DrumBeat: July 23, 2009

Will electric cars ignite a lithium boom?

Any day now, the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to announce the winning recipients of grants to foster a domestic automotive battery industry, and this time the pot is worth US$2.4-billion. Washington has already handed out US$8 billion in loans to Ford, Tesla and Nissan to promote cleaner vehicles—which the latter plans to tap to build an automotive battery plant in Tennessee. And just last week Ontario jumped in to pledge incentives of as much as $10,000 per car to lure drivers into buying electrics.

With such vast sums sloshing around, it’s no surprise that companies and investors are rubbing their hands over the prospect of a boom in the market for lithium. This unique metal, so soft you can cut it with a knife and so reactive it can become explosive when it comes in contact with water, is a key ingredient in the next generation of car batteries, and as plug-in hybrids and electric cars hit the mass market, some are wondering where all that lithium will come from. “There have been a lot of worries out there that all this money that is being spent on lithium-ion battery technology is going to create shortages,” says Jacob Grose, an analyst at Lux Research. In other words, if the fear now is Peak Oil, could the crisis next decade be Peak Lithium?

Audit says Energy Department could save energy

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Auditors say energy savings should start at home for the Department of Energy.

An inspector general's report released Thursday says as many as two of every three buildings owned or leased by the Energy Department are failing to turn down the heat or air-conditioning when workers leave for the day.

Look who's farming now

Agriculture is having a youth movement, thanks to their passion for organic farming and local produce. Meet a half dozen under 40, chosen by the Mother Nature Network for their fertile ambition.

Report: USA, China must improve climate cooperation

WASHINGTON — The USA and China should use high-level meetings between the two countries next week to negotiate improved cooperation on curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, says a new report by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The report, released Thursday, says new efforts to address emissions by the USA and China, the world's largest emitters of climate-altering pollution, could be "the key to a global solution" to climate change.

US SMEs face further borrowing pressure

Small and medium-sized energy companies' ability to raise capital is shrinking as banks consolidate their lending on established customers with large asset bases.

SMEs can turn to mezzanine financiers, but even here the number of lenders has contracted, and the cost of borrowing has risen.

This is placing a large constraint on a traditionally dynamic sector that plays a key role in the energy sector's fortunes.

Despite talk of the "green shoots" of recovery, small to medium-sized enterprises are seeing their borrowing bases cut from under them.

And even with higher oil prices, oil and gas firms are no exception.

Oil and revolution

Petrobras has vast oil reserves, commercial clout and excellent Chinese connections. But it faces political uncertainty.

Oil minister: Iran locates 46 oil fields in Caspian Sea

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran's Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said that his country located 46 oil fields in the Caspian Sea, the satellite Press TV reported on Thursday.

"Eight of the fields (out of 46) are presently ready for exploitation," Nozari was quoted as saying.

Kremlin extends oil tax holiday

Russia's government today extended its oil tax breaks programme to include fields in the Black and Okhotsk seas in a bid to boost output from the regions.

In documents seen by the Reuters news agency, the government said tax breaks would apply for up to 15 years, or until 20 million tonnes (125.8 million barrels) of oil is produced from the Black Sea fields.

US vehicle efficiency hardly changed since Model T

The average fuel efficiency of the US vehicle fleet has risen by just 3 miles per gallon since the days of the Ford Model T, and has barely shifted at all since 1991.

Those are the conclusions reached by Michael Sivak and Omer Tsimhoni at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor. They analysed the fuel efficiency of the entire US vehicle fleet of cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses from 1923 to 2006.

Tar-Sands Oil Pollutes Less Than Thought, Report Says

(Bloomberg) -- Tar-sands oil from Canada, the biggest supplier to the U.S., is cleaner than previously calculated, according to an Alberta government report that may benefit producers Nexen Inc. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Carbon-dioxide emissions from producing oil in western Canadian sand deposits are about 10 percent higher than competing U.S. crude imports, the Alberta Energy Research Institute said in the report. Earlier studies found discharges of greenhouse gases were as much as 40 percent more. The study was received with skepticism by an environmental group.

China blacklists eight cities, five power plants for environmental problems

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- China's environmental watchdog blacklisted Thursday eight cities for outdated sulphur removal processes at municipal sewage treatment plants and five power plants for fabricating smoke-gas monitoring data.

The cities are northern Hebei's Cangzhou, Shanxi's Jinzhong, northeastern Heilongjiang's Suihua, northwestern Shanxi's Shangluo, southeastern Fujian's Sanming and Jinjiang, central Hubei's Shiyan and Hunan's Yongzhou.

Hello local, goodbye global: Relocalization movement gains momentum

A burgeoning relocalization movement has the potential to revolutionize the way we eat, shop, work, and vacation.

Greer: The Anti-Ecology of Money

Last week’s Archdruid Report post built on one of E.F. Schumacher’s more trenchant insights to propose a controversial way of making sense of modern economics. Schumacher, in Small Is Beautiful, drew a distinction between primary goods produced by natural processes, and secondary goods produced by human labor, and pointed out that secondary goods can’t be produced at all unless you have the necessary primary goods on hand.

This is quite true, though it’s a point often missed by today’s economists. There is at least an equal difference, though, between either of these classes of goods and a third class produced neither by nature nor by labor. These are tertiary or, more descriptively, financial goods; they form the largest single class of goods in the world today, in terms of dollar value, and the markets in which they are bought and sold dominate the economies of the industrial nations. To call this unfortunate is a drastic understatement, because the biases imposed on our societies by the domination of financial goods are among the most potent forces dragging the world to ruin.

Welcome To Hell

We are following Japan's script almost exactly, but our trip down this road will be far worse than it was for them, because as a nation we are monstrous net importers and in tremendous debt, both as consumers and as a government, where Japan is a net exporter and their population is full of savers.

...The paradox is that you'd think this would create tremendous inflationary pressures. But that's not what has happened in Japan - they wound up with incredible deflationary pressures instead, because consumption became much less desirable than export! As such the policy "prescription" becomes yet more easing, but with interest rates at zero the policy folks are left scrambling for yet another knob to turn of some sort.

In the United States this will be ugly, because we're not an exporting nation. Instead of being able to "prefer" export we are instead likely to find quite-crazy ramps in certain import prices, specifically oil. That in turn makes economic recovery nearly impossible, as it sets up even more structural dollar flows out of the country.

Bolivia Completes Nationalization of Oil and Gas Sector

YPFB announced on Tuesday it has completed nationalization of the country's oil and gas sector.

YPBF, abbreviation for Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos in Spanish, acquired a natural gas supplier in Cochabamba, a step concluding its nationalization efforts in the country's hydrocarbon industry.

"At this moment facilities like the oil and gas pipelines, including those under construction, are completely the property of the Bolivian state," YPFB interim president Carlos Villegas said.

Suncor boosts heavy oil sales to U.S.

With construction of its oil sands upgrader still stalled, Suncor Energy Inc. plans to sell unprocessed bitumen to refiners south of the border, where strong demand for Canadian heavy oil has sent prices soaring in recent months.

India natgas supply to rise 10 pct in 2010/11 - govt

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's natural gas supplies are projected to rise about by 10 percent in 2010/11 (April-March) and 7 percent in 2011/12, junior oil minister Jitin Prasada said on Thursday.

Supplies are expected to rise from an estimated 242.47 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) in 2008/09 to 267.09 mmscmd in 2010/11 and 285.42 mmscmd in 2011/12, he said in a written reply to a question in parliament.

EnCana profits plunge 80 per cent

CALGARY–EnCana Corp. said Thursday commodity price hedges helped bolster earnings and cash flow in a quarter where both figures declined due to low natural gas prices.

The Calgary-based oil and gas company reported profits of US$239 million or 32 cents per share for the quarter ended June 30, down 80 per cent from year-earlier net earnings of $1.2 billion or $1.63 per share. A $900 million gain on hedging was offset by a $750-million loss due to mark-to-market accounting, the company said.

EnCana said its hedges have been particularly effective in the current weak commodity market, which has seen natural gas prices plunge 18 per cent in the most recent quarter and nearly 70 per cent over the past year.

Weatherford to Continue Cutbacks

Oilfield services firm Weatherford International will close or consolidate an additional 25 facilities in North America as part of an expanded cost-cutting program that already has closed 20 facilities and eliminated 3,000 jobs in the region, the company's chief financial officer said Tuesday.

The Oil Patch

Our nation's oil and gas industry is in real trouble.

As the recession continues and demand for oil and gas products continues to decline the markets are awash in record surpluses of oil, gasoline and natural gas.

As a result, there is no financial incentive for the majors to drill or even go looking for more potential drilling sites.

And as if that weren't bad enough, many industry analysis and politicians say the Obama administration is demonizing this country's major energy producers as cash hungry industrialists who belong on a short, government regulated, leash.

The latest example is a proposed 50% tax on all industry profits.

Nigeria: Declare emergency in power sector now – Adedibu

Worried by the high rate at which Nigerian industries are relocating to other African countries, following energy crisis in the nation, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Industry, Senator Kamorudeen Adedibu, has charged the Federal Government to declare emergency in the power sector without further delay to save the industrial sector from total collapse.

Pakistan: Massive loadshedding cripples economic activities

LAHORE - Senior Political Assistant of Chief Minister Punjab and former Member of National Assembly, Pervez Malik has said that massive electricity loadshedding has already crippled the economic activities in the country and further increase in electricity tariff by the government would be proved last nail in the coffin of industry sector while common man would also buried alive.

BPC in trouble : 10,900mt substandard fuel shipped from Kuwait

The state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation is now in trouble with a consignment of 10,900 metric tons of "substandard" jet fuel shipped from Kuwait and seeks government authorities' help for a rescue.

The country might face a shortage of jet fuel if the government does not take necessary steps to collect the fuel within a short time, says a BPC letter sent to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on July 20.

Diminishing water supplies creating profound business risk

“A recent report by Ceres and the Pacific Institute evaluates water-related risks to eight water-intensive sectors: technology, beverage, food, electric power/energy, apparel, pharmaceuticals, forest products and mining. Our conclusion is that each of these sectors faces serious near-and long-term economic risks related to their water dependence.

“For example, silicon chips, the backbone of our information economy, require huge amounts of highly purified water to produce. Yet, 11 of the 14 largest semiconductor factories in the world are located in the Asia-Pacific region where water shortages, and water quality risks, are already squeezing industry.

Slow, Costly and Often Dangerous Road to Wind Power

BELFAST, Me. — On America’s highways, wind turbines may be the ultimate oversize load.

Trucks carrying silvery blades nearly half a football field long have been lumbering through this placid coastal town all summer, backing up traffic as they slowly exit the roadway. Huge, tubular chunks of tower also pass through. Tall pieces of machinery looking somewhat like jet engines travel at night because they require special routing to avoid overpasses.

As demand for clean energy grows, towns around the country are finding their traffic patterns roiled as convoys carrying disassembled towers that will reach more than 250 feet in height, as well as motors, blades and other parts roll through. Escorted by patrol cars and gawked at by pedestrians, the equipment must often travel hundreds of miles from ports or factories to the remote, windy destinations where the turbines are erected. In Belfast, officials have worked hard to keep the nuisance to a minimum, but about 200 trucks are passing through this year on their way to western Maine, carrying parts that have been shipped from Denmark and Vietnam.

Oil slips after U.S. crude inventories rise

NEW YORK - Oil prices dipped Wednesday after a government report showed U.S. fuel supplies are growing, with American consumers buying less gas even at a huge discounts to last year.

Oxy Petroleum's oil and gas discovery may be California's largest in 35 years

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it had discovered oil and natural gas in a Kern County field that might represent the biggest find in California in more than 35 years.

The nation's fourth-biggest oil company said Wednesday that it had found the equivalent of 150 million to 250 million barrels of oil, adding that two-thirds of the new source was believed to be natural gas.

Colombia says oil field holds 500 mln barrels

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A Colombian oil field, operated by state petroleum company Ecopetrol ECO.CN and Canada's Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp PEG.TO, is estimated by the government to have 500 million barrels in reserves.

If the estimate is correct, it would make the field, located in the southern province of Meta, the biggest in Colombia. The Andean country is in a race against time to discover reserves in order to avoid becoming a net petroleum importer.

'Guarani well drilled in wrong spot'

The Guarani well, which was drilled by US supermajor ExxonMobil in Brazil's pre-salt fairway and came up dry, was spudded "in the wrong place” Brazilian Energy Minister Edison Lobao has claimed.

Santos Sales Drop 35% on Lower Oil Price, Production

(Bloomberg) -- Santos Ltd., Australia’s third- biggest oil and gas producer, said second-quarter sales dropped 35 percent after oil prices fell and output declined.

China's crude oil output hits 93.49m tons in H1

China's crude oil output hit 93.49 million tons in the first half, a decrease of 1 percent year on year, according to the country's economic planner on Thursday.

BP taps three sites for China refinery

BEIJING (Reuters) - Oil major BP is courting PetroChina and Sinopec for joint refinery investments in China, tapping three coastal cities for possible sites, in its renewed effort to enter the world's No.2 fuel market.

Railways key to jet-fuel prices

With oil refineries across Canada increasingly shifting their attention away from jet fuel to more lucrative end products, such as diesel, airlines across the country have been forced to enlist the help of the nation's railways to help them access competitively priced fuel.

In most countries, jet fuel is supplied to airports, in part, by pipeline or trucks directly from refineries. But because of the relatively low level of jet-fuel production in Canada, carriers such as Air Canada have been forced to source and import competitively priced fuel from the Middle East, Asia, and across North America by rail and by sea.

Manhattan Landlords Get Reprieve on Power Costs in Cool Summer

(Bloomberg) -- Manhattan office landlords, battered by a recession that spurred rent cuts and Midtown’s highest vacancies since the early 1990s, are catching a break on their summer air-conditioning bills.

“It is good news,” said Jay Raphaelson, president of closely held EnergyWatch Inc., which buys power for 80 million square feet of office space. “Commercial properties tend to live and die by the budget, and they’re now significantly over- budgeted for power.”

Oil-rich Venezuela moves to fix price on car sales

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's National Assembly moved closer on Wednesday to fix prices on car sales, the latest move to cap sharply rising consumer prices in the oil-rich Caribbean nation.

The retail price tag of cars in Venezuela, where gasoline is cheaper than anywhere else in the world, is up to three times that of the same model in the United States or Europe.

Gazprom loan note re-offered to market-term sheet

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A total of $1.3 billion worth of five-year loan participation notes backed by debt in Russia's Gazprom is on offer at 8.8 percent on the secondary market, according to a term sheet obtained by Reuters.

N.Y. Natural Gas Futures May Fall Below $3: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures may tumble below $3 per million British thermal units after a rebound pushed prices to an area of resistance between $3.87 and $4, according to a technical analysis by Barclays Capital.

China Buys Russian LNG Spot Cargo at Record Low Price in June

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s largest energy user after the U.S., bought a spot liquefied natural gas cargo from Russia at a record low price last month, customs data show.

E.ON to Add Gas-Fired Plants in Spain as Domestic Growth Capped

(Bloomberg) -- E.ON AG, Germany’s largest utility, will focus on gas-fired power production and solar energy in Spain as part of a drive to expand generating capacity as a cap on growth at home spurs investment abroad.

The Relationship Between Gold, Oil and Your Stomach

Humans eat or humans die and with the Peak Oil specter looming, this issue is becoming very pressing for about 923,000,000 people. The Internet is an amazing series of tubes. A friend told me that Nate Hagens, MBA, former Managing Director at Salomon Brothers, Lehman Brothers and editor of The Oil Drum, used my liquidity pyramid near the end of his presentation at the June 2009 Oil Drum/ASPO Conference in Alcatraz, Italy. The presentation was extremely interesting. Continuing the theme, on 8 July 2009 he authored an article: CFTC – Futures Position Limits On Energy?

Who do you think you are kidding...?: On the trail of the BNP as it makes its first, shambolic appearance at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Griffin has a gift for the soundbite but in longer conversations tends to stare at the floor and rant circuitously. I get lost for a while during a passionate discourse on the genetic similarities of human beings to chimpanzees - and why this means we're all bound to kill each other one day unless we maintain ethnic purity. What is interesting about his language is the way in which he manipulates the fears of a declining 21st-century industrial society. He talks of shadowy "global businesspeople" (as opposed to a global financial system), presents human cultures as endangered species (rather than as products of our collective activities), and refers to the apocalyptic threat of peak oil (but not, as we know, climate change).

Transitioning Ann Arbor to Self-Reliance

“I want to demystify canning and make you feel powerful!” quipped Molly Notarianni, holding up a Mason jar full of jam. She was speaking to a group crammed into a room at the Rudolf Steiner High School, who’d come to learn about canning, oven building, medicinal plants and other skills of self-reliance.

This day-long event wasn’t just a dabbling into traditional domestic arts. Saturday’s Re-Skilling Festival – which drew about 150 people to Steiner’s bucolic campus on Pontiac Trail – fits into a broader effort, one that aims to strengthen the local economy and gird the community for a time of dramatically reduced resources.

Jump in this car for an electrifying experience

Agassi is all smoothness and charm. Thornley is direct and emphatic and yesterday he delivered a sharp poke in the eye to the oil sector, just for good measure.

Thornley said: "The renewable energy sector and car makers are good friends of ours. We are all looking forward to taking $20 billion off the oil industry and sharing it with a different set of people, including our customers."

ABB, Siemens Boosted by China Demand for Green Power

(Bloomberg) -- Three years after passing the U.S. to become the world’s biggest air polluter, China’s investments in green energy technology are boosting orders for Western power-grid builders like ABB Ltd. as their home markets slump.

Southern Co. Considers Building Nuclear Power Plant

(Bloomberg) -- Southern Co., the biggest U.S. power producer, is considering building a nuclear power plant in the U.S. to meet demand for electricity and limit the emissions of fossil fuels blamed for global warming.

Peak oil may solve climate change

The fact is, oil is peaking about now, gas will probably peak within a decade, and coal within a couple of decades. Unconventionals like oil sands and oil shale will likely make up only a few million barrels per day when global energy peaks. Unconventionals can take away some of the pain on the tail, but realistically these resources can’t do much to change the timing of the peak.

Study calculates warming threat to Colorado River

BOULDER, Colo. – University of Colorado researchers say global warming increases the chances that the Colorado River system's reservoirs could be depleted by mid-century.

A study released this week says that if global warming cuts the river's average flow by 10 percent, the chances of draining the river's reservoirs by 2057 is 25 percent.

French panel to recommend carbon tax on fuel

PARIS (AFP) – A French experts' panel is to recommend introducing a carbon tax on fuel from January 2010, as part of a government drive to slash global warming emissions, the group's head said on Wednesday.

The French government announced plans for a new Climate-Energy Contribution, aimed at steering consumers and business away from energy-hungry goods and services, following a nationwide environment conference in 2007.

NYC mayor restricts idling, but his SUVs do it

NEW YORK – Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has pushed an ambitious green agenda and cast himself as a national environmental leader, routinely runs afoul of his own anti-pollution policy by letting his official SUVs idle, sometimes for more than an hour.

Japan Denies Buying ‘Hot Air’ Credits Created in Kyoto Accord

(Bloomberg) -- Japan is defending itself against criticism that it is exploiting a surplus of assigned emission credits and buying “hot air.”

George F. Will: World turns cold on ‘climate urgency’

The costs of weaning the U.S. economy off much of its reliance on carbon are uncertain, but certainly large. The climatic benefits of doing so are uncertain but, given the behavior of those pesky 5 billion, almost certainly small, perhaps minuscule, even immeasurable. Fortunately, skepticism about the evidence that supposedly supports current alarmism about climate change is growing, as is evidence that, whatever the truth about the problem turns out to be, U.S. actions cannot be significantly ameliorative.

When New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called upon "young Americans" to "get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon," another columnist, Mark Steyn, responded: "If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you're graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade."

N.D. Could Be the Badlands for Cap and Trade

The fate of major climate legislation in Congress could rest with North Dakota.

The sparsely populated state in the upper Midwest, noted for its badlands and bone-chilling winters, wields as much clout as regions three times its size in the global warming debate. Its two Democratic senators possess crucial swing votes on Capitol Hill.

Climate Change Needs Government Push in Global Investors’ Poll

(Bloomberg) -- Global investors say climate change is a threat and want government action to combat it, even as a plurality says the effort will hurt corporate profits.

Dissenting from a consensus in Asia and Europe, almost two- thirds of U.S. investors say climate change is a minor danger or “no real threat,” according to the first Quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll. In Asia, 61 percent say higher global temperatures are a major problem, and 56 percent in Europe agree.

Comment: Why people don't act on climate change

At a recent dinner at the University of Oxford, a senior researcher in atmospheric physics was telling me about his coming holiday in Thailand. I asked him whether he was concerned that his trip would make a contribution to climate change - we had, after all, just sat through a two-hour presentation on the topic. "Of course," he said blithely. "And I'm sure the government will make long-haul flights illegal at some point."

I had deliberately steered our conversation this way as part of an informal research project that I am conducting - one you are welcome to join. My participants so far include a senior adviser to a leading UK climate policy expert who flies regularly to South Africa ("my offsets help set a price in the carbon market"), a member of the British Antarctic Survey who makes several long-haul skiing trips a year ("my job is stressful"), a national media environment correspondent who took his family to Sri Lanka ("I can't see much hope") and a Greenpeace climate campaigner just back from scuba diving in the Pacific ("it was a great trip!").

On the article "Why people don't act on climate change": nice article in many ways, except it misses the most important point, which faithful readers of TOD will recognize - the author fails to appreciate the discounting of the future that all humans do, regardless of issue.

Given how slowly climate changes compared to a human life, it is inevitable that we lower AGW on the list of life's concerns to near the bottom of that list, and polls show this.

It is for this reason (and others) that I feel that we really need to accept the "plan B" of climate change adaptation.

I don't disagree, but I think that article is onto something. And it applies to peak oil and lots of other things, not just climate change. Information just isn't enough, even for the most rational and well-informed among us.

I have been informally running the same experiment. I have several couples that I use as my "test subjects" to gauge if humanity is willing to save itself. They are intelligent, well educated, environmentally aware, and wealthy enough to make whatever lifestyle changes are necessary. But so far they have changed very little. One even traded in a car for an SUV (this was not long after expressing a worry that the only viable land long term might be in Northern Canada). I shake my head.

I went as far as to help fund a neighborhood sized survey into environmental attitudes and energy efficiency. I found that most people complained they did not have the money to make changes. But that complaint was echoed by everyone with incomes from 20k per year to the over 100k per year.

I think Mr. Chu said it best when he said something like "Most homes could be made much more efficiency for a few thousand dollars... but people would rather have a granite counter top."

Or as one of our city councilers said (paraphrased) "You can't show off new insulation to your neighbors."

Score one for Nate's thesis.

Environmentalists have been crying "wolf!" so long that the general public is not going to come running.

We are "designed " in such a way that we are geared to regulating our day to day behavior by imitating our fellow citizens.Our mental time frames are geared to the short term.

The public may mosey over-even hurry over- and take a look once in a while when there are bloody body parts of little boys to be seen.

A very few of the gaping onlookers will prove to be smart enough to realize that the wolves can get them and by extension,everybody.

Everybody else will forget about what they have seen in a day or two.

I have never been fortunate enough to actually witness hunting lions but I read that once a kill is made the rest of the zebras seem to realize has the danger has passed and don't run much farther..A few minutes later zebra behavior is back to normal.

There seems to be a built in bias that keeps us from recognizing new threats.

Doing what everybody else is doing has been a very successful strategy over the long run.Believing what everyone else believes has been a very successful strategy.

"You can't show off new insulation to your neighbors."

But you can by publishing the stats on each and every utility bill. The city-wide average, as well as your neighbors number should be on there. The lowest residential bill in a 5 mile radius gets a free month -- I would be winning at first but it wouldn't take others long to catch up.

I halted my experiment with only one test subject - my wife. I read the SciAm article by Colin Campbell back in 1999 and began banging on about Peak Oil every chance I got. two years later, for Father's Day, she bought me a new Series 2 TiVo. But you see, we already had a TiVo that worked perfectly fine. I knew then and there that we as a species would push harder on the accelerator the closer to the cliff we got.

It is a common reaction, I think.

I have to be careful with my wife. She gets parts of it, but she still feels all of the external pressures of keeping up with the neighbors. She keeps asking me what I want to do when I retire and I just laugh - who knows what kind of (*&(& shape the world will be in when I reach retirement age.

Another problem is lack of feedback for our efforts: so you sell your car and go everywhere by bike. Other than being sweaty and perhaps losing a few pounds, what is the outcome? You have to be motivated by some version of "self-righteousness". It's the same with trying to get fit, or eat healthy. So you do it for a day or a week, and you don't really feel that different. Meanwhile, you feel "deprived", because you haven't had your dose of high fat "numbing" or couch potato behavior. On the other hand, if you set a goal of growing yummy tomatoes, you will have these cool little plants to look at and soon enough, they will bloom and bear fruit. Perhaps this is why seed sales are rising by 30% whereas driving behavior only decreases by very small amounts.

Yesterday evening I came across information about the Northwest Earth Institute (http://www.nwei.org/). They target this sort of inertia by bringing together a group of people to discuss an issue over several weeks. This results in lasting change in beliefs, attitudes and behavior for some of them. It would also predictably result in an improved sense of community, a good in itself. I got a chance to look at their "guidebooks" for the discussions, also called "courses". They are brilliant! The discussion questions are really interesting! I would love to do this with my neighbors or parents at my kids' school.

Fantastic! Thank you!

Clearly *some* people are willing to go all out. We just need to figure out what switch flipped in those peoples brains and spray it into the air....

Some reasons for lifestyle changes, even if the difference they make is miniscule:

-Personal integrity and credibility (avoiding the "do as I say, not as I do" accusation)

-Leadership by example, being a model for others, demonstrating that it IS possible

-Being an "early adopter/pioneer" - discover and overcome challenges early, so that you can teach others and help them to overcome those obstacles

-Getting ahead of the curve: training oneself to give up things and to learn to live a simpler lifestyle before one absolutely has to, practice is preparation

All good, and I agree.


I think "Frodo walking to Mordor" is the level of personal responsibility to aspire to.

This thought goes through my mind every year when there are the ASPO meetings. Can I really justify getting on a plane and flying all the way across the country to go to such a meeting? Is there something I can learn by being there that I can't learn by buying the DVD set?

I suppose if one is part of the influential circle of the Peak Oil Community, it might be seen as useful in terms of collaborating to enhance the efforts to educate the public at large.

However as a lowly observer - not so much. I ordered the DVDs in 2007 and found it to be very informative and easy to absorb over several evenings. Last year I went to Sacramento because it was relatively close to home and decided that regardless of location I would no longer attend conferences in massive energy sucking hotels with lavish spreads of food and beverages. It's DVD's for me from now on.

Will future conference DVDs be produced if no one attends the conference?

Agree with Leanan - "Information just isn't enough, even for the most rational and well-informed among us."
I am 'a smoker' who stopped 29 years ago (I sometimes still dream I am smoking a cigarette). A long-held aspiration was 'converted' to a sudden certainty by an anti-advert showing a photo of a baby, a few weeks after the birth of our second child. The 'stop' was permanent, but what followed was instructive. It was as if I had a series of clever but idiot 'imps' on my shoulder whispering rationalizations into my ear. These gave me a whole new 'take' on who 'I' might be and a lesson on deconstructing blandishments of all kinds. I think it gave me a lasting partial immunity across the board, though I still occasionally am able to sell myself the odd mistaken notion or other 'must-have'. (By the way its not 'will-power', whatever that is. Come to think of it, I seem to also now have difficulty 'believing' all kinds of stuff. )

There is another issue, a geographic one. Many folks that live inland see climate change as primarily a coastal issue. If you live in St. Louis, Atlanta, or Louisville, the thought of getting flooded by rising sea level is not nearly as big a fear as it is to folks in New York or L.A. Most folks inland don't worry so much about tempeture changes...so living in Louisville will be more like living in Atlanta as far as climate goes...they can live with the thought of that. The bigger pictures of eco-system changes really don't register.

Well, yes. Not only might the thought be livable, but many folks want to move to a warmer climate as they grow older - or their doctors advise it in no uncertain terms, due to the risk of breaking fragile bones slipping and falling on winter ice. So if the maps showing the states moving a few hundred miles south climatically (and linked around here somewhere a couple of weeks ago) pan out, millions might be saved the trouble and expense of moving. Put it this way and it's hard to see a downside - the world as it is might not be the best of all possible worlds after all. Sure, people would have to adapt in some ways, but there's little change in that: they're already having to adapt like crazy anyhow, just because the ongoing population explosion is whipsawing everything in sight almost faster than they can blink.

Of course there will be big problems should shortages of energy for air-conditioning develop. Then again, such energy shortages would also have dire implications for heat. There's really no viable solution but either to extract sufficient energy (in the context of future insulation standards) one way or another, or else pile the entire US population into the sole region with a mostly-livable year-round climate, namely the coastal Pacific Northwest.

The eco-"system" - if one insists on calling the agglomeration of what randomly happened to crawl in or waft in on the wind, and happened to survive since the last Ice Age, a "system" - is of course already thoroughly altered, merely by lumbering and agriculture, never mind anything else such as the Ice Age itself, or mining, or water extraction. It's hard to see further change, even major change, carrying apocalyptic significance compared to that.

Sure, various patches of dirt may well be infested differently in the future than in the past. Sure, there will be droughts and floods and pestilences. But all that is already baked in, and not only by human influence, but by the last Ice Age and subsequent warmup overturning everything and darwinnowing insufficiently adaptable biological rubbish a mere evolutionary eyeblink ago. That sort of thing has gone on from long before time immemorial. It would have continued strongly even with zero human influence, just because the Ice Ages flicker by so quickly on geological and evolutionary time scales. So what?

If you think that the effect of Climate Change is simply going to be a mellow shifting of states to warmer zones, with "no downside", you're wrong. Temperature and precipitation patterns are being all wrenched around, and agriculture is going to be stressed.

And to say that nothing matters with ecosystem change because there's always been change is Pollyannish in the extreme.

You are confusing human/societal time spans with geological ones. We need to worry about the next century, not muse on the stately flow of geologic time and evolution. In other words, it's no so much about change, it's about rate of change.

Your understanding of ecosystems, and our dependence on them, seems rather shallow.

But it's all good.

or else pile the entire US population into the sole region with a mostly-livable year-round climate, namely the coastal Pacific Northwest.

Thank you no... too many people here already as it is. Even Friday Harbor is being overrun (especially this time of year, with the flotillas of weekend warriors.)

I've always considered the "Plan B" as geoengineering.

Or rather "Plan A", since it became obvious five to ten years ago that no serious reduction action would ever be taken.

Climate change 'adaptation', otherwise known as 'suck it up', is the 'do nothing' option, and not really a flyer.

Don't forget to check out "Plan C" by Pat Murphy, C for curtailment.

It is hardly doing nothing if people actually plan for it.

What I personally expect is a series of "Nobody could have expected this" disasters in vulnerable areas until the population of those areas drops below the news threshold. I hope at that point anybody left in vulnerable areas will know enough to be prepared.

That is the true "do nothing" option, not prevention, not attempting to reverse the trend, not preparing to adapt, but rather adaptation by removal of all those not adapted.

The real danger of climate change will be apparent in a few years. Forget melting ice sheets and flooding cities, at least for the time being. It's local ecologies that will suffer first, and our food supply second.

RE: Comment: Why people don't act on climate change

In other words, "do as I say, not as I do".

(This comment from one who commutes on foot 1.7 miles each way to work, and hasn't been on a airplane for 4 years - and hopefully never again.)

You and me, both, WNCO.

I had to laugh at the comment 'Guarani well drilled in wrong spot' from the link up top. Aren't all dry holes drilled in the wrong spot? Wells drilled in the Brazilian sub salt are among the most expensive wells in the world. A Deutsche Bank research note estimates the total cost of the well at $150 million. A few more $150 million dry holes and the big oil companies may get very skittish about drilling in the Brazilian deep sea sub salt.

Ron P.

I don't think Exxon threw darts on a map when they decided the location for this presalt exploration well. When you're going to spend $150 million drilling a well, you're likely going spend a lot of time and money researching potential locations based on probability of success.

It seems like the brazilian authorities are worried about reality not living up to the hype.

When I download EIA .xls files they now say "(read-only)," and I can't make graphs using Open Office. This is a completely useless form of copy protection as well, since I can simply copy the data, paste it into a new doc, and do whatever I want with it. MS Calc lets me make charts right off the bat. I just finished reinstalling my OS, is anyone else seeing this, or is it a problem on my end perhaps?

(Insert conspiracy theory about opacity of data here)

I was modifying several related to natural gas just 2 days ago. Which spreadsheet specifically? Can you provide a link?

Any of 'em - I've tried sheets from all the different categories and they all have this "read-only" note attached, so it's being employed globally. The note shows up when I use Calc as well; usually I use Open Office however, and like I said I've just completed this reinstall so perhaps it's a problem on my end.

Try downloading one and see if you get this note attached.

Dude, I have had this problem whenever I use someone's computer that does not have Microsoft Office installed. I just tried loading the EIAs International Petroleum Monthly and I had no problems whatsoever.

Ron P.

It happens to me if I open the file directly from the site. But if I "save link" then it does not. It also does not prevent me from doing a "save as" and putting it in another file. I use Microsoft Office Excel and browse via Mozilla Firefox.

Hope that helps!

It only involves a couple of extra clicks to modify the files, all told. Just reinstalled MS Office, perhaps EIA have Microsoft as a subcontractor? That's funny that it would be a problem cured by their product. Will see what happens with a reboot.

That's funny that it would be a problem cured by their product.

Dude, you don't understand. The EIA spreadsheets are in Microsoft Excel. That means you need Microsoft Office, which contains Microsoft Excel, Word, and Power Point. The EIA is using their product to deliver their spreadsheets and that is why the problem is cured by using their product.

Whenever you do something to manipulate these files you are using Microsoft Excel. Whenever you see the extension .xls that means it is a Microsoft Excel file.

Ron P.

Not true.

Whenever you do something to manipulate these files you are using Microsoft Excel. Whenever you see the extension .xls that means it is a Microsoft Excel file.

.xls means it's a Microsoft Excel file, ok, but there are many programs (different from Excel) to edit them.
Never used Open Office?

Errr... if you are manipulating a Microsoft Excel file then you are using Microsoft Excel. You may be using some other product also but that does not change the fact that if you are using Microsoft Excel then you are using Microsoft Excel. How could it possibly be otherwise?

That is why the problem is cured by using their (Microsoft's) product, it is their product!

Ron P.

There is a difference between software that runs in memory and files that are stored on disk. Microsoft Excel is a piece of software that runs in memory and can work on many different kinds of files. Microsoft Excel is a tool used to create or manipulate files.

"Excel" files (~.xls) are files that adhere to a Microsoft standard format that can be manipulated by many different pieces of software. Excel files are simple files that exist on your computer.

Excel .XLS files can be opened in other applications than Excel(Word for example). You won't have the number crunching abilities though.

Dude- Have you tried using Windows Explorer to remove the "read only" attribute from the file after downloading it?

Hey - that puts the fix in, and I tried it yesterday without success before reinstalling MS Office, so perhaps this is a registry issue. Will Google around a bit more to see if others have had to deal with this problem. New OS is XP Professional and perhaps that's an issue as well.

I use Excel for bubble charts and that's about it. Don't crunch anything beyond simple MVAs and correlations so I don't need anything too fancy, although to my untutored eye OO seems to be as sophisticated as Excel.

Errr... if you are manipulating a Microsoft Excel file then you are using Microsoft Excel.

Gnumeric, Kspread and Open Office all allow the reading and saving "a Microsoft Excel file". Gunmeric, Kspread and Open Office are not Microsoft Excel.

Errr... if you are manipulating a Microsoft Excel file then you are using Microsoft Excel. You may be using some other product also but that does not change the fact that if you are using Microsoft Excel then you are using Microsoft Excel. How could it possibly be otherwise?

That is why the problem is cured by using their (Microsoft's) product, it is their product!

I just made an .xls file. In the interest of brevity, I'll post just the first eighty bytes, though I could post it all:

00000000: d0cf 11e0 a1b1 1ae1 0000 0000 0000 0000 ................
00000010: 0000 0000 0000 0000 3e00 0300 feff 0900 ........>.......
00000020: 0600 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0100 0000 ................
00000030: 1900 0000 0000 0000 0010 0000 feff ffff ................
00000040: 0000 0000 feff ffff 0000 0000 1800 0000 ................

Your web browser has just read an .xls file. This does not mean that your web browser is Microsoft Excel. You have just read an .xls file. This does not mean that YOU are Microsoft Excel.

All files are just numbers (see above). In fact, you can treat each of those numbers as a single digit in one, really big, number. A number with millions or billions of digits.

There is nothing about the number "7" that ties it to a particular piece of software by a particular vendor, and likewise for the million-digit numbers we call .xls files.

Your web browser has just read an .xls file.

Damn! You could have fooled me. And to think all the time I thought I was reading an HTML file.

Damn! You could have fooled me. And to think all the time I thought I was reading an HTML file.

This is like saying "You claim I read a story, but in fact I read ink on paper."

The .xls file was on my hard disk, stored as numbers. I happened to present it to you as a hex dump, in ASCII, which reached you in HTML format, then was rendered on your screen, which produced photons, that excited your retina, which informed your brain, which recognized it as the same numbers! By a circuitous route, the .xls file was copied verbatim to your brain.

The many concrete representations of a file are ephemeral and arbitrary. What endures is the fact that a file is conceptually nothing more than a very large binary number - often with millions of digits.

The contents of a DVD, for example, are a binary number with about eighty billion digits. This is interesting if you consider the implications of copyright law: there exist numbers that are illegal to share!

Well, by your logic, you are using HTML, but since HTML isn't anyone's "product", clearly nothing will work.

This is not copy-protection at all. If you open a spreadsheet straight from the webserver then you cannot save it back (it is implicitly read-only since websites are read-only). In practice of course, the browser saves a local copy in your temp folder and the permissions depend on your environment (OS, software, version). However as others have said just doing 'save as' in a more useful place will give you a fully writable copy of the file.

I notice that at the moment WTI is the cheapest oil grade listed on the spot market at


It used to be a premium, light sweet blend. To me this indicates that demand is picking up faster in other parts of the world,
whilst the US is still on the demand downslope. Given that all the drop in US demand is in distillates, it does not look good for the economy.

A few years ago, light sweet blends had a huge premium, because the refineries could not handle the sour stuff in sufficient quantities. Now there is no refinery capacity problem. Just less oil to go round.

Headline in today's DB: Oil slips after U.S. crude inventories rise
I am looking at the futures chart and today looks like a $2+ gain. What gives?

It's the "stock market" effect.

Aramco calls bid for Arabiyah and Shaybah gas development schemes

Armco has approached contractors to bid for work on the Arabiyah and Shaybah gas development schemes, in the Eastern Province and Rub al-Khali respectively. New gas production from both should come on line by 2014.

This was reported a few days ago, but the curious inclusion in their plans was Shaybah. The Shaybah oil field is far away from anything, and they have been re-injecting the gas to maintain pressure. So no more re-injection? Apparently, it doesn't need it anymore.

Aramco currently reinjects the associated gas it produces from Shaybah back into the field to maintain reservoir pressure. However, following recent studies, it has concluded it no longer needs to re inject so much gas.

I hope this assessment was made by reservoir engineers and not the Saudi equivalent of "suits".

Oil Futures in Steepest Contango in 2 Months

Oil Futures are in their steepest contango in over two months with contracts for Dec. 2017 delivery trading near $93 per barrel. September contracts, closing above $66, are still within the range of closing prices over the last month but the far end of the futures chain has risen faster and further than contracts for delivery in 2009.

Whether traders are factoring in inflation, increased demand or decreased production is unclear. However, a steep contango in the early part of the futures chain provides incentive to those traders storing oil in tankers for future delivery.

One concern is that another leg down in stocks and the economy would trigger a rush to sell physical oil and flood the market, driving the spot price below the cost of production in newer fields.

From the NYMEX Futures Databrowser:

I love these graphs :)

However I think its very reasonable to assume that inflation and continued growth in India and China along with tepid growth in oil supply more than explains our current contango. Obviously there is some concern about the rate of growth of oil supplies built in but I just don't see peak oil signals in the market.

My opinion continues to be that as peak oil becomes clear that it will first hit in the front months somewhere.

I call a perfect peak oil signal a camel hump formation assuming that it first hits further out in the futures chain. We will see contango vs the front month and backwardation vs the future months. This hump will is really unstable but I think we will see it form. Only after this has happened do I think we are now pricing in peak oil.

Thats my best guess but regardless I tend to think that the market will first effectively treat it as a short term spike event and only after it persists for a bit will it convert into what ever the post peak form will be.

The camel hump might be wrong but I'm thinking some sort of very interesting formation showing first in the futures market before we go post peak.

Another possibility is contango could say really flatten out with different months being in backwardation and contango vs near by months then we go "post peak" probably back into contango.

One even that has to happen is the oil market needs to decouple from the stock market i.e the oil needs to go up and the market down for several months showing that even a declining stock market is no longer capable of pulling down oil prices. Also a related coupling with the dollar however in this case the oil market would need to go up even as the dollar strengthens.

Basically the economy should signal its having problems via a strengthening dollar and falling stock market but the oil market should decouple and rise regardless. I think this will lead to the strange formation in the futures market I mentioned above and thus signal peak oil is now a market problem.

So I'm now thinking we will get a fairly clear signal from the market when peak oil becomes a issue.

Sounds like it's getting pretty hairy down in Mexico. The violence is spreading from the cities to the farm towns.

Mexican cartels target polygamist Mormon sect

COLONIA LEBARON, Mexico - Mormon pioneer Alma Dayer LeBaron had a vision when he moved his breakaway sect of polygamists to this valley 60 years ago: His many children would live in peace and prosperity among the pretty pecan orchards they would plant in the desert.

Prosperity has come, but the peace has been shattered.

In the past three months, American Mormon communities in Mexico have been sucked into a dust devil of violence sweeping the borderlands. Their relative wealth has made them targets: Their telephones ring with threats of extortion. Their children and elders are taken by kidnappers. They have been drawn into the government's war with the drug cartels.

if you have an hour
worthwhile imo

also, Leanan,
my laptop crashed a couple of months ago and I can't remember the firefox ex. that you use to make your links pretty.

There are several. I use BBCodeXtra, mostly out of habit.

I'll take this opportunity to Thank You very
much for that tip, Leanan. I use it a lot !

I don't condone violence against anyone so don't get me wrong, but I can understand how Mormon or Mennonite communities in Mexico could be targeted. Such communities as I've experienced were little enclaves of wealth and overlordism amidst a sea of poverty. The wealthy white landowner lives in a fine brick house and drives a nice car and has expensive farm equipment, while the paisanos who hoe his fields or tend his orchards or dairy herds are virtual serfs living in shacks well away from where el hefe dwells. I never could understand why the Mexicans didn't run them off and take over the land. Mexican revolutions have typically been about land reform; maybe it's time for another revolution. Of course, the big opium poppy & marijuana operations run by Mexicans are just as bad, in terms of exploitation of labor.

Some have suggested Mexico as a peak oil hideaway. But one of our posters, who had lived in and studied south and central America for decades, warned that Mexico would be a very poor choice. To me, it's looking like she was right.

As I keep reminding people, when an angry mob is on the march, the differences between a bad American, a good American, or a former American might be lost on them.

Meanwhile, LA, which is more Hispanic by the day, is seeing a dramatic drop in violent crime (murders down YOY from 394 to 274 yearly pace) http://cbs2.com/local/Los.Angeles.County.2.1085275.html

With the Manhattan murder rate at an incredible 1/10 the rate of 1972 (62 murders last year) http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20090113/FREE/901139997

It is probably BS.
The numbers are nothing but propaganda at this point in the failing society.
It is probably part of a campaign to keep ever more people from bailing.

Except for a quick trip to Naco (for a taco) a couple years ago, I've not been to Mexico in about a decade. But back in the '80s & '90s I used to go there several times per year, usually. Sometimes I took my own vehicle, sometimes I rode public transportation and sometimes I hitchhiked. Besides a few shakedowns by the police, I never had any trouble in Mexico and always had a very good time there. I found the Mexican people to be invariably polite & hospitable. I read about all the narco violence nowadays and think that perhaps things have changed. Or perhaps the danger is hyped. I don't really know.

The problem isn't the Mexican people. It's their political system. I forget exactly what she said. Something about it being very corrupt, and very much an old-boy network that is closed to outsiders (whether Mexican or not). She recommended Costa Rica as a country that has a much more open political system.

Two things:

George Will(ful Deceit) has now earned the title of Biggest Denier Idiot on the planet. It pains me to say this, as there was a time a couple of decades ago when I admired his writing (even if I completely disagreed with his politics).

I just posted my own thoughts on the "Why people don't act on climate change" piece linked above: Resorting to belief

State budgets walloped again

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The bad news about state budgets just keeps getting worse. Only three weeks into the new fiscal year, gaps are already opening up. And the shortfalls are only expected to grow.

..."The revenue forecasts are continuing to underperform even the most pessimistic of projections," Eckl said. "There's still a lot of this ahead of us."

Well, here in Minnesota we solved our budget short falls this year by not paying schools the money they are owed this fiscal year and are planning to pay them in the next fiscal year.
So in the next fiscal year Minnesota will be starting the budgeting process already a few billion dollars in the hole.
The other great alternative the politicians came up with is to borrow enough money (from the future) to pay for all their waste/excesses today.
Rinse and repeat and all your budget problems are solved?
Politicians are almost all crooks/scammers at heart?

Politicians are almost all crooks/scammers at heart?

There is more and more lit that they tend towards being a group of sociopaths.

No kidding right?
Just look at the examples in recent history.
They are all pieces of sh#t.
Who wants that job anyway?
Only someone that had incorrigible acne and an undersized penis etc. Losers that need a position to overcome their enormous insecurities.
We are in serious trouble folks. Or maybe not. Let's just go and take them off their perch.

The fault lies not in our movie stars (and politicians),
but rather in ourselves.

We like the lollipops they offer.
We vote for the sugar-coated dreams.

Yes we can.

A few weeks ago somebody questioned (politely) my sincereity as a believer in climate change because I wrote something to the effect that although I dislike "Algor" on a visceral level,I still agree with him "mostly" or "generally" on the science.

The link above "peak oil may solve climate change" or something close is an excellent example of why I "generally" agree with a lot of "foregone"conclusions.

I have known lots of things to a certainty that later turned out to be hot air.

"It's not what we know but what we know that ain't so ......"

And Al -if you get bored or something and click on this site and see this,don't feel insulted personally.

My opinion of all the other politicians whose names come up frequently is only a tad higher on the average.

You might have made it on my personal respect scale if you had left off the Abraham Lincoln crap about life as a child on grandpas farm.

Such places are resorts if they belong to your family and your family has money. Anyway you spent your childhood in or near Washington in very nice hotels.

Now Bill Clinton could have grinned and gotten a laugh out of me with that little fib.

And to top off the hypocrisy..his dad made his money as a tobacco farmer! Kind of like the Kennedy fortune being built on bootlegging.
His privilege came from one of the worst scourges human kind has ever endured.

What makes a man is what he does with what he has.

Don't blame those born poor for their parents being poor, don't blame those born rich for what their forebears did to get that way.

Now, if he was running and making profits off a tobacco plantation today: that would be hypocrisy.

touche.....fair enough.

Yeah,but the REAL reason I don't like him is that he comes across to me as a phoney.

I didn't like a lot of Clinton's policies but he had the knack of being 'real".

That's fair.

GWB always seemed like a drunk to me, from the first sentence I heard out of his mouth.

I still can't believe that anybody at all voted for him the first time.

Bush number 2 was worse than a drunk he was a natural idiot and an insult to our intellects.

Yeah -the worst thing that ever happened to comservatism as a political philosophy imo is bush2.

And he's not only a phony,he's a bloodsucking parasite that made his money out of the taxpaywers in his home state on what looks to me like an insider deal on a piece of a baseball team that got a free stadium.

At least Bill And Hillary stole thiers-or tried to- the old fashioned way-thru a get rich quick real estate scheme.

So he was able to turn a low six figure investment into over fifteen million and owed only a capital gain tax.He's the sort of republican that calls this a win/win for the team owners and the taxpayers.The vast majority of those taxpayers will never set foot in the stadium

At least people like Warren Buffet are willing to tell the truth about tax rates.He publicly says his receptionist pays more,percentage wise,than he does.

I wonder when Obama and company will remember that the dems are the party of the people and restore the progressive income tax-so that the people making millions per year like thier buddies in the megabanks actually have to pay meaningful taxes and at progressve rates.

If the ecomony goes entirely to hell in a hand basket at least I won't have to help buy any more stadiums for the guys already rich enough to own pro sports franchises.

Anyone know how much validity the "Peak Oil May Solve Climate Change" article has? And whats with that 450ppm number? Why would that be "acceptable" and not 350 (the "point of no return" number I've heard recently)?

I don't think it has any. Peak Oil is already climate change. Pump and use another 33% of the initial endowment and the problem is 33% worse unless it is used very slowly.

CO2 is not uniformly good for crop yields, some crops don't like it. (At least according to popular sources like Kunstler. See The Long Emergency) And the CO2 associated climate change, ie. drought, heat, floods, invasive species and so forth probably is not liked by any crops.

Also it seems to understate the effect diminished FF inputs will have on factory farming output, causing at least major disruptions in yield in the transition to sustainability.

Some here on TOD would argue unsustainable damage has already been done at currently existing ppm.


Thanks for the voice of reason. Also, Ive seen numbers published that were in the 380ppm range recently, so yeah, well past someones idea of "acceptable".

Guys, you're missing the point.
Nobody will voluntarily starve or freeze as oil becomes scarce; they'll move on to lower and lower quality forms of energy. Tar sands, lignite, your neighbor's shrubs - they're all fair game if the alternative is Olduvai. So I'd expect that global per-capita carbon emissions may very well rise in the near future as declining contributions from SUV's and air travel are more than offset by the frantic amassing and burning of anything that can stave off the inevitable for one more Winter.

Did you actually read the article?

The people who wrote it are not denialists,and are not minimizing the possible(probable )consequences of more and more co2 in the atmosphere.

They are simply pointing out the undeniable fact that the AMOUNT of oil that will be burnt in the next few decades is FAR SMALLER than the amounts used in running the climate models.

There is also a very real possibility that coal will peak a lot sooner than most people think,and ditto natural gas.

So the people who made the global warming/climate change forecasts-who are SUPPOSED to be among our very best scientists-swallowed the ff usage projections of the govt geologists w/o even checking thier figures.

And now we know that the govt geologists simply decided-WITHOUT RESEARCHING THE QUESTION- that oil,coal,and gas would be available, in the amounts,and at the prices,that the cornucopian bau economists projected. We know it because they themselves have admitted that it is so,and we should have known it anyway because the first rule of politics is to go along to get along-especially when the day of reckoning is far in the future.

Any body even moderately intelligent and involved in climate change should have ,must have been, aware of the possibility of peak oil for a good many years-unless the are either incompetent as investigators or intellectually sleazy enough to ignore the facts and "go along to get along".

You have heard of course that if it is impossible for a man to understand something if his salary depends on it's not being so-perhaps that's all that really needs to be said.

EVEN A COUNTRY LAWYER WHO HAS NEVER MADE OVER FIFTY GRAND WOULD GOOGLE "FUTURE FF SUPPLIES"-if going to court over a misdemeanor and the question of future fossil fuel supply might be important to his case for some reason.

I my self would dismiss global warming/climate change as pure bullshit if the only evidence for it were to be computer models created by people with a money and careers on the line- money and careers that depend on the "right " results.

I haven't heard about any good sized grants going to those not "on board",have you?

So whatever happens,happens.But the models as run to make the forecasts were fed garbage,in a sense-and although I know next to nothing about computing,I know that garbage in equals garbage out.

Now it so happens that if I were a trained climatologist/phyicist/etc and a modeling expert,I might believe in the models in and of themselves-if I had the time and opportunity to examine them closely.

But any body that believes anything supported almost entirely by govt money that flows in only one direction is niave at least-more probably intellectually challenged, or maybe too disconnected to really care.

But in the case of gw/cc models there is plenty of corrobative evidence-as a farmer who reads the farm news for instance I know that the average last frost dates have beem coming earlier,that the average first frost dates are coming later,that our growing seasons are getting longer,that the glaciers in most places are shrinking fast,etc.

Bugs that used to be minor problems are big problems now because we don't have enought cold weather to kill them off sufficiently over the winter.

I could go on all day of course.

So I am a believer in gw/cc.

And so I do accept that the models are valid.Maybe even too conservative.My gut feeling is that there may be powerful positive feedbacks than are not yet included and that some positive feedbacks already included may be underestimated.

But only because as Ronald Reagean said,"trust but verify."

I have known too many things "for sure" over the years that just ain't so.

But the people who wrote that article did us all a big favor by pointing out how easy it is for even so called world class experts to get it not only wrong but VERY SERIOUSLY wrong.

If you have never read The Black Swan I highly reccomend it to you.It does a superlative job of pointing out the fallibility of modelers.

Of course I read it oldfarmermac. And I agree with almost everything you said, especially your comment that the funding that pays the scientists itself comes from vested interests so there is pressure on them that can affect their results.

But the article seems to me to also be saying that peak oil would mitigate warming in the future because there will be less CO2 emissions eventually 'cause the oil would be gone, and that CO2 was good for crops anyway. My take was that these assertions were wrong enough by themselves to pretty much invalidate the whole thing. I mean, the title is Peak oil may solve climate change.

It won't. CO2 comes from more than oil, and populations continue to increase (for now). And climate change is not just propotional to emissions. (see other posts on this thread)

They also say that "the IPCC curve does not agree, even at present, with the slope of the observed curve", they mean the observed temperature increases are already lower than predicted. I have only heard this kind of talk from deniers. If it quacks like a duck....

Thanks for your advice


The Bunger essay is flawed in several ways. Firstly, it assumes that all atmospheric increases in CO2 result directly from human burning of fossil fuels, and does not consider indirect inputs due to thawing permafrost, deforestation including forest fires, etc. Due to positive feedback mechanisms that have already been unleashed, CO2 levels would continue to increase even if humans stopped buring fossil fuels altogether.

Secondly, Bunger assumes that the difference between carbon emissions and atmospheric accumulation is 100% explained by biosequestration. This isn't the case. Much dissolves in the surface ocean as carbonic acid. The surface and deep oceans aren't well mixed but they do mix over time. Much of the "missing" carbon is being transferred to the deep ocean and to other abiotic "sinks."

Thirdly, the author claims that increased levels of CO2 stimulates primary productivity. This is rarely the case as most green plants aren't CO2 limited. If nitrogen or phosphorus or iron or water is the limiting factor, increasing CO2 does not increase the rate of photosynthesis. The fact is that heat & drought stressed plants are less productive, despite CO2 "fertilization."

Fourthly, his own flawed model still has CO2 levels peaking at 412 ppm. This is only 8% less than 450 ppm and is entirely too high. 390 ppm is already too high.

My take is that Bunger has a vested interest in opposing the Obama agenda on climate change mitigation. Probably repubs or the energy industry has bought him for his "credentials" as a prof. I may oppose the Obama agenda myself but for the opposite reason to Bunger's: it doesn't go nearly far enough to be effective.

My opinion watch climate change information flow in is that our models seem to be repeatedly proved to be highly optimistic almost every prediction seems to turn out to be both way to low and way to late.

The biggest one is so far the models seem to have completely botched when the Arctic would be ice free. And I question how good they are at prediction climate change after the Arctic becomes significantly ice free for a number of years. Your effectively suddenly adding a new Ocean to the planet and thats simply to large of a change to model correctly.

I think we are already well past the point of no return however if the Ocean is becoming saturated like it seems to be and a lot of our natural carbon sinks are begin degraded then additional rises in C02 levels could well prove to be very damaging even to the point of doubling the overall effects as we not only past the point of no return but overrun the buffering capacity of the ecosystem.

If we can keep C02 levels below a certain level I believe the natural buffering can work to keep climate change reasonable however if we overrun and say saturate the Ocean we could easily see a spike in atmospheric C02 and Methane levels leading to a sharp and devastating spike in C02 that might only be removable by slow formation of carbonate rocks.

Next to add insult to injury the changing sea levels could be sufficient to induce and increase in natural volcanic activity as ice melts and sea levels rise we could effectively trigger more tectonic activity than we have been used too.

I at least believe that there are certain additional threshold levels existing in the carbon cycle that we really really don't want to cross and the current projected changes are the mildest ones we may face.

No one knows what the C02 levels are that might trigger these and far more important is the rate of change in C02 levels. One of the gaping holes in the research is that a slow change in C02 levels has a significantly different impact vs fast changes. Thus a 10 ppm change over 100 years is not the same as 10ppm over say 10 years. In fact given this is my opinion post I believe the rate of change in C02 levels from AGW is far far more damaging then the actual level. And I think this is the place where we have made the gravest mistakes with our models. And obviously this is tied closely to the way our carbon cycle works. Simply the fact we tend to emit more C02 in the northern hemisphere winter vs summer when the planet is least able to absorb it has probably magnified the effects. The rapid melting of the Arctic vs the changes in the Antarctic which has less seasonal influence from our C02 emissions suggests that rates and timings of C02 changes are just as important as the actual amounts.

"Anyone know how much validity the "Peak Oil May Solve Climate Change" article has?"

None. The vast majority of hydrocarbons have yet to be developed. Not to worry though because the extra CO2 being generated has little to no effect on climate. It will help crop yields though, that much has been proven.

For wide enough definitions of "help" I suppose you are correct.

Actually, widening the definition of "crop" works well too. Weeds are said to grow much better with more CO2. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/07/poison-ivy-loves-co2.php

"Anyone know how much validity the "Peak Oil May Solve Climate Change" article has?"

None. The vast majority of hydrocarbons have yet to be developed.

When it is true what memmel writes, that the rate of change of CO2 is more damaging, then Peak oil will have influence. Certainly when the worldeconomy collapses because of dropping oil exports.

Nothing in science is ever "proven." The best that can be said is that an experiment fails to refute the null hypothesis. Your assertion to the contrary reveals how little you know about hypothesis testing & the scientific method. Your other assertions should be evaluated with this in mind.

CO2 will only increase the rate of photosynthesis and by extension crop yields if all other major and minor nutrients are available in excess. Since this is seldom the case, increased CO2 contributes negligibly to yield in most cases. Heat and drought stress on crops due to anthropogenic emissions of high heat capacity gasses can be expected to reduce crop yields overall, rather.

Theories are proven with experiments. The "global warming" theory has never been proved. However, CO2 level increases have been proved to increase plant growth with the FACE experiments:


Your "assertions" are proved wrong.

I notice you say "plant" growth. Very clever.

Isn't this link mostly about increased below ground carbon sequestration in the root systems and soil of temperate zone forests as CO2 is increased, not about food crops? Have you read it? Hint: go to the "results" section.

Have you been eating these tree roots? Tasty?


You assuming Con is posting from Earth. We don't even know what color the sky is on his planet.

Green maybe. (see Peter Ward)


It will help crop yields though, that much has been proven.

Where has this been proven?


What's the difference between the Liebig Minimum and big lies?

Obama Prescribes The Blue Pill -
nation swallows, markets ramp up -

Denninger doesn't buy it.

I was wondering when the inevitable massive dump of Treasuries on the market would start to pile up unsold. It may start this next week.

But Obama is still selling it:

Barack Morpheus Preaching To Americans To Believe Whatever They Want To Believe

"... the blue pill is better than the red pill..."

Posted by Tyler Durden at 9:20 AM


I heard Barack The Catechist repeated his Red Pill-Blue Pill analogy last night in a televised speech to the nation of adult-sized children.

I'm just surprised Obama's handlers let him use that metaphor (even I know what it means and I've never seen The Matrix). Maybe Barack is trying to tell us something ... ????

I very much agree with Denninger - it is time to find a nice quiet, out-of-the-way spot, curl up into the fetal position, and suck your thumb until it's over.

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother Barak gives you
Don't do anything at all

(With apologies to the Jefferson Airplane)

RE: Will electric cars ignite a lithium boom?

I guess that is better than a lithium-deuteride boom.

Nominated for comment of the week on TOD!
(BTW, it's LiD & LiT.)

No its not. Its generally just lithium deuteride. You dont need tritium, the Li-6 gives it to you.

I just reread The Curve of Binding Energy the last couple of days. Still scary after 35 years.


Okie dokie, all the tritium is in the form of T2 gas. Apologies.

Bravo! Second the 'best comment' vote...

Will electric cars ignite a lithium boom?

It will ignite a lithium racket boom. Nobody is going to build any of these cars but the investor class will certainly fake it. See GM and Chrysler ...

As for Denninger's carry trade ti- rade:

The thing about carry trades is the ZIRP country is essentially investing in ... another country! Smart move in a depression, right? We have .15 Funds rate and the Chinese are offering 5.31% ... that's your carry trade right there!

Why can't we invest in our own country? Why are people stupid?


Carry trade means borrow funds where it is cheap and invest where -usually another country - there is a higher yield. As long as the currency values remain stable, there is a nearly risk- free return. Carry risks increase dramatically if currencies revalue so the fact of the CT would indicate that investors are not concerned at this moment about a dramatic fall in dollar value.

If it does fall (or rise) watch out!

You'd think that it's Bolivia that would go boom if lithium took off. But I posted somebody's presentation here some time ago that said there was barely enough Li to accomodate the expanding device (mostly laptop & MP3) markets - forget EV's.

Here's something like it:

Further developments on Ontario's nuclear front....

Bruce Power drops plan to build Ont. reactors

Bruce Power has dropped plans to build new reactors in Ontario's Bruce County, the company said Thursday.

The company said it has opted to focus on refurbishing its Bruce A and B reactor units at its site about 250 kilometres northwest of Toronto on Lake Huron.

The company also said it will withdraw its application to build reactors in Nanticoke, on Lake Erie, citing declining provincial energy demand.

See: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/07/23/bruce-power-cancelled-reac...


UMaine's Presque Isle Campus Goes Green

The University of Maine at Presque Isle is the first university in the state to install a wind turbine on campus. But wind is not the only way the campus is going green. The university has taken other steps to both lower costs and educate students and the local community about alternative energy in the face of climate change....

See: http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNews/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mid/1858/ItemI...


I don't hear much talk about hydrogen sulfide bubbling from the oceans if the ocean reaches a certain temperature. ABC in Australia had a program about this. I don't remember the link or name of the documentary. It also said that the hydrogen sulfide killed much life and this caused oil to be formed over millions of years.

Regarding the Lithium article, unless this dubious EEStore thing comes off then Lithium is going to be in demand and since mining is the conversion of Energy to Metal any company that can minimise their input energy is going to come out a winner IMO.

My research on this subject for the NOSH fund (Nick Outrams Speculative [Peak Oil] Hedge fund ! :o) indicates that there is one clear winner that ticks all the boxes:

SQM : Sociedad Quimica y Minera

1. It is currently the worlds largest Lithium producer
2. It 'mines' the already concentrated Salars (brine lakes) of South America -hence a huge chunk of energy has already been expended by the sun. As energy prices rise low energy input costs will be one of the CSFs of lithium miners.
3. It is also a massive Phosphate producer so gives an N-P-K play.

Regards, Nick.

Disclaimer: I own a few.