Drumbeat: November 26, 2009

Europe’s Busiest Port Expands for Oil Speculators, Idling Ships

(Bloomberg) -- The Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s busiest, expanded its anchorage area to accommodate increasing demand from oil traders storing fuel at sea and more idling ships awaiting cargoes.

Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch waterways authority, designated an area 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest off the North Sea resort of Scheveningen as a new anchoring zone, the port authority said in a statement on its Web site today.

“Many tankers are lying at anchor here to wait for orders or for speculative considerations,” the port said in the statement. “The popularity of North Sea anchoring spots has increased considerably.”

Shell says oil demand will recover in second half of next year

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's biggest oil company, expects global crude demand to pick up in the second half of 2010, after declining the most since 1980 this year, according to Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser.

Demand will fall by about 2 million barrels a day this year as the recession curbs energy use, Voser said in an interview posted on the company's Web site today. Consumption of natural gas in Europe will drop by about 5 percent this year, after 30 years of continuous growth, he said.

"We will face a difficult 2010," Voser said. In the first six months of the year "we will still see a very slow pace, then picking up toward the second half."

MP urges Harper to act in Beaufort Sea dispute

A Northwest Territories MP is urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to protect Canada's claim to a disputed area in the Beaufort Sea, where the United States wants to drill for oil and gas.

Raising the issue this week in the House of Commons, Western Arctic NDP MP Bevington said the U.S. government and the Alaska state government are planning to sell oil and gas exploration leases off the northern coasts of Alaska and the Yukon.

Obama faces delicate balancing act on climate

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Having vowed US climate action, President Barack Obama heads to Copenhagen needing to perform a delicate balancing act between huge expectations and the reality of a reluctant Congress.

FAO warns against effects of climate change in Pacific islands

ROME (KUNA) -- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned, ahead of a UN summit in Copenhagen, Thursday against changes in weather which were projected to impact heavily on agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the Pacific islands, leading to increased food insecurity and malnutrition. The agency urged governments and donors to immediately start implementing robust and action-oriented climate change adaptation plans for all Pacific islands.

IEA chief urges Japan to advance energy cooperation in East Asia

TOKYO — International Energy Agency Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said Thursday that Japan should advance energy cooperation with neighboring Asian countries as a way of building an East Asian community advocated by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

Rob Hopkins: Transition to a world without oil

Rob Hopkins reminds us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out. He proposes a unique solution to this problem -- the Transition response, where we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice our luxuries to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels.

Warming to hit "roads, pipelines" in Canada north

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Roads, buildings and pipelines in Canada's north are at risk from global warming and the government must do more to protect infrastructure in the remote frozen region, an official panel said Thursday.

Temperatures in the north -- which includes the Arctic -- are rising much faster than elsewhere in the world, and this comes at a time of increasing interest in the area's vast mineral and energy reserves.

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) said the permafrost layer had begun to melt, a development that can have disastrous consequences.

"Melting permafrost is undermining building foundations and threatens roads, pipelines and communications infrastructure,' it said in a report, also citing the potential danger to energy systems, waste disposal sites and ponds containing toxic tailings from mines.

Business Books: Arctic melts, but no big "Cold Rush" for oil

OSLO (Reuters) - The Arctic is thawing fast because of global warming but a big "Cold Rush" for offshore oil and gas looks unlikely because of icebergs and high costs, a new book says.

A retreat of Arctic ice in summers is changing indigenous peoples' livelihoods and will threaten the survival of polar bears, writes Alun Anderson in "After the Ice" (HarperCollins), packed with anecdotes about shifts already under way.

Baker Hughes: US Oil, Gas Rig Count Up 24 to 1,137 This Week

The number of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas in the U.S. climbed this week as producers ramped up drilling in response to higher prices.

The number of oil and gas rigs climbed to 1,137, up 24 rigs from the previous week, according to data from oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI). The number of gas rigs was 748, an increase of 22 rigs from last week, while the oil rig count was 379, an increase of four rigs. The number of miscellaneous rigs fell by two to 10.

Chicontepec debate could redefine energy sector

There are times when something is happening around us that we might not deem as monumental as history later judges.

With life’s daily sturm und drang, especially during these trying financial times, the debate unfolding around Pemex’s development of the Chicontepec oil fields might not appear at first glance to be such an occurrence.

Various developments suggest otherwise. Indeed, Mexico’s debate over Chicontepec could turn out to be a historical marker for the nation’s energy sector.

Next Mexican crisis could come soon

Pemex needs some help. Its production is declining and exports are falling even faster – down 13% from 2008 and 35% from 2004. With Mexico's population growing 1.1% annually, domestic consumption is set to rise over time, although the recession has brought it down this year. The only good news for the Mexican government, which depends heavily on revenues from Pemex, is the current oil price is well about the US$59 a barrel assumed in budget calculations.

In a few years – or earlier if oil prices decline – Mexico faces a serious fiscal crunch. The combination of unequal income distribution and high tax evasion limit the government's non-oil revenue to 10.8% of GDP, well below the average for middle-income countries. The national economy has the same sort of problem as government. Mexican productivity remains below its 1980 level.

Russia to scrap E. Siberia oil tax from Dec - source

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will introduce a zero duty on East Siberian crude oil exports from Dec. 1, a government source said on Thursday, in a long-awaited move designed to spur investment in virgin oilfields and revive stagnating output.

Aramco, Conoco set Feb refinery unit bids deadline

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco and U.S. firm ConocoPhillips (COP.N) have set a Feb. 28 deadline for bids for a solids unit at their joint 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) Yanbu refinery, industry sources said on Thursday.

The refinery is part of top oil exporter Saudi Arabia's plans to double total domestic and international refining capacity by 2015.

Slow demand hits Gulf long-term deals

Gulf refiners are striking deals or have started negotiations on long term supply for 2010 with premiums so far at lower levels than for 2009 due to thin demand.

On the spot market, fuel oil prices fell amid plentiful supply from Saudi Arabia.

Big Oil - A Look at The Worlds Most Powerful Companies

Why, when the Big Five are investing so much more of their diminishing profits into all sorts of alternative “Green Energy” sources, from wind power to bio-fuels, would the International Energy Agency (IEA) predict that the their position of prominence in the energy industry will continue to dissipate while the “New Seven Sisters” could within 40 years, be providing and holding stakes in more than 50% of the world energy resources?

What distinct disadvantages are the Big 5 now being unfairly forced to compete against, while working their way back up and off of the canvas they were knocked down to by a world population that demanded of barrels of cheap, clean fuel while simultaneously cursing and fighting against those very companies who were dutifully attempting to supply the voracious demands placed upon themselves?

Kenya: Fuel shortage hurts police operations

Operations at the Criminal Investigations Department ground to a halt after a fuel provider withheld supplies demanding Sh11 million for previous deliveries.

Distorted IEA oil reserve figures create biofuel opportunities

(MENAFN - Arab News) The recent revelations of a International Energy Administration whistleblower that the IEA may have distorted key oil projections under intense US pressure is, if true (and whistleblowers rarely come forward to advance their careers), a slow-burning thermonuclear explosion on future global oil production. The Bush administration's actions in pressuring the IEA to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves have the potential to throw governments' long-term planning into chaos.

Whatever the reality, rising long term global demands seem certain to outstrip production in the next decade, especially given the high and rising costs of developing new super-fields such as Kazakhstan's offshore Kashagan and Brazil's southern Atlantic Jupiter and Carioca fields, which will require billions in investments before their first barrels of oil are produced.

In such a scenario, additives and substitutes such as biofuels will play an ever-increasing role by stretching beleaguered production quotas. As market forces and rising prices drive this technology to the forefront, one of the richest potential production areas has been totally overlooked by investors up to now - Central Asia. Formerly the USSR's cotton "plantation," the region is poised to become a major player in the production of biofuels if sufficient foreign investment can be procured. Unlike Brazil, where biofuel is manufactured largely from sugarcane, or the United States, where it is primarily distilled from corn, Central Asia's ace resource is an indigenous plant, Camelina sativa.

China considers supporting IAEA on Iran - minister

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is "in principle" considering supporting an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution demanding Iran immediately mothball a uranium enrichment site it hid for years, a vice foreign minister said.

Corals relocated to clear path for Saudi pipeline

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Offshore Projects Division of the Saudi Aramco’s Northern Area Projects Department (OPD/NAPD) have sponsored a coral relocation project in the Arabian Gulf. The aim was to minimize ecological disturbance caused by a planned offshore pipelay installation.

Aramco says a coral assemblage was discovered less than 100 m (328 ft) from the beach in the Safaniya offshore field during the pipelay environmental-impact assessment. The corals were in the path of a trench due to be constructed for the pipe, and would have been destroyed during dredging.

U.S., China help climate talks, but tangles remain

OSLO (Reuters) - Promises of greenhouse gas curbs by China and the United States brighten prospects for next month's U.N. climate summit but leave big tangles over cash, rich nations' emissions cuts and how to tie down a legal treaty.

"This is clearly some progress on the Copenhagen road," Frank Jotzo, deputy director of the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute, said of pledges by the world's top two emitters to tackle global warming.

How Capitalism Failed Us

Next month, at the climate change summit in Copenhagen, the wealthy nations that produce most of the excess carbon in our atmosphere will almost certainly fail to embrace measures adequate to ward off the devastation of our planet by heat and chaotic weather. Their leaders will probably promise us teaspoons with which to put out the firestorm and insist that springing for fire hoses would be far too onerous a burden for business to bear. They have already backed off from any binding deals at this global summit. There will be a lot of wrangling about who should cut what when, and how, with a lot of nations claiming that they would act if others would act first. Activists -- farmers, environmentalists, island-dwellers -- around the world will try to write a different future, a bolder one, and if anniversaries are an omen, then they have history on their side.

James Hansen: Climate Change Evidence 'Overwhelming,' Hacked E-mails 'Indicate Poor Judgement'

Do the e-mails indicate any unethical efforts to hide data that do not support the idea of anthropogenic global warming, or to keep contrary ideas out of the scientific literature and the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change reports?

They indicate poor judgment in specific cases. First, the data behind any analysis should be made publicly available. Second, rather than trying so hard to prohibit publication of shoddy science, which is impossible, it is better that reviews, such as by IPCC and the National Academy of Sciences, summarize the full range of opinions and explain clearly the basis of the scientific assessment. The contrarians or deniers do not have a scientific leg to stand on. Their aim is to win a public-relations battle, or at least get a draw, which may be enough to stymie the actions that are needed to stabilize climate.

China's booming car sales, falling gas usage stump analysts: Data 'disconnect' prompts suspicion, closer look at gasoline consumption

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- A sharp rise in Chinese car sales and vehicle ownership hasn't been reflected in nationwide gasoline consumption this year, an anomaly that has some analysts scratching their heads in the search for answers.

The disconnect has sparked a range of possible explanations, and even some suspicious musings: One such theory goes that Beijing and its state-owned enterprises are using stimulus funds to buy up new vehicles to subsidize local car makers, with the vehicles then hidden away or turned back into scrap metal.

Standard Chartered stepped into the debate with a recent research note entitled "Mysterious Gas," focusing on what is driving the nation's growing car ownership, which is on track to grow by nearly 25% this year.

"Car sales in China are booming [in the third quarter], but gasoline sales seem to be stuck in the slow lane," wrote Standard Chartered analysts headed by Stephen Green in Shanghai.

Obama official slams oil industry

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar fired back at critics of the federal government's oil and gas leasing program on Tuesday, saying the oil industry was acting “like an arm of a political party.”

In a conference call with reporters to announce oil and gas lease sales on federal land for 2010, Salazar said the Bureau of Land Management's oil and gas leasing program this year has been “robust,” putting more than 2.7 million acres of land up for lease and generating $126 million in revenue. Four more leases are planned before year's end.

“But you wouldn't know it if you listened to the untruths coming out” of industry groups, Salazar said. “Trade groups for the oil and gas industry repeatedly launch attacks that have all the poison and assumptions of election-year politics.”

China's backing on Iran followed dire predictions

Two weeks before President Obama visited China, two senior White House officials traveled to Beijing on a "special mission" to try to persuade China to pressure Iran to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program.

If Beijing did not help the United States on this issue, the consequences could be severe, the visitors, Dennis Ross and Jeffrey Bader, both senior officials in the National Security Council, informed the Chinese.

The Chinese were told that Israel regards Iran's nuclear program as an "existential issue and that countries that have an existential issue don't listen to other countries," according to a senior administration official. The implication was clear: Israel could bomb Iran, leading to a crisis in the Persian Gulf region and almost inevitably problems over the very oil China needs to fuel its economic juggernaut, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

IAEA to vote on demand Iran freeze new nuclear site

VIENNA (Reuters) - World powers are demanding that Iran immediately mothball a uranium enrichment site it hid for years, heightening fears it is planning to build atom bombs, in a resolution to be voted on by U.N. nuclear watchdog governors.

ONGC to Meet Iran Oil Officials Seeking Opportunities

(Bloomberg) -- Oil & Natural Gas Corp., India’s biggest energy producer, plans to discuss “specific opportunities” with executives from National Iranian Oil Co. next week, said Chairman and Managing Director R.S. Sharma.

“In import-dependent countries like ours, we have to see where are the future sources of energy supplies,” Sharma said in an interview in his office in New Delhi. “Iran, they have the second-largest crude oil and gas reserves and they are not very well exploited.”

The oil is running out: Mexican president

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon says Mexico's “is running out,” and calls the problem “very serious.”

Production is falling at Mexico's old, shallow-water offshore fields and the country has yet to exploit is potential deep-water reserves.

Pemex ordered to slash gas flaring

Mexico issued rules yesterday compelling state-owned Pemex to slash natural gas flaring at oil fields, which costs at least $3.1 billion a year and is a major source of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

PetroChina Expands Jilin Refinery Capacity by 43%, Xinhua Says

(Bloomberg) -- PetroChina Co. is expanding its refinery in the northern province of Jilin, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing an unnamed official at the plant.

Putin Seeks Energy Partners, Russian Car Rescue in France Visit

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will arrive in Paris today aiming to strengthen ties with France by enlisting energy partners, seeking a rescue for the crippled Russian car industry and discussing a pioneering defense accord.

Putin will hold talks on the participation of Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power producer, and GDF Suez SA in Russian pipeline projects, the role of Renault SA in the auto industry and the purchase of a French-made assault ship.

IAEA to vote on demand Iran freeze new nuclear site

VIENNA (Reuters) - World powers are demanding that Iran immediately mothball a uranium enrichment site it hid for years, heightening fears it is planning to build atom bombs, in a resolution to be voted on by U.N. nuclear watchdog governors.

Oil falls to near $77 amid uncertainty over demand

Oil prices slipped towards $77 a barrel on Thursday as a sharp slide in stock markets raised worries about the pace of recovery in the global economy and demand for crude.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for January delivery was down 60 cents to $77.36 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.94 to settle at $77.96 on Wednesday.

Murban Crude Oil Drops for Second Day on Supply Glut Concerns

Japanese refiners are still running at reduced rates as consumer demand for fuels declines. A report today from the country’s Petroleum Association showed that about 25 percent of its processing capacity is sitting idle.

Oil pricing agencies battle over benchmarks

LONDON (Reuters) - How much does a barrel of oil cost? With billions of dollars at stake, sometimes the answer depends who is doing the asking.

The most visible answer is the figure flashing up on futures screens across the financial globe.

In reality that is merely the top of a pricing pyramid based on a subtle exchange of information between traders and reporters tracking physical crude market deals.

Oil price-play set to boost crude storage at sea

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Offshore crude storage, which has declined sharply from record levels in April, may rise again in the U.S. Gulf as front-month U.S. oil futures trade at a steep discount to barrels for later delivery.

The volume of crude oil stored in tankers globally has dipped to between 32 million and 42 million barrels, according to estimates from several shipbrokers. Floating crude storage likely fell more than 60 percent from peaks above 100 million barrels in April.

Offshore storage plays may now regain popularity near the U.S. Gulf Coast, a key refining region and hub for seaborne oil imports, several shipbrokers and industry sources said. A U.S. oil market contango - when prompt crude trades at a discount - is encouraging new storage plays.

Moscow retreats from Ukraine bypass strategy

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko declared on November 16 that the Nord Stream pipeline on the Baltic seabed would not be used for diverting gas volumes away from Ukraine's transit pipelines to Europe. In effect, this statement acknowledges that the Nord Stream pipeline, from Russia directly to Germany, is not a Ukraine-bypass project.

FACTBOX - Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea

(Reuters) - Pirates attacked an oil tanker off the coast of Benin on Tuesday, killing a Ukrainian officer and stealing the contents of the ship's safe, the head of the West African country's navy said.

Africa's Gulf of Guinea nations have been struggling with mounting threats from piracy and kidnappings in the area, home to myriad rebel groups and smugglers.

Here is a list of some of the attacks that have taken place in the Gulf, which stretches from Angola to the south, around Africa's central and western coast, to the Guineas in the west.

Alaska to auction petroleum rights in disputed Arctic waters

The Alaskan government has announced plans to auction oil and gas exploration rights in a disputed section of the Beaufort Sea along the Yukon-Alaska border — a move that has also prompted Canada to lodge a protest with Washington, Canwest News Service has learned.

Foreign Affairs officials acknowledged Tuesday that the diplomatic note was filed in April after Alaska issued a draft version of its Beaufort Sea petroleum plans.

Obama will unveil Afghan troops move at West Point

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama plans to announce a redrawn battle plan for Afghanistan, including what the military says could be a roughly 50 percent increase in U.S. forces, in a national address Tuesday night from the U.S. Military Academy.

Optimism for greentech sector points to more IPOs

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Purse strings are loosening, new bets are being placed, and cautious optimism has caught on in the green technology sector.

With oil prices up sharply and the U.S. economy steady, the emerging green technology industry is seen moving back to a growth path from a sheer survival track, with factories being built, funds moving to research and some high-profile young firms mulling initial public offerings of shares.

Green Energy Rush Could Crash Bulgaria Power Grid

SOFIA - A rush to cash in on incentives to develop renewable energy projects in Bulgaria could end up in so much new supply it could cause blackouts on the national grid, the operator told Reuters on Tuesday.

Ivan Ayolov, chief executive of the state electricity system operator (ESO) said in an interview the government should impose stricter regulations to bar speculators.

Going hungry in the land of plenty

On one level, there's something to give thanks for. Menu items for that classic dinner — turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and trimmings — have dropped about 4% in price, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The average cost of a feast for 10 has declined $1.70 since last year, to $42.91. Small, yes, but welcome for so many families struggling through hard economic times.

The broader picture is more sobering. Just days before Thanksgiving, the government released a shocking statistic: The number of Americans who lack dependable access to adequate food soared last year to 49 million, including almost one child in four. That's the largest number since records were first kept in 1995. Another report says that half of American kids will live at some point in households receiving food stamps.

China announces plan to boost energy efficiency

BEIJING — China announced plans Thursday to sharply boost its energy efficiency by slowing the growth of carbon emissions as part of its contribution to the fight against global warming.

The State Council announcement ahead of next month's Copenhagen climate summit pledges that China will cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.

Obama to Take 17% U.S. Emission Cut Vow to Copenhagen

(Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen for climate-change talks, where he’ll offer to cut U.S. emissions about 17 percent by 2020 in an effort to help break a deadlock between rich and poor nations.

Australia: Embattled leader makes a desperate last stand

MALCOLM Turnbull has dramatically rolled the dice, to keep faith with his commitment to action on climate change and to keep the word of the Liberal Party.

His typically Turnbull gesture seems certain to cost him the leadership.

It is now a desperate race to the death: Turnbull is battling to get the Government's legislation through before his party dumps him.

In a fighting address at a news conference last night Turnbull declared that the Liberal party could not be seen as a party of sceptics on climate and people who break their word.

Scottish experiment cuts coal emissions

Norwegian scientists and Scottish Power have discovered a way to halve the cost of the environmentally-friendly technology, making it more commercially viable.

Hacked climate emails called a "smear campaign"

"What they've done is search through stolen personal emails—confidential between colleagues who often speak in a language they understand and is often foreign to the outside world. Suddenly, all these are subject to cherry picking," he said.

They've turned "something innocent into something nefarious," Mann added.

The vital point being left out, he said, is that "regardless of how cherry-picked," there is "absolutely nothing in any of the emails that calls into the question the deep level of consensus of climate change."

Planet approaching point of no return, experts warn

''The message is the warming hasn't stopped,'' said Matthew England of the University of NSW and one of the authors of the report, The Copenhagen Diagnosis. ''Every year this century has been among the top 10 warmest years since instrumental records began.''

This warming trend has continued despite solar brightness being relatively weak over the past three years and the impact of the cooling La Nina event last year.

Climate change already a reality in Africa

NAIROBI (AFP) – From prolonged droughts to melting ice caps to heavy flooding and unpredictable weather patterns, climate change effects are already wrecking lives in Africa, the continent that pollutes the least.

Around 23 million people currently face starvation across east Africa as successive failed rainy seasons have decimated crops, livestock and devastated livelihoods.

The cost of adapting to climate change

Farmers in developing countries are already feeling the effects of climate change. What is needed to help them cope is an almost unprecedented shift of resources from north to south.

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Peak Oil Day!

Since I'm up and about and supposed to be putting plastic sheets over my windows this morning, I thought I would post one of my favorite (if that's the word) images of climate change:-


It appears that the most dramatic changes occurred in the west at higher elevations which is consistent with theory. It has long been my harangue that in large measure this is a three dimensional atmospheric phenomenon for which statistics are two dimensional for the sake of current argument. I consider the temperate surface temperature calculations as noise as most of the action is at high latitudes and altitudes. If we take only data from near the tree lines the case may be closed. I've never expected a dramatic increase or decrease in tropical sea level temperatures to be any sort of indicator so I discount any argument that factors this in.

When it hits 30+ C on the arctic beaches you don't have to tell the locals there's a problem.

It's also consistent with what I've observed anecdotally, in my own garden. Perennials which are labeled "zone 6" seem to be wintering over quite happily in my "zone 5" location.

That first graph is pretty to look at but the structure in it is completely misleading. Edwin Tufte would have a field day with that one. In fact 99% of the structure is basically showing that the contours of climate have just shifted north. The fact that something officially shifted by a zone is strictly arbitrary and is defined by how the zones are delineated. Kind of like political regions.

But I suppose most people understand this and I am just nit-picking.

I think nit-picking is valuable in this case, to make sure people do understand what is being reflected, which is a shift of climate contours north.

Of course, one's particular "zone" as defined by a generalized map, is also governed by local conditions i.e. microclimates, and therefore isn't a weather forecaster per se.

Zone areas, in the US anyway, refer to cold-tolerance, and are a guideline in selecting the types of plants that might be successful in any one particular area, and seed and plant sellers use them that way.

But my main point was, in fact, to show climate contours moving north, and that, if one is planning to plant trees and other crops, one should be looking outside one's traditional "zone band" when visiting the nursery or seed store.

The roses are still out in the backyard on Nov 26 which is remarkable (Toronto).

Mine too. We're expecting a little snow today, no accumulation, but first freeze isn't until the weekend - 6 weeks later than the average in the literature - Oct 15th (Chicago)

I am in Edmonton and it is pouring rain.

We've had some light frost but have sunflowers (volunteers) here making seeds, the large head is getting close to ready to cut off and dry, the three smaller ones are forming seeds and I'll watch 'em and see how they go. And I spotted 5 more sprouts, doubt they'll make it but but who knows. ..... this all started with my sweeping some "junk" out of a storage place, some of said "junk" some old seed heads sans seeds and the odd seed shells, guess there were a few viable seeds in there.

(my boring blog: http://alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

I think it is called digitization noise. It looks like things have warmed by about half a zone, so if you are just north of the old boundary you get bumped by a full zone, but if you are south of the old boundary your zone hasn't changed. But it does make for some pretty patterns.

I'm still harvesting cruciferae (various broccollis, cabbage...) in central Minnesota here in late November--not a remote possibility before 15 years ago or so. Throughout a broad midsection of the country, it looks as though all the growing zones have moved up one, so nearly everyone in this region is not in a new zone.

And I planted my winter garden a couple of weeks ago.

Local sources no longer handle turnips because a few warm days turn them pithy (thye go to seed). I mail ordered a hybrid, White Lady, that is supposed to be slow in going pithy.

Best Hopes for good turnips :-) and beets and spinach,


I'm surprised you don't mention collards, they're great! The thing with collards is, they're better if you cook 'em longer, a good 15 minutes' simmer is great for them. And, the stems are good and full of flavor so don't leave 'em out.

(Pithy? Maybe. http://www.alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

Collards are certainly miracle veggies. They regularly grow through the winter in the South. More calcium per pound than milk, too, according to Laurel's Kitchen.

I just spoke to some good friends who just got back from a 10 day hunting trip in east Oregon. They have been doing this for two generations and never fail to get enough meat to share all around.

This year they saw no sign of elk at all. Darn, no elk burgers.

A couple of years ago I was optimistic about shipping low(er) cost stirling combined heat and power or plain old solar powered units. Whispergen and eon were talking 2007 mass production. And Germany's Solo was shipping some 10 KW electrical (25 KW thermal) Eurodishes to select places in Germany.

Its 2009. Almost 2010. And no mass produced stirling engines.

But I thought I'd share the latest upbeat claims so next Thanksgiving we can sit 'round and ask "so...hows that ship date coming?"

is claiming a 2010 mass production ship date for a 25KW electrical dish. (when I asked about using a building to act as the cool side of the engine back in 2006ish the designers had not considered this possibility. Odds are they'd not considered the cool side driving a ammonia/water ice maker either.)

"The SunCatcher™ Power System is a breakthrough technology, but at its heart, it is an engine, mirrors, steel, and electric motors. Who better to build these at scale than the US Automotive Industry?"
In 1978, engineers at Ford Motor Company began developing designs of a solar-powered Stirling engine. Through the years, companies like McDonnell-Douglas, Lockheed Martin and Boeing all worked to improve on the technology and design.

There's an old - circa 1900 - Stirling engine powered well pump at a ranch near here that they fire up, literally, for ceremonial occasions. It works fine and uses pumped water to cool the cold side. Wonder how many more of these are still out there having survived the scrap metal drives of wartime. Old, crude, still working.

This makes a lot more sense to me than steam and turbines and so on but the problem of night storage looms pretty large. Sure makes sense for powering air conditioning. I can see large central sodium sulphur storage bins at some point. Maybe Edison was right about DC.

I wonder if there will be more big scrap metal drives, this time aimed at giving as much to China as possible to try and persuade them to not destroy the dollar. I would love to see a picture of that stirling engine.

Don't have a pic at the moment but I'll make a note of taking one in the Spring. Not much to look at from the outside really but would make a good video. I'll check and see if the ranch has a video up. I have a gut feeling that 'Ol Rev. Bob' Stirling's best days are yet to come.


I've never been able to quite get my head around the stirling question-it's either lack of efficiency and high fuel costs or else high construction costs and reliability problems in relation to the power output.

My impression is that they never took off because back in the old days steam engines were cheaper to build and run and they were forgotten .

Nowadays it seems as if it costs a small fortune to buy a stirling capable of doing any useful amount of work.

If they are ever going to work satisfactorily it seems as if they would be commercially successful by now.

I have not looked into steam engines lately but it seems to me that if somebody can start building small cheap durable and simple staem engines that there might be a substantial market for them in the near future.

I'm reasonably sure that millions of farmers and other people who live out in the boonies could figure out a way to make good use of the mechanical power thus generated while also using the waste heat to good effect.A person living anywhere it gets really cold could heat his home and maybe a shop or run a grain dryer with such a steam engine while using the modest horsepower output to drive a generator and charge batteries, pump water, run his shop equipment, etc.

If there were to be a fairly large hot water reservoir built into the system,it might be possible to get nearly all the household electricity from the system for the evening while using the hot water reservior to heat the house thru the night and most or all of the following day.

Such a system could be used as a backup to a wind and solar system even in hot waather although it would obviously fuel inefficient-but firewood is carbon nuetral and dirt cheap out in the boonies.

I have had some considerable amount of experience with old industrial machinery and such an engine can be built to last for thirty or forty years before it needs it's first serious overhaul using nothing more sophisticated than brass and cast iron.

Of course it takes a good bit of time to tend one of them but I suspect that time will be more plentiful than money in the future.

There are many possible ways to put a few thousand watts of intermittent nearly free juice to work out in the country.I expect there are a great many people who could do he same in town but they would have a much harder time finding enough fuel of course.

I'm reasonably sure that millions of farmers and other people who live out in the boonies could figure out a way to make good use of the mechanical power thus generated while also using the waste heat to good effect.

I am waiting for the supposed breakthroughs in thermoelectrics to make it to market -or not. I have also seen thrmoacoustic conversion being proposed. These have the advantage of no (mechanical) moving parts. But we are still waiting.

Never say never but I don't expect to personally live long enough to see these technologies commercialized except maybe for small low energy applications.Of course a few watts can be worth a lot in some situations-say if you need to run some instruments or maybe a few lights in a remote hot or noisy location with no grid hookup.

You don't even need a real engineer to build one of those old time steam engines or generators-the drawings are still available.All the production processes are manageable with ordinary skilled labor.Basically you cast the parts and machine them to dimension as necessary.

Of course a modern factory would be highly mechanized but the better the engineering from the cutting edge pov the worse the job in some respects-the very simplicity of those old machines, combined with thier rugged construction is what enabled them to run for so long-no problems with training operators or obsolete parts arise when if necessary a new part can be made locally.

Nowadays you can't find parts sometimes for equipment that is only ten or fifteen years old.

I had to throw out a small gasoline powered pump recently because only one or two minor parts were worn out-but I couldn't locate the manufacturer since we bought the pump at Sears about forty years ago and the model number was no longer legible-they refuse to release any info about where they buy thier stuff.Mostly You can tell just by looking if you are a mechanic, but not always , especially if it is not something you see often.

(Such items quite often last for half a century or more when used on a farm or by a small business because they are used very little-that pump was needed only a few hours per year and probably had less than five hundred hours on it.)

If the manufacturers name instead of "sears homart" had been cast into the housing I could have saved around five hundred bucks in a few minutes.But I quit shopping there years ago anyway.

I've never been able to quite get my head around the stirling question-it's either lack of efficiency and high fuel costs or else high construction costs and reliability problems in relation to the power output.

For these the stirling has been working well. The mirrors concentrate solar directly onto the engine and give a high deltaT, the piston on the sink end has a magnet on it that oscillates thru coils as it reciprocates.

For low deltaT apps things are quite a bit different.

as much to China as possible to try and persuade them to not destroy the dollar.

Krugman thinks they can't threaten our currency, because that would be doing us a favor. In fact one of the points of dispute we have with them is they won't let the value of their currency rise. A cheap currency boosts exports and cuts imports. Its just what the doctor ordered for fixing our trade balance issues. Of course it would mean no more cheap Chinese stuff at WalMart.

Krugman has been saying this story forever. He is wrong because the USA no longer has an industrial base-if a weak currency was a fix, Mexico would have a bright future of booming industrial exports.

LNC -- the big scrap drive is already going strong. One of our companies scraps vessels (oil field boats/barges). We're cutting them up and shipping to China as fast as possible. A lot of recent hurricane damage is heading that way also.

Stirlings are lovely things. Another "someday" technology that is actually as old the hills. Never thought of using a building as part of a Stirling but the possibilities are good. Solar would seem obvious for Stirlings but I also understand you could run one from the heat given off by rotting biomass! Talk about EROEI!

Here's a link to a toy version that will run using the heat provided by a human hand.


They are a wonderful example of technology, but the basic drawback is that by design they convert small temperature differentials into mechanical motion. Small temperature differential = limited energy input; mechanical motion = friction loss, maintenance costs, infrastructure investment and so forth. If you sum the EROEIs it doesn't come out so good, unless embedded in a system fully subsidized by cheap-oil.

What if a ground source heat pump was used to supply the "hot" cylinder? Plus, bearings and electrical generating gear is quite well made nowadays with some serious friction defeating precision available. Isn't the problem with Stirlings more the lack of torque compared to internal combustion?

Re: Obama will unveil Afghan troops move at West Point, up top:

I voted for Obama, but I'm becoming more and more disenchanted with him. Perhaps I expected too much, but if he makes the Afghanistan war his own by adding even more troops to this quagmire, he deserves the consequences both on the battle field and in politics.

We are in year 9 of the Afghanistan debacle. One report I read was that the exit strategy he wanted would have us out by 2017. Give me a break. That is 8 more years making for a total of 16 years or 3 years longer than Viet Nam.

Criticism of Obama calling him the Non Decider is becoming more and more valid. His penchant for looking at every facet of a problem seems to bog him down since there are no perfect solutions in life. He seems to be more interested in the decision process than the conclusion, action and implications of the decsion.

Bo the dog was the prime example of this nonsense. The dog had to be special and meet all the parameters. Weeks and months passed and finally we had the perfect dog. But it is hardly better than any other dog in my view.

Obama is becoming all show and no do IMO. Hillary was criticized for her triangulation where she tried to find the middle ground between all the views that would be most advantageous for herself politcally. Obama seems to draw a big circle that includes even the opposition that hates him.

Then he mucks around in it until he is fully covered with the stink of it just as my dog and no doubt Bo Obama does. Then he wants to come back into back into the Democratic Party house covered with his new found stench. Democrats are suppose to take it and love him because he's our dog, so cute and with a Noble prize too.

But the Democratic Party house will still stink with the smell of his bad decisions. And the price will have to be paid on election day.


here are some articles from Bulgaria -

Bulgaria’s Defense Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, stated Thursday there is a strong possibility that the country will increase its military contingent in Afghanistan.


and ironically we are going to spend EU money to build new highways just as peak oil is looming

Over 50 companies from all over Europe have purchased public tender documents for the construction of the Trakya highway.

This was announced Thursday by the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Rosen Plevneliev, who says the reason for the new and huge interest is the transparency in the absorption of EU funds in Bulgaria, established by his ruling Citizens of European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party.



You are criticizing a decision that you don't know the details of. That's not typical of you I hope.

The argument that a lengthy decision process is a poor decision process is only valid if time is a critical factor. The extra month or so President Obama took to make his decision is not going to limit his options. Therefore, the argument is irrelevant. What is relevant is what happens as a result of President Obama's decision. History will judge the quality of his decision using 20-20 hindsight.

Since Bush could not figure it out in his 7 year responsibility, it's obvious there is no simple solution that will please everyone. There is only the best of several bad options. Keep in mind there are considerations which have to due with future potential wars in that region. Energy and economic pressures are going to lead to serious international problems between countries in the coming years. What we do in Afghanistan will play a role in the probability of future wars, who wins those wars, and who controls energy resources. Afghanistan is like a pawn in a chess game. We might sacrifice it or use it to take a more valuable piece later. Crass, but true.

You may not like what Bush did in Afghanistan, but blaming President Obama for the outcome is like blaming a co-pilot (President Obama) who is now responsible for flying an airplane that the pilot (Bush) ran out of fuel, and who then parachuted out of the plane leaving President Obama to find a place to land. If I was on that plane, I'd want all possibilities fully evaluated before a commitment on where to land was made.

Happy Turkey Day!

You use the word "We" an awful lot, as if what is occurring in Afghanistan is designed to benefit all Americans equally. I assume you feel that what has happened to the USA economy over the last 30 years was also inevitable, that your betters are doing and have been doing their best to protect you and this is the best result possible. Seriously? We don't know all the details, but we see the results-why do you feel the results have been impressive?

I only used the work "We" twice but I think you might be responding to me. A little clarity.

I use the word "we" simply because the world judges us as a country, not individuals. What happens in Afghanistan will affect each of us differently, not equally. Some will die, some will stay employed making weapons.

I despise the rich and politicians in general. There are exceptions, but unfortunately not many.

What happened in the U.S. economy during the last 30 years (I'm 55) was inevitable because we, the people, didn't have the balls to put a bullet or two in the heads of the worst offenders to set an example. Instead, we considered them, as you say, "betters" when in fact they are scum.

As to results, I said those will be judged in 20-20 hindsight. While I hope they will be "impressive", it is too early to tell.

If you were referring to someone else, at least you know I mostly agree with you :-)

Afghanistan was a tar baby (among many) handed to Obama. To make matters worse, the previous administration mismanaged the effort to the point that the Afghans are just plain tired of us. And in my view, the lesson of Vietnam was that you have to have the support of the local population inorder to fight against a guerilla war.

If Obama pulls out, he'll be villified by the right as "soft on terror". Add more troops, and he's "escalating a pointless war" on the left. He's in a no-win situation.

At least he has put more thought into this than Bush II did the Iraq war. I'm willing to grant one well planned change in strategy, and then if it doesn't work out, leave.

The US may not understand what it takes to fight a guerilla war. When it all began, I thought we should bomb them with bread and blankets for a month in order to win over the local population.

Why not just bomb Detroit or Buffalo or Vegas or Atlanta with bread and blankets? Between the relentless increases in military spending (under Bush, Obama or whoever follows) and the relentless increases in sickness spending, there is no way out for the USA short of economic collapse.

I think the Afghanistan situation is part of the larger systemic energy crisis afflicting the US. It is like the Vietnam situation but much more protracted and difficult to end, but the people who benefit(ed) from the war-induced energy flows in both wars are the same types....the contractors, the companies, the "defense" guys.

But the system has hardened and dried and atrophied so the situation in Afghanistan can`t be easily terminated unlike the pull-out in Vietnam. And it`s global so there are feedbacks on both sides, on all sides or many sides actually and that provides the rationale for staying, enough rationale for staying so the protesters can`t win out this time.

I wish I could be more optimistic. But Afghanistan is a war of the Kondratieff winter and this winter of hardship and debt repudiation and bankrupcties is just starting. On the other hand, Vietnam was a war of the Kondratieff fall (marking the start of fall) so it was a system that was still relatively young and flexible and strong.

One perhaps flaky note of optimism might be that the financial collapse impending will make it impossible to engage in an even larger war? I guess that sounds unrealistic but it would be nice to see the soldiers just go home and live peacefully......

On another topic....today with the Dubai situation we see a black swan instead of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey!!!

He's in a no-win situation.

No, he can be in a 'win' situation.

Back in 2007 the O man claimed he'd end the war and 'you can take that to the bank'.

He could deliver on a past promise - that would be a win.

According to zFacts.com, the Federal debt will reach $12.150 trillion by Monday. The debt increases by four billion every day, Add the socialized debt and losses from mortgages and derivative bailouts and the US effective Federal debt is well over 100% of GDP. Every troop costs around $1 million a year in Iraq, maybe Afghanistan is different. We pay China $500 million a day in interest, which pays for all of China's oil imports up to $100 a barrel. I don't think foreigners will support the dollar much longer given the nine year effort by the Federal Government to pay for subsidies, tax cuts , wars, graft, earmarks, defense waste, health care subsidies in addition to normal government spending by borrowing well over seven trillion dollars.

I agree with you. The 'answer' to Vietnam was, "get out." The answer to Iraq is, "get out." The answer to Afghanistan is, "get out." The consequence of our leaving will be the same today, tomorrow, next week, next year, or 50 years from now. Theses countries will go their own way.

Especially, Iraq and Afghanistan are quagmires into which we should never have stepped. Iraq, for example, is not a 'real' country. It has no natural physical, religions, ethnic or political boundries. Iraq, like most mideastern nations, was set up following WW I, to reward various friends and allies of the Brits and French with what was aready perceived as oil lands, and dictated by already present rail connections and port availability. AFghanistan is simply a rag-tag collection of various feudal drug lords and thugs, mostly of a tribal connection to the Afghans. Afghanistan, of course, means, "land of the AFghans." Guess who lives in Pakistan. Surprise, the tribe known as the Paks. Any nation with "...istan" is the land of a tribe that preceds, such as Turks, Kurds, etc.

Even more problematic are the real numbers of 'tribes.' About 150 or so in Iraq alone. And, they don't like each other. And we are going to suddenly bring order from that choas? They make the Balkans look stable, for God's sake.

No, the day we pull out, the nations fall apart. No matter how long, no matter how many we kill, and no matter how many young Americans die trying. It is a doomed mission, leading to inevitible failure, and the only rationale for being there is the unspoken, the unspeakable. We are there for the oil! The Saudis won't let us stay, so we move to Iraq. That doesn't work out so well, so now we go to Afghanistan. Next it will be Pakistan, then Iran? Just to keep the US military presence there as a club, and to defend the oil supplies.

Afghanistan, in particular, should be an obvious, "pull out now," Look what happened to the Brits and the Russians! There is no way to win. No stragegy, no goal. If Al Quaida was the excuse, well, they aren't there any more. In fact, they are not a government, and are not in a single location. If you lop off their head, they will grow a new one. If it is to "get" Bin Laden, he ain't worth the price in blood and money! In fact, our being there and continuing to spend our treasure, in men and resources, is a "Win!" for Bin Laden.

It is time. It is past time, to get out of Afghanistan, get out of Iraq, and leave these demented people to their own devices.


I must point out that if we DO hang in there another fity years we can home without any arguments from anybody-the oil will pretty well be gone and nobody at all will have any reason to stay longer-most of the locals will probably try to come over with the returning troops. ;)

Much of what you write seems correct to me. However, from a larger, geopolitical perspective, perhaps the real reason for our being in Iraq and Afghanistan is the nation in between, Iran. It's been 30 years since they kicked US in the teeth and there may be good reasons to attack them. If so, having the bases and the boots on the ground on each side would make this course of action much easier. Perhaps we are only waiting for them to do something really stupid, so that the rest of the world's governments disown them.

The Russians in particular would need to join in with the attack, as they have lent support to Iran for decades. The latest news from the IEA looks to be the beginning, especially as Russia may side with the other Western nations in imposing sanctions. A strict blockade from all sides would force Iran to do something in response, much like what happened with Japan at the start of WW II.

E. Swanson

Leanan, Thanks for all your work on these DB's.

Hear, hear.

I'm adding the Drumbeat and Leanan to my list of what to be thankful for :-)

double ditto thank you Leanan!

Thank you Leanan!



Threat of Dubai Debt Default

"Dubai could not undermine either itself, or global perception any further as a place not to do business in at the moment," MF Global analyst Manus Cranny told AFP.

"Quite literally, this geographic region is now looking as a mirage in stability terms."

He added: "It is the much longer term implications on funding, confidence and capital raising that will take a decade or more to re-establish.

"This last-minute moratorium on debt repayments at Dubai World is unacceptable has all the smacking of an Ireland -- nay worse, an Iceland -- in the making.

A collection of actual & projected images of Dubai:


That's the group that built those palm-tree shaped islands.

Wasn't Dubai the place planning the first refrigerated beach? Maybe this is good Thanksgiving news . . .

That is a good one-I had heard indoor ski hills but that is better.

The indoor ski hill is real and is in operation. I can't remember how much energy it uses any more, but I know that it was measured in BOE/min. I'm not sure how the refrigerated beach is coming.

That is a good one-I had heard indoor ski hills but that is better.

Indoor ski hills are not necessarily energy hogs. At least in principle you could use lots of insulation. But a refrigerated beach? There is no way to insulate a beach! Compared to the energy used by a suburbanites making a ski trip the indoor resort is probably an energy bargain. Hopping into the car or an airplane probably uses a lot more energy than going into a local building.

Chill Out on Dubious Dubai's First Refrigerated Beach : TreeHugger

“We will suck the heat out of the sand to keep it cool enough to lie on,” he said. “This is the kind of luxury that top people want.”

The beach will have a network of pipes beneath the sand containing a coolant that will absorb heat from the surface.

The swimming pool will be refrigerated and there are also proposals to install giant blowers to waft a gentle breeze over the beach.

The scheme is likely to infuriate environmentalists.

Ya think?

The indoor ski trail is still the ne plus ultra of energy hubris though. IMO. Maybe we could have a poll for Biggest Hubbert Peak Stone Head Energy Extravagance.

XScape has a wonderful indoor sky slope in Milton Keynes, Great Britain.
It's well isolated, not an energy hog. Marvelous place.

The refrigerated beach in Dubai, maybe the beach is cool but there are many brown objects bobbing in the sea, :-|~~ as the maintenance of the sewage system breaks down often and is not repaired quickly.
It is one of the most read articles in the London Independent.

Is Dubai the 'New Lehmans'?
80 billion, it is peanuts, these Arabs are useless. Spain has managed to lose 370 billion in the building sector, we don't have oil, gas, hardly any coal and we are (almost) OK, singing while going to work in the fields with a dry sardine in our bellies. Like our grandfathers.

I had a layover Dubai last January on my way back from India. I found it to be the most striking misallocation of resources I had ever seen. There were lots of futuristic buildings but when you got up close, most were unfinished. The artificial palm island (which was tremendously damaging to the local ecosystem) had a grossly overpriced hotel ($35 K per night) and lots and lots and lots of empty condos. I had this vision of Bedouin and camels walking around deserted streets full of high end shops in the not too distant future.

From link above.

Dubai added that it had raised five billion dollars in a new bonds issue aimed at helping meet its debt obligations.

So this is the latest technique used to solve problems caused by excessive debt -- acquire more debt! How long can this type of economic system sustain itself?

Longer than it should-it gets crazy because it is always other people's money-there isn't anyone on the planet that would lend them a nickel but when you are getting paid to move other people's money that is what you do and that is how you get your money. When it all blows up the little schmucks at the end of the daisy chain eat it.

I just don't understand how this debt circus can continue for much longer -- it has to explode soon. I'm surprised that nobody with real power has called this bluff yet.

In his gloomiest prediction yet, Marc Faber sees big financial bust leading to war

"I think eventually there will be a big bust and then the whole credit expansion will come to an end," Faber added.

"Before that happens, governments will continue printing money which in time will lead to a very high inflation rate, and the economy will not respond to stimulus".

In one of his Gloomiest predictions, Faber, referred to as Dr Doom, said "the average family will be hurt by that, and then in order to distract the attention of the people, the governments will go to war".

He says 2006-2007 were "peak prosperity."

I think he is right-I wonder what USA real estate prices would look like without ample credit?

Just because the U.S. is on holiday, life does go on

Looking at the EU markets that where open today

DJStoxx -3.27%
FTSE 100 -3.18%
DAX 30 -3.25% Germany
CAC 40 -3.41% Paris
FTSE MIB -3.60%

This was on Dubai news and some bad things happening in Greece.

Also don't forget the 'mericans are on holiday and have no time to interfere with help the markets.

Enjoy your turkeys!

IS Global Warming Unstoppable?

In a provocative new study, a University of Utah scientist argues that rising carbon dioxide emissions -- the major cause of global warming -- cannot be stabilized unless the world's economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day.....

Getting Heat for Viewing Civilization as a "Heat Engine"

Garrett says colleagues generally support his theory, while some economists are critical. One economist, who reviewed the study, wrote: "I am afraid the author will need to study harder before he can contribute."

"I'm not an economist, and I am approaching the economy as a physics problem," Garrett says. "I end up with a global economic growth model different than they have."

Garrett treats civilization like a "heat engine" that "consumes energy and does 'work' in the form of economic production, which then spurs it to consume more energy," he says.

"If society consumed no energy, civilization would be worthless," he adds. "It is only by consuming energy that civilization is able to maintain the activities that give it economic value. This means that if we ever start to run out of energy, then the value of civilization is going to fall and even collapse absent discovery of new energy sources."

Garrett says his study's key finding "is that accumulated economic production over the course of history has been tied to the rate of energy consumption at a global level through a constant factor."

That "constant" is 9.7 (plus or minus 0.3) milliwatts per inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar. So if you look at economic and energy production at any specific time in history, "each inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar would be supported by 9.7 milliwatts of primary energy consumption," Garrett says


I don't know about that but My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable

People like Imhofe are about this dumb when it comes to technology.

A third option. Lowering the energy density of industrial civilization.

This is a direct consequence of the policies I advocate; conservation, electrified rail, bicycling, walking.

Best Hopes,


yes, I am all for that lower energy density option as you outlined. We are already lowering our energy density here in Michigan....though not quite as planned. You would probably not want to trade places with us on the default graph below.


Seems to me that rail increases energy density, that cars disperse density.

Isn't that what we want... 500 folks on the train instead of 500 cars on the road?
Conserving energy is all about consolidating use... ie: density.

To your point Will, we want to consolidate our uses (such as putting more people on trains and in smaller more dense housing) and lower our per capita energy consumption. Then, we need to figure out if anything can be done about the growth in capita.

Global Warming Deniers Losing Grip on "Little Ice Age"

The tinfoil hat brigade will be sad to learn that the Little Ice Age itself is now seen as anthropogenic or "man made." Okay, the global warming theory goes that man's rampant emissions of greenhouse gases causes the earth's climate to heat up but how on earth could man trigger a mini-ice age? Easy, we died off - in droves.

Despite the way he calculated it he may be correct.

Modern society may change the distribution of energy usage but on a global per capita basis it seems surprisingly constant. Off shoring is an accounting trick.
Carbon based fuel usage is just redistributed regionally and across fuel types but the total btu's per capita seem relatively constant.

Thanks for the link!

In the same vein: Second Law of Thermodynamics May Explain Economic Evolution (PhysOrg)

when formulated as an equation of motion, the second law can be used to describe many other processes in energetic terms, such as natural selection for the fittest species, organization of cellular metabolism, or an ecosystem’s food web. In these systems, free energy is consumed; that is, energy is dispersed in a way to promote the maximal increase of entropy, which is the essence of the second law.


The scientists argue that this tendency to disperse the maximum amount of energy (that is, to consume free energy in the least time) is what gives rise to economic laws and regularities. Further, economies organize themselves in hierarchical systems within systems to improve on energy dispersal and to access new sources of energy.


From this thermodynamic perspective, decision making is ultimately about choosing the action that causes energy to flow along the most steeply descending energy gradient.

I think this ties in nicely with the thinking of Tainter et al in Resource Transitions and Energy Gain: Contexts of Organization:

Energy gain has implications beyond mere accounting. It fundamentally influences the structure and organization of living systems, including human societies [...] the study of energy gain may increase our understanding of organizational change. Moreover, energy gain allows us to discern commonalities in organizational change between human and other living systems. Comparisons may ultimately emerge with ecosystems, such as estuaries, that are organized around energy pulses (Odum et al. 1995).

Frederick Soddy's 1926 book "Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt" covers this subject of the economy being entirely dependent on the ability to direct usable energy flows. This is what he calls real wealth along with the embedded energy already in some of the things we value such as a house or a car. Standing timber is also a store of embedded energy and wealth. This makes a lot of sense to me.

Someone here predicted that there would be a wave of bankruptcies after the holidays.

Might be sooner than that...

Fending off empty holiday shelves

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- With sales slow and credit tight, small merchants are scrambling to stock their shelves for the year's biggest shopping season.

Retailers traditionally borrow money to buy holiday inventory. But credit for small businesses has dried up this year, and with the recession slowing sales, few merchants have cash on hand. The crunch is forcing business owners to find new ways to keep running.

UK bookseller Borders mulling administration

Late on Wednesday Borders filed court documents giving notice that it intended to appoint BDO LLP as administrator. The firm is owned by Valco Capital Partners, the private equity arm of restructuring specialist Hilco.

Borders, which trades from 45 stores, has been struggling to raise enough cash to trade through the key Christmas period, according to newspaper reports.

Even though I know what's coming, I still feel sad after reading about the merchants having trouble in the first story. They are undoubtedly robbing their savings to keep their shops open and are living like there will be some sort of business recovery to help them.

But there won't be. A few graphs could tell them all they need to know, like the number of residential mortgage resets still outstanding...

Or that almost one quarter of homeowners owe more than their home is worth. They won't feel rich and they aren't going to spend. Plus, historically, when equity reaches less than 80% of the value of the home, walkaways increase dramatically, which further depresses housing prices.

Haven't even mentioned commercial real estate or the debt to GDP level or the crashing M3 or any number of other measures that indicate we are in the early stages of a deflationary spiral.

Because, ultimately, we are in the biggest credit contraction ever...

Keep up the good work.

I counted 44 bars when there should be 51 (DC is included). This explains why Louisiana "failed to make the cut" :-)) We are in the bottom 7.

Best Hopes for Being at the Bottom when it is good to be at the bottom,


Off to friends for turkey soon,


Andre- those charts are telling - yikes! Happy USA big bird day!

The CNN piece is about sellers pulling through via community lending schemes, private donations, or shuffling inventory at faster rates. Overall the tenor's optimistic. Your 2nd link has been updated to reflect that Borders is considering appointing a new CEO. Altogether upbeat bits of doom, the small retail equivalent of motorists responding to high gas prices by biking or carpooling - things which are on many levels ultimately beneficial. Who should a small shop go to for that Christmas cash cushion, after all - Ma and Pa Credit Union or Gold in Sacks?

Will respond post turkey coma.


I'm seeing high friction in the repair parts supply chain, and I'm wondering if anybody else is experiencing similar problems. I'm always looking for some one off doohicky: one relay for an older board, one valve the correct size, one gasket to replace a dry rotted part. I can't predict what I'll need and it's not conducive to keeping an inventory beyond the most basic screws and wirenuts and whatnot.

The thing is, it's right on the edge of being increasingly hard to find parts. Some of the locally owned suppliers are out of business. The big box stores have more empty bins, or shelves filled up with all one size of something. I'm having to call all over before venturing out, where once I might have just gone to home building supply place.

(And by the way, if any yo-yo in Walmart snaps a picture of me in flannel shirt; stained, frayed jeans; and battered combat boots issued decades ago, and puts said snap on the internet with a cute caption like, "Hey, Granny, grunge went out in the 80's", said yo-yo can come to work with me and I'll show them some grunge. They can wear their Gucci loafers.)

So is anybody else having parts problems? This is one of the stumbling blocks with re-localization. We have a huge installed base of infrastructure and the parts are increasingly sourced in China.

You must be thinking of that People Of Wal-Mart page and from what I've seen, you'd never make it in. I can't talk about the latest stuff I saw there, this is a family board.

The answer to your problem may be to just hoard parts you may need and stuff you can make parts with. And remember with relays, it's often just a matter of pinout.

(my boring blog don't look! http://alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

In an interview with the Washington Times radio show, Inhofe explained the investigation would look into "the way cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled, when all the time of course we knew it was not."

Inhofe never took the time to study climate change and now he is going to take the time to prove it does not exist. Maybe, just maybe, in his search for the "truth" he will actually learn that climate change is real.

Hey, could happen;-)

I'm not going to be holding my breath ;)

Not likely for a two dimensional mind confronting a three dimensional problem.

Two dimensional mind? You give him too much credit.

Maybe, just maybe, in his search for the "truth"

Everything he needed to know he learned from his preacher, with a little help from Rush. Once you know the god-given eternal truth, there is no need for anything else.

Who cooked what science? The only cooked science we have any evidence of is...

“The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s...

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates... its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

The coalition was financed by fees from large corporations and trade groups representing the oil, coal and auto industries, among others. In 1997, the year an international climate agreement that came to be known as the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, its budget totaled $1.68 million, according to tax records obtained by environmental groups.


If you ever meet a denialist (Anyone?) who will address this, mark it on your calendar because I've never seen one have the guts. They also refuse to address this:

The American Denial of Global Warming

Nor that most denial is underwritten, literally, by the fossil fuel and other Big Business interests while real science is primarily paid for by public funds.

Nor will they admit their "science" is flawed. I still know of not one paper that has withstood the full review and publication process without being found to be fundamentally flawed or significantly flawed. The best they can do is come up with stuff that is essentially neutral. It's all a conspiracy!!

Also, the same people running the anti-smoking campaign are running the anti-AGW campaign. But will they address this? Of course not.

So, we have the ONLY evidence of a conspiracy on the denialist side, AND it's fully confirmed! Yet, they lie and spout hypocritical claims of collusion by their opposite numbers.


And all that is in **addition to** the evidence itself.

Amazing how gullible people can be, eh?

Leanan - for some reason this drumbeat is all aligned centered? the other articles are fine...

Looks okay to me. What browser are you using?

I'll see if I left an open tag somewhere...

it was all centered for me earlier, looks fine now

Dubai World Default roils credit markets worldwide.

The next leg of deleveraging is starting now:

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Dubai shook investor confidence across the Persian Gulf after its proposal to delay debt payments risked triggering the biggest sovereign default since Argentina in 2001.

The cost of protecting government notes from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain rose, extending the steepest increase since February as Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, sought a “standstill” agreement from creditors. Its debt includes $3.52 billion of bonds due Dec. 14 from property unit Nakheel PJSC. Dubai credit-default swaps climbed 90 basis points to 530 after yesterday increasing the most since they began trading in January, CMA Datavision prices showed.

“There is nothing investors dislike more than this kind of event,” said Norval Loftus, the head of convertible bonds and Islamic debt at Matrix Group Ltd. in London, which manages $2.5 billion of assets including Dubai credits. “The worst-case scenario will of course be involuntary restructuring on the Nakheel security that brings into question the entire nature of the sovereign support for various borrowers in the region.”

Dubai World’s assets range from stakes in Las Vegas casino company MGM Mirage to London-traded bank Standard Chartered Plc and luxury retailer Barneys New York through asset-management firm Istithmar PJSC. The Dubai government’s attempt to reschedule debt triggered declines in stocks worldwide that had been rebounding from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Since stock markets are closed in the US, the fallout from this chapter of the long- running economic undertow is hard to discern. Reactions on other areas are severe, which suggests more pain for banks.

There's already a discussion on this going on upthread.

Well we heard Mish the other day telling us some 13 year old emails prove that global warming is not occurring. Now the Dubai default is a clear sign of the coming deflation.


Yes European markets fell 3% today, but they were up more than twice that much before today in November alone. It is not surprising to find a correction along the way. Granted I would agree that world stock markets don’t reflect the long term economic reality of PO, but they can be out of line for some time until they go back to reality.

More likely, once again, those like Mish will soon find that the Dubai default won’t support the “case for deflation” (as it is known here on TOD) very long.

Somewhat ironically, the more credit defaults occur the more central banks increase their output of fiat money.

The Federal Reserve bought $72 billion in mortgage backed securities – with fiat money - just last week – an amount nearly equal to the total amount of official Dubai debt. Keep in mind also that in the ‘worse case scenario’, creditors may only lose half of what they are lending to Dubai. That loss would be a drop in the bucket compared to the $2 trillion already lost in the US mortgage market.

The whole inflation/deflation debate is somewhat of a smokescreen-what is happening is the damage from corruption, recklessness and incompetence is being transferred from those responsible to the taxpayers. This can go on for quite a while until everything collapses. I wouldn't be surprised to hear Obama or Geithner talking tomorrow about a coordinated multinational plan to bailout Dubai lenders/grifters (gotta keep the "confidence" up).

Certainly the credit crisis has been mismanaged by the Treasury and Fed, starting in the Bush administration and continuing with the Obama admin.

We also have not resolved the derivative problem – which is the real reason that many companies are ‘too big to fail’. We discovered in horror that debt derivatives contracts 10 times or more the actual underlying debt in for example, Bear Sterns and Lehman, perversely benefits those holding the right side of the trade and betting on bankruptcy – such as Goldman Sachs. Only because of their protected governmental status could those like GS get full payment for its derivatives from the losers (by the government making payments for them - the losers being GM, FNM, FRE, and AIG).

The plan is clearly to shift derivative bloated credit losses onto the public at large, more specifically by the issuance of fiat money to spread the actual loss to all dollar holders.

So yes, credit deflation is occurring, but it is causing monetary inflation.

At this late date, letting things - banks, insurance companies and real estate developers - fail without a struggle would cause too much collateral damage. Conditions should never have been allowed to get so far out of hand. Once out of hand, poorly managed businesses should have been allowed to fail when failure's cost was low.

Not letting Lockheed- Martin fail - 1971

Not letting Chrysler fail - 1979

The FDIC bailout of Continental Illinois Bank - 1984, "Too big to fail."

Bailing out Mexico during 'Peso Crisis' - 1994

Bailing out Long Term Capital Management - 2000

Bailing out of five largest USA banks during the 'Dot Com' recession.

It goes on and on ... Add to this, the asset bubbles as hedges, the cheap credit, the currency devaluations, monetary 'unions', wage arbitrage, easing of environmental controls, massive deficit spending and subsidies upon subsidies and a general 'bust' reads as inevitable. The only surprise is why it did not occur sooner!

In the end, the great bulk of unredeemed derivatives will fall noncollectable. Can't get blood from a stone.

A perfect explanation of rich mans inflation and poor mans deflation.

I've tried in vain to explain that the "hot" money flows at the top are massively inflationary for liquid investments while the average joe experiences extreme credit deflation.

The problem is of course all this money is liquid and it moves.

I've been a big deflationist but that's changed after going to Safeway today, $4 for a dozen eggs, $5 for a loaf of decent bread, $5 12oz. bacon, $6 a lb goose, $2.50 a lb turkey?

I'm coming around to what a lot of people are saying: Deflation for what we don't need, inflation for what we do.

Food, bullets, bullet-dispensers (lol) car batteries and motorcycle tires, TP and undies and literal plastic pumpkins (we had a set when I was growing up, used 'em trick-or-treating for YEARS), a good way to evaluate if it's considered more of a necessity or a do-without or replaceable item is, look at whether the price is going up or down.

(Not a good deal at all, my blog: http://alexlcarter.wordpress.com )

Brian -- That's already has happened to some degree. I've never seen a full acounting but supposedly a big chunk of the money the Feds shifted to our big financial instituions went to cover some of the huge loses foreign investors/govt's incurred in their US investments. Not too much of a surpise the MSM didn't too deep into that issue.

How likely is it that Dubai intentionally chose a long, US holiday weekend to default? Would an extra day or two to get things right make a difference on a sovereign default?

The Dubai problem is fascinating to me, full of questions I do not know the answers to:

a. How exposed are other Persian Gulf nations to the Dubai crisis? We must assume that with the flood of oil money into the Gulf during the recent huge oil price run-up (before subsequent crash), some of it ended up in Dubai.
b. How exposed are India, Chinese or Singapore investors or hedge funds?
c. How exposed are U.S. and European zone big banks? Did some of the "bailout" money get sucked down this hole?
d. It is said that Abu Dabi (correct the spelling if needed) may step in and bail Dubai out...how much money does Abu Dabi have...from where?
e. How reliant is the Persian Gulf on holding oil prices at least as high as they are now to sustain financial stability? This would go to an issue of great interest to TOD posters and readers, by the way: If oil is getting more and more expensive to find and produce in KSA, Iraq, Kuwait and other Gulf nations, can we assume that profit margins for the Gulf oil producers are dropping? This would mean that what was once a high price for oil is now only a break even point (I have long said that $90 to $100 per barrel is probably a rational price for oil...a price the consumer can bear, but high enough to insure continued E&P development)
f. A more "conjectural" question: With nerves already on edge, could Dubai set off another round of "money hoarding" and thus stall the OECD nations in their recovery attempts? These are the questions a good investment analyst should be asking, should have been asking for the last two years or more.

This thing is actually getting a bit interesting now...I have made 14.2% this year after completely dodging the losses last year...I am asking myself, should I flee back to CD's and Bonds for a bit, or stay with the stock market...hmmm...or as Warren Buffet says "Tell me what's gonna happen tomorrow, right?" :-)


This article was published a few days ago:

Cheap hydro is history
Power: Hydro-Québec will need to bring significantly more hydro power online (at higher costs to supply electricity to new markets, Université Laval professor says

Jean-Thomas Bernard, a tenured economics professor at the Université Laval, whose research is focused on energy markets, said the utility will need to bring online significantly more hydro power at higher costs to supply electricity to new markets, including New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and potentially Nova Scotia.

"My position is that cheap hydro is gone, definitely gone," Bernard said.

"We still have a fair amount of (undeveloped) hydro but this is expensive hydro. We're talking about 10 cents (per kilowatt hour), 12 cents," he said, referring specifically to the Romaine megaproject far from Montreal on the province's north shore - poised to begin bringing 1,550 megawatts of power online for Hydro-Québec in 2014.

Quebecers now pay for power that costs Hydro-Québec closer to three cents per kilowatt hour to produce, Bernard said.

See: http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/journal/article/864699

On the other hand, conservation is comparatively cheap. The 51.9 kW reduction in lighting load at the elementary school we completed earlier today comes in at just over $1,000.00 per, CDN.

As part of this retrofit, we replaced the high output T12 8 ft. lamps in this gymnasium with standard T8s -- fixture wattage dropped from 257 to 105-watts and light levels increased from 31 to 39 FC.

Just over 110,000 kWh saved in all, at a cost per kWh far below that of coal, nuclear, hydro or wind.

No more coal-fired power plants !


We had similar data with light pollution control in Mont Mégantic Dark Sky Preserve. Typical power reduction of 70%.

By the way, canadian house are relatively energy efficent, but there is a lot of old houses barely isolated. In my mind, it would be relatively easy to spot them by overflying helicopter equiped with IR camera in winter. This would help to point out the best return on investement.

My brother-in-law mentioned just such a project undertaken in Minneapolis. IIRC, it was pre-web, so he had to go to a city office to look at actual prints.

These days Black & Decker sells a thermal leak detector (Spot meter type) for $50, and FLIR imaging systems start at $2000, a little much for the average homeowner, but great for the professional insulation installer.

I'm told that there are kits available to modify some models of digital cameras to be sensitive to near infrared. There's a fellow offering such a conversion on e-bay for $200. Or, one can buy such cameras already modified. As I understand it, to use them in normal light, one must add the appropriate filter.

E. Swanson