Drumbeat: November 7, 2009

Shrinking to grow: Is Conoco plan a model for industry?

Although one company doesn’t represent a whole industry, a shrink-to-grow strategy adopted by ConocoPhillips illustrates pressures on the biggest operators in a world of shrinking opportunity.

ConocoPhillips has disclosed plans to cut capital spending next year to $11 billion from $12.5 billion this year and $14-15 billion in earlier years and to sell properties in 2010-11 worth $10 billion.

“We will be somewhat smaller,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Mulva in an Oct. 28 conference call.

Mulva noted recessionary effects on credit markets and said diminishing access to large opportunities “is and will continue to be quite an issue.”

Report Argues for a Decentralized System of Renewable Power Generation

Most states could meet their demand for electricity with renewable energy sources inside their own borders, according to a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit group in Washington that advocates for local sustainability solutions.

The report, called Energy Self-Reliant States, examined the commercial potential for wind, rooftop solar, geothermal and small-scale hydro projects.

Marooned on Sea of Iraqi Oil, but Unable to Tap Its Wealth

BASRA, Iraq — The orange glow of the giant natural gas flares in the oil fields around Basra represents this bustling city’s wealth of natural resources. But for the impoverished people who live near them, the flames only serve as a reminder of their inability to share in the riches that lie beneath their feet.

Storm Ida Strengthens as Mexico Posts Hurricane Watch

The agency’s five-day forecast shows the system moving over the western Caribbean Sea today as a tropical storm and in the central Gulf of Mexico by 7 a.m. New York time on Nov. 9. The gulf is home to about a quarter of U.S. oil production.

Canada's Talisman strikes oil in Peru

LIMA (Reuters) - Canada's Talisman Energy Inc has found light crude in an exploration bloc in northern Peru, President Alan Garcia said on Saturday, days after he announced a large natural gas find in an Amazon region.

Total Venture Ships First LNG From $4.5 Billion Yemen Terminal

(Bloomberg) -- Yemen exported the first shipment from a $4.5 billion liquefied natural gas plant, gaining a new source of revenue as oil production declines.

After the terminal in Balhalf on the country’s Arabian Sea coast was officially opened by President Ali Abdallah Saleh, the Hyundai Ecopia set sail with a 147,000 cubic-meter cargo for Korea Gas Corp. of South Korea. Total SA of France, Europe’s third-largest oil company, owns 40 percent of the venture.

ECUADOR - Energy Crisis

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa warned that the energy supply problem can be "very serious" and may last several months, reiterating his call for "unity" for citizens facing power cuts occurring throughout the country since yesterday.

Farms going green to save and survive

As Essex County farms strive to survive, many have turned their land into “green’’ acres. And they don’t mean zucchini, lettuce, and cabbage. They mean wind turbines and solar panels that reduce energy costs. Compost, formed from scraps of nature, creates healthy growing conditions. Steel fences and drain pipes help to conserve and protect water supplies.

“We are naturally a ‘green’ industry,’ ’’ said state Agriculture Commissioner Scott Soares. “The changes farmers are making now are going to guide them into the future.’’

A Drought-Stricken Land Offers Help With Water

PARIS — After more than a decade of failed rains, the Murray-Darling river system in the southeast of Australia — the catchment basin for roughly one-seventh of the country — dries up before it reaches the sea.

Intense drought has forced Australians to adapt and think about how to manage water. Despite usage restrictions and the building of new desalination plants, water remains scarce. At the end of August, reservoir storage levels in some metropolitan cities were as low as 28.4 percent of maximum capacity. The Pykes Creek reservoir in the state of Victoria, with a capacity of 22 billion liters, or 5.8 billion gallons, was barely 2.5 percent full.

In Texas, oil sands firms fight for their share

There is an air of disquiet along the Gulf Coast of the United States, an industrial strip that could have a profound influence on the future of Canada's oil-fuelled economy.

The refineries that dot the coast represent a major new market that could fuel the expansion of Canada's oil sands producers, as well as a major pipeline player. And indeed, on the surface, growth appears to be the order of the day. But after a brief golden age, there is a growing fear along refiners' alley that the bubble has burst.

Suncor To Expand In Oil Sands

CALGARY - Suncor Energy Inc., with its massive slate of oil-sands assets, will be a buyer rather than a seller of bitumen-laced properties as it reshapes itself following its merger with Petro-Canada, the company's chief executive said yesterday.

Tenaris Says Pemex to Cut Chicontepec Wells by 60%

(Bloomberg) -- Tenaris SA, the world’s largest maker of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry, said Petroleos Mexicanos may drill about 600 wells at Chicontepec next year, about a third of the wells that the state-owned company planned.

Raising output not on OPEC agenda now

DUBAI - United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Mohammed Al Hamli said on Saturday raising oil production was not currently on the agenda for OPEC.

‘Right now increasing production is not on the agenda,’ Hamli told reporters in Dubai.

Hugo Chávez’s support is slipping away as water shortages and soaring crime bite

President Chávez came to power promising to harness Venezuela’s vast oil resources to create a 21st-century nation in which no one was deprived. Now, with water and electricity shortages and soaring crime and inflation, even his ardent supporters are beginning to turn away.

In Caracas, which has the world’s highest murder rates and runaway food prices, residents now face two days a week without water until May next year as the Government imposes rationing to cope with a 25 per cent shortfall in supply.

Mexico puts cost of new refinery at $9.65 billion

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's planned new oil refinery at Tula will cost 129 billion pesos ($9.65 billion) state oil company Pemex [PEMX.UL] said on Friday.

The new cost estimate represents a increase over Pemex's previous forecast made in April that the new refinery would cost $8.95 billion. Pemex did not provide an explanation for the increase.

Oil spill sends fishermen bankrupt

An environmental lawyer in Indonesia says local fishermen are going bankrupt because the Timor Sea oil spill has ruined fish stocks.

The West Atlas oil rig spewed hundreds of thousands of litres of oil and gas into the sea for 10 weeks and last week caught fire. It was plugged earlier this week with mud.

Deutsche Bank Hails Saudi Prospects

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia has a very promising economy because of its strong oil price, continued public sector investment in infrastructure and diversification, according to a Deutsche 
Bank report.

“In 2010, we expect the Saudi economy to grow by 3.8 per cent, well ahead of all the other countries in EMEA except Turkey and Qatar,” said the report on the kingdom issued on Tuesday, which also forecast oil price to peak $175 a barrel in 2016.

Edison Third-Quarter Net Falls Less Than Estimated

(Bloomberg) -- Edison International, the owner of California’s largest electric utility, said third-quarter profit declined less than analysts estimated on increased rates in the state and lower costs.

Britain in push for new nuclear plants

LONDON - Britain could face a serious energy crisis unless plans to build new nuclear power stations are implemented, the energy minister revealed in an interview on Saturday.

Norwegian Firm In The Clean Energy Race

Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft is widening its global presence and pioneering cutting-edge technology to get ahead in the clean energy race, company chief executive Bard Mikkelsen says. Statkraft supplies power and heating to more than 600,000 customers in Norway and Sweden, mainly from hydropower, wind power and gas power. It claims to be the largest renewable energy supplier in the world. Low demand for electricity from industrial companies with falling output has been challenging this year but an ambitious renewable energy growth plan continues.

China to Slow Vegetable Oil Imports Amid High Stocks

(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s largest consumer of vegetable oil, may slow imports in 2009/2010 amid high domestic stockpiles, an executive from Cofco Oil & Grains Co. said.

Soybean oil imports will fall 20 percent to 2 million metric tons and palm oil shipments will be “mainly flat” at 6 million tons, Wang Yinji, deputy general manager, said at a conference in Guangzhou today. Rapeseed imports will more than halve to 1.3 million tons to 1.4 million tons, Wang said. Cofco Ltd. is China’s largest grains trader.

The great global land grab

News of another big land deal between a rich nation and a poor developing country is becoming a common occurrence. In August a group of Saudi investors said that they would be investing $1 billion in land in Africa for rice cultivation. They are calling it their ‘7x7x7 project’, since they are aiming to plant 700,000 hectares of land to produce seven million tonnes of rice in seven years. The land will be distributed over several countries: Mali, Senegal and maybe Sudan and Uganda.

A few weeks earlier South Korea acquired 700,000 hectares of land in Sudan, also for rice cultivation. India is funding a large group of private companies to buy 350,000 hectares in as-yet unspecified countries in Africa. A group of South African businessmen is negotiating an 8 million hectare deal in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And so it goes on. The United Nations believes that at least 30 million hectares (about 74 million acres, well over the size of the UK) were acquired by outside investors in the developing world during the first half of this year alone.

Low-carbon farms can raise food output - FAO

Low-carbon farming can both curb climate change and boost food output in developing nations and so must be rewarded under a global climate deal due in December, the UN's food agency said.

Steps to cut carbon emissions on farms in developing countries could also boost yields where food is shortest, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a report .

More than one billion people are undernourished now and the world will have to feed an additional three billion by 2050, many in areas expected to be worst afflicted by climate change, experts say.

Collapse Director Chris Smith on His New Doc and the Impending Fall of Civilization

My opinion on these issues changes on a daily basis. This film made me think about these issues and to try to educate myself. And I discovered that there’s a huge number of scientists and scholars that fall on both sides of every issue that Michael talks about. The conclusion I’ve since come to is that no one really knows anything. Some think we’re headed for another crash, some people think that the market will continue to recover. There was a huge meeting on peak oil in Denver recently and so many articles came out of that. Different Ph.D.'s and industry experts say that we’re at this point in history where oil may have passed its peak. But then there was an article in the New York Times a month ago or so that was very convincing, and it said that we might actually have endless resources. I know a lot more about it than I did going into it, but I haven’t formed any conclusions.

All Fall Down: Chris Smith’s “Collapse”

At the turns of decades and centuries, it’s fairly common for sky-is-falling prognostication to spike wildly. This angst often finds expression in popular entertainments, such as the appearance, as if on cue, of the clunky misfire “Knowing” and the upcoming sure-to-be tedious “2012.” What these kinds of spectacles provide is something like diversionary exorcism—the world outside may seem bad, but there’s some comfort in recognizing that visual effects artists can always imagine even worse. These films are about as easy to dismiss as History Channel specials on Nostradamus, and probably less fun, so Chris Smith’s often unnerving documentary “Collapse” arrives as something of a minor key paranoiac balm. Based on real events and plausible conjectures, its world crisis feels terribly immediate.

Crude Oil Tumbles as U.S. Jobless Rate Climbs to 26-Year High

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil tumbled after the Labor Department reported that the U.S. unemployment rate surged to a 26-year high, undermining speculation that fuel consumption will rebound next year.

Oil dropped 2.8 percent after the report showed that payrolls fell by 190,000 workers in October, sending the unemployment rate to 10.2 percent. Total U.S. fuel demand over the four weeks ended Oct. 30 was 4.5 percent lower than a year earlier, the Energy Department said on Nov. 4.

Jim Rogers Vs Nouriel Roubini, Can The Commodities Boom Survive?

Global climate mitigation effort and green energy expansion with feed-in tariffs, carbon taxes and other carbon finance trimmings, twinned with peak oil supply shrinkage impacts on world export offer will also rather surely raise energy prices. Higher energy prices is not good news for a limping, slow growing, slowly reviving OECD economy, still generating over 50% of world GDP.

On the other hand, the rapid growth in natural gas supplies, lowering gas prices, perhaps making electricity cheaper, will add more energy market confusion. Uranium prices, however look set to grow to extreme highs, unless supply can be cranked up. In several countries already, when the wind blows there is too much electricity, from windmills, leading to huge spot price swings and shedding of unsold, untransportable power. The ruined biofuels sector could or might revive, during the decade, perhaps capping oil price rises.

Canada steps up oil sands push in United States

CALGARY -- Canada has mounted its biggest campaign yet to sell the United States on the energy security benefits of the oil sands as Washington debates new environmental policy, the country's energy minister said on Friday.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said she and her staff are lobbying interests in the United States at all levels, trying to send the message that the huge heavy-oil resource in Alberta is being developed responsibly and that U.S. input on environmental fixes is welcome.

Big Oil Recruits No. 2 U.S. Senator’s Nephew to Lobby Congress

(Bloomberg) -- The lobbying group for oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. hired a nephew of U.S. Senator Richard Durbin to argue the industry’s case against climate-change legislation that threatens to slash profits.

Insights from the ASPO Peak Oil Conference

One of the more interesting themes that emerged from this year's ASPO peak oil conference was the problems of maintaining complex systems, and the role that energy plays in them.

Sen. Mark Udall and T. Boone Pickens: Natural gas should be the vehicle fuel of the immediate future

With recent improvements in the techniques and technology to recover natural gas from the enormous shale deposits under the continental United States, studies indicate we could have natural gas deposits that would last for more than 100 years. This is a sea-change from what we thought our natural gas reserves were prior to being able to utilize these so-called “shale plays.”

Going to domestic natural gas as a principal transportation fuel will also have significant, if not almost immediate, impacts on the U.S. economy. Along with jobs being created in other alternative energy areas, we can produce and/or save thousands of jobs in the supply chain of natural gas vehicles, from the well-head to the manufacturing floor and from sales and distribution to fueling and maintenance.

Rockland to Host Sustainable Island Living Conference November 13-15

The Island Institute's second Sustainable Island Living conference, during the weekend of November 13 to 15 in downtown Rockland, features presentations by international energy consultant Matthew Simmons of Rockport and Houston on Saturday; Tom Chappell of Kennebunk, founder of Tom's of Maine, on Friday; and Roger Doiron, head of Kitchen Gardeners International, on Saturday.

Jolly eschatology

Look, I'll put it very simply: what they sell us as realpolitik these days is a complete illusion, because it doesn't address any the problems of the future – climate change, dwindling resources, mounting water and food deficits, the escalating global conflict potential, the exploitation of our children's future. If you look at it this way, it's the realpoliticians who seem who have a fondness for crises. Crises also provide an excellent opportunity to score points for tireless crisis management. This is good for distracting from the fact that there is nothing on the political agenda.

Organoponico! Cuba's response to food security

Although born out of necessity, organoponicos have proven that an oil-scarce society can survive, if not thrive. Many environmentalists have seen the Cuban experience as something of a model for how to survive peak oil. Because of this, other countries have attempted to replicate it, although results have been variable.

Turkey Gets $1.2 Billion From Three Power Grid Sales

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey raised $1.2 billion by selling three power grids as it seeks to raise revenue and hand responsibility for developing the electricity network to non- government companies.

Wind sector cash inflow may blow small firms away

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Small wind energy companies could be taken over cheap because fresh funding for the sector is set to flow selectively to bigger names, placing them in a stronger negotiating position.

Analysts say the big firms are unwilling to pay premiums for the "pipeline" projects at the smaller players -- wind farms approved or awaiting construction -- which are normally added to current operating assets to arrive at a valuation.

AES to Sell Stock, Wind-Power Stake to China’s CIC

(Bloomberg) -- AES Corp., the U.S. power producer with operations in 29 countries, agreed to sell stock and a 35 percent stake in its wind-power business to China Investment Corp. for $2.2 billion to raise cash for expansion.

Chrysler dismantles electric car plans under Fiat

DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler has disbanded a team of engineers dedicated to rushing a range of electric vehicles to showrooms and dropped ambitious sales targets for battery-powered cars set as it was sliding toward bankruptcy and seeking government aid.

The move by Fiat SpA marks a major reversal for Chrysler, which had used its electric car program as part of the case for a $12.5 billion federal aid package.

First Look at Carbon Capture and Storage in a West Virginia Coal-Fired Power Plant [Slide Show]

NEW HAVEN, W.Va.—A 100-story smokestack belches a roiling, white cloud of water vapor, carbon dioxide and other leftover gases after burning daily as much as 12,000 tons of coal at the Mountaineer Power Plant—a total of 3.5 million tons a year. The facility just outside the town of New Haven boasts a single 65-meter-high boiler capable of generating enough steam to pump out 1,300 megawatts of electricity—enough to power nearly one million average American homes a month—continuously. And now roughly 1.5 percent of the CO2 billowing from its stack is being captured in an industrial unit rising from the concrete in its shadow and then pumped underground for storage. In case you were wondering, this last phase is called "clean coal".

The scientific hoax of the century

They say that “greenhouse gases” absorb infrared (IR) energy emitted by the earth and cause warming. Yet, in comparison to water in all its forms (polar ice, snow cover, oceans, clouds, humidity), human CO2 emission is as significant for weather as a few farts in a hurricane. The earth's IR energy absorbed by greenhouse gases is reradiated to free space as soon as it is absorbed. The notion that the colder air above can radiate energy back to heat the warmer air below violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Heat flows spontaneously from a higher to a lower temperature, never the reverse. But the Senate can solve that problem and justify its proposed legislation by simply repealing the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics!

In truth, this entire notion of a “greenhouse effect” was shown as early as 1909 to be devoid of physical reality; that is, it simply doesn't exist. Thus the greenhouse belongs in the outhouse: It is a load of crap!

Freaking Out over Global Warming

In this article I will link to some of the major commentary on the book so far, and try to explain to Austrian readers why the interventionists were understandably upset. In particular, I want to caution libertarians not to reflexively side with Levitt and Dubner because "they're on our side." I will remind readers of the admitted errors Levitt made in his battles (stemming from the Freakonomics era) with anti-gun-controller John Lott.

Climate change is a contact sport, expert says

An "insider's discussion" of the decades-long battle to bring the dangers of global warming to public awareness will be held Friday afternoon (Nov. 13) featuring Stanford University-based climate expert Stephen Schneider.

Civil Unrest Has a Role in Stopping Climate Change, Says Gore

Al Gore has sought to inject fresh momentum into the Copenhagen build-up, saying he is certain Barack Obama will attend and predicting a rise in civil disobedience against fossil-fuel polluters unless drastic action is taken over global warming.

Yet, in comparison to water in all its forms (polar ice, snow cover, oceans, clouds, humidity), human CO2 emission is as significant for weather as a few farts in a hurricane.

These folks are sooo predictable and boring, big yawn!


Basically, water vapor is a more important greenhouse gas than CO2, but because CO2 will cause heating independently of water vapor, as man-made CO2 increases global heating, water vapor will increase too, boosting the amount of warming with a positive feedback loop. How much exactly is up for debate, and there’s not a long enough data series on water vapor in the atmosphere to know everything. But just because humans can’t increase or decrease water vapor in the air directly doesn’t mean that CO2 heating of the air won’t do so indirectly.

The notion that the colder air above can radiate energy back to heat the warmer air below violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Heat flows spontaneously from a higher to a lower temperature, never the reverse.

I have been in greenhouses whose inside temperature was at least 20 to 30 degrees above the outside temperature, heated by nothing but the sun coming in from a much colder outside. (Actually I never measured it, that is just a guess, but it was a lot warmer.) Anyway the question is: Do greenhouses violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

I don't think so. So could heat be radiated through a much colder upper atmosphere and then trapped by CO2 acting as a shield, just as the glass or plastic of a greenhouse traps heat from the much colder outside?

I am not a physicist but somehow I don't think this violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Ron P.

Obviously this guy do not understand the notion of radiative transfert. The heating source of the ground is the sun, on top of this you add the contribution of the atmopshere. Here comes the greenhouse effect.

This is the simple physics explanation. But to make a descend calculation of the effect, you must slice the atmosphere in various layer, then calculate atmospheric absorption coefficient line by line taking account of the doppler and pressure broadening ,then propagation the radiation trough it. This is tricky but has been done for a very long time by astrophysicist and remote sensing specialist for decades.

But then of course, as Herr Schindler told us, 'Everything is Presentation'..

Just as CO2 blankets our atmosphere in a nice cozy and growing Quilt that reflects radiative heat back down to the surface, their use of comforting challenges like 'Fart' or 'Load of Crap' creates a delightful quilt of adolescent outrage that shields their sensitive brains from the cold, hard facts.

The way '2nd Law of Thermodynamics' gets tossed around by both sides has somewhat turned it into more of a polysyllabic football than a fact of nature.

Sadly, in the US there is a feeling enforced by reality TV Iron-chef Hero-worship that seems to award any debate to whoever has the loudest histrionics. Mother Nature has demurred on casting her votes so far, as long as we have enough cheap power around to keep her out of the studio.

For most, the '2nd Law of Thermodynamics' probably translates to "something that sounds important that I have never bothered to learn about". It would not change human nature, but I do believe that having a good educational system would have made a real difference. Concepts like entropy and the conservation of energy are not so difficult to understand when properly explained. Ignorance leaves people no choice but to go with histrionics. Also, ignorance is cumulative - by the time many reach adulthood there is simply so much they've missed, combined with not having developed a habit of learning and thinking. How many people go though life in the modern world without any idea how the things they do and use every day work? They may as well be waving a small wooden stick and muttering magic words. If there is any way to reach people about climate change or ecological destruction, it will be on an emotional level- attempts at using science or reason will fail.

I think the problem with understanding entropy is that it is not an intuitive concept, but relatively simple to quantify. The fact that people always associate it with energy and heat first clouds the fundamental way that we should think about it. Fundamentally entropy is about the disorder in a system and the fact that isolated systems tend to go to disorder.

The frightening part of this is that since many scientists regard entropy as a "measure of our ignorance about a system", people can also get the wrong impression on its overall usefulness in predicting outcomes. So unless you really know what this implies, you can get the impression that no one really has a handle on entropy.

But once one understands how to apply the concept, it becomes remarkably useful. In terms of oil depletion, I use the maximum entropy principal in formulating the model of Dispersive Discovery.

The dichotomy that I see is that people think that computations on climate change and resource depletion are "enormously crude" (to quote the Freaknomics book), yet by applying entropy correctly the calculations often simplify enormously.

I think some of the confusion comes from folks inserting common notions of "disorder" into the descriptions of entropy. Wood decomposes, entropy increases. Iron rusts, entropy decreases. Its not at all intuitive to the lay public.

yes, molecular bonding can certainly reduce entropy. The extreme case is where you can take a disordered gas or liquid and create a single well-ordered crystal.

But does the well ordered crystal have a lower entropy than an amorphous solid? Not a trick question and I don't know the answer and will guess -- maybe. I don't know if a crystal will have a fewer number of microstates than a equivalent mass of amorphous solid -- I'll guess that the crystalline structures will effect the number of microstates.

To visualize my nitpick with use of order/disorder verbiage picture two scenarios. Scenario 1, A small ice castle frozen in a plastic mold melts and makes a big mess all over the floor. Scenario 2, equivalent mass of random sized pieces of ice melt and drip into the same plastic castle mold inverted. The first scenario the seemingly well ordered castle turns into a random mess, in the second scenario random sized chunks of ice take on the well ordered shape of the castle as they melt. Is the entropy change any different in the two scenarios (assume the temperature change for the H2O in two scenarios is the same)? No, if I'm wrong there I'm not way wrong. The lay public has a notion that the order/disorder change in the two scenarios would be vastly different.

Entropy really works best with an ensemble. If you had specific sample of an amorphous solid, yet you knew where each atom was located, then you would have zero theoretical entropy. That's just the way it works out, as in that particular specimen you have 100% coverage in the positions of the atoms. Yet this would take quite a bit of energy to figure out those positions, so overall entropy would increase in the larger system.

I don't consider entropy some abstract notion. I used the Maximum Entropy Principle in amorphous semiconductors as an extremely practical analysis. If you are interested please comment on this recent blog article I wrote

I left this reply in the comment section of the article:

You are misrepresenting the second law of thermodynamics. Ever hear of insulation? How do you think your house stays warm in the winter? Answer: by slowing down the rate of heat loss, just as global warming gases slow down the rate of heat loss from the earth. (former chemical engineer...) And the author says he has a PhD in Physical Chemistry! shocking

Thanks for the link, Leanan.
I also registered and posted a comment at the Summit Daily News.

I hope it gets both a few smiles and provides a scientific counterpoint to the "Meteorologist from La Mancha." Although, there are more than one auditioning for that role.

There's a good explanation on how the greenhouse effect works on Wikipedia

The greenhouse effect does not violate any laws of physics.

I think you really need to mention the black body temps and absorption spectrum of CO2 to explain it right.

Speaking as a person acquainted with basic physics and chemistry-I can follow the entropy arguments as long as somebody else does the higher math, which I forgot long ago.

Even so, the arguments sound like like something in a foreign language to me, as I have never actually worked as a physicist or an engineer.Lack of day to day familiarity means I have to stop and think about the language-in the same way somebody who learned long division in school but has only added ,subtracted, and multiplied since (which is the norm in day to day life for the simple needs of balancing a checkbook, etc) must exert some effort to do long division.

The average man or woman on the street might as well be listening to Chinese or Gaelic as listening to a discussion including the words entropy, second law, etc.This man on the street fixes your car,keeps your books,runs your local bank, defends you in court, sells you your groceries and may even be performing surgery on you-an Md probably has only one basic physics course, and that twenty or thirty years ago.

If you are trying to communicate with the public, you need to stick to every day English.

Water runs down hill until it can't run down hill any farther.

A ball can never bounce quite as high as the spot from which it was dropped because some of the (kinetic) energy gained as it falls is lost in the form of noise and heat as it rebounds.

Your baby can grow, but only so long as you feed yourself as well as the baby.

Plants can grow but only so long as the sun provides energy food for them.

You can never get as much work back out of the spring in a windup alarm clock as it took to wind it-the spring does not have nearly as much stored energy as it would take to get you out of your chair and to the mantel where the clock resides.The energy you used moving your body to wind the clock is mostly wasted as far as the spring is concerned.

If you stand in the street anywhere away from places where technically trained people congregate and ask the first hundred people who pass by to define work or power or energy in even the simplest technical terms you will soon understand what I am talking about.The first ten will more than likely convince you that I know whereof I speak.

Even the examples of simple language I give here are tough enough for most folks.

Nobody ever went broke overestimating the ignorance of the public.

Many a person with something critically important to say is wasting his time because he is talking over the heads of his audience which consequently ignores him and his message.

And of course that 1909 refutation was rather quickly shown to be invalid. I think part of the issue is that anthropogenic greenhouse gases even at the relatively high concentrations expected mid to late century, only reduce the radiative cooling ability of the planet by one of two percent. So the casual thinker can easily dismiss that as "no big deal". Of course the average temperature at the earths surface if 289Kelvin, and one or two percent of that actually is a big deal. Even with this low level of sophistication we can guestimate climate sensitivity:

Direct effect, reradiation goes as T to the forth power, so an change in the radiative efficiency of the planet by 1% would be expected to change the surface temperature by .01*289/4 = .75C. Not too bad sounding. Then water vapor feedback roughly doubles that, so we get 1.5C. Add in snow/ice albedo feedback and that number becomes higher still. The accepted sensitivity is 3C per a doubling (which I think is about one and a half percent direct effect). So as a simple back of the envelope physics excercise can get within the ballpark of the estimates that come from sophisticated modeling, it should be apparent that that modeling is credibly within the range we would expect. And we have independent lines of evidence which confirm that 3C per doubling is in the ballpark. Most obvious are observations of cooling due to large scale volcanic eruptions (which block sunlight for a couple of years), and paleclimate data about ancient climate and drivers (ice sheep reflectance, greenhouse gases, and solar forcings due to earth orbital changes).

As Yvan Dutil mentions, Martin Hertzberg clearly does not understand the heat transfer process involving gases. While CO2 and other gases absorb at a particular frequency, they then re-radiate that energy in all directions. On average, half of that emission is downward, the other half upward. Thus, more CO2 results in more downward radiation from each layer. This effect is particularly important in the Stratosphere, where there is little water vapor.

Hertzberg is a meteorologist by profession and his work has been shown to be flawed. Here's a link. His recent paper in published Energy & Environment is available thru IceCap, Fred Singer's disinformation site. It's interesting reading, as it shows how weak the denialist arguments really are. He begins by quoting extensively from his unpublished 1994 poster paper. His entire argument is based on black body radiation and Kirchhoff’s Law, ignoring the effects of the gases which surround the Earth. Then, he demonstrates even less understanding of oceanography as he focuses on the cold, deep layers of the oceans. Junk science at it's best.

Of course, for him, there's no Greenhouse Effect...

E. Swanson

These folks are sooo predictable and boring, big yawn!

I agree, Fred. Commenting on this stuff is a waste of your time.

organoponicos-- My word for the day!

There were some rather telling comments/contributions about Cuba in September's Hawaii: Peak Oil Canary in a Coal Mine Revisited piece here. I came out on the side of having my doubts about the supposed Cuban "miracle," this latest film had the feel of real propaganda, despite its professed voice of the people slant.

There were some rather telling comments/contributions about Cuba in September's Hawaii: Peak Oil Canary in a Coal Mine Revisited piece here.

Which ones?

Hey hightrekker - Saw your comment from a few days ago about hiking through Muir Woods & to Stinson. I'm in the hood & it's a beautiful day for it. Drop me a line - email in my profile

I found the following pdf via a Transportation Ass'n of Canada brochure:


It's 126 pages of data and graphs showing the energy intensity of various forms of transportation (see description below). If anyone here knows how to do a screen capture and then load an image of a graph or two on to the drumbeat, I think it would be very worthwhile to attract interest to the Berkeley info.


The goal of this project is to develop comprehensive life-cycle assessment (LCA) models to quantify the energy inputs and emissions from autos, buses, heavy rail, light rail and air transportation in the U.S. associated with the entire life cycle (design, raw materials extraction, manufacturing, construction, operation, maintenance, end-of-life) of the vehicles, infrastructures, and fuels involved in these systems. Energy inputs are quantified as well as greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant outputs. Inventory results are normalized to effects per vehicle-lifetime, VMT, and PMT. (University of California at Berkeley Center for Future Urban Transport Working Paper UCB-ITS-VWP-2008-2, March 2008, 126p.)

Perhaps the most telling feature of the greenhouse-gas summary graphs (tables 32, 66, and 88) is that one can guesstimate overall life-cycle emissions for most enclosed passenger vehicles passably well based solely on the degree to which said vehicles are stuffy, cramped, uncomfortable, overcrowded, and disease-propagating. In keeping with this simplistic model, the most miserable (and utterly unreliable) vehicle of all, the rush-hour bus, comes in with the lowest emissions by a modest margin.

<sarcanol> This suggests that those who enjoy playing with fire might wish to harness that ugly scourge, supercilious American puritanism, in the cause of reducing emissions. Simply persuade people that if their ride (as with anything else whatsoever in their lives) is not unbearable, they must be enjoying themselves, making them sinners upon whom perdition, fire and brimstone shall rain down forever. </sarcanol>

I read the Freakonomics chapter on climate change ( ) and it really seems to be missing a key ingredient. They do describe the idea of externalities, but they completely miss the idea of unintended consequences.

externalities -- impacts on a party not directly involved in a particular action.
unintended consequences -- outcomes that are not (or not limited to) the results originally intended by a particular action.

So they discuss all the externalities of pollution, volcano eruptions, etc of the past, then suggest that "geoengineering" may solve the problem, but completely ignore any unintended consequences that can occur.

Something very odd about that chapter.

Here's the best takedown of the Superfreakonomics chapter on climate change, from Levitt's fellow U. Chicago professor, Ray Pierrehumbert:

An open letter to Steve Levitt

By now there have been many detailed dissections of everything that is wrong with the treatment of climate in Superfreakonomics, but what has been lost amidst all that extensive discussion is how really simple it would have been to get this stuff right. The problem wasn’t necessarily that you talked to the wrong experts or talked to too few of them. The problem was that you failed to do the most elementary thinking needed to see if what they were saying (or what you thought they were saying) in fact made any sense. If you were stupid, it wouldn’t be so bad to have messed up such elementary reasoning, but I don’t by any means think you are stupid. That makes the failure to do the thinking all the more disappointing. I will take Nathan Myhrvold’s claim about solar cells, which you quoted prominently in your book, as an example.

Ray then goes on to show, using basic arithmetic and a few Google searches, how wrong the Myhrvold claim is.

That makes sense as the chapter almost reads like a tossed off article that would fit into a rag such as Popular Science. The Freakonomics authors seemed to want it to be popularly readable at the expense of making it correct. That is the usual problem with pop science writing.

So I hear it's Carl Sagan day

The original Pale Blue Dot:

Sagan with Pink Floyd

Somebody's doing Sagan remixes:
(Okay, they're pretty bad)

Whhoooopp! Whhhooooop! Awhhhh.... ;-)

and a new pic from the refurbished Hubble:

Can anyone recommend any Vaclav Smil book on climate change? I realize he's out to lunch on peak oil, but I'm preparing for a public debate with a climate change skeptic, and I'd like a source who is skeptical enough to point out the areas where we don't have enough knowledge, but who is also wise enough to know about the concept of societal insurance. Smil did this in his 1993 book Global Ecology, so I'm wondering if he has done any worthwhile updates.

Thanks in advance.

There are no areas where we don't have enough knowledge.

By which I mean, the remaining areas of geosystems uncertainty (the cloud balance, contribution from soils, and so on) are about how much worse things could be. And we already know they will be very bad.

These "areas of uncertainty" are like the difference between a 50% chance of your house burning down, and a 80% chance. How much knowledge do you need before you install a fire protection system?

Edit: To answer your question, Vaclav Smil is not a credible authority on Climate Change. He knows a very great deal about energy in all its forms, but he knows virtually no atmospheric chemistry or radiation physics, just like he knows little geology.

Here are some resources for debating skeptics:

Break a leg!

Thanks. I'll check those out. The other one I came across was from NewScientist called Climate Change: A Guide for the Perplexed.


The best thing you can take to a debate with a skeptic is the idea of using the strategy shown in the videos here:

See gregcraven.org

And if you have time, find a copy of "What's the Worst That Could Happen" by Greg Craven and read it -- it's quick.

Makes the excellent point that both of you could be wrong -- the question is, what's happens if you're wrong (for both positions). We don't get to know who's wrong yet -- we only get to decide whether we'd rather be wrong about climate having acted to respond or not. In either case, there is some cost to having been wrong.

The various costs of the skeptics being wrong and our failing to have responded all dwarf the cost of acting to respond but then finding out that the vast majority of the world's scientists were wrong.

You're probably long gone but..

the question is, what's happens if you're wrong

I think this is a very powerful argument. Apparently, the science of AGW is still debatable, and probably will be for decades. Unfortunately, decisions we make today will have long-term effects. If we were smart, we'd put our hubris aside and admit that we just don't know for sure, and wouldn't it be better to take precausions and be wrong, than to do nothing and be wrong?

It's common sense in daily life (OSHA comes to mind, locking your door, fire extinguishers, seat belts...).

Leveraging Up To Learn
Apollo Group and other for-profit colleges will find it harder to make the grade -- especially as they come under scrutiny for aggressive enrollment practices.

THE FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE BUSINESS grew sensationally right through the recession. September-quarter enrollments rose 20% to 50% across the industry, from little Grand Canyon Education (ticker: LOPE) to giant Apollo Group (APOL), parent of the well-advertised University of Phoenix. So why are the industry's stocks trading at historically low multiples of their fast-rising profits? And why did an Education Department panel spend last week discussing regulation of these businesses -- which enrolled more than 10% of all U.S. college students last year while accounting for almost 25% of $60 billion in government-backed student loans?

In part, it's because of stories like Amer Alata's. The Michigan man says he was urged to withdraw from his medical residency after being told he'd received poor clinical training from Ross University School of Medicine, a for-profit institution in the West Indies that's owned by DeVry (DV). He has defaulted on more than $470,000 in student loans and therefore can't borrow more money to complete his education and become a licensed doctor. "My life has been crushed," says Alata, age 30. "All those good things I wanted to do -- making a difference one life at a time -- I can no longer do." Bill collectors call him dozens of times a day. He expects to file for bankruptcy, but student loans can rarely be discharged in bankruptcy. DeVry says that Alata's residency program says he left voluntarily, and that Ross grads generally fare as well as U.S.-trained med students.

FOR ALL THE BEAMING testimonials on for-profit schools' Websites, there are too many sad cases like Alata's. Bad stuff just keeps emerging from some of these lucrative enterprises, which whistleblower lawsuits depict as high-pressure sales operations bent on vacuuming up student-loan dollars.

From the Deutsche Bank puff piece Leanan collected for us up top:

“In 2010, we expect the Saudi economy to grow by 3.8 per cent ..."

More fodder for the export land model.

Re: Civil Unrest Has a Role in Stopping Climate Change, Says Gore

This is big, if true. As a politician, Gore will be well aware of the consequences of being associated with anything that could be portrayed as inciting civil disobedience. It would smash his credibility in "serious" political circles. It'd have to be the act of a desperate man.

He isn't running for anything and so saying "Civil disobedience has an honourable history, and when the urgency and moral clarity cross a certain threshold, then I think that civil disobedience is quite understandable, and it has a role to play, and I expect that it will increase, no question about it" won't keep him off a ticket. He is selling a new book however so such comments will get him some news time. It would have been hard to have stated the above in a much duller fashion though.

I watched most of his interview with Charlie Rose. He presented the facts and what is and is not really known in a much more guarded and balanced fashion than one would expect if they had only seen him in five second excerpts. But 5 seconds is what most will see, so how effective he is as a message carrier is open for debate. He does look to have lost weight though, maybe he wants to hang around the fight for a while.

While we are in the vicinity the NSIDC report on the extent of the arctic ice cap for October has just been posted.

Because Americans no longer act like Americans?

Given the US was born in revolution and the major social shifts (slavery, women's rights, civil rights) have come of civil disobedience, sounds like the act of an AMERICAN.


Over the many years something has consistently been in my thoughts, namely that economic collapse, energy depletion and climate change would combine to seriously impact food production. Our primitive reptilian brains would then fully appreciate the immediate threat it presents, whereas it ignores the more abstract threats such as climate change, etc. The point being that once the cerebellum (lizard brain) takes control of our actions, no amount of calls to our neocortex for calm will prevail and destabilising chaos will follow. Deeply scared people will be quick to action and sceptical of assurances, leaving politicians with little to control populations with other than force.

People will be scared by a visibly deteriorating situation, governments will be scared by the people, the ruling elite will be scared at their loss of power and control over events. The prevailing environment of fear will make for poor decisions and reactionary policies leading to societal upheaval.

It's looking increasingly likely that this process has begun and next year may well be the point when people become increasingly aware of it. India possibly being at the centre or even the catalyst of this rising awareness.

Turning Up the Heat on Rice

Prices already have started surging, amid some alarming predictions coming out of an international rice conference in the Philippines from Oct. 27 through Oct. 29. Although still a long way from the historic highs, prices could stay on the boil if such forecasts materialize. The weak monsoons aren't news, but the market largely ignored the problem until India signaled its intent to buy by eliminating its 70% import tax in late October...

...Bill Nelson, an analyst with Doane Advisory Services, calls India's emergence as an importer of any amount "phenomenal." Some believe India could import more than three million metric tons, the most in the world. The timing couldn't be worse for the Philippines. The nation is dealing with typhoon damage and might need to import as much as three million tons of its own. The last thing it wants is a bidding war with India.

With the world's top 4 wheat producers also struggling with crops for next year, along with other countries such as Ukraine and Australia we may be heading for trouble (and then there's the El Nino too). A few more articles of interest:

Triple financial whammy to cut EU grain sowings

Farm revolution in Australia 'nearing its end'

Ray Grabanski: The harvest from hades

And India has still not released the long promised wheat from its reserves. The latest twist is that they're offering the wheat to tender at above market prices and feigning surprise when there were no takers (Indian wheat prices are already 30% higher than global prices). India may well become a major importer of wheat too as well as rice soon.

Ahhhh..Burgundy. You see how little traction AG gets on TOD?

Yet we must consume food. Thats the very last bridge to blow out I guess but talking about it NOW?

Waste of breath IMO.

Yet I still do the occasional comment and I do hope you continue to do so as well. As least there are two of us.

My update: Round bout here I see some changes in the ecology and vegetation that I have never noticed before. Plants springing up on the roadside that I am very unfamiliar with.

IMO vegetation and animals are acutely attuned to very slight changes in the environment. The average change over time perhaps.

So early on there were huge amounts of young squirrels. You constantly played 'chicken' with them on the roads. Suddendly I don't see them anymore. Just the rare on racing across the blacktop.

Water fowl. I have so far seen ONE single wing of geese. The wood ducks don't seem to be around much anymore.

Deer. Lots and lots of deer but now I see large numbers dead along the highways. Some right almost in the suburban areas on the edge of cities.

Coyotes. Never have I seen so many many coyotes killed on the roadways.

Was seeing a huge number of wild turkeys. Now none in the last two months.

Asian Lady Bugs are out in massive numbers. These are the ones the USDA imported here so they could be in our food, our beer glasses and in our coffee cups.

Seems that some species had a large birthrate and then it throttled back real fast. Like a dieoff after all the forage ran out.

Some gardeners may note that its the small beaten down green bean plant at the end of the row that produces the most pods. Reason is "its trying to survive its species by promoting growth largely but then at the cost of not growing too much itself. I see this in wild nut trees when stressed.

Conclusion: Those who live close to nature may notice these changes. The rest are too busy roaming the malls and watching Jan and Kate(whoever the hell they are--make believe folks?)...too busy to watch the environment dieing around them.

Airdale-India? Naw..can't you see I am watching Kate and Jon? Rice? Come on!

Hi Air. Enjoy your comments. Lost most of an oats crop due to rain this summer. Hay was very dicey but just made it. If I was still using small square bales though, the barn would probably have burned. For gardeners here in Ontari-ari-o I know nobody that had a successful tomato crop. Sharing the house with lots of ladybugs this year. Interesting, they seem to coat the west wall of the house in the afternoon of the last warm day in October. How do they know? Lots of coyotes calling this year. Very unusual year.

Friend of mine in South Dakota took a bunch of hunters from NYC out for grouse. Came back furious and with holes in his coat from birdshot. Very unhappy guy.


Hi Airdale

You have about 20 years on me. My family comes from a farming background, and although none of us farm some of us remember what we were taught and pay attention to the world around us.

Your comments do matter and I am paying attention. I suspect that more will be noticing as time goes by. That said, the article about land grabs, even if to grow rice, is important. Those who are paying attention recognize that it is yet another canary in the coal mine. Your observations, along with this information, help me in explaining peak oil and climate change to members of my family who would otherwise dismiss me as some sort of crank.

I don't think AG is as dismissed here as you've concluded.. but the demographic is techies, engineers and a broad but thin swath of others. I think you'll find many of us are closely reading your witness to the state of your fields, forests and your thoughts.. we just have little to add to that particular conversation. Our condition in Maine hasn't been as hard bitten as what you describe, but no ecosystem is an island, and many here surely appreciate this.

Sometimes, the right thing to do is listen and read.. take heart.


In 30 years of gardening this has been the least productive. A cool, wet spring slowed everything. A very windy April killed many of my young plants and seedlings. August when the hot, dry conditions fire off the okra, cowpeas, melons, squash I had mild temperatures and 5 inches of rain. 8 inches of rain in September, 10(!)inches of rain in October. It doesn't take much to saturate my clay soil. A consolation: first frost is about Halloween; this year no frost so far and long range predicts none for 10 days. May get some ripe stuff yet.(joke) The last of my watermelons split a few days ago. Drastic drop off in pollinators but also Colorado Potato Beetles. My woodland garden is much quieter than it was just a few years ago.

One of my favorite movies is 'Gone With the Wind'; I feel like I'm watching GWTW2 in real time.

Airdale, Asian Lady Bugs (Asian Ladybirds), funny you should mention them. It's the first year we've had a problem with them swarming in the house. It also seems that many people in our area of France are also having problems with them.

One person related a strange tale that people had seen planes releasing clouds of them in the sky. I put it down to some kind of urban myth. But there is so many strange things going on these days, who the hell knows what people, corporations and governments are getting up to.

Climate change is throwing nature into seemingly chaotic misaligned cycles with increasingly bizarre results. Out of season weather and changes to established weather patterns create a corresponding cascade of adaptive changes by nature destabilising the entire environment and producing seemingly random changes in the order of things.

Airdale - don't take it personally. Take silence as agreement and consent. This is often the way with the more intellectual types from experience.

Very keen to here 1st hand experience - your local news is taking about a 17% crop failure so no big deal (according to them). Being from the UK I have to take this at face value but this looks significant to me - but then I have no history to go by.

We should worry about cascading problems - but by definition this means they start small and you can't do #### all about by the time it is noticed. What is your view? Is this weird or dangerous?

Keep up the good work.

And now roughly 1.5 percent of the CO2 billowing from its stack is being captured in an industrial unit rising from the concrete in its shadow and then pumped underground for storage. In case you were wondering, this last phase is called "clean coal".

1.5% of CO2 captured is considered clean coal?!

It's a test operation to see if they can do it all. Here's a bit from the end of the article:

The next step will be scaling up the whole unit, making it capable of capturing CO2 emissions associated with 235 megawatts of the plant's power, or roughly one fifth of its output, Sherrick says. Of course, that will take up more space, roughly eight to 12 acres according to preliminary engineering; a unit big enough to capture the plant's full emissions could be as big again as the plant itself. And it will cost at least $700 million, half of which AEP has applied to receive from the federal government.

Sounds like some major efforts to treat the entire smokestack. It's also likely to be a bit expensive, as this next bit shows:

Cleaner coal will be more expensive, too, adding at least 4 cents per kilowatt-hour to the power Mountaineer produces at roughly 5 cents per kWh. Nevertheless, "this is the first time in the world carbon capture has been carried on and sequestration has been part of it," West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller notes. "Some say it's only a very small part of it, but that's not the point. It's taken 90 percent of the carbon out of a small section."

I wish them all the luck in the world, but we probably shouldn't count on this tech fix as a way of avoiding (decreasing?) climate change.

West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller seems to believe the world ends at America's borders. A German plant has been doing sequestration for a couple of years.


The red heart of India

In 2006 Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, called this insurgency the country’s “biggest internal security threat”. At the time, his words seemed shocking. But the Maoists, known as Naxalites, after the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal where the movement started four decades ago, have since expanded their reach. They are now active in 22 of India’s 28 states, up from nine in 2004. They have the run of a “red corridor” through much of the eastern and central part of the country. They speak grandiosely of surrounding the cities and someday overthrowing the government in Delhi.

After years of neglect, the Indian government is planning a huge military confrontation with the rebels...

...Brigadier B.K. Ponwar, the director of Chhattisgarh’s Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College, says the enemy is no longer a ragtag militia. It is now one of the world’s biggest and most sophisticated armed extreme-left movements.

Turmoil in rural areas caused by failing agriculture and rising prices will probably swell the rebels ranks. With Pakistan rushing towards failed state status next door and Bangladesh slipping below the waves on the other side things could get rather tense in that part of the world.

Thanks for posting that - I had no idea that was going on.

India and China have two mutual stretches of disputed border.

The 1962 war did not resolve this dispute...India has grown increasingly bitter (at least loud voices in the Indian media have done so).


From at least the 1980s if not earlier, China has given aid (including military) to Pakistan to check India...which was also perceived by some back then to be somewhat in the Soviet camp.

The U.S. also aided/favored Pakistan because of the perception that India was some kind of crypto Soviet client state. Just a few years ago one of my comrades in arms declared that the U.S. would cross swords with India, not China...I told him he was full of condensed monkey milk.

Of course we lavished favor upon Pakistan to help the Mujahideen to give the Soviets hell in Afghanistan. Then after a fashion we are the ones flailing in Afghanistan and still giving billions to the Pakistanis...which is having the effect of creating great Pakistani hatred towards the U.S., as the people are correctly understanding that we are trying to be their government's puppet master.

The bottom line is that the India/Pakistan/China/Afghanistan(U.S./NATO) mess is a powder keg soaked in lighter fluid with a bunch of folks standing around with torches...arguing.

If the state-to-state tensions are not enough,there are these Indian insurgents along with the Taliban/Al Quaieda/militant Islamists in Pakistan, along with unrest in Tibet caused by China's heavy hand and attempt to immigrate large numbers of ethnic Han into this area, combined with the Chinese/Uighur situation, combined with unfavorable weather and failed harvests...

Let us all hope that folks stay calm or at least rational.

Crying over spilt milk: Of course there wouldn't be all this tension if all India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan would have enforced a strict 2-child per woman per lifetime policy.

We need to get out of Dodge (Afghanistan) and disengage from Pakistan. We are just another guy standing around the powder keg with a big sputtering torch. Peak Oil awareness should be ending our era of global cop.

Break break:

Then there is the KSA/Yemen insurgency situation bubbling up right now:


With recent improvements in the techniques and technology to recover natural gas from the enormous shale deposits under the continental United States, studies indicate we could have natural gas deposits that would last for more than 100 years. This is a sea-change from what we thought our natural gas reserves were prior to being able to utilize these so-called “shale plays.”

i thought udall was supposed to have a clue.
that paragraph starts talking about shale gas "deposits" and ends talking about "reserves".

pickens has an alibi(80 and sleezy). i'm assuming here that 80 and sleezy can be an alibi.

Report Argues for a Decentralized System of Renewable Power Generation

“As this report shows, there is more than enough renewable energy at competitive prices to go around.”

So, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has determined that we have "enough" if we organize control properly:

The report advocated strongly for state and local control over these renewable energy assets and a decentralized approach to electricity generation: building small-scale, distributed energy facilities and upgrading the transmission and distribution systems within each state

It is good to know that we can all relax about future energy suppy as there is "more than enough..."

Greetings, Dave,

Is this sarcanol? :)

I wonder if they've given any thought to road repair.

Hi Aniya,

Just now learning about the word "sarcanol". As it is not in the dictionary, I assume it comes from "sarcasm"?

If so, yes - hard to believe some research/advocacy group could make such a naive remark in such a blanket fashion. Although it might be theoretically possible to supply all of our energy needs from renewable sources, the "competitive prices" is pure fiction and the "to go around" part is a mystery.

1. Distributed networks are more resilient than what we have now.

2. Individual energy supply (whether personal, neighborhood, town or city) eliminates the control of gov't/industry over supply, increasing real freedom.

3. Small scale systems can be built from scratch, or at least built by locals at far lower costs.

4. No person with any knowledge at all about The Perfect Storm is going to advocate moving forward at current energy consumption levels, thus less power is not only possible, but likely. And necessary to reduce climatic effects. Smaller, distributed systems can easily meet the needs of a powered down society.

5. Such systems can be built with no need for financing, reducing long-term costs substantially, as well as enhancing the freedom of those that build them.



Thanks for your response.

1. How is it that distributed networks are more resilient? Do you mean, if they are combined with the overlay of a "back-up" supply from outside the point source?

What (specifically) do you mean by resilience in this context?

2. How is it that individual (more local) supply increases "real freedom"? Why is it that these individual sources would not be equally - or even more - vulnerable to corruption, power grabs, lack of regulation and other disadvantages?

3. Can the small scale systems fill the needs for manufactured goods and all the other needs? Or, is a different system of agriculture, water delivery, wastewater treatment, etc. also needed to go with these small scale systems?

4. How can the small scale systems be built with material resources available locally? What are you talking about in material terms? Wood? Glass? Moving parts?

5. How can anything be built without financing?

'The scientific hoax of the century'

Now how did that baseless article make it onto TOD? I don't think TOD should feel obligated to present completely baseless articles.

You must be new around here. I routinely post all kinds of articles. Posting a link is not an endorsement.

Posting legitimate data regardless of interpretation makes sense. Posting trash does not. It's a perfect example of false equivalency. I recognize this approach would eliminate virtually all anti-AGW articles, but that should be the case.

Were I to host a site on, oh, dog trimming and someone suggested a paper on trimming with a hacksaw that suggested any other trimming was based on a bald-faced lie, well...


It's not false equivalency, or any other kind of equivalency. I don't give equal time to all views. But I do think it's important to keep an eye other views, at least if they aren't totally "out there." And sad to say, this article is not. It probably represents the views of a large chunk of Americans.

This isn't a site about dog trimming. That is, it's not about a subject where there's a broad consensus on what the right thing to do is. We're still fighting the battle for public opinion, so we have to be aware of what that opinion is.

You don't have to click on the links; I think I make it pretty clear in the excerpts what kind of article it is. Heck, you don't have to come here at all. Start your own blog, and show us how it's done.

i'm guessing that dr martin hertzberg is tuned to rush limbaugh up there in the rocky mountain high country. transmitting 50,000 watts and recieved via a cranial-conical metalic thinfilm reciever.