Drumbeat: September 23, 2009

Chesapeake says $4 natgas too low to grow output

GREENWICH, Conn. (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas prices will have to move higher to spur a resurgence in drilling activity and keep output of the fuel steady, the head of Chesapeake Energy Corp said on Wednesday.

The weak U.S. economy has knocked natural gas prices sharply lower in the past 14 months, and sluggish demand for fuel has prompted producers such as Chesapeake to curtail drilling for new supplies.

"The industry can cope with $4 gas. The industry can't grow or sustain production with $4 gas," Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon told an IHS Herold energy conference.

NASA data: Greenland, Antarctic ice melt worsening

WASHINGTON – New satellite information shows that ice sheets in Greenland and western Antarctica continue to shrink faster than scientists thought and in some places are already in runaway melt mode.

British scientists for the first time calculated changes in the height of the vulnerable but massive ice sheets and found them especially worse at their edges. That's where warmer water eats away from below. In some parts of Antarctica, ice sheets have been losing 30 feet a year in thickness since 2003, according to a paper published online Thursday in the journal Nature.

Some of those areas are about a mile thick, so they've still got plenty of ice to burn through. But the drop in thickness is speeding up. In parts of Antarctica, the yearly rate of thinning from 2003 to 2007 is 50 percent higher than it was from 1995 to 2003.

China to Increase Oil Refining Capacity 10% by 2010

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s second biggest energy consumer, will increase crude oil refining capacity by at least 10 percent next year from 2008 levels to meet rising demand, according to a unit of PetroChina Co.

The country’s refineries will be able to process more than 500 million metric tons a year, or about 10 million barrels a day, of crude in 2010, according to conference materials to be delivered by Yang Weijun, an engineer with the company’s planning institute, tomorrow in Beijing. China’s annual refining capacity was 455 million tons in 2008, he said.

Alaskans bank on annual oil royalty dividend

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Isaac Nukapigak plans to spend his annual reward for living in Alaska just catching up with the basics of survival in his remote whaling village, where gasoline can top $9 a gallon and a gallon of fresh milk can set you back almost $15.

"It will help pay for fuel for winter, heating fuel. That will come in very helpful, the help from the state to help defray the high cost of energy," Nukapigak, a 52-year-old whaling captain from the North Slope village of Nuiqsut, said of the dividend payments from the state's oil royalty investment program distributed to every eligible man, woman and child each fall.

Powerful Ideas: River Turbines Could Electrify New York City

A network of floating docks could harness clean energy for New York City and provide new space for parks, researchers now propose.

Each dock could generate power off the city's river currents. Three vertical turbines fastened out of sight to the underside of each station would harness the 4 mph currents, with each module generating up to 24 kilowatts of constant energy from the Hudson and East Rivers.

EDP Seeks to Boost Brazil Power Output by 24 Percent by 2012

(Bloomberg) -- EDP-Energias de Portugal SA, the biggest power company in Portugal, aims to increase power generation capacity in Brazil by 24 percent in the next three years, a company executive said.

EDP-Energias do Brasil SA, the Brazilian unit of the Lisbon-based company, wants to increase power output to 2,116 megawatts from 1,702 megawatts by 2012, Antonio Pita de Abreu, the unit’s chief executive officer, said in an interview in Sao Paulo today.

Is a Nuclear-Free Middle East a Pipe Dream?

Israel has long maintained a policy of "strategic ambiguity" about its nuclear weapons capability, hinting that it can deter any aggression with overwhelming force, but without inviting the international scrutiny of a fully declared program — or sparking a regional arms race. That position went largely unchallenged for some three decades. But in 2003 the IAEA accused Iran, which had started a civilian nuclear energy program during the reign of the U.S.-backed Shah, of falling short of NPT transparency requirements. Although the IAEA has never accused Iran of trying to build a bomb, intelligence agencies in Israel and the West believe it is using its civilian nuclear program, particularly its uranium-enrichment capability, to assemble infrastructure that would give it the means to create nuclear weapons. The specter of a nuclear-armed Iran has, in turn, sparked interest in acquiring nuclear technology among a number of Arab countries wary of Iranian power. And, of course, Iran has constantly referred to Israel's nuclear program in alleging a double standard on the part of its critics.

Power company Duke strikes second Chinese deal to develop low-carbon energy

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Power company Duke Energy Corp. said Wednesday that it has struck its second deal in just over a month with a large Chinese power company to develop sources of low-carbon energy.

Duke and ENN Group say ideas for potential development between the two include commercial solar projects, coal-based clean energy, biofuels, natural gas, smart grid, energy efficiency and carbon-capturing algae.

Plumes of smoke and fear of eviction in Kenya's Mau forest

KERICHO, Kenya (AFP) – Farmers and charcoal makers settled in what remains of Kenya's Mau forest fear that the government, alarmed by deforestation and the drying up of rivers feeding the country's tourist attractions, may yet make good on its threat to evict them.

Raila Odinga, prime minister in the coalition government, has launched a vast campaign to empty the forest of its settlers and restore the tree cover -- a move that risks alienating even his supporters in the region.

Turning grease into gold

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- The Romans and Phoenicians honed the practice of rendering animal byproducts to make soap, candles, and other goods. But Darling International has turned it into a science -- and a big business.

After six years of aggressively buying up the mom-and-pop shops that collect greases and fats from local restaurants and butchers, Darling (DAR) has become the largest independent renderer in the nation.

Michael Klare: Life after the Age of Oil

There can be no question that Barack Obama and many members of Congress would like to accelerate a shift from oil dependency to non-polluting alternatives. As the president said in January, "We will commit ourselves to steady, focused, pragmatic pursuit of an America that is free from our [oil] dependence and empowered by a new energy economy that puts millions of our citizens to work." Indeed, the $787 billion economic stimulus package he signed in February provided $11 billion to modernize the nation's electrical grid, $14 billion in tax incentives to businesses to invest in renewable energy, $6 billion to states for energy efficiency initiatives, and billions more directed to research on renewable sources of energy. More of the same can be expected if a sweeping climate bill is passed by Congress. The version of the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives, for example, mandates that 20% of US electrical production be supplied by renewable energy by 2020.

But here's the bad news: even if all these initiatives were to pass, and more like them many times over, it would still take decades for this country to substantially reduce its dependence on oil and other non-renewable, polluting fuels. So great is our demand for energy, and so well-entrenched the existing systems for delivering the fuels we consume, that (barring a staggering surprise) we will remain for years to come in a no-man's-land between the Petroleum Age and an age that will see the great flowering of renewable energy. Think of this interim period as -- to give it a label -- the Era of Xtreme Energy, and in just about every sense imaginable from pricing to climate change, it is bound to be an ugly time.

Dust storm blankets Sydney as drought bites

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A huge outback dust storm swept eastern Australia and blanketed Sydney on Wednesday, disrupting transport, forcing people indoors and stripping thousands of tonnes of valuable farmland topsoil.

The dust blacked out the outback town of Broken Hill on Tuesday, forcing a zinc mine to shut down, and swept 1,167 km (725 miles) east to shroud Sydney in a red glow on Wednesday.

By noon on Wednesday the storm, carrying an estimated 5 million tonnes of dust, had spread to the southern part of Australia's tropical state of Queensland.

Burgan, fabled Kuwait oil field in irreversible decline with high water cut

Production from the world's second-largest oil field may decline without the help of international oil companies. Kuwait, which produces 2.2 million bbl/day, has failed to renew agreements with several international oil companies including BP and Chevron. The Burgan, second in size only to Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, has an estimated capacity of 1.4-1.5 million bbl/day. It possibly could have been maintained for more than 10 years. Without expertise the production will decline in five years.

Report: China selling fuel to Iran

A newspaper report says Chinese state companies are supplying petrol to Iran, a development that could undermine US-led efforts aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The report is based on unnamed oil traders and bankers.

Total May Get Russian Bids for European Refineries, Chief Says

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, the French oil refiner seeking to reduce surplus capacity, said Russian companies may bid for European plants as they pursue expansion abroad.

“They have a market to develop in Europe and may be interested to buy when we are interested to sell,” Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said today in a Bloomberg Television interview in New York. “We could do win- win deals with companies like Russians.”

Asheville to lead goal of averting another gas crisis

ASHEVILLE — Fear of gas shortages similar to 2008, when Western North Carolina motorists sat in line for hours sometimes only to find empty pumps, is now spurring counties and towns to create a regional supply plan.

U.K. Reaches Deal on Ivory Coast Toxic Waste Claim

LONDON (AP) -- A British court approved Wednesday the settlement of thousands of claims against oil-trading company Trafigura Beheer BV related to the dumping of toxic waste around the Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan.

As part of the settlement, Leigh Day & Co., the law firm that represented some 30,000 Ivorians, withdrew allegations that a number of deaths and miscarriages had resulted from the incident three years ago.

Batteries approach energy density limit

Existing battery chemistries are approaching the limits of their energy densities, creating the potential for a “power shortage” as increasingly smaller portable electronics products make growing demands on cells, says analyst NextGen Research.

Power pooling can aid Africa economies: African Union

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Power must be shared across Africa so the world's poorest continent can beat an energy crisis that is costing its economies billions of dollars, the African Union (AU) energy chief said on Wednesday.

Power shortages are common in many African nations and can shut down industries and hamper investment, even though the continent is sitting on abundant resources of solar, hydro, oil, gas, coal and geothermal power.

"We are strongly encouraging strategies of interconnectivity that can help economies grow more quickly," said Elham Ibrahim, infrastructure and energy commissioner of the 53-member state pan-African organisation.

Tom Friedman's Idiocy Atomique

France's atomic power industry is a failed radioactive flame. Its 58 reactors are unpopular, unsafe, uneconomical, dirty, direct agents of global warming, weapons proliferators and major generators of atomic waste for which there is no management solution.

But self-proclaimed "green advocate" Thomas Friedman seems to think otherwise. In his just published New York Times op ed "Real Men Tax Gas" Friedman applies the term "wimp" to those who fail to fight global warming. But in true corporate style, he can't face the hard truths about France's industrie atomique.

Our emotions can lead us astray when assessing risks, says new CU-Boulder study

If you find yourself more concerned about highly publicized dangers that grab your immediate attention such as terrorist attacks, while forgetting about the more mundane threats such as global warming, you're not alone.

And you can't help it because it's human nature, according to a new study led by University of Colorado at Boulder psychology Professor Leaf Van Boven. That's because people tend to view their immediate emotions, such as their perceptions of threats or risks, as more intense and important than their previous emotions.

Obama wants worldwide end of fossil fuel subsidies

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is calling on the world to end massive government subsidies that encourage the use of fossil fuels blamed for global warming.

The president, who is set to host the G-20 economic summit opening Thursday in Pittsburgh, will propose a gradual elimination, with the time frame to be determined, according to White House officials.

"Later this week, I will work with my colleagues at the G-20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies so that we can better address our climate challenge," Obama said Tuesday at the United Nations global warming summit.

Mike Froman, Obama's national security adviser for economic affairs, said the main value of the proposal would be if it were multilateral. He declined to say if Obama was willing to go it alone and try to eliminate such subsidies just in the United States.

Major Oil Discoveries Spur Energy Outlook Debate

Massive new oil discoveries have enthused investors and analysts alike, but with oil's near-term supply at multi-decade highs and its price climbing above $70 a barrel, energy faces mixed signals.

The finds have oil enthusiasts debating the theory of peak oil. But no matter the future, several companies stand to benefit.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp.'s (APC) discovery off the coast of West Africa last week marks the third major find this month, following BP PLC's (BP.LN) discovery in the Gulf of Mexico and Petroleo Brasileiro SA's (PBR) off the coast of Brazil.

The discoveries will take years to cultivate and develop but are a welcome sign to those who feared a supply shortage could ensue if the global economy recovers faster than anticipated.

Chinese takeaway is paid for with American dollars

The Chinese understand the "peak everything" argument. They are not just worried about peak oil, they are concerned about the fact that the world has run up against the limits of its resources. Their officials were shaken by the spike in oil and food prices last year before the financial crisis hit. In comparison, they seemed to be quite unfazed by the financial crisis. They were much more concerned with the prospect of the world -- and therefore China -- running out of the hard material which makes the economy tick.

Speaking to some of its top officials, it was evident that they had thought about how they might secure resources and after a few hours talking to them, the strategy became clear.

Something every American should realize: the end might be near

Aside from the climate change debate, it is a fact that sooner rather than later a world wide shift in energy policy is inevitable as many experts foresee peak oil merely years away, if not already reached.

China has already made it possible for a solar energy industry to thrive economically in its borders. Not only that the developing nation has committed to increasing the use of non-fossil fuels and nuclear power to 15 percent in 10 years.

Who's Looking At Natural Gas Now? Big Oil

In the energy world, Big Oil has long been the key player — with one notable exception: The natural gas business in the United States is dominated by small, independent companies. More than 80 percent of U.S. natural gas supplies are produced by companies with a market capitalization of less than $500 million. On average, these companies have only a dozen employees.

But their business is booming. New production techniques in recent years have enabled companies to extract natural gas from shale rock formations deep underground. As a result, estimates of accessible natural gas reserves have been revised dramatically upward. Small gas producers can justifiably take the credit for the transformation of their industry.

Commods rally won't last unless demand recovers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Commodities have outperformed the expectations of many analysts who bet on an anemic recovery after last year's crash, but the climb could start slowing if investors seek more proof the recession is over.

A declining dollar and rallying equities markets have sparked wariness about potential inflation and drawn investors into commodities.

But many wonder whether actual demand for commodities will materialize with the United States losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. Investors may want to see improvement in the U.S. employment market, vital to the global economy, before pushing prices of raw materials higher.

Total Targets Petrobras Partnership for Brazil Growth

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil producer, is studying expansion in Brazil as part of a plan to reverse falling output by developing new projects.

Decision due soon on Arctic Ocean oil drilling

A group of more than 400 scientists also is joining the public push against Arctic drilling. In a letter to the president timed to the deadline for offshore oil comments, a large group of biologists, oceanographers and other scientists warned that profound physical and biological changes in the Arctic Ocean connected to the rapid shrinking of sea ice leave too many unanswered questions to proceed with new oil and gas development.

Seismic surveys disturb blue whales: biologists

PARIS (AFP) – Seismic surveys used for oil and gas prospecting on the sea floor are a disturbance for blue whales, the world's biggest animal and one of its rarest species, biologists reported on Wednesday.

Emphasis on Growth Is Called Misguided

Among the possible casualties of the Great Recession are the gauges that economists have traditionally relied upon to assess societal well-being. So many jobs have disappeared so quickly and so much life savings has been surrendered that some argue the economic indicators themselves have been exposed as inadequate.

In a provocative new study, a pair of Nobel prize-winning economists, Joseph E. Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, urge the adoption of new assessment tools that incorporate a broader concern for human welfare than just economic growth. By their reckoning, much of the contemporary economic disaster owes to the misbegotten assumption that policy makers simply had to focus on nurturing growth, trusting that this would maximize prosperity for all.

France against fuel sanctions on Iran: foreign minister

PARIS (AFP) – France's foreign minister said in an interview Wednesday he was not in favour of plans mooted by some US lawmakers to impose fuel sanctions on Iran to make it come clean on its nuclear programme.

"I think this is a bit dangerous," Bernard Kouchner told the International Herald Tribune.

Baluchistan violence thwarts gas prospects

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (UPI) -- Guerrilla attacks in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan targeting the gas sector are responsible for a declining regional economy, a study shows.

A government economic report on Baluchistan province obtained by the Pakistani Daily Times describes a declining security situation as the primary factor to obstacles in the exploration of gas productivity.

Kurdistan Oil Spat With DNO Signals New Risk to Iraq Projects

(Bloomberg) -- DNO International ASA’s suspension from producing oil in Iraq highlights the risks for explorers seeking to tap the world’s third-largest reserves.

The Kurdistan regional government shut down operations at Oslo-based DNO, the first foreign company to pump crude in Iraq since the 1970s, for as many as six weeks after its role in a share transaction was disclosed by the Oslo exchange amid an investigation of the deal. The government said on Sept. 21 that DNO must act to repair the damage to its reputation after it was fined by the bourse for a delay in providing information.

Iraq in danger of missing Shell deadline: spokesman

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq risks missing a one-year deadline to strike a deal with energy giant Royal Dutch Shell for a four-billion-dollar gas production deal in southern Iraq, a government spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

Utility Snubbed by Banks Shows States Pay Too Much for Credit

(Bloomberg) -- East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, California, which hasn’t missed a bond payment in 86 years, is being told by banks that its credit isn’t as good as companies that Moody’s Investors Service says are 90 times more likely to default.

While the public utility serves more than 1 million residents and has the highest AAA debt rating, lenders for a $200 million credit line want to charge East Bay as much as triple what banks are seeking from California Water Service Group on a similar facility. The investor-owned company’s bonds are ranked AA-, three levels lower.

The search for funds by East Bay is an example of how state and local governments, which almost never default because they can raise taxes and fees, routinely allow taxpayers to pay more than they have to when borrowing. The utility’s operating revenue rose about 6 percent to $360 million in the year ended June 30 after a 3.75 percent water-rate increase and drought surcharge, according to its annual report.

St Petersburg OKs skyscraper by Russian gas giant

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Russia's state natural gas giant Gazprom has won approval to build a skyscraper in St. Petersburg that critics say will ruin the city's protected skyline.

The city council on Tuesday approved plans for building the 400-meter (1,300-foot) structure — more than three times as tall as the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral that now is the city's tallest building.

Sustainable investment seen gaining momentum

LONDON (Reuters) - Investing in socially and environmentally responsible companies or sectors which tackle climate change or resource scarcity is gaining momentum as it offers a unique diversifying opportunity, fund manager RCM says. Sustainability investment is an approach designed to pick companies which manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks.

U.S. awards $550 million in renewable energy grants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Tuesday awarded $550 million in grants to develop renewable energy projects to help double U.S. renewable energy production over the next few years, an Obama administration goal.

The grants will pay cash to companies in lieu of tax credits to support solar, wind, biomass and other renewable energy production facilities.

Canada's wind industry aims high

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's wind energy sector has the lofty goal of supplying 20 percent of the country's electricity by 2025, but that target is out of reach without better financial and policy support, say industry executives.

There is more than mounting concern for the environment at stake, say wind companies attending the Canadian Wind Energy Association conference in Toronto this week.

Canada must bolster its wind business now because the cost of power from aging coal- and natural gas-fired generators is likely to climb with a move to carbon taxes, while the economic of wind energy are seen improving.

German Nuclear Plants’ Future at Stake in Merkel Election Fight

(Bloomberg) -- Angela Seidler, a 41-year-old tour guide at E.ON AG’s Grafenrheinfeld nuclear-power plant in southern Germany, may have to find a new career before she retires.

“There are about six years of work” until the plant reaches a government-mandated production limit, Seidler said. After that, she said, “it’s over for Grafenrheinfeld” -- unless voters grant a reprieve in Sept. 27 elections.

Italy Nuclear Power Plan May Cost EU40 Billion, Sole Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s plan to increase nuclear power may cost 40 billion euros ($59 billion,) Enel SpA Chief Executive Officer Fulvio Conti told daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

Italy will probably need about eight reactors that will cost as much as 5 billion euros each, Conti said, according to the newspaper.

New Russian nuclear plant worries residents

SOVETSK (AFP) – Russia's plans to build a nuclear power plant in its Baltic territory of Kaliningrad, hemmed in between Poland and Lithuania, has local residents and environmentalists worried.

Silicon Valley reinvents the lowly brick

NEWARK, California (Reuters) - Forget microchips.

Silicon Valley sees a profitable future in the humble brick thanks to a low-energy production process that illustrates the greening of the U.S. technology capital.

Senator would drop land-use from U.S. biofuels rule

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senator from the U.S. Corn Belt filed an amendment on Tuesday that would bar federal regulators from considering how land is used overseas when they write rules to expand use of biofuels.

The home of America's worst commute

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Of all the commuters in America, residents of a small town in eastern Pennsylvania spend the most time behind the wheel, according to the Census Bureau.

Commuters living in the area of East Stroudsburg, a town near the New Jersey border, averaged 40.6 minutes from home to work or vice versa, according to the 2008 Census report released Monday.

Ford Motor Unveils First Small Car In India

NEW DELHI -(Dow Jones)- Ford Motor Co. Wednesday unveiled the Figo - its first small car to be produced in India - as the U.S. automaker seeks to gain a foothold in the emerging South Asian car market and make the country a global production hub for small cars.

The four-door hatchback will be produced at Ford India's factory in the port city of Chennai, the company said.

Ford said the Figo - which is colloquial Italian for "cool" - will be sold in India and exported to international markets.

D.C. train crash probe prompts nationwide rail alert

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal safety investigators said Tuesday they fear flaws found in Washington's Metro subway system after a deadly crash this summer may endanger other transit systems, and they sent out an urgent recommendation asking that other rail operators check for similar problems.

ARC's 'green' transport plan ignores reality

Regional transport strategists aim to reduce private car use by developing a "more sustainable urban form". Their first stated goal is to "support and contribute to a compact and contained urban form consisting of centres, corridors and rural settlements". Their other goals and priorities flow from that fundamental mistake.

Auckland is not and never will be a "compact and contained urban form". Its environment and terrain invite sprawl. The regional plan has been trying for 10 years to contain coastal ribbon development and force population growth into higher-density concentrations near railway stations.

Aucklanders have resisted for good reason. They have come to the region for its coastlines and climate. Planners of land use and transport need to work with the demonstrable demand, not against it.

Energy Security and Climate Change

The shorter the timeframe for reducing fossil fuel dependence of the economy and society, the higher the costs and greater the complexity. Large spending on energy transition, added to current and massive deficit spending to bail out the bank, finance and insurance sector (and other industries), appears convergent, and coherent to political deciders.

High oil prices are held to be bad for inflation and economic growth; the fossil fuels are not only declining and higher cost, but also high carbon; renewable and alternate energy sources and systems are local, more secure, and in some cases may be less expensive than fossil energy; the green economy may be able to generate more jobs than are destroyed by winding down the fossil-based economy, and so on.

Peak oil in transition

I wondered, then, whether the environmental debate could truly be taking this direction, and, if it were not, whether this might be an opportune time to turn it this way. It was nearly five years ago that I discovered the peak oil debate, and at the time, it was all doom and gloom. In fact, Matt Savinar's primer, The Oil Age Is Over (sadly now out of print), ends with a discussion about the depression one typically suffers after the penny drops about peak oil. Arguably, though, the debate is still one of doom and gloom today, and the purists among us are only too ready to howl down anything touted as a solution.

We can do better.

Local Dirt aims to help focus on local food

SAN DIEGO--Earlier this summer, I wrote about the blossoming transition movement, in which local communities around the country and the world are beginning to prepare themselves for a post-peak oil world.

One of the best ways for communities to do this is to focus on local food supplies. With oil prices at peak prices, it won't be economical to truck in food from around the country, and those that do continue such a dependence are likely to experience major financial problems.

But those towns and cities that do put an emphasis on building more sustainable local food infrastructures are the ones that are going to be in the best position to take care of themselves with as little outside assistance as possible.

Building resilient cities

Halt the sprawl once and for all and we'll be able to protect and restore the ragged biodiversity and watersheds surrounding our cities. The reckless paving-over of essential peri-urban agricultural land can also come to an end as we recall farmers and market gardeners to their central place in community life.

Electrifying public transport by installing light rail along strategic corridors will lighten our vulnerability to rising oil prices and help prevent the horror of future oil wars. Demoting private cars from their pre-eminent position in the planning hierarchy will improve public health and reduce obesity, because every public transport trip starts with a walk or a cycle.

Brazil plants trees as Rio mounts 'green' Olympics bid

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Brazilians have planted more than 3,000 trees in Rio de Janeiro to offset carbon dioxide emissions as the city goes green in its bid to host the 2016 summer Olympics.

Poland, Estonia Win Challenge to CO2-Emission Limits

(Bloomberg) -- Poland and Estonia won court challenges to European Union limits on carbon-dioxide emissions for energy and manufacturing companies, pulling down the price of EU pollution allowances as much as 5 percent.

The European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg said today that the European Commission has “very restricted” authority to review national plans for allocating CO2 permits in the EU emissions-trading system, the world’s biggest greenhouse- gas market. The commission set stricter CO2-allowance limits on Poland and Estonia than the two countries sought.

Deal on climate change is elusive

Two years ago, more than 180 nations made a bold promise: By the end of 2009, they would draft a sweeping treaty to slow climate change.

Yvo de Boer, the United Nations' top climate-change official, called the agreement "a real breakthrough," and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressed confidence it would produce "a deal … in 2009 to address the defining challenge of our time."

Now the deadline is nearing, and hope is fading. The treaty is supposed to be finalized at talks that start Dec. 7 in Copenhagen, but diplomats have made almost no progress toward an agreement — a point made repeatedly by world leaders Tuesday at the U.N. climate summit in New York.

Climate change - where the centre leads

Analysis by Lord Stern and many others has shown that the economic case for taking measures now to mitigate and adapt to climate change is overwhelming.

The meetings this month in New York and Pittsburgh should focus on this.

The importance of these meetings can hardly be overstated. Success at December's UN climate meeting in Copenhagen, where leaders will gather with the hope of reaching a new global agreement, will be determined in no small part on the progress made now.

China keeps 'room to manoeuvre' on climate change

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese President Hu Jintao offered few details in his UN speech on climate change, but the lack of specifics could just mean he wants to keep some room for manoeuvre, observers said Wednesday.

A Wind Shift in Global Warming Debate?

Negotiations over a new global climate change treaty to replace the expiring and flawed Kyoto Protocol - meant to culminate at the U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen at the end of the year - have all but ground to a halt in recent months. Despite the election of U.S. President Barack Obama, who pledged to reverse eight years of climate inaction by former President George W. Bush's Administration, developed and developing nations remain gridlocked over who should be cutting carbon emissions - and who should be paying for it. Yvo de Boer, the head of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC), told reporters on Sept. 21 that the wording for a new agreement now being negotiated is "an absolute mess" so full of contradictions U.N. staff said it couldn't even be translated. "Climate change policy tends to be a roller-coaster ride, but it seems to be getting rougher and rougher," he said.

Collapse or survive: the stark choice facing our species

Every continent has the same option. The entire energy needs of the US could be met by covering 200 square kilometres of its empty deserts with solar plants: it would cost about 10 years' worth of oil purchases, with none of the wars, tyrannies, or blowback Islamism. China and India have similar options. It is achievable, with the kind of great effort we made to defeat the Nazis. We too could be a great generation – one that came close to the brink, but then came together in a great collective effort to change course. We would leave a lean, green civilisation that will run for millennia.

But instead, our leaders are fiddling with the old dirty technologies, too addicted and too addled to move us on and up. In Britain, we are actually turning back to coal, mining 15 per cent more this year than last. Professor Jim Hansen, the head of Nasa and the world's leading climatologist, calls coal power stations "death factories" that condemn millions to drown, or starve, or burn. Across Europe, solar power is being allowed to wither: Germany's biggest solar company, Q-Cells, has seen its stock fall from €100 to €10 in a year. The other market-leader, Spain, has seen a similarly disastrous fallback.

Warming ocean melts Greenland glaciers

Curry and her colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts zigzagged between majestic icebergs in the Sermilik fjord last month in search of proof that waters from warmer latitudes, or subtropical waters, are flushing through this remote and frigid region.

They found it — all the way up to the base of the outlet glaciers that spill into the ocean like tongues of ice from Greenland's massive ice sheet.

Utility Quits Alliance Over Climate Change

Amid a growing split in the business community over climate policy, Pacific Gas and Electric, a major California utility, is withdrawing from the United States Chamber of Commerce, citing “fundamental differences” with the chamber’s approach to global warming.

“We find it dismaying that the chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored,” Peter A. Darbee, the chairman of PG&E, wrote in a letter to the chamber.

WalkScore = 100 !

After diligent searching in New Orleans for ONE address that got a perfect 100 on Walkscore


I found ONE !

800 Bourbon Street

Not only is this on Bourbon Street (& St. Ann), but the oldest gay bar in the USA, Oz, is at 800 Bourbon :-)

Given the average blood alcohol levels on Bourbon Street, it is best if EVERYTHING is within walking distance.

Best Hopes for Walkable communities,


Walkscore lists only seven bars within 0.09 miles of 800 Bourbon, but they missed several (including OZ !!)

shouldn't that be called staggerscore ?

How far above or below sea level is Bourbon street? Might be a swimscore in 25 years

I get 41% for my address only, but it can't be correct. This is what the site indicates for various services:
Supermarket 1.17 km. Actual 600 meters
Restaurants 0.63 km. Actual 150 meters
Coffee Shop 0.68 km. Seems correct, but is the kind of coffeeshop were Holland is so famous for.
Bars 0.11 km. Actual it's on a corner of my street, so should be 0.0. Refers not to a bar but some snack joint
Movie theater 20.23 km. Actual 600 meters
Schools 0.09 km. Refers to my sons best friend home address. Actual 400 meters
Parks 2.14. Actual about 500 meters maybe
Libraries 65.23 km. My town has 3 branches in different locations of the same public library, the nearest being around 600 meters
Bookstores 52.85 km. Actual 1 km
Hardware store 67.06 km. Actual 2 km.

No mention of distance to a railway station, dentist, doctor, or townhall.


The USA walkscore is faulty (based on Google database), but the Dutch one seems worse.

They missed a small independent movie house about 800 m from me, and misclassified a restaurant as a bar.

But a coffeehouse is a coffee haus ! One goes there to get their drug of choice (caffeine in my case) >:-)


You can get coffee there as well ;-)

It's not even consistent. When I call up my mother's house, it (correctly) shows a grocery store 200 yards away. When I do my house about half a mile away, it says my closest store is in another town 5 miles away.

Mine was pretty accurate, a typically-suburban 20.

The funny thing is, my location is very convenient to almost everything, but it's just a bit too spread out. The town is a square-mile grid, with houses in the middle, and an elementary school in the middle of that, and various shops at the corners and here and there along the edges.

Living in the middle part, I can't get to anything in 500 yards, but I can get to almost everything in 2 miles. The mall/shopping area is 7 miles away, but I hardly go there anyway unless it's back-to-school time or Christmas, or the wife takes a fancy to something new for the house.

I think besides walkscore it would be good to have bikescore, scooterscore, and EVscore -- even with prohibitively expensive energy it wouldn't cost much to toodle around a few miles.

but it's just a bit too spread out

In transit theory, it is assumed that everyone will walk a 1/4 mile to a transit stop, no one will walk more than a 1/2 mile and decreasing % of people will walk as the distance increases from 1/4 to 1/2 mile. Theory is not a perfect representation of reality.

I have heard (unsure of source) that bicycling increases the range x5 compared to walking *IF* easy parking is available at both ends.

Since bikability also employs hard to measure (by Google) metrics such as parking, level of harassment of bicyclists, obstacles to crossing (4 & 6 lane streets without lights) and more, I do not expect a bikescore soon.

PS: I personally see Walkscore as a generic indicator, to be modified by personal knowledge.

Best Hopes for Walking and Biking,


I finally checked my walkscore. 86.. not too shabby.

Of course, I was a NYC pedestrian for 19 years, so the distances I am happy to stroll probably make my home pretty much a perfect 100 for my expectations.

My daughter is now in 1st grade, 2 blocks away, and walking her up there and back is both time she and I get to really be together (without me tuning out on the radio news, like I would when driving her to preschool), and time to get to know the other parents who are bringing their kids over. We all hang out in the playground until the bell rings.. I'm hooking up with some Handiwork, planning for a Neighborhood Halloween Party, yada yada!

AND, She gets to have the school lunches this week, which are all coming from local farms. She's jazzed, we're psyched!

*(Portland's top 10% got a 98)

Have you tried driving significant distances with the radio off completely?

I was carpooling with someone that was violently opposed to having the radio on, and since then I've discovered that it is actually easier and more relaxing in many cases to drive with it off.

This school year I'm finding it gives me a chance to talk with my kids in the afternoon on the way home without handy distractions to pull us each in 3 different directions.

On a tangent:

Listening whilst driving is one thing, but I'm in the strange position of living in a city (Manchester, UK) with a large tram network where the tracks are currently being repaired. On the one hand it's probably forced some people into driving, but it's good for me because there are a lot of streets that are cordoned off (so no cars) but without any actual work being done on that section (it rotates which bits aren't being worked on as work crews move around). Thus they're significantly quieter compared to roads with cars moving down them and I've been listening to audiobooks on my MP3 player as I walk to and from work. (I find the car noise of a busy road requires me to either turn up the volume much higher than I'm prepared to or else miss bits of the reading every couple of seconds.)

I've got a bit of a news addiction, I suppose. But my wife is one of those who hates the incessant Background noise, and the stress-inducing world scene.. so we do get some chill time.

But I'm also over-tweaked by bad drivers, and the radio gets me out of that mentality.

I'm much better when me and the girl are holding hands moseying along.. sometimes she reminds me to skip or scamper too, if I'm too tired to walk. It works!

I just got a perfect score also, 0!

As the web site says, I can walk to the car and that's about it. Fortunately, the places I want to go are much more reasonable; Lake Michigan - 400 feet, Garden 200 feet, wood pile 15 feet.

Interestingly the store at 3.5 miles is actually a gas station with pop and beer, a real food store is more like 20 miles and it would be cheaper to go 45 miles to shop.

The real killer is commuting 45 miles to work. I have worked out food, heat, and water but have no idea how to beat the commute.


I plugged in my London Suburb address - scored 79 - which is pretty good, given some of the search faults (like missing the railway <400m, bus stop <250m, Nearest pub<250m!). Work address scored a solid '80'. However, it is all a bit academic - since as a London dweller I regularly leave the car on the drive unused from Friday night 'till Monday morning!

58 here, but it's probably really lower. Some places listed simply are no longer in business. Wonder why that is...


62. Yep, it needs some updating. I ride my bike more than I walk, too.

It told me my address didn't exist... go figure! That I should check my address. This program is seriously flawed. The sort of program that will no doubt be touted as a great tool for people to make good new choices.

Well, I get a very high score, 91, based in considerable part on: several fairly nearby convenience stores selling not much I want to buy and at gouger's prices; a fairly nearby grocer's association headquarters selling nothing at all; an actual grocery where I wouldn't touch most of the produce with a ten-foot pole; and a few gift shops I might visit once in ten years if ever. There were a few legit items, but on the whole, this has to be the king, or at least the crown prince, of ill-conceived Google Maps apps.

What a crock.

i'm 98.

My walkscore was 92. Not too shabby.

I found a couple of things nearby I didn't know about!

Has anyone read The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein?
I ran across a few of his essays and I think he might be an important thinker. Anyway he has my attention.

I read most of it, you can read it online here:

It's similar in some ways to Richard Goldsmith's 'The Way'
I agree with what Eisenstein says but he's a bit wordy in getting there.

I agree with you about being wordy. At first I was impressed with his eloquence and almost poetic prose but after not too long I just wanted to read and absorb. The most "light bulb" concept I took away was that the root cause of most everything that befalls us today is that we have monetized everything in our reality and hence see everything in relation to how much it costs in dollar(or pick your currency) and no other cost.
From there it is easy to see how the expression "money is the root of all evil" came about.
I have always had people correct me and say no that it is the love of money that causes the problems but no I think it is deeper than that.
I think that the medium is like a barrier between not just the objects being exchanged but also the feelings that accompany the reason for the exchange.
Now I am starting to sound as cryptic as Eisenstein!!

Anyway a lot of deep thought in his work.

haven't seen this one posted:

“Nexen Boasts Continued Success at Horn River Shale”


nexen must have drunk the haynesville kool-aid, an earlier story stated they had the potential to drill 500 to 700 wells, and based on their 88,000 acres. this works out to 176 or 126 acres per well with contingent resources of 4.3 to 12 bcf/well.

Maybe so elwood. Not enough details but if their new wells are doing 5 mmcf/day with 10 or so fracs per well it's about on par with the Haynesville. What remains to be seen is if they suffer the same sharp decline rates. My bet would be yes. But they might be able to take advatage of lower costs toda. The bigger question: what is the NG market like in that area?

I never thought I'd see the day:

Bank of America cuts customer overdraft fees

Effective October 19, Bank of America will not charge overdraft fees for an account overdrawn by less than $10 for a single day, or more than four overdraft items in a single day.

The bank will also make it easier for customers to opt out of allow overdrafts on accounts.

Meanwhile, colleges are losing big bucks just when their students need more aid than ever:

University Funds Report Steep Investment Losses

Steep investment losses have caused painful cutbacks at some of the nation’s best-known universities over the most recent fiscal year and have prompted questions about whether their endowments are taking too much risk.

But as the schools, one by one, disclose their numbers, the managers of these endowments are indicating their continued support for a diversified portfolio chock full of alternative investments like hedge funds, private equity and real estate — the very things that have caused so much trouble.

You can't blame these managers-they might not be working for these endowment funds forever-they need to look out for their future. Basically they build a network based on favors bestowed with other peoples' money-why not.

banks all over town are offering free checking, but not BofA. i asked the manager about that and she stated she was sorry to hear i felt that way.

How does a hedgefund make money? I've heard many explanations, but can someone explain it to me in words a 1st grader can understand?

For themselves or their investors?

For the investors, it could be any number of ways, depends on the strategy: Long/Short is just stock picking, Convertible Arbitrage is heavily math based, but basically most strategies revolve around borrowing money cheaply.

For themselves, it is convincing people to invest, then charging them "2 and 20". 2% of the invested assets per year, plus 20% of the (positive) return, if any.

The hedge fund collects all the little piggy banks and empites them into a big giant pot. It stirs the money quickly and makes lots of risky investments that offset each other.

The fund managers takes a cut of the money earned, re-fills the piggy banks with more money that they stared with and usually gives the ownwer a cut of the profit and returns the rest to the big giant pot or returns all the money to the owner minus a rather large share of the profit.


As expected, the name itself is designed to mislead-rather than "hedge" (use strategies to reduce risk), these investment funds usually take foolhardy risks. They do this because this is how they get the big money if the risks pay off-if they don't, the fund is folded and another one is started tomorrow. Why would anyone give them their money? Usually they don't-most of the funds are either borrowed from their cronies working at major financial institutions (transferring the risk to the shareholders of these large banks) or the funds come from pensions, endowments, etc.-funds that theoretically should be managed prudently but what the hell everybody else is scamming so why not.

So does this mean the investment managers will refund the hefty fees and bonuses they earned during the years when those risky investments were paying deceptively, unsustainably high returns?

Don't hold your breath.

Nice to see some good news in this morning's Drumbeat! My favorites:

Utility Quits Alliance Over Climate Change
Great sign of a change in the acceptance of climate change and a desire to at least not hinder action to correct it. Evidently other corporations have been quitting industry associations over their climate change obstructions, such as...

“We strongly disagree with the chamber’s position on climate change legislation and particularly reject its recent theatrics” in calling for a review of the E.P.A.’s findings, Don Brown, a spokesman for PNM Resources, a New Mexico-based utility holding company, said in an e-mail message. Mr. Brown noted that PNM’s chief executive recently stepped down from the chamber’s board.

and Silicon Valley reinvents the lowly brick
These bricks use fly ash, which is a waste product from coal burning power plants. Check out this clip from the article:

The process of making the bricks, which look and feel like any other brick, requires 80 to 90 percent less energy and emits 85 percent less greenhouse gas than ordinary bricks, according to Calstar.

Baby steps perhaps, but they are steps....

Yes, but the real reason utilities are pulling out is that they have gotten their calculators out and figured out how much money they are going to make. The very generous allocations in the house bill make carbon legislation a huge cash cow for the utilities. Also as the price of electricity goes up the non carbon sources nukes and hydro get higher prices. European utilities made enormous amounts of money for this second reason alone.

I'd say a simple "follow the money" approach works on this one.

Electric utilities get paid to deliver electricity, not to burn coal, natgas, oil, or anything else. Fuel is an ongoing expense, and an increasingly unpredictable one. Regulated utilities hate unpredictability, especially on the expense side.

So give electric utilities any direct incentive to move to non-fuel-based generating capacity with predictable expenses going forward and I expect that they will be inclined to move faster than the pure cost comparison at any given point would seem to indicate.

PG&E in particular got bitten hard by the Enron debacle, so I'm not surprised to see them as an early mover on this.

I'm not saying it's impossible that money is driving Peter Darbee's decision but based on my knowledge of the situation (a colleague of mine has been educating Mr. Darbee on climate change for four years and believes his commitment is authentic), there is a very good chance he can be taken at his word.

This is indeed quite possible, and I wouldn't doubt his word on it.

I'm just saying that the business model of a typical regulated utility can be compatible with that particular moral stance.

Following the lead of the cinder block?


Re: Okhta Center

Can't AP and the rest of the western media write objective, non-hysterical pieces about Russia? The amount of FUD in this piece is incredible. If this skyscraper is "hulking" then so are all the rest of them. Also, it appears that AP doesn't bother to look at a map: the location is not in the historic downtown but in a commie-block neighbourhood. This UNESCO committee is full of sh*t, how can some distant tower on the skyline ruin the historic quarter? Some absurd czarist rule from centuries ago is not a valid reason to fossilize St. Petersburg.

Gazprom spending money in Russia is much more preferable to it squirreling it away on some offshore banks as was the practice in the 1990s.

The problem with OB (Klare article) is that he has diarrhea of the mouth. He freaking says everything... no phrase left unturned. I just watched the UN speech and what a disaster. He thinks we still live in a world where the U.S. and U.N can solve all the problems of the world. Thirty plus minutes of pure B.S. we are in deep dodo with the OB BAU, his arm must get tired of patting himself on the back all day. What a blowhard and what a bad joke.

While you meant to say doo doo, as the official bird of extinction dodo is quite appropriate here. As for Change You Can Nod Off Waiting For, agreed on OB - but he's just dancing with who brung him. What were you expecting - change?

The funniest thing about the whole change thing is that this guy appears to be the insider's insider. He makes George Bush look like an outsider.

Surprised at Michael Lynch's piece up there.


"With or without technical assistance, the Burgan, is far, far down the depletion trail and barring new as yet unknown technology will reach abandonment stage within 10-20 years. The same fate awaits large numbers of supergiant fields including Ghawar... The increasing decline rates for these fields is a major contributor to the worldwide black oil decline rate, now estimated at 6.7%/year and increasing. These depressing statistics mean that other sources of transportation fuel are urgently required."

Isn't this what peak oil is all about? He seems to be singing a totally different tune to the NY Times Op-ed where he trashed peak oil.


s -- Interesting history on Burgen Fld especially the details of the damage during the Iraq invasion and subsequent repair efforts. The fact that they did do horizontal redevelopment isn't good news. Those wells would have helped increase flow rates and decrease the net water production from the field. The downside is that such horizontal wells tend to produce water free until the water level gets very close. At that point the water cut can increase very quickly. Much more quickly than you would see in a vertical well. Thus it can very very difficult to predict how much longer these horizontal wells will continue to produce the higher volumes. If a majority of the current production is from horizontal completions we could see a very sudden and rapid decrease in production rates. far higher than we normally would expect from such older big fields.

More than the technical details, which frankly are beyond me, what got my attention was that he seems to sing a different tune when talking to the general public and when writing in technical fora. Are TPTB engaging these sort of guys for a concerted attack against PO?


I found that last statement by Lynch unexpected -- even shocking.

I recommend it for a TOD quote!

Here's another unexpected Lynch quote:

Even with Khurais and Manifa as future sources, the medium to long term outlook for Saudi Aramco looks bleak. Once Manifa field is returned to production, that is pretty much the end of the line.

Different people looking at the same facts and coming to different conclusions. That's the way of the world.


If a majority of the current production is from horizontal completions we could see a very sudden and rapid decrease in production rates. far higher than we normally would expect from such older big fields.

Exactly! This is what I have been saying about Ghawar. This report tells how Saudi got their water cut down and decreased the decline rate of their major fields from an average of 8% to 2%. They installed Superstraws! Superstraws are horizontal MRC wells that take oil from only the very top of the reservoir. This cuts down on the water cut and keeps production up until.... until the water hits these MRC wells, then production drops dramatically. Look for decline rates in all the world's largest fields to drop off a cliff in the next few years. Looks like Burgen has already hit that cliff.

Saudi Arabia’s Strategic Energy Initiative: Safeguarding Against Supply Disruptions

The water cut in Ghawar, the world's largest field, which has a sustained production capacity of 5 mb/d has declined from a peak of 35% to just 32% because of advances in technology and continual improvements in field management. If past years are any indication, this trend will continue.

Without “maintain potential” drilling to make up for production, Saudi oil fields would have a natural decline rate of a hypothetical 8%. As Saudi Aramco has an extensive drilling program with a budget running in the billions of dollars, this decline is mitigated to a number close to 2%.

Ron P.

The Yibal Field analogue--the very good 2004 NYT article by Jeff Gerth & Stephen Labaton:

Oman's Oil Yield Long in Decline, Shell Data Show
Published: Thursday, April 8, 2004

The Royal Dutch/Shell Group's oil production in Oman has been declining for years, belying the company's optimistic reports and raising doubts about a vital question in the Middle East: whether new technology can extend the life of huge but mature oil fields. Internal company documents and technical papers show that the Yibal field, Oman's largest, began to decline rapidly in 1997. Yet Sir Philip Watts, Shell's former chairman, said in an upbeat public report in 2000 that "major advances in drilling" were enabling the company "to extract more from such mature fields." The internal Shell documents suggest that the figure for proven oil reserves in Oman was mistakenly increased in 2000, resulting in a 40 percent overstatement. . .

"In Oman, Shell seems to have fumbled on technology," said Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari, a senior official with the National Iranian Oil Company. Perhaps more ominously for the world's oil outlook, he added that the failure of Shell's horizontal drilling technology in Oman suggested that even advanced extraction techniques "won't bring back the good old days."

Exactly back at you Ron. If we just knew how much of Ghawar's production was coming from the farthest updip horizontal wells we could speculate on just how dramatic a decline we could see one day from this field. Dropping decline rate from 8% to 2% is certainly possible with horizontal replacement wells. They just neglect to mention the potential of that 2% decline rate to turn into 10-15% in the span of a couple of years. A different type of reservoir drive but a similar outcome as we've just seen with Cantarell Fld in Mexico: everything is fine until the sh*t hits those horizontal perfs.

My local oil field of Huntington Beach was mentioned as well. Oil was discovered in HB in 1920. Production peaked in 1923 with 156 wells producing a total of 123,000 bbls/day (at that time California was producing 1/4 of the world's oil). By 1957 there were 550 wells producing half as much oil.

He's a rational guy. Which is to say that I'm sure he's found a way for the left side of his mouth to rationalize what comes out of the right side.

Am sure he will find a way to reconcile what he said in the NY Times and this latest piece. I guess it will be that unknown technology has always come to the bidding of the market and so it will happen again.

Yup - if the market wants instantaneous communication between a person on Earth and one orbiting Mars it will happen. Markets will find a way to beat the special theory.


Isn't this what peak oil is all about? He seems to be singing a totally different tune to the NY Times Op-ed where he trashed peak oil.

That is not the same Michael Lynch. This Micahel Lynch is Michael E. Lynch.

Michael Lynch is an independent consultant specializing in providing consulting services in the oil and gas industry. Mr. Lynch provides consultancy on reservoir engineering, reserves estimation, production forecasting, and redevelopment planning for depleted oil fields. He has been a practicing petroleum engineer for more than 50 years.
Consultant, Michael E. Lynch

The other Michael Lynch is Michael C. Lynch.

Mr. Lynch has over twenty years of experience analyzing international energy, particularly oil and gas markets. He has numerous publications in four languages and speaks regularly at international conferences. He is the primary author of Global Petroleum SEER and Global Petroleum Outlook, which provide short- and long-term oil market analyses.
Michael Lynch President and Director of Global Petroleum Service

As you can see from their pictures, they do not remotely resemble each other, either physically or in philosophy.

Ron P.

Thank you. Amazing that two men with the same name are in the same industry and have such diametrically opposite views.


Michael C. Lynch =>> Michael Contrary Lynch ... or the other guy if you like.

How about: Michael Cornucopian Lynch ..?

And Michael E. Lynch -> Michael-the-Engineer Lynch.

Obviousely something went wrong during the cloning process

Michael E. Lynch penned the piece about Burgan, Michael C. Lynch wrote the shoddy NY Times piece debunking peak oil. Looking at his credentials, I'll take Michael E's word over Micheal C's any day.

Aussie duststorm in Sydney is unbelievable. Should hold GW conference there, NOW.

Man- (!) -Majorian, were you able to watch when the storm rolled in? I watched a simular dust-storm roll in over New Delhi some years ago - spectacular.

More pix here
I'd reckon Sydney is quite fare away from the red dessert , no? Is the color as red as the pictures imply?

In the land of "droughts and flooding rains" the floods often wash silt into the middle of the country, not to the sea. Then in the next drought it blows away. Lots of iron: hence red. Falls in the ocean causing lots of growth. Shells sink to bottom when growth finishes. Yes, it's negative feedback. The fact is we couldn't have had 7000 years of stable climate if there weren't negative feedbacks always pushing us back onto the baseline. The other fact is that 7000 years of warm stable climate is very unusual so you don't want to stray too far from that baseline...

Yes,it is red dust as I can vouch for as I vaccuum and wipe it off everything this morning.

Inland Australia has predominantly red soils due to an iron oxide coating of the soil or sand particles.This dust storm was not an infrequent occurence but this one was worse than normal.

Drought is not necessarily a factor.Much of Australia is arid and fragile.A lot of the native vegetation and soil structure has been destroyed by 150 years of overgrazing by hard footed animals like sheep,cattle and,latterly,goats.In some areas there are feral populations of horses,donkeys,camels,goats and the ubiquitous rabbit.

In recent years there has been overclearing of native vegetation and cultivation for dryland cropping in areas which are too dry and fragile.The contrast between land in it's natural state and land which has felt the heavy hand of Homo Pastoralis/Agriculturalis is startling(and heart breaking).

When we get strong winds from the Western quadrant millions of tons of topsoil get dumped onto the eastern fringe of the continent and into the Pacific,sometimes as far as New Zealand.

It really was red and very beautiful, it looked and felt like life on mars. However, in Sydney it was not really that bad. I have certainly been in worse.

Flying over Australia if you look down and see green abits around what looks like water it is usually the salt plains. The barrens bits are where the farmers are. no one makes a desert like people.

For most of us, life in the Era of Xtreme Energy will not be easy. Energy prices will rise, environmental perils will multiply, ever more carbon dioxide will pour into the atmosphere, and the risk of conflict will grow.

Sounds like post peak oil to me.

From Obama Wants Worldwide End of Fossil Fuel Subsidies, up top:

"We found that there is significantly higher subsidies of fossil fuels than of renewables" even though fossil fuel firms are more established, said study author John Pendergrass. "Some of it is going to companies making record profits."

The System seems to be hell bent on accelerating the decline Post Peak Oil by making it cheaper to use and by increasing production because of subsidies. All the while ethanol subsidies are criticized and the fuel is attacked by EPA regulators with requirements that oil does not have to meet:

From Senator Would Drop Land-Use From U.S. Biofuels Rule, up top:

"The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a regulation earlier this year that requires advanced bio-fuels to have greenhouse gas emissions that are 40 percent lower than petroleum from creation through consumption."

I am glad to see President Obama and Senator Harkin addressing these issues. Subsidizing oil so that we reach its end quicker makes no sense. And making alternative fuels like ethanol meet standards not required of oil is equally stupid.

Obama Wants Worldwide End of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Alright ! Obama's wish will be granted -the very same day as Obama increases the Petroleum-taxes domestically to a level that matters...
I thought Obama was different - but not so - neighter he (US Adm.) is able to see the plank in his own eye. I'm NOT impressed!

This might be Ethanol's chance to see just how much it benefits from those Oil Subsidies, too.

And not to mention,that an elimination of consumer subsidies in places like SA, Kuwait, Venezuela & Iran would go a long way in forestalling WT's ELM.

I can't imagine the backlash should these governments dare try. Of course it will differ from country to country.


They and their governments won't be fooled; it will more likely be a tool of propagnda for Americans.

... speaking of forestalling ELM.
Now, if the US imposed a 100% sales-tax on all petroleum products , now that would make a difference Skylar. Would it not ?
And the good part :It's all in your own US_hands (assuming you are US citizen). Skylar , do you approve of this approach ?

I am a US citizen & I do support unilateral increased gas taxes.

Obama's speech was about eliminating all subsidies, including multilateral consumer subsidies.

It was my cynical take away that this was more about waylaying ELM as much as climate protection.

Yes, I know that Obama's speech was about eliminating all subsidies (and therein is his fault) - because as he condemns other nations subsidies, he should immediately in the very same sentence, tell to the entire world that he - on behalf of the whole of USA - will rise taxes for the same back home.... at least to break even with taxations in EU, Japan, et al. He fails to do so, hence I have to puke.
A sizable petrol-tax would help Obama to get hold of real monies. Amongst other things to pay for his proposed medical-programs , but also in order to alleviate for all those 'funny-monies' he is throwing around these days ...

Skylar, you are released on parole :-)

That is my point; the cynical subtext is that subsidized consumers cannot afford to pay the market price so they should export to us who can.

And of course, we won't raise taxes to make it less affordable to Americans so consumption will continue; more for us, less for them.

I guess RR's not here today... ;-)

All the while ethanol subsidies are criticized and the fuel is attacked by EPA regulators with requirements that oil does not have to meet:

That's the way the world goes; standards rise. It's a commonplace that aspirin would never be approved if someone tried to get it past the FDA today - nor would corn syrup. Similarly, building practices that were standard in 1859 are frowned on today. Get over it.

I am no fan of subsidies. Particularly the agricultural subsidies in the EU and USA, which prevent poor-world farmers making a living, which in turn entrenches poverty, disease, corruption and religious extremism.

40 percent lower than petroleum

You're right, this is unacceptable. It should be 90%.

"It's a commonplace that aspirin would never be approved if someone tried to get it past the FDA today...."

if that is indeed true, then the reason is probably because of too little profit in aspirin. the mission of the fda is to protect the safety of big pharma profits.

More to do with the abundant side effects and death that come with certain drugs and other compounds we take for granted, penicillin for instance. The criteria for clinical safety today is far more stringent. The FDA will come down on you hard, just as the GLPMA will, if you screw with trials where LD50 is just a wee bit high. It was them who brought in GLP in the first place, after all (much as Big Pharma might've opposed it).



wouldnt they just list a whole host of possible ,generic side effets from a small, short clinical trial, pass it through as a blockbuster drug and attach a price of $20/ pill ? later, they could bribe competitors to not produce a generic version. that used to be called price fixing.

buyer beware, take the medicine at your risk.

An interesting method for thermal energy storage:
Heat Storage at Drake Landing Solar Community

The first of its kind in North America, DLSC is heated by a district system designed to store abundant solar energy underground during the summer months and distribute the energy to each home for space heating needs during winter months... in a typical year, over 90% of the energy used for space heating will come from solar energy.

I remember reading about a similar setup installed at a US university building about 30 years ago. (Unfortunately
I can't remember where!)

Nothing new under the sun.

This makes sense. Better start drilling while the horsepower is still around. We live ontop of limestone and I think this would be ideal.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending September 18, 2009

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.7 million barrels per day during the week ending September 18, 316 thousand barrels per day below the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 85.6 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.9 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.8 million barrels per day last week, up 891 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.3 million barrels per day, 157 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 185 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 335.6 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 5.4 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 3.0 million barrels, and are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 8.0 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Crude Oil Drops Below $69 After Unexpected U.S. Supply Gain

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell below $69 a barrel in New York after a U.S. Energy Department report showed an unexpected increase in stockpiles as refineries idled units for seasonal maintenance and fuel demand dropped.

Supplies rose 2.86 million barrels to 335.6 million last week, the department said. A 1.4 million-barrel drop was forecast, according to the median of 17 analyst responses in a Bloomberg News survey. Supplies of gasoline and distillate fuels, such as heating oil and diesel, rose more than estimated.

Dr. Gupta's personal experience with Swine flu (I find this quite amusing for some reason, especially his picture -- where is that hand pointing?):

I went to Afghanistan and all I got was H1N1

2008 oil reserve replacement lags production

Oil reserves fell nearly 3 percent in 2008 mostly because of a 5.2-billion decline in revisions on a steep drop in commodity prices, the study found.

Above ground factors to blame of course, though those factors didn't hurt nat gas.


Peak Diamonds?

According to Rio and BHP Billiton analysis, most existing mine resources for rough stones will be gone within 15 years.

This is because new diamond discoveries are becoming increasingly rare. According to Rio, annual discoveries of kimberlite ''pipes'' - kimberlite is a host rock for diamonds - have fallen (on a five-year moving average basis) to little more than 100. And history shows that only one in 10 kimberlite pipes contain diamonds and only one in 100 of those are economic to mine.

The lack of new discoveries since the mid-1980s means the world's mine reserves of rough diamonds have fallen from 80 years' supply to the 15 years that Rio now forecasts.

Thxs for the info. Just like anything else formerly provided free by Nature, it will take even more energy to find an acceptable substitute and/or make a substitute:

Industrial uses

The market for industrial-grade diamonds operates much differently from its gem-grade counterpart. Industrial diamonds are valued mostly for their hardness and heat conductivity, making many of the gemological characteristics of diamonds, such as clarity and color, irrelevant for most applications. This helps explain why 80% of mined diamonds (equal to about 135 million carats or 27 metric tons annually), unsuitable for use as gemstones, are destined for industrial use.

In addition to mined diamonds, synthetic diamonds found industrial applications almost immediately after their invention in the 1950s; another 570 million carats (114 tons) of synthetic diamond is produced annually for industrial use. Approximately 90% of diamond grinding grit is currently of synthetic origin.[40]
I would imagine making industrial diamonds is quite energy-intensive. Just more receding horizons, everywhere & anywhere we look, as Peak Everything starts to predominate.

I thought a way to stop burning coal for electricity was to assume in the future there would be a process for turning coal to diamonds making it far more valuable to leave in the ground until that day that dig it up and burn it!

Any carbon source will do: http://www.lifegem.com/

Kinda scary if you think about it too much...

Does anyone have the link to the website that monitors worldwide energy problems being experienced in various countries? I thought I'd bookmarked it but now can't find it, and the TOD search function isn't helpful.

Here you go LoveOregon: http://energyshortage.org/ ... yeah, UR welcome!

Thanks, paal! That was it.

The U.S. credit card charge-off rate rose to a record high in August ...

The Moody's credit card charge-off index -- which measures credit card loans that banks do not expect to be repaid -- rose to 11.49 percent in August from 10.52 percent in July.
"We continue to call for a recovery of the credit card sector to begin once industry average charge-offs peak in mid-2010 between 12 percent and 13 percent," Moody's said in a report.

well, well, the Grey Lady has a front page piece on how this has been The Best! year for oil discoveries since...well... 2000!
The Oil Industry Is On A Roll This Year With New Discoveries
Now i know a lot of TOD readership lead very busy lives and may not have time to read what they suspect will be typical nytimes dead prose and disinformation. So let me distill the article for you...

According to Cambridge Energy Research Associates, ... a vice president in Houston at Cambridge Energy Research Associates... according to IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

NY Times reporter Jad Mouawad is little more than Yergin's stenographer. Does the man have no pride?

It's not merely a failure of the New York Times, it's a failure of journalism.

Relevant news happens everywhere. There may even be some news happening outside your window right now. Journalism acts as if because it reports news, it creates the only relevant news.

Which ignores a whole bunch of relevant information. Like what's going on outside your window.

Ag groups back land use amendment:


The EPA has made a major blunder in backing California's Air Resources Board in Indirect Land Use Change for which there is little if any scientific evidence. California is becoming increasingly bizarre to the point of irrelevance. It is a failed state on the verge of bankruptcy and taking it as a model for the rest of the United States is like taking Haiti or some other failed state as a model for the world IMO.

People are fleeing and should flee California. It is in a downward spiral and doesn't seem to have the will or the know-how to correct itself. The crash is inevitable if this continues. The rest of the country should run away so it doesn't get hit by the debris.