Drumbeat: September 10, 2009

Growing Asian middle class to propel oil use: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rapidly expanding middle class in China and India will provide the main engine for world oil demand growth in the coming years as families in developing nations buy more cars and appliances to go with their thicker wallets, according to a study released on Thursday.

The outlook could place a firm floor under global oil prices into the next decade after the first decline in world energy demand in a quarter century pulled them to lows near $30 a barrel this winter.

"The dramatic growth in the middle class, concentrated in China and India, provides a significant upside to the outlook for global oil demand growth in the next several years," according to PIRA, a New York-based oil consultancy.

Marin Katusa: Get-and Stay-Ahead of the Herd

TER: One of the managers was quoted as saying that finding a project this big will ease the concerns about peak oil. Do you think that's true?

MK: No. If you look at how many of these types of deposits that have been found, that's not true. It will increase their reserve numbers quite significantly. But to say that it will ease global peak oil-nah, that's just rubbish.

Fossil fuel: Now without the fossils

More bad news for the Peak Oil doomsday cult. Russian boffins say they have proved that fossil fuels can be created synthetically by replicating the high pressure, high temperature conditions found in the upper parts of the Earth's crust.

Condemning the corporate campus

Corporations engaged in environmentally destructive practices provide funding to many departments here at U of T, including Engineering, Geology, Forestry, Chemistry, and Commerce. Why is this a problem? Because some industries, such as fossil fuel and mineral extraction, cannot ever be made sustainable in any meaningful sense of the word, despite the rhetoric of “sustainability” that appears in their promotional literature.

If our society is to make the necessary transitions to renewable energy, local agriculture, and greater energy efficiency in order to survive peak oil, finite resource depletion, and anthropogenic climate change, these industries must be phased out. Truly sustainable industries and green jobs must be put in their place. This could and should be the business of such departments, not minor reforms that contribute to the illusion that fossil fuel companies can be made “sustainable.”

Investing In Clean Energy

The United States is taking a big step this month in its efforts to spur private sector investments in clean and renewable energy. U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $502 million in the first round of cash awards from a U.S. government program that provides cash assistance to energy production companies in place of earned tax credits.

The new funding creates additional upfront capital, enabling companies to create jobs and begin construction that may have been stalled until now.

Study: Wind could cut China's emissions by 30 pct

BEIJING (AP) -- China could cut its emissions by 30 percent in the next two decades if it switches to wind power to meet about half of its electricity demands, a U.S. study published Thursday said.

China's energy needs are expected to double by 2030, but the study in the journal Science says that the country could reasonably meet half of those needs with wind.

Wash. says deal will cut pollution at coal plant

SEATTLE (AP) -- The state Department of Ecology says a proposed agreement with TransAlta will reduce air pollution at the state's only coal-fired power plant in Centralia.

But environmentalist say the pollution limits doesn't do enough to protect public health.

THE WORLD IN 2025: Rising Asia and socio-ecological transition [PDF]

Energy: Tension between rapidly growing demand and restricted supplies due to the resources available (oil, gas) or their polluting nature (coal) should cause a constant rise in energy prices that could be contained by an increased use of renewable energy as well as progress in the reduction of energy consumption. However around 2025 the energy question should remain a source of major tension (economic and geopolitical) due to the likely “oil peak” and the energy needs of a world of 8 billion individuals.

Briefly speaking, the tensions will be both between production and consumption patterns and between production/consumption patterns and natural resources.

Mexico water shortage becomes crisis amid drought

Reporting from Mexico City - In the parched Mexican countryside, the corn is wilting, the wheat stunted. And here in this vast and thirsty capital, officials are rationing water and threatening worse cuts as Mexico endures one of the driest spells in more than half a century.

A months-long drought has affected broad swaths of the country, from the U.S. border to the Yucatan Peninsula, leaving crop fields parched and many reservoirs low. The need for rain is so dire that water officials have been rooting openly for a hurricane or two to provide a good drenching.

Better world: Take Friday off… forever : The four-day week could boost employment, save energy and make us happier

FANCY a three-day weekend - not just once in a while but week in week out? You may think your bosses would never agree to it, but the evidence suggests that employers, employees and the environment all benefit.

Better world: Tax carbon and give the money to the people

Goods should be taxed to reflect the damage they do to the planet, with revenues redistributed to society.

Better world: Generate a feed-in frenzy

ONE day, 100 per cent of our energy will have to come from renewable sources. But how do we make it happen?

There is a proven way to rapidly boost the adoption of renewable energy - give companies or individuals who want to generate green energy access to the grid and promise to pay them extra for the electricity they "feed in" over the next 20 years or so.

"Dramatic" rise in renewables needed for 2C goal

OSLO (Reuters) - The share of renewable energy will have to rise "dramatically" if the world is to have a chance of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) temperature rise, a leading expert said on Wednesday.

Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of a scientific group due to present a U.N. report on renewable energy in 2010, said clean technology such as wind and solar power needed a big role even if the world also turned increasingly to nuclear power.

"To achieve a 2 Celsius target the share of renewables has to be increased substantially and dramatically," he told the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in a telephone interview.

Smart Growth Solutions Can Help Coastal, Waterfront Communities Address Climate Change, Other Challenges

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies have released a first-of-its-kind smart growth guide that will help coastal and waterfront communities tackle threats from sea level rise, stronger hurricanes, flooding and other challenges.

Maria Bartiromo: The Big Oil Dilemma

When compared with oil’s all-time high of $147 per barrel last year, the current price in the $68–$70 range could be easily dismissed as insignificant.

I believe that would be a mistake.

I think oil is a big story.

Iraq Urged by U.S. to Open More Oil Fields to Boost Stability

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. ambassador to Iraq urged the Iraqi government to open more oil fields to investors, saying the move, along with a hydrocarbons law, would be a “game changer” for the country and undercut terrorism.

“A market economy generating sustained economic growth and increased employment opportunities will weaken insurgent and extremist networks,” Christopher Hill, 55, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee today.

Brazil to Pass New Oil Rules in 7 Months, Deputy Says

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s Congress will likely pass new regulations for deepwater oil fields off the coast of the South American country within seven months, said the head of the government coalition in the lower house.

The lower house will probably start voting on the rules by Nov. 10, Deputy Henrique Fontana, who is also a member of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s Workers Party, said today in a telephone interview from Brasilia.

Poland faces gas shortfall

Poland faces shortages of as much as 800 million cubic metres of gas this year if it fails to reach a long-term supply deal with Russia, a deputy treasury minister said today.

In January, some Polish companies led by state-controlled chemical producers were forced to cut production after a Russia-Ukraine row reduced gas supplies by a quarter.

Trident Resources Files for Bankruptcy Citing Gas Price Decline

(Bloomberg) -- Trident Resources Corp., a Canadian natural gas explorer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S., citing a drop in prices and fluctuations in the Canada-U.S. currency exchange rate.

The company listed as much as $10 million in assets and as much as $1 billion in liabilities in a filing yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Lower natural gas prices may decrease cash flow and force a delay in investments, it said in a separate motion to the court.

Michael Pollan: People Are Finally Talking About Food, and You Can Thank Wendell Berry for That

Certainly these are heady days for people who have been working to reform the way Americans grow food and feed themselves -- the "food movement," as it is now often called. Markets for alternative kinds of food -- local and organic and pastured -- are thriving, farmers' markets are popping up like mushrooms and for the first time in many years the number of farms tallied in the Department of Agriculture's census has gone up rather than down. The new secretary of agriculture has dedicated his department to "sustainability" and holds meetings with the sorts of farmers and activists who not many years ago stood outside the limestone walls of the USDA holding signs of protest and snarling traffic with their tractors. Cheap words, you might say; and it is true that, so far at least, there have been more words than deeds -- but some of those words are astonishing. Like these: shortly before his election, Barack Obama told a reporter for Time that "our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil"; he went on to connect the dots between the sprawling monocultures of industrial agriculture and, on the one side, the energy crisis and, on the other, the healthcare crisis.

Nouriel Roubini: Is Resource Nationalism Back?: A look at Brazil, Iraq, China ... and Alberta.

Triggered by Wednesday's OPEC meetings and last week's announcement of new regulations governing Brazil's offshore oil, I am devoting this week's column to examining whether government control of the resource sector is increasing as commodity prices continue to creep up.

US Interior Department Considers 'Variable' O&G Royalty Rates

According to Reuters, the Obama administration is mulling "variable" royalty rates for drilling on federal lands that would reflect the difficulty of tapping oil and natural gas supplies.

Speaking at the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that the Interior Department intends to issue proposals by the end of the year to update the royalty rates and ensure that oil companies pay reasonable rates as oil prices rise.

Oil, gas contracts on Chavez agenda in Russia

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was in Moscow on Thursday to negotiate and sign new oil and gas contracts between his country and Russia.

"Agreements on cooperation in the oil and gas sector, and in environmental protection, are being prepared for the visit," the Kremlin press office said.

Pemex Cuts 2010 Investments 4.7% to 250 Billion Pesos

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, the largest oil producer in Latin America, will cut its investment budget 4.7 percent next year to 250 billion pesos ($18.6 billion).

The state-owned company’s spending plan, outlined in the federal budget sent to Congress yesterday, will fall from a record $19.5 billion this year, Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said today at a press conference in Mexico City.

Quito sets sights on output boost

Ecuador has no plans for now to boost oil capacity and is instead concentrating efforts on maintaining output from mature fields and overhauling oil legislation, Energy Minister Germanico Pinto said.

Ecuador's oil output stands at around 450,000 barrels per day and it wants to boost that to over 600,000 bpd.

"We have potential (to pump more)," Reuters quoted Pinto telling reporters at a briefing after last night's Opec meeting.

"Right now our efforts are to sustain oil output. The problem is the levels of investment needed are high given that many of the oilfields are mature."

Brazil’s Tupi Field May Yield 1 Million Barrels a Day

Lobao said Brazil’s oil reserves may grow to become the world’s seventh or eighth largest after the discovery of so- called pre-salt fields.
Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s Tupi oil field may yield 1 million barrels a day, or almost half of Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s current output in the country, Energy Minister Edison Lobao said. Shares of the oil producer led gains in Sao Paulo.

Brazil’s oil reserves may grow to become the world’s seventh or eighth largest after the discovery of so-called pre- salt fields, Lobao told senators today in Brasilia. Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based state-controlled company is known, will be the sole operator of the fields under new proposed regulations.

Political bickering already bogs down Brazil oil debate

Political bickering over potential windfall oil profits threatens to derail debate over Brazil's new regulatory framework for oil and gas, mere days after the proposals were announced with great fanfare.

Governors from key oil-producing states clamor to maintain royalties; opposition leaders vow to fight the monopoly granted to state-run energy giant Petrobras; and bad blood remains from a string of recent congressional investigations pitting many lawmakers against one another.

Oil & Gas Industry Supports 9MM American Jobs, 7.5% of GDP

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry supports more than 9 million American jobs and makes significant economic contributions as an employer and purchaser of American goods and services, a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found.

The study entitled "The Economic Impacts of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry on the U.S. Economy: Employment, Labor Income and Value Added” notes that the industry's total value-added contribution to the national economy was more than $1 trillion, or 7.5 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, in 2007, the most recent year for which data was available.

Saudi Arabia maintains oil shipment cuts to Japan

SINGAPORE (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest state-owned oil company, maintained cuts in its supplies of crude to Japanese refiners for October, said two officials who received notices.

The company, also known as Saudi Aramco, will keep reductions in supply at about 10 percent to 15 percent below contracted volumes, according to refinery officials who asked to remain unidentified because of confidentiality agreements.

Conoco Says Australia Could Be Biggest LNG Exporter

Australia could become the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, by 2020, the head of ConocoPhillips' Australian unit said Thursday.

The comments came as Chevron Corp. said it has signed three binding sales agreements to supply nearly three million tons a year of LNG from the proposed Gorgon project in Western Australia state to Japanese and Korean energy companies.

Where Did the Ever-Worsening Grain Shortage Go?

Grain elevators across Kansas have a problem this fall as the combines get ready to roll for what looks to be a record fall harvest. The elevators are full of wheat. The terminals are too.

Faced with lower than break-even prices, farmers haven't sold their wheat. They are holding on, hoping that dwindling supplies will push prices upward or that a recovering world economy will spur export sales. But that leaves no place to put the corn, soybeans and milo about to start pouring in to local co-ops.

India food prices surging on poor monsoon

New Delhi: Indian food prices surged nearly 15% in the year ended August as a poor monsoon hit crops, but analysts said moderate price pressures elsewhere in the economy meant an interest rate rise was unlikely for now.

The annual change in the overall wholesale price index was negative on 29 August for a 13th week, although a return to inflation looked imminent in September as the effect of last year’s high fuel and commodity prices fade out of calculations.

Bill McKibben on Why 350 is the World's Most Important Number

Bill McKibben (author of Deep Economy and The End of Nature) is the man behind 350.org, the campaign to convince the world that we aren't safe until global carbon dioxide levels are down to 350 parts per million. In the run-up to major climate talks in Copenhagen, the author-turned-organizer has orchestrated what he hopes will be the largest day of climate action in history, complete with scuba divers in the Maldives and monks in Tibet.

McKibben talks with TreeHugger about the recent good news from the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and about one of his greatest challenges to date: being a guest on The Colbert Report.

Nicholas Stern Latest Climate Expert to Endorse 350 ppm Limit

While the world’s governments struggle to agree on emissions cuts that would keep atmospheric CO2 from exceeding 450 ppm, a growing number of climate experts are warning that even that target is too high.

British economist Nicholas Stern is the latest to recommend 350 ppm instead. Stern, whose 2006 Stern Review spelled out for the world the economic crises that would accompany climate change, told a reporter in Germany that 350 ppm — rather than 450 ppm — would be “a very sensible long-term target.”

IEA Raises 2009, 2010 Oil Demand Forecasts on Growth in China

(Bloomberg) -- The International Energy Agency raised its global oil demand estimate for next year for a second consecutive month, citing growth in Chinese consumption and stronger-than-expected oil use in the U.S.

World oil consumption is likely to average 85.7 million barrels a day next year, 450,000 barrels a day more than previously estimated, the adviser to 28 nations said today in its monthly report. Demand growth next year, at 1.27 percent, is lower than previously forecast after the outlook for 2009 was also increased.

“There is growing evidence that the global economy may be finally stabilizing, with industrial de-stocking coming to an end, coupled with the effects of large-scale government intervention,” the IEA said in the report. “Oil demand in U.S., China and other Asia appears to be running stronger than preliminary estimates suggested.”

OPEC Maintains Oil Quotas as IEA Raises Global Demand Forecast

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC said it will keep oil production quotas unchanged, banking on a recovery in the world economy to maintain prices near today’s $72 a barrel as the International Energy Agency raised its global demand forecast.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to maintain total production quotas at 24.845 million barrels a day and will urge members to adhere to targets, OPEC Secretary General Abdalla El-Badri said. The IEA raised its global oil demand estimate for next year for a second month, citing growth in Chinese consumption and stronger-than-expected U.S. oil use.

Economic jitters hit OPEC oil cartel at talks

VIENNA (AFP) – Top oil-producing countries expressed "grave concern" that a recovery from the economic downturn crippling energy demand will be slow and uncertain, as they held their output steady on Thursday.

"Since the market remains oversupplied and given the downside risks associated with the extremely fragile recovery, the conference once again agreed to leave current production levels unchanged for the time being," said the closing statement by OPEC.

Economy takes over as OPEC's oil market fundamental

VIENNA (Reuters) - OPEC's around midnight deal to keep output steady marked the third time this year it has opted for no policy change, citing first economic weakness and now economic recovery as a reason to ignore bulging oil stocks.

But the bottom line was the producer club's confidence the return of investor appetite for riskier assets such as oil would be enough to sustain a robust market rally.

Nigeria set to become oil leader

ABUJA, Nigeria (UPI) -- Nigeria is set to become the African leader in oil as an amnesty program with Niger Delta militants contributes to a rise in crude production, officials say.

Australia in $60 bln Japan, S.Korea gas deals

CANBERRA (AFP) – Australia on Thursday announced liquefied natural gas (LNG) deals worth up to 60 billion US dollars with Japan and South Korea, raising its status as a major energy supplier.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Chevron Australia would supply three firms from the planned Gorgon field off the country's west, just weeks after joint venture partner ExxonMobil's record 41 billion US dollar deal with PetroChina.

"These contracts will deliver in the order of 70 billion (Australian) dollars worth of exports to Australia over the next 25 years," Rudd told parliament.

Oil at $65 pays for Petrobras subsalt plan -report

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras would be able to fulfill its planned investments for the next five years with no need for additional capital if the price of oil CLc1 stayed around $65 a barrel, its chief executive told Valor Economico in an interview published on Thursday.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unveiled last week long-awaited plans to overhaul Brazil's oil sector. Among the proposals was for a capitalization of Petrobras worth 5 billion barrels of oil, using yet-to-be-proven reserves instead of cash.

Preparing to spend a “millionaire ticket” from offshore

The government has unveiled plans to give the state the lion’s share of the money from vast new oil discoveries. Will this wealth be invested or squandered?

Korea National Oil Considers Overseas Acquisitions

(Bloomberg) -- Korea National Oil Corp., beaten by China in the race to buy Geneva-based Addax Petroleum Corp., said it’s seeking to acquire overseas assets to boost production.

China Pushes Burma Pipelines Amid Criticism

BEIJING (IPS) - Despite fresh international criticism of Beijing's backing for as unpopular a regime as the Burmese junta, China sees its alliance with the country's military as a matter of simple economic expediency and is determined to forge ahead with controversial joint dual oil and gas pipelines that will ensure greater energy security for its robust economy.

Pakistan can't sell Iran's gas -- official

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (UPI) -- Pakistan is not permitted to sell natural gas from an Iranian pipeline to any third party under the terms of its agreement with Iran, officials say.

Bank of China’s Zhu Sees ‘Bubbles’ in Asset Markets

(Bloomberg) -- Bank of China Ltd., which led the nation’s $1.1 trillion lending spree in the first half, said ample liquidity has caused “bubbles” in stocks, commodities and real estate.

“The potential risk is that a lot of liquidity goes to the asset market,” Vice President Zhu Min said in an interview in Dalian today. “So you see asset bubbles in commodities, stocks and real estate, not only in China, but everywhere.”

Venezuelan Leader Praises Putin’s Tough U.S. Policy

MOSCOW (Reuters) — President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela praised Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Wednesday for standing up to the United States, as Mr. Chávez began a visit to Moscow that the Kremlin said would concentrate on energy and military agreements.

Cooperation between Russia, one of the world’s top oil exporters, and Venezuela, a member of OPEC, has been dismissed by the United States as mostly talk, but the relationship is being watched with concern by Colombia, which has stormy ties with Venezuela, its neighbor.

China Strongly Opposes U.S. Duties on Steel Oil Pipes

(Bloomberg) -- China “strongly opposes” a ruling by the U.S. Commerce Department to impose duties of as much as 31 percent on steel pipes, the Ministry of Commerce said today.

The U.S. decision doesn’t comply with rules set by the World Trade Organization, the ministry said on its Web site.

Kjell Aleklett: Peak Oil - Economy and Climate on the path down from the peak

Our oil needs for the next 20 years can be found in known reserves. The problem is that the oil exists in small pores within layers of stone and must be forced towards the borehole from which it is pumped up. Investments in new technology can influence the flow, but this flow is restricted by physical parameters such as pressure, viscosity and surface tension. However, a study we have made of the largest oilfields shows that just before half the oil is extracted from a field its flow begins to decline dramatically by, on average, 8% per year. What is unfortunate for our future oil production is that a large part currently comes from giant old oilfields. Today, the crude oil production is 72 Mb/d but in 20 years these fields will produce between 20 to 30 Mb/d.

Economy vs. ecology

Out of what humanity takes from the earth in one year, it takes the earth one year and four additional months to regenerate. At our current pace, we are liquidating our planet of its goods faster than it can give them back to us. With developing nations anxious to successfully catch up, a human balance with ecosystems needs to be found before the earth has hit the point of no return.

The artificial necessity for goods created a hole in several ecosystems and disrupted a fragile balance of life that was doing fine until humans with dollar signs in their eyes entered the picture.

John Michael Greer: A Terrible Ambivalence

At some risk of oversimplification, the argument between Monbiot and Kingsnorth may be summed up more or less as follows. Both agree that industrial civilization faces imminent collapse. Monbiot argues that collapse might still be prevented if we all pull together, that the only alternative is letting total collapse happen, and that this is unthinkable because billions of people will die horribly. He argues that the only alternative to preserving modern society in some improved form is a cataclysmic process of mass dieoff ending in a new dark age ruled by petty warlords, with some new earth-ravaging society likely to rise on the ruins of the old unless his preferred political solution gets put in place to control our species' ecocidal tendencies.

Kingsnorth rejects all this. He insists that collapse can't be prevented, and in any case should be allowed to happen, because industrial civilization is a "planetary weapon of mass destruction" and letting it collapse is less destructive than allowing it to continue. He cites my concept of the Long Descent to argue that the end of industrial civilization could be a lot less traumatic than Monbiot thinks it must be, insists that ecocide is inherent in our present society rather than in humanity as a whole, and suggests that whatever replaces our society is bound to be less dreadful than what we have now.

Signs of peak oil: Here and growing louder

Why, in the midst of a global recession, are oil prices hovering in the $70-a-barrel range, when $30-odd a barrel was considered a good price for the market just a couple of years ago?

Meet a little concept called “peak oil,” which — despite its detractors — is daily showing more signs of becoming the new global reality.

Peak oil: Is the global economy going to run out of gas?

As the global community focuses on righting the economic ship of state, it seems worthwhile to take another peek at the "peak oil" debate. The basis of considerable controversy, peak oil is the theoretical point at which global oil production will plateau, and then irreversibly decline. Geologists and veteran oil industry analysts have varying forecasts as to when peak oil will occur, with several arguing that the concept itself is flawed, and that crude will remain abundant through the 21st century.

Still, the forecasters all agree on one point: if global oil production peaks, the price of oil will quickly rise to unprecedented levels. For example, given current demand conditions, if peak oil occurred today, oil would quickly rocket to $100, then $150 per barrel, creating the world's fourth oil shock.

Electrical thinking

The energy of the future appears to be electricity. In the auto industry, an enormous consumer of power, companies are gravitating to electricity. Unlike hydrogen, the distribution system is already in place. Most residents have plugs on the side of their homes.

Auto companies have seen the future -- with its spectre of peak oil -- and realize that electricity will be their products' future propulsion.

Toyota to Show Its First Plug-In Prius at Frankfurt Motor Show

(Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest seller of autos powered by a combination of gasoline and electricity, said it will display its first hybrid car that can be recharged at a household outlet in Frankfurt next week.

The 2010 Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle, or PHV, will be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which opens to the press Sept. 14, the company said in a statement today. Toyota plans to deliver 500 of the cars to global test fleets starting this year, including 150 in the U.S.

West vs. China in solar war

BERLIN (UPI) -- Europe's solar energy industry is facing a wave of bankruptcies because Asian companies offer their products much cheaper.

Google plans new mirror for cheaper solar power

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google is disappointed with the lack of breakthrough investment ideas in the green technology sector but the company is working to develop its own new mirror technology that could reduce the cost of building solar thermal plants by a quarter or more.

Wind Power Capacity May Exceed India’s Estimate by Fivefold

(Bloomberg) -- India can build wind power plants that may be able to generate almost five times more than the government’s estimate by 2030, according to a study by the Global World Energy Council.

Wind energy capacity can climb to as much as 231,000 megawatts in India, compared with the government’s forecast of 48,000 megawatts from 216 potential sites, according to the study, produced in partnership with the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association.

Nation's oldest nuclear plant showing its age

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – As the nation's oldest nuclear power plant shows its age, some call it Oyster Creak.

The latest problems — a series of radioactive water leaks — were found just days after the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station got a new 20-year license that environmentalists bitterly fought for four years.

Arab states race for nuclear power

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (UPI) -- Amid the gathering storm over Iran's controversial nuclear ambitions, the race is on among Arab states to build nuclear power plants of their own, opening up immense trade opportunities for the industrialized world as well as the specter of proliferation.

Monbiot: Palm oil power plants become burning issue thanks to UK's crazy 'green' policy

This is a story about the maddest energy scheme the world has seen since Ferdinand Marcos built a nuclear power station on a geological faultline. As I write, councillors in Newport, south Wales, are sitting down to decide whether or not to approve a new power station that burns vegetable oil. It's one of several being considered in the UK. These plans owe their existence solely to government policy.

Kenya appeals for 400 mln dollars to save largest forest

NAIROBI (AFP) – Kenya on Wednesday appealed for 400 million dollars to conserve its largest forest ecosystem which has been extensively destroyed over the past two decades.

Report on global warming predicts dire Illinois consequences

WASHINGTON -- If global warming continues unchecked, Chicago would see a repeat of the killer 1995 heat wave every summer by the middle of the century, an environmental group says in a study released Wednesday.

The report from the Union of Concerned Scientists also predicts that the city's air quality would deteriorate if humans do not scale back greenhouse gas emissions dramatically.

Illinois farmers would suffer from droughts, pests and flooding that would more than outweigh any potential benefits from a longer growing season caused by warmer temperatures. Heat stress in cattle could force the state's dairy industry to migrate north.

"Global warming represents an enormous challenge to Illinois' way of life and its residents' livelihoods," the authors write in conclusion.

An updated global warming prediction for Michigan

The Union of Concerned Scientists is out with a report today on how climate change is expected to impact Michigan.

Expect more heat waves, flooding and reduced crop yields if nothing is done to stave off the worst consequences of climate change, says a peer-reviewed paper from UCS.

"The Midwest climate is already changing," Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University and a co-author of the report, said in a statement.

Sarkozy unveils new carbon tax for 2010

CULOZ, France (AFP) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday announced plans to impose a new carbon tax next year on oil, gas and coal as part of a drive to combat global warming.

The plan would make France the biggest economy in Europe to impose a carbon tax on households and businesses, boosting Sarkozy's green credentials ahead of a key UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

Walruses congregate on Alaska shore as ice melts

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Thousands of walruses are congregating on Alaska's northwest coast, a sign that their Arctic sea ice environment has been altered by climate change.

Maldives welcomes Denmark aid for climate talks

COLOMBO (AFP) – The Maldives, which faces the prospect of being submerged by rising sea levels, welcomed Wednesday an offer by Denmark to finance its participation at a key climate change summit in Copenhagen.

Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who said this week he would have to skip the meeting to save money for the crisis-hit islands, said he was "delighted" to hear that Denmark had offered to sponsor their participation.

EU considers 15 bln euros to help poor nations on climate

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union will propose giving developing countries 15 billion euros annually to help fight climate change, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Wednesday.

Reinfeldt said that the figure, which represents a target annual contribution to be reached by 2020, is a "starting-point" in negotiations on a new global deal to combat climate change after Kyoto Protocol requirements expire in 2012.

Behind India's Intransigence on Climate Change Talks

If you ask India's climate change negotiators, the December summit in Copenhagen will be not about how to save the planet, but about how to accommodate the rights and aspirations of millions of Indians like Kumar. Since developed countries have already pumped out a large proportion of the greenhouse gases that the environment can safely handle, they argue, those same nations must vacate some atmospheric space for the latecomers to industrialization. The current concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 380 parts per million (ppm), 72% of which has been emitted by developed countries. Most scientists agree this needs to be stabilized at 450 ppm or less, leaving a tiny wedge — about 70 ppm — where the developing countries must jostle for space to industrialize and pollute.

Talk about a deer caught in the headlights!
Meredith Whitney on CNBC.


I can't make up my mind if she is ahead of the herd or just part of it.
I wonder what Stoneleigh would say?

Whitney issues a whole bunch of stern warnings for everyone caught up in green shoot drinkies. The only bank she's upbeat on is Goldman, all the rest are at risk. And she sees home prices go down another 25%. I would recommend everyone watch that video. You have to remember what her viewpoint is: she advises rich clients. Take that in stride. Hardly a deer in headlights. Things might get bad today; Whitney carries weight.

I think there is no doubt that home prices will go down dramatically from here, it's just a question of when.“

And then of course read Sooner or later it becomes your life to find out what new tricks Washington is developing to prevent those prices from falling.

Lessee ... the past 100 years' economic paradigm has been leveraging petroleum into money, which can be done with cheap petroleum ... hmmm ... there is a feedback loop right there.

So the money/petroleum arbitrage is finished and so is the economy that is built upon the concept whether anyone is aware of it or not.

Certainly not the President or anyone in government, not in the banking community or in real estate.

Does Meredith 'get it'? I don't know - I don't think she goes far enough. (Does Ilargi get it? Probably). But .. let's look at deleveraging, Home prices are going to follow wages and wages are tied right back to ... the money/petroleum arbitrage. We can't have it all anymore, we are in an allocation or rationing regime, now.

Petroleum becomes more expensive and more precious, it is less and less useful as something to be wasted; for aimlessly driving in circles by hundreds of millions of people.

This was from Denninger this morning:

Assets, Income and Debt
Assets, Income and Debt

What is interesting is the relationship between assets and incomes. Incomes are flat (falling) as asset values are declining sharply. As assets continue to decline the entire population with assets falls 'underwater' that is the intrinsic worth or their 'stuff' requires more income to manage than it is worth; the 'surplus penalty' I rant about periodically where the costs of managing a surplus of anything are greater than the value of the thing itself. The amplifier of this penalty is the increasing cost of petroleum. Obviously, the debt has to return to a level supportable by income which Meredith seems to understand ... which is tied to the money/petroleum arbitrage ... which is not on the radar screen.

Asset values can return to a 1971- ish (Bretton Woods/gold standard) level and incomes can fall along with them and you can come to your own conclusions about what will happen to all the debt.

Update: Census Bureau sez our incomes declined by 3.6%

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that real median household income in the United States fell 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, from $52,163 to $50,303. This breaks a string of three years of annual income increases and coincides with the recession that started in December 2007.

Between 2007 and 2008, the real median income of non-Hispanic white households declined 2.6 percent (to $55,530); for blacks, it declined 2.8 percent (to $34,218); for Asians, it declined 4.4 percent (to $65,637); and for Hispanics, it declined 5.6 percent (to $37,913). Except for the difference between the declines for non-Hispanic white and Hispanic households, all other differences between the declines were not statistically significant.

I concur Steve. This is a gem that should become a staple on TOD:

"the past 100 years' economic paradigm has been leveraging petroleum into money, which can be done with cheap petroleum ... hmmm ... there is a feedback loop right there.

So the money/petroleum arbitrage is finished and so is the economy that is built upon the concept whether anyone is aware of it or not."

My experience from past recessions is that it was always cheap oil that spurred the economy into recovery. By cheap I mean dirt cheap. $70 bucks is too high. It may not seem like too much at the pumps for a lot of people, but overall cost of oil must be dirt cheap in a recession to do as you say above, act as a leverage for money.

There was an article on TOD a while back that I thought conveyed this idea by way of the Inflection Point, and suggested we are at that point. If so, then the economy is finished as we have known it in the past. Its treading water gasping for air.

Steve,this is one scary graph.

What does "sweep accounts drop reserves to effective zero mean in plain English"?

The rest is obvious enough.

There is really nothing new about this except the scale.

I personally gaurantee that any one who will take the time to read Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" will find it to be both a fun read and a very useful historical source.

This 1841 gem is as relevant today as any piece in today's Oil Drum.

In the affairs of men there truly is nothing new under the sun.

What does "sweep accounts drop reserves to effective zero mean in plain English"?

It'a an aspect of fractional reserve lending, ordinarily there must be some cash held in hand by a bank to service risk - the possibility of non- payment by a borrower. By reducing reserves a bank increases leverage ... to the greatest degree possible. Increasing leverage increases earnings to the bank.

Most bank lending orbits real estate development. Since real estate values were to never decline, there was no reason for a bank to hold cash as a reserve against any possible bad loans. Banks would 'sweep' deposits on hand to another, interest earning account or investment and do so on a daily basis. There would be no cash reserves on hand, in other words.

The debt part of the graph is scary, the relationship between asset values and income are what is most interesting, at least to me. The whole idea behind the last 20 years of speculation has been to inflate - with debt - asset values as a hedge (against rising fuel prices - that is my theory and I'm sticking with it).

The asset values are evanescent; currently diving and with no bottom. I suppose Picasso's and large diamonds will have some value, but the rest? Tract houses? Granite counter tops? Derivatives of credit card balances? Regardless of the loss of 'value', the debt remains. When asset values cross the invisible line of income, they also are automatically are added to the 'debt' side of the graph as they simultaneously represent both the debt that created them as assets plus the service on that debt but also the cost of managing and maintaining them. That cost will assuredly be greater than the debt and the interest costs.

Can you imagine the cost of keeping a Picasso or a thousand tons of wheat in the middle of a socio- eocnomic breakdown? How about a $3 million McMansion? How about twenty of them?

Excuse me, I have to take a 'hubris' break.

Speaking of books, another good one in the same vein is Charles Kindleberger's "Manias, Panics and Crashes'. That and J. K. Galbreath's history of the Great Crash are both fun and informative.

That chart should be framed and put next to a portrait of Reagan.

Thanks,I still have a hard time believing some of this stuff-It all seems like a fairy tale but when I talk to someone at a bank it is obvious that they are totally clueless in comparison to the average reader of the Oil Drum.

I gree with folks like you that most so called assetts are intrinsically worth little or nothing and will continue to deflate until there is some sort of radical adjustment in the scheme of things.

But my reading of history and personal understanding of politics indicates that at some point the federal government will print enough paper money or inject enough electrons into the banking system to create an inflation the likes of which you and I have only read about.

This might come about within the framework of the current banking system and result in only "moderate " inflation at first-say ten percent a year unless it gets out of hand-which imo it will.

But such an inflation might stave off collapse for a few more months or even a few years.

Or it might be delayed untul such time as the congress creates a new financial paradigm altogether-the bankers may be in charge for now but once the barricades are burning and the national gaurd is on active duty in every major city the bankers may find themselves out in the cold.

Maybe they will try to hide as Mussolini did, by passing themselves off as peasents.

If one has a lot of gold on him I might hide him for a consideration -say about as much per week as he "earned" per day as a banker- or I might just sic the dogs on him if he is not suitably deferential.

In ant event I expect to live to see another widescale hot war-the first real one on the grand scale since WWII.At that point all bets are off.

I got to this thesis a little late, but reading the paper describing the flow-of-funds accounting model is quite educational:

The gist of this is keeping track of the flow of actual money and not some abstract notion of values of goods (i.e. the real economy). I understand this approach pretty well as it fairly well describes a data flow model, and this is mathematically similar to the oil shock model which keeps track of the flow of oil.

But what I don't get is the missing equivalency between oil and money that the accounting model does not consider. The paper basically slams conventional equilibrium economic thinking (the models that Greenspan and the Fed were using describing individual actors working to maximize their worth), yet it doesn't acknowledge the energy constraints that we are facing.

I almost am getting the impression that the flow of funds accounting is getting close to making the evolutionary leap into a Limits to Growth scenario.

Steve has got to take a look at this paper, if he hasn't already as I would like to see how it fits into his view. I will definitely look it over again as it has a lots of good bits. My favorite is the mention of Say's Law which I haven't run into since college. Paraphrased it says:

"production of commodities creates, and is the one and universal cause which creates a market for the commodities produced".

or production creates its own demand. In my mind it essentially equates to the idea that all oil will get consumed as it creates its own market once it comes out of the ground. The greedy algorithm at work. Once this flow stops, the flow of funds will experience a correction. In the accounting model this equivalence between money and oil is not mentioned outright but it probably should be.

Say is right about one thing.
If we have a bunch of something lying around we will figure out a way to waste it.
Don't worry about thinking ahead to next year when that stuff in abundance now might be scarce. Better use it up before someone else does.
Maybe we shouldn't have lawyers and accountants and economists running things..............maybe we should have people with science backgrounds maybe even specifically natural science educations.
How did we ever get such tunnel vision............everyone is scope locked on money. UGGHHH!!!

I had to look up Say's Law recently.

From what I've seen it is a fine piece of economics work, misused horribly by both his supporters and detractors.

Of course, it makes one heck of a lot more sense if you phrase it "Wealth is produced by production, which can then be used for consumption."

It saddens me how much economics work reads like net kook physics posters trying to prove Newton wrong because their wonderful theory means anti-gravity devices can be built.

Horribly abused= Supply side economics.

Not just the supply side economics, but the folks who deny it completely as well (from what I've seen the neo-Keynesians fall into the latter camp).

If you deny that wealth (as opposed to money) is created by production, then all sorts of shenanigans suddenly make sense.
If you assume that possession of wealth automatically means consumption in direct proportion to that wealth, all sorts of other shenanigans make sense.
If you assume that money is the same thing as wealth, you could be working for the Fed.

Like I said, the lot of them read like some self-taught physics enthusiast trying to prove anti-gravity works. The math may be elegant, but that doesn't mean it has any connection to reality.

I do, however, have the utmost respect for those economists who are at least trying to put a more solid foundation under their art by observation and experiment. I hope we don't have to wait another generation for their works to bear fruit.

The problem with this or any concept for that matter is they need to be seen in relation to the larger systems in which they exits and impact.
Any idea taken and applied in isolation will surely have unintended consequences that feed back and many times those problems become very hard to corral.
Some one put it, "Giving a knife to a baby". We are seeing all of the chickens come home at once.

Tis true. Many of these economic formulas and theories were cooked up by early proponents of physics-based "ethers" back in the 1800's and no one figured to update the economics theories when Maxwell and company came along to fix up the physics-based theories.

First, thank you very much for the heads up - the Bezemer article is very interesting but I disagree with it. Why esactly I will get to in a minute but I think this might be interesting since it is in the same vein:

May 11, 2009
Notes and Handouts for Berkeley Physics Colloquium, May 11, 2009

Audio: http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/2009_mov/20090511_physics.m4a

* The fall in the adult employment-population ratio
* The increase in risk and the collapse in risk tolerance
* The fall in monetary velocity
* What determines monetary velocity?
* Policy to fix it 1: dump money into the economy
o Unjust enrichment
o Inflationary overhang
o Might not work when i<<1
* Policy to fix it 2: raise Treasury bond interest rates
o By making Treasury bonds less attractive to hold--flood the zone
+ But then you have to spend the money you have earned by selling the Treasury bonds
o By making corporate bonds more attractive to hold
+ Guarantees
+ Asset repurchases
+ Bank recapitalizations
* How did we get here?
o Herd behavior
o Short horizons
o Limits to arbitrage
* What do we do for the long term?

What is happening to employment?...

Increasing risk and collapsing risk tolerance...
Increasing risk and collapsing risk tolerance...

Are the banks about to fail?...
Are the banks about to fail?...

Increasing risk and collapsing risk tolerance affect all asset prices...
Increasing risk and collapsing risk tolerance affect all asset prices...

Why asymmetry? The fall in monetary velocity...
Why asymmetry? The fall in monetary velocity...

Asymmetry arising from deflation...
Asymmetry arising from deflation...

Flight to safety produces a collapse in monetary velocity...
Flight to safety produces a collapse in monetary velocity...

Normally we deal with collapsing velocity via monetary policy...
Normally we deal with collapsing velocity via monetary policy...

But may not work if interest rates are very low...
But may not work if interest rates are very low...

Guess where we are now?
Guess where we are now?

Time to try alternative policies to try to raise the short-term interest rate on Treasury bonds...
Time to try alternative policies to try to raise the short-term interest rate on Treasury bonds...

Time to try alternative policies to try to raise the short-term interest rate on Treasury bonds...

How did we get here?

fundamental values ...

fundamental values ...

fundamental values ...

What do we do to improve the system?

This is the handout for Brad Delong's Berkeley Physics Colloquium in May of this year. Do great minds think alike? I quoted the entire series because it nakes more sense this way. Of course, I favor any velocity of money approach but this is a 'post facto' analysis rather than a prediction.

This approach rattled around the blog space for awhile. Consider Paul Krugman:

It’s very close to Shiller’s notion of bubbles as natural Ponzi schemes. And Brad’s version is very much what I was saying in this piece written in 1999 — one I had a lot of fun writing.

What’s missing, as Brad himself points out, is the asymmetry of booms and crashes. What he doesn’t say is that what we really need is a model that can produce a Minsky moment — the point at which margin calls force deleveraging.

Which explains the (integral) shortcoming of any equilibrium model, it really can't forecast irregularities ... Minsky Moments.

I'm going to bypass the entire 'prejudice away from acute circumstances' (or chaos or 'black swan' irregularities) because these are outside the reach or grasp of the institution of economics.

Mr. Bezemer is looking for a (good working) Predictive model and finds the flow model to work 'better' than the equilibrium version. Problem is that neither model is correct; in fact the 12 apostles he cites are all off base as to where this economy is heading, how it got here as well as what needs to be done to rectify the situation.

Debt correlates very well to a crisis that centers on money and money flow management, but the correlation is tinctured with wishful (cornucopian) thinking, itstitutional prejudice and log rolling. The corrllation ignores energy, even correlations between debt function/utility strategies and energy. The correlation also ignores trading patterns - which include non- linear or non- correlatable marketplace manipulations that are not simply commomplace but integral to market functions. The bottom line is that all of Mr. Bezemer's subjects - along with Mr. DeLong are stranded out at the end of a long limb considering the effects of debt when the issue is oil prices and price trends.

People ask me, "Now you claim that oil over $45 a barrel will make the economy collapse and oil has been over $70 a barrel for three months now, and we are in a recovery! Won't you admit you are wrong?"

I say I don't know for sure since the correlations are complex, but the businesses that were to fail with oil @ $45 a barrel are still failed and those that would fail with oil @ $70 a barrel are failing now and will continue to fail until all have done so. If oil retreats to under $50 a barrel those that were failing at the higher amount will be weakened, perhaps fatally so. At $80, more still will fail and at higher amounts even more and so on. Anyone who claims this process is a recovery is lying. It's more like death by a thousand cuts!

Hell will freeze over before any economist or public bobble head issues an academic paper or publishes an article that can model the forthcoming. Denial is public policy. We have to live the consequences.

OFM I read that back in the 90s and I think it should be required reading in the school system. In fact maybe we should devote an entire field of study to this phenomenon.

edit: referring to Popular Delusions.................

I don't see how anyone who is peak-oil aware can believe that home prices can go anywhere but down, and keep going down, aside from jigs and jags -- never mind 25%, where does one get a figure like that?

The exurbs, then the suburbs, the malls, the corporate parks, the supporting infrastructure, what value do they have as oil goes up? They all become junk.

Whitney knows money, markets, finance and all that. But there are external constraints that trump all those items: physical reality. That wasn't true in past recessions and depressions. There was always the prospect of growing out of them. No more. That's what's new.

It's also what's overlooked by most (almost all) of even the savvier (and gloomier) financial people.

EDIT: I've understated it actually: our entire economy becomes junk, although not all pieces of it at equal rates.

There will always be an economy so long as humans walk this Earth. The question is what sort of an economy; and will humans still refer to - and worship - it as 'the economy'. I doubt it.

Humans will continue to serve each other. Humans will still elect leaders, whether by democratic ballot or deference to the natural alpha-male. Humans will still gaze at the stars and wonder. Humans will always ask questions and we will always be creative; we will always be one step ahead of the animals. That is what makes us human.

The real questions are: post peak oil, what do our human societies look like. Can we afford to live in awe of 'the economy'. Will we still awake in the morning to the business news and the latest economic growth forecasts? Will we still worship at the alter of CNBC and 'growth'; pundits telling us that the holy 'economy' will grow at such-and-such a percentage. Will we continue to be so highly specialized in our work?

These are the real questions.

We can reasonably assume that 1) the global market will shrink drastically and that local and regional self-sufficiency will become far more important 2) we will have much less energy and metals available, and therefore much less of those things dependent on them - which is a lot 3) we, or at least far more we's, will be much more intimately involved in agriculture 4) and yes, there will be less specialization with the shrinking of global trade.

I would put the question the other way around: how much of science and global culture will we be able to rescue in light of the inevitable retrenchment we face? That's the question that preoccupies me.

Some people (e.g. Greer) think there will be many fewer of us when things finally stabilize. I'm inclined to think so, but to a large extent I'm an agnostic. I don't know how much can be done by re-integrating ourselves with nature, by practicing permaculture and stuff like that. Certainly industrial monoculture is doomed.

In any case, the sooner we start facing up to the reality, the easier we can make on ourselves. Alas, reality is no where in sight as of right now, not at the top levels at any rate.

You have to remember what her viewpoint is: she advises rich clients. Take that in stride. Hardly a deer in headlights.

Sure, I get that but her manner tells me she is less than happy with the mantle of "Prophetess of Wall St." they were laying on her before
They didn't call it the "Whitney Rally" for nothing even though her message clearly was misconstrued.

Or is it that she's really freaked out at whats coming down?

Wondering what people know about peak oil awareness and/or coverage by Jeff Ball, environmental editor of The Wall Street Journal? I've not followed his work carefully.

In the last few days noticing the news Gold over 1k an ounce(troy), Oil up a bit, the Fed telling us we are really fine all we ahve to do is SPEND SPEND and things will be rosy, UN wants to change the Reserve Currency away from the Dollar.

We should have A new coin minted. It will be Pressed Coal, with a thin outer shell of Aluminum. We will call this new currency the Fossil-Foil.

Fossil-Foil paper money would be Carbon Fiber and Aluminum.

What makes this money so worthwhile is that it helps store Carbon and keep the US at bay with all its debt paper it has been printing of late.

So vote with me and my latest idea change the world's Reserve Currency over to the the new... Fossil-Foil

Larger bills will have thin fibers of Gold thread in them to make them look pretty and give them a bit of real value.

Charles E. Owens Jr.

(Here is hoping they can bring back Dead Like Me as a show sometime in the future. Really a neat show, sad that it is gone.(Hulu.com))

We should have A new coin minted. It will be Pressed Coal, with a thin outer shell of Aluminum. We will call this new currency the Fossil-Foil.

Would it look like this?

LOL! When imported chocolate mostly becomes Unobtainium in North America: I could easily see this 'currency' having great barter value. The future postPeak rarity of a sack of choco-coins could easily trade for several live chickens or a fair-sized young pig. Should we expect this to become a common dowry demand?

EDIT: anybody know what chocolate bartered for back when it was first imported into Europe? I imagine royalty paid a pretty hefty premium for this status good.

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

The Cacao tree is grown in Mexico and Central America, so it can be had in North America and won't be product that we can't get. What will stop is getting the Fine-Swiss stuff shipped back to us. In fact why don't we hoard the stuff and trade it to the other folks in the world.

Cocoa and sugar and Vanilla and cocoa-butter and milk makes Chocolate basically, not putting the fine tuning on the above ingredients. All those are found in North America.

Not cheap for Europeans in the Early years. But was used as a form of currency where it was grown, comparable to about a US penny. In Europe, only the rich and royality drank it.

Think about this, go into a regular grocery in the US and find maybe 200 to 300 different plants to eat, but go into the world's local farmer's markets and find 1,000's of plants that are eaten. I've seen some estimated that there are over 6,000 edible plant foods that have been eaten in the past, that just don't make it into the diets of westerners.

The Tropics are full of them.


Yummy for my tummy, LOL, no it would look sliverish. Now your are going to ruin my plan to stop eating candy for the next few weeks. I have been craving Toffee, now the Chocolate Coins are speaking to me, ARGH!.

Later while telling my dad about the post, I saw the near tongue twister of Fossil-Fuel/Fossil-Foil.

Charles E. Owens Jr.

The WSJ has an article about how much drilling is down in the North Sea. You may have to type in the article title to access it.

Total Laments North Sea Costs

CEO Says High Taxes Limit Energy Exploration; 'Not at Any Price'

Steep service-company charges and high taxes are stifling investment from major oil and natural-gas companies in the U.K.'s North Sea basin, Total SA Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said Wednesday.

North Sea production costs have soared amid the global economic slump that led to crude-oil prices crashing to lows around $30 a barrel from a peak near $149 a barrel. Cash flows have tightened and access to new finance has become difficult.

Major oil producers have scaled back while smaller companies are simply looking to survive the downturn. The number of planned exploration wells has been dramatically reduced to 10 wells in 2010 from 108 wells in 2008.

Denninger thinks the foreclosure mess is just beginning.

TAE thinks there's more banking shenanigans going on.

USA Today warns that commercial real estate is about to hit the fan.

The speed at which loans on commercial properties such as office buildings and malls are souring is "unprecedented," a recent report from Deutsche Bank said. The delinquency rates on these loans reached 4.1% in June, more than double the March rate. Banks are most vulnerable because they hold about $1 trillion of commercial real estate loans and an additional $530 billion in construction loans.

If you think CRE is in the tank now, just wait until all of the store closings following what is bound to be a dismal holiday season. Expect to see scores of big retail malls vacant and closed by the middle of next year.

I wonder. There seems to be such a disconnect. Almost all the experts and economic talking heads think the recession is over. Many are predicting the holiday season will be a good one for retailers. Or at least not as bad as last year.

They are dreaming - or outright deceiving. People simply are not going to be going out on big shopping sprees this year - they just don't have the money, and even if they do, they will feel that they need to be saving it. Yes, people will buy SOMETHING to give as gifts, but it is not going to be the giant potlatch it has been in the past. This year it is going to be much more modest. More likely, things that people really need (and thus would likely have bought anyway) are what will show up under the tree, and there will be fewer wrapped boxes overall.

One little bit of anectodal evidence: My wife and quite a few of her friends have been getting big into hand crafts, and their little group keeps growing. The craft supply stores seem to be doing OK. It is looking to me like a lot of people are going to be making gifts this year instead of buying stuff. The last time I saw that type of frugality was during the energy crisis 70s and into the deep recession early 80s.

I attend fundraisers for small community non-profits in the fall and bid on silent auction items for Christmas gifts to my family. Recipients get nice, hand made crafts and preserved food, and the non-profits get my holiday spending. I suppose that doesn't help national GDP very much, but I still recommend this approach as it doubles the spender's gratification.

WNC, I have always been that way, I craft most of the things I give away as gifts. Mostly food items. Shortbread cookies, bottles of herbal extracts and flavorings, Canned pickles, dried meats. Stuff that you'll get only at Christmas or birthdays, so as time goes by those that get them tend to really like them over other store bought items.

I just don't have the space to build a greenhouse so I can grow things like Tea or Olives, which would really be cool. While doing the research this morning I learned I should be able to grow both plants even here in Central Arkansas, but only in a controlled Environment like a Greenhouse, but the start up costs are a bit high, with a wait of at least 5 years for the tea and up to 20 for the Olives.

I think the Fed is pushing the "Think Improvement" mindset, knowing that they have nothing else to leverage but wishful thinking.



Some friends rented an old house in Fayetteville. They have an olive tree over 50 years old that produces abundantly (outdoors).

Also are you growing tea for the plant or for the caffeine? If it's the caffeine I suggest Yaupon, the only native American plant that has caffeine. I got a start in trade and love how they grow without care.

Send me E.mail, I'd love to find out more about the Olive tree and the rest of it.

I was interested in the species Camellia sinensis, for it's other properties.


More propaganda from the lie box.

edit: leanan...I wonder why disconnect.

I have to start addressing the comment I respond to like some others have figured out or they get lost down thread.

I have a relative who actually works at a Wal-Mart and this past weekend tells a tale.
Despite the best weather of the summer and S.E. MI economy people were shopping!
And not just back to school stuff but treats, pop, chips, any kind of comfort food.
Maybe it's time to store up fat for the long hard Winter ahead.

All the employees were complaining how sore they were from constantly restocking the shelves.
At least Wal-Mart won't be closing many stores soon in fact the opposite is true, my relative informs me that a new store is opening just two miles from that location.

When in the month do unemployment debit cards receive funds?

Last weekend was the first weekend of the month. (And maybe the weekend is the only time they can get someone with a job, a car and a full tank of gas to give them a ride to the store.)

Last weekend was a 3-day holiday weekend, and typically the last big family outing of the summer. Of course there are going to be a lot of people buying chips and other picnic-type foods. It was probably also an opportunity for busy people to get some shopping in for some stuff they have been actually needing for a while.

I take my parents shopping to WalMart each week (their choice, not mine), usually mid-week, and I've seen no evidence of carts filled up with anything other than the usual necessities.

Good point. Labor Day is a big shopping weekend, and a big party weekend. I would expect to see a lot of junk food sales. I confess, I bought a few treats I usually wouldn't for Labor Day weekend (hot dogs, chips, ice cream, etc.).

Additional point-lots of advertised specials to draw traffic and folks with kids pick up lots of clothing, school supplies, etc for thier kids over this holiday weekend.Some of my friends are staying home this year rather than hitting the coast for fishing, etc. and some of the money saved is finding it way to the register to pay for a holiday "staycation".

Not one of the above replies reflects what my original statement was about, namely that retail was gonna slide off the cliff of Doom.
What more likely will occur is some retailers will go under but it will play out like a period of consolidation rather than a total collapse.
With Wal-mart being there to fill in the gap.
Anyhoo I live right here(SE MI) at ground zero for the economic "collapse" and folks who are losing their homes seldom celebrate it with a junk food pigout.

We've forgotten how to use our first internal technology, the bodies we're born with. In the 750 thousand to 1.5 million years we've been using our most basic external technology, fire, we still haven't figured out how to use that appropriately.

And we think we can address depletion, climate chaos, and overpopulation.

Best wishes and hopes for divine intervention, magic, and luck.

710 over and out

..fire, we still haven't figured out how to use that appropriately.

Since Homo erectus (perhaps H. habilis) learned how to set ecosystems on fire, the change wrought by pyromaniacal apes has been profound. The idea that the Americas were "pristine" at the time of ship-borne colonization is mistaken. Humans had been altering landscapes with fire for 12K yrs. To have experienced the Americas as they were towards the end of the Pleistocene would have been an awesome experience. The Western Hemisphere was already severely degraded by the time the first ships arrived a millenium or so ago. By the time they started arriving in numbers half a millenium ago, landscapes had been altered beyond all recognition by fire and the extinction of large browsers and grazers from what it had been when anthropogenic conflagration first commenced.

You mean the "Noble Savage" myth is not true?
Weren't they perfect stewards of their environment (I mean, after killing off most of the large mega fauna)?

You mean the "Noble Savage" myth is not true?
Weren't they perfect stewards of their environment?

The myth of the noble savage is a recent innovation. 50 years ago there was still a relatively high disdain for Native Americans. I don't think we were still giving them blankets laced with small pox but the record of American genocide of aboriginals is overwhelming. Now that we have managed to "civilize" these godless savages there now appears a sentimental misgiving about "what's been lost". Sound sanctimonious?

Were they perfect stewards of their environment? Stewardship implies ownership which is our domain. What we instead have is groups of hunter gatherer's entirely dependent on their local environment:

"Generally, the American Indians burned parts of the ecosystems in which they lived to promote a diversity of habitats, especially increasing the "edge effect," which gave the Indians greater security and stability to their lives." Steve Pyne

Their populations also had reached a stasis due to the constraints of that environment and had been for some time prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

To equate their relatively benign presence with modern industrial societies who knowingly and wantonly lay waste to the entire world is more than a stretch. It's a lie.


I agree, well said.

It is actually a very European idea, Montaigne and Voltaire for example in the 18th Century.
In the xxth Century it was replaced by a quaint belief in the Latin American revolutionary. The best book on that is Venezuelan Carlos Rangel's "Del Buen Salvaje al Buen Revolucionario" -From the Good Savage to the Good Revolutionary". I don't know if there's a translation but the book is quite good.

Since Homo erectus (perhaps H. habilis) learned how to set ecosystems on fire, the change wrought by pyromaniacal apes has been profound.

California: Fire Is Called Arson

The deadly wildfire that has burned nearly 150,000 acres was started by arson and is being investigated as a homicide, officials said. The blaze has burned for over a week in the Angeles National Forest outside Los Angeles, destroying 64 homes and killing two firefighters whose vehicle overturned over the weekend as the flames advanced on them.

Humans had been altering landscapes with fire for 12K yrs. DD

Twelve thousand years. Wouldn't that be considered a sustainable culture? Compare that with the legacy of our short tenancy in North America. "Pyromaniacal Apes"...that's hysterical.


Twelve thousand years. Wouldn't that be considered a sustainable culture?

I wouldn't consider the driving to extinction of proboscidians, horses, rhinoceros, giant ground sloths, glyptodonts, camelids (in North America), all but one species of bison, lions, cheetahs, the giant short-faced bear, dire wolves, the teratorn... along with the destruction of entire ecosystems and widespread conversion of forest to grassland via arson... all in a mere 12K yrs... sustainable. All "we" have done is to accelerate the process begun by those who walked here earlier.

Humans= Natures unintended consequence

DD I don't get the tearful sentimentality reserved for charismatic species. It reminds me of the misguided attempt to save mega fauna as personified by the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Take for instance the California Condor. They spend millions of dollars annually trying to save this species and reintroduce them into the wild when there is no natural habitat left. Besides that the existing population are clones. The money would be better spent preserving and restoring large habitats which would have the best chance of preserving biodiversity.

You can argue that American aboriginals weren't sustainable with stable populations existing in the same local environments for 12,000 years. (The Anasazi would be a prime example of an unsustainable group of North American aboriginals. Their highly developed civilization in a fragile environment spelled their doom. They rightfully went extinct.) If that is the case can you give an example of any human society that you would consider sustainable?

Don't get me wrong...I respect your knowledge and I look forward to your posts, but it seems as if a lot of your argument is a symptom of your misanthropy. Human beings earned their place in evolution but currently our separation from our natural environments is sentencing us to extinction.


DD I don't get the tearful sentimentality reserved for charismatic species.

If the extinction of so-called "charismatic species" doesn't bother you, you might lament the extinction of their specific parasites. Considering only helminth (trematodes, cestodes, nematodes, and acanthocephalans) parasites, every vertebrate species harbors, on average, between three (chondrichthians) and 11 (birds) species of parasite. This is only helminths, mind you, and doesn't include parasitic viruses, bacteria, single-celled eukaryotes, fungi, or insect parasites. Nor does it include non-host specific parasitic species. So every time a vertebrate host species goes extinct, three to 11 species of parasite that is specific to that host goes extinct along with it. Now, why should this bother you? Because it is parasites that dominate food webs. ~75% of food web links involve parasite/host interactions. These links regulate food web structure, patterns of host abundance, connectance and nestedness of food webs, and trophic cascades. Lacking consideration of parasitism in food webs one simply cannot evaluate the potential for ecosystem instability. So shed a tear over the extinction of the parasites of those charismatic species, if their own demise fails to move you. It just might be the extinction of those parasites that precipitate ecosystem collapse.

The Anasazi... Their highly developed civilization in a fragile environment spelled their doom. They rightfully went extinct.

The arrival of Na-Dene speakers in the North American Southwest is what caused the so-called Anasazi (a racist term) to first build fortified structures and later to abandon them. The "fragile environment" had nothing to do with it. And these peoples did not go extinct, rightfully or otherwise, either. The Rio Grande Puebloan tribes, along with the Hopi and Zuni, are the direct descendants of these peoples.

...currently our separation from our natural environments is sentencing us to extinction.

What's sentencing us to extinction isn't our separation from our natural environment but our mastery over it. This mastery has allowed us to inflate our population far beyond the carrying capacity of the natural environment. When population exceeds carrying capacity population collapses. The more that population exceeds carrying capacity the harder the crash is and the more likely extinction is to ensue. Nothing in known vertebrate population history even comes close to the magnitude by which human population has exceeded carrying capacity. Not by orders of magnitude. For this reason, human extinction impends with virtual certainty. Call this a "symptom of (my) misanthropy" if you will. I call it a mere statement of fact.

If the extinction of so-called "charismatic species" doesn't bother you...

Oh come on man. You know what I meant. I just think nitwits running around with "save the whales" t-shirts don't have a clue. Serious ecologists realize that it is now about triage. (yeah I know that's paternalistic) Working to save large habitats as defined by E.O Wilson is what I'm talking about.

The arrival of Na-Dene speakers in the North American Southwest is what caused the so-called Anasazi (a racist term) to first build fortified structures and later to abandon them. The "fragile environment" had nothing to do with it. And these peoples did not go extinct, rightfully or otherwise, either. The Rio Grande Puebloan tribes, along with the Hopi and Zuni, are the direct descendants of these peoples.

OK you're technically correct from an officious POV: The Anasazi civilization did not go extinct. But they did collapse in very much the same way that most cultures collapse: they overreached their environment. The fragility of their environment had everything to do with their collapse. Although they didn't operate at the scale of the Maya their attempts at intensive agriculture in the desert southwest were doomed to failure. Desert Farming can never be sustainable but that doesn't stop optimistic people from trying. We're doing the same thing in the desert southwest today. See Imperial Valley.

But you still didn't answer my question: Can you give one example of a sustainable society?



You are dead on about saving large habitats and being realistic about the environment as opposed to just wearing save the whales tshirts.Not that such tshirts might not have some monor positive impact...

I have several realist conservative friends who think that we should cut some deals and do things like drill the ANWR,applying the toughest state of the art low environmental impact standards, and spend the royalties on buying up sizable tracts of land that could be added to our parks and nature reserves.

It should be possible to locate many such tracts that have enormous value just as sources of clean downstream water and therefore localities able to tap into such low cost clean water should be willing to help pay for such lands.

Personally I think that such a scheme would be a net environmental winner and a major winner on the political/economic front.It could keep some money in the country,provide local employment, and be a bridge between many groups of well meaning people who are often at each others throats.

What do you think?Any one?

Mac -- the approach you describe is essentially how we've approached the situation in Texas and it works well. Accidents still happen but they are accidents and not intentional abuse. Not like the bad old days. Besides the state regs staying on top of the industry we have more lawyers the geologists here. Suing the pants off of operators is considered good sport here.

I think your referrence to "realist conservationists" is a good view. I foresee a day when the desire to increase FF production here will turn into a very ugly emotional reaction that throws away any regards for good environmental stewardship. Better, IMO, to establish a more rational approach now then to wait for the day when conservation won't even be offered a seat at the table.

Greater fleas have lesser fleas upon thier backs to bite 'em -and so on ad infinitum.

The problem with the fossil record is its incompleteness. Only a small percentage of life forms were fossilized, the unknown rest - plants, invertibrates, small vertibrates, the elusive or those that did not live near water - vanished leaving no trace. Too bad.

Which means the greater part of the past is outside the range of our knowledge. Most of it, in fact.

When the large mammals disappeared, the inhabitants of the niches that these supported also vanished ... in addition to parasites. These lesser creatures were a large part of the biodiversity fabric, perhaps the greatest part. For example, there were billions of Passenger Pigeons and Grand Banks Cod. No more.

What's sentencing us to extinction isn't our separation from our natural environment but our mastery over it. This mastery has allowed us to inflate our population far beyond the carrying capacity of the natural environment.

Those pesky native Americans never had bulldozers or asphalt pavers, real estate developers or car companies. No leverage, in other words. Now ... ? Our species is never completely accounted for unless the people are measured along side their machines and the domestic animals that they have to have.

Seven billion people plus a billion automobiles (etc.) plus billions of livestock animals plus all the infrastructure needed to support all of this. The total sentences us to death.

People don't understand - on top, they don't want to understand. At the same time, they do ... underneath. Consider the 'Terminator' films. There is a war between humans and intelligent machines. People understand this, the contest between two more or less equals. On top is the real war - with a million deaths a year - between humans and automobiles.

"I love my car, I need my car!" The humans pamper and paint and hot- rod and race and fetish their automobiles ... and these will destroy the human experiment as certainly as an invasion of nano- robots from outer space or an all- out thermonuclear exchange! Given enough time and enough fuel, automobiles will return planet Earth to the Ordovician period (or Silurian). Think I'm kidding? 10 degrees of warming will do the trick.

Then, 90% of all life will then be extinct. Great accomplishment, eh!

Can I get that with racing stripes? How about wire wheels?

We have a choice, we get rid of the cars or they get rid of us and everything along with us. It's that simple.

What's sentencing us to extinction isn't our separation from our natural environment but our mastery over it. ...

To start with, it's not possible for us to be separated from our environment, natural or otherwise, any more than it's possible for something to have a top but no bottom or a front with no back. So you're right about that.

But we don't have mastery over anything, least of all ourselves, never mind the "environment." The "success" we've had as a species is based almost entirely on being able to burn things. Now that we've about run out of things to burn, we're gonna find out just how much mastery we really have.

The real problem is that we think we can be separate from our environment and we think we have mastery over it, and a whole lot of other cockamamie bullshit to boot. Our minds, especially as we have used them, are not nearly what we have believed them to be - in fact, they look to me for all the world like a classic evolutionary dead-end.

But ya never know - I could be just as wrong as the next man.

You are not wrong.
I also fear that those "things we burn" will be each other in more ways than one.


I do think that the likeliest explaination for the extinction of so many large animals in NA about the time we made it across from Eurasia is that we simply wiped them out.But there seems to be some difference of opinion yet among the professionals in the field,is there not?

Let us suppose that the locals living here(North America) in 1500 were still in charge another twelve thousand years from now and that they never learned to work iron,etc.

What do you think the environment would look like then in general terms ?

For those interested there is an account of Indians setting deliberate fires for game and land management purposes in one or another of Fenimore Coopers books.I am under the impression that is is historical in nature but I haven't checked.

Given a thought puzzle of what would NA and SA look like circa 13,500 AD, having had no contact with the rest of the world because of something in the Oceans eating all the boats going out more than 100 miles from the coastland. (Fictional Plot device to keep the scenes clear of Real world data.)

It would look not to much different than it did when 1492 happened.

Though we can't say that Iron Smelting would not have happened. Or other advancements unforeseen up to this point.

Great things were built here just like in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Stone buildings would have continued and there would be a lot more of them to look at I would wager.

Would make a great Alternate-History Novel storyline.


You imply that fire was not a naturally occurring part of the prehistoric landscape. Lightning has played a large role in fire, whether humans ever existed or not. In California, where I live, we hear of the big arson-caused forest fires, but most wildland fires are still lightning caused. Last summer in California, one period of thunderstorms caused over 1,000 fires in the northern part of the state.

You imply that fire was not a naturally occurring part of the prehistoric landscape.

I never said any such thing. Natural wildfires structure biotic communities, such as Californian coastal chaparral and interior chaparral, whose species are well adapted to fire. Even such species as limber pine of the Petran Montane conifer forest community is dependent on fire for reproduction. But humans starting fires as a landscape management tool took the structural role of fire to a whole different plane. Some entire communities went extinct as a result. Others shifted their ranges or underwent species replacements. The ecological aspect of the Americas, with the possible exception of equatorial rainforest, was drastically altered by human employment of fire. I never said or meant to imply that naturally occurring wildfires played no role whatsoever in structuring biotic communities previous to human invasion.

LOL "over and out". "over" means I expect a reply. "out" means the conversation is finished. When you say "over and out" the other person thinks WTF, do you want an answer or are you finished. So over and out is as bad as 1.5 million years of not knowing how to use fire though "over" and "out" are relatively new.

This is just a tiny nit pick so no need to get all twisted.

I am certainly glad our president(s) and his staff pulled away from the edge, i.e. from his speech last night. Maybe had we jumped a year ago we would be in better shape than we are now. Never know will we?


UK gas supply article. To my mind LNG is a sitting terrorist target.

Re the Kjell Aleklett piece, how about a trilateral agreement among the US, Russia, and Australia? Otherwise, a very interesting idea.

Glad to see Michael Pollan is finally giving Wendell Berry his due. Eighty percent of what Pollan writes about Berry has been saying - and saying, and saying - for 40 years, but nobody much outside of other old-school farmers has been listening. You see, Berry is a farmer born, raised, and lives in Kentucky and graduated UK (where he also taught for a some time), while Pollan is a journalist and teacher from Long Island who graduated Columbia and Oxford and teaches at UC Berkeley. If you wanna be heard in this country, you'd better not be some hillbilly from fly-over territory.

Thanks for that post, Leanan.

Yep. Berry has been very influential and it's good that Pollan is calling wider attention to him. He will be remembered among the likes of Aldo Leopold, Rachael Carson, Francis Moore Lappe', et al. Would be a good thing if more people read him.

Years ago I attended a lecture by Berry. One of the most sincere persons that I have ever meet.

Some history on this date:
1980 -- US: Ronald Reagan tells Sierra Club:
"Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation. So lets not go overboard in setting & enforcing tough emissions standards for man made sources."

Ergo, we must begin eliminating all these pesky plants.

The wise words of Jack Handy:
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time for no good reason."

Heat stress in cattle could force the state's dairy industry to migrate north.

Sometimes I wonder what people that come out with things like the above are ingesting to fry their brains.

If the dairy cattle in Illinois can't take some increase in heat, what do they think happens to the dairy cattle in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California, etc....

I worked for a large dairy operation in Arizona in the 60's and the cattle got along just fine in the Arizona heat.

Nonsense like this completely destroys the credibility of their entire presentation.


The severity of heat stress is correlated to both ambient temperature and humidity level (Figure 1). The bovine thermal comfort zone is -13ºC - +25ºC. Within this temperature range, the animal comfort is optimal, with a body temperature between 38.4ºC and 39.1ºC (Lefebvre and Plamondon, 2003). Above 25ºC, and even 20ºC for some authors, the cow suffers from heat stress: its health status and zootechnical performance are affected.

In Illinois the problem is as much humidity as it is heat. If you worked in a dairy in Arizona you should know that cows are often misted or kept under evaporative coolers or powerful fans on hot summer days. Economic loss from lowered milk production due to heat stress can be significant.

I drive by a dairy farm every day here in Georgia. The cows graze outside in the morning Im not sure if they are still there in the evening. Its hotter than Illinois and just as humid down here. So I thought id look around for information:


Interesting collection of papers concerning heat stress management in dairy cows. I only looked at the 1999 Worley paper but everything from barn design to high pressure fogging systems are discussed. Says that heat stress can reduce milk production by 15 to 22%. Keeping cows cool can mean the difference between turning a profit and not, for a dairyman. Yet Jon Kutz says that such management considerations are "nonsense." So much for Jon's credibility.

In Livermore California (until recently a cow town), on the edge of town is a field with cows. On hot days they rest under the shade of a giant transmission line pylon.

Gotta watch out for the EMF. Getting too close to a HV transmission line will fry your brain.

Hope those cows don't sue.



4th horseman -

I've heard stories (perhaps apocryphal) that shortly after the TVA power plants were built throughout the rural South during the Great Depression and later, some hillbillies soon discovered that if you built your shack right under one of those power lines, you could connect up a bunch of automotive ignition coils from junk cars, put them on the roof of the shack, and get free electricity via electromagnetic induction.

Might explain a lot regarding how some people are these days.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending September 4, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.1 million barrels per day during the week ending September 4, 154 thousand barrels per day above the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 87.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 9.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.1 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.1 million barrels per day last week, down 481 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.0 million barrels per day, 1.1 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 985 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 235 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 5.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 337.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.1 million barrels last week, and are near the upper limit of the average range. Gasoline inventories remained unchanged while blending components increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.0 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 5.1 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

More Net Export Stuff, as I work on the updated paper.

I have ranked several net oil exporters showing, as of 2008, production declines relative to a recent peak (not necessarily a final production peak), from lowest to highest net export decline rate--first for the exporters with peaks in 2005 & later and then for the exporters with peaks in 2004 & earlier.

As expected, the 2005 & later group has a median net export decline rate lower than than the 2004 & earlier group (-3%/year for the 2005 & later group versus -8.3%/year for the 2004 & Earlier group). The range for the 2005 & later group was -1.4%/year to -4.4%/year, and the range for the 2004 & earlier group was -3.8%/year to -46.0%/year.

This is consistent with what the model and former net oil exporters show, i.e., a general tendency for an accelerating rate of decline in net oil exports as time goes on, although there have certainly been examples of year over year increases in net oil exports in terminal decline phases, e.g., the UK & Indonesia.

17 Net Oil Exporters Showing Production Declines*
Production & Net Export Declines Per Year, Over the Referenced Time Frame, Are Respectively Shown (EIA, Total Liquids)


Equatorial Guinea (2005-2008)
-1.45%/year (Prod.)& -1.46%/year (Net Oil Exports)
Russia (2007-2008)
-0.9%year & -2.4%/year
Saudi Arabia (2005-2008)
-1.0%/year & -2.7%/year

(Median About -3%/year)**

Iran (2005-2008)
-0.5%/year & -3.4%/year
Nigeria (2005-2008)
-6.4%/year & -6.9%/year
Ecuador (2005-2008)
-1.7%/year & -4.4%/year


Gabon (1997-2008)
-3.7%/year & -3.8%/year
Oman (2000-2008)
-3.1%/year & -4.4%/year
Venezuela (1997-2008)
-2.6%/year & -4.5%/year
Norway (2001-2008)
-4.7%/year & -5.1%/year
Syria (1996-2008)
-2.4%/year & -5.5%/year

Colombia (1999-2008)
-3.6%/year & -8.3%/year
(Median -8.3%/year)**

Yemen (2001-2008)
-5.4%/year & -11.5%/year
Mexico (2004-2008)
-4.7%/year & -13.5%/year
Denmark (2004-2008)
-7.6%/year & -16.4%/year
Malaysia (2004-2008)
-4.2%/year & -16.8%/year
Vietnam (2004-2008)
-3.5%/year & -46.0%/year

*BTW, I didn't show Iraq, because of the war, but for what it's worth, from 2000 to 2008 it shows the same production & net export pattern as these 17 examples.

**Incidentally, at a -3%/year net export decline rate, net exports would fall by 50% in 24 years. At -8.3%/year, net exports would fall by 50% in 8.7 years (Rule of 72). But the point is that as time goes on, net export decline rates tend to accelerate, with some oscillations along the way.

Thanks WestTexas,

am I right in thinking these figures look a bit scary? Should i be concerned, or can I sleep like a baby tonight?

Out of interest, in barrel terms what is the combined amount of production lost here? is that an easy number to compute..


This website has detailed country level information:


I have compared the conventional view of a gradual decline from a production peak to a commercial airliner doing a gradual descent for landing. A net export decline is more akin to a terrifying near vertical dive into the ground.

Note that the median production decline rate for the 2004 & Earlier group was -3.7%/year.

This is comparable to the median production decline rate for the four former net oil exporters, -3.8%/year (China, Indonesia, UK & Egypt, with a caveat that China had increasing production over the net export decline period). Their median net export decline rate (from final production/net export peak to final year of net oil exports) was about -33.0%/year, within a range from -17%/year -56%/year.

WT, that EIA-link of yours was quite impressive ! They must have been working hard and probably late hours...

I played around a little and got this UK proven reserves chart out

-- what the heck happened in UK between 1986-88 ? Did they drink Cassandra-shots- the opposite of mixture that say The Emirates took ?

I don't know. I've never paid any attention to their reserve estimates.

BTW, if you "hover" on the data points on the various graphs on the website, you get the value for the data point. It is pretty interesting to compare the consumption graphs for a lot of developing countries, versus developed countries, as oil prices rose at +20%/year from 1998 to 2008, e.g., Kenya:


Yes I noticed that "hover" function. To get it activated one must 'click' inside the Flash-window first.

Also of importance - EIA lists interactive land-wise El-consumption and CO2-emissions "with a few clicks".

The massive drop in reserves in our North Sea oil during the 1980's was because of the amount needed to fuel Maggie's ego whilst she crushed the coal miners, stripped us of our industry and allowed the bankers to start the casino-gambling revolution which has subsequently made them all richer and the rest of us poorer. The marvels of the trickle down effect, eh?

While we're looking at proved reserves can anyone explain to me (a non-oil person) how the reserve figures actually work, please?

I have always been under the impression that reserves vary up or down depending on the oil price. The higher the price of oil, the more oil is economically available for extraction. Yep, I can see that. So, my question is, why do the reserve figures in these charts not vary with the oil price?

For instance the UK chart has a nice straight-ish (even declining) line for 2000-08. Yet during that period oil prices were all over the place. Average price in 2008 was way higher than the price in 2000, even when allowing for inflation. Really the UK reserves in 2008 must have been enormous, much bigger than the 2000 reserves, because at 2008 prices the UK must have been able to extract vastly more than at 2000 prices. That's my question.

jutland --I'll offer a simple though not completely accurate picture of the process. Oil/NG drilling activity is very much dictated by prices. Lower oil prices quickly and the drilling rigs go idle over night. But this has almost no perceptible impact on production rates at least in the short/midterm. Simple logic might make you think producer would cut back their rates as prices fall. At least in the US this seldom happens. In fact many operators, especially the smaller independents, will do what they can to increase production in the face of falling prices. For most companies the key issue is cash flow and not the ultimate profit the make on each barrel. The decline you see from large regions like the N Sea are almost totally control by the below ground factors. This is a simple answer but does capture the dynamics. There are exceptions but they seldom have global impact.

Also, I can't tell if you're mixing "recoverable reserve" numbers and production numbers. There are rules in the US set by the SEC which relates the volume of recoverable reserves to price. Company A might book 50 million bbl of recoverable oil from a field on 31 Dec 2008 when oil was selling for $80/bbl. But on 31 Dec 2009 the company may only book 40 million bbls of recoverable oil for the same field when the price is $60/bbl. Each field has an economic limit when additional recovery is no longer economic. But this is a US law. Anywhere else in the world companies can offer recoverable reserve numbers on any basis they want. Thus you might ask how can we accept their numbers? This is truly a simple answer: you don't. The political/social/PR factors will exert more control over such estimates then any of the science involved IMO. You might have noticed how some on TOD use production declines to refute the recovery number many regions/countries throw out. We never have the data to do our own reserve studies. But if you watch a country with a continuing decline start offering bigger and bigger estimates of recoverable reserves it start failing the smell test very quickly.

am I right in thinking these figures look a bit scary? Should i be concerned,

If you live in a country post world peak that is a large oil consumer and a 'net importer' (importing more and more each year) and as a country you are living beyond your means and are at your borrowing limit, then your demand decline rate is likely to be much worse than ELM might suggest ... should you be concerned ... what do you think?


The most recent IPM by the EIA has the data from 1999 to June 2009. The data for the UK, North Sea and Norway show that crude oil production has fallen in the UK from 2,684 m/b/d to 1,365 m/b/d in June 2009 or an almost 50% decline. The North Sea field, which also peaked in 1999, shows a similar 41.75 drop from 5,948 to 3,487 m/b/d in June 2009. Norway has fallen since 2001 when 3,226 m/b/d were produced to 1,850 m/b/d in June 2009. These three huge fields have fallen 5,126 m/b/d from their respective peaks as of June 2009. Even in a world producing 72 m/b/d, this a a serious decline that is ongoing.

You're double counting. The North Sea total includes the Norway and UK numbers (as well as a smaller contribution from Denmark.) So the real decline for the region is ~2500mbpd, still a significant factor.

xeroid - indeed. yup, we should be scared in the UK. But then East Anglia never got out of the dark ages anyway, so you should be ok..


Don't worry, you'll run out of energy loooong before we in East Anglia run out of food, the Southern North Sea natural gas comes ashore in our zone as well ... and East Anglia has a lot of military bases (including some big ones run by our American friends) to protect ourselves - and expect ELM effects in England if Scotland breaks away from the Union and takes the oil for their own use first.

How about a Scotland/East Anglia free economic zone - plenty of food and energy so no need to trade with the rest of the world/UK. :-)

But .. But .. But .. WHO will be able to run the banks without help from the City ?


9 Sep 2009 ... The oil deficit widened to £537m in July from £433m the previous month –

That's only the money of course.

Watching BNN last night the fellow being interviewed, Charles Oliver, claimed to be a firm believer in P.O. It was nice to hear from an investor who bases his advice on this knowledge.

I'm getting sick and tired of people calling Peak Oil a "theory". Or debating whether someone "believes" in it. (not you, BTW, notalemming)

This morning I was thinking it's like calling 6:00pm a "theory"

Do you believe in 6:00pm?

Will it happen?

I don't think "theory" is a pejoritive. They do call it the "theory of gravity".

The 'theory' of gravity only works well for things like apples dropping out of trees - it doesn't seem to work for things like the rotation of galaxies.

It works fine. It just means there's a lot more mass present than can be accounted for in visible objects.

Hmmm ... you are saying it would work if we knew why it didn't work? Excess mass may be the cause of the failure of the theory, but I doubt it, the Universe works in ways we don't understand. Theories are a best guess that work until they don't - then we move on to another better theory.

Actually, gravity theory doesn't appear to work correctly even for man made space probes in the outer solar system.

just a blurb about repulsive gravity.


The mass is there, it is just that most of it has been sucked into the black hole in the center. Cosmic drains, that's all galaxies really are.

It may be a theory, but the formality of the math behind PO is truly lacking. The study of mental objects with reproducible properties is called mathematics. Most PO analysis is rank empiricism and only brings in math to provide heuristics. Compare that with the theory of gravity, which has multiple layers of formalism ending with people still looking for that elusive graviton.

Not much math is needed for Peak Oil, honestly. It is easily physically modeled.

A "Peak Demo" I've been toying with:
Ingredients: Compressed dry sponges, soda in a plastic bottle (1l or 2l), measuring cup large enough to hold all the soda.
Cut up compressed dry sponges into strips that fit easily through the mouth of a soda bottle.
Open soda bottle, empty into measuring cup. Mark level.
Put sponges into bottle.
Pour as much soda as will fit back into the bottle.
Let the bottle sit for 5 minutes for the sponges to expand.
Hand the bottle to your peak-doubting friend and ask them to pour the soda back in to the measuring cup.

So we can use that as a tool for performing quantitative depletion management?

The demo is clever but not totally illustrative. The peak flow rate will appear close to the start, and not near the halfway point. That it is close to halfway is the point that you want to get across.

This demo does show the effect of a gravity head and basically a drift of viscous fluid flow. I believe the reality is that there exists a heterogeneity in the pore structure leading to a dispersive transport.

See, what I want to be able to do is create these mathematical tools so that policy makers can make informed decisions about how to handle depletion management. I guess I am optimistic in the sense that at least some people will care about the quantitative versus just the qualitative that your demo shows.

We need both. I like your dispersive model, but it is too deep and specific for persuasive purposes.

It has great potential for predictive purposes, better as the data improves.

My point, and the point I hope to make with my demo, is that peak is a physical thing and we aren't getting all the oil out, no matter how hard we try.

I tried to add the link for some reason it didn't work.

As for theory I guess you could argue the our existence is a theory.

you could argue that our existence is a "theory"

In fact it is.
The idea that all the rest of us exist is merely a theory inside your brain.

How do you know I'm not a virtual dog, channeling in from a second life site, and pretending to be a person? On the Internet, one can never be sure. This is all just electrons buzzing into your computer my friend.


We are all lemmings on the ledge.
Have you checked out my (not recently updated) website,
http://lemmonledge.blogspot.com/ ?

Not -- there are a few investors out here who are willing to put serious money behind the PO model. My new company (owned by a very clever fellow who made his fortune in commodity/equity trades) will spend around $300 million with the drill bit over the next several years. Lots of good prospects out there with very few buyers. Drilling costs dropping daily. Most in the oil patch understand to current opportunity but very few have the capital to respond...THE reason why there are so many great deals out there ripe for the picking. A big reason we're flush with cash is his decision to liquidate all there holding before the market crashed. Smart or lucky he called that one right. He's looking for hyperinflation and PO to slam prices upwards in 4 to 6 years. When/if that happens we liquidate the reserves and head to the house. I'm making a big bet he also has this call right.

I can't believe no one has commented on the hilarious little snippet at the bottom of that: Peak oil: Is the global economy going to run out of gas?

The conclusion states:

"Energy Analysis: Once again, the elephantine oil analysts are wrestling, and as a Kenyan friend says, "When elephants are wrestling, it's best to stay out of the way." The oil analyst community remains divided over the issue of peak oil. Perhaps a better tack is to continue a move away from oil for all uses - residential, commercial, automotive - to lessen dependency on volatile, economic shock-inducing, and uncertain crude. I've noted the many benefits of increased natural gas use in the United States; after all, no one ever talks about "peak natural gas.""

No! not anyone! Because it's already happened. lol.

from Der Spiegle
"The Arctic Monopoly Taking Stock of North Pole Riches
Oil and natural gas are luring the major powers to the Arctic. The new Great Game includes Russia, the US, Canada and other countries competing for natural resources around the North Pole. More information is available today than ever before about the location and abundance of the region's riches."


for those not up on ancient history the "Great Game" is what was being played exactly a hundred years ago and is what led to the first but not the last "Great War" or as history books of the time referred to it as the "War of Wars". (World's Greatest War, Its Inception&Progress by Prof. Charles Maxwell, copyright 1914/1915

What is happening is that everyone (except the U.S.) is staking out their Arctic claims under the Law of the Sea Convention. They're mapping out their continental shelves with an eye to extending their sovereignty over the waters off their coasts. The clock is ticking on this exercise, so everybody has their icebreakers out mapping the continental shelf off their shores.

There is probably not much oil up there, but there may be huge amounts of natural gas.

An additional motivation is that many people think the Arctic ice pack may be breaking up, and the Arctic Ocean might be open water in a few years. This implies better drilling conditions, in addition to the potential for sending tankers and freighters between Europe and Asia - right over the north pole.

The U.S. is the only country involved which has not ratified the Law of the Sea Convention. By the time Americans wake up and start asking for their fair share, the party may be over and all the party treats will be gone.

re: More bad news for the Peak Oil doomsday cult.

Under conditions of the upper mantle of the Earth's Crust, methane reacts to produce ethane, propane and butane. It means fossils aren't needed to produce oil and gas.

Startling breakthrough! Starting with natural gas, you can create natural gas liquids! You don't even need a gas-to-liquids plant - all it takes is incredible temperatures, pressures, and millions of years! We're all saved!

What a bunch of idiots...

The author appears to have a number of pet peeves, including debunking Global Warming and the like although most of his pieces appear to be directed to computer software and copyright issues.

As for the laws of conservation of energy, those don't seem to be in his journalistic toolkit.

Under conditions of the upper mantle of the Earth's Crust, methane reacts to produce ethane, propane and butane. It means fossils aren't needed to produce oil and gas.

At the rate of - what? - maybe 1 or 2 barrels per day? Oh yeah, that's really going to save us!

Over 100 million years, 2 barrels/day begins to add up !


OK, I'll check back in 100 million years!


Quote of the day?

"even Stevie Wonder saw this economic meltdown coming."

Double whammy. The people that saw it coming were like the Greg Kinnear character in GhostTown. He was aware enough to avoid one near miss, but as he steps backwards he gets run over by a bus.