Drumbeat: November 11, 2009

Your Neighbor's Saving Energy; Why Aren't You?

We all know carpooling is good for the Earth. So highway departments build high-occupancy vehicle lanes and companies offer prime parking spaces for employees who share rides.

But carpooling is unlikely to save the environment. It's too hard.

So say scientists who have studied how people confront environmental and energy challenges. Carpooling, they say, has low "plasticity" -- that is, people are unwilling to do it -- so its "reasonably achievable emissions reductions" are low, as well.

Unfortunately, that is not how U.S. policymakers see it.

"We tend to fund efforts that appear to have, on the surface, the greatest potential emissions reductions," said Mike Vandenbergh, director of Vanderbilt University's Climate Change Research Network. "A real value is in looking not just at potential emissions reductions, but also at plasticity. Because otherwise, you'll be frustrated."

Matthew Simmons: “Global crude oil peaked in 2005”

Matthew Simmons, Chairman of “Simmons & Company International”, is the world’s largest private energy investment banker. Moreover, he is a leading expert on the crucial topic of Peak Oil. In the following interview, Mr. Simmons talks about the on-going recession, explains why we might have reached an end of growth and gives his reading of last year’s oil price spike.

Malthus and Brunel stalk energy outlook

LONDON (Reuters) - The alarmism and defeatism pervading previous editions of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) have been partly replaced this year with an optimistic emphasis on new sources and technologies.

If previous editions owed their inspiration to Thomas Malthus ("we're all doomed"), this year's is an implied tribute to the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel ("yes, we can").

IEA Whistleblower Claims Agency Has Downplayed Looming Oil Shortage

But seriously, almost everyone not hiding in a cave recognizes that our cars and homes won't run on fossil fuel energy sources forever. That's why we created PopSci's realist roadmap to 2050 for energy. It's also why the U.S. Department of Energy's new mad science lab has begun spraying funding in all directions for breakthrough technologies that could boost energy efficiency and improve renewable sources.

Kjell Aleklett: Comments on Guardian article: “Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower”

I am not surprised that some within the International Energy Agency (IEA have leaked this news. Rather, it is astonishing that this has not become known earlier. (See the article in the Guardian: Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower.)

The article ”The Peak and Decline of World Oil and Gas Production” was published as long ago as 2003 in the scientific journal Minerals and Energy – Raw Materials Report by Kjell Aleklett and Colin C. Campbell (Volume 18, Number 1, 2003 , pp. 5-20[16].) It was the first “peer reviewed” article to discuss Peak Oil.

Richard Heinberg: Just Tell Us The Truth

In the past few years these lone voices of warning have garnered the backing of a million-voice chorus: investment banks, oil analytics firms, and investigative journalists have joined the geologists in pointing out that oil production limits are within sight, and in calling for more transparency in official data reporting and forecasting.

But the International Energy Agency has stubbornly refused to come clean. And this is important: while financial analysts and investors are free to draw their own conclusions about Peak Oil (and a great many of them have seen the writing on the wall—hence recent run-ups in oil futures prices), national and local governments must rely on officially sanctioned fuel supply and price projections for all their planning. Energy policy, transport planning, agriculture policy, economic forecasting, and much more depend upon the august pronouncements of the Paris-based IEA.

Can we handle the truth?

If oil traders knew the truth about declining energy availability, the per-barrel price of oil would be $300 within a week. If stock traders knew the truth, we'd see capitulation of the markets shortly thereafter. If Americans knew the truth, they just might come to grips with reality, rally together, put their collective shoulders to the wheel, and start building a better world than the ominicidal culture of make believe to which we've all become accustomed.

But we'll never know, because the cabal of morally bankrupt bankers and politicians running this country -- and also the industrialized world -- will keep playing the shell game as long as they are allowed by the impotent media. Or, more likely, until the reality of oil priced in excess of $200 per barrel interferes with their imperial ambitions.

A double-front oil attack

The concern that oil may have hit its ”peak”, leading to higher prices, stares India on one front. On the other, the government insists on tightly regulating oil prices.

New Neighbors, New Economy

Russia is disappearing. So is Japan. Europe is next to go.

It's not the rising waters of global warming that threaten these parts of the world. The problem is more basic. The Russians and Japanese, as well as large numbers of Europeans, are not having enough children to replace themselves. The birth rates across a large swath of Eurasia are considerably below the replacement rate of 2.1 babies.

Court battle to slow roll out of Mexico oil reform

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A legal challenge to a Mexican oil reform law passed last year means international oil firms will have to wait longer for new contracts aimed at luring them back into the country.

Hancock's ideas need refinement

And while some are sounding the warning bell that oil demand south of the border has peaked, Greg Stringham, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, points out that even if one assumes a flat demand scenario, heavy oil demand is going to rise because of the drop in light oil supply.

In case Hancock hasn't noticed, it's a tough time for the refining business. The way things sit today --because the difference between the price of a heavy barrel and a light barrel is so thin--refining margins are thin to non-existent. In some cases, the refined barrels are selling for less than what the cost of the inputs are.

The Philippines: Vegetable traders feel effects of oil price freeze

After farmers and tricycle drivers, the vegetable trade sector became the latest industry to be affected by the price freeze, according to a QTV Balitanghali report.

A television report said that in Quezon province, where some gas stations claimed to have already run out of fuel supplies, vegetable vendors fear losing revenues because they could not transport their products to Metro Manila.

Take over oil industry, senators urge Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines — Warning of food riots and a stagnating economy should a fuel shortage occur because oil firms were not importing new stocks, three senior senators on Tuesday urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to take over the oil industry.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also asked the government to import petroleum products to protect the people.

No propane shortage for harvest, suppliers say

WAVERLY --- Corn dryers are burning large amounts of fuel to keep harvest moving, but liquid propane distributors say farmers shouldn't worry about shortages.

Farmers are buying twice as much LP as usual to dry one of the wettest and biggest corn crops in history. Energy companies are fielding calls from producers concerned about LP availability, which could delay and already slow harvest.

Saudi Arabia Pursues New Oil Trade Opportunities: Implications for the US

Saudi Arabia has generally had falling oil production since its all-time peak in 1980 of 9.9 million barrels per day (mbpd). Present Saudi production is probably around 9 mbpd. The big question: Is declining Saudi production because the desert kingdom is running out of oil, or a voluntary action to reserve oil for potential higher prices in the future?

Saudi exports make up a total of 7 mbpd – about 9% of world crude oil consumption (around 75 mbpd).

Some oil experts (like Matt Simmons) believe that Saudi Arabia is now beyond peak oil production, or very soon will be. The low quality crude oil (sour and heavy) coming out of Saudi Arabia would also suggest that its oil fields are approaching exhaustion.

Oil cos racing back to Gulf; rough seas slow LOOP

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Oil companies were flying workers back to offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, but rough seas threatened to stretch return into Thursday.

"Seas are down from what they were at the storm's passage, said Jim Shugart, executive vice president at ERA Helicopters. "But they're still pretty rough out there because winds were high. Today's better. We should be through by end of the day."

The parallel worlds of OPEC quotas and actual production

In the world of OPEC, the word production can mean different things. There is official production, whereby OPEC sets quotas for individual members under an overall volume, and there is actual production, which can bear little resemblance to official levels.

And there is a further complication. OPEC, although it has given out the overall target number for the current output agreement, has not published the individual quotas under that target. Which means that people like my colleagues and myself have had to work out those quotas by ourselves, sometimes with a bit of help from delegates or ministers who may confirm figures or indicate that our calculations are close to the mark.

WSJ: Exxon Lured By Gas Potential

Exxon Mobil Corp. has joined a growing list of major energy companies looking to exploit an emerging source of natural gas once seen mainly as the bane of coal miners.

The world's largest publicly traded company by market capitalization has acquired about two million acres of coalbed-methane resources in Germany, its first foray into the exploration of gas trapped in coal seams in Europe.

Energise your money and investments

If you saw the final episode of economist David McWilliams' most recent television series, Addicted to Money, you know that while he was making the series he experienced a Damascene moment: he realised that not only was the late, great, global economic boom the consequence of the availability of a century and a half of cheap energy oil but that everyone's assumptions about the future are predicated on how soon we can replace this increasingly costly resource.

The Choice Ahead: Entrenched Fossil Fuel Dependence Or Climate Change Management

According to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard economist Linda Bilmes, the Iraq War cost three trillion dollars. While much of the money used to conduct the war was borrowed (most notably from Chinese institutions), ultimately American taxpayers will be responsible for many years to come for footing the bill, including the high interest payments on the funds loaned. This is because the federal budget, especially between the military and big business bailout costs, far exceeded the annual and shrinking amount taken in by taxes.

Was it worth it? The answer partly depends on whether one works for or has holdings in one of the oil companies that made out well in the aftermath.

Experts worry over peak soil

The possibility of “peak soil” was raised by Professor John Crawford, of the University of Sydney’s Institute of Sustainable Solutions, who said Europe was losing soil at the rate of 17 tonnes a hectare, and in China soil was being lost at 57 times the rate at which it could be replaced.

Nuclear Power: The answer to the UK’s energy woes?

France is a case in point. It derives nearly 80% of its electricity from 59 nuclear plants and is the world’s biggest electricity exporter. It has the cheapest power rates in Europe, and has the lowest carbon footprint per person.

However, the significance of radioactive wastes and contamination threats should not be underestimated if we really want to promote sustainable development that considers the intergenerational impact and legacy of such technologies. In this vein, it might be argued that the significant funds for these large infrastructure projects would, in fact, be better targeted at scale-up and capacity building for renewable technologies such as wind, solar, tidal and others, which don’t generate such controversial by-products. For now, the pressure is on in the UK to streamline the planning process to enable the speedy construction required to bridge the expected energy gap.

Jeff Rubin: What do we do for the next recession?

Correctly diagnosing the nature of a disease is usually an essential first step to finding its cure. Similarly, knowing what caused this recession seems pretty pivotal to figuring out how to avoid falling into the next one.

Subprime mortgages may have blown up Wall Street, but it was triple-digit oil prices that blew up the world economy. This distinction is not just academic — it has huge implications for what steps governments should have taken and, maybe even more importantly, what steps they shouldn’t have taken.

This economist (Jeff Rubin) loves his Audi

“If we're going to go massively into debt, I'd rather we invest in our future not our past. But our future is public transit. Our problem is if 50 million North Americans took the exit lane over the next decade, there isn't a bus to get on.

“During World War Two, Detroit reinvented itself and stopped producing cars and started making tanks and bombers. If they could do that over World War Two, why couldn't today's unemployed auto workers be re-employed making buses, subway cars, and light rapid transit vehicles instead of SUVs?"

Oil Hoarded By Traders Offshore Hits 10-Year High

Lloyd's List reports that "there are now 129 tankers deployed for temporary storage by traders and investment banks".

These oil hoarders continue to buy lower-priced oil now with the intention to sell it in the future at the currently higher oil prices in the futures market. (ie. trading the oil price contango)

U.S. giant has partnership in $5 billion China project

Exxon Mobil Corp. and partners were expected to announce early today the completion of a $5 billion refining and chemical complex in China's Fujian province, a sprawling project that arrives as U.S. refineries and chemical plants are closing.

The complex in the city of Quanzhou, which Exxon Mobil developed with Saudi Aramco, China's Sinopec and the Fujian government, will expand production of transportation fuels like diesel and widely used building block chemicals, demand for both of which is projected to grow rapidly in China in coming years.

China to maintain crude oil imports from Iran

FUZHOU, CHINA: Top Asian refiner Sinopec Corp expects crude oil imports from Iran to stay at 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) or slightly more next year, the company’s president said yesterday, a level unchanged from this year’s contract amount.

Phil Flynn: Sitiing Idle After Ida

After surging yesterday on the weak dollar and now tropical storm Ida, I think we can focus on all the bearish stuff that did not seem to matter. You know stuff like gas gluts and supply surpluses. As Ida hits the coast the market realizes that there is plenty of oil, products and spare production capacity to easily weather this tropical storm. More oil is on the way as the Saudis and OPEC send signals that more oil production is likely at the December OPEC meeting and news that China is raising the domestic cost of gasoline which could put a dent in China’s domestic oil demand.

Reuters News reported that Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has increased December supplies to large companies, and one Asian customer is expected to receive full contract volume. Bloomberg News reported that OPEC is increasing output at the fastest pace in two years, adding to near-record inventories.

Will the lights go out on South Africa's World Cup?

An ugly race row has left South Africa's national power company leaderless and is threatening to turn the lights out in the country only nine months before it is due to host the World Cup.

Venezuela: Government alleges excessive demand to hide energy crisis

Instead of implementing new measures allowing electric utilities to provide "a reliable and high-quality service," the government has issued "compulsive and inconsistent decrees to hide its incompetence," said Miguel Lara, former general manager of the Office of Interconnected Systems Operation (Opsis).

In his view, Minister of Energy and Petroleum Rafael Ramírez, "in an attempt at concealing the true origin of the problem, has said that in recent years Venezuela has recorded an unprecedented growth in power demand."

Goodbye to globalization: In an Age of Catastrophe, resurrecting the globalized economy is a huge mistake

Now is the time to question globalization, to ponder the consequences of allowing the market to run rampant. Is it not possible that we need not more globalization but less, not linking but de-linking, the better to lessen the likelihood of more financial and economic crises — and to deal with the latest and greatest of capitalism's horrors, the ecological footprint of long distance trade?

Perhaps we should read and heed the great and wise economist John Maynard Keynes on how the message of the Great Depression of the 1930s was that there should be less international finance and less international trade. Or study today's writers, the American ecologist Bill McKibben and his book, Deep Economics, and the American scholar of food, Michael Pollan, on the compelling case for local production, respectful of community and nature.

Good food nation: Researchers think America's obesity epidemic can be reversed via 'foodsheds'

A map of northeastern cities depicts their proposed “foodsheds,” the areas that naturally supply metropolitan areas with their food. Image: Urban Design Lab at the Earth Institute, Columbia University
Now, in another report finished this October after meetings with food-industry leaders, the MIT and Columbia researchers propose a solution: America should increase its regional food consumption. Each metropolitan area, the researchers say, should obtain most of its nutrition from its own “foodshed,” a term akin to “watershed” meaning the area that naturally supplies its kitchens. Moreover, in a novel suggestion, the MIT and Columbia team says these local efforts should form a larger “Integrated Regional Foodshed” system, intended to lower the price and caloric content of food by lowering distances food must travel, from the farm to the dinner table.

How Green Are Your Nukes?

The role that nuclear power might play in addressing the problem of man-made global warming is fiercely disputed among environmentalists. Two new books by big names in the movement stake out the boundaries of that debate. On the pro-nuclear side stands Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto, by Stewart Brand. And parked in the (more or less) anti-nuclear corner is Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, by Al Gore.

Nuclear alone won’t keep the power flowing

Britain faces two urgent energy problems. First, we have simply not invested enough in infrastructure to meet future demand for heat and power. There is a yawning capacity gap that, in the next decade, will force prices up for consumers and industry. The second problem is how to mitigate climate change by cutting carbon emissions. The two problems will need more than £200 billion to fix in the next decade.

'Solar panels could solve energy crisis'

IF every south-facing building in the UK fitted solar panels, the country would have all the electricity it needs, an expert has claimed.

The future of oil: New market dynamics created by climate change, geological and geopolitical pressures will transform our hydrocarbon economies

The race for the world's remaining oil reserves could get very nasty. Recently, Nigerian militants announced their determination to oppose the efforts of a major Chinese energy group to secure six billion barrels of crude reserves, comparing the potential new investors to "locusts". The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta told journalists that the record of Chinese companies in other African nations suggested "an entry into the oil industry in Nigeria will be a disaster for the oil-bearing communities".

Whatever the facts, the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century is likely to be seen by future historians as the beginning of the final chapter of a unique, unrepeatable period in human development. Even oil companies now see the Age of Oil in irreversible decline – even if that decline spans decades. International oil companies (IOCs) increasingly accept that they must transform themselves completely – or expire – by mid-century.

The perils of forecasting

A Lex note yesterday, for those who missed it, looks at the WEO and praises the International Energy Agency’s data. But it adds:

Like many forecasts, though, it makes the mistake of extrapolating recent trends too freely. For example, the IEA expects global oil production to rise from last year’s 85m barrels to 105m by 2030 while acknowledging that about two-thirds of this will come from fields yet to be found or developed. But at what cost?

It adds:

Living with $300 crude is no more outlandish than suggesting a decade ago that $80 would be the new normal.

Energy markets, it says, have so many moving parts that long term forecasts are a mug’s game.

Econbrowser: Will rising oil prices derail the recovery?

Last April I described new research on the role of oil prices in the recent recession. Here's an update on what's happened since then.

Era of cheap oil 'is over' (video)

The International Energy Agency has warned that increasing demand from developing countries will drive fuel prices up in the coming years.

The agency's 2009 World Energy Outlook suggests the economic crisis has cut requirements in the short term, but that the trend will not continue.

IEA: Has the Titanic Sighted the Iceberg?

Nothing of what the IEA is saying now is new; other organizations have raised warnings for years. But that’s exactly the problem. The IEA, as the whistleblowers suggest, is often a barometer for the feelings of its member countries.

International Energy Association: Forced to Eat Their Optimistic Data on Future Oil Supply?

Let’s go back a few months and find some of the early signals, however, indicating this story was likely overdue. In August, a journalist at a separate British newspaper, The Independent, had conducted a long interview with the IEA’s chief Fatih Birol. In that interview, Dr. Birol made a number of very clear statements about the rather dire prospects for any future growth in world oil supply. This was unsurprising, in some respects, because the IEA had already asserted, in World Energy Outlook 2008, that existing oil fields were declining by at least 4.00% if not 6.00% per annum, and that to actually lift global oil production would require not billions, but trillions, of investment.

But something odd happened in the weeks that followed this interview. First, Dr. Birol was interviewed by another journalist, this time David Strahan. In this subsequent interview, Birol claimed he’d either been misunderstood, or misquoted, by the Independent’s journalist–Steve Connor–who had reported that Birol was calling for “peak oil in about ten years.”

IEA: Washington made us fudge oil data

The subject of declining reserves was given real momentum by M. King Hubbert , who correctly predicted a decline in US oil output in the 1970s, even as Texas companies were denying his research.

King's methodology has predicted a similar fate for world oil production. Hubbert's former colleague Kenneth Deffeyes and oil analyst Matthew Simmons say production from existing major sources may already have peaked.

Naturally enough, the implications of such a theory are enorrmous, but there's also a significant constituency that dismisses entirely the peak oil theory - a constituency that has traditionally included the International Energy Agency, the oil industry, OPEC and Washington.

Oil up to near $80 as the dollar weakens

Oil prices rose to near $80 a barrel Wednesday as the effects of a weaker dollar trumped a report pointing to a rise in U.S. oil inventories.

Oil Market Is ‘Very Comfortable,’ Al-Attiyah Says

(Bloomberg) -- The global crude oil market is “very comfortable” and it is unlikely that OPEC would increase production quotas significantly, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, Qatar’s energy minister, told reporters today in Singapore.

OPEC: Pricey crude could erode 2010 demand

CAIRO — OPEC says demand for crude oil will slip in the industrialized nations next year if oil prices climb and are sustained above their current level.

The warning today came as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, supplier of about 35 percent of the world's crude, revised its 2010 global crude demand up to 85.07 million barrels per day — 75,000 barrels per day higher than its assessment last month.

Gazprom Has ‘Everything’ in Place to Avoid European Gas Cuts

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, expects to maintain contracted supplies to Europe this winter, avoiding a repeat of a dispute with Ukraine that disrupted shipments in January.

Russia Warns of Gas Crisis If Ukraine Misses Payment

(Bloomberg) -- Russia warned it may halt gas exports through Ukraine if the bailout-dependent former Soviet state can’t keep up payments in what is becoming an annual dispute between the two countries.

“There will be a great danger of another crisis” should Ukraine miss a single monthly payment to energy producer OAO Gazprom, Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, told reporters late yesterday.

Blackouts Plague Energy-Rich Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela — This country may be an energy colossus, with the largest conventional oil reserves outside the Middle East and one of the world’s mightiest hydroelectric systems, but that has not prevented it from enduring serious electricity and water shortages that seem only to be getting worse.

President Hugo Chávez has been facing a public outcry in recent weeks over power failures that, after six nationwide blackouts in the last two years, are cutting electricity for hours each day in rural areas and in industrial cities like Valencia and Ciudad Guayana. Now, water rationing has been introduced here in the capital.

Brazil Restores Power After Outage Hits 12 States

(Bloomberg) -- Power was restored in Brazil after an outage at a dam providing 20 percent of the country’s energy thrust about half of the nation’s 190 million people into darkness for at least two hours.

The 14,000-megawatt Itaipu Binacional hydroelectric dam said operations were back to normal at 6 a.m. local time after transmission failed, causing the world’s largest dam by output to forcibly shut down for the first time since it went online in 1983. The government is investigating the incident.

Saudi Oil Pricing Paradigm Shift: WTI Index Out, ASCI Index In

US Gulf oil output, currently at about 1.2mn b/d, is expected to climb to 1.4mn b/d next year and 1.9mn b/d in 2013 boosting spot market trading volumes. This decision by Aramco in part demonstrates the emerging importance of the US Gulf as the new center for price discovery.

Meanwhile, the abandonment of WTI, a longtime standard since the 1980’s, for a five-month-old Argus index by Saudi Arabia is a big deal in the crude pricing assessment world. The move not only highlights some specific problems of WTI, but also signifies ongoing shifts in the global energy landscape, as emerging countries take an increasingly prominent role in the oil trade.

Aramco to shut Ras Tanura crude unit

State-run oil exporter Saudi Aramco is expected to shut the crude distillation unit at its Ras Tanura refinery in mid-December for planned maintenance, industry sources said on Wednesday.

The 325,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude processing unit was expected to be offline between 30 to 50 days, industry sources said.

Iraq Invites Bids From Drilling-Equipment Suppliers by Nov. 22

(Bloomberg) -- Iraq, holder of the world’s third- largest oil reserves, is seeking bids from providers of drilling equipment as the Persian Gulf producer seeks to increase crude output from fields and new wells.

Pakistan's energy sector and the great game

HARRIS: Whether or not you believe in Peak Oil, Pakistan will present attractive exploration opportunities, as you can see here with 125 delegates at this meeting. That means there's interest.

QADRI: But multinationals are not the only ones interested in Pakistan's energy sector. With its ever-growing population, Pakistan has struggled to match energy supplies with demand. Those difficulties turned violent in August when angry mobs in Karachi and the Punjab protested against the long daily power cuts that have brought modern life to a standstill here. I asked Asim Hussain what the Pakistan government was doing about this problem.

Energy-use activist focuses on the individual

Pat Murphy says we should super-insulate our houses and travel in shared vans to survive peak oil and climate change.

Murphy, executive director of Ohio-based Community Solution, believes it's more important to focus on houses, private cars and food -- rather than factories and jet planes -- because individual consumption accounts for two-thirds of energy use.

GM board approves plug-in Cadillac hybrid: sources

DETROIT (Reuters) - The board of General Motors Co has approved a plan to produce a plug-in hybrid for the luxury Cadillac brand that will adapt technology developed for the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, according to people briefed on the decision.

6 most fuel-efficient cars

These vehicles top their class in fuel economy while offering strong performance, too.

Thin-film share of solar market to double: report

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Solar panels that use thin-film technology in place of traditional silicon-based materials will more than double their share of the solar panel market by 2013, according to a report issued on Tuesday by industry research firm iSuppli.

Thin-film panels, such as those made by First Solar Inc, the largest U.S. solar power company, are cheaper to make per watt of electricity than are standard panels.

The Price of a Pipeline: Rena Effendi's Powerful Photos of Lives Destroyed By the Oil Industry

Boosters of the Nabucco pipeline project tout the economic and political clout it will bring to Turkey. But where there are winners, there are also often losers -- as Rena Effendi's powerful photojournalism makes poignantly clear.

Recently exhibited at the 11th International Istanbul Biennial and published in a book this year, Effendi's photographic series "Pipedreams: A Chronicle of Lives Along the Pipeline" focuses on the people affected by a similar project in the region: the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which stretches 1,700 kilometers from the photographer's home country of Azerbaijan to a Turkish port on the Mediterranean.

Al Gore crusades against global warming

San Rafael -- Al Gore and his crusade against global warming landed in the Bay Area this week with a call to arms and a message for those who still think the former vice president is tilting at windmills.

Senate Working on ‘Framework’ for Climate Talks, Lieberman Says

(Bloomberg) -- A bipartisan “framework” to combat climate change may be reached in the U.S. Senate before global meetings in Copenhagen next month to craft a new treaty on global warming, Senator Joe Lieberman said.

Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said he’s working with Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, to “move the Senate as far as we can before Copenhagen.”

Cost of extra year's climate inaction $500 billion: IEA

LONDON (Reuters) - The world will have to spend an extra $500 billion to cut carbon emissions for each year it delays implementing a major assault on global warming, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

Storm could follow calm in EU carbon market

LONDON (Reuters) - The European carbon market is bracing itself for a storm as another wave of selling by industrial companies is anticipated at the end of December or early January.

"Concerns over industrial surplus are so huge that all financial institutions are nervous," an emissions trader said.

Sceptics anger Arctic scientists

Tomso, Norway - As the world climate summit closes in, scientists monitoring the impact of global warming in the far north have grown frustrated by public apathy and disbelief about the extent of the problem.

Ice loss offsets global warming: study

Global warming has been blamed for the alarming loss of ice shelves in Antarctica, but a new study says newly-exposed areas of sea are now soaking up some of the carbon gas that causes the problem.

Terrestrial ecosystems and oceans can absorb much more CO2 than expected

A new study by researchers from the Bristol University, UK, has suggested that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide) than had been previously expected.

The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket.

Dr Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol found that in fact the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has only been 0.7 - 1.4 percent per decade, which is essentially zero.

What Would Failure at Copenhagen Mean for Climate Change?

This is the consequence of failure at Copenhagen: A marked shift in scientific effort from solving global warming to adapting to its consequences, a hodge-podge of uncoordinated local efforts to trim emissions - none of which deliver the necessary cuts - and an altered climate.

Climate experts, scientists and negotiators say that, absent international agreement, the children and grandchildren of those living today will negotiate a world where planetary geo-engineering is a part of daily life, sea-walls defend coastal cities, the world's poor are hammered by drought, floods and famine and our planet is heading toward conditions unseen for the last 100 million years.

The December talks are, in other words, the last, best chance to change course before chaos descends.

Regarding historical EROEI ratios:

Has anyone here developed a chart of historical oil production which subtracts the (E)nergy (I)nvested from total production? ...or would such a chart not be practical. If there's one out there, I'd love to see it.

Link up top: International Energy Association: Forced to Eat Their Optimistic Data on Future Oil Supply?

In this subsequent interview, Birol claimed he’d either been misunderstood, or misquoted, by the Independent’s journalist–Steve Connor–who had reported that Birol was calling for “peak oil in about ten years.” The dispute appears to have turned on the issue of conventional oil vs all liquids (which includes natural gas liquids). Was Birol talking about just crude oil with the Independent’s journalist? Or was that interview about all liquids, which includes biofuels?

That has been a sore point with me since day one. Using "All Liquids" is nothing more than a smoke screen. It not only includes natural gas liquids or bottled gas, but it also includes, ethanol, palm oil, and even liquids from coal if we ever produce any. Peak oil is about peaking of conventional oil, or C+C as we usually call it.

So what are we talking about when we talk about peak oil? Deffeyes, in his two books, was talking about crude oil. Hubbert was talking about crude oil and that did not include bottled gas. So called "All Liquids" is nothing but a confusion factor, something often used to show that oi production went up when it actually went down.

Non OPEC crude oil peaked in 2004. However if you add bottled gas, ethanol, palm oil, turkey grease and whatever, non OPEC peaked in 2007. So which are we talking about?

Ron P.

Yeah, my problem with the "all liquids" thing is that a very big part of that is NG condensates, from which a very big chunk ends up being LPG ("Propane"). The implication is that all of those "liquids" are available as substitutes for all of the things presently being produced from fractions of conventional petroleum. The problem with this is that LPG already HAS users, including lots of people who heat their homes with it. If the implication is that the LPG from those NG condensates can be diverted to substitute for petroleum products that are depleting away - as fuel for motor vehicles, say - then where does that leave the present LPG customers?

Yeah, we can keep "happy motoring" going for a while. Just need to freeze out those folks wintering in the more remote colder sections of the country, that will do it! Small price to pay, that. :-(

"Turkey grease"! Nice touch, Ron. It neatly makes your point.

Yeah but it's almost time to give thanks so it's even more appropriate :-)


And one more thing about NGL's, they tend to see a production surge when conventional oil pumping ends and the gas cap is blown down before a field is abandoned.

Thanks for the suggestion. Gobble gobble!

Mr Black Swan talking turkey...

I expected some more comments on yesterday's post from edelwoodmore:

roland horne has a different interpretation:


This was the only reaction:

Undoubtedly some exaggeration is likely, however it is also true that prior to 1987 many of the reserve estimates had been quantified much earlier by concessionaires who were using conservative US practices. Until 1987, OPEC countries had no particular motivation for precision in reserves estimation, and in fact may have preferred to keep the magnitude of their good fortune to themselves. In 1987, they suddenly had a good reason to investigate more carefully and to report the numbers to the other OPEC members (and thus to the world).

What about that reserve estimates used to be conservative ? Of course, even if half of the added 300 Gb is there, it wouldn't change much in the timing of PO. For a lot of readers here well known material, still interesting to watch the video and give it some thoughts.

I'll leave this, since today is a holiday in the US and traffic is likely to be slow. However, in general, I ask that you keep discussions in the thread in which they started. Don't forward old posts to a new thread.

i wasn't sure what edelwoodmore meant by "a different interpretation". i think horne subscribes to the consensus tod interpretation. i watched the presentation, and i think boiling it down horne was saying (right at the very end of his remarks): oil production is at its peak now.

he said just about nothing about (the growth of) demand, nothing much about price expectations, and nothing i heard about likely economic/social scenarios resulting from post-peak. he did say at one point, something like, 'you should be getting tingly on the back of your neck,' which i found illuminating.

he said just about nothing about (the growth of) demand, nothing much about price expectations, and nothing i heard about likely economic/social scenarios of peak.

For the 2005-2008 period he gives the following possibility to think about: the oil was so expensive that f.i. a lot of people buyed a more economic car.
Though, what happens with the old cars ?

He says that local oilcompanies maybe want to keep more oil for the future, which means: restricted production. However, the activities of Saudi-Aramco (posted by Darwinian here below) doesn't show that.

horne was saying (right at the very end of his remarks): oil production is at its peak now.

Bert, he predicts that oilproduction will never exceed 90 mbd.

Until 1987, OPEC countries had no particular motivation for precision in reserves estimation,

And I might add, after 1987 OPEC countries had even less motivation for precision in reserves estimation. In fact they had a very strong motivation to overestimate their reserves. And that is exactly what they did.

However if that was the only reason we had for doubting those massive OPEC reserves, they would have some validity. But the main reason for doubting those numbers is the actions of the OPEC nations themselves. They plan to spend many millions pumping CO2 into Ghawar in order to try to get a little more oil out of the tired old supergiant. The project, planned for 2013, involves injecting about 40 million cubic feet of carbon dioxide daily into an area flooded by water in the Arab-D reservoir in the Ghawar field...

And they are now looking for oil in the Red Sea: The Red Sea is two kilometers deep in places with a 7,000-foot thick salt sequence which can distort seismic images, according to the magazine. If any oil is found and extracted, it would be some of the most expensive oil in the world. These are acts of desperation, not the actions of someone with 264 billion barrels of proven reserves.

And last but not least, according to Hubbert's theory, the oil you do produce is directly related to the oil you have to produce. The idea that OPEC produces 40 percent of the world's oil from 80 percent of the world's reserves is beyond all reason. In the history of OPEC, there have been periods of restrained production but there have also been periods where every nation was producing flat out. The fact that their production, during those periods of maximum production, rose only a small percent, speaks volumes about their true reserves.

Note: Five OPEC nations, Angola, Ecuador, Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela are all producing flat out right now. Algeria and Iran are both very close to maximum production.

Ron P.

The stock answer is that they're expanding production to meet rising demand, both domestic and global, while their vintage fields are in fine fettle.

One major criticism of Simmons's book is that all these SPE papers he references are indeed full of problems, which were subsequently solved. By no means are they meant to be taken as insurmountable, but that's how he frames them.

Han - what you quoted as a "response" (which I supplied) was just an excerpt from this paper by Horne: Future of oil (pdf).

The macro picture:

Any idea where the jump in non-OPEC reserves has come from?

Kazakhstan (=Kashagan) and the FSU. Check your BP Stat Review.

Are you sure about that KLR? I assumed that this was when Canada's tar sands were added to the World's proven reserves. Oil & Gas Journal counts them but not BP or World Oil. This happened just a few years ago, just at about the same time as the jump shown in the chart above.

Anyway Canada's proven reserves jumped about 150 billion barrels when the adjustment was made, though the jump in the chart seems a bit larger. Kazakhstan has only 40 billion total according to BP or 30 billion according to Oil & Gas Journal.

At any rate the total world proved reserves on the chart seems to agree with the figures of Oil & Gas Journal at 1,342 billion barrels. The estimate of BP is a bit lower, 1,239 billion barrels and World Oil estimates total proved reserves at just 1,184 billion barrels.

World Proved1 Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates

Ron P.

Re: What Would Failure at Copenhagen Mean for Climate Change?

This article from SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN is a great summary of the political problem of addressing climate change. While oil is a source of CO2, the major problem is what will be the energy sources to replace oil, with coal and the unconventional sources of oil (such as tar sands and oil shale) being on the top of the list. After World POP (that's Peak Oil Production), there will be great political pressure to turn to these other fossil fuels energy sources and if that path is taken, the result can only be a much different Earth.

We've known about this problem for more than 20 years, yet, there's no political will to face these truths. I'd surely like to be smart enough to figure out a way to get thru this mess with as little pain as possible. And, I've tried repeatedly...

E. Swanson

Blacky - did you see this article below? Not that will deter anyone.

Sorry if this has been posted already but I tried a google search of TOD first.

"Is New York’s Marcellus Shale Too Hot to Handle?"


"As New York gears up for a massive expansion of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, state officials have made a potentially troubling discovery about the wastewater created by the process: It's RADIOACTIVE. And they have yet to say how they'll deal with it."

Let's see, the IEA wouldn't mislead us, and the EIA wouldn't mislead us, and the Chairman of Shell wouldn't mislead us, and the Saudi Oil Minister wouldn't mislead us, and the MSM (I suppose Fox sort of qualifies) wouldn't mislead us, would they?

Check out what Jon Stewart uncovered:


Of course, this was a CWP (Crazed White Person), Sean Hannity, doing a segment on a CWPP (Crazed White Person Party) protest, so I guess anything goes. Interesting that these are also the guys who believe that we can drill our way to freedom from oil imports.

The Sydney Morning Herald re-printed the Guardian article on the IEA with this heading:

Panic warning as oil supplies run low

I have just written a short history on IEA's World Energy Outlooks, using the same title as the Guardian article:

“Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower”

The WEO 1998 was the last WEO to mention the peaking, even quoting Hubbert and Colin Campbell.
The change came with the USGS 2000 survey, adopted by the IEA in its WEO 2000 report. Since then, OPEC is always assumed to fill the gap between Non-OPEC production and perpetual demand growth. Read here:

It would be nice to see this story trumpeted across the U.S. main-stream media, as well as Fox News.

They don't want to spook the masses.

We can't handle the truth.

Higgins: It's simple economics. Today it's oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?

Joe Turner: Ask them?

Higgins: Not now - then! Ask 'em when they're running out. Ask 'em when there's no heat in their homes and they're cold. Ask 'em when their engines stop. Ask 'em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won't want us to ask 'em. They'll just want us to get it for 'em!

Too bad this has been the paradigm since the early 1970s wrt oil and energy and resource depletion: Don't accept the truth, certainly don't tell the people the truth. Smile, lie, assassinate and invade.

President Carter tried to start telling truths.

President Reagan and all the politicians after him put paid to that idea, and now we are 40 years behind the power curve...40 years deeper in the hole and still digging, and still the governments and corporate media won't speak the truth. And on top of that TMI and Chernobyl stopped nuclear power in its tracks.

President Reagan could have motivated us to turn our malaise into positive steps towards greater sustainability...instead we got the green light and the incentives to party like its 1999, and few politicians since then have gone off the growth/American exceptionalism script.

We can still turn around...first step: withdrawal from our two wars. Happy Vet's day...from a vet who is tired of wasting blood and treasure on fools' errands.

"Three Days of the Condor" good movie, good quote!

Was Rev. Wright invited to that "party?"

I lived in Washington, DC for a number of years and went and watched many political events on the mall. I can say with 100% accuracy that the Washington Post coverage of any "conservative" event always understated the people present, even in the face of different statements from the National Park Service who oversees the mall area. And the Washington Post always overstated the people present for any liberal event. Always. Every. Single. Time. This was not an accident but deliberate editorial policy. (Note: I am not defending conservatives or putting down liberals as what each group did at their specific events is independent of this very clearly skewed reporting.)

As for the specific event in question, I never believe a word out of Hannity's mouth. But I long ago via personal experience learned that Katharine Graham's newspaper, the Washington Post, was one large lying sack of turds.

In regards to the Ras Tanura refinery article linked above, the Saudi Economic Survey recently stated the Saudi Arabia's fuel oil exports have hit the highest level for the October month in five years.

It was very much expected that Ras Tanura would be continuing to put out fuel oil through the winter, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that this refinery now needs maintenance. It’s not clear if the main unit will now be beset by the frequent problems seen this year at the related hydro-cracking unit.

Saudi Arabia was being considered to be fast becoming an important swing supplier in the spot market for the residual fuel, which is used in shipping and power generation, or alternatively for processing into higher-value feedstock at other refineries.

My own possibly uniformed view is that the low quality oil they are trying to refine here is a difficult job – and this is just another example of declining EROEI.

Are any companies looking into CCGT/IGCC geothermal hybrid power plants? Geothermal is great, but produces a lot of relatively cheap but low temperature heat, so the efficiency of the steam turbines is quite low. Adding the heat from a CCGT or an IGCC cycle could boost the geothermal heat, and you could get dramatically higher efficiencies using supercritical/ultra-supercritical steam turbines and less water/KWH.

I know companies are working on nat gas/coal solar thermal hybrids, but since the solar thermal is still only producing power during the day, you still need oversized steam turbines. Plus, at least with power towers solar thermal can already produce supercritical steam. IMO geothermal is a better match.

Jeffry Sachs, writing in the Financial Times, had what sounds like a much more workable way for the Obama administration to tackle the recession, one that would actually help!

Question Everything

I question that! ;-)

IMO, Sachs' plan is still too much BAU. Is building an export economy really what we want to do in a resource-constrained world?

i agree. i'd tend to put sachs' recommendations in reverse order. what he says sounds good, but it's a little pie in the sky.

1) develop a 75-year vision for what the nation could look like with only expensive fossil fuels in 2030, and then with *very* (or *very very*) expensive fossil fuels in 2050, and no fossil fuels in 2085. it'd solve our national climate change challenge as well as help to guide us to a powered-down reality.

2) don't educate for the sake of education. we do that already and we have lots of people with degrees that do them/society no good. in part, that's why we have an unemployment problem. drive the nation's education programming toward the 75-year vision. a national skills assessment could be carried out when we start figuring out how we're going to have to be regionally-oriented and very purposeful.

3) imports, exports, and all the rest -- what our economy might look like -- will be apparent from the 75-year vision.

2) don't educate for the sake of education. we do that already and we have lots of people with degrees that do them/society no good. in part, that's why we have an unemployment problem. drive the nation's education programming toward the 75-year vision. a national skills assessment could be carried out when we start figuring out how we're going to have to be regionally-oriented and very purposeful.

Really excellent point. Working on what that might look like. I've railed long about the sorry state of education in the US. Being part of it I've attempted to fight from within the system, but it is a massive battle. See my blog, Question Everything under the category, Education, to see my views on what is wrong, and some ideas on what might be done differently.


don't educate for the sake of education. we do that already and we have lots of people with degrees that do them/society no good.

While I agree that much of secondary and higher education in the U.S. today is "education for the sake of education" --and absurdly overpriced at that-- I don't wholly agree that it always does "them/society no good". Even if everything you learn doesn't produce immediate, practical benefits, even a philosophy-heavy liberal arts education produces many general benefits:

--Forces you to develop critical thinking ability and to independently do your own research (not being held captive to corporate-owned government & media).
--Encourages you to question what authority mouthpieces and the corporate media is telling you.
--Core science classes (physics, chem, geology, anthropology) helps one to cultivate a reality-based view of the world, and tends to displace magical thinking and religious mythology as the foundation for one's world view.

--Forces you to develop critical thinking ability and to independently do your own research (not being held captive to corporate-owned government & media).
--Encourages you to question what authority mouthpieces and the corporate media is telling you.
--Core science classes (physics, chem, geology, anthropology) helps one to cultivate a reality-based view of the world, and tends to displace magical thinking and religious mythology as the foundation for one's world view.

I only wish thats what we were teaching. I think it is more along the vein of:
-Memorize a bunch of facts for the test.
-Learn how to win via spin.
-Figure out whats expected of you and deliver (or fake it).

I think if we did a decent job along the lines quoted above we wouldn't be in the present predicament.


Well you are right about that. It does approximate BAU, as far as exports of technology go, but it does so in a way that puts emphasis on investment in infrastructure at home (US) which could translate into more so-called green jobs. If that infrastructure includes alternative energy infrastructure as well as technology to ship out that would at least be something positive. The creation of more jobs would not necessarily translate into more consumption, esp. if the jobs paid less than what people have been used to.

Look at it this way. If you are going to stimulate an economy, esp. with debt increases, would you rather give the money to bankers or hire workers to build something with on-going potential to ease the pain a bit? Personally I don't think there is a really good solution, but this makes more sense to me than anything the Obama admin is doing now.


I'm all for infrastructure...but I'm afraid it will be the wrong infrastructure. Expanding highways. Building schools and water and sewer systems for exurbs that may be abandoned soon. More airports.

This is the part that caught my attention.

The third component is to spur an investment boom in areas of high social return that are currently blocked by the lack of clear policies. The conversion to a low-carbon economy would create jobs in the short run, a more productive economy in the medium run, and US technological leadership in the longer run.

The same is true with the overhaul of America’s ageing infrastructure at a time when cutting-edge technologies can dramatically improve the efficiency of resource use, the safety of the built environment, and the sustainability of our ecosystems.

Of course these words are subject to interpretation and could just as easily be about BAU as anything. But Sachs' other writings suggest that he has a slightly better grasp of the resource constraints and the problems with a consumer-based economy. Perhaps I simply read more between the lines than others might.


His answer is very much BAU. And it flies in the face of the IMF which has stated a goal of reducing and eventually eliminating trade deficits, meaning there will be no nations that import more than they export.

But even that flies in the face of resource constraints, as you note, Leanan. But let's be honest here - do you really expect mainstream politicians and economists to admit to resource constraints? That means the end of their universe. You are more likely to get a retired college professor to admit he was wrong about his lifelong thesis... oops, that didn't work well either did it... aka Ben Bernanke.

Nope, we're screwed and the system will lumber along until it lumbers off a cliff and then everyone will piss and moan about why they weren't warned when they were warned constantly but the majority actively chose to not listen.

Please see my reply to Leanan above.

Nobuo Tanaka, head of IEA denies any pressure about reporting and downplays risks of 'peak oil' in an interview on CNBC.

IEA's Tanaka Rebuffs Peak Oil Report


- If we don't invest, the demand peak.... er... peak oil will come
- Now is a window of opportunity to mitigate climate change. Copenhagen needs to set up a framework for governments to encourage investments in the private sector
- We worry about the dollar crisis, but current level will continue in our assumption
- Weaker prices do contribute to commodity prices
- Natural gas glut can cause negative incentives to invest, which may hamper the use of natgas as a bridge fuel to renewables
- We need to invest in the gas sector


I'll wait for the Colbert interview.

That's pretty funny about China doing more to mitigate GHG emissions than the OECD. But if journalist boy is referring to "National Policies" as documented in the Presentation to the Press for the World Energy Outlook, is that merely paper cutbacks for now? And we're talking about the poster child for more carbon too.

Of course China can do the most to mitigate GHG emissions growth - they're the one growing at the most reckless rate. It's like saying the Nazis could do the most good for preserving human life through changes to their policies.

Don't confuse rate of growth with total volume. The US leads in total volume of GHG emissions. But last I looked China led the world in rate of growth of GHG emissions. Clearly, the US has lots to do itself. But just as clearly, China can do lots to avoid worsening the situation.

Of course, I fully expect most nations to do anything necessary to revive their economies and the climate be damned. Our grandchildren will get to see how smart we were (or were not).

Of course if you look at the contribution of individuals on a per capita basis then the USA needs to walk the walk before its talk is going to be listened to by the Chinese or anyone else for that matter.

"per capita"

The US isn't a person or even a policy, so "it" can't walk the walk. Plenty of us do indeed have carbon footprints way, way below that average stat.

It wouldn't even take abandonment of BAU per se to shift our zeitgeist away from F150's and toward the Toyota Pious, if there were the will to do so. "Will" here translates as "demonstrable profit potential." There's no other way it'll happen voluntarily - not on a national scale.

A general economic crash followed by the Greater Depression is the involuntary way that it can and almost certainly will happen - although pollution might get much worse even as total CO2 is reined in, simply because we won't be able to "afford" environmental controls anymore.

Hard to know what to pray for these days as we stand vigil over a dying patient. A quick and painless end? Miracle recovery followed by a more gruesome death down the road? Or holding on for one more day, just one more day, so that we can continue to pretend that it'll all somehow be okay.

Some Books that Might Help You in Troubled Times

I recognize that TODers have a rainbow of views of the future ranging from BAU/BAU Lite to societal collapse and die-off. At the same time there are books that could help people prepare for a bad winter storm that would be helpful as well as others expecting societal collapse. I've picked a few (one middle of the road, one more oriented toward a failed society and one that is urban oriented). I've excluded books such as Guerrilla Warfare and Special Forces Operations that I find interesting but unlikely to be of interest to many others. For a list of dozens of other prep books, Survivalblog had a reader poll. http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/07/survey_results_your_favorite_b.html

LDS Preparedness Manual, 300+ pages. Available as a free download at http://www.green-trust.org/freebooks/Preparedness.pdf. The book is a compilation of articles by many authors. I know one of the authors of several of the food storage articles (Alan T. Hagan) from another forum and his information is always right on.

There are four sections: Thinking about Getting Started, Food Storage, Temporal Preparation, Terrorism.

This book is loaded with lots of great information and lists! I highly recommend it. Yes, LDS does = Mormon but what little religion is mentioned will not get in anyone's way. My only concern is that people will download it to a disk that is stuck on a shelf never to be seen again..until the information is need and your computer won't work. If you are at all serious, spend the few bucks and print it out.

How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, by James Wesley Rawles, 316 pages, ISBN 978-0-452-29583-4, $17.00 (Amazon had it on sale for $9.35 when I bought it).

There are 14 sections: The Survival Mind-set for Living in Uncertain Times, Priorities:Your List of Lists, The Survival Retreat, Water: The Key Resource, Fuel and Home Power, Gardens and Livestock, Medical Supplies and Training, Communications and Monitoring, Home Security and Self-defense, G.O.O.D. vehicles and the Dreaded Trip Out of Dodge, Investing/barter/home-based Businesses, It All Comes Down to You.

Rawles covers a wide range of topics but not really in depth. You'll want to buy other books to fill in the gaps - buts that's true of all these books. Recommended. Rawles' blog is http://www.survivalblog.com

Surviving the Economic Collapse: The Modern Survival Manual by Fernando "Ferfal" Aguirre, 254 pages, no ISBN (the book is self-published and a POD), $24.95 + S&H

There are 13 sections: Introduction, Your Home, Your Security, Your Vehicle, Your Gear, Your Seif-defense Skills, The Fighting Knife, Fireaarms, Your Finances, Your Money, Networking and Making New Friends, Your Government, A New Mentality, Epilogue

Ferfal's blog is http://ferfal.blogspot.com This is a book oriented toward urban and suburban people. I'm neutral on it since I live in the boondocks.

Reinventing Collapse by Dimtry Orlov, 164 pages, ISBN 978-0-86571-606-3, $17.95

This really isn't a prep book but I think it offers insights as to how things might play out. I liked it. Orlov's blog is http://www.cluborlov.blogspot.com (IIRC).

In closing, there are dozens of other excellent books that should be on most people's bookshelves. Maybe I'll put up another list some day.



thanks for the list.

I remember a couple of years ago there was a list of medical books including dentistry. They would be good to add, I believe they were free downloads. Does anyone know what they were called or were they are?


The books you are thinking of is Where There Is No Doctor and Where There Is No Dentist. Another one that was on-line was Survival and Austere Medicine. It's a 213 page pdf. The links I wrote on my printed copy* are http://www.cafepress.com/austeremed.23362365 and http://www.aussurvivalist.com/downloads/AM%20Final%202.pdf I don't know if the links are still good but you could always Google the title.


*Yea, I practice what I preach.

thanks alot


You're welcome.

Mini ice age took hold of Europe in months - environment - 11 November 2009 - New Scientist

Until now, it was thought that the mini ice age took a decade or so to take hold, on the evidence provided by Greenland ice cores. Not so, say William Patterson of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and his colleagues.

The group studied a mud core from an ancient lake, Lough Monreagh, in western Ireland. Using a scalpel they sliced off layers 0.5 to 1 millimetre thick, each representing up to three months of time. No other measurements from the period have approached this level of detail.

Carbon isotopes in each slice revealed how productive the lake was and oxygen isotopes gave a picture of temperature and rainfall. They show that at the start of the Big Freeze, temperatures plummeted and lake productivity stopped within months, or a year at most. "It would be like taking Ireland today and moving it up to Svalbard" in the Arctic, says Patterson, who presented the findings at the BOREAS conference in Rovaniemi, Finland, on 31 October.

Stock up on long johns. It's time for some of Lovelock's reactors if the EU doesn't want to adapt Inuit type lifestyles.

This is just further public acknowledgment of what climatologists and glaciologists have been recognizing since the early 1990s - climate change can be swift and sudden, not taking millenia or centuries to occur as previously thought. There's nothing shockingly new here if you've been paying attention. It's just further confirmation of the shift in climate science.

Scientists have tentatively identified four causes of the Little Ice Age: decreased solar activity, increased volcanic activity, internal variability of the climate system, and anthropogenic influences.
Little Ice Age Wikipedia, causes

This, William Patterson's research, would come very close to proving that it was caused by volcanic activity. Only a volcano can act so fast.

Ron P.

Are you sure, Ron? Seems to me that Ireland is especially vulnerable to a change in the THC, and I couldn't venture a guess about what's not possible in terms of rates of its change.

Re the link to the Foreign Policy In Focus article on declining birth rates in a lot of European nations and Japan and the writer's advocacy of immigration to "correct" this.

I think this is coming from one of the pastors of "The Church Of Progress And Perpetual Growth" - thanks to Old Farmer Mac for that expression.

What these people fail to realize is that populations will have to decline and the sooner we develop strategies to facilitate this and adjust the better for everybody.Regarding population decline as some sort of disaster in a world which is profoundly overpopulated is so totally arse about face that I wonder about the sanity of the people concerned.

Immigration is only going to cause more problems.Better for the developed countries to assist the sources of emmigration to solve their problems in situ,not export them.

What these people fail to realize is that populations will have to decline and the sooner we develop strategies to facilitate this and adjust the better for everybody.Regarding population decline as some sort of disaster in a world which is profoundly overpopulated is so totally arse about face that I wonder about the sanity of the people concerned.

I think it's not that easy. I don't think that anybody is capable of predicting if the world is overpopulated or not. Because this is a matter of very much variables, not at least how people life.

I agree to some point that it would not be possible that all current 6.9 billion life the American-way, but I also would suggest that it is technological possible to feed around 10 billion sustanaible, but maybe without private cars and air conditioners. But of course this is not profable as it is not to suggest that the earth is overpopulated from an absolut point of view - without taking in other variables.

And i - personally - think that the decline of the western populations - like russia, germany, japan, s-korea, ... (without immigration) and the qualitative aspect of the fertility (the possible qualitative decline of the gentotypic kognitive skills) is a big threat on the future of the human species - of course in the long run.


One can scarcely talk about population w/o seeing the innordinate burden placed on the system by the 'Homo Colossus' lifestyle.

We need to realize the "load" with which we humans burden the planet's ecosystems consists of more than just a population number. People living by different cultures not only reproduce at different rates; they impose very different per capita ecological impacts. Culture includes a population's technology and people's ways of organizing themselves. Each of us living in a "developed" country (i.e., industrialized far beyond anything conceivable to Malthus) has an enormously greater resource appetite and environmental impact than does each resident of a so-called "developing" country. For our grossly unsustainable manner of living, 6 billion is far too many.


Immigrating people or Emmigrating lifestyle?

France - the world’s biggest electricity exporter.

Maybe not quite right, as the "biggest exporter" needs to import lottsa electricity itself. And importing the stuff is not at all that easy, as Le Monde writes. (Source in French, it says that on oct 19 France had to import 7,700 Megawatts of electricity, and that the countrys grid is not suited to importing large quantities of foreign electric power. There are 15 nuke plants off the grid for maintenance at the moment, and in case of severe and lasting cold weather France may have to import 4,000 MW electricity between november and january 2010.)

Matt Simmons:

Most deepwater plays never hit estimated peak flows and all decline fast.

Here is an example from today: Devon cuts production in Bazil

The company reduced its peak production estimate for the field, without providing a new estimate, Devon spokeswoman Alesha Leemaster told Bloomberg News today in an e-mail.

The field is now producing about 17,000 bpd, she said.

Polvo was expected to peak at 50,000 barrels per day in 2008 according to Oil megaprojects (2007).

Someone posted here once, about how his company had done an analysis of oil production over the last 15 years. They found that projects took longer to reach peak than expected, did not reach as high a peak as expected, and declined much faster than expected.

It seems these analysts were trained on Madison Avenue rather than the oil patch. The only point for them to remember is to forecast far enough into the future that the shareholders will forget who did the analysis when the pump goes dry … or change jobs often … or make sure the report was by a no-name committee. Do I see a resemblance here with today's market analysts?

Every year on this day I wear my flight jacket. USAF 1952-1972. I got an invitation to join the Vietnam FAC organization a couple months ago ... geeze, what? just a bunch of old guys <8)

That's been my experience Leanan. And it's not really so much a condemnation of the process. In oil/NG projects there's always a range of assumptions. You don't get as many wells drilled picking the low end of the possibilities. Everyone, including senior management, knows there's a risk asscociated with these estimates. The real problem is that once those numbers are written down folks tend to view them as the "truth". In Devon's case it might not even be an error in the estimate. The volitile oil market might have caused them reduce the number of develoment wells. Thus a lower prodcution rate. Ult recovery the same? Time will tell. As someone said, most of the folks won't be around when that answer comes in.

What's wrong with this picture?

   1) eighteen 4-lamp fixtures
   2) ample daylight throughout the workday with good glare control
   3) four cubicles, vacant 90 per cent of the time because the occupants are out in the field all day
   4) occupancy controls/daylight harvesting a non-starter with the client

Converting from T12 to T8 did cut power and lighting related cooling loads by half. Shame we couldn't have done something with the other half whilst we were at it.

Why do we waste so much electricity?


What about the black ceiling absorbing all that light?

Hi ET,

Good point. A lighter colour ceiling would definitely help disperse more daylight throughout the space, but I guess style trumps function. In fairness, it's a visually attractive space, any energy shortcomings aside.

Sadly, there are many more examples to draw upon. This was added to my collection yesterday:

Here, the client has used three and four head fixtures fitted with 60-watt decorative flame-type incandescent lamps throughout their showroom and in each of the private offices. I'm not permitted to replace these fixtures -- although, personally, I'm hard pressed to imagine a more ill-suited choice(*) -- and there's no lamp I can substitute that will allow me to cut load. BTW, close the door in one of these smaller offices and you soon feel as if you've trapped inside an Easy Bake Oven.


(*) If they sold bathroom accessories I might silently roll my eyes and move on but, in this case, it's mechanical hardware typically found in sheds and out buildings !

The resistance is astounding. At another level I always cringe as I walk into the big box being lit and heated against -20F for the six customers and twenty staff about at an off hour (but I do use the beast). Then I pass the lighting section....

Barrick shuts hedge book as world gold supply runs out - Telegraph

Rising exploration budgets.
Declining yields per mine (12 ounces per ton down to 3 ounces per ton over the last decade).
Declining total yields (down 1 million ounces per year average over the last decade).

Peak Gold. Another case of resource extraction exhaustion.

Oh yeah, I know you cornucopians are going to tell us how to get those trace amounts of gold out of seawater. Good luck with that in an energy constrained future.