Drumbeat: September 28, 2009

The 1.258 trillion-barrel question

The Earth contains a finite amount of oil. Burned to power our vehicles, heat our homes and light our cities, this fuel is a nonrenewable resource. So when Peter Maass, author of “Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil,” asked experts how much oil remains, it was not an innocuous question. The answer could spur or doom research into alternative energy sources, even sustain or overthrow governments.

Oil barons around the world, though, confidently reassured Maass. As of this year, they insist, the world's reserves of crude amount to 1.258 trillion barrels.

Energy Economics and Some Energy Myths for the 21st Century

Taking oil as a case in point, it might be true that the most imaginative myths in circulation today are those being generated by OPEC. Having come to appreciate the supreme importance of oil - and how it functions as a benchmark for the world's energy systems - that organization has informed the oil importing countries that if the oil price goes up and stays up, then they will invest in more production capacity, and also raise their output of oil.

That sounds good - in fact it probably sounds like something you heard in an introductory economics lecture, or read in your favourite textbook or newspaper - only it is completely untrue. It is a distinguished myth, and unfortunately a myth that is believed by many drowsy academics and their students, and probably more than a few influential but not very brainy decision makers. Instead, although there might be exceptions, the aggregate of OPEC producers is not going to invest in additional capacity, and they are definitely not going to produce or try to produce much more oil. Why should they? Would you if you were in their place?

Systemic Collapse: The Basics

Systemic collapse, societal collapse, the coming dark age, the great transformation, the coming crash, the post-industrial age, the long emergency, socioeconomic collapse, the die-off, the tribulation, the coming anarchy, perhaps even resource wars (to the extent that this is not an oxymoron, since wars themselves require resources) ― there are many names, and they do not all correspond to exactly the same thing, but there is a widespread belief that something immense and ominous is happening. Unlike those of the Aquarian Age, the heralds of this new era often have impressive academic credentials: they include scientists, engineers, and historians. The serious beginnings of the concept can be found in Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Population, Resources, Environment (1970); Donella H. Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth (1972); and William R. Catton, Jr., Overshoot (1980). What all the overlapping theories have in common can be seen in the titles of those three books.

Kunstler: The Season of the Witch

Most curious, though, was when the interviewer, Jim Puplava, probed Dent about his views on Peak Oil. Dent said he didn't believe in it; that when he was in college in the 1970s (remember the OPEC oil embargo of '73), he learned to disregard any suggestions that we are "running out of oil." He stated this, by the way, as a simple assertion, without any further explanation, and Puplava didn't belabor him with arguments. But it was a weird moment. Of course, it hardly need be said that Peak Oil story has never been about "running out of oil" per se, but rather about declining flows, geopolitical management of flows, and the effects of depletion on industrial economies -- in particular the effect on regular, expected, cyclical "growth" of the type that financial markets utterly depend on to power the trade in investment paper.

Saudi Says $75 Oil Helps All Energy Types

As I wrote a few weeks ago, Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, subscribes to the “Goldilocks” view of the current market — in which prices are neither too high for consumers, nor too low for producers, but are just right for all.

The world needs oil prices to be around $75 a barrel to ensure that all investors — whether they produce tar sands or alternative fuels — can invest profitably to boost supplies, according to Mr. Naimi, who spoke to the Nightly Business Report on PBS on Friday evening.

As Oil Enriches Australia, Spill Is Seen as a Warning

SYDNEY, Australia — Visitors hoping to peek at Australia’s exotic marine life usually head straight for the Great Barrier Reef. But conservationists say that an equally remarkable, but lesser known, marine environment is under threat from the booming oil and gas exploration taking place among the reefs and atolls off Australia’s northwest coast.

Dutch gas storage project partners seek exit - sources

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch oil and gas company Dyas and Canada's largest energy firm PetroCanada are looking to sell their stakes in one of Europe's largest gas storage projects, three people familiar with the matter said. The two companies want to exit the scheme, located in Bergemeer north of Amsterdam, because of disagreements with partner Abu Dhabi National Energy Company over how to take the project forward, one banking source said.

Gazprom unlikely to review gas deals

Russian energy giant Gazprom said today it was unlikely for it to review contracts on gas deliveries with European companies after a Russian newspaper report.

Kenya: Country Turns to Venezuela for Cheap Oil

Nairobi — Kenya and Venezuela have signed an agreement setting the stage for cooperation in oil exploitation and supply.

The agreement also calls for exchange of technical expertise on energy matters including exploitation of the renewable sources of energy.

Venezuela May Extend Cheap Oil Program to Kenya Under Accord

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela may supply Kenya with low cost oil under an agreement, as the South American country extends oil aid beyond the Americas.

Venezuela may supply “affordable oil to Kenya from partners close to East Africa” and will provide technical assistance as Kenya seeks to produce oil, according to a statement sent today by the office of Kenya Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Venezuela says no plans yet on exploring uranium

PORLAMAR, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela has yet to develop a plan to explore or exploit its uranium deposits despite comments by a government official saying it was working with Iran to locate them, Venezuela's energy minister told Reuters.

On Friday, Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said Iran and Venezuela were working together to find uranium, and preliminary tests showed the South American country holds large deposits.

China's Oil Needs Affect Its Iran Ties

BEIJING -- China's dependence on Iranian oil could deter it from backing tougher sanctions on Iran, though Beijing supports containing nuclear proliferation as part of a broader push to raise its international diplomatic stance.

China's trade with the U.S., at $150 billion in the first seven months of this year, dwarfs its $12 billion trade with Iran over the same period. But China is the world's second-biggest oil consumer after the U.S., and the Persian Gulf country is one of Beijing's biggest suppliers. Chinese imports of Iranian crude grew to 13 million metric tons in the first half, about 15% of China's total, and up 22% from a year earlier, according to government data.

China Becomes World's Biggest Energy Producer

China has become world's largest energy producer thanks to its expanding capacity to supply energy in the six decades since the foundation of the People's Republic, it said Friday. At a press conference by the State Council Information Office on Friday, Zhang Guobao, deputy chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission and director of the National Energy Administration, said China produced 110 times more energy in 2008 than in 1949, with a self-sufficiency rate of over 90 percent guaranteeing energy security.

China official warns on "too fast" nuclear plans

QINGDAO, China (Reuters) - China may have to put the brakes on the construction of nuclear power plants to ensure the plants are safe, the country's top energy planning official told reporters on Sunday.

Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, warned of signs of "improper" and "too fast" development of nuclear power in some regions.

China's Wind Farms Come With a Catch: Coal Plants

SHANGHAI—China's ambition to create "green cities" powered by huge wind farms comes with a dirty little secret: Dozens of new coal-fired power plants need to be installed as well.

Part of the reason is that wind power depends on, well, the wind. To safeguard against blackouts when conditions are too calm, officials have turned to coal-fired power as a backup.

Interview with Sadad al Husseini—“The Facts Are There”

Sadad: I’ve been tracking the number of projects, globally, for a long time both in the Middle East and elsewhere—Russia, Brazil, west coast of Africa, and others. A lot of this information is in the public domain, so there is no mystery there. The International Energy Agency recently reported on the same numbers. The bottom line is that there are not enough projects. There is not enough new capacity coming on line, within say the next five to six years, to make up for global declines. And that’s assuming a very moderate level of declines—6% to 6.5% for non-OPEC, perhaps a 3.5% to 4% decline rate for OPEC.

Even at these modest decline rates, we are basically going to see a shortage of capacity within two to three years. We’re being lulled by this current excess capacity, which has more to do with lower demand than anything to do with supply. So we do have a problem in the near term. In the longer term it’s even worse because in the longer term the lead time to discover, develop and put on line production runs into 10 years. And there isn’t enough being done in the long term as well. So it’s both a short and a long-term problem.

Heinberg: Is the Global Oil Tank Half-Full, Is It Half-Empty…or Are We Running on Fumes?

Let me summarize: the industry needs oil prices that are both stable and near economy-killing levels in order to justify investments necessary to possibly replace depleting reserves and overcome declining production in existing oilfields (I say “possibly” because we have insufficient evidence as yet to conclusively show that new discoveries enabled by expensive new exploration and production technologies can offset declines in the world's aging giant oilfields).

Should this picture lead the viewer to come away with reassured thoughts of "No worries, happy motoring?" Or does this look more like a portrait of peak oil?

Crude Oil Falls Below $66 as Dollar Strengthens, Equities Slide

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil slipped below $66 a barrel as a stronger dollar reduced the appeal of commodities and declines in equities raised concern a recovery in fuel demand may stall.

Crude slumped more than 8 percent last week, the biggest weekly drop since the week ending July 10, as U.S. stockpiles unexpectedly rose. Oil fell today as the dollar gained, limiting the commodity’s appeal to investors as an inflation hedge. Stock markets in Europe and Asia traded lower.

Price of gas down 7 cents in the last two weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. - The average price of regular gasoline in the United States has dropped nearly seven cents over a two-week period to $2.52.

That's according to the national Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday.

Heating Oil Prices Cool Down as Winter Approaches

Homeowners who heat with oil were feeling sticker shock just over a year ago as prices soared close to $5 a gallon, but they're breathing easier now.

Heating oil prices are barely half what they were in summer 2008 — and while prices might go up and even exceed last winter's, nothing indicates any severe spike this winter.

Those who heat with natural gas and propane can expect dramatic drops, while electric heat is projected to cost slightly less.

Natural Gas Feint Means Prices Poised to Plummet 19% on Storage

(Bloomberg) -- The steepest rally in natural gas prices since 2006 is coming to an end as the 400 salt caverns, depleted oil fields and aquifers used to store the fuel in the U.S. reach capacity for the first time.

Stockpiles may surpass the record of 3.545 trillion cubic feet by as much as 350 billion cubic feet this fall, Energy Department estimates show. Gulf South Pipeline Co. says its fields in Louisiana and Mississippi are so full that customers will have to pay penalties for exceeding their limits. With no place to go, producers will be forced to dump excess fuel on the market.

Europe, Gazprom in talks on reduced gas supply-paper

MOSCOW (Reuters) - European consumers of Russian gas, including Germany, Italy and Turkey, plan this year to take up to $2.8 billion less gas than stipulated in take-or-pay contracts with Gazprom, a Russian newspaper reported.

Consumers plan talks with Gazprom to avoid payment after a sharp drop in gas demand this year and are citing Russia's lenience with Ukraine as a precedent, business daily Kommersant reported on its front page on Monday.

Gasoline Faces Risk of ‘Meltdown’, PVM Says: Technical Analysis

(Bloomberg) -- Gasoline prices face a potential “meltdown” should futures close below a pivotal correction point at $1.5823 a gallon in New York, according to technical analysis by PVM Oil Associates Ltd.

Gasoline “has very much led the way lower with early negative signals,” PVM said in a report today. On Sept. 25, the fuel “entered a danger zone” after dropping below $1.6053, a significant threshold during its advance this year, according to the broker. The next level of support is $1.5823.

Aramco looks to develop Brazil's offshore oil

A senior official from Brazil has said that state-owned hydrocarbons giant Saudi Aramco is among the companies interested in helping the South American country to develop its pre-salt oil reserves.

India May Attract $5 Billion in Oil, Gas Exploration Round

(Bloomberg) -- India may attract as much as $5 billion in work commitments in the country’s largest auction of oil and gas areas as explorers such as BP Plc, BG Group Plc and Santos Ltd. seek new deposits, a government official said.

Kuwait’s crude oil exports to China plummets 35.8pc in August

Crude oil exports from Kuwait to China fell by 35.8 percent in August to 122,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared to the same period in 2008, reported the nation’s government news agency KUNA on Monday, citing official data released by the Chinese government.

Russia to raise oil export duty to $240.7 per ton from October 1

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russia will raise oil export duty on its benchmark Urals blend from $238.6 per metric ton to $240.7 per metric ton from October 1, following trends on global oil markets, the government said on Monday.

Aramco offers 6th fuel oil lot in firm market

Saudi Aramco has offered a sixth-straight cargo of fuel oil within the past three weeks, in the face of the tight Middle East and East Asian markets and following outages at its refineries, traders said on Monday.

NY Moves Closer to Natural Gas Drilling Upstate

NEW YORK, NY September 28, 2009 —New York State will move a step closer this week to opening up the Catskills and the Southern Tier to natural gas drilling, as a key environmental assessment is made public.

Nigeria: MAN Challenges FG On Refineries

Lagos — As clock ticks towards the December 2009 deadline promise to provide the nation 6,000mw electricity power supply, the Federal Government has been urged to make the country's refineries work to reduce heavy dependence on importation of petroleum products, in particular, Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) and Automated Gas Oil (AGO).

Winter gas shortage looms large for Iran

Iran will be short of around 200 million cubic metres per day of gas this winter due to rapid growth in demand, a daily newspaper reported Iran's oil minister as saying.

Iran has bought its first diesel cargoes for six months in September to supplement gas it is burning in power plants.

The country sits on the world's second-largest gas reserves but has failed to develop them fast enough to meet domestic demand.

Iran fires off long-range missiles in latest test

(CNN) -- Iran test fired two types of long-range missiles on Monday, including the two-stage Sajil, state-run Press TV reported.

U.S. Is Seeking a Range of Sanctions Against Iran

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is scrambling to assemble a package of harsher economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program that could include a cutoff of investments to the country’s oil-and-gas industry and restrictions on many more Iranian banks than those currently blacklisted, senior administration officials said Sunday.

Fisking Scientific American on Peak Oil

I have now read the Scientific American article. It is perhaps one of the more, if not the most insidious of the recent media pieces on peak oil, in that it leverages the truth about technological advances in oil exploration and extraction to create a falsehood: that these technological advances increase aggregate flows in world supply. It was bad enough that the NYT piece invoked Kashagan as an example--a howler of an example really--because of course Kashagan was discovered in 2000 and not a drop of oil will flow until 2014 (at huge expense and after many western oil cos have abandoned the project after huge losses). That the NYT would invoke Kashagan as an example of recent discoveries is almost absurdist.

Do you want to know why Iran has a nuclear program?

It's called peak oil, and it has global consequences.

Buy local, think global -- with oil subsidies?

Back to the subsidy issue: With or without that subsidy, Americans would have demanded more oil than we could have produced. Without the subsidy, more of the production meeting that demand would likely have been outside the U.S. in regions where environmental standards are much lower. So — is the subsidy a net benefit for the environment?

The Age of Wisdom?

The need to address climate change is going to transform entire industries, our infrastructure, and our lifestyles. But will this transformation be driven by wise policy, oil depletion, or a real climate crisis? Will it be a benign process that creates new jobs and technologies and leaves our societal structures intact, or will it cause violent economic and social disruption that threatens the fabric of democratic societies?

San Francisco holds hearings on Peak Oil and the consequnces affecting Qulity of Life

I attended some of the first meetings linked to Peak Oil in San Francisco and the consequences facing humanity all over the world. While, San Francisco has been on the fore front of such issues - other Nations like England, Germany, Denmark too have vetted such pertinent issues and come out with many practical solutions. Abuse of the world's natural resources stems from GREED and lack of Spirituality. The First Nations and the First People had it right for thousands of years. Contemporary society has just woken up and is trying to figure out how to resolve waste and especially the consumption of vast resources of petroleum - gradually running out.

Sustainable farm practices needed

AMES, Iowa — Less than 1 percent of Americans are full-time farmers and the average age of those individuals is around 57, said Richard Heinberg, a leading expert in sustainability education.

“We don’t even know who’s going to be growing our food in 20 years,” Heinberg said.

Sustainable Farming - Finding a New Way to Farm

How food arrives at the supermarket or the local restaurant is largely a mystery to most consumers. It is taken for granted that upon arrival at the supermarket, everything on your list will be on a shelf somewhere in the 20 or so aisled store. But the constant supply of beef, chicken, pork, and farm raised fish to market has a direct effect on our planet and our health. The amount of resources necessary for just one hamburger (6 gallons of water) is simply staggering. Here is a little information to help you ponder your diet, your health, and the health of the planet.

The Spirit Thrives at Perma Detroit

Caring for mother earth goes beyond recycling garbage and replacing carpet with bamboo flooring. On the east-side of Detroit and in midtown Detroit, there are magickal gardens growing and uplifting the spirits of the people who tend to them and benefit from their harvest. Fueled by the will of the spirit, sweat and bold determination, Perma Detroit has magickally transformed urban decay into natural beauty. And that's the gospel truth. I spoke with Perma Detroit about the power behind this wondrous transformation.

Saving the World, Without U.S. Consumers

Victorian consumers invested in their possessions, and treated them as heirlooms to be handed down through the generations. Think of your great-grandmother’s china cabinet full of cut glass. She loved it, treasured it, and hoped that you and your children would, too.

The Victorian “treasure chest” idea gradually began to disappear in the late 20th century with the birth of a “throwaway” culture. As retailers competed primarily on price, newer generations of consumers began to see their purchases as being temporary. A new family in 1870, 1925, and 1955 scrimped to furnish their home or apartment, investing in things they would keep for a lifetime. In contrast, today’s newlyweds shop at IKEA for starter furniture, expecting to upgrade again and again through life, exacting a price on the environment.

Farmers Become Guardians of Ethanol Plant

A group of farmer-owned ethanol plants in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska have teamed up become the guardians of a former VeraSun facility in Janesville, Minn.

Pakistan plans biodiesel project to reduce imports

ISLAMABAD: To overcome the shortage of petroleum products and reduce its import bill, the government of Pakistan plans to present a pilot project “Jatropha Plantation and Production of Biodiesel” with an estimated cost of $1.6m, official sources said here yesterday.

Palm Oil Drops the Most Since June, Tracking Crude Oil Losses

(Bloomberg) -- Palm oil tumbled the most in more than three months after a leading industry buyer said prices must slump 13 percent from current levels to stoke demand for food and fuel applications and as crude oil fell.

China’s Threat Revives Race for Rare Minerals

HONG KONG — A Chinese threat to halt exports of rare minerals — vital for high-performance electric motors in wind turbines, hybrid cars and missiles — appears to have backfired.

With control of more than 99 percent of the world’s production of these minerals, China could try to use a ban to force other countries to buy the crucial motors for these high-tech end products, instead of just the minerals, directly from China.

But other governments and businesses reacted quickly as word of the proposed ban spread late this summer.

The Chinese threat has touched off a frenzied international effort to develop alternative mines, much as the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo’s repeated increases in oil prices prompted a global hunt for oil reserves.

Garbage economics

You might not think of the dump as a leading economic indicator, but garbage men are some of the first to know when there's a downturn.

Because when people buy less stuff, they throw out less packaging.

...So far, the reduced volume hasn't forced Xcel to idle any plants, Kuhn said. Instead, they are running below capacity. Because the French Island plant also burns waste wood chips, it can switch fuels if it runs out of trash.

Enter the Recession’s Waiting Room

Few of the employees of Katana Summit, a wind-tower manufacturer, saw it coming. On that day in early August, and in another round of cuts a few weeks later, about half of the plant’s 195-person payroll was eliminated, a shock that came with one notable consolation: the executives said they hoped to hire everyone back soon.

They seemed to mean it, too. As Kevin Strudthoff, the chief executive, explained that day, this was a “temporary layoff,” but there was a limit to what Katana could promise. The company, privately held, said it landed a multimillion-dollar deal last year to provide 225 wind towers to a turbine maker that it declined to identify. But when the credit crisis hit, wind-farm developers found it all but impossible to raise money, killing demand for wind towers.

E.ON, RWE Rise as Merkel Win May Extend Nuclear Life

(Bloomberg) -- E.ON AG and RWE AG, Germany’s biggest utilities, jumped the most in a month in Frankfurt trading on speculation Chancellor Angela Merkel’s favored coalition government will scrap a nuclear phase-out law.

U.A.E. May Pick Nuclear Plant Contractor by Year End

(Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates may award the contracts by year end to build nuclear power plants in the country, according to an official at Areva SA.

The selection of contractors for the $40 billion project to build two reactors by 2017, scheduled this month, has been delayed, Bertrand Castanet, Areva’s corporate vice president for business development, said today at a workshop in Doha. A decision may be made in this year’s “final quarter.”

Solar Power, Without All Those Panels

THE main way for homes to harness solar power today is through bulky panels added to the rooftop or mounted on the ground.

But companies are now offering alternatives to these fixed installations, in the less conspicuous form of shingles, tiles and other building materials that have photovoltaic cells sealed within them.

Greens criticise home insulation scheme

A high-profile Scottish Government home insulation scheme was "set up to fail", the Green party said today.

The accusation was made after ministers revealed it will take 66 years to bring Scottish homes up to standard - compared with 10 under rival Green proposals.

Google Earth climate change 3D map unveiled

Google is using its Google Earth mapping tool to simulate on a 3D map of the world the predicted effects of climate change until the year 2100.

Using data provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the search giant created new layers for Google Earth showing the range of expected temperature and precipitation changes under different global emissions scenarios that could occur throughout the century.

Climate change: A history of fear

Scientists and journalists have been warning us of impending climate disasters for more than 100 years. Many of today’s global warming believers probably don’t even realize their claims are not original.In the 1930s the media was in a global warming fervor over shrinking Arctic ice.

This global warming movement came on the heels of the great global cooling scare of the 1900s. During that movement, the Las Angeles Times warned the entire human race that it “will have to fight for its existence against cold.”

Nepal feels heat of climate change

KATHMANDU (Xinhua) -- The golden apples it once produced were famed in Nepal and across the border area in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China for their luscious taste.

But now, the northern district of Mustang, some 195 km west of Nepali capital Kathmandu, lying in the lap of the Himalayan ranges, is feeling the heat of global warming and the ensuing climate change.

James Hansen, In His Own Words

Dr. James Hansen--scientist, father, grandfather, and activist--is often called the "grandfather of climate change science," although he eschews the moniker. In the 1970s and 80s, his advanced climate modeling and impassioned pleas for action brought the issue of global warming to the forefront, but since then too little has been done to slow our emissions. Hansen recently sat down with the Earth Island Institute for a taped interview to discuss his legacy and the prospects for a climate bill this year.

Ships, Planes Should Cut Emissions Up to 20%, EU’s Dimas Says

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union may propose that the shipping and airline industries reduce emissions by as much as 20 percent over the next decade as part of any new United Nations accord to fight global warming.

Ships would have to cut pollution blamed for climate change by a fifth in 2020 compared with 2005 and airlines would need to trim discharges by 10 percent over the period under a proposal for the UN being prepared by EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

E.U. Alone and Lonely on Carbon

BRUSSELS — Carbon trading put the European Union in the environmental vanguard.

Since 2005, the trade bloc has operated the world’s only continentwide system that puts a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and that requires major polluters to hold tradable allowances.

But the system has also been the most “costly climate policy program in the world,” according to Jürgen R. Thumann, the president of BusinessEurope, a powerful confederation of industry and employer groups.

Climate Envoys Meet Anew as Time ‘Has Almost Run Out’

Bloomberg) -- Climate envoys met today in Bangkok with a new sense of urgency, saying negotiators are racing against a December deadline to devise a global deal.

“Time is not just pressing, it has almost run out,” said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. “But in two weeks, real progress can be made toward the goals that world leaders have set for the negotiations, to break deadlocks, and to cooperate toward concrete progress.”

Met Office: catastrophic climate change could happen with 50 years

An average global temperature rise of 7.2F (4C), considered a dangerous tipping point, could happen by 2060, causing droughts around the world, sea level rises and the collapse of important ecosystems, it warns.

The Arctic could see an increase in temperatures of 28.8F (16C), while parts of sub Saharan Africa and North America would be devastated by an increase in temperature of up to 18F (10C).

Is 350 the New 450 When It Comes to Capping Carbon Emissions?

When it comes to fighting climate change, pick a number -- any number.

Nearly 200 countries have signed a U.N. treaty pledging to avoid "dangerous" climate change. But lately, it seems, "dangerous" is lost in translation. Fifteen years since that agreement took effect, scientists and governments are still grappling with what carrying out its promise means.

World consumption plunges planet into 'ecological debt', says leading thinktank

Rich consumers are still voraciously gobbling up the world's resources, despite the worst recession in a generation, with their appetite pushing the planet into "ecological debt" from today , according to a report by think-tank the new economics foundation.

What’s Wrong With the National Parks?

Natural resources are meant to be used; in fact, every generation has left future generations with more resources than existed when that generation arrived on the planet. Today we have more coal, minerals, and oil and gas, for example, than were predicted would exist a few short years ago. Months ago, many predicted peak oil and a future of declining supplies.

But today we celebrate the discovery of a vast deposit of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and a huge natural gas find in Pennsylvania and New York. Given what we have accomplished in the natural resources field in past decades, who knows what the future holds. In the meantime, we must use what has been provided for us.

As the business columnist Warren Brookes once remarked, “The learning curve is green.” Thus, it is not government but the free market that yields better and wiser use of the resources available to us.

High tech may pinpoint Antarctica sea rise risks

Studies indicate that in the Eemian about 125,000 years ago, for instance, temperatures were slightly higher than now, hippopotamuses bathed in the Rhine -- and seas were 4 metres higher.

"We need to know where the extra four metres came from," said David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), adding that one possibility was that West Antarctica's ice had collapsed.

After reading the comments at seekingalpha and the nytimes, maybe we should appreciate people in denial. And we should do it now, because they won't be around much longer.

I guess what I'm saying is to love your fellow man, especially if the poor thing will be dead soon.

Found this while searching news.google on "peak oil" this morning. It is dated yesterday but if a prior copy has been posted on TOD then you have my apologies.

Oil Industry Sets a Brisk Pace of New Discoveries ?

Most of the commentary ignores the fact that these discoveries are much smaller than the really large fields discovered in the mid-20th century, and that the new offshore fields are very deep in comparison to earlier offshore oil discoveries, so exploiting them will be both time-consuming and costly - so they could be considered a vindication of peak oil theories rather than a refutation of them.

And this from a link on that page, dated 3 September:
The Big Question: Does BP's discovery of a giant new field prove we're not running out of oil?

Named the Tiber, the new field lies in US territorial waters and is one of the biggest finds this decade. It is thought to hold at least 3 billion barrels of oil (and possibly more), only 500 million of which are recoverable with present technology. The field was found by the deepest oil well ever drilled, reaching 9.4km (almost six miles) below the sea bed, and sits below 1,200m of water some 250 miles south-east of Houston, Texas.

One of the biggest finds in th decade, 500 million barrels of recoverable oil, that will supply the world with one weeks worth of oil. The peak oil deniers are pointing to this giant discovery as proof that Peak Oil is decades away, if ever.

Ron P.

This chart needs to be tattooed on every denier's forehead:

You can't produce what you can't find.

It's probably even worse: you can't always produce what you can find.

It's probably even worse: you can't always produce what you can find.

Nonsense! Advances in technology have been proven to extract 110% of an oil field at ever decreasing costs.

I have a problem with this chart because it doesn't include the 100s of billions of barrels of oil which might exist somewhere out there. Just because it hasn't been found doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. How do I know that there is not a pink gorilla standing behind me? I can't possibly know for certain that there is not until I turn around to check, at which point I can't be certain that he hasn't tip-toed around me to where I was looking originally. Equally, it is highly possible that there are still billions and billions of easy cheap oil out there but that at the time that the seismology was done the kit broke down and therefore several super-giants were missed. Mankind can always find more oil - we just have to believe that the gorilla IS behind us and turn around really, really quickly so that he doesn't get the chance to move. I believe it is therefore irresponsible for oil companies and governments not to include all the unknown, unfound and unrealistic oil in their inventories. All it does is scare people and that is not the job of government. Government should protect us from our worries and nightmares. That is why we vote for them.

Isn't this a long way to say, "Ignorance IS bliss?" :)

I believe it is therefore irresponsible for oil companies and governments not to include all the unknown, unfound and unrealistic oil in their inventories.

If that be the case then OPEC nations are being very responsible. They do include unknown, unfound and unrealistic oil in what they call proven reserves.

Ron P.

They do include unknown, unfound and unrealistic oil in what they call proven reserves.

Now I know where Donald Rumsfeld got his ideas, something about known known reserves, known unknown reserves and unknown unknown reserves. Add em all up and we have 4 trillion barrels in yet to be pumped conventional oil.

Yippee! we`re saved.

I have a problem with this chart because it doesn't include the 100s of billions of barrels of oil which might exist somewhere out there.

Well, in the oil industry they tend to discount the hydrocarbons that are believed to exist on Titan, the sixth moon of Saturn, because nobody has invented a Warp drive to get it back to Earth. When somebody invents a Warp drive, they'll book it as proven reserves. Until that time, don't invest in oil futures on Titan.

How do I know that there is not a pink gorilla standing behind me?

Turn around and look. If you see a pink gorilla standing there, call your local mental hospital and ask that they send an ambulance and team of men in white coats with butterfly nets ASAP because you haven't been taking your medication like they told you to.

Equally, it is highly possible that there are still billions and billions of easy cheap oil out there but that at the time that the seismology was done the kit broke down and therefore several super-giants were missed.

Equally, it is possible that there is a Woolly Mammoth living in Central Park in New York that everyone has overlooked until now, but I doubt it. The oil companies don't overlook easy prospects any more. Since seismic was perfected, the supergiants jump out at geologists like a neon Tyrannosaurus Rex hiding in a chicken coop. What they are looking for now is really subtle and really expensive to develop.

Since seismic was perfected, the supergiants jump out at geologists like a neon Tyrannosaurus Rex hiding in a chicken coop. What they are looking for now is really subtle and really expensive to develop.

Do you have personal experience of seismic work? Any links you can point me at?


(PS: I think he might be being a tad sarcastic ;-)

...you reckon! ;)

Apologies - I assumed the server would not let me submit an edit once someone had extended the thread. Maybe I should re-edit the comment back for clarity? It's not polite to change the flow once people have commented.
Mind you as you quoted it anyway I guess it is all pretty obvious now :-)

Hi HA,

In case it's helpful, an FYI: the convention is "sarcanol off." at the end of a sarcastic rant. (Or, even to announce "Sarcanol on" at the beginning.) This keeps newbies and others un-confused.

I have experience in seismic that dates back to the time when we used to hold our ears to the ground and pound on it with stone axes while listening for the echoes.

I actually started off as a computer operator in a seismic data center, then worked my way up through programmer, systems analyst, business analyst, and oil company consultant. Along the way I acquired a couple of B.Sc. degrees and more certificates in oil stuff than you would believe. However, I'm retired now, so I only do work for free. I already have all the money I need, and if I made more they'd just tax it away.

For a good basic summary of seismic techniques, you could look in "Nontechnical guide to petroleum geology, exploration, drilling, and production" by Norman J. Hyne. Alternatively, you could type something like "new seismic techniques in petroleum exploration" into Google and it would come up with a better set of references than I could think of off the top of my head.

Thanks for the reference.

I am aware of the JFGI acronym but google gives you popular links and popular does not mean accurate - often the opposite (lobbyists have money for SEO first).

I much prefer word-of-mouth references from people with experience.

(Perhaps TOD could have a recommended reading list for those that prefer books to blogs?)

Google will pull up all the relevant sources for you, but you have to filter the information for yourself. This is the way I usually do it, dig through the reference materials and follow up the footnotes to get an idea of how deeply they researched their material. This involves a lot of researching of the literature.

A useful trick is to look at the "Scholarly articles" recommendations, to find the really dry sources you might have trouble reading without a degree in the subject matter. This information will tend to be very accurate.

Another trick is to prefix it with "Amazon.com", and then look at the reviews of the books. However, as you said, "popular does not mean accurate".

The really good information will be hidden behind pay walls, and the really, really good information will not be available to you at all unless you work for an oil company. Much of the important information is proprietary and kept in secret because, of course, it can make awful lot of money for the people who know it.

I have a problem with this chart because it doesn't include the 100s of billions of barrels of oil which might exist somewhere out there. Just because it hasn't been found doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

You are modeling exactly what is wrong with BAU-ish analysts who claim there is plenty of oil. First, the chart was not about what oil exists, so your "problem" raised doesn't address the issue presented by the graph, that is, the rate of discovery. How that compares to depletion is what we need to pay attention to. Remember, it doesn't matter if there are ten trillion barrels if either a. the flow rate cannot rise, and, in fact, falls, or if b. the net energy of the resource extracted flattens or declines, which would have the same effect as physical peak. As long as we are discovering less than we use we are guaranteed to ultimately deplete the resource in any case.

This discussion calls to mind the discussion regarding how to present discovery to the masses. I suggested the idea of 10 basketballs, 100 baseballs and 1000 marbles in a haystack. (A bit counter-intuitive, so a pile of sand might be more appropriate in terms of distribution.) As you go through the pile you will certainly find some baseballs and marbles before you find all the basketballs, but you will just as certainly find all the basketballs before your find all the basketballs and marbles. Further, you will find all the baseballs before you find all the marbles, though, again, you will find more marbles before finding all the baseballs. Finally, you are left with only marbles.

Ask yourself, when was the last time they found a basketball, a true super giant? A few decades? Sure, they find a few baseballs every year, but the total of the baseballs and marbles is not equaling the heady days when there were still basketballs to be found. Those basketballs were very important to oil production.

Yes, there are some big tar pits out there - tubs of goo, I suppose? - but the net energy, the speed of recovery, the ROI and EROI and the environmental costs are all poor when compared to what we got out of, and for, the basketballs.

In my opinion, anyone who understands the chart depicting production imposed over discoveries can't help but understand trouble is on the way.


oh for heaven's sake!

Let me just say, "Oops!"



Any chart showing discoveries, must also show production.
This is one of my favorites:
I assume the 5 tall bars 1996-2006 correspond to enhanced recovery techniques developed in that year?

Also potential ANWR and offshore should be shown for reference as to show how much of the gap they might fill.

Hello Turnbull Fl,

Thxs for posting this chart from Freddy. IMO, it is basically a time-shifted semantic argument, created by Freddy over reserve growth, put into graphical form. Not important, because it is flowrates that are critical==>Please read the DB toplink of the ASPO interview with Sadad al Husseini—“The Facts Are There”. This is quite a coup for ASPO--Huge Kudos!

I would hope that Freddy refocuses on the black and blue segments + feeble new discoveries. What is the ratio now, I forget, but isn't it we are burning 4-5 bbls for every 1 bbl we discover? Even if subsequent reserve growth on these new, SMALL fields doubles--it won't do diddly for flowrates like what we have today.

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

OMG! It's Fraudy Hooter...was he banned from here, or did he just stop coming?

Whats funny is I have the same concerns but a completely different result.
I don't agree with backdating of reserve growth as these expanded reserves are coming from older fully developed fields i.e its pumpable immediately with little or no lag between when reserve growth is recorded and when it developed.

Thats very different from a new field which is different from a new region. The lag times between discovery and production increase substantially and these are different yet again from offshore.

So the overall time lags for new discoveries esp offshore is radically different from what you get with back dated reserve growth.

Next I HIGHLY question the validity of the reserve growth itself growing the reserves of and existing field as new recovery technology is developed is a very questionable business esp if the field is not near the end of its production life and already entered obvious decline.

Its like having one of those tall glasses of beer vs and ordinary mug and claiming you have more beer. Depends on the real volume is it just a taller thinner glass or a larger one. Only once the field starts its decline phase do you even begin to know if these reserve estimates where correct before then its pratically any number you want consistent with the production level which is drumroll ....
Extraction technology dependent.

Whak the reserve growth off and you get the number I call easy producible oil which I tend to put at 1200-1500 billion its a precentage of the overall estimated original reserves say 60% since even these will not produce the last of their oil at high flow rates and real new discoveries. It happens to be close to the same number as non backdated discoveries. At some point as we start producing the last of this easy oil i.e producing close to the 1200-1500 limit oil production rates will in my opinion fall rapidly regardless of reserve claims as its all hard to get oil left. Does not matter what the reserves claims are.

We are effectively in the danger zone now its a fairly large zone and the total danger region extends from 900GB or out to 1500GB so its a bit a of broadside of a barn estimate. However if its correct other factors such as oil prices can be used to detect the onset of collapse in production if the theory is correct a rough guess at the amount of "easy" oil is all that required to determine where the danger zone basically is exact numbers are not required esp if production increased pretty much steadily into the danger zone and advances in discovery and extraction occured and oil obviously became harder to find and produce.

Thus my theory has only a fairly weak dependency on the original discovery numbers and discounts the effects of reserve expansion in existing reserves as probably contributing very little to maintaining high production rates. It helps provide a floor production level but it should be obvious that this floor is at least 15-20% if not 50% lower than current production levels given that and the ramifications of a rapid drop in production on our economy you need not consider this "fat tail" effect in the real world.

Problem is that backdating reserve growth is necessary for the study and modelling of reserve growth (the USGS does it) because this is a time-dependant diffusion process. You cannot simply take the total backdated reserve growth and arbitrarily attribute it to a few years post-1995, there is no physical basis for this.

It is also diffusion in more ways than one. There is the physical diffusion of oil following Darcy's Law, and there is the artificial diffusion of human technology that slowly brings on new estimates of the amount of reserves over time.

Our struggle is how to distinguish the two types of diffusion, or as I would more generally call it, dispersion. They both have the hyperbolic power-law fall-off characteristic of fat-tail or fractal phenomena. In some sense, it doesn't really matter which of the two it is; since they follow the same trends, it makes it quite easy to model as a aggregated maturation term in the oil extraction process.

So I agree with Sam that we can't be arbitrary about where to place this in terms of the timeline. I say fully back-date it and apply a maturation response function to generate a production curve. That has at least a physical basis.

From "What’s Wrong With the National Parks?" above:

Natural resources are meant to be used; in fact, every generation has left future generations with more resources than existed when that generation arrived on the planet.

The irony is so thick you could choke on it.

Maybe there is a line missing?

"Until this one."

Nope. It is outright wrong.

Depletion in non-renewable resources is inevitable, and it is the common state in renewable resources.

So every generation has left the future with fewer resources, even if more were temporarily accessible.

Fair point.

I was thinking along the lines of the 'past performance does not necessarily predict future performance', but I agree that it does miss the 'sustainable' point altogether.

Clearly by using resources at the fastest rate possible we leave ever more to those who come next.

What kind of idiocy is this anyway? "Natural resources are meant to be used" Oh really? They were put there just for us 'cause we're special.

None of it was "put there" because there are no supreme beings to have done the putting, and our discovery and use of it was just good luck. Or so it seemed for a while, but now it turns out it was the worst luck imaginable. And if we ever left anything for future generations it was only because we were unable to use it ourselves, not because we're noble.

You could argue that the only increased 'resource' that we are leaving is population. Because we are special ;-)

You could argue that the only increased 'resource' that we are leaving is population. Because we are special ;-)

And that's good! Perfect material for soylent green. :P

Oh Charlton would be pleased!

Or in other words,

'Let them eat their cake and have it, too.. the only problem will be where does one put all the excess?'

Re: Solar Power, Without All Those Panels

But companies are now offering alternatives to these fixed installations, in the less conspicuous form of shingles, tiles and other building materials that have photovoltaic cells sealed within them.

Considering the recent Peak Oil stories in the NYT and SciAm I imagine it would be too much to expect some journalistic integrity from the NYT on any other subject either.

The efficiency of amorphous silicon solar panels (flexible) is currently about 5 to 10% compared to monocrystaline at about 14 to 22%.

“Aesthetics is key,” he observed. “They have to look good.”

That would be nice but they have to be able to fit on the available roof as well.

BTW, RE: The solar insert in the roof will generate about 2,400 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to cover a quarter to a third of a typical electric bill, Mr. Albert of SRS said.

Yeah right! Show me the numbers please, I've learned not to trust much of what comes out of the Times.

Here's an example of live numbers compare the roof area of the installed panels to the picture in the Times article. http://www.bocasolarhome.com/

That said, 2,400 KWh would be 105% of my (family of four)s annual consumption.

Negawatts - the cheapest electricity you can buy.

Where do you live, Ralph?

How do you manage this level of consumption?

How many sq feet?

Not trying to pry into your personal details -- I'm interested to see how close I might eventually get.

I live in the southern UK. Not too hot, not too cold. 1930's semi, 2 stories, about 8M on a side, with a small extension.

We have natural gas for heating and some cooking. No air con. We use CFL throughout, we have energy efficient fridge, freezer, washing machine. Our computers are laptops. I measure all electically powered stuff and always buy the most efficient. We turn off stuff when we are not using it. We air dry our clothes most of the time.

Our big consumers are refrigeration and a kettle for making cups of tea.

I have some PV panels, but I have not set these up yet. They might save me another 10% on my bills.

We have solar hot water, which gives us as much water as we need, 6months of the year. The house is as well insulated as you can reasonably get for its age and construction. We have a small wood burner to topup heating.

In some ways it can be a long-term process, but significant gains can be made fairly quickly.

I just made a table of the energy we use at home - 2700 sq ft home, climate too hot/too cold (Boulder, CO), no South facing windows, many North facing with overhang. We don't use A/C. Over the last few years, I have eliminated the whole house humidifier (tremendous savings), the fan on the furnace (quite significant too), and lowered the winter temperature by a total of about 4 degrees (60-62 at present). The energy usage has decreased from roughly 15,000 KWH/yr to now 6500 KWH/yr. Yet there is nothing unlivable about our house.

The next step would be to work on refrigeration (we have two refrigerators and a chest freezer, and the ones in the garage (poorly insulated) must be what bumps up summer use - they get plugged in about August or September when the local produce gathering gets ahead of my ability to preserve it in a low energy way).

I just checked my meter 1364kw since April, we had a new meter installed in April, I am at 54 degrees latitude in western Canada. I turn off most stuff with power bars, we have a passive solar house with in floor radiant heating as a back up with a wood stove as a back up for it. I want to include a wind generator because we get on-shore and off-shore breezes all the time from the lake. All it takes is money. being retired and living on $12000 per year makes things a bit tight. But I am sheltered, fed, and warm.

I just put a 6 KW array on my suburban Pennsylvania roof and it should cover about 80% of our electricity usage (last year was 11 KWh which I'm hoping to drop). These are 30 GE 200 W panels and they cover nearly the entire roof. We would never get such generation from less efficient panels. Our house would need to be covered with them to come close to our power usage.

My heartfelt thanks to PA and the feds for their rebate program. My system should pay for itself in about 7 years at current electricity rates (which will go up 50% next year).

um... something doesn't add up, or you use a lot of electricity.

30 panels * 200 watts = 6.000 watts installed. why do you need so much power installed? 1.5-2k with battery backup would be more than enough, i might say.

but then again, i only guessing

6,000 watts is what, maybe 30KWH per day, or 900KWH per month? That's not much if you have an oven, a dryer, a microwave, fridge/freezer, stove, a few TVs, a couple of hair-dryers, and a few computers -- let alone AC. No family around here could use less without letting go of some "luxurious necessities" of teen life. Even in you can line-dry clothes (can't here), and convert to a gas stove, oven, and dryer, it'd seem pretty hard.

That's why I'm asking though -- I'm looking to see what energy-conscious people consider "normal". If people can run any sort of family on 2kw (maybe 10kwh per day?) I'm frankly amazed.

Very interesting comments. The numbers you cite for your consumption are just a tad higher than my typical customer looking to install panels. That said I know of a few families that have found ways to significantly reduce their consumption after installing their panels I'm not sure they are down to 2KW but certainly in the 3KW range without major lifestyle changes or subjecting themselves to terrible discomfort.

We are in South Florida so cooling by air conditioners is a major issue.
Having said that I'm aware that people have been able to achieve such numbers by investing in things like double paned windows with glazing and special blinds, insulating attics, painting roofs white and installing solar powered vents, setting thermostats at 80 degrees and dehumidifying only spaces they actually occupy. Massively converting to LED lighting etc...

One of the most interesting things that I've heard is that once they can actually read their consumption numbers off their meters they start trying to find more ways to consume less because they are more aware.

Personally I think 2KW is doable, though probably not at first stab.

Well were probably closer to a "normal" family. Four at home ATTM, one is off in college, but when he shows up on weekends he brings tons of laundry. I think the dryer is the second biggest consumer next to the AC. I have a clothes line, but aside from me putting up bicyling jerseys, and beach towels, I haven't had much luck getting people to use it.
Our last year was 8200 KWhr. I added roughly another R10 plus a radiative barrier in the attic this summer, so that number should be coming down (the project was only partially done for this summers AC season). And the kids got themselves into a very busy school schedule this year, so the average number of computers and TV sets on, should now be dropping. I have a 2.45KW system on order, the contractor estimated it at 55% of current use. I suspect I will get a shading benefit from the panels, which hopefully will take another chunk out of the AC budget. Our climate is very sunny, especially during the summer, when 95F is the normal high temp, so any reduction in solar heating of the roof ought to help out there.

My guesses on the biggest opportunities we are missing:
(1) Drying clothes outside. At least the big items like sheets and towels. It is probably too much to ask for socks & underwear, but I bet at least 1000KWhr per year could be saved here.
During the spring/fall when heating/cooling is not an issue, we were averaging about 17KWhr per day. I don't know what is normal in the neighborhood, but it must be twice our usage. Kids are really into computing, and I often have to leave my computer on&connected when I'm home [including at night](to monitor projects at work), so computer usage in our house is largely non-negotiable, we probably average about three on.

I much prefer to dry cloths using either the sun or in the dead of winter a cloths horse inside the house, we get the benefit of the extra humidity which is a plus in our climate, which tends to be very dry in the winter. My wife does like the convenience of a drier- it is a constant battle.

Make sure you don`t move to Japan if you like using a machine to dry your clothes.

Here (and it`s a very soggy humid climate) everyone hangs up all the clothes to dry---including socks since dryers are very rare. Inside works ok otherwise wait for a sunny day.

Most families live in less than 1200 sq ft of space (our family of four does too). The secret is futons----you take your bed away in the morning and then you have the empty space for other things.

Rarely does a family have more than one computer which everyone shares. (Us too---it`s enough)

One TV (That is one TV too many I think!)

No cars for us, only bikes.

and I use a broom, I leave the vacuum cleaner in the closet.

No oven---a toaster oven only.

Of course no AC! Leave windows open.

Electricity bill is usually about 5000 yen ($50) per month, when it`s not winter (in winter (Jan, Feb, March) we have to heat with electric heaters at night and it`s about $170 per month.)

My ambitious dream is to do without a refrigerator one day! I think they`re terribly wasteful and encourage more wastefulness....

High electricity consumption is built it to the lifestyle of the US. Forced air heating is uniquely American and uses a lot of electricity, as does central A/C. Clothes dryers are another good example, almost universal in the US (to the point that you don't think air drying is even possible), unusual everywhere else.

Our system went live on September 1st. The best day so far has been 38 KWH and we have generated around 600 KWH for the month. The worst day (rain, clouds all day) was only 5 KWH.

For our 11k KWH per year, I work at home with two computers running, electric stove, toaster, coffee maker, TIVO, LCD TV, 2 kids, xbox, AC, radon exhaust fan for basement running 24/7, all CFL lights, 2500 square foot home, etc. Natural gas furnace and dryer. Also side by side fridge, chest freezer outside, router on, VPN box on always, etc.

Our peak consumption day this summer was 57 KWH from the AC running (set at 78 degrees).

This is a 2003 house, well insulated, double pain windows, etc.

According to our power company website, our prior $110/month average bill is below the $145/average for our neighbors.

I'm hoping to get it down to 9 KWH or so for the next 12 months.

sharppa, What is the total wattage(nameplate capacity) of your panels?

I have been running tests with my 80 watt panel over the last 2 months. best day was .53KWH and worst day was .17KWH. Over the test period I was getting about 16% of nameplate.

What I consider 'normal' is nowhere near what this house (and my GF's house) uses, in part because I can't get anyone to turn the bloody lights off when they leave a room, and both houses have four (yes, four) upright fridges or freezers running. The owners of both houses constantly complain about the electricity bill, but won't do anything to lower the bill, including a) switch off at least two fridges, b) replace remaining units with 'chest' types, c) install Solar Hot Water (with Govt Rebate), d) install Solar PV (with Govt 'rebate' and Net Feed-In Tarrif), e) open and close windows and the curtains (curtains are already there, ready for use) to regulate temperature, f) insulate (Govt Rebate), etc etc etc. It was an uphill battle just to get the CFLs in!

I'm in the process of having a house built (near transportation, shops, etc). I reckon they'll all want to move in with me, after they see what can be done with almost no personal outlay (plus, I'm going to turn the entire backyard into a edible garden, plus keep some chooks).

We just put 5.2 kW of panels on our south-facing roof (30x175W Suntech). After inverter losses, it delivers about 4kW AC, and maybe 7200 kWh per year. Our usage is around 8000 kWh per year, so we would need to cut around 10% to net out (the system is grid-tied with a net meter). Ten percent doesn't sound like much to save, but we'll see how it goes. Our family of five does a lot of laundry...

Here's the abstract of an article about how bat fatalities from wind turbines might be mitigated:


And an earlier abstract about patterns of bat fatalities from wind turbines, both from the Journal of Wildlife management:


FYI I did a quick Google search and found that a typical number for bat deaths caused by wind turbines can number in the thousands for a typical turbine site, to keep that in perspective white nose disease is causing bat deaths in the millions in some places. We can certainly learn and do more to prevent the deaths being caused by wind turbines. While there is no proven direct causal link between white nose disease and anthropogenic induced environmental stresses one has to wonder if we are not killing more bats by our modern life styles which includes habitat destruction, herbicide and pesticide use etc... So maybe we should protect bats by ending those practices as well? Nah! pedal to the metal, rev up the ole BAU machine and point it straight towards the cliff!

Very good point. If 50% of all bat deaths are a result of turbines, it needs to be looked into. But, let's say it's less than 1 percent, then it probably is not worth as much of our attention. In other words, it is relative.

No, it isn't "relative." Bat populations are stressed by a multitude of factors. They don't need another source of mortality stressing population levels further. Bats provide pollination services and eat insects that vector disease. The health of bat populations is more important than providing electricity via wind turbines to power all the needless electrical gewgaws people think they need.

Yes, DD you are right, everything you say is true, however you seem to have a knack for missing the point. The point is more along the lines of the people who bother to complain about the mote in other folks eyes fail to see the beam in their own. Yes, yourself included.

I'm not advocating wanton disregard for factors that may add stress to already stressed populations of bats what I'm saying is, it is a bit disingenuous, to be up in arms about deaths caused by wind turbines or whatever without taking into consideration the big picture, which certainly includes the myriad needless electrical gewgaws that people imagine they must have.
However, regardless of that fact it is still perfectly valid to state that some things are indeed RELATIVE.

BTW while probably not often the case in recent history, it is perfectly plausible that the total number of bat deaths caused by a particular human contraption may be statistically insignificant when compared to some perfectly natural phenomenon which is completely beyond our control.

Which is why we do scientific studies so we can deal with reality and make choices based on that rather than unsupported conjecture and emotion, which to leads to decisions that are otherwise, how shall I put it, batsh1t insane.

It is relative, while I do understand DD's insistence that this be given attention. At least it is visible and traceable.. while the whitenose epidemic and environmental toxicity and it's contributions are conveniently vague enough that the chemical companies can continue along 'Sans Peur et sans raproche' (sp?/transl?) (without fear or reproach)

I would really like to know just how many insectide residues are being found in the Bats' Bodies.


I was very happy to see bats flying around the barn on Saturday evening. And then I found one dead on the barn floor Sunday and was very bummed. No sign of white nose - it looked like the barn cats got it.

Last night I killed a giant Asian hornet - we saw them last year too, as did my parents 20 miles away. The honeybees in the old Catalpa outside my house are still there, but eventually one of those hornets will find them.

Up in the woods this summer, near Baldface Mtn in New Hampshire, we were delighted to see the bats chasing down the ungodly volume of bloodsuckers over our campsite.. I can only hope the ones that are there are good and fat for overwintering, but my Mom's ingenious drain on the gutter of her cabin sadly claimed one bat life, discovered when she was freeing two or three others who had gotten trapped in this bottle that served to adapt gutter to rainbarrel.

I sure hope there are some that can resist this whitenose.. I get to redesign the bottle, and DD can think about the 'relative' pros and cons of the electricity he uses to post his views. I say it's worth it, even as much as he and I irk each other.. but it's not without a cost which must be weighed in.


I live in a western suburb of Denver, not in the mountains. For the last three years I have had a single brown bat spend a few hours most of the nights in the summer in the high porch over my front door. Makes me feel great that what I believe to be the same solitary bat has survived and returned each year. Hope he/she keeps it up.

Once in a while I get thrown back to my French private school upbringing!

Bob's reference was to a 15th century knight named Bayard (http://www.answers.com/topic/pierre-terrail-seigneur-de-bayard), and this brave knight's moniker was "the knight without fear or reproach" ("sans peur et sans reproche").

I don't usually associate the chemical companies with bravery. These days, though, everything looks like a dangerous chemical to me: why should I use Purell, I thought today. My kids call it "alien gut" and won't go near it. Maybe they are on to something.

Thanks for the reference.. in all candor, I got it from Heinlein, who dropped it into 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' .. I certainly meant it as a backhanded compliment to the Chem Industries, who bravely impale their people and their planet with novel and untested compounds.

'We're going in, and Damn the Torpedoes, but get me some Xanax!'

Warnings about global warming have become so mainstream and persistent. And yet we can apparently only focus on health care in the congress and the White House. Global warming is on the "back burner" so to speak until O can show a success with health care. Even Barbara Boxer has put off doing anything about it legislatively for several months. What is this madness? This is not some future, distant problem but one that is already having a severe impact on the South West United States, for example. Perhaps it is a function of hopelessness, kind of like being in the eye of the storm when you should have evacuated yesterday.

Nero fiddled; we have a whole nation of fiddlers.

Krugman's Op Ed today.

Every once in a while I feel despair over the fate of the planet. If you’ve been following climate science, you know what I mean: the sense that we’re hurtling toward catastrophe but nobody wants to hear about it or do anything to avert it.

I can't wait to hear the lies that come out once (if?) they do choose to pick up that drum again. I heard a comment as I scanned to find some radio to listen to this morning, where the Host/Bloviator was warning his audience that they could be imprisoned for merely being opposed to the healthcare bill..

and as Maine readies for a statewide referendum on repealing our recent legislative rule to legalize Gay Marriage, the other side has been trumpeting the scary lie that 'The Gay Marriage law will force all our schools to teach kids how to have Gay Marriages'

.. I need to go to the shop and build or fix something.

I need to go to the shop and build or fix something.

You know, that usually works for me too.

My t-shirt would have to say-

"Tinkerer, fix thyself!"

(BTW, I'm still lobbying for TOD's official Bumper Sticker to follow the one I saw a month ago.. "TALK NERDY TO ME")

the Host/Bloviator was warning his audience that they could be imprisoned for merely being opposed to the healthcare bill.

Why is it, I wonder, that these "champions" of "freedom" and "small government" are not up in arms about the use of a sound cannon to repress a non-violent protest outside the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh?

They're too stupid to see that their tactics will lead to the outcome they apparently hate. Or maybe they're very Machiavellian, and that's what they want?

Did you hear the voice that was issuing the warnings to the crowd? Yikes! Robocop is doing Riotcontrol Voiceover gigs now! I was waiting for it to ask the crowd to bring Sarah Connor up to the front.

He also states ...

"Responding to climate change with the vigor that the threat deserves would not, contrary to legend, be devastating for the economy as a whole. But it would shuffle the economic deck, hurting some powerful vested interests even as it created new economic opportunities. And the industries of the past have armies of lobbyists in place right now; the industries of the future don’t."

And the industries of the past have armies of lobbyists in place right now; the industries of the future don’t.

Perfect statement of the problem, and why lobbying needs to be eliminated if we wish to call our system of government democratic.

...and why lobbying needs to be eliminated...

I'm interested in how you would qualify that statement and where you would draw the lines. Are you proposing the elimination of "paid" lobbyists? What about employees who work for companies and may be protecting interests they have in their company or company related benefits. What about representatives of local government who lobby on behalf of their constituents. I'm not disagreeing that lobbying has become a problem but curious how others would view its implementation (assuming it could pass constitutional challenges--which it can't).

(assuming it could pass constitutional challenges--which it can't).

I think this is false. The Constitution protects free speech. For PEOPLE. It does not protect free speech for companies. A business interest is not the same as a human right or legal individual rights. Using the First Amendment to say corporations and organizations have the same right of speech is completely wrong, imo. Stretching that with the 14th Amendment is absurd.

Just cause a thing was done, don't mean it was a true and correct thing to do.

Lobbying should be illegal. The Congress of the United States is elected to represent people. Period. They are not elected by corporations (in theory), but by the citizens in their district. It is they and they alone they are empowered to represent. When they choose to represent corporations, they are essentially breaking faith with their constituents and acting unconstitutionally.

Does that mean people can't organize and send reps to chat up their reps? Of course not. But these should be political organizations, not business interests. No business is a constituent of any Congressperson. While corporations are filled with owners and workers that are constituents, their interests are not the interests of the totality of the constituency of the Congressperson. Their interests are selfish. A corporation's sole duty is to its shareholders, not the community. Any Congressperson acting forc any corporation and against what is best for the constituency is acting unconstitutionally. One could characterize this as treason if the word were used for any level of government - which I think it should.

If individuals involved in a corporation wish to further their own selfish interests, they have a duty to show their aims actually benefit the district at large, but only have the right to approach the Congressperson as a constituent and NOT as a representative of the corporation.

Lobbying as it currently is allowed usurps the rights of citizens of the United States in favor of corporations, which are neither persons nor citizens.

Keep touting that BAU, Debbie, for as sure as the sun will shine tomorrow, if you support political BAU, you are supporting BAU in general. Think outside the box. A new paradigm, or we all suffer the consequences. Take it to the bank.


That whooshing sound was her point flying right by you.

Professional lobbyists paid to represent corporate interests are an obvious problem, but how do you squelch the influence of Big Money without also causing issues for natural human citizens who want their representatives to hear their views on issues under consideration?

You dance around the issue yourself, then blame her for supporting BAU.

I think there may be a bit of prejudice going on there.

The whoosh appears to be on your part. I don't think I need to be any more specific than to state that even if one is part of a corporation, they still only have the right to lobby as an individual. Corporations should not be allowed to pool money and resources to make political organizations. If they need political help to succeed, then they really aren't competitive.

The only exception to this might be international trade issues in which US companies are under pressure from foreign gov't subsidies, etc. But with regard to domestic issues, they have no rights, not being persons.

How in the world can you misinterpret that as missing the point?

I think I clearly outlined how the individual can act without the corporation acting.


It's a pretty loophole, isn't it?

My company could "just happen" to have an east coast office in, say, Silver Spring. For some mysterious reason some of the managers there happen to be particularly active in DC social circles. Of course none of this interferes with their duties and the fact that some of them are former congressional staffers is simply due to the high level of managerial and technical expertise they bring to their duties.

This would be how a corporation can act while to all legally provable measures not acting.

Figure out how to close that loophole without impinging on your own rights.

Just to make it interesting, assume you are a research assistant based in DC who worked for the last 8 years in the office of a congresscritter who just retired so you're looking for a job.

As long as you are talking about Congress, the Constitution, elections, etc., you are talking about political BAU.

Antoinetta III

The US Constitution was designed to reduce the rate of concentration of power by men who had rough experience with its abuse.

It isn't a perfect design, but I've seen few better.

When/if some major collapse starts to play out "abuse of power" will be one of our lesser concerns. Anyway, I suspect it's more likely the Constitution was set up by men who wanted to be free to plunder the commons without government interference. The Neo-Con liberals of their era.

Antoinetta III

Protection of the common good in defense of their own self interest?

I'll settle for that.

Not all evil is done with malintent, and not all good is done with fair intent. Life just isn't fair that way.

Like I said, a new paradigm. If they can't toss money at the Congressperson, their voices alone won't hold as much sway. All political donations must be capped at a very small per person amount, like $10 per election. Actually, I would go with only publicly financed elections so zero contributions are needed, and all should be illegal under bribery laws.

Next, leave it to the jury. Too much is taken out of the hands of the jury by trying to have a law for every possible permutation. Keep it simple. Make it illegal to accept money for any political purpose. Keep it THAT simple then let a jury decide severity of punishment based on circumstances as they see them. Have a revue process for sentences/fines that are out of whack to deal with jury nullification or vigilante juries. But let us become responsible neighbors and better juries. Let us deal with our peers.

Neither your rights as a citizen nor your human rights are abrogated by NOT being given undue access and influence with your Rep/Sen, and certainly not by keeping your business dealings in the private realm. Any one company's bottom line is not the business of any level of government, thus, no business nor any industry has right or reason to petition the government regarding business. The government's sole role in that regard is to make sure the playing field is even, and that is all. So, as I already outlined, if a nation is found to be subsidizing a given product, then the government should work to have it ended or respond in kind, but, again, NOT because any business or industry is failing, but simply because fair play must be assured. If those companies cannot compete, they should go out of business, plain and simple.

Finally, no Congressperson should be able work in any industry affected by their legislative efforts. That eliminates pretty much everything, but with their pensions, they don't need jobs. Let them retire, work in the non-profit realm, mentor, paint, whatever. If they're an excellent congressperson, they won't be leaving Congress, anyway.


Professional lobbying is most definitely not about overt corruption.

It is about having the lawmakers hear your point of view from people they already know and trust.

This is why so many lobbyists are *former* congressmen, aides to congress and the senate, and other people who simply know folks around the capitol.

Hence my example: somebody who has been a researcher in a representative's staff for many years is going to be on fairly close terms with many of their counterparts. When their representative leaves office, for whatever reason, they are stuck looking for a job.

Fortunately there is a nice company down K Street with a nice offer for them, all they need to do is keep in close touch with their former colleagues and spread the word (as provided by their clients, of course).

Nowhere near as crude or overt as you suggest, it's just a nice community don'chaknow.

Your suggestion would put a stop to everything BUT this sort of professional lobbying, and it is the most insidious and corrupting kind.

Hello TODers,

DB toplink of "Do you want to know why Iran has a nuclear program?"

I thought it was a good article with the included Peakoil discussion, until it 'red-herring' shifted towards the end. I don't think any country denies Iran's right to nuclear energy for powering infrastructure, the problem/conflict comes from Iran trying to build Nuke Weapons. If the IAEA was to have full access to Iran to make sure atoms are being used correctly--No problem. Iran trying to build the Ultimate Chrome Penis [ICBM]--Big Problem.

IMO, the ruling clerics are Insane if they truly are trying to make warnukes as it will bring huge grief to Iran itself and the World. Hopefully, in the fullness of time, the Iranian people realize that getting better leadership to change course is the only answer. Any idiot today detonating a nuke anywhere will forever alter geo-politics. Not worth the risk. My feeble two cents.

It would be idiotic for Iran to develop Nukes, but who could blame them? We've been telling ourselves that the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) philosophy was a form of Deterrence, and not an Incentive for everyone to join in the idiocy.

Cheshire Cat: "If I were looking for a white rabbit, I'd ask the Mad Hatter."

Alice: "The Mad Hatter? Oh, no no no..."

Cheshire Cat: "Or, you could ask the March Hare, in that direction."

Alice: "Oh, thank you. I think I'll see him..."

Cheshire Cat: "Of course, he's mad, too."

Alice: "But I don't want to go among mad people."

Cheshire Cat: "Oh, you can't help that. Most everyone's mad here. You may have noticed that I'm not all there myself."

Alice: "It was much pleasanter at home, when one wasn't always being ordered about by mice and white rabbits."

And, as we all know, the IAEA has full access to everyone else's nukular programs. And there is massive evidence that they are trying to build a bomb. And they cannot possibly need nukular power because they have giant straw to all that abiotic oil. And everyone who has developed nukular weapons has immediately used them to attack their enemies.

You are simply building speculations upon propaganda and hype. The expression "only speak if you can improve upon the silence" comes to mind.

If Israel hits the nuke center in Iran after the few months that Big O gave Iran to come clean, what kind of scenario MIGHT we expect from the viewpoint of the consumer in the US??

Namely, Me.....

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty specifies that nations without nuclear weapons shall not seek to obtain them, and that nations possessing nuclear weapons shall seek to disarm. When Iran sees the US, Russia, China, UK, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea disarming, then maybe they should uphold their end of the bargain & cease seeking nuclear weapons technology.

Should Israel or the US do anything as stupid as attacking Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, Iran should sink a few oil tankers, and perhaps an aircraft carrier or two, in the Strait of Hormuz, then set fire to the oil slick.

Shhhhh. You aren't permitted to actually cite to the language of the treaty that we're invoking to tell Iran it's wrong. That's not how the UN, with its 5 permanent SC members is designed to work.

What continues to amaze me is Iran's PR incompetence here. "The Iranian People agree to comply with the NPT to the exact extent that Israel complies." Why wasn't Ahmadinejad saying that over and over in his interviews last week? That would certainly be my opening line in Vienna...

"What continues to amaze me is Iran's PR incompetence here. "The Iranian People agree to comply with the NPT to the exact extent that Israel complies."

I think it's Israel's official policy not to acknowledge or deny possesion of nukes, so no need to comply with NPT.

EDIT: "policy of opacity"

Sure--so accept any inspection regime that is applied equally to Israel. Agree to reject the pursuit of nuclear weapons when Israel formally and unequivocally denies that they have any, etc. I think there's unmined PR gold in pointing out the inconsistency... Same thing with the two "pillars" of the NPT (disarmament and nonproliferation) being given unequal weight.

Israel isn't a signatory of the NPT.

Doesn't matter--the NPT is customary international law and binding on all nations, signatory or not, because it chronicles the accepted course of conduct in the international community.

Edit: of course, you can argue that international law isn't binding at all, and that therefore Israel isn't bound by the NPT. It's a bit of a Catch-22, though: if international law isn't binding, then how can Iran be bound by its NPT treaty obligations under international law?

You must be an anti-semite, a self-hating Jew, a holocaust denier and/or a secret agent for radical Islam. You obviously don't realize that when in conflict with God's law, international law, such as that which pertains to ethnic cleansing, does not not apply to the Jewish Democratic Republic. If God had not intended the Jewish Democratic Republic to have big, bad bombs, He would not have designed Albert Einstein. Although Einstein was a self-hating Jew who had the temerity to refuse offers to preside over the JDR and to ask "What about the Palestinians?", he would not have wanted Imadinnerjacket to make a Bomb, and that's a fact.

All the views that are fit to print are in the New York Times and I'm sure they agree with me.

Why wasn't Ahmadinejad saying that over and over in his interviews last week?

Because he is an imbecile?

That, or he knows exactly what he's doing, which is to 'poke the bear'.

DD, aren't you concerned about the undue stress that may place on the marine environment and how it might affect the local wildlife? Especially if the conflict should escalate into another all out war.
What do you think? Do you think it is more or less harmful than a wind farm and its impact on bat mortality? I'm talking all out war, just to be clear not just a single burning oil slick. BTW I'm not factoring in the possibility of detonating a few nuclear war heads by say the Israelis.

Not to mention that the only way apparently to avoid being a target of a US "regime change" invasion is to present a credible threat of the posession of nuclear weapons. Given some of the crap that's come out of Washington regarding Iran during the Jr Bush years, that's a valid goal.

From "Winter gas shortage looms large for Iran" above:

Fuel subsidies were contributing to waste and rapid demand growth and gas consumption was up on the year by around 30%, Iran's Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi was reported as saying by daily Abrar.

Four articles about futures prices near the top of Drum Beat this morning:

What happens in futures markets is very important as it determines prices which in turn determine peoples' perception of potential energy shortages. It is very hard to convince people that an energy crunch will soon be upon us when prices for energy commodities are at relatively low levels.

I find it useful to keep an eye on futures price movements with the Energy Futures Databrowser. Being able to peruse the historical futures chains puts headlines like the above into perspective and can help when explaining to others why energy prices fluctuate they way the do. (Hint -- Traders have extremely short memories. What's in the news today trumps any long term trends.)

Here's an example chart for gasoline:

In this chart we can see that gasoline futures have dropped to their lowest levels in the last month but they are still trading within a band of prices that has been in place for the last three months. The seasonal cycle is evident with the lower priced winter blends due to begin in October. As far as Mr. Market is concerned, the price of gasoline futures will remain quite stable and will not close above $2.50 in the next three years. (I don't think Mr. Market knows what he is talking about.)

Happy Exploring!

-- Jon

Well thats a signal that them market is itself not predicting the future at the moment.

When you don't know whats going to happen the safest assumption is it will be similar to today.

Eventually of course information will come in and move the market in one direction or the other but for now at least the futures markets are not operating in predictive mode. When markets really flatten out like this and there is reason to believe that factors are afoot that can cause prices to change substantially then you know rapid changes are possible since nothing is priced into the futures market.

Depending effectively on your beliefs this could be up or down but regardless large moves are possible after the futures contracts flatten out like this depending on the nature of the momentum builder.

The popular belief is of course that the gasoline and oil markets will being to head downwards any day now and thats been the sentiment the entire year. All public information tends to support the theory that oil and thus gasoline are overpriced at the moment and have been for a good bit of the year. Its just a matter of time before we finally see a steady fall in front month prices and thus futures prices.

Or not ...

Either way this sort of flattening is generally not a long term stable configuration and eventually the market will make a decision.

My own opinion is that a number of supposed facts are simply lies and this standoff is between whats really going on and the massive bearish sentiment in the oil and gasoline markets. Despite the claims of a bull market the cliff diving we see periodically followed by a steady creep back up is a bear market rally not a bull market. Same for that matter for the stock market if it was a true bull market it would not fall on its face periodically. The only question of course is is the bullish side of the oil and gasoline markets a fundamental indicator or part of a larger pattern coupled with the value of the dollar or stock market. If so given the obvious correlations happening now between the dollar stock and oil futures markets who is driving who and why ?

And last but not least I think that whats really happening is that the steady rallies in the oil markets is taken as robust demand and signs of a strong recovery starting to take shape instead of potentially rapidly falling supplies. Thus the persistence recovery of oil prices despite the bear situation is being badly misinterpreted by the markets and the markets themselves are signaling that they are not playing hard at guessing the future. Thus ample room if you read it right to suggest the markets are signaling they don't know whats going on and are ready to move once the real situation becomes clear.

I think Mr Market is always right you just have to think about what its trying to say.

Right now for all intents and purposes its saying HELP :)

"...you just have to think about what its trying to say."

..and which part of the Elephant he has been consigned to hang onto and base all his comments upon.

I'm personally waiting to see the Drumbeat headline that says
Oil rises on news of Oil Drop


That is the headline I am waiting for as well. I'll know peak oil has been factored in when I see an overall steepening of the futures chain.

Whenever economic news sends the front end of the chain down, theoretically reducing the motivation to develop new fields, I would expect to see long dated futures rise. Currently, the entire futures chain moves up and down in synchrony which, to my way of thinking, is evidence that supply shortages (aka Peak Oil) are not priced in at all.

-- Jon

Exactly and there is no market memory from the price spike in 2008. I.e if they market really thought that was a true peak oil even we contango would have still remained in my opinion. Even if the market assumed it was and above ground factor problem it would still be pricing in a decent bottle neck from the pullback in development. Aka oil rises because it drops or further out futures should be sent upwards from short term drops if it impacts future development.

Practically non of this sort of forward looking thing is in any of the long dated futures markets.

The only future prediction the market is making is that as long as the current price does not cause economic collapse now it won't in the future then throw in just a touch of inflation and you have the prediction.
Its also saying that if the price rises higher we will see another economic collapse or its really betting on as long as we don't see prices trigger another collapse we are ok but some hard threshold exists higher that causes collapse and the market does not know where it is therefore its staying around the current price.

So the only prediction is the assumption that the future will be like the past and any spikes are just that short lived and economic contraction will rapidly cause the price of oil to fall again. The slow trend upwards can be viewed as I said as a nod to inflation or higher prices caused by lack of development now but not really much higher and inflation fears alone justify the current futures trend.

Adjusted for inflation its effectively saying that baring some short price spike oil will never go much beyond the current price for the foreseeable future.

Only a significant change in fundamentals will shake this view.

I'd argue that if the market is not correct in its thinking then its seriously underpricing or over pricing oil. Most believe over at the moment.

And one last thing while I'm on this thread.

The natural price of oil even if you believe we are well supplied is probably in the 50-70 range. Depending on where you think it should be a lot of the current rally is really just a correction for the market having underpriced oil for a time during the collapse. If there is a natural price and your willing to discount some of the claims of a glut then 60-70 is a very good recent historical range as whats often a good or accepted price for oil. Its spent a significant amount of time trading in this range. Remember the runnup to 140 was rapid occuring over a few months.
Given that its not clear if the increase in prices up to now is not a simple natural correction for the market overreacting during the collapse the prices did get ridicously low and the super steep contango back then indicated the market did not agree long term.

Thus the current price levels don't mean that the market thinks oil is constrained just because they are higher then the 40-50 price range that glut theorist think is correct does not mean they are not a good and reasonable price. And on the same hand they are not yet a signal that oil is tightening rapidly.
In effect they are neutral and open to basically any interpretation. The glutters see them as high and the fast collapse see them as low historically they are actually about right.


Given the real economic contraction and drop in demand and technical true glut that should have resulted the quick rebound is surprising. Only the belief that this is a result of OPEC cutbacks keeps any peak oil concerns at bay. And of course the fact that OPEC seems to have picked this price and supposedly can and will pump more as needed plays a huge role in flattening the oil markets so it fits well with where they are at. Thus all the signals indicate oil trading in this price range "forever".

If it is OPEC then one would expect its members to slowly begin to cheat overtime as oil prices remain bounded thus pulling in the top side. And if OPEC does not demand contraction will quickly collapse a spike.
So basically no matter how you slice and dice it if you assume peak oil is not a factor you get what the market is saying with a significant chance for price to go lower. Thus its a hard ceiling with and overall bearish sentiment.

Or its wrong :)

Recently I read a comment by an oil industry representative about how they need around $60/bl oil to make it worth their while to get it out of the ground. Then I noticed the current oil price is around $69. I got kind of hysterical imagining the price spiraling down with the worsening economy while the costs to recover the oil get higher as the stuff gets deeper down. And the two numbers meet and then pass each other. Possible??? Then all activity just...stops?? Is that a discontinuity we might have to face?

Or am I just being alarmist and over-reacting??

You are not over reacting. Most of the remaining oil will remain in the ground. It will be too expensive to extract.

Anyway, beyond about $150 it's cheaper to drive electric cars with batteries charged by windmills. It might take a 50 year depression to work that out, but it we will get there. It just won't look much like here.

Why do you assume we will have to have cars? So we'll have a 50 year depression, but if we work really hard we can have cars again - gee, that's a relief, because cars are all that matter.

Anyway, beyond about $150 it's cheaper to drive electric cars with batteries charged by windmills.

Really? And you've run the numbers and know this for a fact? What for instance are the environmental costs, in 2060 equivalent dollars, of extracting natural resources so that 9 billion humans, can have their battery packs? I'm assuming you want EVERYBODY to have equal access to these wonderful cheap electric vehicles,right? What's that you say, your windmill powered electric cars have batteries made of self replenishing pixie dust? Oh, OK!

Good God, Magyar, Twilight!

Why does every suggestion have to be taken to the extreme? He really didn't say that EVERYONE would have them, that we'd have to find the materials for 9billion of the things!

Isn't it fair enough to offer a LITTLE benefit of the doubt and consider that he might be reasonably suggesting that 'what cars there are will more likely be electric' instead of this overhashed accusation that anybody proposing tools that can HELP REPLACE what we're now using is simply looking to create a Stepford Wives clone of the way we do it today?

Guess what? We will still be rolling ourselves and stuff around on wheels. We'll still turn those wheels with motors, and we'll want smooth, firm pathways to roll them on. Sorry if that sounds like 'The Revolution Failed' to you, but really, try to convince me that the above is not true. The proportions probably must change drastically, but otherwise, There will still be CARS and ROADS

Talk about stretching a statement.

If it is too expensive for everyone to run BAU with cars long term at $80/barrel, and his statement that it would be cheaper to run electric at $150/barrel is true, what makes you think that the situation where we would be running primarily electric vehicles would look anything like BAU?

He certainly didn't say it would.

Aaah! If we can't do everything exactly as we do it now it's back to the stoneage! Aaaaah!

Re: Met Office: catastrophic climate change could happen with 50 years

In case folks aren't already burnt out on climate change science, this story points to just one offering to be released today at a conference hosted by Oxford University, UK.

Here's the link to the program:


I suppose the various extended abstracts and the report from the Hadley Centre will be available soon. Some of the slides are already available via links on the program page...

E. Swanson

Re: Met Office: catastrophic climate change could happen with 50 years

(The rest will be too old to remember when winters used to be cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey).

I'm sorry, but I can't wait. According to the experts, the area where I am (the Canadian Rockies) has experienced the warmest September on record, and frankly I thought it was kind of nice sitting out on the deck in shorts and a T-shirt with a G&T in my hand. For most of the planet it was 0.001 degrees warmer than it was a decade ago, and that doesn't really seem like it should kill any normal person.

I guess I AM burnt out on climate change.

What I'm burned out on is the endless misrepresentation of the data regarding the recent warming. A decade ago, 1998, the global temperature spiked to a record level, apparently due to the presence of an El Nino. One year's data does not define a trend. That the fossil fool denialists keep harping on the data over the past 10 years ignores all the warming of the previous 50 years.

While you are ignoring reality with G & T, here's another point. Over a year's time, the tropics are in surplus in terms of energy flow, while the high latitudes are in deficit. By that I mean that the tropical regions lose less energy directly upwards thru the atmosphere than is received as sunlight, while the polar regions radiate more than is received. This fact is the cause of the tropic to pole circulation in the atmosphere and in the oceans by way of the THC. Should the THC weaken or cease, one result would be more warm air moving toward the North and more cold air returning back to the South to complete the circulation loop. One possible consequence of Global Warming is a reduction in the THC. Therefore, your future inhabitants of high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere might well meet a new breed of monkeys which had evolved to withstand temperatures much colder than "brass"...

E. Swanson

It's actually a lot more complicated than that. The Hadley Cell, which is responsible for the trade winds, the tropical rain belts, the subtropical deserts and the jet streams only transfers heat between the equator (actually the intertropical convergence zone) and 30°N to 30°S latitude, and transfers moisture the other direction - to the equator. In the polar regions, the Polar Cell, which is responsible for the polar easterlies and the fact the the arctic and antarctic are very cold deserts, only transfers cold air and moisture from the poles to 60°N and S latitudes. In between the Ferrel Cell creates the prevailing westerlies and transfers moisture and heat from 30° to 60° latitude in both hemispheres, with somewhat less consistency.

That's the basics of it and the reason for the existence of subtropic deserts and boreal forests, trade winds and prevailing westerlies. However, there are many other circulation patterns, and I don't think the climate modelers can predict what it is going to do. Their models don't predict the climate being the way it is now, so I don't really think they can predict what is going to happen in the next century.

In addition to the Milankovitch cycle, which was the previous popular theory predicting global cooling before the greenhouse effect became all the rage, there is the disconcerting fact that the sun seems to be cooling down (as evidenced by the lack of sunspots). There is no real reason to assume that the solar temperature is constant. (They have assumed this, but I think it's a rash assumption.) If the sun really is cooling off to any significant degree, it will make a complete mess of their global warming predictions and we may be into another ice age shortly. Personally I would go for global warming rather than another ice age.

Of course, your description of wind patterns is rather elementary. There must be a energy connection between the tropics and the poles, which your short description excludes. Part of that connection is provided by the ocean currents, both in the Pacific and the North Atlantic. The early climate models did not include the ocean currents and weather models usually don't either, since the oceans don't change temperature very fast relative to weather. More recent AOCGCMs do include the ocean as well as sea-ice cycles. The latest models no longer need "flux adjustments" to compensate for the problem of ocean circulation. As for how well the latest models reproduce present (and recent) climate, that's the first test of performance and the model builders strive to match it.

The Milankovitch cycles appear to explain much of the cycles of Ice Ages, last I heard, although there's still some question about the reason for the change in dominate period. The sunspot cycle has also been suggested as the source of much of the short term variation in climate, with the Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1715 often pointed to as a cause of the Little Ice Age. The exact timing of the Little Ice Age depends on who is writing about it and folks who claim that solar activity is the sole driver of climate variation seem to forget the large volcanic eruptions, such as Kuwae, Tambora and Krakatoa. Direct measurements by satellite of the mis-named "solar constant" show slight variation in phase with the sunspot cycle, a fact which has been well documented for many years. Whether the present dearth of sunspots portends the start of another long period with few sunspots, we won't know for some time.

Since you want to consider only the past 10 years since 1998, consider that the last minimum was recorded in 1996 and cycle 23 was underway by 1998. Any bets on what will happen to global temperature if the next sunspot cycle follows the usual pattern? Will we experience another extra warm year by 2011 or 2012, eclipsing 1998 and all other years since?

E. Swanson

Any bets on what will happen to global temperature if the next sunspot cycle follows the usual pattern?

That's very helpful. Thank you for mentioning it. According to NASA:

"It turns out that none of our models were totally correct. The sun is behaving in an unexpected and very interesting way."

Is this anything like the ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times"?

Right now, the solar cycle is in a valley--the deepest of the past century. In 2008 and 2009, the sun set Space Age records for low sunspot counts, weak solar wind, and low solar irradiance. The sun has gone more than two years without a significant solar flare.

"In our professional careers, we've never seen anything quite like it. Solar minimum has lasted far beyond the date we predicted in 2007."

It's probably too soon to panic, but I might go out and stock up on canned goods anyway. You can never have too many canned goods.

Yes, we have had low sunspot activity so we should have been slightly cooled. Instead, with a weak El Nino:

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, and the warmest on record averaged for any June-August (Northern Hemisphere summer/Southern Hemisphere winter) season according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The preliminary analysis is based on records dating back to 1880.

Temperature goes up with GHGs that much has become evident. What happens now, like everyone does say, is very complicated.

A bunch of tripe. All you have stated above is, "Gee, it's so complicated we just can't know." This is pure bull crap. We sure as heck can know. If your characterization were correct and used to evaluate all knowledge rather than just climate science, one would be required to state that virtually every scientific endeavor we undertake should not be undertaken because we just can't be sure. This is absurd. You are trolling to the least educated and/or ideologically opposed. That is shameful.

Secondly, your assertion that modeling cannot replicate current climate is bull because what actually happens is they create a model and fine tune it until it does replicate climate up to the present era so there is confidence it can give some sense of what will come.

Third, you are misleading readers when you state GCMs can't predict. They have never attempted to. There is a huge difference between prediction and scenario generation. GCMs actually create a large number of scenarios based on differing variables to see what different variable settings do to the scenarios.

Oh we know alright. CO2 levels go up, yet temperatures go down. Lack of correlation disproves causation. GCMs are only a tool for alarmism. They've all been proved wrong, as has the underlying theory. That's why you have to keep "fine tuning" lol. Global warming is politics, not science.

In spite of what the denialist claim, the Earth is still warming. What you apparently are missing is the fact that there is variation in temperature from year to year, so a few cooler years so not disprove the theory. And, the temperatures have not "gone down" in the sense that the global average has not returned to that seen 20 or 30 years ago. Sure, some politicians have latched on to Global Warming as an issue they can exploit. The worst offenders, such as Inhofe, regularly distort the science while repeating the denialist disinformation. That the denialist repeatedly state their junk science is just another example of the old saying, "A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth". Are you even aware that what you wrote is a lie???

E. Swanson

Global warming is politics, not science

Anything but !!

I have been watching the issue since the 1970s. most closely in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Once I became convinced, BY THE SCIENCE, in the mid-1990s, that the odds were >>90% that man was forcing Climate Change#I spent less time on the details.

It was a major force in my change in politics. All Republicans are not deniers, but all deniers are Republicans (also true is that all Republicans are NOT racists, but all white racists are Republicans or wackos to the right of the Rs).

Given a choice between losing WW II and allowing "conservative" Republicans to dictate global climate change policy, I think humanity would be better served by letting Hitler and Tojo win. Fewer people would die, future society would be less disrupted, the natural world would feel FAR less impact. The Nazis would likely kill each other off within a decade after Hitler died (just look at the personalities), Imperial Japan would last a bit longer (my SWAG).

THAT IS HOW IMPORTANT THE SCIENCE IS !! Important enough to drive politics. Whatever sympathies I have for other Republican values (I still like Ike :-), pale in comparison with doing SOMETHING about Climate Change.

Best Hopes for decades in the minority for Republicans,


# Climate Change is mostly warming, but there is a strong possibility that Western Europe could freeze as the rest of the world boils because of the Gulf Stream (aka THC) shutting down.

You have exactly ZERO scientific endeavors to point to to back up your lies. I have virtually every paper done on climate for the last 100 years.

These are facts:

* Every major area of land ice is experiencing net decline.

* Arctic sea ice is showing net declines. Even with last year's extent being higher than '07 the total mass still declined. We do not know this year's result yet, but at the very least it will be 2 standard deviations below the norm.

* Extinctions are occurring at a rate rivaling the great extinctions from the fossil record.

* After a two thousand year downward trend in global temps, they have been rising for 150 years. This correlates perfectly with population, fossil fuel use and GHG emissions.

* Temperatures now are higher than at any point in millions of years.

* CO2 is higher than at any point in millions of years.

* You cannot point to ANY papers to support your stance that have passed peer review and withstood vetting post-publication. Not one.

I win. You lose. At least, that is what should be. I hope you and your brothers in ideology enjoy your Pyrrhic victory.

Not only have your "peer reviewed" papers been discredited. But your peer review process itself. It's basically the same group of alarmists pumping out the same nonsense. No one believes it anymore BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW IT'S NOT GETTING ANY WARMER! LOL. You lose.

Climate shifts over decadal time frames.

Pop a 10 year moving average over you temperature graph before making any assumptions.

Besides, I don't know that it is not getting any warmer! So your statement is false.


No, you do.

I am reminded of a question I was asked several times in Iceland (where there is NO question things are warming up rapidly) "Are there really Americans who do not believe in Global Warming/Climate Change ? Can they be so ignorant ? What type of people are these deniers ?"

I explained that are indeed quite ignorant and know nothing of science and chose not to believe facts because they fear it will cost them something. Many listen to a man with a high school education, a very bad addiction to opiates and who calls himself an entertainer for several hours each day to get their scientific analysis.

Many assumed I was joking :-(

Worst Hopes for the Future of American "Conservatives" (who conserve nothing).


Assertion is not fact. Everything you havebeen told by myself and others has been fact. You respond only with assertion.

We expect no better. After all, you HAVE NO SCIENCE TO CITE.

Would have been better had you not opened your mouth and removed all doubt.

Your peer reviewed made up stories are not science, they're politics. Science is reality:



Thanks for proving me right.

Weather = climate.... egad.

Climate is getting warmer, yet the weather is getting colder. Yeah that makes sense. Besides, it's not the actual measured temperatures that matter anyway. It's the GCMs, right?

Emprical evidence matters not to politicians. Warm can be cold, black can be white, increased unemployment can mean we're coming out of the recession. Increased bank failures means the end to the banking crisis. An increased budget deficit means an end to deficit spending, etc.

Climate is aggregated weather. If the temperature drops in Frostbite Falls, MN but goes up everywhere else the net result is warming.
If the average temperature drops 0.1C after going up 0.3C, that is still a warming of 0.2C.

You want data? Have a firehose:

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/
2008 Climate Analysis: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/

As far as the "rebranding" of global warming as climate change: it seems to me that this was driven by people who don't want to believe that actual warming has taken place and continues to happen. Climate change is a superset of global warming so it is an accurate label, depite being broader than the results indicate. It also reflects the fact that global warming can include localized cooling events.

They've all been proved wrong, as has the underlying theory.

Why is it that AGCC Deniers and Skeptics constantly harp on about AGCC 'Believers' claiming "the science is settled" but then go and do exactly the same thing themselves?

GCMs actually create a large number of scenarios based on differing variables to see what different variable settings do to the scenarios.

One of the BIONC projects is running slightly different "Climate Prediction" models on your home computer. Project by the UK Meteorological Service, typical run 1810 to 2030 (?) with many variables and 500 hours computing (on my older Mac Mini). I have done over 400 runs so far. A few runs have crashed early (I assume computed values varied so far from observed reality that the program judged "waste of time" by 1920).


My sense is that they tweak the variables slightly, from run to run, and see which ones best match historical data.

One can "sees' the interactions of the variables developing via the graphics mode. Even deniers might watch the graphics from time to time (I do), and get a better sense of just what climate models are.

Best Hopes for more volunteers !


For those who dread the uphill climbs....

SANYO Unveils its eneloop bike to U.S. Bicycle Market at Interbike 2009
Latest hybrid pedal assist eBike offers regenerative braking and coasting to efficiently manage energy and allow a smooth, comfortable ride – up to 40 miles per charge!

Due this November, it has a suggested retail price of $2,299.00.

See: http://us.sanyo.com/News/SANYO-Unveils-its-eneloop-bike-to-U-S-Bicycle-M...


Only $2300!! I'll have a dozen then ;-)

I know people driving cars that cost half of that.


True, but there are folks who willingly [or needlessly as the case may be] spend over 50K on a shiny new Dodge RAM with a first-year depreciation of 20K or more, so I guess it boils down to personal preference and budget.


Only $2300!! I'll have a dozen then ;-)

I know people driving cars that cost half of that.

The car that I drive I bought...12? years ago (might be more) and I've put approximately 100,000 miles on it...bought it for $1,800. I have trouble envisioning that bicycle lasting that long.

You wouldn't be accumulating that much mileage, surely, but why does 12 years sound like a long life for a bike? And then, even if you got a deal on a used car, any serious replacements would have doubled the investment easily. Even a little bodywork would be hundreds.

100k miles..., I'll toss in 30mpg and $2 gas, just to make it easy.. looks like $6700 in gas. Oil Changes, Wiperfluid, Tire Alignments and Replacement, Brake Pads. (Plus that was in a time of unquestioned gas availability..)

That model is pricey, no doubt.. but it might actually pencil out pretty well, even against a beater.


I would spend $2300 on a carbon or titanium road bike with good components. The technology you pay for is well worth the price.
The maintenance is basically zero. No insurance, no fuel, it is all upfront cost.

I personally would not spend a nickle on a new bike, not when perfectly good triathalon race bikes are thrown away at the local dump. Not to mention the dozens of perfectly good mountain bikes that end up there as well. I am presently the owner of 10 bikes only one of which was bought for me, and that was for my 40th birthday which was over 20 years ago. I am having so much fun mix and matching bike parts and fixing up throw aways. I was even thinking that i might eventually have enough stuff to open a bike shop.

Where do you find these?
The usual depreciation is 40% the first year and 10% each year after that. That is the e-bay formula at least.

I generally pull in around 40mpg, high 30's at worst, but at $2/gal that's still around $5,000 so essentially the same. I'm on the second set of new tires that I remember, around $250 mounted and ballanced per set - so $500 there over that time. I haven't had to change out the brakes but once or twice either, under $100 there. Oil's been every 3,000mi - say 133 quarts, 34 filters - average maybe $2.50/quart and $5 filters? $333 and $170. Timing belt and water pump - $150. The biggie, that doesn't instantly spring to mind, is insurance and the tag...those are probably combined up near $1,000. Couple of mufflers/pipe sections...$150. Put in a new radiator about two months ago - $135.

That's at least the vast majority of it. Note that I also do my own work, so the prices reflected are generally for parts alone. So I'm up to $7,538 in running costs there or $628/year.

12 years isn't long for a bike, but some drivetrain components generally wear out quickly - still serviceable but sloppy. For that bike though perhaps especially do to the electrical components. Might make it just fine, but it might not...would just have to put it out in the world and see what happens. It trips me out how the bike shops will really try to rob you on rubber. $50 tires? I hope those things are lined with unicorn dust to make you go faster or something. Give me the $15 wonder-loops...high pressure tires are wonderful though.

Anyway, 100,000 miles over 12 years is 8,333 miles/year or 22.83 miles for every day. If you had really itchy feet you might be able to rack up that kind of mileage on a bike. However, your feet would have to be pretty itchy to put in a 100 mile day, which is a "measly" 50 mile out and back in the car that'll take you all of 3 hours or so.

I love cars for what they can be, but hate them for what they are.

Sounds like what I say about TV.

as far as Bike and Car, of course, it might also be mostly a false choice at this point.. it's not all that hard to keep one of each.

Does anyone else find discussion of things that have no place in a sustainable environment/system somewhat pointless? I will tweak myself a bit here by acknowledging there is often a benefit to just tinkering up new tech, but, really, isn't that bit like discovering how to predict tidal waves after the wave is already breaking over your head?

Here's to Getting the Conversation On Topic as much as Possible,


One of the bikes in the shed here is 16 years old. Another is about 40 (an old Malvern Star). A third is 13yo. Then there's the eight at my GFs place...

Looks loke a nice bike but I just can't see the prices -I must admit I know almost nothing about the batteries but the electronics couldn't amount to much, that stuff has been around for a while now.

Hub motor or not , it's just an electic motor/ alternator,a little better sealed than most to keep the water out and a new geometry-granted the housing must be sturdy to serve as the axle and hub assembly.

Is it low volume , patents, or just aggressive pricing strategies? or all together?

the price of seven of these things will buy you a new car that has eight times as much metal , glass , and plastic in it , plus hundreds of intricately machined parts, a computer would appear to br far more sophisticated than the one that controls the bike motor and battery, air conditioning,music , doors with locks ,............

How may years will it be before electric bikes are mass produced and sold at prices that reflect the amount of material and skilled work in involved in building them ?

All I can say is I really question how much of the new cool green technology will actually be affordable to the average person. Take the prices your quoting now and consider if oil was say 250 a barrel.

My opinion with electrics is we will see a sort of receding horizon type of event. They are way overpriced in general economies of scale will be slow to bring the price down and when oil finally gets really expensive the ability of people to purchase them will fall faster than they can be priced down. Increasingly they will be the toys of the relatively wealthy who choose to buy them instead of burning oil however since they can also still readily afford oil its not clear their consumption will decline i.e they buy these in addition to the oil burners they have and the number of people in this market at all is shrinking thus any impact of saving oil is lessened.

I'm not saying they won't be around and I'm not saying quite a few wont be produced but given the above the chances of electric cars/bikes etc having a real impact on oil prices seems small. Its a side show and a progressively smaller one at that. Now regular old pedal bikes may will make a difference but again people will only ride them when forced thus what ever the pain threshold is these remedies seem to occur only after they are forced and depending on the decline rate of oil even a move to pedal bikes may well be to little to late to "save" us in the sense of keeping our current civilization basically intact.

If you look at the market thread I've commented in you can see that the markets are simply not going to respond until forced so the market signal itself may well be delayed and be seen to have significantly underpriced oil in retrospect. So you have the market probably responding late in the game and probably forced to over correct and you have the market dynamics of alternatives working against them making and impact. It all adds up to the potential for a heck of a lot of pain with no easy way to reduce it.

Its not a pretty situation in the least. I hope some point in the future I personally have the money to buy a good reasonably priced electric car but even if I do I don't see that is important. Buying any of it now is really hard to justify and I make decent money. So far I continue to stick with my decision of driving my paid of car as needed and aggresively working to ensure I don't have to commute to work if at all possible.
Later depending on how things go I'd like to remove even driving for groceries etc. So for me at least the answer seems to be to simply eliminate the need for any transportation at all as much as possible outside of walking and maybe riding a bike as needed. Thats not easy but by opting out completely as long as I can I don't have to deal with any of the issues I've outlined except of course for the price inflation of other goos from expensive oil.

I really like their Eneloop rechargeable batteries.

I wouldn't pay that much for a bike, though.

And I still want a folder.

couple other bikes ...

This one seems to be the hottest right now ...


Trek and Schwinn plan models


If you are really into electric bikes etc. , there is this site where most of the real experimentation is going on ...

example ... http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13073

Most exciting is in the trikes ..



Wally World has an electric with what appears to be one of the 400 watt Currie drives on it for $300... http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=12082034&findingMet...


Buy a folding bike, get an electric kit for less than $400, buy 36V of Nicads and ride several miles without pumping.


A friend who is into mountain bikes has one and says it is a blast. He has LiPo batteries which cost three times as much and are more sensitive about charging. Consider that a biking athlete can generate about 600 watts and a 1000 watt motor is more than Greg LaMont helping you along.

You really don't need all the bells and whistles like downhill charging unless you are really into it and then the money is not that much of a factor.

Hello Leanan,

I apologize if I missed any announcement, but I haven't seen Tony [TODer Ace] around here for awhile. Hopefully he was hired by the IEA or EIA to help their staff of analysts get a dose of Reality. Do you have any word on what Tony is up to now? I hope he is not sick.

I'm told he is busy just now but will be returning.

He got a new job and moved to a new city. I think it is taking a while to get readjusted.

We hear from him occasionally, saying he is working on getting settled.

How does natural gas spot market in Europe operate? I read today that Gazprom sells a lot of gas on the spot market with discount. Utilities buy this cheap gas instead of gas from large companies with take-or-pay contracts with Gazprom. And now Gazprom demands $3bn for the unsupplied gas, effectively selling the same amount of gas twice. Is it possible?

Don't Bail Out Newspapers--Let Them Die and Get Out of the Way

Nobody in their right mind believes the future of the news business involves paper and ink rather than pixels on a screen. We all know where the news business is headed, and what's more, we've known it for at least a decade. So why on earth are people talking about a bailout for newspapers? Why is President Obama saying he'd consider it? Why is Congress holding hearings and considering "The Newspaper Revitalization Act" in a bid to save these ailing old rags with tax breaks and other handouts? It's like introducing legislation to save horse-drawn carriages, or steam engines, or black-and-white TV. It's stupid. It's pointless. It won't work.

I've got to agree. I haven't gotten a newspaper in over two years and the only thing I miss is the recycling.


It isn't just everything he mentioned-investigative reporting by major USA newspapers appears to be all but dead. I cannot remember the last time I read an important article on the Net from a major USA newspaper-it just seems that 99.9% of the articles are transparent sales pitches of one form or another.

Derivatives: Bailed Out Banks Still making Billions Off Risky Bets

I just pulled this article off of the Huffington Post. The model is being re-written for journalism...going to work for the Daily Rag is a poor career choice for any budding journalist.

BTW this article makes me want to draw and quarter any unknown banker in a Brooks Brothers suit. I don't even care about due process anymore. Goldman Sachs is at the top of the list. These guys are like crack addicts - and derivatives are their drug of choice.


For me the issue is that not only do newspapers use a lot of natural resources, but that they are basically a glorified car advertizing rag with a few clips that might be of interest dispersed inbetween!

Global Warming question.
It's been my experience so far that the objections to the thesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) are unsound, based on selective or distorted presentations of data.
However, I have come across a recent account which looks credible, here: http://www.imva.info/news/global-cooling-continues.html.
I'd be most grateful if anyone could explain to me (et al) what errors there may (or may not) be in that presentation. Thanks.

Oh, that one is easy and right up front.

They cherry pick the data to since 1998 (except for the sunspot information).

They propose a connection between the sunspot activity and warming, and imply that since the sunspot activity (which is known to be cyclic) has been overall declining lately it will continue to do so FOREVER! Take that you darn global warming worriers! Once the sun goes out we won't ever need to worry about global warming ever again! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Um, wait, what was the question again?

There aren't any errors that I can see in the article - the science looks sound.

I particularly like the quote:

Climate stability has never been a feature of planet earth

Which is absolutely correct. If you look back in the geological record, you see wild swings in climate with no apparent cause. The entire planet may have frozen solid at times, whereas at other times (e.g. when the dinosaurs were here), the Arctic Ocean was as warm as the water off California is today.

There have been something like 22 distinct glacial periods in the last few million years, and nobody knows why they happened. They just came and went. The Younger Dryas period which the article mentions was rather abrupt, too. About 10,000 years ago, for no apparent reason, the global temperature dropped about 6 C, and stayed down for 1,000 years. Then, again for no apparent reason, it suddenly jumped 6 C in about 10 years.

The recent lack of sunspots recently is rather disconcerting, because a lack of sunspots was associated with the cool period in Europe known as the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about 1200 to 1850 (the date of the start is a bit uncertain because nobody was keeping temperature records).

Something that is forgotten in the debate about global warming is that millions of European peasants starved to death during the Little Ice Age. The Norse colony on Greenland vanished, and the people in Iceland only survived because they could trade with Europe (the population dropped by 50%). It contributed to things like the Irish potato famine and the French Revolution.

I've always thought that the global warming proponents were taking too much for granted. There are huge uncertainties in their models and critical assumptions that may not be correct. One of the biggest assumptions they make is that the solar output is constant - and there's no real reason to make that assumption. We don't really know whether the solar output varies or not. We have no long-term data. If it varies by just a little bit, it could make a big difference in the temperature of the Earth.

Repeating the same lies as the apparent medical quack (google) does not make them more true. Presenting past shifts in weather or climate as proof of what will happen is illogical. Stating such changes are ignored by climate scientists and advocates for action to mitigate the effects of human activities is a flat out lie.

Don't lie.
It's bad.

Don't lie.
It's bad.

Don't accuse tod commenters of lying. It's bad.
Some examples of Real Lies can be found in my ECtHR application linked on here: http://www.futurewise.info/20/euro.htm. Not least Judge McKenna talking highly-refined bovine in paragraph 132 and Judge Truman in paragraph 144 who apparently hasn't heard of selective misquotation even when forewarned of precisely that instance of it.

Blah, blah, blah....

He's presenting lies.

Deal with it.

AGW is simple to ACCEPT if you allow yourself to believe in some scientific observations in which you, at first glance, ‘have no clue about'..

1- The atmosphere is a fixed volume – with a fixed number of atoms/molecules (roughly spoken)
2- A couple of those gas-particles are observed to hold onto heat better than others- thus nicknamed Greenhouse gases. (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, CFCs)
3- Since it is well known by now – that humans have been digging for and pumping fossil fuels for a few 100s of years now.... and subsequently burning them in greater and greater quantities year by year – it should not come as A SURPRISE TO ANYONE WITH EDUCATION that the amount of CO2 is INCREASING IN OUR COMMON ATMOSPHERE! , since CO2 is formed during any fossil-combustion. The C in CO2 is "new" and the O's are borrowed from the atmosphere.
4- Observation #1 is no longer valid ,the atmospheric volume is GROWING – with ADDED numbers of atoms/molecules- at the time being mostly CO2 , but this cascade may start the methane-boost .... ( has actually already started in earnest)

If you at your first read-through understood these correlations – congratulate yourself and welcome to reality. If not, then read over and over again until you get it. If you still suffer to grasp after some few hours – there is NO HOPE for you.

Forget about solar cycles , el nino, solar spots and -flares and plus the myriad of subjects NOT part of the claims made by IPCC. Global warming deniers are full of stuff never claimed by IPCC - Why ? Are they just stupid , as in low on IQ ?

4- Observation #1 is no longer valid ,the atmospheric volume is GROWING – with ADDED numbers of atoms/molecules- at the time being mostly CO2


One atom of carbon plus one molecule of oxygen from the atmosphere puts one molecule of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That means there is no change in the number of molecules in the atmosphere. You also state that this means the volume of the atmosphere is increasing. It probably is, but because the temperature is increasing, not because there are more molecules in it.

Your science is as sloppy as that which you are trying to refute.

I'm not denying anthropogenic global warming (though I am inclined to think that will be the least of our problems), but simplistic and sloppy arguments will not convince anyone. And putting the buzzwords in UPPER CASE and using cryptic acronyms does not help, either.

This lesson and UPPER CASEs was for RockyMtnGuy - not you Ird. RockyMtnGuy has at least the basics to maybe understand my 1 -4 course.

But at lest some refutes to debug some errors of yours : One "new" C (from fossils) will react with two O's , that's why the chemical expression is CO2 <- (yes that number). Assuming that the #s of O's are roughly fixed in the atmosphere , it's very easy to derive that when a fossil-combustion takes place the total number of molecules will increase and the numbers of free floating O's will decrease. One more time Lrd : When combustion occurs molecule# are UP and atom# are DOWN. Atmospheric volume increases for several reasons - Boyle Marriott's plus some other knowledge.

The so called Atomic weight of the entire atmosphere is UP b/C many "new" C's are added. "Stuff" is ADDED much faster than it is SUBTRACTED or recombined by photosynthesis.

Go wash your mouth and back to school with you.This time pay attention.

The theory of greenhouse gas (GHG) warming is that GHG gases (such as CO2 and CH4) allow short wave infrared radiation from the sun to penetrate the atmosphere and reach the earth's surface. However, the ground reradiates this heat back into the sky as long-wave infrared radiation. GHGs absorb these long-wave rays, and cause the atmosphere to warm up. The net effect is to selectively warm the atmosphere, which in turn warms the earth. If there were no GHGs in the atmosphere, the earth would be frozen solid because there's not enough direct solar radiation to keep it above the freezing point.

The argument about man-made emissions of GHGs is that this will warm the earth above the temperature it would normally have, and that this is a bad thing rather than a good thing.

However the earth is a huge place with innumerable competing feedback systems. The oceans, plants and other sinks absorb most of the greenhouse gases. In fact, they have absorbed almost all of the CO2 in the air, and the atmosphere is less than 1% CO2.

So the issues are 1) how much CO2 is going into the air, 2) how much CO2 stays in the air, and 3) how much effect does it have on global temperatures? We have approximate answers to all of the above, but they involve a lot of assumptions. Depending on the assumptions you make, you get hugely different results.

The problem I was concerned about, which is somewhat extraneous to the above, is that GHG models assume solar radiation will remain constant. However, there is no real reason to assume it is constant, and good reason to believe a small variation will cause a big variation in global temperatures. Sunspots appear to be correlated with solar radiation.

Sunspots have been decreasing recently, and despite dire predictions of global warming due to GHG, what we have seen in the last decade is global staying-the-same. That's probably why they are now calling it "Climate Change", rather than "Global Warming".

I told you to read pt 1-4 over and over again , didn't I ?

...and the atmosphere is less than 1% CO2

- if I read you correctly RockyMtnGuy - and I believe I do - you just "feel to yourself" that >1% is just too tiny a quantity too make any difference to such a large system .. that ... never mind.... , but let me remind you that just a few milligrams of cyanide will kill you- don't prove me wrong on this one.

That's probably why they are now calling it "Climate Change", rather than "Global Warming".

-you have a silly theory for everything - haven't you ?
- here is todays Google-News search hits for "Global Warming" - Results 1 – 10 of about 26,147 for Global-Warming

FYI, I have a feeling that most TODers are quite fed up AGW deniers / quarrelers like yourself. Have a nice day,

I told you to read pt 1-4 over and over again , didn't I ?

Yes, I did read it over and over again, and it didn't help. It still doesn't make a great deal of sense. However the part that really didn't help was


because I actually happen to have a degree in chemistry, among other things, and I read the original research papers on the Greenhouse Effect long before the politicians ever heard of it. The real problem is that once the politicians heard about it and realized that they could win votes by jumping on the low carbon footprint bandwagon, science went out the window.

My brief 30-second summary of the Greenhouse Effect was just an effort to get people back in touch with the real science of it. I don't think that many people who are agitating about Global Warming actually know how it works. They don't even know how to read the research papers. If they did, they would be a lot less confident in the conclusions.

if I read you correctly RockyMtnGuy - and I believe I do - you just "feel to yourself" that >1% is just too tiny a quantity too make any difference to such a large system

No, you completely missed the point. A level of 1% CO2 would be a LOT of CO2 and the world would be significantly warmer than at present. However, at points in the past the atmosphere was MOSTLY CO2, and life managed to cope, although it was much, much hotter. The current level is probably around 350 parts per million (ppm) and rising. The global warming advocates claim that if it goes any higher than this, Armageddon will happen. They're planning to raise a big banner on the mountain above my house with a big


on it to warn the world.

I remain unconvinced that there is some kind of "tipping point" at 350 ppm and tend to believe there will be a slow, gentle rise that is barely noticeable. My bigger concern is that someone will reach a "tripping point" on that mountain and take a 1000-foot fall off the front face. Unfortunately they want us who know more about mountain climbing to help them to rig their banner, and we're saying it's much too dangerous for experienced climbers. This is the sort of thing that happens when enviro-activism overcomes common sense.

The 350 folks are just overreacting to the rhetoric from deniers.

It's kind of like how folks would react to a large community of very vocal and politically active people who claimed that walking in front of cars was safe.

Sunspots. God... Have you read nothing of climate science? Get thee to ANY science-based site and search on sunspots and climate and see what you find. Try RealClimate and use their search function; I'm tired of posting the links for your drones.

As for "Climate Change," that, in delightful irony, came directly out of the offices of Denier-in-Chief Dumbya Bush in his administration's lame attempt to make warming sound less threatening.

Google it.

and the atmosphere is less than 1% CO2.

The relative amount of CO2 (or any other GHG) compared to the rest of the atmosphere is not relevant, as the vast majority of the atmosphere (Oxygen and Nitrogen) is transparent to infrared radiation.

The past history of climate is well known and the apparent cycles in Ice Ages which began some 3 million years BP would be expected to continue, were it not for mankind's modifications. But, all of human civilization has occurred (as far as we know) in the last 10,000 years or so since the development of agriculture. Another Ice Age would surely result in massive disruption of agriculture, so preventing such (if possible) would seem to be imperative.

Your dates for the Little Ice Age are wrong, from what I know. You, like the solar-is-the-cause folks, are ignoring the large volcanic eruptions, such as the ones in 1259, 1453, 1600, 1815, 1883, etc. While these did have major impacts on climate, they were short term events, similar to hurricanes, and their impacts did not produce long term changes in global averages. And, yes, people did suffer dire consequences for a few years.

As for the Norse colony in Greenland, there's no definite proof which points to a general cooling as the cause for their disappearance. They were a colony and depended on trade for some essentials with Iceland as their nearest trading partner. What happened in Iceland was the result of The Plague, which killed about half the population over a few years. Earlier outbreaks of The Plague hit the populations in Europe in the 14th Century. The Irish Potato Famine happened 500 years later and the starvation was influenced by the fact that the wealthy land owners sold their crops to England instead of feeding the local population. More likely, the massive eruption of Kuwae in 1453 may have pushed the Norse over the edge. A similar eruption today could well produce the same result today for any people living with the same agricultural system which the Norse employed. Even the more advanced culture in New England of 1816 suffered greatly from the combined effects of Tambora and another eruption a few years earlier.

Finally, your claim that that solar variability is ignored is bogus. I first learned about solar variability more than 30 years ago when studying the Greenhouse Effect. At least as far back as 1988, Hanson's work with models included estimates of solar and volcanic forcing. And, we do have long term proxy data for solar variations, both in the carbon and Beryllium isotope records. Read Chapter 1 of the IPCC AR4, page 107, which presents a section entitled: "Solar Variability and the Total Solar

My conclusion is that your comment is just a ditto head repeat of the typical denialist disinformation, which I hope is only due to your ignorance because ignorance is curable...

E. Swanson

Mr. Swanson - I would like to thank you and others above who are vigilant and make the effort to stomp out denial propaganda with actual science.


The date of the start of the Little Ice Age is quite uncertain since, as I noted, nobody was keeping temperature records back then. Various estimates were 1200, 1250, 1300, etc. What is clear is that the climate deteriorated in the Northern Hemisphere and people had a difficult time of it, particularly European peasants who were living on the edge of starvation at the best of times.

The date of the end is much more certain, generally given as about 1850, because people were keeping temperature records by then. The temperature trend since 1850 has been generally upward to the present, with short pauses at times. The latest data seems to indicate a short pause since 1998. Many causes have been proposed for the Little Ice Age, but they did notice a near-complete absence of sunspots in the middle of it, which solar scientists find significant. Volcanic eruptions did occur from time to time, and certainly made the weather worse for a year or two after they happened, they but don't seem to explain all of it.

I know a bit about the Norse settlements because I come from a Scandinavian background, know a bit of the languages, and in fact one of my nieces is in Iceland getting her masters degree in Icelandic at the moment. The history of the Greenland colonies is well documented in the Norse Sagas, but little is known about its demise because the polar ice pack extended southward and cut off sea voyages to Greenland. The people in Iceland were quite concerned about their relatives, but they couldn't find out because all communication had been cut off by the ice. By the time they did manage to get a ship through, all the Norse settlers in Greenland were missing (except for one man who was found dead). From the archeological evidence, it appears that falling temperatures made agriculture impossible, rendering their lifestyle nonviable. After that, nobody knows what happened. Either they gave up their farms and joined the native population to hunt seals, or they starved to death while trying to find food.

The Icelandic settlement did somewhat better despite frequent crop failures because, as I mentioned, they could still trade with Europe to get food. Their population dropped by 50% because, although the Black Death was a major factor, the island could only support about half as many people without a viable agricultural industry, and people could move to the Continent if they couldn't make a living in Iceland.

In Ireland the big problem was population growth, because the potato grew well under Irish conditions and they could feed ridiculously large numbers of people on ridiculously small amounts of land. Unfortunately that only worked when the weather was good. The problem with the Irish Potato Famine, not often mentioned is that it occurred at the same time as the wheat crops failed on the continent, and grain prices skyrocketed. The English had money and outbid them for the limited food available, so the Irish either starved or moved to America. Sure, the English could have helped more, but it would have meant going hungry themselves, and that didn't appeal to them.

For much of Europe, the plague was actually a boon, because it reduced the population to a level that the land could support. In England, the survivors did extremely well by the standards of the time, and the Industrial Revolution gave them the means to buy food from other countries when the English crops failed. Crop failure in England meant the peasants moved into the cities and became cheap labor for the factories, so in that sense the Little Ice Age was a boon for the English economy.

I can recommend a book called "The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1950" by Brian Fagan if you want more information.

RockyMt--Good account of the Irish famine being due to their own monoculture dependence overshoot. As for Greenland I have read it was due to their lack of solar vit D and tradition-bound failure to source it from liver instead (as Inuit do) and consequently all the women died in childbirth. I think this gives a salutory lesson to the Transition Towners, that it is not enough to get merely nearly everything right, rather you have to negotiate all the hurdles if you are to become the future.

These were Norse - they were well adapted to living at high latitudes and generating their own vitamin D from the little sunlight available. That's why they have blond hair and pale skin - to take maximum advantage of the sunlight. There are large numbers of people in Norway living at the same latitudes as the Greenland colonies. (I know, because some of them are my relatives)

The archaeological evidence in Greenland indicates dropping temperatures and major crop failures at that time. The records from Iceland indicate the Arctic ice pack moved south and blocked off access to Greenland. When they eventually managed to get through, there was no one left.

I haven't read Fagan's book. However, William Calvin has the chapter on the LIA posted on his web site. Interesting reading, indeed. I have read two other books which present accounts of the Greenland Norse.

What Fagan notes at the beginning is the lack of synchronous temperature change and the problem of dating. Most of the reports about the LIA originate in Europe, with later comments from North America. There have been several attempts to show that the LIA was more widespread, but the results are controversial. The notion of a continuous cold period from 1300 to 1850 grossly overstates the situation. The records suggest that a number of cold periods occurred, with warmer conditions between. Fagan's account is difficult to understand, as he jumps around both in dates and locations, which does not provide a clear time line to connect individual short term events. For example, he mentions the data from Cold Air Cave in South Africa, a record which is based on variations in layers deposited from annual rainfall and is not that well dated and the temperature calibration is based on a rather short period of comparison with instrument data. Fagan's comment about the severity of the LIA says the LIA was global, but then later says it wasn't nearly as bad as the YD:

The colder conditions of the Little Ice Age were not confined to Europe and North America. The world was on average one or two degrees Celsius cooler than it is today-----

The Little Ice Age was nowhere near as severe as the thousand­-year‑long Younger Dryas that triggered agriculture ten thousand years ago. At its height, between A.D. 1550 and 1700, mean tempera­tures were 1.2--1.4 degrees Celsius below those of the Medieval Warm Period.

Fagan mentions the apparent increase in volcanic activity during the period. He is not aware of the 1600 eruption location, since identified at Huaynaputina in Peru. The Kuwae eruption in 1452 or 1453 is not mentioned at all, even though the atmospheric effects were clearly reported at the time of the fall of Constantinople. The impact of this eruption resulted in severe agricultural losses in China. In data from one Antarctic ice core, the sulfate attributed to Kuwae as found to be the largest in the past 4,000 years.

In short, while the Maunder Minimum (between 1645 and 1715) may have resulted in cooler conditions associated with the LIA, the volcanic eruptions may have been a major cause of the other variations over the wider period Fagan claims to be the LIA. Since the Greenland Norse did not leave records to indicate their fate, we are left with no clear explanation of their loss. Fagan suggests that they died out due to climate variation, but the exact timing is a still mystery, from what I've been able to learn. My best guess is that a few years of major cold conditions resulting from Kuwae was the cause...

E. Swanson

The latest data seems to indicate a short pause since 1998.

The latest data do? Please explain how this can come even remotely close to being an accurate statement as, so far as I know the only way that statement can be considered true is if you have so little understanding of science and statistics it is impossible for you to an even mildly educated person.

That's not hyperbole. If you actually believe temps recorded since '98 indicate cooling, then you do not understand science, statistics, or both. Period.

Well, there is the actual reason: ideology overriding rationality.

I am VERY interested in your statistical illustration of how temps since '98 can be called a cooling trend. BTW, repeating the assertion without proofs will be considered to be proof you've no idea what you are talking about.


I am VERY interested in your statistical illustration of how temps since '98 can be called a cooling trend.

That's easy. He draws a line from the 1998 high down to 2008, without acknowledging natural variability, error bounds, or things like particularly strong El-Ninos or volcanism. Ta-dah! Cooling trend! :p

I don't make this stuff up myself. I rely on the leading experts:

In a speech last week at the U.N.'s World Climate Conference in Geneva, Professor Mojib Latif of Germany's Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University, one of the world's foremost climate modelers and a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledged that the Earth has been cooling and is likely to continue that trend for the next couple of decades.

Apparently, most people didn't get the memo, and I haven't seen it widely publicized, but there does seem to be a problem in that the climate hasn't been following the theories lately (at least since 1998). But, fear not, they're working on newer and better theories:

Latif has been looking into the influence of cyclical changes to ocean currents and temperatures in the Atlantic, a feature known as the North American Oscillation. When he factored these natural fluctuations into his global climate model, Professor Latif found the results brought the rise in global temperatures to a screeching halt.

So, as you can see, if reality doesn't match your model, you can always put a few more factors into the model to get it come up with the results you want.

Latif conceded the planet has not warmed for nearly a decade and that we are likely entering "one or even two decades during which temperatures cool." Latif still believes in a warming trend and thinks it will resume.

So, as you can see, the new official explanation is that Armageddon hasn't been canceled, it has just been temporarily postponed due to factors they didn't think of at the time. And people wonder why I'm skeptical of official government explanations...


These folks are paid by us to get facts, not to promote an agenda. They have the hardest data around.

Based on the first few paragraphs, it's based on outright lies and at least one misrepresentation.


* No warming since 1998. Discussed to death, not worth going into except to point out, yet again, that an outlier does not equal a trend and EVERY year used to measure a thirty year trend shows an obvious and indisputable warming. Anyone discussing climate and claiming no cooling since '98 is either very uneducated or lying their butt off.

* 6000 Years ago was warmer. False. Study after study disproves this. The earth is currently warmer than previous eras going back hundreds of thousands, even millions of years.

* GCMs and climate scientists ignore natural processes. This is a lie; nothing but propaganda of the worst kind. What he is trying to claim is that they ignore the influence of the sun and/or sunspots when GCMs and climate science acknowledge, measure and account for the sun's energy. It is in no way ignored.

* Cooling is being covered up. Another lie based on a debunked report that some guy at the EPA submitted his data/paper and was not properly vetted. All false. It was vetted and determined to be crap and inappropriate for the process it was submitted for. Not only was it vetted, it was given much more attention than it deserved: the man was treated with patience, if anything.


* Sunspots affect earth temps. So far as I recall most recently reading, sunspots have little or no effect on temps here on earth as they don't reflect solar output. I may be mistating the exact mechanics here, but the gist is accurate, I believe.

That paper is not even worth wiping my rear with. Whatever that site is, it's not a climate science site, and appears to be nothing more than someone's blog on medical issues.


Romm..This graph is from Hadley; the hottest year in NASA’s temperature record was 2005
Using NASA’s data, it looks like the climate story of the decade is that the 2000s are on track to be nearly 0.2°C warmer than the 1990s (see “Very warm 2008 makes this the hottest decade in recorded history by far“).


You see, it's impossible to have an intelligent discussion on this subject, because if you bring up contrary evidence that may cast doubt on the theory, people accuse you of "lying". I'm not lying, I'm just repeating what the scientific journals have printed.

Let's take a case in point:

* 6000 Years ago was warmer. False. Study after study disproves this. The earth is currently warmer than previous eras going back hundreds of thousands, even millions of years.

Well, no they don't disprove it, they just tapdance around it. The reputable scientists know that 6,000 years ago was the middle of the Holocene Climate Optimum, which extended from about 9,000 to 5,000 years ago, and there's considerable evidence that it was warm back then. In fact it might have been warmer than it is today.

For instance, beaches were forming on the north coast of Greenland at that point in time, and the only way a beach could form would be if the Arctic Ice Pack retreated or disappeared during the summer, which it doesn't do now (yet). That implies conditions were warmer than it is today. Note, I'm not saying the Arctic Ice Pack won't disappear during the summer months in the future, because I think it might. It just doesn't do that now.

For another instance, the glaciers in the Canadian Rockies (the ones in the mountains behind my house) were much, much smaller 6,000 years ago. In fact they might have disappeared completely. That implies it was warmer than today. Note that I'm not saying the glaciers won't retreat, because it is obvious that (most) of them are. I'm pretty sure the Canadian glaciers won't disappear because they're rather big, but the ones in Glacier National Park in the U.S. might.

In that case it will become known as No-Glacier National Park, and there will be only one Glacier National Park left, the Canadian one. ;)

Now, I'm not denying the Arctic ice and the glaciers aren't going to retreat in a few years, and I'm not denying it will be due to global warming caused by greenhouse gases. I'm just saying they retreated before, 6,000 years ago, and I don't know why. I wasn't there and neither was anybody else.

I just don't like people denying the observed facts. The reputable scientists don't deny them, they just say it must be due to something other than greenhouse gases, like orbital forcing. I'm saying they don't know what caused it either and they're just theorizing. But I wish they'd admit that.

I also wish they wouldn't phrase it such that people believe it didn't happen (unless they read the find print about "orbital forcing", which they won't understand anyway.) It did happen, get over it, and get on with theorizing. Just don't call a theory a "fact" when it predicts something that hasn't happened yet.

I will suggest again to all pro & con followers of Climate Change [CC] that Mother Nature is carefully following the combo of [CC and human Overshoot], then rolling up the cumulative results minute by minute, moment by moment, into the planet's vastly elevated extinction rates.

IMO, it is a Primary Duty of those against-CC to prove that our only ecosystem will get better by ignoring CC-effects and continuing BAU. They Must Prove this with evidence of reduced ocean acidification, increasing global amounts of topsoil from Circle of Life O-NPK recycling, huge growth in biosolar habitats for specie protection, plus much more, to reduce endangered species & extinction rates. I believe those against-CC are failing miserably, and are deaf to the cries of other species as they vanish from our Little Blue Marble.

"Men Argue while Nature Acts"--Voltaire.

RockyMt, at least you are only being accused of lying, rather than imprisoned for a heinous crime of Climate Denial!

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: crime against humanity
Date: 1945

: atrocity (as extermination or enslavement) that is directed especially against an entire population or part of a population on specious grounds and without regard to individual guilt or responsibility even on such grounds

From Duhaime.org:

Crimes Against Humanity
An international criminal justice offence; the perpetration of acts of war upon a civilian, non-soldier population.

1. We know for a fact that much of climate denial is a manufactured response by a small number of politically and socially conservative persons/entities.

2. We know for a fact they knew what they were saying was false.

3. We know for a fact the reality is well known to them.

4. We know for a fact their efforts have prevented action on Climate Change for going on two decades.

As things get worse, more and more people will die as a result of inaction. Given it is already too late to stop the process, severe change is ahead.

The definition fits. Denialism by those who know the truth yet continue to deny and/or do not recant so their political followers will have the scales lifted from their eyes are guilty of crimes against humanity.

Because intent is important in law, those who are merely deluded would not be considered guilty of this crime.

RockyMt, at least you are only being accused of lying, rather than imprisoned for a heinous crime of Climate Denial!

I know. It's a tough crowd. I'm lucky I'm only being accused of Crimes Against Humanity, rather than being burned at the stake for heresy.

Fortunately, they're treating me better than the Catholic Church treated Copernicus when he told them the Earth went around the Sun.

In 1616 the Roman Catholic Church issued a decree banning Copernicus' book until it could be "corrected," on the grounds that the doctrine that the Earth moves and the Sun doesn't was "false and altogether opposed to Holy Scripture." The same decree also prohibited any work that defended the mobility of the Earth or the immobility of the Sun, or that attempted to reconcile these assertions with Scripture.

And much better than Galileo

In 1633 Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for "following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture,"and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.

It can be tough when you question the Conventional Wisdom.

You are making this unnecessarily complicated by including yet another false statement in your reply:

You see, it's impossible to have an intelligent discussion on this subject, because if you bring up contrary evidence that may cast doubt on the theory, people accuse you of "lying". I'm not lying, I'm just repeating what the scientific journals have printed.

The post you are responding to did not accuse you of lying, it stated the site your provided was lying. Your second false statement is also contained above: you did not provide a link to a peer-reviewed paper or a journal, but a nut job's private web page.

I must ask you, do you consider it ethical to present a private web page with inaccurate/false information as a "scientific journal?"


Unblock the Climate Debate

Greg Craven, whose nationally acclaimed new book, What's the Worst That Could Happen: A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate (Perigree) shatters the back-and-forth raillery and unending road blocks over the climate change debate with a breakthrough rationale for making decisions.

Craven: The main point is to unhook ourselves from the need for certainty before taking action. We do it in our daily lives--we fasten our seatbelt before we're certain we're going to have a collision--and military planners do it all the time. As one former U.S. Army chief of staff put it in a report on climate change, "Speaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield."

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/unblock-the-climate-debat_b_2...

Craven: The main point is to unhook ourselves from the need for certainty before taking action.

While I deplore our binary like yes/no legalistic logic, I just don' think that is the primary obstacle. More and more itseems that one side has a theological position, that it is God's planet, and HE controls the thermostat. These people think it is blasphemy to even consider mankind as capable of messing up the planet (thats Gods job). So while uncertainty/certainty gets thrown out as an excuse "we shouldn't do anything costly until its proved to be absolutely necessary....", I don't think getting it out of the way would unblock the opposition.
Then we have their near fellow travelors. These folks are so much more afraid that regulating the global commons would lead to an expansion government, that a potential climate catastrophe seems mild to them by comparison.

Yes. However, the proposed USA guv solution for climate change is simply another scam (cap and trade) that pretty well everyone agrees will enrich the owners of the government and weaken the overall economy. The argument seems to be "lets look busy" or do anything under the guise of dealing with the problem even if it is destructive.

More and more itseems that one side has a theological position, that it is God's planet, and HE controls the thermostat

Yeah, but according to most Bibles God gave us 'dominion' over the earth. So it's ours now. ;)

The big fella also apparently said to 'renew' it. We seem to have forgotten that bit.

Speaking of climate change, I found this blog post this morning, from yesterday:

It is not the silly article I find remarkable (this hockey stick graph argument was played out like five years ago), but the comments. Are these people from the same planet as the rest of us? Yay group-think! I don't think I know a single real scientist who is so certain about what the science says.

The thing about politicians is that they are very good at smelling B.S. and they know how to shovel it themselves. You don't want to try to B.S. a politician because they're the experts on it.

The thing about the famous "hockey stick" graph is that it involved a lot of methodological errors. Correct some of the errors, rerun the graph, and you get the "broken hockey stick" graph that is being flaunted around. When a politician sees that, his B.S. detector starts going WEEP! WEEP! WEEP!

People really should know better. Nobody really understands this stuff, and I don't really claim to either, but my B.S. detector is also pretty good.

If your BS detector was any good, it would have gone off scale on that article. Here's just one comment which is so absurd as to be laughable:

...maximum expansion of the Roman Empire (200-300 AD). Contemporary written records tell of wine growing in areas around Scotland -- not possible today.

The obvious confusion about "growing wine" isn't the problem, hilarious as it is. It wasn't too long ago that the denialist claim was that there were no vineyards in England, but that had been were during Roman times. Somehow, England has morphed into Scotland, perhaps because someone pointed out that, yes, grapes have been cultivated in England in recent years. Remember Hadrian's Wall? Is one to believe that the Romans had enough security available to set up vineyards and permit them to grow unmolested for years to produce wine grapes amongst the raiders from the North?

E. Swanson

Well, if there were people growing wine grapes in Scotland during the Roman occupation, it would imply that it was significantly warmer than today. It wouldn't be the Romans growing them, but I'm sure the Scots would have done it if they could. I hear there are some Scots today who are quite excited about creating a Scottish wine-growing industry, if global warming increases temperatures in a major way.

Obviously there are grapes being grown in England today (because I walked through an English vineyard), but reportedly during the Medieval Warm Period it became a major industry, with grapes growing quite a bit further north than they do today. The French even tried to ban English wines from the Continent because they couldn't handle the competition.

The Vikings were the major beneficiaries of the Medieval Warm Period, though. They raided across Europe, set up colonies on Iceland and Greenland, and attempted to colonize North America. They did quite well in Iceland because they were able to grow crops that do not grow there today (as well as trees), and they were able to establish productive farms in Greenland, which you would not be able to do today.

And then the Little Ice Age started, and it all came to an end.

We have vineyards, with grapes, making wine in Minnesota. It's a lot colder here than it is in Scotland.

If people aren't making wine in Scotland today it's for certain that it isn't because it's too cold for grapes there.

I think the problem with growing grapes in Scotland is that during the summer, you need warm weather and sunshine, two things that Scotland is somewhat weak on. Cold weather during the winter is not serious as long as it doesn't kill the plants outright.

Late breaking news: Someone managed to grow barley in Greenland, so we're back to Medieval Warm Period conditions. It's too soon to start planting palm trees in the Boreal Forest, though.

Interesting data point on Greenland, though the logical link is a bit weak.

My understanding of Scotland's climate is that it is something like the Pacific NW in the US, but windier.
Or, headed north yet further:

Ever since I discovered the joy of drinking locally produced wines I've been coming to doubt the "Scotland Wineries" story.

My understanding of Scotland's climate is that it is something like the Pacific NW

I don't think so. A quick web search turns up an average July maximum temperature of 17°C (63°F) for Scotland and 24°C (75°F) for Seattle, while Juneau, Alaska is 18°C (64°F). I would say that Scotland's summers are more like Alaska's than the Pacific NW, so pack your woollies if you go to visit.

The Romans growing wine grapes in Scotland would be a bit like the Eskimos growing wine grapes in Alaska, if you get the picture.

You have apparently entirely missed the point of my comment. Did the Romans EVER grow grapes in Scotland?

The Vikings in Greenland are said to have tried to live with the same agricultural system which was used in Norway. But, the weather was colder in Greenland, even during the supposed Medieval Warm Period. When faced with a natural variation in climate, such as the results of a volcanic eruption, their agricultural system failed. The last known dated record from the Greenland Vikings was 1408, long after the supposed start of the LIA in 1300 CE. And, "the Little Ice Age" appears not have been a continuous period of cold, as you and the rest of the denialist camp appear to think.

I'm sure you are aware of the various climate reconstructions by Mann and others. Here's one which shows little warmth (about 0.10 C) in North America during the MWP:

Viau, A.E., K. Gajewski, M.C. Sawada, and P. Fines, (2006). Millennial-scale temperature variations in North America during the Holocene. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, D09102, doi:1029/2005JD006031.

Here's aother report you might read:

Crowley, T. J. (2000). Causes of climate change over the past 1000 years. Science 289, 270–277.

For more on the volcanic impacts, consider the data on sulfate deposition as observed in ice cores given here, particularly the fact that there were several eruptions following the 1259 CE event:

G. A. Zielinski, A 10-century comparison of prominent bipolar volcanic events in ice cores, J. Geophys. Res. 100, 20937 (1995).

BTW, Fagan is not a climatologist.

E. Swanson

EVER grow grapes in Scotland?

Well, from what is being blogged around the Internet, apparently they did. The sources are not reliable, but they probably got their information from someone who was.

The problem that the Norse settlers had in Greenland was that, when they first settled, the climate supported grazing livestock and growing crops such as barley. As a result, their population expanded to fit the food supply. This went on for a few hundred years, but apparently during the Little Ice Age, growing crops apparently became untenable, not for just a few years, but for centuries. The Norse were prepared to survive a few years of failing crops, but having their crops fail every year was more than they could deal with. A volcanic eruption could depress temperatures for a year or two, but not year, after year, after year.

I scanned through a few papers by Viau, et al. When they write about Millennial-scale temperature variations in North America during the Holocene, their theory seems to be that there is an 1,100 year cycle of rising and falling temperatures over the past 10,000 years. Their graphs purport to show strong peaks at 1,100 years ago, 2,200 years ago, and 3,300 years ago. There would also be a cyclic peak right about now. They're using proxies for temperature, though, so their actual values may not be very accurate.

The Younger Dryas period, though, leaps out on their graphs like a mammoth hiding in a herd of chipmunks. Something like that would have wiped out agriculture throughout northern Europe.

The one 1,100 years ago would coincide with the Medieval Climatic Optimum when the Norse were growing barley in Greenland, the one 2,200 was about when the Romans were supposedly growing grapes in Scotland, and the one 3,300 years no doubt coincides with some particularly mellow period during the late stone age.

Volcanic eruptions do depress global temperatures drastically for short periods of time, but volcanoes don't erupt on a regular cyclic basis, and they don't create temperature peaks.