Drumbeat: September 16, 2009

Oil prices mean perpetual recession

The turmoil since August 2007 has not been blamed directly on oil prices but there’s a link.

“The US has experienced six recessions since 1972. At least five of these were associated with oil prices. In every case, when oil consumption in the US reached 4% percent of GDP, the U.S. went into recession. Right now, 4% of GDP is US$80 a barrel oil. So my current view is that if the oil price exceeds US$80, then expect the U.S. to fall back into recession,” wrote Steven Kopits, managing director for U.K.-based energy-consulting and -research firm Douglas-Westwood LLC in New York.

Kopits is a poster boy on all the “peak oil” websites and doomsayer blogs, and his metric on the link between recessions and oil price is interesting. If Kopits is correct, so much for “green shoots”. They will be trampled under foot over and over again unless there is a sudden spike upwards in GDP growth disproportionally more so than oil price increases.Here is the roller-coaster cycle he points out: Higher oil prices mean recessions, recessions mean less consumption then lower oil prices which leads to less exploration and supply which leads to higher oil prices and recession again.

Apocalypse Now: A Checklist for the Fearful

It’s never been hard to find a small group of Cassandras, so-called “doomers” who see the apocalypse foreshadowed in Mayan calendars, Nostradamus writings, and the Terminator movies. And the last year has given them some glimmer of hope.

Next to them are more reasonable dystopians or collapsitarians: back-to-the-land agricultural types against industrial farming; those who believe in peak oil and the crippling shocks that’ll someday arrive in our oil-dependent society. (This is to say little of the peak carbon, peak fish, peak dirt, and, most recently, peak dollars crowds).

Venezuela says signs new $16 bln China oil deal

CARACAS (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez said on Wednesday Venezuela signed a $16 billion investment deal with China over three years to raise oil output by several hundred thousand barrels per day in the OPEC member's Orinoco belt.

Japan energy min calls for expanding feed-in tariff

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's new energy minister, Masayuki Naoshima, said on Thursday he wants to expand utilities' purchases of new energy from households to beyond solar power to help contribute to further cuts in greenhoues gas emissions.

He said he would make no change to a scheme to take effect on Nov. 1, under which utilities will buy surplus solar-power electricity that households produce at a higher rate.

Earth's oceans had warmest summer on record

Summer temperatures for the globe's ocean surface ranked as the warmest on record, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Climatic Data Center.

Overall, when the Earth's land areas and oceans are included together, the three-month June-August period measured as the third-warmest summer on record. Global climate records go back to 1880.

Consumer prices down 1.5% in past year

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A key index of consumer prices rose in August, but sank significantly over the past 12 months, the government said Wednesday.

The Consumer Price Index, the Labor Department's key measure of inflation, rose 0.4% in August on a monthly basis. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected a 0.3% increase.

...In the near term, "inflation is not the story," said PNC analyst Robert Dye "We're still focused on making sure we emerge from this recession with reasonable momentum."

The government report attributed the month-to-month increase to the gasoline index, which rose 9.1% in August. That jump accounted for more than 80% of the overall CPI increase.

IEA warns Europe of new winter gas crisis

Europe faces the risk of another gas crisis this winter but this danger should not be exaggerated, a senior International Energy Agency official said today.

A pricing dispute between Russia and transit country Ukraine cut gas supplies to Europe during freezing January weather this year.

Is China cornering India?

The Chinese government’s move to increase its diplomatic and military relations with the countries bordering India is being seen as an attempt to corner the world’s largest democracy.

China has been trying hard to give further impetus to its relationship with Indian neighbours - Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. Besides, it has all-weather relationship with India’s main foe – Pakistan.

BHP warns of an energy shortage

BHP Billiton remains uncertain about short-term demand for commodities because of the lingering impact of the global financial crisis.

But it is in no doubt about the longer term, predicting looming global shortages in energy and copper as the industrialisation and urbanisation of China and India pick up pace.

Oil, Gas Royalty-In-Kind Program to End, Salazar Says

(Bloomberg) -- The $6.6 billion U.S. royalty-in- kind payment program for oil and natural gas drilling fees will end, done in by allegations of illicit sexual encounters, drug use and financial mismanagement that eroded government returns.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told Congress today he will phase out the “controversial” program and switch to a “more transparent and accountable royalty collection” system. He cited Government Accountability Office data and other reports showing failures in auditing, accounting and employee conduct.

Is Resolution of Natural Gas Conundrum About to Emerge?

For most of this year, natural gas prices have moved counter to almost everyone's expectations -- falling while crude oil prices have risen dramatically. The conventional explanation has been that natural gas production coming from the newly completed wells in the prolific gas-shale formations around the country is much greater than from traditionally located and drilled wells. The unanswered questions are when will this phenomenon of more productive wells coming on stream end and why are producers continuing to drill ANY gas wells in a sub-$3 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) world?

Strong interest in Norway's offshore oil licenses

OSLO—Norway's national oil agency on Wednesday said 44 companies have applied for 227 offshore oil exploration licenses near existing fields, a strong sign of interest as the country attempts to fight falling production.

The Fuel of Growth

When the price of oil dropped to about 25% of its all time high late last year, some thought it was a return to normalcy for a market that has been racked by explosive inflation for the previous two years.

Jump forward six months and the price of oil has doubled — presently it is at 50% of its record high — and there is little sign of price growth slowing down. Gold, one of the main markers of inflation expectations, has jumped from a low of USD 712.3 per ounce at the end of last year to back within USD 50 of the metal’s all time high of USD 1004.38. Spot prices of iron ore hit USD 110 per ton last month, still below last year’s contract price of USD 120, but higher than the 33% discount iron ore providers negotiated with Japanese and South Korean steelmakers earlier this year.

The Philippines: Possible blackout looms over 2010 elections

The 2010 national elections might be done in the dark, as the looming energy shortage is expected to rear its ugly head, not in 2012, but much earlier.

This was possibility was raised as lawmakers discussed the impending energy shortage with energy chief Angelo Reyes on Tuesday, September 15, during the deliberations on the budget of the energy department and its attached agencies.

Natural Gas transmission interlude to cost Thailand 1 billion Baht

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Natural Gas transmission from Burma and the Thai Gulf has been disrupted due to a technical snag, with damages estimated at 1 billion Baht for Thailand.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has said that the pipeline from the Yetagun field of Burma was shut down for more than nine hours on September 13 and seven hours on September 12. Meanwhile, a pipeline from the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area (JDA) was shut down for two hours on September 13 and five hours on the previous day.

Venezuela's Chavez aims to tap nuclear energy

CARACAS, Venezuela — Hugo Chavez wants to join the nuclear energy club and is looking to Russia for help in getting started.

The Venezuelan leader is already dismissing critics' concerns over his nuclear ambitions, offering assurances his aims are peaceful and that Venezuela will simply be following in the footsteps of other South American nations using atomic energy.

U.S. fears Venezuela could trigger regional arms race

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States fears recent weapons purchases by Venezuela could fuel an arms race in South America, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

"They outpace all other countries in South America and certainly raise the question as to whether there is going to be an arms race in the region," Clinton said about Venezuela's arms deals, after a meeting with Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez.

Overspending and public funds drain foreign assets

Saudi Arabia is draining the massive foreign assets it has accumulated over the past seven boom years to meet higher budget commitments, shore up domestic liquidity and support local funds, a key Saudi investment firm said yesterday.

The withdrawal of nearly SR217 billion (Dh214.8bn) in the first seven months of 2009 indicates the world's oil giant is heavily overshooting budgeted expenditure to offset a sharp downturn in private sector activity, boosting its deposits with local banks, and channeling promised liquidity into public funds, the Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment said in a study sent to Emirates Business.

BP sells windfarm operation in India

BP has signalled a further retreat from its international renewable business by selling off its wind operation in India today.

Italy advances, Germany falters, on nuclear energy futures

On September 27th German voters will go to the polls and decide the fate of 17 nuclear power plants and 25% of its electricity supply. While Germans are making this fateful energy policy decision, Italy is moving to build eight new nuclear reactors after earlier this year overturning a two-decade old ban on them. The differences between the two countries is stark. Even more to the point, the two countries could do a complete role reversal in terms of the price of power and where they get it.

Currently, Italy imports 80% of its natural gas, relies heavily on dirty coal plants, and has some of the highest prices for electricity in Europe. Germany has long since depreciated its nuclear power plants which are are now fat cash cows that help the nation preserve a significant degree of energy independence.

Geothermal Power Offers a Hot Hand Up

Geothermal power is available to all Earthlings, but finding the right spot for a full-scale electrical plant takes a long drill, a lot of money, and luck.

Critics Say Australia Forgot About Efficiency

Like a number of countries pursuing new vehicle incentive programs and “cash for clunkers” deals, the Australian government recently introduced a tax break giving consumers a 30 percent discount on purchasing new motor vehicles.

...But unlike programs in, say, the United States, which offered between $3,500 to $4,500 to consumers who traded old cars for new ones with higher fuel economy, Australia’s program did not carry any special efficiency requirement when purchasing a new car.

Simon Roz, a climate and energy campaigner with Australian Greenpeace, said the rebate was created to “stimulate the car industry with no consideration for the environment.”

Oil firm pays millions over toxic dumping

A British oil trading company is set to pay out millions of pounds in compensation to thousands of people who fell ill in one of the worst pollution incidents in decades when toxic waste was dumped illegally in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Trafigura, which describes itself as one of the world’s largest independent oil traders, told The Independent in a statement that it was looking to make a “global settlement” to the claim brought by 30,000 people from Ivory Coast who brought Britain’s largest-ever group lawsuit after breathing in fumes from tonnes of heavily-contaminated sludge which was fly-tipped by a sub-contractor in August 2006.

Shell runs oil sands mine as protest enters day 2

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said on Wednesday its Muskeg River oil sands mine in northern Alberta was operating at full production as an environmental protest at the site entered its second day.

Shell said it has let the Greenpeace protesters continue their action, which is aimed at spreading the message that development of Canada's oil sands worsens climate change. The demonstration coincides with Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper's visit with U.S. President Barack Obama.

China think-tank bleak on global climate goal

BEIJING (Reuters) - An international goal to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius appears unreachable even if China embarks on a vast effort to tame its growing greenhouse gas emissions, a Beijing think-tank has said.

The report cast doubt on the prospects for the world to stay within a commonly accepted threshold of dangerous climate change, to avoid worse droughts, floods and rising seas, two months after world leaders including China acknowledged the limit.

Bill McKibben and Climate Scientists in Boulder: A Critical Report

Why are we losing the war against climate change? Because Americans are, more and more, merely preaching to our respective choirs.

Scientists find CO2 link to Antarctic ice cap origin

A team of scientists studying rock samples in Africa has shown a strong link between falling carbon dioxide levels and the formation of Antarctic ice sheets 34 million years ago.

The results are the first to make the link, underpinning computer climate models that predict both the creation of ice sheets when CO2 levels fall and the melting of ice caps when CO2 levels rise.

Peak oil expected in 2009: Macquarie - Spare capacity of 5.2 million bpd will be wiped out by 2012, Australian bank says

Peak oil supply will be hit this year after the economic crisis and low prices in the first quarter of 2009 slashed much needed investment, a senior executive at Australian investment bank Macquarie said.

“This is our view – capacity has pretty much peaked in the sense that declines equal new resources,” Iain Reid, head of European oil and gas research at Macquarie, told Reuters.

The peak oil theory that oil supply is at or near its peak was long considered marginal.

It gained currency when prices CL-FT zoomed towards their record of nearly $150 (U.S.) hit in July last year, with leading exponents suggesting various dates for the supply peak to be reached.

Some oil majors have acknowledged the prospect of dwindling production, but others have argued better extraction techniques and other technological advances will offset any decline.

Mr. Reid's latest research report – The Big Oil Picture: We're not running out, but that doesn't mean we'll have enough – sees global oil production capacity topping out at 89.6 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, a far more pessimistic view than most other banks or traditional forecasters.

Irving Oil warns against big energy projects

Irving Oil Ltd.'s chief executive officer issued a direct warning to regional premiers and governors on Tuesday to be wary of building costly energy infrastructure projects.

Kenneth Irving used a speech at the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers conference in Saint John to underscore to the political leaders that no one can predict the future of energy trends.

He did not offer specific examples, but warned against building large power projects that could turn into white elephants if energy trends suddenly change.

Oil Risks Pullback to $59 If Support Fails: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil, struggling to sustain gains above $70 a barrel this month, faces a decline to $59 if support on technical charts fails in the coming days, National Australia Bank Ltd. said.

Oil is likely to continue drifting in a sideways pattern as traders seek to gauge the market’s short-term depth, according to Gordon Manning, a Sydney-based technical analyst. Futures, which touched a 10-month high of $75 a barrel Aug. 25, haven’t traded at $59 since mid-July.

Total expects oil production to rebound in 2010 after OPEC cuts weigh on 2009 output

PARIS (AP) — Total SA expects its oil production to rebound in 2010 after cuts by OPEC and falling demand caused by the global recession weighed on its output this year, the company said Wednesday.

The forecast was included in slides on the French oil giant's Web site ahead of a presentation to analysts later in the day.

Ruble Strengthens to Highest This Year on $71 Oil, Economy

(Bloomberg) -- The ruble gained to the highest level this year as oil topped $71 a barrel, metals prices rose and the government said the worst of Russia’s slump is over.

Hummers Buck Recession Trends In Russia

The recession has hit hard in Russia, and car sales are down 50 percent compared with last year. But one car marketed to the wealthy has bucked that trend: the Hummer. Though sales have dropped dramatically in the U.S., the gas-guzzling American icon is having a banner year in Russia.

Iran says ready for any possible gasoline sanction

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran is prepared to deal with any possible sanctions on its imports of gasoline that world powers might impose over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi said on Wednesday.

While Iran is the world's fifth-largest crude exporter, it still has to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline supplies as it lacks the refining capacity to meet domestic demand. The United States and its European allies may target fuel imports if Tehran refuses to enter talks over its nuclear programme.

Nigeria Withdrew 87 Billion Naira From Oil Fund, ThisDay Says

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria withdrew 87 billion naira ($564 million) from a fund created to save revenue from oil exports when prices are high, ThisDay newspaper reported, citing Oludare Osibote, the country’s acting Accountant-General.

The money will enable the federal, state and local governments to meet some of their expenditures following a drop in revenue earmarked for them in this year’s budget, the Lagos- based newspaper said.

Nigeria militants extend truce by 1 month

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- Militants in Nigeria announced Wednesday they will extend a cease-fire that expired overnight by one month, holding off on attacks on oil installations and kidnapping foreigners, but warned that the government must address its grievances.

The militants are pressing the government to send federal oil revenues to the impoverished southern Delta region, where the oil came from, and wants the government to withdraw troops and help people return to homes they had fled.

Repsol Says Its La Coruna Refinery Is Running at 80% of Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- Repsol YPF SA’s refinery in La Coruna is running at 80 percent of capacity because of a drop in demand.

Norway: the remote Atlantic island drowning in cash

This fiscal year, for the first time since the Ormen Lange gas terminal was built, Aukra’s local council banked $21m in business tax, twice as much as in the previous year. Back in 2003, just before parliament decided to locate the terminal at Aukra, the island’s tax revenue was under 1% of the current sum.

It is an amazing windfall for 3,170 inhabitants. “Aukra is awash with cash”, read the headline in DN, Norway’s business daily. Other small communities with similar terminals are now under state administration. Aukra is determined to avoid this.

Ethiopia’s Rebels Threaten Oil Companies in Ogaden Region

(Bloomberg) -- Ethnic Somali rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front issued a fresh warning to companies exploring for oil in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region, known as the Ogaden.

No business should be conducted in Ogaden “until there is a political solution to the conflict,” the ONLF said today in an e-mailed statement. The rebels “will not be responsible for any collateral damages that occur from its engagements with the Ethiopian army,” according to the statement. The group also accused oil companies of “disinheriting the Ogaden people of their natural resources.”

Angolan Crude Exports Scheduled to Drop in November

(Bloomberg) -- Angola’s daily crude oil shipments are scheduled to drop about 6 percent in November, bringing exports from Africa’s second-biggest producer closer to its OPEC quota.

Anadarko announces find off of Sierra Leone coast

Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum has made a discovery off the coast of Sierra Leone in Africa, the company said today.

Anadarko said its Venus exploration well, drilled about 18,500 feet deep in about 5,900 feet of water, found an “active petroleum system.”

Venezuela Plans to Build Oil Refinery in Mauritania, Efe Says

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela plans to build a refinery in Mauritania with a capacity of at least 30,000 barrels of oil a day, Efe reported, citing President Hugo Chavez.

Why You Need to Invest in Oil Right Now

Hope for alternative forms of energy all you want, but bet on crude. Esquire's financial columnist crunches the numbers from the latest hedge-fund reports for a strategy you can believe in.

Can Keynesian Spending Achieve National Energy Security?

National and international spending and investment plans to fight climate change are being constantly increased, to a background of government friendly media around the world being instrumented to tread a delicate line between climate change doomsterism and hysteria, and green economy utopia. This uneasy balance of doom and boom is needed to maintain public opinion in favor of coming carbon taxes, job losses, higher energy prices, and legislation to force a change in business practice and lifestyles. The better end in view, media and government spokespersons tell us, is climate and environment protection, sustainable green jobs, and increased energy security from local-produced alternate and renewable energy

It's Never Worse Than You Think

Worrying about what might go wrong in the future is a futile pastime. For all the things that might go wrong, there are plenty that might go right.

Never underestimate the ingenuity of humans to solve problems. We are an intelligent, highly educated race. Collectively, we will find a way to exist in a world of less oil. We will find a way to live with climate change. Heck, England might even find a way to win the football World Cup.

Stop Giving the Newspapers Your Advice - They Don’t Need It

The failure of newspapers is not a failure of imagination or foresight nor is it a failure of individuals. This kind of failure is the hallmark of all institutions in the face of tectonic disruption. Institutions are a set of agreements that perpetuate a social order beyond individual intention or tenure. Changing those agreements is costly and time-consuming. So when the rate of change accelerates beyond the institution’s adaptive capacity - extinction follows.

The question is not “what should newspapers do?” but “how can a large institution effectively organize in response to disruptive change?” Taken thus, it is not only the fundamental question to ask of newspapers - but to ask of ourselves in relation to a host of big-ticket game-changers such as peak oil, environmental collapse and climate change that simultaneously require and defy our capacity for institutional response.

It’s now downhill all the way

ASK VIRTUALLY anyone in Terrace what peak oil is, and almost no one knows. A few will muddle with the two words and approximate a meaning such as “oil from the mountains” or “the highest price of oil so far” (about $147 a barrel). But most will reply, “Don’t know.”

This isn’t surprising, given that we live the way we do. Few, perhaps even none, of us have ever experienced a serious fuel shortage. The possibility of a true lack of fuel is simply foreign to us.

The Brothers Grim

But not all is perfect: the blood supply is dwindling. A hematologist played by Ethan Hawke is trying to come up with a synthetic blood; in this universe, True Blood has yet to be invented.

The script was written in 2003, the first year of Australia's ongoing drought, and the film features an unmistakable ecological bent -- shades of James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency, with his warnings of peak oil, echo throughout the film -- though the brothers insist they just want the audience to have a good time.

"The depletion of a resource is a hot topic and certainly will be for a very long time," Michael says. "[But] you can come off as a pretentious a--hole if you spend too much time focusing on a political agenda when really you're making a fun, action, splatter movie. You don't want to get bogged down with that stuff... Hey, the planet's falling apart, what can you say?"

Will the Brixton pound buy a brighter future?

The Brixton pound is the latest local currency to be launched under the umbrella of the Transition Town Network, a rapidly growing global movement that urges local communities to "respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of peak oil and climate change". The movement – essentially a rebranding of the 1970s permaculture philosophy of self-sufficiency, sustainability and working with nature – began in Kinsale, County Cork, in 2005 and has since spread across the planet from the US and New Zealand through to Chile and Italy. Even Ambridge in Radio 4's The Archers signed up last year.

'End of Oil 'Author, Paul Roberts, to Deliver Aiken Lecture (University of Vermont)

Roberts' lecture, "The Future of Food in a Peak Oil World," will look at solutions — personal and global — to ensure we develop the capacity to produce food that is safe, nourishing and plentiful enough to meet the needs of a rapidly growing world population while facing the prospect of running out of oil. The 2009-2010 Aiken Lecture, sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, follows a visit to UVM in June when Roberts met with a number of Vermont leaders in the movement for sustainable food systems.

World Bank spends billions on coal-fired power stations despite own warnings

The World Bank is spending billions of pounds subsidising new coal-fired power stations in developing countries despite claiming that burning fossil fuels exposes the poor to catastrophic climate change. The bank, which has a goal of reducing poverty and is funded by Britain and other developed countries, calls on all nations in a report today to “act differently on climate change”.

It says that the world must reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, but it is funding several giant coal-burning plants that will each emit millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide a year for the next 40 to 50 years.

When Renewable Is Not Sustainable

Renewable energy is sold to the public as an environmentally benign alternative to energy produced by fossil fuels. With respect to ethanol and solar power, however, the debate has ignored how land and water use is affected by refining ethanol, growing corn and siting solar plants.

Energy production requires water. Producing petroleum, natural gas, coal or methane consumes a lot of water, but much less than it takes to make ethanol. In 2008, researchers at Virginia Tech quantified the amount of water it takes to produce one million British Thermal Units (BTUs): natural gas requires three gallons, ethanol as much as 29,100 gallons.

Schwarzenegger signs order boosting clean power

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order Tuesday giving California the nation's most aggressive alternative energy standards, requiring utilities to get a third of their power from renewable sources by 2020.

Schwarzenegger said the order signed at a field of solar panels will reduce California's dependence on fossil fuels and help clean its air while creating a reliable power supply for a state with 38 million people.

Rolls-Royce plans nuclear plants with EDF

LONDON (AFP) – Engineering firm Rolls-Royce is to collaborate with French power firm EDF to build four new nuclear power plants, it said on Wednesday.

The European Pressurised Reactors are to be built at Hinkley Point and Sizewell. The first should be operational by the end of 2017, while all four should be on stream by 2025.

Greenpeace boards ship off NZ in climate protest

WELLINGTON (AFP) – Greenpeace protesters boarded a cargo ship on Wednesday off the New Zealand port of Tauranga in a protest over the use of palm kernel from razed rainforests to feed farm animals.

Fourteen activists from the environmental organisation boarded the East Ambition about five kilometres (2.7 nautical miles) from the port on the east coast of the North Island on Wednesday morning.

Doctors tell politicians to fight climate change

LONDON – A weak response to climate change could be catastrophic for international health, leading doctors said in two British medical journals Wednesday.

Experts have previously warned that global warming could mean a spike in diseases including malaria and dengue fever, and that higher temperatures would result in food shortages, sanitation problems and extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods.

North America backs plan to cut greenhouse gases

UNITED NATIONS – Small island nations gained North America's powerful backing Tuesday for a plan to convert the U.N. ozone treaty into a tool for phasing out some of the globe's most powerful climate-warming gases.

2010? Reid's Comments Add Uncertainty to Climate Vote's Timing

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) added another layer of uncertainty to the prospects for passing a comprehensive climate bill this year by opening the door to punting the legislation into 2010, only to have a top aide walk back from his boss' comment a short while later.

Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman, insisted last night that "no decisions have been made" on floor timing for a comprehensive climate and energy bill. "We still intend to deal with health care, [Wall Street regulatory] reform and cap and trade this year," Manley added in an e-mail.

Climate change hails new era for agriculture

Mariann Fischer Boel, EU Agriculture Commissioner, told Europe’s agriculture ministers that every farm policy from now on will have to take into account its effect on climate change.

...In a frank address to ministers, she said: “We must grow more food, in more challenging weather conditions, with lower emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The tasks of putting the brakes on climate change and adapting to it are tasks for today, not tomorrow.

“Let me say it plainly: we’re entering a new context for making agricultural policy. Things will not be the same: not in our lifetime; not in our children’s lifetime; not ever.”

Supply constraints to push oil up to $105 a barrel by 2012


UAE take on Morgan Stanley Report

Some interesting nation by nation analysis.

Edited out the excerpt. Too long for the first post in the thread. The link is enough.

Just to give a flavor of the report (I found it good for the Persian Gulf)

The cost and complexity of adding additional production from the UAE's maturing fields and diminishing reserves base, while sustaining high levels of resource recovery are also "discouraging", the report said.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) had originally announced plans to phase the increase of capacity from 2.85 mbpd to 3.5 mbpd by 2010, with follow-up expansions to raise production to 4 mbpd by 2015. The 3.5 mbpd deadline was later pushed back to 2012 and has now been delayed to an unspecified date, said Morgan Stanley.


I wanted to make Oil Drum users aware of a movie called Petropolis that I just saw premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (www.petropolis-film.com). Probably many of you are aware of this film already. I'm pretty new to TOD and don't know if posting to the drumbeat is the best way to get the word out or not, or whether this is an appropriate post for the site at all (Leanan?)

It's a Greenpeace film directed by Canada's Peter Mettler. It's 45 minutes long and consists of aerial footage both of the boreal forest of northern Alberta and of the tar sands strip mining and processing operations there. There is almost no narration and only a little bit of subtitling to indicate what the viewer is looking at. For the most part, the film just shows the viewer what it looks like and allows him/her to draw his/her own conclusions.

I found it pretty stunning. The cinematography is outstanding, and the otherworldly textures of the strip mining landscape are incredible to look at.

There was a panel discussion afterwards, including a long discourse from Mike Mercredi of the Athabasca Chipewyan nation. This group of natives lives downstream on the Athabasca River, and according to Mercredi there is an epidemic of a normally rare cancer (1 in 100000) in his town. He said that of 1200 residents there are 47 current cases. He used to work for Syncrude but quit and now is an activist against the tar sands operations.

Regardless of your point of view on the subject, this film is beautifully done and worth watching. I have no idea whether and how widely it will be available for viewing in the future. The site is at petropolis-film.com.


Welcome. You did indeed post this in the right place.

There is apparently more than one film at TIFF this year of interest to peak oil types.

Unfortunately, my experience with TIFF films is that it may be hard for ordinary folk to see them. Unless the film maker puts it online themselves, or hits it big (as Michael Moore is likely to do).

Denninger...still not buying that green shoots thing:

WARNING: Deflationary Collapse Dead Ahead

The odds are high that if we attempt to add more debt to the system, instead of clearing debt through defaults and bankruptcies, that we will precipitate not only a Depression but a full-on monetary collapse.

Such an outcome would destroy our economy, result in almost everyone who is currently middle class and has any debt whatsoever being rendered penniless, unemployment could easily reach 30% or more and the government would be unable to fund any of its social programs, including Social Security and Medicare.

Now think that through - 100 million homeless, penniless, angry Americans searching for the people responsible for what amounts to a "sudden stop" in the economy along with the cessation of all social assistance payments. What sort of odds would you like on civil disorder (at best) or a revolution (at worst)?

Well, he's in good company:

- William White (ex-BIS): W and deflation most likely
- Nouriel Roubini (RGE): death by a thousand cuts
- David Rosenberg (ex-ML): we won't see a V-shape recovery
- Joseph Stiglitz (ex-IMF): extended period of weak economy, economic malaise
- George Magnus (UBS): no sustainable recovery


None of them necessary call for a collapse, but continuing deflation. And they have good reasons too : nothing done to structural imbalances, world consumers maxed out, new credit is shrinking, exports/orders are not growing, stats show deflation, cash is king.

So, probably more QE and stimulus is in the books. Which might grow debt, if the attempts are successful (and Denninger assumes this).

Denninger's point is that we should engineer a contraction (high probability deflationary collapse follows), before collapse is triggered upon us at a later stage.

It's still a collapse.

I don't think we'll find many policymakers who'd like to put that in their CV.

What does Denninger mean by We are one cycle away from a collapse - if we're lucky. What is "one cycle"? What time frame is he talking?

I think he means one business cycle. Next boom is final - the crack-up-boom. After that end of fiat, through a non-stoppable deflationary collapse. Apparently people at FSN are in the same camp. Ty Andros has been argumenting for this some years now.

As for time frame, he said 20 years max, more likely 5-10. Until the next one pops.

That's my reading anyway.

I don't personally think he's view is the only possible view, or even the most likely.

We could get that stagnant economy for several years and then if we finally get a boom and if it's strongly credit driven (like before), then it could well be the final crack up boom.

I dunno. The crackup boom sounds like it comes after a long period of inflation. Denninger is predicting deflation.

I was just curious if Denninger's view of the timing has changed. Last fall, he predicted CNBC would be out of business in 18 months.

You are right.

But deflationary collapse comes after the crack up boom, which is (hyper)-inflatory. Denninger isn't just predicting any deflation, but a deflationary collapse after the next business cycle, which by definition is inflatory and needs to pretty stiff at that - to combat the current deflation.

So they are interlinked.

He's guessing we are now going into stagnation OR directly to crack up boom AND then deflationary reset.

Read Ty Andros or go straight to Hyman Minsky, if my babbling doesn't make sense.


Here now is a list by a hard- nosed analytical accounting firm of companies that may or may not be teetering on the edge of the abyss. The list is interesting; which of these are too big to fail or most closely resemble Long Term Capital Management (or Enron)?

* Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (An Intel monopoly?)
* Amkor Technology, Inc.
* AMR Corporation (Aircraft leasing)
* Apartment Investment and Management Co. (Another useless REIT)
* CBS Corporation (Letternan, busted?)
* Continental Airlines, Inc. (No surprise)
* Federal-Mogul Corporation (Anto parts)
* Hertz Global Holdings, Inc.
* Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.
* Las Vegas Sands Corp. (Good riddance, get rid of the gamblers)
* Liberty Media Corporation (Capital)
* Macy's, Inc. (ex- Federated)
* Mylan Inc.
* Oshkosh Corporation (A 'Beltway Bandit' defense contractor)
* Redwood Trust, Inc. (Mortgage securities)
* Rite Aid Corporation (Too many Rite Aids, maybe?)
* Sirius XM Radio Inc. (No surprise)
* Sprint Nextel Corporation
* Textron Inc. (Aircraft)
* The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Like GN, an old- line American icon)

Okay, Denninger is off by a few ...

Hard to predict turning points.

The key is always yields. Look for another 100 basis point rise in long Treasury yields. Traders will be pricing default/repudiation risk, not inflation. It will be something stupid Congress or the administration does.

Add Ron Paul to that list.

Ron Paul on CNN: Fed IS the source of the problem Video on page.

Ron P.

I would also add the BLS. Today the BLS stated inflation at .3%. The BLS swept $3 billion of Federal money spent for "cash for clunkers" program under the table, and said the cars are worth $4,500 less than what the dealer and the mfg get. If they were honest, a .7% increase would have been stated on this one issue alone. It's one thing to be bankrupt, and it's one thing to do something on a emergency basis, but is another thing to "misrepresent" the truth of inflation. We all run faster to try to keep up because of our government's action.

Do you have a link for how the BLS computed the new vehicle index for vehicles purchased using the cash for clunkers program? All I found was:

Economic News Release: Consumer Price Index Summary Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sept. 16, 2009

New Vehicle index -1.3% seasonally adjusted for August relative to July 2009.

In contrast to these increases, the index for new vehicles fell 1.3 percent in August, partly due to "cash for clunkers" incentives.

which does not quite specify that they used the sale price after subtracting the rebate.

John William's SGS (Shadow Government Statistics) site.

Thank-you. Unfortunately the details are behind a paywall. If the government has not paid the rebates to the dealers or manufacturers yet, then it would be wrong to include them in the August CPI data. If the rebates were paid in August, then the BLS is wrong to exclude them.

Bay of Fundy's waves to be put to work

The first of three turbines is expected to go into the Bay of Fundy next month in spite of concerns raised by some local fishermen after the government approved the initial phase of a tidal energy project.

Nova Scotia's Minister of the Environment, a long-time fisherman himself, acknowledged those concerns and admitted that the possible effects are unknown. But Sterling Belliveau said the only way to identify problems is to start installing turbines and monitor closely the result.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-a...


And on the demand side of the ledger...

The latest in cool - Toronto's newest skyscrapers

It's not obvious, at first glance, why Toronto's new 43-storey RBC Centre is being touted as an office tower for the 21st century. But a closer look at the building's south and west-facing sides reveal sleek horizontal sunshades attached to the exterior glass facade, part of a state-of-the-art daylight harvesting design and just one indication of the building's environmental sophistication.

This year, downtown Toronto is being flooded with 3.14 million square feet of new office space as the finishing touches are put on the RBC Centre (1.2 million square feet), Bay Adelaide Centre (1.16 million square feet) and Telus Tower (780,000 square feet). Each tower is a showpiece of environmental design and energy efficiency and has been built to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification.

See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/the-latest-in-cool---t...

Great to see major corporations are pushing this forward.


Hello HinH -

For the life of me I just can't figure out what we need all this office space for - the same goes for here in the US - supposedly we're on the cusp of a major commercial real estate meltdown - there is empty office space everywhere you look...

Here's a green idea - let's stop building unnecessary things...

Hi Catskill,

I wonder about this too, but the office vacancy rate in Toronto as at June 2009 was reportedly 5.7 per cent, which doesn't strike me as excessively high (however, with this additional space now coming online, the market is expected to remain soft until 2011). And every time you turn a corner in this town a new forty story condominium magically appears.


Last stat I heard was that over 300 buildings are awaiting approval to start construction.

And I'm assuming that when you say buildings you're talking about serious buildings...as in skyscrapers or slightly less ?

Is that for a certain region or nationwide ?

I couldn't find it on Google-here is Wikipidea which states 376 under construction and planned-lots of work for construction types in TO http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Toronto

This page lists 310 awaiting approval.

That's in Toronto alone.


Raid finds 37 people living in single Brisbane house

Since July last year, Brisbane City Council has inspected more than 1000 homes and units, issuing about 180 notices for non-compliance with sanitation, planning and fire regulations. A further 179 amenity issues have been identified in just the past month.

Among the breaches of the Housing Code, garages had been converted into bedrooms and temporary Portaloos were being installed in back gardens to accommodate the illegal numbers of people being packed into residential homes.

I suppose that since housing is in short enough supply that landlords can squeeze that many into a house that the housing fairy has been summonsed by the local authorities who will compell her to sprinkle a little dust around so houses will be sprouting like mushrooms by the time the council gets the evictions processes well under way.

It sounds like most of the people living that way are foreign students. I wonder if part of the "problem" is that they are simply used to living in crowded conditions like that.

I wonder if part of the "problem" is that they are simply used to living in crowded conditions like that.

Dunno, I've been to some pretty rough spots on this globe and even in the shanty towns of Rio de Janeiro, for example, I can't recall ever seeing that many people living in a single place.

Maybe they're just doing it on a lark to see how many people they can cram into a small space.
Those foreign kids...just some high jinks, they'll grow out of it.

Even if someone is on welfare, if you are using to living with a crowd you can do okay, at least in Toronto. If you pull in say $700 a month, your gang in this case is pulling in $310800 annually and you can easily afford a big old house and booze, beer, cigs and cheap entertainment. Coming from Somalia, as an example, you are living the dream.

They don't really say how large the house is. If it's a mansion (or McMansion), 37 people might not be that much. There was a small house in my town that got cited because 23 people were living in it (Mexican immigrants).

I have 54 imaginary friends living at my place... I guess I shouldn't say that too loudly.

Yeah, but the important thing is how they feel about you.

When I was student in the early 80s I lived in terraced town houses in central London. Each was about 20ft wide and 50 foot deep. Five stories. At least 30 students per house. We paid high rents.

Usual suburban size is around 200 square metres.

That's large by European standards, but 37 would still be a push.

From reading the article, it looks to me like unscrupulous landlords exploiting naive 19-year-old girls. It happens quite a bit.

It annoys me - universities offer places to foreign students, but leave them to fend for themselves once they have paid the course fees.

These are kids that have never lived away from home before. They have a shaky grasp of English, major-league expectations from their parents (who have saved and borrowed a great deal for a prestigious Western university qualification), and far too much trust in other people.

Treat people as cash cows and they'll return the favor. These kids are not going to look fondly on Australia once they leave. Just something to remember when they make it into positions of influence back home in China...

In addition to the foreign students angle here, there's something else:

It's unclear that housing is in an absolute short supply (either in Australia on in the UK where I am). There's certainly not a dramatic excess of built houses compared to the number of people to house, but another key issue is that there's a lot of building owners would rather keep the building empty rather than rent below what they feel the flat/building/etc "is worth". Part of the reason for enforcing rental housing regulations is to forcibly stop "the market" dealing with the renters in these ways in the belief that "the market" will deal with the people in a different way (hopefully by encouraging landlords to be more realistic in their expectations).

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending September 11, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending September 11, 56 thousand barrels per day below the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 86.9 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.9 million barrels per day last week, down 192 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.2 million barrels per day, 454 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 701 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 147 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.7 million barrels from the previous week. At 332.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels last week, and are near the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories remained unchanged last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 3.2 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Cushing dropped 3.7 mbs. I guess that's a bigger deal than the other numbers from the market's point of view.

Not really. Storage at cushing has been a problem as late as last July but that is a Cushing problem, not a national problem. If oil cannot be stored at Cushing it is simply stored somewhere else. Cushing storage went from 31.3 million barrels to 27.6 million barrels. The price of oil simply does not depend on storage capacity at Cushing. Only about 8 percent of US Crude is normally stored at Cushing.

Tank inspections put squeeze on Cushing oil storage

The New York Mercantile Exchange has said at least 47 million barrels of capacity exists in the various terminals at Cushing, although analysts have said storage is kept below maximum capacity to facilitate operations.

Ron P.

WTI (as opposed to "the price of oil") is of course related to storage at the delivery point. Brent is less influenced by the goings on at Cushing of course.
When the contango was huge reported storage wasn't much higher than 33 mbs. Whatever the actual storage capacity, it was reported as nearly full as late as last week.
But sure, if there's a regulatory explanation for the large drop I guess it should be discounted.

Some traders look at Cushing storage but they are playing a fool's game unless Cushing storage is above 40 million barrels.

INTERVIEW-NYMEX defends WTI, says Cushing storage ample

NEW YORK, Jan 20 - U.S. crude oil's unusual discount to London Brent has been driven by a flawed perception in the trading community that oil storage at the NYMEX delivery point in Oklahoma is full, and does not mean the benchmark is becoming less relevant, NYMEX officials told Reuters in an interview....

But NYMEX estimates it (Cushing storage) stands at around 47.5 million barrels.

Oil was trading at about $40 a barrel when the above was published. Traders who sold because they thought tanks were full at Cushing and prices would fall lost their butt! Traders have since learned their lesson. Nothing cures a flawed preception like losing a few thousand dollars on every contract. No one gets concerned about storage capacity at cushing until storage there reaches near 40 million barrels.

At any rate there is still storage elsewhere in the US. Delivery to Cushing can be delayed for months if necessary. Remember this is a futures market.

Ron P.

It would be silly to short WTI outright because tanks are full. It's too late when the news is reported and we don't know how full they really are anyway.
But there are several prices in a futures market. Mind the spreads! The contango as well as the Brent premium went way up when the storage was reported as high, not only in January but a few weeks back as well. So people do care, way short of your arbitrary 40mb mark... and they get irrational.
I said the Brent premium a few months forward made no sense the last time WTI was depressed. But the premium on the front month could well have made sense. What do I know? I'm not an insider.

Yes, traders always pay attention to the storage report. It is not usually the most important factor but an important factor nevertheless. But it is total stocks they are concerned with. However:

Cushing inventories dropped to their lowest level since Dec. 12, aided in part by a 200,000 barrels a day decline in imports.
OIL FUTURES: Crude Settles Higher On Large Inventory Drop

That is a nine month low. Cushing stocks have been higher since Dec 12, a lot higher. Cushing storage, at current levels, or at last weeks levels, were low enough that it was not a factor. I have been watching oil futures and storage levels for years now and levels last week were absolutely nothing to get concerned about. Well....you may have been concerned but traders certainly were not.

Ron P.

Either we're not watching the same thing or you're not seeing. Cushing behaves differently than total storage (as reported to the EIA). When total storage peaked this year, there was no crazy contango or Brent premium. Sure Cushing has been higher but so have these spreads.
I'm not concerned. Why should I be? I'm just seeing coincidences and correlations, some of which make more sense than others, and I know I'm not the only one.
I'm not concerned about total storage either, which hasn't been this high at this time of the year since the early 90s if you want to compare levels irrespective of OPEC and the macro situation.

Cushing behaves differently than total storage....

I'm not concerned about total storage either,....

He he, obviously we are talking about two different things. I wrote: But it is total stocks they are concerned with. You are talking about storage and I am talking about stocks. Stocks are what concerns traders, not storage. Hell, they know there is plenty of storage, not just at Cushing but elsewhere, so why on earth would they be concerned about that?

Have a nice evening. Ron P.

We're obviously talking about the same thing (what the EIA calls stocks) with different words.

My anecdotal obs of heavy traffic last weekend is supported by the EIA. Not supported by the EIA report was yesterday's API estimates.

Technicals Come Into Focus as Crude Gets Drawndown Again

The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated that crude stocks rose by 631,000 barrels, far less than analysts' guesses of a 2.4-million- to 2.5-million-barrel drawdown. Everybody underestimated the inventory off-take, though the Street was closer to the mark. Energy Department figures showed oil supplies fell by 4.7 million barrels.

A half-million-barrel build in gasoline stocks was called correctly by the Street as well. API's estimate of a 1.4-million-barrel add was a lot more bearish than analysts' forecast of a 500,000- to 700,000-barrel increase.

Volkswagen unveiled the L1, its second-generation one-liter class concept car, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The diesel-electric full-hybrid vehicle, weighing just 380 kilograms (838 lbs), offers an initial glimpse at how a future production version might appear.

2-cylinder, 800cc TDI diesel engine (27 and 39 HP; economy or sport mode) AND a 10 kW electric motor.
170 MPG (US) = 72 km/litre = 1.38 litre/100 km.
Top speed: 99 miles/hour = 159 km/hour.


CFRP. Let's see them try and put that into mass production in their current factories.

Might take few years. Or a decade.

This car would be targeted for production in 2013.
The fuel economy of the VW L1 is better than that of most motorcycles.

Sounds like it should give India's Tata Nano a run for their money.

It's a great car for the single person. However, it's horrible for a family...

I need a car that fits 2 adult passengers and 3 car seats in the back... And, that I can occasionally haul stuff around in. The car I use (which is best for this purpose) is my Prius. And, it gets good gas mileage...

So, there needs to be a look at who will ride in these kind of cars, and that constraint (4-5 passengers) sets the size and shape of the smallest possible yet commercially viable vehicle.


I don't know of any motorcycle that gets such good fuel economy.

A lot of people can't use such a car as thier only vehicle but it sure would make a great two person commuter.

Many folks I know keep two older vehicles rather than one newer one because it's much cheaper and provides greater flexibility.And one or the other of two older cars is at least as likely to be running( not broken down) on any given day as one new one.

If tptb are serious -excuse me,I meant would get serious- about conservation and fuel efficiency I believe we could should have some regulations that make it very easy to own two cars-if one of them is a very fuel efficient car.

Perhaps a property tax credit could be given for the second car,and a mandatory reduced second vehicle insurance premium too-maybe this might need to be tied to the number of liscensed drivers in the house.

I get a small discount for my second vehicle (Until recently when I cut back to one ) but when I pointed out that since I can drive only one at a time and should therefore get a huge discounton the second car the agent just always laughed-although he agreed that the profit on the second vehicle subsidizes rates on first vehicles.

Any one who lives in an area where taxes are reasonable and insurance affordable might find that they can substantially reduce both thier cash expenses and thier carbon footprint by owning two older cars and driving the larger one only as necessary.

The Indian manufacturer BAJAJ makes a 125cc motorcycle that can attain 86 km per litre.
i.e. 202 miles per gallon(US).
The engine has 1 cylinder with 2 spark plugs.



From the article: "two-seat monocoque, including the tubular frame driver’s seat and passenger seat as well as the exterior body skin, all consist of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP)"

I don't think WV has a CFRP mass production line or any interest in starting to build one right now.

Bill Reinert (Toyota) has talken about this issue in his (Peak Oil) presentations.

Friedman, NYT: "Have a Nice Day"

The reason that all these other countries are building solar-panel industries today is because most of their governments have put in place the three prerequisites for growing a renewable energy industry: 1) any business or homeowner can generate solar energy; 2) if they decide to do so, the power utility has to connect them to the grid; and 3) the utility has to buy the power for a predictable period at a price that is a no-brainer good deal for the family or business putting the solar panels on their rooftop.
That is why, although consumer demand for solar power has incrementally increased here, it has not been enough for anyone to have Applied Materials — the world’s biggest solar equipment manufacturer — build them a new factory in America yet. So, right now, our federal and state subsidies for installing solar systems are largely paying for the cost of importing solar panels made in China, by Chinese workers, using hi-tech manufacturing equipment invented in America.
(snip)So, if you like importing oil from Saudi Arabia, you’re going to love importing solar panels from China.

I usually don't care for Friedman, but today's column is pretty good.

Instead we spend our billions on dumb ass clunker bills and trillions of dollars to the banks. What are we trying to do, anyway? Instead of dicking around with cap and trade bills, we should invest directly in what is needed to help move away from a carbon intensive economy and provide people real jobs that don't involve pushing derivatives around.

The answer to your rhetorical question is that, on a macro level they are shorting the USA. None of this is a rocket science-TPTB are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and inactions. So far, they have managed to profit greatly from the decline of the nation and the trend is intact. The grifters should try to get China to fund their cap and trade BS-good luck with that.

The engineering group I'm associated with designs and installs PV systems using SolarWorld PV panels made in the USA.


If Americans want to buy American they have the option. If the American government want's to promote American business in the US it also has a choice. I've worked with some panels made in China and wasn't too impressed with the efficiency curves. I guess you get what you pay for.

Another possible adaptation - until the supply of waste plastic runs low..


The New Yorker has a cartoon caption contest.

"I thought Peak Oil was just a theory."

"Getting there is half the fun."

"When I bought a house in Denver, I didn't expect it to become oceanfront property."

The salesman said these new hybrids get great milage.

If you don't pull harder, we'll NEVER keep up with the Joneses.

Someone asked if there was a link where they could check the fiscal health of their bank.

MSNBC has an article here:

Is your bank ‘underwater’? Check its debt level

It has links to a special web site they've set up, that has the results of an investigation they did with American University. However, I haven't been able to get in yet. I suspect their server is being hammered.

Energy production requires water.

Production of electrical from Wind or Solar PV is waterless during electrical energy production from the capture of the photonic energy from the sun.

So I'll say "NO" to that claim.

Agreed. And dish stirling solar thermal is also waterless, and rapidly approaching the cost of fossil generation.

Hydroelectric generation, although renewable, does depend upon water.

Best Hopes for full rivers,


Do you know of a place where one can actually BUY one of these dishes - putting that cost argument to the test?

Nope - viable affordable Stirling engines look like cornucopian vapourware - only the military can afford them. If only you could use the hype to generate electricity.

This is a bit dated but this guy Bill Gross,inventor,owner of Idealab built a really good one and chose never to really market it. I'd try to buy one for myself if I could get my hands on it. I'd love to get the opportunity to market it as well. Maybe he'll decide to take it out of mothballs some day.

Check it out: http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gross_on_new_energy.html

I know about Stirling engines for large scale centralized power plants which is what your links are about. Bill Gross' is for small scale home power systems which is what I would like to see.

Very different animals.

Yes I do know "where to buy now". Call Stirling Energy Systems for a large 25 kw unit, not sure what the unit price is, difficult to track down but is one of the least costly systems among solar thermal, which is way less costly than PV. Or you can contact Infinia - Small Dish Solar "Infinia's Solar System relies on a Free-Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) to convert concentrated solar heat to electricity", offered in the (if I remember correctly) $5,000 / kw price range, retail.

Re: Oil, Gas Royalty Payment-In-Kind to Stop. Up top.

Yea, it's about time. I've complained in comments numerous times about this de facto oil subsidy and the corruption involved.

Now I'll have to concentrate my bitching on the remaining subsidies for oil. Hopefully they will end too.

When that happens subsidies for ethanol can go also.

Here is an extract of an excellent article on swine flu from a computer programmer point of view

How many bits does it take to kill a human?

One interesting consequence of reading this Nature article, and having access to the virus sequence, is that I now know how to modify the virus sequence to probably make it more deadly.

Here’s how:

The Nature article notes, for example, that variants of the PB2 Influenza gene with Glutamic acid at position 627 in the sequence has a low pathogenicity (not very deadly). However, PB2 variants with Lysine at the same position is more deadly. Well, let’s see the sequence of PB2 for H1N1. Going back to our NCBI database:


As you can see from the above annotation, position 627 has “E” in it, which is the code for Glutamic acid. Thankfully, it’s the less-deadly version; perhaps this is why not as many people have died from contracting H1N1 as the press releases might have scared you into thinking. Let’s reverse this back to the DNA code:

621  F  A  A  A   P  P  E   Q  S  R
1861 tttgctgctg ctccaccaga acagagtagg

As you can see, we have “GAA” coding for “E” (Glutamic acid). To modify this genome to be more deadly, we simply need to replace “GAA” with one of the codes for Lysine (”K”), which is either of “AAA” or “AAG”. Thus, the more deadly variant of H1N1 would have its coding sequence read like this:

621  F  A  A  A   P  P  K   Q  S  R
1861 tttgctgctg ctccaccaaa acagagtagg
                        ^ changed

There. A single base-pair change, flipping two bits, is perhaps all you need to turn the current less-deadly H1N1 swine flu virus into a more deadly variant.

In a published study looking at lethality the researchers found that "typical" pandemic swine has an LD50 (50% lethal dose) in mice of about one tenth that of seasonal flu - troublesome enough. However they also tested one variant ( A/Wisconsin/WSLH34939/09 ) that is 100 times as virulent in animal studies as seasonal flu but unfortunately don't go any further into the reasons for this in the paper. They also tested some strains that were no more virulent than seasonal flu.


Here's what it says in the paper about their sample selection and measured LD50s

These viruses represent the currently recognized neuraminidase
(NA) variants among S-OIVs:

                              MLD50 (10^x)
CA04,NA-106V,NA-248N;         5.8
Osaka164,NA-106I,NA-248N;     6.4
WSLH049,NA-106I,NA-248D;      6.6
WSLH34939,NA-106I,NA-248D;    4.5     
Net603,NA-106V,NA-248N.       5.8

The seasonal flu they compared with has MLD50 10^6.6 pfu

Seems to me it sure would be nice to know why there are some strains of this flu no more lethal than seasonal and some 100 times as lethal (in lab tests on animals).

An e-mail from Dr. John Cannell, which he wants distributed as widely as possible:

September, 2009

I’m writing to alert readers to a crucial email from a physician who has evidence vitamin D is protective against H1N1 and to ask you, the reader, to contact your representatives in Washington to help protect Americans, especially children, from H1N1 before winter comes.

Dear Dr. Cannell:

Your recent newsletters and video about Swine flu (H1N1) prompted me to convey our recent experience with an H1N1 outbreak at Central Wisconsin Center (CWC). Unfortunately, the state epidemiologist was not interested in studying it further so I pass it on to you since I think it is noteworthy.

CWC is a long-term care facility for people with developmental disabilities, home for approx. 275 people with approx. 800 staff. Serum 25-OHD has been monitored in virtually all residents for several years and patients supplemented with vitamin D.

In June, 2009, at the time of the well-publicized Wisconsin spike in H1N1 cases, two residents developed influenza-like illness (ILI) and had positive tests for H1N1: one was a long-term resident; the other, a child, was transferred to us with what was later proven to be H1N1.

On the other hand, 60 staff members developed ILI or were documented to have H1N1: of 17 tested for ILI, eight were positive. An additional 43 staff members called in sick with ILI. (Approx. 11-12 staff developed ILI after working on the unit where the child was given care, several of whom had positive H1N1 tests.)

So, it is rather remarkable that only two residents of 275 developed ILI, one of which did not develop it here, while 103 of 800 staff members had ILI. It appears that the spread of H1N1 was not from staff-to-resident but from resident-to-staff (most obvious in the imported case) and between staff, implying that staff were susceptible and our residents protected.


Norris Glick, MD
Central Wisconsin Center
Madison, WI

Dear Dr. Glick:

This is the first hard data that I am aware of concerning H1N1 and vitamin D. It appears vitamin D is incredibly protective against H1N1. Dr. Carlos Carmago at Mass General ran the numbers in an email to me. Even if one excludes 43 staff members who called in sick with influenza, 0.73% of residents were affected, as compared to 7.5% of staff. This 10-fold difference was statistically significant (P<0.001). That is, the chance that this was a chance occurrence is one less than one in a thousand.

Second, if you read my last newsletter, you will see that children with neurological impairments, like the patients at your hospital, have accounted for 2/3 of the childhood deaths for H1N1 so far in the USA. That is, the CDC knows, because they reported it, that patients with neurological impairments are more likely to die from H1N1.

The problem is that I cannot get anyone in authority at the CDC or the NIH to listen. I need readers to email or call their senators and congresspersons in Washington.

Ask your senator or congressperson to contact the CDC and NIH to complain about CDC and NIH inaction on Vitamin D and H1N1. Also, ask your senators and representative to demand congressional hearings on Vitamin D and H1N1, before it is too late. Here is the link below, just click it and follow instructions to contact your own represenatives.


John Cannell, MD
Vitamin D Council
585 Leff Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93422

Thanks for turning up this documented evidence, WT. We've mentioned this before - there's been anecdotal evidence about Vitamin D and H1N1 for some time now.

There's simply no good reason NOT to supplement with D. A friend who's a health-care professional recommended that 4,000IU per day as a safe and effective dose for flu prevention.

My doc's blood level was only 13 ng/mL. She is currently taking 14,000 units per day (50,000 unit dose twice a week), until she gets her blood level up. Dr. Cannell recommends a maintenance dose of 5,000 units per day for adults.

My doc has started testing her patients, and she is finding that 90% of her patients are deficient. Note that the optimum level is 50-70.

BTW, if anyone gets a blood test, you need to specify the 25-Hydroxy (25-OHD) test.


Thanks for the information.

Any info if certain sources of Vitamin D are any more easily absorbable/effective than others?

Going to the beach as often as possible here in South Florida works for me :-)

IMO, unless you have had a 25-Hydroxy blood test, you don't know for sure that you are getting enough Vitamin D.

Cod Liver Oil was grannie's favourite. This sub-thread reminded me of a flu I had 30 years ago. I took a dangerously large dose of Cod Liver Oil coz I thought I was dying anyway. The next day I woke symptom free. Thought it was a coincidence at the time, maybe not.

The wife is coming down with what looks like swine flu as I type. Off to the pharmacy for Cod Liver Oil right now.

The main thing is to take D3.

Doesn't milk contain considerable Vitamin D? I drink about half a gallon a day.

Antoinetta III

I think the evidence (presented on Flu forums - some by medically qualified experts) seems clearly to point to Vitamin D as a significant protective factor and I'm personally using it - probably too late and at too low dose though. One suggestion why D levels are so low is use of sunscreen to prevent cancer.

However there is no reason I can see (again from the Flu forums) to believe this is a "magic bullet". May help but if the virus turns deadly then "social distancing" is the best protective action you can take. A vaccine would be the best. If someone offered me a vaccine to this outbreak I would take it immediately. I would also take the US 1976 vaccine (despite the reported problems) if I had a time machine.

how many vit d units are in a glass of milk ?

and another ?, why are people over age 64 relatively immune ?

I think older people are resistant because this flu is similar to the "Hong Kong flu" that went around in the '50s, and the Spanish flu of 1918.

The "Hong Kong Flu" was 1968. You are thinking of the "Asian Flu" in 1957. However the Asian Flu was what finally displaced the remnants of the 1918 swine H1N1 flu from human circulation (researchers who speculated it came directly from birds got it badly wrong). Until then all human flus were H1N1 then H2N2 in 57 then H3N2 in 1968. A human version of H1N1 also circulates but is relatively harmless and sufficiently different that you won't have any protective antibodies in your blood to the pandemic strain.

People over 70 have the highest level of protective antibodies. People alive in 1918 the highest of all - even to this day. However none of this means these people can't catch this flu. Just that it is less likely and will depend on exposure levels amongst other factors.

This may be a controversial statement but I generally do not use sunscreen.

I do like to sit in the shade of the palm trees when I'm on the beach.
I also wear a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen rated long sleeved clothing when I kayak.

I'm also trying to spread the word that sunscreen may be bad for the coral reefs.

Maybe if more people gardened and raised lots of antioxidant containing vegetables they could get the benefit of the vitamin D from sunlight and anti cancer benefits of eating healthy.

I'm sure that's probably too much to ask.

If you have very fair to fair skin (Type I/II) I believe you need to minimize sun exposure. The damage done to Type I skin by any other than a couple of minutes of sun exposure exceeds any benefit. I read the stuff about sunscreens not protecting against UVA, but it's still better not to burn, and Type I's and to some extent Type II's must avoid being burned, which means avoiding the sun, which means having and using all the tools available.
I agree with the use of wide brimmed hats and sun protective clothing. Once I went to Mexico and in the Zocolo of the town I was in they were selling long-sleeve loose weave string cotton shirts for a few pesos - clearly aimed at the locals. You could almost but not quite see through the loose weave i.e. they allowed maximum airflow while still protecting from the sun. I wore it for the two weeks I was there and consider it the best designed sun protection garment I've ever seen, better than all the fancy and expensive stuff available in North America. But it doesn't cover places like the backs of hands, and for these Type I's and II's need sunscreen (or, not that fashionable, wearing gloves). And even wide brim hats don't protect against the sun outside the hottest part of the day when the sun angle is lower so sunscreen is needed for the face a lot. Also, some sun is reflected off water.
Type I's and II's need sunscreen.

Is something rotten in the state of Denmark?

From an article in a danish newspaper:
Windmills stands idle while the wind is blowing
From october negative price on electricity is to be implemented....
The owners of windmills are now at risk of having to pay to get rid of there electricity. So far the lowest price have been 0.0, but increased production gives now negative price.

What is going on here? Why is Denmark building more windfarms at sea. Big ones! And at the same time implementing negative pricing? I believe this is an attempt by the big guys to push the small prucers out of the market. The big windfarms now a days is build by the electricity company.

In the begining there was not much support of windmills in Denmark. It was considered a hippie dream with no future. The electricity company did not want them, but the government at that time did. People then formed small groups of maybe 20 persons who each invested some of there own money and together with the money from the government, the mills were build.

Without those small groups, would Denmark to day have any windmill-industry??
Those pioneers should be celebrated, not punished by negative pricing!

.If you care to read the full story in danish it can found here:

The problem with electricity is, if no-one wants to purchase it, then if the grid operators allow it onto the grid they'll need to pay someone to install a system to waste the excess, which costs money, hence negative prices.

Negative prices at night are not unheard of here in Canada, eg. Ontario when the large nuclear fleet is running the baseload and some wind gen decides it wants to run.

The solution is to implement a real-time market for all customers, so that customers will implement creative ways to use and store cheap off-peak so they don't need to purchase it on-peak.

Independent Market for Every Utility Customer - Preliminary Business Case

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

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

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

Nah, the better solution is energy storage of some type....

The Joule-Thomson Effect wastes so much energy that compressed-gas storage is utterly impractical, UNLESS -
you need heat near the pressurization station, AND -
you need cooling at the decompression site, OR -
you'd care to use hydrogen or helium as the storage media.

Before you answer 'yes' to the last conditional, look up "fugacity."

Energy storage of some type may actually be the ideal solution, and if it is, an IMEUC market will incentivize that sufficiently that it will be implemented, either by PHEV owners, installers of distributed flywheels burried under sidewalks, or by central compressed air systems. Whichever one solves the problem most effectively at the lowest cost will become the solution. Thying to geuss a winner in advance is a loosers game.

An idle wind turbine in the middle of a windy day is a zero cost spinning reserve. Ideal for covering sudden outages or unexpected surges in demand. The turbine may still be saving CO2 emissions even when it is not turning.

If you want more evidence of a dysfunctional and maladaptive government shoveling money in the wrong directions, here you go:

Gates endorses new U.S. bomber project

"I am committed to seeing the United States has an airborne long-range strike capability," Gates said at an annual conference of the U.S. Air Force Association, an advocacy group.

The Air Force has been keen to develop a new long-range strike capability by 2018, an effort likely to cost at least $15 billion, according to Barry Watts, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a research group in Washington D.C.

The future bomber likely would need an unrefueled combat radius of 2,500 nautical miles....


The implication of the last sentence is chilling: A combat range that deep has 'Russia' written all over it.

Actually, by 2018 it is more likely that the US will be well on its way toward disengaging and completely quitting the Eurasian land mass. Given the energy and economic descent that we will surely be facing, by then about all we will be able to afford to do is to withdraw behind mid-ocean defensive perimeters around North America. Expensive new weapons systems designed to project power halfway around the world will be the LAST thing the US will be needing - or be able to afford.

IMO your scenario is possible but only with the rise of a viable third party-as long as the two headed snake (D+R) retains power it appears the military budget will continue to grow even with the financial destruction of the USA.

What's not mentioned is that in order to have these things actually work, you need jet fuel...

Er, wait:

Navy to Make Jet Fuel From Seawater

The U.S. Navy could soon be sailing through an ocean of jet fuel if new research proves economical.

By extracting dissolved carbon dioxide from seawater and combining it with hydrogen stripped from water molecules, Navy chemists hope to one day secure a cheap and steady fuel source for its fleet of jets.

Now this makes sense. A 2,500 mile radius bomber atop a carrier capable of creating jet fuel. Imagine for a moment all the places that 2,500 miles from the coast will reach... (In fact, every place on the planet is less than 2,500 miles from the ocean.)

As long as the taxpayer pays (cheque clears) IMO nobody cares if it works or doesn't work-the bottom line is the green.

I don't think a 2,500 mile radius Air Force bomber will be carrier capable.

EDIT: Although I'm sure there are defense contractors who will happily, for the right price of course, study the feasibility of the concept...

The Air Force doesn't have the cojones to fly off carriers. That 2500 nmi requirement is the radius from last aerial refueling.

What's the EROI after they expend the energy to put the carbon and hydrogen together?

If you actually read such articles you will quickly see that the leads are hype and that every body involved understands the energy returns.

Military researchers get into lots of boondoogles,just like other govt agencies/programs.Could be another boondoogle of course.

The real aim is probably to find out if jet fuel can be manufactured from scratch on a factory ship powered by a nuke.An aircraft carrier accompanied by such a ship could fight until it runs out of the next most limiting critical material- my guess is that probably would be either planes or pilots.

There is probably about as good a chance that there will be a useful spinoff from this research as there is from most energy research programs.

The hype is either for the consumption of the scientifically challenged gung ho- or else maybe even manufactured just to make Uncle Sam look bad..

Remember a campaign a while back that talked about a product that contained a chemical also found in dog urine as if it were MADE from dog urine?

That product was mostly water-as is dog urine.They could have been just as intellectually honest by implying it was made from human baby blood.

The real aim is probably to find out if jet fuel can be manufactured from scratch on a factory ship powered by a nuke.An aircraft carrier accompanied by such a ship could fight until it runs out of the next most limiting critical material- my guess is that probably would be either planes or pilots.

If you could equip a carrier with a Laser CIWS ( also presumably fueled with some kind of mythical renewable fuel from the factory ship), the Carrier would be able to defend indefinately, even if it lost the ability to project power. Maintaining a basic defensive capability is even more important than maintaining offensive capability, imo.


I don't want to get into a long discussion of what we need or can afford but merely wish to point out that (one) war is a real possibility and (two) the military utility of such a bomber might be such that -if the fight actually comes- it is a very cost effective weapon.

The last time we sent our latest stuff into combat the losses from enemy action were negligible in relation to the damage they did to enemy(victim if you prefer) infrastructure.

A single bomber nowadays of the latest type -assuming it doesn't breakdown- is worth as much as a typical small airforce all by itself.

The destructive potential of a new generation bomber will undoubtedly be much greater if the designers are successful and it will also be much harder to intercept.

Peace is obviously the best policy but if war does come any price that ensures winning is cheap-after all it's only money and I do believe you are one of the folks who thinks that monetary collapse is in the cards any way right?

It is a well accepted tenent of military planners that a good offense is an excellent if not the best defense.

Personally I should like to see our armed forces long on this sort of technology -which ensures that nobody is likely to bring a real fight to us- and short on conventional ground forces .It's too easy for tptb to get the conventional ground forces entangled in tar babies like Iraq and Afghanistan.

oldfarmermac, I couldn't disagree more.

If we wanted cost effective bombers, we'd refit the B-52G, H, and on ad infinitum. But we don't. What "we" want is for "our" largest campaign donors to reap the largest possible contracts, preferably while building the smallest amount of deliverable hardware.

And so we'll get the next-generation stealth bird, able to beat any non-existent threat that any failed-state foe can't actually deliver.

The B-2 is your classic billion-dollar abortion. Say what you want about the Wall-street bailout, but at least those dollars weren't intended to buy death and destruction.

The b52 in any incarnation will never be able to penetrate the airspace of any country ever again that has anything like a modern fighter or modern ground based interceptor rocket-unless we can send in fighters with it.A fighter that has to stick by such a lumbering old cow of a bomber might not be able to defend itself,let alone the b52.

The next generation bomber theoritically can take care of itself.

The b52?Its too slow, too big, too hard to hide from radar visual or acoustic detection and it cannot maneuver worth a hoot.

We may not always be picking on failed states.

The essence ,like it or not, of big time military readiness is to be ready for what is POSSIBLE.

Any body who has read a few randomly chosen history books MUST realize that we will sooner or later be fighting another modern opponent.

Of course some things don't work out-military and otherwise.
If a bomber is no good you just gotta try again if you must have a bomber.

I hope I'm wrong but I expect that we will engage in another major war involving major powers within my lifetime.

I don't like it but this behavior seems to be built into us. We must have made an evolutionary "wrong turn" somewhere a few million years ago most likely ,as chimps also are subject to it.

If they work these weapons can actually deter a war with a major power-nobody wants to start a fight unless he thinks he will win it.

All this said I do recognize that arms races may yet result in the end of us all and DD will have been proven right about our early departure.

As a matter of fact I have an old original an essay laying round someplace in which I predict that somebody will create a weapon that will finish us off before we ever manage to get off this planet and onto a few more,thereby spreading our eggs among several baskets.

I don't know how to escape from this trap.

At one time I believed I might live to space travel in the solar system at least but now ,knowing how fast the resource crisis is moving,I don't think meaningful space travel is in the cards at all for the forseeable future.

If I were a god I would zap everybody who starts a fight and provide all the girls with a womb that only works once for a few generations-unless something happens to the one kid.

Everything would be nice and peaceful until I got bored and decided it would be fun to make everybody worship me (or worse) to pass the time.

I post some stuff not because I personally approve but to remind people what the logic or political calculus may be as seen from another pov.

MAC -- Ufortuately I agree with you re: the likelyhood of military conflict over resource control not to many decades down the road. And THE two competing powers will be the US and China IMO. As much as I would like to see our limited capital go towards more peaceful efforts it would seem a critical issue to develop a MAD (mutually assured destruction) profile with China. Hopefully then the two countries can satisfy their thirst by usurping resources from the rest of the world without infriging on each others "rights".

Not apretty picture of the future ut likely inevitable IMO.

If the US withdraws from the Eurasian land mass, then there really shouldn't be any reason for us to be engaged in hostilities with anyone over there. They might do things to each other that we don't like, but that is their problem. We simply do not have the means to be the world's policeman any more.

It is quite possible that our access to oil and other resources over there will be cut off. They will be sooner or later anyway, the sooner we adjust ourselves to learning to live without those resources, the better.

The US is extremely fortunate in that North America is for all practical purposes an island. No, offense is not the best defense; the best defense is to be in such a strong defensive position that the other side knows that their offense will fail, and thus won't even attempt to attack.

In no way is threatening other countries and messing around in their back yards a good defense.

WNC -- Being cut off from access to crude is exactly what I see as our entre into a commodity "war". This war won't necessarially be our side shooting at "their" side but our forces preventing any interuption of oil being transported from producing regions to our shores. I know that's an extreme thought but it is what I expect our citizens to demand from DC when the SHTF. An example: much of the offshore African oil goes to the EU. All the US has to do is put on a show of force to convince those counties to sell to the US instead. Will German warships attack US warship escorting those tankers to the US? Not likely IMO. But the political/social reactions are unimaginal.

The trouble with that line of thought is that the aboveground infrastructure for oil production, transport and storage is so vulnerable and fragile that it is 100% certain to not survive even a low-level armed conflict. You would think that we would have learned that lesson by now.

The best that we could hope to do is to assure that anything denied to us is denied to anyone else as well. A few sub launched cruise missiles should take care of that quite nicely, no need for anything more than that. Note that the flip side of this applies too: if we try to grab anything that isn't ours, there will be those who would prefer that nobody gets it, and they would have the means to assure that outcome.

WNC -- Certainly no way to predict irrational behavior in desparite times. But I can see the situation developing slow enough that there might be some establishment of order. But that didn't work out in the past so well on the Rhine River or at Pearl Harbor. As always there are numerous good reasons on both sides to avoid armed conflict. Unfortunately history has shown those reasons can be readily ignored by many. There are a number of potential "sleeping giants" to be awakened out there.

The B-1B Lancer was probably the best of both worlds (given the computing power available to designers at the time): Long range, huge payload, fast, stealthy (not B-2 'Stealth', just 'stealthy').

A 'quick fix' for the B-52 fleet is to rip the eight existing turbofans off and replace them with engines off the Boeing 777. Also consider replacing the wings with carbon-fibre so they don't flex so much.

I suspect a new B-52I (updated version) would be a better value for massive bomb drops with limited opposition.


They just approved a TOD condo tower in Toronto-42 floors, no parking spaces for owners http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/newsfeatures/article/696394

It's not exactly a new idea.

I lived in a building that size in Chicago years back which didn't have any parking spaces. It sat atop the Concours mall (and my favorite pub). You could still rent a space by the month at the Hyatt next door if you really needed a space, but mostly I walked everywhere I needed to go. Many of the larger commercial buildings rented their parking spaces which allowed them to keep the parking lots full (and profitable) at nights and weekends.

I recall a substantial portion of the residents did not own a car, and it was hardly a poor neighborhood being on the Chicago River.

Now the bike rack issue is another story. I would need 5 of the 315 spaces alone.

A lot of buildings are like that in NY and Boston. My sister lived in one in Boston.

She didn't have a car, so she didn't care. But it was a pain for anyone from out of town who wanted to visit her.

Hello TODers,

Hopefully, Stoneleigh & Ilargi @TAE can get more specific product info on what we are now producing:

Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Reports on industrial production and consumer prices today showed the U.S. economy is emerging from the economic slump without spurring inflation...
I hope it is PVs, bicycles, wheelbarrows, insulation, gardening tools, RR & TOD, condoms, dual-pane windows, eco-cleanups, specie protection, and other vital items & services to help position us for the Overshoot downslope.

My fear it that is gas-guzzlers, plastic pumpkins for Halloween, salad shooters, big screen tvs, military equipment, more asphalt & concrete, video games, and other items & services to just make things worse WTSHTF.

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

Could someone check my math on this?

The latest Oil Watch Monthly September 2009 lists world oil/ngl/biofuel production at around 475 trillion BTU per day.

I thought this was an interesting measure and wondered how many BTU per day our sun granted us.

So. Wiki says the Earths atmosphere receives on average 1366W/m2 at any given time.

The entire surface of the Earth is around 510 million km2 or 510,000,000,000,000 meters2

So that should mean on a giant average, 1366W/m2 * 510,000,000,000,000m2 = 696,666,666,666,666,666 Watts (696 Quadrillion Watts)

That, according to my converter here equals 39,618,377,464,476,000 BTU/minute (39 Quadrillon BTU/minute)

Which... divided by 60min in and hour and divided by 24hr in a day should =

27,512,762,128,108 BTU/day

27.5 Trillion BTU / day from the sun
475 Trilion BTU / day from liquid fuels.

Can someone confirm that? Or am I out to lunch, I'm always one for interesting numbers like that but always leary of getting from one place to another.

You need to MULTIPLY by 60 and 24 to go from BTU/min to BTU/day.

Thank you for that.... that's what I wasn't sure of... always get it mixed up.
So that would make it...

57,050,463,548,845,440,000 BTU/day

57,050 Quadrillion BTU / Day from the sun
0.475 Quadrillion BTU / Day from liquid fuels.

That's better sounding. :)

Still really incredible that humanity manages to extract and use an amount that even approaches a fraction of the energy the Earth as a whole receives from her star.

The Earth is (roughly) a sphere, and spheres have four times the surface area of a disk of the same radius, so you need to divide the 1366 by four. The rule-of-thumb average at top-of-atmosphere is 343 watts per square metre. At the surface, cloud reflection reduces this by a bit.

1 BTU is 1055 joules (according to Frink). 1 watt is 1 joule per second.

Following the units,

343 J/m^2.s * 3600 s/hr * 24 hr /day * (1 BTU/ 1055 J) * (510 x 10^12 m^2)

= 28090 BTU/m^2.day * ( 510 x10^12 m^2)

= 14.3 * 10^18 BTU/day worldwide. 14.3 Trillion Trillion BTU/day.

Hi Chrisale:

The earth intercepts sunlight only by the total areal cross section presented to the sun. In other words, pi r squared where r is the earth's radius, is the area that intercepts sunlight.

Earth radius = 6378km, area therefore 1.28E8 km^2, or 1.28E11 m^2. Times 1366 w/m^2, and times 3.413 btu/w, then you get 5.96E14 btu's. A little better than the 4.75E14 from liquid fuels. Of course, you need to go above the earth's atmosphere and cover the entire dayside with 100% efficient solar panel satellites to do it. Might be a small NIMBY issue there!

Suggests we're burning a lot of stored solar energy in those fossil fuels, doesn't it.


i love that we all came to different answers.

So who's least wrong? :+)

Also from Wikipedia:

"This [total solar energy impinging on planet Earth] is equal to the product of the solar constant, about 1,366 watts per square metre, and the area of the Earth's disc as seen from the Sun, about 1.28 × 10^14 square metres"

I forgot to square the conversion from kilometers to meters, so my revised answer is:

Earth radius = 6378km, area therefore 1.28E8 km^2, or 1.28E14 m^2. Times 1366 w/m^2, and times 3.413 btu/w, then you get 5.96E17 btu's. 1250 times better than the 4.75E14 from liquid fuels. Of course, you need to go above the earth's atmosphere and cover the entire dayside with 100% efficient solar panel satellites to do it. Might be a small NIMBY issue there!

I feel better now.

Wow, all this engineering writing. And whould you believe, I used to think and talk like that. Now I use strictly TLAR computations.

My solar dryer has about 30” X 32” with about 12 degrees top glass angle and it will dry 1/4” slices of tomatoes easily in a day like today here in the high desert. I keep it pointed to the sun every couple hours (more often during transit). Later this year it will probably take longer but I don‘t know how much longer. By Dec 21st I should have all the stuff from the garden dried and only be making jerky. Soon, for a couple bucks I will be able to get some commercial (unhealthy) turkeys to marinate and dry, i.e. turkey jerky. If the donkey down the street keeps up his noise, I might have something cheaper to marinate and dry very soon.

I am building a parabolic reflector cooker about 1 meter area. The pot at the focus about four feet out will be a two quart cast iron affair and should be able to make soup from the dried tomatoes, zucchini, meat and seasoning. With the lid on as a Dutch Oven it should be able to bake a cake. I’ll let you know how it works.

BTW: Light may be reflected back to space by the atmosphere and never get to earth … remember red suns at sunrise and sunset while the higher frequencies get reflected back immediately at obtuse angles. Now that should slow you guys down a little. When you get that bear dressed, I’ll get you another.

Not a problem … lots of sunlight around here, and if not, then we eat cold for a couple days. So far lots of fuel though $2.79/gal is a bit high. Not enough to slow anyone down. $10 gas will at least slow the highschool kids down a little. OTOH they may compute that getting there faster used less gas.

TLAR (above) = That Looks About Right. Enjoy our interesting times.

Thanks, Good Stuff!

Hello TODers,

So, does the Dieoff start to ramp soon?

World Hungry reach 1.02 Billion, says UN

The number of persons going hungry in the world reached one billion 20 million despite the increase in food production, reported today a source of the United Nations Organization (UN).

..To give an idea of the situation there is an emergency in 32 countries, there are 58 developing nations where food items are 80 percent more expensive than 12 months ago and 40 percent higher than in January, 2009. According to official figures, México contributes about half its 107 million inhabitants to the list of poor in the planet, while one third of it suffers extreme poverty.

WFP asks for more funding; says aid at 20-year low

The U.N's World Food Program says it needs more money to cope with rising food prices, droughts and conflict.

The WFP said Wednesday that levels of food aid are at a 20-year-low, and warned that more than 1 billion people will go hungry worldwide for the first time.

The organization says it plans to feed 108 million people in 2009 with a budget of $6.67 billion, but has only $2.6 billion of funding confirmed.
20 years ago, Global Pop. in 1989 was roughly 5 billion.

From an earlier SS keypost:

Death Rates and Food Prices
Please do a google on Nepal, then consider this chart:


As discussed before in my Nepal posting series: Because of sheer energy logistics, it is not easy to get vital supplies from sea-level to far inland plus upwards to high elevations.

Millions in Nepal facing hunger as climate changes

Video: World's hungry face aid gap

..Josette Sheeran, executive director of the WFP, predicts the crisis is going to become much worse...

COLLAPSE (the Michael Ruppert film) is quite the success at the Toronto festival-it appears to be getting the PO message out somewhat http://movie-critics.ew.com/2009/09/16/toronto-collapse/