Drumbeat: November 24, 2009

Home Green Home: Reality Check

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement surrounding renewable energy technology. After all, what homeowner wouldn’t want to reduce — or even eliminate — his or her electric bill with a backyard wind turbine, or a rooftop solar array?

As readers might imagine, however, becoming a small-scale power producer is easier said than done — even in this age of incentives and subsidies.

My saga began with a call to GreenLogic, a residential renewable energy consulting firm and contractor in Long Island where I live.

I’d heard that, with the help of tax credits and refunds from the government and my utility, Long Island Power Authority, a cool set of solar panels could pay for themselves in short order. So I told Wendy Smith, my GreenLogic consultant, that this was my first hope.

She immediately began bursting my green bubble.

Paul Ehrlich on Late Night Live

Paul Ehrlich's book, The Population Bomb (1968), caused great controversy with its predictions of mass starvation in the 70s and 80s due to over-population. Forty years later, with the world's population almost doubled in that time, Ehrlich's main message is increasingly relevant - that the earth has a finite carrying capacity and it cannot sustain the current rate of human population growth and resource depletion. In this conversation, Paul Ehrlich talks about the escalating environment pressures and some potential solutions.

Review: JM Greer's The Ecotechnic Future

Freed from the task of his first book, The Long Descent, in which he laid out all the arguments describing why technology is not going to save us, John Michael Greer, aka The Archdruid, is now able to flesh out how the coming deindustrialization might play out. I found his description of said future to be so helpful in both pragmatic and philosophical ways that I wanted to give every college bound senior a copy so that they might rethink their education and prepare themselves to both save the esoteric knowledge of our culture and learn the practical skills that would enable them to live through it.

We the Six Billion: The Ammonia Economy (part 2)

Last week I wrote about a talk by Matt Simmons at which he proposed a solution to a predicted world shortage of water and petroleum: offshore wind generators to produce fresh water and ammonia from wind, air and sea water. I promised this week to explain why we could not afford to use this ammonia as a substitute for gasoline and heating oil, let alone afford water produced this way, and promised to suggest a more likely solution.

How (not) to resolve the energy crisis

Increasing the share of renewable energy will not make us any less dependent on fossil fuels as long as total energy consumption keeps rising. Renewable energy sources do not replace coal, oil or gas plants, they only meet (part of) the growing demand. The solution is simple: set an absolute limit to total energy production. Why should we not be able to cope in 2030 with the amount of energy we consume today?

The IEA and the Role of Crude Oil Forecasts

A recent report about undue pressure by the United States on the Paris-based International Energy Agency, IEA, to distort crude oil projection figures is rather unsettling. The report, citing a whistleblower at IEA, indicated that the United States influenced the agency to underplay data, which indicated imminent, crude oil supply shortages while overplaying prospects of new discoveries. A U.S. motive for this, however, has not reallly been articulated. While the report has been denied and described as groundless by the IEA’s executive director, Nobuo Tanaka, it does raise some issues about IEA’s forecasts in particular and crude oil forecasts in general.

Powering up for a clean, noiseless electric future

Those who argue that "peak oil" will happen imminently ignore the lesson of history: That, as John D. Rockefeller, the doyen of oil barons said: "The world has been running out of oil since I was a boy." He said that in the 1920s. But, it is true that oil and gas are finite resources - and so at some distant point in the future we will need to use another kind of fuel if we are still to have the use of cars. And I suspect that our grandchildren will, like ourselves, find them pretty handy and indeed necessary. The cost of running electric cars is only 10 per cent of running a diesel car - and of course the cost of fuel in the UK is the highest in Europe. I expect that just after electric cars become widely used, the government of the day will increase the tax on using them too.

The Bull Oil Argument (No, Not Peak Oil)

Demand growth is going to be big in the coming years, coming mainly from the BRICs but also from developed nations. All in all growth ought to be about 1.8% per annum worldwide.

Gazprom Agrees to Reduce Gas Supplies to Ukraine Next Year

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom agreed to cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine next year and waive fines for fuel it doesn’t take following an accord between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Timoshenko.

Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, will supply 33.75 billion cubic meters to Ukraine next year, the Moscow-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Ukraine’s NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy in January had committed in a 10-year contract to purchase 52 billion cubic meters next year.

Shell eyes Gulf of Mexico boost

Supermajor Shell is planning to expand exploration in the US Gulf of Mexico and Kazakhstan as Europe’s largest oil company seeks to maintain output.

The company is designing a development plan for its West Boreas discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, which may hold 100 million barrels of resources, said Malcolm Brinded, Shell’s executive director for international production and exploration.

Sinopec, TPG Said to Have Weighed Joint Bid for LyondellBasell

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the nation’s biggest oil refiner, and U.S. buyout firm TPG have weighed a bid for bankrupt chemicals company LyondellBasell Industries AF that could challenge Reliance Industries Ltd.’s offer of about $12 billion, said two people familiar with the matter.

Sinopec and TPG reviewed LyondellBasell’s finances and discussed making a joint bid, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. It was unclear whether one or both of the parties will proceed with an offer, and the sale process remains fluid, the people said.

US crude refining outages above normal in Nov-EIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some 514,347 barrels per day of oil refining capacity will be shut down in November, slightly more than the typical 500,000 bpd shut during the month, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

Woodside Says ‘No Economic Sense’ in Buying Apache, Kuwait Gas

(Bloomberg) -- Woodside Petroleum Ltd. said it turned down a proposal to buy gas from Apache Corp. and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co. for its Pluto liquefied natural gas venture because it made “no economic sense.”

“We lost the deal because we wanted to,” Don Voelte, Woodside’s chief executive officer, told reporters today after an investor presentation in Perth. “Some of the best deals I’ve ever made are the deals I didn’t do. It’s always paid off.”

Noble May Lose Leases on a Third of Its Jack-Ups, Analyst Says

(Bloomberg) -- Noble Corp., the largest supplier of jack-up rigs in Mexico, may lose leases for about a third of the drilling rigs it contracts with Petroleos Mexicanos as the state-owned oil company considers letting leases expire in 2010.

Pemex, as the Mexico City-based company is known, may renew eight of the 19 jack-up rigs with contracts that expire next year, Judson Bailey, an analyst based in Houston with Jefferies & Co. said in a Nov. 20 note to clients.

Climate change fears spark ‘new nuclear age’

LONDON - Nuclear power — long considered environmentally hazardous — is emerging as perhaps the world's most unlikely weapon against climate change, with the backing of even some green activists who once campaigned against it.

It has been 13 years since the last new nuclear power plant opened in the United States. But around the world, nations under pressure to reduce the production of climate-warming gases are turning to low-emission nuclear energy as never before. The Obama administration and leading Democrats, in an effort to win greater support for climate change legislation, are eyeing federal tax incentives and loan guarantees to fund a new crop of nuclear power plants across the United States that could eventually help drive down carbon emissions.

From China to Brazil, 53 plants are now under construction worldwide, with Poland, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia seeking to build their first reactors, according to global watchdog groups and industry associations. The number of plants being built is double the total of just five years ago.

Pipe-cutting led to Three Mile Island radiation

HARRISBURG, Penn. - Radioactive dust unexpectedly blew out of a pipe being cut by workers during weekend maintenance at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, and officials on Monday were trying to determine exactly how and why it happened.

The accident at the central Pennsylvania plant — the site of the nation's worst nuclear power plant disaster — exposed a dozen employees to radiation, but the public was in no danger, plant officials and government regulators said.

Mexico studies downgrade impact on Pemex

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Energy Minister Georgina Kessel said on Monday that Mexico would study the impact of Fitch Ratings' sovereign rating cut on state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos' financing.

Fitch cut Mexico's sovereign credit ratings by one notch, saying the government's recently approved tax increases were not enough to address the fiscal deterioration in public accounts.

"We will be analyzing what the impact of this will be on the possibility of a Pemex debt issue," she told reporters.

FACTBOX - Mexico's debt downgrade could hit major companies

(Reuters) - Fitch Ratings cut Mexico's sovereign debt rating on Monday, a move that was widely expected but that could have important implications for major Mexican corporations.

Oil tanker attacked by pirates off W.Africa: Benin

COTONOU — Pirates attacked an oil tanker off the coast of west Africa, killing a Ukrainian seaman, the commander of Benin's naval forces told AFP Tuesday.

"The death that we have is the chief mechanic, who is responsible for the engines. He is Ukrainian. The captain, a Lithuanian, is not hurt," naval Commander Maxime Ahoyo told AFP.

Kuwait Could Switch To Argus Pricing For Oil From WTI - Sources

DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)--Kuwait could switch the pricing of its crude sold to U.S. customers to the Argus Sour Crude Index, or ASCI, from Platt's West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia, Kuwaiti oil officials said.

"Kuwait could look at it definitely because we don't think the pricing peg today to the WTI is really representative of the market," a senior Kuwait oil official told Zawya Dow Jones.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has dropped the longtime WTI benchmark, which is based on a formula tied to light, sweet crude futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, or Nymex. State-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. will implement the new policy for January oil sales to the U.S.

Land Rig Count Recovery Continues: Oil Fuels Rebound

After bottoming in early June at 823 rigs, the Lower 48 land rig count has been creeping steadily higher, adding an average of 10 rigs per week, and now stands about 29% (241 rigs) above the nadir. While the recovery certainly gives drilling contractors something to be thankful for this season, the industry still has a good amount of idle capacity to deal with considering that the land rig count peaked at 1,938 rigs about 15 months ago. Although quite a few of the rigs stacked during the downturn may never return to the field, simply taking the peak rig count as a proxy for available supply implies that industry wide utilization remains below 60%.

Land Rig Count Recovery Continues: What Goes Down Must Come Up

Driven by a confluence of factors including the credit crunch, commodity price collapse and widespread economic malaise, the U.S. land rig count decline witnessed between August 2008 and June 2009 was by far the most devastating downturn of the last 20 years. On a percentage basis, the recent downturn was similar to the 1998-1999 downturn, it just occurred in half the time. In absolute terms, more than twice as many rigs fell out of the rig count in the 2008-2009 downturn than in each of the last two major collapses.

However, the recovery so far has been promising, and in the five months since the downturn, the rig count has recovered by 241 rigs or 29%. In absolute terms, this is more than in the first five months of either of the prior two recoveries. On a percentage basis, the current rebound is unfolding faster than the 2001-2002 recovery but not as quickly as the 1998-1999 recovery. The table below summarizes the last three downturns and the five-month periods following the troughs.

Nigeria boosts 2010 spending plans

Nigeria plans to increase spending by a third next year, to help lift itself out of an economic downturn, overhaul its shambolic power sector and develop the Niger Delta, the restive heartland of its mainstay oil industry.

Venezuela’s Chavez Calls for International Organisation of Left Parties

“In synthesis, the crisis of capitalism cannot be reduced to a simple financial crisis, it is a structural crisis of capital that combines the economic crisis, with an ecological crisis, a food crisis and an energy crisis, which together represent a mortal threat to humanity and nature. In the face of this crisis, the movements and parties of the left see the defence of nature and the construction of an ecologically sustainable society as a fundamental axis of our struggle for a better world.”

FAO: Cuba Slams Consumerism, Waste

Rome - Cuba condemned this week promotion of consumerism, with an expense of billions of dollars in trade publicity, waste of natural and energy resources, along with military budgets growth.

Addressing the 36th FAO General Conference, Cuban ambassador Enrique Moret also criticized the use of food to produce energy, measures, and unfair trade policies of wealthy nations.

Peak Oil and Agriculture

During the month of October, CBC Radio’s political affairs show, The House ran a four-part mini-series on peak oil, called “Going Local.”

This series was based on the analysis of Canadian economist and author Jeff Rubin, whose recent book examined the implications of peak oil (Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, 2009).

The third episode, which examined the implications of peak oil for the Canadian agri-food sector, was chosen as a CBC “Editor’s Choice” item.

Deforestation emissions should be shared between producer and consumer, argues study

Under the Kyoto Protocol the nation that produces carbon emission takes responsibility for them, but what about when the country is producing carbon-intensive goods for consumer demand beyond its borders? For example while China is now the world's highest carbon emitter, 50 percent of its growth over the last year was due to producing goods for wealthy countries like the EU and the United States which have, in a sense, outsourced their manufacturing emissions to China. A new study in Environmental Research Letters presents a possible model for making certain that both producer and consumer share responsibility for emissions in an area so far neglected by studies of this kind: deforestation and land-use change.

A Chinese-owned GM, it could happen

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- GM could one day be Chinese owned.

A shocking concept for the ultimate all-American company, but one some auto industry experts say isn't too far-fetched.

"I can tell you right now the Chinese are shopping heavily in the U.S. auto sector," said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan think tank.

Xcel abandons plans to charge ratepayers for perks

DENVER — Xcel Energy has abandoned plans to have Colorado ratepayers pay for expensive dinners and luxury hotel stays for its employees.

The Minneapolis-based utility has agreed to remove $280,000 in charges meant to cover expenses and perks like Colorado Avalanche tickets. They had been included in its pending $136 million electricity rate increase.

World oil demand growth to outpace supply in 2010: poll

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Growing world oil use will likely outpace the rate of new supplies in 2010, eroding the huge stockpiles of crude which have mounted around the world since the start of the global economic crisis.

According to a Reuters poll of ten top oil-tracking analysts and organizations, oil demand is predicted to rise by 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) next year to 85.9 million bpd.

At the same time, the rise in production from outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and output of natural gas liquids (NGLs) from OPEC members is seen growing by just 800,000 bpd in total.

Heating Oil Inventories Will Stay at Staggering Levels Over Thanksgiving

Turkeys won’t be the only overabundant resource this Thanksgiving. According to David Bird of the Wall Street Journal, heating oil stockpiles are at their highest point since Christmas in 1998, and the mild Thanksgiving weather forecast will do little to lower inventories. Coming off of the quietest hurricane season since 1997, “heating oil’s fate rests solely on winter demand, and forecasts look likely to disappoint market bulls.”

James Hansen: Why We Must Phase out Coal Emissions

My grandchildren began to influence me when I realized that policy makers were ignoring the message from the climate science, or rather that politicians were developing the fine art of greenwash — they would say favorable words about the environment and stabilizing climate, but their actions were inconsistent with that goal.

Bill McKibben - Outlook: Obama needs to feel the heat

We're not going to stop global warming. We've already raised the temeprature about a degree, and there's probably another degree or so in the pipeline. What we're playing for now is: can we keep the changes within bounds that civilizations can cope? And the frank answer is, we don't know. There seems to be a narrow window still open, but there are wild cards--Arctic methane, say--that could close it very rapidly. That's why we can't waste oppportunities like Copenhagen.

In any event, my guess is we'll need to refocus on communities and families in the years to come, in order to build the resilient local places that can cope with the changes we've already unleashed. Much of my intellectual work (see Deep Economy, or my forthcoming book Eaarth) is about this topic ,. as opposed to my activist work.

Fitch lowers Mexico's credit rating on oil decline

MEXICO CITY — Fitch Ratings downgraded Mexico's credit rating Monday, saying dependence on a flagging oil sector has weakened the country's ability to weather financial problems.

Mexico's rating remained at investment grade, but the downgrade will bring a rise in the government's borrowing costs.

Fitch said decreased oil production has already accentuated economic problems in Mexico and output could continue to decline. Fitch said it lowered Mexico's foreign currency Issuer Default Rating to BBB from BBB+ and its local currency IDR to BBB+ from A-.

Oil income makes up more than a third of Mexico's public sector revenues, but production has been falling as reserves dry up.

Oil slips towards $77 as markets await data

Oil slipped towards $77 a barrel Tuesday as markets awaited data expected to show that the pace of U.S. economic recovery is slower than previously estimated.

Gas prices fall at start of busy travel week

NEW YORK - Retail gasoline prices headed downward to begin one of the country's busiest travel weeks, with more than 33 million people expected to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Americans are remaining closer to home because of anxiety about the economy and demand for gasoline is weaker now than it was last year at this time.

That is telling because a gallon of gasoline then cost only $1.93 as the economic crisis unfolded in 2008.

Repsol Says Refining Margins Will Remain Low in the Short Term

(Bloomberg) -- Repsol YPF SA, Spain’s largest oil producer, said refining margins will remain low in the short term until demand for fuel recovers.

Oman forecasts 2010 oil price

Oman expects oil prices to range between $70 and $80 a barrel in 2010, some 40% to 60% more than the $50 estimate the country is using for to calculate its budget, Oman's national economy minister said today.

The independent producer is aiming for oil output of 870,000 barrels per day, up from a target around 800,000 bpd in 2009. If Oman reaches both targets, it would mark three consecutive years of oil output growth after several years of decline.

Chevron and Woodside in rig spat

Chevron and Australia’s Woodside Petroleum are locked in talks in an attempt to resolve a legal battle over access to the Atwood Eagle semi-submersible drilling rig, which the US outfit claims is holding up its drilling campaign off Western Australia.

Gazprom to Cut Turkmen Gas Take as Flows Resume, Vedomosti Says

(Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom plans to reduce the amount of Turkmen gas it buys by three-fourths when flows resume after a pipeline blast, Vedomosti reported, citing unidentified people close to the company.

China industries face a hard winter on gas shortage

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's energy firms are reducing gas supplies to industry to avoid having to cut off households during winter, but risking more factory shutdowns, dampening production and raising costs as shortages may worsen.

Monopolistic market blamed for gas pains in China

BEIJING -- Energy analysts have blamed the country's "monopolistic natural gas market" for one of the most serious gas shortages in decades, made worse by high gas consumption amid freezing temperatures and snowstorms in the south.

"The lack of a competitive mechanism in China's gas market has given major gas suppliers few incentives to expand gas output at current low prices," Lin Boqiang, professor at the Center of China Energy Economics Research in Xiamen University, told China Daily Monday.

Bomb blast rips through Kirkuk link

A bomb attack in Salahuddin province damaged the Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline, with repairs set to take at least four days, an Iraqi Oil Ministry official said today.

The official, asking not to be identified, told Reuters a memo from the North Oil Company received by the ministry on Monday stated the attack had occurred between the village of Shirqat - a former hotbed of support for al Qaeda - and Baiji oil refinery on Saturday.

The memo was marked "secret and urgent".

Vopak U.A.E. Fuel Storage Venture Adds Tank Capacity

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Vopak NV’s oil products storage joint venture in the United Arab Emirates may increase capacity by about 50 percent after reclaiming coastal land to gain a bigger share of the region’s fuel trading market.

The venture will next year study adding about 1 million cubic meters of storage facilities on reclaimed land, Walter Moone, the terminal’s general manager, said in an interview on Nov. 18. That would be on top of a plan to expand capacity to 2.1 million cubic meters by 2012.

U.S. Oil Production Increases - A Blip Or A New Trend?

Recent statistics from the government indicate that the long decline in U.S. oil production has stopped. Is this a temporary phenomenon, or have the billions in investment in the so-called "mature" oil basins of the U.S. finally started to pay off?

One fact that has been lost in all the excitement over peak oil is that U.S. oil production has stopped declining and has even started to rise. Although this production increase is nothing compared to worldwide daily demand for oil, a "drop in the bucket" as peak oilers love to say, it is an inconvenient fact that contradicts the certainty that this group has about the inexorable decline of oil production.

Blowing the Whistle on Cheap Oil

Is the Peak Oil clock ticking closer to midnight than generally believed? The credibility and integrity of the International Energy Agency (IEA) took a hit this month after two whistle-blowers from the IEA claimed the agency has been deliberately underplaying a looming oil shortage under pressure from the US government. The striking allegations appeared in the British newspaper The Guardian, and not surprisingly, were largely ignored by the mainstream US media.

The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organization’s latest World Energy Outlook publication on global oil supply and demand. In the Guardian article, an unnamed senior IEA official claims the US played an influential role in encouraging the agency to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.

All You Zombies

With a National Debt projected to reach $25 trillion by 2019, a government that has promised Boomers $100 trillion more than it can deliver, the end of the cheap oil age, looming resource wars, and nuclear proliferation, it is hard to fathom a happy ending to this Crisis. We appear to be hurtling towards the abyss and no one in charge seems capable of averting disaster.

Chelsea Green Announces the Publication of the Michael C. Ruppert Book That

In conjunction with the release of the highly praised documentary film ''COLLAPSE,'' Chelsea Green announces the publication of the Michael C. Ruppert book that inspired the movie, previously released as a self-published book, ''A Presidential Energy Policy: Twenty-five Points Addressing the Siamese Twins of Energy and Money,'' and now re-titled and released as: CONFRONTING COLLAPSE The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World A 25-Point Program for Action. Available nation-wide December 15, 2009.

One slick mess: An interview with H2Oil’s Shannon Walsh

Shannon Walsh, working with the independent Montreal documentary production house Loaded Pictures, has created a powerful, stunning documentary on the Alberta tar sands eco-disaster called H2Oil. It was recently shortlisted for a whole whack of awards at Montreal’s documentary festival, RIDM, where I had a chance to ask Walsh a few questions.

Mankind using Earth's resources at alarming rate

WASHINGTON — Humanity would need five Earths to produce the resources needed if everyone lived as profligately as Americans, according to a report issued Tuesday.

As it is, humanity each year uses resources equivalent to nearly one-and-a-half Earths to meet its needs, said the report by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank.

"We are demanding nature's services -- using resources and creating CO2 emissions -- at a rate 44 percent faster than what nature can regenerate and reabsorb," the document said.

India ties solar plans to global climate support

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India issued solar power targets on Monday, with plans to boost ouptut from near zero to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2022, but tied chances of the plan's success to availability of international finance and technology.

The announcement was made days before U.N. negotiations in Copenhagen for a global deal on climate change, deadlocked over levels of carbon emissions cuts to be taken by rich countries.

Biochar 'Carbon Sequestration' Company Charged With Fraudulent “Ponzi” Scheme Targeting Elderly

Environmental campaigners warn that a lawsuit over fraud against a company claiming to be the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of biochar presents a stark warning of the dangers of the scramble for funding for unproven climate change techno-fixes.

In the same week that the Obama administration announced a new task force for investigating financial fraud, Mantria Industries were taken to court by the Securities and Exchange Commission which accuses the company of running a ‘Ponzi scheme’ involving fraudulent investment deals targeted at elderly people. The company has been marketing biochar through a joint venture with Hawaii-based company Carbon Diversions Inc.

Smaller glaciers more vulnerable to climate change: Study

NEW DELHI: Smaller Himalayan glaciers are proving much more vulnerable to climate change than the area's larger glaciers, says a new report contradicting the recent environment ministry backed study which claimed that glacier melting can't be linked to global warming.

Coal-burning China invests in methane capture

BEIJING (AFP) – China, a massive consumer of fossil fuels and coal in particular, is trying to modernise its mines by containing emissions of methane and turning the toxic gas into a source of much-needed energy.

Authorities in Beijing have made methane capture a government priority both in the name of safety, as the gas is responsible for many of the deadly blasts in China's dangerous mines, and environmental protection.

Intensive land-management leaves Europe without carbon sinks

Of all global carbon dioxide emissions, less than half accumulate in the atmosphere where it contributes to global warming. The remainder is hidden away in oceans and terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, grasslands and peat-lands. Stimulating this "free service" of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is considered one of the main, immediately available ways of reducing climate change. However, new greenhouse gas bookkeeping has revealed that for the European continent this service isn’t free after all.

Agriculture can adapt to climate change

Sustainable land and water management combined with innovative agricultural technologies could mitigate climate change and help poor farmers adapt to its impacts.

New knowledge, technology and policy for agriculture have never been more critical, and adaptation and mitigation strategies must urgently be applied to national and regional development programmes.

Tiny "carbon neutral" club struggles with costs

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway, Costa Rica and the Maldives are struggling with high costs and technological hurdles to stay in the world's most exclusive club for fighting climate change -- seeking to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

The United Nations is praising their "carbon neutrality" targets before a U.N. summit on December 7-18 in Copenhagen meant to agree a new pact to combat global warming. But the model is hard to imitate with its demand for a drastic shift to clean energy.

"What they're trying to do is fundamentally change the direction of their economic growth," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters. "It's a way of getting ahead of the game."

Yet all three of the small nations face big problems.

Price of global warming cuts may stop deal at U.N. meeting

How much would you pay to save the world from the threat of global warming? We might find out soon.

"Everything we do is tied to energy and climate," says climate economist Graciela Chichilnisky of Columbia University. "Not just the electric bill – that's a minuscule part of it. Not just the food bill. Everything."

Opposition backs Australian carbon reduction bill

CANBERRA, Australia – Australia's opposition leader Tuesday pledged his party's support for contentious legislation proposed by the government aimed at curbing the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia is one of the world's worst carbon dioxide polluters per capita because of its heavy reliance on its abundant coal reserves. As the driest continent after Antarctica, it is also considered one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

Greenpeace, WWF divided

Greenpeace said yesterday's political drama missed a fundamental point - that Australia would not have to cut its domestic greenhouse gas emissions, and could meet targets by paying for international offsets.

''Regardless of what the Coalition do, the scheme that is on offer from Kevin Rudd is a fraud,'' said Greenpeace campaigns head Steve Campbell.

But WWF Australia maintained support for the scheme, reasoning it could still deliver a 25 per cent emissions reduction by 2020. WWF chief executive Greg Bourne said that while the scheme had been ''considerably weakened'' by offering an extra $7 billion compensation to industry, it would start the country on the road to a low-carbon economy.

Coalminers say they've been shafted by Rudd's carbon scheme

THE coal mining industry has slammed Kevin Rudd's proposed changes to the planned emissions trading scheme, claiming miners of the nation's biggest export will still be slugged with $12.5 billion of extra costs and put at a disadvantage to international competitors.

US to present emissions target before Copenhagen

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States will announce a target for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions before the UN climate conference in Copenhagen, removing a major obstacle to a deal, officials have said.

"Countries will need to put on the table what they are willing to do on emissions," a senior administration official told journalists. "We expect that a decision will be made in the coming days."

EU: US should spell out long-term climate goal

STRASBOURG, France – The United States should be ready to spell out its long-term vision for reducing carbon emissions over the next two decades, not just until 2020, the European Union said Tuesday.

States Mull ‘Plan B’ Carbon Market as U.S. Climate Bill Falters

(Bloomberg) -- Cash-strapped states in search of new revenue may establish their own “cap-and-trade” program for greenhouse gases covering more than half the U.S. economy if Congress doesn’t set up a federal emissions market.

Climate Change Could Boost Incidence of Civil War in Africa

ScienceDaily — Climate change could increase the likelihood of civil war in sub-Saharan Africa by over 50 percent within the next two decades, according to a new study led by a team of researchers at University of California, Berkeley, and published in the Nov. 23 online issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Oil sands back on front burner

While the Americans dither and the developing countries resist drastic climate change policies, the petroleum industry is reviving plans to significantly expand development of the oil sands – Canada's fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

A report released by the Canadian Energy Research Institute earlier this month noted that some of the more than $100 billion in cancelled oil-sands projects have been put back on the front burner because rising oil prices have made them profitable again. More are expected to be revived over the next six to eight months, says David McColl research director of CERI, a think-tank backed by government and industry.

Adapting to climate change

Canada must prepare now for extreme temperatures in summer, increased storm activity, flooding and ice storms.

Climate Tipping Points of No Return: Climate change won’t be a smooth transition to a warmer world, warns the Tipping Points Report by Allianz and WWF

With global warming a smooth transition into the future is unlikely, says the report. Instead expect step changes as climate tipping points are passed. Economic, social, and political upheaval will likely follow. The impacts on insurers such as Allianz will be profound.

CO2 curve ticks upward as key climate talks loom

MAUNA LOA OBSERVATORY, Hawaii — The readings at this 2-mile-high station show an upward curve as the world counts down to climate talks: Global warming gases have built up to record levels in the atmosphere, from emissions that match scientists' worst-case scenarios.

Carbon dioxide concentrations this fall are hovering at around 385 parts per million, on their way to a near-certain record high above 390 in the first half of next year, at the annual peak.

"For the past million years we've never seen 390. You have to wonder what that's going to do," said physicist John Barnes, the observatory director.

One leading atmospheric scientist, Stephen Schneider, sees "coin-flip odds for serious outcomes for our planet."

IMO, it's much later than we think: I estimate that global post-2005 Cumulative Net Oil Exports (CNOE) will be about 25% depleted by the end of 2009

I'm working on the written version of our updated (Brown & Foucher, et al) net export work that I presented at ASPO. Some "interesting" numbers follow. Note that based on the ELM, there are three key characteristics to net export declines: (1) The net export decline rate tends to exceed the production decline rate; (2) The net export decline rate tends to accelerate with time and (3) Net export declines are front-end loaded, with the bulk of post-peak CNOE being shipped early in the decline phase.

Net Export Decline Rates Vs. Post-Peak Cumulative Net Oil Export (CNOE) Depletion Rates

Export Land Model (ELM)
Net Export Decline Rate & Post-Peak CNOE Depletion Rate, Relative to Peak

Peak + 3 Years:
17%/year & 31%/year

Peak + 6 Years:
20%/year & 42%/year

Peak + 9 Years:
Annual Net Exports = Zero & CNOE 100% Depleted

Indonesia, UK & Egypt (IUKE)
Combined Net Export Decline Rate & Post-Peak CNOE Depletion Rate, Relative to Peak (1996)

Peak +  3 Years:
3.1%/year & 25.2%/year

Peak +  6  Years:
11.6%/year & 35%/year

Peak + 9 Years:
Annual Net Exports = Zero & CNOE 100% Depleted

(2005) Top Five* Net Oil Exporters
(Foucher's Best Case) Projected Combined Net Export Decline Rate & Post-Peak CNOE Depletion Rate, Relative to Peak (2005)

Peak + 8 Years:
1.7%/year + 9.2%/year

Peak + 17 Years:
4.3%/year + 11.6%/year

Peak + 27 Years:
Annual Net Oil Exports = Zero & CNOE 100% Depleted

*Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran & UAE

Sam's best case is that the (2005) top five Cumulative Net Oil Exports (CNOE) depletion rate is about 9%/year from 2005-2013. These five exporters account for about half of total world net oil exports. A conservative estimate for the bottom half would be a 5%/year post-2005 CNOE depletion rate. If we average the two, we would get an estimate of about 7%/year for the post-2005 global CNOE depletion rate, which suggests that we will consume about half of post-2005 global CNOE in the 2005-2015 time period. Note that a 7%/year depletion rate suggests that the world will have already burned though, as of December 31, 2009, about one-fourth of remaining (post-2005) global cumulative net oil exports.

Regarding the bottom half of net exporters, consider three examples--Canada, Mexico & Venezuela.  Their combined net exports dropped from 5.0 mbpd in 2004 to 4.0 mbpd in 2008, with all three showing year over year net export declines in 2008. 

Mr. Brown, from the numbers you provide, it seems that the Top Five are following a radically different trajectory than ELM or IUKE.

Is this, perhaps, due to the URR of the Top Five compared to the URR of ELM or IUKE? I'm trying to get my head around why the numbers (depletion rates) for the Top Five are so much lower at longer timeframes.

I'm having trouble understanding the numbers because you also note:

- "Sam's best case is that the (2005) top five Cumulative Net Oil Exports (CNOE) depletion rate is about 9%/year from 2005-2013."


- A conservative estimate for the bottom half would be a 5%/year post-2005 CNOE depletion rate.

which seems to show that the Top Five have a higher depletion rate than the other 50% - 9%/year vs. 5%/year.

(And, as always, thank you for your sharing your great analyses again.)

The three key factors that control the net export decline rate are: (1) Consumption as a percentage of production at final peak (the higher this number, the more rapid the net export decline); (2) Rate of change in production and (3) Rate of change in consumption.

The key difference between the ELM & IUKE versus the (2005) top five is consumption as a percentage of production at final peak: 50% for ELM, about 59% for IUKE and about 25% for the (2005) top five.

I understand. I should have considered the different levels of consumption as % of production in the calculus. It now makes perfect sense.

Thanks for the further explanation.

Sam's best case for the (2005) top five is a post-2005 CNOE of 132 Gb, and this assumes a post-2008 increase in production and net exports. Based on the 2006-2008 data points, the actual number will probably be closer to 100 Gb than 132 Gb.

But in any case, total global CNOE in the 2006-2009 time frame inclusive have probably been about 66 Gb. So, at a 7%/year depletion rate, we have burned through about one-fourth of post-2005 CNOE in four years. If we assume a lower depletion rate of 5%/year, because of unconventional production, it means that we would have "only" burned through about one-fifth of remaining cumulative net oil exports in four years.

I can imagine that these depletion rates (7% or 5%) are artificially low right now, given the state of global economies. When (if?) global economies start growing again, consumption is bound to increase, as well. This would, in turn, lead to higher depletion rates than might be reflected in the data right now.

So, we've burned 20-25% of the remaining CNOE in the past 4 years. Consumption will stay subdued for some period of time. But, then could grow much more quickly - (2004-2005 rates). In the not-too-distant future, we may find that we've burned another 30-35% of the remaining CNOE in a future 4-year period. It seems that we vacillate between linear depletion rates and exponential depletion rates, for certain periods of time, based on the immediacy of consumption habits and the lagging of production rates.

I think that the actual volume of shut-in sustained exportable production is overestimated. Consider the fact that the annual oil price this year (a "weak" demand year)--around $60--will be higher than all annual oil prices prior to 2006. I suspect that we are in the process of transitioning from voluntary + involuntary net export reductions to mostly involuntary net export reductions, with the available net oil exports being auctioned off to the high bidders. What is stupid beyond belief, based on the generally considered to be crazy finite world export model, is that governments around the world are doing their level best to encourage greater consumption.

A decent analogy would be guy living off $500,000 of savings + severance pay, who was living on an after tax income of $100,000. He keeps holding out for something like his prior job, but decides to nevertheless to cut spending. So, his spending drops at $10,000 per year. His total spending over five years would be $90K + $80K + $70K + $60K + $50K, or $350K. His spending decline rate (analogous to the net export decline rate) would be 14%/year (from $100k to $50K per year), but his capital depletion rate (analogous to the CNOE depletion rate) would be 24%/year (from $500K to $150K).

Stuart Staniford's new blog has a good post on your point about price v. production rates - inelastic oil, as he puts it.

Your analogy brings the situation into stark relief. It is our inability to see this - as a species - that convinces me that we are unable to choose the long-term over the short-term.

Link to the blog here


Glad to see Stuart posting some material. I have always found his perspective to be very worthwile reading.


Amen to glad to see Stuart's postings again! It was Stuart Staniford, Robert Rapier, Westexes and Gail the Actuary (even when I differ with her I admit she is as sharp minded as they get!) among others (Alan Drake's light rail stuff comes to mind) that got me hooked on this board several years ago...I have been trying to wean myself from here ever since (for time reasons, and to avoid some of the darker voices of depression that really bring a person down, and positive outlook is something I CANNOT do without, I would rather be out of oil), but my attempts to break free have had only marginal success.


Well your failures to break free have left me with some great comments to chew over.

I can handle the doomiest posts, even a thoroughly doom-drenched drumbeat as long as I know there are some folks who'll show up and be willing to say that there are plenty of things we can be doing, and should be trying.

It's way too easy to just holler out 'Game Over..'

"For scientific leadership, give me Scott, for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen. But when you are in a hopeless situation, when you are seeing no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton. Incomparable in adversity, he was the miracle worker who would save your life against all the odds and long after your number was up. The greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none."

Sir Raymond Priestley
Member of the Nimrod expedition 1907-1909

Oh dear...well then you won't like my reply to Westexas concerning ELP today
(ouch :-(
of course I must say I was speaking as devil's advocate (in accepting without question Westexas' Export land model, and being a bit, shall we say "ironic"...but still...it's pretty grim IF you accept the premises it was meant to satirize...a bit like Swift's "Modest Proposal"


We can't be Shackleton every day, can we?

Maybe T.E. Lawrence has to fit in there someplace, with his hand over the candle..

"It's not that it hurts.. it's not minding that it hurts.."

(Ok, maybe that was only Peter O'Toole..)

What's your elevator-response to this new talking point that was at investopedia this morning, about US production going up?

Realizing of course that today's 5mbd still has to be kept in keen perspective with the what, 9.5mbd of the early seventies, I would still like to have another handy 'Yah, but..' statement when my RedState pals are battering me with the Climate Change Emails PLUS this new happy oil theme all at once..

You know me.. I just want to party like it's 1655..

Production increases in post-peak fields and regions are common, e.g., the UK, but what refutes a production peak is a new annual peak rate.

Plus the fact that due to the economy, a lot of production has been shut in simply because everyone has been hoarding money...but there is no danger of getting back to anything near our old peak production of 1970.

Westexas, I have to say, having read your above comments, and if one accepts them as correct, then those who say "peak is not about running out" are essentially quibbling over terms, because by those numbers it IS about effectively running out, and very soon. If that is the case, then the good news is (a)no worry about climate change, there won't even be enough Diesel left to haul coal to the coal fired plants, and oil burning would be essentially ended (except on a marginal basis, but on the bad news front, again, if your numbers are correct, there really is no need to worry, because there would be NO CHANCE of salvaging even a survivable modern culture, the command, control, coordination, and communication system would collapse so fast that we would have been as well off if we had been hit by comet.

I am not saying I accept the above, but what I am saying, very frankly, is that IF I did, I would be in full PARTY MODE! Fast cars, faster women, and a travel and spend spree like NOTHIN' you have ever seen...I mean, why not? No one keeps battling hard in a baseball game after the third out of the last inning, they rest and party...

(and for those who would feel guilty, remember that if the full implications of the numbers Westexas is using are correct, the U.S. can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to change the outcome...if you stopped every car and truck in the United States and burned it where it stands, you would be stopping only the consumption of about 12 percent of world oil consumption *and U.S. consumption is already falling as a percent of world production {so with each passing year changes in the U.S. mean less and less}...it would be like pissing in the sea...)


In 1945, Switzerland was maintaining a western industrial democracy with less oil/capita for that year than the USA was using per day/capita in 2007.

One year < One day.

There is hope, but not without a struggle,


The fastest way to transition is to use everything up as fast as you can. If you are driving a gas sipper or taking public transportation you are not helping the cause.

Here is the data I pulled together from Huntington Beach's oil production. Production (green) peaked in 1923. Producing wells (blue) peaked in 1950's. First of two offshore platforms constructed in 1961.

If your friends don't understand trends in climate they're not going to figure out the analogue in oil production.

If your friends don't understand trends in climate they're not going to figure out the analogue in oil production

I suspect you are right. Although the magnitude of math needed to understand is quite a bit different. For oil all you need to know is their are only so many cookies in the jar, and if mom doesn't refill it.... Even my dog understands that one. With climate change, its an argument about a balance of radiation in versus out, as a function of temperature and chemical composition -leaves plenty of scope for hoping the big brains have got it wrong.

The difference between a dog and my five year old is that when the dog sees the jar is empty it stops begging and gets on with its life. When my 5yo sees the jar is empty she falls to the floor and screams even louder.

The big brains weren't able to even predict the direction of the climate accurately from 2000 to 2010.
Given their inability to understand the system well enough to make 10 year predictions in the correct direction, why, from a scientific perspective, would it make sense to believe that they can accurately predict even further out? Further, it now appears that several of the big brains felt compelled to commit fraud to convince the public that their view was correct.

Historical big brains - the Darwins, Boyles, Newtons, Galileos - of history have, to my knowledge, never felt the need to commit fraud to support their beliefs.

Perhaps the Big Brains running the Climate Change wagon are too close to the issue to have any chance to mount a neutral, intellectual perspective when they consider the data.

I note also, for the record, that most of the climatology Big Brains have a career and monetary interest in climate change remaining a large concern - funding, funding, funding.

Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment ‘thinking’

If you own any shares in companies that produce reflecting telescopes, use differential and integral calculus, or rely on the laws of motion, I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the calculus myth has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after volumes of Newton’s private correspondence were compiled and published.

Leanan - If that's the best retort the climate change folks have, then the evidence of their fraud is made even more damning.

If the best they can do is to argue that, "sure we committed fraud, but it's OK because we are right," then they are nothing more than common charlatans, fraudulently manipulating the truth to achieve their own ends, which they believe are correct, as a matter of opinion, not science.

IMO, the people who were intentionally manipulating data to "hide the decline" - their words - should be charged with a criminal conspiracy and prosecuted accordingly.

Their fraud directly affected the debate on public policy that will affect every one of us.


Rants are of no value here. Especially when they are not based in either fact or logic.

To date I have seen one email that can be construed as hiding data and that one email out of thousands was ten years old. How do you extrapolate that to discredit the integrity and research of hundreds of scientists over a ten year period?

The data in question showing climate change was examined and found to be in sync with two other sets of data. There is no fraud here, the data showing climate change is valid.

Your earlier comment stating that "Given their inability to understand the system well enough to make 10 year predictions in the correct direction, why, from a scientific perspective, would it make sense to believe that they can accurately predict even further out?" is not helpful. Climate change is incredibly complex and we are learning more every day. There is a theory as to why the last ten years where not as expected and it does not invalidate climate change. (Hint, it has to do with ocean currents.)

Rants are of no value here. Especially when they are not based in either fact or logic.

1. When citing facts, provide references or links.
2. Make it clear when you are expressing an opinion. Do not assert opinions as facts.
3. When presenting an argument, cite supporting evidence and use logical reasoning.

But when have you ever seen a legitimate post by any climate denialist? It's an impossibility, essentially. There is no support in the scientific literature. I'm going on three years of asking for even one paper that has passed review, been published and survived post-publishing review. What, exactly, could they possibly post?

Your earlier comment stating that "Given their inability to understand the system well enough to make 10 year predictions in the correct direction, why, from a scientific perspective, would it make sense to believe that they can accurately predict even further out?" is not helpful.

Again, indeed. The poster shows supposed ignorance, which logically must be intentional, of basic science. First, the poster calls scenario generation couched in probabilities predictions. The apparent implication being to show they are incompetent. This is a false implication, obviously, because climate science does not attempt to make predictions, but deals in possibilities and probabilities which are constantly being refined by new data.

If the poster in question feels qualified to comment, should they not be expected to have these basics of science, and particularly climate science, well in hand? If they do not, can we but consider them less than competent to post on the topic? You won't see me posting on Hubbert Linearization, for example.

Second, the poster talks of ten year periods which in climate science are essentially meaningless. Can they be considered conversant if unaware of this and raising it as an issue?

Third, one of the most well known and most critiqued papers, Hansen (et al?), 1988 is used to say climate science can't "predict." Yet, that 20 year-old paper using data that was far, far lower in volume and totality than the data is now still tracks today's temps within the ranges presented. But it is used as an example of how climate science doesn't work! For the poster to claim we haven't been able to generate scenarios that track actual changes in the last ten years is simply false. To the degree they are "wrong," it has been almost always in the direction of conditions being worse than predicted ten years ago.

Polar ice melt, temps, changes in habitat, permafrost melt, clathrates, sea level rise, glacier melt all are tracking to the high end, if not exceeding, worst case scenarios. Polar ice melt conditions, at both ends of the planet are many decades ahead of scenarios.

Those e-mails contain no smoking gun. More importantly, the utter lack of intellectual honesty in claiming that one scientist **discussing** holding back data in an FOI request, just discussing it, not stating it was done, invalidates thousands of scientific papers is immense. It is utterly lacking in logic and intellectual honesty.

Climate change is incredibly complex and we are learning more every day. There is a theory as to why the last ten years where not as expected and it does not invalidate climate change. (Hint, it has to do with ocean currents.)

In what way is chaotic signatures in climate not expected? Climate change is not monotonic and the current temps are well within scenarios from IPCC IV, and even more so from more recent papers. Keeling, et al., even expect a leveling off of warming, even cooling, at this time, possibly lasting a couple decades. Saying this is unexpected or strange or that it in any way invalidates climate science is, again, intellectually dishonest unless the poster is simply ignorant of the scientific process, particularly as it relates to climate research.

The poster is encouraged to educate themselves, though one doubts the poster is interested given their poor self-education to date.



One also wonders what the poster thinks of the memo showing those claiming AGW is a hoax knew back in the '90s that the science is legit? And one wonders why this **fact** of history,


(Read 1 at bottom of the page 3)


not mere illogical supposition as is found in the current trumped up debate about the hacked e-mails, does not cause the poster to question the claims that AGW is a hoax? This coupled with the complete lack of any legitimate science disproving any aspect of AGW science, let alone the entire towering edifice of evidence, does not cause the poster to question their perspective, yet a set of e-mails that hold no evidence at all that climate science is bull convinces them of a massive conspiracy involving many thousands of scientific studies and scientists?

For three years I have asked, where is your anti-AGW science? For three years the answer has been deafening: silence.

All the data need to be open. All the science needs to be open. All the computer programs need to be open. Then let us audit them to see what we have got.

The alternative is to Hide The Decline.

The vast majority is, so quit misleading people. And, pray tell, what the hell are you and your backyard pseudo-scientists going to do with the data? Huh? Lie about it. That is what is done now, and will be done until the evidence is so far beyond undeniable the future of humanity is in question.

Are you going to claim that the hadcrut data is the be-all and end-all of climate data? Are you so foolish as to propose such a preposterous thing? Do you have ANY evidence, otherwise known as science, to support doubt of climate science?

What about melting ice planet wide do you think needs data to explain?

What about habitats moving north and to higher elevations needs data to explain?

Please. Your argument is preposterous and deserves no kindness in response, for it is based in falsification.

Your position is logically and fundamentally untenable. You and your ilk are not better scientists than those actually doing the science.

Deal with a **real** scandal: it is proven denialism is based in lies told in the 90's. We have the memos. Further, there is ZERO evidence in support of an anti-AGW stance.

Put up or shut up.

1. Explain the scandal of the memo proving the GCC lied about its stance.

2. Provide any actual evidence, not ridiculous, illogical supposition and intentional obfuscation, supporting a non-AGW stance.

Or just be quiet.

I note, with no surprise whatsoever, that you simply bleat what you are told to bleat and refuse to engage in any real debate.

Refute, or do the moral and ethical thing and kindly be quiet on this topic.


I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you don't have any peer reviewed scientific papers in the field of climate science that you can point us to.

Would you mind telling us if you what if anything you would be able to do with the data should you get access to it? The science and the data are open to any competent scientist who chooses to analyze it. Sure, some of the computer programs are not, for perfectly legitimate reasons.

Disclaimer: while I'm not a climate scientist, I have downloaded data and computer programs linked by various climate scientists at realclimate.org They are often gracious enough to indulge even the curious layperson's ignorance and are willing to provide much of this information. However if one should find the math behind a typical Sam Foucher analysis difficult to follow, I readily admit that I do, then I suggest you really review your math and analytical skills if you are going to understand let alone criticize scientific papers on climate change.

My suggestion is that you read this correspondence between Dr Lenski and Andrew Schlafly regarding a similar request regarding access to Dr Lenski's experiments and his data. The field of science in this case is the science of evolutionary biology and Schlafly a creationist lawyer is disputing the work of Dr. Lenski a highly competent scientist in this field.

However Dr. Lenski's response is one of the best ever in terms of making clear how absolutely pathetic such a request really is. http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Lenski_affair

I equate yours to be on par with Schlafly's.

BTW try this link if you wish to understand why climate change prediction is indeed valid.



AFAIK, the consensus of the climate scientists in 2000 was...

...that the Earth would continue its warming trend. (It has.)
...that the ocean level would continue to rise. (It has.)
...that arctic ice would continue to loose mass. (It has)
...that biological evidence of a warming climate would mount. (It has.)

FWIW, 2009 is on track to be the 5th warmest year...


Perhaps you are referring to some recently leaked Emails for your baseline, and perhaps you're thinking that you've seen something in them that leads you to believe it's all a hoax. If so, I think you're wrong, and here's why:

First, the scientific method generally does work like a well oiled machine - but think of one of the most advanced such machines, the Formula 1 engine. If you could really see inside you'd find burning friction, and incomprehensible stresses, and masses twirling and stopping and jerking, and explosions so frequent that they resemble a scream. That's just science. You've already bemoaned that "the big brains weren't able to even predict the direction of the climate", I disagree, but still, how can anyone expect that human scientists are more predictable? These emails (if indeed they are the source of your discomfiture) are but snapshots of the sausage factory of science. I must reject your allegation of fraud for the most scientific of reasons, there is simply not enough evidence of fraud.

Second, there could hardly be a greater reward for a scientist who from a "neutral, intellectual perspective" could prove that AGW isn't happening. Who could decline the historical right to erase from the blackboard one of the three great threats to civilization? Who's ego could resist were the data within their grasp? (Not mine, I think.) Think of the fame and fortune available to a scientist who proved that in fact we need not worry! -- just think of it! The cover of Time Magazine, holding court before Senate an House hearings, Larry King, Oprah, Fox News, even a cage match against Al Gore, for the Nobel prize belt! This is all before the residuals form the oil and coal companies come due. Then there's the book Tours. (You don't even need to write it -- and it doesn't even need to make sense!) If the data against AGW were there, it would humanly irresistible to publish it though the normal channels.

Third, I think I've covered your "funding, funding, funding" argument in point 2.

The evidence, were one to look for a conspiracy, is in fact stronger for AGW - the great ice masses are melting faster than recent predictions.

If you possess any scientific evidence that shows that climate change will be stopped or reversed by proposed schemes, present it. This constant beating around the bush is overdone. What is the difference if the planet is warming if nothing is going to be done about the situation (except more scams)? Everyone should be preparing for the consequences if you are counting on Goldman Sachs to protect you from climate change.


You habitually toss around the slur that efforts to address climate change, sometimes, but not always in the form of carbon trading, is somehow connected to Goldman Sachs. I have tried to call you on this several times, which you ignore, but then continue repeat the claim. At this point, I have to conclude that you know your slur is inaccurate, but continue to repeat it because you think you are somehow getting some cheap points.

I assert that:
1) Goldman Sachs is a minor player in the trade of climate credits and hasn't made huge efforts to change that
2) The profits available in the climate credit market are not now, nor look likely to be, significant compared with Goldman's current business lines
3) Climate credit market profits go almost entirely to brokers. GS is not primarily a broker and does not stand out in commission-based businesses, so would not be likely to be a major player.

Therefore any linkage between the motives to implement trading of carbon credits and GS are spurious at best.

If you want to link any investment bank to climate change, you might have gone with Credit Suisse, which has acquired a share of Ecosecurities, a large carbon broker.

Your main point would be impossible to prove, and your posts would be a lot less sensational, but at least there would be a vaguely logical platform for your argument.

I would love to see you explain yourself, but doubt it will happen.

1. If you respond to my posts, you have to do it within 24 hrs if you would expect me to respond 2. if you google Goldman Sachs and carbon credit trading you get tons of info-if you are going to dispute all this info, then you should do it in a key post or something (this is just the first one that comes up)-you could also dispute the Rolling Stone articles, etc. etc. http://kirbymtn.blogspot.com/2009/07/goldman-sachs-and-coming-carbon-cre...

This is pathetic. It's hard enough to respect climate denialism when it is straightforward, but this back door, we-can't-stop-it-so-don't-try is even worse. Who do you think you are kidding with this? It's just a way to pretend you're not a denier. Why would you go on bleating this point while offering exactly zero to the debate less an agenda? The sensible thing to do is to just be quiet if you believe the whole thing is pointless. There is no logical underpinning for your post.

You do realize that if climate changes unabated, there is no prep worth trying? The vast majority of people will not survive it. The chance you might be one of them is so small to be even less worthy of your time and effort than carrying on about cap and trade.

Please, leave your politics elsewhere.

Gotta hand it to the climate change true believers.

You get caught with your pants down committing fraud and, instead of apologizing, feeling bad, making a point of assuring the public that you've screwed up but you won't let it happen again . . .

. . . you attack.

That's commitment.

The problem is that the substance of the emails is very easy to understand, even for all the people you insult with your comments about "denialist" and "bleating."

These researchers committed fraud. It's as simple as that.

They knew there was an average temperature decline over the last 10 years and they have actively tried to "hide the decline." Their words.

That's fraud, and everybody knows it.

The credibility of the whole CC movement took a massive hit.

The science has always been questionable.

Now, there is internal acknowledgment that it's impossible to predict even short term climate trends. I think one of the guys put it as, "it's a travesty."

It's not a travesty. It's what a reasonable person would expect when you attempt to make predictions for an extraordinarily complex system. It's just basic science.

Quit repeating worthless lies.

Try reading and responding to some of the facts you've been provided with rather than the talking points you get from Rush, et al.

Hide the decline.

This is one of the neatest graphs I have seen in a while. It clearly shows the early spike in production due to the easy access to oil and then the growth of producing wells that effectively recovers the early potential. Yet even that starts slipping away as the producing wells go off-line.

If the data is available every oil depletion curve should be plotted this way.

My rough planning assumption is that by 2020 the US will be getting no more imported oil, except for a little bit from Canada. This doesn't mean that there will be no more oil exports at all around the globe, but that they will be very few. I am also assuming that the US dollar will no longer have the purchasing power it once did, and that the US will not be able to outbid other countries for the little bit still left.

Too bad that there are no policymakers yet making plans based upon that assumption. The US will be "energy independent", just not in a way and as soon as they imagine.

Actually, Obama once did say something about an ambitious plan to get America (I can't remember whether it was off or mostly off) imported oil by 2020. Not counting Canadian and Mexican, it seems like he might just accomplish that.

There will be no need to count Mexican oil exports in 2020.


The graph in the link up top: World oil demand growth to outpace supply in 2010: poll is totally misleading. This is my main gripe with the "All Liquids" concept. It gives the impression that non-OPEC oil production has not yet peaked when in fact it peaked in 2004. 2009 non-OPEC production will be about a quarter million barrels per day lower than 2007 and over half a million barrels per day below the peak year of 2004.

2004 Average	42,068
2005 Average	41,849
2006 Average 	41,846
2007 Average	41,771
2008 Average	41,214
2009 8 Mth Avg	41,465

However the graph above shows non-OPEC production climbing steadily every year except for 2008 when hurricanes and other problems artificially cut production. And in fact it shows 2010 as a boom year for non-OPEC production. This is highly unlikely. This year, 2009, saw production increases from Azerbaijan, who corrected massive gas leak production interruptions they had in 2008.

The US saw no hurricanes of any significance and several new projects came on line in the GOM. This caused US production to increase some 300,000 bpd or better over 2008. Russia had 8 new projects come on line early in the year. This caused their production to increase about 200,000 bp/d over 2008. They have only one new project coming on line next year and their rig count is down by 25 percent. Those rigs mostly drilled in older fields in an attempt to slow a 19% decline rate in those fields. So look for Russian production to drop next year and the US production will also drop but not as dramatically as Russian production.

Bottom line, 2010 non-OPEC crude production will be below 2009 non-OPEC crude production though if non-OPEC countries produce a lot more propane, butane, palm oil, ethanol and other non-crude liquids next year this drop will be masked slightly.

Ron P.

About the only comparable period in history which we have global records for that parallels current parameters of supply is '91-'93:

Oil Production YOY % OPEC and Non OPEC

I need to update this graph - Non-OPEC here doesn't include the FSU. Still it conveys how world supply additions were very minor in those early years of the 1990s = -0.29%/0.77%/0.38% for those three years. Yet OPEC added 0.69%/5.31%/2.75%. We're sure not seeing numbers like that now - 2008 gave 2.70% from OPEC; it will be interesting to see what supply data show for this year since 2008 and 2009 have the same figure for OPEC in these years in the Megaprojects wiki - 2465 kb/d.

The Wiki data has tracked actuals pretty well in the past, so I think we can rely on it with confidence to see where things are going; hence both Rembrandt and Sam figuring that we will bounce along much as it stands for a while. "Bumpy Plateau"? 1994 broke out of the trend with 1.60% gain for the world. Don't see that on the horizon.

This is my main gripe with the "All Liquids" concept. It gives the impression that non-OPEC oil production has not yet peaked when in fact it peaked in 2004.

All liquids or total liquids is like the farmer who had 10 cows, 50 pigs and 500 chickens. He added them up and found he had 560 all/total animals.

But to his dismay he found that the all animals number told him less about his farm than the numbers for each kind of animal. In fact, it made understanding his farm more difficult and confusing. So he gave up doing it. Too bad oil and energy analysts refuse to do the same.

Energy and oil analyses are full of this kind of nonsense. Things that are different can not be added, etc.. If they are anyway the result is nonsense and tells us less about the situation than stating the data for individual oil/energy forms.

The abstract all animals tells us less than stating the concrete total of each form cows, pigs and chickens. The abstract all liquids tells us less than the concrete total of each form of energy conventional oil, NGL's, tar sands and etc.. So why do it? One wonders.

Perhaps it's like a magic act where the magician distracts the audience to make his trick look like magic. Or perhaps it's just ignorance of the rules of logic. And then there are the more sinister explanations like financial or political gain from obfuscation and confusion.

Goodbye jobs, hello mom and dad, say young adults

The findings are the latest to highlight the sweeping social impact of a recession that began in December 2007. The effects have included declining immigration and U.S. migration between states, as well as increased carpools, use of public transit and "doubling up" of families in single-residence homes.

One in Four Borrowers Is Underwater

The proportion of U.S. homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than the properties are worth has swelled to about 23%, threatening prospects for a sustained housing recovery.

Nearly 10.7 million households had negative equity in their homes in the third quarter, according to First American CoreLogic, a real-estate information company based in Santa Ana, Calif.

...Even recent bargain hunters have been hit: 11% of borrowers who took out mortgages in 2009 already owe more than their home's value.

Yikes !
I wonder what percentage of homeowners will decide just to walk away, what percentage will stay and wait for values to recover, and what percentage will just go down to foreclosure.

Near the end of the run-up, and in many cases where mortgages are being reworked, the loans are "recourse" loans. That is, the homeowner is on the hook for the entire balance of the loan, no matter what happens to the value of the house. You don't get to just "walk away" from that type of loan if the collateral won't cover the balance -- the mortgage holder can take you to court and go after any other assets you have.

You never know what will happen when things get to court, though. In a small number of cases, judges have ruled that despite the "recourse" language in the contract, the lender knew, or should have known, that the homeowner could not possibly pay off the mortgage, and have limited recovery to just the house. Of course, the homeowner still didn't get to just walk away -- they're probably out substantially for their legal expenses.

I am looking for statistics on mortgage lenders going after borrowers. Do you have any references? Thanks.

This story from the NYTimes is a small bit of light for some homeowners. A hedge fund buys mortgage-backed securities at a steep discount. A portion of the mortgages underlying the security are refinanced, often with the principle reduced. The new mortgage meets FHA requirements and is then sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If the discount was steep enough, and enough of the mortgages can be refinanced and sold, the hedge fund makes a profit.

Granted, the overall transaction transfers risk to the taxpayers. And that risk is higher than I might like, as the FHA requirements are more lax than they were when we bought our first house 30 years ago. But at this point in the mortgage debacle, it's nice to see some home owners -- most likely those that weren't trying to game the system -- getting some relief.

FDIC: ‘Problem’ banks highest level in 16 years

WASHINGTON - The apparent end of the recession and stabilizing financial markets have not cured the banking industry, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday.

The number of banks on the FDIC's "problem list" rose to 552 from 416 on June 30, the highest level in 16 years. Fifty banks failed during the third quarter of 2009 -- the largest number since the second quarter of 1990.

You've been saying that this would be one of the effects of "The Crash" for a long time - the "brother-in-law sleeping on the couch" factor.

I suspect that we will see more of this in the coming years as people are forced back onto familial safety nets.

I wonder if this will cause a temporary rise or sustain a flattening in consumption, because this will (seem to) cause disposable income to rise - one of the "steps" in the collapse scenario.

Doubling up is a double edged blade-on the one hand it makes for a considerable savings in energy-very good for the overal economy.

It frees up a good bit of money that might be saved or spent on day to day consumption- very good perhaps for colleges, night clubs, and restaurants perhaps-not so good for the local carpet store or building contractor.

It depresses the housing market and negatively affects tax revenues locally.

The net effect in the short term may actually be negative in the aggregate -I really have no idea.

But I am convinced that doubling up is a big part of the future.

It won't stop with houses and apartments either.Family groups living together will find it easier to shed an extra automobile or two, to hire fewer babysitters, to eat out less often because there are more not -very-busy hands available for cooking and cleaning.

It will be easier to combine trips to the grocery store.

If the family life is a happy one and the house is not too crowded, families and nieghbors will learn to entertain themselves again and there will be a smaller market for purchaesd music, movies,and live shows.One cable or satellite account will serve three or four or five or six rather than one or two.

Grandma and Grandpa will not be moving into the assisted living center and they may avoid the nursing home as well.An unemployed son or daughter might find it advantageous to look after the older folks in order to keep the household running on thier pensions , entitlements, and savings such as they are.

Where this stops is anybody's guess.

This hits home to me.

My 27-year-old daughter moved back home in September. She looked at the rate she was able to pay back her student loans, and when the management of her apartment required 10% more rent to renew the lease, she asked if she could move back home "for a couple of years".

Personally, I welcome her, and so does her mother. The overall saving in money is quite noticeable, and she also helps around the house quite a bit.

The energy savings is not so certain. She is now commuting 20 miles further each direction. Her work hours are such that almost all of this is out of rush hours, and her car is reasonably efficient (she reports an average of 30-32 miles per gallon) so the cost of the extra fuel (about $4 per day at current prices) is trivial compared to the savings in rent (about $30 per day), and there were certainly energy costs at the apartment (electricity) which averaged around $5 per day.

We still have three cars, which are all used most days, but we do tend to combine shopping trips, and some other trips.

So doubling up for economic reasons might be beneficial for the parties concerned, and still not save much energy. Changing jobs is not a realistic option for my daughter in the present economic climate. She is lucky to have a reasonably-paid and secure job, but her employer has a hiring freeze, and most other employers here in Houston are either not hiring or are laying off.

The apartment complex, which had a waiting list for new tenants in the first half of last year, now appears to have numerous empty apartments.

It seems as long as we CAN commute long distances, we will.

I've been doing a 100-mile round-trip commute from the safe Doomstead here, to earn money and to go to (EMT) school.

This time last year, I was not traveling nearly so much.

The longterm plan is to find ways to generate money nearby, eventually after some things are taken care of get a job locally, and have my whole life do-able by bicycle.

Sadly, for a lot of people, they're doubling up and saving money but using MORE energy. This is because gasoline is still so cheap.

(My boring blog http://alexlcarter.wordpress.com it's cheaper than Nytol)

Welcome back, Fleam -
Long time no see.

I've been around plenty, just not here. People go to their "own" sites on the internet and never go anywhere else. So, not being here, amounts to being dead as far as anyone here is concerned.

Thank you for the anecdote, Ird.

While I'm not in the same situation like your daughter, I can easily see myself doing the same thing in the not to distance future. Recently, I've been seeing friends teaming up by sharing a house. All my friends are in their 30s; some use to have good paying jobs e.g. architecture and marketing. I guess 30s is the new 20s. I do notice that couples tend to fair better i.e. dual income where if one was to strike out the other can still provide. Cultural aside; perhaps this is personal issue of mine, but I can't imagine the sex life one has to compromise with cohabitation. Call me crazy, but should I have to move back to my parent's place I would strongly consider building a yurt in the backyard. Lucky for me, their backyard is 5 acres big.

People need some kind of personal space, even if all clumped up in an apartment, sparks are GOING to fly if people don't have some kind of refuge they can withdraw to.

In Pacific cultures, there was the men's house, going fishing, hangin' out with the other gals making tapa, different ways to "get away" for a bit.

The British have pubs. Japanese have dojos. Even under crowded conditions, people who have been urban a lot longer than most of us have, have come up with solutions.

In my own plans are a house and workshop, the workshop is going to have a couch that can be slept on, a fridge and a coffee pot or microwave or something, so not only can I install a guest for visits, but if I'm with a GF (which I hope for) if we're occasionally on the outs, I just get out of her way and hang out there for a bit.

A backyard yurt (look into the Hexayurt maybe?) is a good idea. You also may be able to build or buy a kit for a little cabin under 100 square feet, generally under a certain size doesn't require a building permit. I'm 100 yards and trees and stuff away from the main house here, it's great.

(read, print out, crumple up with a twist for useful fire logs - my boring blog! http://alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

Thanks for the reply fleam.

We Americans definitely have a twisted and myopic idea of space and living arrangement. A year ago I had an Italian for a roommate. He talk me into sharing my place (the stereotype lives!). He is in his late 30s and never really seems to mind it. He actually favors cohabitation over being independent. Should he move back to Italy, he would probably live with his parent, which is normal.

I live in Montana, and my neighbor has a yurt made of canvas (i think) which he use as his shop. It probably works out well for him during the summer months. I can definitely see this being an option for some albeit a few with pioneering spirit.

The Venezuelans I know generally do not live alone. It could be because housing is expensive and unavailable. I have noticed several cultural differences that support high living density.

Things like bedroom space and bathroom space are shared more intimately than anything I experienced before moving to Latin America. It is ok to share flushes when only urine is involved. It is ok to get dressed in front of strangers of the same sex. Teenage children do not close the bathroom door, and often sleep with their mothers. People are much more tidy, cleaning and organizing their personal belongings so that shared spaces do not become cluttered.

Public displays affection in plazas and parks is considered acceptable. People actually spend all Sunday on a blanket in the park reading out loud to their loved one. There are many hotels designed for one night stays by couples looking for privacy. And people seem to stay boyfriend/girlfriend and nominally resident in their parent's homes until they are ready to procreate.

People are much less ashamed of their sexual behavior and the principle of agreeing to disagree seems to be fundamental.

To a North American point of view it can be weird, very weird. But it seems to be possible to increase the number of people in a household without resulting in too much disaster.

You're right, this is very much a cultural thing. The whole concept of privacy is a relatively recent invention. There's an old painting (can't remember the name) that shows a peasant couple making love on their bed, surrounded by playing children. This is shocking by modern standards...but was pretty much normal back then.

And the reason was energy. Peasants slept in one room, even one bed. Parents, children, even servants, shared a room in order to share the warmth from the hearth. Putting up walls meant blocking the heat. Only the wealthy could afford multiple hearths.

Privacy arose with the middle class.

Good to see your name, Fleam.

Here's a fun site for some Bucky-yurts,

(I've still got the Possum Living and the Ultimate Machine Tool (Engine Block setup??) articles that you linked us to, some time back.. I appreciate the perspectives!)


I know I posted the Possum Living link on here, it was hard to find and for all I know I saved it from oblivion; they're going to make a movie about it now.

As for the engine block thing, I have no idea what you're talking about but in a place where reading comprehension is as poor as in the Internet, this does not surprise me. I'm sure someone posted something like that and now it's my fault.

It might have been someone else's post and you commented on that thread.

It was a way to use an engine block as the structural basis for a small but very versatile milling and machining tool, making it possible to have accurate machinework available to small communities and in the developing world. "Wonder Machine" ?? It's on another computer, so I can't look it up..

It's still far more into heavy machinery than I ever get, so my own comprehension is stretched trying to even describe it.. but I love to have plans like these, even if it would be outside my skillset to try to apply them.


We have a paid-for pop-up camper out back for the in-laws, if it comes to that. More roomy and probably more sturdy in bad weather than a yurt.

Only 1 1/2 baths in the house, unfortunately. That's going to be the bottleneck.

OFM, I posted a smallish blurb on tempering metal over on the Campfire Relocalization topic.


Airdale thanks.
I will post a short description of an insulated homemade wood stove stove in the same spot.It can be used to cut fuel comsumption by quite a bit when the goal is cooking only , rather than space heating.

When the kids get older and want to have a marriage of there own - they will, in effect, be married to the clan until it is to the clans advantage add a new member.

These are an amazing set of documentaries. Compulsory viewing for all consumers. The order you watch them in doesn't matter.


Outside Australia we are blocked any other way to view these.

yes indeed, anyone know of any working Aussie proxies ?

Interesting MSM article on the growing pathology of the USA economy led by the most powerful firms http://www.marketwatch.com/story/15-signs-wall-street-pathology-is-sprea...

Paul Farrell has been calling for economic disaster for quite a while now. Read some of his earlier posts, such as THIS ONE. Some Tuesdays, his posts are taken off the main page rather too quickly, IMHO...

E. Swanson

Barry Ritholtz links:

Graph showing percentage of underwater mortgages by state

World Map: "The World According to Americans" (LOL)

Are We "Vastly Better Off" Pre-Lehman?
Wall Street thinks that, even though the market is lower than it was Pre-Lehman, we're vastly better off than we were then. Despite many data points that show otherwise.

Interesting to look at the map and see Michigan with such a high percentage of underwater mortgages. The Detroit area never had the bubble, but prices there continue to plummet. I recall reading that modest houses in good shape in former working-class neighborhoods were failing to sell at prices as low as $10,000. In Flint, the city was offering people the chance to purchase a next-door lot and house that had been taken for failure to pay taxes for $1. And of course, last week you could have purchased the old Pontiac Superdome for less than $600,000.

A great many properties in Detroit, Buffalo, etc. are worthless because of property taxes. Any property with an annual tax bill exceeding 10% of the market value of the property is realistically worthless, now or in the near future, and those cities have quite a few like that.

Remember that census worker, found hanged in a graveyard with the word "Fed" written in his chest? It's been ruled a suicide. Forensics experts say he staged it to look like a homicide. He had recently taken out two life insurance policies that would not pay out for suicide.

From above:

...and of course the cost of fuel in the UK is the highest in Europe. I expect that just after electric cars become widely used, the government of the day will increase the tax on using them too.

I know this is just a bit of political humour, but this BAU stuff just makes you want to scream. Where is the power coming from for these magic (still unavailable) electric cars?
Other comments along the lines of using 'your own solar array to charge your car' are in cloud cuckoo land.
Most people have no idea how hard it is to generate 40kwh/p/d - certainly not from UK solar (unless you are very rich and have a massive roof).
Silly me - there was me thinking we were having a problem keeping the lights on at a mere 6kwh/p/d - so increasing this by nearly 7x should be no problem! Argh!

/Rant off

The Nissan Leaf coming out next year is going to take 24 Kwh to recharge, and that's if you use up all the juice going 70 - 100 miles (still some debate on what the actual range will be.) If the range turns out to be 80 miles, then that would mean it takes .3 Kwh/mile.

Still, that's a lot of electricity, probably because the car has to be heavy to pass US safety tests. After I go eleven miles on my electric bike, it only takes 200 wh total to recharge, something our solar panels handle quite easily. That's .018 kwh/mile. 94% less electricity per mile than a Nissan Leaf, and faster than driving a car to many destinations.

Following U.S. Department of Energy's announcement to grant $99.8 million to Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. (eTec), Nissan announced it plans "to make available up to 1,000" LEAFs in each of five major markets: Tennessee, Oregon, San Diego, Seattle and the Phoenix/Tucson region.

OK, use their high end estimate for each market, against a fleet of 250 million vehicles that's .002% of gasoline consumption displaced - 180 b/d. Knock me over with a feather.

Washington Post shutters last U.S. bureaus

The Washington Post, in a significant retrenchment, is closing its remaining domestic bureaus around the country.

The six correspondents who work in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago will be offered reassignments in Washington, while three news assistants will be let go.

Here's a comment that I saw which I found stunning:

So in general, fewer Americans are going anywhere on Thanksgiving, preferring to celebrate the holiday locally. A major loser in this trend is the airlines: In 2000, 6.2 million Americans flew over the holiday weekend, while this year, just 2.3 million are expected to fly. That’s a whopping 66% decrease (one that the airlines are feeling on the money end).

Then there’s the highways: While the population has climbed steadily in the past decade, almost 50 million Americans drove over the river and through the woods in 2000, while this year it’s down to an estimated 33 million. (For a detailed look into just how safe that driving will be, check out NPR’s series this week on highway safety.) And for the rest of us, around 2.9 million will travel by train, watercraft, bus or a combination of transportation modes (bus-to-canoe-to-camel, perhaps?).

In years past, I would commonly fly for Thanksgiving, and the airports were a mob scene. Parking lots filled up, shuttles were jammed, ticket and security lines were long, and everyone was frantic because they were afraid they would miss their flights. Last year we flew for Thanksgiving, and it was stunning how empty the airport was. No problem with parking, no lines at the ticket counter, no lines at security, and everything seemed to be pretty calm. This year we are staying closer to home, so someone else will get to report what things are like at the airport :-).


There is another change driving this change, a very powerful one: The baby boomers parents are dying away.

In August of last year, my father passed away (my mother had passed several years earlier) so there is now no home to return to "over the river and through the woods". This very powerful demographic force will only accelerate over the coming years. (I am having Thanksgiving Day with two friends, both who recently lost their last surviving parent). The implications of the aging of the population(and this is even more pronounced in other OECD nations) is HUGE. I think it is the only trend that comes close to matching or even exceeding the implications of resource depletion for the coming half century.


My father spent 5 years taking care of my mother spending most of his time within earshot of mothers voice. Since she has died he has been jet setting around the world. Rome, Ireland, mexico... Being stuck at home for thanksgiving may be our future or maybe a choice of the aware.

Haven't had time to read the other posts, so if this duplicates anyone my appologies. Just got off 12 hrs of work, and about to slip off to bed.

Anyway, right of the top, Mr. Simmons shows us how wrong headed we can be:

They now include a floating chemical factory: a water desalinization plant, a hydrogen electrolysis plant, and a plant to produce ammonia from the hydrogen by combining it with nitrogen from the air.

Now, I don't know how important that Nitrogen in the air is, but it seems to me that if we start destroying water to leach it out of the air there will be less than there is. Our plant life is used to what is there. How long would it take to start having really bad unintended consequences?

And, of course, the idea of transporting Hydrogen for fuel is ludicrous. Hydrogen is far too caustic to use pipelines; pressuriced H2 containers are volatile and heavy, plus dangerous. Yes, when it burns you get water back, but again the cost is astronomical.

Not to rain on anyone's technological parade or anything. If people had started thinking of ways to change 20 or so years ago, we might be in fairly good shape. And, if we started right now we could ease our way through it - with hardships, and disruptions that would be difficult. But the longer we wait the worse it will be when TSHTF.

My 30-something son says 'they' will invent nano machines to 'build oil and fertilizer, and food and everything we need' from rocks and air. I don't know who 'they' are, and the kid doesn't have a clue. But he is sure that is part of 'evolution' and science will win the day.

That's how I know we're fundamentally doomed. If our children won't listen, who will?


I assume your comments about nitrogen in the air is meant in jest...since basically nitrogen IS THE AIR with a bit of oxygen, argon etc. as impurities...air is roughly 90 percent nitrogen...

But your other point about your 30 something son is VERY well taken. As some of you here know, I have been involved with a firm that does market and media research for nearly 12 years, and have seen absolutely fascinating research on this age group (as well as other demographics) that would tell you much about the way your son thinks on these issues...

If your son is 35 or younger, he never saw a sustained recession or dowturn in ANY market until this recent "great recession". His formative years were spent in one of the most prosperous times in world history...and capitalism and democracy were marching across the world far faster than Muhammed stormed across the North African plains or Hitler stormed across Europe. Commentators were writing of "A New Paradigm" and "The End of History". Recessions were declared a reactionary idea...with the diffusion of capital markets, currencies, market information and just plain godlike genuis among the money managers, recessions just DO NOT HAPPEN anymore.

Your son is what the advanced demographics people refer to as "The Transformer Generation". They came of age in an era when "virtual reality" became more real than reality, when toys, phones, video devices could be folded, reconfigured and redesigned almost weekly into new devices that do new things, a world where information about a subject can alter the reality of a subject, Example...we speak of electric cars as though they are everywhere...but how many have you actually seen operating on a public highway? But they are on websites, Youtube, EVERYWHERE in the virtual world, therefore they exist, and will soon be built in vast numbers...why wouldn't they? Keep in mind that Youtube video does not account for economics or technical problems, it is essentially a visual medium (as is all of the virtual "landscape".

The Transformer Generation do not see barriers. There is nothing that cannot be, with a bit of chemistry and a bit of engineering, converted into something else. Reality is much more fluid to the Transformer child, and is best represented by Transformer toys..."The Matrix" represents the fulfilment of the reality that is not reality, the reality that can be transformed at will, the reality that is partly here but more and more in the cyberworld. When they talk of playing guitar or driving sports racing cars, they do not differentiate actually doing it from doing it online...one is pretty much like the other, right?

Of course, the Transformer Generation is most like "The Cornucopians" in their way of thinking, and this presents a real world problem for those who would teach the young about "limits to growth" or "depletion"...they really cannot be sold on the premise, it does not fit their reality. Most of them consider the recent economic crisis a bit of a "blip" on the radar, and for them that has mostly been true...they have none of what used to be called "assets" such as homes or stocks and bonds, so they did not lose in the depreciation of these assets (this is normal for people below 35 or 40 by the way, the boomers did not really begin saving until after 1985 or so, as the first of them turned 40)

But do not give up hope...the "Transformer Generation" can be communicated with, you simply have to know what buttons to push. Here are a few...

a. Sell it as "CHANGE". The Transformers love change, the most high tech, the most advanced, "Web 2.0" (what does that mean?) will soon be "Web 3.0" and then "4.0". Renewables and advanced hybrids should be sold as "ENERGY 3.0" or "GEN3 ENERGY" (coal first,then oil...and NOW the new generation...) The Transformers DON'T want a car like dad's, a house like dad's, or anyting else that smacks of OLD. Lowriders are a statement of satire, not respect.

b. GREEN, CLEAN. The Transformers are into green. They love the idea of absolutely CLEAN technology. Most of them accept climate change without a doubt, because it is SCIENCE, and they absolutely believe in science (or at least science as they see it, which can be a whole other topic...it is a rather "fuzzy logic" view of science since most of the Transformers know much more about science fiction than actual science (again, this is not really as odd as it sounds, remember these kids were parented by the generation that created "adult trekkies".

c. The young will pay for what they think is modern, chic, clean and green. Money to them is no more "real" than "reality". Money can be created, transformed and moved in an age of "virtual currency", direct deposit, debit cards and Paypal. Many people under 35 have never really seen most of the money they have made or spent, it existed only in the virtual world. Thus, if you want to finance a transition to green, you are better off to label it as "GREENS FEE" (minor pun, but it tested well with those below 30!), a voluntary check box on their utility bill will work far better than a bond issue or a tax to pay for renewable. The young will barely even notice the extra expense (they do not like budgeting as a general rule)

In summation...you cannot easily sell the limits of science to the Transformer generation. You cannot easily sell sacrifice to them (they have never known it), but you can sell change to them. They expect it. But they also expect the scientific community and the design community to pretty much be able to deliver whatever they ask for, when they ask for it. And they do not greatly care if it's European, Chinese, Japanese, or American science that does it (American young people really do not take the issue of "international competition" as seriously as the young in other nations do). They will respect whoever can deliver the goods. They are not used to the word "no".

(Postscript: If anyone has read my posts over time here, you will recognize some of the themes above. If you want to reach the audience, you have to speak their language. Change will pretty much not occur AT ALL unless we can get those able to make the changes and willing to accept the changes onboard. For many of those over 50, they really do not want change (it is questionable whether many of them could even survive it). Yes, we dream, we hope, but we know...it is really in the hands of the younger generation now. But we can hope to at least (in part) understand why the young think the way they do, and be able to urge them at least a bit toward a direction we consider rational. But it will be thier choice, it is thier world.

Thank you for a fascinating discussion.


Point of fact:

From Wikipedia:

Dry air contains roughly (by volume) 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.038% carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor, on average around 1%.


Thanks for the correction...would it have helped if I had said "really realy roughly 90%..." :-)