Drumbeat: November 28, 2009

At Odds Over Land, Money and Gas

In New York City, natural gas exploration is largely seen as a threat to the drinking water the city gets from watersheds to the north in the Catskills. But in the rural communities above the shale, the reaction has been far more mixed — and far more contentious.

Some residents welcome the drilling as a modern-day gold rush and salvation from the economic doldrums that they say have chased jobs and young people away from their area. Others express concerns about the environment and quality-of-life issues like noise and heavy-truck traffic.

In some cases, the issue has pitted neighbor against neighbor or spouse against spouse.

High prices don't deter gas guzzling

Everyone knows that $4 gasoline in 2008 finally led Americans to abandon their gas guzzlers and start buying gas sippers - right?

Turns out, everyone is wrong.

According to a new report released with little fanfare last week by the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans bought vehicles in 2008 that averaged only 0.4 mpg better than a year earlier, when gas cost nearly 50 cents less.

Europe should not count on an oil-backed Dubai bail out

Many analysts shrugged off the long-term repercussions of Dubai’s request, on the grounds that oil rich neighbour and fellow UAE federation member Abu Dhabi would stump up the necessary cash to save Dubai’s face – and by extension – the federation’s reputation on the world stage.

But the composition of the UAE economy is a rare – and therefore barely tested – model. Each of the seven component emirates retains the physical rights to its natural resources. And neighbouring Abu Dhabi sits on no less than 95% of the UAE’s oil reserve.

India: Living with 100% food price hike

NEW DELHI: The past year has been a particularly tough year for households as food bills seem to be headed for a roofless upward spiral.

From vegetables to fruits, milk products to grains and packaged foods, prices of all commodities have been going up since the beginning of the year. The mutton crisis recently also pushed chicken prices through the roof. Since January, the monthly budget for food items has gone up several fold.

A poor monsoon, strikes, inferior quality of seeds and consequent hoarding has seen prices shoot up by as much as 100% in case of some items.

Food banks nationwide report more 1st timers

"The line has grown so long that when you walk outside, it's overwhelming," said Jesse Taylor, senior director at the pantry. "A lot of people are coming out in suits, they're carrying brief cases."

Food banks across the country report about a 30 percent increase in demand on average, but some have seen as much as a 150 percent jump in demand from 2008 through the middle of this year, according to Feeding America.

Water Funds Proliferate in Latin America

Despite an abundance of water in Latin America, 77 million people in the region still lack access to safe drinking supplies, according to the World Water Council — particularly in areas with poor farming practices, unregulated industrialization and urban poverty.

But a proliferation of “water funds,’’ which combine private and state contributions to help protect the watersheds around urban areas, have been chipping away at the problem.

Books Quarterly: Books for the big thinker

Carbon Shift: How the Twin Crises of Oil Depletion and Climate Change Will Define the Future

Edited by Thomas Homer-Dixon (Random House; 240 pp.; $34.95)

Essays by six people from different backgrounds: two oil experts, two economists and two from newspapers. It’s refreshing to see someone making an attempt to bring this variety to this complicated issue. Thomas Homer-Dixon is a professor at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for the Environment and Business. Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen

Afghanistan: Pay for it or charge it?

Some lawmakers are pushing for a war tax. Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, took part in the latest war council meeting. And Obama is expected to raise the cost issue in his Tuesday evening address at West Point.

Since 2001, close to $1 trillion has been appropriated by Congress - and borrowed by Treasury - to pay for U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service published in September.

India: Why more power cuts in rural areas? asks MGP

Joining the protest against power cuts, the JD(S) members said the rural areas are deprived of power supply due to the policy of the government. The MGP also questioned the power utilities' move to force more power cuts in secondary cities and rural areas and called it discriminatory.

British company to help India harness the power of the sea

A small British-based tidal energy company has won a landmark contract to attempt to harness the power of the sea around India for the first time.

Atlantis Resources has forged a deal with the western state of Gujarat, under which the privately owned company will establish the feasibility of developing tidal power projects capable of generating more than 100 megawatts of power — enough to supply about 40,000 households.

Syria turns to private sector to ease electricity shortage

After years of battling to increase the output of the power sector in Syria to meet the growing needs of the population, the government looks set to give the job of building a new generating plant to a private company.

The decision was seen by analysts as part of the government’s effort to overhaul ailing public establishments by turning to private investors as the country moves from a socialist-type economy to a more market-oriented one.

U.S. Unlikely to Use the Ethanol Congress Ordered

WASHINGTON — Two years ago, Congress ordered the nation’s gasoline refiners to do something that is turning out to be mathematically impossible.

To please the farm lobby and to help wean the nation off oil, Congress mandated that refiners blend a rising volume of ethanol and other biofuels into gasoline. They are supposed to use at least 15 billion gallons of biofuels by 2012, up from less than seven billion gallons in 2007.

But nobody at the time counted on fuel demand falling in the United States, which is what has happened during the recession. And that decline could well continue, as cars become more efficient under other recent government mandates.

German Biofuel Industry Collapsing Under New Taxes

Not everyone wants to save the planet. This is a sad, but true fact. Yet everyone who lives and works within a capitalist economy loves saving money. So it’s good for the planet that, in many cases, saving money and green initiatives go hand in hand by providing an increased economic benefit while lessening environmental impact. Many of these benefits come directly from the government, such as tax exemption status or tax credits for using alternative fuels in vehicles.

California Takes Step to Limit Emissions

WASHINGTON — California has taken a major step toward creating a broad-based trading system to limit emissions of pollutants blamed for harmful climate change.

The California Air Resources Board, often a trailblazer in environmental regulation, released a draft rule on Tuesday establishing a cap-and-trade program that sets a declining ceiling on emissions of greenhouse gases and allows companies to buy and sell permits to meet it.

Much less stable ice for polar bears, expert says

Arctic sea ice conditions are even worse than feared after a survey found that ice detected as older and thicker by satellites is actually thin and fragile, a prominent Canadian researcher reported Friday.

University of Manitoba researcher David Barber said experts around the world believed the ice was recovering because satellite images showed it expanding, but the thick, multiyear frozen sheets have been replaced by thin ice that cannot support the weight of a polar bear.

The rise of the Carbon Fat Cats

The ‘carbon market’ – trading in an invisible gas which cannot be used – has involved the redistribution of resources to unproductive green pursuits and the creation of a vast bureacracy. Let’s bring it down before it gets any bigger.

Hacked E-Mail Data Prompts Calls for Changes in Climate Research

A fierce debate over the significance of the hacked material erupted as soon as the e-mail messages and other documents surfaced on Web sites just over a week ago. Some see in the e-mail correspondence — which includes heated discussions about warming trends, advice on deleting potentially controversial e-mail messages and derisive comments about climate skeptics — evidence of a conspiracy to stifle dissenting views and withhold data from public scrutiny, or, as some have put it, “Climategate.”

To others, the e-mail messages are merely evidence that climate scientists can be as competitive, proprietary, defensive and caustic as people engaged in any other high-level enterprise. They cast as villains those who disclosed the e-mail correspondence and who now, they say, are distorting the contents.

Talking Energy: carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) - also known as 'clean coal' - could soon allow for a new generation of coal-fired power stations.

Coal Towns Remain the Heartbeat of China's Economy

Amid the glowing reports of new wind farms and investment in solar photovoltaics throughout China, it's easy to forget that cities like Datong are still the heart of this country. Located about 150 miles west of Beijing in Shanxi province, this city is the coal capital of China. The Jing Hua Gong mine on the city's outskirts produces about 4.5 million tons of coal each year -- in a country that produces more than 2.4 billion tons each year, according to the World Coal Institute.

Report Outlines Best Practices for Connecting Renewables to the Grid

A new report on state renewable energy regulations gives California, Colorado, New Jersey and Oregon top marks and failing grades for Georgia, Idaho and Texas.

“Freeing the Grid,” which was written by renewables advocates, examines each state’s policies on net metering and interconnection procedures. Those are two of the main regulatory elements that enable homeowners and businesses to connect solar panels or other energy technologies to the electric grid, and be reimbursed for their efforts.

“If not implemented fairly or properly, these policies can pose a barrier to the development of customer-sited renewable energy,’’ the report states. Some customers, it noted, encounter “byzantine” regulations.

Korea Moves to Secure Rare Metals

South Korea will spend a total of 300 billion won ($257.1 million) over the next nine years to secure and refine rare metals used in various modern gadgets.

...Following petroleum, rare metals will be the ``new momentum to lead the global industries in this new century,'' Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Kyung-hwan said at a forum for CEOs in the industry, where the plan's outline was unveiled.

Oil falls to $76 on Dubai’s money troubles

Benchmark crude prices plunged by 7 percent in early trading, though those declines eased as investors weighed the chances that Dubai's problems would spread to Europe, Asia and the United States.

It was partly the fear of frozen credit markets last year that sent crude prices from $147 per barrel in July to about $32 by December.

Stock Markets Fall Globally Over Dubai Debt Crisis Fears

There has been fear that Dubai has overextended itself in recent times, riding the wave of the global boom which deflated last year. Some have noted that Dubai's "Las Vegas in the Middle East" attitude over a long period, as once peak oil hits and the Middle East wealth "dries up," that area of the world will be left high and dry.

Abu Dhabi to Aid Dubai "Case By Case" - Official

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates and one of the world's top oil exporters, will "pick and choose" how to assist its debt-laden neighbour Dubai, a senior Abu Dhabi official said on Saturday.

"We will look at Dubai's commitments and approach them on a case-by-case basis. It does not mean that Abu Dhabi will underwrite all of their debts," the official in the government of the emirate of Abu Dhabi told Reuters by phone.

U.S. natural gas rig count rises by 22

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States rose by 22 to 748 this week, according to a report on Wednesday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The U.S. natural gas drilling rig count has gained in 15 of the last 19 weeks after bottoming at 665 on July 17, its lowest level since May 3, 2002, when there were 640 gas rigs operating.

Piped gas from Russia to boost Britain’s supplies from 2012

Britain is to start piping gas directly from Russia for the first time in 2012, according to the chief executive of Nord Stream, the Kremlin-backed gas pipeline venture.

In an interview with The Times in Switzerland, Matthias Warnig said that more than 4 billion cubic metres of gas a year had already been booked for the UK market through the pipeline, which is due to enter service by the end of 2012.

That is equivalent to more than 4 per cent of total UK gas demand of about 94 billion cubic metres per year.

Gas shortage eased in central Chinese city

WUHAN (Xinhua) -- Central China's metropolis Wuhan, once grappling with natural gas shortage, has resumed its natural gas supplies to industrial users since Friday.

An executive from the Wuhan Natural Gas Company said Saturday this was because of more gas supplies from the upstream providers.

U.S. Coal Consumption Increased 1.3% Last Week, Genscape Says

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. coal consumption rose 1.3 percent in the week ended Nov. 26 from the previous seven-day period, according to an analysis by Genscape Inc.

Power plants in the East increased usage 1.5 percent, while consumption at those in the West fell 0.4 percent, the data provider said. Overall consumption to generate electricity was down 11 percent from a year earlier, Genscape said.

Energy firms are accused of overcharging

FIVE of the "big six" energy suppliers, including ScottishPower, were today accused of overcharging customers using pre-pay meters despite new Ofgem rules.

The National Housing Federation (NHF) said the firm, as well as British Gas, Npower, Scottish & Southern and E.ON, were all breaking caps on how much more pre-pay customers can be charged than those paying by direct debit.

Indonesia's Medco Energi Sees Crude Oil Production Fall of 12.5%

PT Medco Energi Internasional predicted its crude oil production will shrink 12.5 percent to 35,000 barrels per day next year from this year's estimate of 40,000 barrels on the average.

Medco spokesman A Nugraha Adi said starting 2010, the company's crude oil output will decline on shrinking reserves.

Latest U.N. censure of Iran may start more confrontational phase

The resounding censure of Iran on Friday by the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, signals the start of a potentially more confrontational phase in the Obama administration's dealings with the Islamic republic, including the prospect of strengthened U.S.-led efforts to cut off Iran's economic links to the world.

Canadian biofuel cuts emissions sharply: report

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canadian ethanol emits 62 percent less greenhouse gas than conventional fuel, taking into consideration all stages of the fuel's production from planting a crop to burning the fuel, a new report prepared for Canada's biofuel industry said on Friday.

The results rebut a key argument against producing biofuels, that they use more energy than they can generate, said Gordon Quaiattini, president of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.

Whistle-blower sees 'Collapse' on horizon

Chris Smith walked into his interview with L.A. police detective-turned-whistle-blower Michael Ruppert early this year planning to make a film about the CIA's alleged drug-smuggling operations in the 1980s. Smith emerged from the meeting with an entirely new movie in mind. "Michael had no inclination to talk about the past," Smith recalls. "This was in February when the economy was at its worst, so Mike delivered this three-hour monologue about what he saw happening around us. The amount of information he had synthesized was astounding."

In the resulting documentary, "Collapse," Ruppert draws on a large array of facts and figures to forecast the end of American civilization mainly because of a dwindling oil supply. A self-taught analyst, Ruppert foresaw the Wall Street crash in 1998, when he began publishing his From the Wilderness newsletter.

Growing a library

Local Food: How to Make it Happen in Your Community by Tamzin Pinkerton and Rob Hopkins (Transition Books/Green Books, £12.95) is about building food resilience in a local area. With the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil upon us, it’s time we embrace allotments, land shares, community supported agriculture and other ways of growing our food that don’t cost us the earth. This worthy book, although written for a British readership, has valuable advice for those of us on this island too. It should be in the Christmas stocking of every community leader, councillor, TD and opinion maker.

A nation divided by the weather

The storm track has now slipped south. Science can't be certain why – changing sea surface temperatures may be the cause but as part of a process not yet sufficiently understood. The consequences are no longer containable by wry jokes. Unprecedented rainfall has spectacular and noticeably tragic effects – see Cumbria this week – but the general trend to a more watery climate could, slowly and less dramatically, eventually undo an economy and a way of life. Crops can't be planted or rot at their roots; tourists and their money go elsewhere; basements and lofts that have been dry for centuries spring leaks; gardens never stop squelching; doors squeak and wood crumbles; sewers overflow; buried cabling sparks out. In 2004, the A83 from Glasgow was closed for days by a landslip, marooning the people of south Argyll. The same thing happened last year and this. Peat, soil and stone that had been secure on the hillside for thousands of years suddenly romped down the slope. Nobody could remember such a phenomenon happening in summer before.

Virginia: Why rising seas pose threat here

JAMES CITY — Sea level and global warming are the topics of a forum next week by the James City County Citizens’ Coalition.

“Much of our coastal area is very low-lying and already subject to significant flooding,” said J4C member Terence Elkins in a recent interview. He’s also one of the speakers for the forum. “This will be exacerbated as global sea level rises. Sea level is rising more rapidly here in the mid-Atlantic states than in most other regions... due to a combination of global warming and land subsidence.”

Commonwealth talks boost hopes of climate deal

PORT OF SPAIN (AFP) – Hopes were rising Saturday that a new global climate pact is within reach after rich nations at a Commonwealth summit offered to help poorer countries bear the costs of implementing any deal.

China's climate pledge raises expectations for Copenhagen summit

Although China's announcement that it will reduce the intensity of its greenhouse gas emissions does not mean a reduction in total emissions, environmentalists now see more promise for climate summit.

I find the whole "Climate Gate" email saga fascinating for a lot of reasons. As someone who does simulation and modeling and analysis all the time, I get a unique perspective for what the scientists have had to endure. Most of the time simulation is a thankless job anyways (on a par with a tester), but having full-blown animated videos dedicated to mock one's work makes it all surreal. And all this has occurred before the story has really hit the mainstream media.

I don't have anything to do with oil or climate change in my regular work, and the amount of critical flack that I get from the readership here in regard to some piddly oil depletion analysis pales in comparison to the onslaught that the climate scientists involved in ClimateGate seemed to be getting. As someone else said online, the vast majority of those scientists are not politicians or professional pundits and have no experience in dealing with the skewering that they are now going through. Having "clueless" people going through their source code is much like having some stranger going through your underwear. You know it is messy, and that is just the way science works. You can't avoid the mess while making the sausage, but if you have a chance to clean it up before someone else looks at it, you can make a good case. Every scientist knows this is true, otherwise they would tell you in school never to write on the back of a napkin. One thing nice about the discussions that take place here on TOD is that everyone gets to see the sausage being made, and nothing is really hidden from view, warts and all.

I am wondering whether this email story will hit critical mass or will it die off? It seems it should either peak right before the Copenhagen summit within a week or it won't gain traction and it will settle in with the rest of the noise.

As much as I wish it would not come true, my estimate is that this story will become an enduring keystone of the anti-AGW, anti-science, anti-limits-to-growth, anti-sustainability factions out there. The climate 'truthers' will cite this till the cows come home, even after the Artic Ocean becomes summer-ice-free several year from now...because by then the Sun will likely be back into significant sunspot activity, and that will be cited as the cause, not human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

Doesn't matter...the World by then (~2105) will be distracted with U.S. military action in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. All kinds of nasty things may occur...attacks on the major KSA oil terminals and pipeline junctions...mines and anti-ship missiles impeding oil tanker transit in the Persian Gulf...and the specter of Israel reaching the breaking point with Iran and implementing a definitive solution. Then there is the matter of Pakistan vs. India...and whither goest KN?

AGW concerns will be lost in the sauce.

"This is the biggest scandal to hit science in the history of the world." Rush Limbaugh

"Never let facts get in the way of emotions" is the new motto of the US of A.

Sarah Palin for President!

I find it interesting that the E-mails don't invalidate one sentence in any published paper!!

May reason prevail.

Here is the Hubbert Curve for how Climate Gate is making its way through the news media.

The peak number of news stories happened earlier in the week but that is before it has really hit the mainstream media at all. It will be interesting to watch if another peak occurs.

By comparison here is the curve for Dubai debt in the media

Yeah, having started my "career" with a job building analog and digital simulations, I have long felt that I had an understanding of the climate models. The climate modelers have been at it for a long time, going back to the 1970's when the models were rather simple one dimensional models of atmospheric energy flows. By the end of the 1980's, the model had grown much more complex, including global representations of the atmosphere. Only later were these atmospheric models coupled with dynamic models of the ocean to capture the effects of ocean circulation.

One of the scientists caught in the present flap is Kevin Trenberth, who wrote the book Climate System Modeling in 1993. Sad to say, I've been trying to digest the details in that one ever since, long after it went out of print. Amazon Books tells us there is a new edition due out in Feb, 2010. Not an easy subject, no wonder the denialist can't be bothered with attacking the details, it's much easier to just "kill" the messenger...

E. Swanson

That looks like a neat book with lots of hard-core computational fluid dynamics.

I don't know where I first came across this, but this is an interesting read:
Second Law of Thermodynamics May Explain Economic Evolution

What strikes me is that someone, someday may figure out a good model for economic growth and completely link it to energy consumption. Then someone with a grudge will leak some of their emails and the ideas get totally discredited. Killing the messenger does seem so easy and convenient.

What strikes me is that someone, someday may figure out a good model for economic growth and completely link it to energy consumption.

Looks like this scientist is already working on it. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091123083704.htm

Yes, I saw that one as well. That is a very good companion piece to the one I linked to. Garrett is essentially trying to verify Jevon's Paradox.

This is very interesting research.

Robert Ayres and Benjamin Warr have built classically-styled growth models that include exergy, as well as capital and labor, in the production function. They get some interesting results:

  • Fit to 20th-century data, they get close matches between the model and reality. The exergy term fills in very nicely for the "technology" fudge factor that traditional growth models have needed to get accurate results. The difference, of course, is that the classical technology factor is assumed to be a function of only capital and labor, so you don't ever run out.
  • With a logistics-like curve for available exergy in the future and some assumptions about how fast the US could get more efficient, the model forecasts total US GDP peaking around 2020, a few years before available exergy peaks.

Thanks for that post and I am looking forward to reading it. From your comments this paper would seem to agree with what Frederick Soddy argued in his 1926 work: Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt. Soddy basically said that real wealth is the ability to control useful energy flows.

M King Hubbert was also on to this as indicated in some of his works.

The world's present industrial civilization is handicapped by the coexistence of two universal, overlapping, and incompatible intellectual systems: the accumulated knowledge of the last four centuries of the properties and interrelationships of matter and energy; and the associated monetary culture which has evolved from folkways of prehistoric origin.

"The first of these two systems has been responsible for the spectacular rise, principally during the last two centuries, of the present industrial system and is essential for its continuance.

The second, an inheritance from the pre-scientific past, operates by rules of its own having little in common with those of the matter-energy system. Nevertheless, the monetary system, by means of a loose coupling, exercises a general control over the matter-energy system upon which it is superimposed


The role of energy/exergy has been pointed out repeatedly over the years. Just an opinion -- and I'm not sure I'm qualified to have one -- but contemporary economics has been suckered in by two things:

  • Homogeneity of degree 1 makes the math so tractable and gives such a wonderful theoretical result: the importance of a factor to overall production can be determined by the amount spent on it for purposes of production. Accounting makes labor and capital appear to be the big factors. Energy is only a few percent of the total so must be unimportant. The Ayres/Warr models suggest strongly that the exergy contribution has been incorrectly attributed to labor.
  • Historically, there has almost always been a substitute available for the current energy source. Wood to coal to oil to natural gas, with a bit of hydro, nuclear, solar and etc on the side. Maybe they're right and a substitute for our current energy sources will emerge and the transition can be made smoothly. It certainly isn't obvious (to me, at least) that such is the case.

I'd really like to take the Ayres/Warr models in two directions. I'd like to do more detailed models of the capital costs to transition from one energy source to another; I suspect the current model is too optimistic. Alan from Big Easy has contributed thoughts about T21 results that I believe suggest this. I'm also interested in regionalization. If energy is regionalized in the same way that many believe other production must be, the depletion curves and the transition to different energy sources may be quite different for different regions.

With respect to the second, I had a chance to chat with Steven Kopits between sessions at the ASPO conference in Denver, and he said he thought that the Gulf Coast around Houston and the Rocky Mountain region might hold up quite well as energy supplies tighten; the NE portion of the United States, not so much.

As to your second point, Smil would argue that we have not substituted existing energy sources for new ones but just added the consumption of new energy sources on top of existing consumption.

Good point on the regionality of energy supplies and I agree that the transtions will be different dependending on the natural resource options available in each area. We import a lot of fossil energy here in Michigan and do not have as many other options as some states. We have some good offshore wind resources but these will be very expensive to develop. We also have an 1875 MW pumped storage plant nearby that could be combined with the wind power. Solar PV is another option once the costs become more competitive and/or we implement a feed in tariff policy. OTOH, we do have fresh water in abundance.

On the exergy, I don't believe traditional economists have properly accounted for the amount of useful energy that is needed for production. Beyond that, the amount of embedded energy that is in existing "capital" (aka steam turbines, manufacturing plants, etc.) is huge and needs to be better accounted for.

There is a huge amount of embedded energy in our current equipment, and changing to types of equipment using new fuels (or existing fuels in a more efficient manner) would require huge amount more energy.

The models also don't take into account the role debt plays today. I don't think debt can really be added to the model, but it seems like non-availability of debt financing for new infrastructure will also be a huge issue, if any major change is attempted.

Not as much as you think Gail.

The energy required to build 1 million McMansions in the suburbs plus 1 million other dwellings (roughly 2006 #s) can easily build 7+ million energy efficient attached homes (common walls, whether duplex or more), averaging 850 sq ft, with solar water heating, in Transit Orientated Development. Workers can take electric trains to work, materials are hauled 1 to 8 miles from where electric trains deposited them at warehouses, concrete plants, brick yards etc.

A real world example, I am about 0.7 miles from a concrete plant that gets much of it's raw materials from river transport.

How much diesel is burned getting concrete to my neighborhood, or the CBD ? About 3 quarts to one gallon per mixer load, including unloading the concrete. Versus 20 or 30 gallons for many suburbs.

We are not going to be running so short of oil that we cannot support energy efficient replacements.

Best Hopes,


Twenty years of 6 million energy efficient homes/year would pretty well solve that part of the issue for the USA. And if we could not do that, just shrink the homes to 600 sq ft.

Ayres doesn't get mentioned too often. I think he tends to use too many deterministic formulations and isn't really considering the random pieces that need to be incorporated. In effect he is just following the standard time arrow of energy use.

But including randomness isn't necessarily straightforward either. One of the key points to remember is that economic activity will tend to fill up the entire state space of probabilities. Studies of game theory and the Nash equilibrium point out it is almost impossible to run simulations to predict outcomes http://www.physorg.com/news176978473.html. The state space is essentially just to large.

IMO the only way to reconcile (1) solving a huge zero-sum game by incorporating intelligent reactive agents with (2) the impossibility of doing this, is to do what statistical physicists do. They break it down into a probability model. This is entirely possible based on the Annila and Salthe argument that I link above. They argue that enough mixed strategies (micro concepts as simple as laddering fall into this) are employed that the economy is completely dispersed. The economy will then flow to a maximum entropy state which maximizes the dispersal of energy. This is something I am going to try to understand as I had success in applying maximum entropy principle to understanding human transport rates in my TOD Crude Complexity post from last weekend. That is essentially an energy dispersion (faster transport => higher energy) argument that falls out straight-forwardly.

The problem of course with this approach is gaining a toe-hold. As Taleb said in The Black Swan with respect to understanding a phenomenon:

"We scorn the abstract; we scorn it with passion."

Economic models are often developed for a particular purpose. Some elements are then gradually adopted for other purposes, where they may not be appropriate. One of the earliest uses of the aggregate production function was to explain the distribution of income between capital and labour. The neoclassical model argues that this is a technical relationship, depending on the marginal productivity of each factor, which in turn determines the demand. Once supply is added,he factor "prices" (wages and returns to capital) can be determined. During the Cambridge Capital Controversies of the 1960s, Joan Robinson and others (Piero Sraffa figures prominently) pointed out that this model was circular, since the "supply" of capital as a value aggregate cannot be defined without reference to the price variables being explained. To them, the neoclassical model was an ideological construct, providing a defense of capitalism, rather than a "scientific" undertaking in which the determinants of income distribution were truly understood.

Solow used aggregate production functions to address how much capital accumulation contributed to economic growth. The so-called Solow residual captured the growth the couldn't be accounted for by factor accumulation, which turned out to be substantial. Although this is sometimes interpreted as "technology," many economists refer to it as "a measure of our ignorance."

Currently, there are a number of economists (see Fisher and Felipe) that argue that there is little reason to believe that aggregate production functions are even a useful tool for thinking about the economy. Much of this is grounded in so-called aggregation theory, which asks what the properties of physical production systems would have to be to add up to the representation implied by an aggregate production function and generally concludes that the required conditions are unlikely to met by existing economies.

It is misleading to write that Kenberth was "caught in the flap". Nothing he did was in any way alarming or questionable. He merely expressed concern that we don't have a good way of modeling short term temp changes. This was totally transparent.

Others talked about deleting emails, something I have not seen adequately explained.

Interestingly enough RealClimate has a new thread today concerning the question of Where’s the data?

Much of the discussion in recent days has been motivated by the idea that climate science is somehow unfairly restricting access to raw data upon which scientific conclusions are based. This is a powerful meme and one that has clear resonance far beyond the people who are actually interested in analysing data themselves. However, many of the people raising this issue are not aware of what and how much data is actually available.

Therefore, we have set up a page of data links to sources of temperature and other climate data, codes to process it, model outputs, model codes, reconstructions, paleo-records, the codes involved in reconstructions etc. We have made a start on this on a new Data Sources page, but if anyone has other links that we’ve missed, note them in the comments and we’ll update accordingly.


So when are Exxon/Mobil, Aramco, etc going to do the same with their production data?
The UK and Norway are on board already.

When [blank] [blanks] [blank]. Eg, rivers run backwards, hell freezes over, birds swim in the sea.

Minor bits of majors' data is available from California government data, that would be the odd bird that does swim.

"Not an easy subject, no wonder the denialist can't be bothered with attacking the details, it's much easier to just "kill" the messenger..."

This has always been part of the scientific struggle against the mob:-

Copernicus - delayed publishing his work showing that the earth orbits the sun, for fear of scorn
Galileo - accused of heresy for the heliocentric view, and put under house-arrest by the pope
Bruno - burned at the stake for heresy, and a supporter of the heliocentric view (although it is claimed he wasn't burned because of that)

I wonder how many of today's denialists think the sun orbits the Earth too ?
I guess there are still "flat earthers" also, even though we have pictures of Earth taken in space (oh, I forgot...that was done in a Hollywood studio...)

This whole AGW subject is a farce. Countless posts railing against "deniers" and as far as I remember, not one post explaining exactly how and to what degree and by what timeframe CO2 levels will be reduced by those proposed schemes. It all sounds just like War on Drugs or even the Afghanistan situation-no quantifiable, realistic goals, just a lot of demonizing and B/S being thrown around. One is left with the impression that there isn't anyone, even the most strident AGW proponents, who actually believe that CO2 levels will be reduced.

Brian, thats a bit of a strawman. No one thinks levels will be reduced, at this point the battle is to keep the levels from getting much higher. The deniers want BAU, the other crowd wants to start reducing emissions, over a period of roughly fifty years. Peak warming most likely comes after peak CO2 levels, which clearly comes long after peak emissions. We aren't even at peak emissions yet, unless the meltdown really is the start of collapse. We are fighting over how much or any mitgation, not over a rollback of GHG levels. The later would require a very active and expensive geo-engineering program.

No actually it is like I labelled it. The "other crowd" as you put it, would like to start reducing emissions. I would assume some US military leaders would like Afghanistan to eventually transform into a US friendly puppet state of some sort. There are lots of things both you and I want. The point is nobody appears willing to put out a realistic plan to mitigate-it is like some 500 pound guy at the all you can eat buffet topping it off with a Diet Coke-we can't put restrictions on China, the USA military, etc. etc.-what we can do is set up schemes and scams to make money for insiders.

nobody appears willing to put out a realistic plan to mitigate it

Indeed, it seems there's not a lot of comprehension of the immense scale of the enterprise. Essentially, our only choice is to gain control of the global carbon cycle. This means controlling gigantic, but diffuse, carbon fluxes, on the scale of gigatons per year. Not only is it a problem of cutting human emissions to zero, but we also have to remove about 1 trillion tons of carbon from the ocean/atmosphere system, while at the same time preventing the release of about 1Tt of carbon from the already-melting permafrost. Not to mention the gigatons of methane that are already bubbling up from the Arctic ocean floor.

I simply can't resist saying that BrianT is unconvincing to me both because of his air of total self assurnace combined with a rather foolish attempt to conflate the scientists behind the AGW situation and the creepy BAU types trying to profit from it.

Is your issue with the fact that AGW is real, and happening as we speak, or with the idea of having to fork money out of your pocket to do something about it ?

Reducing current CO2 levels ?

First we have to slow the increase.

A paper that I worked on reduced the annual CO2 by the USA by -38% over BAU in twenty years.

Strategy ?

Maximum push for renewables combined with a maximum push for efficient non-oil transportation (electrified railroads, urban rail, bicycles, walkable neighborhoods).

Cost ?

GDP +13% over BAU (but a very different mix in the GDP, more investment, less consumption).

Oil consumption -22% over BAU.

Best Hopes,


PS: I am the only non-Icelandic member of their tree growing club. Reforest Iceland with larger imported trees and capture 10+ billion tonnes of carbon.

"One is left with the impression that there isn't anyone, even the most strident AGW proponents, who actually believe that CO2 levels will be reduced"

This one is left with the impression that Europeans don't have that good old American Can't Do Attitude.

The news from the European Environment Agency is hugely positive today. It notes that the Protocol treaty "requires that the EU-15 reduce average emissions during 2008-2012 to 8% below 1990 levels." However, every nation that signed on, with the exception of Austria, is going even further than that. The report continues: "the latest projections indicate that the EU-15 will go further, reaching a total reduction of more than 13 % below the base year."

1. CO2 levels aren't emissions levels 2.China is going to keep on keeping on (let's pretend they don't exist)

Would that the USA was doing half as much as China towards mitigation !

1) 16 new nukes under construction and many dozens more planned.
2) New hydro plans that rival nuke plans
3) Increased energy efficiency
4) 2 GW solar PV underway
5) New wind almost = to USA in 2008 (new wind is about all we are doing)
6) 20,000 km of rail lines being electrified
7) Shanghai from zero to biggest subway system in the world. Beijing may end up being #2 in the world.
8) A MAJORITY of solar hot water systems in the world are being installed in China

There is reasonable hope that China will start idling more of their coal fired plants soon (~2016). Can the USA say the same ?


To summarize what we agree on: 1. China is serious about alternative energy to grow their economy while fossil fuels deplete. 2. CO2 levels are going to continue to increase way past where many experts say serious consequences will result.
One further point: you will notice that China didn't feel it was necessary to run billions of taxpayer dollars through Goldman Sachs in order to accomplish anything on your list.

China's pop control policy may be the biggest environmental gain given enough time.

China is serious about doing something about Climate Change, the USA is not.

China is unwilling to significantly restrain economic growth to do something, but in the medium term# China will burn less coal, not more.

# My SWAG is that in 2017 China will emit less CO2 than in 2016, and will be down by a third by 2030.


And my SWAG is that China has run billions of dollars through Goldman Sachs. I am certain that Goldman Sachs' business in China is a degree of magnitude larger than any potential profit they could get from trading carbon credits.

One further point: you will notice that China didn't feel it was necessary to run billions of taxpayer dollars through Goldman Sachs in order to accomplish anything on your list.

Just another nonsense post.

What part do you dispute?

That GS has a multi-billion dollar business in China?

That GS's China business is enormous compared to any projection of their share of climate credits?

Or do you really have no idea what you are talking about and don't have an answer?

Doesn't anybody else feel that the process linking scientific, engineering and technical investigation to the policy making process is bad. I mean really bad. Yes, scientists are often people who are not intrinsically suited to participating directly in the public debate. Still when the stakes are huge, as they are, then it is time to hold investigations where people are pushed outside their comfort zone. We need a vigorous, open, well-funded investigation into the facts, led by the best minds with a clear understanding of mathematics, and complete with substantial investigative powers. We need to identify people who are trying to deliberately mislead on both sides and get them out of the discussion. We need to make sure that the two sides address each others key points, even if they are not comfortable doing so. And in the end there is going to be uncertainty and we need to make decisions in that context, not invent fake certainty linked to various people's egos that becomes an obstacle to incorporating changing facts.

How big are the stakes? In many ways PO and AGW point the same way: electrification, nuclear [if only we could get on with those]. However surviving PO without massive depopulation may require using all the cheap energy we've got left. So the two issues need to be addressed together.

Maximum's strategy is probably the best we could come up with -if it was possible for us to do so. The problem is it becomes a technical solution decided by a technical priesthood (no disrespect implied). That requires that the nonexpert players who vastly outnumber the technocrats give up their influence over these matters. I don't see that happening (it would in a begign monarchy say), but that is not the system we have. And our culture does not defer well to expert opinion.

I thought that was what the NRC did in response to congress's concerns about the supposedly faulty Mann "hockey stick" issue.

I am wondering whether this email story will hit critical mass or will it die off?

The one era to avoid making predictions about is the future, so get some popcorn and watch the show. Personally, I think the scientists, especially those who entered the field before it was so intensely politicized, went swimming in far deeper and more shark-infested waters than many imagined they would ever encounter, and were blindsided rather badly.

Your remark

Having 'clueless' people going through their source code is much like having some stranger going through your underwear.

is spot-on and telling. This is precisely the sort of thing that can happen, for example, when even the simplest time-series - say, noise near an airport or GPS positions of a vehicle - becomes the subject of legal action. Everything from time-stamps to whether a calibration was done a day late will be examined minutely by folks who have little or no idea what they're looking at or talking about, folks who are simply looking for a "gotcha" that they can explain to a lay person.

After all, trials in the USA, the UK, and a number of other countries are held before lay juries, and in most of said countries this is held to be a fundamental human right. So trial lawyers will rip to shreds any data-provider who lacks 'professional' - i.e. 'serious' and besuited - demeanor, or who makes the tiniest non-germane error. What else would they do? The jury understands "gotcha" amply well, but the substance will be utterly beyond it.

Climate models are orders of magnitude more complex, so the problem becomes infinitely worse. Even more infinitely worse, the models embody speculation about what might happen rather than measurement of what did happen (after all, if we knew what would happen, we wouldn't need models, plural, except to check the codes, since any and all would give the same result.) The implications are likewise infinitely worse: prominent figures - Jim Hansen comes to mind - have placed the field in the legal arena by demanding, based on the model results, that the 'developed' world's economies should be nearly shut down, and quickly, with the likely side effect that poorer places should be consigned to ever-deepening misery for eternity. That's a whole lot more serious than banning one particular type of jet from taking off after 7PM at one particular airport, and it's based on speculation, however well-informed, rather than on measurement. It demands auditing of data and code harsher than what the FDA requires for medical devices.

So: what surprises me is that something like 'climategate' didn't happen sooner. Much sooner. After all, whatever the emails reveal, it reeks of academia. Academia is not well-attuned to suitably dour and detail-fetishizing demeanors. It's not well-attuned to to attending to the mind-boggling green-eyeshade minutiae of legal matters such as traceability, inspecting equipment and code umpteen times whether it needs it or not, and the like - it's not attuned to FDA-like auditing. And most especially, it scorns matters such as providing "GUIs for everything, instruction books with full-color illustrations, and a 24-hour helpline in the interest of full scientific transparency" - something which, like it or not, may be necessary in order to be convincing in a legal arena these days, due in part to the CSI effect.

Oh, and what surprises me even more is that the climate-science community seems to be transfixed like a herd of deer in the headlights. I know academics tend to be cloistered, but that cloistered?

I think I'll go follow my own advice and grab that popcorn now... this act may or may not end soon, but the show itself will go on... and on...

have placed the field in the legal arena by demanding, based on the model results, that the 'developed' world's economies should be nearly shut down, and quickly, with the likely side effect that poorer places should be consigned to ever-deepening misery for eternity.

I keep hearing this sort of argument. Yet, all the studies show the poor (especially the poor in the less developed countries) are the ones that will suffer the most from climate change. And we see great changes in these countries that skeptics claim will never come around (into emissions control regimes), like China, and India. China has committed to a doubling of wind power every year for the next twelve years! India has just set a target of 20GW of solar PV by 2020! It seems that these countries get the urgency and are making the sorts of changes required. Sure they are still making noise about economic justice -i.e. asking the developed world to make proportionately greater sacrifices. These are negotiating tactics, not final positions.

Rather to me it sounds like invoking the potential suffering of the poor is an excuse to let the rich do what they please.

Before we gush over these wonderful commitments, let's remember, for example, that 20GW of solar PV among 1.2+ billion people will be 15W or 16W per person, and that's installed capacity so maybe 2W or 3W continuous. Not even a drop of warm spit, not even by Indian standards of consumption.

PaulS, to you it may be less than a drop of warm spit but 2W-3W per person is enough for every household to power a compact globe; add a waste digester to obtain cooking fuel and a simple solar HW heater and the households have their basic needs met. Much better than saying the problem is too big and we may as well lay down and die.

INDIA is endowed with economically exploitable and viable hydro potential assessed to be about 84000 MW at 60% load factor (1,48700 MW installed capacity)...


The wind resource assessment in India estimates the total wind potential to be around 45 000 MW (mega watt).


Add these to the solar PV potential.

Best Hopes,


Re: A nation divided by the weather

Here we have another look at what might be the future. Whether the changes noted are short term variation, i.e., weather, or long term changes to climate, only time will tell. Could it be that the THC has weakened, thus changing the sea surface temperatures which impact the atmosphere above and therefore, the weather downstream?

We have seen repeated reports of unusual weather in the media of late. All the recent hooha about the leaked e-mails isn't going to change the climate, nor will it explain these reported changes. Not only that, but the many blog posts claiming AGW is a hoax fail to address the underlying scientific understanding, which points to a warming Earth as greenhouse gases increase.

E. Swanson

Which is more likely: Goldman Sachs solves the problem of AGW or Goldman Sachs solves the problem of oil depletion? I would say the odds are about the same. The focus is on AGW because there is more gravy there-what we need is a new derivatives trading market based around oil depletion-let the magic of Wall Street cause the hidden gushers to flow-maybe Al Gore can jump aboard to shill that one for the sheep also.

Hubris pays and pays well, the shy and conservative get forgotten. Al Gore is magnificent when he proclaims the "Truth" like he is standing there book in hand thundering on about god's will or something, oh, and send money. People dig that, being insiders to the "truth." One of the yuppies at work, "a very smart man", gave me the climate "truth" at the office one day, turned around went back into his office, picked up his sports car magazine, went home that night to his lovely bride in their 3000sqft tastefully appointed yuppydome, and then later went to his family's church where his perfect children wrapped candy bars to be flown over to Africa, and I do not make this up. So on one hand we have the steady drip of bad news for the "truthers", emailgate, pictures from China and their pronouncements of stuff it, and on the other hand the piggishness and sanctimony of the jetset carbon credit moguls.

Unfortunately if you don't want to remain a hermit living in the woods, you have to acquiesce to the people you interact with and to worthwhile family obligations. I try to take an approach that in individual terms I will take hardships (bicycle commuting in winter, etc), but when it comes to family, I will take the plane trip. Unless everyone is like-minded that is the way it goes.

So Brian wants to hyjack the thread? I see nothing in your reply which addresses anything in my post or in the article I pointed to, did you even real the article? Aren't you just another non-thinking "ditto head", regurgitating lies and disinformation from The Land of Rush the Oxymoron?

Oh well, why don't you go tell your stories to the families of those who died in Saudi Arabia from a little weather anomaly last week...

No no I disagree-I am not responsible-the Black Dog is responsible for the deaths in Saudi Arabia.

Here is an interesting bit from the article:

But let's be even more Pollyanna-ish. After Peak Oil comes Peak Water (the title of a new book) and an era of Mediterranean thirst that north-west Britain, Wet Britain, is well placed to slake. I see water tankers sailing out of forgotten ports along the Cumbrian and Scottish coasts, bound for Naples and Cadiz. In Ecclefechan, where it will certainly still be raining, people relieve their depression by thinking of themselves as the Saudis of H2O.

So he says after Peak Oil, there is Peak Water, where water tankers make their way south. How exactly will these tankers be able to travel?

Who's the author of the new book on Peak Water mentioned in the first link? I found this page from Jeremy Grantham, perhaps he's the author: TheBurningPlatform.com » Economy » PEAK WATER

BT seems to be obsessed with hijacking every thread around.

It could snow in Mexico City and people could be playing beach blanket bingo at Point Barrow and a certain faction will say it is God's will.

They will party charged with the spirit of blessed American Exceptionalism "I got mine and the rest of you can die' BAU.

And Rush Limbaugh (and his heirs/acolytes) will still be attacking Rachael Carson (and those who understood her message) as eco-nazis long after the last bird and bat are gone.

Merry Winter Solstice and Happy New Year.

I live the other side of the country (its less than 100 miles) from the recent deluge in Cumbria Re: A nation divided by the weather, the peg for the article. We have been getting more intense variable weather in recent years across the UK, but the North Atlantic is that kind of place. Tropical storms for example, some of which have expended some of their energy and water on E USA, eventually track our way, and frequently hit the west of British Isles, often with more than enough left in the way of rain for flooding and potentially with sufficiently intense atmospheric depressions to raise coastal surges etc. Guess though there seems to be more energy in the system these days. Fifteen inches rain on a few miles of high ground felt a bit more like Indonesia than Britain. Even my side of the country has some strange events. We had a '100 years flood' last year, and that followed a '50 year flood' a few years before, and our Postal Code area can not get regular house insurance these days because of 'the risk'.
More generally, the longer term warming trend has been steadily moving north in Britain and the consistent trend in growing season dates and other markers in the natural world are well documented.

So it goes

Unusal weather.

Today in my area of W. Ky the temperature was reported as 70 degree F and my thermometer showed a bit more.

Rather warm for the end of November. So far only one real killing frost to speak of. And IMO all of this month has been rather mild.

Yes I know this doesn't prove anything. What does bother me is the dieing off of organic lifeforms that most who do not live in the country(at least in my area) do not and will not observe.

Another strange event occurred to me this morning as I drove down a country lane. A huge blue heron was standing in the road. This is something extremely rare to observe. They NEVER do that. You see them quite often in a nearby pond but even drive by about 500 yds away and they take flight.

They are extremely shy birds. This one had something wrong with it. I stopped and backed up to see what was wrong and then it sorta hopped and barely managed to get airborne and went into some scrub.

Never never have I ever saw one hit by a vehicle. Never have I been able to get within 400 or so yards to one. They are that panicky.

White cow birds are different and. Cattle egrets they are called. We used to have them follow my haybine as I cut hay and eat the grasshoppers. Now they have disappeared for the last couple of years...along with the grasshoppers also.

They used to hang around cattle and feast on the insects that stayed around cattle. Never see that any more.

Things are dying out in my area. Have been for some time. I post of that and have been doing so since the start of the honey bee dieoff.

One never hears of this in the news anymore. Not a word.
Ho--hummmmm. Tiger Woods et al are far more important than honey bees and other wildlife.


If Tiger doesn't learn to duck when his enraged wife swings that club he will dieoff just like the KY honeybee. Interesting video re the Asian carp you were discussing the other day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb8OmEr7VqI

Jumping in boats.

Yes. There are some here who tell me of bleeding from being hit. Many weigh over 20 or 30 lbs and can jump quite high. Almost anyone who goes fishing in the nearby lakes tells of them jumping in their boats and sometimes being injured.

Most fisherman here have given up on fishing. We used to have a lot of fishfrys since almost everyone has a john boat rigged for crappie fishing. Yet most are now not used anymore.

I can go to the lake I have a key for and never seen anyone there anymore. There are at least 8 natural lakes close by. All are full of the Asian carp and have rendered fishing useless. Sure you can go. You won't catch anything.


If you watch carefully as the heron take off, they invariably drop a load of crap. Yes, they are that panicky that they literally poop in their pants when they get spooked.

Watch the world population clock tip over to 6.8 billion in the next couple of hours:


(7 billion on track for Feb 2012)

OK, based on my data point of one...145 net increase per one minute...I estimate 2148 UTC to cross 6.8 billion...

Poor and uneducated women tend to have more children. Many such women live in developing countries, and over the next few decades that’s where most of the world’s population growth will occur. Just 23 years from now, in 2030, Ethiopia will overtake Russia in population, according to United Nations projections, and Uganda will overtake Germany in 2040. At a minimum, rapid population growth could strain countries with weak infrastructures if roads, sewer systems, schools, and health services can’t keep pace with demand. At its Malthusian worst, rapid population growth could lead to scarcity of food and fresh water, environmental destruction, filthy disease-filled slums in megacities, and, some say, even outright war.


World POPClock Projection

According to the International Programs Center, U.S. Census Bureau, the total population of the World, projected to 11/28/09 at 22:25 UTC (EST+5) is


I have been criticized on TOD for taking a somewhat agnostic stance on various aspects of AGW. Apparently some posters believe that the only acceptable approach is unwavering dogmatism. I do not know whether sea levels will rise one inch, sixteen feet or twenty three feet but I have been interested in this question for a very long time since I live at sea level. I do believe in peak oil. Another site posted an excerpt from the following blog. Who are these people?



or http://tinyurl.com/yhpyqxm

I believe AGW and nuclear war to be post Edward Bernay's fear based dog bones.

The two main climate skeptics who run active blogs are Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts.

Watts is a weatherman. McIntyre runs ClimateAudit.org and he does all the statistics fact-checking and has a bunch of followers. He was involved in the mineral exploration business before retiring according to Wikipedia, so I imagine he might know something about Peak Oil.

I read these blogs mainly to try to understand what strategies they use.

"Who are these people?"

Well...here's a piece about Anthony Watts over at wattsupwiththat.com.


The subject of AGW reminds me of learning about oil depletion. In terms of the MSM and "man on the street" worldview, the two subjects are exact opposites. The promoted, politically correct view is that manmade AGW is occurring and various measures, especially Cap and Trade, will fix the problem if applied quickly and vigorously-anyone opposing any part of this is quickly labelled a "denier" or "wingnut". On the oil depletion side, the promoted, politically correct view is that oil depletion is a problem possibly far in the future and in any event renewables can solve it if the will is there. Peak Oil advocates are mostly "wingnuts". This is exactly what the public is being force fed 24/7. This does not automatically mean that AGW advocates, especially big money players are suspect, but it does mean that scrutiny is called for-if you hand over your life savings to a money manager, that does not mean that he is a Bernie Madoff, but if you inquire about your investments or want an independent audit and you are confronted with outrage, insults or wild accusations it certainly raises red flags.

A post on Anthony Watts’ nonsense.

This is really a typical Wattsism: take anything you can find, even if it’s based on so little data as to be utterly meaningless and isn’t really out of the ordinary anyway, and use it to suggest ludicrous ideas which of course fit Watts’ nutjob notions about how our atmosphere is changing. In this case, we should doubt that man-made CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere and that extra CO2 will stay in the atmosphere for centuries. As for Giegengack … one nutjob at a time, please.

So I showed in the previous post that the drop in March of 2008 really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. This spurred Lucia to go on and on about how there was a TWO-MONTH drop in the seasonally adjusted Mauna Loa CO2 data, so my rebuttal had to be utter nonsense and of course I’m an idiot because I didn’t address the issue of the TWO-MONTH drop. Watts didn’t even mention the TWO-MONTH drop in his post, although apparently the subject came up in comments, he just made outlandish nutjob suggestions like “sheds doubt on … Anthropogenic accumulation”. No, it doesn’t, and there’s really NO DOUBT that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are accumulating in the atmosphere. None. If you doubt that, you’re not a skeptic: you’re a nutjob.

The subject of AGW reminds me of learning about oil depletion. In terms of the MSM and "man on the street" worldview, the two subjects are exact opposites.

Climate change has been "my issue" since I read the first IPCC report in 1992. I would say that climate science and oil depletion theory have followed about the same trajectory: from academic curiosity, to mainstream understanding (if not acceptance), to policy-making. But oil depletion theory lags by about 20 years, so we may not see meaningful Peak Oil policy for quite some time.

...we may not see meaningful Peak Oil policy for quite some time.

And ... since on a dollar basis peak (cheap) oil took place ten years ago ... OUCH! As it keeps smashing our ... OUCH! ... economies, we will soon get to the point ... HEY! WATCH THAT DUBAI OVER THERE! ... where we cannot do anything to solve anything ore even ... OUCH!! ... adapt well.

On the plus side, this will solve the AGW problem and isn't speculation, either. When what's left of the economy finally dribbles down the toilet, there will be plenty of oil and coal still in the ground ... but insufficient organization left to utilize it. Pumping a deep water field like Tupi will be hard with a hand pump and a barge.

Now, excuse me while I watch the ... OUCH! ... fight on television.

this will solve the AGW problem

Only if you believe in faeries and magic. why do you not understand we are already over budget? Burning the rest of the fossil fuels will raise GHG levels more than the 100+ ppm we've seen already because there is far more out there than has been burned.

Yes, we've hit peak oil production, but that leaves all the bitumen, half the recoverable oil, more than half the coal, more than half the gas and, worst of all, 2x the amount of CO2 currently in the atmosphere in the permafrost alone. And that still leaves the sea floor clathrates.

Whether out of ignorance or ideology, your understanding of the effects of emissions on climate are way off.


This does not automatically mean that AGW advocates, especially big money players are suspect, but it does mean that scrutiny is called for

Ha. Thanks for proving beyond doubt your denialist credentials. Who else, other than an idiot, would claim you must doubt the science because of the politics?

Why, pray tell, do you not rant about, real, proven conspiracies?

The American Denial of Global Warming

ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science

Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate

The Denial Machine

In those links you will find evidence/proof of payment for distorted science, a memo that proves the anti-AGW lobby knew the science was solid – from their own scientists – back in 1995, an explanation showing how the cigarette denialists became the climate denialists (and if they are proven liars already, are supposed to trust them now?), and of how the government itself intentionally distorted the truth.

What you won’t find there, or anywhere else, is anything even remotely approaching a conspiracy to **support** AGW.

Please respond to the above evidence/proof of conspiracy by the anti-AGW crowd. That is far more settled, far better evidenced, and is actually proven.

You are going to have to carefully re-read exactly what I wrote and try to understand it (you missed the point entirely).

He didn't. Your "point" is so full of bullocks, it's just hard to know where to start.

Well, how about here:

"politically correct view is that manmade AGW is occurring and various measures, especially Cap and Trade, will fix the problem if applied quickly and vigorously-anyone opposing any part of this is quickly labelled a "denier" or "wingnut""

I know personally hundreds of people, and have read opinions of hundreds more, who are very knowledgeable and concerned about AGW but are very dubious about various aspects of proposed Cap and Trade legislation. In thousands of hours of talking about and posting about these topics, I have never seen anyone who merely had some problems with aspects of the Cap and Trade proposals be called a denier or a wingnut.

If you can site numerous cases where this has happened, please do so and I will shut t f up. If you cannot show such support for your claims, then it would be your turn to do the same.

Happy 6.8 Billion day.

Canada promises $10 billion to fight climate change. How about providing $10 billion for mass transit and shut down the oil sands.


This should fix our problems.

Not to take BrianT's side, but I regularly here several radio jocks here (Sydney Australia) who regularly claim AGW is bull because cap and trade is a scam to make money. These are not just most of the late night people but also the teabagger (in the gay sexual sense) and No 1 broadcaster Alan Jones.
I personally have major reservations that cap and trade is anything but a plaything of the F**kers such as Goldman Sux. I support the broad conclusions of AGW researchers but wouldn't waste my time debating idiots like Jones. An example from last weeks radio was a denier caller saying how cold the temp was in Christchurch and the radio jock saying how this proves there is no global warming. For those who don't know where Christchurch is it is a ski resort area in southern NZ so it can be cold there; meanwhile the jock was ignoring the fact that locally our 2 neighbouring states were having their worst November heatwaves ever recorded (and by a huge factor) and our own city a few days later had its 2nd worst ever (temperate coastal area spring temps of 107F, nasty, what might we hit in Summer?).

Dohboi: Go over all the posts responding to my posts-the claim repeatedly comes up that I am a "denier" even though repeatedly I need to remind the fanatics like yourself that CO2 levels are rising-on this point I would assume we agree. The polar ice caps are melting, etc.etc. Let me make it crystal clear for yourself and every other genius that appears unable to follow even grade school logic: CO2 LEVELS WILL NOT BE MATERIALLY ALTERED NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY IS TRANSFERRED TO THESE GRIFTERS. That is my whole argument, so hard for you to comprehend.

Brian wrote:


Your shout is not an "argument", it's an assertion. You are guessing about the future. While you may be proved right, it isn't a done deal by any means. Your scenario depends on;

1) The passage of Cap-and-Trade and,
2) The so-called grifters taking control of the resulting system to their benefit and,
3) No efforts to improve/change the system as time passes.
4) No other approach is implemented in the first instance.

None of the above have occurred, so you are blowing smoke.

E. Swanson

No-you are the one blowing smoke. Show the numbers-explain how CO2 levels are going to be reduced.

The increase in CO2 will be reduced from what it would have been because it will be more expensive to pollute with CO2.


Alan: That is the correct answer exactly. That is the victory justifying all the scams-a reduction in CO2 levels FROM WHAT WOULD HAVE OCCURRED. Question: how exactly does that victory prevent climate change when climate change is being driven by increasing CO2 levels, not "moral" victories like a reduction in CO2 levels from what "would have occurred otherwise". Answer: it doesn't in any way. Now you are a smart guy-you know this-so what is the discussion about?

You fail to understand the difference between a defeat and a disaster.

Your path (doing nothing) will likely lead to the end of industrial civilization and a 99.5% die-off (reasonable supposition). My path (which I detailed in an earlier response) may well lead to a 50% die-off and voluntary population reductions from there and a more sustainable post-industrial civilization.

A difference worth fighting for.


My path? Cap and Trade scams or nothing? You are with us or against us? I thought Bush left office.

You have only screamed negatives here. Naysaying at HIGH VOLUME !

That has been your only "contribution",


I don't have any control over USA or China policy-don't blame the messenger.

No control over California policy, either.

The California Air Resources Board, often a trailblazer in environmental regulation, released a draft rule on Tuesday establishing a cap-and-trade program that sets a declining ceiling on emissions of greenhouse gases and allows companies to buy and sell permits to meet it.

California’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The proposed system would begin in 2012 with 600 major sources of global warming pollutants, including power plants, refineries and concrete factories.

You are now talking such rubbish that you have become completely incoherent.

All I can get from your rants are that you don't like cap and trade.

Well, welcome to the pack. Most of those I know who are deeply concerned about AGW are also deeply troubled by aspects of Cap and Trade. But of course there is no bill yet, so it's a bit difficult to know what to be upset about. If it ends up being mostly cap and very little trade, it may be worthwhile. If it is the beginning of a much more aggressive effort to reduce CO2 emissions, then it may be worth taking this first step.

But your characterization of the debate as being only between those who think both AWG and C&T are shams, and those who think both are important is far from any reality I see.

(Now, doubtless, you will clarify your 'position' further with caps, perhaps in a larger font size--very mature of you. Presumably you will also call me and other 'fanatics,' after moaning about how unfair it is for others to use terms such as 'denialist.')

Now you are "troubled by aspects"-make up your mind (if you can).

Actually, there are (at least) 2 versions of of Cap-and-Trade in Congress. The one in the Senate is the  Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, S 1733. The version in the House is a bit different. The link has further links to the full text and a summary...

E. Swanson

1. You conflate climate activism with Cap and Trade legislation. This is repeated, thus intentional.

2. You repeatedly ask us to give up all hope now, because Cap and Trade will do us all in. It's all grifters! (Thus, so is climate science and so are climate activists.)

3. You say GHG levels are rising. But why? Anthropogenic?

4. Regardless, all your ranting and conflating prove beyond a reasonable doubt you are attempting to conflate one policy response, Cap and Trade, with climate change and activism. This, again, is intentional, proven by it's constant repetition. You conclude we should all do nothing for we can do nothing.

All you are attempting to do is engender inaction.

Thus, you are simply the latest version of the climate sceptic. You have looked at the reality, determined you can't refute the science, and have chosen conflation as your latest, greatest tactic.

Logically, if you believe what you say, you have zero reason to post here. Or anywhere. This begs the question, why are you? (<-- Rhetorical.)

When you stop conflating climate, climate action and C&T, maybe you'll get some traction. I've yet to identify a denialist in sheep's clothing and be wrong, but there's a first time for everything.

I'm sure food banks everywhere are seeing a flood of new customers, and there are a lot of new, ex-"middle class" homeless now. But in my area, there are fields full of peppers and pumpkins for the taking, and walnuts lying all over the ground, even I haven't been going out getting them, and I should.

The food banks reportedly have an easy time giving out mac 'n' cheese, but no one wants vegetables.

Meanwhile I'm getting fascinated with various types of camp or "hobo" stoves that burn rubbing alcohol etc. using 'em for heat here and the idea being, to give 'em out or sell 'em cheap.

I've never heard the term "hobo' applied to alcohol stoves.They are a bushwalkers salvation and the Swedish Trangia is the best of the lot.Safe,relatively cheap fuel which is available in most countries.

Nope the "hobo stove" in the US is a wood-burner made of food cans, #10 size I believe.

Fancy stuff like trangia etc are very difficult to find in the US and impossible to get for those who need them.

I'm just having fun messing around with various types of burners, my fuel of choice right now is 91% isopropyl alcohol, apparently a cooler and a bit dirtier fuel than what you'd use over there in your Trangia etc.

Mainly right now I'm interested in just turning fuel into head, since I have a propane stove to cook on (it wants to kill me too, I keep the tank outside shut off when not actually cooking) and basically, insulation is just about unknown in most of the US. The dwelling I'm in does its best to be the same temp as outside, so if it's 30 degrees F outside, it's maybe 32 degrees F inside. At least I'm out of the wind, and the rain, and am safe from attack, thank God!

But back to stoves/heaters, I came up with a neat one last night, made of 2 bean cans that has a flame that SPINS. The virtue of a flame that spins is, it keeps the flame away from the walls of the burner, which minimizes the inevitable soot you get with isopropyl.

There are various wood stoves/burners, you have to watch out for incomplete burning, though. Alcohols don't tend to fill your place with carbon monoxide, wood and perhaps kerosene can. So I want to learn all I can about creating clean burning with a fuel that won't do this.

I have a kerosene heater, a Kero-Sun "Moonlighter", and a larger Kero-Sun that's waiting for wicks - orders by mail can take months in the US. The "Moonlighter" is borrowed and is frankly a PITA to work with. It has a lot of fiddly parts and is dependent on a special wick. I'd like to come up with something that burns kero without a wick, or at most uses something easy to get like modified coffee filters for a wick.

All lots of fun to mess with for someone who's a bit of a pyro!

Check this link for stove info:
Stove info


Check out boat stoves or home made versions of boat stoves. They burn any combination of ethanol and methanol, so all sorts of weird gas additives can be used as fuel. It is also possible to get a license to brew 250 gallons of industrial alcohol annually and that's plenty for home use. Industrial alcohol, ie homebrew where the natural methanol contamination is not removed, is easy to make from windfall apples and other detrius.

The energy density of alcohol is half that of kerosene, but the boat stoves burn clean and work fine.

By the way, what was that about pinouts for relays?

250 gallons a year is plenty for heating and transport.

Pinout is just, a relay will have coil, contacts, maybe there are two relays in a package, you can often do some crazy retrofitting if you know the pinouts, sometimes the pinouts are even the same it's spacing or footprint.


Thanks, I'll have to try that.

Here's another stove to maybe check out...
('smokeless', efficient wood stove)

(with a link to 198m zip file)

(basic info here, with a couple of simple design graphics)

As a backpacker, I have gone to using an alcohol stove exclusively.
No moving parts, light, foolproof (mine weighs 17 grams).
Plus one can fill a plastic bottle with fuel, it's safe.
Trangia is a good stove, but a bit heavy for us light weight backpackers.

Yes I've been reading a ton on this beautiful technology, a few people are making stoves out of aluminum beer bottles, often termed cottles, that are just gems.

I'd love to have a Trangia, maybe I should ask for a donation of one on my blog.

Making stoves and well, a number of things, are going to be good ways to make a little extra money in the future.

Sixteen years ago, my older brother gave me a Patagonia fleece jacket his children had outgrown. He purchased it around 1987 for his oldest daughter, who wore it until she outgrew it and handed it down to her younger sister. When she outgrew it, my daughter wore it, and then my son. At some point, the zipper broke, so I sent it to Patagonia, which repaired it at no cost. The jacket never wore out. That’s heirloom design


Here's to a return to making more durable and repairable products.

When I was young I was quite surprised to learn that the US government's definition of a 'durable good' was one that lasted longer than 3 years. I thought about cars, refrigerators, washing machines and such and thought that 3 years was a pretty low bar.

I was overjoyed a few days ago at the local Salvation Army to get a pair of Doc Martens hi-tops, still with the Air Weir tag on them, "made in england" on the soles, good 1980s vintage. You can't kill those things, they just need a good polish and maybe some fresh Dr Scholl's in 'em if that - whoever had 'em put those in, and since they're euro size 40 and I'm normally a 37, the insoles may be a large part of why they fit me fine. Docs can last for decades, like good army boots do.

I got over my squeamishness about used shoes when I realized, I walk on the same floor with everyone else, the same lint and stuff is going around, and a good number of people are very clean and their used footwear is fine. In fact most thrift stores won't sell anything that isn't in pretty good shape, although the stuff in thrift stores is scruffier lately.

My new/old Docs will last me for years!

I have that same Pategonia fleece jacket still, about the same vintage. I would only say that fleece has gotten much better in terms of warmth and wickability. The old fleece feels kind of clammy next to the skin. Maybe its been through the wash too many times.

Of course my own personal favorite is Nike Lava Dome shoes

And don't forget Lava soap. That is the best soap around and it lasts. How does that company make money?

Limited sizes, apparently Nike did a short term re-issue of a "classic", mainly ugly colors.

Pick Shoes - Nike Classics - Nike Lava Dome


Best Hopes for your size,


thanks. I will check my Nike outlet store first. Ugly colors indeed, but if the shoe fits ... they do have my size.

Climate denialists always run away from some basic facts:

CO2 (and others, including water vapour) trap infra red frequencies (proven since the 19th century). Therefore if CO2 (and others) are increasing (and this is measured to high degrees of accuracy) then for overall temps not to increase the following must happen:

(1) The sun produces less energy.
(2) The earth receives less energy, basically the albedo must increase.

Now (1) is measured (directly and indirectly) and the regular cycles it goes through are dwarfed by GG gas effects (simply calculatable).

Plus (2) can only happen if there is more ice and more clouds of a certain type (some clouds are neutral or can actually make things worse). This is also measured, the ice is shrinking and the (right kind of) cloud formations is not happening (also measured). Note that even if the ice and cloud formation stayed constant then more energy will still be trapped, therefore they have to increase (considerably) to maintain the same energy balance.

Thus, unless the laws of physics are repealed, more heat energy will be trapped in the Earth's lower atmosphere, oceans and land.

Unless denialists (and the genuine skeptics) can address these issues with hard numbers and real proof, then their arguments are fundementally invalid at the most basic level. Anything else they claim is just spin.


How would you feel about a revenue-neutral carbon tax? With this approach, there's a lot less opportunity to game the system.

Been reading Hansen?


Sure, but like I say I don't run the USA. Just the billions they gave to Goldman alone would have paid for an awful lot of wind power.

Forty years or so of observing the operation of many various public initiatives involving regulating businesses, lifesytle, and morality have left me convinced that there is always a very large risk that the intended regulatees will inteead coopt and capture the regulators, standing the program and it's intended results on its head.

In the long run we would probably be far better off with a straight carbon tax that gradually rises.

This would enable the public in general , including most businesses, to have more flexibility in reducing thier energy use.Whatever can be done to make the tax revenue neutral at least for low income people should be done-but we should not expect people with money to cut back on thier energy use-to give up thier Escalade-unless there is some pain involved.

If we go the caap and trade route, in five years there will be all sorts or good old boys networks grown up in and around it-voting blocs in congress, etc, beholden to certain parties, etc.

Look what the results have been with the ethanol program.A straight up energy tax would have achieved far, far better results in terms of reducing oil imports.And it would not have resulted in disrupting the food markets, increasing the acreage under cultivation, he refinery overconstruction boondoogle, etc.

I tend to agree. But Brian T supports nothing.


You don't usually make such ignorant statements-why start now.