

Addressing a Subsea UK reception in the Commons, he gave a muted response to the highly-critical report issued by the Commons energy and climate change committee, which warned that without more help to encourage development and exploration, the industry could go into decline and put 50,000 jobs at risk.

Is Madison making the right choices on transit?

Madisonians, like most Americans, are in denial about the impact of peak oil and global warming. It will not be possible to continue our car-oriented lifestyles and sprawling development mentality and still meet urgent carbon-reduction goals.

Authorities should make transit decisions with an eye on a very different future, not the antiquated status quo of the past 50 years.

Money train: The cost of high-speed rail

The president is pledging $13 billion for a high speed rail system, but some experts fear it will never cover its own costs.

House Probes Resignation at Amtrak

WASHINGTON -- A House committee is investigating the recent resignation of Amtrak's inspector general, citing concerns about oversight at the publicly funded corporation at a time when it is set to spend more than $1 billion in federal stimulus funds.

Is Bicycling Bad for Your Bones?

In his study, the bone density of 32 male, competitive bike riders, most in their late 20s and early 30s, was compared to that of age-matched controls, men who were active but not competitive athletes. Bone scans showed that almost all of the cyclists had significantly less bone density in the spine than the control group. Some of the racers, young men in their 20s, had osteopenia in their spines, a medical condition only one step below full-blown osteoporosis. “To find guys in their twenties with osteopenia was surprising and pretty disturbing,” Smathers says.

The alternative choice - Steven Chu wants to save the world by transforming its largest industry: energy

WHETHER Steven Chu, America’s energy secretary, would be flattered or horrified by the comparison is unclear, but he and Margaret Thatcher have something important in common. They are both scientists who have risen to political power. That Mr Chu has a Nobel prize for physics, whereas Lady Thatcher swiftly abandoned chemistry for the more lucrative pastures of the law, does not make the comparison unfair. What matters is that both of them understand something that some politicians from softer intellectual backgrounds often seem to forget: you cannot negotiate with nature. Nor can you ignore it, for it will not go away.

Lady Thatcher showed her mettle in this regard in 1989, when she became the first politician of stature to raise the alarm about global warming. When her adviser Crispin Tickell pointed out to her that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was rising and that carbon dioxide was a greenhouse gas, she got the point instantly and alerted the world in a speech to the United Nations. Mr Chu’s job is harder: he is charged with spotting, nurturing and promoting promising energy technologies, thereby helping America to create the tools that the world needs to wean itself off fossil fuels.

Wesley Clark: Ethanol's field general

(Fortune Magazine) -- If ever there were an industry in need of a general, it's the ethanol industry. Already under siege from food companies blaming biofuels for rising grocery prices, ethanol companies are now seeing their profit margins crushed by falling prices for their product. Compounding the problem, many environmentalists -- who five minutes ago seemed to be in ethanol's corner -- have turned against the corn-based fuel.

Reporting for duty in ethanol's counterattack: Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general and former NATO commander, who signed on in February as co-chairman of an upstart ethanol trade group called Growth Energy. Clark, 64, has fully embraced the private sector since ending his run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. In addition to co-chairing Growth Energy, Clark is on the board of Dutch wind-turbine maker Juhl Wind and serves as chairman of the New York investment bank Rodman & Renshaw. At Growth Energy, Clark has lobbied against efforts in California to hold ethanol accountable for deforestation in Brazil, he's pushed back against claims that diverting corn to ethanol drives up food prices, and he's spoken out in favor of a Growth Energy proposal to increase the maximum allowable ethanol blend in conventional gasoline to 15% from 10%.

Oil Falls, Gasoline Drops to 5-Week Low as U.S. Payrolls Slip

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell and gasoline slipped to a five-week low on a report showing the U.S. unemployment rate rose last month, a signal that fuel demand in the world’s largest energy-consuming country will be slow to rebound.

Energetic blackmail

IN BLACKMAIL timing can be everything. The governments of Russia and Ukraine have cause to ponder this after failing to extract billions of euros from the European Union in the name of keeping Russian gas flowing to Europe next winter.

Thanks to recession and competition from cheaper suppliers, European demand for Russian gas has fallen. It is also summer. So right now governments and gas companies are unusually brave over threats to cut off the gas. They have resisted pressure to give Ukraine a huge loan that both the Russians and Ukraine’s squabbling leaders say is needed to avoid another dispute like the one that blocked Russian gas in January, affecting 18 of the 27 EU countries. Whether Europe’s nerve will hold as winter approaches remains to be seen. Russia supplies 42% of all EU gas imports, and its share is rising.

Russia's Gazprombank puzzles analysts as NPLs stable

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Gazprombank, the banking arm of Russian state energy company Gazprom, puzzled analysts on Thursday by showing its share of non-performing loans (NPLs) stayed unchanged in the first quarter of 2009.

Top Russian banks such as state-controlled Sberbank (SBER03.MM) and VTB (VTBR.MM) are struggling with losses as bad loans rise.

BP shuts alternative energy HQ

BP has shut down its alternative energy headquarters in London, accepted the resignation of its clean energy boss and imposed budget cuts in moves likely to be seen by environmental critics as further signs of the oil group moving "back to petroleum".

Beacon Power, Nordic Windpower Get Loan Guarantees

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Energy Department issued $59 million in conditional loan guarantees to Beacon Power Corp. and Nordic Windpower, part of a four-year-old program for alternative energy that has yet to finance any projects.

The conditional loan guarantees announced by the department today, which are the second and third issued, are contingent on the companies providing further financing.

Estimating errors in U.S. oil demand

(Reuters) - The market is transfixed by the weekly inventory and consumption estimates for crude oil and products published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). But the backward-looking nature of parts of the reporting system makes it liable to miss turning points. Consumption and exports numbers are especially vulnerable to errors.

For the last three years, preliminary estimates for U.S. petroleum consumption (more formally called "product supplied to the domestic market") published in the EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR) have been revised down when more comprehensive data becomes available in the Petroleum Supply Monthly (PSM) published six weeks later. The core of the problem is the statistical system's struggle to account for soaring exports of refined products, especially distillates to Europe. Because the agency is systematically under-estimating exports, it is over-estimating consumption, and being forced to trim the figures when more data becomes available.

John Michael Greer: Where Economics Fails

Understand current economic thought and you understand most of the mistakes that are dragging industrial civilization down to ruin. The Energy Information Administration (EIA), a branch of the US government, has become infamous in the peak oil scene over the last decade or so for publishing estimates of future petroleum production that have no relationship to geological reality. Their methodology, as described in EIA publications, was simply to estimate probable increases in demand, and then to assume that increased demand would automatically be met with a corresponding increase in supply. Quite a few peak oil writers have suggested some dark conspiracy behind this blithe disregard for the limits of a finite planet, but it takes only a few minutes’ worth of reading to identify the real culprit as the standard notion of the law of supply and demand taught in every first-year economics textbook today.

Iraq to push back second oil bidding round

Iraq is planning to push back its second oil bidding round to develop 11 oil and gas fields after a disappointing showing in the first offer.

The process had been scheduled to be completed by end of this year.

But Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad says the second round will be held at a later date that has yet to be determined.

Oil’s history, for better or worse

On June 1 1932, some 7½ months after they sunk a drill into the ground in the shadow of a scraggly hill called the “Mountain of Smoke”, a group of prospectors and scallywags led by the New Zealand owner of a pharmacy in Aden hit oil 35km south of Manama.

Today, like a metal shrub with twisted branches, a capped well juts from the rocky ground marking the original spot where the massively prolific Arabian Oil Basin was first tapped.

Nearby is a plaque commemorating Jabal Ad Dukhan No 1 and a museum bearing the sign, “It All Began in Bahrain”.

Pakistan: Vegetables getting out of common man's reach

LAHORE - The transporters, businessmen, growers, consumers and general public have strongly rejected the sharp increase in the fuel prices announced by the so-called people friendly PPP-led government and said that it would push more people below the poverty line besides multiplying the miseries of the already inflation-stricken public.

Weak auto sales continue into June

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Most major automakers reported weaker than expected U.S. sales for June, proving yet again that the industry's pain hasn't ended. But there are some glimmers of hope.

Rail crisis: London-to-Edinburgh route to be nationalised

The government is to nationalise Britain's largest rail franchise after National Express confirmed that it can no longer afford the £1.4bn east coast contract.

In a serious blow to franchise policy, the Department for Transport will take the London-to-Edinburgh route into public ownership at the end of the year. The transport secretary, Lord Adonis, said the contract will be put back up for auction to private companies at the end of next year but it is expected to fetch much less than £1.4bn, leaving the state with a gap in its rail budget.

"It is simply unacceptable to reap the benefits of contracts when times are good, only to walk away from them when times become more challenging," said Adonis.

First Biodiesel Pipeline Starts Operations

A commercial shipment of biodiesel has moved through a pipeline in the United States for the first time, according to Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, a pipeline company.

A 5 percent biodiesel blend moved from Mississippi to Georgia, and also from Mississippi to Virginia, via the Plantation Pipe Line Company, which is owned jointly by Kinder Morgan with a 51 percent stake, and Exxon Mobil with 49 percent. Last December, Kinder Morgan announced that the nation’s first ethanol pipeline had begun service.

Heading into the holiday: Fewer miles at higher cost

The nation heads into the Independence Day holiday weekend amid the longest and steepest decline in driving since the invention of the automobile.

Since the number of miles traveled by motor vehicles in the USA peaked in November 2007, the nation's 12-month total has dropped by 123 billion miles, or slightly more than 4%. That's a bigger decline than the drop of just above 3% during the 1979-80 Iranian revolution that triggered a spike in gasoline prices in the USA.

The 4% drop is the equivalent of taking between 8 million and 10 million drivers off the road.

"We may be witnessing the beginning of a fundamental shift in American driving habits," says Ed McMahon, senior research fellow at the Urban Land Institute, a non-profit group that promotes innovative development.

Oil Falls to Lowest in a Week on Forecast U.S. Shed More Jobs

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell to the lowest in a week before a report forecast to show U.S. unemployment increased last month, signaling the world’s largest energy user remains mired in recession.

U.S. fuel demand in the four weeks ended June 26 dropped 5.8 percent from a year earlier, while demand for distillate fuel including heating oil and diesel, fell 9.4 percent, according to a Department of Energy report yesterday. The Labor Department will likely report the U.S. shed an additional 365,000 jobs in June, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Barclays Raises U.S. Oil Forecast 15% on Fundamentals

(Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc raised its third-quarter forecast for West Texas Intermediate crude oil by 14.5 percent from an estimate in June, citing expectations for fundamentals in commodity markets to return to “normalcy.”

The forecast for benchmark futures contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange was revised to $71 a barrel from $62, Barclays Capital analysts led by Paul Horsnell said in a weekly report yesterday. Barclays increased its projections for Brent crude by 9.5 percent to $69 a barrel and left forecasts for the fourth quarter and 2010 unchanged.

‘Oil over $100 would hurt global economy’

"Hopefully in the third quarter and fourth quarter, it won't surpass $100 as this will fuel recession again," Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah told reporters in parliament.

Oil had already hit the price that Opec was looking for in the second half of the year, he said. Speculators and US dollar weakness were among the factors behind the rise, Sheikh Ahmad said.

Asian LNG Spot Trade May Shrink 73% This Year, Repsol Says

(Bloomberg) -- Shipments of liquefied natural gas to Asia from the Atlantic Ocean area may shrink by about 73 percent this year as Japan and South Korea, the world’s biggest buyers, cut imports, said an official from Repsol YPF SA.

Supplies of spot LNG from projects from countries such as in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt and Algeria may fall to about 4 million metric tons this year, or to 2006 levels, from about 15 million last year, said Strategic Planning Director Ane Arino Ochoa at Spain’s largest oil company.

“We expect a reduction in LNG traded this year because of the economic crisis,” she said after speaking at the Next Generation LNG conference in Singapore yesterday. “There will be a surplus of LNG in the global markets in the short term.”

India Gas Demand Set to Rise as Fertilizer Makers Add Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- India’s demand for natural gas is set to increase as fertilizer makers spend as much as 50 billion rupees ($1 billion) in the next three years to boost capacity by 35 percent, an official said.

Fertilizer companies may need an additional 24 million cubic meters a day of gas to feed new plants and existing ones that are switching from using naphtha and fuel oil, Satish Chander, director-general of the Fertilizer Association of India, said by telephone from New Delhi.

India - Econ survey: decontrol petrol, diesel prices

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India should end controls on prices of petrol and diesel and allow entry for private and foreign firms in the energy sector, a finance ministry survey said on Thursday.

PVM Loses About $10 Million in Unauthorized Trades

Bloomberg) -- PVM Oil Futures Ltd., a unit of the world’s biggest broker of over-the-counter oil derivatives, said it lost just under $10 million as a result of unauthorized trading in futures contracts on June 30.

“As a result of a series of unauthorized trades, substantial volumes of futures contracts were held by PVM,” Robin Bieber, director of PVM Oil Futures Ltd., said in an e- mailed statement today. “When this was discovered the positions were closed in an orderly fashion. PVM suffered a loss totaling a little under $10 million.”

BP Pay Changes for Contract Workers Threatens North Sea Strikes

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, plans to cut pay for North Sea contract staff, risking strike action later this year.

BP wants to reduce the cost of offshore platform workers employed through contractors and plans to end discretionary payments including overtime built-in to the day rate and automatic night shift payments. The changes cut pay as much as 20 percent for 800 people, union leaders say.

Are we at the peak of oil production?

There are some that believe that the ever increasing rise in gas prices over the past years is a clear indication of peaking. The spike of oil prices and crash in 2008 is said to be the peak point of production. This is a question we cannot fully know the answers to till probably 5 or 10 years out. Raymond James, the investment company that the Buccaneers football team’s stadium is named for, released a press release declaring peak oil: “represents a paradigm shift of historic proportions. Unfortunately, mankind better get ready to live in a peak oil world because we believe the ‘peak’ is now behind us.”

Flashing Lights on the Console

KMO welcomes Albert K. Bates back to the program, and they sit down together for a chat with Richard Heinberg, author of Peak Everything. Albert admits that he's finding it hard to maintain his "soft lander" status in the face of mounting evidence, and Richard talks about the themes in his new book, Blackout: Coal, Climate and the Last Energy Crisis.

Our idea of progress must change

We've raised our standard of living to record heights -- so high, in fact that, if everyone lived like we do in North America, we would need three or four earths. To keep our way of life rolling along, we need to make more things. As the satirical newspaper The Onion put it, quoting a fictional Chinese worker: "Often, when we're assigned a new order for, say, 'salad shooters,' I will say to myself, there's no way that anyone will ever buy these . . . One month later, we will receive an order for the same product, but three times the quantity . . I hear that [North] Americans can buy anything they want, and I believe it, judging from the things I've made for them. And I also hear that, when they no longer want an item, they simply throw it away. So wasteful and contemptible."

But such is our personal measure of progress: whoever has the most stuff when they die, wins.

Nova Scotia needs a new deal

I want to come back to a second to the beginning of this. I'm not sure that what we want to look at is called "recovery." I think we're talking about a restructuring of the economic system and it won't look the same---it can't look the same. I've got a quote here from George Monbiot, who says, "Climate breakdown, peak oil and resource depletion will all dwarf the current financial crisis, in both financial and humanitarian terms." So unless we start thinking long-term, this current economic meltdown is going to seem like very small potatoes.

Feds, Colo. hash out agreement on oil, gas rules

DENVER — Colorado's new oil and gas rules, denounced by the industry as the most burdensome in the country, now apply to federal land as well as private and state land.

Stricter oil and gas regulations took effect on private and state land in Colorado on April 1. Enforcement of the rules was delayed on federal land to give state and federal officials time to sort through any conflicts.

Oil Contract Rows Rock Uganda Ahead of Production

The Ugandan government is embroiled in disputes with politicians and activists over its failure to reveal the contents of contracts with oil-exploration companies operating in the country ahead of the start of oil production on the Ugandan side of the Albertine Rift on the country's western border.

Iran 'disqualifies' EU from talks

The EU is no longer qualified to take part in talks on Iran's nuclear programme, Iran's military chief says.

Maj-Gen Hassan Firouzabadi, Iran's chief of staff, accused the EU of "interference" in riots which followed June's disputed presidential elections.

Kenya unveils renewable energy drive

NAIROBI (AFP) – Kenya on Wednesday unveiled extensive plans to invest in renewable energy, including free distribution of one million energy-saving light bulbs in exchange for ordinary bulbs.

The measures announced by Prime Minister Raila Odinga also include subsidising the price of solar water heaters for public institutions, firms and households.

Kenya: Sex in a Time of Famine

"Prostitution seems to be the only option out of hunger. The relief food offered by the government is too little and irregular," says Mr Keleli.

About 75 per cent of people in this region live below the poverty line. The land is semi arid and unproductive, with very little economic activity.

Charcoal burning has for a long time been the only means of upkeep. But with the current drought, trees have diminished, leaving residents with no reliable source of livelihood.

Clean Energy Investment Leaps In Second Quarter

LONDON - Global investment in clean energy and climate-friendly technologies leapt in the last three months but full-year levels won't recover until 2010 or 2011, analysts said on Wednesday.

Falling energy demand and more expensive debt have hurt large renewable projects for example in wind and solar power. Recession has cut risk appetite, curbing funding for clean technology start-ups.

But global clean energy investment rebounded in the past three months, after a 44 percent collapse in the first quarter, and stimulus spending could spur a return to last year's funding levels in 2010, according to research group New Energy Finance.

"It's a big bounce back," said Michael Liebreich, NEF chief executive, referring to preliminary numbers to be published later this week or next.

Brazil launches bus powered by hydrogen fuel cells

SAO PAULO – Sao Paulo state officials have launched what they say is Latin America's first passenger bus with an electric engine powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Gov. Jose Serra says the bus will start test runs on the streets of South America's biggest city in August and will be joined by three similarly powered vehicles next year.

The Future of Transport

With Peak Oil just around the corner, humans are going to be faced with very few options for mobility in the future — stop travelling or find alternative forms of transport. Imagine travelling with dozens of balloons or in a futuristic-looking helium ship or maybe in a car made of vegetables and powered by chocolate. Sound too good to be true? Check out our collection of the craziest forms of green transport.

UK Wind Boom Spikes Prices, Threatens Plants: Study

LONDON - The dramatic growth in wind turbines around the British Isles may lead to huge spikes in power prices by 2030 and threaten the viability of backup plants needed for calm periods, according to Poyry Energy Consulting.

Britain and Ireland have ambitious targets to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, with wind turbines expected to reduce most of the climate warming gasses from the power sector.

But the level of wind energy envisaged will lead to extreme price swings by 2030, with times of negative prices when the wind blows hard and spikes to almost 8,000 pounds per megawatt hour when the wind drops, according to a new study by Poyry.

Group: World failing to halt biodiversity decline

GENEVA – Governments are failing to stem a rapid decline in biodiversity that is now threatening extinction for almost half the world's coral reef species, a third of amphibians and a quarter of mammals, a leading environmental group warned Thursday.

"Life on Earth is under serious threat," the International Union for Conservation of Nature said in a 155-page report that describes the past five years of a losing battle to protect species, natural habitats and geographical regions from the devastating effects of man.

Brazil flora risk greater than thought: study

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Nearly 2,300 plant species are at risk of disappearing from flora-rich Brazil, many more than once thought, according to an academic study released on Wednesday.

The research, carried out by 175 scientists, indicates the Brazilian government has dramatically underestimated the risk to the country's plant species caused by deforestation, fires and urbanization.

Controlling Immigration Critical to Meeting Goals on U.S. Greenhouse Emissions, Finds New Report by FAIR

Immigration, Energy and the Environment addresses America's stifled immigration policy debate: it finds that America's massive immigration-fueled population growth was the single largest contributing factor to the nation's increased energy consumption and carbon emissions over the past 35 years. Even without a massive amnesty for illegal aliens supported by President Obama and congressional leaders, immigration will be the driving factor as U.S. population approaches the half billion mark by mid-century.

Canada and Japan blocking climate-change deal, Sir David King warns

Canada and Japan were blocking a possible deal on climate change at the Copenhagen summit, Sir David King, the former Chief Scientific Adviser, warned yesterday.

Speaking at the World Conference of Science Journalists, Sir David said that the two countries had stepped into the breach left by the Bush Administration, which had strongly resisted cutting CO2 emissions.

“Copenhagen is faltering at the moment,” said Sir David. “The Americans are now fully engaged. But several countries are blocking the process.”

Senate May Pass U.S. Climate Bill, Reject Treaty, Kerry Says

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate may pass legislation to slow climate change and then fail to approve a global treaty that commits nations to do so, Senator John Kerry said.

Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, will be a leader in Senate efforts to place the first domestic curbs on greenhouse gases, after the House approved a measure last week. Even if a Senate bill passes, there may not be enough support to ratify an international accord incorporating the U.S. commitments, the Massachusetts Democrat said in an interview.

China blasts US climate bill

BEIJING (AFP) – China said on Thursday that it was "firmly" opposed to provisions in a new US clean energy bill that will make it easier to impose trade penalties on nations that reject limits to globe-warming pollution.

"China is firmly opposed to such measures," vice foreign minister He Yafei told reporters in Beijing.

"We are firmly against such attempts to advance trade protectionism under the pretext of climate change. It is not conducive to world economic recovery. It serves nobody's interests."

The jobs report was worse than expected:

Job market takes turn for worse

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The battered U.S. labor market took a step backwards last month as employers trimmed more jobs from their payrolls in June, according to a government report Thursday.

There was a net loss of 467,000 jobs in June, compared with a revised loss of 322,000 jobs in May. This was the first time in four months that the number of jobs lost rose from the prior month.

From the same report:

The job losses don't tell the full picture of the pain the labor market either. The average hourly work week fell to 33 hours from 33.1 hours in May, a record low in readings that go back to 1964. Average hourly wages were unchanged, so the shorter week shaved $1.85, or 0.3%, off of the average weekly paycheck.

The so-called underemployment rate, which counts those who are working part-time jobs because they couldn't find a full-time position as well as discouraged job seekers who have stopped looking for work, rose to a record high 16.5%.

It seems like many people are being affected at least a little. Even if they have a job, they are earning less.

Government jobs have long been considered "safe" jobs. The ones that kept the economy going during recessions, though they paid less in good times. But even they aren't unaffected. States like NY and Hawaii have forced 3 unpaid furlough days a month - equivalent to a 14% pay cut. In Hawaii's case, for two years.

The SacBee had an interview with a lawyer who had planned a career working for state. He ended up leaving for private industry, because the pay was 50% higher, and he needed to pay off his student loans. He's now working for his former union, suing the state to prevent furloughs.

Pennsylvania has no budget yet, and their state workers will receive partial payments the next couple of weeks, then not be paid at all if the budget isn't settled.

California has no budget either, and we're set to start issuing IOUs today as the state runs out of cash.


"States like NY and Hawaii have forced 3 unpaid furlough days a month"

Not so in the case of New York. We haven't had any furlough days for state employees.

Sorry, I mean California, not NY.

Also in WI, at least for UW State employees. so far, 4/yr but expecting more.

OH, too. I think five furlough days per year in the new state employee contract.

In a fiat world, all the state has to do is declare "this is money to settle debts with the state", then issue said "money".

Poll: Few Americans say recovery under way

A national poll indicates that nearly half of all Americans think the economy has stabilized, but only one in eight believes that a recovery has started.

Four in 10 questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday morning think the country's still in an economic downturn.

Even the millionaires are bummed out:

Millionaires' springtime optimism wilts: survey

High rollers became slightly bearish last month, according to the index that measures investment sentiment of the wealthy.

The plunge of 18 points to -20 on the Spectrem Millionaire Investor Index in June was a record drop for the index, which was created in 2004.

There goes the thin thread of hope some pundits had been spinning, that the rate of job loss was slowing. It will be interesting to see what straws they grasp at next to claim that things are turning around.

Keep in mind that, because of population increase, the economy has to [i]gain[/i] some hundred thousand jobs a months just to stay in place. So even if we had zero new job growth, we would be loosing.

Our old friend Stoneleigh has posted a summary of the prospects for renewable electric generation over at TAE.

July 1 2009: Renewable power? Not in your lifetime

With people hanging so many of their hopes on an electric future, it seems timely to inject a dose of reality. This is meant as a cursory overview of some of the difficulties we are facing with regard to electrical power in the future. The extraordinary technical and organizational complexity of power systems is difficult to convey, and there is far more to it than I am attempting to address here.


The future is electric - but not as we know it, and almost certainly OECD lifestyles will be nothing like BAU overall as a consequence.

IMO most proposals to allow post peak oil BAU by cornucopian 'experts' fall down on 'fact of life' details that they don't understand - simple concepts like you can't run the grid backwards.

The only reason you can't run the grid backwards. is because all the owners of central generation don't want to. It would only take a very few modifications in controls to allow the majority of generation to be broadly distributed, which is a far more efficient and sustainable strategy.

Independent Market for Every Utility Customer - Preliminary Business Case

Independent Market for Every Utility Customer - Part 2 - Market Operation

Independent Market for Every Utility Customer - Part 3 - Alternative Market Operation

Energy Central Blogs - IMEUC - Independent Market for Every Utility Customer

The only reason you cannot run the grid backwards is because it was not designed to work that way, and won't. Oh, and it's mostly old and poorly maintained. All you have to do is redesign and replace it. Simple, no problem.

I dunno, it's a bit of a strawman.

Of course you can't hook up a 10 MW windfarm or whatever to a low voltage line strung out to the middle of Nowhere, North Dakota. But power can certainly travel both directions on an HV line.

There are many challenges to widespread integration of renewables onto the grid, and perhaps it is good to rein in expectations. But there is really no other choice, unless you want to just keep BAU until the coal is gone or the grid falls apart, whichever comes first.

At one time I was very focused on ways to ease the "transition" - to whatever comes next I suppose, on the assumption that if things changed more slowly that there would be less trauma associated with it. Now I don't believe that there is the time or the will or the money to do much of anything on a coordinated scale. Nonetheless, if there was any hope to easing our transition through the end of the western industrial empire, there desperately needs to be an major investment in the electric grid and electric light rail. But just because we need to make that investment does not mean that we will be able to summon the will or the capability, nor that we have the time.

Obviously a wire does not care which way the power flows, but the design of the coordinated protection schemes is predicated on power flowing from fixed sources to fixed loads. Beyond that, the technology for creating regional power islands with a multitude of independent generators does not yet exist. Within that island you need to maintain stability, to be able to dump excess power very quickly and to provide extra power very quickly (to account for large loads coming on/off line or sources dropping off unexpectedly). How do you handle these independent generators which, although they might be connected to some coordinated control system, are not always available and may or may not have decent maintenance and performance (just to name a couple of issues)? There are people working on these problems, but it's not done yet.

The best possible thing for me personally would be a big investment in smart grid technology - it would allow me to harvest as much of my tax money back as anything else I could hope for. Go for it - please! But I cannot imagine we will be able to make the needed investment in development and purchase of infrastructure. It may seem relatively simple from the outside, but it's a very large and complex system moving incredible amounts of energy around. Handwaving and simplistic ideas won't cut it, it must be designed and built, and there is always the problem of scale. Stoneleigh did a good job covering the issues.

The only reason you cannot run the grid backwards is because it was not designed to work that way, and won't.

What are you guys talking about? I was not aware that the grid had a front or a back. You can tie another power plant in at any point on the grid. It makes no difference whatsoever.

Ron P.

As a very simplistic example, let's suppose that branch falls on a line near your home. The device that detects the over current is back in the substation (called a protective relay). It measures the load current, compares it to a predetermined time/load curve, and opens the breaker if needed. This shuts off your line, preventing damage to the system.

Now what happens when several of your neighbors have generators on the grid? That protective relay cannot shut off all the current on the line anymore. Now you need a breaker at each point that can be controlled by some central intelligence. And since a larger generator at a nearby business failed unexpectedly (They're going broke and did not do needed maintenance), the system needs the power from your neighbor's generators to maintain stability at the moment, but that must now be cut off.

It may be possible to make a grid that works like this - it's just not the one we have right now.

EDIT: "running the grid backwards" was kind of a poor choice of words, but not mine.....

running the grid backwards" was kind of a poor choice of words, but not mine.....

Sorry it's my choice of words, but the concept of all the people who are currently consumers at the tiny tips of the branches (small cables) of the grid becoming producers and sending current in the reverse direction to the designed direction seems like running the system in reverse.

Which I think made perfect sense..

As Ron surely realizes, if we truly had to run the Grid in 'Reverse'.. all our light bulbs would actually radiate darkness.. just adding to our many problems. In the kitchen, of course, we'd be able to cook food in the fridge, and store leftovers in the oven, so no problem.

Sorry, Ron.. but sometimes, really!

I do expect that there will be increasing likelihood that with growing (?) instability on the grid, there will be more and more homes looking for some level of their own supply, and with it grid-tied setups.. some version of Localized Neighborhood grid designs will have to find their way into this change.

There will also be the need to break various appliances away from Baseload dependence, like fridges in particular.. but also communications, I suspect will come in flavors that have some kind of UPS storage component to them, to guard against 'devastating inconveniences' like losing a whole fridge or freezer full of food security.

Just the other day I needed to make some ice cubes in a hurry, and I was wishing for a reverse-microwave! :-)

During that ice storm I referred to above in a comment I discovered that a local small town nearby owned its own grid. It maintained its own infrastructure. I have some exchanged meters that a buddy who works for them gave me to play with. They have their own boom truck and all the rest. They in fact own the poles and the lines and all the rest.

So during the looooong outage the mayor, a friend also, decided to take matters into his own hands and ordered or rented a huge diesel generator. I mean big.

And he was going to then disconnect the incoming utility line feed from where they brought power for the town. He was completing final preparations for to fire the generator when that utility came to him and complained that 'they' were the ones who supplied him power and what the heck was he doing.

His response was 'we are taking care of business' and if you are truly our supplier you will have power online for us before the sun sets today.

They stopped worrying about some big customers who were haranguing them and immediately made the connection hot. And so the mayor I believe kept the generator as a fall back and didn't throw that switch.

The power utility was KU..Kentucky Utiliities....where I worked on Y2K for them for many months leading into Y2K,,,a bloody mess that was also. Almost all power in KY is supplied by KU..but KU is owned by another entity. and so forth and so on........

Airdale-from that day on this mayor was election proof!!!!!
Now he is going further and doing things to that small town that in the past would not happen....now he has carte blanche

Yes,,,I lost my whole freezer a few months back due to very dirty power from the electric co-op...one night I awoke to here the who living quarters being subjected to rapid power drops and resurrections..over and over at about 2 second intervals for about 30 cycles....

Five days later I noticed a smell near my freezer...I had lost two seasons of frozen homegrown food and a huge amount of meat...easily over $300 worth...totally destroyed.

I then took the freezer to the town dump and swore to never ever again trust a freezer. Just to use my refrigerator side by side only for one or two items at most.

Dirty power can kill motors. This is insane. One needs something in the outdoor load center to detect this and kick the mains out. The cost otherwise is too high to bear ,especially when times get tough and you are counting on a freezer...something you do not need to be doing.

Airdale-lesson learned,not to be repeated,,,all canning and drying from henceforth

Another point - the design of the distribution system and the protection methods, as well as the equipment and settings chosen is entirely up to the local utility. As a result, it varies quite a bit from place to place. Personally, I think this is good, as it adds resiliency to the system by virtue of variety.

I have a whole house surge protector as well as one for the refrigerator.

It survived the post-Katrina ups and downs of power surges as the grid slowly cam back on.

Not a perfect solution, but well worth the money.


I had a Square D mounted in a knockout hole on my outdoor load center.

It is a big MOV device..It removes spikes and transients. It will do NOTHING for rapidly cycling outages such as I described. 15 or 20 up and down interrupts in about 10 or 20 seconds...death to many motors.

My freezer was not brand new. It had been running for many many years already when I was given it. I have lost motors before but these are the most exposed to this type of dirty power.


Yes, you are right.

In my limited experience, rapid off/on cycles of the local grid are also associated with voltage spikes. Post-Katrina, the glow from incandescent bulbs varied a bit as they tried to energize new sections of town (try, find a ground fault/short, shut down).

I was in one of the first areas to get power back on, but we were affected as other areas came back.


Yes the on/off is a substation trying to decide to trip or not,,as is my understanding. When a substation trips then transients and spikes are reflected down the lines.

This is death on PCs. Real outright total death as micron sized land patterns short and blow something, something you most times can't see. The real bad one will smoke the MoBo...

I am asked by local insurance companies to verify these PCs before they will pay the replacement costs. Many many I have done so on.

But the MOVs (metal oxide variable resistors) if in good shape and rated correctly will dump the spikes and transients. However even the MOVs can fail over time.

But still the cycling is what can disturb motors that have 'head pressure' due to compressors they run...and if you have a geothermal or other heat pump you really want the best protection you can get.

Not cheap however. Yet the good equipment will IMO be designed to recognize the pressure and act accordingly...I am talking of the circuit board in my Florida brand 4 tone GeoThermal HP.

I installed that myself and it was perfect.The new owners have not been kind to it and now the heat exchanger has a serious leak due to not being dumped and shut down in an unoccupied house over winter,my old log house. Now they are in for some serious cash outlays. Too frigging bad that idiots do not understand this about heat pumps.

Then they also 'water lock'it with a bubble and wonder duhhhh why don't it run?

I gave up on then long ago.Never check the condensate tray and dump. Never check the water pressure valve nearby. Etc....enough to make one cry...

One other aspect of the line voltage is when the problem is such that you receive reduced voltage...signified by the lights burning dim...that will also tend to cook a motor. Looking at my dirty power I see the lights flicker some,,then get really really bright, then get really dim, then go out, then back on then the cycle repeats...and pretty soon you have a refrigerator go out or your heat pump or AC or freezer....this is the world of Co-op squeezing the maintenance supply of funds and also the hiring of sheer brainless idiots to ride the boom trucks picking their noses as they go...dickwads....


Well, I think everyone needs to rethink what they are saying. The line that people with their own generators tie into is not the main grid. They tie in below the sub-station. If the grid goes down below the sub-station, then the whole sub-station and everyone on that sub-station goes down. They could not possibly power everything below the sub-station with their generator, or generators. So everything below the sub-station goes down. There is no way of avoiding that. I have heard of squirrels knocking out a whole sub-station.

I think you guys are arguing over something that cannot be altered, no matter how they design the grid.

Ron P.

Semantics - you're making a terminology distinction that I don't. The "grid" is the system that brings electrical power to users.

If you have a grid tie system (solar,wind , generator etc.) and the grid goes down, a mandatory breaker breaks and you are disconnected from the grid.

Since when?

You can isolate your local system from the grid if it goes down, but in now way is this mandated.

You can isolate your local system from the grid if it goes down, but in now way is this mandated.

Isn't this what the intertie, and utility inspection is all about? The utility has to be able to power off certain power lines in order to do repairs safely. They have a real right to require that any generators attached comply with certain standards.

It absolutely is mandatory to have an automatic disconnect on a Grid Tied inverter.

You might be able to get power from your array during blackouts, and there are Inverters that do both.. but the utility has to know that their lines are dark and won't kill linemen.

Jokuhl is absolutely correct. That is why homeowners tying in generators during the 2 month ice storm outage caused a great deal of trouble.

The National Guard boyz had to go around pulling every meter base in the region. I pulled my own but tripping my outdoor load center did exactly the same but I didn't want my meter switched on me so I pulled it and hide it in the barn.

Most homeowners are stupid as a dead monkey about power. They need to stay away from sharp instruments as well.

I saw a very small branch on my utility transformer take down a substation. It was touching what I believe was a current sensor wire...that small wire that exits the top of the pole transformer...

Anyway since power was out I got a ladder and a long 1" water pipe and knocked it down..it had a scorched spot on it so I thought it might be the trouble.

30 mintues later a boom truck comes down my farm lane and they see the ladder on the ground and my water pipe and query me as to 'was I doing their jobs'?

I showed them the stick and they said..'Yep that was the trouble for the substation kicking out...good job'

When they come out to kick a pole xfrmr on or off ..for line work at your place they will usually take a long plastic/fiberglass pole and pull the xfrmr switch on the base of it.
So I knew I was safe with my water pipe.


Is that how you make out and address your check to your utilities? "The Grid"? It's all semantics until someone sends a subpoena.

I don't get your point.

They could not possibly power everything below the sub-station with their generator, or generators.

Exactly, but that is what the alternative power propsals are talking about and imply - the part of the grid below the substation exporting excess power to those who aren't generating enough elsewhere on the grid, and maybe a long way away.

I'm pretty sure that the problem of distributed power production could be solved with a different but very complex grid design but almost certainly it can't be afforded in the time scale required. The grids we currently have are the biggest machines ever invented, I doubt they can be redesigned piecemeal and still have adequate resiliency.

Something completely different is required, I wonder what we will be able to afford.

Hello Xeroid,

Your Question: "Something completely different is required, I wonder what we will be able to afford?"

I hope that we can minimally afford postPeak SpiderWebRiding for some measure of Optimal Overshoot Decline as that is preferable to the Tlameme Scheme [which didn't work for very long, btw]. This tricycle can haul up to 600 lbs--put it on smooth rails and a person can probably haul 750 lbs with less effort. I doubt if even a camel can move at all across sand dunes with a 750 load on its back..


Add a quickly attachable batt/motor kicker for rail upgrades, then kickback and relax as you free coast on the downgrade rail. No massive nationwide grid required, just localized power for batt recharges. Otherwise, we are headed for this much sooner than necessary:


You can tie another power plant in at any point on the grid. It makes no difference whatsoever.

You are wrong.

There is a simple physical limit called wire.

A 5 GW fission reactor at the end of a residential 240V/200A service is not going to work.

I scanned these and I think they are just blurb relating to rolling out smart meters - you don't have a financial interest by any chance??

If you are going to expect householders to be responsible for the installation and maintenance of ~ 300 million centrally synchronised AC generators that is another issue altogether.

The problem with distributed ac power production isn't markets and pricing it's about the current centralised grid's system and detailed design - things like the size of cables and transformers - the grid components are currently sized to deliver a fraction (around 40%) of primary power, but electricty will soon be most of affordable primary power.

Electricty supply will not be able to rapidly recharge all the nation's automobiles like gas stations in the forward direction, let alone reverse. A gasoline pump supplies energy at a rate of ~34 million watts - this is a huge amount of energy, a typical coal-fired power station might only supply at a rate of 2000MW - this is the equivalent of roughly just 60 gasoline pumps!

IMO you just proved my point about cornucopians - as always the devil is in the detail!

Written by xeroid:
A gasoline pump supplies energy at a rate of ~34 million watts....

A battery would be charged overnight, about 12 hours, allowing the power to be 43,200 times less. An electric car is 3 to 5 times more energy efficient than an ICE allowing the charging power to be 130,000 to 216,000 times less. That translates into a charging power of 262 W to 157 W which is easily provided by a residential electrical outlet.

A battery would be charged overnight, about 12 hours, allowing the power to be 43,200 times less.

Huh? - The math to work that out depends on how long I need to use the gasoline pump to recharge the tank with the same amount of energy - which isn't specified.

Also your math assumes new batteries - almost none are new.

Charging at your 12 hour rate would store around 3 KwH max even if you achieved 100% storage efficiency, which is not enough energy to get you very far or very fast even on an electric bike - it's certainly not 'American Dream' driving and commuting BAU.

For a real world comparison, the Tesla EV, which does have normal car performance and 200 mile range (on new and very expensive batteries), stores around 53 KwH.

What you are proposing, even for cars, is not an adequate alternative, it is significantly different - that has a lot of implications.

This is comparing apples to oranges. In one case you are simply moving a material containing a large amount of energy. The only energy use involved is that needed to perform the work of moving the mass around, which need not be much nor take much time.

In the other, you are transferring the energy into the battery, which does naturally involve large amounts of energy and time. The equivalent to refueling a gas tank would be moving an already charged battery - but of course the batteries would still need to be charged somewhere, and the faster the batteries need to be charged, the higher the current needs to be, and the harder it will be for the grid to deal with the variations.

This all comes down to people's inability to understand just how much energy automobiles use, because it's already IN the fuel, so nobody had to deal with that part. The whole generate and transfer of the energy part is skipped. Once we try to come up with alternatives which do involve those steps we run into all sorts of new problems, and people are surprised because they never had to do that part before.

Automobiles do not work in the ways and the scale that we use them without fossil fuels. Time to move on.

You stated the fuel pump delivers "~34 million watts" which is equivalent to 1 liter of gasoline per second. My calculation assumed the unit that you choose, 1 liter of gasoline. An 120 VAC residential electrical socket can typically deliver 15 A to 20 A, or 1,800 W to 2,400 W. During an overnight charge one could get electricity equivalent to 6.9 l to 15.3 l of gasoline depending on the combinations of power sources and efficiencies. A 220 VAC socket would double the amounts. How much personal transportation fuel do you think the average person uses per day? In my vehicle consuming 15.3 l of gasoline per day would require me to drive about 100 miles per day or 36,500 miles per year. I and the average personal driver travel far less.

Electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Roadster, are not the correct approach. Plug-in series hybrid vehicles (PHEV's) share the energy demand between electricity and liquid fuel reducing the demand on the electric grid. Both you and Stoneleigh are wrong about the demands on the electric grid. If you would perform calculations using unbiased and realistic assumptions, you would discover that converting the U.S.'s present personal automobile fleet to PHEV's would increase current U.S. demand for electricity by about 7% and could easily be provided by overnight charging in residential electrical outlets. Obama's plans to increase wind power to 11% of present generation by 2025, and I doubt the automobile fleet could be completely converted to PHEV's by then. Perhaps a depression (high unemployment, reduced economic activity) will reduce demand for both electricity and cars. Cap and trade may reduce demand by improving efficiency making more electricity available for changing cars. The project is doable.

Alan Drake's proposal to electrify the U.S. long distance rail lines includes a renewable power source which would create a surplus of power for use in cities along the tracks. This proposal ultimately provides a replacement for diesel powered semitrailer trucks traveling along interstate highways.

Provided we do not pass a tipping point through inaction or failed attempts and leaders with common sense ignore the self-fulfilling mindsets of doomers, there is a chance at a conversion. The overall standard of living will still decline and some people who presently have automobiles will be priced out of the market, but collapse of society may be avoided. For those who kept their jobs the Great Depression was barely noticeable. Those who lost their jobs and could not find new ones, found themselves in a whole new world of hurt. This division is reoccurring and is one form of demand destruction.

At least you agree it won't be BAU growth in the future.

By your own calculations (which are IMO somewhat confused since initially you proposed an overnight charge of 3KWH as adequate!) a socket can provide around 2KW, that's ~24 KWHours for an overnight charge. That would half charge a two seat car like the Tesla with new batteries that is adequate are enough to keep up with the traffic. Battery capacity does not last forever so you would typically only be able to get 50 miles out of an overnight charge, and the last several miles likely won't be at full rated speed.

If you want real world experience of battery powered transport (and it's limitations) buy an electric bike.

You quote averages - but almost nobody is average or drives the same average amount each day, for sure the average american can't afford to buy even a single Tesla, which as a two seat highly aerodynamic efficient car is not much use to most people - a lot of american families have more than one car.

I do not know what the future will be, but adequate affordable alternates for ICE cars like EVs, PHEVs, and electric trains are clearly not the future. Thus the future will be something else and Peak oil is only one constraint among many - it is a future of less affordable energy, that means less energy use.

Look at the big picture, try looking at how countries function using just a fraction of the primary energy used by the USA for what you have to transition to very quickly - IMO not decades - I would say it isn't doable at all.

Reading Stonleigh's piece, the analogy of the trucks pulling the weight uphill reminded me that the whole conceptual underpinning of the grid - flip the switch and the power will be there - is quintessentially "fossil fuel". Absent fossil fuels, there is no way "the grid" would ever have been imagined or built.

Trying to "modernize" or "upgrade" such an misfit will turn into an Orlov boondoggle (an orlovoggle?).

Chu like Thatcher? I guess. The headset is wrong. But hey, if east west link across England can't be operated by a private carrier, nationalize it and sell it to another private carrier. Do these people even have brains? At least in the US the rail system has been maximized for efficiency - read "gutted" - in the same way the grid has been maximized for efficiency.

Sorry, sorry, sorry, I keep forgetting myself. The gutting and the asset stripping is the intent.

cfm in Gray, ME

"Chu like Thatcher? I guess. The headset is wrong. But hey, if east west link across England can't be operated by a private carrier, nationalize it and sell it to another private carrier. Do these people even have brains?"

Er no, we don't. First to clarify it is the East Coast line, which runs north from London to Edinburgh. The issue is that the franchise operator is in trouble, mainly for agreeing to pay £1.4bn(!) for that franchise. With falling passenger numbers and revenue, it could no longer afford it.

Current issue is that the operator has two other franchises, making profits. The talk is whether these can be taken as well, to avoid further "socialisation of losses, privatisation of profits".

Ultimately this is an issue relating to the whole privatisation of the Railways in the UK. We have already had the re-nationalisation of the rail network operator after a series of fatal and high profile crashes put down to cuts in maintenance spend. The privitasation was a complex carve up, in summary: the network operator owns and maintains all the track and stations; the rolling stock was sold off to another set of companies; who lease them to the operating companies who pay for regional franchises to run the trains, and pay the network operator for using their track and stations.

Her article is worth reading.

The reality is that we are not going to be able to power everything that is presently plugged in, let alone a whole bunch of new demands. If we have been struggling, with decreasing success, to maintain the existing infrastructure when times are good, then there is no way that we are going to be more successful as times become increasingly bad, and as the infrastructure continues to age and neglected maintenance piles up. This in turn suggests that the investments to upgrade transmission and distribution capacity and to increase generating capacity - whether FF or renewable energy powered - are unlikely to be made in anything even remotely close to the quantities needed.

What we are thus most likely to see in the future is decreasing reliability. We've all experienced power outages, and they seem to be getting more frequent and lasting longer. I suspect that the outages are going to become even more frequent and last longer and longer. Eventually, the power companies are going to have to raise rates a lot to try to raise funds for maintenance and to discourage demand for additional capacity that they can't afford to add. It will be the combination of higher rates and lower reliability that will finally force people to become less dependent upon the grid. People will cut back where they can, running fans instead of air conditioners, for example. After losing entire refrigerators full of food after a few multi-day outages, more than a few people might try powering their refrigerators and freezers with solar panels, batteries and inverters. Few will be able to afford enough solar panels and batteries to power a whole house at present typical levels, but a fair number might be able to afford just enough PV and battery capacity to keep a refrigerator or freezer cold, power a gas furnace blower and control circuit, and maybe light a few CFLs in the evening.

The bottom line is thus: forget about taking present demand levels, extending them upwards, and then thinking we are going to need to invest enough to increase capacity. It isn't going to happen. We'll need to make substantial investments in electrical generation, transmission and distribution, but those investments will only be the little bit that a declining economy can afford, and we'll all have to just adjust our demand downward to live with that.

The reality is that we are not going to be able to power everything that is presently plugged in, let alone a whole bunch of new demands.

But what about all those electric trains we are going to need?!? Can't the fed just print money to pay for scores of new nuke plants? Can't we just dam the Mississippi, or something? Don't you know that we need Electrified Rail at ALL COSTS?!?!

I rarely respond to DD because he is not interested in reasoned debate but polemics.

Nonetheless, the USA uses 0.19% of it's electricity for transportation; France 2.3% (of a considerably lower per capita use). Slowing down the TGVs would reduce the French # a bit.

The USA: France delta is about one to 1.5 years of average annual growth in electrical demand for the USA, and we can easily conserve that much.

Since DD wants humans to die off ASAP and I do not, we are unlikely to support the same proposals.

Electrified rail is likely to have utility down to the North Korean/Cambodian/Liberian levels. However, since DD wants humanity to descend further than that (he thinks hunter-gatherer humans do not fit well into his ideal), he ridicules any mitigation efforts.


PS: Since bicycles are powered by food calories; bicycle advocates must be agents for Big Ag (by DD reasoning).

Yes, we do very badly need electrified rail. That means we might have to be prepared to sacrifice other electrical demands even more in order to free up the capacity necessary to power it.

There's no railroad within a hundred km of where I live, with the exception of a filthy coal-fired steam train tourist trap. So what's with this "we do very badly need.." assertion? Maybe you think electrified rail is very badly needed and are therefore willing to sacrifice other electrical demands in order to free up capacity for running trains, but don't include me in your "we." I personally wouldn't give up an electric can opener (if I had one) in order to support electrified rail elsewhere. So speak for yourself.

Perhaps you should move. IMO, areas without rail service, especially electrified rail, will become increasingly isolated in the years ahead, especially as road maintenance declines.

IMO, areas without rail service, especially electrified rail, will become increasingly isolated in the years ahead..

Promise?!? Nothing would please me more. ;)

A good place to start is with your internet connection. Keep those pesky people looking to survive from bothering you with their hopeful prattle.

Electrified rail is great for those in large population areas. Not so for the rest of us out here in the wastelands of the flyover.

We have one rail line. Its often being repaired. Many times due to the roadbed shifting and settling due to effects of a low water table and a immense amount of water...4 rivers join in my region..huge rivers...

and a lot of roadbed runs near rivers...and even levees...and water saturated ground tends to always be shifting about.

Even so that is just transportation. .

As we step back into the gathering storm of the coming chaos we will not need transportation...we will need LIGHT and HEAT..

Take light...you get it from a electrical outlet,,that goes then you might use a kerosene lamp,,and perhaps a coleman lantern,,but then the fuel goes...and so you light candles...but then the stores close nad you have no more candles...so you might have some bees to make your own candles out of wax,,as in days gone by , but the bees disappear as they have been doing and so you might use lard or melted grease..but then you better have some hogs fattened up to slaughter to rend that fat to lard and enough to make light.

So electric rails are fine..and a very good idea and I used to ride trains back in the 50s and 60s and even streetcars in St. Louis,,,but thats gone..and might not be coming back,even if it might should be attempted IF someone will take a stand and get it started......

yet they won't.....so its hog fat..all the way........or rush sticks? Or burning cattails? Whatever.....

as the environment continues to degrade in an accellerating fashion at this time more and more 'usuables' are going to disappear
No one is really checking all this out..we are right now worried about whether M. Jackson will get the attention he deserves,,or does not deserve...which he does not...

Actually a corn shuck twisted tightly can make a fair light for a bit...as the saying goes about 'light a shuck outa here'.


Read about Elektrichkas


Elektrichkas provide the cheapest and easily accessible connection between the cities and the countryside of ex-Soviet nations. The railway network in these countries is well-developed, while bus services to towns and villages can be rare or unreliable.

In addition, private car and truck ownership in rural areas is rare, while elektrichka is much more reliable and safe. This makes elektrichka a crucial life element for the dachniks and peasants trading their harvest on the city markets. Some areas also have their roads in poor conditions so railroads may have noticeable advantage in speed and comfort.

See also the old inter-urban rail systems of the USA.

Indiana & Ohio


It is *NOT* all about "large urban areas". Many brand new French trams go by vineyards and grazing cattle.


Take light...you get it from a electrical outlet,,that goes then you might use a kerosene lamp,,and perhaps a coleman lantern,,but then the fuel goes...and so you light candles...but then the stores close nad you have no more candles...so you might have some bees to make your own candles out of wax,,as in days gone by , but the bees disappear as they have been doing and so you might use lard or melted grease..but then you better have some hogs fattened up to slaughter to rend that fat to lard and enough to make light.

Or one could just use an LED headlamp and charge it with $20 of solar panels. The 4 batteries and solar panel set I got as a free-bee from some RV place due to the RV place selling product to a stolen credit card works really nice.

Yes but eventually you are going to run into the end. Say someone puts a bullet thru your PV panel. Or wind blows it away....or the electronics in your inverter or controller fail. As all electronics are prone to do eventually.

Yes the LED lights are nice...and in my future if possible.


Hello DIYer,

Yep, Stoneleigh's TAE posting just seems like another possible confirmation of Duncan's latest Olduvai Re-Equalizing update and Jay's fast-crash Thermo/Gene scenario. Now add in WT's ELM and the Net Hubbert Shark-fin to this trend--then things are not looking so good for the massive Overshoot going forward. Garnish this recipe with specie extinction rates, the UN FAO report of 1 billion+ undernourished [25+ million hungry in the USA], plus the QuiverFull Movement like the Duggars 19 offspring==>Let's hope that the Campbell Soup Company can ramp production of 'Cream of Cockroach Soup' as fast as required.

We are evolved to do the nightly darkness, but not starvation, but we cannot even bring ourselves to turn off the outside night lighting:

How it looks now

How the dark side should look
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Try to imagine all the energy spent nightly--trying to get black asphalt to reflect photons--being spent instead on a massive RR & TOD electrification/battery recharge program to move vital freight all night. Trains and minitrains are on tracks--they tend to stay on track all night as they motor towards their next destination. Same thing for canals: barges tend to stay on the water, not run amok ashore. Notice that transoceanic shipping doesn't have giant floating streetlamps to illuminate their major searoutes...

Or for that matter, the cost of traffic signals. There is the electricity component to keeping the lights on, plus they need to be maintained. New traffic signals are quite expensive (I saw something in a local rag saying that they run about 250K$/intersection).

In the Reuters piece Iraq oil auction dashes majors' bonanza hopes we have this:

The failure of even Chinese oil companies -- typically the biggest payers in auctions for energy assets -- to meet Iraq's demands is not a good omen for future bid rounds, IHS Global Insight Middle East Energy analyst Samuel Ciszuk told Reuters.

Part of the reason for the chasm on value perceptions may be related to reservoir damage, Ciszuk said.

After viewing data on the fields in recent months, foreign companies may have concluded the damage, due to underinvestment in recent years, is greater even than Baghdad realizes, and so that the two sides have varying perceptions on the risks attached to meeting the production targets in the contracts.

Searching for more info on the unfortunate practice in Iraq of reinjecting resid fuel oil etc. into Kirkuk/Rumailia/etc. I came across this very interesting blog: Iraq Oil Forum, run by Ruba Husari, a journalist. In April she published an interview with Jabbar Al-Luaibi, former head of the Iraqi South Oil Company (SOC), which has intriguing bits of info such as these:

Q: Where do you put the decline rate in the southern oil fields at the moment?

A: In the case of the south it’s difficult to fix a percentage for a decline rate for oil fields. In West Qurna for example, the forecast that ChevronTexaco gave us, based on a study it did under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) it had since 2004, was 50,000 b/d of decline per year and then the rate increases after three years to 100,000 b/d per year. It’s a fearful situation. The same thing goes for the Mishrif reservoir in North Rumaila. In general we put the yearly decline rate between 5% and 10%, except for North Rumaila and West Qurna where it goes up to more than 10% per year.

Q: How much damage can still take place if things remain as they are? Is there any permanent damage occurring in the reservoirs?

A: It is very damaging. The decline we are witnessing is a result of absence of reservoir management. I stated in 2006 that 400,000 b/d is going to disappear and I was right. If things stay as they are we will loose another 200,000 b/d in 2 years and maybe if it continues like that then who knows, we might have to start importing crude oil!

This has apparently led to political fallout: The Accelerated Program: A Delayed Start With Hurdles!

The interview with Mr Jabbar Al-Luaibi provides serious and damaging revelations, and could implicate top management of the Ministry of Oil-MoO on grounds of negligence, incompetence, loss of potential oil revenues and production capacity etc. The seriousness of the provided counts of events and matters calls for an independent investigation, and could very well be incorporated in the possible forthcoming questioning of the minister of oil before the Parliament. Since the interview is public and widely circulated through the internet at a remarkable pace, it is expected the Ministry of Oil provide its full response to what Mr. Al-Luaibi has said.

I emailed Ruba to complement her on the work she is doing, and told her about TOD; it would be fantastic to hear from her, or have her contribute a post. Her site is really something exceptional, I've rarely seen the like done to document the petroleum industry's activities, even in such exotic locales as, oh, Texas.

Great find, revealing interview. An absolute must-read.

Yeah, that site is great. The interview and comments with Thamir Al-Ghadban on May the 6th about the then upcoming bid are very interesting, too. Here is Ghadban's response to a question on the wisdom of trying to do too much at once since it would fuel costs (i.e. Haliburton services) with too much demand at once.

You are right in questioning the wisdom in awarding eight mega projects in the first bid round followed by more projects in the second round and what it could lead to escalation of cost of services, equipment and supplies…etc. There is always cost and benefit and one has to weigh each with respect to the main goals and objectives. Crude oil production has been declining for some time while oil revenues constitute the major portion of the annual budget and the national GDP.

Thanks for pointing out the site. I can try sending her an e-mail also.

This story on the unstoppable pace of the current mass extinction event is the most important news item. These things should be on the front page of every paper every day, but they rarely even get a small mention.


The future of life on earth is more important than stock market fluctuations, job losses, oil prices...It is more important than all of humanity, since we are but one species among hundreds of millions.

Hundreds of millions of species? We don't even know to the nearest order of magnitude how many species occur on Earth. Is it closer to ten million or closer to a hundred million? No one knows. A commonly cited figure is 30 million. In any case, it isn't hundreds of millions, no matter how you define "species."

Other than this quibble, thanks for the link and for pointing out the fact that this planet is undergoing a mass extinction event as severe as any in geologic history save the end-Permian. Many nominally PO aware folks fail to appreciate the consequences of such a profound reduction of biodiversity. If they did appreciate the consequences, the notion of human extinction within the lifetimes of those already born would not seem as unlikely as many appear to consider it. Many who have studied extinction dynamics and mass extinctions of the past consider the idea of imminent human extinction far more plausible than the typical technocopian poster on TOD.

I don't know if it is a local view or not but as I have stated in other DBs and Campfires:

I no longer see any grasshoppers at all. Once I could walk across my fields and they were jumping and flying by the thousands.
Now NONE. Very rarely a stray one but he seems near to death as I get close and he doesn't jump away...these insects here are no longer visible.

Bats. Do not see them flying around at dusk. Used to be I always would see at least three each nite. But with insects disappearing I guess the bats go as well.

Lightening bugs. Some but no more that that...no where near like I used to see.

Dragon flies. Gone but for the very ocassional sighting.

Purple Martins. Most martin houses are deserted. See the ocassional few but thats all. They started disappearing last year in large numbers. Now about gone.

Quail are no longer hatching coveys in my fields like they once did.

Many many birds I havent' seen in the last two years. Brown Thrasher, mockingbirds,cattle egrets,hummingbirds are even declining. Many others I can think of right now but the bluebirds are way off as well as the redbirds and I never never see a bluejay anymore.

I suppose there are areas unaffected. I hope there is.

Ducks and geese were once very numerous here. Last two falls and winters none to speak of. Only a few wings flew over..and they were only a few birds..not like the huge numbers I used to hear almost every other day or night.

This demise of wildlife is very distressing. The only thing I see more of is coons. A few possums. I only have about 3 stalks of corn standing due to coons. Out of 3 30ft rows...I think there is nothing for them to forage on in the woods so they raid homesteads.

Airdale-needn't wait on our politicians to bring this to the front...they are busy with taxpayer travel plans right now...junkets

Hi Airdale. Last year was the Year of the Bobcat, this year is the Year of the Skunk. The bobcat that last year got some of my poultry hasn't made its reappearance this year. But a momma skunk is living under the roots of a large dead Russian olive behind my garden fence. She has been after my hens but hasn't been able to get them since I beefed up the "tractor" cage thingie I keep them in. I found her den just this morning. The other morning one of her babies was in the garage. There are coons in the cottonwoods along the river and sometimes I see their tracks around the little duck pond. Some years there are quite a few, other years I see no sign of them. No possums occur here but there are deer and Gambels quail on the property. Gunnison prairie dog occurs on the farm where I work and personnel here and with NAPI (Navajo Agricultural Products Industry) are scared to death they are going to be listed as Threatened (with extinction) by the feds. They are conspiring to eliminate them before they can be listed, in fact. Fat chance of shooting or trapping them to extinction; sylvatic plague is the real threat. One thing I've noticed this year is that English house sparrows are really common. There's always a few around here but this year they seem as common as they are in the Midwest. They're pests. Not many Western bluebirds anymore. Bewicks wrens are nesting in the bluebird houses. In winter there are mountain bluebirds at this elevation but they nest higher up. Plenty of swifts & swallows but like you say, not many bats anymore.

It's amazing how sterile and lifeless the planet is becoming, right before our eyes. Nothing but the incessant sound of humans and their machines. I guess that's what we've always wanted. No more competition. Are we happy about our victory over nature?

I'm not.

Whatever is going on in your nieghborhood seems to be worse than most places but lots of people are noticeing similar changes.Old fishermen here in Virginia will tel you that while they still catch plenty of fish in the James River above Richmond,the bass are fewer and the catfish more plentiful over the last few decades.

We use probably only a third or less as many pesticides as we did fifty years ago, per acre, in my nieghborhood,and lots of farmers have switched to cows and calves on grass as a low but fairly sure profit alternative to raising crops,and they use almost no pesticides at all.Furthermore our area is at least 80 percent forested and never sprayed at all.

We see things changing here too.

But the changes may be rooted in things that are happening elsewhere other than our local communities.If a particular bird no lomnger arrives in the spring because it's winter habitat has been destroyed,it could throw a whole local ecology into a tailspin.

The arrival of coyotes and the revival of the white tail deer are two things that have changed the local wildlife landscape considerably in this area over the last decade.

Another is the loss of most of the old hollow tress used as homes by the bats.We don't have any local caves.Paradoxically more bugs can actually mean less bugs sometimes,as certain species are predators and your missing bats and birds may have been keeping down the predator species of insects more than they prey species.

Do you ever talk to any body from your local game and fish agency?

Bats are in steep decline just about everywhere. There is a fungus that has spread through many of the major caves that is one of the things killing them in droves.


As this article point out, frogs are also in trouble everywhere.

As others have pointed out, populations crashes and extinctions can result from:

the destruction of particular locations that are crucial for migration, summering or wintering

direct over-hunting or -fishing

spread of diseases and predators through globalization, travel, commerce...

destruction of habitat or migratory routes through development, mining, road building, logging, burning...

Global warming changing habitats more rapidly than plants and animals can adapt or move...

pollution, acidification, heating and other disruption of the oceans and coral reefs

and many others

The background rate of extinction is about one per year, with background speciation being a fraction more than that over the last 50 some million years. For reasons mentioned above, it is hard to get accurate extinction rates even within an order of magnitude. The most conservative estimate I've heard is many thousands of times above this background rate, but I've also heard figures into the hundreds of thousands. No serious researcher I have read thinks that we are not in a major anthropogenic extinction event.

Keep in mind that we were in such a mass extinction event even before the effects of gw started kicking in. GW and its effects could be seen as a new extinction event happening on top of the one we were already in. There is no telling what such a double hit will have on the long term viability of the planet.

Bats are in steep decline just about everywhere.

Bats schmats. We don't need no freakin' bats. What we need are millions of EVs powered by clean renewable wind energy. Kamikaze bats & birds are a threat to turbines! And least you claim that we need bats to eat pathogen vectoring mosquitos, that's what DDT is for.

if a bat visits your house, you should go immediately to devil's tower wyoming and await further instructions.

we had a fricken' bat in the house a few nights ago. the cats went nuts, the bat was cruising back and forth hunting mosquitos, i guess. the thing i noticed was this bat was flying real slow.

Kamikaze bats & birds are a threat to turbines!

At least you've stopped posting about how others should shoot nacelles of turbines with hunting rifles.

But the changes may be rooted in things that are happening elsewhere other than our local communities.If a particular bird no lomnger arrives in the spring because it's winter habitat has been destroyed,it could throw a whole local ecology into a tailspin.

That might be the case with airdale's purple martins. They winter in the Amazon basin, and the tropical forests there are being cleared away very rapidly.

Another is the loss of most of the old hollow trees used as homes by the bats.

Yeah, that ice storm that hit airdale's area last winter did quite a number on those.

Storms do take a lot of good den trees,but on the average I think the bigger problem is that trees are logged before they get old enough to rot out in the center in the woods,and trees on develooped land are cut for safety and esthetic reasons by the property owners.

And some folks who own only small tracts simply don't know any better and cut all thier dead or dying trees for firewood.


Escaped asian carp have destroyed much pleasure and commercial fishing.

They destroy every bit of food that the other fish need to live on. They become very large and will jump very high into your boat. Some people have been rendered unconscious by them.

Their skin is covered with a ugly smelly slime that is hard to wash off. Not edible. They have simply ravaged the lakes and rivers around here and elsewhere...

They are coming into the Great Lakes I hear and are so far completely unstoppable.

Most here gave up on fishing last year.

Its astounding the junk that gets here from Asia..and completely destroys our habitat. Fish and Wildlife? They can barely tie their own shoelaces. They simply want to harass you about how many life preservers you have and other nonsense. They do nothing about all that is happening...nothing.

Besides money is scarce...we are out of it. Statewise that is.


I was thinking more along the lines of talking to you local wardens just to find out more things that you might not know about personally yet.

Here in Va our wardens do make some efforts offocillly to prevent the introduction of non native species,etc, but I am afraid such efforts are doomed to failure.There's not much a warden can do about a pet owner dumping his fish in a pond or creek.

If you get hungry enough,you can eat a carp,or a coon or a groundhog.All are delicacies in various places.

My maternal grandfather used to go to the trouble of catching and putting a possum in a cage,feeding it like a cow in a feed lot for a month or so ,in order have it for dinner.On a farm where chickens pigs and cows were in excess supply,as well as a few turkeys and ducks!

I can't remember the last time I heard about any local person eating a possum.But I'm going to eat one someday in memory of Old Pa,when I catch it in a rabbit trap rather than the intended rabbit.

They are coming into the Great Lakes I hear and are so far completely unstoppable.

Thank the retired congressman who introduced 'em.

The only thing keeping 'em out of the Great Lakes is:
1) the electric fence in Chicago
2) no one has physically moved 'em from other bodies of H2O to the great lakes.

No one has to 'move' them...water fowl carry the eggs on their feet as they move from one body of water to another...they are in the Mississippi and nothing will eventually keep them out of the Great Lakes...As I read or heard they are already there but not in huge numbers as yet.


We still have lots of fireflies and geese. The occasional duck and egret as well.

But no turtles, frogs, snakes, or dragonflies.

And too damn many Japanese ladybug beetles.

These are the dangers of climate chaos. Environments and their inhabitants change, move, disappear.

We still have lots of.. geese.

The geese winter here by the tens or hundreds of thousands. Most are Canada geese but about 10% are snow/Ross geese (I can't tell the two species apart). It's like something out of Audubon to see thousands of geese descend on a winter wheat pivot in December or January. It seems like they're destroying the crop but it recovers from their grazing. I reckon that all those winter geese are raising their babies on the tundral ponds about now.

Lightening bugs.


I remember when I was a young boy we used to have them every summer. Hundreds of them, every night. In New York City!

I haven't seen any in many years. When I mentioned that to my kids recently, they had no idea what I'm talking about. Old man, what's a "lightening bug"?

I no longer see any grasshoppers at all.

And as an American you should be proud.

The destruction of the North American Locust just goes to show how America is better than, say, Africa.

I hear research into Mormon Crickets is questioned. Perhaps you should look for them?

Are you trying to be stupid or what?

Birds eat grasshoppers and other insects. Been that way a long time.

They do not do much crop damage that I was ever aware of.

I thought we had a truce..if not don't start up with me again.

I don't see that you do aught but sit on the sidelines and carp at people.


Are you trying to be stupid or what?

Just pointing out how Americans had a policy to wipe out Locusts (grasshoppers) - and succeeded in getting rid of a biblical plague. Hows *THAT* for a success?

They do not do much crop damage that I was ever aware of.

Considering you think that Hydrinos are real and that you spent your time boasting about how you are so much smarter than all them people in the city - I'm not shocked to hear how you are aware of something. I am shocked you bothered to stop yelling at the kids to stay outta your lawn long enough to admit that you didn't know something.

I thought we had a truce.

If you don't say anything that is obviously wrong, no need for me to correct you. At the point where you are blathering about how people need burnable fluids for light or about grasshoppers being gone should be seen as tragic, I'll point out LED lights with simple $20 rechargable panels and mention the history of the American Locust or mention the present day 'wasteful spending' on the Morman Cricket. (for those of you not paying attention, one of the talking heads in Congress back in 2008 was complaining about the 'wasteful spending' on morman cricket research. A few months later the news was mentioning how said cricket was eating crops - hence the reason for the research.)

Just where did you come by the idea that the so called American locoust was wiped out according to a plan?

I would really like to know,thanks.

If "the plan" was not to wipe 'em out why did the government pay bounties?

Locust By Jeffrey A. Lockwood

Totally agree about the relative importance of biodiversity being eradicated, but,

and for pointing out the fact that this planet is undergoing a mass extinction event as severe as any in geologic history save the end-Permian.

...as someone who does mass extinction research for a living, how could you possibly be able to say with any certainty where this one ranks compared to the Big Five, or any of the others? Not only is it not over yet, the numbers for the historical events are still kind of fuzzy even now.

Not only is it not over yet...

Okay, I concede your point. Maybe AME will rival the P/T event, before biodiversity begins to recover.

I have a question for AshenLight.

From the fossil record to be (say 25 million years from now), how many of the recent extinctions will be noted ?

North American megafauna and the passenger pigeon, yes. The Ivory Billed woodpecker, unlikely (the pilleted woodpecker is similar).

Extinction of scarce island species are also unlikely to be noted (in 25 million yrs, only the Big Island will likely be left of Hawaii today).

Ginkgo trees will have a sudden burst from extinction, etc.

I suspect that the fossil record will show a sudden dispersion and mixing of species/genus more than extinctions.

And the extinction of genus is, so far, much lower than the extinction of species. The absence of an entire genus is also more noteworthy than that of a species.

And plant life (other than rare niche species) has suffered minimal extinctions so far.

Your thoughts ?


Greenwashed. How local is "locally raised" food?

A recent Xpress article noted that the Asheville Tourists now sell hot dogs made from animals raised in Buncombe County and sent to Pennsylvania for butchering. But do foods that travel 1,350 miles round trip for processing still qualify as local? And how do we account for the food brought in from afar and fed to animals raised here?

GM = 'Government Motors'...?

GM's bondholders: Let's 'negotiate fairly'
Creditors continue to press against automaker's plan to shed old debt and create new company owned largely by U.S. government.

Judge Robert Gerber reconvened for a third day and indicated that he wanted the process to move quickly as representatives of GM's unsecured bondholders presented their arguments.

The representatives explained to the court that they shouldn't be left behind in GM's bankruptcy process, arguing that such a move is not legal....

The Detroit-based automaker, which filed for court protection on June 1, wants to use bankruptcy to create a new company and shed crushing debt and expensive contracts.

Under the plan, U.S. taxpayers would end up owning 60% of the new GM, with other stakes held by Canadian governments, bondholders and the United Auto Workers union.

Holders of $27 billion in GM bonds would get stock in the reorganized company, as will a union-controlled trust fund that will take stock rather than the $20 billion in cash it had been owed to pay future retiree health care costs. Those 650,000 retirees will have their coverage reduced.

Anyone see the 3 year ticker on GM? (Hint: It's dropped from $30/share in 2006 to $.85/share now). And would YOU want to exchange what you thought was a safe bond for a continually falling stock?

The three year ticker on GM isn't really relevant anymore. That's the value of stock in the old, pre-bankruptcy GM, which is expected to have no value at all. The old GM has twice as much liabilities as assets, so when they sell of the assets to meet their obligations, there won't be anything left for the stockholders, so they'll get zippo. Bondholders would have been in a similar boat had they not taken the stock, though had they kept the bonds they probably would have gotten a few pennies on the dollar out of it.

But the bond exchange is for shares in the new GM. At the moment there are no plans for shares of the new GM to be publicly traded. Are shares in the new GM going to end up worth much of anything down the road? Who knows. But it might not be a bad gamble if the only other option was to take, say, 10 cents on the dollar for your bonds.

Fuel Standards Are Killing GM according to WSJ.com.


The new GM may end up in bankruptcy just like old GM because the car mix is wrong. Not enough competitive small cars to offset the gas guzzlers.

Good !

The new GM will have the same management as the old GM.

The USA will be better off without a major corporation run by GM management.


PS: Ford stands a better chance w/o GM

Nobody I know will admit to any intention of ever buying another new GM or Chrysler product.

Personally I am so pissed at having to buy and sort two thru two full sets of tools every time I fix something that I might never buy another Ford.

At least the rest of the world can build machinery to a single standard in regards to the fasteners.

Not really. Generally Japanese use 8mm 10mm 12mm 14mm 17mm 19mm
Europe uses 9mm 11mm 13mm 15mm 18mm wrenches.

10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 19mm all can be turned with SAE wrenches unless the fastener is really tight. Given the slop in many tools it often does not matter.

You can as you say use some standard wrenches on metric fasteners,but you're asking for trouble ranging from skinned knuckles to waiting a week or two for some oddball part you've damaged to arrive-then the lost productivity may run into the thousands very quickly,not to mention the price of the part.

And I NEED to have at least two two four variations-different lengths, depths,offsets,six or twelve pointetc- of EVERY socket and wrench from one quarter to two and a half in standard and nearly as many in metric just to look after a few pieces of farm equipment.And so sometimes I wind up borrowing something I don't have,or else paying the Snap On man two hundred bucks for ONE wrench-but nobody else can supply the real mc coy quality locally on very short notice..

Sears and Lowes and Home depot ,etc,sell the basics-and nothing but the basics.

At least then I have one more I can loan in exchange for a future loan of another size.

Detroit really shot themselves in the foot by not making a clean go,instead of MIXING types on individual vehicles.

Mac, I've spent a lifetime doing the same stuff (maybe not as long a lifetime yet) - I was hardly saying you can do that every time and in every situation. I still hate the metric sizes that do not cross - why use them? I have to give FIAT credit for that, in that they only used the sizes I listed - no 12mm.

On Fords, it's simple - everything is metric. Unless it's not.

Spent 6 hrs on my back under our '94 F250 in the Agway parking lot trying to get the starter out a couple of weeks ago. The starter bolts were SAE, even though they were part of newer designed stuff, not the old engine block.

Nobody I know will admit to any intention of ever buying another new GM or Chrysler product.

Hi there, I don't believe we've been formally introduced. Nice to make your acquaintance. :-)


Good !
The new GM will have the same management as the old GM.

No. At the top level. They now have Wittiger - who used to handle SBC and who used to be some sort of Government spook.

I take it you've all seen this GM spoof gem?

In regards to Phil Flynn's, Life Liberty and Oil!, posted up top, I suppose if the rest of the world didn't exist, and didn't consume the other 75% of oil output, he may be right.

But since he didn't even mention supply/demand from the rest of the world, his argument doesn't make much sense.

Finding Debt a Bigger Hurdle Than Bar Exam

In January, the committee of New York lawyers that reviews applications for admission to the bar interviewed Mr. Bowman, studied his history and the debt he had amassed, and called his persistence remarkable. It recommended his approval.

But a group of five state appellate judges decided this spring that his student loans were too big and his efforts to repay them too meager for him to be a lawyer.

But if he can't become a lawyer, there's no way he's ever going to pay off the almost half a million bucks he borrowed to get through law school...

Clearly he has bright future in banking....

Brilliant. It shoes you don't have to be insane to be a judge, but it does help.

From the Economist:

Whatever happened to the food crisis? It crept back

On the face of things, markets last year were adjusting exactly as economic theory predicts they should: prices rose, drawing investment into farms; supplies then rose sharply, pushing prices down. But that was not the whole story. The price fluctuations of 2007-09 suggested that uncertainty in the world of agriculture was deepening under the influence both of oil prices and capital flows. The fact that prices are still well above their 2006 average, even in a recession, suggests that the spike of 2008 did not signal a mere bubble—but rather, a genuine mismatch of supply and demand. And this year’s price increase suggests that there is a long way to go before that underlying mismatch is eventually addressed. “I don’t see that anything has fundamentally changed,” says Mr Abbassian. “That means we cannot go back to where we were in 2007.”


You are as usual at the leading edge of the most important and interesting news.

We are probably only one bad year worldwide away from a possible disaster scenario vis avis food,and NONE of the indicators look good for positive long term change.A bad year in just the US could be pretty bad in and of itself if crops elsewhere are only average.

I have been poking into the ag news recently and the trends in regard to irrigation with fossil water,long term phosphorus prices,the spread of crop diseases,loss of land to desertification,money for research, large scale purchases of land to intended to capture production and keep it off the world market all point the wrong way.

Then the news that's generally bad for every body,not just the ag sector,such as lack of credit and rising oil prices are just as big a problem for ag as any other industry.

About the only bright spot for producers is that prices seem certain to rise over the next few years,but inputs may rise even faster.

Producers also have a captive market in that there are no substitutes for food,and not many for fiber.But the black side of that cloud is black indeed,and that's the side the really hard up citizens of the world are looking at.

If conditions continue to deteriorate,some governments are going to be pretty busy just feeding thier destitute citizens before too long as trade and the income from it used to pay for imported food dries up.Food prices may prove to be even more inelastic than oil prices when tshtf,and those with the money may continue to eat meat while those with none starve for lack of corn,wheat,and rice.

What happens after that is anybody's guess.

Nobody need starve in the more prosperous countries in the near term as it is always possible for wealthy peoples to eat farther down the food chain.

The real question is whether the wealthy countries ,given thier new not so wealthy status anymore,will be able and willing to help on the necessary scale.

Check out

Many forums. Might want to stay away from Boiler Room though..they are really tough on BHO...Obama.....really tough...

But Market, Crop and the rest are very insightful as they have map markers where members are farming at...


they are really tough on BHO...Obama

As well they should be. At least as tough as they were on the last guy. Or the guy before him. Or him. Or .....

Gosh these really intelligent rejoiners are sooo neat.

Why don't you create some original posts/comments instead.

You apparently did not cruise the url in a very meaningful fashion to come up with such terrific witty a response.

Airdale-my last reply to you and your naivete remarks

Airdale-my last reply to you and your naivete remarks


1) not your last reply. You keep promising 'em - yet you do not deliver.
2) I not how when you lose, you go for insults about claimed pasts. Bitter much?

We are probably only one bad year worldwide away from a possible disaster scenario vis avis food,and NONE of the indicators look good for positive long term change.

This is not a new situation, the margins have been declining for manny years.
It is also bad that most countries have abondoned old fashioned civil defence
stockpiling of food, locally I only know about such stockpiles in Finland.
This means that the margin for handling a bad year essentially is pricing out
the globally poorest regions wich would give a modern version of the Ireland
famine around 1850. A realy bad year it would also price out those who lack

This is one of the reasons for my support of more cereal ethanol production in
Sweden, since it increases the local food production we get a possible cushioning
by closing the plant and parking the cars if there is a bad year. On the
other hand, if we dont close it down a bad year and opt to run cars instead of
exporting into a broken world economy it would burn up food that could have fed
thousands upon thousands of people. It could either be a benefit or liquid evil
but it do lower the risk that I will starve...

Corn futures have been dropping like a rock...

Sept corn was way down...this is going to be a very very interesting crop year.

The USDA gave corn reports on acreage that had no corn even planted on it as yet and so the market responded by dropping.

Illinois and Indiana hadn't even planted due to spring rains and the report came out..I think they are making this shit up out of thin air.

Most corn farmers are really pissed now.


I guess because of the holiday weekend, they released the list of failed banks a day early. And it is a good thing too, because there are 11 of them today.


Founders Bank Worth IL, Millennium State Bank of Texas Dallas TX, First National Bank of Danville Danville IL, Elizabeth State Bank Elizabeth IL, Rock River Bank Oregon IL, First State Bank of Winchester Winchester IL, John Warner Bank Clinton IL

Edit: Apparently there are only 7 today. The last 4 were banks that had been closed last week, but they had updated the data on them today. Then again, there might be banks on the West Coast that are going to be added to the list later today...

It's so fascinating how people try to will themselves out of a bad situation by virtue of positive thinking. Even though job losses are bad, manufacturing is down, real estate is valued even less now, there are 'Green Shoots' of optimism! Buy stocks, let's go!

It doesn't work that way. You can't think your way positively out of a recession, anymore than a sharp post peak depletion of oil can be wished away. Time is so thin now for a plan B, its scary. You can see the price of oil is now hovering in a zone of 70 dollars a barrel, which is probably too high for an economy in recession.

I lived through some of the recessions of the seventies and eighties and in each case it was the low price of oil that helped get a limping economy moving again. Now we don't have that, but instead have the prospect of higher oil prices as we move forward, which means money will get even tighter.

Wage Deflation in Our Midst

Most pundits who crow about green shoots and about an inventory restocking in the third quarter giving way towards some sustainable economic expansion live in the old paradigm. They don’t realize, for whatever reason, that the deflationary aftershocks that follow a post-bubble credit collapse typically last for 5 to 10 years.

...Indeed, by our estimates, there is up to another $5 trillion of household debt that has to be eliminated in coming years and that process is going to require that consumers go on a semi-permanent spending diet. Companies see this, which is why they are not just downsizing their payroll, but have also cut the workweek to a record low of 33.1 hours. Fewer people are working and those that are still working have seen their hours dramatically cut this cycle.

I just don't see inflation being an issue as long as wages/employment are so bad.

I would assume even HV lines are AC..alternating voltage.

So then I would also assume that to feed an onsite generated power signal into another power signal(the HV lines) that it would not only have to be of the same voltage but the alternating cycles would have to be synchronized. Else cancellation of the AC sine wave or worse.

However there is a step down transformer at each subscribers pole to step that HV down to 60 hz and 120/240 volts 2 phase used by the consumer/subscriber.

Provisions to do this? Is equipment available?

Not being an electrician but an electronic technician I am not that much immersed in the science or technology of electrical generation but I did wire all my farm and my loghouse, from setting the meter base and all the rest of the work of burying cables and to the end outlets thru my outdoor loadcenter and supressors and onto the indoor load center etc...etc....not an especially difficult task but laborous enough.

I read of stories where homesteaders hook up to the meter bases and send their spare generated electricity to the grid in some manner that is economically worthwhile BUT I have never actually seen the details of how this is technically accomplished.

I will believe it when I see it. If any here have accomplished this I would like to understand what device makes it possible.

I again, assume some very highly robust type of inverter. What brand? Who makes them?

Again synchronizing power signals as to correct specifications IMO is an odorous task I believe. How is it made simple? And will just any power utility accept it? In other words inviting errant homesteads to become their competitors, and utilizing their own infrastructure to do so?

During the last massive ice storm many circuits were fried as amateurs tried to hook generators into their home circuits. Most were not even thinking enough to realize they had to pull the meter or shutdown their load centers, if they even had one. They simply hooked into a 240 outlet supplied by the generator and jammed its the receptacles leads into any convenient access point...like even the clothes dryer plug.

When power came up,even for a bit, things became very hectic and dangerous. Even for the boys on the bucket trucks.

During this event we were all driving over downed power lines. Some insulated and some not. There was no other way. It lasted that way for weeks,even longer than a month for I was without power for 6 weeks and some even longer.



My knowledge of electricity is probably about on a par with yours except you obviously know more electronics.But I have been reading up.

High voltage is not a defined term.All our local distribution lines are into the thousands of volts,which is pretty damn high if you mess around.Long distance ac lines are higher by a factor of at least ten.

But for reasons that I do not fully understand,the energy losses in very high voltage long distance ac lines are such that they only work well if less than about seven hundred to thousand miles in length,and thats pushing it very hard indeed..

These new type high voltage dc lines operate at much higher voltages and do indeed use some sort of humongous new invrter to get back to ac for local and regional distribution.This technology has been around awhile and there are a few working installations,but the costs are almost prohibitive,and the hope is that a new type of step up step down controller that also does the ac to dc thing will prove to be cost effective.

If everything works out,it will be cost effective to move wind power from the Dakotas to Kentucky someday -maybe.If industrial society lasts thast long.

But for reasons that I do not fully understand,the energy losses in very high voltage long distance ac lines are such that they only work well if less than about seven hundred to thousand miles in length,and thats pushing it very hard indeed..

I dont understand it completely either, I have to take a look in my textbooks to calculate it and there are lots of subte details.

One way to describe the major problem is that the high tension line forms a capacitor between the line and the ground below it. When the current enters the end of the line it builds up a charge in this capacitor and when it is fully charged it can deliver current to the other end of the line. If the line is too long the capacitor gets too big and it wont charge the capacitor before the cycle reverses and before that you get problems with the delived curent and voltage not being syncronized to each other and you need both to deliver any power.

This is a capacity loss but it is also an energy loss since this current that goes back and forth charging and draining the capacitor gives resistive losses in the high tension line.

Underground and under sea cables have much higer capacitance per km of cable and can not be as long as air insulated high tension lines.

This phase change can be compensated by adding series capacitors on then line but all such equipment has its cost and power losses. The long lines in the Swedish grid has such series capacitors since they were built before HVDC were avialable and it were all built in incremets. An AC grid is very adaptable and can be enlarged in manny steps and the physics of the AC grid makes it self stabilizing for many kinds of disturbances, the current and voltage is in itself a kind of control signal.

I can unfortunately not explain it much further withouth preparations. The math is beuitifull and almost within my grasp. :-(

airdale - I would assume even HV lines are AC..alternating voltage.

My knowledge of electricity is probably about on a par with yours except you obviously know more electronics.

Bravo on your sarcasm.

Entry level Electrical Engineers are taught AC stands for alternating current and not alternating voltage.

http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_2/chpt_1/1.html as an example.

Eric ,it seems to me that you are more interested in peeing matches than communication.

Airdale may make an occasional careless error blogging but he has spent a long life living at the edge handling hot wires,flying over water, riding a hog, and most likely hooking a little extra warmth from the wives of jealous husbands..He's still here,so he's passed the stupidity test.

And just for your information,alternating corrent NECESSARILY implies alternating voltage,with the polarity reversing every fully cycle and the voltage going from zero to a peak and back again..The quoted 240 for instance is the rms of the full sine wave.Just in case you didn't know.

(And I'm not even an electrician,just a dumbass farmer.)

Now how about those locousts?

Eric ,it seems to me that you are more interested in peeing matches than communication.

Oh, so you were serious and not sarcastic when you praised him. Its so hard to tell.

AC - Alternating current. That is part of the standard education. Just like Thévenin and Norton equivalent power sources are part of the standard education.

I find it interesting that you consider correction of errors 'peeing matches' - but hey, whatever floats your boat.

I think Blair is a disturbed young man needing to let fly at others in order to feed some inner sarcastic need.

So he used to always try to chide me continously. A stalker if you will. A leftover IMO from the Teenybooper chat rooms where he must have really wowed the young girls and they told him 'Eric , you are so smart and you are wasting it on us..please go to places where your intelligence will be rewarded,your too valuable to waste on us poor things.'

However he has little understanding of the theories of electron flow.

Put an oscilloscope on the line and note carefully the waveform. As you say..a sine wave. Then it becomes complicated as to whether you are measuring with your voltmeter the average or peak of something else...yet the Oscope shows the truth. But it will not display current.AND current will not occur with out a voltage differential.

And so on and so forth. I used to teach electron theory at Marshall Space Flight center to technicians there. I also taught rocket guidance systems. Since I was taught Mech E&R at McDonnell Aircraft company(mechanic electrical and radio) and then one year in the USN as a Aviation Electronics Technician and then many more years of classes at IBM I do not have to wave my credentials to a shit ass newbie jerk like Blair but there they are for all to see.

This is at the technician level. Where I also worked in labs and in design and development. Worked even on the first entries of the technology that became our IBMPC.

Actually electrical nuances and theories are rather simple in comparision to electronics, but technicians do not repair motors or generators. They work on the power supplied. The linemen deliver the power. What it powers is where the reality is of what it can perform. That requires more than an electrician. Used to be degrees in EE. Don't know what they call it now but my brother had a PHD in it and helped design the first CAT scanner and wrote the BIOS for the startup of Sun Microsystems workstations.

Just sayin...but I do less and less of that now..except to work on farmers Business Band rigs and my own Amateur Radio equipment.

Airdale-since you responded to Blair in my behalf I thought to explain my background further in that field...thanks for seeing my side of the equation

However he has little understanding of the theories of electron flow.

Really? You make many claims without basis.

The simple reality is you made YET another mistake and rather than show the maturity of saying "I was wrong", you go off on yet another one of your spew-fests.

AC stands for alternating current.

Mac, I know the local warden..I am not about to ask this kid anything.

Right now I think they are all hunkered down awaiting the state budget crisis fallout.