Drumbeat: September 15, 2009

Mexico's Carstens warns oil slump will last years

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens urged lawmakers on Tuesday to approve new taxes to offset lower oil revenues, saying the country's struggling energy industry would not recover quickly.

The government of President Felipe Calderon has proposed hiking income and consumption taxes in 2010 to offset lower revenues from crude exports as output from Mexico's state-run oil industry is expected to remain weak.

"This fall (in oil production) is going to last for years ... The future has caught up to us ... we've been living as oil addicts," Carstens said at a congressional hearing on the budget proposals.

Fuel standards: More mpg coming

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A final proposal for new fuel economy standards was unveiled Tuesday in a joint announcement by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The regulation requires all passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States to get an overall average of 35.5 miles per gallon by model year 2016. By that year, cars will be expected to average about 39 mpg and 30 mpg for trucks.

Russia wants foreigners to tap offshore oil and gas

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russia wants foreign companies to help develop its massive offshore oil and gas reserves as domestic firms lack the means to do so alone, Natural Resources Deputy Minister Sergei Donskoi said.

Suncor to significantly downsize natural gas assets

CALGARY -- A "significant downsizing" of conventional natural gas assets is in the works at Suncor Energy Inc. as it continues to digest Petro-Canada following a $20-billion merger that resulted in 1,000 job losses.

Norway Government Win May Prolong Curb on Arctic Oil

(Bloomberg) -- The re-election of Norway’s Labor Party-led coalition may prolong a ban on oil exploration in environmentally sensitive areas in the Arctic coveted by producers such as StatoilHydro ASA, analysts said.

Labor and its partners, the Socialist Left and Center parties, won 86 seats out of 169 in parliament in yesterday’s general election, securing four more years in power. Labor, split between promoting jobs and protecting the environment, is undecided on opening more areas, while its coalition partners oppose new drilling.

The result wasn’t what “the oil industry had hoped for at all,” Thina Saltvedt, an analyst at Nordea Bank AB in Oslo, said by phone today. “Given that oil production is falling as rapidly as it is, there will be a lot of pressure from the oil industry.”

Sietch Nevada: Desert Oasis for a Drought-Stricken Future

Sietch Nevada is a futuristic concept city that envisions a dystopian water-hoarding society where drought is a constant state and wars are fought over water. Designed by Matsys Designs, the underground city is situated within a network of tunnels and caverns that offer protection and water storage, creating an oasis in the desert. The dense underground community includes a network of waterways and canals enclosed by residential and commercial cavern structures that forms an underground Venice so to speak.

Greenpeace shuts Shell oil sands mine

Protestors from environmental group Greenpeace snuck into the Albian Sands Muskeg River bitumen mine and chained themselves to equipment, forcing a temporary halt to operations.

At about 8 am local time, protestors blocked access to a dump truck and hydraulic shovel, then climbed up and chained themselves to the equipment.

Another group of protestors put banners on the ground that read “Tar Sands: Climate Crime.”

World Bank Report Slams 'Inertia' in the Face of Climate Change

A major new World Bank report out today concludes that the world can fight poverty and climate change at the same time. But it won't be easy, and it won't be cheap.

Dyer: Population, famine and fate in Ethiopia

Infant deaths are already over two per 10,000 per day in Somali, the worst-hit region of Ethiopia. (Four per day counts as full-scale famine.) Country-wide, 20 percent of the population already depends on the dwindling flow of foreign food aid, and it will get worse for many months yet. What have the Ethiopians done wrong?

The real answer is they have had too many babies. Ethiopia's population at the time of the last famine 25 years ago was 40 million. Now it is 80 million. You can do everything else right and if you don't control the population, you're spitting into the wind.

Last chance to change our behaviour

There is growing awareness of the damage we are doing to the planet and the natural resources on which we depend, says David Hillyard. Yet, he argues in this week's Green Room, we still carry on along the same track regardless, refusing to make much-needed changes to our behaviour.

Toyota: Electric cars 'too expensive' for mainstream

Electric vehicles are the clear favored technology for concept cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. But Toyota, the leader in hybrid cars, thinks that the high cost of the lithium ion batteries will keep electric cars from penetrating the mass market for another decade.

The Old Man and the Sea of Oil

Oil bulls are putting their faith in an old man and a little boy. They hope the former, septuagenarian Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi, is right in saying there has been "a fundamental change" in the oil market. They hope the latter, the weather pattern called El Nino, "the boy," will go easy on them.

Mr. Naimi, speaking ahead of last week's summit for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was trying to draw attention from extraordinarily high oil inventories, emphasizing instead that the global economy is recovering.

Mr. Naimi's language, with shades of a "new paradigm," should unnerve bulls. So should market data.

What Glut? Oops, Maybe There Is A Glut After All

For weeks the talk in the investment world and the energy business was what would happen when the glut of natural gas rendered winter storage no longer an option. The debate focused on what would happen to the surge in natural gas production if we completely filled the nation’s available storage capacity before the start of the heating season. How would producers handle involuntary well shut-ins? What would happen to the price of natural gas – would it be like some periods in recent memory in which Rocky Mountain gas sold for pennies?

Kunstler: Reality Receding

American perestroika really boils down to this: we have to rescale the activities of daily life to a level consistent with the mandates of the future, especially the ones having to do with available energy and capital. We have to dismantle things that have no future and rebuild things that will allow daily life to function. We have to say goodbye to big box shopping and rebuild Main Street. More people will be needed to work in farming and fewer in tourism, public relations, gambling, and party planning. We have to make some basic useful products in this country again. We have to systematically decommission suburbia and reactivate our small towns and small cities. We have to prepare for the contraction of our large cities. We have to let the sun set on Happy Motoring and rebuild our trains, transit systems, harbors, and inland waterways. We have to reorganize schooling at a much more modest level. We have to close down most of the overseas military bases we're operating and conclude our wars in Asia. Mostly, we have to recover a national sense of common purpose and common decency. There is obviously a lot of work to do in the list above, which could translate into paychecks and careers -- but not if we direct all our resources into propping up the failing structures of yesterday.

Dmitry Orlov: Time's Up! An Uncivilized Solution to a Global Crisis by Keith Farnish

Keith's book is a reader challenge: the reader is tasked with developing a survivable future for her progeny. Very carefully and delicately, with many references to academic research and a rich bibliography, Keith lays out the case that extinction is the default choice – unless you, dear reader of such books, along with a few other people, people like Keith, who would like to help you, come up with a better plan.

Petrobras' Oil Production Up 5% in August

Petrobras' average oil production, in Brazil, reached the mark of 1,980,222 barrels in August, a 5% increase over a year ago. Compared to last July, the growth was 42,000 barrels of oil per day. This increase resulted from resumed operations at platforms that had undergone scheduled shutdowns in the previous month (Cherne 1, P-9, and P-40) and from production going on stream at new wells connected to Campos Basin platforms.

India Cos Unlikely to Produce Oil from Iran Block

India's state-run oil companies will likely not produce any oil from Iran's Farsi block due to the low value of high-sulfur crude and low returns on investment, but natural gas resources could be developed, a senior executive with one of the companies told reporters late Monday.

"We may not produce oil due to high sulfur content in crude but we will explore ways of exploiting natural gas from the block," said the executive, who declined to be named.

Kuwait tackles energy plans with power plant contract

Kuwait has approved plans to build the country’s largest power station for US$2.65 billion (Dh9.73bn) in a bid to close its persistent electricity shortage.

Bader al Shuraian, the minister of electricity and water, signed the contract with General Electric and Hyundai Heavy Industries late on Sunday to construct a 2,000 megawatt plant at Sabiya that will burn both natural gas and fuel oil.

OECD: nuclear output unaffected by recession

According to official data released today by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), nuclear electricity generation in OECD member countries has only marginally declined despite the economic downturn. Nuclear power plants provided 21.5% of the total electricity generated in the OECD area in 2008 against 21.6% in 2007.

A Mad Dash for Smart Grid Cash

By the time the late August application deadline had expired, a United States Department of Energy program to distribute $615 million to fund projects demonstrating smart grid technology had attracted 140 proposals requesting a total of $2.3 billion.

“The response is very encouraging,” said Jen Stutsman, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department. “We expect some very competitive projects.”

Pursuing a Battery So Electric Vehicles Can Go the Extra Miles

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A future generation lithium-air battery might be the much sought after power source for electric vehicles with ranges that match gasoline powered cars of today.

Hawaii Tries Green Tools in Remaking Power Grids

NAALEHU, Hawaii — Two miles or so from this tiny town in the southernmost corner of the United States, across ranches where cattle herds graze beneath the distant Mauna Loa volcano, the giant turbines of a new wind farm cut through the air.

Sixty miles to the northeast, near a spot where golden-red lava streams meet the sea in clouds of steam, a small power plant extracts heat from the volcanic rock beneath it to generate electricity.

These projects are just a slice of the energy experiment unfolding across Hawaii’s six main islands. With the most diverse array of alternative energy potential of any state in the nation, Hawaii has set out to become a living laboratory for the rest of the country, hoping it can slash its dependence on fossil fuels while keeping the lights on.

U.S. CO2 Emissions Plan Depends on ‘Unlikely’ Offsets

(Bloomberg) -- The “cap-and-trade” bill for greenhouse gases that passed the U.S. House June 26 depends on an “unlikely” supply of cheap carbon credits from developing countries, the National Commission on Energy Policy said today.

While the House-passed bill would allow as many as 1.5 billion so-called carbon offsets from tropical rainforests and clean energy projects in poor countries to count toward U.S. greenhouse gas targets each year, 300 million or less will probably be available, the commission said in a report.

Climate deal must be wide, not "overwhelming": Chu

VIENNA (Reuters) - Nations aiming to agree on a new global climate deal should focus on achievable greenhouse gas emissions targets, to involve as many nations as possible, said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The world is meant to thrash out in December in Copenhagen a new international climate change pact beyond 2012, to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

EPA to propose ways to cut car emissions

McLEAN, Va. — The chief of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that the Obama administration is studying how to curb global-warming gases from big industrial polluters such as power plants and factories.

In an appearance before the USA TODAY editorial board, Lisa Jackson also said the agency will soon propose rules to cut greenhouse emissions from cars.

"We will continue to move stepwise down the path toward regulation of greenhouse gases," Jackson said, assuming that the EPA adopts a preliminary finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to public health.

Factoring People Into Climate Change

It's a sure bet that women won't be high on the agenda, or even listed on the program, when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convenes a climate change summit of world leaders on September 22. Women are also likely to be missing at the make-or-break emissions reduction conference in Copenhagen in December.

Even less likely to be discussed at either event is the potential environmental role of reproductive health. Family planning is a toxic subject in too many places, best buried as a malingering relative of Malthusian population "control."

Governments, which dominate these huge confabs, and the people who work independently in the field, down at village level, disagree sharply on the perils of omitting women and their reproductive choices when the future of the earth is at stake.

Hard Times In The High Desert

For most exurbanites, moving back to the city--the preferred option of planners and urban boosters--is not an attractive option. These people could never afford a charming townhouse in Portland's Pearl District or a loft in New York's SoHo. For them, the "urban option" means the prospect of a dreary blocky apartment complex in a noisy, crowded, less-than-genteel section of Los Angeles or another large city.

...To my mind, harboring ill will toward the aspirations of exurbanites is hardly "progressive," at least from a social democratic point of view. Yet many on the so-called left feel that what is generally considered upward mobility needs to be curbed so that the hoi polloi can better live according to the prescriptions of their more enlightened, usually higher-educated and more affluent "betters."

In contrast, a more humane, and fundamentally democratic, approach would be to find ways to help these communities thrive. The first step: local job creation. Even without the excessive prices associated with "peak oil" theories, gas prices and car expenses do place a considerable burden on many exurbanites. Developing more economic opportunities closer to these communities would relieve this financial burden, while also cutting energy consumption.

OPEC Raises 2009, 2010 Oil Demand Forecasts on Economic Rebound

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised its global oil demand forecasts for this year and 2010 on expectations the world economy will return to growth.

OPEC, responsible for about 40 percent of worldwide oil supply, boosted its 2010 outlook by 150,000 barrels a day and 2009 by 140,000 barrels a day. The group now predicts that consumption will contract 1.8 percent this year to average 84.05 million barrels a day, and then expand 0.6 percent in 2010 to 84.56 million a day.

“Evidence of an impending upturn in the world economy appears to be gathering,” OPEC’s Vienna-based secretariat said today in its monthly market report. Oil prices around $70 a barrel “are likely to persist.”

'Oil price rise may hurt recovery'

If oil prices continue to rise, they could damage a fragile economic recovery, the International Energy Agency's executive director Nobuo Tanaka warned today.

U.S. Crude-Oil Supplies Fell Last Week, Survey Shows

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. crude-oil inventories probably fell last week as refineries took delivery of less of the raw material before they idle units for seasonal maintenance, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

U.S. refineries often shut units for maintenance in September and October as gasoline demand drops and before heating-oil use increases. Crude-oil imports fell 5 percent to an average 9.1 million barrels a day in the week ended Sept. 4.

Total Struggles to Reverse Output Drop Amid Slowdown

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, is struggling to counter falling production as the economic slowdown erodes demand for energy and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries limits output.

The Paris-based explorer pumps about one third of its output from OPEC members, a larger proportion than rivals such as BP Plc partly because of France’s links with the Mideast and Africa. It has also made finds off the Angolan coast and is investing in Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez has expelled producers refusing to accept new contract terms.

Angola Is U.S. Priority as Rising Oil Output Boosts Influence

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Steinberg arrived in Angola in 1995 as U.S. ambassador to find American oilmen doing more than drilling for coastal crude.

“They were, in fact, the American ambassadors to Angola in that period,” Steinberg recalls. “The only real relationship was through the oil companies.”

Angola, currently Africa’s top oil producer, is now a priority in Washington. Hillary Clinton’s overnight visit last month -- the first for a U.S. secretary of state -- sent the message that America is eager to help transform the former Cold War battleground into a stable energy giant with strong democratic institutions and transparent business practices.

Petrobras Finds More Oil as Gabrielli Sees ‘Fantastic Moment’

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA found another deposit of oil and natural gas in Brazil’s Santos Basin as Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli sought to reassure international investors about the company’s prospects.

The discovery was made together with BG Group Plc and Repsol YPF SA after a fourth well was drilled in the BM-S-9 block off the country’s southeastern coast, Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil company, said in a statement last night. The Abare Oeste field is neighbor to the Carioca, Guara and Iguacu fields, where the company has already reported the existence of crude.

Bharat Petroleum Oil Imports May Rise 50% to Record

(Bloomberg) -- Bharat Petroleum Corp., an Indian state-refiner, said its crude-oil imports may rise 50 percent to a record next year after completing expansions to meet demand in the second-fastest growing major economy.

Overseas purchases may climb to 24 million metric tons in the year starting April 1, from 16 million this year, finance director S.K. Joshi said in an interview in Mumbai yesterday.

Eni Shuts Livorno Refinery as Unions Protest Job Plan

(Bloomberg) -- Eni SpA, Italy’s biggest energy company, closed its refinery in Livorno, potentially curbing fuel supplies amid Europe’s glut, as unions protested against a risk of job cuts in a possible sale.

All deliveries have been blocked except chemicals needed for plant security, said Antonio Fidanza, secretary general for the petroleum energy division of Italy’s biggest union, Cgil, in an interview. The plant has been shut since Sept. 13, he said. An Eni spokeswoman couldn’t immediately comment.

Mexico Oil Bonds Raise $2.4 Billion to Bolster Public Finances

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s government raised 32 billion pesos ($2.4 billion) by selling oil-backed debt to local banks, part of an effort to alleviate budget shortfalls among states, Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said.

The 13-year debt, yielding 181 basis points over the interbank TIIE swap rate, was sold in a private offering to 12 banks in Mexico, Carstens said yesterday in Mexico City. The debt issuance is backed by a rainy-day oil fund that gets money when crude oil exports sell for more than the budgeted amount.

Newcastle Weekly Coal Exports Fall, Ship Queue Drops

(Bloomberg) -- Coal shipments from Australia’s Newcastle port, the world’s biggest export harbor for the fuel, fell 5.6 percent last week while the number of vessels waiting to load declined.

E.ON Delays Building Russian Electricity Unit on Weak Demand

(Bloomberg) -- E.ON AG, Germany’s largest utility, postponed the commissioning of a coal-fired unit in Russia and ruled out further power acquisitions in the country for at least three years because of the economic slowdown.

Audit: Gov't could lose millions in gas royalties

WASHINGTON – The federal government risks losing millions of dollars in royalties from natural gas production because it does not promptly determine and collect when it gets shortchanged, according to congressional auditors.

The Government Accountability Office said in a report Monday that the Minerals Management Service, which manages oil and gas production on public lands, does not have the tools or staff necessary to check that companies are paying the government what it is owed in royalties.

Pakistani Police Thwart Militant Attack on Karachi Oil Terminal

(Bloomberg) -- Pakistani police say they thwarted an overnight attack on an oil terminal in the southern city of Karachi and are investigating whether it was carried out by Taliban militants.

Russia should sell oil and gas for roubles - Dvorkovich

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass) - Russia should gradually switch to selling its oil and gas and other raw resources for roubles to turn the rouble into a key regional reserve currency, the Kremlin’s top economic adviser, Arkady Dvorkovich, said on Tuesday.

“If we can somehow interlink the rouble with those goods that we have today, i.e. energy resources – oil, gas and other raw materials, and begin to trade in oil and gas contracts for roubles, the rouble will gradually become an essential currency for many countries,” he said.

Russian energy in disarray

The once all-powerful Russian energy sector appears to be on unpredictable and shaky grounds today. The development of the giant Kovykta gas field, once considered as a major project, has been placed on hold; the jewel in the crown Shtokman field is in trouble; Sakhalin-2 is being forced to divert its gas to the strategic Russian Far East for domestic consumption, while original plans to sell this gas to China are being abandoned.

These fundamental changes come at a time when less-than-transparent deals are taking place in the ownership of Russian oil and gas companies. That raises the question of whether these developments are related and if so, what impact, if any, they could have on European and Asian energy security.

Ghanem 'is gone'

Shokri Ghanem, the chairman of Libya's National Oil Company (NOC), is no longer in the post, a senior source in the Libyan General People's Congress, said today.

Asked about media reports that Ghanem had resigned, the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters: "He is gone."

Obama Urged to Ready Tougher Iran Sanctions, Military Strike

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. should begin preparing crippling sanctions on Iran and publicly make clear that a military strike is possible should the Iranian government press ahead with its nuclear effort, a bipartisan policy group said.

“If biting sanctions do not persuade the Islamic Republic to demonstrate sincerity in negotiations and give up its enrichment activities, the White House will have to begin serious consideration of the option of a U.S.-led military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities,” said the study from the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

China showers gifts on resources-rich Timor

DILI (Reuters) – Dili's gleaming new Presidential Palace and Foreign Ministry, gifts from China, stand in stark contrast to nearby burned-out buildings and are symbols of how the energy-hungry superpower is growing closer to tiny, oil-rich East Timor.

Norway hands left historic win

Norway's left-wing coalition held onto a razor-thin majority in Monday's general election after a campaign pitting improvements to the welfare state against tax cuts in the oil-rich economy.

Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg declared victory for his government, which was seen winning a slim, one-seat majority with 99.4% of votes counted.

California feud breaks out on clean energy plan

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto a bill requiring the state to get a third of its electricity from solar, wind and other renewable sources, his staff said on Monday in a fight that shows the difficulties of addressing climate change fast.

New Oil Discoveries You Should Know

Peak oil enthusiasts seem convinced that the world is heading for a cataclysmic change as the production of oil declines over the next generation. Predictions range from food riots to mass starvation to the extinction of the human race. There's only one problem with all this - the industry keeps finding more and more oil.

Peak Oil Theory in Crisis

Peak Oil cult membership may wane now that scientists have proved fossil fuels can be created synthetically by replicating the high pressure, high temperature conditions found in the upper mantle of the earth's crust. In other words, the fossils of animals and plants aren't needed to produce oil and gas, which means oil and natural gas will be easier to find and may abound all over the world.

Peak oil and an economic recovery

Peak Oil is widely known to be the point at which oil production reaches its highest point and thereafter declines. Most people expect that this point will be reached in the very near future. Others believe we reached the highest point of oil production in the first half of the present decade and that from now on it is all down hill. They are correct.

A detailed analysis prepared for The Oil Drum by Tony Erikson provides reasonable evidence that Peak Oil occurred in 2008. It contends that peak production of 74.8 million barrels per day was achieved in July 2008 and has been in decline since then. Current production is estimated to be about 71 million barrels per day, a decline of 5 per cent, with a further decline of about 7 per cent expected over the next 15 months.

Blind Spot: Peak Oil & the Coming Global Crisis

In this haunting portrait of America's oil-fueled excesses, director Adolfo Doring explores the inextricable link between the energy we use, the way we run our economy, and the multiplying threats that now confront the environmental health and stability of our planet. Taking as its starting point the inevitable energy depletion scenario known as "Peak Oil," the film surveys a fascinating range of the latest intellectual, political, and scientific thought to make the case that by whatever measure of greed, wishful thinking, neglect, or ignorance, we now find ourselves at a disturbing crossroads: we can continue to burn fossil fuels and witness the collapse of our ecology, or we can choose not to and witness the collapse of our economy.

Apocalypse Now? Dark Visions At Toronto Film Festival

TORONTO (Reuters) - A new wave of documentaries at this year's Toronto International Film Festival poses a disturbing question: is environmental and social disaster on a global scale imminent and perhaps inevitable?

Doomsday visions captured by three filmmakers at the annual industry event may have seemed a bit implausible only a couple of years ago. But after the global economy's near-death experience over the past 12 months, such ideas may no longer strike audiences as radical or hard to fathom.

Against the grain on Norman Borlaug

The criticism was not so much aimed at the man himself, but for the biotech legacy he played such a major role in creating. After all, this was the man who arguably did more than any other to nurture the era of monocrops, GM foods and the intensive use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilisers. He may well have saved a billion people from imminent starvation, but by doing so, say his critics, he also inadvertently helped to plant the seed for future environmental woes.

China committed to peaceful nuclear policy

Wang said China's peaceful use of nuclear energy had entered a fast development phase. China had established a complete nuclear industrial system and had the capacity to assure a requisite fuel supply for its nuclear energy development.

1.27 million displaced by China's Three Gorges Dam

BEIJING (AFP) – China has relocated 1.27 million people to make way for the controversial Three Gorges dam development, the world's largest hydroelectric project, state media reported.

The figure was the total number of relocations as of the end of June, a top dam construction official was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency in a report issued late Saturday.

Birth defects rise in parts of China: state media

BEIJING (AFP) – The number of newborns with birth defects in many parts of China is rising rapidly as women have children later in life and environmental pollution takes its toll, state media reported Tuesday.

Japan to demand US forces clean up pollution: report

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan's incoming government plans to oblige US forces stationed in the country to clean up any environmental damage when they move bases, a report said Monday.

The coalition led by the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which takes power this week, wants to add an environmental clause to the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the Sankei newspaper said, without naming its sources.

One in six Mediterranean mammals face extinction

MADRID (AFP) – One in six Mediterranean mammals is threatened with extinction at the regional level, mainly due to the destruction of their habitat from urbanization, agriculture and climate change, nature body IUCN said Tuesday in a new study.

Many climate change costs seen avoidable

LONDON (Reuters) - Climate change could cost some countries up to 19 percent of their gross domestic product by 2030, a panel including major insurance, banking and consulting companies as well as the European Commission said on Monday.

Developing nations will be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change but a lot of their economic loss could be avoided, a report by the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) Working Group said.

Together with prevention and mitigation measures, risk transfer like insurance or catastrophe bonds can play an important role by capping losses from catastrophic events, increasing willingness to invest and providing price signals to financial markets, the working group said.

Greenpeace calls Canada polluter, climate change 'bully'

MONTREAL (AFP) – Environmental group Greenpeace on Monday accused Canada of contributing to a "global climate crisis" by seeking to expand extraction of oil from tar sands in Alberta province.

In a report entitled "Dirty Oil" the organization also says that Canada, along with Japan, is seeking to block progress towards a new global climate change agreement to be finalized at a December summit in Copenhagen.

Alberta's 'firewall' approach to climate change

There's been talk lately that the Harper government's climate change policy will favour oil sands production at the expense of Ontario and Quebec's manufacturing sector.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice has publicly denied that he is promoting such a scheme in private meetings.

But the suspicion lingers on, mainly because the Harperites have yet to produce a clear and detailed plan that spells out exactly how they intend to curb greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and particularly in Alberta, the country's largest emitter.

Aussie rocker Garrett won't join climate change song

SYDNEY (AFP) – Left-wing rocker turned Australian environment minister Peter Garrett said Tuesday he would not join 55 world celebrities in reprising one of his greatest hits in the name of climate change.

The former Midnight Oil frontman said he and the band had collaborated with the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum on a revamp of their 1980s hit "Beds Are Burning", but would not take part in the recording.

Ethiopia seeks climate change answers from public

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – Ethiopia will conduct a nationwide canvass of opinion to enable people to submit their ideas on how to tackle climate change, state media reported on Tuesday.

The Ethiopian News Agency said the Horn of Africa country's population would be consulted over two months and the results of the forum would help shape Africa's position during key talks in Copenhagen in December.

Climate Mystery

‘The Climate Mystery’ is a new computer game available for free on the internet as teaching aid for teens in the weeks leading up to the December climate summit in Copenhagen. ‘We wanted to use an engrossing story to capture and maintain interest in on climate issues,’ Christian Fonnesbech, creative director of Congin, the game’s designer, said during its launch yesterday.Each week players will be presented with a new problem they need to deal with in order to solve the mystery. The problems, such as floods and forest fires, should also help them to find the four main characters.

Re-elected Norway premier to fight climate change

OSLO – Norway's prime minister on Tuesday said fighting climate change would be a priority in his second term after his left-leaning government beat a splintered opposition to win re-election.

Jens Stoltenberg's Labor-led coalition won 86 seats to keep a slim majority in the 169-seat Parliament after using oil money to shield the Nordic welfare state from the global recession.

El Niño, Global Warming Link Questioned; Possible Link Between 1918 El Niño And Flu Pandemic?

ScienceDaily — Research conducted at Texas A&M University casts doubts on the notion that El Niño has been getting stronger because of global warming and raises interesting questions about the relationship between El Niño and a severe flu pandemic 91 years ago. The findings are based on analysis of the 1918 El Niño, which the new research shows to be one of the strongest of the 20th century.

By 2055, state's climate could look more like Missouri's, study finds

The first detailed research on Wisconsin's climate is forecasting a jump in average annual temperatures of 4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by midcentury, which could push humans and nature to adapt to weather conditions that at times resemble Missouri today.

The findings are unique for climate research in Wisconsin because researchers are making predictions about the future on a local scale.

New study makes dire prediction for Minnesota forests

St. Paul, Minn. — A new article by University of Minnesota ecologists says Minnesota's forests could shrink more rapidly than expected, as droughts, fires, and growth of native and exotic species accelerate the changes caused by global warming.

The authors argue that prairie lands could expand by as much as 300 miles in the next 50 to 100 years, pushing Minnesota's forests further north. The changes would significantly alter the state's landscape, and could impact industry and development.

Interior Launches Climate Strategy

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar launched the Obama administration's first coordinated response to the impacts of climate change Monday, which he said would both monitor how global warming is altering the nation's landscape and help the country cope with those changes.

Salazar will lead a new "climate change response council" that will coordinate action among the department's eight bureaus and offices. A secretarial order will create eight "regional climate change response centers" in areas ranging from Alaska to the Northeast and build landscape conservation cooperatives that will create strategies for the eight regions with the help of state and local groups, and other federal agencies.

This is my first contribution to TOD. I am from Denmark and I´ll try to send you small bits of information and wievpoints from my corner of the world.
As you might know Maersk Line is one of the leading liner shipping companies in the world and they are now sailing ”in uncharted waters.” And so is all the rest of the world´s shipping comp.
”The 'ghost fleet' near Singapore. The world's ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world's economies”
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1212013/Revealed-The-gho...

Maersk Line is part of the danish company A.P. Moller - Maersk Group

Welcome. I saw that "ghost fleet" photo posted at PeakOil.com - amazing.

Other hints that the green shoots may not be so green:

US credit shrinks at Great Depression rate prompting fears of double-dip recession

Both bank credit and the M3 money supply in the United States have been contracting at rates comparable to the onset of the Great Depression since early summer, raising fears of a double-dip recession in 2010 and a slide into debt-deflation.

And Denninger points to Best Buy's results as evidence that the holiday season may be a "monstrous miss."

"double dip recession"

When will we start talking about the present depression iso recession?

Echoing Denninger's comments, the Best Buy quarterly results do look nasty. One might have expected a boost in results after Circuit City went under, but it doesn't look to be happening, as Denninger points out. As for computer sales, I noticed that our local MaoMart recently upgraded their offerings, with more laptop and notebooks choices set out on display. One might think that the result was more sales and thus fewer computers being bought thru Best Buy. If we drift into another downturn, the Christmas selling season could be a killer for the retail sector, with attendant effects on the rest of the economy. As we know, the consumer has been credited with about 70% of GNP...

E. Swanson

Then again...

Sales at U.S. retailers leap in August

WASHINGTON - U.S. retail sales jumped in August, spurred by widespread gains beyond the expected increases of auto sales due to the government's popular Cash for Clunkers program that offered incentives for trading in old vehicles toward the purchase of new ones.

And while inflation at the wholesale level also rose last month as gasoline prices surged the most in a decade, the retail sales report is a sign that consumers may be less cautious about spending as the economy recovers. Consumer spending is closely watched because it accounts for about 70 percent of the nation's economic activity.

I'm suspicious of that headline.

August is back to school shopping time. A time when postponed necessities are often purchased, so in a tightfisted season it could reasonably be expected to be up from July.

The chart with the article ends at last August, so we can't see at a glance from there whether this is a normal rise.

We still have a long way to go .
This link is from Denmark Statistics and give you an idea of the energy consumption:
oil / coal / renewable / natural gas


from Denmark Statistics "Use of renewable energy"-column .... 12 859 a magic number ?
That number appears for 18 consequtive months (!), so does the wind blow at a preset and fixed velocity in Denmark? If so, that bode well for easy planning regarding more wind in the power miX-

No, the wind do not blow at a preset and fixed velocity in Denmanrk, and renewable do include more than just windpower. ( I presume wood and burning of garbage to produce heat and electricity, is included). There is only one way you can get the same number for 12 consequtive months, and that is if you take the total amount for a whole year and divide it by 12. And that is how I understand it is done.

Renewable is a difficult beast to calculate. If I heat my home burning wood in my own fireplace. How on earth can some government statistician know exactly how much wood I have burned in december? Or how much wood I have not burned in april?

Maybe those ships can still be scrubbed and used as artificial reefs somewhere to create habitat for marine life.

Hell no! People all over the world are going to need all that (cheap?) steel to make railroad tracks and rolling stock.

Alan from the islands

So true IB. My owner also owns a marine salvage company. The profit we're making now by cutting up ships and barging the scrap to China/India is amazing. Often 5-10 times the acquisition cost of the ship. And this has been during the global recession.

Existing Dam in British Columbia adds 500 MW turbine & generator


An example of managing the dam for greater peak power (useful to balance wind) and reducing the amount of water "spilled" (let over the dam without generating power, required when water flows are high and the dam is full).

Best Hopes for more examples,


Re: Existing Dam in British Columbia adds 500 MW turbine & generator

To quote BC Hydro,

There are currently no utility-scale wind farms in operation in the Province of B.C.

There are a few hobby-scale ones, but I don't think there are plans for anything big.

I doubt BC Hydro lets much water get by the Revelstoke Dam without running it through the turbines. Mostly, I think they're using it to balance out their coal-fired stations. Hydro dams are great for handling peak load - they can go from zero to 2500 megawatts in about 60 seconds.

I particularly remember the year that California had its big electricity crisis. I was walking through the mountains about 1 vertical mile above Revelstoke, and noticed that the reservoir was empty. They had seeded it to grass to keep the dust from blowing around. The Columbia River downstream of the dam was throttled back to a trickle for most of the day. Then, around 5:00 pm when the panicked phone call came from California, they'd turn the Columbia on full blast and spin the turbines up to full power, with most of it going to California. It was exciting, but you didn't want to be walking around on the riverbed when they turned the river on.

They made a fortune that year selling emergency power to California, but I think California eventually only paid for half of it.


Just curious why do you even bother to post stuff like "Peak Oil Theory in Crisis".

Is it for our amusement or to scare us with the fact that there are people out amongst us who should really be in strait jackets and in padded rooms both for their own and our protection?

You might as well post a link to the Flat Earth Society's discussion forum.

Just sayin.

I see the DrumBeats as a sort of snapshot of energy media coverage. Because we need to be aware of the political environment we're operating in, and because it's a useful record to look back on.

Opposition research.

I almost regret opening some of those links, the one from today citing Tiber and that field in CA as evidence that peak oil is junk science. These people are true morons, or shall we say morans?


Thank you for that (why we're doomed).

Ouch ouch ouch - Every time I start to feel a glimmer of hope, the electorate rears its mullet head.

I read some right-wing forums, and sometimes even try to engage in some civil discussion. Here's what I was dealing with the other day as somebody was getting hysterical about the President's upcoming address to schoolchildren:

I talked to my x-wife and we both desided to have our girls stay home that day. Everything they (Government) are doing is back stabbing and fashious to no end. Everytime I turn around I'm hearing about or seeing something stuped from them. Like the Marine from Camas, Washington said. "" LEAVE MY KIDS ALONE!""

Laugh or cry, it's all the same at this point.

The stupid and misinformed USA public fails to perceive the outstanding work being done on their behalf (and with their money) by their stellar political representatives. These morons should wake up and realize they have the finest federal government Wall Street, Big Pharma and the defense lobby have purchased to date. If only that damn Glenn Beck didn't have half the population under his all powerful hypnotic spell Washington could get back to doing what they do best, continuing the trendline from 60% of global GDP to an eventual 10%.

Don't have a TV, but my second hand impression was Beck was on the side of Wall Street, Big Pharma, and the Weapons Industry.
Am I missing something by not having a TV?

Yes you have missed Glenn Beck finding communism and fascist symbolism in everything he looks at.

Glenn Beck analyzes fascist and communist symbolism in artwork at Rockefeller Center

Ron P.

Camas, that word makes me think of two things: plant with beautiful purple flowers which was a major food source for Native Americans in this area; and a town on the Columbia River with a really smelly paper mill. Dunno if all that sulfur on the wind has led to a surge in the number of morans in the popyoulayshun, or fashious natzees.

What does it say about me that I think of Death Camas?:



The media seems to be getting cold feet a little on this. A few new discoveries, a financial crisis and uncertain economic growth seem to have caused a wobble.

It got me thinking though - what would it take to legitamately alter the peak oil view? What evidence could genuinely be deployed to affect the argument? And what I mean by this is not the inevitability of peak oil (it's deductively inevitable), but the timing of it? Pushing it out to a less significant date, such as 100 years in the future? I can think of three things:

1) A gargantuan oil discovery (in the hundreds of billions of barrels)
2) Technological breakthrough (something scalable and accessibile to replace oil as a liquid fuel)
3) A dramatic and permanent reduction in oil consumption

Haven't seen these things happening yet (though demand may be an interesting one to watch)

The media seems to be getting cold feet a little on this. A few new discoveries, a financial crisis and uncertain economic growth seem to have caused a wobble.

I'm aware of all that but my comment was more to question the validity of including what perhaps I alone consider to be so far out on the fringe that it is not even representative of the current contrarian political view point.

Sort of like a scientific journal specializing in quantum physics linking to a news article on the benefits of investing in a perpetual motion machine or the the fact that science has finally disproved the "Theory of Gravity". I just think kooks should not even be given the time of day, they are not and can not be part of the discourse, they are irrelevant!

For those of us who are out there publicly speaking on these issues, it is nice to be able to anticipate some of the stupid questions. Thanks Leanan for including them--and for the humor that is added by the TOD responders. Even better than happy doomers are funny doomers. :-)

I'm aware of all that but my comment was more to question the validity of including what perhaps I alone consider to be so far out on the fringe that it is not even representative of the current contrarian political view point.

I think you are dead wrong on that. It's probably closer to the mainstream view than peak oilers are.

A lot of the views expressed here are "fringe." The idea that growth cannot go on forever, for example, is downright loony to Joe Public, and even to most lefty environmental types.

But I do draw the line somewhere. Like here.

That one really struck my funny bone. This has been a fun-filled morning at Drumbeat.

Orlov's always good with the zingers: from today's review of Time's Up! An Uncivilized Solution to a Global Crisis by Keith Farnish | Energy Bulletin:

Keith also talks about the task of destroying industrial civilization in order to allow life on earth to return to equilibrium. A worthy goal, perhaps, although none of what Keith proposes is particularly radical or effective, or it would be illegal and his book would be banned. Is it a goal worth pursuing? If we try and succeed, would we feel proud of ourselves, and wear "I collapsed industrial civilization" T-shirts?

I'm strictly anti clothing-with-writing-on-it, but how about a bumper sticker? Or expand the message to the classic "And all I got was this lousy T-Shirt"?

Love the UFO energy story. Straight outta abovetopsecret.com, where they enthusiastically discuss peak oil, too. Between that and newrepublic we aren't hard up for wingnut satori, at least.

I'm strictly anti clothing-with-writing-on-it

That got a chuckle from me, as I happen to be wearing a "The Dude Abides" T today :)

sigh But then look how many people are out there who believe this sort of thing could happen. And when you point out that a ship like the one described in the article traveling a mere 20,000 MPH would take 193.75 days to travel to the nearest star when light travels to us from there in 8 minutes and that the next nearest star after the Sun is much, much further than 93,000,000 miles, they just smile and keep on believing that the neighbors pop 'round to our planet every few days to check in and see if we're ready for their technology like CPUs and microwave ovens and nifty new energy sources. Compared to that, abiotic oil almost sounds intuitively obvious. ;-)

I think that there is a possibility that we will get a UFO visiting earth, but it would be unmanned (or is that unaliened). Any deep space explorer sent by another civilization would have to be a drone, with no life on it. So I'm pretty sure that those abductions are not happening.

My guess is that about 90% of Americans accept the Yergin, Lynch or Huber viewpoints which I would respectively define as "We may approach an oil production plateau toward the middle of the 21st Century," "We may approach an oil production plateau some time in the 22nd Century," and "Our total energy consumption will increase forever."

10% may be concerned about an immediate oil production peak, or a peak within 10 years or so. Of that 10%, perhaps one out of every 10, or one percent of Americans, might have some concern about declining net oil exports.

I like how Gaia fights. Lull them and then the swift upper-cut.

Interesting to see in recent books and films the great popularity of the Zombie genre. I suppose self-reflective art is always in vogue.

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight (1968) is a very good metaphor for our times. IMHO.
i.e. thread hasn't been here for 240 years, it's gone for good! I think a lot of the sci-fi and fantasy
books from the 60's, especially Dune, were very prescient about what we are heading into. Asimov, particularly was concerned with total collapse of civilisation and the idea, that it's too late to save it, but possibly we could create measures to shorten the interim period of chaos before civilisation arises again.


WT, do you really think there are 3+ million 'Murkins who have even heard of ELM? I could be wrong, but I think you give the masses too much credit with those 10% and 1% estimates. My guess is more like an order of magnitude lower. But then I tend toward the cynical...

Well, it's basicly the same here in Norway. Our Oil Directorate let out it's yearly report early September. We have 750 million cubic meters of oil left, and we extract 110 million each year. We find about 30 million cubic a year, so we're extracting 80 million cubic every year.
Helge Lund said in the media that we had 8 years left, and got laughed out.
The story is the same with our gas reserves. We're out in 8-9 years or so.

Here is the report.

Chapter 4 describes our reserves etc.

As an oil exporting country, we're clueless what even goes on in our biggest (only real?) industry. Guess we're all "MORANS"... :D



So help me God-that's got to be a doctored picture if a light fixture.I bought one that appeared to be identical to it for a buck at a yard sale a few weeks back.

But I trashed it because it had a short in it.

I just think kooks should not even be given the time of day, they are not and can not be part of the discourse, they are irrelevant!

A comment that may easily have been made about peak oilers 10 years ago by those following received wisdom. My point is that if the peak oil movement is based on cold logic and reason, then any data which may alter the outlook ought to be considered. Out of hand dismissal leads to dogmatic viewpoints. That's not to say that we have to consider every argument. However we do need to be open to evidence which might alter our conclusions and not dismiss it out of hand - that's where the opponents of peak oil let themselves down.

However we do need to be open to evidence which might alter our conclusions and not dismiss it out of hand - that's where the opponents of peak oil let themselves down.

Yep, agreed. The key word here being "evidence".


When your grandchildren are writing research papers on the history and politics of energy they will appreciate these little gems of ignorance.Kinda helps put things into proper historical perspective doncha see?

And I get a laugh out of some of them too.

I think (3) understates things: it seems likely that China/India and some other places are likely to have and retain "buying power" relative to the developed world along with the desire sufficient to be taking a larger amount of oil (even if everyone in the world suffers a financial crash). So you have to postulate either that this isn't true, or else you need not just a dramatic reduction of current consumption but "cancelation of future consumption increases".

I suppose really we would need a complete break in the oil/GDP ratio. In this case GDP is merely a proxy for rising living standards - and I know we could come up with a better measurement.

But on the demand side I wonder about a couple of things. We know that whatever happens India and China simply cannot continue on their future paths regarding oil dmeand. Even the most virulent anti-peak oil person would agree that China simply will not reach western standards of per capita consumption. So the question then is what will be the reason for China and India's failure to increase oil consumption? There are two possibilities:

1) They choose to find an alternative development path (eschewing the oil-dominated model followed by OECD countries)
2) They are forced to reduce consumption (through price, shortage or economic decline)

What I wonder is why China and India do not appear to be actively planning for this? They cannot be unaware of the looming problem. So what do they do?

What I wonder is why China and India do not appear to be actively planning for this? They cannot be unaware of the looming problem. So what do they do?

They are actively planning for an oil crunch. China, in particular, is lurching around the world buying up all the oil reserves it can by fair means or foul. It is also building nuclear and coal power plants as fast as it can. And converting its railroads to electric power.

Note that they are not taking the touchy-feely environmentally sensitive approach. They are taking the low profile buy it while it's cheap because it's not going to be cheap for long strategy. They are going to try to keep their oil consumption as low as possible, but they are not going to starve themselves for oil when they can starve someone else.

About India - I don't think peak oil is anywhere even on the fringes of the collective consciousness of our nation. We have a neo-liberal economist as the Prime Minister - a good decent man, but one who, I suspect, thinks the market will sort this one out. Most people that I talk to are technology cornucopians. What they don't seem to grasp is that a lot of technology was possible in the first place only because of cheap oil

A few things tell me though that there is some awareness of the situation that FFs cannot last forever.

a. Our PM put his neck on the line to push through the civilian nuclear deal last year.
b. Almost all our big cities are getting Mass Transit systems. Delhi already has 66km of Metro and is getting another 128km of Metro. Bangalore, where I live, is getting 42km of Metro in Phase I and another 125 km of Metro in Phase II.
c. There is a plan to invest close to $50B in Metro systems across cities in India.
d. The Chairman of ONGC (one of the bigger oil exploration companies) said that he sees oil in triple digits in the not so distant future.

But we have this huge population problem and now we all want to live our version of the American Dream. Telling people that they are most likely going to die in a poor nation is not why politicians get voted.


India is also developing more hydro and has two North-South electrified freight only railroad lines planned (I have not followed closely).

Indian Railways is pushing for more electrification and is getting bits & pieces.

Best Hopes for India,


Chicken -- You might want to Google China's oil acquisition efforts over the last 10+ years, They have spent 100's of billions of $'s securing future oil reserves around the globe. They are a big component in every major oil play across the globe. Given their agrressive nature in these efforts I can only assume they see PO in a similar manner as the folks here at TOD. For China it's not a question of diminishing oil reserves but their continued efforts to increase their access to what is left. Global oil reserves are decreasing yearly. China's oil reserves are steadily increasing every year.

I’m reading Manufacturing a Better Future for America which discusses the decline of US manufacturing and the rise if China and India.


Even though the developing countries sometimes use 10 hours of labor to our one, their labor cost is so low they can still under price us. They also don’t have OSHA and environmental protection to worry about.

The really shocking facts are how quickly China’s manufacturing output increased. Their exponential growth curve is steep and the real competitive threat is just beginning.
The logical outcome is that the dollar will collapse until we become competitive. That will put oil over $200/bbl and similarly affect other minerals and metals.

Having worked in manufacturing saw the decline beginning about 15 years ago, but it is accelerating.

The government should impose import duties on all oil and minerals, eliminate the income tax on anyone making less than $250 K/yr and institute a value added tax. Then we need to start building an electric street railway system just like we had in the 1920's, but of course to suit today's much larger population.

Even though the developing countries sometimes use 10 hours of labor to our one, their labor cost is so low they can still under price us

That's not the problem. The problem is that they have hit what the Economist magazine calls the "sweet spot" in industrial development. Their productivity has jumped dramatically, so they're only using two hours of labor to our one, while their wages haven't kept pace - they're only making two or three times as much as they used to.

Of course, their workers are as happy as heck because they are making two or three times as much as they used to, while their employers are even happier because they're getting five times as much production for only two or three times as much money - which is to say 50% as much production as western workers for 20% to 30% as much money.

This is the synergy that is driving the Chinese economy - over the past few decades most of the population has moved from being subsistence farmers to productive factor workers, with the sharp increase in worker productivity that causes, but they still think like subsistence farmers. They are willing to work long, hard hours for low pay because the hours are short compared to what they are used to, and the pay is much higher than they are used to.

In addition, the people save much more money because they are not used to spending it, and that money gets invested in more plant and machinery, which makes them even more productive.

It's hard to compete against that if you want western working conditions, western wages, and western deficit financing. You have to be able to do something that justifies the higher wages you think you deserve.

I've been amazed at the number of lay people I've spoken with who think the 'synthesis of oil without fossils' means problem over. And, true to the journalistic tendency to lead with the sensational, these articles reinforce that belief. Nowadays, not many people go beyond the headline and first five sentences, where the all-important qualifications/caveats come in.

So it's worth keeping an eye on...

The problem as I see it, is that people don't even ask questions anymore.
Moran: "Okay. Great, now I can buy a new pickup." *Switches to Paradise Hotel* (Dunno if you have that mockery of human relations reality TV show in US...)

It's the same people that thinks the "rescession" is over.

Never check the source, never ask questions and laaaaay back.

F -- I think such posts by Leanan offer a way to keep ourselves grounded in reality. There are so many clever folks on TOD with truly good ideas it would be easy to begin to feel that this is society's view. It's not. I think it's critical to frame our thoughts in the light of how the great majority out there see the issue of PO. Otherwise we'll just be patting each other on the back as we slowy go down with the ship.

Just sayin.

Article from the NY Times, about how changes in behavior spread through social networks:

Is Happiness Catching?

It may explain why the number of smokers is not going down, why obesity is spreading, and why it's better to have lots of friends.

It may explain why the number of smokers is not going down, why obesity is spreading, and why it's better to have lots of friends.

As long as your friend's friends are not fat and don't smoke ;-)

Recommended reading:

Linked: the new science of networks
By Albert-László Barabási

Most people don't want to be happy-realistically, no one would read TOD if personal happiness was a priority. Overall, you are a very sharp bunch and often stimulating intellectually (even the posters who regard myself as a moron), yet I personally have never encountered a more "glass half empty" gang. I would include myself in this category when interfacing here-the overall tone often seems defeatist for its own sake. One gets the sense that even if life on Earth was somehow made perfect for every human, the neagative focus would be on the disappearing tree frogs or some other flaw in the masterpiece. There is a perceptable attraction, but it definitely doesn't improve mood or general happiness IMO.

The masochist says to the sadist: "Hit me!"
The sadist to the masochist: "No!"

I don't think personal happiness has anything to do with optimism or pessimism about the future. In the long run, we're all dead. You can accept that, yet still be very happy in your day to day life.

You can accept that, yet still be very happy in your day to day life

I actually agree with that statement, though I admit that sometimes I have a really hard time convincing my friends that I'm happy when I tell them some of the things that most people on this site hold as self evident truths.

So maybe a little Bobby McFerrin is in order... take it away Bobby!

There is this little song I wrote
I hope you learn it note for note
Like good little children
Don't worry, be happy
Listen to what I say
In your life expect some trouble
But when you worry
You make it double
Don't worry, be happy......
Don't worry don't do it, be happy
Put a smile on your face
Don't bring everybody down like this
Don't worry, it will soon past
Whatever it is
Don't worry, be happy

Ya think maybe he's talking about "Peak Oil" when he says it will soon be past?


I hope you find this interesting:

'The Age of Stupid' is the new cinema documentary from the Director of 'McLibel' and the Producer of the Oscar-winning 'One Day in September'. This enormously ambitious drama-documentary-animation hybrid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching 'archive' footage from 2008 and asking: why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance?

The Global Premiere of The Age of Stupid is on 21st September in one week.

We drove 3 hours to attend a 2 hour birthday party over the weekend. I couldn't get out of it. I was amazed with the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway all of the way -- I don't get out much. I wonder if prices won't spike on the inventory reports this week.

Whoops, should have started a new thread, my apologies to all who read this post.


Green shop owner is fined by council...for not producing any rubbish


From "Audit: Government Could Lose Millions in Gas Royalties", up top:

"The report is the latest to expose shortcomings in the government's management of oil and gas revenue. Earlier reports found problems with the oil royalty-in-kind program and highlighted how the U.S. government receives much less percentage-wise than what other countries collect from their oil and gas production."

When we collect less than other countries, it is a de facto subsidy going to oil and gas producers at the cost of American citizens. Reports of shenanigans in royalty payment and the royalty payment-in-kind program imply the problem is ongoing and that few in authority want to do much about it.

Yet ethanol subsidies are bemoaned as a scam, an outrage and called market distorting by some. But hardly a peep on much larger oil/gas subsidies of which this is only one.

WASHINGTON D.C. - When the Minerals Management Service scandal involving sex, drugs and special favors broke earlier this year, many wondered if any heads would truly roll...
The DB toplink article is just the delayed, highly profitable logical consequence,IMO.

Do you keep posting this in the hopes that RR might miss it once in a while?

Oilsands' emissions surpass some countries

Alberta's oilsands produce more greenhouse-gas emissions than some European countries right now and will produce more than all of the world's volcanoes in just 11 years if the pace of development continues, says a new report.


Re: Oilsands' emissions surpass some countries

Greenpeace continues its practice of making impressive-sounding but meaningless comparisons. Estonia is the 139th largest country in the world. It is slightly larger than Wood Buffalo National Park, which is north of the oil sands, and has slightly more people than Metropolitan Edmonton.

A more telling comparison would be between Canada's oil sands sector and the United States' power generation sector. The latter emits about 100 times more greenhouse gases than the former. A similar comparison could be made with the Chinese power generation sector.

However, Greenpeace is not likely to get very far fighting the U.S. coal lobby, which is very well funded and politically very powerful, so they're trying to take on something with fewer political connections in the U.S. They wouldn't get very far protesting coal power in any of the big coal mining states, and they'd get even less far in China (only to the nearest jail).

Farmers Almanac long range for Southern Ontario and Great Lakes.
I decided to order 3 more cords of wood just in case.

Some fun and funny contributions this morning - ready for a dose of doomerism?

If you thought that the discussion of Mexico's crash was scary, think nuclear in the world's second-largest country and most chaotic democracy:

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says his country is losing the battle against Maoist rebels.

The prime minister said that despite the government's best efforts, violence in Maoist-affected areas was going up.

The prime minister admitted that the Maoists had growing appeal among a large section of Indian society, including tribal communities, the rural poor as well as sections of the intelligentsia and the youth.

In some areas they have virtually replaced the local government and are able to mount spectacular attacks on government installations.

The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless workers.


Here in the US the common fear is that we'll tilt (further) toward fascism, but that actually sounds better to me than a peasant revolt.

Here in the US the common fear is that we'll tilt (further) toward fascism, but that actually sounds better to me than a peasant revolt.

NOliver? Are you just being sarcastic or have you lost your mind and not just your liver form drinking too much Cool Aid?

Yeah, a more fascist government is just what we need, it might actually lead more quickly to the coming peasant revolt here in the USA.

No, I haven't lost my mind - I've got it backed up on disk somewhere around here....

If you had to choose between living in Nazi Germany and in China during the Cultural Revolution, I think your preference would depend strongly on whether you were a landless peasant or a thriving capitalist.

Besides, as bad as top-down fascism is, at least it's predictable, and therefore affords some opportunity to plan around. Nothing to me is more scary than the self-destructive anarchy of a mob with nothing to lose.

Nothing to me is more scary than the self-destructive anarchy of a mob with nothing to lose.

Says the fat cat sitting atop of the capitalist fascist pyramid.

I prefer the moniker 'pudgy pussy,' if you please.

Mobs eat their young. Fascists merely eat others' young.

Honestly, our choices are limited, and some fraction of our society will be sloughed off no matter what. The fascists will - in their selfish attempt to cling to power - be the ones who defend the libraries from the masses who would burn them for fuel.

Either way I'm toast, but I have hope that civilization won't sacrifice the bulk of its knowledge in the earliest stages of catabolic collapse simply because superstition-bound mobs have deemed Science the work of the Devil. Again.

Expanding "fascist" for "totalitarian" brings in some of the strictly controlled communist countries like the USSR without particularly changing the argument.

I wonder why you've got the idea that totalitarians are particularly likely to defend libraries and knowledge? The nazi regime were quite into burning "unsuitable" books and managed to (at least in public) make German scientists denounce theories of people like Einstein and Planck. Likewise Lysenko managed to suppress other better supported theories via the totalitarian system in the USSR. Indeed I'd suspect totalitarians to be more interested in "correcting" libraries whilst it wouldn't surprise me if in an angry mob situation they'd be relatively ignored in favour of more emotional or immediately useful targets.

(I'm not saying anything about totalitarians vs the mob in general, just pointing out that I don't think knowledge preservation is a reason to prefer totalitarianism.)

True enough - Didn't the Soviets deign to outlaw some basic laws of mechanics because they conflicted with Marxist/Leninist philosophy? Then again, the Church engaged in similar book-burning practices, and I seem to recall that even the esteemed Indiana legislature set the value of pi equal to 3.2.


But there's one thing that these deniers and revisionists and morans had in common: They all taught their kids to read. I'm genuinely afraid that any and all "intellectuals" would be singled out for retribution and their wicked practices banned if fearful, superstitious mobs were to take over.

Didn't the Soviets deign to outlaw some basic laws of mechanics because they conflicted with Marxist/Leninist philosophy?

Highly unlikely. Very early on Stalin purged the communist party of the initial revolutionaries and stocked the government with people with engineering backgrounds. Very pragmatic. And very unlikely to do as you claimed.

Practical or not, they apparently had weird enough ideas about agriculture to put this guy in charge for a very long time.

Alas engineers make terrible scientists.

In fact you can source most of Soviet Russia's problems to engineers being in charge. I say this as an engineer myself.

any and all "intellectuals" would be singled out for retribution and their wicked practices banned if fearful, superstitious mobs were to take over.

Not a bad idea, from the POV of survival of the species. We don't want anyone rediscovering the microbe theory of disease, and allowing lots of young ones to survive to breeding age again...

(OK, wild-ironical-despairing-speculation mode off.)

Biology under the Soviet Union suffered horribly. Other sciences fared better, though.

I prefer the moniker 'pudgy pussy,' if you please.

LOL! Maybe I did wake up in a grumpy mood today.

How about pudgy pussy on a hot tin pyramid?

...emblazoned with Annuit Coeptis.

Granted that the Abrahamic interpretations of "Providence" do tend to be a tad on the authoritarian side, I propose that it's original intent as proposed by the American revolutionaries would have been open to interpretation as the undertakings revolt of the peasants from the point of view of the British Fascists Monarchy.

Though you may have a point that holding up hope that the principals, upon which, this possibly no longer great nation, were founded, still apply today, is just a mere exercise in nostalgia.

One key question is: to what extent is the Chinese government instigated and/or supporting this movement? Compare also to the Maoists that are now part of the Nepalese government, if they aren't quite in complete control yet. And also the saber rattling along the India-China border, especially in Arunachal Pradesh:


Hard to say what the Chinese govt might be thinking, or what kind of strategy/pattern they might have themselves locked into. Certainly they want to keep a clear path to Central Asian fossil fuel resources. But I wonder if the Chinese govt is not composed of rival gangs that constantly have to prove status by ever more bold and outrageous actions. Maybe that's always the structure of whatever govt, the only difference being that China is super huge and super powerful, and the only remaining question is, how does the real end game get resolved... perhaps if we're lucky we won't have the fuel for the real nightmare war that's still over the horizon.

Snopes wants to save 9.8 million barrels of oil a year with the Cash for Clunkers.

Here is the math

"U.S. refineries produce between 19 and 20 gallons of motor gasoline from one barrel (42 gallons) of crude oil." ......

If we take the mid-point of that range (i.e., 19.5 gallons of gasoline per barrel of oil) and multiply it by the $75 per barrel price quoted in the example, we find:

191.5 million gallons of gasoline / 19.5 gallons of gasoline per barrel of oil = 9.8 million barrels of oil
9.8 million * $75 per barrel = $735 million

I tried to point out that just by saving the gasoline portion of the refining process you do not save the whole barrel, but they did not seem to understand that.

Wha? Are you suggesting something other than gasoline comes from a barrel of oil? Next thing you'll be telling me is that trees are more than a source of TP!

Well, of course we get more than TP from trees:

Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation. So let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emissions standards for man-made sources.
Ronald Reagan, in "Sierra", 10 September 1980

Now if we only we had some kind of alien technology to convert tree pollution directly into oil...

Sorry, but what is TP ?

As Mr. Whipple used to say:

"Toilet Paper!"

If you assume diesel demand stays the same, it's still worth it to conserve just gasoline because the surplus gasoline can be exported as refined fuel, offsetting crude oil imports.

I think converting the cost savings to barrels of crude just confuses the situation. If we assume C4C saves 224 million gallons of gasoline, multiply that by $3/gal and get $675M of gasoline saved per year.

OECD: nuclear output unaffected by recession

The article is misleading. The percentage of nuclear energy might be almost unchanged. However since the recession means less energy consumption the unchanged percentage means less nuclear energy. Since nuclear power plants come with high investment and low fuel costs - power providers would rather shut down gas or coal fired power plants than nuclear power plants - unless they have to shut them down anyway. This means that the reduction of nuclear power is likely to be permanent. In the end the recession means that the percentage of nuclear power can be seen as almost unchanged despite the fact that there has been a reduction on other grounds.
Further on the article draws an overly optimistic picture about the uranium supply.

It's good for something else as well.


Obama Urged to Ready Tougher Iran Sanctions, Military Strike

Maybe he should read Yahoo News first:


U.S. global power 'in decline'

The U.S. only has one alternative to losing its place on the world stage, a think tank says. » Obama's options

Of course, this U.S. global power 'in decline' is old news to us regular TODers, but it will be interesting to see if this think-tank starts seriously examining the ASPO Oil Depletion Protocols:


The status of US power:

Destructive power - holding steady

Constructive power - slipping badly

Instructive power - a receding memory

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the DB toplink: "Fuel standards: More mpg coming". If this goes thru, I would expect this to be considered a large, ICE-pickup:

[Please see photos inside link] With gas prices headed for $4.50 to $5 a gallon, a number of pickup truck buyers are thirsting for a small work truck and coming up dry.

..What if I told you, though, that there was a truck on sale right now just a few minutes’ drive from San Diego that could haul 1,600 pounds of cargo, get more than 30 mpg on the highway and cost around $15,000 well-equipped? And it’s made by Chevrolet. You’d be interested, right?
Of course, if oil extraction has plummeted greatly by 2016 and ELM is hammering away too, then this will be the standard pickup:


slight edit for emphasis

Nice, plus it's made in Brazil so it means it probably runs on ethanol or gasoline and I wouldn't be surprised to see it offered with a LNG option as well. Though what I'd really like to see is a clean diesel powered plug in hybrid version.

As for the Dutch work cycle I'd like to see it made of light weight materials with an aerodynamic enclosure and an electric motor assist. Hey I can dream can't I?

Here's my "pickup" - practical transportation!

I was excited, or at least interested, in the potential of the new CAFE standards, until I came back to this Dave Cohen piece from last May: Obama Tackles the Liquid Fuels Problem :: ASPO-USA: Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas

Will the automakers have to achieve a real world 35.5 MGP average in 2016? Probably not. The clincher is that these rule changes are only in the early proposal stage.

Today, auto industry officials applauded the president’s effort to bring together a wide range of stakeholders to hammer out what one trade group described as “broad outlines of an agreement.“

“What’s significant about the announcement is it launches a new beginning, an era of cooperation [between NHTSA, EPA and California],” said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing Detroit’s Big Three, Toyota Motor Co. and other carmakers. “The president has succeeded in bringing three regulatory bodies, 15 states, a dozen automakers and many environmental groups to the table. We’re all agreeing to work together on a national program.”

Does anyone know the status of the GoM Jack prospect? Last I heard in 2008 they were having difficulty finding rigs to do the second round of drilling.

2011/2012 before any production?

Thanks Wisco - but thats from 2 years ago.
If the latest 2008 update IS all there has been then the prospects of Jack coming on line anytime soon really do look remote.

Lessons here for the other recent GoM finds.

Give them a couple of more years -- they'll get some oil out. No problems with supply -- Big Oil is just climbing Mount Everest for the fun of it and leaving the easy stuff for our grandchildren.

From August:

Chevron (NYSE:CVX) made a significant discovery in the Lower Tertiary back in 2006 with the Jack and Jack 2 discoveries. Due to the complexity, lack of infrastructure and large scale of the exploration and development, the area is still not producing commercially yet. Chevron is currently building the infrastructure to handle up to 150,000 barrels per day from the Jack project and the nearby St. Malo field.

Chevron recently leased a new specially built drill ships that can drill as deep as needed for the GoM Jack project. They are not using on the Jack field yet. Instead, they are drilling first in the Tahiti field "at least through the end of the year".

So as far as I know, it still is in queue to be worked on, with nothing much being done.

Sufficient rigs to develop Jack et al. Might take a little longer to get to full production given the upscaling in facilities they now need. All I can say.

Dow Unchanged Since 9/11 But Don't Bet Against America, Ritholtz Says

The Dow was at 9605 on both Sept. 11, 2001 (it was the prior day's close - markets never opened on 9/11/01) and on Friday Sept. 11, 2009.


Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the DB toplink: "Mexico's Carstens warns oil slump will last years".

The US hasn't had much success drastically increasing taxes to mitigatively curtail easy-motoring and pointless consumption plus using these funds to jumpstart the Non-BAU Paradigm Shift, can Mexico do any better? The average Mexican already doesn't do much of these things.

From the CIA Factbook:

Per capita income is one-fourth that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. GDP/capita is $14,200 (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line: 13.8% using food-based definition of poverty; asset based poverty amounted to more than 40% (2006)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 37.9% (2006)
I would imagine the rich Mexicans are already moving lots of their wealth to places where the Mex Govt cannot tax it, besides heavily cash-lobbying the Mexican elected officials to ignore additional taxes on the top 10%.

Mexico's oil production in a slump?

Phew! I'm so relieved.

I though it was in terminal decline. Good thing that they're gonna reverse the direction. Nobody wants falling production. Luckily investment starvation and lack of new reserves can solve the problem!

Hello TODers,

Interesting read from the WSJ:

Essays: Man vs. God

We commissioned Karen Armstrong and Richard Dawkins to respond independently to the question "Where does evolution leave God?" Neither knew what the other would say. Here are the results...

I'm with Dawkins on this one.

This was posted on Pharyngula blog and I've taken it upon myself to spread the meme of alternative ecological recycling of natural resources where ever possible. I think this fits.

Tibetan Sky Burial.

WARNING! not for the squeamish it contains very graphic pictures of vultures stripping the corpse of a recently deceased young man. Then his friends take an axe to his remains and open his skull so the vultures can have his brain for desert. Now having said that this is a religious ceremony and is done with the utmost respect by the followers of this belief system. I happen to be an atheist but I find the ceremony quite beautiful in its acceptance of our part in the natural scheme of things.

Enjoy but take the warning seriously.

A movie fan wants to be cremated, then taken to hopefully an enjoyable flick. After the film ends, he wants his ashes tossed on the floor of the cinema along with the popcorn boxes and coke cups.

Yeah, I think that just about sums up the American BAU point of view. However I think it is both antithetical and culturally orthogonal to the essence of the concept of the Tibetan Sky Burial. Then again if you happen to be stuck in the rut of a particular flavor of monoculturalism I imagine it's hard to place yourself outside of that box and look inside.

You aren't feeding vultures, but you are helping keep the kid employed who has to sweep up your ashes. Maybe he will buy a chicken or two with his paycheque, so the circle is complete.

Based on your previous comment it doesn't sound like he or she needs your ashes at all, you said there was plenty of trash on the floor for them to pick up already, right? Anyways it sounds more like a drive through a KFC funeral sponsored by Yum Brands Inc. Not my idea of a spiritual and respectful recycling of someones remains. Extra points for noticing that *NO* moneys were exchanged between the vultures and the human participants.

It isn't for everyone.

Let's Pay Bankers in Toxic Assets: Vince Farrell

..Jim Rogers, chief executive officer of Rogers Holdings, agreed with Farell's assessment.

"You can get rid of them (toxic assets) by giving them bonuses to bankers," Rogers told "Worldwide Exchange." "Most of the toxic waste came from the bankers, let them have it. Pay regulators in toxic assets as well."
LOL--great idea! They made the crap-sandwich==>now make them eat it! If they refuse: A Tibetan Sky Burial would be too kind. Perhaps being staked down alive atop an ant hill would be the popular and consensus 'Murkan choice.

Nah, that would be a terrible idea given that most of the bankers bodies are probably just as toxic as their assets due to their unhealthy lifestyles. We wouldn't want to feed potentially harmful substances to the unsuspecting vultures. The EPA would forbid it. I'd rather see them processed by noxious bacteria in a methane digester.

Now that would be appropriate.

...Especially if they are trying to get 10 new bubbles a bubbling versus moving to Non-BAU mitigation:

Ten Bubbles in the Making

One year after America's brush with economic catastrophe, there's plenty of looking back at the bubbles that caused financial chaos.
But what's next?
There are surely dangerous economic bubbles forming as we speak...
My apologies if posted on TOD earlier, but I found this today from the latest from Matt's LATOC Breaking News.

Ah yes, the "belief in the belief in religion"---
Until we can get beyond this toxic meme, humans are pretty much screwed.
Karen Armstromg was a former, nun, I believe, and is dealing with some personal issues better done in therapy that the Wall Street Journal.

Armstrong and 'personal issues' ?
Mind making a case for that?

I have no problem with her reasoning about religious and secular thought, mainly pressing the point that Religious language has only tried to grow scientific credibility in the modern age, and has stepped into a world where it cannot fit. Even in this article, she suggests that 'Spiritual' work is a form of early psychology, it is a key into how people experience life, not whether there is proof of some magical being out there.

Armstrong: "Symbolism was essential to premodern religion, because it was only possible to speak about the ultimate reality—God, Tao, Brahman or Nirvana—analogically, since it lay beyond the reach of words. Jews and Christians both developed audaciously innovative and figurative methods of reading the Bible, and every statement of the Quran is called an ayah ("parable"). St Augustine (354-430), a major authority for both Catholics and Protestants, insisted that if a biblical text contradicted reputable science, it must be interpreted allegorically."

That people like Dawkins have to regularly rail against the obvious delusions of the fundamentalists who cling to literal interpretations is as much a sad commentary on who these 'realists' are willing to pick as adversaries, I'm sorry to say.

We have all read Breaking the Spell by Dennett, who explored this topic in much greater detail than Armstrong.
Just from personal observation, when one goes from a nunnery to the Wall Street Journal, often some deep seated issues are present, and identity problems are often involved.
I don't think she has dealt with her early root religion issues, and the wounds that are still festering.
Of course, invisible friends and talking snakes are a normal occurrence in some peoples lives.

"when one goes from a nunnery to the Wall Street Journal, often some deep seated issues are present, and identity problems are often involved."

Sorry.. that's simply an unsupported Ad-Hom. If you're suggesting that she is engaged in 'Magical Thinking' with invisible friends, then you didn't really pay any attention to what she wrote in that article.

I think you can do better than that.

That people like Dawkins have to regularly rail against the obvious delusions of the fundamentalists who cling to literal interpretations is as much a sad commentary on who these 'realists' are willing to pick as adversaries, I'm sorry to say.

If the deluded religious fundamentalists were content to practice their cults in the privacy of their homes and churches I don't think that Professor Dawkins would have a problem with them and would probably just ignore them. However these people are powerful well organized forces against reason. They hold enormous political power and are hell bent (pardon the pun) to impose their ignorant authoritarian views on the rest of us. More importantly they want to control and subjugate us. I strongly hold the view that these people are dangerous and are a threat to freethinking people everywhere.

"Certainly I see the scientific view of the world as incompatible with religion, but that is not what is interesting about it. It is also incompatible with magic, but that also is not worth stressing. What is interesting about the scientific world view is that it is true, inspiring, remarkable and that it unites a whole lot of phenomena under a single heading."

Richard Dawkins

I for one thank Professor Dawkins and others like him for not shying away from this fight, which I believe to be a good and worthwhile fight. I'm for truth!

He is describing 'Religious Zealotry' or Fundamentalist Extremism, which is simply a Materialistic Abberation off of Religion. Bill Maher did the same thing with 'Religulous'.

Yes, there are Zealots out there, and they are dangerous.. but that's not 'RELIGION', any more than 'NAFTA' is really about balancing open and fair trade amongst countries.. they just claim they are about that.

Talk to Father Berrigan, Rabbi Lerner or the Dalai Llama if you need to look at Religion. Don't bring in the ferocious extremists and suggest that they get to define the field.

But can you attack the extremists without their more moderate brethren rushing in to defend them?

There is no question that religion plays a necessary role, but to have so much of the world following religions that contain toxic ideas within their core documents seems unwise to me.

Dyer: Population, famine and fate in Ethiopia

The real answer is they have had too many babies. Ethiopia's population at the time of the last famine 25 years ago was 40 million. Now it is 80 million. You can do everything else right and if you don't control the population, you're spitting into the wind.

Why is this subject taboo?

Population...instead of being central to the debate about development, food and climate change, has been put on ice. The reason is rich countries are secretly embarrassed, and poor countries are deeply resentful.

Is it moral to send these people more food? That's a hard one.


Is it moral to send the US oil?

Is it moral to send these people more oil? That's a hard one.

Is it moral to finance more of their debt? That's a hard one.

Is it moral to sell this guy a car payment in exchange for a paid-off clunker? That's a hard one.

Is it moral to guarantee private risk with public dollars, so that only certain well-connected people can make guaranteed billions? That's a hard one.

Seems like moral question are really not that hard for most people to answer.

Sell Ethiopia the food at 6 times the market price until they reduce their population to 12 million. That's capitalistic morality.

"The government of President Felipe Calderon has proposed hiking income and consumption taxes in 2010 to offset lower revenues from crude exports as output from Mexico's state-run oil industry is expected to remain weak."

At least Mexico has the guts to raise taxes to offset lower revenue. The U.S. always opts for borrowing the money, rather than reducing expenditures or raising taxes.

RE: Shell oil sands mine still shut by protest

By Noah Brenner

Five hours after protestors from environmental group Greenpeace snuck into the Albian Sands Muskeg River bitumen mine and chained themselves to equipment, operations at the mine are still stalled and the protestors remain in place.

That web-site Upstream must be an oil industry blog. There is a running stream of comments following this story. Here is one the more reasonable comments:

Idruide:half these morons are not even canadians...they pay no taxes here thay should not have the rigt to protest

It's lucky for Greenpeace that they already bulldozed all the trees. Ya Need a tree for a lynchin'.


Discovered by Slashdot:

DHS to review report on vulnerability in West Coast power grid

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is looking at a report by a research scientist in China that shows how a well-placed attack against a small power subnetwork could trigger a cascading failure of the entire West Coast power grid.

Jian-Wei Wang, a network analyst at China's Dalian University of Technology, used publicly available information to model how the West Coast power grid and its component subnetworks are connected. Wang and another colleague then investigated how a major outage in one subnetwork would affect adjacent subnetworks, according to an article in New Scientist.

Thanks Gail--
Very interesting!

Hello TODers,

As we go postPeak, with WT's ELM and Duncan's Re-Equalizing hammering the US relentlessly: IMO, it will be very difficult just to find the funds [energy] to fill potholes and repair sewage breakdowns. Thus, the idea of Las Vegas, Nevada moving underground seems very far fetched indeed:

Sietch Nevada: Desert Oasis for a Drought-Stricken Future
Please see the many illustrations, then try to imagine how much energy would be required to dig & develop just one giant hole, much less hundreds.

This website is staffed by young adults [click on website 'about' tab], but I think they need to include Peak Everything and Overshoot concepts into their mission statement for a strong dose of Reality:


Sietch Nevada was designed by Matsys Designs which is the creation of architect Andrew Kudless. Inhabitat is reporting it.

Sietch Nevada seems to be lacking on many levels. Open canals in urban areas get polluted, yet the water is supposed to be used for crops. The humidity in a dome covered hole would be high with a techno fix being energy hungry dehumidifiers that recycle the condensed water. The design includes dome covered greenhouses sunk into holes. It makes no sense to dig a hole to construct a greenhouse compared to constructing the greenhouse on the surface. Half of the hole would be shaded. A pit capped with a glass dome is hardly a "bunker-like fortress preparing for the inevitable wars over water in the region." One bomb would create a shower of glass.

I think people would move out of the U.S. southwest before farming and living in pits.

The solution is far more ancient and mundane than this technocopian fantasy. Find a good location with water and arable land, build a village on the high ground surrounded by a castle wall and moat and encompass the village with farm land. Better still, follow the Chinese example and build another fortress wall around the farm fields to repel the starving masses.

COLLAPSE (the Michael Ruppert doc) is getting good reviews at the Toronto Festival and this reviewer thinks it could actually contend at the Oscars (did not see that one coming) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1503769/news#ni0991037