Drumbeat: October 8, 2009

Climate Agency Sees China’s Efforts Paying Dividends

Little good can be said about the worst economic slump since the 1930s, but it has produced at least one piece of positive news: the downturn will make it a bit easier to slow the rise in emissions responsible for climate change.

The International Energy Agency made that prediction in a report Tuesday on global greenhouse gas emissions. Because of slower economic growth, the agency slashed, by 5 percent, its estimate of how much greenhouse gas emissions will be produced in 2020.

But the energy agency also cautioned against complacency, stressing that reaching a deal in climate talks to be held in Copenhagen at the end of the year is crucial to limiting the rise in global temperatures.

Another reason for cautious optimism, the report said, is that China will be able to slow the growth of its emissions much faster than commonly assumed because of its rising investment in wind and nuclear energy and its newfound emphasis on energy efficiency.

Chicontepec work may be halted

Mexico's recently formed oil industry regulator wants state energy company Pemex to suspend work at its technically complex Chicontepec oilfield due to poor results, local reports said.

Pemex has spent more than $3.4 billion so far on Chicontepec, whose large reserves promised to lift Mexico's oil output from near 20-year lows, but production has lagged its targets.

Drilling and nation-building

A DECADE after opening, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur are no longer the world’s tallest. But Petroliam Nasional, the company that built them, continues to grow. It exports lots of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to booming Asian neighbours and owns the world’s largest fleet of LNG tankers. It is also expanding abroad: last year operations outside Malaysia brought in 42% of its M$264 billion ($77 billion) revenue, up from 35% in 2005. Foreign oil giants are keen to team up with it in risky places like Iraq. In short, Petronas is a successful example of a national oil company, the government-owned entities that collectively hold some three-quarters of the world’s proven reserves but are prone to waste and mismanagement. Yet it still faces a peculiar set of problems tied to its state-owned status.

Like oilmen everywhere, Hassan Marican, Petronas’s boss, is busy trying to pare costs in a global slump. From his perch on the 80th floor of Tower 1, he sees little sign of a sustained recovery in demand. He has asked contractors to cut costs by 30% after profits fell by 14% last year, the first drop in seven years. “Everyone knows how much we’re being squeezed,” he says.

Gazprom in talks with Petrobras

Russia’s Gazprom is in talks with Brazil’s Petrobras on partnerships, an executive of the Russian company said.

“Today we met with Petrobras and decided to take new steps in our relations,” Gazprom’s Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev told reporters at the World Gas Conference in Buenos Aires. “We are looking into upstream opportunities, LNG opportunities, carbon opportunities.”

Up to 15, 000 Nigerian Gunmen Took Amnesty - Government

ABUJA (Reuters) - Up to 15,000 gunmen in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta have surrendered their arms and accepted President Umaru Yar'Adua's unconditional pardon, a senior government official said on Thursday.

The number of participants in the amnesty programme, which expired on Sunday, exceeded government expectations and has already raised questions about how such large numbers of former fighters can be rehabilitated and reintegrated.

Total looks to Brazil's pre-salt play

French oil giant Total is interested in helping Brazil develop its recently discovered offshore oil reserves, but needs to evaluate recent changes to the country's regulatory framework.

"To invest in the subsalt is my biggest dream," Total boss Christophe de Margerie said today on the sidelines of the World Gas Conference.

Gazprom wants 10 pct of US natgas market in 5 yrs

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Russia's Gazprom aims to take a 10 percent share of the U.S. natural gas market within five years, Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev said on Thursday.

The company plans to expand into the United States as it did in Britain in recent years, Medvedev told reporters.

Michael Pollan: Rules to Eat By

Every trip to the supermarket these days requires us to navigate what has become a truly treacherous food landscape. I mean, what are we to make of a wonder of food science like the new Splenda with fiber? (“The great sweet taste you want and a little boost of fiber.”) Should we call this progress? Is it even food? And then, at the far other end of the nutritional spectrum, how are we to process (much less digest) the new, exuberantly caloric Double Down sandwich that KFC has introduced? This shameless exaltation of dietary fat actually redefines the very concept of a sandwich by replacing the obligatory bread with two slabs of fried chicken kept some distance apart by strips of bacon, two kinds of cheese and a dollop of sauce.

Even the Camels Are Dying

In villages all around Galkaiyo, we saw stacks of bleached-out animal bones. People here are pastoralists, and when all the livestock die, the pastoralists are not far behind. Some decide to trudge to the nearest town and wait for the next sack of donated grain. But there is a cost to this, too. Pastoralists are proud people used to surviving in an incredibly harsh environment. Now they are beggars. Once all their animals are gone, and all their brothers’ and friends’ animals are gone, too, it is hard to rebuild that nomadic life of roaming the hinterlands in search of the green grass, a harsh but totally free existence that seems almost beyond time.

Now, even the camels are dying, which really frightens people, because camels can plod along for days on just a sip of water. They are the last animals to keel over in the desert and disappear into the sands. This is basically a picture of the whole middle belt of Somalia and much of East Africa.

A Fine Mess For U.S. Refineries: With fuel demand low and inventories rising, Sunoco's idling of one plant could be followed by others.

Industry observers believe the Sunoco shut-in is a sign of what's to come. In September, Valero, the largest of the independent refiners, extended the shutdown of a refinery in Aruba and cut back capacity to process heavy oil at a subsidiary in Delaware City, Del.

Among the majors that produce and refine oil, ExxonMobil, which operates the largest refinery in the U.S. in Baytown, Texas, (572,500 barrels per day), reported a $15 million loss in the second quarter in the so-called downstream sector of its U.S. business. ConocoPhillips, the fifth-largest refiner in the world, reported a second-quarter loss of $52 million in its refining and marketing business due to lower refining margins and volumes. On Wednesday, ConocoPhillips said it would sell $10 billion in assets over the next two years from its exploration and production and refining and marketing segments in order to reduce debt. (See "ConocoPhillips On The Block?")

Dollar exit for oil trade?

Arab oil-producing nations and some of the world's largest oil consumers including China and Japan are reliably reported to be planning a long-term exit from pricing their oil trade in US dollars. If true, it would spell the death knell for the dollar as the world's reserve currency and for the United States as global economic power.

Baker Hughes: US O&G Rig Count 1,009 Vs Aug's 980

Baker Hughes reported that the international rig count for September 2009 was 986, up 39 from the 947 counted in August 2009, and down 122 from the 1,108 counted in September 2008. The international offshore rig count for September 2009 was 275, up 14 from the 261 counted in August 2009 and down 18 from the 293 counted in September 2008.

Kiev aims to cut gas order

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said today Ukraine will buy much less gas from Russia next year and will disregard any "aggressive" statements on the issue that has led before to rows and supply cuts to Europe.

Moscow and Kiev argued over gas prices and supplies last January leading to a three-week standoff and gas cuts affecting hundreds of thousands of Europeans.

Venezuela Seeks Oil Investment During Global Economic Slump

President Hugo Chavez speaks of getting robust foreign investment in Venezuela's oil sector, but major oil companies don't seem to be prepared to actually spend much as long as the global economic downturn slogs on.

Royal London eyes oil explorers

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil exploration and production firms offer better gearing than majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell to an oil price unlikely to head lower, a Royal London Asset Management money manager said.

Schlumberger's new shop shows oil well completions becoming more difficult

Getting to the heart of the matter, this new installation demonstrates how oil well completions are becoming more complicated as the volume of oil saturated reservoir decreases. Each new redevelopment project strives to extend the amount of reservoir contacted by the several horizontal laterals which now can be a mile long or longer.

Total confirms eyes refining assets in Asia

PARIS (Reuters) - French oil major Total on Wednesday reaffirmed its ambition to invest in Asia's refining sector to take advantage of strong demand for fuel products in the region.

The New Scramble for Africa

The 21st century scramble is entirely on resources, especially the black gold (oil). Unlike a number of historians, I do not hold strong resentments to those nations or countries that scramble and take over other nations and use their resources.

Nigerian militants vow to resume oil attacks next week

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's main militant group said that it will resume attacks on oil installations after a cease-fire expires next week.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said in a statement late Wednesday that it will burn down all oil installations it has attacked in the past and will no longer limit attacks to pipelines.

Chevron: New Oil Law Reduces Opportunities in Brazil

Changes to Brazil's oil laws don't allow much space for international oil companies to take part in recent offshore oil finds, the vice president for global upstream and gas at U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. said Wednesday.

In September, Brazil's government proposed changes to the country's regulatory framework, giving the government a greater stake in the discoveries and state-run energy giant Petrobras the lead role in development.

Saudi Oct gasoline imports flat from Sept - trade

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia imported around 26,000 barrels per day (bpd) of gasoline in October, around the same amount as in the previous month, traders said on Thursday.

The world's top oil exporter had been expected to significantly cut back on gasoline imports by the third quarter.

But it has had to keep buying spot barrels because of continued technical problems at the new fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit at Rabigh Refining and Petrochemcial (PetroRabigh) 2380.SE, trading sources said.

Baker Hughes unit faces job cuts

More than 150 Baker Oil Tools' employees in Aberdeen have been warned they may be laid off, according to reports.

Conoco in $11bn asset sell-off in Qld and NT

US OIL giant ConocoPhillips, which has liquefied natural gas export assets and prospects in Queensland, the Northern Territory and off the coast of Western Australia, plans to sell $US10 billion ($11bn) worth of assets and slash spending in the next two years in an effort to pay down a heavy debt burden.

The move marks a reversal in strategy for the Houston-based major, which has spent a lot on acquisitions in recent years, including the $7bn purchase of half of Origin Energy's Queensland coal-seam gas reserves and associated Gladstone LNG ambitions.

UKERC Report Exposes Bankruptcy of Government's Position on Peak Oil

ODAC welcomes the UKERC’s report Global Oil Depletion: An assessment of the evidence for a near-term peak in global oil production, published today (8th October), as a thorough and dispassionate assessment of the evidence that reaches compelling conclusions. The report also exposes the bankruptcy of the British government’s position on peak oil.

While We're Off Fighting Terror, The Planet's Crumbling

History has shown that human societies often misjudge risk, and that is the case today. With world attention focused almost exclusively on terrorism and Iraq, another, even more serious security threat deepens -- the global environmental/humanitarian crisis.

While we remain virtually hypnotized by terrorism, humanity is quietly destroying the biosphere in which we live, ourselves and our future along with it. Just since 9/11, 25 million children died from preventable causes, the world's population grew by 200 million people and thousands of species went extinct. Also, 250,000 square miles of forest were lost, 50,000 square miles of arable land turned to desert, 8 billion tons of carbon were added to the atmosphere and air pollution claimed more than 4 million lives.

John Michael Greer: The Metastasis of Money

For most people in the modern industrial world, the only way to get access to any kind of wealth – that is, any good or service – is to get access to money first, and exchange the money for the wealth. This makes it all too easy to confuse money with wealth, and it also fosters the habit of thought that treats money as the driving force in economic life, and thinks of wealth as a product of money, rather than seeing money as an arbitrary measure of wealth.

The thought experiment of placing a hundred economists on a desert island with $1 million each but no food or water is a good corrective to this delusion. Unfortunately this same experiment is being tried on a much vaster scale by the world’s industrial economies right now. We have seven billion people on a planet with a finite and dwindling supply of the concentrated energy resources that are keeping most of them alive, and governments and businesses alike are acting as though the only possible difficulty in this situation is coming up with enough money to pay for investments in the energy industry.

Mexico's Slim sees opportunities in onshore drilling

LEON, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said on Wednesday that investing in onshore oil drilling is Mexico's best chance of shoring up slumping output as deep-sea crude discoveries lie years away.

Mexican oil output has fallen by nearly a quarter since 2004 as production tumbles at the aging Cantarell field in the shallow Gulf of Mexico. The country is working on developing incentive contracts that could bring more foreign companies into deepwater exploration by the end of this year.

Asked about his interests in oil drilling, Slim told reporters: "Here on land there is still important availability (of resources) in some areas to give us the oil production that we need and we could compensate the fall at Cantarell."

UK executive claims he was dismissed for being green

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A British executive who says he was sacked because of his beliefs about climate change is defending his right to make a claim for unfair dismissal against his former employers.

Say bye to buy local

Ottawa – In the midst of the ‘Buy American’ local procurement controversy, ‘Say bye to buy local’, featuring Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow and CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan, will launch in Ottawa on October 13, followed by events in Kitchener, Toronto, Sudbury, Windsor, Kingston, London, and Hamilton. The Ontario speaking tour will reveal how secret trade deals are threatening local economies, communities, jobs and the environment.

Sustainable energy plan has rivals green with envy

George Smitherman may have his eyes on Mayor David Miller's job, but as the province's minister of energy and infrastructure he's got a few things to wrap up before taking the plunge into Toronto politics. He'll want to protect his legacy as the man who turned Ontario into a green-energy titan.

His baby on the energy file, the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, was passed into law in May. The consensus is that the document is great in principle, but the details are what matter to those energy developers, homeowners, communities and utilities sitting anxiously on the sidelines.

Toyota May Avoid Future Prius Delays With Panasonic-Sanyo Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., whose Japanese customers wait eight months to buy a Prius hybrid car, may avoid longer delays in the future thanks to Panasonic Corp.’s pending takeover of Sanyo Electric Co.

As demand grows for electric and gasoline-electric hybrids, a shortage of the batteries used in the vehicles may force automakers to compete for supply. Toyota, which aims to offer hybrid versions of all its models sometime after 2020, may find it easier to do so after its partner Panasonic makes Sanyo a subsidiary.

Patriot Place to use 30% solar power

BALTIMORE - Constellation Energy Group will build a photovoltaic system to generate solar power at an entertainment complex adjacent to the New England Patriots’ stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The system will produce about 525 kilowatts at Patriot Place, the 1.3-million-square-foot entertainment, retail, and dining complex next to the NFL team’s Gillette Stadium. Topping seven roofs, the power system will supply about 30 percent of Patriot Place’s power.

Saving forests five times better than carbon capture for climate action

WWF Sweden is urging its government — holding the current EU Presidency - to get behind an effective international agreement on halting forest loss as a key and highly cost effective measure on climate change.

Global Warming is Neither

Temperature readings from around the world tell us there has been no increase in temperature for 11 years. The average temperature of the Earth has been going down for the last 8 years. But you will never see this on any news program, read it in any newspaper or hear it on any radio show. There are five institutions that track global temperature: The Hadley Center in England, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, the Remote Sensing Systems of California, the University of Alabama at Huntsville and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). All of these centers show no warming for 11 years and all show the temperature falling for the last 8 years at varying degrees.

Many people read magazines and newspapers and listen to morning or evening news programs on television. These publications and news programs point to things like the melting of glaciers to prove global warming is real. The melting of glaciers is not new. It began over 250 years ago when the Earth began to warm from a deep freeze know as “The Little Ice Age.” During that time the Earth’s temperature bottomed out in the 1600s. Since then, the Earth has been warming.

Peak oil could hit soon, report says

There is a "significant risk" that global oil production could begin to decline in the next decade, researchers said today.

A report by the UK Energy Research Council (UKERC) said worldwide production of conventionally extracted oil could "peak" and go into terminal decline before 2020 – but that the government was not facing up to the risk.

Falls in production will lead to higher and more volatile prices, and could encourage investment in even more polluting fossil fuels, such as tar sands, which "need to stay in the ground" to avoid dangerous climate change as a result of carbon emissions, the researchers said.

The new report said there was too much geological, political and economic uncertainty to predict an exact date for peak oil, which would not lead to a sudden decline but a "bumpy plateau" with a downward trend in extraction.

But Steve Sorrell, chief author of the report, said while those who forecasted an imminent decline had underestimated oil reserves, more positive forecasts suggesting oil production will not peak before 2030 were "at best optimistic and at worst implausible".

Era of cheap, easy oil is over, warns study

The world could start to run out of oil in the next ten years, sparking soaring energy prices and a rush for even more polluting fossil fuels, an influential new study by the UK Energy Research Council has warned.

Peak oil before 2020 a 'significant risk', say experts

A new report highlights how woefully unprepared the Government is for a looming peak in oil production

There is a 'significant risk' that conventional oil production will peak before 2020, and forecasts that delay the event beyond 2030 are based on assumptions that are 'at best optimistic and at worst implausible'.

So says a major new report that puts the excitement over recent ‘giant’ oil discoveries into perspective and directly contradicts the British government’s position. It also warns that failure to recognise the threat of peak oil could undermine efforts to combat climate change.

Is the sun setting on oil supplies?

The study, from the UK Energy Research Centre, bills itself as the first independent analysis of the risk of so-called "peak oil" and concludes that supplies are likely to peak before 2030 – with a real chance they could peak by 2020.

It also warns that the UK government is not alone in being unprepared for this scenario, which would result in rising oil prices and increased price volatility.

World could pass ‘peak oil’ within the next decade

The onset of peak oil has been predicted before, falsely, and Sorrell and his team do note that there has always been a tendency to be pessimistic when making such predictions. Moves by oil companies to exploit such alternative sources as tar sands, and pressure to drill for oil in regions such as the Arctic and Alaska, are short-term approaches to the problem of energy depletion as they put off investment in new energy technologies, they say.

Warning over global oil 'decline'

There is a "significant risk" that global production of conventional oil could "peak" and decline by 2020, a report has warned.

The UK Energy Research Centre study says there is a consensus that the era of cheap oil is at an end.

But it warns that most governments, including the UK's, exhibit little concern about oil depletion.

The report's authors also state that the 10 largest oil producing fields in the world are all in decline.

'Significant Risk' Of Oil Production Peaking In Ten Years, Report Finds

The report finds that we are entering an era of slow and expensive oil as resources get harder to find, extract and produce. Major new discoveries, such as those announced recently in the Gulf of Mexico, will only delay the peak by a matter of days or weeks. Simply maintaining global production at today's level would need the equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia every three years.

How long can $2.50 a gallon gas last? (Randy Udall and Dave Bowden)

Colorado motorists are now paying about $2.50 for a gallon of gasoline. After the sticker shock of 2008, when the price hit four bucks, that's a real bargain, but how long can it last?

Predicting oil prices is tricky, but our guess is that we may enjoy cheap gasoline for another year or two. After that, all bets are off.

Energizing Preston development

Remember those $100-plus per barrel oil prices, and the $4 per gallon gas that followed them? It is likely all coming back.

In their most recent outlook, oil industry analysts at Merrill Lynch predicted that oil will rise well above $100 per barrel approaching 2012. Increased demand from the United States and Europe, the usual determiners of world oil prices, will not drive the anticipated hikes because those countries will not see dramatic economic recoveries and so no big spike in demand, according to the analysis.

Saudis ask for aid if world cuts dependence on oil

BANGKOK — There are plenty of needy countries at the U.N. climate talks in Bangkok that make the case they need financial assistance to adapt to the impacts of global warming. Then there are the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia has led a quiet campaign during these and other negotiations — demanding behind closed doors that oil-producing nations get special financial assistance if a new climate pact calls for substantial reductions in the use of fossil fuels.

Shell to Use World’s Biggest Ship at Australian Field

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to deploy a vessel “much larger than an aircraft carrier” off the coast of northwestern Australia to house the world’s first floating liquefied natural gas plant.

Queensland Gas Projects Face Labor Risks, Fitch Says

(Bloomberg) -- A labor shortage is set to push up costs and drive consolidation among proposed coal-seam gas ventures in Australia’s Queensland state, a Fitch Ratings analyst said.

The competing ventures may struggle to find enough workers, Gavin Madson, director of the ratings company’s energy and utilities team, said at a Fitch conference in Sydney today. “If they cannot line up the contractors, consolidation is what they’ll have to do.”

Exploring the extreme frontiers of oil drilling

The oil field known as “Jack” is located 175 miles off the coast of Louisiana, below 7,200 feet of water and another 30,000 feet of seabed, occupying a geological layer formed in the Cenozoic Era more than 60 million years ago. This layer—the “lower tertiary”—lies deeper under water than any other Gulf of Mexico oil discovery, which is one reason why many in the industry initially dismissed it as too remote to exploit. But in 2006, Chevron defied the odds when its engineers drilled a test well at Jack and discovered that oil could flow from this ancient sediment at profitable rates. Their success opened up a new drilling frontier—a monster oil patch holding between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of crude. It was hailed as the largest discovery in the United States since 1968—a discovery potentially big enough to boost national oil reserves up to 50 percent.

Nigeria Producing About 1.6 Million Barrels Oil a Day

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria is producing between 1.6 million and 1.7 million barrels of oil a day and is abiding by its OPEC quota, Petroleum Minister Rilwanu Lukman said.

A decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on production quotas on Dec. 22 will depend on market conditions such as the strength of demand, Lukman said.

E.ON Delays U.K. Plan for Kingsnorth Coal-Fired Plant

(Bloomberg) -- E.ON AG, Germany’s biggest utility, delayed plans for a new coal-fired electricity plant in the U.K. by two to three years as the recession crimps demand for power.

The company’s plans to build a new generating station at Kingsnorth, east of London, where there is already an existing plant, have met opposition from environmentalists.

Investing in Combustible Ice

Combustible ice is a simple combination of methane and ice crystals. It is usually formed under sediments in the deepest parts of the ocean, where methane escaping from the earth's core runs into high pressure and low temperature and becomes trapped in the crystal structure of water ice.

What might be surprising than its earthly existence is the sheer abundance of methane calthrate. Some geologists estimate that there is twice as much of this compound than all known oil, natural gas and coal reserves on earth...

Norway Oil Fund Asks VW to Call Off Porsche Takeover

(Bloomberg) -- Norway’s oil fund demanded that Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker, cancel a planned merger with Porsche SE, saying the deal is favorable to the family owners of the sports-car manufacturer.

The proposed transactions are “unacceptable” as they “leave the impression of being designed to suit the needs of the Porsche controlling families at the expense of Volkswagen and its non-controlling owners,” Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages the fund, wrote in a letter dated yesterday to Volkswagen supervisory board Chairman Ferdinand Piech and board members.

Venezuela May Take a Year to Cut Oil Tax, Royalties

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela may take a year to consider cutting taxes and royalties on oil production in new Orinoco Belt projects as it assesses the blocks, an official said.

Venezuela will wait for the results of engineering studies in the Carabobo oil blocks before deciding whether to make the concessions to private partners, Eulogio del Pino, Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s vice president of exploration and production, said today in an interview in Caracas.

Energy Pools - a New Approach to Energy Financing

Whether or not everyone yet buys in to the 'peak oil' theory that the level of production of crude oil may actually have peaked, it will be difficult to find many people who actually think that energy is going to get cheaper relative to money generally, and the dollar in particular.

That is the reason why China, for instance, prefers massive purchases of crude oil and other resources to further purchases of US financial assets. It is also the reason for the huge success of 'Exchange Traded Funds' which invest directly in energy markets through the purchase of futures contracts and other financial instruments.

The purchaser from an 'Energy Pool' of a unit redeemable in (say) ten kWh of electricity has a choice. Firstly, he may sell the unit to someone else for money, or even for 'money's worth' of goods and services. Secondly, he may choose to redeem the unit against the supply of electricity to him through the pool.

Future to sustainability lies in peaceful transition

By now, the concept of sustainability is one that most people are familiar with. Though there are many ways to define a sustainable society, there is really only one alternative to it. Basically, you're either on or off the bus. By definition, being unsustainable only lasts for so long. It's the ultimate dead end.

What does that mean in the current context of our lives, our homes and communities, and life as we know it? There are many examples of human and nonhuman populations that have lived in relative balance with the world for tens of thousands of years. However, they were not multiplying and consuming resources at the enormous rate we've become accustomed to. Can we envision what our community will look like in 5,000 years? How about 100?

Solar Decathlon seeks best sun-powered homes

WASHINGTON (AFP) – For the past week on the National Mall in Washington, international crews have been busy putting up structures for an event showcasing a radiant source of energy that some once revered as a god.

No, it is not a remake of President Barack Obama's inauguration but the Solar Decathlon, a biennial event that begins Thursday and this year puts modular, solar-powered homes through 10 tests to determine which is the new sun king.

Hong Kong golf course goes green with first solar carts fleet

HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) – A golf course in Hong Kong, where air pollution is a huge concern, is displaying its green credentials with the world's first entire fleet of solar-powered golf carts.

Executives urge lawmakers to pass climate bill

WASHINGTON – Executives from about 150 companies, many involved in renewable energy technologies, heard a pep talk at the White House and then combed the halls of Congress on Wednesday to argue for passage of a climate bill that is facing an uphill fight in the Senate.

The executives in scores of meetings with senators and their staffs sought to counter opponents' arguments that the climate bill, which will force a shift away from fossil fuels, also will lead to much higher energy prices and cost American jobs.

Rich nations need to ante-up in climate talks: U.N.

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Poorer countries are helping shape a broader pact to fight climate change but their efforts are being stymied by rich nations' lack of commitment on finance and tougher emissions cuts, the U.N. said on Thursday.

Funding to help poorer nations is a make-or-break issue in negotiations to seal a broader climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol at a summit in Copenhagen in December.

Norway Offers 40% Emissions Cut, Biggest Among Developed World

(Bloomberg) -- Norway said it may reduce greenhouse- gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, the most ambitious target proposed by a developed nation.

The goal is tougher than the 30 percent previously proposed by the northern European nation and will contribute to “an ambitious treaty where large-emission countries agree to concrete emissions commitments,” the country’s re-elected government said yesterday in a policy document.

Thaw scars are widespread across the northland

One month ago, I wrote about a dramatic landscape feature in western Alaska called the Selawik Slump. The slump, caused by thawing permafrost, looks like a bomb crater leaking mud from the boreal forest into a clear northern river. There are dozens of them in northern Alaska, though none as big as the one on the Selawik River.

There are also many of these beacons of change in the Yukon Territory, according to Doug Davidge of Whitehorse, who read the Selawik column in the Yukon News. A few years ago Davidge was flying over the Peel River country east of Eagle Plains for work when he saw a gaping wound on a hillside. Scientists once described these features as “tundra mudflows.” They now call them retrogressive thaw slumps.

Melting Arctic poses new challenges, naval powers say

NEWPORT, Rhode Island (AFP) – International piracy and the challenges of new Arctic Ocean corridors opening up as a result of global warming topped the agenda Wednesday at a gathering of world maritime powers.

"The menaces from climate change cause growing concern," warned Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "There is a global security implication of the climate change."

"The North West passage will be open most part of the year, the new generation of naval students will live in a different world," he said.

In light of todays' toplink, as well as the toplink on DB Oct. 5, "Peak Oil: The End Of the Oil Age is Near, Deutsche Bank Says" : ”The big driver? The coming-of-age of electric and hybrid vehicles, which promise massive fuel-economy gains for short-hop commuting but which so far have not been economic”

Just would like to point to a 23 page PDF by Deutsche Bank Research of December 2004, which reads on page 8 “On the assumption of constant annual output and with the given reserves, the federal agency expects the “depletion mid-point” – at which half the oil presumed to exist throughout the world has already been produced and used – to be reached within the next 15 to 20 years.”

On page 9 they mention ASPO’s forecast for a 2008-2010 peak.

And on page 10 :” The end-of-fossil-hydrocarbons scenario is not therefore a doom-and-gloom picture painted by pessimistic end-of-the-world prophets, but a view of scarcity in the coming years and decades that must be taken seriously”

It’s here http://www.dbresearch.de/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_DE-PROD/PROD0000000000181487.PDF

Intersting link Paulus. Even though the report is 5 years old they had the wonderful foresight to see the development of hundreds of nuclear and non-CO2 producing coal-fired plants that will save us. After a quick scan indicating nothing about production rates I must assume they understand that it's just a matter of cranking open the valves on all those new reserves so they can match delivery with demand.

It's been a while since a read the whole report but it seems to me it contains a very clear warning signal

Hybrids of all stripes are still only 2.7% of US sales in September. For 2008 the total was 2.4%, so 41 years to take over the market at current rates, not accounting for lame ducks like hybrid SUVs, or vehicle scrappage. US Hybrid sales peaked in 2007. Post-Clunker sales have been fairly awful, too:

The Toyota Prius fell precipitously from nearly 20,000 units in August to about 11,000 units in September. But there was a silver-ish lining in the dark clouds: the Prius was the 9th most popular vehicle in the United States last month, showing that a hybrid car with the right traits can be popular despite a bad economy and low gas prices. Prius sales were actually up by 1 percent compared to a year ago. We’re not saying that Prius, or any other hybrid model or any hybrid brand, escaped the misery—but the Prius's numbers underline how the end of Cash for Clunkers pulled the rug out from the entire automotive market.

Several vehicles suffered terribly in September. Nissan Altima Hybrid sales crashed by nearly 90 percent; the Honda Civic Hybrid fell by nearly 79 percent, with Honda sadly managing to sell merely 152 Civic Hybrids. GM sold more Cadillac Escalade Hybrids than Honda sold Civic Hybrids. The Civic Hybrid’s poor showing, along with mediocre sales of the Honda Insight—which has failed to capture the magic and mystique of the Prius—allowed Ford to edge past Honda to become the No. 2 seller of gas-electric vehicles in September.

The relative strength of the Prius, combined with the company’s stronger stable of seven Toyota and Lexus hybrids, further etched Toyota Motor Co. as the leader in the hybrid market selling more than 7 out of every 10 hybrids in September.

September 2009 Dashboard: End of Clunkers Hurts Hybrids | Hybrid Cars

Making multi-decade extrapolations during this economic environment is about as helpful as taking sextant readings on a roller coaster.

I think the point to be taken is that, as we've often surmised, the big boys and girls (or some of them, anyway) have already seen some of the writing on the wall. It still doesn't follow that their solutions will be all that useful just yet.

The first step is admitting that you've got a problem.

Problem? what you talkin bout there son. There ain't no problem unless you're a Cannuck.


It's worth it for the laugh and the reality check!

I'll go for the laugh.. every little bit helps this year..

'We gotta DRENCH Jesus in Oil..'

Yeah, thank you. It got me.

"God-given V-8 power" would make for a good user name.

Making multi-decade extrapolations during this economic environment is about as helpful as taking sextant readings on a roller coaster.

As Travis Bickle would say, you talkin' to me? Or responding to the Deutsche Bank's findings? I'm just pointing out that these vehicles aren't dominating the market enough to have an appreciable effect on reducing consumption yet, nor will the additional models entering the market add much. Their popularity will rise again - and surprisingly hasn't gone down that much this year - when crude prices take off once more, but the volumes still don't look to be great enough to do much. We have to find out what kind of depressicession we're in to know what the shape of future car sales will be like, too; I think we have a really crappy fall and winter to muddle through and that may well put the kibosh on all manner of green vehicle forecasts.

The more modest and much less sexy techs I think will do much more for fuel conservation - mild hybrids etc. EIA agreed in their assessment. I'd like to know what kind of premium they add to the cost, it could be a tech that would weather economic downturns, or be suitable to converting the existing vehicle fleet to if need be.

Yes, I was referring to your comment.

Clearly, sales of everything, and especially premium and 'green' energy products are in a brutal slump, so modelling future consumer behavior on the combination of the present economy, plus the fact that 'Noone Still really Knows' that there is an energy crisis at our doorstep.. Maybe I'm just taking it as an article of faith by now that there WILL be a change in consumer sentiment, albeit somewhere around 11:59-12:03, at which point, all these trends will vanish and be replaced like the Auto-assembly lines after Pearl Harbor.

Just waiting for the boy to cry 'Black Swan' loud enough so that people can hear.. either that, or Pearl Harbor, but I hope it's the former.

"God-given V-8 power" would make for a good user name." Posted by The Dude

This reminds me of an old campfire song from when I was a kid; it started off with:

"Oh, you can't get to Heaven in a Ford V-8,
cause the Lord, he drives a Chevrolet...."

Antoinetta III

Lyr Req: Ain't Gonna Grieve My Lord No More

Well you can't get to heaven in a Ford Coupe
Cause the angels all drive Chevrolet


Oh you'll never get to Heaven
In a Ford Coupe
'Cos the Lord's got shares
In Chevrolet

From mudcat.org, repository of all things folksong. Bets are that someone out there's composed verses about TARP.

One newspaper clipping I came across last week from 1974 described one of the big 3 retooling whole assembly lines within the space of about half a year, to build midsize instead of big coupes. Low hanging fruit being picked. The automakers don't seem to be capable of making shifts on a dime like that anymore.

Peak oil could hit soon...Isn't that a bit like saying there could be a train wreck soon. After seeing this picture?

My life Pictures, Images and Photos

Picture posted by BuckyGomez

Having worked briefly as a railroad accident analyst, I notice that there appears to be a hard structure on the right side of the track just below the tank car, perhaps a large concrete drain or underpass. Such structures have a habit of staying in place as the track on the gravel bed tends to move over time. The resulting misalignment can trigger derailments, especially when a tank car with worn shock dampers rides over it. Sort of a "Black Swan" producing a "Tipping Point"...

E. Swanson

It's about time for people in the UK to pay attention to energy issues.

From the Energy Export Databrowser:

Energy production from fossil fuels in the UK is down a staggering 40% since 2000! And the downward trend is set to continue. How much of that can be made up with solar and wind?

I know a lot of LNG is coming on-stream in far-flung corners of the world but if anything happens to the value of the pound the Brits will be facing some interesting choices. (The map of the globe is no longer filled with Pink Bits that pay tribute.)

What would a 40% decline in energy consumption look like? Probably a lot more like my Mom's childhood in Blackpool in the 1940's and 50's.

Best wishes for massive energy conservation.

-- Jon

That UK governemnt report is all over all the British media today, apparently. I guess we could mark down Oct 8 2009 as the day that the UK general public at least started to become somewhat peak oil aware?

I wonder when we'll see a similar media blitz here the US?

I wonder when the leaders admit they are wrong in their assumptions wrt energy and start doing something about it.

Good to see that the UK media has finally come out of the Peak Oil closet. I can only hope that this type of reporting spreads to the rest of the world, especially North America and the Middle East.

Based on your chart, looks like the Brits are post-peak on:

Coal (Before 1980)
Nuclear (1999)
Oil (2000)
Gas (2001)

And Hyro is irrelevant for them as a power source.

God save the queen, looks like her subjects are screwed.

God save the queen, looks like her subjects are screwed.

Little island at high latitude with limited agricultural potential, grossly overinflated population, archaic social institutions, dependent on energy imports since their own resources are depleted, nothing much of value to trade for those resources. UK is a microcosm of the world.

Jay Hanson Quote: "..stuck in obsolete belief systems, they had no understanding of why everything fails.."


My US WAG of [19 @ '19] may be less pessimistic than what the UK is heading into at top speed. As ELM hammers home: from our US peak of 62 in '73, I am expecting an approx. total two-thirds decrease [with 10% already kaput 62-->57 in '07]. Compare to the fast-crash decline of approx. 40% in the UK already. I think it would be interesting to read a 10-year UK WAG by a TODer.

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

US has lower population density, greater agricultural potential, more natural resources.. than the UK. So.. more protracted decline in US than in UK. Which is worse, faster or slower crash? I dunno. What does "standard of living" mean, anyway? Who has the higher SL, a hippie living in a teepee in the national forest somewhere, or the socialite living in a Manhattan apartment? I dunno that, either. Whichever one is happier, I suppose.

Hello DD,

SL = BOE/C in Duncan's Olduvai Re-Equalizing text. Yep, I think SL was a poor word-descriptive choice that leads to much confusion [as was evidenced in the original TOD comment thread], but whatever... I would have chosen something like Energy Lifestyle [EL].

Um, well we do have huge wind wave and tidal energy resources.

The news story in the drumbeat up above is headlined on the BBC home page


THe MSM story is getting slowly ever more strident though.

The final line of the document sums up the situation.

Despite the evidence, the report notes with some surprise that the UK government rarely mentions the issue in official publications.

I think there is a good reason for this, they think the public will panic, and I think they are correct. Things like twenty or thirty year mortgages and debt in genneral can't be paid off - that means the banking system totally fails for starters!

People would get a very wrong idea if they read about it on the Internet. The Daily Telegraph published the story, indeed. Sort of. I have the paper in front of me, it is on page 10, a very small note about two fingers high. The Kindle and the pre Palm whatever that may be, have half a page. I don't know if there will be a comment on the Business section eventually but I doubt it will have any impact on the British people.

Mind you, it is worse still in Spain. It is quite obvious that the government is very well aware of Peak Oil and some of its consequences. That's why the High Speed trains, Solar energy, photovoltaics, wind energy, tramways, winding down Nuclear Power, etc.
On the other hand the Credit Crash or Great Recession caught them totally unawares. The Minister of Finances Solbes was giving out 400 euros to everybody -just before he resigned. Zapatero declined to pay them, struck the offer out. We're broke, basically.

Yet, when I try go get any comment on Peak Oil published on the newspapers it is always censored.
In the Spanish newspapers you can praise Hitler, Stalin and Franco, attack the President, the Bishops and the Pope and even the King, but you try to say that Economic Growth is finished and no way.

Very glad to see the UK Energy Research Council come right out and point to the elephant in the room. Politicians may shudder when they imagine what the reaction will be when they have to tell people that perpetual growth is impossible in this petri dish, but reports like this help to make the swallowing of such medicine a little easier.

I look forward to the response by the UK government (and others)...

What response?

They will at best repeat the assertion that their current policies will ensure a secure energy supply for the foreseeable future.

The foreseeable future for HMG is May 5th, 2010, the next general election.

Then it is someone else's problem.

I was able to attend the launch of the UKERC report yesterday, good job by Steve Sorrell and their team.

key points IMO:

  • peak by 2030 for sure (A post-2030 peak highly optimistic even implausible)
  • 'Significant risk' of a peak before 2020 (i _think_ they were asked if they had put a number on 'risk' and said no)
  • their figures include conventional oil only, not tar sands, oil shale, liquid from coal/gas etc so theirs is a conventional oil peak not a liquid fuels peak
  • despite large range of figures on Ultimately Recoverable Resources (URR) the timing of peak is 'relatively insensitive' to this. That said, by relatively insensitive they mean the range for possible peak is 'only' 2009-2031.
  • regardless of physical resource availability, peak oil may be driven by economic factors, i.e. underinvestment as a result of 2008 recession leading to supply problems when demand recovers, ergo price spike, ergo further economic problems and fall in demand etc etc.

the report is as much an assessment of different models and forecasting methods as it is an analysis of the results of those.

I have compared Peak Oil to a commercial airliner doing a gradual descent for landing, while Peak Exports is more akin to a terrifying near vertical dive into the ground, e.g., the UK's observed average net export decline rate over the decline period (1999-2005) was -55.7%/year, i.e., falling by half about every 15 months.

Therefore, from the point of view of importing countries, I think that analysts focusing on total production, instead of net oil exports, is akin to having a nice chat with one's seatmate about your respective dinner plans as your aircraft does a near vertical dive into the ground.

Just my 2¢ worth.

Hello WT,

Yep, ELM is the 'Greatest Story Never Told'...by the Iron Triangle.

As you have roughly stated many times before: I can't understand why ELM is not Numero Uno on the news.

Best hopes for the Google 'Unlucky' button to make ELM #1. Keep the email requests up, folks. Become a change agent.

If I lived in the UK I'd print beer coasters with the "UK Production" chart on one side and the "UK Consumption" chart on the other side and scatter them around local pubs just to see what kind of WTF! response it generated. Or perhaps one side should say "Your energy glass is half empty."

I'm very close to doing this with coffee houses here in Seattle but the charts for the US are not quite as morbidly exciting as the UK charts.

-- Jon

Hmmm ... I might try something like that in the House of Commons, maybe try the Peak Oil Group amyway!

I wonder if there is an easy way to e-mail every MP?

I think the ELM situation will eventually be much worse than it seems at first glance.

Previous experience from the 1970s and the three day week tells me that in the UK when importing most of it’s oil, so called 'essential' things like food production, emergency services, Health Service, public transport, military etc will get all the oil they need. I think you may be surprised how much is considered essential!

The rest of the population will be at the back of the queue coping with all of the decline which will go to zero much more quickly than net exports, just like the recipients of exports in the ELM model.

ELM - world peak

Thanks Jonathan,

I have been banging this drum as loudly as I can for several years now. The UK is staring into the energy abyss and that is not over stating the matter. You are quite correct to bring the strength of the Pound into the discussion. In a few short years - by 2015 - we will be relying on four LNG ships docking each and every day to provide anything from 35-50% of our current electricity generation demand. And by the same time frame we will be importing about 1M b/day of oil too. And all of this into a strong headwind of steadily rising oil/gas prices and a weakening pound.

We will be exporting more and more of our fiat-pounds in order to provide us with energy we need to sustain a western consumerist society - consuming, not producing. The dominance of the City will wane in the coming years as more business is relocated to the East, so that revenue stream will dry up just as the North Sea will be contributing less to HM Treasury as well. So what exactly are we going to offer the world in exchange for its energy? The current account deficit will explode, the pound will sink and long term interest rates will soar.

I don't envy David Cameron one bit. I just watched his speech to the Conservative Party conference and he looks like a very sincere and genuine man who is well aware what a mess the idiots in charge at the moment have left him. But not once did he mention energy; I guess not surprising as it would go over the heads of most. But I do fervently hope that he knows that energy is going to play a major part of his program however he likes it. Assuming he will win, and I hope he does - he gets my vote.

EDIT: if we need four LNG ships each day, and assuming it is a minimum of 1 week sailing from Qatar/Trinidad to Wales I reckon that there will need to be a minimum of 4*7*2 = 56 LNG ships in a continuous convey backwards and forwards to the UK and this does not allow for any unloading/loading time either. (the '2' in the sum is to represent that they will return empty). Are there even 56 LNG ships afloat? This just sounds absurd.

Not to worry there.

Tony Blair will soon become annointed as President of the EU and the Muslim country called England will drop the Pound like a hot potato.

The Euro will be the going monetary item very soon. Pound debts will evaporate faster than the Queen's Farts.

Energy to heat your hovels will come from across the Channel from France. Learn to speak French, or move.

by 2015 - we will be relying on four LNG ships docking each and every day to provide anything from 35-50% of our current electricity generation demand.

Actually it's much, much, worse than that 'cos we use gas for a lot more than electricity - but I get your drift.

It's no surprise that the stastistically illiterate UK Government doesn't think there is a problem, these are their latest statistics.


A chart to convince everybody that all is well is this one:


Compare it to Jonathan's equivalent uptread - can you see what the problem (deliberate misdirection?) is?

ummmm..... let me see.. is it something to do with logs? Trees! Forests even?

Actually it's much, much, worse than that 'cos we use gas for a lot more than electricity - but I get your drift

Do you have any numbers about how much gas we use for hot water, cooking and central heating and industry? Would be interesting to compare total gas useage and break it down into parts: elec, heating, cooking etc

There's this:

Nice one xeroid! Thanks.

So it looks as though current domestic is equal to current electricty generation. And of course if people do swap out their gas boiler and hob for an electric one then the power stations will need to use the gas anyway. But then how many people will actually do that seeing as how upgrading from a crap immersion heater to a swanky new on-demand comby boiler has been the trend over the last 15 years.

The large industrial users of gas (aluminium etc) will not stomach a high gas price but i guess they might benefit from a falling pound if they are exporting. Even so, I wouldn't have thought it would be worthwhile them sticking around. I heard a story that an aluminium plant on Anglesey I believe that was closing because of the high price of sparks.

We are in a mess.

EDIT: what the heck is the point of importing 407.1 and then turning right around and exporting 122.7 of it. That just sounds daft.

That just sounds daft.

So was exporting all that oil, selling all that gold at rock bottom prices and on and on.

No sane voter would allow any of this if they were in charge - it tells me we no longer have a true democracy in the UK. I think the greedy, unthinking, voter will get what they deserve.

Yeah, they just accidentally flipped the data on the graph.

Flipped Graph

So coal, the dirtiest of fuels, is the only one expanding?

That's what the data shows, don't you trust it? ;-)

Hmmm ... good try, I like lateral thinking, sadly it isn't the right answer, coal peaked way back in 1913 and production halves every 10 years or so. :-)

Is it just me that thinks the UK Government is deliberately trying to mislead everybody - Jonathan's chart didn't need a log scale to somehow squeeze the data points in. This is serious stuff IMO, what do you think they are trying to achieve by doing this?

As someone who has spent two decades working for government agency science and has reviewed and generated his fair share of data graphics let me say something about chart 1.1.2 from the DUKES report.

  1. Whichever peon was responsible for generating the chart should be sent to a data visualization training course.
  2. Whoever signed off on including this chart in the report should be summarily sacked!

There is such a thing as scientific integrity. It includes honesty and openness in collecting data. And it also includes honesty in reporting the results. Chart 1.1.2 would have been rejected in any kind of peer review as being blatantly misleading. And anyone with a bachelors' degree in science or engineering would agree.

I have to admit that I find it quite offensive that these people are pulling government salaries generating this misleading garbage while others of us are trying to set the record straight for free!

OK -- whew! -- Now I've got that off my chest I can get back to work on something entirely different for my paying clients.

Mumble -- grump -- @#!**! -- ...

Yeah, they just accidentally flipped the data on the graph.

Are you sure the data was flipped? It looks more realistic the way it was shown the first time. Oil generation started in 75, increased, right along with UK oil production, then leveled off and now is in slight decline. Coal electrical generation, in decline for decades, is still in decline and natural generation is increasing. And total electricity use increased until around 2000 and now is in slight decline. That looks right.

Ron P.

The Government data is correct, it is the log scale that deliberately misleads, making it look like there isn't a UK production problem for primary energy.

I defy you to realise that UK produced primary energy has fallen by 40% in 9 years from the red line in the Government chart.

Darwinian, twas a joke, for crimminies sake!

Are you sure the data was flipped?

I'm sure it wasn't!
Jeez! My son, who has Aspergers has a better sense of humor..

Yes I figured as such. It is FMagyar after all :)

This one is inspired by Porge's words:

You left out Denialism and its poster boy:

Alferd E Neuman, what me worry?

Yes. Insert denialism appropriately between swimdlism and collapsism but we still need a poster boy for collapsism

A poster boy for collapsism? I could come up with a few that might get me permanently banned from this site ;-) However I'll nominate James Kuntsler for the official poster boy slot.

He'll have to mud-wrestle for that DU- Plated Trophy against Matt Savinar, however.

Oil wrestle.

Well, the X axis is big enough to make any recent changes seem minor. Plus they omitted 2005 in the noughts to make the scale seem smaller. And the log scale in the Y.

But come on, that's the best these Outer Party flunkies can do? Here's 10 minutes of work from me:

Early 90s suggests that increasing consumption of oil negatively impacts GDP! Wash that little fact down with some Brawndo!

From your link:

A narrator (Earl Mann) explains that in modern society, natural selection has become indifferent toward intelligence, so that in a society in which intelligence is systematically debased, stupid people easily out-breed the intelligent, creating, over the course of five centuries, an irredeemably dysfunctional society. Demographic superiority favors those least likely to advance society.[2] Consequently, the children of the educated elites are drowned in a sea of sexually promiscuous, illiterate, alcoholic, degenerate peers.

I would contend (along with R. A. Fisher from his 1930 book) that this is exactly what has already happened.

I could see a decline in:
* Petroleum
* Natural gas
* Coal
Brrr I could see them approaching a cold and dark future.

... I just sifted through some Norwegian media.
Norway has a newly opened LNG-plant Melkøya near Cape North(After build out ... and .... before build out ....... EROEI anyone ?) - It will be capable of filling only one large LNG Carrier every 5-6 days or about 70 ships a year. It seems like the UK has to go far away, just as you suggest HAcland.


Thank you for your stark and graphically arresting portrayal of the situation.

"As goes England, so goes the world" Did someone say something like that, famously, at some point? As I read your post I see that the Yahoo oil chart on the right sidebar has gone straight up $2. Guess I won't sell all my oil shares yet...

I don't see how this developing emergency can remain off of the popular radar much longer...

I have long told my influence-circle to watch Britain, 'cause we're just a few steps behind them. A serious energy crisis in Britain might be one of the few things that could jolt Americans from slumber, especially if it means shipping a few LNG tankers their way to help unfreeze London, while trading worthless pounds for worthless dollars.

At least Americans will have somebody to pity -- Britain will finish off their slide from world preeminence to ruin before America will.

Out of all the nations on earth America could do the best if the citizens would take a 50% cut in resource use.
We have so so much fat to trim it is laughable. And with a maximum effort I bet energy use could be reduced by more than 50 % easy.


Hello Porge,

"And with a maximum effort I bet energy use could be reduced by more than 50 % easy."

Yep, compare 0.66 HP for SpiderWebRiding to approx. 350 HP in a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. Then Alan's RR & TOD ideas for standard gauge.

I hope Nigeria quickly puts their 15,000 amnesty militants to work laying narrow gauge track and building cargo railbikes for O-NPK recycling from urban back to topsoil, plus other vital goods in the other direction. As posted before: even Boy Scouts can build and lay narrow gauge track without heavy equipment.

IMO, someone needs to try to make a wheelbarrow more powerful than machete' to reduce the overall scale, duration, and occurrence frequency of the moshpits ahead. Recall the MacFarlane PDF about Japan.

Laughable? How about revolting. I went get a blood test this morning, and EVERY ONE of the lab workers was fat, I mean, really, really fat. And when I got out to the parking lot, every one of the cars was just as fat- except mine of course, which is even skinnier than I am-- (jest).

I ran a little quiz among friends recently, and my household energy use turned out to be about 1/3 the average, and I am not by any means living a pinched existence.

My guess is that the US would be happier and much healthier using maybe 1/5 of the energy it is using now.

So, when I hear sustainable energy is "too expensive", I visualize new units of expense based on present outlay for stuff that we don't need at all. Example, one "pop" is 60 megabucks, which somebody told me was the yearly outlay for sugar water (soft drinks). And for really big numbers, the unit should be one "splat" which is the amount spent yearly for weapons. And so on.

If we quoted costs in those units, we might get some modicum of rationality in our statements about expenses, and what we can afford and not afford.

But, of course, it ain't gonna happen, like all the other rational things we know and talk about all the time. Looks to me like the time for democracy is past. Just doesn't work in tough situations.


Just a word of thanks for your Energy Expert Browser site. Perfect design and presentation. It should win the Edward Tufte award.

Keep it coming.


Thanks for the kind words. It helps on a day like today.

If you really want to make my day, print out a copy of your favorite chart and post it on a bulletin board or telephone pole where someone random might see it.

My dream is to draw the public into their own investigation of the data instead of them just listening to the experts.

-- Jon

Making people evaluate on their own is the only way.
Most of the "expert" advice or analysis is propaganda that has been thoroughly vetted for public consumption.

Anybody in the US sixth District want to drop Roscoe Bartlett a line that he should have a look at the Energy Export Databrowser? Maybe he could use it as an example and ask for better data visualizations in US government reports regarding energy.

-- Jon

If you really want to make my day, print out a copy of your favorite chart and post it on a bulletin board or telephone pole where someone random might see it.

As someone who can easily make those charts look very visually attractive I was thinking of making a few tabloid sized color copies and putting them up at a few strategic places. My first thought was near ATM machines but I quickly changed my mind, I don't want to attract undue attention to myself and be seen on some security camera putting up signs. For the same reason I nixed the idea of putting them on gas pumps.

Hey maybe we could get all the readers here at TOD to contribute and put up a full sized billboard across from the White House or some place really strategic.

Kyoto Protocol hard at work:

Use toilet before boarding, Japan airline asks

To offset carbon dioxide, a Japanese airline is asking its passengers to go to the toilet before boarding.

The unusual request by All Nippon Airways (ANA) is part of its "e-Flight" promotional program to reduce the amount of carbon expelled on 38 domestic routes and its twice daily international flights to Singapore...

The airline estimates that if 50 percent of passengers relieved themselves before boarding, it would reduce carbon dioxide by 4.2 tons a month.

Wouldn't it just make more sense to vacation closer to home and use teleconferencing instead of going on business trips?

But, also as a parent, I know the value of getting the kids to use the toilet before a long trip, and it has nothing to do with getting better gas mileage...

The airline estimates that if 50 percent of passengers relieved themselves before boarding, it would reduce carbon dioxide by 4.2 tons a month.

Bearing in mind that world CO2 emissions are >2.5 BILLION metric tonnes per month and we need to bring that to zero ASAP, promoting a 0.00000005% reduction by one of the larger polluters indicates to me somebody doesn't grasp the situation at all, in fact propagada like this is downright criminal IMO.

promoting a 0.00000005% reduction by one of the larger polluters indicates to me somebody doesn't grasp the situation at all

..it indicates to me that the company does have a very clever public relations firm working for them though ;)

it would reduce carbon dioxide by 4.2 tons a month.

Bearing in mind that world CO2 emissions are >2.5 BILLION metric tonnes per month and we need to bring that to zero ASAP, promoting a 0.00000005% reduction by one of the larger polluters

Its kinda like Disney promoting unplugging cellphone charges when not in use. You can make it sound impressive to the innumerate masses. How about getting them to turn off the TV instead. Not watching one Disney show per week would save quite a bit ehh!

On the other hand, crapping in the stratosphere is a great benchmark for human achievement in so many ways.

How about crapping in orbit? That should beat it hands down, or is it hands up? ;-)

E.ON Delays U.K. Plan for Kingsnorth Coal-Fired Plant

This story just sums up how hopelessly incompetent the free-market is for providing the energy infrastructure we need. They don't believe it will be profitable so they ain't going to build it. Well that is the line anyway, who knows the truth. What we do know is that they are not swapping to another plan ie. gas, they are just not building a power station which has been on the drawing board - and whose output will have been fatored into future forecasts - for some time. So that leaves another gaping hole in our energy security. Great. Good thinking.

Oh, really.. the free market has an answer to all these challenges. It's just diversifying into Casket Manufacturing.. that's where the money'll be. Who says the market doesn't look ahead?

Hello Jokuhl,

Disagree on the postPeak free market moving to caskets as the ERoEI is way too low, think wood-chippers and/or bio-polymerization. Remember that the UK was an early pioneer when they used dead-reckoning for dead-heading back to the UK approx. 3.5 million immigrants/year as dead-weight tons for topsoil replenishment; "the vampire that hung on the neck of Europe" [see prior posts for details, plus cats being sold by the pitchfork ton].

Recall my earlier post that Illinois was paying effectively $330,000/ton for burying deceased indigents as O-NPK below the root zone. That insanity won't continue for long either. Already in the US many people will not or cannot afford to pay for family body disposal--they let the taxpayer pick up the tab.

If we were really an intelligent species we would start composting our dead and recycling all those nutrients back to the soil. This can be done safely in ones own back yard at no cost.

Safely, maybe, but not legally, eh?

And don't forget to yank the amalgam fillings and bury them a few meters deeper if you're supporting a garden. Better keep a list of the departeds last few years of meds, as well.

oh man.. I'm getting visions from 'Brazil' in my head now, when the guy's mom decomposes into Petrojellies at the viewing..

We think our practical and frugal mom would have been happy with the 'eco-casket' that carried her into the crematory.. cardboard. $120.

Hello Solardude,

One could make a good argument that we were more culturally intelligent at recycling just a few centuries ago than we are today. Google Waterloo teeth for more details--a quick & highly profitable harvest immediately after the battlefield agony ceased--that must of been some kind of fun job--not for me!:

The Battle of Waterloo was a boon for the false teeth industry because now the teeth were real teeth. The porcelain teeth of the 18th Century had been brittle and broke too easily. After that fatal battle that claimed the lives of 50,000 men, 52 barrels of Waterloo Teeth went to the United Kingdom. For many years it was quite the fashion to sport a set of Waterloo teeth, oblivious to the fact that these have previously graced the mouth of some unfortunate soldier...
Imagine those that had to later bury these bodies. Constantly looking down at dead, bloating, young soldiers with their mouths all agape into a ragged maw, some with broken jaws hanging off to get the teeth out faster. No body bags back in those days either. A gruesome task indeed, but humans easily grow accustomed to such chores, even to the point of almost enjoying it in a perverse, delusional mind-twist.

#119198 made this very clear to me.

The real secret of terra preta: it's Soylent Black!

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the linky! Yep, at the very least, I hope we learn not to put our deceased deep below the root zone. It is currently very easy to do when you have a ICE-powered backhoe to quickly dig out a single, deep grave hole. Or a monstrous bulldozer, with huge ripper claws in the back, to rapidly hog out a deep and long trench for gigantic mass graves.

Since I was born in Brazil and had the opportunity to live and work in the Amazon at one time the link brought on a twinge of nostalgia and made me think of a Poem by Gonçalves Dias, saudade, Song of Exile.

While I was looking for a translation to one of it's verses I found this:


Unfortunately no translation can ever do any poem justice but...

What a very strange coincidence indeed!

We should save their water, though. At least out here in the arid west.

IMO, IF Tiger Woods doesn't flip into a Master Gardener: He will be happy to see bone meal scattered across the course at Augusta National so that he can continue to pursue Master Golfer Championships. Kinda' gives a new meaning to 'Amen Corner' doesn't it?

Interesting that the reason given is that the demand for electricity is down 7.5% and just not predicted to return anytime soon (like for the rest of the next decade!)

So all this talk of the supply of oil drying up (aka "Peak Oil") is missing the point as it won't be needed anyway! -the price it needs to be to extract future oil will eventually cause a depression and in turn cause that pesky demand to fall back in line... Unless someone discovers the mythical mega-creamy-oil-nugget with $5 extraction costs (not likely) it looks like we are in for decades of grind-down (stripping away all the ludicrous cheap-energy Business Cases that have resulted in -for example- a "Build Your Own Bear" store in every Mall...)

"Its the Market Stupid"


Falling demand is certainly a factor in developed OECD countries, but less so in developing non-OECD countries where in many cases we have seen huge increases in consumption from 1998 to 2008, as oil prices increased at 20%/year.

Re the "Global Warming is Neither" piece: All of these centers show no warming for 11 years and all show the temperature falling for the last 8 years at varying degrees.

This claim is false:

Global temperature according to NASA GISS data since 1980. The red line shows annual data, the larger red square a preliminary value for 2009, based on January-August. The green line shows the 25-year linear trend (0.19 ºC per decade). The blue lines show the two most recent ten-year trends (0.18 ºC per decade for 1998-2007, 0.19 ºC per decade for 1999-2008) and illustrate that these recent decadal trends are entirely consistent with the long-term trend and IPCC predictions. Even the highly “cherry-picked” 11-year period starting with the warm 1998 and ending with the cold 2008 still shows a warming trend of 0.11 ºC per decade (which may surprise some lay people who tend to connect the end points, rather than include all ten data points into a proper trend calculation).

A Warming Pause?

It was more convenient when they could say 'For Ten Years' .. that eleven is good for a smirk.. then we'll have a year of them saying 'For a Dozen Years!!'


I hope no one expects truth from a meteorologist writing about climate in an energy journal.

I'd like to see that stats for 10,000 feet and for above 60 degrees latitude; that's where the action is and was predicted to be. To factor in low latitudes is just noise, and the temperature differential is what drives currents and prevailing winds and thus moisture transfers from sea to land. The average temp in Dubai or Houston is just noise to those on the polar area front lines or relying on a glacier for water. The global average could fall and still have the high altitudes/latitudes rising.

Thus, the stats could be false or true and it wouldn't really matter up where the problem is.

I'd like to see the stats for 10,000 feet and for above 60 degrees latitude

Some of those products are readily available:

Second warmest August on record and warmest June-July-August for the oceans — despite deepest solar minimum in nearly a century

Video: Warm Planet in August '09

You could probably find something about temp anomalies vs. altitude, but offhand I can't think of anywhere I've seen that.

Excellent pic. Thanks.

Leanan likes to stir things up, occasionally. Interesting to see who rises to the bait.

I think it's great -- please keep up the good work, Leanan!

I'll repost from the Campfire seed saving post.
"There is a more destructive force on this planet that far outweighs the damage caused by climate change - COMMERCE!
An all too sad example of this is the importation of the emerald ash tree borer to the Upper Midwest USA... in shipping crates from Asia.
Science is now fighting to save seed from this vanishing species.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hZ5rhISJiLrXAsUN0HpUBh... "

A warming pause?

But it has been shown that the human brain does such a poor job of eyeballing statistical rgeressions. So it is easy to convice many, that 98 was a tad warmer than now -so it is cooling! And of course unless today happens to be a record high, you will always be able to find a previous measurement that is warmer. So they can get away with this disinfo.

And if you bust them with statistical stuff, they win anyway, since not being able to do math is considered to be a lovable trait!

Two articles today mention refineries or refined products.

A Fine Mess For U.S. Refineries:

Saudi Oct gasoline imports flat from Sept - trade

If you're interested in some recent historical context for these two articles you should check out the prototype JODI Databrowser that was just announced yesterday. This databrowser has monthly data broken down by refined product.

The article on Saudi Arabia states:

The world's top oil exporter had been expected to significantly cut back on gasoline imports by the third quarter.

But it has had to keep buying spot barrels because of continued technical problems at the new fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit at Rabigh Refining and Petrochemcial (PetroRabigh) 2380.SE, trading sources said.

From the JODI Databrowser we can see that the underlying reason for Saudi imports is increased consumption. It seems that people reporting on the energy business cannot see the forest for the trees. Or is increased consumption such a given that it doesn't even register?

One of my favorite quotes from recent years was the assertion, in an August, 2006 issue of the Economist Magazine, that Saudi Arabia could produce at their current rate, presumably their 2005 rate of 11.1 mbpd (EIA, total liquids), for 70 years--without finding another drop of oil.

What was of course interesting was that they would make a seven decade projection without even considering domestic Saudi consumption. At the Saudi's 2005-2008 rate of increase in consumption, 6.3%/year, they would be consuming about 165 mbpd in 2075. Other than perhaps MIchael Lynch, most of consider this to be a tad unrealistic.

I've been looking at percent changes in consumption lately too. The Saudis have been solidly advancing for decades - according to the EIA data gaining an average of 4.69% since 1981, with rarely a year in the red, either - some nations are quite helter skelter in their consumption of oil, with no apparent effect on GDP either - Germany and Japan, for instance. I charted the UK above as well, for an example.

Others show persistent downturns in consumption, but what effect this is having on their well being I'm still researching. Azerbaijan is a good example - -6.51% and -4.17% for '07/'08, almost canceling out a big gain in '05. What's that all about? Faulty reporting?

Here's my spreadsheet, if anyone's interested: EIA Percentage Consumption Change 1981-2008.xls This is ranked in order of consumption for 2008, so the biggest users are on top (after a bunch who took precedent because of blank entries or some other reason)

Interesting article about the swine flu here. It doesn't seem to be spreading in areas that were hard-hit by the first wave. Perhaps so many people got it last spring that there aren't enough people without immunity to support a second wave.

"But Dr. Barry said she was reluctant to draw any conclusions so early in the season, without taking blood samples to test for immunity."

So why not test a random sample of New Yorkers to find out the immunity level of the city and test the hypothesis? It seems like this would actually be useful information instead of the nearly endless speculation and handwringing.

An even more interesting question--why do some people develop an immunity without ever getting sick? What is it about their profile that causes the disease (or at least its manifestations) to skip them?

At least in some cases, adequate levels of Vitamin D would be my guess. A fascinating Vitamin D & H1N1 case history:


My guess is that it takes too long. Whenever you're dealing with human subjects, the red tape is a nightmare. Which is probably as it should be, but I doubt they'd get any useful information in time.

As for why some people get sicker than others...a lot of reasons. People who were exposed to the Spanish flu and Hong Kong flu in the last century seem to have some immunity. The amount of exposure. Physical factors like stress, general health, and other illnesses. And, I suspect, quirks of the immune system. Some people are resistant to AIDS. Only people with a certain genetic marker got mad cow disease. Some people are just genetically more vulnerable to certain diseases.

There's a theory that blood types are strongly influenced by disease. Certain blood types make you more vulnerable to certain diseases, which is why you'll find different patterns of blood groups in different geographical areas.

It is true of all illnesses - it is related to genetics and environment and the two combined. The disease doesn't really skip them, it just manifests so mildly they hardly notice.

There are so many factors at play it takes years to figure out stuff like that. It ends up becoming most interesting for highly lethal diseases like HIV/AIDS.

Incidentally, an interesting blog post by a researcher who is a fan of "Good Calories, Bad Calories"


Don't worry-Change you can believe in will arrive any day now. What's with MSNBC-this guy sounds like an internet voice or something. You know the MSM is getting pretty bad when MSNBC and Fox appear to have more credibility than the NY Times.

Dylan Raddigan used to be a lead talking head on CNBullsh#tC before he jumped ship to head up MSNBCs Financial News.
I think they realize that no one believes the lies anymore and are reporting the truth because they get more viewers.
And the only change we can believe in is going to have to come from us.

About 230 years ago you colonials kicked us red coats out because you didn't want George 3rd taxing you with out giving you fair representation. Thus was born the most egalitarian and fair society ever to be.

What the fack has gone wrong with you? Christ, you raise an army of Minutemen against your imperial masters, defeat us, deal with French (duplicitously) and establish the most beautiful Constitution of Freedom ever.

My! How the years soften you. You are wimps. Your muscle has turned to flab. Your righteous indignation has turned instead to apathy. You Americans don't know what makes the US great. You think it is burgers, fries, the Super Bowl and Super Tuesday. God, how those Minutemen would weep.

America is being raped by the few. The voters of America are sending their representatives to Congress riding on corporate lobbyists money to give away your tax dollars - whether collected by the IRS or inflated by the
Fed - to bankrupt corporations so that the oligarchs can grow richer.

You are being taxed. But where is your representation? What say do you get in where you tax dollars go?

You're ancestors raised an army from the populace to fight for their representation. Modern day America is too spineless to fight. You should all be out in the streets with your Second Ammendment in your right hand and the rest of the Constitution in your left hand.

Agree but I am in a very small minority.

Panem et circenses

When things start getting tough over here we will see what happens. Another problem is the general ignorance of the population. Most people have no idea what is written in the Constitution let alone the ability to understand it.

Good rant. Feel better?

You make a couple of points, there, but go easy on the stereotypes, I'm at TOD to keep AWAY from the videogames.

It's weariness from trying to clean up the mess left by the collapse of the British and French empires that has worn us down. Everywhere we turn, there we see the handprints left by earlier occupants: West Africa, Central Africa, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Egypt/Palestine/Israel/Lebanon/Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan/Pakistan/India.

As long as the oil keeps flowing, Washington DC is safe from insurrection.

A bit of hyperbole HA but, sadly, I must agree with much of your sentiment. Thankgoodness for Texas. Not that we haven't gotten a little soft around the edges but I don't think we've declined too far that we can't recover when things get really bad. Oddly I think our representation of the general citizenship is right on the money. Who do you blame more: the politicians giving in to the demands of a foolish but majority voter tax base or the source of the problem. Words of an old editorial cartoon character, Pogo: "we have met the enemy and he is us".

Saw a PBS Planet Forward episode about thin film solar cell panels being more than five times cheaper than thick silicon panels (included installation costs). It appears like technology might win. Roof top water heating panels for preheating domestic water circuits are already economical in some areas, but not widely used in the United States.

A solar house building exposition on the Washington D.C. National Mall this week:



Maybe you could expand on this??
Maybe even a post?

Yes, they have the solar decathlon every two years. We were down there last weekend, and it was a beehive of construction activity as everyone was working to get their houses assembled in time. There are Universities from all over - mostly North America, but there is usually at least one European entry. We saw Spain there, but there could be others.

Essentially it is a competition. The house has a maximum size of about 800 sq ft which is a good size for the purpose of the competition, and it is an amount of space that at least some people would find usable. The house has to generate all of its own electricity from renewable (typically solar), and you have to get enough power to do a load of laundry and a load of dishes. The house must be complete in that it must have a bathroom and kitchen area. And finally the houses are judged on the aesthetics - it can't just look like a lab experiment that was just thrown together, or a shipping container with doors and windows. The most successful entries are ones where you go in and think to yourself that you would feel comfortable moving in.

The Green festival is also this weekend at the DC convention center.

I have mentioned this before .. 800 sq ft is what I am designing a dwelling to also


Hello TODers,

Since my "I'm Feeling Unlucky" button idea hasn't globally appeared yet, I was mentally pondering for a more subtle method for a Search Engine Company, like Google or Bing, to somehow throttle-up Peak Everything Outreach to the masses.

How about having Google Earth offering an software option whereby you could convert the visual objects into BOE or some other types of energy?

For example, when looking down a typical 'Murkan neighborhood street***:

1. A barrel would appear for every 300 square feet of asphalt.

2. Concrete sidewalks and driveways would have a barrel appear for every 100 square feet of concrete.

3. Any vehicles would be converted into a stacked up pile of barrels. Let's say 300 barrels per vehicle for 300 X 42 = 12,600 gals. Seems about right for half to manufacture, half for fuel consumption over the vehicle lifetime. 6,300 gal DIV a 15 gal. tank = 420 fill-ups at a gas-station. 420 fill-ups DIV by once a week fill-up = 8.08 years of use. Any big-rigs might display a stack 3-5 times bigger.

4. The landscaped areas would be converted into the I-NPKS equivalent. Thus, a front yard might have a big stack of 50 lb bags appear on screen based upon how long the neighborhood has been in existence and tree maturity levels. If winter lawns are regularly put in [like my Asphaltistan], then the bags double again to help account for all the extra water, mowing, and O-NPK hauled to the landfill.

5. Golf Courses could display 'headstone equivalents' for their wasteful energy, water, and I-NPKS usage. Thus, a typical golf course would software change to look like a concentrated graveyard.

6. I have no idea what every streetlamp should be to show its embedded energy level--- maybe 6 barrels stacked one upon another per streetlamp?

7. Same with lighted billboards, but maybe a stack of twenty barrels?

8. A house might be displayed as a stack of 10,000 barrels to account for its building material + years of using energy + how much water and waste was cycled through it. A backyard swimming pool could display another stack of 500 barrels depending on size.

9. Commercial buildings would have huge BOE displays when converted. For example, picture the world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai suddenly reaching up towards the stratosphere when converted into BOE equivalents. Professional sports stadiums and racetracks would even cover their gigantic parking lots with barrels stacked up when the software does its conversion.

10. When Google Earth-ing an airport: each airplane would convert into a big stack of barrels. A small Cessna obviously would have a smaller pile than a 747 or double-stack Airbus A380.

11. It would be cool if boats & ships at sea would have in their wake for miles the piles of barrels trailing behind. That way, it would give the user a feel for how long and how much these ocean-going vessels use over the years.

Especially when they consider that they move in gallons burned per feet traveled! Thus, the major shipping lanes might be software visually displayed as a yellow brick road of bobbing yellow oildrums.

12. Place your idea here...

*** I just used my gut feel for what the BOE should be for these objects. Obviously, the sum total of this Google Earth display idea should not be more than 1.5 trillion barrels of crude + the natgas burned + the coal burned too! I have no idea if this is a patentable idea, but I am willing to donate it to TOD in exchange for a small cash amount for its conception.

IMO, any computer user, using this software option for more than a few minutes, would then be so stunned that they would then seek out TOD,EB,LATOC,DIEOFF,.... and related books. If Google or Bing decide to go with this idea [buy the patent off of TOD], any revenue profits could be shared with TOD so we can continue to ramp Peak Outreach.

Other patentable ideas might be software that auto-installs Visual Spiderwebs so the user can instantly see the street, community, city, and regional energy savings when using Google Earth.

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

Former House Speaker and Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich says Peak Oil is a theory running out of gas:


From the above Newt Gingrich article above

Geophysicist Marion King Hubbert first suggested in 1956 that peak oil was a reality, and that we would hit our maximum rate of production sometime around 1970. But recent estimates of oil are actually an astounding three times larger than peak oil predictions, meaning the newest discoveries simply should not exist according to the theory of peak oil.

Newt Gingrich obviously isn't into researching topics or looking at data. He thinks Hubbert called 1970 the world peak instead of the US peak.

Since anti-energy elites ignore the massive amounts of oil that we do have but are banned from extracting,...

I assume he's talking about offshore Florida, California, or the Alaska north slope. But how does he know that there are massive amounts of oil there? The only sure way to find out if there's oil somewhere is to drill, but laws have prevented this from happening so therefore the amount of oil is unknown.

Well, we have fields like Thunderhorse in the Gulf of Mexico coming to the rescue. I've heard rumors, from industry sources, that oil production at Thunderhorse is down substantially, with rising water cuts, after only one year of production.

Yes, but we could start producing Jack #2 any decade now. What do you do with the produced salt water, by the way? Surely there are no existing old holes to convert, and the partners would not want to start drilling a SWD in Jack's 7000+ feet of water, per a link uptop. (I thought it was 5700' of water, but I'm getting old.) And I would guess that the Gulf of Mexico represents navigable waters of the US, which triggers EPA's regs on disposal, meaning that their (EPA's) existing regs on salt water disposal would have to be followed.

Newt is what passes for an intellectual in republican circles. They think he speaks the truth because he says "frankly" so often. Most people have, frankly, caught on.

God bless those Republicans for their altruistic love of an endangered salamander (The Newt).

I like it when people use those words - frankly, obviously, and so on. It makes it so much easier to zero in on the weak points of their narrative.

Frankly means "I don't believe this at all."

Obviously means "this is a logical leap."

Clearly means "this is highly debatable."

That's why George Will has the glasses. There aren't any good rhetorical responses to that sort of 'implied gravitas'..

woody -- Not to disagree with your general sentiment that the DW GOM isn't going to save us from PO (but it is a good thing for the country). But a technical point: getting rid of produced sea water is about one of the easiest problems to solve offshore: you just go over the side with the water. Been done for decades in the GOM. Not a free solution, of cource. Takes a fairly significant chunk of hardware to seperate the water from the oil and good bit of expensive chemicals. But the process is well established and easily complies with environmental regulations.

Hey Rockman, I should have said the mythical Jack # 2. Sorry for the omission.

I was always afraid that was what they did with the salt water offshore. Produced salt water, back to sarcasm here, may hold the key to past extinction events. As you know, the salt in saltwater refers to mineral salts, not just NaCl, but a host of others. Oh, well. (deep subject in the oil patch, as you know.)

good point Woody. I don't recall ever hearing anyone, including the Feds, question non-NaCl compounds dumped overboard. Don't know if there's anything there to be concerned about but maybe that's because no one has asked.

I despised Gingrich's partisan politics in the 90s.

But I had started giving him credit as the only politician in 30 years to actually do something about Federal debt.

What is wrong with the political class today?
Those who believe in science can't control their spending.
Those who at least say they want to try to control spending believe in the Fairy GodFather.

:not happy:

Big Oil gets into ethanol. Valero says it makes sense.


After a long hiatus, theres finally some news considering osmotic power generation:
Osmotic power plant to receive royal debut in Norway

The world’s first osmotic power plant is expected to open next month at Tofte, outside of Oslo.
With the technology, saltwater and freshwater are funneled into separate chambers, divided by an artificial semi-permeable membrane, according to Statkraft. The salt molecules in the seawater pull the freshwater through the membrane, increasing pressure on the seawater side.

The pressure comes in the form of a 120-meter water column or waterfall that can be utilized in a power generating turbine.

Statkraft said today it has been researching the renewable and emissions-free energy source for the past 10 years.

In theory, osmotic power plants can be located wherever rivers meet the sea. The plants are quiet and can be integrated into existing industrial zones, such as the basements of industrial buildings, the company said.

Statkraft said the global potential of osmotic power is estimated at 1,600-1,700 terrawatt hours per year, or the same as 50 percent of the European Union’s total power production.

This is the inverse process to desalinization. Supposedly it can provide the energy equivalent of an 120meter head of water. I suspect that getting it to work economically won't be so easy.

Earlier today, we wrapped up work at a truck repair shop, the first of three such businesses currently undergoing retrofit through Nova Scotia Power's Small Business Lighting Solutions programme. We haven't gone out of our way to court this type of client as the work tends to me somewhat "messy", but two of these three businesses operate 24x7 and this particular one from 07h30 in the morning to 24h00 at night -- longer hours results in greater energy savings and a higher return on each dollar spent, so the good outweighs the bad.

Within the main service bays, we replaced eighty-eight 2-lamp F96T12 strips with sixty-six 4-lamp F32T8 tandem industrials. Total connected load in this portion of the building falls from 12,144 to 7,128-watts, a net savings of just over 5 kW. Light levels increased threefold from an average of 18 FC to 52 (the old fixtures suffered from severe dirt deprecation, not surprisingly given the nature of the work).

What's made this interesting for us is that two of these businesses are next door to each other, and the management and staff of both have been sneaking behind dumpsters and parked cars secretly spying on the other to see how their respectively upgrades stack up.

This is the main service bay of the "the other guys" prior to the start of our work:

Once completed, the connected load for this other business will fall by 9.3 kW. We likewise expect light levels to be two to three times higher than they are now.

At the end of the day, everyone comes out a winner. These clients will each save several thousands of dollars a year on their utility costs -- money that can be better spent elsewhere; the staff benefit from an enhanced work environment, which hopefully results in a happier and more productive workplace; less coal is burned which helps our environment; and the electricity that is saved can resold to other customers at a fraction of the cost of new conventional supplies and, if we're lucky, we'll never see another coal-fired power plant built in this province.

No more coal-fired power plants !


I think you are the only guy in the world who can make pictures of overhead lighting interesting.

Reading HereinHalifax's posts always makes me happy and a tiny bit more optimistic.

Since they end up having Dirt problems due to Truck Exhaust, I suppose, do you end up recommending a cleaning plan for the lights, or are there features on the new fixtures that let them stay clean better?

Good Work!

Thanks, Bob, Spaceman and taomom....

These new industrials have a high-gloss (high reflectance) baked white enamel finish that is supposedly easy to clean. However, I doubt anyone will take on this task, judging by the condition of the original hardware. The good news is that with the advent of ultra low sulphur diesel, enhanced engine designs and other emissions/particulate management technologies, the new fixtures won't be subject to the same abuse going forward.


tomorrow morning ....

Shoot the Moon! Live webcast of lunar impact
The LCROSS mission is seeking to find if water ice is present in a crater near the Moon's south pole.
Provided by Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA